The public is invited to take a once-ever packaged tour, on Saturday, September 12, 2015, of Champlain lake shore sites where five military forts were built between 238 and 325 years ago.
Historians will lead guests on a tour of the archaeological sites of two early forts (1660, 1731) at Chimney Point in Addison, Vermont; the ruins of two forts (1734, 1759) in Crown Point, New York; and a Revolution War fort site (1776) in Orwell, Vermont. Continue reading
On Sunday, August 30, 2015, at 1 pm, history and views from the Lake Champlain Bridge will be the highlights of a guided bridge walk offered by the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont, and Crown Point State Historic Site in Crown Point, New York. Site manager Elsa Gilbertson (VT) and historian Tom Hughes (NY) will lead the tour. Continue reading
The National Park Service is turning 99 years old on August 25, 2015 and everyone is getting a present – free admission!
Saratoga National Historical Park’s celebration on Tuesday features a Fort Ticonderoga Fife and Drums concert at noon, musket firings throughout the day and discounts in the museum bookstore. Also available is free entrance to drive or bicycle the scenic tour road and hike the historic trails. Continue reading
One of the real pleasures in researching and writing When Men and Mountain Meet was exploring the actual sites of the historic places mentioned in my book: the little town of Castorland on the Black River, the LeRay Mansion at Fort Drum, Gouverneur Morris’ Mansion at Natural Dam and David Parish’s house, now the Remington Art Museum, in Ogdensburg. And then there was finding Zephaniah Platt’s grave in the Riverside Cemetery in Plattsburgh, in Lake Placid the site of the 1813 Elba Iron and Steel Manufacturing works , Charles Herreshoff’s flooded iron ore mine in Old Forge and the complex of building foundations that made up John Thurman’s 1790 development at Elm Hill.
There was one site, however, that was a little harder to locate than the others; Sir William Johnson’s fishing camp “Fish House”. Continue reading
We learn much about diseases in the 18th century and the way they were treated by looking at a well-documented case history.
The soldier and statesman described here lived a long life but had to endure many serious medical issues. While he was an ‘out-of-stater’, he was in New York for many years during the Revolutionary War and through the first critical years of the founding of a new government. Continue reading
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a Draft Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex Unit Management Plan (Draft UMP) in compliance with the Adirondack State Land Master Plan. The plan includes a number of historic and recreational sites.
Public comments on the plan are being accepted through September 18, 2015. A Public Meeting on the Draft UMP will be held August 20th in Plattsburgh. Continue reading
Today we address the President of the United States as “Mr. President.” But did you know that the proper title for the office was almost “His Highness the President?”
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon, author of For Fear of an Elective King (Cornell University Press, 2014), leads us on an exploration of the presidential title controversy of 1789, the first controversy to wrack the United States Congress. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/040
A cannon dating to the mid 1600s, which had been salvaged from the St. Lawrence River at the head of Carleton Island in the Town of Cape Vincent decades ago, has been returned to New York.
Plans are in the works for a long term loan to allow for the cannon’s display at the Village of Cape Vincent’s East End Park on the shores overlooking Carleton Island, where so much of the cannon’s history played itself out. Continue reading
The American Revolution was a revolution against Parliament not a king.
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the idea of a royalist revolution with Eric Nelson, author ofThe Royalist Revolution: Monarchy and the American Founding (Harvard University Press, 2014). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/039
If you visit Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site in Fort Hunter, you will be following in the footsteps of Marquis de Lafayette, who visited by canal boat in 1825.
A French aristocrat, Lafayette fought with George Washington’s army during the American Revolution. At some point while in America the Frenchman visited Johnstown and was entertained by the families of Jacob and Thomas Sammons, who leased the former Johnson Hall for four years after the Loyalist Johnson family fled to Canada. Lafayette played a key role in the British defeat at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. Continue reading
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore the consequences of Spanish involvement in the War for American Independence with Kathleen DuVal, professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/037
Registration is now open for the Twelfth Annual Fort Ticonderoga Seminar on the American Revolution September 25-27, 2015. This annual seminar focuses on the military, political, and social history of the War for American Independence (1775-1783), bringing together a panel of distinguished historians from around the country and beyond. The Seminar takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open to the public; pre-registration is required. Continue reading
New York has a great story to tell about its role in the American Revolution. In fact it has many great stories to tell, and many people are telling and struggling to tell those stories.
