Teaching American History
National Field Study of the Revolutionary Era The Hudson River Region, Saratoga, and Hubbardton Battle Field
The Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education (IHARE) is pleased to announce that the Turning Points in American History: Winning the War, Winning the Peace program created for the South Burlington, Vermont school district as part of a Teaching American History grant is being made available to teachers from outside the district. Teachers will have the option to participate in all or portions of the program and be charged accordingly.
Dates and Locations:
June 26-June 30 Lower Hudson Valley
July 1-3 Saratoga, Hubbardton
Sunday 3:00-8:00 $40
Monday 9:00-5:00 $25
Tuesday 9:00-5:00 $25
Wednesday 9:00-5:00 $25
Thursday 9:00-4:30 $50
Monday 9:00-9:00 $60
Tuesday 9:00-9:00 $60
Wednesday 9:00-9:00 $75
Reservations have been made in Newburgh, Albany, Clifton Park, and Rutland.
Participants will also have the option of traveling on the bus which will be bringing the teachers from Vermont.
In addition to studying the powerful men and soldiers of the Revolution, we will also pay attention to the rest of society and how everyone had choices to make and dangers to face during this era. We will use the lenses of race, gender, social class, ethnicity, and religion during our field study and will examine varied perspectives on the era with regard to freedom, justice, and equality. We will also consider the challenge of preserving history and discuss whose history should be preserved.
If you wish to participate, please send an email to email@example.com with the days and times you are interested in.
June 26, Sunday
The Thomas Cole House/Cedar Grove
218 Spring Street
Painter of “The View from Fort Putnam” which we will visit the next day on the campus of the United States Military Academy.
The Cedar Grove property has an ancient history that began with a 1684 land grant, followed by a land subdivision in 1773. The subdivision lines largely determined Cedar Grove’s configuration. Starting small, the Thomson family developed adjoining lots beginning in 1797. In 1815, they built the Federal- style main house that remains today, and quickly compiled a substantial farm property of about 110 acres. Despite fronting on the Hudson River, the Cedar Grove house and infrastructure were built along a local turnpike road, today’s Spring Street, that crossed through the western portion of the property, where the land sloped away from the river. As such, Cedar Grove has always enjoyed an orientation towards the western prospect of the Catskill Mountains, appropriate as this was the scene of Thomas Cole’s inspiration.
In addition to the house, Cedar Grove included a cluster of outbuildings. Several of these are significant for their use as studios during distinct periods of Thomas Cole’s career. Earliest was a farmhouse, often called the cottage, used until 1839 when a separate store- house/studio was built. In 1846, Cole designed a free standing studio, called the new studio, south of the house. The new studio was demolished in modern times, but there are plans to reconstruct it.
12:00 Arrive by bus from Vermont: Lunch
12:30 House and Studio Tour
1:30 Sketch or Grave Walk
2:00 Leave for New Windsor Cantonment
New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site
374 Temple Hill Road
New Windsor, NY 12553
Phone: (845) 561-1765
New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is where the Continental Army under General George Washington spent the last winter and spring of the Revolutionary War. In October 1782, General Washington moved his northern army to New Windsor to establish winter quarters. Some 7,500 soldiers and 500 women and children civilian refugees encamped here. By late December 1782, they had erected nearly 600 log huts into a “cantonment,” a military enclave. It was at the New Windsor Cantonment that the cease fire orders were issued by Washington ending the eight-year War of Independence on April 19, 1783.
Knox’s Headquarters State Historic Site
County Rd 74/Forge Hill Rd
Vails Gate, NY
Phone: (845) 561-5498
On several occasions during the Revolutionary War, Major General Henry Knox, Commander of the America artillery, established his military headquarters at John Ellison’s 1754 Georgian-style house in Vails Gate. From October 1782 until the spring of 1783, as 7,000 soldiers and 500 “camp followers” were establishing winter quarters at the New Windsor Cantonment, and General Washington was lodged at Jonathan Hasbrouck’s house in Newburgh, New York, Major General Horatio Gates occupied the elegant home from which he commanded the cantonment. Here the army awaited the end of the Revolutionary War that became effective when Washington issued the cease fire orders on April 19, 1783.
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
374 Temple Hill Road
Vails Gate, New York
Phone: (845) 561-1765
The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor commemorates the extraordinary
sacrifices of America’s servicemen and servicewomen who were killed or wounded in combat. The mission of the Hall of Honor is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations to ensure that all recipients are represented.
