October 30, 2014 | 7:46pm    area forecast: Today: Partly Sunny High 58°F, Low 35°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.

  • Wednesday, October 29
    Preschoolers in the Park: Leaf Collections
    10:30am-noon. Led by naturalist Jamie McGinnis. Registration required. Phone: 845-255-0752. Url: http://nysparks.com.

  • Thursday, October 30
    Halloween Party
    For the younger set. Free. 4–5pm. Phone: 845-876-2903. Email: mortonrhinecliff@gmail.com. Url: http://morton.rhineclifff.lib.ny.us.

  • Thursday, October 30 - Sunday, November 2
    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 31 - Sunday, November 2
    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 31
    New Paltz Halloween Parade
    6pm. Start at Main St. & Manheim Blvd, end at the fire house for treats.

  • Friday, October 31
    Night of 100 Pumpkins
    6pm. The Bakery’s annual pumpkin carving contest. Come and see all the pumpkins lit. Enjoy free pumpkin bread, cocoa & cider. See website for entry info. Phone: 845-255-8840. Url: http://ilovethebakery.com.

  • Friday, October 31
    Haunted Huguenot Street Halloween
    4-6pm. Children and families are welcome to trick or treat at the historic houses which will be otherwise closed. Phone: 845-255-1660. Url: http://huguenotstreet.org.

  • Friday, October 31
    Haunted Huguenot Street.
    7-10pm. 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 31
    Cleoma’s Cajun String Band
    7:30pm. Old time traditional Cajun music. $15, $10 members, students with ID 1/2 price. Phone: 845-255-1559. Url: http://unisonarts.org.

  • Friday, October 31
    Rip Van Winkle Club Halloween Hike
    At Olana State Hist. site! Costumes are opt, but the more, the more fun for the whole group. 9am in parking lot behind house.; multiple trails, fantastic views, lunch on the back porch at noon. Phone: 518-248-2579. Url: http://newyorkheritage.com/rvw.

  • Saturday, November 1
    Red Hook Chocolate Festival
    First annual day-long festival featuring chocolate bomb skateboard race, demos and tastings, bake-off competitions, chocolate fountain, & more! Check website for times & locations. Phone: 845-758-0824. Email: info@redhookchamber.org. Url: http://redhookchamber.org.

  • Saturday, November 1
    Sun Ock Lee
    This master of Zen philosophy & mind/body dance technique returns to the Kaatsbaan stage. $30,/$10. Phone: 845-757-5106x2. Email: pgrkaats@bestweb.net. Url: http://www.kaatsbaan.org.

  • Saturday, November 1
    Wilderstein Landscape Day
    Help clean up gardens & trails. Refreshments. 8:30am. Phone: 845-876-4818. Email: wilderstein@wilderstein.org. Url: http://wilderstein.org.

  • Saturday, November 1
    breath, song
    Award-winning solo performer John Bloomfield plays works by Scarlatti, Haydn, Chopin, and Johannes Brahms. Also post-performance reception w/artist. $25. 7pm. Phone: 518-822-1438. Email: info@hudsonoperahouse.org. Url: http://hudsonoperahouse.org.

  • Sunday, November 2
    Conservatory Sunday
    Program to include Beethoven's Symphony No. 8, Reger's Four Tone Poems after Boecklin, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, "Pathétique." 3pm. $20/$15. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Sunday, November 2
    Maya Dance Theatre
    "Dedicated to collaborations, openness and experimentations. . . . inspiration from Asian traditions and aesthetics." $30/$10. Phone: 845-757-5106x2. Email: pgrkaats@bestweb.net. Url: http://www.kaatsbaan.org.

  • Wednesday, November 5 - Sunday, November 9
    Bard Theater & Performance Program
    Original, work-in-progress musical theater production conceived by Amanda Palmer, directed by Steve Bogart, performed by Bard students. 11/5, 11/6, 11/7 & 11/9 at 7pm; 11/8 at 2pm and 7pm. $15/$10/free. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Thursday, November 6 - Sunday, November 9
    NEWvember New Plays Festival
    The 4th NEWvember Festival w/plays from emerging playwrights, w/veteran actors and directors! Tangent Theatre Co. and AboutFACE Ireland. Thu & Fri 8pm; Sat 2pm & 8pm; Sun 2pm & 6pm. $15 per show, or $60 for the whole festival. Phone: 845-230-7020. Email: info@tangent-arts.org. Url: http://tangent-arts.org.

  • Friday, November 7 - Sunday, November 9
    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.

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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

Located in Rhinebeck, Hill offers full service brokerage based on a tradition of listing and selling fine homes, farms and land in No. Dutchess and So. Columbia Counties for over 15 years.

6808 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck
845-876-8888

Join us at our "cornerstone" where people have been having fun for almost 100 years. We serve a variety of lunch and dinner specials including fresh seafood, pasta dishes, and ribs. Children's menus, too. And of course, Stormy's Famous Chili, great soups, salads, & other specialties. Take-out, too.

91 Main St, New Paltz
845-255-6161

Our aim is to give you an authentic, integrated and transformative yoga experience. We welcome you to come just as you are and enjoy ongoing weekly classes. We offer: Yoga for Every Body, Vinyasa, Affordable $5 Community Class, Beyond Basics, Svaroopa, Tai Chi, as well as special workshops and teacher training. Find our schedule online or drop us an email.

403 Warren St., Hudson
518-828-1034

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

An elegant rustic hideaway and working horse farm (with two donkeys!) on 40 acres. Sweeping pastoral views, rooms with fireplaces and jacuzzis, woodland walking trails, private decks, and great hospitality. All private baths and A/C. Farm-to-table breakfasts and dessert table complimentary with your stay. Weekday discounts for seniors.

52 Pells Rd., Rhinebeck
845-876-6838

Since 1973, we've been providing quality service & installation of overhead doors to homeowners, contractors, architects & commercial businesses. Let the "only real door company in the Valley" exceed your expectations.

40 Arlington Ave, Poughkeepsie
845-471-1130

Offering on-site service for home and small business PCs and Macs in northern Dutchess and southern Columbia area. Services include installation, upgrade and repair of hardware and software. Instruction in Windows, Mac OSX, Internet and application software.

845-757-5619

Get hot & cold subs & the best pizza in town at this family-owned community gathering spot in the heart of the village.

7514 N. Broadway, Red Hook
845-758-5808

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

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

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

Taste the difference. We provide high quality food and catering with attention to detail and exquisite presentation. Seasonal fresh, local ingredients used. Call to discuss your upcoming event.

One E. Market St., Red Hook
845-758-9030

We are a shop that is committed to selling the best products as well as maintaining the bikes you ride! Rentals, sales, and service. Mountain, road, hybrid and BMX bicycles and all accessories. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Specialized, Redling BMX & more. Right next to the rail trail!

15 Main St, New Paltz
845-255-3859

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

Before you replace your windows or doors get a free estimate from Hobson. We do it all; vinyl tilt-in insulated windows, bows, bays, casements, patio doors, entry and storm doors/windows, custom wood windows, and porch retro-fits as well as a new full service glass shop. All products are energy tax credit certified.

51 Elizabeth St, Red Hook
845-758-0930

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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