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Walter Elwood Museum Announces Grant Donation from Amsterdam Center for Teens (Act IV) Inc.

Walter Elwood Museum
©Mitch Wojnarowicz

The Walter Elwood Museum (opens in a new tab) Board of Trustees and staff are proud to announce a very generous grant donation of over $10,000 from Amsterdam Center for Teens (ACT IV) Inc. to benefit the students of the Greater Amsterdam School District.

Ann Peconie, Executive Director of the Museum is extremely grateful to the ACT IV Board of Directors; including Howard M. Aison, President, John G. Putman, and Margaret H. Aison for their support in the programming and educational goals of the Walter Elwood Museum to provide FREE quality programs for students and families in our area. This grant demonstrates to the Museum Board, Staff and membership that the former Amsterdam Center for Teens (ACT IV) Board of Directors see the Walter Elwood Museum as a time-honored educational and historical organization with essential value in our community in teaching our young residents about its vibrant past. This contribution will help keep our Museum active and open to the people of our community for years to come.

The Fort Plain Museum’s American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference

The Fort Plain Museum’s American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference (opens in a new tab) is back for 2018 and registrations are now being accepted. Pre-registration is required and please sign-up immediately, last year was a near sell-out. The Conference is held on June 7-10, 2018. Most of the conference will be held at the Fulton-Montgomery Community College (opens in a new tab) .

This year there are 11 Author/Historian Presentation and Panel Discussion. Starting on Thursday, June 7th, Michael E. Newton will present “Alexander Hamilton’s Revolutionary War Service”. On Friday, June 8th, Russell Shorto will present “Revolution Song: America’s Founding Era in Six Remarkable Lives”.

On Saturday/Sunday, June 9th and 10th, there are the following presentations:

  • Edward G. Lengel – George Washington and the Burning of New York City, 1776
  • Eric H. Schnitzer – “Hessians” at the Battle of Bennington, 1777
  • James L. Nelson – Benedict Arnold’s Navy: The Story of the Rag Tag Fleet that Lost the Battle of Valcour Island and Won the American Revolution
  • Don N. Hagist – Redcoats Along the Mohawk: British Soldiers in Western New York, 1777-1783
  • Bruce M. Venter – Benedict Arnold’s Nemesis: Colonel John Brown’s Fateful Journey to the Mohawk Valley
  • Jennifer DeBruin – Traitors, Spies & Heroes: Loyalist Espionage in the American Revolution
  • Glenn F. Williams – Sir William Johnson, the Iroquois Confederacy and Lord Dunmore’s War
  • John Buchanan – Two Warriors: George Washington and Sir William Howe
  • Wayne Lenig – The Tryon County Committee of Safety
  • New this year, a Panel Discussion where presenters and the audience will discuss which side they would choose, Patriot or Loyalist?
Stone Arabia Church
©Mitch Wojnarowicz

On Thursday, June 7th, there is a Bus Tour of the 1778 Battle & Raid Sites. The bus tour will feature the events of 1778; the Battle of Cobleskill, the Cherry Valley Massacre, Springfield, Andrustown, Adam Helmer’s Run, Fort Herkimer and Fort Plain/Rensselaer (opens in a new tab) . There is a lunch stop in Cooperstown.

New this year, is a Genealogy Day, this is held on Friday, June 8th. Guests can visit the Mohawk Country (opens in a new tab) historic sites located throughout Montgomery County. Sites will have presentations and/or historians on hand to discuss the families that fought on both sides during the American Revolution.

On the evening of Saturday, June 9th, “An Evening with Washington and Madison” including an all new Fundraiser Dinner held at the Bridge Walk at the Perthshire (opens in a new tab) . Join George Washington and James Madison, portrayed by Brian Hilton and Kyle Jenks, as they discuss their journeys to upstate New York and other founding moments.

To register or for further information such as pricing, locations and more details, please visit (opens in a new tab) or email (opens in a new tab) or call 518-774-5669. This is the museum’s yearly fundraiser with 100% going back into museum exhibits and upkeep, your support is greatly appreciated.

