We do history in Saratoga!

We do history in Saratoga!
This photo by Walter Ardzieuice of the 2005 Surrender Day at Fort Hardy park along the Hudson River. Each year visitors get to witness the recreated surrender of British General Burgoyne to American General Gates. There is the singing of patriotic songs with Schuylerville and Salem school children. Everyone gets to drink 13 original toasts to the American Victory!
This event is sponsored by the Village of Schuylerville and Town of Saratoga. It is a long local tradition and we try to celebrate close to October 17 (we make some modifications to allow the school children to participate.) What makes this event unique is that it is at the historical ground where the British forces surrendered and laid down their arms on October 17, 1777, bringing to an end the Battles of Saratoga.
We do history in Old Saratoga. Whether you call us Saratoga, Old Saratoga, Schuylerville, Victory Mills, Clark’s Mills, Northumberland, Easton, Greenwich, we are all part of a community with so much history and so many traditions. It’s hard to find a month in the year that doesn’t have an remembrance, event or festival! A variety of local organizations ensure that the Earth Day, Memorial Day, Turning Point Parade, 18th Century Day, Candlelight Tour, Veterans Day, Dutch Christmas and more brings visitors, neighbors and friends out to enjoy the music, remembrances, costumes and heritage.
The Town of Saratoga is proud be a part of these efforts. The Town works with a wide range of partners to help promote and participate in many other events like Saratoga National Historical Park, Old Saratoga Historical Association, Hudson Crossing Park, Lakes to Locks Passage, Friends of the Battlefield, Saratoga PLAN, Historic Hudson-Hoosic Rivers Partnership, Heritage Hunters of Saratoga County, Schuylerville Area Chamber of Commerce, villages of Schuylerville and Victory, and the Turning Point Parade Committee ….and more.
Remembering, commemorating, and celebrating together fosters community ownership and neighborliness, develops more volunteers that work together to create positive changes for our community and encourages visitors to get to know us better. It is how we do history. Join in the fun, and you’ll appreciate the sense of community that’s been at the foundation of Saratoga for centuries.
There are many ways you can help care for Old Saratoga, from one-time to reoccurring volunteer opportunities for youth, families, groups and individuals. To learn more about volunteering contact historiantosaratoga@gmail.com

On this day – August 18

On this day in 1893, Schuylerville’s “Old Betsy” fire engine won $325 at Coney Island and in 1956, the USS Saratoga sailed for Guantanamo and her shakedown cruise.
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 subscribing to our blog at https://ift.tt/2czXtwq
(Thank you to Deputy Historian Patricia Peck for compiling information for this timetable.)
August 18

Saratoga Monument

The Saratoga Monument is by far the most significant and conspicuous location within the Town of Saratoga.
A 155-foot obelisk erected to memorialize the campaign that culminated in British capitulation, the monument is located on a parcel of Saratoga National Historical Park in the village of Victory that was chosen largely because of its commanding view.
The cornerstone was laid on October 17, 1877, and the monument is a characteristic expression of late-19th-century esthetics and patriotic attitudes. The Saratoga Monument stands prominently within the British camp where the decision to surrender was made in October 1777. The site symbolizes the decisive turn in the American struggle for independence and serves as an eternal reminder of the human cost of both the American victory and the British defeat.
The monument is situated on a high bluff, 250 feet above the Hudson River overlooking the surrounding villages, farms, and countryside. From its top may be seen Lake George to the north, the Green Mountains to the east, and the Catskills to the south. The monument is located on a parcel of Saratoga National Historical Park in the village of Victory.
The Saratoga Monument is opened weekends in the summer and limited times in the fall. For details on Monument please visit http://www.nps.gov/sara or call 518 670-2985.

Springs up for Auction in 1899

In 1950, the Saratogian reported
In 1889, the springs property was sold at public auction in front of the Town Hall In Saratoga Springs, to satisfy a mortgage, to Isabella and Nathaniel Griffith who owned It for only a short time. Some time previous to that sale, a house had been built a short distance from the springs.”
Today, the Mineral Springs at Quaker Springs are maintained by the Town of Saratoga. The Springs are open for visits and inspection. The Springs are located on Quaker Springs road just off NYS 32. Saratoga has been defined by the natural forces that shape the land and influence ecosystems. The Hudson River cuts a valley through bands of Devonian-age marine sedimentary rocks deposited in an ancient basin prior to the Taconic orogenic event. The river meanders across its valley with broad, flat floodplain areas alternating with steep cutbanks and bluffs. Above the river valley are dissected upland areas with exposed bedrock, rolling hills, and narrow valleys draining west to east flowing streams.
There are many sites like the Mineral Springs in Quaker Springs that help define this community and our region. Natural resources and the systems that link them – geology, hydrology, and habitat – are important to the historic and cultural landscapes that we value in our community and wish to preserve. The natural and built environments are inextricably linked. Preserving key natural landscapes enhances historic settings and protects the natural systems that are shared throughout our community, county and region.


