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

National Law Day & the
200th Birthday of Judge Fullerton
Fundraiser to mark the occasion of Orange County's famous Judge

Soon after his admission to the bar, Judge William Fullerton became District Attorney of Orange County, and was dubbed, "the Orange County cyclone." He  enjoyed a distinguished fifty-year career as an attorney and was described as "having a profound knowledge of human nature, being quick and ready in debate, and thoroughly posted on the fundamental principles of law."  Fullerton was "pre-eminently a great advocate" and was "without a peer as a cross-examiner," and as a result of the Tilton  v. Beecher trial, became nationally known as "the great cross-examiner."

Learn more about Judge Fullerton at an event which will include remarks by Orange County DA David Hoovler, a tour of Fullerton's home by expert Michael Green, and a wine and cheese reception complete with birthday cake and light beverages, as well as p resentation by Rebecca Howard from the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame.

The event is also a fundraiser for Newburgh's St. George's Cemetery, a 7.4 acre sacred site located at 147 Washington Street, and Judge Fullerton's final resting place.  The cemetery dates back to 1838 when Rev. John Brown needed to find additional burial grounds after the Old Town Cemetery filled up. This event will help care for the grounds, replace fending, and perform much needed tombstone maintenance.
Ticket prices are $30, $50, or $100.  Call St. George's Church at (845) 561-5355 or email
Community Updates
Port Jervis Celebrates the life of Stephen Crane with its permanent exhibit

The Port Jervis Free Library announces the opening of a permanent photographic exhibit on famed 1890s author,Stephen Crane as part of the library's mission to promote local history and encourage tourism.
Stephen Crane's experiences in the Port Jervis area led to the creation of his first fictional works ("Sullivan County Tales and Sketches") and last pieces which are loosely based on his Port Jervis childhood ("Whilomville Stories"). While there is no hard proof, it is believed that Crane interacted with Port Jervis area Civil War veterans for inspiration for his most famous work, "The Red Badge of Courage." 

The Port Jervis Free Library,
138 Pike Street, Port Jervis
(845) 856-7313
Open during library business hours

Hales Hardware, formerly Newburgh Electric Supply 
199 Broadway
photo: Pedro Bonilla

Through the Eyes of the Cornerstone: New Visionaries of Newburgh

Photo exhibit illustrates the repurposing of historic Newburgh buildings 

April 29, 6:30pm - opening night and reception
Safe Harbors Lobby at the Ritz, 107 Broadway

Nearly 30 businesses in Newburgh have repurposed some of the city's most historic buildings and visitors will learn about them in this new photo exhibit.

"New Visionaries of Newburgh" will highlight business owners who own and/or operate all relatively new businesses in the city. The common theme is that each visionary has passion for their product or service, financial backing to have allowed them to repurpose these buildings, and faith in their community which they believe has a promising future.

The exhibition is the third in the ongoing series of free photo events to be launched on the Last Saturday Newburgh, April 29th, with a reception at 6:30pm.  The exhibit will remain on display at the Ritz Lobby on 107 Broadway and Liberty Street. 

The owner of Hales Hardware, Mel Hales, explains how he wanted to keep the historical feel of the building.  "We wanted to preserve the memory of the long standing Newburgh Electric Supply store so we have hung the huge sign that used to be on the front of the building so you can see it on our wall just as you enter the store. We added speakers to the space because we thought people would enjoy listening to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and other relaxing music as they made their purchases."
The Newburgh Brewing Company building was at one time home to the William Wright Steam Engine Company, and then the Paper Box factory. Colden Street.
photo: Marvin Pritchard

Paul Halayko, owner of Newburgh Brewing Company, shares a bit of his building's history: "Our building was built in the late 1850's and was part of the William Wright Steamworks. Most recently, many longtime Newburgh residents remember it as the Newburgh Paper Box Company, which was in the building from approx. 1918-1984. The building then was vacant until we purchased it in 2011.  Our building was structurally sound, and to retrofit it for the brewery, we had do remove most of the 2nd floor because of the height of the tanks. We re-did the 3rd floor into offices, and the 4th floor is now our taproom. We put all new windows in on the 3rd and 4th floors."
All photographs on display are the work of Safe Harbors Cornerstone residents Pedro Bonilla, Anthony Moorer and Marvin Pritchard. The interviews and profiles have been compiled by Joe Mack-Digital Photo Academy Workshop Instructor/Writer/Musician and Zachary Costa of North Plank Road Tavern , who have volunteered their time and talent to share these inspirational stories. 

Says Producer, Richard Rabinowitz and founder of the Digital Photo Academy, "These business owners are relatively new and epitomize faith, investment and talents, and show that they believe in the future of Newburgh. We have a number of volunteer pro photographers who helped the exhibit photographers operate high-end cameras and turn snapshots into powerful environmental portraits."   
For more information, call Richard Rabinowitz at 917-597-7053.