3:00 National Purple Heart Museum
4:00 Bus to Knox’s Headquarters
4:15 Knox’s Headquarters
5:15 Bus to New Windsor Cantonment
5:30 New Windsor Cantonment – group presentations including firing drill
6:30 Last Encampment – Donny Van Leuvan
Lodging: Super8 Newburgh
1287 Route 300
Newburgh, NY 12550 US
June 27, Monday
United States Military Academy
Highland Falls, NY
The History of West Point is integral to the history of the United States of America. From the day of its founding on March 16, 1802, a favorite expression at West Point is that “much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.” Great leaders such as Grant and Lee, Pershing and MacArthur, Eisenhower and Patton, Schwarzkopf and Petraeus are among the more than 50,000 graduates. Countless others, following military service, have had distinguished careers in business, medicine, law, sports, politics, and science. Four current graduates and two former faculty members of the United States Military Academy are members of the 111th Congress.
9:00 Welcome: History Department, Lincoln Hall
9:15 “Did the Americans Really win the Revolutionary War?” Ray Raymond, USMA
No. The Americans won by not losing. What made this possible? First, Washington’s extraordinary leadership, skilled military management which kept the continental army together, his skill as a spymaster and the handling of intelligence, and his strategic genius. Second, the indomitable courage of his soldiers who fought on despite dreadful shortages of food, uniforms, and supplies. Third, the strength of the southern insurgency which the British never understood and were never able to effectively counter.
A former British diplomat, Dr. Ray Raymond is Professor of Political Science
and History at the State University of New York and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Politics and International Relations at the United States Military Academy. He is Chairman of the Marshall Scholarships for the Mid-Atlantic States of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and Fairfield County, Connecticut. He is also co-founder and chief executive of the City Fellowships in Financial Services, a scholarship program for young minority financiers funded by Goldman Sachs.
Since 1997, he has advised British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Adviser on US politics and public policy. During his diplomatic career, Dr. Raymond founded or co-founded four scholarship or fellowship programs to strengthen UK-US relations as well as a range of other public diplomacy initiatives to strengthen wider transatlantic relations and build new relationships with American minorities.
Professor Raymond is a specialist in 20th Century and 18th century American history with a special emphasis on UK-US and US-European relations. His scholarly work has been published in “Diplomatic History”,” The International History Review,” “International Affairs” “The World Today” and the “Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism” amongst other scholarly journals. His study of the Marshall Plan in the British Isles was published by Cambridge University Press. He has also lectured widely on Anglo-American and US-European relations. His most recent work on “UK-US Relations at the Start of the Twenty First Century” was published by the US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute in January 2006 and on United Nations reform by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in November 2005. He is currently writing a biography of John Jay.
Professor Raymond was honored by Her Majesty the Queen in 2000 and holds several other awards for public service including a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts and Manufactures in London.
9:55 Q and A period
10:15 “Why did Britain Lose the Revolutionary War?” Ray Raymond, USMA
The British lost the revolutionary war for multiple reasons : first, there was a colossal failure of intelligence – political and military – which meant that British commanders never really understood what they were fighting against. Second, poor political leadership at the top. Third, Britain was deeply divided over the war. Divided nations cannot prosecute a war effectively. Fourth, the British had one opportunity to win the revolutionary war by delivering a knock-out blow at Brooklyn in August 1776, but failed to do so. Fifth, the British then compounded their failure of 1776 by abandoning the one sound plan they had to defeat the rebellion and by appointing the wrong commander – Burgoyne – to lead its northern campaign. The defeat at Saratoga was the turning point of the war.
10:55 Q and A period
11:30 Teaching the American Revolution: How Will What You Learned Today Change the Way You Teach the American Revolution – Ray Raymond and Peter
12:00 Walk to Grant Hall with stop at United States Military Academy Library
12:30 Lunch in Grant Hall
1:15 Walk back to Lincoln Hall
1:30 Thomas Cole’s View of Fort Putnam: An Immigrant View of the American Revolution on the Eve of the Jacksonian Era – Peter Feinman, IHARE
July 4, 1826 is one of the great unsung days in American history. Americans in the 19th century were familiar with its significance but that memory has been forgotten over time. This talk will address the changes which had occurred in America since the Revolution and the new society that was developing following the end of the wars with England. It was in this context that Thomas Cole, immigrant from England, painted a View of Fort Putnam, a once iconic landmark of the American Revolution now frequently forgotten.
2:30 Teaching the Legacy of the American Revolution: How Will What You Learned Today Change the Way You Teach the American Revolution – Ray Raymond and Peter Feinman
3:00 Bus to Fort Putnam – painted by Thomas Cole
3:30 Bus from Fort Putnam – tour of USMA
4:30 Bus to Thayer Hotel
5:00 Teaching American Revolution Workshop/Journal Writing
6:00 Dinner: The Thayer Hotel
674 Thayer Road
West Point, NY 10996
Perched on a hilltop in Upstate New York, with commanding views of the Hudson River and the United States Military Academy at West Point , The Thayer Hotel is a national historic treasure, visited by past US Presidents, international leaders, and celebrities alike. Located on the hallowed grounds of the Academy, this breathtakingly beautiful West Point hotel lodging is like no other in the world. Come discover a captivating blend of over 200 years of military history with a full array of modern comforts and amenities. There is no grander, better-equipped setting for flawless conferences, elegant weddings, or a thrilling vacation tour of West Point and surrounding Hudson Valley attractions. Experience this landmark among Hudson Valley hotels, a true monument to impeccable style and service.