The Saratogian (21 August 1918) reported:
The regular annual session of Saratoga District Lodge of Good Templars was held in the G. A. R. hall in this city last Saturday. The meeting was one of great interest to all who were able to attend. The district chief templar, George C. Wilkins, of Greenfield Center, presided. After the regular business had been dispatched, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: …. D. Counselor, J. D. Wright, Quaker Springs; D. V. T., Mrs. J. D. Wright, Quaker Springs; Superintendent, J. W., Mrs. J. D. Wright, Quaker Springs; D. Treasurer, J. Fayette Thomas, Quaker Springs; D. D. Mar., Harriet Griffin, Quaker Springs; D Guard, Edith Thomas, Quaker Springs.
(Transcriptions of only the town of Saratoga members which was 6 of the 13 members mentioned.)
State Deputy Butler assisted by Isaac Griffith and Mrs. R. P. Barron as installing marshall proceeded to install the officers of the District lodge, who at once entered upon their several duties. The Rev. R. D. Andrews of Greenfield Center Lodge, gave a very interesting address on the encouraging outlook of the temperance cause. District Chief Templar G. C. Wilkins insisted that the Good Templars had just cause for rejoicing, saying everything looked like victory.
Sister Wright recited a beautiful poem entitled “Our Flag.” Isaac Griffin gave a very interesting reading. The district lodge closed to meet with the Charlton Lodge, I. O. G. T., in November.
The Good Templars is a coed fraternal organizations for temperance or total abstinence founded in the 19th century and with a structure modeled on Freemasonry, using similar ritual and regalia. The first accounts of a lodge is the Schuylerville Battle Field lodge in 1880 and the Schuyler lodge in 1889. Then there was The Quaker Springs lodge #203 along with a Juvenile Temple. During the Progressive Era (1890–1920), hostility toward drinking alcohol became widespread, with the Prohibition Party and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union as the most influential advocate of prohibition.
In New York, there is a long history of social reform movements started or flourished along New York’s canal system. (The Good Templars started in Utica, NY along the Erie Canal in 1850.) The rural part of the town of Saratoga in particular Quaker Springs (along the Champlain Canal) was not immune to these social movement. The community had an active Quaker community that formed the Quaker Springs Anti-Slavery Society in 1836, and the Old Saratoga Anti-Slavery Society in 1850. Prohibition was also strongly supported by the Methodists and Quakers, which have the only churches in that part of the town. Prohibition began on January 16, 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect.
Saratoga has been defined by the people who by choice or by chance make up this community. There are many individuals and groups like the Good Templars that help define this country, our region, and this 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. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.

On this day – August 17

On this day in 1777, British Lieutenant William Digby of 53d Regiment of Foot described, “received orders the 17th to remain as the corps was not to move that day and to keep a very sharp look out on which we naturally supposed something extraordinary had happened, soon after an engineer came out to us with a number of men to throw up a breast work, still it looked suspicious but we were soon made acquainted with the melancholy report that the detachment which marched from us on the 11th were all cut to pieces by the enemy at Bennington their force being much superior, our 4 pieces of cannon were taken two 6 pounders & two 3 pounders, I fear the officer who commanded a German took post in a bad situation and was surrounded by the enemy after expending all his ammunition, our Albany volunteers behaved with great bravery but were not seconded by the Germans and Savages and it was much regretted British were not sent in their place;” in 1880, the Saratoga Monument Association Committee on Tablets was established at the suggestion of Ellen Hardin Walworth, and at the “urgent request of Governor Seymour, with the purpose of procuring “memorial stones or other marks to designate the points of interest on the Saratoga battle-grounds at Bemis Heights;” and in 1914, beloved local teacher and historian Mary H. Cudahy was born.
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 us on Facebook at https://ift.tt/2kLifwt August 17

German Horseman Saber


#Onthisday in 1777, the Battle of Bennington, a battle of the American Revolutionary War, part of the Saratoga campaign, that took place.  This is an imagine of a German Horseman Saber from The History of Weapons of the American Revolution by George C. Neumann and drawings by George C. Woodbridge was published by Bonanza Books (NY) in 1976 which is part of the Historian’s Crawshaw Historical Book Collection.