An Historical Landmark Grows in Monroe

When Tim Mitts passed by the stately home at 236 High Street with the "for sale" out front, his curiosity got the best of him.  As he's restored homes in the past, and knows the gems that can be uncovered in such a property, he asked for a tour by the real estate agent.  Once inside, his mind went to work.  He did a little research on the property, put in an offer and he took possession in March, 2016.  The one-time use of the building, as a summer retreat for blind women by the American Foundation for the Blind, was a project supervised by none other than Helen Keller. Stories from local papers show that Keller visited the site known as Rest Haven, and continued her connection to the site until her death in 1968.  The home features a striking interior, with sparkling hard wood floors, an immense grand staircase, and includes 9 fireplaces, 25 rooms, and measures about 11,000 square feet. On December 29 2016, after a visit from NYS Historical Society, Mitts was notified that the location is up for nomination as an historical site.  As he forms his plan for the continued use of the home, he will keep regular visiting hours for residents and visitors to the area.

Visit for more information, directions, and visiting hours.

The Great War Centennial was held over the weekend at Museum Village in Monroe.
Upcoming Events, Training & Conferences
Opening Day of the 2017 Season at Washington's Headquarters
Wednesday, April 19th 11AM - 5PM

April 19th is the start of expanded operating hours at Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh. The site will be open to visitors every Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM and every Sunday, 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM.

The historic Hasbrouck House served as Headquarters for General Washington, and was also used by his wife Martha, several of his aides, guards, slaves, and servants. It was here that General Washington announced the ceasefire ending the fighting of the Revolutionary War, authored some of his thoughts for the new republic, and created the Badge of Military Merit, forerunner of the Purple Heart. So much history is within the house's walls - the first publicly owned historic site in the nation, which opened in 1850.

Admission includes a guided tour of the historic Headquarters and the freedom to explore the Museum, including the multi award-winning exhibit, Unpacked & Rediscovered: Selections from Washington's Headquarters' Collection. Other special programs, events and presentations will be scheduled throughout the season. 

Make 2017 the year you visit the first historic site in the nation. Call 845-562-1195 for further details and directions
Silvio's Villa Ghost Hunt & Dinner
Friday, April 21st 8:30PM

Silvio's Villa serves an authentic Italian Cuisine in the quaint setting of sprawling estate that is rooted in the 1700's.  But guests rarely dine alone! 

The history of the location alone can send chills up your spine but the experiences of guests and investigators will leave you speechless.  Footsteps, doors opening and closing, shapes entering in and out of dimly lit spaces late at night, visible orbs and faint shouting - the paranormal activity that has been captured, witnessed and experienced here are formidable. 

It was originally inhabited by a Revolutionary War veteran Levi Ellis.  After several owners it was purchased by the Vail Family, then tragedy struck. In 1972, Roy Vail's sister was found murdered, and rumors swirled that Roy was a suspect.  A decade later, he committed suicide in what is now the Vail Room, this is just one of the spirits that haunts this location.

274 Route 94
Warwick, NY

Cornwall Historical Society Annual Dinner
Saturday, April 22nd 6-10PM

Our 2017 Annual Dinner! This year's dinner will be held at Temple Hill Tavern in New Windsor, NY. Tickets are $35 per person. 

Temple Hill Tavern and Catering
171 Temple Hill Rd
New Windsor, NY 12553

Antique Tractor Pull at Orange County Farmers Museum
Sunday, April 23rd, 9AM- 4PM

Opening Day at the Farmers Museum! To benefit the Jimmy Holbert Memorial Scholarship Fund...

Watch as they pull the "Dream Crusher" down the track to win the longest pull in their tractors weight class.

These events boasts a wonderful sense of community amongst farmers, tractor owners, and spectators alike. Its fun for the entire family, and a treat for children of all ages. 

Concessions are available on the grounds, and the museum's extensive exhibits are open for viewing.

Admission is always free so stop by and have fun!

850 Rte 17K, Montgomery, New York 12549
Holocaust Remembrance Day Community Commemoration
Sunday, April 23 at 2 PM - 4 PM

Newburgh Jcc together with Jewish Federation and Mount Saint Mary College present "The Rose Temple" town hall event featuring Holocaust survivor Lucia Weitzman and her son, Mitchell (author of The Rose Temple). Once a year on Yom Hashoah (day of remembrance) we vow never to forget the unthinkinable attrocities of the Holocaust. This promises to be an enlightening conversation about both Catholic and Jewish faith and the journey of self. There is no charge for this event. Please RSVP here, by email  or by calling 845-561-6602
Children of the Civil War
Thursday, April 27th, 7PM - 9PM

In 1863, 12 year-old Johnny Clem participated in the famous Civil War battle of Chickamauga. Escaped slave, "Contraband Jackson", served as a drummer boy and stretcher-bearer in the 79th Infantry Regiment - U.S. Colored Troops. It was an all-black unit that incurred heavy casualties. 15 year old Tillie Pierce served as a nurse at Gettysburg. They were just three of thousands of boys and girls engaged in the Civil War; on the front lines or back at the home front, active in vital adult roles that would astonish us today. 