Schooner Lois McClure Legacy Tour: The Canal Bicentennial Begins, in port at Amsterdam and Canajoharie

Replica 1862 Canal Schooner Lois McClure on the Champlain Canal – Stern. Courtesy Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Replica 1862 Canal Schooner Lois McClure on the Champlain Canal – Stern. Courtesy Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s (LCMM’s) replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure (opens in a new tab) will be in port at Riverlink Park in Amsterdam on Thursday, July 13 from 12-6pm and Riverfront Park in Canajoharie on Friday, July 14 from 4-7pm during her 2017 Legacy Tour commemorating the Erie Canal Bicentennial. The World Canals Conference, which celebrates canals as “agents of transformation,” inspired the 2017 “Legacy Tour” of Lois McClure.  The tour pays tribute to the legacy of the canals, which celebrate 200 years in 2017, and the legacy of the Northern Forest trees, which built the thousands of wooden boats that plied our waterways. Visitors can board the schooner free of charge to explore the 88-foot long boat and a special exhibit.” “The Lois McClure has a unique capability to bring 200 years of canal history to life, while engaging people to appreciate and protect our legacy waterways,” says New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton.  “It can also help inform how the canal system can best serve the evolving needs of present and future generations.”

During the Legacy Tour the schooner crew will share with community members and students a maritime perspective on the relationship between waterways and trees, canal boats and forests through an initiative called Stem to Stern. “The forests and the waterways are a key to understanding how America transformed into a powerful and prosperous nation,” says Erick Tichonuk, LCMM Co-Executive Director. “Using human and animal power, the canal builders cleared a pathway 60 feet wide and more than 400 miles long, much of it through forested lands, to create the water highway that brought an economic boom. Almost overnight, natural resources too bulky to ship overland became valuable commodities.” The canals opened a floodgate of trade between the Champlain Valley, ports along the Hudson River and the Atlantic Seaboard, and through western New York to the Great Lakes.

However, the transformation also brought some unintended consequences. Stem to Stern is designed to spark insight into the impact of deforestation: eroded soil, silted waterways, loss of habitat for fish and wildlife, and the arrival of invasive species. Marking the transition to an era of habitat for fish and wildlife, and the arrival of invasive species. Marking the transition to an era sustainable forestry and environmental stewardship, the schooner will transport a cargo of white oak and white pine seedlings provided by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Trees for Tributaries Program, to be planted in communities along the canal.

Further information and the full itinerary of the 2017 Legacy Tour can be found at (opens in a new tab) . Travel conditions for this traditional wooden vessel are weather dependent, so the schedule is subject to change.

Lois McClure was built by LCMM shipwrights and volunteers on the Burlington waterfront, based on two shipwrecks of 1862-class canal schooners discovered in Lake Champlain. Since 2004, Lois McClure has cruised Lake Champlain, the Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers, and the Erie Canal System, and has visited over 200 communities and welcomed aboard more than 225,000 visitors. As an authentic replica, Lois McClure has no means of propulsion other than sail, so 1964 tugboat C. L. Churchill serves as power. As with all wooden vessels, constant care and maintenance is needed to ensure safe and effective operation.

Free admission is offered throughout the tour thanks to the generous support of sponsors including the New York State Canal Corporation and the State of Vermont. Additional support has been provided by Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership, Lake Champlain Basin Program, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the McClure family, the farm families of Cabot Creamery, Lake Champlain Transportation, Corning Museum of Glass, International Paper, and Vermont Family Forests. AmeriCorps Members have helped LCMM staff develop educational and interpretive materials for the project. Local hosts and supporters include the City of Amsterdam (opens in a new tab) , Village of Canajoharie (opens in a new tab) , the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie (opens in a new tab) , and the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce (opens in a new tab) .  For information about the event, visit (opens in a new tab) or (518)725-0641.


Schooner Lois McClure is an educational outreach program of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM), Vermont. A museum with a difference, LCMM brings underwater discoveries and lake adventures to the public in exciting and imaginative ways. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October 15, 2017. For more information visit (opens in a new tab) or call (802) 475-2022.

Mohawk Country Itinerary

America’s First Frontier: Where the Revolutionary War in the Mohawk Valley comes to life!

