France joins America in the fight for independence

1778, 244 years ago

Treaties signed

It is a Friday evening, February 6, and Benjamin Franklin, 72, enters the Hotel de Lautree in Paris, holding in his hands papers and the future of the American Revolution. He wears a white hat, a blue velvet coat, white stockings and glasses. Within the hour, trade and alliance treaties were signed by French officials and American commissioners Silas Deane, Arthur Lee and Franklin. (Later, King Louis XVI would add his signature to the treaties.)

The treaties mean that France will recognize the United States as an independent country and support it in its fight against the British. America, in turn, will support France in any future war she has with Britain.

With the stroke of a pen, the United States gains a powerful – and very wealthy – ally in its fight for independence from British rule. France will supply America with money, arms and ammunition. More importantly, the powerful French navy will soon cross the Atlantic and be available to help the American cause.

More story:Baron von Steuben faces a hostile landlord

More story:Utica’s Horatio Seymour Says “No”

1915, 107 years ago

Lincoln honored

Thomas R. Proctor is toastmaster at a Lincoln Day dinner at the Utica Hotel sponsored by Republicans from all of Oneida and Herkimer counties. The keynote speaker is Congressman-elect Homer Snyder from the Little Falls area. (He served five terms until 1925.) Proctor recited Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Bergner’s Orchestra entertained.

1947, 75 years ago

Izaak Walton

Smith Y. Hughes is elected president of Utica Chapter 3, Izaak Walton League, in front of 225 members of Yahnundasis Golf Country Club. Former president Lyle B. Reigler called it the “best dinner meeting in the league”. Other leaders include: George Hassler, first vice president; Robert Hudson, second vice president; and George McDuffee, Secretary-Treasurer.

1972, 50 years ago

Adirondack Park

Harry S. Daniels is appointed executive director of the Adirondack Park Agency. The agency guides private and public development in the six million acres of the Northeastern New York Forest Preserve. His office will be located at the agency’s headquarters in Ray Brook, Essex County, between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. Daniels served as Oneida County Executive from 1967 to 1971 – a county of 275,000 people, 1,600 employees and a budget of $52 million.

In area bowling news, Ruth Mason’s 592 series includes a 267 game in the Ladies Pastime League at Aurora Bowlaway. His first two games are 144 and 181. Gary Scholefield’s 700 series includes games of 232, 213 and 255 in the C. Weaver Classic League at Pinorama.

Jim Foster is elected president of the Utica Toastmasters Club. Other officers include: Robert Jouppi, Vice President Education; Roy Merley, administrative vice president; Benjamin Buyer, secretary; Robert Dowd, Treasurer; and Paul Blood, Sergeant-at-Arms.

1997, 25 years ago


Anna Lucilla McCalmont, who taught the Palmer Method of handwriting in Utica schools for decades, dies at age 103. His students used “push-pulls” and “ovals” to mimic the angle and shape of cursive letters. He was once asked to comment on a report that showed the cost of poor writing to business and industry. “I’m not surprised,” she said. “People are in such a rush, I don’t think they want to take the time to learn calligraphy. Calligraphy is the same as anything else. Practice, practice, practice.

The New York Mills basketball team, coached by Mike Tomassetti, beat Canastota 50-49 when Kevin Cahill hit an 18-foot jumper with five seconds left in the game. He scores 23 points.

In high school hockey, the Rome Free Academy beat Liverpool 8-5. Justin Davis and Bobby Page each scored two goals. Bill Fahy and Bobby Schafer combine for 27 saves.

Kathy Dobrzenski is elected president of the Ladies Chorus of the Utica Maennerchor. Other leaders include: Caren Bleau, Senior Vice President; Carol Daly, second vice-president; Sharon Kornutiak, secretary, and Jeanette Baumgartner treasurer.

2012, 10 years ago

Firefighters elect

The New York Mills Volunteer Fire Department appoints Robert Glenn as its chief. Other officers include: Richard Ulinski, first deputy chief; Edward Chamberlain, second deputy chief; captains Joe Davies, Mike Edwards, Joe Rzepka and Joe Spost; Lt. Jim Bednarczyk, Joe Nasso, Mark Robinson and David Younghanz.

In high school basketball, Proctor High beat Nottingham 59-52. Maurice Mills and Chris Simmons each scored 17 points.

Quiz game

President Abraham Lincoln’s ancestors came to America from (a) Waterford, Ireland, (b) Ayrshire County, Scotland, (c) Cardiff, Wales or (d) Norfolk County, England. (The answer will appear here next week.)

answer to question from last week: President Franklin Pierce attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. President William McKinley attended Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. President Calvin Coolidge attended Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. President Herbert Hoover attended Stanford University in Stanford, California. President Gerald Ford attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

This Week in History is researched and written by Frank Tomaino. Email him at

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