Given the plethora of sites in the state relating to the American Revolution and to the significance of the events which transpired here, one would think that the State basks in the greatness of being the home to so much that was so critical to the founding of our country. Think again. Continue reading
The story goes that, in the summer of 1970, a Town of Johnsburg highway crew was straightening a Garnet Lake Road near Crane Mountain in Northern Warren County in the Adirondacks. While removing some of the ancient corduroy logs that once carried the road across a swampy section, they discovered what appeared to be an old cannon.
Vincent Schaefer had the cannon dated at the Watervliet Arsenal and it was determined that it was a swivel gun of the type probably used by Benedict Arnold’s troops during the battle of Valcour Island. Continue reading
The Lower Manhattan Historical Society (LMHS), a group formed just last August, sponsored the first Independence Day parade in almost forty years in Lower Manhattan on July 3rd.
The parade included marchers from patriotic groups such as the New York Veteran Corps of the Artillery, the Sons of the Revolution of the State of New York Color Guard,, the Color guard of various chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Colonial Dames of America, the French Air Force Reserves, the Chinatown partnership, and native New Yorkers. Continue reading
The Wolfert’s Roost Country Club in Albany maintains a small dam, pond, and pump house to provide water for their golf course. In the 1980s workers excavating the pond, which is fed by the Maezlandtkill, discovered several sections of ancient wooden and very early cast iron pipe along with iron bands. The pipe and other artifacts were placed in the woods near the club’s tennis courts and forgotten.
Benjamin Prescott, engineer of Albany’s first municipal water system and the man responsible for those pipes, is all but equally forgotten, despite an illustrious career in engineering. Prescott served as an Engineer in the American Revolution, Superintendent of the Springfield Armory, and was the designer of several notable projects, including one of this nation’s first inclined planes (on the Connecticut River). He also conducted a 1790s survey of Niagara Falls, consulted on the Erie Canal, designed the Troy Sloop Lock (the Federal Dam) and more. Continue reading
Today it’s a State-owned island – a day use area for picnics – but Diamond Island witnessed a horrific bombardment by gun boats manned by Patriots during the American Revolution. The fight occurred during British Lieutenant General John Burgoyne’s 1777 campaign to capture Albany. Initially, Burgoyne’s 9,000 man army had successfully captured Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence in July.
When Burgoyne’s progress stalled near Skenesborough (present-day Whitehall, NY), his supplies were quickly eaten up by his extended campaign. Since his large army could not easily live off the land, except for shooting an occasional deer or bear, or boiling up a captured rattlesnake or turtle, the 54-year old general established a long supply line back to Canada. It was anchored by Fort George at the southern end of Lake George and by Fort Ticonderoga at the northern end. Between the two forts, a supply depot, guarded by two companies of the 47th Regiment of Foot under Captain Thomas Aubrey was fixed on Diamond Island. Continue reading
James Kirby Martin, a history professor at the University of Houston, traces his interest in the Mohawk Valley to his birthplace in northern Ohio.
Joseph Brant of the Mohawk Nation was born in what is now Ohio in 1743 and Martin was fascinated by Brant’s life. The younger brother of Sir William Johnson’s longtime consort Molly Brant, Joseph Brant and Sir William’s son John led devastating raids in the Mohawk Valley during the American Revolution.
Sir William, Britain’s Indian agent in our region, died in 1774 before the war. However, his good relations with the Iroquois Confederacy kept most of them on the side of the British during the Revolution. Continue reading
The long barrel artillery piece or gun was a dominating presence on most of the battlefields of the American Revolution. Firing solid iron balls out to distances of 1,000 yards and deadly shotgun blasts of caseshot, small iron balls, in a tin canister, up to 300 yards, the gun devastated enemy formations. The larger versions battered down walls and smashed holes in great warships.
On Saturday, June 20th, from 11 am to 3 pm, Revolutionary War cannon firings every half-hour will highlight a program about the 1780-81 artillery encampment at Knox’s Headquarters in New Windsor, Orange County, NY. Continue reading
More than a decade ago, Anne Hutchinson-Bronxville Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) member Virginia Reynolds Hefti was credited with helping to save the historic Mt. Zion Burial Ground – part of a historic corridor in Somers, NY – from the threat of commercial development.
Situated on both sides of Primrose Street, the historic corridor also includes the 1794 Mt. Zion Methodist Church (the second oldest surviving Methodist chapel in Westchester County), The Reynolds Homestead, and the Angle Fly Preserve, a 654 acre tract of open space. The historic church and burial ground are listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Continue reading