February 1, 2015 | 9:39am    area forecast: Today: Snow High 27°F, Low 16°F

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Friday, January 30 - Sunday, February 1
    The Hoot
    A 3 day benefit for The Ashokan Center featuring local food, beer, wine, blacksmithing, dancing, hiking & more. A family friendly event. Come for a day or the whole weekend. Phone: 845-657-8333. Url: http://ashokancenter.org.

  • Friday, January 30 - Monday, February 2
    17th Annual Catskill Ice Festival
    Alpine Endeavors offers multiple clinics that cover everything you need for ice climbing - from basic skills to dry tooling to glacier travel techniques. Free slide shows Fri & Sat 8pm and demo gear at Rock & Snow in New Paltz. Show your registration confirmation at Rock & Snow and get 15% off ice gear & apparel during the ice fest. $150 per person per event.Complete clinic & event schedule and registration on website. Email: info@alpineendeavors.com. Url: http://alpineendeavors.com.

  • Saturday, January 31
    Film Screening: Hudson Valley Regional Artists
    7-9pm. Stephen Blauweiss presents 30 of his short films about HV artists. Phone: 845-255-1255. Url: http://gardinerlibrary.org.

  • Sunday, February 1
    ADK Walk
    Franny Reese Park & Walkway Over the Hudson. There is a rutted uphill trail, but the bulk of the walk is flat or paved. Meet at 11am at the Highland entrance to the Walkway--near the port a potties to walk down to the park. Optional stop for a bite to eat, suggestions accepted. Contact leader Sue Mackson 471-9892/suemackson@gmail.com

  • Friday, February 6 - Saturday, February 7
    American Symphony Orchestra
    Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 4; Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Violin Concerto in D Major; and Carl Reinecke, Flute Concerto. Music direction by Leon Botstein. 7pm preconcert talk; concert at 8pm. $25–$40. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Saturday, February 7
    Intro to Organic Beekeeping
    Planning a New Hive for Spring. 10am-6pm. Learn about the basic requirements and responsibilities for organic beekeeping. $110, $200 for two days, see Feb 8. Phone: 845-255-6113. Url: http://honeybeelives.org.

  • Saturday, February 7
    Opening Reception at The Dorsky
    5-7pm. Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television, Geometries of Difference: New Approaches to Ornament and Abstraction, Grace Hartigan: Myths and Malls, and The Maverick Festival at 100. Phone: 845-257-3844. Url: http://newpaltz.edu/museum.

  • Saturday, February 7
    The Gardiner Community Concert Series and Open Mic
    6-8pm. Phone: 845-255-1255. Url: http://gardinerlibrary.org.

  • Saturday, February 7
    Opening, Erotic Art Show
    Opening reception & fundraising party. (Over 18 only, please.) Lively cabaret entertainment, creative/festive attire and erotic edibles. $10 at door; 6–9pm w/7pm performance. Phone: 845-757-2667. Url: http://www.tivoliartistsgallery.com. .

  • Saturday, February 7
    Rodgers & Hammerstein Classics
    A romantic evening of timeless melodies from Oklahoma, South Pacific, Carousel, The King and I and The Sound of Music. Orchestra is joined by four guest vocalists. Part of the Arts Mid-Hudson 50th Anniversary celebration. Phone: 845-635-0877. Email: info@ndsorchestra.org. Url: http://ndsorchestra.org.

  • Saturday, February 7
    FDR Library Documentary Film Series
    The Pare Lorentz Center presents the Winter 2015 Documentary Film Series beginning at 3pm. Screenings will include the films of Pare Lorentz: THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS (1936) and THE RIVER (1938); MISA'S FUGUE (2012) with introductory remarks by Director Sean Gaston; and the academy award-nominated film, CITIZENFOUR (2014). Free and open to the public. Email: clifford.laube@nara.gov. Url: http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu.

  • Saturday, February 7
    Deep Air Art Series
    "Human Ecologies/Changing Landscapes," with poet Peter Lamborn Wilson and visual artist Tanya Marcuse. The first of several events designed to use the Wagon House space and grounds of Olana to highlight artistic practices and conversations about ecology, local geography and landscape. 3–5pm. $5 per person; Ages 10 and up. Snow date Sunday February 8. Phone: 518-828-1872 x109. Email: shasbrook@olana.org. Url: http://olana.org.

  • Sunday, February 8
    Understanding and Caring for Your Bees
    10am-6pm. Topics include hive congruency and design, health & disease management the natural way, seasonal concerns and methods to keep your bees strong. $110, $200 for two days, see Feb 7. Phone: 845-255-6113. Url: http://honeybeelives.org.

  • Sunday, February 8
    Kairos: A Consort of Singers
    4pm. The first in its Bach Cantata Series with orchestra. Performed within the context of an evensong service. $10 suggested donation. Phone: 845-256-9114. Url: http://kairosconsort.org.

  • Sunday, February 8
    WWI & the End of the Gilded Age
    Special tour explores how the Millses’ extravagant way of life withered away in the cataclysm of the Great War. Pls. reserve. $10/$8. 1pm. Phone: 845-889-8851 X300. Email: Donald.Fraser@parks.ny.gov . Url: http://staatsburgh.org.

  • Thursday, February 12
    Here Come the Videofreex
    7:30pm. Film in progress preview with Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television exhibition. Phone: 845-257-3844. Url: http://newpaltz.edu/museum.

  • Thursday, February 12
    RHHS Prism Concert
    Check web for location. 7:30pm. Phone: 845-758-2241 opt. #1. Url: http://redhookcentralschools.org.

