Dutch Silver Spoon Exhibit with Collector George Way

Honorable Dolph Hogewoningand George Way-HHS

NEW PALTZ, NY (December 2, 2016) – On Saturday, December 10, Historic Huguenot Street will host a special closing reception for the exhibit Marking the Occasion: Dutch Silver Spoons from the Collection of George Way and Jonathan Z. Friedman. Collector George Way will be in attendance for this champagne reception to discuss the history and significance of the collection. The exhibit, which has been on display since September, centers around 17th- and 18th-century Dutch silver spoons. During the reception, guests will have the opportunity to handle the spoons and view them up-close.

“Dutch solid silver spoons were considered very precious objects,” explained George Way. “These spoons were highly regarded as not only works of art, but were an indication of great wealth.” This exhibit also served as an opportunity for Historic Huguenot Street to celebrate the Dutch influence in the Hudson Valley, as the custom of giving spoons to mark births, deaths, and other occasions was carried on in New Netherland colony as well. The recently appointed Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Honorable Dolph Hogewoning, visited the exhibit in October. The exhibit will remain on display at the DuBois Fort until December 18 during regular weekend hours.

A collector since the age of 15, Way’s interest quickly became a passion as he was drawn in to the golden age of Dutch culture. From a novice to a collector to a connoisseur, his collection has grown to become one of America’s foremost collections of 16th- and 17th-century Dutch and English furniture, paintings and decorative objects. Way has appeared on Oprah and the Today Show and writes extensively on 17th century Dutch antiques and furniture.

The Old Fort History Club offers regular opportunities for club members to join together at the historic DuBois Fort – formerly the Old Fort Restaurant – and enjoy camaraderie, food, drink, and entertainment. The program will begin at the DuBois Fort (81 Huguenot Street) with a reception catered by Main Course at 4:30 pm. Existing members may attend for $20 and register at huguenotstreet.org/rsvp.

Those who join Old Fort History Club as new members for $25 will receive complimentary admission to this event. Those interested may register as new members at huguenotstreet.org/old-fort-history-club.

Posted in Education, Historic Sites, Press Releases, Ulster County | Leave a comment

Deepest History of the Hudson Valley From 15,000 b.c.e. to 1830 c.e

Historian and member of the New Paltz Historical Society, Dr.Thomas Mounkhall will talk about the role World History played in the Hudson Valley.

World history (not to be confused with diplomatic or international history) is a field of historical study that emerged as a distinct academic field in the 1980s. It examines history from a global perspective. World history is distinct from national history, with emphasis on connections and exchange across regional boundaries. World historians use a thematic approach, with two major focal points: integration (how processes of world history have drawn people of the world together) and difference (how patterns of world history reveal the diversity of the human experiences).

Dr. Thomas Mounkhall has taught world history at the high school level for 33 years and at the undergraduate and graduate levels at SUNY New Paltz for 6 years. He has also trained secondary world history teachers all over the United States.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
7:00 pm

at the 3 Veterans Drive
New Paltz, NY
(Behind the old New Paltz Town Hall building.)

                                                                                         This event is FREE and open to the public. (Suggested donation: $5.00)
Refreshments will be served.
Please join us for an informative and enjoyable evening.

                                         Painting-Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823–1880), Sunset Over the Shawangunks-Provided


Posted in Education, Press Releases, Ulster County, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley, 1735–1831

In Defiance Cover

In Defiance: Runawys from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley is a new release by authors Susan Stessin-Cohn and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini. It documents 607 fugitives from slavery in the 18th and 19th-century Hudson River Valley region of New York State through the reproduction and transcription of 512 archival newspaper notices for runaway slaves placed by their enslavers or agents. Also included are notices advertising slaves captured, notices advertising slaves for sale, notices offering to purchase slaves, and selected runaway notices from outside the Hudson River Valley region. Nine tables analyze the data in the 512 notices for runaways from Hudson Valley enslavers, and the book includes a glossary, indexes of names, locations, and subjects, 36 illustrations, 5 maps from the 18th and 19thcenturies, and a foreword by A.J. Williams-Myers, Black Studies Department, SUNY at New Paltz.

