Tag Archives: Washington’s Headquarters

Nominations for the 2013 Woman of History Sought


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Each March, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site recognizes a woman who has distinguished herself in the field of Hudson Valley history by bestowing upon her the “Martha Washington Woman of History Award.” Appropriately, the award emanates from where Martha Washington resided with her husband, General George Washington, during the last months of the Revolutionary War. That the ceremony takes place in March, during Women’s History Month, is indeed fitting.

The Woman of History award acknowledges Martha Washington’s important place in history as a devoted patriot in support of the American Revolution and the ensuing new nation. This is the eleventh year the award has been given, continuing the site’s mission to educate the public about the history of our great state and national heritage.

There are many women who are dedicated to sharing and preserving our history. Perhaps you know of a woman who shares her love of history with children by taking them to historic places during her free time? Is there a woman who has done research about the Hudson Valley and has shared her findings to encourage others to do the same? Do you know a woman who has used her private time or resources to preserve a landmark of historic significance? These are just a few examples of what could qualify a woman to be a recipient of the award. The nomination field is open to any woman who has cultivated interest and awareness of Hudson Valley history, either locally or nationally.

Nominations must be completed and submitted by January 4, 2013. To download a nomination form, go to the Conservancy website or call (845) 562-1195. The award will be given during a ceremony in March.

Photo: Women of History Award winners Mary McTamaney (2007), Betsy McKean (2009), Stella Baily (2012), and Mara Farrell (2011), with Washington’s Headquarters Site Manager, Elyse Goldberg.

AJ Schenkman: The Hasbrouck Ledger


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One of the problems in researching the life of Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck is that there are so few primary sources written by him left to us. We are fortunate that at least one of the treasures that give us a peek into his life, one of his account ledgers, has been preserved. It is a rich source for a researcher of not only Hasbrouck, but of others from his time period as well. Continue reading

Saunderskill: One of the Oldest Farms in America


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Those readers who follow my writing realize quickly that I have a special affinity for the Hasbrouck House in Newburgh more commonly known as Washington’s Headquarters, State Historic Site. Many of those visiting the site do not realize that a part of that site’s history can be traced back to Western Ulster County, New York where Jonathan Hasbrouck’s mother Elsie Schoonmaker was born and raised. Continue reading

Stella Bailey Honored with Woman of History Award


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On Saturday, March 31st, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site honored Stella Bailey, the 2012 Martha Washington Woman of History Award during their annual program “The General’s Lady.” Bailey was selected for her dedicated service in preserving Hudson Valley history over fifty years. The ceremony was held in the Ritz Theatre lobby located on Broadway in Newburgh, NY.

Elyse B. Goldberg, Historic Site Manager, said in her welcoming address and conferring of the award, that though time did not permit her to list all the organizations and positions that Ms. Bailey has held over the years to be mentioned, Stella is at present the Executive Director and Financial Officer of the Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association, President of the Town of Highlands Historical Society, and the Highland Falls Town/Village Historian.

Tom Meyering, President of the 5th New York Regiment, James K. Burr, Adjutant, 5th New York Regiment, and Joseph D’Onofrio, Mayor of Highland Falls each independently nominated her for the honor and made remarks to commend Bailey for her commitment and dedication in preserving Hudson River Valley history.

Family and friends of Ms. Bailey were in the audience along with some previous recipients of the Woman of History Award. They included author/historian Patricia Favata, City of Newburgh Historian Mary McTamaney, City of Newburgh Records Management Director Elizabeth McKean, and community activist Mara Farrell.

Dressed in their Revolutionary War military attire, members of the 5th New York Regiment led the audience cheer at the completion of the award presentation and Bailey’s acceptance speech.

The event was sponsored by the Palisades Parks Conservancy and the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands.

Photo: 2012 Winner Stella Bailey, third from left surrounded by past winners Mary McTamaney, Elizabeth McKean, and Mara Farrell along with Historic Site Manager Elyse Goldberg (provided).

New Director for Newburgh Bay, Highlands Historical


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The Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands has announced that lifelong Newburgh resident Johanna Porr will serve as the organization’s new director. Porr assumed the position last week.

“To be able to study the largest historic district in New York State is certainly fun, but to be entrusted with a role to use that understanding to help rebuild this city is an honor,” she said in a statement release to the press.

As director, Porr’s duties include fundraising, directing future research and programs, overseeing the remaining renovations to the Captain David Crawford House, creating useful networks in the fields of public history and academic history and increasing membership within the group the statement said.

“The Historical Society has been and will continue to be a resource for people who want to learn more about Newburgh’s history or those who are interested in restoring homes here,” she said.

Porr “wants to establish an inspiring new direction for the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands while maintaining everything Newburgh has come to love about the organization. Her goals are to keep up with the current trends in the academic world, exchange information and ideas with other historical societies in New York and beyond and to use the society’s resources to make Newburgh’s history
more relevant to today’s citizens,” the press statement said.

“It’s important to find the academics who are already doing the research and connect them with the people on the ground who have a better idea of the questions the public is interested in,” said Porr. “I’d like to see more serious focus on scholarly research being done in the Hudson Valley.”

Porr has been an historical interpreter at Washington’s Headquarters, where she has both volunteered and been employed for nearly a decade. She attended Franklin College in Switzerland where she studied European history, earned an M.P.A. from Marist College and recently spent time in Virginia doing archaeology at Historic Jamestown and historic-trades research at Colonial Williamsburg.

