September 17, 2014 | 7:35pm    area forecast: Today: Mostly Sunny High 71°F, Low 45°F

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Saturday, September 6 - Sunday, September 28
    Hudson River Valley Ramble
    Weekends in September; Annual event series that celebrates the history, culture and natural resources of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, as well as the amazing landscape, communities, and trails throughout the region. See the full schedule at hudsonrivervalleyramble.com

  • Wednesday, September 17
    Roswell Rudd, Mark Dresser Concert
    Renowned jazz trombonist and bassist. 7–9pm. Free. Phone: 845-758-7512. Url: http://bard.edu.

  • Thursday, September 18 - Sunday, September 21
    Falling
    This engaging play explores the dynamic and complicated reality of a family with an autistic young man. Semi-autobiographical, the play bravely asks "How do you love someone who is difficult to love?" Thu-Sat 8pm: $39, Sun 2pm: $34. Phone: 845-647-5511. Url: http://shadowlandtheatre.org.

  • Thursday, September 18
    Dutchess Heritage Talk
    Talk by Philip Otterness, author of Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York, followed by reception. $15 at door; kids under 16 free. $10 pre-order at dchistorical@verizon.net or 845 471-1630. Phone: 845-758-1920. Email: redhookhistory@gmail.com. Url: http://redhookhistory.com.

  • Friday, September 19
    Kingston's Buried Treasures
    Christopher Tappen - Kingston's Unsung Hero. Presented by Ulster County Clerk Nina Postupack. 5:30pm. Free. Phone: 845-340-3055. Email: poneill@nycourts.gov.

  • Friday, September 19 - Sunday, September 21
    Grease
    Castaway Players Theatre Co. & in The CENTER stage this upbeat & beloved American musical. Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm. $26/$24. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Friday, September 19
    Toddlers on the Trail
    Trees of the Shawangunks. 10am-noon. 1.5 miles at a toddler’s pace. $12, members free, children 12 & under free. Phone: 845-255-0919. Url: http://mohonkpreserve.org.

  • Friday, September 19
    Friends of Historic Rochester Annual Meeting
    7pm. Includes slide presentation by Neil Larson on his survey of the hamlet of Alligerville, important history and architecture. The survey is sponsored by the Historic Preservation Commission with potential for application for National Register status for a Historic District of Alligerville.

  • Saturday, September 20
    Vassar Bros. Diamond Gala
    At FDR Library and Museum. Starts at 6pm. For info call VBMC Foundation. Phone: 845-790-9360. Email: vbmcfdn@health-quest.org. Url: http://health-quest.org/VBMCFoundation.

  • Saturday, September 20
    Farmland Cycling Tour
    Pedal through rolling Dutchess & Columbia countryside. Water stations, fresh donuts, cider and apples. Bring bike, helmet, appropriate clothing & water. Bike techs on site. Riders under 18 require an adult. Ride is limited to first 300 cyclists who register. 9am for 45-mile riders; 9:30am for 25-mile riders; 10am for 10-mile riders. Free. Phone: 845-473-4440x273. Email: aconeski@scenichudson.org. Url: http://scenichudson.org.

  • Saturday, September 20
    Reception, The Spirit Within
    Reception for Kevin Conklin oil paintings & Graeme Leaf photographs. 5–7pm. Phone: 845-516-4435. Email: betsyjacaruso@gmail.com. Url: http://betsyjacarusoartist.com .

  • Saturday, September 20
    Country BBQ & Square Dance
    Fundraiser for Cornell Coop. programs. Come as you are or dress Western! Chicken BBQ starts 6pm; dancing 7pm. Adv. tickets $25/$15. Phone: 845-677-8223 x115. Email: cak97@cornell.edu. Url: http://ccedutchess.org.

  • Saturday, September 20
    Science on the River
    Nature talk & activities for general audience. 2–5pm; free. Phone: 845-889-4745x109. Email: jgherrin@gw.dec.state.ny.us. Url: http://nerrs.noaa.gov/HudsonRiver/.

  • Saturday, September 20
    Peterson Piano Demo Day
    Sign up for free 20-min piano lesson. Learn a calypso song! Refreshments! All ages; all day. Phone: 845-758-2225. Email: karenpeterson@frontiernet.net.

