Among the unusual landmarks in the Adirondacks is a massive roadside boulder in central St. Lawrence County, just three tenths of a mile west of the South Colton post office. Widely known as Sunday Rock, it is part of the legend and lore of the northwestern Adirondacks. My first visit to South Colton came several decades ago during a long road trip aimed at scouting out new places to hike and canoe. I was led there by a passage in a book titled, “Rocks and Routes of the North Country, New York,” by Dr. Bradford B. VanDiver, Professor of Geology at SUNY Potsdam when the book was released in 1976. (His story was featured in this space a few weeks ago.) » Continue Reading.
Grassroots Activism and the American Wilderness: Pioneers in the 20th Century Adirondack Park Conservation Movement, a new exhibit featuring material from the John S. Apperson and Paul Schaefer collections, will be on display in the Lally Reading Room of Union College’s Schaffer Library through December.
The collections, spanning from 1899 to 1996, provide a window into the history of the American environmental movement and the tensions that erupted over efforts to conserve the Adirondack Forest Preserve and expand the Adirondack Park. The materials also give a broader understanding of the history of national park and wilderness preservation and the critical role activism played in those efforts. » Continue Reading.
Historic Saranac Lake announced that it has added Aurora Wheeler to its staff, in the position of Oral History Coordinator. Wheeler will be planning and overseeing the expansion of Historic Saranac Lake’s Oral History Project.
Prior to joining the staff of Historic Saranac Lake, Wheeler held positions at the Adirondack Museum, Paul Smith’s College VIC, and Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT. At the Adirondack Museum, she worked in Institutional Advancement on the For Generations capital campaign. A graduate of Harvard University, she has experience in fundraising, marketing, filmmaking and digital storytelling, museum education, and recently completed a fellowship in digital media content production with Organizing for Action in Chicago. » Continue Reading.
On Saturday, November 12th from 10 am to 4 pm, Fort Ticonderoga reenactors will portray the British soldiers, loyalists, refugee families, and native allies at Ticonderoga in November 1777 who were cut off from the rest of the British line following the surrender of British forces at Saratoga.
Programs and demonstrations highlight the weapons, tactics, and trades of the British garrison in the late fall of 1777. Tours will explore the decision to evacuate the soldiers back to Canada and the choice to destroy Ticonderoga in their wake to leave nothing useful for Continental forces. » Continue Reading.
Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) will hold its 36th Annual Meeting on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 7 pm at the Saranac Laboratory Museum. The meeting will feature a presentation by filmmaker Jim Griebsch of a newly updated version of “Hotel Hope: the Story of Will Rogers Hospital.”
The evening will also feature the unveiling of an artifact donated to HSL by the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. The meeting is open to members of Historic Saranac Lake and those who are interested in becoming members. Light refreshments will be served.
Historic Saranac Lake contracted with Jim Griebsch to produce the historical film in 2015. Special historian for Will Rogers Memorial Hospital Leslie Hoffman provided research assistance. Caroline Welsh, Director Emerita of the Adirondack Museum, and Art and Museum Consultant, assisted with research and writing. Originally planned to be a short film of under fifteen minutes, the project grew to feature original film footage and contemporary interviews with former patients and employees of the hospital. In 2016, the film was updated with additional footage. » Continue Reading.
Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) is inviting members of communities around Northern New York to attend programs focusing on French-American Heritage called “Share Your French Heritage! Stories from Quebec.”
Local residents with Quebecois and/or French ancestry are invited to share their stories about how their families came to the North Country and how they maintain a connection to their cultural identity. Participants are encouraged to bring their own photos of family members and homesteads, objects that represent family traditions, and other artifacts and heirlooms that tell the story of their French heritage. The program will be led by TAUNY’s Executive Director, Jill Breit.
While researching and writing my latest book, Leaves Torn Asunder: A Novel of the Adirondacks and the American Civil War, I knew I wanted it as historically accurate regarding Adirondack farm life in the mid-1800s as it was about the movement and moods of the soldiers during the war.
Getting good information on the soldiers was relatively easy; there are a multitude of letters, diaries, and many books on the subject. Researching Adirondack farm life of the time proved to be more of a challenge. » Continue Reading.
One hundred years ago, on October 22, 1916, Inez Milholland Boissevain gave a powerful suffrage speech in Los Angeles. At one point, she directed a question at Woodrow Wilson: “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” As those words echoed through the hall, Inez collapsed on stage.
Today, New York State prepares to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage and the nation approaches an historic election – a woman is the presidential nominee of a major political party. The importance of casting a vote on November 8, 2016, seems obvious, and the right to vote taken for granted. But consider that women in New York State could not vote in Congressional or Presidential elections a hundred years ago. However, after decades of campaigning for women’s suffrage, it appeared that momentum was building in 1916. One woman from New York helped spur the forces to move “forward into light.” » Continue Reading.
