The Grafton Community Library is pleased to announce that it has lent the historic Anti-Rent Banner to the Albany Institute of History and Art until April 2016. The flag is featured in the exhibition Capital Region 50 Objects, which opened September 18. It portrays a man with a horn, small tomahawk and Indian headdress which were symbols of the Anti-Rent movement.[private]
When the patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer died, his will specified that all back rent must be collected. The sheriff and deputies were dispatched to collect the rents or evict farmers and their families and auction their household possessions. Desperate farmers organized a political movement called the Anti-Rent Party. They resisted those trying to collect back rents by dressing in Calico dresses and leather masks. Calling themselves the Calico Indians, they used tin horns to summon neighbors for help when the sheriff or his deputies arrived.
The Anti-Rent Banner is significant because it is a unique object of this historic period. It originally belonged to Peter Hydorn (1812-1876), a member of the Anti-Rent Party. In 1955, his granddaughter, Mina Hydorn Stuart discovered it in a chest of drawers and gave it to the Grafton Community Library. It is on indefinite loan to the Town of Grafton and after April will be displayed again in the Town Hall. [/private]