Edward Earl was impatient to be hung

Edward Earl was impatient to be hung

When I’m asked why there haven’t been more old-time murder stories lately, I’ve replied truthfully that we’ve already visited so many, the list of those remaining is getting slimmer. Yet the story of Hamilton County murderer Edward Earl is certainly unusual: He is the only murderer I’ve ever encountered who was in a hurry to get his execution over with. The Aug. 25, 1881 Gloversville Standard related most of what was known about this mysterious man, exact name undetermined, who called himself Edward Earl, lived in Sageville, now Lake Pleasant, and brutally murdered his unfaithful wife with a stolen tannery…
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The ‘revolutionary’ downfall of our first sheriff concluded

The ‘revolutionary’ downfall of our first sheriff concluded

To explain how Alexander White, Tryon County’s first sheriff, lost his position when the Revolution began, it’s necessary to refer to contemporary documents. The previous article closed with White under Sir John Johnson’s protection, languishing within fortified Johnson Hall following his altercation with Johnstown’s Whig mob. For practical purposes, White’s authority as sheriff was over. From correspondence between Sir John and the Committee, it appears Johnson, a practical Scorpio, considered White just another annoying problem: when the committee addressed Johnson about White, informing him they wanted “to look him up,” Sir John replied that as long as White remained at…
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Technology could beat crime even long ago

Technology could beat crime even long ago

It was Thursday, Dec. 5, 1929, a dark and snowy night roughly two months after the great stock market crash. But whether that disastrous financial event influenced three Amsterdam men to burglarize Samuel ‘Sammy’ Betor’s Broadalbin furniture store is anybody’s guess. But burglarize it they did, or at least they tried. In today’s world of electronic security devices, we tend to forget that in the early 20th Century more primitive versions of these deterrents already existed and also worked, as the three unlucky ‘Betor burglars’ discovered to their chagrin. The Dec. 6 Morning Herald headlined their failed caper, “Old Offenders…
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Be glad to see those big snowplows this winter

Be glad to see those big snowplows this winter

In an article surveying travel conditions when a heavy gale blanketed the Mohawk Valley on Feb. 14, 1923, the Gloversville Morning Herald described the storm’s aftermath. “In Gloversville, the Street Department got out its snow-fighting apparatus early and the streets were kept open. The new tractor helped mightily in clearing the streets.” Transportation beyond the city, however, was worse off. “It was reported two trolleys were stalled near Fern Dale Cemetery and a number of automobiles stalled on North Perry Street. A taxi man drove his car into a driveway, drew the water off, and left the car for the…
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180 years of law and order in Fulton County

180 years of law and order in Fulton County

When Sheriff Richard Giardino mentioned to me last March that 2018 marks the 180th anniversary of Fulton County, I hadn’t remembered this, nor apparently has anyone else, as no celebration has taken place. Sheriff Giardino was interested in the history of his own office and the sheriffs who’ve served it since the legislative act of April 18, 1838 established Fulton County. I shortly supplied him with a list of former sheriffs and decided to research the early sheriff’s department history. I initially assumed all the new county’s officials would have been chosen directly after the April 18 county birth date,…
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When the deputy postmaster left no address

When the deputy postmaster left no address

On Monday, Jan. 14, 1907, startling news made headlines from one end of the Mohawk Valley to the other when newspapers revealed that St. Johnsville Deputy Postmaster Alexander Turnbull and postal clerk Harry F. Stichel had suddenly disappeared from their jobs and families, and more shocking yet, both left St. Johnsville with two attractive young ladies. That night’s Amsterdam Evening Recorder gave the known details. “The town has been jarred as never before from stem to stern over the simultaneous disappearance from the village of two of its most prominent young men and two young women, one a school teacher…
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