Hendrick Vrooman Family Being Celebrated

The Schenectady County Historical Society (32 Washington Ave., Schenectady), will hold a celebrate the life and legacy of Hendrick Meese Vrooman, a Dutch settler who came to Schenectady in 1664 and was ultimately killed in the 1690 Massacre. Vrooman was the father of Adam and Jan Vrooman, who came with their father from Holland and many of whose descendants still live in the Schenectady and Schoharie County area.

A letter written by Vrooman in 1664, along with many other letters, were seized by the English from Dutch ships during the 17th-century Anglo–Dutch wars. These seized letters were recently discovered in the archives in Kew, England. In Vrooman’s letter, he comments on the changing rule in the colonies from Dutch to English, and describes his life in Schenectady: “It has been a good summer there. Very fine corn has grown there and the cultivation was good and the land still pleases me. At snechtendeel [Schenectady and the surrounding area] the land is more beautiful than I have ever seen in Holland.”

The Dutch national television station KRO will be filming this event for its program “Brieven Boven Water” (roughly translated as “Surfacing Letters”). The program attempts to make contact with living descendants of people who wrote the seized letters.

Descendants of Hendrick Meese Vrooman are especially encouraged to attend this event- the Grems-Doolittle Library staff and volunteers can help trace lineages back to the Vroomans. Please contact the Librarian for assistance.

The event will be held at the Historical Society on Thursday, February 9, at 2:00 p.m. The cost is $5.00 for the general public- Free for Schenectady County Historical Society members. For more information, please contact Melissa Tacke, Librarian, 518-374-0263, option 3, or by email at [email protected].

Illustration: Map of Schenectady in 1690, courtesy Brown and Wheeler Family History.

Iroquois Museum Cuts Staff, Closes Until Spring

The Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY has announced significant staff cutbacks for 2012. &#8220Severe economic downturns coupled with the recent devastating flooding in Schoharie County have forced the Museum to suspend most Museum operations from January 1 to April 30 and to layoff staff during those months,&#8221 Museum officials said in a prepared statement issued Wednesday.

Normally, the Museum closes from January 1 to March 31, but to conserve finances we will remain closed to the public until May 1. A skeleton staff with volunteer help will continue to maintain the basic operations of the Museum including security and maintenance.

&#8220Despite the reductions, the Board and Staff of the Museum continue to plan a vibrant schedule of exhibitions and programs for 2012,&#8221 the Museum statement said. The museum is expected to open a new exhibit on May 1, “Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork.”

There are no plans to cancel the 31st Annual Iroquois Indian Festival, Dance Saturdays during July and August, or other public programs scheduled for the 2012 season.

&#8220The Board and Staff believes that we have an obligation to the founders of the Museum and to all who have supported us over the years to assure that we continue to be a viable public institution, to support tourism in our region, to teach about the Iroquois, to be of benefit to Iroquois people, and to fulfill our mission as an educational institution,&#8221 the statement said.

Schoharie Crossing to Host Flooding Discussion

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will host a lecture on “Fort Hunter Flooding Through the Ages: An Eyewitness Look” on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm at the Fort Hunter Library, 167 Fort Hunter Road, Town of Florida. The lecture is sponsored by the Friends of Schoharie Crossing and presented by education coordinator Tricia Shaw. The lecture will be followed by refreshments and the September meeting of the Friends of Schoharie Crossing. All are welcome to attend- the meeting and lecture are both open to the public.

Tricia Shaw will lead a discussion about the history of flooding in the Fort Hunter area. The Schoharie Creek is famous as a flood prone area. Shaw will set the tone by talking about the floods of 1904, 1914 1938 and 1977. Then using eyewitness accounts of the 1955 and 1987 floods, she will compare those earlier “bad” floods to the recent 2006 and 2011 floods. An open discussion will follow, allowing individuals to share their own memories and thoughts.

For more information about this event or how to join the Friends of Schoharie Crossing, please call Shaw’s cell phone at (518) 878-6915.

Peter Feinman: Irene and New York State History

This past July, a group of educators toured the historic Mohawk Valley. The group consisted of teachers from the region, particularly the Utica school district, people from historical societies, and cultural heritage tourists. The program was described as an &#8220immersion experience&#8221into the history of the Mohawk Valley. Little did we know that the metaphorical image soon would become a literal one. Read more

Schoharie Crossing Historic Site Seeks Volunteers

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site is seeking volunteers for the Fall to help on a regular or semi regular basis around the historic site doing a variety of different jobs. Volunteer opportunities may include but are not limited to: interpretation (answering patrons’ questions, giving guided tours, helping with school field trips, running the cash register in the gift shop, period clothing reenacting, helping with special events, providing refreshments), office work (typing, filing, answering phones), maintenance work (gardening, landscaping), historical work (research, curatorial work), environmental aspects (bird and animal assessments, trail maintenance) and photography. No prior work at a historic site is necessary. Training will be provided.

Brief interviews will be conducted to see what is the best fit for both parties involved, taking advantage of interests, hobbies and talents to match the historic site’s needs as much as possible.

