Charles Yaple's "Jacob's Land" Explores the Settling of New York's Frontier

Recently, author and SUNY Cortland professor Dr. Charles Yaple spoke with WSKG’s Shane Johnson about his new nonfiction book, Jacob’s Land: Revolutionary War Soldiers, Schemers, Scoundrels and the Settling of New York’s Frontier (2017). The book chronicles life on New York’s frontier before, during, and after the American Revolution. It does this by weaving together the stories of three individuals; Native American leader Joseph Brant, George Washington’s Surveyor General Simeon DeWitt, and Dr. Yaple’s own ancestor Jacob Yaple. Dr. Yaple is Professor Emeritus of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies at SUNY Cortland, and Director of the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors. His first book, Foxey Brown: A story of an Adirondack Outlaw, Hermit and Guide as He Might Have Told It, was published in 2011.

Charles Yaple’s “Jacob’s Land” Explores the Settling of New York’s Frontier

Recently, author and SUNY Cortland professor Dr. Charles Yaple spoke with WSKG’s Shane Johnson about his new nonfiction book, Jacob’s Land: Revolutionary War Soldiers, Schemers, Scoundrels and the Settling of New York’s Frontier (2017). The book chronicles life on New York’s frontier before, during, and after the American Revolution. It does this by weaving together the stories of three individuals; Native American leader Joseph Brant, George Washington’s Surveyor General Simeon DeWitt, and Dr. Yaple’s own ancestor Jacob Yaple. Dr. Yaple is Professor Emeritus of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies at SUNY Cortland, and Director of the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors. His first book, Foxey Brown: A story of an Adirondack Outlaw, Hermit and Guide as He Might Have Told It, was published in 2011.

Did You Miss 'The Great War'? Watch it Now!

Drawing on unpublished diaries, memoirs and letters, The Great War tells the rich and complex story of World War I through the voices of nurses, journalists, aviators and the American troops who came to be known as “doughboys.”  It is a story of heroism and sacrifice that would ultimately claim 15 million lives and profoundly change the world forever. Watch all three parts of The Great War below. The Great War: Part 1

The Great War: Part 2

The Great War: Part 3

Lt. Benjamin Loring | A Civil War Story

Benjamin Loring was born on October 14, 1824, in Duxbury, Massachusetts. During the Civil War, Loring enlisted in the U.S. Navy and participated in a number of important battles, serving with distinction on three different warships. After the war, Loring settled in Owego, New York where he lived out the rest of his days. Today, the Tioga County Historical Society Museum in Owego preserves an item from Benjamin Loring’s military service that was present at one of the defining moments in American History. https://youtu.be/Df5GIyI6yt8

If you enjoy Civil War history or great television drama be sure to tune in for the second season of PBS’s Civil War medical drama Mercy Street, Sundays at 8PM on WSKG TV.

‘The Battle of Chosin’ tells the Harrowing Story of the Pivotal 1950 Korean War Battle

American Experience The Battle of Chosin airs November 1 at 9PM on WSKG-TV. Revisit the pivotal 1950 Korean War battle through the eyewitness accounts of participants. It is a harrowing story of bloody combat and heroic survival. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcq5Ko6uizY

On Thanksgiving Day 1950, American-led United Nations troops were on the march in North Korea, and U.S. Marine and Air Force pilots distributed holiday meals. Soon after that peaceful celebration, American military leaders, including General Douglas MacArthur, were caught off guard by the entrance of the People’s Republic of China, led by Mao Zedong, into the five-month-old Korean War.

'The Battle of Chosin' tells the Harrowing Story of the Pivotal 1950 Korean War Battle

American Experience The Battle of Chosin airs November 1 at 9PM on WSKG-TV. Revisit the pivotal 1950 Korean War battle through the eyewitness accounts of participants. It is a harrowing story of bloody combat and heroic survival. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcq5Ko6uizY

On Thanksgiving Day 1950, American-led United Nations troops were on the march in North Korea, and U.S. Marine and Air Force pilots distributed holiday meals. Soon after that peaceful celebration, American military leaders, including General Douglas MacArthur, were caught off guard by the entrance of the People’s Republic of China, led by Mao Zedong, into the five-month-old Korean War.

Female World War II Veteran gets Historic Marker in Owego

Today, a new historic marker was dedicated in Owego honoring the life and service of Corporal Margaret Hastings. Born in 1914, Cpl. Hastings grew up in Owego and joined the Women’s Army Corps, or WACs, in 1944. On May 13, 1945, as the Second World War drew to a close, Cpl. Hastings boarded a transport plane with 23 other service men and women. It was for a sightseeing trip over the uncharted jungles of Papua New Guinea. However, the pleasure cruise ended unexpectedly when the plane crashed violently into the side of a mountain.

