Sunday, July 5, 2015

Civil War Sunday - Confederate Heritage of Upstate New York

One of my recurring themes in blogging about the United States Civil War as someone interested in the subject (not a "buff", not a trained historian, just someone who enjoys learning about history) is the complicated nature of the war that almost tore us apart.

One thing I like to blog about is how complex the Civil War was. It truly was a war of brother against brother, and, in some ways, still is.  We are all touched by its complexity.  Periodically the war comes to the surface of our consciousness.

Now, in the aftermath of the tragic Charleston, South Carolina church massacre (and subsequent burning of black churches), I wonder if we as a country are ever going to face the our legacy and end the Civil War once in for all.

I doubt it.  Because it is so much easier to talk about taking down confederate flags than face pondering, and changing, changing our attitudes.

Don't just blame the South.  I am recalled of the old saying that when you point your finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you.  At us in the North.

This weekend I visited with someone who talked about the upstate New York trailer park he lives in.  One of his neighbors proudly flies the Confederate battle flag, and has for years.

It is no wonder that some call the war "The Brothers War".  Now, we must face our Confederate heritage - all of us, North and South.

In fact, you may be surprised to find out that it is possible that the final outpost of the Confederacy may have been in upstate New York.  Hence, this post from 2011. 

New York was a proud state that never seceded from the Union.

Or, did it?

The NY Hamlet that Joined the Confederacy

(Thank you, Forgotten Bookmarks, for tweeting about this.)

A few days ago I received a tweet stating that there was a hamlet in upstate NY that had seceded from the Union, joining the Confederate States of America, in 1861.  Further, they didn't rescind their secession and rejoin the United States until 1946.  

In other words, the final outpost of the Confederate States of America was located in upstate New York.

Sounded like a hoax.  Being bitten once by an apparent research error when I did a blog post on a Lee's Surrender quilting pattern and mentioned a secret quilting pattern language used by escaping slaves and the Underground Railroad, I wasn't going to fall for this one.

Except, I've done quite a bit of Internet browsing- including hanging out in a couple of Civil War discussion forums.  And, this "fact" appears to be true - if it isn't even the Voice of America has been fooled.  Fooled, along with the good people of Town Line, NY, in Erie County (pop. about 2500), which commemorated the 150th anniversary of their secession from the United States earlier this month.

Strangely, no one seems to know why they seceded. But join the C.S.A. they did.

Internet sources also report that Town Line didn't join the Confederacy just in name.  They may have sent five citizens down south to join the Confederate Army.

After the war, it is said they would fly the Confederate flag from time to time.

It would appear that, in 1945, then President Truman became involved.  The President of the United States asked Town Line to rejoin the Union.  They did.

But even today, according to various Internet sources and forums, the fire department wears a patch declaring Town Line "The Last of the Rebels", with both a United States flag and a Confederate flag.

(A grateful thank you to the sources I linked to, including a couple of blogs.  You gave me some very pleasurable reading experiences!  I invite you to read the various links if you are interested in this topic.)


  1. I really enjoy reading about these excerpts in history!

  2. I wonder if it had anything to do with the draft in New York. Although, that was New York City, wasn't it?

  3. Wow wonderful post. You did your research my friend !

  4. In a nutshell wasn't it about people who wanted slaves and people who thought they should be free?


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