7:00 An Object of Great Importance: The Hudson River During the American War for Independence – Chris Dipasquale, Mildred E. Strang Middle School, Yorktown, NY
During the American Revolution the Hudson River was not just a waterway. It was a vital artery on which the cause of liberty depended. Along its banks and in its waters many would die for what they believed in. Neighbors would fight neighbors and a serene countryside would become a frightening place where “cowboys” and “skinners” crept through the dark landscape. It was an object at the center of America’s most notorious treason. Benedict Arnold would try to sell the Hudson for his own gain. Both he and the British knew that if it fell the lifeline would be cut and the cause of liberty would drown in its cold grey waters. The struggles of the men who defended it through harsh weather, lagging muster rolls, and ill-designed fortifications could truly say that it was they who continued the cause and birthed a nation.
Lodging: Super8 Newburgh
June 28, Tuesday
Preserving the Past: The American Revolution in the Hudson Valley
Route 9 Sleepy Hollow, NY.
9:15 Keeping Thomas Paine Alive in a Lindsay Lohan World – John R. Wright, Director, Thomas Paine Cottage Museum
In 2010, the Thomas Paine Cottage Museum celebrated its 100th anniversary as an historic house museum. Discover: who was this controversial 18th century writer, what were his contributions to the American Revolution, and what are the steps taken in preserving his legacy and the house that he once owned.
The talk will discuss the challenges in keeping Paine and the Revolution alive for new generations and the problems and success that curriculum and field trips bring to this old historic house. The topic will include the organizational issues that a small historic site must live with and the recent controversial media exchange between two historical groups over proprietary claims to the Thomas Paine legacy.
John R. Wright has been the Director of the Thomas Paine Cottage Museum in New Rochelle, New York since 2000. He has served as an Historical Consultant and Interpreter for such historic sites as Saint Paul’s Church, NHS; Van Cortlandt House Museum; Washington’s HQ/Miller House; and has been involved with Living History programs since 1975. He has a BFA from the New School of Social Research and Parson’s School of Design and freelances as an illustrator on historical subjects and children’s books.
10:15 SYBIL LUDINGTON: Correcting American History – Vincent T. Dacquino
Sybil Ludington earned a place in American History on a rainy night in 1777 when she rode 40 miles through enemy infested woods to summon her father’s regiment to halt a British raid on Connecticut and New York. Though Paul Revere is the most celebrated revolutionary to sound the call to arms, Sybil Ludington’s ride was bolder and far more dangerous, and she was only sixteen years old. This much was known, but with persistence and determination Dacquino describes his ride through an investigation of Sybil’s biography and reveals the truth of her life after the ride.
Vincent T. Dacquino has made numerous appearances at schools and historical sites based on his children’s books and adult biography, Sybil Ludington: The Call to Arms. A “classroom-ready version” of this book, Sybil Ludington: Discovering the Life of a Revolutionary War Hero, for fourth and fifth grade students, was released in May 2008. The book includes exercises in DBQ’s and is published by Purple Mountain Press. More information on Mr. Dacquino can be found at www.VincentDacquino.com
11:15 Revolution’s wake: The changed lives of the enslaved and tenants at Philipsburg Manor in 1783 – Lavada Nahon, Museum Associate, Philipsburg Manor Upper Mills
The Revolutionary War resulted in significant changes in the lives of both the enslaved and tenants of many landowners throughout the colony of New York. At Philipsburg Manor the flight of its Loyalist owner to England continued a wave of change which had begun 30 years earlier with the death of Adolph Philipse, the Manor’s longest living owner.
Lavada Nahon, Museum Associate, Philipsburg Manor Upper Mills has been an employee of Historic Hudson Valley for over eight years. Her knowledge of American history has been enhanced by her work at Philipsburg Manor Upper Mills and Van Cortlandt Manor where interpretive plans extend from the colonial through the New Nation periods of New York. Ms. Nahon lectures on and demonstrates 18th-century foodways through her company Historic Food Works. She has a B.A. in Theatre, from Lindenwood College, St. Charles, Missouri, and also did graduate work in theater at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri.
1:00 Experience Philipsburg Manor
Cross the bridge over the river into Philipsburg Manor and step back in time. It’s 1750, and Philipsburg Manor is a farming, milling, and trading center owned by the Philipses, a family of Anglo-Dutch merchants. They rent land to tenant farmers of diverse European backgrounds and rely on a community of 23 enslaved Africans to operate the complex.
Interpreters in period costume invite you to stroll through the farm, with historic breeds of oxen, cows, sheep, and chickens. Participate in hands-on activities of the 18th century, and take in a theatrical vignette exploring the riveting yet little-known story of enslavement in the colonial north.
