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October 06, 2022

It was 9:45PM on a Wednesday

Background Information

This Sunday, October 9, Focus on History from Daily Gazette and Amsterdam Recorder. Filmmakers linked to Ken Burns scouting the Mohawk Valley...

A three-person Florentine Films video crew spent time in the Mohawk Valley in early September scouting locations and shooting video for possible use in a historical documentary film series on the American Revolution.

  Florentine, based in New Hampshire, is the production company affiliated with Ken Burns that has created PBS documentary series including the Civil War.

..from The Bob Cudmore laptop that is so old, the letter "E" does not work, but it does the assignment

The crew from the Amsterdam crash was lucky to survive.  Laura Hillenbrand in her book “Unbroken” wrote of World War II, “Some 15,000 airmen died in accidental crashes stateside.”

Wartime plane crash in Amsterdam

By Bob Cudmore

It was 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, October 13 1943 when a twin-engine American Army plane crashed in a rural section of Amsterdam’s South Side as the plane’s four-man crew parachuted to safety in the city’s Fifth Ward.  Remarkably, there were no injuries.  The plane was on a flight between Rome and Schenectady when its engines went out.

Fireman Frank Mazur, standing outside the Central Fire Station at West Main and Pearl Streets, heard an airplane engine sputtering and saw the tail light descending rapidly toward the South Side.  Firefighters, cops and ambulances scrambled to the scene.  The plane went down either in the vicinity of today’s Route 5-S or New York State Thruway.  The Army and State Police guarded the accident scene during the night, keeping crowds of spectators away.

Captain John F. Pope, the last to exit the plane at about 500 feet, was found wandering on DeWitt Street.  He apparently had landed on the roof of popular Fifth Ward Alderman Angelo Sardonia’s house or on the nearby porch of Charles Frohlich.  Accounts differ.  The other three crew members landed safely in the vicinity of the Fifth Ward School on Perkins Street. The plane’s exit door from which they escaped was found on Eagle Street in the city's East End.

Captain Pope of Montgomery, Alabama and Lieutenant Charles Thompson of Schenectady, another member of the crew, were decorated combat veterans from the North Africa campaign. Thompson had been in a plane shot down 45 miles behind the German lines, but Thompson and his men found their way back to allied territory.  The two other soldiers in the Amsterdam crash were Sergeant Joseph Bragdon of York Village, Maine and Sergeant Albert Finarelli of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

The Recorder reported of Captain Pope, "He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, with several oak leaf clusters, but it remained for Amsterdam to hold the distinction of being the first place over which he bailed out of a plane."

Captain Pope lost his beat-up old hat in the parachute jump into Amsterdam, a hat that had been with him in England, Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar and all over North Africa in his 108 combat missions. Fortunately, Fifth Ward School second grader Peter Marcucio, celebrating his seventh birthday, and his friend Robert Selbert found the hat and were rewarded with junior sets of pilot's wings later that month.

In a letter to Marcucio, Captain Pope wrote, “As you know, the hat wasn't very good, but it carries a lot of memories with it that make it priceless to me.”

The flight had originated at the relatively new Rome Air Depot, created in November 1942.  The facility became Griffiss Air Force Base after the war in 1948. 

Amsterdam city historian Robert von Hasseln said the plane likely was on a check flight testing repairs to the aircraft or engines before returning it to an operational command. 

Von Hasseln said the type of plane that crashed is not certain, but probably it was a B-25 Mitchell, although it could have also been an A-20, B-26 or another type.  The Mitchell was named in honor of aviation pioneer Billy Mitchell.

The crew from the Amsterdam crash was lucky to survive.  Laura Hillenbrand in her book “Unbroken” wrote of World War II, “Some 15,000 airmen died in accidental crashes stateside.”

Thanks to Al Mancini of Amsterdam for suggesting this story.  Much of the information came from attorney Bob Going.  The story of the plane crash will be part of Going’s book on Amsterdam in World War II called “Where Do We Find Such Men?”  The book will be published later this year. 

Tomorrow, Friday, October 7, 2022

1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate maps on repurposed cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army. Bound to a man who would kill her if he knew of her clandestine activities, Stella has to hide not only her efforts but her love for William, a Black soldier and a brilliant musician.

Episode 443

How to write historical fiction with Alyson Richman, co-author with Shaunna Edwards of “The Thread Collectors,” a Civil War novel.

