The Lone Grave of Benj Miller

Ran into a strange site while snowmobiling last weekend.  The Lone Grave of Benj Miller.  At least that’s what I’m calling it…

It’s a single grave surrounded by a chain link fence on the top of a small hill along route 56.  The snowmobile trail goes right by it (2 ft away).  There’s a small GAR flag symbol and grave posted next to the gravestone so we know he was a (cavalry) soldier in the Union army during the Civil War.

I’ve done some digging on the net and the best I’ve been able to locate is some others who found the grave and were interested as well.  According to one of the sites I found there might be some more info in The Story of a Cavalry Regiment but I couldn’t find it.

The gravestone reads:

Benj Miller
Co B 11 NY CAV
Died About 1870
Age About 23 Yrs

I might contact the town to see if there’s any more info.  If it happens to intrigue you, and you find any more info than I have, please leave a comment and let me know.


Eddie & Jack "Legs" Diamond

Looking for possible reasons why the Diamond Sportsmen Club was renamed from the Barney Pond Club I stumbled across the story of Eddie & Jack “Legs” Diamond.  It probably has no correlation with the Diamond Sportsmen club but it’s an interesting story from the Adirondacks so I thought I’d share it.

Apparently Saranac Lake, a town just down the road from the Diamond Sportsmen Club, was an international center for the the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.  I had no idea.  Either way, that’s the basis of the story of Eddie Diamond & “Legs”.

Brotherly love showed soft side of notorious hood
By Bill McLaughlin

It’s eminently understandable! An aura of secrecy always surrounded Jack “Legs” Diamond’s visits to Saranac Lake.

He had already earned the title “Clay Pigeon of the-Underworld” having been riddled with shotgun pellets on seven separate occasions, the most slugs his slender body had ever absorbed at one time was 81 during a shootout at Cairo, N.Y.

It was accepted as inevitable that Legs would die “by the sword” as he had lived that way ail his young life. It was just a matter of “when?”

Enemies from both sides of the law had him continually in focus, and with guns cocked whenever and wherever he was spotted.

His gangland cronies depended upon his masterful handling of the Prohibition intricacies. His equation for success was 200 percent profit for 100 proof booze!

When FDR as governor launched an all out war on the colorful felon the Volstead authorities catalogued his liquid assets at $10 million dollars stored in widely scattered warehouses.

If illicit suppliers leaned too heavily on him, he paid his debts in lead. He was hated, feared, admired and generally targeted for extinction.

Legs had one soft spot in his heart. He loved his brother Eddie and would have sacrificed every nickel he owned to bring him back to health. Tuberculosis had ravaged Eddie, who was not nearly as tough and durable as Legs.

Jack sent his brother to various western sanatoria to cure but with little success or improvement recorded. He ordered Eddie to Colorado on one occasion and belatedly found out that hit men were setting him up as a means of vengeance against Legs, who had angered some top professionals including Arnold Rothstein. Legs quickly put his own plan in motion calling in some regional IOUs. When the smoke had cleared five gangland victims were laid out in the Denver morgue. None of them was Eddie.

Jack was familiar with all convenient Prohibition routes between New York City, Albany and Montreal. The bootleg arteries ran close to Saranac Lake. The community was widely recognized as a tuberculosis haven and the prevalent Trudeau legends indicated that cures were attainable at high attitudes.

With the double worry of Eddie’s failing health and the Colorado experience, Legs wanted him closer to home where he could keep an eye on things.

Since the name “Trudeau” signified progress in halting the dreaded white plague, Jack put Eddie, under the care of Dr. Francis B. Trudeau with the admonition that his brother should have the very best medical expertise possible and that expense was no object.

From time to time, Legs would be reported in the village disguised as a heavily-veiled woman or wearing the habit of a nun. Scarves were also worn around the face to protect from the cold.

His favorite hotel was the Riverside Inn, a five-minute taxi ride to No. 6 Shepard Avenue, the “Hemorrhage Hill” section where a very weakened Eddie was drifting even closer to death’s door.

Doctor Trudeau attended Eddie Diamond from Jan. 8, 1929 to January 14, 1930. His medical report stated that he last saw Eddie alive on Jan. 14 at 10 p.m. He died before midnight.

The report also stated that Eddie had been suffering, from pulmonary tuberculosis for two years and nine months, and that the disease had finally spread to his intestinal tract. It was listed as a contributing cause of death.

There was no autopsy. Willis Currier, a local undertaker (license- 509) prepared the body for shipment to New York City acting on orders of Charles Higgins, of 7901 4th Ave., Brooklyn.

A very special “truce” of respect was in effect among rival gangsters at the metropolitan funeral home where Eddie was laid out amid floral splendor.

Gangland’s elite (gunless) hobnobbed with cops who infiltrated the mortuary rooms looking for “most wanted” suspects who might turn up at such a function.

Edward Diamond was 27 years, 6 months and 5 days old when he expired that winter night on Shepard Avenue. He left a widow, Catherine Donahue Diamond, and a son, Johnnie.

But Legs of the charmed life was to follow shortly. He was shot through the head several times by unknown assailants on Dec. 18, 1931 at about 5 o’clock in the morning as he lay drunk in bed at his Dove St. rooming house in Albany.

Perhaps stranger still and nearly as rapid was the departure of Leg’s wife, Alice, who was also shot by person or persons unknown. She had been drinking coffee at her kitchen table in Brooklyn on June 30,1933, when. a visitor placed a .38-calibre pistol to her temple and fired once.

Once was enough. Alice was 33 at the time of her death.

Saranac Lake occasionally has reason to treasure bits of selective notoriety and. colorful anecdotes with cosmopolitan appeal But all too often these sequences of historical fact, are being lost and are rarely recoverable in their original mint condition.

Originally posted on HSL Wiki.

Whitesboro Village Seal

The Whitesboro NY village seal depicts a White man strangling an Indian.  Seriously… I’m not making this up.

When I first saw this, I didn’t believe it.  Sure enough, even the WhitesBoro village website recounts the history of their seal and it’s just as outlandish as I originally thought.

The following is an excerpt from the History of the Village of Whitsboro

In an article of the Observer Dispatch, written by Joe Kelly in 1977, a notice of claim was filed with the Village Board saying the (village) seal depicts a “white man choking an Indian” and said the seal demeans, disgraces and creates prejudice and distrust of Indian people. He asked the Village to stop displaying the seal. As a result of this, the seal was re-designed with Hugh White’s hands being placed on the Indian’s shoulders and not so close to his neck. The wrestling match was an important event in the history of the settling of the Village of Whitesboro and helped foster good relations between White and the Indians.

All well and good right?  Think again.  Take a look at the newly revised seal yourself:

Whitesboro NY Seal

This same seal is what is still displayed today on all village vehicles, letterhead and official documents.  This just seems wrong to me.  I’m not sure how this is still around.


I’ve been watching a bunch of Jeremiah episodes lately.  I can’t believe I missed this series in 2002-2004.  It’s quite good, and reminds me a bit of Jericho (surprise surprise, Jeremiah was canceled).  Anyway… I just watched the episode titled “Out of the Ashes” in which a bunch of thugs are attempting to rid the world of books.  Kurdy (one of the main characters) gives a quick little speech which I thought holds a lot of meaning even in the world we live in.

How are we to know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been?
these books are a bridge to our past
they allow us to touch other lives
generation upon generation, artists, philosophers, poets
If we let them die, we’re burning those bridges
If we let these words die, we are killing our history as well as our future

Vintage Views of Rochester

A short time ago I found a website that has lots of historical photos and postcards along with time-lines named Vintage Views of Rochester. Apparently I’m the last person in Rochester to find it, but i thought I’d share it anyway. The following is a postcard depicting the aqueduct (broad street) as well as the building I work in (the large brick building in the center of the postcard).

Genesee River and Aqueduct

A Boat and a Plane

Sailors Lost

Today we had a real early start. We left the hotel at 6:45 and dropped our bags at the airport. From there we headed to The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. We learned a lot of interesting things and saw even more. There was a museum at the memorial which had several interesting displays. The most moving of which was a display containing the items corresponding to one of the sailors lost on the USS Arizona. It contained his diploma, his purple heart, the telegram sent to his mother notifying her of his death and several other times of importance pertaining to his life.

Flying High

The memorial itself is very somber but an empowering part of American history. You felt a sort of pride stepping onto the deck of the memorial with the American Flag flying high above. It was inspiring to learn that even the survivors of the USS Arizona still to this day request to be buried at sea with their shipmates. When requested, they are cremated and Navy divers are commissioned to place them amongst the wreckage.

After visiting the memorial we caught a quick taxi ride back to the airport and it was on to the Big Island. Once arriving on this rainy paradise, we grabbed our rental and went out for a joyride. We took the ‘scenic route’ (which was labeled as such) and happened across an amazing overlook and trail head to the shoreline below. Since we didn’t have anything else planned we took the trek and we’re glad we did. The tide was coming and the waves were furious. Check out the photo album for some amazing shots from our mini-hike.

By the time we made it to the end of the ‘scenic route’ it was time for dinner. We found out how different Hilo is from Waikiki as it took us almost an hour to find a restaurant (we weren’t being picky, we couldn’t find ANY). However; once we found one, Hilo Bay Cafe, we determined the food was worth the search.

Another great ending to another great day.

Rachel and Randy