Fascinating Upstate New Yorkers You’ve Never Heard Of

Everyone knows that Uncle Sam was from here, that Lucille Ball was from New York, but here’s a list of people with fascinating stories you’ve probably never heard of but shouldn’t miss!

I have to give full credit for this list and research to New York Upstate but I couldn’t wait to share the list with you. They featured a list of 12 people. I took that list, narrowed it down to the Capital Region (or people who you just had to know).

  • Virginia O’Hanlon Douglas from Columbia County: Have you ever heard “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” This is that Virginia. As the story goes, Virginia was 8-years-old when she asked her father about Santa. Her father told her to write to their local paper and see. An editor responded and wrote “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
  • E.Z.C. Judson from Delaware County: Edward Zane Carroll Judson, Sr. was a writer whose pseudonym was Ned Buntline who wrote about the American West. In 1869, be became “enchanted” with a man nicknamed Buffalo Bill. He made him the subject of some of his most popular books.
  • Seth Flint from Otsego County: At 15, Flint walked to Albany to a recruting station, lied about his age, and eventually fought in the Union Army and became General U.S. Grant’s personal bugler. He ended up blowing the surrender call at Appomattox to end the Civil War. 
  • Clayton Bates from Ulster County: Bates lost his leg at 12-years-old. He ended up becoming famous for his one-leg dances. He and his wife ended up opening a popular nightclub for African-Americans in the Catskills.


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