Saturday, October 8, 2022-Pulitzer Prize finalist Nick Bunker discusses his book, “Young Benjamin Franklin: The Birth of Ingenuity.”

In this new account of Franklin's early life, Pulitzer finalist Nick Bunker portrays him as a complex, driven young man who elbows his way to success.

From his early career as a printer and journalist to his scientific work and his role as a founder of a new republic, Benjamin Franklin has always seemed the inevitable embodiment of American ingenuity. But in his youth, he had to make his way through a harsh colonial world, where he fought many battles with his rivals, but also with his wayward emotions

Mohawk Valley Weather, Thursday, October 6, 2022

Morning fog and low clouds will give way to plenty of
sunshine for today, along with a mild afternoon.  An approaching
frontal boundary will bring a few showers to the area for late
tonight into Friday.  Cooler temperatures and dry conditions are
expected for the weekend.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 75. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Tonight
A chance of showers, mainly after 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Friday
A chance of showers, mainly after 9am. Partly sunny, with a high near 66. Light southwest wind becoming west 10 to 15 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
 
Mohawk Valley News Headlines, Thursday, October 6, 2022
 
Daily Gazette
 
Fulton County Board of Supervisors to vote on creating tourism division
The Fulton County Board of Supervisors is poised to vote at next Tuesday’s meeting on a resolution to end its…
 
 
RecorderNews
 
Amsterdam’s annual Oktoberfest returns Saturday
Oktoberfest takes place 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., live music, a beer stein hoisting competition, a yodeling contest and over 80 vendors, food trucks, arts and crafts, farm goods, a distillery, pretzel necklaces, and area restaurants will be offering food and beer specials.

https://www.recordernews.com/

Leader Herald

Make Us A Part Of Your Day

https://www.leaderherald.com/

September 30, 2022

Chris Carola

Friday, September 30, 2022-Episode 442-Retired Associated Press reporter Chris Carola takes a look at the life of Revolutionary War era Mohawk chief Joseph Brant. A warrior and diplomat, Brant is memorialized with a sculpture of his face on the outside of the New York State Capitol in Albany.

September 23, 2022

Giovanni Ruscitti

Episode 441-Giovanni Ruscitti of Colorado is author of the memoir Cobblestones, Conversations, and Corks: A Son’s Discovery of His Italian Heritage. Ruscitti chronicles the history of his Italian immigrant family and a visit to his ancestral homeland of Abruzzo.

September 16, 2022

Joe Collea

Friday, September 16, 2022-Episode 440-Joe Collea Junior is author of Our Town--Ilion, New York: a Selective Look at 300 Years of History. An Ilion native, Collea was a teacher and administrator in Ilion schools and served three terms as mayor of the village.

September 09, 2022

Highlights Edition 2022-4

Highlights Episode Four with excerpts from a history of the Mohawk River with Mary Zawacki of Schenectady County Historical Society; Kelly Yacobucci Farquhar, Montgomery County New York historian, on a national family history TV show visit to Fonda; Susanne Dunlap discusses The Portraitist, a novel based on the life of an 18th century French artist; Stephen Williams, author of Off the Northway on the history of the GlobalFoundries semiconductor facility in Malta; Bob Cudmore on Ukrainians in Amsterdam and Rick Herrera, author of Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778.

September 02, 2022

Ricardo Herrera

Friday, September 2, 2022-Episode 438-Ricardo Herrera is author of Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778. Herrera is visiting professor at the US Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Previously he was professor of military history at the School of Advanced Military Studies, US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He served as an armor and cavalry officer in the US Army.

August 26, 2022

Chit-Chat Stories

...Bob Cudmore’s Focus on History columns from Daily Gazette and Amsterdam Recorder in 2022 provide information for this chit chat podcast.  Hear stories about Amsterdam’s connections with Ukraine, World War II, Amsterdam’s link with Jeff Buckley’s version of the “secret chord” and the Polish cowboy.

August 19, 2022

Stephen Williams

Friday, August 19, 2022- Episode 436-Stephen Williams is author of Off the Northway, a collection of newspaper columns written by Williams, who retired after 42-years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady. One of the principal topics is the history of the GlobalFoundries semiconductor facility in Malta, which employs three thousand people and plans a second plant at its Luther Forest location.

August 12, 2022

Susanne Dunlap

Episode 435-Susanne Dunlap discusses her book The Portraitist, a novel based on the life of 18th century French artist Adélaïde Labilleo-Guiard whose life went on amid the changes and terror of the French Revolution.