The book is available from Black Dome Press http://shop.blackdomepress.com

Posted in Education | Leave a comment

Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal

The Rondout-Phtoto Provided

Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal is a film about the growth, destruction, and rebirth of the Rondout District in Kingston, to be presented by the Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society at its upcoming public program on Monday, December 5, 2016 at 7 pm at the Vineyard Commons Theater in Highland.
Urban Removal? No, it’s not a typo. The film chronicles the district’s history since pre-Civil War times, focusing on its development into a mixed-use neighborhood of small businesses and working-class residences that were flattened under the wrecking ball of an urban renewal project in the 1960’s that many people felt went far awry.  The film also relates the area’s slow recovery as artists found its remaining boarded-up buildings and new business owners arrived, eventually reclaiming the area and turning it into today’s flourishing waterfront neighborhood and cultural attraction.
Filmmakers Stephen Blauweiss and Lynn Woods used nearly a thousand pictures taken by photographer Eugene Dauner prior to and during the urban renewal project as the basis for the film.  They also included works by contemporary photographers and archival materials to illustrate the message told to them by people who lived in the Rondout District prior to, during, and after the demolishment of more than 400 19th century buildings. 
In the film, the interviewees, including historians, urban planners, and city officials as well as residents, describe the Rondout District as a close-knit, racially and ethnically diverse community, where you could walk to everything you needed – “cleaners, food stores, department store, two banks,” and many other small businesses.  The neighborhood had fallen onto hard times by the 1960’s, but the federally funded urban renewal project was wrong, interviewees said, in its theory that mixed-use buildings didn’t work well.  Some comments:
                “They had no regard for the effect on human beings.”
                “Thousands of people were dislocated, not relocated.”
                “New developers failed to arrive.”
                “For 10-12 years, there was nothing down there.”
As the film shows, the area’s revival was more the result of artists and small business owners moving into the few remaining buildings than it was to any planned renewal program. 
Stephenen Blauweiss is a filmmaker and graphic designer whose films have aired on PBS and been shown at museums and film festivals in the US, Canada, and Europe.  Lynn Woods, a journalist, author, and painter, moved to the Rondout District nearly 20 years ago.  Her articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and other national publications as well as local periodicals such as Chronogram.  Gene Dauner, who grew up in the neighborhood, took his early photographs there while delivering flowers for his father, a local florist.
Vineyard Commons, where the December 5 program will take place, is at 300 Vineyard Avenue, about a mile and a quarter from the Hamlet of Highland on Route 44/55, just south of the Hudson Valley Rehabilitation Center.  To reach the theater, turn into Vineyard Commons and follow signs to Building 6.  Early arrivers get the best parking spaces.  The program is free and the public is invited. Free refreshments will be available.  For more information call 845-255-7742.

Posted in Press Releases | Leave a comment

Kickstarting Hugo the Huguenot*

Photo used by permission (Matt Kelly and Jennifer DuBois Bruntil)

Obsessively checking Kickstarter is something that I have tried not to do over the past week.  But I admit, it has been hard not to.  Ever since I launched the campaign to raise funds to publish the book, Hugo the Huguenot, I have wondered, how will it go?  Will I really get to make this book that I have been thinking about for ages?

Well, it looks like I might get a chance to do just that.  As of a few minutes ago the campaign had raised 94% of it’s $5,000 goal.  I am not there yet, but I am so close!  This book has been a journey…

It all started when I was trying to think of a way to relate the Huguenot story to kids.  As the School Programming Coordinator for Historic Huguenot Street, it is my job to make this story understandable to kids as young as four years old all the way through to high-schoolers.   For older students, it is easier to explain the story, however for younger students, the involved story of the Huguenots can present some challenges.  That’s when I starting thinking about writing a children’s book to tell the story in simple terms.  And the idea for “Hugo the Huguenot” was born.

As a former teacher, I am used to breaking things down to understandable and digestible portions.  So that is what I tried doing with this story of the Huguenots.  A story that included the Huguenots fleeing their homeland because of religious persecution, not once but twice, moving across the ocean, interacting with the Native Americans and finally finding a new home in New Paltz, NY.

The other thing that inspired me to write this book is the fact that this is my family’s story.  I am a descendant of the New Paltz Huguenots.  My ties go all the way back to one of the first Huguenots to ever lay eyes on what is now known as New Paltz.  I am the twelfth generation from Louis DuBois, one of the original twelve patentees of this town.  In some ways I think I felt an obligation to tell this story, and to make sure my children know it too; the thirteenth generation.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to local illustrator, Matthew Kelly, through our mutual friend, local author A.J. Schenkman.  After collaborating with Matt this book really started to come to life.  Matt has sketched out the entire book and it currently in the process of painting the pictures in watercolor.  All I can say about the pictures, is that he continues to amaze me with his historical depictions and beautiful illustrations.

