Category Archives: Military History

Joseph Lonsway: Jefferson County Civil War Hero


By on

0 Comments

Joseph LonswayPershingNYH02Civil War veteran/hero Joseph Lonsway, long accustomed to hard work, continued serving as a river guide (and remained hooked on fishing) well into old age. On two occasions, he nearly lost his life in fire-related incidents. In 1911, when he was 67, Joseph, with fellow guide and friend Joseph Calhoun, rushed to help fight a blaze that ultimately destroyed the Hotel Frontenac. They were together on an upper floor when the electricity failed, forcing them to leave the building. Calhoun urged Lonsway to depart first because he was older, but something went terribly wrong. In the end, Lonsway escaped, but Calhoun perished. Continue reading

Joseph Lonsway, Jefferson County Civil War Hero


By on

0 Comments

Joseph LonswayNYH01In “The Road Not Taken,” poet Robert Frost wrote of encountering two roads diverging in a wood: “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

That’s life in a nutshell: it’s all about decisions. When confronted with options, we make a choice. Sometimes even the first few moments that follow can change our lives forever. Such was the case with a North Country soldier, Private Joseph Lonsway of Clayton, New York (in Jefferson County, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River). Continue reading

Rev. Charles Hagar, Chaplain of the 118th NY Volunteers


By on

0 Comments

charles luther hagar collageA talk entitled “Not Just a Sunday Man: The Civil War Story of Rev. Charles Luther Hagar, Chaplain of the 118th New York Volunteers” will be presented by Helen Nerska with music by Stephen Langdon

The Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) will host the presentation “Not Just a Sunday Man: The Civil War Story of Rev. Charles Luther Hagar, Chaplain of the 118th New York Volunteers” by Helen Nerska, CCHA President, and a musical composition by Stephen Langdon, Saranac Lake musician (Rev. Hagar was their great-great-great uncle). Continue reading

Champlain Region VT State Historic Sites Opening


By on

0 Comments

DSCN1616The Memorial Day weekend brings the start of the 2014 season at the Chimney Point, Mount Independence, and Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Sites.  The sites open on Saturday, May 24, at 9:30 a.m. and starting at 8:00 a.m. is the annual Early Bird Nature Walk at Mount Independence.

These sites preserve and present Vermont’s significant history in their museums and on their historic grounds.  There are also State Historic Sites on the New York State side of Lake Champlain, but they almost never issue announcements to the press. Continue reading

Swords in Their Hands:
George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy


By on

0 Comments

Swords In Their HandsA new book by Dave Richards, Swords in Their Hands: George Washington and the Newburgh Conspiracy (Pisgah Press, 2014) is being hailed as the first book-length account of a plot that can be described as the closest thing to a coup that the United States has ever experienced.

In late 1782, many Revolutionary War officers in the Hudson Highlands had grown angry and frustrated that they had not been paid—for months or even years. With victory in sight, they feared they might never get their back pay and promised pensions, because the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia under the Articles of Confederation, had no authority to raise money. Nationalists wanted Congress to have direct taxation authority, while their opponents insisted that only individual states should have that power. Continue reading

War of 1812 Historians Meeting Planned


By on

2 Comments

APHNYS-Regions-Map1Registration is now open for the special one-day Association of Public Historians of New York State (APHNYS) Region 6 conference to be held in Plattsburgh on Friday June 6, 2014 (with early arrival museum tour on Thursday evening June 5).

The conference focus is on the War of 1812,and specifically the Battle of Plattsburgh of September, 1814 with a focus on “how the community has embraced the annual commemoration of the Battle of Plattsburgh, and the excitement about the 200th anniversary commemoration upcoming this Fall, with international participation and events spanning three weeks.” Organizers are expected to  share their experiences of how this sentinel event brings together the community, historians, municipalities and visitors to gain a better appreciation of the unique position this area holds in history.” Continue reading

War of 1812 Lecture: ‘The War No One Wanted’


By on

1 Comment

Map of Lake Frontier to Illustrate Campaigns of 1812-1814Communities on both sides of the St. Lawrence River had built an interconnected life of social contracts, trade, marriages, friendships, and respectful neighborliness in the years since the American Revolution. Thus, the approach of war in 1812 found little enthusiasm among the civilian populations of New York and Upper Canada.

Find out more about this unwanted and unpopular war when Victor Suthren presents The St. Lawrence War of 1812: The War No One Wanted on Saturday, May 10th, 2 p.m. at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association at the Silas Wright House, 3 East Main St., Canton. Continue reading

Warren Harding’s Chair: A Battle of Valcour Island Relic


By on

1 Comment

Warren Harding LOCIt’s remarkable how two unrelated historical events sometimes converge to form a new piece of history. In one such North Country connection, the job choice of a future president became linked to a famous encounter on Lake Champlain. The future president was Warren Harding (1921–23), and the lake event was the Battle of Valcour Island (1776). The results weren’t earth shattering, but the connection did spawn coast-to-coast media stories covering part of our region’s (and our nation’s) history.

In 1882, Harding (1865–1923) graduated from Ohio Central College. Among the positions he held to pay for schooling was editor of the college newspaper. In 1884, after pursuing various job options, he partnered with two other men and purchased the failing Marion Daily Star. Harding eventually took full control of the newspaper, serving as both publisher and editor. Continue reading

Fox Conner: ‘The Man Who Made Eisenhower’


By on

1 Comment

Fox Connor on HorseA little-known forest retreat called Brandreth Park has several unimpressive dwellings and sparse communication with the outside world. Yet back in the dark days of World War II generals Eisenhower, Marshal, Patton and others in the American military headquarters of England and Europe felt it necessary to keep their lines of communication open and flowing with one of its residents, Major General Fox Conner, U.S Army, Retired.

