DEC is seeking volunteers to maintain trails in the towns of Peru and Black Brook in Clinton County and town of Chesterfield in Essex County.
You can be part of a one-day work group, a three-day once a year effort, or a few hours on numerous days throughout the year – during the week or on weekends – whatever works best for you. » Continue Reading.
Abutting Lake Champlain at the northeastern corner of New York State, Clinton County has long been a site of exchange and encounters. Local toponyms attest to French imperial ambitions in the colonial era: Champlain, certainly, but also Ausable, Point au Roche, Point au Fer, Chazy, and, facing Chazy on the lake, Vermont’s Isle La Motte. In turn, the historic sites of Crown Point and Ticonderoga are monuments to the strategic importance of Lake Champlain from a military perspective. By linking New York City and Montreal through the Hudson and Richelieu rivers, the lake was witness to the clash of empires that ended with the collapse of New France in the 1760s.
In the early nineteenth century, Clinton reaped the economic benefits of this natural hydrographic corridor. And while international trade boomed, the region received an ever-rising number of French-Canadian farmers, farm laborers, and craftsmen who sought to escape difficult economic straits along the St. Lawrence River. What the French had not seized by force of arms they conquered through sweat and toil. To this wave of migrants, especially those who arrived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, tens of thousands of county residents can today trace their lineage. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.
What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, the Clinton County Historical Association will host Clinton County Historian Anastasia Pratt for a presentation on Women of Clinton County.
To complement the release of her 2015 book, Remarkable Women of Clinton County, Pratt will give an encore presentation, focusing specifically on the stories of Clinton County’s most influential women through the decades and how they are remembered today.
The presentation will take place on Monday, April 4th at 7 pm at the Clinton County Historical Museum. » Continue Reading.
Of the many great stories about old country doctors, one of my favorites happened in the North Country just a few minutes south of Plattsburgh. The doctor’s name was Isaac Hutinac Patchen. His grandfather, Claude Hutinac, married a woman whose surname was Patchen. Their son, Stephen (Isaac’s father), fought in five Revolutionary War battles and endured the terrible suffering at Valley Forge. Following the war, he assumed his mother’s surname, and family members henceforth were known as Patchens.
Isaac Patchen was born around 1793, and at age 20 he began medical training. At the time, he lived in Vermont’s Lake Champlain Islands and in northern New York, where war was affecting locals on both sides of the lake. On September 11, 1814, during the Battle of Plattsburgh, he joined a militia force and volunteered to pursue fleeing enemy soldiers. More than twenty men were captured, and years later, Isaac received a land grant of 160 acres in return for a job well done. » Continue Reading.
On January 7, 1933, the lives of two North Country men converged briefly nearly 300 miles from home in the Jamaica section of Queens in the City of New York. By odd coincidence, without ever meeting, they were fatally wounded within a few feet of each other. The older of the two was Walter Murphy of Ausable Forks, who joined the New York City police force in June 1926. The following year, he was cited for bravery after stopping a runaway horse (the cause of many deaths and injuries in those days), and in early 1933 he made headlines for a murder arrest. He frequently visited family in Ausable Forks, and had just left there nine days earlier after spending Christmas in the Adirondacks.
On the fateful day, Murphy was off duty, and with a friend had stopped at a service station for gas and to make some minor repairs to his car. While cleaning up in the washroom, they overheard a commotion outside. » Continue Reading.
This weekend two of my favorite things are headlining part of the Adirondack Fall Festival tour, wine and cheese. The Adirondack Coast Wine Trail is showcasing local beer, wine, and cider while Adirondack Harvest is once again offering a unique Adirondack cheese tour.
We all know that wine and cheese go together like, well, wine and cheese. I was thinking it’s “mother’s little helper,” but didn’t want to come off like I have a problem with… cheese. » Continue Reading.
In the past the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration had grown into a two-week celebration. Now, for the first year, the City of Plattsburgh has condensed the commemoration into a tightly packed four-day celebration this weekend, September 10-13.
According to Sandra Geddes, Promotions and Special Events Coordinator for the City of Plattsburgh, the goal for shortening the event was to bring the focus back to the historical aspect of the battle, keep all the elements that brought a variety of people to the area and present it all in a more concise format. » Continue Reading.
