December 20, 2014 | 9:29pm    area forecast: Tomorrow: Mostly Cloudy High 35°F, Low 26°F

Quick Search

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Friday, December 19 - Sunday, December 21
    It's a Wonderful Life
    Heartwarming, Christmastime entertainment about a small town man who forgoes his big dreams to help others. On Fri and Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm: $24/$22. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Saturday, December 20
    Classic Christmas Concert
    Instrumentalists and vocalists celebrate the meaning of Christmas. A goodwill offering will benefit needy people through Samaritan's Purse. Free. 7:30pm. Phone: 845-758-1184. Email: office@stjohnsreformed.org. Url: http://stjohnsreformed.org.

  • Saturday, December 20
    Clermont's Christmas Open House
    Enjoy the "home for the holidays" w/ volunteer docents answering questions. Mulled cider served in gift shop. Free admission; 11am–4pm. Phone: 518-537-4240. Url: http://friendsofclermont.org .

  • Saturday, December 20
    Messiah SING
    Gwen Gould conducts Handel’s oratorio w/ string ensemble, vocal soloists while the audience becomes the chorus. Scores and refreshments provided. $15 donation/free 18 and under. At 4pm. Phone: 518-822-1438. Email: info@hudsonoperahouse.org. Url: http://hudsonoperahouse.org.

  • Saturday, December 20 - Sunday, December 21
    Bang Group's Nut/Cracked
    Edgy version of The Nutcracker w/music including many incarnations of Tchaikovsky’s score, and versions by Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller. Choreography: David Parker.Tkts: $30–$40 (suitable for ages 12 and up). Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 2pm. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Saturday, December 20
    Kwanza Umoja Celebration
    Hudson Opera House & Operation Unite present a festive Kwanza Celebration featuring candle lighting ceremony, crafts, vendors, performances. After a light "Karamu" community supper comes Zawadi (gifts for children). Free and open to public. 3–5pm. Phone: 518-822-1438. Email: info@hudsonoperahouse.org. Url: http://hudsonoperahouse.org.

  • Saturday, December 27 - Sunday, December 28
    Clermont Open After Christmas
    The mansion will remain open for holiday visitation 12/27 & 12/28 from 11am–3pm. Tour tkts $5/$4 for seniors and students, children under 12 are free. Phone: 518-537-4240. Url: http://friendsofclermont.org .

  • Saturday, December 27 - Sunday, December 28
    David Temple: Sambas in Season of Joy
    Guitarist/composer David Temple presents original work along with pieces from Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Spain, and France. Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm; $20. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Saturday, December 27 - Tuesday, December 30
    Make a Mouse House
    12/27 & 12/30 only: Holiday Craft Workshop. Kids ages 6–10 inspect mouse houses on display, then build their own to take home. Adults must accompany. Call to reserve. From 2–3:30pm. Phone: 845-889-8851 X300. Email: Donald.Fraser@parks.ny.gov . Url: http://staatsburgh.org.

  • Wednesday, December 31
    Morton on New Year's Eve
    An evening of stories, short plays (read by Rhinebeck Readers Theatre) music & caroling. Donation $10, at 8pm, Phone: 845-876-2903. Email: mortonrhinecliff@gmail.com. Url: http://morton.rhineclifff.lib.ny.us.

  • Friday, January 2 - Sunday, January 4
    The Woman
    Staged reading of Clare Booth Luce's acerbic commentary on the pampered lives and power struggles of various wealthy Manhattan socialites. Directed by Lisa Lynds. Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm. Pay what you will. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Friday, January 9 - Sunday, January 11
    Sunday In the Park With George
    Sondheim musical follows life of artist Georges Seurat working on his latest impressionist masterpiece. Directed by Andy Weintraub with musical direction by Paul & JoAnne Shubert. Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm; $27/$25. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Saturday, January 10
    New Year/New Works: Opening
    Opening party for a joint show of artists from two galleries: the Tivoli Gallery and Columbia County Council on the Arts (CCCA). All work, in various mediums, will be new to the gallery. 6–8pm. Phone: 845-757-2667. Email: alanreich@juno.com. Url: http://www.tivoliartistsgallery.com. .

  • Friday, January 16 - Sunday, January 18
    Sunday In the Park With George
    Sondheim musical follows life of artist Georges Seurat working on his latest impressionist masterpiece. Directed by Andy Weintraub with musical direction by Paul & JoAnne Shubert. Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm; $27/$25. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Saturday, January 17
    Opening for CCCA Juried Show
    Juried art show presented by Columbia Co. Arts Council. Reception 5–7pm. (Snow date 1/24.) Phone: 518-671-6213. Email: info@artscolumbia.org. Url: http://www.artscolumbia.org.

  • Saturday, January 17
    FIRST LEGO League
    Lego FLL Robot Tournament. Check for time. Snow date 1/18. Phone: 845-758-2241. Url: http://redhookcentralschools.org.

