Tag Archives: Wilmington Historical Society

In Wilimington: Adirondack Tools and Tales

The Wilmington Historical Society will host a program with historian and author Don Williams entitled &#8220Adirondack Tools and Tales&#8221 on Friday, July 15th at 7 pm at the Wilmington Community Center on Springfield Road in Wilmington (Essex County). Early Adirondack settlers had to live and survive in a rugged mountain environment with a harsh climate. Mr. Williams will explain how the tools they used were critical to that survival.

Don Williams grew up at the ingress of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail and on Route 30. He has authored nine books of Adirondack and local history and has written over 250 articles for magazines including Adirondack Life and the Journal of Outdoor Education. He served as Adirondack regional editor for New York Sportsman Magazine for twenty years. His “Blueline” newspaper column has appeared weekly in four newspapers since 1989. He also hosted the television program Inside the Blueline in Gloversville and Glens Falls for a total of six years.

Don Williams has appeared regularly as an Adirondack lecturer and storyteller at schools and organizations throughout the northeast for over forty years. He appears in the PBS documentary, The Adirondacks. A former school principal and licensed Adirondack guide, he has taught &#8220The Adirondacks&#8221 at grade schools, libraries, high schools, colleges and elderhostel. Don lives in his &#8220replicated Great Adirondack Camp&#8221 with his wife, Beverly, in Gloversville.

The “Adirondack Tools and Tales” program on July 15th is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Karen Peters at (518) 524-1023 or Merri Peck at (518) 946- 7627.

Essex County Historical Programs Announced

The Wilmington Historical Society (Essex County) has announced its meeting dates and programs for the 2011 season. Regular meetings are held at 7 pm at the Wilmington Community Center. Open discussion on local historical topics are held from 7 pm-8pm prior to the regular business meeting. Refreshments are served and the public is invited to attend. The public is invited to attend. For further information, contact Karen Peters at 518-420-8370. Here is the full calendar of open discussion events:

Wednesday, April 6&#8212- “Wilmington Weather Events”

Wednesday, May 4 &#8212- “Wilmington Wood Products”

Wednesday, June 1&#8212- “Rocks & Minerals Heritage”

Wednesday, July 6&#8212- “Early Wilmington Settlers”

Wednesday, August 3&#8212- “Temperance Movement & Bootlegging”

Wednesday, September 7&#8212- “Wilmington Supervisors”

Wednesday, October 5 &#8212- “Celebrations is Wilmington”

Wednesday, November 2&#8212- “Fires in Wilmington”

Lecture on the Battles at Plattsburgh

The Wilmington Historical Society invites you to their program with historian and author Keith Herkalo “September 11th, 1814: The Battles at Plattsburgh” to be held on Friday, August 20th at 7 pm at the Wilmington Community Center on Springfield Road in Wilmington, Essex County, NY.

Would the United States exist if our naval and land Battles at Plattsburgh on September 11, 1814 had been lost? For the United States, the War of 1812 is often referred to as “the second war for independence”. We have learned of the battles at Baltimore, Washington and Sacketts Harbor, but what about the Battles at Plattsburgh?


Keith Herkalo, using personal journals, military journals, contemporary newspaper accounts, and other original source documents, examines the evidence that leads to the conclusion that the Battles at Plattsburgh on land and on Lake Champlain, were actually the key battles of the War of 1812. He claims that were it not for the exemplary talents and skills of two young military officers, Commodore Thomas McDonough and General Alexander Macomb, a small force of regular army and navy personnel and New York Militia, a few thousand Vermont Militia, a handful of Native Americans and Veteran Exempts (those too old for military service), and a group of boys from a local school, the United States, as we know it today, would not exist.

Plattsburgh City Clerk and a charter member of the Battle of Plattsburgh Association, Keith Herkalo believes that the Battles at Plattsburgh and the individuals who fought in the War of 1812 in the Champlain Valley and surrounding area deserve national recognition. Karen Peters, President of the Wilmington Historical Society, notes that many area residents of that time period participated in the land battle, including Major Reuben Sanford of Wilmington who commanded a regiment of detached militia. Stephen Partridge, also of Jay and Wilmington was one of the first to be killed in action in a skirmish at Culver Hill on September 6, 1814, a few days prior to the main battle.

Having grown up in both Philadelphia and Plattsburgh, and spending more than a decade in military service, Keith Herkalo returned to Plattsburgh developing a keen interest in Plattsburgh’s history with a particular attention to Plattsburgh’s involvement in the War of 1812. He is a builder and member of the boat crew of the award-winning bateau “Rooster” (the 37-foot replica of an 1812 era work boat). As an 1812-era re-enactor and an amateur historian he is the research catalyst behind the archaeological re-discovery and preservation of the 1812 Camp Site known as “Pike’s Cantonment” and the Crab Island Graves location. He is the editor of The Journalof H.K. Averill. Sr.: An Account of the Battle of Plattsburgh and Early North Country Community, and author of September 11th, 1814: the Battles at Plattsburgh which documents Plattsburgh’s importance in the War of 1812.

The “September 11th, 1814: The Battles at Plattsburgh” program on August 20th is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Karen Peters at (518) 524-1023 or Merri Peck at (518) 946-7627.

Illustration: Naval battle on Lake Champlain. Engraving in 1816 by B. Tanner.

Adirondack History: Have You Seen That Vigilante Man?

The Wilmington Historical Society will be hosting a program with historian and author Amy Godine entitled &#8220Have You Seen That Vigilante Man?&#8221 to be held on Friday, July 30th at 7 pm at the Wilmington Community Center on Springfield Road in Wilmington.

Night riders, white cappers and vigilante strikes- the darker side of American mob justice was not confined to the Deep South or the Far West. Adirondack history is ablaze with flashes of &#8220frontier justice,&#8221 from farmers giving chase to horse thieves to &#8220townie&#8221 raids on striking immigrant miners to the anti-Catholic rallies of the KKK. Amy Godine’s anecdotal history of Adirondack vigilantism plumbs a regional legacy with deep, enduring roots, and considers what about the North Country made it fertile and forgiving ground for outlaw activity.

Readers of Adirondack Life magazine are acquainted with Amy Godine’s work on social and ethnic history in the Adirondack region. Whether delving into the stories of Spanish road workers, Polish miners, black homesteaders, Jewish peddlers or Chinese immigrants, Godine celebrates the &#8220under-stories&#8221 of so-called &#8220non-elites,&#8221 groups whose contributions to Adirondack history are conventionally ignored. Exhibitions she has curated on vanished Adirondack ethnic enclaves have appeared at the Chapman Historical Museum, the Saratoga History Museum, the Adirondack Museum and the New York State Museum. The recently published 3rd edition of The Adirondack Reader, the anthology Rooted in Rock, and The Adirondack Book, feature her essays- with Elizabeth Folwell, she co-authored Adirondack Odysseys. A former Yaddo, MacDowell, and Hackman Research Fellow, she is also an inaugural Fellow of the New York Academy of History.

The “Have You Seen That Vigilante Man?” program on July 30th is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Karen Peters at (518) 524-1023 or Merri Peck at (518) 946- 7627.

Photo: Members of Ku Klux Klan march in Washington DC in 1925.