The Ticonderoga Historical Society has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Northern New York Library Network for the digitization of original records pertaining to Roger’s Rangers from the historical society’s Loescher Collection.
Specifically, the grant will allow rosters of enlisted men who served with Rogers to be available online through the New York Heritage website. While Robert Rogers has been the subject of numerous books and articles, information on individual rank-and- file soldiers has been scarce. » Continue Reading.
After a 15-year hiatus, The Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum returns in print with an issue focused on “1777: The American Revolution on the Northern Frontier.” The Bulletin, published for over seventy years, helped the Fort Ticonderoga Museum achieve an international reputation for original scholarship and research.
Featured guest contributor for this issue is Eric Schnitzer, Historian and Park Ranger at Saratoga National Historical Park. In his article “Cook’s and Latimer’s Connecticut Militia Battalions in the Northern Campaign of 1777,” Schnitzer explores the composition and contributions of these units to the ultimate success of the Continental efforts to stop British General John Burgoyne’s invasion from Canada. » Continue Reading.
Travelling on NYS Rt 28 just north of Wevertown, you may have taken little notice of the old abandoned farm on your right. If you did, you’ll probably gave it little thought; it is, after all, just a few run down barns and pasture overgrown with weeds and “poverty grass”. Yet this farm is a microcosm of Adirondack History.
Andrus Wever and his family were the first to open up the forest and to settle and farm on this site. Andrus was a Revolutionary War veteran who had served with the 6th Albany County Militia. At that time, Albany County included most all of Northern New York, the present state of Vermont and theoretically extended west all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The 6th was called up when General Burgoyne’s Army invaded from the north and Andrus likely saw combat at the battle of Saratoga in 1777. The 6th Albany County Militia was also part of the pursuit party that chased Sir John Johnson and his Royal New Yorkers back north after Johnson’s raid of Johnstown in 1780. It’s unclear if Andrus was a member of that pursuing party, but it’s intriguing to speculate he first came through the wilderness of what is today Wevertown during that pursuit. Andrus’ father, William, was also a patriot and apparently served in the American Revolution on Long Island. He was captured and died of small pox on a British prison ship in Boston Harbor. » Continue Reading.
The little stone school house on Dudley Road is more than just the oldest schoolhouse in Essex County, it was the first schoolhouse in Westport. Built in 1816 from local limestone, the small stone school first opened to serve the first settlers of Westport, the Barber and Frisbie families. On October 10, the town of Westport will be celebrating the bicentennial of this small school.
According to nearby Camp Dudley, the Stone School House served local children for 100 years, closing its doors in 1916. During its tenure the school could serve up to 24 children and provide students with a library of 84 books. Now the school is an historic display, capturing a time before centralized school systems. » Continue Reading.
Recently in this column appeared the story of Selden Clobridge, a teenage Civil War soldier from Turin, New York, whose battlefield career ended at the grand old age of 18 after multiple wounds that included limb loss. About 85 miles northeast of Turin, an even younger soldier took it to the extreme, receiving his discharge from the army before he became a teenager.
William R. Bastin was born in December in the town of Lawrence, near the St. Lawrence County line, east of Potsdam. A headstone gives his birth year as 1852, which corresponds with his age in three of six census records and his obituary. Other census records disagree by a year, suggesting he was born in 1851—but by any measure, he was far too young to become a soldier.
When William enlisted at Malone on September 14, 1864, he gave his age as 16. But by most indications, including interviews as an adult, he was actually three months shy of twelve years old when he joined the army, purportedly as a drummer boy. Things didn’t work out as expected, though, and he instead became a child soldier. » Continue Reading.
October 11th marks the 240th Anniversary of the Battle of Valcour, one of the first naval battles of the American Revolution, fought between the shores of Valcour Island and New York State.
A commemoration of this event will be held at the Clinton Community College, 2nd Floor Lobby/Veranda of the George Moore Building from 4:30 to 5:30 pm on October 11th. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. » Continue Reading.
Wednesday, October 5th marks Dr. E. L. Trudeau’s 168th birthday. A pioneer in the fields of medicine and science, Trudeau shaped the character of Saranac Lake as a world-famous health resort for people suffering from tuberculosis. Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) will celebrate the occasion of his birth by offering two special tours.
A tour the grounds of the former Trudeau Sanatorium will meet at 10:30 am at the Park Avenue gates of the American Management Association. A guided tour of the Saranac Laboratory Museum will also be offered that afternoon, provided by Executive Director Amy Catania. The museum tour starts at 2 pm. Both tours are $5/person. Members of HSL and children are free of charge. » Continue Reading.