Mohawk Valley History: John Adams sails for France to negotiate military alliance

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Ida Lupino, who played “tough dames” in the movies in the 1930sand 1940s and went on to become an important director in Hollywood, visited wounded soldiers at Rhoads Army Hospital in Utica during World War II. She stayed in the area for three days for her goal was to meet every one of the hundreds of patients in the hospital – and she did.  The hospital – in operation from 1943 to 1946 – was located on Burrstone Road on the site of today’s (Louis) LaPolla -(John) Ford Business Park, Notre Dame High School, Elihu Root Army Reserve Center and New York Mills Junior-Senior High School. It treated more than 25,000 sick and wounded soldiers during the war.
Ida Lupino, who played “tough dames” in the movies in the 1930sand 1940s and went on to become an important director in Hollywood, visited wounded soldiers at Rhoads Army Hospital in Utica during World War II. She stayed in the area for three days for her goal was to meet every one of the hundreds of patients in the hospital – and she did. The hospital – in operation from 1943 to 1946 – was located on Burrstone Road on the site of today’s (Louis) LaPolla -(John) Ford Business Park, Notre Dame High School, Elihu Root Army Reserve Center and New York Mills Junior-Senior High School. It treated more than 25,000 sick and wounded soldiers during the war.

1778, 244 years ago

The North Atlantic in winter is a savage stretch of sea, with high winds and dangerous storms appearing without warning. Abigail Adams is aware of this so is fearful as she says goodbye to her husband, John, and their 10-year-old son, John Quincy, as they prepare to sail to France.

The 42-year-old John Adams – a signer of the Declaration of the Declaration of Independence and a member of the Continental Congress since 1774 – has been appointed by Congress a commissioner to France. His mission: replace Commissioner Silas Deane and join Commissioners Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee in negotiating a military alliance with France. Adams reluctantly accepts the position for he is on record opposing any military ties with France. He fears that if French troops join America in its fight for independence from Great Britain, American soldiers now fighting the British with great intensity, might begin to relax.

But Adams is a patriot and is willing to risk his life – and the life of his son – to serve his country. And that is what he will be doing for the North Atlantic not only is treacherous in winter, but is dotted with British warships. If Adams is captured at sea by the British, he surely will be hanged.

Adams and his son board the 24-gun frigate, “Boston,” and begin their 3,000-mile voyage to France. The ship’s commander is Captain Samuel Tucker, an experienced seaman who has sailed the North Atlantic many times in winter. The first days of the trip are not pleasant. The waters are rough and a violent storm one night injures 20 crewmen. Adams begins to regret bringing his son with him. But he and Abigail believe that the boy will gain valuable experience and knowledge on the sea and in France. (John Quincy Adams later served the young United Stated of America as minister to the Netherlands, Prussia, Russia and England. He was secretary of state for President James Monroe and in 1825 became sixth president of the United States. After leaving the White House, he represented Plymouth, Massachusetts, in Congress for 17 years until he died. John Adams’ granddaughter, Abigail, was married to Utica banker Alexander Bryan Johnson. They lived in a mansion that was torn down to make room for the Savings Bank of Utica, the bank with the gold dome. She also was John Quincy Adams’ niece.)

1915, 107 years ago

Woman suffrage

Hundreds of supporters of woman suffrage and Prohibition gather at the Utica YMCA for a “get-together” banquet. Congressman Charles H. Randall, of California, is the main speaker.

1947, 75 years ago

Bread prices

The Utica Bakers Association raises the price of a loaf of bread from 14 cents to 15 cents. Wind’s Bakery and Italian bread makers in East Utica say they will not increase their prices. Charles F. Vogel, president of the association, says the increase is the result of the rising costs of flour, wheat and shortening.

1972, 50 years ago

MDS moves

Mohawk Data Sciences will erect a $3 million, multi-storied headquarters building at the Oneida County Airport in Oriskany. Richard Rifenburgh, president of the company that manufactures data recorders, says the building will be located on 27 acres between the Horizon Hotel and the county’s public works building. About 200 employees from the company’s offices and plants in Herkimer, East Herkimer and New York City will relocate in the new facility. The company was founded in 1964 by George Cogar and others who once worked for UNIVAC.

In area bowling news, Rich Zalocha rolls a 713 series on games of 232, 247 and 234 in the Sunday Nite Co-ed League at the Thurston lanes in Frankfort. Mary Bumbolo has a 636 series on games of 174, 225 and 237 in the Girls City League at the Aurora Bowlaway in New Hartford.

Members of the Teen-Age Board at the Boston Department Store in downtown Utica collect newspapers and ice cream containers to recycle. They include: Mary Beth Ziobro of Utica Catholic Academy, Fran Ingro of Kennedy High, Cheryl Morris and Ann Wolber of New York Mills, Cathy Falcone of New Hartford and Kathie Brooks and Francesca Mastroianni of St. Francis de Sales High.

1997, 25 years ago

Smith remembered

The village of Peterboro celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Gerrit Smith, abolitionist who was a key member of the movement to free slaves in the United States in the 19th century. A program is held in the Smithfield Community Center. Smith was born on March 6, 1797 in a house on Broad Street in Utica.

In high school hockey, New Hartford defeats Lake Placid, 8 to 1, in a Division II state semi-final championship game before 2,300 fans in the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Coach John Cunningham’s squad gets a hat trick from Kyle Stevens, two goals from Adam Foote and goals from Sean Kotary, Dan Paciello and Mike Breda. (New Hartford went on to defeat Ogdensburg, 6 to 2, to win the Division II state title.)

2012, 10 years ago

Boilermaker entries

The 35th anniversary of the Utica Boilermaker Road Race hits its capacity with a record 14,000 runners – nearly four months before it is held. Last year, 11,000 participated. Race director Jim Stasaitis says, “This is a testament to the thousands of volunteers and loyal sponsors who make this a must-do race.”

Trivia quiz

This U.S. president is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1411 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, New York. In 1990, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The president buried there is (a) Martin Van Buren, (b) Millard Fillmore, c) Chester Arthur or (d) Grover Cleveland. (Answer will appear here next week.)

Answer to last week’s question: James Monroe, fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825, was the second president born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The first was George Washington.

This Week in History is researched and written by Frank Tomaino. Email him at ftomaino221@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: Mohawk Valley History: Peterboro celebrates abolitionist Gerrit Smith

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