Follow our Mohawk Valley Path Through History (opens in a new tab) to eight historic sites (opens in a new tab) .

Your journey begins in Canajoharie (Exit 29 off the New York State Thruway) at the Van Alstyne Homestead (opens in a new tab) .  According to family tradition, the original structure was built by Martin Van Alstyne as early as 1729. By 1765 son Goshen Van Alstyne had converted and expanded the house to a colonial tavern. The tavern became a frequent meeting place of the Tryon County Committee of Safety and is the place where Nicholas Herkimer received his commission as General of the Tryon County Militia.

150501_MitchW_0003Continue your travels west on State Highway 5S to Fort Plain.  The Fort Plain Museum & Historical Park (opens in a new tab) is the site of the original Fort Plain also known as Fort Rensselaer.  The construction of Fort Plain began in the late fall of 1778 after the Cherry Valley Massacre convinced locals of the need for a haven in the event of enemy attack. By 1781 the fort had become an important Continental Army Depot for the western Mohawk Frontier and was inspected by General Washington in August of 1783.

Also located in Fort Plain is the Isaac Paris House (opens in a new tab) .  In 1777 Isaac Paris, Sr. was killed at the Battle if Oriskany making Isaac Paris, Jr. sole owner of the Paris holdings.  Paris was an accomplished businessman who served as the business representative for Washington’s major general, the famed Baron de Steuben, a regular guest at the house and nearby Fort Plain.

150501_MitchW_0040From Fort Plain, cross the Mohawk River to Nelliston following Hickory Hill Road to the historic farming community of Stone Arabia. Visit the Stone Arabia Dutch Church (opens in a new tab) burned by the British in October of 1780 during the Battle of Stone Arabia.  It was rebuilt in 1788 and has remained unchanged since.  The cemetery behind the church is the final resting place of Patriot leader Colonel John Brown of the Berkshire Massachusetts Militia killed in the battle on October 19th.   Historic marker signs along Route 10 mark the locations of engagements and forts involved in the battle.

Continue westward, following the old Stone Arabia Road, to the Palatine Church (opens in a new tab) of “Drums Along the Mohawk” fame. The historic church was erected in 1770 and is the oldest church standing in Montgomery County.  It was built by German Palatine settlers who originally migrated to America from the Palatine region of Germany in 1710.

Next is Fort Klock (opens in a new tab) , a fortified homestead built circa 1750 by Johannes Klock, a German Palatine who came to the area with the great Palatine migration.  On October 19, 1780, the Battle of Klock’s Field was fought just west-northwest of the fort.

150501_MitchW_0104Located less than a mile west of Fort Klock is the 1747 Nellis Tavern (opens in a new tab) , an historic inn and tavern.  Built by Christian Nellis, Sr., as a farmhouse, was expanded to its present form about 1800 with the construction of the Mohawk Turnpike.  The original timber-frame clapboard structure survived the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.

St. Johnsville is also the home of the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library (opens in a new tab) which houses a collection of fine art, sculpture, and historically important memorabilia.  Spanning many years, from pre-Revolutionary to present time, the exhibits reflect the rich cultural heritage of the Mohawk Valley.

Tour of Mohawk Country sites or visit for a special event.  Take your time exploring the historic heritage of Montgomery County.  Dine (opens in a new tab) , relax, spend the night (opens in a new tab) !

Underground Railroad Itinerary

Calvary Church in Hagaman – Historic Marker

15 Church Street, Hagaman

The Montgomery County Anti-Slavery Society was organized at the Presbyterian church (now the Calvary Reformed Church) in Hagaman in 1836.  This was the county’s first official stance against the institution of slavery.  Many local abolitionists were instrumental in organizing this society.  A marker is placed outside of the church signifying its importance in the anti-slavery movement.

Green Hill Cemetery in Amsterdam – Self-guided Walking Tour

23 Cornell Street, Amsterdam

Abolitionism and African American Life in Amsterdam (opens in a new tab) : Amsterdam, referred to by some as “the abolition hole,” was a hotbed of activity in the anti-slavery movement that swept the country in the years leading up to the Civil War.  Many of the local prominent residents participated in the cause to assist those seeking a life of freedom.  The area’s black residents also participated in the fight to end slavery with the Civil War.  A number of those participants, black and white, have their final resting place here at Green Hill Cemetery.

