Off the Path from New York to Boston


Apr 3, 2020
Courtesy of Jesse Nasta

Cesar Beman marched and fought with black and white soldiers during the Revolutionary War up and down the Hudson River. But he wasn’t supposed to be there.

“He fought in place of the man who enslaved him,” says Jesse Nasta, a visiting professor of African American Studies at Wesleyan University. He says Cesar was one of thousands of enslaved people in New England. “It was sort of a compensation that he would be manumitted.”

There were almost 300 African American soldiers in the Revolutionary War from Connecticut alone, Nasta says.

Davis Dunavin / WSHU

An economic genius is remembered for predicting the 1929 stock market crash that led to the Great Depression. His last words of wisdom live on – stenciled on a series of boulders in a Massachusetts ghost town.

Courtesy of New England Historical Society

Note: The area today known as “Boston Corners” was once known as the singular “Boston Corner” – no “s.” To avoid confusion, this story refers to the area by its contemporary name throughout.

If you look at a map of Massachusetts, there’s a little slice missing from the far southwest corner.

Davis Dunavin / WSHU

McSorley’s Old Ale House opened in the 1850s – it’s one of the oldest bars in New York City.

Its slogan now? “We were here before you were born.” (Its slogan used to be “Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies” – but they let ladies in now.)

Travelling portrait painters were common in the 1800s, but many didn’t even sign their work. There are hundreds of these paintings attributed to one artist: a man named Ammi Phillips.