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

Joint War of 1812 Preservation Project Complete
News from the Quassaick Chapter
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution

Newburgh, New York- The Quassaick Chapter, NSDAR, and the Moffat Library of Washingtonville recently completed a year-long project to preserve and digitize a set of four letters belonging to the Caldwell family of Blooming Grove from the War of 1812 era. The library has other letters from the family that had been previously transcribed by the Blooming Grove Town Historian, but these are the first letters to be digitized and put online for public view.
These letters relate to Captain Richard Caldwell, who died at Plattsburgh, New York, during the early months of the war. The collection includes his officer's commission from John Chrystie, requesting him to raise a company of men from Blooming Grove, New York, to serve in the 25th U.S. Regiment. There is a poignant letter from his brother Andrew to Ensign George McChain, 25th U.S., inquiring into the circumstances and final moments of his brother's death. The final two letters from William Caldwell, and Andrew J. Caldwell relate to the retrieving Richard's possessions and transferring power of attorney following his death. The collection also contained a collection of newspapers that featured articles about the descendants of the Caldwell family and their legacy in Orange County.  
As a multi-step project, in March 2017, Matthew Thorenz, head of Reference and Adult Services of the Moffat Library, and the chapter's Public Relations chair, Jill Moore, transferred the collection into new acid-free preservation sleeves and boxes that the chapter had provided through the project's funding grant. The digitization process began in April 2017 through Hudson Archival in Port Ewan and transcription was provided by Jill Moore, who is also a professional genealogist, in January. The letters and their transcriptions became publicly viewable on April 5th, 2018, through hosting by the Hudson River Valley Heritage (, and can be found by searching for "Caldwell Family" in the digital collection section for the Moffat Library.
The Moffat Library and the Quassaick Chapter, NSDAR, are extremely proud of this patriotic preservation endeavor and invite the public to visit the Hudson River Valley Heritage website to view these glimpses into Orange County's history.

Contact Jill Moore, VIS Chair if you have any questions.

WWI Centennial Year
Frank Licameli presents new findings on the 107th Infantry Regiment at the Hindenburg Line
May 20th 2PM to 3PM

Hosted by the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands. Venue to be announced.
After the talk we will stop in for a drink at the historic North Plank Road Tavern to discuss centennial trip details. Please feel free to join us if you have questions about the trip to Belgium and France and would like to meet others who will be participating.

Centennial Trip to the Trenches of Belgium and France

September 24 - October 2, 2018

A $450 deposit is needed to reserve a spot. 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!

Graves of Upstate New York: 100 Notable Resting Places

The second edition of Chuck D'Imperio's 2006 guide to unusual upstate graves has been published as Graves of Upstate New York: A Guide to 100 Notable Resting Places, Second Edition (Syracuse University Press, 2018).
The book looks at the lives (and deaths) of 100 legendary Americans laid to rest in Upstate New York.

Graves of Upstate New York visits an array of famous New York grave sites, from Mark Twain, Harriet Tubman, and James Fenimore Cooper to Helen Hayes, Lucille Ball, four US presidents, a Kentucky Derby-winning horse, and a world-famous one-legged tap dancer.

D'Imperio provides short biographies, photographs and information about the cemetery.
Chuck D'Imperio is the author of several books about Upstate New York. His most recent titles include Unknown Museums of Upstate New York: A Guide to 50 Treasures and A Taste of Upstate New York: The People and Stories behind 40 Food Favorites.

More information on New York State History Blog.

Upcoming Events, Training & Conferences
April is Poetry Month

The Orange County Poet Laurate, Robert Milby, will be the featured poet at these upcoming events:

Thursday, April 19th at 7:00 pm - Newburgh Free Library
Friday, April 20th at 7:00 pm - Spring Poetry Café - Florida Library
Saturday, April 28th at 2:00 pm - Chester Library

Association of Public Historians of NYS (APHNYS) Region 3 meeting

Friday, April 20th 9AM to 3PM

The APHNYS Region 3 meeting will be held at the Spain Cornerstone Park Building, 1 Fair street, Carmel, NY on April 20, 2018.


9:30, Registration
10:00, Welcome
10:15, Session 1: Postal History and Daily Life
11:35, Session 2: Circus History in Somers
12:10, Session 3: Carmel High School Yearbook Project
12:45, Lunch & Networking
1:45, Session 4: Researching Women's Suffrage in Putnam County
2:15, Research Strategies Discussion & Wrap-Up

Contact the Putnam County Historian Sarah Johnson if you are a municipal historian in Orange County and have not received the invite. 

Historic Gumaer Cemetery Work Session 1 of 4
Saturday, April 21st 11AM -3PM
Historic Gumaer Cemetery (Pioneer Knoll Cemetery)The site is located in a mildly remote rustic setting. Please wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Tools are limited onsite; please bring hand tools, lawn rakes, mid-sized plastic drop-cloths, tree pruners, work gloves, tick/bug spray & cameras. Pack a light lunch & join us!

Directions From 84: Take Route 84 to exit 1 (Port Jervis).At the end of the exit ramp, turn onto Route 6 West. Follow Route 6 to Route 209 North. Make a right turn onto Route 209 and north for approximately 6.3 miles to Guymard Turnpike. Make a right turn onto Guymard Turnpike, and follow it approximately 0.2 miles to the cemetery driveway on the right. The entrance is marked Nature Conservancy: Neversink Preserve. Drive slowly towards the kiosk. Look for the parked cars along the left side of the road. This road is the access to the Nature conservancy so please do not block the roadway. There's a short path from there to the cemeteries.

From Route 17 West: From Route 17 west, take exit 113 (Rt. 209) south. Travel for about 8.5 miles, and after crossing the Cuddebackville Neversink bridge, take your second left onto Canal Drive. Go to the end of Canal Drive (bearing left at forks) to a T-intersection. Turn left onto Guymard Turnpike; the cemetery entrance is a gravel drive on the right with a sign marked Nature Conservancy: Neversink Preserve. Drive slowly towards the kiosk. Look for the parked cars along the left side of the road. This road is the access to the Nature conservancy so please do not block the roadway. There is a short path from there to the cemeteries.

For information please contact Nancy Conod, Executive Director of the Minisink Valley Historical Society, or Judy Gumaer Testa, Volunteer Coordinator,


Link to the FACEBOOK invite for more info.

Announcement of the Cessation of Hostilities
Saturday, April 21st 2PM -4PM
Meet a few of the Revolutionary War era camp residents and find out what the end of the war means to them.

New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site
374 Temple Hill Rd, New Windsor, New York 12553

Volunteer Fair at Washington's Headquarters 
Saturday, April 28th 11AM -3PM
The Volunteer Fair provides organizations with an opportunity to share awareness about the special services they provide to our community. In the course of the day, participating organizations will hopefully recruit interested and eager volunteers to further assist in those needed community endeavors. It is also an opportunity to network with other organizations, and learn about all the positive and important work being done to strengthen the community of Newburgh. With its mix of promotion, recruitment, and networking, participation is definitely a win-win situation

Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site
83 Liberty Street, Newburgh NY 12550
Orange County Historian | Goshen, N.Y. |  845-545-7908 |  jyaun