  • Saturday, September 20
    Hudson Valley Apple Festival
    Old style family fun with kids' games, face-painting, haybale maze, music and crafts, apple crate derby, chain saw carver, & more! Starts 9am; fireworks at 7:15pm. Organized by G'town Lions Club. Phone: 518-537-6687x301. Email: hudsonvalleyapplefestival@gmail.com. Url: http://hudsonvalleyapplefestival.com .

  • Saturday, September 20
    Sistema Side by Side Orchestra
    Young musicians from Massachusetts in concert honoring José Abreu, founder of El Sistema, the program from Venezuela that brings about social change through music. 3pm. Free: reservations req'd. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Saturday, September 20
    The Ten Thousand Things
    Five John Cage pieces composed from 1953 to 1946. Program presented by John Cage Trust. 8pm. $30. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Saturday, September 20
    Hardscrabble Day
    Annual all-day Red Hook Village festival. Vendors, flea market, food, and fabulous music at 6:30 by rock & roll Hall of Famer Gregg Rolie (presently on tour with Ringo Starr). Email: info@hardscrabbleday.org. Url: http://hardscrabbleday.org.

  • Saturday, September 20 - Sunday, September 21
    Charles Atlas, Filmmaker
    Screenings of work by the pioneer film/videomaker at. Hudson Opera House in partnership with Seond Ward & Luhring Augustine Gallery. Noon–5pm. Phone: 518-822-1438. Email: info@hudsonoperahouse.org. Url: http://hudsonoperahouse.org.

  • Saturday, September 20
    Turning 2012
    A 78-minute musical documentary featuring award-winning tour of the live multi-media performance concert by Antony and the Johnsons. $15/$12. 8pm. Phone: 518-822-1438. Email: info@hudsonoperahouse.org. Url: http://hudsonoperahouse.org.

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credit Green River Gallery, Columbia County, 1976

The Battle of Boston Corners

Winter 2002   

If you take a long view at a map of Columbia County, you will notice in the extreme southeastern corner, just above the Dutchess County "Oblong," an appendage that looks like the proverbial sore thumb. Like the proverbial sore thumb it was not always there. Unlike the sore thumb, it took an Act of Congress to put it there. The little area consists of 1,000 acres of farmland and is known as Boston Corners.

Today there is nothing very remarkable about Boston Corners, it is a serene little community nestled in the Taconic Hills. It consists of farms, a few roads and was once a stop on the New York Harlem Railroad.

Boston Corners may be a peaceful and tranquil setting today but that was not always the case. There was a time in the nineteenth century when it could rival the legendary "Hole in the Wall" made famous by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. That was a time when it was not part of New York State, much less Columbia County. It was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Boston Corners sits above "the Oblong" of the Town of Northeast like a pointed dunce’s cap. (See the map.) Historically it lay in the southwestern part of Massachusetts and was as far removed from its namesake capital as its geographical situation would allow. Besides that, Massachusetts was unable to enforce its jurisdiction on the little community. The highest peaks of the Taconic Hills on the west and the Connecticut line to the south made it inaccessible to that state’s law-enforcement authorities as well as its courts and jails.

This was not all bad for Boston Corners; due to lack of law-enforcement the good citizens ran things as they saw fit. Because of their isolation, they did not vote in state elections, nor did they pay state taxes, they supported their own schools. Having neither jail, judge nor jury, they felt they were getting on all right as things were.

In his 1909 History of Dutchess County Frank Hasbrouck said, "Had they been left to themselves their escutcheon might have remained untarnished." But that was not the case which accounted for a stain on their escutcheon.

An enterprising gentleman from New York City, by the name of Samuel Black, came into their midst. This gentleman saw all kinds of possibilities in Boston Corners. The New York Harlem Railroad was under construction from Amenia and Millerton, and there were stations planned for Boston Corners and Copake. A little above Copake, Mr. Black opened "Black’s Grocery" to accommodate the local people, also an inn and tavern for the benefit of out-of-towners. The inn and tavern did a better business than the grocery as the visitors from the seedier side of the tracks found their way to Mr. Black’s establishment; and Mr. Black prospered. With the coming of the railroad many of his guests came from New York City. In his History of Dutchess County Frank Hasbrouck referred to Black’s clientele as "refugees from the constables of three commonwealths."

Guests came and went; duels were common; gambling was the order of the day and lawlessness inhabited the land. At this time the sport of boxing was illegal. Prize fights were held in such places as barges, warehouses or any place that seemed to be beyond the law. The location of Boston Corners being ideal for the illicit side of life was a perfect place, and well-suited for prize fighting.