Step into the working gristmill, where, surrounded by the sound of rushing water and the creaking of wooden gears, you learn about the skills of Caesar, the enslaved African miller. A colonial bateau tied to the wharf reflects the flourishing river trade and the skills of Diamond, an enslaved riverboat pilot.
Tour the 300-year-old manor house. Its dairy, kitchens, bedchambers, warehouse rooms and parlor attest to its significance as a place of work, business, trade, leisure, and repose. Period artifacts and touchable reproductions give you an understanding of the people who lived and worked here.
Visit the activity center and explore the foodways, textile production techniques, and medicinal practices of Philipsburg Manor’s inhabitants. Shell some beans, work flax into linen, or produce a tray of ship biscuits. Nearby is the slaves’ garden, with vegetables and herbs for consumption, market, and medicinal purposes.
Enter the new world Dutch barn, thresh some wheat, carry some buckets, or help groom the oxen. With its pastoral setting, rich social history, hands-on activities, and demonstrations of colonial life, Philipsburg Manor provides everybody with an unforgettable experience.
3:00 Andre’s Capture: Walking Tour – Sara Maschia, The Historical Society serving Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown Patriots Park
121 N Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591
4:15 Horatio Gates: New York’s Forgotten Revolutionary War Hero – James Kaplan
Dobbs Ferry Library
55 Main Street
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
General Horatio Gates was the commanding officer of the American Army at the Battle of Saratoga, which was the most important battle in the American Revolution and the clear turning point of the Revolution. After his decisive victory over British General Johnny Burgoyne, some in the Continental Congress considered him a possible replacement for George Washington. In addition, after moving to New York City in 1790, he played a critical role in the New York City elections of 1800 in which he was candidate on the successful Jeffersonian slate, which defeated the Federalists and paved the way for the election of Thomas Jefferson and the rise of the Democratic party. Ironically General Gates is virtually unknown today particularly here in New York State, so much so that he is buried in an unmarked grave in New York City. His lecture will talk about General Gates and his career and why it is a disgrace that the most important Revolutionary War general buried in New York State is so obscure.
James S. Kaplan is a lawyer walking tour historian who for the past 14 years has every July 4 led an all night walking tour of Lower Manhattan sponsored by the Fraunces Tavern Museum from 2 A.M. to 6 AM., which at 5 A.M. visits the unmarked grave of General Gates and tells the story of the Battle Of Saratoga. He has written extensively on various subjects related to New York City history and led a number of tours of other areas of New York, including Harlem, Hell’s Kitchen and Wall Street. When not engaged in such endeavors, he is the head of the tax and estates department at the New York City law firm of Herzfeld & Rubin, P.C.
5:15 Teaching American Revolution Workshop/Journal Writing
1 High Street
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
The restaurant offers panoramic views of the Hudson and Manhattan skyline, and sunsets over the Palisades and has been called “the most exciting dining experience in the region.”
6:00 Dinner: Half Moon
7:30 Washington’s Westchester Gamble of 1781, A Turning point for the American Revolution: Raising Awareness of the Roles played by Dobbs Ferry and by Neighboring Localities – Richard Borkow, Dobbs Ferry Historian
Dobbs Ferry Library
55 Main Street
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
In July and August, 1781, during the seventh year of the Revolutionary War, Continental Army troops, commanded by General George Washington, were encamped in Dobbs Ferry and neighboring localities, alongside allied French forces under the command of General Rochambeau. A large British army controlled Manhattan at that time, and Washington chose the Dobbs Ferry area for encampment because he hoped to probe for weaknesses in the British defenses, just 12 miles to the south. But on August 14, 1781, a communication was received from French Admiral de Grasse in the West Indies, which caused Washington to change his strategy.
De Grasse’s communication, which advocated a joint land and sea attack against the British in Virginia, convinced Washington to risk a march of more than 400 miles to the Chesapeake region of Virginia. Washington’s new strategy, adopted and designed in mid-August, 1781, at the encampment of the allied armies, would win the war. The allied armies were ordered to break camp on August 19, 1781: on that date the Americans took the first steps of their march to Virginia along present-day Ashford Avenue and Broadway, en route to victory over General Cornwallis at the Battle of Yorktown and to victory in the Revolutionary War.
Lodging: Super8 Newburgh
June 29, Wednesday
9:00 Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site
Corner of Liberty and Washington Streets, Newburgh, NY 12551
Visit the nation’s first publicly owned historic site and tour the rooms where American history was made. In the critical months that General George Washington spent at Newburgh, he made some of his most important contributions to shaping the American republic. It was here that Washington rejected the idea that he should be king after the war; ended the Newburgh conspiracy, preventing military control of the government; created and awarded the Badge of Military Merit, forerunner of the Purple Heart; and circulated a letter to State Governors that influenced the writing of the Constitution.
