November 24, 2014 | 8:32am    area forecast: Today: Rain Likely High 67°F, Low 45°F

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Thursday, November 20 - Sunday, November 23
    The House Is Open
    Pop-up exhibition of installation and performance at multiple locatioins within the Fisher Center. Featuring: Jack Ferver/Marc Swanson in Chambre; Ralph Lemon in Scaffold Room; Jennifer Monson/iLAND with Live Dancing Archive; John Kelly w/The Escape Artist Redux; Tad Beck's Double Document; and Nature Theater of Oklahoma's Empire. Thu from 5–10pm, Fri from 2–10pm, Sat & Sun Noon–10pm. Presented in collaboration with CCS Bard. Admission $30/$10. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Thursday, November 20 - Sunday, November 23
    Rent
    By Jonathan Larson; directed by Jack Wade. Thu-Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm. The story of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York City's Lower East Side under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. This Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical is based on Puccini's opera La Boheme. Phone: 845-257-3936. Url: http://newpaltz.edu.

  • Friday, November 21 - Sunday, November 23
    The Sunshine Boys
    One of Neil Simon's funniest comedies, about two aging, bickering performers, A Johnny Dell production, directed by Tracy Carney. Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm.Tkts: $24/$22. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Friday, November 21 - Sunday, November 23
    I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
    The smash musical comedy by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Rogers. Fri & Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2pm. Phone: 845-331-2476. Url: http://coachhouseplayers.org.

  • Friday, November 21 - Sunday, November 23
    Veteran Arts Showcase
    Now in its second year, Showcase features visual artists, craftsmen, writers, poets, musicians and performers who are veterans, family members of veterans, or military connected. Contact for info on weekend workshops which take place sat and sun from 10am to 5pm. Free and open to the public. The Opening Reception and Ceremony is on Friday from 5:30-8:30pm, refreshments will be served. Phone: 845-876-0655. Email: windijoy@frontier.com. Url: http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu.

  • Saturday, November 22 - Sunday, November 23
    Wreath Fineries at the Wineries
    Travel the Shawangunk wine trail and soak in the festive holiday atmosphere at each winery. Receive a grapevine wreath, limited edition ornament and souvenir wine glass. shawangunkwinetrail.com

  • Sunday, November 23
    Sinterklaas Artisan Faire
    Annual Artisan Faire to benefit Sinterklaas. Combination art exhibit-crafts market-café, door prizes, etc. 10am–4pm. Email: hana527@gmail.com. Url: http://sinterklaasrhinebeck.com.

  • Sunday, November 23
    Pinocchio
    Free family concert by Yates Musical Theater. 3pm. Phone: 845-876-2870. Email: info@rhinebeckmusic.org. Url: http://rhinebeckmusic.org.

  • Sunday, November 23
    17th International Pickle Festival
    Contests, prizes, and plenty of pickles. Vendors, cultural music, and crafts. Url: http://picklefest.com.

  • Sunday, November 23
    Food for the Birds
    Bring your family to the Minnewaska Nature Center to make food for the winter birds. We’ll use pine cones to make a delicious snack that you can hang in trees near your house. Then, you can watch as your neighborhood birds enjoy the treats! Stay after the craft for a relatively easy hike along Beacon Hill Carriage Road, where children can play a bird scavenger hunt game and look for raptors soaring about the cliffs at the end of the carriage road. This program is recommended for children of all ages, accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 18 years old. Younger children may require assistance from their parents. Pre-registration required. 1:30-3:30pm. Phone: 845-255-0752. Url: http://nysparks.com.

  • Monday, November 24 - Tuesday, November 25
    Chamber Jazz Ensembles
    Jazz works performed by students in the Jazz Studies area. $8; $6 seniors, faculty & staff; $3 students. 8pm. Url: http://newpaltz.edu/music.

  • Tuesday, November 25
    Anthony Musso Book Signing
    Musso will show a DVD and speak about Staatsburg: A Village Lost in Time. Autographed copies of his book will be available for purchase.Refreshments and business meeting to follow. Phone: 845-229-2559. Url: http://townofhydeparkny-historicalsociety.org.

  • Thursday, November 27
    11th Annual Turkey Trot
    Thanksgiving morning 5K walk & fun run to benefit Family of New Paltz. 8am registration, 9am Mashed Potato Kids 1/4 Mile run, 9:30 Turkey Trot. Race begins and ends at Water Street Market. Url: http://newpaltzturkeytrot.com.

  • Thursday, November 27
    Town of Rochester Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon
    11:30am-2pm. The Community Center invites seniors, families, and anyone who may be spending the day alone to join the community family for a delicious Thanksgiving meal. Free, reserve your seat by Nov. 21. Donations & volunteers needed too! Phone: 845-626-2115. Url: http://townofrochester.net.

