New Book Reveals Life in 19th Century Palisades

If you have ever wondered what life was like in Palisades 175 years ago, you might be interested in the book Nicholas Gesner, 19th Century Farmer, which I have just published. Gesner’s house, which he built in 1793, still stands on Closter Road.

Gesner, who lived in Palisades, New York from 1765 to 1868, kept a diary in which he recorded his farming chores, his problems with neighbors, events such as cholera epidemics, meteor showers, shipwrecks and other aspects of his life. As well as farming, he taught school, built ships, and acted as a lawyer to his neighbors, writing wills and deeds and surveying property. He was a bit of a curmudgeon and sometimes wrote five pages about something when he was upset. Gesner began the diary to keep track of the comings and goings of his neighbor Polly Concklin, with whom he had a very unusual relationship, but it soon became a record of the events of his life and of his community.

The new book excerpts the most interesting entries from Nicholas's 1600 page diary, which I published in its entirety in 2015. It is 415 pages with a hard cover and dust jacket, and can be ordered from for $25.65 plus shipping. It will soon be available for order online from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. There is also a copy in the Palisades Free Library.