Sunday, July 31, 2022

Calendar Whiplash in the Hudson Valley 17th Century

I have written before about keeping track of what calendar is being used with my Eastern European ancestors, since some territory went back and forth between Julian and Gregorian depending upon changing government borders. 

I was not aware that there was even greater confusion in North America. In general, one is told that the British colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752. And that is that. Of course, Britain was not the only one to have colonies in North America. The Netherlands were an early adopter of the Gregorian Calendar.

My ancestor, Myndert Frederickse (and his brother Carsten) were among the founders of the First Lutheran Church of Albany. In a history of the church (Swan of Albany, Henry H. Heins, 1976) there is a discussion about the calendar changes for the Hudson Valley.

1664 - The British annex New Netherland

It is difficult to ascertain the exact date of the British annexation of New Netherland beyond “late summer, 1664,” because at that time there was a difference of ten days between the calendar used by the Dutch and that used by the English. The Netherlands had already switched from the Julian (Old Style) to the Gregorian (New Style) calendar in 1583, while the English would not do so until 1752. Thus in 1664, the Dutch settlers’ calendars were ten days ahead of the ones used by their new government. 

With Peter Stuyvesant’s surrender, therefore, the calendar went back to Old Style in the Hudson Valley, and the dates of the previous week or two were relived for a second time by the Lutherans and everyone else who was already there. (P. 15) 

1673 - The Dutch retake the colony. 

Since the Dutch naturally retook the colony with every intention of holding on to it, the restoration of the Dutch calendar (New Style) quickly resulted. The ten days that were added in 1664 were taken away again: anyone in New Orange or Willemstadt who had a birthday during the changeover lost it in 1673. (P. 20)

1674 - Less than a year later, the Dutch lost the colony again. 

The days of the week were the same on both calendars, and the actual day of the changeover — October 31 (OS) November 10 (NS) was a Saturday. This made the transition easier, but it also meant, since the difference was not 14 but only 10 days, that the dates of the month which then had to be repeated fell on different days of the week than they had the first time around. Here is how the month of November was actually observed in the year 1674, as we have reconstructed the situation: (P. 21)

The author then explains that this was at the tail end of the Trinity season on the liturgical calendar. Apparently there are 27 readings for a potential 27 Sundays between Easter and Advent, though a 27th Sunday is rare. Unfortunately, Easter fell early in 1674, and a November with Six Sundays created a 28th Sunday before Advent. The author wonders whether the pastor preached the same sermon twice.  

Any dates for events in this time period for the Dutch colonies need to be looked at carefully to ascertain what calendar is most likely being used.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

On the Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots (June 28-July 3)

I’ve been thinking about this post for many months. How to write it. What to state. What not to state. This is one of the more disturbing events I have uncovered in my research.

The number of times he was stabbed in his own home varies between news articles. Somewhere between 75 and 200 times. The killer admitted to fleeing, and then returning the next day and attempting to burn the body and all the evidence.

The killer was convicted of arson and sentenced to a handful of years in jail.

He was found not guilty of murder, despite his confession.

Different newspaper accounts use different terms for his defense. One has him claiming that the victim attacked him. Another has him claiming that the victim made a pass at him. All reports indicate the victim was unarmed. Completely unarmed from his head to his feet, by most accounts. The exact details of the claim I have yet to uncover. I do know the two met in a bar, and the victim invited the killer back to his home. One would think the number of stabbings was a bit excessive if the intent was merely to escape the attack, even if that word was appropriate. (Drug use by both parties was indicated.)

The victim is/was a cousin of mine. First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, I’m not going to state. Nor am I going to state the location, beyond the United States, prior to Lawrence v Texas (2003). But in my lifetime. I am hopeful the results of the trial would have been different today. I fear there are people trying to move our country backwards to the culture that influenced these events and the outcome of the trial. 

The victim had no offspring, but close kin are still living.

From an internet search, it appears the killer is also alive. The given and surname combination isn’t common.

If you believe you know the particulars of the case, please do not add any information in the comments. I don't want readers to know the particulars; they don't matter. I have intentionally phrased this so that this blog post will not come up in searches, nor will it be easy for readers to figure out the identities.

I've downloaded lots of newspaper articles that will not appear in upcoming Amanuensis posts. My cousin's death will be documented for any family members who view my research.