News and Event Updates from the Office of the Orange County Historian

WWI Centennial Year
845 Life: Saluting one of 'The Orange County 40' from World War I

"I looked over, and on the wall was a big plaque honoring men from Newburgh who had died in World War I during the Battle of the Hindenburg Line," she says.

"I had never heard of that battle before."

"But I was drawn to reading the inscription," she remembers. "Then I saw my great-great-uncle's name - Ezra Travis - on the plaque and said 'Wow!'"

It was September 2013, and that discovery sent Marse on a mission to learn more about her relative.

"I started Googling and I found a photo of local men who all died on the same day breaking through the Hindenburg Line," she says.

"It turns out it was such a pivotal battle in the war."

At least 40 men from Orange County died in that battle on Sept. 29, 1918, and some say the number is as high as 46.

The Orange County Expedition: One History Buff's journey to discover the World War I Monuments & Memorials of Orange County
Part II: Two Heads are Better Than One
By Aaron W. Lefkowitz
     Once again, I set out to find and document even more local memorials to our troops. The only thing is, that going to all of these memorials takes a good amount of time and can be quite dull, if you are by yourself. Fortunately, my best friend, was kind enough to accompany me on my expedition to many local communities. His name is Zachary Andrews and like me, he is also a History buff. Our objective as to learn how Orange County's noble residents are remembered.

     Even before I started my expedition, I had been told of a very distinct monument, not too far from my home. I was speaking with the staff of the Moffatt Library in Washingtonville, who mentioned, there was a special stained-glass window at the Blooming Grove United Church of Christ, in honor of the members of their congregation, who served. The only thing was, it was Wednesday, and we were concerned no one would be there.

     Still, we decided to go over and see what we could do. Pulling up, we noticed there was a man working and decided to ask him about going inside. As soon as I introduced myself, he happily welcomed us in and served as our guide. His name is Al Bull and besides being the supervisor of the Church as well as a member of its congregation, his family including himself had served in every major American war in the last century.

     The WWI window, under the title of "Patriotism", was truly impressive, easily over 10 feet high and made of beautiful stained glass. As the world-renowned jewelers of Tiffany's made it, it is not surprising that its artisanship still holds. A newer window designed in recognition of all, who have served this nation was also built nearby.

     Twelve names are on the window, including Malcolm Tuthill, who had survived the War and would served as a School Bus driver, shuttling local kids including Al Bull. Tuthill served in Company D of the 308th Machine Gun Battalion of the 78th Division and would see heavy combat fighting during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive as well as being wounded in action, resulting in him being awarded the Purple Heart. Al told us that Tuthill's battle-scarred tunic is in the collection of the nearby National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, in Newburgh.

     What really stuck with me was the subtitle above the names, which read, "IT IS OUR ACTS NOT OUR WORDS THAT COUNT". This really stuck with me, as words hold very little meaning, while actions have so much more impact. Especially in a sacred place like a Church, those who did such great acts, are recognized not as heroes, but as men, who did their part for their country and faith. A special thank you to Mr. Bull, for his kindness and sharing his knowledge with us, he strongly encourages visitors to the Church.

Centennial Trip to the Trenches of Belgium and France

September 24 - October 2, 2018

This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the battlefields of WWI Belgium and France, with historians and descendants of soldiers who died there, at the exact time and place a hundred years later, where hundreds of New Yorkers broke the Hindenburg Line. We'll be traveling from Sept 24- Oct 2, 2018, Approx $3,600 includes flights, hotels, transportations, museum admissions, local guides, historians on-board and several meals. It'll be covered in the press too. Join us!

Gatherings to discuss the Centennial Trip

Wednesday, August 15th at 6:30 PM

We will continue hosting informational sessions about the planned trip to Belgium and France this September 24th through October 2nd to honor the 40 County residents who died on the same day in 1918 during the Battle of the Hindenburg Line in World War I.
The informational sessions will be held at 6:30 p.m. on August 15th and September 12th at the North Plank Tavern in Newburgh.
These sessions will provide an opportunity to talk about the trip and answer any questions about logistics of traveling. This is open to anyone who has already signed up for the trip or for those who are considering the trip and would like more information. We thank the North Plank Tavern for graciously offering us a table for this event.

30 North Plank Road
Newburgh, NY 12550
Upcoming Events, Training & Conferences
Quarterly meeting of the Orange County Collections Committee

Thursday, August 9 at 11AM

The Orange County Collections Committee will meet at the 1841 Courthouse, 101 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924

Grand Opening  for The Velocipede Museum

Friday, August 10 at 3 PM - 5 PM

Join us for the Grand Opening Ceremony for The Velocipede Museum! Enjoy free admittance for another look into the museum.

The Velocipede
109 Liberty St, Newburgh, New York 12550

Cemetery Clean-up /Training Workshop

Saturday, August 11, 11 AM to 1 PM

The Office of the Orange County Historian is sponsoring this training program for 16 individuals. Email us at to let us know if you'll be there.

Event includes short lecture on the practice of cleaning and repairing stones, and then a hands-on cleaning workshop. Attendees are asked to come prepared to get down and dirty and educate others on proper cleaning methods. 
Little Britain Cemetery, located next to Encounter Church at 647 Station Road, Rock Tavern, NY 12575

Moderated by cemetery preservation expert, Marianne Greenfield. 
She asks that participants bring a new plastic bucket, a new plastic bristle brush (like a dish brush) and a pair of clean chopsticks, which they can use for other gravestone cleaning projects. As well as your own drinking water and a snack. (raindate Sunday, Aug 12)

Orange County Historian | 101 Main Street Goshen, N.Y. 10924 |  845-360-6978 |  jyaun