Gamache Scrapbook – Visitors Center Dedication

This photo from the dedication of the Schuylerville Visitors Center (25 June 2000). Mayor Kim Gamache is on the left and Historian Thomas Wood is on the right.
Gamache Scrapbook Collection
Leneta E. Gamache (21 Nov 1928 – 24 Feb 2017) was born in Hudson Falls, NY and grew up in Bald Mountain section of Greenwich, NY. She married Joseph Gamache on 7 July 1946 and moved to Schuylerville, where she lived for 60 years. She was active in many church and community activities. She was employed at the Oneida Markets in Schuylerville then the Mary McClellan Hospital in Cambridge, NY. Her family was very important to her and she loved large family gatherings and took numerous pictures of every occasion. These 14 scrapbooks from 1986 to 2002 focus on her son’s Kim Gamache term as Mayor of Schuylerville. Many of the photos were taken by Joseph Gamache. The Gamache Scrapbook Collection is part of the Town of Saratoga Historian’s collection. The collection is opened by appointment. You may contact us by e-mail at historiantosaratoga@gmail.com
The vast majority of the collections with Town of Saratoga Historian have been donated by many generous individuals and organizations throughout our community. We greatly appreciate such generosity and continue to rely heavily on this support in order to continue building collections for future generations. If you are interested in making a donation, contact us by e-mail at historiantosaratoga@gmail.com
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Battle of Saratoga Participant Hugh Maxwell

Hello readers, I normally write this blog in the third person but for this blog, I am writing in the first person. For those who do not know, I am Sean Kelleher, the Historian of the Town of Saratoga.

I had the opportunity to do some research at the Massachusetts Archives. My focus was Battles of Saratoga participant Hugh Maxwell from Bedford, MA. He was also a participant, according to his daughter, at the Siege of Fort William Henry. His daughter wrote, “My father was among the prisoners, and the Indians caught him, and stripped him of every article except his pantaloons, when he slipped from their hands, seized a gun, and ran for life towards Fort Edward, not daring to stop or look behind him. At length, on reaching what was called Half-way Brook, he stopped for sake his thirst  but on looking back, he saw two Indians holding a white man whom they were just ready to tomahawk. His first thought was to fire on them. But before he could raise his gun they had despatched the man, and he therefore again ran for the fort, where he arrived in safety. “

So the search started on Hugh Maxwell’s service in the French and Indian War. One record that I found an 12 Oct 1756 of Maxwell in Captain Hartwell’s Company.

Here is Maxwell in the muster roll

However this entry caught my eye

As you can see David Lane is listed as dead. This past February, I was invited up to Lake George to witness the graves that were unearthed. It is believed that these were soldiers from the French and Indian War. I found myself wondering if David Lane was among those soldiers that were unearthed. That chances are slim but I still wonder if it is possible.

