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The history of Manny's Corners

By Bob Cudmore
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Manny’s Corners, the intersection of Route 67 and Manny’s Corners Road in the town of Amsterdam, was named for Gabriel Manny, who was born in 1740 in New York City.

In 1792, the First Presbyterian Church was organized at Manny’s Corners.

Manny’s son — Gabriel Manny Jr. — moved down the hill and operated the Manny Road House on the north side of what is now East Main Street or Route 5 in Amsterdam. Historians Kelly Farquhar and Scott Haefner wrote, “The tavern and stage house on the Mohawk Turnpike served travelers far and wide between 1795 and 1840.”

The elder Manny died in 1808. The Presbyterian church built at Manny’s Corners burned in the 1880s, according to the website of Amsterdam’s United Presbyterian Church, located on Church Street in the city of Amsterdam.

Arlene Madej grew up near the site of the Manny Road House in Amsterdam’s East End. In 1950, her family moved up the hill to Manny’s Corners.

“The most interesting place was the one-room schoolhouse, which was next to one of the oldest cemeteries in the town,” Madej wrote. “A 1790 sign says it contains the graves of four Revolutionary War soldiers. The school was taught by one teacher for all students from first to seventh grade.”

Ted Madej, married to Arlene for 58 years, went to the one-room school and said the oldest child had to serve as janitor, cleaning and keeping the fires going. The last class graduated from the school in 1960.

Arlene Madej said that Manny’s Corners boasted farms and businesses years ago: Raulen Brothers Dairy Farm, Johnson’s Dairy Farm, an airport and Harmon’s Ice Pond.

Later arrivals included Manny’s Corners Garage, the Chanticleer Restaurant and Paul’s Texaco Gas Station and Roadside Stand, operated by Madej’s father. Madej wrote, “Sometimes people would pay my father with chickens, eggs or garden produce. Gas was three gallons for one dollar. That’s where I met my future husband, who was our paper boy.”

OLD-TIME RELIGION

Bob Johnson of Truax Road has contributed a story he found at the county archives in Fonda that illustrates the strict religious practices of years ago.

The Clizbe family had a farm on what is now the Amsterdam city line at the corner of Route 67 and Widow Susan Road.

More than 200 years ago, Samuel Clizbe farmed the property, Johnson said. “He apparently was somewhat of a prominent person in the area. He was a member of the church at Manny’s Corners about a mile from his home.”

Johnson said Clizbe was an elder or deacon of the church, an elected member of the church consistory, “On a summer Sunday in, I believe 1793, he was seen working in his fields. This transgression was reported to the church officials, and a church trial was held. Clizbe was found guilty of breaking the Sabbath and removed from his position on the consistory.”

Johnson said, “Times and attitudes have certainly changed from 200 years ago.”

In the 1850s, Ellis Clizbe paid for escaped slaves or sheltered them, according to historian Farquhar’s work on the Underground Railroad in Montgomery County.

Johnson said when he was growing up, George and Clara Clizbe, brother and sister, farmed the family property, “They had a herd of nice Holstein cows, several old wood-sided barns, unpainted, and an old unpainted Colonial house. Their property was by then inside the city limits, but they had neither running water nor electricity but used kerosene lamps and lanterns.”

Johnson said the barns burned in the 1950s and the house was torn down when the Holland and Highland Apartments were built on the land.

Anyone with a suggestion for a Focus on History topic may contact Bob Cudmore at 346-6657 or bobcudmore@yahoo.com.

 

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