In 1983, Rita Labombard began to address the needs of a New York City shelter for street youth that sometimes served 200 children on a single night. Routine items were needed—soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, socks, etc. These were collected by a Plattsburgh group and brought to Champlain, where Rita arranged for their delivery to New York City.
To fund the costs of trucking and overseas shipping, the center constantly sought help from donors and area carriers. In 1985, to help cover those expenses, the Mission Center added a thrift shop, offering second-hand toys, books, clothes, and household items. Those in need, including welfare recipients, were encouraged to visit. » Continue Reading.
St. Mary’s Mission Center in Champlain was named as the clearing center for Catholic charities in the entire Ogdensburg diocese. But it’s important to note that although manager Rita LaBombard was Catholic and worked closely with many Catholic charities, St. Mary’s was an independent, non-denominational entity from the start. Volunteers from several faiths had long been lending a hand.
Civic organizations also chipped in with materials and labor. Private citizens purchased materials, made clothing, and donated it all to the center. Children folded clothes, sewed buttons, and moved boxes. And always among the volunteers was Rita’s mother, Delia, nearly 80 and still washing, ironing, and mending clothes several hours a day. It seems Rita came by her work ethic honestly. » Continue Reading.
Women’s History Month this year finds me pondering the death of an old friend back in early February. When I first saw her obituary, it struck me as a second major loss for my hometown in a very short time. You see, fire in mid-January destroyed much of the school I attended through ten grades. I was raised in Champlain, north of Plattsburgh and just a mile from the Canadian border. During those growing-up years it was a typical village, where most of us knew most of us in one way or another. For a century, St. Mary’s Academy was the heart and soul of the community. The fire’s toll was felt by many.
Just two weeks after the blaze came the death at age 90 of Rita LaBombard. Unlike the school fire, her passing received little media coverage other than an obituary of a few paragraphs. Yet her life may have affected in a positive way just as many people as the school did in 106 years. What she accomplished through a lifetime of giving really is amazing. » Continue Reading.
The Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) has announced the publication of a new book, Clinton County Civil War Record: 1861-1865.
In 2010, the Clinton County Historical Association formed a committee to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Since its formation, the committee has planned numerous lectures and programs at the Museum, and also took on a research project to culminate in the publication of a book. » Continue Reading.
“You can’t go home again” is an adage based on the title of a Thomas Wolfe book, but with a different meaning from Wolfe’s original intent. The adage suggests we can’t relive our youth, and in a wider sense can’t recapture what once was. If that’s true, I recently came as close as one can by visiting my hometown for a book-related event. The result was a Mayberry-like evening with a roomful of nice people, and a close-up look at the accomplishments of a dedicated historian seeking to preserve our heritage.
I was raised in the northeast corner of New York State in the village of Champlain, representative of small-town America in the 1950s and 60s. The Champlain Literary Club recently asked me to speak about my books and the milestones our business has achieved during ten years in business as of October 2014. » Continue Reading.
There are numerous opportunities to continue to education children and families on the importance of local food. The success of the recent Farm2Fork Festival, farm tours and farmers’ markets as well as farm to school initiatives indicate that people are interested in what happens to their food. One place to visit that is continuing that farm to table education is the Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum in Peru.
According to Babbie Museum Secretary Carol Rock this weekend’s 4th annual Kids Fair and Festival is a fun educational way to keep families interested in the importance of rural farming traditions. » Continue Reading.
Rouses Point businessman Mark L. Barie has written the first biography of North Country politician Smith Weed. In The President of Plattsburgh, The Story of Smith Weed (Crossborder Publishing, 2014), Barie paints a portrait of Weed – six feet tall, with piercing black eyes – a man who was said to smoke nine cigars a day.
Smith Weed was instrumental in the establishment of the Champlain Valley Hospital, the YMCA, the Plattsburgh Library, and the Hotel Champlain, but was perhaps best known nationally for his central role in “The Cipher Dispatches” voter fraud controversy during the fiercely disputed presidential election of 1876.
Weed was President (Mayor) of Plattsburgh in the mid-19th century and served six terms in the New York State Assembly. The Plattsburgh attorney was also a successful businessman and philanthropist. » Continue Reading.
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