To see how you can help, please call 829- 7516 or email [email protected] for more information

Teacher Open House at Schoharie Crossing

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will host an open house for teachers and parents who home school on Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 9 am to noon at the Visitor Center.

There will be lots of handouts available for use in the classroom, a free raffle for all who attend, and free continental breakfast. Participants will receive 20% off discount in the gift shop on books and historical toys. There will be a guided walking tour of the East Guard Lock, the Original Crossing and the Schoharie Aqueduct at 10 am. Have all your canal questions answered by the Canalgirl. The new and improved 4th grade scavenger hunt will be featured so complete it for yourself.

For more information by call the Schoharie Crossing Visitor Center at (518) 829- 7516 or email [email protected]

DATE CHANGE:30th Annual Iroquois Indian Festival

The Iroquois Indian Museum of Howes Cave, New York, will host the 30th Annual Iroquois Indian Festival on Saturday, October 15 through Sunday, October 16 (date corrected 10/14). Festival offerings include Iroquois music and social dance, traditional stories, all-Iroquois art market, games and Native food.

New this year will be a silent auction on Saturday from 10 to 5, on the main floor of the Museum will feature contemporary and vintage Native artwork- limited edition Yankees and Red Sox Native player collectibles- Native performers autographed memorabilia- local business gift certificates- antique books- music & DVDs- and more.

The Sky Dancers from Six Nations Reserve in Ontario will perform traditional Iroquois social dances. Also for the first time, audience members will be invited to participate in a Smoke Dance competition with prizes for adults and children.

Additional highlights include: Children’s Activities Tent- wildlife rehabilitator Kelly Martin with a variety of recent rescues- Pamela Brown “Wolf Teacher” returns to promote understanding and awareness of wolves- archeology ID table- survival skills presentation with Barry Keegan- and flintknapping demonstrations.

The Festival is supported in part through grants from The New York State Council on the Arts, and donations from members and friends of the Museum.

The Iroquois Indian Museum is located just 35 miles west of Albany New York, near the intersection of highways 7 and 145. Take exit 22 from Interstate 88 and follow the signs. There is a fee for entrance to the Festival grounds.

For more information contact email [email protected] or visit the museum’s website.

Schoharie Crossing to Host 1792 Batteau Landing

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will host a replica 18th century bateaux (flat-bottomed cargo boats) owned by the Mabee Farm Historic Site and crewed by Schulyers Company of New York Provincials and other reenactors, while in route from Rome to Rotterdam Junction.

The trip is roughly 87 miles long, and recreates similar journeys that occurred on the Mohawk River prior to the building of the Erie Canal. Captain David Manthey and the crew welcomes the public to witness their landing at the Yankee Hill Picnic Area between 5pm and 6pm on the evening of August 25, 2011 and to ask questions. Read more

Social Dance Saturdays at Iroquois Museum

The Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY has announced the second in a series of three “Social Dance Saturdays” featuring Iroquois social dance groups. On Saturday, July 23, the HAUDENOSAUNEE DANCERS from Onondaga will perform three sets at approximately 11, 1, and 3. Visitors are encouraged and welcomed to join in with the dancers.

Led by Sherri Waterman Hopper, the Haudenosaunee Dancers will perform Iroquois social dances as practiced in their small traditional community near Syracuse. Sherri Waterman-Hopper has traveled internationally as an artist and cultural speaker. The Dancers feature a core group of seasoned singer/musicians and talented and dedicated young adults. Pride in the culture and adherence to the traditions are the hallmarks of this troupe. Hopper is also a designer and seamstress who incorporates her knowledge of the construction and significance of traditional outfits into her presentations.

For more information contact the Museum at 518-296-8949, [email protected] or visit their website.

Photo: Haudenosaunee Dancer from 2010 (provided).

Schoharie Crossing National Trails Day Event

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site will host a National Trails Day event and will kick off National Rivers Month tomorrow, Sunday, June 5, 2011.

At 10am, the staff and volunteers from the Schoharie Creek Center invite children aged 5 and up and their families to join them in a water quality testing program. Wade in the Schoharie Creek, grab a net, and then look under a microscope to see what is living in the water.

At noon their will be a walking tour along the towpath trail. Participants will the remains of the Original Erie Canal and the Enlarged Erie Canal including the East Guard Lock, Lock #20, the Empire Lock, Lock #30, and the Schoharie Aqueduct. Fee $3.00 for adults, $2 for senior citizens, and $1.00 for children under 16.

At 2:00 pm Joe Doolittle will present “If the Canal Could Speak: Stories from Down in the Valley” on the lawn of the Visitor Center (free).

From 1:00pm – 5:00pm, if you arrive at the Visitor Center by bike or by foot, you will receive a free gift and 10% off in the gift shop.

For the entire month of June, if you stop in at the Visitor Center prior to launching your boat, canoe, or kayak, you will receive a free gift.

For more information about this event, call the Visitor Center at (518) 829-7516.