9:00 Washington – A Man For All Time
9:35 Hasbrouck House Tour and Film
10:30 The Circular Letter: George Washington in 1783 – West Gallery
11:00 Bus to Tappan
12:00 Lunch: The 76 House (proprietor talk)
110 Main Street
Tappan, NY 10983
The Old ’76 House is not simply one of America’s oldest taverns. Built in 1668, The Old ’76 House had a profound effect on the outcome of The Revolutionary War. Through its long use as a meeting place for patriots, The Old ’76 House established itself as safe ground for Americans when the air was rife with revolution and the tavern itself served as the “prison” of the Revolution’s most notorious spy, Major John Andre. That is why The Old ’76 House is often referred to as “Andre’s Prison”, not a real prison, in fact never having been a place of incarceration for anyone before or since. On the contrary, The Old ’76 House has been a haven for many a weary traveler for more than two hundred years. This great tavern has accommodated on various occasions, every General of the west wing of the Continental Army including Commander-in-Chief General George Washington who, with his chief provisioner Samuel Fraunces, dined in the comfortable atmosphere of The Old ’76 House.
1:00 Washington’s Headquarters
Livingston and Oak Tree Road
Tappan, NY 10983
Known as the De Wint House, after the family who owned it during Washington’s visits, it is the oldest surviving structure in Rockland County, New York, and an outstanding example of Colonial Dutch architecture in the Hudson Valley.
Washington’s first stay at the House was from August 8 to 24, 1780, while he was inspecting a redoubt on the Hudson. Major Frederickus Blauvelt, the son- in-law of Johannes and Antje DeWint, who owned the house at the time, invited Washington to stay with the family. Later, when the American Army had moved to Orangeburg, Washington returned on September 28, through October 7, 1780, for the trial and subsequent hanging of the British spy, Major John André. André had been captured after a meeting with American General, Benedict Arnold, at which they made plans to betray the fortifications at West Point.
3:00 Fort Montgomery State Historic Site
690 Route 9W P.O. Box 213
Fort Montgomery, NY 10922
Fort Montgomery was the scene of a fierce Revolutionary War battle for control of the Hudson River. Visitors today can tour the remains of the 14-acre fortification, perched on a cliff overlooking the magnificent Hudson. On October 6, 1777, British, Loyalist and Hessian forces attacked Fort Montgomery and nearby Fort Clinton. The defending American Patriots, outnumbered 3 to 1, fought desperately until driven out of their forts at the points of the enemy bayonets. More than half of the Patriot forces were killed, wounded or captured. – Guided tour of archaeological excavations of the fort – Video of the re-enactment of the battle – Museum tour
5:00 Constitution Island – Guided Tour: Executive Director Richard de Koster
Entrance via Cold Spring Train Station Parking Lot
Constitution Island is part of West Point, the United States Military Academy, a National Registered Landmark. The Island is most famous for the Great Chain that was placed across the Hudson during the Revolutionary War and the Warner family who lived on the Island during the 19th century. The Warner House and ruins of the Revolutionary War fortifications are the primary points of interest. The Island’s 280 acres are covered with hiking trails that are enjoyed by the Island’s visitors. The Constitution Island Association was founded in 1916 to preserve and protect the history and traditions of this unique American site.
6:00 Dinner Cold Spring Depot
1 Depot Square,
Cold Spring, NY 10516-3002
Relax overlooking the Hudson River while owner Tom Rolston continues the discussion of defining a community and the role of the train in it.
7:30 Rendezvous with Treason: The Andre/Arnold Conspiracy
Gary “Major General Benedict Arnold” Petagine, Social Studies Teacher, Carmel High School and Sean “Major John André” Grady, Social Studies Teacher, Ardsley Middle School
Putnam County Historical Society and Foundry Museum
63 Chestnut Street
Cold Spring, NY
Why did American Major General Benedict Arnold commit treason? Why was British Major John Andre so overly ambitious? What was their correspondence like? What did they say to each other when they met on the banks of the Hudson River? All these questions are answered in this interpretative performance that also reveals their fates.
A teacher for over 30 years, Gary Petagine has been a master teacher for the Living History Education Foundation for 8 years. He is a Colonial/Revolutionary War reenactor with the 5th NY and has portrayed Patrick Henry, Gen. Richard Montgomery, and Sam Adams. Gary co-founded A Living History: The Revolutionary War at Carmel High School.
A teacher for over ten years in Westchester County, Sean Grady’s “living history” approach to teaching has been highlighted in The New York Teacher Magazine and other regional publications. Sean has been a master teacher for the Living History Education Foundation for 8 years. He and Gary created Flight of the Dark Eagle – a course that allows teachers to walk in the footsteps of André and Arnold as their plot of treason unfolded throughout the Hudson Valley. A veteran of the stage, Sean has performed in over 50 theatrical productions across New York State.