I am beyond excited to think about the actuality of having this book printed and able to distribute in our little town and I’m also so thankful for the amount of support that Matt and I have received so far during this Kickstarter campaign.  We are so close to the goal and appreciate any additional support thrown our way.  You can check out more about Hugo the Huguenot and/or donate and pre-order the book on the Kickstarter site at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/652098140/hugo-the-huguenot

* This is a guest post by Jennifer DuBois Bruntil

Posted in City of Kingston, Education, Historic Sites, Picturing the Past, Town/Village of New Paltz, Ulster County | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Holiday on Huguenot Street

Photo Provided

NEW PALTZ, NY (November 14, 2016) – Historic Huguenot Street and the Reformed Church of New Paltz present A Holiday on Huguenot Streeton December 2 and 3, featuring holiday tours, a craft fair, horse-drawn wagon rides, farm animals, and more.

The series of events will begin at 4 pm on Friday, December 2, with Historic Huguenot Street’s special Holiday Tours of the historic Deyo House. Tours will depart from the DuBois Fort Visitor Center on the hour at 5, 6, 8, and 9 pm. Registration is encouraged.

At 4:30 pm, Duetimage Photography will be shooting family and pet holiday portraits in the Wullschleger Education Building (92 Huguenot Street). All proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of Walden.

From 5 – 8 pm, the Misty Mountain Girl Scout Troop will be hosting a cookie walk to support Local at Heart, while working towards their Community Service and Cooking badges. Also at 5 pm, the Reformed Church’s annual Craft Fair will open in the Wullschleger Education Building, followed by Soup on the Stoop on the steps of the Church at 6 pm.

At 6:45, the community will participate in a Paper Lantern Light Parade, beginning at the Reformed Church and proceeding to the Deyo House lawn for Historic Huguenot Street’s annual Community Tree Lighting at 7 pm. Luminaries will line the street and paper lanterns will be available for purchase at the Museum Shop. Paper lanterns may also be pre-ordered in advance online at huguenotstreet.org/shop.

Guests are welcome to take free photos with Santa on the Deyo House porch following the tree lighting until 8 pm, at which point the Big Blue Big Band will perform in the Reformed Church.

On Saturday, December 5, Duetimage will return to the Wullschleger Education Building at 9:30 am for more holiday portraits benefitting the Humane Society of Walden, and Historic Huguenot Street’s Holiday Tours will be offered on the hour at 10 am, 11 am, 1, 2, 3, and 4 pm. The Misty Mountain Girl Scout Troop will continue their cookie walk from 10 am – 4 pm. At 11 am, all are invited to the Church’s Christmas Café in the Social Hall (92 Huguenot Street) until 2 pm.

Beginning at 1 pm, Historic Huguenot Street will host horse-drawn wagon rides along the street. Rides will be available every 15 minutes from 1 – 4 pm for $5 (children 3 and under are free), departing from the DuBois Fort. Visitors can also meet and pet a local family of sheep at the Bevier-Elting House.

Photo Provided

Throughout the event, guests can shop for ornaments, Steiff bears, jewelry, books, and other holiday gifts in the Museum Shop (81 Huguenot Street). Tour registration and more information is available at huguenotstreet.org/holiday.

Posted in Education, Landmarks, Museums, Picturing the Past, Press Releases, Ulster County | Leave a comment

2016 Annual Candlelight Tour

Photo Provided

This year’s Candlelight Tour, sponsored by the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands, is getting ready for its big day this coming December, with interesting and historic houses on board for viewing by the public.

As usual, the tour will commence with the beautiful historic headquarters of the Historical Society, the Captain David Crawford House in the Newburgh Historic District.  The Society will have decorated the Crawford House with beautiful natural greens, fruits, holly, wreaths, trees, flowers, ribbons and bows.  The decorations are selected to represent how a family like the Crawfords might have presented their house to the public during a Christmas and holiday season back in the 1800’s.  Each fireplace—and there are several in this beautiful home—is decorated with a separate display of natural greens and flowers.  The dining room becomes a haven for homemade candy-trees and sugar cookies.  The magnificent cantilevered staircase will be entwined with ropes of garlands and bows creating a dramatic sweeping presence in the main hallway.