  • Thursday, November 27
    Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner
    The churches of Highland are providing a free Thanksgiving dinner for the community. Serving begins at 1pm, all are welcome.

  • Thursday, November 27
    2nd Annual Kingston Turkey Trot
    5K Run/2 Mile Walk. Race starts at 9am. Children under 5 are free. Sponsored by the Junior League of Kingston to benefit Kingston Kinderland II. Phone: 845-331-1682. Url: http://forsythnaturecenter.org.

  • Friday, November 28
    Sinterklaas Kingston
    Sinterklaas arrival day in the Kingston Rondout. 10:30am-7pm. A day of open houses, musical performances, workshops creating beautiful crowns and branches, a march down Broadway, a parade of stars, and puppets galore. Kingston sends off Sinterklaas and his white horse on a tugboat across the river. After his send off, there will a Sinterklaas Soiree, Tree Lighting Ceremony and plenty of specials at all of the local restaurants. sinterklaashudsonvalley.com

  • Friday, November 28 - Sunday, November 30
    Farm & Flea
    Showcase for the agricultural bounty & craft making richness of our region. Shop, hear music, taste local treats, attend a workshop or lecture. All day: 9am–7pm. Email: info@basilicahudson.com. Url: http://basilicahudson.com.

  • Friday, November 28
    Kingston Tree Lighting
    6-8:30pm. Local entertainment, refreshments, Santa & friends. Phone: 845-331-1216.

  • Friday, November 28 - Sunday, November 30
    Museum Shop Holiday Sale
    10am-4pm. Phone: 845-338-1661. Url: http://hurleyheritagesociety.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

We offer classes, productions and summer camp that are creative dramatics based with the goal of providing students with the confidence, creativity, teamwork and poise to develop into happy, healthy young adults.  This summer - Teens camp ages (13-18) 7/21-25  -  Musical Theatre camp two groups ages (7-12 and 13-18) 8/4-8/8 - Audition Workshop two groups ages (7-12 + 13-18) 8/11-14

79 Vineyard Ave, Highland
845-476-2455

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

Now celebrating over 1000 consignors! In an inviting and cozy atmosphere, we have hand-selected, name-brand clothing and accessories for women and children. You're sure to find that hidden treasure just for you.

133 Main St, Gardiner
845-255-0093

Beadzo offers an inspired, eclectic collection of ethnic, vintage and collectible beads, including select Tibetan, African, Asian and contemporary beads. There is also a unique selection of folk art, jewelry, masks, textiles, scarves and gifts. Class with Carol Cypher every other Thursday eve; mother-daughter Saturday workshops. Parties both in shop and at your home.

60 Broadway, Tivoli
845-757-5306

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

We're a small boutique agency specializing in antique country homes and historic Hudson townhouses. We're sophisticated, honest and creative professionals who enjoy matching our customers with the most charming and interesting houses in the Hudson Valley. Check out our website, and see why people are saying it's the best real estate site anywhere. Or stop by and see us in Tivoli, Hudson, or Catksill.

41 E. Market St Suite 6, Rhinerbeck
845-876-5100

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

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

Introducing all natural Coleman Natural Meats, organically raised beef, no preservatives, no hormones, no antibiotics, all natural, all fresh. Belle & Evans free range chickens - whole or parts. Fresh ground turkey, turkey cutlets, turkey sausage, turkey meatballs. Other meats as well. Freezer orders welcomed.

79 Main St, New Paltz
845-255-2244

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
845-255-7554

An active association focused on enhancing the economic and social opportunities of those who work in, live in, and visit the Rondout Valley. In addition to informative monthly meetings & mixers, activities include successful community events (Jennie Bell Pie Festival, Rondout Valley Garden Tour) and the new RondoutValleyGuide.com. The RVBA offers comprehensive member services, insurance, and discounts. Join us!

PO Box 450, Accord
845-687-4567

Offering gifts for all seasons and all reasons for more than 25 years. Women's clothing upstairs, expanded children's section downstairs includes clothing for infants to 4T, books, toys, games, plush, etc. We now carry Vera Bradley®. Free wrap. Lay-away. UPS shipping.

6 N. Front St, New Paltz
845-255-6277

Visit our state of the art dog and cat boarding facilities and see for yourself - they are clean, comfortable and spacious. We feature Raintree cat condos, specifically designed for your kitty's comfort and security. Our grooming facility pampers your pet with natural shampoos and conditioners created for their special needs.

296 Rte 299, Highland
845-834-2662

1974 - 2014  Celebrating our 40th Anniversary. Our friendly staff can perform expert repairs on all makes and models of bikes. We stock bicycles of all kinds: Mountain, Road, BMX, Hybrid and more. We have a huge selection of parts & accessories in stock so you can spend more time riding and less time waiting. Located right next to The Bakery.

13 N. Front St, New Paltz
845-255-1770

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.

6400 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck
845-876-2528

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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