OTD: Saratoga Veteran Ely died

#Onthisday in 1815, Battles of Saratoga veteran Elihu Ely died
Elihu Ely was a common Connecticut soldier that participated in Battles of Saratoga. He is best known for writing a letter describing the army just prior to the surrender. His family history described him as “a great reader, a man of uncommon intelligence and much humor, and is said to have been an unusually fine looking man.”
Ely was an Ensign (junior officer) of the train band (militia) in the town of Lyme, Connecticut before the American War of Independence. Ely was drafted to serve as a Lieutenant in Captain Jonathan Calkin’s Company, of Colonel Jonathan Latimer’s Regiment of Connecticut militia in 1777. Latimer’s Regiment of Militia was called up at Windham, Connecticut and made up of men from Windham, Tolland and New London Counties on August 23, 1777 as reinforcements for the Continental Army during the Saratoga Campaign. The regiment marched quickly to join the gathering forces of American General Horatio Gates as he faced British General John Burgoyne in northern New York.
The regiment served in General Poor’s brigade. The brigade were closest to the center of the advancing British in the 2nd Battle of Saratoga (Battle of Bemis Heights). The brigade came under fire from the British grenadier battalion of the British center. The British musket fire was ineffective, so British Major John Dyke Acland led the grenadiers in a bayonet charge. American General Poor held fire until they came very close, then fire of his 1,400 men’s muskets. This was the first American shots in the battle. The British bayonet charge was completely broken, and British Major Acland fell wounded.
With this collapse of British center, the Americans captured the wounded Acland along with the British’s artillery. The American brigade with Latimer’s regiment then turned to left and gave support to American General Ebenezer Learned’s brigade and Colonel Morgan’s riflemen.
Ely served for a total of 2 months and 16 days where he participated in the Battle of Bemis Heights, the Siege of Saratoga and witnesses the first time a complete British army surrendered. Ely was a participant, in what the New York Times Magazine called the the most important battles to have ever been fought in the entire world in the last 1,000 years, because “It launched two centuries of revolution elsewhere. It marked the beginning of the end of the British Empire. And it breathed life into the United States of America.
In 1967 a letter he wrote was donated to the Saratoga Historical National Park. The letter was reported on in the Saratogian on 18 August 1967.
SCHUYLERVILLE – A letter written to his family by a soldier who participated in the Battles of Saratoga just prior to the Surrender of General Burgoyne to General Gates Oct. 17, 1777, is that of Elihu Ely to John Pratt Colchester, Conn, under date of Oct 16, 1777. This letter was recently presented to the National Park Service to be exhibited at Saratoga National Historical Park by Mrs William G. Geary, Tulsa, Okla., and Mr and Mrs. Richard Cass, Sumner, Iowa. The letter has been in the Pratt Family through the years and as Mrs. Cass wrote “was carried to School when the students came to the Battles of Saratoga in American History.” Mrs. Geary and Mrs.Cassi are sisters and they visited here in 1966. Mr. Ely, who participated in the second battle at Freeman’s Farm (2nd Battle of Saratoga) during the Revolution and assumed to be a member of the New England Militia wrote: “Loving Brother and Sister: These with my Love to you and ye Children may inform that through Divine goodness, I enjoy a Comfortable State of Health and hope that you Enjoy the Same Blessing. There has been a sessation of arms here. It took place the Day before yesterday and I understand that this Day Mr. Burgoin (Burgoyne) and his army are to resign themselves prisoners of war an be conducted through Albany and so on to Boston.” “The Tuesday before Last there was a smart Engagement Between the troops of General Gates and General Burgoin (Burgoyne) when the former came to Victorious and the Latter retreated about 8 miles to this Place as fast as their surcumstances would admit of our troops followed them and so surrounded their Camp that they were obliged to comply as above mentioned as is reported and Depended on in Camp tho the Particulars of the Capitulation on has not yet made Publick. I have no time to write about Subscribe myself Yr. Loving Brother, Elihu Ely.”
The National Park has digitized this letter and has it on-line. http://bit.ly/2e8tF9w
Elihu Ely is buried at the Ely Family Cemetery in Lyme, Connecticut.
To learn wish to learn more about the Battles of Saratoga, you can visit the Saratoga National Historical Park in the towns of Saratoga and Stillwater. The park website is at http://bit.ly/2cxkI82
The Schuylerville Public Library http://bit.ly/2dYYY7C and all the libraries in the region have a number of books on the Battles of Saratoga. One of the recent books that mention Ely’s letter is Saratoga Campaign: Uncovering an Embattled Landscape. Edited by William A. Griswold & Donald W. Linebaugh. (2016) New Hampshire: University Press of New England. ISBN 2015027048
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There are many individuals like Elihu Ely that help define this country and our community. It is the determination of our forefathers, in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. It is the people it is that define this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.