Corporal Margaret Hastings | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows Owego, New York, native Corporal Margaret Hastings on her Victory Bond tour at the close of World War II. In Spring, 1945, Owego native Corporal Margaret Hastings boarded a transport plane with 23 other service men and women. It was for a sightseeing trip over the uncharted jungles of Papua New Guinea. But the trip ended when the plane crashed violently into the side of a mountain. Cpl. Hastings was one of only three survivors.

John Kennedy

On the night of October 12, 1812 a contingent of New York Militia rowed silently across the treacherous Niagara River near the Canadian village of Queenston. For five months war had been raging between Great Britain and America, and this small group of volunteers was the lead element of an American invasion of Canada. Among the first group of militiamen across the river that night was young ensign from Steuben County named John Kennedy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdN7u0H-GCg

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.  

Links:
Path Through History
WSKG’s Path Through History
Steuben County Historical Society

Photos Courtesy of:
Steuben County Historical Society
Library of Congress

Holding the Line: The 137th New York Volunteer Infantry at Gettysburg

On July 1, 1863, the Army of Northern Virginia, led by Robert E. Lee, and the Army of the Potomac, led by George G. Meade, collided outside the sleepy Pennsylvanian town of Gettysburg. For three days, over 175,000 men fought across the rocky hills, fields, and orchards that surrounded the town. Over 50,000 would be killed, wounded, or go missing. It was bloodiest battle of the American Civil War, and one local regiment, the 137th NY, played a vital role in securing the pivotal Northern victory. David Cleutz, author of the books Fields of Fame & Glory: Col.

Benjamin Bennitt

On April 12, 1861, confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor and America was thrust into Civil War. Three days later President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion, and individuals from across the Southern Tier answered the call. The first person to enlist from Urbana, New York was Benjamin Bennitt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMJG6X_UF-Y

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:
Path Through History
WSKG’s Path Through History
Steuben County Historical Society

Photos Courtesy of:
Steuben County Historical Society
Library of Congress

'So Close to Home' Illuminates a Little-Known World War II Event

Recently, New York Times bestselling author Michael J. Tougias spoke with WSKG History about his new book, “So Close to Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During World War II” (2016). Co-written with journalist Alison O’Leary, “So Close to Home” chronicles a U-boat attack in the Gulf of Mexico, a family’s resilience, and the daring patrol of the submarine commander. Michael J. Tougias is the author and co-author of over 20 books, including “The Finest Hours” (2009) which was adapted into a major motion picture starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck in 2016. Many of his books have a predominant theme of true survival-at-sea adventures. He has also written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, USA Today, and many other publications. Listen to the interview:

(The partial transcript below has been edited for clarity.)

 

Interview Highlights
On the war in the Atlantic

When the U.S. entered the war with Germany, the first thing the Germans did was launch Operation Drumbeat. They sent over U-boats here before we could become proficient at defending against them, and it was like a turkey shoot.

Lt. Col. George J. Haley

During the fast paced aerial dogfights over Europe during World War II, the first all-black fighter group known as the Tuskegee Airmen would make history and ultimately help break the military color barrier. Lt. Col. George Haley, of Bath, NY would be one of the 900 elite fighter pilots in this historic group. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXXhhQzpC1g

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:
Path Through History
WSKG’s Path Through History
Steuben County Historical Society

Photos Courtesy of:
Steuben County Historical Society
Library of Congress

Historian James M. McPherson Talks Civil War History and 'Mercy Street'

Recently, noted Civil War historian James M. McPherson visited Binghamton University to deliver the ninth annual Shriber Lecture. Professor McPherson sat down with WSKG History to discuss his career, Civil War history, and his involvement as a historical consultant on PBS’s Civil War medical drama MERCY STREET.  

Dr. James McPherson is the George Henry Davis ‘86 Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Battle Cry of Freedom” (1988). He taught American history at Princeton University for 42 years and served as president of the American Historical Association. McPherson’s work mainly focuses on the American Civil War and Reconstruction and he is the recipient of two separate Lincoln Prizes.

