A solemn march on a chilly day honors U.S. war dead

The Village of Chatham was one of the many villages and towns in the county that held Memorial Day parades and ceremonies Monday, May 31. Members of the Ghent VFW Post 5933 marched down Kinderhook Street in the village followed by fire department apparatus and drummers from the Ghent Band. The parade made its way to the Village Square for the ceremony with speeches and the laying of wreaths at the monument. For more photos on other Memorial Day events see page 24. Photo by R. E. Lindmark

Philmont presents plans for Historic District

PHILMONT – The village, in a project partnership with Philmont Beautification, Inc. (PBI), has released a three volume Reconnaissance Level Cultural Resources Survey and Appendices conducted and compiled by preservationist consultant Jessie Ravage. The survey was funded by the Preservation League of New York under the Preserve New York program awarded to PBI in 2019 and received funding provided by the state Department of State under the Brownfield Opportunity Program to the Village of Philmont in 2020.

“The release of this survey of Philmont’s historic buildings and mills is a major step forward for the village. I ran for elected office as mayor on a promise to work with the community to achieve continued revitalization in the village, this survey is a major step towards making good on that promise,” said Mayor Brian Johnson in a press release. “Laying the pathway to create a Village of Philmont Historic District will help property owners repair and fix their properties by using the Federal and NYS Historic Preservation Tax Credits.”

A recent Statement of Significance based on the evaluation of the survey by NYS Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has determined the Village of Philmont is eligible to apply for the nomination of the Historic District defined by the survey boundary. Read more…

Canaan Historical Society seeks volunteers to process artifacts

CANAAN—Once again, the Canaan Historical Society under the leadership of Steve Oberon is undertaking archeological work related to the 18th century Warner Tavern in Canaan Center. Warner Tavern is famous as the location for signing of a Declaration of Independence from Great Britain by the men from The King’s District on June 24, 1776.

Not July 4? No! Canaan men signed 10 full days before the July 4th Declaration.

The tavern stood on Warner Crossing Road not far from the intersection with current County Route 5 adjacent to the Canaan Historical Society’s Meeting House. The tavern was lost to fire in 1906. There are markers at the site now. The Kings District was larger than current day Canaan and encompassed the entire northeast corner of Columbia County, including New Lebanon, Austerlitz and parts of Chatham. Read more…

She leaves school board with praise and advice

HUDSON—Being on the school board has enabled Linda Hopkins to see the Hudson City School District (HCSD) from several angles, and much of what she has seen is positive, she said on May 22, with about a month remaining in her five-year term.

The HCSD is “lucky that its board is made of a lot of educators, moms and dads, whose priority is the children,” Ms. Hopkins said. In addition, “We are very lucky to have a superintendent and an assistant superintendent whose priorities are the children and who want to work with the teachers and the community.”

In contrast, Ms. Hopkins continued, “I’ve worked in districts where the school board wants to keep taxes down, and many members see the board as a steppingstone to political office. Some members have not had children in public school in the past 30 years.” Read more…

New stone honors local Patriot

THE 12.7-ACRE CEMETERY that surrounds the Reformed Dutch Church of Claverack, which celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2017, is a historically significant destination for the living, to the extent that it features its own self-guided walking tour. Visitors will come upon the graves of people such as General Samuel Blatchley Webb, who was George Washington’s aide-de-camp and a hero of the battles of Bunker Hill and Brandywine in the Revolutionary War, or William and Elizabeth Clum, parents of John Phillip Clum, an Indian Agent in 1874 when he led the capture of Geronimo without a shot being fired. Sergeant Joseph Robsky is also buried there. He was a demolitions specialist who was killed in 2003 as he attempted to defuse an improvised explosive device in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On Thursday, May 27 there was an unveiling of a newly fabricated stone for a Revolutionary War veteran who died in 1802. It is inscribed with the name of General Robert Van Rensselaer. Born at Fort Crailo December 16, 1740, he was named for his maternal grandfather and was the great grandson of Killiaen Van Rensselaer a founder of the Colony of New Netherland, which encompassed a good portion of the northeast United States. General Robert Van Rensselaer fought at Fort Ticonderoga in the battle of Kock’s Field. In his civic life, he was a member of the New York Provisional Congress and the New York State Assembly.

Gathered to celebrate the event were local historians and church trustees and representatives of the Daughters and Sons of the American revolution. The historian who brought the threads of this story together is Sal Cozzolino. He addressed the little gathering, quoting from an account of Van Rensselaer’s funeral originally published in a Hudson Paper called the Bee on September 21, 1802. Read more…