This year’s tour will include 10 different homes, each selected for a different reason, says Russell Lange, a member of the tour’s organization committee.  “Either they’re architecturally important, or they have a fabulous view of the river, or perhaps they’re on fabulous grounds. The person that currently lives there could be an artist or someone who has a wonderful collection; there are all different reasons why we would include someone.”

    The tour will begin at 12:00 on Sunday, December 11 and will last until 5:00.  The houses are grouped in clusters so one can park in close by and visit several houses and then drive to see another group.

Tickets are $25.00 in advance and $30.00 at the door of the Capt. David Crawford House, 189 Montgomery Street, Newburgh.

To purchase tickets online, please visit the website at: http://www.newburghhistoricalsociety.com/events/candlelight-tour-of-homes/

Posted in City of Newburgh, Education, Historic Sites, Hudson River, Landmarks, Museums, Orange County, Press Releases | Leave a comment

A Wicked Thanksgiving

Turkey 1915 Harris and Ewing Collection Library of Congress

It has been a while since I last posted. I would say almost 6 months. My father was killed riding his bicycle this past August. So I took a little break from posting to reflect. However, writing is my therapy, local history my healing and my readers like a family. I could not let a holiday go by without posting something. I of course turned to newspapers in order to see what was going on back in the day.

Newspapers one hundred years ago were filled with Thanksgiving recipes. These recipes ranged from desserts, like Indian Pudding, and fruit cakes. Still a standard for today, as well as a hundred years ago, was how to cook the perfect turkey. If turkey was not your game, one article featured a recipe for ham cooked in apple cider. Possibly a reason some individuals decided to serve ham, was in 1905, low temperatures resulted in an upswing in prices for turkey.

Newspapers also posted presidential proclamations such as in 1912. President Taft issued a proclamation that Thanksgiving would be observed on Thursday November 28.  Simeon Ford was quick to remind readers of the local papers, “let us celebrate Thanksgiving gayly, but temperately.” Some ignored the spirit of Thanksgiving, and chose to still be wicked.

Some localities held Thanksgiving Balls, and on occasion these dances spiraled out of control. During one ball, Thomas DuBois and Peter Sampson were competing over a particular woman. Sampson pulled a knife, and stabbed DuBois. Sampson was arrested. Sometimes the wicked caught a break in the Ulster County Jail.

A tradition in the Ulster County Jail in Kingston, was already old one by 1908. The prisoners in the jail were treated to a chicken dinner hosted by the sheriff. In 1908, Sheriff Boice ordered twenty-five pounds of chicken from a local Ulster County Farmer.

The Hudson Valley Blog would like to wish our readers and their families a very happy Thanksgiving. We look forward to bringing you more great stories in the 2017.  Thank you for you continued support.


Posted in Picturing the Past, Ulster County | Leave a comment

CIA Operations Officer discusses the American Revolution

According to George Washington during wartime, “there is nothing more necessary than good intelligence to frustrate a designing enemy.” This quote is widely referenced among historians discussing U.S. intelligence activities, including Kenneth A. Daigler in his book, “Spies, Patriots and Traitors.” During a special presentation on September 27 at 7 p.m. sponsored by the Friends of that State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands, Daigler will speak about this topic during the era of the American Revolution from the perspective of an intelligence professional.

Kenneth Daigler served as an operations officer in the CIA for nearly 20 years which included being a Chief of Station domestically and abroad in a high risk environment, as well as senior management positions at the division level at CIA Headquarters. In addition, Daigler holds a BA in History from Centre College of Kentucky, an MA in History from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

The talk will take place at the Newburgh Brewing Company, located at 88 South Colden Street within the City of Newburgh. The bar will be open and like eighteenth century taverns that served as social centers, meeting houses and rendezvous points for patriot groups like the Sons of Liberty, visitors may enjoy a drink to accompany a talk that holds local significance.

Due to the importance of the Hudson River and its proximity to the British stronghold in New York City, the region saw its fair share of intelligence activity. Local committees of safety sprang up with a purpose of protecting the interests of the Continental Congress with actions like implementing loyalty pledges and identifying suspected loyalists to the King.

View of the Hudson from Plum Point in New Windsor, once location of Thomas Machin’s Battery of Twelve Guns to support river defense obstructions. Photo by Brian Wolfe.

Some spies have been identified, like Daniel Bissell who posed as a defector from the Continental Army at New Windsor and was honored as one of three known recipients of George Washington’s Badge of Military Merit for his intelligence services while operating in New York City. Then there was Thomas Machin who is locally significant as an engineer of Hudson River defenses. He first deserted from the British artillery in 1775 and provided Washington with valuable information concerning British fortifications in Boston. There was also the ill-fated British spy, Daniel Taylor, who was caught in New Windsor during the 1777 British invasion of New York and hung in Kingston. Not to mention the notorious betrayal by Benedict Arnold at West Point.