A detachment of Britsh General John Burgoyne’s army led by German Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum of dismounted Brunswick dragoons, Canadians, Loyalists, and Indians totaled around 700 was sent to raid Bennington in the disputed New Hampshire Grants area for horses, draft animals, and other supplies. Unfortunately, Burgoyne had faulty intelligence as he ran into 1,500 militiamen under the command of General John Stark at Walloomsac, New York.  This fatal mistake would cost Burgoyne one of his commanders when Baum fell and many casualties. and supported by more men under German Lieutenant Colonel Heinrich von Breymann. This victory set the stage for the defeat of Burgoyne at the Battles of Saratoga. A selection from the book explained:

German Horseman Saber

It is believed that heavy-hilted saber of this type were carried in America by the Brunswick Dragoons (dismounted) accompanying General Burgoyne, and probably by other German unit’s here.  A crude brass lion-head pommel and Capstan rivet top the leather-wrapped grip….

From the pike to the pistol, the sword to the rifle, George C. Neumann traces the weapons of the Revolutionary War period. Drawing upon his own and numerous public and private collections, the author has assembled far and away the most complete gallery available of polearms, swords, firearms and military accessories. 1200 photographs and a bonus short 500-year evolutionary history of the world’s hand firearms. Neumann assembled what is known as The Neumann Collection of Revolutionary War militaria  for Valley Forge NHP so that present and future generations of Americans can gain a better understanding of the lives of those soldiers who were encamped here. This is the largest publicly owned collection of Revolutionary War artifacts known in the world that was designed to create an accurate awareness of the American soldier’s pledge for freedom.

(Town Historian Sean Kelleher fondly remembers Neumann and Woodbridge.  Kelleher grew up as a reenactor in particular serving in the Brigade of the American Revolution who was lead by Neumann, Woodbridge and others.  Neumann was a great and enthusiastic historian, who shared his passion for the founding of our nation with everyone he came in touch with.  Kelleher vividly remembers Neumann narrating tactical weapons demonstration.  His voice becoming excited and strained as the demonstration would reach the highpoint.  Neumann used his knowledge, enthusiasm  and voice to bring the American Revolution to life for many spectators of reenactments across the East Coast.)

George C. Neumann, (29 March 1926 – 4 April 2014) was born in New Britain, Connecticut. He attended New Britain High School, Wesleyan University, Princeton University and Harvard Business School. On February 5, 1955, he married Diana L. (Martell) Neumann, and together they had two children: Douglas  and Bruce.  Neumann worked as a New York City based business executive at various companies, including Johnson and Johnson, Canada Dry and Good Humor. He was a noted expert on the subjects of antiques and colonial military accoutrements and authored several books and periodicals on those topics. In 1979 George sold his extensive private collection of Revolutionary War weapons and artifacts to the National Park Service. Neumann was a founding member of the Brigade of the American Revolution and Third New Jersey Regiment historical reenacting organizations. A man of principle, he was dedicated to God, his country, and his family. He served honorably in the United States Navy during World War II. He was committed to the preservation of the history of America with a focused interest on the ideals of the Founding Fathers. He was a stalwart citizen of the community in which he lived and a man whose life was centered around his family and friends.

Crawshaw Historical Book Collection

William and Helen Crawshaw are retired librarians who live in the Town of Saratoga.  William or Bill was the head of the reference department at the Crandall Library and a board member of the Glens Falls Lions Club.  Helen was the children`s librarian at the Saratoga Spring Public Library.  Bill and Helen have been active for many years in the Saratoga County League of Women’s Voters.  The Crawshaw’s also operated the well respected “Book in Hand” book shop for 32 years.  They had an extensive collection of New York books and donated many of their local books to the Town of Saratoga Historian’s office.

The Crawshaw Historical Book Collection is part of the Town of Saratoga Historian’s collection. The collection is open by appointment.  You may contact us by e-mail at historiantosaratoga@gmail.com