Dying a “Good Death” in the Civil War

Editor’s Note: WSKG has asked faculty and graduate students in the History Department at Binghamton University to explore the history behind PBS’s new drama Mercy Street. In today’s blog post, graduate student Melissa Franson discusses the 19th century concept of a “good death” and how the Civil War challenged that notion. Dying a “Good Death” in the Civil War
In the first episode of Mercy Street, we are confronted with the gruesome injuries and carnage that men inflicted upon one another during the Civil War. One of the most poignant moments in the series comes when a young soldier is brought into the hospital literally attached to the Union flag. Blood from the young soldier’s wounds has glued his hands to the flag. Having already lost his father in the war, the un-named soldier was unwilling and unable to relinquish his sole responsibility – making sure the flag did not fall. The young, scared soldier desperately tries to assert his masculinity while being comforted by the Army Chaplain, Harry Hopkins.

The American Civil War and the Origins of Government Surveillance

What do the American Civil War and the NSA have in common? That’s the questions explored in the most recent video of the web series Time Capsule. In “The Origins of Government Surveillance,” the Time Capsule team reveal how both the Union and Confederacy used spies and surveillance during the Civil War, and how these tactics laid the foundation for modern government surveillance. Watch Now:

Time Capsule is made by The Good Stuff from PBS Digital Studios, in association with PBS LearningMedia. Each episode looks at what happened in the past to make now possible. PBS LearningMedia also has a number of helpful tools for educators designed to teach students about the Civil War.

Books to read if you're loving 'Mercy Street'

PBS’s new Civil War medical drama Mercy Street follows a diverse cast of characters through the horrors of a Civil War hospital and the hectic world of Union-occupied Alexandria, Virginia. Set in the spring of 1862, many of the show’s characters and events are based on real people and actual happenings. If you want to learn more about the history behind the show, check out the reading list below. I based it on suggestions from PBS, as well as a few selections from my own library. It is by no means comprehensive, but should be a good starting point!

Charles Hallet of Company K | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photograph comes from the Library of Congress and shows a young soldier from the 137th New York Infantry Regiment posing for the camera. The Library of Congress officially lists him as “unidentified,” but according to its notes, the young man is most likely Charles Hallett of Company K.

The 137th was organized in Binghamton, NY and mustered into service in 1862. While recruits came primarily from Broome, Tioga and Tompkins Counties there were also enlistees from other parts of Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. The regiment was led by Col. David Ireland and saw action at a number of important battles, most notably Gettysburg and Lookout Mountain.

Historic Civil War Drum is Given New Life

In 1863, Oscar Barton enlisted in the Union Army as a drummer. For two years, he carried his drum across the South as a member of the 26th United States Colored Troops. Today, the Tioga County Historical Society has given his drum a second lease on life. OSCAR BARTON

In 1863, the Civil War was in its second hellish year, and thirty year old Oscar Barton was living in Vestal, New York. He was a descendant of free-blacks from Rhode Island, and his grandfather had been a soldier during the American Revolution.

Preserving a Piece of Revolutionary War History in New York

During the summer of 1779, a military expedition ravaged the landscape of upstate New York. Today, on the 235th anniversary of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, the Public Archeology Facility (PAF) at Binghamton University has received a grant to help preserve a part of this often overlooked aspect of the American Revolution. The Sullivan-Clinton Campaign

In May of 1779, General George Washington ordered Major General John Sullivan and Brigadier General James Clinton to lead a military expedition into the western frontier of New York and Pennsylvania. The expedition was the Continental response to a series of deadly raids conducted from the region by Loyalists  and their Iroquois allies – most notably at Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania and Cherry Valley in New York. The battles of Chemung and Newtown were the only major military engagements of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign.

June 6, 1944

In 1944, 23-year-old PFC Philip Russell was among the thousands of troops who were part of the D-Day invasion. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, the group of soldiers later known as the ‘Band of Brothers.’ Take a journey with Philip Russell and WSKG’s Crystal Sarakas, and hear his story. Explore the map full-screen! More D-Day Stories from WSKG
Binghamton D-Day veteran remembers his WWII journey
by Crystal Sarakas
Hear the complete broadcast version.

Half A World Away and 70 Years Later, A Soldier's Sacrifice Remembered

In 1943, 2nd Lt. Joseph P. Congelli, a native of Hornell, New York and a member of the “Mighty Eighth” 8th Air Force, was shot down while he returned from a mission over Osnabruck, Germany. Today, a Dutch citizen has adopted Congelli’s name at the Wall of the Missing in Margraten, Netherlands. In an effort to learn more about his adopted soldier, Peter Cootjans reached out to WSKG, and this is what we discovered. THE WALL OF THE MISSING

This past Memorial Day, as the familiar sound of taps played at cemeteries across the United States, in the Netherlands, thousands of Dutch citizens gathered to decorate the graves and memorials of nearly 10,000 U.S. service members in the Netherlands American Cemetery.