Schuyler House open tomorrow through Sunday

img_0549The Schuyler House is the country home of General Philip Schuyler, a businessman, politician, and entrepreneur, and father-in-law to Alexander Hamilton.
The Schuyler Estate of Saratoga NHP encompasses 62.15 acres of the core of Major General Philip Schuyler’s original large, eighteenth-century manor in the present-day Village of Schuylerville, New York.
The national events of 1776 impacted daily activities at the Schuyler Estate. While Benjamin Franklin and Charles Carroll were guests at the Schuyler House, serving as American Congressional Commissioners to Canada, the Schuyler mills were very productive, supplying the Continental Army with a substantial number of planks and boards. In addition to providing supplies, Philip Schuyler was in supreme command of the Northern Department of the American Army, junior only to Washington, Artemus, Ward, and Lee. He had the rank of Major General. General Horatio Gates was appointed to command the army in Canada in 1775 causing a series of command disputes with Schuyler. Both men desired supreme command and appealed to Congress for change, but Congress wavered on the issue, continually reversing its decisions. After the embarrassing loss of Fort Ticonderoga, Gates permanently replaced Schuyler as supreme commander by a vote of Congress on August 14, 1777. Schuyler wrote, “Until this country is safe, I shall stifle my resentment”.  Later Schuyler demanded a court martial to clear his reputation, was acquitted of all charges of incompetence, and resigned from the military.
Built in 1777, the Schuyler House is a two-story frame structure with a stone foundation. Philip Schuyler (1733-1804) built the house to replace one burned by the British in 1777 after the battles of Saratoga. Lt. General Burgoyne used the previous house during the Battles of Saratoga, then ordered it to be destroyed upon his retreat to his camp across Fish Creek. Schuyler operated his thriving country estate from 1763 until his death. The estate included mills, a fishery, barns, agricultural fields, formal gardens and barracks that housed Schuyler’s slaves, servants and workers. Many residents of Saratoga (Schuylerville today) worked for Schuyler.
The 1777 Schuyler House, restored to its c.1787-1804 appearance, is the dominant building on the property. There is an attached kitchen at the northeast corner of the house. A privy and a well house are the only other historic buildings that remain on the grounds. Archeological evidence remains from many other historic buildings that once dotted the landscape.
The Schuyler Estate was once clear cut for agricultural and industrial operations. The house commanded the open 3000-acre operation. Today the house lot is more enclosed with many trees growing in the lawn, including many nineteenth-century black locusts. Two old lilacs grow near the house to the south and east.
The Schuyler family, mainly General Philip Schuyler, was instrumental in the development of the Village of Saratoga, now Schuylerville, as an agricultural and industrial village that relied on milling, farming and fishing. Fish Creek was at the center of the development and housed the milling and fishing operations. The first and second Schuyler Houses were burned during King George’s War and the Revolutionary War respectively. Today, the Schuyler Estate site is administrated as a house museum and public park that interprets the history of General Schuyler, his family, his manor and its relation to the two battles of Saratoga in 1777. The community has strong ties to the Schuyler Estate as a source of pride and tourism.  The Schuyler House is opened most weekends in the summer and limited times in the fall. The estate grounds are open from sunrise to sunset.  For details on the Schuyler House please visit http://www.nps.gov/sara or call 518 670-2985.
From the NPS in 2019
Season: Memorial Day through Columbus Day
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday (call for details for hours and post Labor Day day’s of operations.)
Tours: The house is available for viewing by dropping in. Staff will be on hand to answer questions you may have about the estate or Schuyler family.

On this day – June 25

On this day in 1759, British General James Wolfe nears Québec with 8,500 men and a fleet of 168 ships captures river pilots to help the fleet navigate the river during the pivotal battle of the French and Indian War; in 1775, General Washington arrives in New York City; General Philip John Schuyler is named to command “New York department” by Congress. he was appointed a Major General of the Continental Army then he planned the Invasion of Canada however his poor health required him to place Richard Montgomery in command of the invasion; in 1862, the 77th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment participated the Seven Days’ Battles, near Richmond, Virginia, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from Richmond and into a retreat down the Virginia Peninsula; in 1876, George Armstrong Custer and the 265 men under his command lost their lives including first sergeant DeWitt Winney of Saratoga in the Battle of Little Big Horn, often referred to as Custer’s Last Stand; in 1950, the Korean War began and during the war, there were three residents that were killed in action, Stanley W. Harmor from Saratoga, Julius Lofren from Schuylerville, and James Marlow from Schuylerville, in 2000, a Visitors Center was dedicated at Fort Hardy Park and in 2016, the high school graduated 147 students, presented four posthumous degrees to family members of graduating seniors who served in World War II and Vietnam, as part of Operation Recognition.

On this day is a chronological timetable of events that occurred on this day in history around the Town of Saratoga. Discover what happened today in local history by following our twitter account @historysaratoga

(Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck and Town Supervisor Thomas Wood for compiling information for this timetable.)

June 25

Dedication of the Schuylerville Visitors Center

This photo from the dedication of the Schuylerville Visitors Center (25 June 2000). Mayor Kim Gamache is on the left and Assemblymember Robert D’Andrea is speaking.
Gamache Scrapbook Collection
Leneta E. Gamache (21 Nov 1928 – 24 Feb 2017) was born in Hudson Falls, NY and grew up in Bald Mountain section of Greenwich, NY. She married Joseph Gamache on 7 July 1946 and moved to Schuylerville, where she lived for 60 years. She was active in many church and community activities. She was employed at the Oneida Markets in Schuylerville then the Mary McClellan Hospital in Cambridge, NY. Her family was very important to her and she loved large family gatherings and took numerous pictures of every occasion. These 14 scrapbooks from 1986 to 2002 focus on her son’s Kim Gamache term as Mayor of Schuylerville. Many of the photos were taken by Joseph Gamache. The Gamache Scrapbook Collection is part of the Town of Saratoga Historian’s collection. The collection is opened by appointment. You may contact us by e-mail at historiantosaratoga@gmail.com
The vast majority of the collections with Town of Saratoga Historian have been donated by many generous individuals and organizations throughout our community. We greatly appreciate such generosity and continue to rely heavily on this support in order to continue building collections for future generations. If you are interested in making a donation, contact us by e-mail at historiantosaratoga@gmail.com

