October 23, 2014 | 3:11pm    area forecast: Today: Chance Rain High 49°F, Low 45°F

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Tuesday, October 7 - Tuesday, November 11
    World History through Architecture
    Tuesdays, 7pm. Phone: 845-255-5030. Url: http://eltinglibrary.org.

  • Thursday, October 23 - Sunday, October 26
    Side By Side by Sondheim
    Thu-Sat 8pm $39, Sun 2pm $34. This dazzling array of some of Sondheim’s best-known songs features numbers from Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, and West Side Story, and others. A sure delight for all musical theatre lovers! Phone: 845-647-5511. Url: http://shadowlandtheatre.org.

  • Friday, October 24
    Hudson River Brick Makers
    Filmmaker Jim Ormond documentary about the Hudson River Valley as the world capital of brick making, followed by Q&A. Refreshments. Phone: 845-876-0246. Email: dhmny@aol.com. Url: http://rhinebeckhistoricalsociety.org.

  • Friday, October 24 - Saturday, October 25
    American Symphony Orchestra
    Under the direction of Leon Botstein. Chopin Pinao Concerto No. 1 w/Maryna Kysla on piano. Schubert Symphony No. 9 in C, "Great." 7pm preconcert talk; concert at 8pm. $25. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Friday, October 24 - Sunday, October 26
    Dance Concert
    Choreography & performance by Bard students. 10/24 & 10/26 at 7:30pm; 10/25 at 2pm & 7:30pm. Free: reservations req'd. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Friday, October 24 - Sunday, October 26
    Peter Pan
    Musical based on J.M. Barrie’s immortal tale w/music by Mark Charlap & Jule Styne, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden & Adolph Green. Directed and choreographed by Kevin Archambault. Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sat and Sun at 3pm.Tkts: $26/$24/Sat mat $20. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Friday, October 24
    Ghost Walk of Historic Hurley’s Main Street & Cemetery
    7pm. $10, $7 students 12-16, not recommended for children under 12. Reservations suggested. Phone: 845-338-1661. Url: http://hurleyheritagesociety.org.

  • Friday, October 24 - Sunday, October 26
    Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase
    11am-6pm. Fine handmade acoustic guitars & stringed instruments exhibited by their makers. Show & sale, vendors, workshops, concerts. $20, $35 two days. Phone: 845-679-4406. Url: http://woodstockinvitational.com.

  • Friday, October 24 - Sunday, October 26
    Haunted Huguenot Street
    4-8pm. The historic street is transformed and guests will hear legends of hauntings, participate in Mrs. Gertrude Deyo Broadhead’s infamous Conundrum Party, and explore the art of haunted interpretation. Pre-registration is encouraged for interpretations. $25; $20 members, seniors & military; $30 at the door without pre-registration. Phone: 845-255-1660. Url: http://huguenotstreet.org.

  • Friday, October 24
    Halloween Party
    For kids 12 & under. Come dressed as your favorite goblin. Games, goodies, stories, & more. 6–8pm. Free. Organized by Rhinecliff Ladies Auxiliary. From 6–8pm. For more info call Cynthia Baer at 876-5738.

  • Friday, October 24 - Sunday, October 26
    Indoor Sale
    A mixture of estate items, gently used furniture and antique furniture (Eastlake and Mission among others), glassware, collectibles, antiques, tools, wicker, jewelry, holiday interior decor items, books, mirrors, paintings and prints, and MUCH more. Vintage Village/6 Linwood Ave/Highland. Contact Vivian for more information: 845-691-2089 or Viv@AboutTown.us.

  • Saturday, October 25
    Project 44
    All male dance group providing the artistic platform for choreographer Gierre Godley. Showcasing the beauty, versatility, and athleticism of male performers. $30/$10. Phone: 845-757-5106x2. Email: pgrkaats@bestweb.net. Url: http://www.kaatsbaan.org.

  • Saturday, October 25
    Gray Green Canals
    Concrete Temple Theatre showcasing their multimedia theatrical event in progress about women and water. Free and open to public at 7pm. Phone: 518-822-1438. Email: info@hudsonoperahouse.org. Url: http://hudsonoperahouse.org.

  • Saturday, October 25
    Halloween in the Hamlet of Highland
    Phone: 845-691-8011. Url: http://townoflloyd.com.

  • Saturday, October 25
    Day of Service at Kingston Point Beach
    9am-noon. Help install a variety of native plants to fight erosion, restore and protect this wonderful park on the banks of the Hudson River. Contact 481-0331/volunteer@ulstercorps.org

  • Saturday, October 25
    27th Annual Miller School Craft Fair
    Over 90 artists, crafters and direct sales vendors, entertainment, face painting, kids crafts. 9am - 5pm.

