The Pondshiners

tobias seamon photoRecently over at The Morning News, Albany resident Tobias Seamon writes about the "lost Pondshiners" -- a reclusive clan of people who once lived in Columbia County:

New York's Hudson Valley abounds in spooks, from the wailing Maid of Kaaterskill Falls, to the dreaded Horseman of Leeds, to ongoing rumors of a poltergeist in the Education Building in Albany. These, along with more familiar specters like Rip Van Winkle and the Headless Horseman, prompted historian Maud Wilder Goodwin to write in 1919 that the Hudson River was "endowed [with] more of the supernatural...than haunts any other waterway in America." ...
But when it comes to aboriginal mysteries, the Hudson Valley has almost as many flesh-and-blood frights as it does phantoms. Strange backwoods clans have been found in hollows throughout the region, from the ornery so-called Jackson Whites in the Ramapo Mountains, to the Eagle Nesters--supposedly descended from Indians and escaped slaves--perched above Kingston, to the exceptionally blond-haired Van Guilders around Glens Falls. But maybe the most peculiar of these communities was the wild Pondshiners of the Taconic Hills in southern Columbia County.

The backstory is wild (in a few different ways). And highlights what a radically different place this area -- and the nation -- not even a century ago. (Here's the chapter about "The Frightened People" referenced from Grey Riders.)

Tobias Seamon will be at St. Rose October 27 as part of the Frequency North series. His latest book is The Emperor's Toy Chest, which "explores history, mythology, fantasy, and the magical borderlands between."

photo: Leif Zurmuhlen

Comments

Ooooo, that's interesting stuff!

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

Thank you!

...has 24 comments, most recently from Erik

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine