Corning, NY is a small city nestled in the Southern Tier region of New York State. While it may be a small city, it has a rich history that dates back to colonial times. From the American Revolution to the rise of glass manufacturing, many significant historical events have taken place in or near Corning. Here are seven historical events worth learning about.
1. Sullivan Expedition
During the American Revolutionary War, the Sullivan Expedition took place in 1779. It was a military campaign led by General John Sullivan, whose objective was to retaliate against the Iroquois Confederacy for their alliances with the British. The expedition ended with the destruction of many Iroquois villages in the region, ultimately forcing the Iroquois to abandon the land, which is now known as the Southern Tier of New York.
2. The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was a secret network of people and safe houses helping slaves escape from the Southern plantations to the North to attain their freedom. The Underground Railroad was active between 1780 and 1865, and Corning was a major station on the route. It was home to many abolitionists who provided refuge to escaped slaves, including William Thomas, who operated a safe house in the city, and his son, Henry Thomas, known locally as "the black Abraham Lincoln."
3. The Civil War
Corning was heavily involved in the Civil War, with companies like Corning's 23rd Infantry Regiment of the New York State Volunteers formed and trained in the area. The regiment played a significant role in many battles, including the second battle of Bull Run.
4. The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution saw the rise of factories and mass production. Corning, NY proved to be a significant location for the development of industry, as the city became a hub for glass manufacturing. Companies like Corning Glass Works (now known as Corning Incorporated) played a critical role in the development of technology used in the manufacture of windows, lenses, and laboratory glassware.
5. The Elmira Prison Camp
During the Civil War, the Confederate Army established a prison camp in Elmira, NY, which is located a few miles from Corning. The camp had over 12,000 prisoners at its peak in 1864, and nearly 3,000 prisoners died due to disease, exposure, and inadequate medical care. The camp's atrocities became known as the "Andersonville of the North."
6. Mark Twain's Home
Corning is not only home to significant historical events, but it's also a place where famous people took up residence. One such person is the great American author, Mark Twain. Twain's summer home, Quarry Farm, was located in the city. He wrote much of his most celebrated work, including Huckleberry Finn, while staying at the farm.
7. Prohibition and bootlegging
In the early twentieth century, the 18th amendment was passed, which prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol. In response, many people began producing and selling illegal liquor, which gave rise to bootlegging. Corning was not immune to this phenomenon, and many bootleggers operated in the area.
In conclusion, Corning, NY, has a rich history, and many significant historical events took place in or near this small city. From the destruction of Iroquois villages during the American Revolution to glass manufacturing revolutionizing the industrial era, and significant historical people like Mark Twain took up residence in the area. Understanding history and how it has shaped the culture and community is essential to appreciating and understanding any place fully.
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