Tag Archives: New York

Book Review: Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds

drums along the mohawkI consider Drums Along the Mohawk to be one of the best classic historical novels about Upstate New York.  It ranks right up there with James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans.

First published in 1936, Drums Along the Mohawk stayed at number one on the best-sellers list for two years. Gone With the Wind, also published in 1936, finally replaced it.

The story takes place in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York during the Revolutionary War.  It is the story of brave pioneers who settled this early American frontier. Walter D. Edmonds centers his tale around the lives of Gilbert Martin and his young wife, Magdalena.  The newly married couple settle and begin farming in the remote village of Deerfield.

The Rumbling of War

Gil and Lana hear the rumblings of war from the east. It seems far away and since the young couple is busy just surviving ,  they pay little attention to it. They have a home to build, land to clear and crops to plant.

Then a raiding party of Seneca warriors led by a Tory named Caldwell descend on their farm.  Only the timely warning by a friendly Oneida Indian called Blue Back allows them to escape the carnage.  The raiders burn their cabin and their crops. The raiders kill their livestock. The young couple must now also try to survive the devastation caused by the Revolutionary War.

 Iroquois Rampage

Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant

Led by the Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant, the Iroquois sweep through the valley settlements. Aided by Tories like William Caldwell, the raiding parties leave charred cabins, burned crops, mutilated bodies, dead livestock  and shattered dreams in their wake. The raiders kill and scalp men, women and children   To the north, in Canada, the British  pay eight pounds for each American settlers’ scalp lifted. The isolated settlements and their small militias defend themselves as best they an against the raiders. But, they are farmers, not soldiers. And, the  savage raiders have them greatly outnumbered.

War Drums Along the Mohawk

This story is about heroes and patriots, a courageous people who fought back against impossible odds.  As a result, they helped give birth to a new American Nation.  The narrative is alive with such historical figures as General Herkimer, Adam Helmer, Doctor Petry, Peter Bellinger, Benedict Arnold and William Caldwell.  There is mention of an ancestor of mine, Jacob Gardinier who fought heroically at the Battle of Oriskany.

Personal History

1024px-Adam_Helmer_Grave_NY-DOT_SignI greatly enjoyed reading this novel because of my  Mohawk Valley roots. Many of my ancestors were born in Herkimer, previously known as German Flatts.  I listened to tales of Adam Helmer’s famous race against with the raiding Indians.  General Herkimer, Jacob Gardinier, Fort Dayton and Fort Stanwix were names and places I knew as a child.  I played along the Mohawk River,  the Susquahanna River and the West Canada Creek and I am who I am as a result, in part, because of these tales.

This is definitely a book I recommend all Americans should read.


Raging party exposes generational ignorance

English: Entering Stephentown New York
English: Entering Stephentown New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post is an opinion piece that was published on 10/22/2013 in The Daily Beacon, a student newspaper published at The University of Tennessee.  It has been posted here with the permission of the author, Katie Dean, a junior in political science.  I found it to be very refreshing to hear this from a younger adult and future leader.

Earlier this month, at least 300 teenagers broke into a beautiful residence in Stephentown, N.Y., and threw a Labor Day party rager that, by the looks of it, was not a party to be forgotten.

Not only was the house incredibly nice, but alcohol was abundant and the location was fairly isolated.  Pictures of the party show broken windows, dozens of holes in the walls and an overall lack of respect for the residence.

Turns out, the Stephentown home actually belongs to former NFL football star, Brian Holloway.

Not only were the kids stupid enough to break into the vacation house of a well-known athlete, but they proceeded to post pictures of the party and tweet about it as the festivities continued. Holloway, who was in Florida at the time, was shown the live twitter feed by his son and quickly realized he had more than 300 unwanted guests in his New York home.

Holloway immediately set up a website called helpmesave300.com where you can view pictures from the party and read the tweets of the kids involved. On the website, Holloway discusses his love of Stephentown and the priceless memories made in that house, as well as his desire to reach these kids and truly show them that what they did was wrong.  He talks about how saddening it is that kids dies every year from alcohol-related accidents, and he clearly expresses his wish not to punish the kids, but to reach out to them and help them.

He even set up a catered picnic and invited the kids to come have lunch and help him clean up the mess, stating that he would not press charges if they came back to help.  He also asked that a statue that was taken  the night of the party be returned, as it was of great importance to his family. The statue was a tribute to Holloway’s stillborn grandson.

Unfortunately, only four of the kids showed up to help Holloway.  Even more saddening is the fact that after creating the website, Holloway received threats from some of the 300 [parents] saying they would sue him for defamation and hurting their children’s chances of getting into college.

All the time I hear people talking about how America is going to hell in a hand basket, or whining about what the federal government is doing or not doing.  We certainly have a lot of problems facing us right now, but parents like the ones who raised these kids are truly one of the biggest problems with our society. This generation includes future leaders and businessmen and women of our country, and they are being taught to take whatever they want and do whatever they want regardless of the consequences.  And if there are consequences, just sue the victim for defaming you.