The Putnam County Historical Society was founded in 1906 by a group of prominent Philipstown residents and chartered the next year to be the first historical society in the county. Its dedicated early members were prominent Cold Spring residents: A. Augustus Healy, Gouverneur Paulding, William Henry Haldane, Robert Floyd-Jones, and William Wood. Galvanized by the desire to collect and preserve historical and cultural materials pertaining to Putnam County, especially the Philipstown area, and the Hudson Highlands, while both looking back to the nineteenth century and forward into the twentieth, the members initially concentrated on the assemblage of information related to many county families, the compilation of a list of local Civil War veterans, and a study of the milestones on the Putnam County segment of the New York to Albany Post Road. During these early years, the members met in private homes, where objects collected by the society were stored, as well as in libraries, where special programs were held.
In 1960, with funds from the estate of a longtime supporter, the noted writer Laura Spencer Porter Pope (1907-1957), the society acquired the Foundry School building, which was built in about 1830, enlarged in the 1860s, and used for the education of the foundry’s teenage apprentices as well as its employees’ children. In 1971, a wing was added to house the society’s holdings related to the West Point Foundry. Since the establishment of this museum, the society’s members, many of them extraordinarily informed about the history of the Highlands and the county, have continued to dedicate their time and talents as docents, researchers, and educators.
The West Point Foundry, currently owned and run by Scenic Hudson, was a functioning factory from 1818-1911 and was a hub of the Industrial Revolution. It produced steam engines, water wheels and most importantly, the Parrott Gun used during the Civil War, which is basically a small cannon. Abraham Lincoln visited the site in 1862 to check out its firepower (and you can stand where he probably watched a demonstration), and Jules Verne even mentions the site in the 1865 book “From the Earth to the Moon.”
Lodging: Super8 Newburgh
Thursday, June 30
First Reformed Church of Fishkill
1153 Main St.
Fishkill, NY 12524
The Fishkill area was settled in the early 1700’s by Dutch immigrants who came up the Hudson River in search of a place to make a living. By 1716 they wanted their own Dutch Reformed church so they would not have to cross the river to Kingston or New Paltz to worship. In that year two congregations were established on October 10th: one in Poughkeepsie and one in Fishkill. Poughkeepsie’s church building was finished in 1723, and Fishkill’s in 1731. The first Dominie (minister) who arrived from the Netherlands in 1731 to serve both churches received an annual salary of 70 pounds.
The church was used as a military prison during the American Revolution. The 4th New York Provincial Congress met in the church in 1776, making Fishkill the state capital, until the Congress moved to Kingston in 1777. Part of the New York State Constitution was written in our church.
After the Revolution, a decision was made to enlarge the church and today’s exterior design dates to 1795. A gilded cock, which was placed atop the new steeple at that time, is symbolic of Peter’s denial of Jesus. Formerly found on most Reformed churches, ours is one of the few which remains. The church interior has been remodeled several times.
The 20th century has brought additional changes to the property. A Christian Education building was constructed in 1964, and a Memorial Garden for cremains was added to the cemetery in 1980. The Glenham Reformed Church merged with our congregation in 1976. The sanctuary’s exterior was refurbished for the country’s bicentennial, and interior repairs were completed in 1989. A slate roof was installed in 1997.
The DuBois House, a building with its own history, which was purchased in 1991. Extensive repairs have created beautiful offices and a church parlor, as well as space for meetings. Visitors from around the world come through our doors to visit the church of their ancestors, to trace their roots, and study its history. Our churchyard, behind these buildings, while no longer used for burials, has many well preserved stones dating back to the late 1700’s, and attracts it’s own visitors. As a congregation, we are most proud of our heritage of God’s blessings, and want to share that with all who come.
8:30 History of the Church – Willa Skinner, Fishkill Historian
9:00 Cemetery and Grounds Tour
9:30 Organ Music
10:00 Bus to Van Wyck Homestead
Van Wyck Homestead
504 Route 9
Fishkill, New York
This 1732 structure is today the Van Wyck Homestead Museum. In 1776 it was the home of Isaac Van Wyck. It was requisitioned by the Continental Army for use as an officers’ headquarters.
On the lawn outside the house is a Bicentennial Memorial that commemorates the role of Fishkill in the American Revolution. Sadly, the site of much of this activity has yielded to “progress” in the form of an exit ramp and a mall.
10:15 House Tour
10:45 Grounds Tour
11:15 Saving the Fishkill Supply Depot
11:45 Bus to Mount Gulian
Mount Gulian Historic Site
145 Sterling Street
Beacon, NY 12508
In 1783, General Von Steuben was headquartered at Mount Gulian, across the Hudson River from Washington’s headquarters in Newburgh. While at Mount Gulian “The Baron”, as he was often known, learned of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which meant total victory for the new United States and independence from England. Often a footnote in history, Friedrich Von Steuben emerged from obscurity in Europe to become the unsung hero of the Revolutionary War, making a lasting impact on the Continental Army and American history.
The Society of the Cincinnati was organized on May 13, 1783, at Mount Gulian, in Fishkill, New York, by Continental officers who fought in the American Revolution, including patriot General Baron Von Steuben, whose headquarters was located at Mount Gulian. The Society was the first veterans’ fraternal organization established in the United States. The Society’s original purpose was to facilitate fellowship, friendship and recognition for officer war veterans of the Continental Army. At a time when there were no “veterans benefits” the Society was also created to act as an “insurance policy” of sorts, an institution that collected funds from every member and which would remit benefits to their fellow officers in time of need. The Society also acted as a powerful organization which would lobby Congress for the back-pay and land grants promised to veteran officers of the War.
“Responding to Freedom’s Call: James F. Brown and Three Generations of Verplancks” – Myra Armstead, Professor of History, Bard College
Of all the many personalities connected with Mount Gulian and the Verplanck family, few have led a life as unique and as fully documented as James Brown. Born into slavery as Anthony Fisher, Fredericktown, Maryland in 1793, James Brown escaped from bondage by going north to New York City via the Underground Railroad. It is believed that he left Maryland around 1818, temporarily leaving his wife Julia after the death of their five year old son.
By 1829, James Brown was working full time at Mount Gulian as the estate’s gardener, coachman and general laborer. His detailed journal entries, from 1829-1866 do not reveal his inner thoughts, conflicts or psychology. Instead they read as an amazing record of everyday events and daily chores, local news, farming and weather entries, receipts for work done and favorite recipes. James Brown was a church-going God-fearing man, and many of his Sunday entries are about the sermons he heard in the local churches, of many denominations. He also writes of his trips to northern cities, the local personalities and his voting in local elections. Most of the journal reflects the life of a simple gardener, tending to the soil, planting seeds, harvesting crops, working hard.
His seven-volume journal, kept in narrow receipt books, resides in the New York Historical Society in Manhattan, the extensive record of a free black man living in Dutchess County, NY.
Myra B. Young Armstead is Associate Professor of History at Bard College. She teaches courses in American social history, African-American history, American urban history, women’s history, and ethnic/immigrant history. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She has published on the history of African Americans in Saratoga Springs and in Chicago and is at work on a history of African Americans in the resort towns of Saratoga Springs, New York, and Newport, Rhode Island, between 1870 and 1930.
12:00 House Tour
12:30 Barn and Grounds Tour
1:00 Lunch on premises
2:00 Bus to Pride of Hudson
2:15 Pride of the Hudson Cruise with Jonathan Kruk, Hudson River Storyteller
Front Street, Newburgh Landing
Newburgh, NY 12550
Your Hudson River Adventure begins at the Newburgh Landing in Newburgh, NY. Your Captain will present a narration of the sights along the River including Mt. Beacon, Bannerman Island, Storm King Mountain, Breakneck Mountain, The Catskill Aqueduct, World’s End, Cold Spring, and West Point.
Garbed in 1770’s clothes, Jonathan takes students for a tour in tales of New York along the Hudson. Stories span Native, Dutch and English colonial, revolutionary and 19th century times. There are many local geographic references. Curricular goals, like understanding important people and point of view are met as students are engaged imaginatively, through the art of the oral tradition.
Workshops show students how to turn primary source materials into historic fiction. A teacher guide is tailored to your goals.
7:30 Dinner – Albany Pump Station
19 Quackenbush Square
Albany, NY 12207
518 447 9000
Welcome to C. H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station, Albany’s premier location for food and hand crafted beer. With up to 10 in-house brews to choose from, The Pump Station is sure to have something for every beer lover. We enjoy creating a warm and friendly atmosphere and want to make your visit a memorable one. Experience the history and atmosphere that makes the Albany Pump Station one of Albany?s most unique venues! The space is simply amazing.
Lodging: Super8 Albany
1579 Central Ave
Albany, NY 12205-2405
Friday, July 1
Heritage Area Visitor Center
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
9:00 Johnny We hardly Knew Ya! Reassessing John Burgoyne and British Strategy before and after Saratoga – Ray Raymond, USMA
10:15 Benedict Arnold: Traitor, Hero or Victim?: A PBS Documentary – Ray Raymond, USMA
12:00 Bus to Saratoga National Historic Park
12:30 Lunch at Saratoga National Historic Park
648 Route 32
Stillwater, NY 12170
1:00 Saratoga Battlefield Video and Exhibit Map
2:00 Saratoga Battlefield Bus and Walking Tour
4:00 Saratoga Battlefield Workshop
5:00 The Battle of Saratoga – Joe Craig, National Park Service
6:00 Dinner: Panza’s with Joe Craig
510 Route 9P
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Lodging: Best Western Clifton Park
617 Plank Road,
Clifton Park, NY, 12065
Saturday, July 2
9:00 Battleground for Freedom: New York During the Revolutionary War
New York State Military Museum
61 Lake Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
An overview of the Revolutionary War in New York State. The exhibit includes a British artillery piece captured at Yorktown and other Revolutionary War artifacts.
