July 29, 2014 | 8:54pm    area forecast: Today: Patchy Fog High 77°F, Low 52°F

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Friday, July 25 - Sunday, August 3
    Christmas in July Week
    Surprise gift for each child. Jump on Big Apple Bounce pillow. Be a sleuth and play the Farm Scene Investigation (Clue) game and earn an Investigator Badge. Ride the cow train, visit our animals, race pedal carts along NEW track, and more. $10, under three free. Farm birthday parties are great! Phone: 845-883-7825. Email: susan@hurdsfamilyfarm.com. Url: http://hurdsfamilyfarm.com.

  • Tuesday, July 29 - Sunday, August 3
    Ulster County Fair
    Old fashioned fun celebrating country life. Pay one price 10am-closing $15 includes all rides, shows & entertainment. Tuesday $40 per carload (opens at 4pm). Seniors free Thursday 10am-4pm. Free parking. Phone: 845-255-1380. Url: http://ulstercountyfair.com.

  • Tuesday, July 29
    Stock Car Talk with Tommy Johnson
    6-7pm. Accord Speedway stock car driver Tom Johnson will discuss and show off his car and talk about racing. Appropriate for all ages. Pre-registration required by July 25. Phone: 845-255-1255. Url: http://gardinerlibrary.org.

  • Tuesday, July 29
    Early Morning Birders
    7am. Designed for birding enthusiasts or those just looking to learn the basics, this series will offer various outings led by experienced birding volunteers and park naturalists. Participants will meet at the Minnewaska main entrance and should come prepared with binoculars. Outing destinations will be determined the day of the program. Pre-registration required. Phone: 845-255-0752. Url: http://nysparks.com.

  • Wednesday, July 30 - Sunday, August 3
    Euryanthe
    Carl Maria Von Weber's opera w/American Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leon Botstein. Kevin Newbury (Die Liebe der Danae, SummerScape 2011) directs this rare staging of this Romantic-era opera that's been unjustly neglected. Sung in German with English subtitles. Tkts $25–$95; Fri at 7pm, Wed & Sun at 2pm. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Wednesday, July 30
    Preschoolers in the Park
    Blueberry Picking. 10:30am-noon. Led by naturalist Jamie McGinnis. Registration required. Phone: 845-255-0752. Url: http://nysparks.com.

  • Wednesday, July 30 - Sunday, August 3
    Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice
    From opera to gospel, world music to Broadway, the festival celebrates the human voice in all its multi faceted glory. See webite for full schedule of world class performances and tickets. Url: http://phoeniciavoicefest.org.

  • Wednesday, July 30
    Preschoolers in the Park
    10:30am-noon. Bring your toddler and join Jamie McGinnis for a stroll through the old meadows of the former hotel golf course and along Lake Minnewaska and Upper Awosting Carriage Roads. The meadows are filled with low bush and high bush blueberry and this is the time of year when they're usually ripe for the picking. Bring a sandwich sized plastic bag to fill and clean hands to eat them as you walk. This modest hike does include some hills and also trails that are suitable for only sturdy strollers. Please make sure to bring enough water, sun protection and bug protection too. Meet at the informational kiosk in the upper parking lot near Lake Minnewaska. Phone: 845-255-0752. Url: http://nysparks.com.

  • Thursday, July 31 - Sunday, August 3
    Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith
    Shadowland continues its string of successful farces with this regional premiere. Two hotel rooms, eight doors and a crazy cast of characters propel this crime-based comedy to felonious levels of laughter. Fri-Sat 8pm: $39, Sun 2pm: $34. Phone: 845-647-5511. Url: http://shadowlandtheatre.org.

  • Friday, August 1 - Sunday, August 3
    Les Miserables
    The epic story of shattered dreams, passion and redemption, set against the backdrop of a nation in revolution. An Up In One Production produced by Diana di Grandi, directed & choreographed by Kevin Archambault w/music direction by Matthew Woolever. Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm. $27/$25. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Friday, August 1 - Sunday, August 3
    Wassaic Project Summer Festival
    Multidisciplinary, cutting edge yet family friendly celebration of art, music & community featuring over 100 artists, 25 bands, poetry readings, dance performances, film screenings, & more. Check web for times. Phone: 347-815-0783. Email: hello@wassaicproject.org. Url: http://wassaicproject.org.

  • Friday, August 1 - Sunday, August 3
    Ray Bradbury's Short Stories
    Enacted by the creative young actors of Cocoon's summer workshop. $15; at 7pm on Fri, Sat and Sun; Matinees at 1pm on Sat & Sun. Reserve seats—space limited. Phone: 845-876-6470. Email: msanmillan@aol.com. Url: http://cocoontheatre.org.

  • Friday, August 1
    Piano Summer Symphony Gala
    With the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. 8pm. Phone: 845-339-6088. Url: http://upac.org.