As much as it pains me to sound like an old grandma on a soapbox, this situation truly speaks volumes about what we value as a society and out ability to accept responsibility for our actions.  Brian Holloway is obviously one of the most kind-hearted, generous people alive today and he is being spat on for trying to do a fantastic thing. While anyone else would have immediately sought legal action against these kids, he actually tried to go to the root of the problem and teach them a valuable lesson.

Due to a lack of remorse from the Stephentown vandals, Holloway has now decided to pursue legal action.  Four kids between 17 and 21 have been arrested and the charges include felony larceny and burglary, as well as alcohol charges and trespassing.  The sheriff’s department has said that up to 100 kids could face charges.

This story is not about a group of kids who vandalized a football player’s house; it’s about a generation who enjoys drunken destruction devoid of consequence, and the parents who refuse to enforce the consequence at all.

Katie Dean

There is a strangely familiar thread running through this story.  We see this same “no consequences” mindset in our current administration, our federal government, our entitlement-minded free-loaders, many of today’s parents, and the kids who will,  someday, be our future leaders.  Pretty scary isn’t!

Obama’s Magical Mystery Term Means Higher Taxes

Barack Obama stops in Altoona, Pennsylvania on...
Image via Wikipedia

Well, the word is out!  Obama wants $1.5 trillion in new tax increases.  Of course, this will only affect the rich and corporations … you know.  Except that … corporations do not  pay taxes.  They pass the additional cost of doing business on to the consumer.  Ummm!  For you highly intelligent progressive-liberal types … that’s you and me!  It is good, however, to hear the rich are finally going to pay their fair share … since they already pay something like 90% federal income tax revenues already.

Of course that may cut down on the ability of lots of small businesses to hire new employees … but that’s ok too … since Obama is going to just have us all work for the government.   That might need still more taxes … to pay everyone … but you know …. fair is fair!  Wouldn’t Jimmy Carter be proud!!

What a bunch of BS! 

If Obama’s administration would just quit wasting our money … like:

  • Giving $535 to his Solyndra cronies
  • Sponsoring gay film festivals at the Bulgarian embassy
  • Giving a university $219,000 to study the hookup behavior of female college students in New York
  • Flying Barack and Michelle to Martha’s Vinyard on separate jets for vacation
  • Buying treadmills for out-of-shape shrimp
  • Maybe cutting back on a few rounds of golf
  • Giving $650 million for a digital television converter box coupon program
  • Michelle Obama spending $10 million in tax payer funds on vacations in just one year
  • Paying $3.5 million for repainting and adding a security camera to one bridge in Oregon
  • Giving $8 million to a Missouri bridge project that was already fully funded by the state
  • Wasting $1 million on road signs touting stimulus funds at work in Ohio
  • And last but not least … sponsoring jello wrestling matches in the frozen wastelands of Antarctica …

We would probably not need to raise taxes! 

Canada is creating more jobs for Americans than Obama is!  How are they doing that … drilling for oil!  Hmmmm!  And … we still are not!  Why?

It seems that Obama did his part to support the Canadian job market.  The two buses he bought for his recent tax-payer financed luxury bus tour were made in Canada.  The Prevost buses coast $1.1 million each and are the company’s top of the line luxury models … like those used by major traveling rock bands.  It is good to see Obama getting the finest in Canadian exports … while 14 million Americans are unemployed. 

I am sure the higher taxes will help!

An American Creed!

The Honorable Dean Alfange was an American statesman born December 2, 1899, in Constanstinople (now known as Instanbul).  He was raised in upstate New York.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and attended Hamilton College, graduating with the class of 1922.  This American Creed was first puplished in This Week Magazine and was later printed in The Reader’s Digest, October 1952 and January 1954.  

I decided to post it here on my blog as a reminder of what true Americans once believed, how they once acted, and what they once fought for.  We need to get this American Creed back.  It is time for true Americans to stand up and be counted … to fight for their country … to defend it from its enemies – both foreign and, sadly now, especially domestic!


An American Creed

It is my right to be uncommon – if I can.

I seek opportunity – not security.  I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout.  I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldy and say, “This I have done.”

By Dean Alfange

What can any real American say to that except, “Amen!”

Stupid Is As Stupid Does!

Headline: In NEW YORK , a law enforcement official says New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer‘s role in a prostitution scandal grew out of a public corruption inquiry triggered by his movement of cash to bank accounts operated by the call-girl ring.

Haven’t we been through all this before? Oh wait! That was “President” Clinton. This is “Governor” Spitzer. I guess there is a difference here after all!

It seems that the first-term Democrat, AKA Client 9, was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet a prostitute from a call-girl business, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is still going on.

