From the Archives

Notes from Rhinebeck Historical Society
July 2024

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to step back in time to Rhinebeck in 1858? This is your opportunity! The Strong family’s donation of issues previously missing from the archives and a community supported digitization project resulted in a fully accessible source. From 1858 to 1889, thirty years of local history are now available in The Rhinebeck Gazette on this historic region’s records repository Hudson River Valley Heritage. The 100th anniversary booklet is available in RHS archives.

Click here to read the recent feature about this exciting newly digitized resource in the Times Union

Following the recent digitization, I searched for terms related to past completed and future passion projects. What a flurry of ideas emanated from this activity! However, I decided to focus on one issue, January 5th, 1858, the oldest issue now digitized on the Hudson River Valley Heritage site.


Along the left margin, terms and laws appear above “Variety”, a collection of thought-provoking and sometimes humorous brief comments. “Popular Tales” fill the next four columns. The purpose of the tales “The Runaway Match” and “A Love Story” is to entertain the reader.

Readers today can perhaps recognize the need to support the printer shared in this plea.

The next column “Miscellany” includes a father’s heartbreaking description of his daughter’s death in “Death of a Babe”, an excerpt from Dr. Nehemiah Adams’ book “Agnes and the Key of her Little Coffin”.

“The Farmers Column” provides useful information to farmers in “Fixed Facts in Agriculture”, “Profits of Farming” and “Malic Acid”. 

Brief quotes to live by fill blank spaces as needed. The last words on page one are, “A distinguished writer says that, ‘nothing is best achieved by indirection’. The workings of a corkscrew would seem a refutation of that plausible Theory.”

“Terrible Scene in a Theatre”, “An Extraordinary Law Suit” and “Shipment of Irish Girls” appear in the second column. The third column begins with “Grand Gala Day” “The Rhinebeck Fantasticals”. Read page two for more events and announcements.

George C. Luff printed his Annual Address with thanks and comments about Wager, Seaman, Captain Affleck, Boorman House, I. F. Russell, J. N. McElroy, Johnny Green, Captain Schultz, Captain Frank and Mrs. Miller [Starr Institute] in the first column on page two.

“Extra! Extra!” cry the newsboys, and the advertisers included on page three target potential customers. Under “Po’Keepsie Advertisements”, James G. Wood holds a prominent spot in column five. See the rest of Wood’s advertisement and more in one column of advertisements for Rhinebeck businesses, two columns for Po’Keepsie and one column each for [New] York and Albany. 

“All aboard!” 

If I were transported back in time to 1858, I might enjoy taking a trip down the Hudson to New York, but I might hesitate a little more before jumping in on lotteries, magic cures and land deals. Check out the January 5th, 1858 edition of The Rhinebeck Gazette. Would you be tempted?

See you in August!  

From the Archives,
Researcher Bonnie Wood
July 2024
“From the Archives” previous editions

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