On Our Shelves Now
Schenectady Genesis, Volume II, is a follow-up to Susan Staffa's highly acclaimed first volume, the Colonial Crucible 1661-1774. This standalone volume traces the four most tumultuous decades in the history of Schenectady: from the ending of the French & Indian War into the War for Independence, and later Schenectady's own fight for independence from Albany. At the same time, the town was burgeoning into an economic powerhouse at the center of the international fur trade, while trying not to tear itself apart over who owned the town's Common Lands. This all plays against the growing friction of Schenectady's transition away from its Dutch roots into a town with a greater English influence. It is not a stretch to state the armies and militia from Schenectady, Albany and Tryon counties played major roles in securing the northern border and helping to turn the tide in the Battles of Saratoga and skirmishes throughout the Mohawk Valley. The work strongly captures the state of tension that enveloped the region as fears of invasion from the north echoed throughout the valley. While military coverage is one of the great strengths of the book, Schenectady Genesis, Volume II, is so much more than a broadsheet to stake military claims. Detailed explications and charts covering businesses and their owners, churches and religious figures, governmental leaders, the growth of education in the city, and the roles of everyday citizens are all here. Extensive and well-document endnotes provide a wealth of historical information from primary sources that add flesh to storylines that would otherwise be ignored. TestimonialsJohn Gearing's exhaustive research has produced a wonderful book that will delight those readers looking for a complete picture of the American Revolution in and around Schenectady. It is also much more than just the recounting of military maneuvers, as it explores the complex cultural and business aspects of American colonial life in the second half of the 18th century. - Bill Buell, Schenectady County HistorianJohn Gearing's engaging style weaves together a narrative of the political, commercial, and social life of Schenectady as it grew into a city. These stories connect us to our past, bringing to life the times and people who came before us. Schenectady Genesis, volumes I and II are a valuable resource for the historic preservation community, giving further evidence to why Schenectady's important history and unique cultural resources are worthy of preservation.- Gloria Kishton, Chair, Schenectady Heritage Foundation.