Peter F. Baltimore, a Trojan and not a Burgher, is interred in Oakwood Cemetery in Lansingburgh. In life he would have been known by the African-American population of Lansingburgh – the population of Lansingburgh generally, in all probability. His wife was reported to have been born “near Lansingburgh,” which could mean within the Town of Lansingburgh but outside the Village of Lansingburgh, or somewhere just outside of the Town. Only some items about him are here transcribed, as his name appeared in newspapers a fair amount.
☞ THE COLORED CELEBRATION.—In addition to the facts already given in the WHIG in relation to the important event of to-day—the celebration, by our colored brethren of the passing of the Fifteenth Amendment, an event of so much importance to their temporal welfare, we have gained other facts, which we proceed to state. […]
Evening—Prayer, Rev. C. H. Brown; music, Fifteenth Amendment March, composed expressly for this occasion, and dedicated to P. F. Baltimore, by Prof. C. N. Holcomb [possibly a typo; Professor Orrin “Orry” Howard Holcomb was probably meant]; opening address, Rev. Wm. A. Decker; music, overture to Nabuco—Verdi; reading of resolutions, W. F. Henry; music, Grand Galop—Damen; introduction and finale—Peblow; address, R. F. Greener; musix, selections from Genevieve—Offenbach; reading of a poem (original), E. [Edward] H. G. Clark; music, Grand Valce de Concert, Souderlinge—Tanner; address, J. Langston; selections from Ernani—Verdi; address, Hon. Martin I. Townsend; music, Medley national airs; address by a citizen; benediction.
Troy Daily Whig. April 28, 1870: 3 col 3.
—Prof. R. T. [Richard Theodore] Greener, dean of the law department of the Harvard university at Washington, D. C., is in this city. He came here expressly for the purpose of attending the twenty-fifth anniversary of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Baltimore, which was appropriately celebrated last evening in the presence of many warm personal friends. The professor, who has acquired considerable notoriety through his connection with the [Johnson Chestnut] Whittaker case, declares his belief in the integrity of the greatly maligned West Point colored cadet.
“Personal” Troy Daily Times. May 8, 1880: 3 col 2.
President Garfield reflects the sentiment of the nation in the appointment of Frederick Douglass and ex-Senator [Blanche Kelso] Bruce to high honorable Federal positions. Those gentlemen are leading representatives of the colored race in this country, and have heretofore rendered honorable service in governmental positions.
During our recent Visit to Washington, we met ex Senator Bruce in the State department and executive mansion; he is a dignified and courteous gentleman. We also met at the White House one of Troy’s honored leading representatives of its colored population, Peter Baltimore, the well known and popular gentleman and tonsorial artist on First street. Mr. Baltimore was as well received (as he deserved to be) as any dignitary of this or any other country.
The revolution of public sentiment in regard to the merits and claims of our colored population within the last twenty years is truly wonderful, demonstrating the good results of the triumph and reign of the Republican party during that period and we sincerely hope and believe that the return of Senator Conkling to the United States senate will avert a threatening disaster to Republicanism in this state at least, and bridge the chasm, assuring a smooth and harmonious career of the grand party of honorable achievements, securing to all citizens alike the pursuits of life, liberty and happiness.
Lansingburgh State Gazette. June 11, 1881: 3 col 3.
The news of the death of Frederick Douglass was received with regret among the colored population of this city and others who knew and valued his character. A special service will be held at the African Methodist Episcopal church on Seventh street Sunday evening, and Rev. J. R. B. Smith, the pastor, will eulogize the deceased. Rev. Mr. Smith was related to the deceased by marriage, having married Miss Rachel Murphy, who was a sister of the wife of Charles R. Douglass, son of the dead leader. Rev. Mr. Smith, who was intimate with Mr. Douglass, says the latter once said to him: “I want to die just as if I were going to rest.” His desire was fulfilled.
At the meeting Sunday evening invitations will be extended to other persons in the city to address the gathering.