Spitzer allegedly paid for the call girl to take a train from New York to Washington — a move that opened the transaction up to federal prosecution because she crossed state lines.

Client 9, AKA Governor Spizer, wanted a high-priced prostitute named Kristen to come to Washington on a 5:39 p.m. train from Manhattan. The door to the hotel room would be left ajar. Train tickets, cab fare, room service, and the mini bar were all on him.

“Yup, same as in the past. No question about it,” the caller told Kristen’s boss, when asked if he would make his payment to the same business as usual, a federal affidavit said. The client paid $4,300 to Kristen, touted by the escort service as a “petite, pretty brunette,” according to court papers.

Eliot Spitzer

Folks … this is what happens when you elect stupid liberals with an elitist attitude, “relativist” moral standards … and overwhelming, all consuming political ambitions.

Silda Spitzer

I thought I saw the spirit of Hillary Clinton standing there behind Eliot Spitzer’s wife at the press conference. Another embarrassed wife whose politician husband, Eliot Spitzer, had been caught spending $4,300 to screw a hooker in a hotel room that was part of a high-class ring who typically charged $5,500 an hour and up. I guess he got his special Governor’s rate?

Silda Spitzer stood there stone-faced while her husband rambled on in the usual way about how he had “let down his family”.

Spitzer didn’t simply let down his family. He let down his party, his state, and his profession as well; because soliciting prostitution is, after all, illegal. After all, didn’t New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, made his name crusading against corporate malfeasance?

Was Spitzer Just Following In His Hero’s Footsteps?

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton, after all, survived it. But then again … he only chased “big hair” women who were not charging $5,000 a pop. And, Clinton almost got away with it … denying it all for months … until one of his conquests bragged about her memento … the stains on a blue dress she had kept.
But still, Clinton did survive and went on to make tens of millions as a speaker and advisor … and his embarrassed wife is currently running for the Presidency of the United States.

Eliot May Not Be So Lucky!

Spitzer made lots of enemies, people like lawyers and investment bankers. He would have a much harder time trying to stay on as Governor of New York. He has certainly has lost his law-and-order credibility as the moralistic Sheriff of Wall Street, righter of wrongs and punisher of evildoers.

Of course, hiring a hooker isn’t evil-doing. But … Spitzer’s fall from grace raises some interesting questions burning questions: a) Why are some men so stupid? (b) Didn’t he overpay? Is this a clue to his fiscal spending policies … I mean … damn folks … $4,300 an hour! And (c) was it tax payer’s money?

The irony of it all is so inescapable. Elliot Spitzer made a national name for himself crusading against the evils of Wall Street. He had a knack for getting some of the biggest companies in the world including Merrill Lynch & Co and American International Group, Inc. to knuckle under to his demands without having to try his case in court.

However, on the other side of the scale, Spitzer was the state Governor who lead the charge to give illegal immigrants drivers licenses! I guess, to quote Forest Gump (1994), “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Merry Christmas

I watched a video clip the other day on Fox News about two women from New York , Ughetta Jilleba and Dale Kolareck, who are expanding their “It’s OK to Say Merry Christmas to Me” campaign.  They are associated with the Pope John Paul II Court of Catholic Daughters of the Americas.  This is such a wonderful idea. The money they raise goes to support food banks and the homeless.

I get so fed up with these secular-progressive liberals out there who claim to be so tolerant.  They are very tolerant … when it comes to  supporting gay rights, pardoning convicted cop killers, releasing pedophiles back into society, supporting terrorists who are attacking American citizens, pornography in prime time television, apologizing for America’s endless list of crimes against radical Islamists, or befriending local communist dictators.  However, when it comes to Christians and saying “Merry Christmas,”  somehow they are so easily offended and often nastily intolerant.

I am so glad to see that Lowes has backed off from selling “Family Trees” this year and is going back to selling Christmas Trees.  They are even re-releasing their “holiday,”  or dare I say it … Christmas catalog, to correct the little  “Family Tree” issue.

It is all so very odd to me!  I have never been offended by hearing “Happy Hanukah” or seeing Muslim women wearing their veils.  I personally think the Rastafarian “hair style” is a little extreme, but I am not offended by it. Why are these such open-minded, tolerant people so easily offended by wishing folks a Merry Christmas, Peace On Earth, or Good Will Toward Men?

Anyway, I ordered twenty of these “Its OK to Say Merry Christmas to Me” buttons.  I may order more.  I will certainly wear one and will give one to anyone I know that wants to wear one.  It is certainly OK to wish me a Merry Christmas!!  In closing I am going to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!  If that offends you … get a life!!

If you wish to order some of these buttons (they are $1 each), here is their contact information:

Email cdjpii@aol.com or call 845-893-6368.

Checks or money orders may also be mailed to:
Catholic Daughters Court John Paul II
C/O: Hallel Missionaries
175 Route 340
Sparkill, NY  10976

Buttons cost $1 and car magnets cost $3.