  • Friday, August 1 - Sunday, August 3
    Woodstock Shakespeare Festival 19th Season
    Twelfth Night, one of the bard’s most hilarious comedies is performed by Bird-On-A-Cliff Theatre Company on Woodstock’s outdoor Elizabethan stage. 5pm. Free, $5 suggested donation. Blankets, chairs, picnics welcome. Phone: 845-247-4007. Url: http://birdonacliff.org.

  • Saturday, August 2
    One World, Many Rhythms
    Bagpiper. 4pm. Url: http://oklibrary.org.

  • Saturday, August 2
    Gaia Roots World Music Ensemble
    In partnership with Operation Unite; folkloric Afro-Caribbean and West African sounds. Free & open to the public at 7pm. Phone: 518-822-1438. Email: info@hudsonoperahouse.org. Url: http://hudsonoperahouse.org.

  • Saturday, August 2
    Opening for Water
    Exhibit featuring all mediums. 5pm–7pm. Phone: 845-758-6575. Email: redhookcan@gmail.com. Url: http://rhcan.com.

  • Saturday, August 2
    Extreme Ballet Showcase
    Students from Session II of Kaatsbaan's renowned summer ballet intensive present their work, public invited. Free of charge. Phone: 845-757-5106x2. Email: pgrkaats@bestweb.net. Url: http://www.kaatsbaan.org.

  • Saturday, August 2
    Dancing in the Square
    Dance under the stars to the hot jazz and early swing music of the 1920s and 30s with New Orleans' Bad Penny Pleasuremakers. Dine al fresco. For all ages. 7–10pm. Url: http://Villageofkinderhook.org.

  • Saturday, August 2
    Young People's Concert
    11am. Marc Black, Woodstock singer-songwriter. Under 16 free, adults $5. Phone: 845-679-8217. Url: http://maverickconcerts.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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Home repair and improvements. Field and brush mowing. Year-round property maintenance. Excellent local references. Insured.

845-687-4589 or 845-721-4741

Creating Spaces and Places of Lasting Beauty. Rick Alfandre, Architect, AIA. Architecture and Planning. Guiding the design of environmentally senstive, energy and resource efficient buildings.

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Simplify your process! Maximize quality and efficiency. We offer fully integrated services, design, consulting, and construction for your landscape and home. Completely insured, significant references. BBB member, A+ rated.

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Do it yourself or use our in store drop off or pick up and delivery service for laundry and dry cleaning. Across the street from Trailways Bus Terminal.

140 Main St Plaza, New Paltz
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Peaceful, non-traditional country getaway-perfect for quiet retreats. Mountain Studio Apt-queen loft, or full sofa-bed, ground level; efficiency & private deck. Garden Room-double, AC summer & patio. Each with private bath. Non-smoking. On 2+ acres with paths, benches, labyrinth, pastureland and mountain views. Sauna, massage, energy balancing, other services.

12 Ramah Lane, New Paltz
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Full-service Hudson Valley commercial, digital studio specializing in every aspect of business and web photography, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, holy communions, special events, family & executive portraits, and headshots of models and all people in the arts.

845-255-5255

100% scratch, on-site, hand-made bakery using fresh butter and shell eggs, local milk; plus all sorts of vegan, gluten-free, and alternative baked goods including veggie soups and sandwiches. 100% Custom Wedding Cakes. A full service bakery with a mother's room, Free WiFi.

407 Main St, Rosendale
845-658-3355

Selected for the 2013 Condé Nast Traveler Gold List that presents “the world’s best places to stay” and just named the Number One Resort Spa in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler. A visit to our Victorian castle resort feels like a trip to Europe – but we’re only minutes away! Enjoy swimming in our indoor heated pool, spa services, and outdoor recreational activities year-round. Summer activities include: 85 miles of hiking trails, nature walks, tennis, mid-week golf, boating, and swimming in our lake, as well as in our indoor heated pool; fitness, yoga, and meditation classes, and much more. Rates conveniently include meals by award-winning chefs and most activities. Call for reservations/information.

1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz
888-974-0491

For over 26 years, systems technical & project management professionals providing support for IBM Big Iron, experts in large systems infrastructure, and mainframe operating systems that run Western Civilization. Supporting legacy application modernization & transformation; Green Data Center Initiatives; Healthcare IT conversions from ICD9 to ICD10 & server virtualization on System z. Been there, done that - so you can avoid repeating yesterday's mistakes. Contact us - we can help.

New Paltz
845-256-1010

Dry stone walls, stone patios, arches, fireplaces, etc. We specialize in creating high quality masonry work; matching historic or building new. We have been working with native stone 32 years, please visit our website. Anything is possible with stone! Fully Insured, significant references. BBB member, A+ rated.

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fax: 845-757-5673

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