On Wednesday, October 12, 1853, an event took place that would change the face of Boston Corners forever. On that date a brash young fighter from Troy, N.Y., by the name of John Morrissey challenged the famed Yankee Sullivan. Sullivan, age 40, weighed 145 pounds, giving away 30 pounds to the younger Morrissey. Morrissey who was 22 years old, stood 6 foot 2 inches and weighed 175 pounds. The purse for the winner was $2,000 and the fight was held in an abandoned brickyard. Today there is a historic marker at the site, on Undermountain Road just north of the Dutchess County line. Unfortunately the date on the marker—1883—is incorrect.

It was estimated that between three and five thousand fight fans converged on Boston Corners the day of the fight. They came from New York City, Albany, Troy and all points in between. Little thought was paid to the fact that the population of Boston Corners was less than 150 people and had only one inn. The fans came; they came by train, by stage, by horse and on foot; all converging on the little hamlet to see what was hoped to be the fight of the century. By fight time many of the fans were well tanked up from liquor they either brought with them or bought on their way south from Black’s Inn. They were not considered the most genteel crowd that ever assembled. An aura of rowdiness hung over the event.

Morrissey was not a skilled boxer but a brawler who was considered a favorite over Sullivan. From the beginning of the fight Sullivan displayed his boxing skill against his young and bigger opponent. By the end of the first round Morrissey’s left eye was blackened and blood was coming from his nose. Each of the following rounds were repeats of the first with Sullivan badly punishing Morrissey. For thirty-six grueling rounds Sullivan beat his heavier opponent, but Morrissey refused to stay down. In the 37th round, as Sullivan tried to throw Morrissey to the floor, both fighters’ handlers charged into the ring and there was a free-for-all. In an attempt to restore order, the referee called the fighters to the center of the ring to resume the fight. Morrissey responded, but in the confusion Sullivan failed to answer the referee’s call. The referee declared Morrissey the winner with the title of "Champion of America."

What happened next has become known as "The Sack of Millerton" (though it all took place several miles north of that benighted village). A melee broke out in the crowd at the referee’s decision. The riot spilled out of the brickyard into neighboring farms. The rioters started looting on their way back to the train. Farms were ransacked, pantries were looted for food, hogs were slaughtered and roasted along the road. The Boston Corners community was stripped of every edible thing that could be found. Some local people managed to flag down a freight train to take them to a safer location.

New York authorities moved in to restore order and arrested the most innocent of the crowd, the two boxers. The boxers were held on $1,500 bail each. Sullivan jumped bail and was last heard of on the West Coast. Morrissey paid a $1,200 fine and became the toast of New York. He made friends with the Tammany Hall politicians who controlled New York City politics.

The "famous fight" changed Boston Corners forever. The good citizens petitioned to New York State and the U.S. Congress to bring them into the jurisdiction of New York. On January 3, 1855 an Act of Congress changed the state line and made Boston Corners officially part of New York.

Meanwhile, John Morrissey became a respected citizen. He married a highly-educated young lady who urged him to change his ways and develop good personal habits. He fought once more in 1858, when he successfully defended his title against John Heenan.

After the birth of his son, Morrissey moved with his family back to Troy, where he entered politics. He was twice elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and twice to the U.S. Senate. He was a gambler and was involved in gambling establishments in New York City and Saratoga including the famous Saratoga race track.

In 1877 Morrissey became ill during his second campaign for the U.S. Senate. He won the election but never took his seat. He died at the Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs on May 1, 1878, at the age of 47. An estimated crowd of 12,000 stood outside the church in Troy to pay their respects to an American Champion.

 
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Featured Community Businesses

1845 Federal style house in the village of Rhinebeck. Stroll to shops, restaurants, and cinema. Five elegantly-furnished guest rooms with private baths, air conditioning, gourmet breakfast, with homemade delicacies. Complimentary refreshments.

6487 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck
845-876-4133

A 900 sq. ft. suite just for you as the only guests. Private & quiet. Conveniently located near outdoor activities and attractions, wineries, historic sites, golf courses, great restaurants, farms, shopping, etc. King-size bed.  AC, TV/DVD, WiFi and Netflix. Small dining fully stocked for a hearty breakfast to be taken whenever you want.  Home-baked scones and organic eggs are served to your liking at 8 AM.