Key to success would be speed of movement

Burgoyne was confident of making rapid progress and seemed to view a supporting army from the south as optional, rather than essential. He would have around 10,000 men with him, although only 4,000 of those would be regular British troops and the vast majority of the redcoats would be inexperienced. With almost 4,000 hired German soldiers, known collectively as ‘Hessians’, and a smattering of Native Americans and Canadian labourers, the army was not built to sustain losses in a series of pitched battles. The key to success would be speed of movement.

Opposing Burgoyne’s march was an American army under Philip Schuyler. The makeup of this ‘Northern Army’ would change over the duration of the campaign, especially with the coming and going of militia units. Largely derided by the British (and even American commanders despaired their unreliability), militia units were well suited to the territory through which Burgoyne would be marching. Ambushes, hitand-run tactics and the destruction of roads could make life miserable for the British army.”

The excerpt is from Great Battle article on the Battles of Saratoga in the UK magazine, History of War (February, 2019).

Saratoga is known for being the turning point of the American Revolution. In 1777 −− the second year of America’s War for Independence −− the British sought to quell the rebellion with a single decisive military campaign. The article says “the plan was for two British armies to work their way along the Hudson – one marching south from Canada, the other marching north from New York.” The British plan depended on using an invading army to divide the colonies along a natural corridor of rivers and lakes stretching from Canada to New York City.

The article describes how the British were outwitted and outmaneuvered in this critical Revolutionary War clash. “An army that had envisaged little difficulty in marching to Albany had been reduced to a small scale operation in a desperate search for provisions.” The Americans’ determined resistance at Saratoga, coupled with British strategic blunders, resulted in a stunning defeat and surrender for a British army. This timely victory reversed American military fortunes, boosted patriot morale, and gained them international recognition and support, including military assistance.

The Saratoga region is fortunate to be the subject of this Great Battle article. Articles in publications like History of War get the word out internationally about our community. These articles provides creditably to the story about the importance of the Battles of Saratoga and that our community is worth visiting.

The best place to learn more about the epic Battles of Saratoga is to visit the Saratoga National Historical Park in the towns of Saratoga and Stillwater. The park website is at https://ift.tt/2cxkI82.Nine miles north of the battlefield are three sites, located in the villages of Schuylerville and Victory, which are also part of Saratoga National Historical Park. The Schuyler House is the 1777 country home of General Philip Schuyler, a businessman, politician, and entrepreneur, and father-in-law to Alexander Hamilton. Schuyler constructed this home within weeks after the retreating British burned his earlier estate on the property. Nearby is the Gothic style 155-foot tall Saratoga Monument, which hardy visitors can climb for panoramic views of numerous mountain ranges. Then there is Victory Woods, where a fully accessible boardwalk trail passes through the area where the British made their “last stand” during a siege before surrendering.  While in Schuylerville you can walk along the historic Champlain Canal, visit art galleries, and dine in variety of eateries.

There are many books available to purchase at the Park’s visitors center. The Park’s museum store is operated by Eastern National with a portion of sale proceeds going to support the Park. The museum store carries many one of a kind items and we strongly encourage your patronage.

Another option to learn more about the Battles is to visit your local library. The Schuylerville Public Library https://ift.tt/2dYYY7C and all the libraries in the region have a number of books on the Battles of Saratoga. One of the more popular and well written books is Richard M Ketchum’s Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War. (1997) New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 978-0-8050-6123-9. OCLC 41397623

The formal surrender of British General John Burgoyne and his forces to the Americans in the autumn of 1777 is depicted by artist John Trumbull in one of eight scenes memorializing America’s founding in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol. The Battles of Saratoga were named in the New York Times Magazine as the “battle of the millennium” and by esteemed British historian Sir Edward Creasy as one of the 15 most decisive battles in world history. These facts may not be well known, but the powerful story of the battles and their meanings come to life when you visit the hallowed grounds of Saratoga National Historical Park and the communities that surround the park.