Tag Archives: Martin van Buren


5 Mar

The land around our house (which also happens to be near where I grew up) is shrouded in legend.

There are famous legends, like the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, with it’s headless horseman and hapless teacher.  And then there’s the legend of the school named for that teacher, which always manages to close for a snow day regardless of only a few flakes having fallen from the sky.

Then there’s the legend of that great adventurer Henry Hudson, and the naming of a little town, Kinderhook, for its wealth of little children.  The town is also, according to legend, the source of one of the world’s favorite terms, O.K. It either has something to do with apples, or with the eighth president of the United States, Martin van Buren.

Speaking of old MvB, according to my mom, who had a friend (or possibly a friend of a friend) who lived in his house before it became a national park, there was a legend that, every year on his death day and on his birthday, the legs of the bed in which he died would fly off at high speed.  Apparently she had to stop using the bed for this reason.  Personally, I would have stopped using any bed made prior to 1862 for reasons other than that, mainly involving comfort.

Also in the realm of the spiritual world, there was the legend of the ghost that haunted my friend Alison’s house.  It was a very quirky ghost, taking vengeance on those in her very large family who were bad, and bestowing gifts upon those who were good, like my friend and her favorite brother and sister.  One year it even gave her a Christmas present; wrapped up in a very grubby old box, tied up with grubby old string was a beautiful, very old Dutch coin.

Don’t believe in ghosts? What about mobsters? Click here for some legends of the underworld.