5 Angel Rd, New Paltz
845-750-6252

The Potter Brothers Annual Ski & Snowboard Tent Sale will be back at the Dutchess Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck this fall to kick off the 2014–2015 season: our best deals on everything left over from last season, plus all the great gear we picked up over the summer. Savings up to 50% OFF. Sale date: 9/6–9/7. ALSO: Swap & Sell sale on 9/19–9/21 & 10/24–10/26 in Fishkill; on 9/26–9/28 & 10/17–10/19 in Kingston; and on 11/1–11/2 in Poughkeepsie.

Rt. 28 , Kingston
845-338-5119

Highland's newest restaurant serves Japanese & Chinese Cuisine. Fresh and traditional Sushi, Hibachi, Noodles & More. Enjoy your lunch or dinner in our renovated dining room, or order your food to go. We can also cater your party or event. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover accepted. We are located near the municipal parking lot off Main Street.

25 Main St, Highland
845-691-9988

Enjoy the taste and sounds of Italy in an intimate and warm setting right here in Rhinebeck. Dishes from the Italian homeland with gourmet artistry and local bounty. Call about catering or to book a private party. Find Puccini Ristorante on Facebook. Venite à trovarci presto! Grazie!

22 Garden St., Rhinebeck
845-876-3055

Do you have irreplaceable home movies, pictures or slides taking up a lot of room? Save space: Put those old home movies (8mm, etc), slides, photographs, videos on DVDs that you can watch anytime. Easy to store, easy to find. Need great gifts? We can replicate your DVDs for family and friends All work performed on premises. Local references. Reasonable prices. Fast turn-around.

Rock Cut Rd, Walden
845-566-6897

Quality work for 35 years. Call Raymond Bauer for all your excavating needs; foundations, septics and land clearing. Firewood for sale.

Germantown
518-537-4521 or 518-965-1922

C. GLASNER DESIGN & ASSOC., LLC

A lifetime of buying and selling quality antiques and fine art in the Hudson Valley. Appraisals, Design Consultations. Single items and entire estates purchased. Charles Glasner.

93 Main St Antiques Alley, Cold Spring
845-527-5859

Enjoy lunch on our greenhouse patio, dinner by the balcony overlooking our popular downstairs tavern, or appetizers at the bar. Open daily. Lunch and Dinner starting 11am. Late Night Appetizer Menu Sun-Wed until 11pm, Thurs-Sat until 1am. Brunch Sat & Sun 10am-3pm. Extensive wine list & more than 500 varieties of beer. Voted "Best Beer Selection" Hudson Valley Magazine. On & off premesis catering and outdoor dining. Over 30 years of great food and atmosphere. Billiard Room voted "Best Place to Play Billiards" Hudson Valley Magazine.

4 S. Chestnut St, New Paltz
845-255-8636

Live, quality music for all occasions: Jazz, dinner & cocktail music for weddings & corporate events. "The music was excellent; a wonderful time was had by all and the music contributed so much to the atmosphere of the event." —Dutchess County Arts Council. Sample available on CD or online. See also under "Music Instruction.

Tivoli
845-757-4187

Vicki L. Haak, CFP®, Financial Advisor, Personal financial planning, including planning for risk protection, taxes, retirement, estate preservation investments and asset allocation.

30 E. Market St., Rhinebeck
845-876-1157

Consulting, design, and construction services for your landscape and home. Outdoor living space, additions, renovation. Please see our website and contact us. Fully insured, significant references. BBB member, A+ rated.

845-758-4088

We create custom fine jewelry using recycled precious metals, conflict free diamonds and unique gemstones. Specializing in wedding bands or reworking your old pieces into something new. We also do intricate repairs on jewelry and watches.

11 Church St. Suite 3, New Paltz
845-255-5872

"The Real Estate Matchmaker" Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist. Member of Multiple Listing Service of Ulster County.

81 Vineyard Ave, Highland
845-691-2126

Founded in 1975, Oblong Books & Music is the largest independent bookseller in the mid-Hudson Valley. With a vibrant children's book & toy section, a large bargain books selection, and a knowledgeable staff, Oblong is sure to have something for everyone. Open daily. Author events calendar at oblongbooks.com.

Rhinebeck: 6422 Montgomery Street 845-876-0500 Millerton: 26 Main Street 518-789-3797

AboutTown Ulster: PO Box 474, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-691-2089  EMAIL US
AboutTown Dutchess/Columbia: The Chocolate Factory, 54 Elizabeth Street, Suite 11, Red Hook, NY 12571, 845-758-3616  EMAIL US
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