10:30 The Saratoga Monument National Historic Park
Burgoyne Road (County Route 338)
Schuylerville, NY 12871
The Saratoga Monument commemorates the surrender of the British Army under the command of General John Burgoyne to General Horatio Gates commander of the America forces on 17 October 1777 following the battles of Saratoga. The battles and subsequent surrender are considered a turning point in the American Revolution by leading to French support and the hope of ultimate victory. This lofty sight was chosen for the monument because of its commanding view of the surrounding battlefield sites and its historical association with Burgoyne’s campaign. The cornerstone was laid on 17 October 1877, one hundred years after the British surrender. The capstone was put into place in 1882 and the decorative elements of bronze statues and interior bass relief was finally completed in 1887.
11:30 Schuylerville House National Historic Park
Schuylerville, NY 12871
November 28, 1745, on these grounds the French and Indians killed Captain Philip Schuyler and thirty others, burning mills, stores and thirty houses. On June 30, 1747, the garrison of Fort Saratoga was surprised when 45 men were tomahawked and scalped. Site of the house of Captain Schuyler, 1745 and General Philip Schuyler, 1777.
1:00 Lunch: Inn at the Kitchen
184 Broad Street
Schuylerville, NY 12871
2:00 Champlain Canal Tour Boats, LLC
Canal House, End of Towpath
PO Box 9
Lock C5, Routes 4 & 32N
Schuylerville, NY 12871
4:30 Bus to Fort Edward
5:00 Old Fort House Museum
Fort Edward Historical Association
29 Broadway Street
Fort Edward, New York 12828
518 747 9600
The Old Fort House Museum was constructed by Patrick Smyth in 1772 with timbers taken from the ruins of Fort Edward, a French and Indian War fortification. Smythe was arrested at the house in 1777 by General Benedict Arnold for being a loyalist to the British Crown. During the Revolutionary War, the house was used by both British and American troops as headquarters. American General Stark erected a stockade fence around the house and for a time the building was called Fort Stark. It was also used by British General Burgoyne for a short time.
During the American Revolutionary War, in 1777, Jane McCrea was a 17 year old Loyalist living at the farm of her older brother, Colonel John McCrea at Fort Edward, New York in order to be close to her fiancé, Lt. David Jones, a Loyalist serving with British General Burgoyne’s army. On July 27th of that year, while she was visiting the home of Mrs. McNeil, the two women were captured by Indians allied to the British.
Jane McCrea was buried three miles south of Fort Edward. Her death, and those of others in similar raids, inspired some of the resistance to Burgoyne’s invasion leading to his defeat at the Battle of Saratoga. The effect expanded as reports of the incident were used, almost as propaganda, to excite rebel sympathies during the war, especially before the Sullivan Expedition in 1779.
The story became part of American folklore when James Fenimore Cooper described some similar events in his novel “The Last of the Mohicans.” Later on, in 1852, McCrea’s remains were removed and reintured at the Union Cemetery in the Town of Fort Edward. McCrea’s remains were again exhumed in 2003 and researchers were surprised to find that McCrea’s skull was missing, and her bones were commingled with those of another Revolutionary-era woman, Sara McNeil, a landowner and a cousin of British Gen. Simon Fraser. The bodies were exhumed again in 2005 in order to provide separate graves for both women.
6:00 Bus to Union Cemetery
Fort Edward, NY
6:45 Bus to Lake George
7:30 Lake George – on own for dinner
Fort William Henry Hotel & Conference Center
48 Canada Street
Lake George, New York 12845
9:30 Bus to Rutland
Lodging: Ramada Inn
253 S Main St
Rutland, VT 05701
Sunday, July 3
Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site
9:30 The Battle of Hubbardton: Implications for Saratoga – Carl Fuller, Hubbarton Battlefield State Historic Site Educator
Walk the battelfield while hearing about its importance for the Battle of Saratoga and the American Revolution. Hear about the strategy, the battle, life of a soldier, life of the civilians who were living in the area when the battle came upon them, a little about the archeology that has been done to confirm parts of the battle. The field trip programs offered for school groups will be reviewed at this time.
11:30 Ebenezer Fletcher, a Teenage Captive – Carl Fuller
Hear about Ebenezer Fletcher, the fifer and 16 year-old, who was recovering from illness and who was wounded, captured, and then escaped and walked all the way home to New Hampshire. Review a school field trip activity based on Ebenezer Fletcher and his journal and what the students visiting the site who helped create it learned while they were there.
12:30 Picnic lunch
1:30 Visitor Center and Wrap Up
2:30 Program Ends