Civil war historian and re-enactor, Yvonne Bigney, promises to bring the subject alive on April 27th! If you saw her presentation on Civil War Women last year at the Center, you know her presentation is bound to be engaging, as well as educational.

Cohen Cir, Florida, NY 10921, United States
The HRV in the Antebellum African-American Imagination
Thursday, April 27 at 7PM

Join the Hudon River Valley Institute in the Nelly Goletti Theatre at 7 pm to hear Dr. Myra Young Armstead deliver the annual Charlotte Cunneen-Hackett Lecture Series lecture. This year's talk will be on "The Hudson River Valley in the Antebellum African-American Imagination." It's sure to be a great night!

Please RSVP by April 21 to 845-575-3052 or

Marist College -  Nelly Goletti Theater
3399 North Road, Poughkeepsie, New York 12601
Makers of the Telegraph at the Orange County Historical Society
Saturday, April 29, 2017 10:30AM

The single-wire telegraph revolutionized long distance communication but it was not the brainchild of one inventor, Samuel Morse. His colleagues and employees-specifically Ezra Cornell and Joseph Henry-made crucial contributions.

Examining the careers of the three men and the key events, this book presents Morse as primarily a businessman and consolidator of ideas who, frequently in conflict with his associates, sought to present the telegraph as a uniform system under his sole imprimatur. The battle between Morse and Cornell over the invention of the magnetic relay was central to the drama.

What emerges is a complex portrait of three ambitious and brilliant innovators and the age in which they lived.

Kenneth B. Lifshitz has lectured widely on such topics as the great chain across the Hudson and The Franklin Marble. Also a bass player, he has performed with local and regional symphony orchestras. He lives in the Catskill region of New York.

OCHS Headquarters
21 Clove Furnace Drive
Arden, NY 10910
Guest Bartending at Newburgh Brewing Company
Sunday, April 30, 1PM - 4PM

Join the Friends of the State HIstoric Sites of the Hudson Highlands for an afternoon of fun in the family-friendly tap room. Enjoy the Beer, wine, soft drinks, or grab one of the assorted board and tavern games at your disposal. ALL cash tips go to support the programs of Washington's Headquarters, New Windsor Cantonment and Knox's HQ.

Newburgh Brewing Company
88 Colden Street
Newburgh, NY 12550
Orange County Genealogical Society dinner and seminar

The annual dinner of the Orange County Genealogical Society will be held on  Friday, May 5 at 6pmwith their all-day seminar to be held the following day, Saturday, May 6.  Speaker will be Jane E. Wilcox from ""   For more details, visit  
For more information on the OCGS, visit

Social Media Workshop

For staff and volunteers at Hudson Valley historical sites, museums, and not-for-profits
Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 10:30am - Noon
SUNY Orange, Kaplan Hall Room #201
One Washington Center, Newburgh, NY
Free - Reservations suggested
The event is free, seating is limited, and reservations are suggested.  Contact MJ Goff at (845) 360-6978, or email  and include the number of guests
Hosted by social media expert, Nicole Scholet de Villavicencio, the workshop will focus on how to boost public awareness and reach target audiences through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, and other social media platforms.  Topics to be discussed include how to utilize both common and event-specific social media platforms for event advertising. Attendees need not bring a laptop, but paper and pen for note-taking.
"Nicole hosted a similar program last year," says Yaun, "and it was very successful, and since these technologies change regularly, this workshop will bring us all up to speed. With PR budgets sometimes the first to get cut, it's crucial to learn as much as we can about using these free social media programs to promote not-for-profit organizations and their public events.  Nicole really knows her stuff and I guarantee that everyone who attends will receive extremely valuable information."
Cemetery Care Workshops 

In the 2017 season, the Office of the Orange County Historian will offer 4 free cemetery cleanup workshops. 

Tentative dates:

May 27th in Circleville
July 16th in New Windsor
August 12th in Washingtonville
October 14th in Deerpark

More information will be available soon.
National Park Service FEE-FREE days for 2017
April 22-23:           National Park Week (Weekend (#2)
August 25:            National Park Service
September 30:      National Public Lands Day
November 11-12:  Veterans Day Weekend