Three Rivers
Hudson~Mohawk~Schoharie
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883

Volume I, Page 440

A Practical Joke that Cost a Life.-There formerly dwelt in Fulton county a man named Robert Blair, who will be remembered in that and several adjoining counties as a tin-peddler; for he followed that avocation for a life-time with varied success: and is said to have given his family a good support by it-maintaining the reputation of a fair and honest dealer in his limited traffic. He died from sunstroke some few years ago, on his way home from one of his bartering expeditions, between Fonda and Johnstown-well stricken in years. About the year 1830, when he was a young man he visited Fort Hunter, and as he left the place to ascend a hill near by, with a lot of sheep-skins tied upon the back end of his wagon, a wag suggested to John Newkirk among several bystanders, to cut the rope and see the peddler scatter his pelts. He favored the hint, and knife in hand unobserved by the dispenser of dinner-horns, he ran to the wagon, sprang up with a dash at the cord, but by some strange fatality he severed the main artery of his left arm, and in a seemingly short time, and long before a doctor could get there, he bled to death. A very little knowledge of surgery, would have drawn a cord tightly around the arm above the wound, and saved the young man's life. Newkirk had not a bad heart, but he listened to bad advice. Mr. Blair, whom I once interviewed about this event remarked that: the young man in trying to play a trick on him, got the worst of it. This was one of the saddest jokes ever practiced in Montgomery county, and I hope it will stand out as a warning against trying to perpetrate tricks upon strangers. This incident was never published before, to the writer's knowledge.

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