Mr. Douglass was an old and intimate friend of Peter F. Baltimore of this city, and on the occasions of Mr. Douglass’s visits to Troy he was always Mr. Baltimore’s guest. When Mr. Baltimore’s oldest son was christened at the time Rev. Dr. [Henry Highland] Garnett, afterward minister to Hayti, was a pastor in this city, Mr. Douglass held the child in his arms while Rev. Dr. Garnett performed the christening. A christening dinner was given by Mr. Baltimore, who said to Mr. Douglass and Dr. Garnett: “Gentlemen, if I ever have another son I will name him after you.” Mr. Baltimore fulfilled his promise, and thus it was that Garnett Douglass Baltimore, the present assistant city engineer, received his name. Mr. Baltimore relates a dramatic incident in the career of Mr. Douglass, who at the inauguration of Garfield was one of the board of managers for the inauguration ball, this being the first time that colored men were ever included in the board. Mr. Douglass did not attend the ball, and the next morning Mr. Baltimore called. In speaking of the inauguration ceremonies Mr. Douglass said: “When I look back on the depths from which my race has sprung and see the heights to which it has attained, I cannot help but thank God. I have been dragged from a hotel table, thrust out of my seat in a railway car and made to endure all descriptions of discomfort and torture, but I have lived to see the day when the colored man has occupied a seat in the United States senate and has been represented among the congressmen of the nation, and no longer ago than yesterday, followed by the outgoing and incoming presidents, the members of the cabinet, the diplomatic corps, United States senators, congressmen and other officials, at the head of that grand procession strode Frederick Douglass, the ex-negro slave. Mr. Douglass was at that time United States marshal of the district of Columbia.
The intimacy between Mr. Baltimore and Mr. Douglass has covered a long period, and they have carried on a cordial correspondence for about forty-five years. In a letter of April 29, 1894, Mr. Douglass wrote to Mr. Baltimore: “You and I are almost the only men now alive who were prominent when the late Henry Highland Garnett took up his abode in Troy and became a power in the land. [Samuel Ringgold] Ward, [Stephen] Myers, [William H.] Topp and [William] Rich were familiar names in that day. I am getting old both in fact and feeling. My friends say I look well, and say I have never spoken better than lately. They do not deceive me, and I do not deceive myself. I am to speak in Boston on the 10th of May, and I hope to be able to speak a few more times during the summer. Then I mean to ask my friends and the public to let me alone.”
Under the date of December 20, 1894, Mr. Douglass writes to Mr. Baltimore: “Well, you and I have had a good, long time in this live world. The sand is nearly out of the hour-glass for ’94, and ’95 is at hand.”
Troy Daily Times. February 21, 1895: 3 col 6.
Editor The Record: Seated the other night in the library of my home at the side of an ancient table, dozing over a long neglected volume of Dickens, I roused myself and restored the book to its proper place. My thoughts then reverted to the table. Have not inanimate things their associations? Has not this table a history? Could it not be instilled with power to give it animation and life? And then and there the impulse came upon me to tell the story of the old library table.
In 1866 Peter F. Baltimore opened at No. 7 First Street (the present site of the building given by Robert Cluett to the Young Men’s Christian Association) his tonsorial parlors. The chairs, tables, etc., were furnished by De Graff and Taylor of New York City. Robert Taylor being an ex-Trojan. The table surrounded by chairs, occupied the center of the rotunda of the establishment. In those early days the only club so-called was Bummers’ Guard, located on the north side of State Street between First and River Streets.
The tonsorial establishment became a rendezvous for the most prominent citizens of that period. Many bankers, lawyers, clergymen and business men gathered about the old table. The horrors of the Civil War had ceased, but the glamour of its military heroes still filled the air.
I can recall seeing Gen. John Ellis Wool, Gen. William B. Tibbits, Martin I. Townsend, William Augustus Beach, E. Thompson Gale and John A. Griswold seated about that table. In those days the popular intellectual diversion was the lecture lyceum. Wendell Phillips, Daniel Dougherty, Bayard Taylor and Henry Ward Beecher graced the seats beside the old table. E. L. Davenport, Frank Mayo and Lawrence Barrett read beneath the light of the center lamp. Generals Sherman and Hooker were at the side of the table during the obsequies of General Thomas. And thus, during the passing years, distinguished men, local and from abroad were grouped around it.
The old table holds within its quiet confines the voices of many celebrities. Could it reveal the noble thoughts and sentiments that were expressed around it, what a thesaurus of memories it could arouse! But alas! Inasmuch as it is, the old library table became endowed with life for a brief interval and awoke the recollections of the author.
GARNET D. BALTIMORE.
Troy, September 17, 1935.
“Pulse of the People.” Times Record. September 19, 1935: 12.