  • Saturday, January 17 - Sunday, January 18
    Hudson Valley Playwrights
    Staged readings: 1/17 at 7:30pm and 1/18 at 3pm. Suggested donation $10. Phone: 845-876-2903. Email: mortonrhinecliff@gmail.com. Url: http://morton.rhineclifff.lib.ny.us.

  • Sunday, January 18
    "Ladies' Night" Concert
    RB Chamber Music Society performance, with Eugenia Zukerman, flute; Babette Hierholzer, piano; Kimberly Kahan, soprano. Works by Clara Schumann, Fanny Hensel (Mendelssohn's sister), and Amy Beach. Introductory remarks by composers Joan Tower, Victoria Bond, and Karen LeFrak. 3pm. $25/$5. Phone: 845-876-2870. Email: info@rhinebeckmusic.org. Url: http://rhinebeckmusic.org.

  • Sunday, January 18
    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, January 22
    Probiotics & Your Gut
    Probiotics: what they are, what they do, and how to choose one. Presented by registered dietician Liz Malgieri. 6:30pm. Phone: 845-876-4030. Email: starrdirector@starrlibrary.org. Url: http://starrlibrary.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.

 
Banner

Featured Community Businesses

Internationally published, award-winning architectural & design practice with offices in NYC & local. Full 25+ year portfolio from renovations, single family residential to large-scale commercial, restaurants and multi-family. Design-Build our specialty. Look forward to the first 3-D concrete printed project in USA by our firm[s]. Coming to Gardiner this Fall. All solutions derived from site specificity & your requirements. See our web site for details. LEED AP Certified.

212-965-0914 or 917-294-0109

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

New Paltz
845-773-9234

When it comes to customer service, the sky is the limit.

40 Marabac Rd, Gardiner
845-255-8359

Dr. Zelek specializes in evaluation and treatment of ADD/ADHD, traumatic brain injury, chronic Lyme encephalitis, stroke, depression, addiction, headaches, chronic fatigue and other brain “hardware” and “software” problems. Trained at NYU Medical Ctr., Dr. Zelek offers 25+ years of experience in treating adults and adolescents. He performs brain mapping (QEEG), neuropsychological testing and offers Neurofeedback, cognitive remediation, psychotherapy and other treatment modalities.

22 Garden St., Rhinebeck
845-876-8845

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

Rosane Balistreri is now offering Interior Design Service in this area. An established designer with over twenty years experience in NYC, she's available for all types of residential and commercial interior design projects.

Port Ewen
845-340-9289

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.

845-758-4088

Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Treats & Dinner. Tapas Menu and Wine List. Passionate member of Slow Food, committed to serving the finest locally sourced and artisanal ingredients.

10 Plattekill Ave, New Paltz
845-255-3434

A 7,000 sq ft antique mall located between Hyde Park & Rhinebeck. Our changing inventory includes furniture, jewelry, silver, porcelain, oriental rugs, & lighting. We also offer appraisal services & comprehensive estate liquidations including auctions. We are the destination for decorators, designers & collectors to find unique and beautiful treasures. Please stop in when visiting the area. Be sure to sign our guest book to be added to our newsletter for special announcements. Mention you saw us in About Town & receive special pricing on select items.

5229 Albany Post Rd (Route 9), Staatsburg
845-876-8168

NDH is a Health Quest Affiliate, offering emergency, medical and surgical services, an award-winning birth center, nationally ranked Bone and Joint Center, Center for Healthy Aging, physical rehabilitation services, medical imaging, a Sleep Disorders Center, and specialty women's services through Women's View, as well as the NDH Breast Care Center and Dyson Center for Women’s Imaging. Log on to our website or “like” us on Facebook to stay up to date on all our latest advances!

6511 Springbrook Avenue, Rhinebeck
1-877-729-2444

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

Practice areas include: Matrimonial and Family Law. Wills, Health Care Proxies and Living Wills. Estate Administration and Probate. Residential Real Estate Closings. General Civil Practice. Weekend and evening appointments for your convenience.

437 New Paltz Rd, Highland
845-795-2488

Open Daily serving Lunch, Dinner, and weekend Brunch. Late-night live music and large billiard room with pool, ping pong, foosball and darts. Over 40 years of hearty food and tasty drinks served in a warm neighborly atmosphere. We are the Hudson Valley’s original craft beer bar, now also brewing our own. Monday-Friday 11am- 3am. Saturday and Sunday 10am-3am.

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

Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25. 10am-4pm. Sale of antiques, collectibles, and many tag sale items. Some vendors are individuals downsizing, others are charitable institutions such as the Klyne Esopus Museum, Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society, and the New Paltz Community Foundation. Mission, Victorian and contemporary furniture, vintage andirons, china, decorative and seasonal items, several large Chinese rugs, one large kilim carpet, glassware, depression glass, jewelry, lighting, kitchen ware, desks, cabinets, office chairs, and more. This is in the old Vintage Village Complex building on Linwood Avenue. 

Enter from Linwood Avenue (north off Tillson Avenue), Highland, NY. Plenty of parking. 691-2089


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

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
  Privacy Policy
Terms & Conditions