Columbia County: A Lecture On Copake History


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Pelholm barn with Ezra PellsLocal historian and author Howard Blue will present talk on the history of Copake, Columbia County, at the Roe Jan Historical Society in Copake Falls on Sunday, May 18 at 2:00 pm. Blue’s program is based in part on interviews of local residents from whose family albums he was allowed to copy old photos.

The presentation will focus primarily on the town’s and county’s first settlers, the Mohican Indians, and the 90-year-long, sometimes violent conflict between the Livingston family which at one time owned almost all of Copake and the family’s tenant farmers. Blue will also discuss Martin Van Buren’s role in Copake’s anti-rent movement, Copake in the Revolutionary war years, the existence of slavery in Copake, and Copake’s Civil War era bond issue that helped buy out from the draft some of Copake’s young men.

Blue’ s first program was seen by standing room only crowds at the Roe Jan library, so arrive early to be guaranteed a seat. In the past, Blue has interviewed a variety of literary and political figures including Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Soviet Prime Minister, and two Nobel Prize winners.

Blue has also done public speaking in Britain, Canada, Poland and throughout the U. S. and has been interviewed on radio or TV stations in Britain, and the U.S., including Puerto Rico. His book, Words at War was the subject of a radio documentary produced in Germany.

Photo: A Copake farm circa 1930, where several slaves were held in the early 19th century.

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