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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Lansingburgh old-timer remembers the Melvilles, praises Typee and Omoo in June 1914

Troy [New York] Daily Times, June 8, 1914
via Fulton History
... Another interesting fact occurs to me. At the time my people occupied the Spafford house, the dwelling just north of it, still standing, was occupied by the Melvilles. A young son, Hermon Melville, went to sea and subsequently wrote his experiences in those two fascinating tales of the sea, "Typee" and "Omoo." They are as fine as anything from the pen of Cooper or Stevenson.
As "M. T." informs the editor of the Troy Daily Times, his grandparents lived in the brick home on First Avenue formerly occupied by Horatio Gates Spafford (1828-1888). In 1838 Herman Melville's mother Maria rented the place "just north" of the brick one that locals long called the "Spafford House." The first Spafford there was the elder Horatio Gates Spafford (1778-1832), author of the influential Gazetteer of the State of New York. As Frances D. Broderick reported for the Troy, NY Times Record ("Spafford Highly Regarded by All," July 17, 1971), the elder Horatio Gates Spafford
"was sincerely mourned when he died of cholera on August 7, 1832, at his beautiful home at 524-526 River St (First Avenue, Lansingburgh, located next to and south of the Melville home)."
Troy, N. Y. Times Record, May 26, 1971

View of Troy, N. Y.
1845, Edwin Whitefield / Albany Institute of History & Art


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