It’s safe to say that most Americans have never heard of Brandreth Park or of this soldier who never served in WWII but who nonetheless contributed to the victory over Germany. Those who do remember Conner, consider him “the man who made Eisenhower”. Continue reading

Fort Ticonderoga Kicks Off Season With 1775 Capture


By on

1 Comment

No Quarter Release 2014Fort Ticonderoga kicks off the 2014 season May 10-11 with its “No Quarter” event recreating the capture of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775.

In this weekend-long recreation visitors will experience “America’s First Victory” by exploring this dramatic story from the perspectives of both the British garrison and the Green Mountain Boys, including face-to-face interactions with the historical characters including Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold. Continue reading

A Special New York History Journal War of 1812 Issue


By on

2 Comments

NY-History-Journal-logo-nysha-webAs part of the ongoing commemorations of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, this special issue of the journal New York History focuses on New York State’s key role in that conflict. In the early nineteenth century, New York occupied an important strategic position in North America.

As the newly independent United States defined and expanded its borders, it clashed with Native peoples and Great Britain, which continued to have a strong presence on the continent despite the losses of the American Revolution. With the onset of the War of 1812, New York became a central battleground in the ongoing contest for dominance in North America. Continue reading

War of 1812 Talk At North Tonawanda History Museum


By on

0 Comments

North Tonawanda History MuseumThe North Tonawanda History Museum will host Town of Tonawanda Historian John W. Percy as he presents a program on the War of 1812 in Western New York at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26. Percy is an Ex-officio Trustee and Advisory Committee member of the History Museum. The program will be part of an all day open house in celebration of the History Museum’s tenth anniversary. The public is invited to tour the 10,000 square feet of exhibits from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

John W. Percy has been Town Historian of the Town of Tonawanda for 40 years, former Village of Kenmore Historian for 12 years, Trustee/member/officer of the Tonawanda-Kenmore Historical Society for 40 years, is a retired history teacher in the City of Tonawanda School District where he worked for 35 years.

The North Tonawanda History Museum, established in 2003, is located at 54 Webster Street in North Tonawanda (Niagara County), NY. For more information call (716) 213-0554 or e-mail nthistorymuseum@aol.com.

Fort Ticonderoga Awarded for Interpretive Programs


By on

0 Comments

Stuart on horse 2Fort Ticonderoga recently received an Innovation in Interpretation Award from the Museum Association of New York (MANY) which recognized Fort Ticonderoga as a leader in historic interpretation. The award was presented at MANY’s annual meeting in Albany, NY at the end of March.

“Fort Ticonderoga Interpretative Department, developed in 2011, has in remarkably short time become a national leader in historical interpretation, setting and implementing unparalleled interpretive standards,” said Beth Hill, Fort Ticonderoga President and CEO. “The program outcomes under the leadership of Director of Interpretation Stuart Lilie have seen nothing less than amazing results in attendance, school field trip participation, and increased Scout attendance. Through the creation and implementation of a unique interpretive approach, Fort Ticonderoga has defied the professional trends and has embarked on a major transformation.” Continue reading

New Windsor Revolutionary War Encampment Set


By on

0 Comments

new winsor encampmentNew Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site will host a weekend of Revolutionary War military firing demonstrations and period activities on Saturday April 26 and Sunday April 27, presented by the Brigade of the American Revolution, an international organization dedicated to recreating the life and times of the common soldier of the War for Independence, 1775-1783.

A battle demonstration takes place at 2:00 PM each day with colorfully uniformed soldiers firing muskets, a cannon and maneuvering to the music of fifes and drums.  The soldiers will also set up tents, prepare cooking fires and demonstrate other aspects of 18th century life.   Continue reading

Civil War: The Four Tupper Brothers


By on

0 Comments

Tupper1918NYHAmong the interesting stories to review during this sesquicentennial of the Civil War are those of North Country families who paid an unusually high price. In covering such tragic tales, the principal difficulty lies in getting it right―no small task when the main event occurred 150 years ago. In many cases, we may never be sure exactly what happened, but the availability of digitized records has changed the game. The truth sometimes emerges to replace embellishments that appeared in the long-accepted, oft-repeated version of a story.

The Tupper family of Pierrepont in St. Lawrence County offers a fine example. There’s no question they suffered tragic losses during the Civil War, but parts of their story may well have been juiced up by reporters hoping to inspire deep empathy or poignancy. Continue reading

Thomas Chambers to Speak About Battlefield History


By on

0 Comments

Memories of War Visiting Battlegrounds and Bonefields in the Early American RepublicOn Sunday, April 6, at 2pm, Saratoga National Historical Park hosts Dr. Thomas Chambers as he discusses his new book, Memories of War: Visiting Battlegrounds and Bonefields in the Early American Republic.

In this free program, Dr. Chambers addresses the progression of early American battlefields from places of conflict to places of tourism and remembrance. Fields and forests, once green and serene, became witness to great privation, suffering, tragedy, and triumph. After, they gave way to relative obscurity, falling back to quiet agricultural use, and sometimes passing into aging ruins. Yet in time, as better mobility and leisure time encouraged tourism, a growing romanticizing of the past breathed new life in these sites and called forth many people to experience their own connections with these bygone battlefields. Continue reading