Nineteenth century engraving of a hollowed screw capsule that stored important information for the British Army at Saratoga, 1777. It was retrieved by a local doctor after the British spy, Daniel Taylor, swallowed it soon after capture.

Although these examples have an essence of adventure, righteousness and romanticism, the second half of Washington’s popular quote on the necessity of intelligence cautions there is “nothing that requires greater pains to obtain.” In his talk, Kenneth Daigler will reveal how his experience may give us a better understanding and appreciation for our past.

Admission to this special presentation is free. For more information call (845) 562-1195.

The Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands exists to benefit three New York State Historic Sites – Washington’s Headquarters, New Windsor Cantonment, and Knox’s Headquarters. The supported historic sites gain from this organization’s mission to increase public awareness of the three sites’ historical and educational significance; to raise funds to be used to supplement the educational, programming and collection needs of the sites; and to offer quality education and history related items for sale to site visitors.

Posted in Hudson River, Press Releases | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Slavery in New Paltz

HHS - Hardenbergh Slave Collar From the HHS Permanent Collection & Archives

NEW PALTZ – To coincide with The Slave Dwelling Project’s Joseph McGill and Terry James, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has recently curated a new exhibit to explore the topic of slavery in New Paltz. This exhibit centers around wills and other documents dating from the late 17th century through the early 19th century from the HHS Archives, as well as a late 18th century slave collar from the HHS Permanent Collection. A highlight of the display is the account book of John Hasbrouck that records his work as a freeman, as well as the wages and goods he received as payment between 1830 and 1839.

The first records of slave acquisition by the French Huguenot founders of New Paltz began in 1674 with the purchase of two enslaved people in Kingston. The Huguenot families who settled New Paltz are known to have enslaved Africans, as evidenced by the documents on display. Contrary to the common misconception that slavery was practiced in the U.S. only in the South, Northern states were also dependent on enslaved African labor in the 17th and 18th centuries to build their homes and communities, to work their farms, and to serve as domestic servants and skilled artisans. Slavery was practiced in what is now New York as early as 1626 by the Dutch and was perpetuated by the British through the 18th century. Even after the American Revolution, slavery was not legally abolished in New York State until 1827.

A descendant of Huguenot Street, Mary Etta Schneider, has said, “It is important to acknowledge the paradox inherent to this community’s use of enslaved African labor. My ancestors fled France for religious and political freedom. Before leaving France they saw their own families tortured, enslaved, and killed. Yet these emigrants came to the New World and, for their own personal gain, forced other human beings to labor against their will.” By exploring the narrative of Northern slavery through tours, programs, and exhibits such as this, Historic Huguenot Street hopes to reveal the true story of the street, not just from the perspective of slave owners, but from the perspective of those enslaved who also helped build our community.

The free exhibit will be on display in the DuBois Fort (81 Huguenot Street) through September 25, 2016. See huguenotstreet.org for hours.

A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres that was the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement, including seven stone houses that date to the early eighteenth century.  It was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve the nationally acclaimed collection of stone houses.  Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York Department of Education, that is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, conserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families, from the sixteenth century to today.

Posted in Education, Landmarks, Museums, Town/Village of New Paltz, Ulster County | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
  • Blog Author

    AJ Schenkman

    A.J. Schenkman is the author of numerous books and articles. He is Consulting Historian for Historic Huguenot Street and Town of Gardiner Historian. Read Full

    Elizabeth Werlau

    Elizabeth Werlau is an English teacher in the Hudson Valley and is the historian for the Town of Plattekill in Ulster County. She has authored and contributed to several books on regional history, including her most recent publication, Murder and ... Read Full

    Debra Conway

    A former Features writer/Columnist for the Times Herald-Record and Director of Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History in Narrowsburg, Debra Conway is currently the Executive Director of The Delaware Company, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ... Read Full

    Matthew Colon

    Matthew Colon enjoyed nearly a decade in public history working and volunteering for organizations including Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site and the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands. Read Full

    Shannon Butler

    Shannon Butler is a Park Ranger of Interpretation and Education at Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site in Hyde Park New York. She has also interpreted the Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston New York. Read Full
  • Categories

  • Archives