  • Thursday, February 12
    "Tales of the Majestic Hudson"
    Captain Stanley Wilcox presents rare and little known stories; free. Snow Date: 2/19. Phone: 518-822-2027. Email: kovler@sunycgcc.edu. Url: http://sunycgcc.edu.

  • Friday, February 13 - Monday, February 16
    Family Weekend at Frost Valley YMCA
    An idyllic winter weekend for snow loving families. Indoor programs also offered including cozying up to the fire with a book and hot cocoa. Phone: 845-985-2291. Url: http://frostvalley.org.

  • Friday, February 13
    World of Animals
    Red Hook Library presents program w/Bill Robinson, biologist who founded NYS Falconry Assn. 6:30pm. Free. Phone: 845-758-3241. Email: redhookpr@gmail.com. Url: http://redhooklibrary.org.

Browse The All AboutTown Articles:

General Interest  |  Local History  |  Building & Home  |  Food & Wine  |  Health & Wellness

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

Quatrefoil...Stewardship for your property. We are a residential building and design firm specializing in the restoration and renovation of historic homes. Reach us at the number below.

845-773-9234

Family owned and operated in the heart of New Paltz. Imported meats & cheeses, catering, prepared foods, gourmet coffees, hot breakfast, specialty sandwiches, house-made bread & Gluten Free breads. Indoor & outdoor seating or DELIVERY. Open Mon-Sat 8-7, Sun 8-3.


AMGA Accredited Guide Service offering professional instruction and guided trips for rock climbing, ice climbing, winter mountaineering, snow shoeing, and hiking to all ability levels throughout the Gunks (Shawangunk) and Catskill Mountains. We provide technical equipment needed.

845-658-3094 or 800-GUNKS-NY

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties, formerly Prudential Serls Prime Properties, is the area's leading real estate company for 22 consecutive years: 5 offices, 2 meeting centers, 225+ sales professionals servicing Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Westchester, Ulster & Columbia counties.

6384 Mill St., Rhinebeck
845-876-8600

Math tutoring for college level coursework and adults at any stage. From algebra to calculus to dynamical systems, certification courses to licensing exams, GED to GRE, Leigh Noble, PhD is ready to work with you.

New Paltz
845-256-8340

1750 sq. ft. in charming historical building near the "four corners." Hardwood floors, high ceilings, built-in shelving, two double exterior doors and large display windows facing street. Parking space behind store with ramped access into building. $1900 per month. Details upon inquiry.

845-532-1601

Gates and Railings, Fences and Fire Escapes, Commissioned Sculpture, On-site repairs of Steel, Commercial Kitchen Stainless, and Aluminum. 30 Years Experience Vince Murray Welding & Fabrication LLC

845-724-3154

A place to meet, play and learn music! Lessons and Classes; Kids, teens and adults; Voice, guitar, saxophone, improv, music theater, vocal groups. Local and regional performing acts.

The Chocolate Factory 54 Elizabeth Street, Red Hook
845-444-0607

An architectural firm founded in 1971 with offices in Dutchess County and New York City, providing contemporary, award-winning site-specific residential designs: new houses, additions, renovations and interiors. See our website and/or call for brochure.

116 West 72 St. 16th floor, New York

The most progressive florist in the area carrying local and imported flowers from globally responsible farms. Specializing in making your everyday floral needs an enjoyable, creative experience. Worth the visit.

2356 Rte 44-55 in Gardiner and 10 Church St. in New Paltz
845-255-3866

Little Pickles Toys & Sweets Shop and Playhouse is a specialty toy and candy store to delight children of all ages. Discover beautifully crafted toys, a stunning variety of candies, and playhouse programs set in a gorgeous visual landscape.

7505 North Broadway, Red Hook
845-835-8086

Highest quality wallpaper hanging. 30 years experience in the New York metropolitan area, now installing wall coverings in the Hudson Valley also. Skilled in all types of wallpaper. Excellent references. Insured.

845-679-8305 or 917-574-7002

Rent from us and you'll be out over the Hudson River without using any roads or sidewalks. Walkway Over the Hudson is 1.28 miles long and it connects you to miles of paved and unpaved rail trails in Ulster and Dutchess counties. Enjoy the rail trails or our lovely rural roads without the hassle of lugging your bicycle. Those who are physically challenged to walk long distances can rent an electric scooter to partake of the fun on Walkway and the rail trails.

We are conveniently located with direct access to the paved Hudson Valley Rail Trail and the approach to Walkway Over The Hudson.

Bicycles are just $13.89 for the first hour. Scooters are $18.52 for the first hour. Lower rates for longer rentals. Free Parking for bike or scooter renters.

7 Linwood Ave HV Rail Trail at Vintage Village, Highland
845-691-4633

A 19th Century Victorian in a peaceful village setting with large lawn and mature trees. Located near the Mid-Hudson Bridge, Hudson Valley attractions and colleges (Vassar, Marist, New Paltz). Four guest rooms each with private bath, TV/VCR, AC and queen size beds. Rooms tastefully decorated and restored: Room with fireplace available. Breakfast served in dining room. On-line reservations.

34 North Road, Highland
845-834-3183

Open to the public, it’s “not just for chefs!” Consider this warm, friendly, (and lovely) home  for your retirement. Just 15 residents, ages 62 and up, live in this beautiful complex on 400 acres of gorgeous, well-tended land. A gracious staff is available 24/7. All meals are prepared on premises and served in a wood-paneled dining room (after all, this was the original home of Oscar of the Waldorf). Decorate your room to your taste, travel in your own car, or use our transportation. Large comfortable game and entertainment room, in-house hair dresser and barber.

71 Old Tschirky Rd, New Paltz
845-255-7010

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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