Patriot and Tory: A tale of two brothers

THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR often drove a wedge between members of the same family, with some supporting the Revolution while others remained loyal to the king. A vivid illustration is supplied by the Savage family which, by the early 1760s, had settled on the southwestern corner of the intersection of Routes 9 and 203 in today’s town of Austerlitz. The brothers James (1741-1824) and John (1743-1826) Savage, the protagonists of this story, by the time of the Revolution had become prominent citizens of the King’s District, which occupied what became the northeastern part of Columbia County.

James was a leader of the King’s District settlers as they fought for their land against the Van Rensselaer and Westenhook patentees from the Crown, who viewed the settlers as illegal squatters. When the New York authorities referred this land dispute to the Board of Trade in London, it was James Savage, together with Nathaniel Culver, who journeyed across the ocean in 1774 to plead the settlers’ case. The outbreak of the Revolution in April 1775 aborted this proceeding. On his return from England, James Savage was briefly detained in New York on suspicion of Tory sympathies, but was soon released.

It was brother John who was the Tory. He also was a civic leader, serving as constable and tax collector for the King’s District. In May 1775, as the Revolution began, John was approached by a group of Patriots and asked to assume leadership of the local militia. Among this group were two of his brothers-in-law: David and Joel Pratt, whose sister Ann had married John. The Pratt family home, built in the 1760s, is believed to be the oldest house in Austerlitz. The Pratts strongly supported the Revolution, and no doubt David and Joel expected that John Savage would take the same stance. Read more…

Delgado briefs Roe Jan voters at Copake Town Hall

COPAKE–Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-19th) met with constituents Saturday, November 16, at the Copake Town Hall. It was the 29th town hall and the 3rd held in Columbia County by Mr. Delgado since his election last year. He spoke to and answered questions from an enthusiastic, standing room only crowd of about 150. “We are determined to go everywhere” said Mr. Delgado, adding that he was encouraged that “lots of folks here are participating and engaging in the system at every level.”

In his opening remarks, the congressman lamented the “chaos and lack of decency” in Washington as well as those, who “exploit partisanship for their own gain. That concerns me a lot.” Delgado added, “No one in Washington informs my legislative agenda, the community informs my legislative agenda.”

Of his work in Washington, Mr. Delgado, who serves on the agriculture committee, touted passage in Congress and signing into law the Family Farm Relief Act, which he introduced. The law raises the maximum income cap for family farms to be eligible for federal assistance to $10 million. Mr. Delgado described the 19th Congressional District as the eighth most rural district in the country and noted that the district has 5,000 thousand family farms. Read more…

Hudson’s newest principals laud district’s diversity

HUDSON–Hudson High School is getting a new principal and a new associate principal. Robert LaCasse will become principal on November 23, after five years as associate principal under Principal Antonio Abitabile, who is leaving to become Superintendent of Lansingburgh Central School District. Replacing Mr. LaCasse as associate principal will be William Wood, who has taught in other school districts. Both Mr. LaCasse and Mr. Wood noted the significance of Hudson’s cultural diversity, in recent telephone interviews.

Born and raised in the Hudson City School District, Mr. LaCasse has worked for the district 20 years as a teacher, sports coach, and administrator. He graduated from Hudson High School in 1994, got a BA in Education at SUNY Cortland, and an MA at the College of St. Rose.

In 1999, he returned to the district, teaching ELA (English Language Arts) and social studies to 6th graders. In 2000, he started coaching junior varsity baseball; in 2002 he started teaching global studies to 9th and 10th graders; and in 2003 he started coaching varsity football. He continued coaching baseball until 2012, when he became dean of students, and continued coaching football until 2014, when he became associate principal of the high school. He now lives in Rensselaer County; his wife works north of Albany. Read more…

This will get Spanish students to pay attention

HUDSON–R-rated movies for high school students, welcomes for the incoming new high school administration, and how to define goals for 2024 highlighted the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting November 5.

Spanish teachers Jamie Weiss and Jennifer Talma asked permission to show R-rated films in their classes, and district administrators defended a student’s right to opt out. The teachers said the films portray Spanish-speaking places, and “the students get interested” in them.

“You have to have a plan in place to allow students to opt out” without adverse consequences, said board member Linda Hopkins. Read more…

Supervisor-elect asks board to put zoning on hold

CHATHAM–The Town Board approved the 2020 town budget at the board meeting Thursday, November 7. The general fund and the Highway Department together total about $3.1 million.

Other expenses, which include funds for fire companies, lighting districts and the public library, bring spending to about $3.6 million, with next year’s budget showing a 5% decrease in the tax levy.

The board held a public hearing on the budget before the regular meeting. Donal Collins, who was elected Town Supervisor November 5, thanked the current board for their work on the budget. The one change he asked for was that the board add more funds for legal consultations in the budget. He said he felt there would be legal issues with the turnover on the board and with zoning issues. Read more…