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Murder of Simon Adolphus Vandercook

Murder of Simon Adolphus Vandercook

Linda Wilbur (View posts)
Posted: 1071942744000
Classification: Query
Surnames: VanDerCook, Snyder, Beckwith
Simon Adolphus Vandercook of Lansingburgh, NY, a boarder with Harrison Calkins at Alford, MA, was murdered on 10 January, 1882 by one Oscar F. Beckwith. Beckwith apparently absconded to Canada, thus wasn't caught until February, 1885. I would like to make arrangements with someone who can send me copies of local newspaper coverage contemporary to both the murder and to Beckwith's trial.

Re: Murder of Simon Adolphus Vandercook

Anthony Tozzi (View posts)
Posted: 1074016516000
Classification: Query
The Hillsdale, NY public library has a ton of information on both the murder the trial. I've become interested myself in the events, and I've made copies of some of the court transcripts. I don't recall seeing any 1800's news clippings on the murder from the library, but I do intent to do further searching myself.

Also, FYI, there is a very expensive development that is now for sale in the Town of Austerlitz which I believe contains the site of the murder. The site address is: "http://www.baldmountainreserve.com/" and shows the "Alford Pass" (you need a good monitor or good print to read its location).....the murder occurred 1000 feet from the NY/MA line and the cabin was on a creek. I'd speculate that it was on a creek on the Alford pass, since both Vandercook and Beckwith came and went from Alford because it was the closest settlement.

Hope this helps!

Re: Murder of Simon Adolphus Vandercook

Tim Masloski (View posts)
Posted: 1074056791000
Classification: Query
I too am interested in this case. My great grandfather's sister Mary Hawver was Harrison Calkins' wife. (They had no biological children but did have an adopted daughter.) I'm surprised over the years that no one has written a book about this murder, although there have been many articles. I have a copy of the initial report that made the Berkshire Eagle, as well as a couple of articles on the subject.
My great grandfather Gilbert Hawver Jr. used to scare my grandmother with the story when she was a child; she in turn told us when we were kids. She passed away (years ago now) without ever knowing that her Uncle Harrison had first hand knowledge of the whole case. She always thought it was just scary Berkshire County fokelore...although you don't run into many stories of murder and cannibalism in the Berkshires.
I have some information from the Columbia County Historical Society that I could send along. However, there are also supposed to be actual court transcripts at the Society office in Kinderhook that I have not seen myself.
I would also be interested in whatever you have uncovered. Hope to hear from you.

Re: Murder of Simon Adolphus Vandercook

Linda Wilbur (View posts)
Posted: 1074087384000
Classification: Query
As a VanDerCook family descendant/genealogist and professional writer of many years' standing, I would absolutely love to write something about this murder. Apparently it was an exceedingly messy one for the time and place. Unfortunately, I won't be able to access the data I need until this coming July when I will be in eastern NY for a family reunion. Someone has graciously offered to send me some of the local newspaper articles, but I no longer post my home address over the internet. So I guess I will just need to wait. Simon Adolphus VanDerCook (1827-1882) was a grandson of Revolutionary War veteran Simon and Laventje "Fevine" (VAN DER HOOF) VanDerCook through their son, War of 1812 veteran Simon S. VanDerCook (1788-1883) who married Elizabeth SNYDER. I would really like to know how Simon Adolphus managed to get himself killed!
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