August 05, 2022

Kelly Farquhar/NBC TV

Episode 434-NBC TV has aired an episode of their popular family history show Who Do You Think You Are including scenes filmed in Fonda and Johnstown. Actor Nick Offerman (who plays Ron Swanson in the sitcom Parks and Recreation) traced his ancestors to families from upstate New York. Kelly Yacobucci Farquhar, Montgomery County New York historian, explains why Fonda’s Old Courthouse is a mecca for genealogists and upstate New York historians.

July 29, 2022

Mary Zawacki

Episode 433-A history of the Mohawk River with Mary Zawacki, executive director of the Schenectady County Historical Society.

July 22, 2022

Highlights(2022)-3

Friday, July 22, 2022-Episode 432-The third Highlights Edition of 2022 has excerpts from 12 podcasts including stolen Little League Dreams, an Erie Canal balladeer and a boy’s life in Ilion, New York.

July 15, 2022

Howard Blum

Friday, July 15, 2022-Episode 431-Former New York Times investigative reporter Howard Blum exposes the danger posed by the suspected infiltration of America’s Central Intelligence Agency by a series of Russian spy agency moles through the years. Blum’s new book is “The Spy Who Knew Too Much.”

July 08, 2022

Kevin Hall

Friday, July 8, 2022-Episode 430-Kevin Hall, author of a memoir on growing up in Ilion, New York-Ilion, My Childhood, My Memories Growing Up in a Bygone Era.

July 01, 2022

John Sweet

Friday, July 1, 2022-Episode 429-John Sweet is author of “The Sewing Girl’s Tale,” the story of the first published rape trial in American history. Sweet researched Lanah Sawyer’s decision to charge an upper class man named Henry Bedlow with rape, leading to a raw courtroom drama, riots in the streets, and public debate over class privilege and double standards. Sweet is a professor at the University of North Carolina.

June 24, 2022

Ben Kemp

Friday, June 24, 2022-Episode 428-Ben Kemp from Grant Cottage in Wilton New York, where Civil War general and President Ulysses S. Grant died after completing his memoirs. This year is the 200th anniversary of Grant’s birth.

June 17, 2022

David Levine

Friday, June 17, 2022-Episode 427-Journalist David Levine is author of “The Hudson Valley: The First 250 Million Years.” His book explains how Hudson New York was part of the whaling industry. He has stories about Alexander Hamilton, the Mohicans and slavery in the time of Dutch colonial rule.

June 10, 2022

Don Williams

Friday, June 10, 2022-Episode 426-Donald Williams is author of “Grandfather’s Tool Chest.” The book has stories about 400 vintage and antique tools. Don Williams, 88, is a well-known educator, lecturer, columnist, and author. He has written eleven books on local and Adirondack history.

June 03, 2022

Buttonwood Agreement

Friday, June 3, 2022-Episode 425-New York City correspondent Jim Kaplan has the story of the Buttonwood Agreement, the founding document of the New York Stock Exchange.

May 27, 2022

David Brooks

Friday, May 27, 2022-Episode 424-David Brooks from Schoharie Crossing State Historic site in Fort Hunter takes a look at life on the wild side of the Erie Canal with tales about the Kilboys, including balladeer Tom Kilboy. Schoharie Crossing in Fort Hunter, where the old Erie Canal crossed the Schoharie Creek, is now open for the season.

May 20, 2022

Charles Gehring

Friday, May 20, 2022-Episode 423-Charles Gehring’s life work has been to translate Old Dutch language documents from the 17th century New Netherland colony in New York, New Jersey and Delaware. Gehring is Director of the New Netherland Research Center at the New York State Education Department in Albany. His work has been used by many historians, including Russell Shorto whose book “The Island at the Center of the World” is a history of New York City dating back to colonial Dutch times.

May 13, 2022

Highlights Episode 2022-2

Friday, May 13, 2022-Episode 422-Highlights podcast #2 for 2022. Topics include early American patriot Marinus Willett, a corset maker in Poland, early radio, World War I, the Titanic and celebrating New York State’s birthday.

May 06, 2022

Chris Lamb/Stolen Dreams

Friday. May 6, 2022-Episode 421-Chris Lamb, author of Stolen Dreams: The 1955 Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars and Little League Baseball’s Civil War

April 29, 2022

Paul Craddock

Friday, April 29, 2022-Episode 420-Paul Craddock at UCL Medical School in London England is author of Spare Parts: The Story of Medicine Through the History of Transplant Surgery.
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