  • Saturday, October 25
    Vampire Ball
    A frightfully good time to benefit Health Alliance Hospitals. Dinner, dancing, enchanting entertainment, silent as the grave auction, costume contest. Tables will feature limited edition dolls specially created by Tonner Doll Company for this event & offered for sale at the end of the night. $135, call for more info and registration. Lazy Swan/1754 Old Kings Highway/Saugerties/334-2760/foundationupdate.org

  • Saturday, October 25
    Martha Gallagher, the Adirondack Harper
    8pm. $21, $18 members, $5 more at the door, students with ID 1/2 price. Phone: 845-255-1559. Url: http://unisonarts.org.

  • Saturday, October 25 - Sunday, October 26
    Pumpkin Fiesta Weekend
    Open until 9pm. Phone: 845-883-7825. Email: susan@hurdsfamilyfarm.com. Url: http://hurdsfamilyfarm.com.

  • Saturday, October 25 - Sunday, October 26
    Play Bow Dog Agility Competition
    Phone: 845-255-0604.

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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Health Quest Medical Practice (HQMP) is a multi-specialty medical group offering  Primary Care in many locations: Boiceville, Carmel, Fishkill, Highland, Hopewell Junction, Hyde Park, Kingston, LaGrangeville, Millbrook, Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck and Woodstock. Specialists within the group include: Behavioral Health, Breast Surgery, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Geriatrics, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Neurosurgery and Spine Surgery, OBGYN, Pulmonary Medicine, Surgery, Thoracic Oncology and Urgent Care. Meet our providers before your appointment by visiting our website and find the right doctor for you. Call for scheduling and information.

1-888-525-HQMP (4767)

I am a psychotherapist who works with adults, college age students and adolescents. If a teen won't come I can work with parents. I've considerable experience with drug problems, depression, anxiety, divorce, eating disordered behaviors and sexual abuse. Published author of well received books on parenting. Call or write for a consultation.

845-876-8808

Lessons, instruments, rentals, repairs. For all your musical needs!

1 Milton Ave, Highland
845-691-2701

Practice yoga in our beautiful studio located in the heart of Rhinebeck Village. We offer a Very Beginner series four times a year, plus ongoing classes for all levels, Chair Yoga at the Starr Library, Restorative yoga, special workshops, teacher training certification and private instruction. Visit our schedule online or check for regular updates on Facebook.

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Infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their parents/caregivers make music together in this innovative, research-based music and movement program. Developmentally appropriate and best of all, FUN! Free sample classes - call for details.

New Paltz/Stone Ridge/Poughkeepsie

New Paltz
845-255-6415

Unusual and surprising gifts. Useful objects for every room in your home. Well designed, functional, and decorative items. Modern baby gifts. Remarkable jewelry. Visit and visualize our offerings in your life.

67 Main St, New Paltz
845-255-6862

Repair, refine, reconfigure, or replace. Reliable service 24-7, reasonable rates, references. Serving the Mid Hudson region.

New Paltz
845-773-9234

Serving Dutchess and Columbia counties. Residential and commercial snow plowing, sanding, and snow removal. Seasonal clean-ups, gutter cleaning, tree trimming, lawn mowing. Free estimates, fully insured.

518-537-5526

Life change from the inside out: loving support and guidance during transitions; healing for issues around food and body image; self-empowerment, intuitive readings. Trained with the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.

Rhinebeck
845-876-0449

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

Newly renovated banquet facility (110 max) for your special occasion — showers, weddings, rehearsal dinners, baptisms, retirement party, fundraisers, holiday gathering, reunions. BUFFET/FULL SERVICE Culinary Chef/Owner James Jerkowski will make your event memorable. Reasonable pricing.

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845-658-3434

You're invited to enjoy our hospitality, fine food, and free WiFi. From appetizers to entrees (chicken, meat, seafood), and from pasta specialties to wraps, our extensive menu will delight you, and our desserts will speak for themselves: Tiramisu, Cheesecake, Tartufo, Cannoli. Soda Fountain. Espresso & Cappucino

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The Chocolate Factory is the place to come for your framing needs! Renée Burgevin, CPF since 1990, combines a beautiful selection of molding styles and mats with expert design & technical advice, conservation quality materials, and skilled workmanship. Handling repairs as well as new work. Mirrors ready to go or design your own. Offering French matting & calligraphy.

The Chocolate Factory 54 Elizabeth St., Red Hook
845-758-1004

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.

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