Canajoharie – Self-guided Walking Tour

Begin on Cliff Street, Canajoharie

The walking tour (opens in a new tab) focuses on the sites associated with the African American residents and the anti-slavery movement in the Village of Canajoharie.  The brochure identifies sites with the village, those still existing and those that are gone with the passage of time.

James Mereness  – Historic Marker at Ames Museum (opens in a new tab)

611 Latimer Hill Road, Ames

Dr. James Mereness participated and organized anti-slavery meetings for the western part of Montgomery County for many years prior to the Civil War.  Reports indicate that fugitive slaves seeking freedom from their lives in servitude sought shelter in Mereness’ home as part of the Underground Railroad network.  Dr. Mereness died in 1872, at which time, he continued his interests in improving the lives of African Americans through bequests to educate them.

The top floor of the 1835 Ames Museum, used as an academy from 1839 to 1959, houses many local artifacts featuring Ames’ hey-day as the hops-growing capital of 19th Century America. This building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

For copies of the Green Hill Cemetery (opens in a new tab) and Canajoharie (opens in a new tab) tour maps and more information on the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism and African American Life in Montgomery County project, please contact the Montgomery County Department of History & Archives (opens in a new tab) at (518) 853-8186.

2016 Fall Lecture Series Fort Plain Museum

Fort Plain Museum (opens in a new tab)

389 Canal Street, Fort Plain, NY 13339 (opens in a new tab)


Lectures start at 7:00pm

Admission is free but donations are appreciated.

fort-plain-10_13Thursday, October 13

“War on the Middleline – The Founding of a Community in the Kayaderosseras Patent in the Midst of the American Revolution” by James E. Richmond

Thursday, October 20

“Sir William Johnson and the Evolution of the Mohawk Valley Fur Trade” by Michael Perazzini fort-plain-10_20

Thursday, October 27

“350 Years of Firearms” including the Hamilton/Burr Dueling Pistols by John Phillips (Phillips will discuss and showcase replica Hamilton/Burr Dueling Pistols made before the American Revolution Bicentennial)

Thursday, November 3

“Forgotten Pioneers: African Americans in the Mohawk Valley” by Wayne Lenig and “West African Drumming in Colonial America” (drumming demonstrations included) by Charles Lenig



Currytown Raids

During the weekend of Aug. 27, a reenactment has been scheduled to commemorate the Currytown Raids, off of Currytown Rd. & Route 162, in Sprakers, in the town of Root. This event is to commemorate the 235th anniversary of the raid, which took place on July 9, 1781. A commemorative button has been created and will be for sale.   Currytown Button

Colonial camps will be on display and open for the public to see what life was like back in the 1780s. The reenactment will take place on Sunday, Aug. 28. There is no admission fee for the event.

On Saturday, the Root Historical Society will host a Chicken BBQ at the Currytown Church, starting at 2 p.m., and on Sunday, they will host an Ice Cream Social, starting at 4 p.m.

Off-street parking will be available and marked and a shuttle service will be available for those using the lots away from the camps. The organizers are asking that the public refrain from parking on the sides of Route 162, due to increased traffic for the event.

For more information, visit the “Currytown Set Afire” Facebook page. If you are interesting in participating in the event, either as a reenactor or sutler, please contact William Maring at


Currytown Historical MarkerOn the morning of July 9, 1781 the residents of the Currytown settlement did not know their lives would forever be changed.  The farming community was abundant with crops.  By the end of the day, the fields and buildings would be burned to the ground by a Mohawk Indian raiding party of 300 Iroquois loyal to the British and led by a low ranking Tory named John Doxtader.

With little options to hide, the residents of Currytown had only the stockaded residence of Henry Lewis to flee to or risk hiding in their attics and root cellars.  For some, “Fort Lewis” was too far to reach.  Many were killed, scalped, or saw the destruction of their homes as they went up in flames.