“Newburgh is a fascinating place,” said Johanna, who grew up in city. “We call it ‘History City’ because you can take any major movement and tie it back here somehow; you can always find a way to understand the scope of American history through the narratives that are available in Newburgh.”

The new director is the daughter of former Newburgh city manager Harold Porr and Joan Mauriello, who volunteered as a preservationist and historical activist while Johanna was growing up.

“This society is one of the earliest and we’ve been building a collection and archive since 1884,” Johanna said. “I’m proud to be part of such a strong institution, especially since the viability of Newburgh’s future is inseparable from its legacy.”

Our Newest Contributor A.J. Schenkman


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Please join all of us here at New York History in welcoming our newest contributor A.J. Schenkman. Schenkman teaches in the Lower Hudson Valley and has a particular fondness for teaching history to hard to reach or at-risk adolescents.

He writes about the history of Ulster and Orange counties (which he’ll be covering here on this site) and is the author of two books and numerous articles on Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh. He writes a monthly column for the Shawangunk Journal focusing on places such as Kerhonkson, Stone Ridge, Shawangunk, Rosendale, Ellenville, and Cragsmore.

Last Chance for 2012 Woman of History Award


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Time is running out to nominate your candidate for the Martha Washington Woman of History Award which will be bestowed by Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in March, 2012. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, January 6, 2012. The nomination field is open to any woman who has cultivated interest and awareness of Hudson Valley history, either locally or nationally.

Previous award-winners include Janet Dempsey, local historian and author, Barbara Bedell, Times Herald Record columnist, Mary McTamaney, City of Newburgh historian and, most recently, Mara Farrell, community activist.

The nomination form is available online (pdf).

Illustration: Martha Washington

Washington’s Headquarters Holiday Event


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Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is hosting a open house at Washington’s Headquarters, in Newburgh on Sunday, December 11th, from 12 PM until 4 PM. The event is free and sponsored by the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands.

Participants will be able to chat with historic interpreters, enjoy seasonal music performed by the Salmagundi Consort, and snack on hot cider and cookies by an outdoor fire for an afternoon that recreates the mood of warmth and hospitality the Washingtons extended to their war-weary guests.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is a registered national landmark. It is located at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets, within the city of Newburgh’s East End Historical District. For more information call (845) 562-1195.

Photo: Washington reenactor in his office (provided).

Woman of History Award Nominations Sought


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Each year, to honor Martha Washington herself, Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site presents the “Martha Washington Woman Of History Award.” The recipient of the award must be a woman who has demonstrated similar characteristics while contributing towards the education and preservation of history in the Hudson Valley. The recipient will receive a place of honor on the plaque showing past recipients of this award, and an invitation to be part of the selection committee for future awardees. Along with this, she will be expected to attend “The General’s Lady,” a Woman’s History Month program, held each year in March, during which she will be acknowledged.

Any woman who has made a contribution to the history of the Hudson Valley through education, promotion, or preservation is eligible to be nominated for this award. The nominee’s service to the historic community shall be taken into consideration. The nominee can be someone who was involved in a project dealing with history and/or historic preservation. This individual must have been influential in some way, encouraging interest, enthusiasm and awareness of Hudson River Valley history even at its most basic, or grassroots level.

Nomination forms are available online. Completed forms will be reviewed by a selection committee including Washington’s Headquarters Staff, volunteers, and previous Woman of History Award recipients. Nominees will be notified within one month after the submission deadline.

The 2012 award will be presented at “The General’s Lady” on Saturday, March 31, 2012. Deadline for receipt of applications is January 6, 2012.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, opened in 1850, is the first publicly owned historic site in the nation. The Commander-in-Chief, General George Washington, established Headquarters at Jonathan and Tryntje Hasbrouck’s fieldstone farmhouse from April 1, 1782 until August 19, 1783. This became the longest stay at any of his over 165 Headquarters during the 8½ years of the Revolution.

While here, the General, his wife, officers, and his house servants lived and worked in close quarters, as a steady stream of guests came to meet with the Washingtons. During the critical months spent in Newburgh, Washington maintained a strong Army with eventual plans to disband it. He negotiated with contentious individuals in the Congress. Elsewhere, he dealt with problems of supply, training, pay and morale – all the things that affected his troops. He rejected a suggestion of an American monarchy, defused a potential mutiny among his officers, and proffered advice on the future of the new republic. In order to recognize the heroism of enlisted men, the Commander-in-Chief, at his Newburgh headquarters, created and awarded the Badge of Military Merit, the forerunner of the Purple Heart medal. On April 19, 1783, General Washington’s order for a “cessation of hostilities” was announced and he then dealt with the problems attendant to disbandment of the Army.

Martha Washington’s myriad traits, from big sister to business woman, were necessary attributes during her tenure at Headquarters Newburgh. For example, she travelled long distances every winter of the War to be with her husband and kept up communications with Mt. Vernon while supervising their immediate wartime household. Martha helped the Aides-de-camp with office work by copying letters and expense accounts. She was renowned for her pleasant demeanor even under the pressures of war and the need to hostess a constant crush of military and civilian personnel.

Photo: Washington’s Headquarters circa 1852. Courtesy of Palisades Interstate Park Commission Archives.