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On History's Path

Sheffield Road in Amenia — and milk

Sheffield Road in Amenia is only about four-tenths of a mile long as it enters off of Route 343 (on the way toward Sharon, Conn.) across from Mygatt Road and up to Prospect Street and the top of Depot Hill, but its milk history is interesting, especially as much of an original farm building is still there. 

The Ringling Brothers Circus has retired

The last Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus performamnce was last month. “The circus goes back thousands of years” to ancient Roman times, according to the World Book Encyclopedia, (1970).   

In modern times, it developed in the 1700s in England and “soon spread to America.” By the late 1800s, about 10 circuses claimed to tour this country, with each boasting “it was the biggest or the best.”  

A pause in remembrance of Billy ‘the Kid’ Ostrom

The other day Ann Linden called me and said that she had read that Billy Ostrom had died. He had played for the Amenia Baseball Club in the past. Yes, I remembered seeing him play and thanked her for letting me know. I checked the Poughkeepsie Journal and found that he had died at age 95 on Dec. 3 at home. 

Regarding fences in Amenia

Fences. There sure are a lot of them — of many different types, uses and colors.  

Here are some of my findings here in Amenia at the present. Types: Wood, metal, stone, brick. Uses: Property and crop boundary, animal pasturing, horse training, aesthetics. Colors: White, brown, black, green, red and natural. 

Down Sinpatch Way

To Willson & Eaton Company

In mid-1982 a business operation on Mechanic Street, Amenia, known as Willson & Eaton’s to most of us, was due to be demolished as it had partially collapsed from heavy snow the previous December, according to a local newspaper article in the Amenia Historical Society (AHS) archives. The Town Board welcomed a local contractor doing the job for the owner rather than having to incur the cost itself and then seek reimbursement, it said. There was no money in the 1982 budget for such an expense, according to budget line A3650 in that year’s budget.

Civil War experiences told in letters

Civil War experiences told in letters

On Dec. 17, 1864, Richard T. Van Wyck wrote to his mother from Harrison’s Island, S.C., “In front of Savannah, Ga.,” that this was the longest intermission between writings “than at any time yet.” His mother lived in Fishkill, Dutchess County, and Van Wyck, who had enlisted on Oct. 4, 1862, at the age of 24 in the 150th New York Volunteer Infantry, had just participated in the march through Georgia, a major Civil War campaign.

Past storms in autumn

With the early snow we’re experiencing, I thought I would take a look back and see if there were any such similar events. My major finding — via Google — was an Oct. 4, 1987, snow storm event described by The New York Times and ultimately named Snowleaf. And in my own files, I have pictures of it and what it did in my own yard. The Times article, “Early Snowstorm Covers Northeast,” was written for the Oct. 5 edition.

Artists who painted Amenia

Recently my neighbor Ann Phillips dropped by and left me some maps, pictures and a book titled “Ammi Phillips, Portrait Painter 1788-1865” (i.e. not a relative of husband George, or the Bill Phillips family, she noted). During his lifetime he lived in and out of Amenia and the Tri-​state area.

Amenia’s Oblong Valley

In the mid-1700s land in the precinct of Amenia could be bought in “large tracts,” said Newton Reed in his “Early History of Amenia” (1985, 4th edition). In 1731 Amenia’s Oblong Valley land acreage was 14,500 acres and had been divided into two tiers of square lots, each 500-plus acres and numbered 43-72.