Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New York's Coat of Arms

Next week my article about the New York Coat of Arms will be published in the Auburn Citizen. The laws and regulations behind our State Arms and Seal could not be covered in full due to space restrictions, so I thought readers may enjoy some of the resource links about the Arms that is used in our State flag.

I was inspired to write the article after finding reference that the Coat of Arms was used in Gansevoort's 3rd NY regimental flag that was carried at Yorktown during the revolutionary war.

The beauty of our flag has always interested me, but my knowledge of its history was limited. There are many claims of the flag that belonged to Col. Peter Gansevoort’s 3rd New York Regiment. Some site that it was the inspiration of our State Coat of Arms.
Photo from Albany-A Cradle of America.by Francis P. Kimball, Printed by the Argus Company 1936.

It has also been claimed that this flag was in the collection at the Albany Institute of History and Art.  After contacting them, they granted use of a photo of their flag for my Citizen article and it has slight variations of the flag pictured above, indicating there was a flag previous to their flag which dates between 1790-1797.

Due to limited article size, I was unable to include the flags from the civil war that also used variations of the State Coat of Arms:

4th NY Heavy Artillery

3rd NY Provisional Cavalry

15th NY National Guard

The correct arms of the state of New York, as established by Law since March 16, 1778 by Henry Augustus Homes, See Page 22, where it is recorded that Col. Peter Gansevoort issued a proclamation in 1864 that the 3rd NY was flown at Yorktown.  Gansevoort himself was not there due to consolidation of regiments, he was returned to command the Albany Militia as a Brigadier General.

The 3rd NY was best known for its defense at Fort Stanwix.  Soldier Ashbel Treat who was pensioned from Mentz and buried at Pine Hill in Throop testified he marched to Fort Stanwix but the dates on his muster cards indicate he arrived after the famous battle. 

The Revolutionary War flag did not "create" the Arms, it simply used a variation.  The fact that it was used on the regiment flag of the 3rd NY does provide me with a greater appreciation of what our State flag stands for.  Our current State flag is inspired by this historical flag of the American Revolution, from the Arms that were adopted in 1778.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Great Comet of 1680

In reading some of our colonial history of New York State, I found that in the year 1680 there was a comet sighted at Albany, NY.

On January 1, 1680 the Commissionaires of Albany wrote a letter to Captain Brockholes about the sightings of "ye dreadfull commett starr". This is what was written regarding this unusual event:

"undoubtedly God Threatens us wh Dreadfull Punishments, if wee doe not Repent, wee would have caused ye Domine Proclaim a Day of fasting and humiliation tomorrow to be kept on Weddensday ye 12 Jan in ye Town of Albany & Dependencies if wee thought our Power & autority did extend so farr, and would have been well Resented by Yourself, for all persons ought to humble Themselves in such a Time, and Pray to God to Withdraw his Righteous Jugements from us, as he did to Nineve Therefore if you would be pleased to graunt your approbation wee would willingly cause a day of fasting & humiliation to be kept, if it were monthly; whose answer wee shall Expect with ye Bearer."

Today the weather man announces this occurrence on our evening news, promoting all to watch.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

1812 Equipment Claims

The following soldiers requested reimbursement for supplies for their service during the War of 1812. They reported their residence as Mentz and Port Byron at the time of their claim:

William Allen
Charles Clapp
John De Groff by Administrator
Marvel Eldridge
William Forshee
Jacob Guilfers
Joel Halsted
Martin Harker by widow
Silas Hopping
Thomas Kerns
Daniel K King
Richard King
Meigs Kirtland
Job May
Simeon Mott
Philip A Munroe
Aaron Murphy by Administrator
Thomas Rems
John W Sawyer
Samuel Seaman
Jacob Stahlnecker
Richard Sutton
John A Taylor
Casper D Tryon
Elias Wethy
Robert Whaling
William S Willis
Tilly Gilbert

Port Byron:
John Hughson
Horace Perkins
Joseph Shotwell
Isaac Snow by Administrator
Nathan Upham

Source: Ancestry.com