February 18 – Happy Birthday Dr. John Warner Kniskern


If you had been around Amsterdam, New York’s downtown business district on a regular basis at the turn of the 20th Century you no doubt would have noticed today’s Birthday Celebrant. Why? Because regardless of the time of day, if he was alone he wouldn’t have just been walking, he’d also be reading. It might have been a book, a copy of the old Amsterdam Daily Democrat newspaper or a magazine of some sort or another, but you could be pretty sure he’d be holding and gazing at a page of something. If the sun had already set when you came upon him, chances were good that he’d be leaning up against one of those ornate turn of the century Amsterdam lampposts, straining to read whatever publication he happened to be engrossed in at the time. It didn’t matter what the topic was, this guy would read anything. If TV existed back then and Jeopardy along with it, today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant might have become one of it’s all-time undefeated champions! His name was Dr. John Warner Kniskern. The Kniskern family had settled in Schoharie way back in 1647 and members of the clan had fought in every war since the American Revolution. John Warner Kniskern had been born during the Civil War, on February 18 1867 and after graduating from the Hartwick Seminary in 1886 he entered Albany Medical College and received his doctor’s diploma in 1890. After internship-like assignments at Albany Hospital and Springfield City Hospital in Massachusetts, Dr. Kniskern came to Amsterdam…

I’ve already started work on the second volume of “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays” and Dr Kniskern’s complete story will be featured in it. I will be sharing the complete posts of some of the Volume II birthday celebrants in future issues of the Amsterdam Birthday Blog Newsletter. If you are not yet a newsletter subscriber, you can sign up for free here.

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