Colonel Willett at Fort Plain would see the smoke, pursue and overtake the Mohawks, but not before the Currytown families suffered tragedy.  In the fall, a much larger force made up of British regulars, loyalists, and Mohawk warriors entered the valley, several hundred strong.  On October 24, 1781, they once again “captured” Currytown, but did not burn it to prevent rising smoke from warning Willett and the militia of the raid. The raid was discovered by a pair of militia scouts and warning of their presence was spread throughout the county. Before Willett was able to organize the valley’s defense, the raiding party attacked a number of small towns and homesteads, burning buildings and killing settlers along the way.

During the weekend of August 27 and 28, 2016, an event to commemorate the 135th Anniversary of the Currytown Raids is planned for reenactors and sutlers on site selling their wares from the 1780s.  On Saturday, August 27 the Colonial camps will be open for the public to see what life was like in the 1780s.  The Root Currytown ButtonHistorical Society (opens in a new tab) will be having a chicken barbeque at the Currytown Reformed Church, 665 State Highway 162, Sprakers.  Serving will start at 2:00pm, $7.00 for half chicken and $9.00 for a full meal.  On Sunday, August 28 the raid will commence at 2:00pm for spectators followed by an ice cream social at the Currytown Reformed Church starting at 4:00pm, $3.00 for ice cream and cake/pie.  Additionally, commemorative buttons will be sold throughout the weekend for $3.00 each.

Off street parking will be available and marked on Darrow Road and shuttle service will also be available for those using the lots away from the camps.  Please refrain from parking on State Highway 162.  For more information, please contact Bill Maring, Town of Root Historian, at (518) 922-5606.

Toe Tapping at Putman Porch Music

Come tap your toes this Thursday at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site (opens in a new tab) as Putman Porch Music (opens in a new tab) will start at 6:00pm.  This great series invites local musicians to come spend an evening on the historic Putman Canal Store porch to jam and enliven the vibe of the former Erie Canal stop off.  Putman’s store building is located at Yankee Hill Lock on the grounds of Schoharie Crossing, 553 Queen Anne Road. Putman Porch Music

Musicians with an interest in American roots, bluegrass and folk music are encouraged to spend some time on the porch and be a part of a great experience.  Much like a group of canawlers that happen to be stuck waiting at the lock, a few instruments and strong voices is all that is needed to pass the time.

Putman Porch Music each Thursday for the rest of June from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.  These are free events open to the public.

The grounds for the site are open all year from dawn until dusk.

For more information contact the site: (opens in a new tab) (518) 829-7516.


Find Your Own Path Through History at Schoharie Crossing

MVPTH logoCelebrate history and create memories during this year’s Path Through History Weekend on June 18 and 19 at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site (opens in a new tab) .  The Path Through History (opens in a new tab) program is an established state-wide series of events that consists of many organizations that participate in a focus on local history.

During the last almost two centuries, the Erie Canal has been the waterway used as the path for so many traveling through the wonderful Mohawk Valley (opens in a new tab) and across New York State.  Schoharie Crossing is the only location where all three of the major phases of the canal can be witnessed.

For 2016 the site will be holding a Schoharie Crossing Scavenger Hunt that will ask questions pertaining to all aspects of this great historic site.  Questions range from historical facts, to plant and animal spotting as well as getting you to really seek out things you may otherwise miss on your visit.  The challenge is worth it and a whole lot of fun too!

The site will be hosting Scavenger Hunt participants on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The passport can be turned into Visitor Center staff during operating hours or sent to the site by no later than July 1st.  A winner will be selected at random and an announcement made.

To print a copy of the 2016 Mohawk Valley Path Through History Schoharie Crossing Scavenger Hunt Passport visit the New York State Parks webpage for Schoharie Crossing or pick one up at the Visitor Center.  Discover fascinating facts about the Erie Canal and Fort Hunter as you answer questions for a chance to win a prize package.  Please – only one entry per person.  Get out there, Explore and Enjoy!  PathScavHunt (opens in a new tab)

For more information about this event and more, please call the Visitor Center at (518) 829-7516 or email: (opens in a new tab) .