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

Royalty Comes to Orange County
West Point Museum Executive Director, David Reel and Albert II, Prince of Monaco
Courtesy of West Point Museum
by MJ Hanley-Goff

Orange County already holds royal status with its place in American history but over the past few weeks we had two heads of state paying homage to two of our county's treasures during their participation in a United Nations assembly. And, a former President visited West Point Military Academy to pick up the prestigious Thayer Award.  Busy, busy!
The Military Academy at West Point as well as the West Point Museum were on the agendas of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and  President Duda of Poland, who also made a special trip to  Washington's Headquarters in Newburgh.  Former President George W. Bush came to the USMA in October to receive the Thayer Award which honors  citizens whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify the military academy's motto, "Duty, Honor, Country."  

David M. Reel, Executive Director of the West Point Museum, says that the West Point Protocol office had alerted him of the Prince's visit a few weeks prior to his September  18th arrival. The Prince had come to speak to the Corps of Cadets on environmental issues, like the Paris Accord, and to remind the future leaders that the USA has an influential global voice, and unfortunately Monaco is such a small principality it's voice does not carry the same weight.  

With his message given, the Prince was escorted by one of the Point's history professors to Cullum Hall for a special display of artifacts pulled from the museum's collection that would be of interest, and allow him to make the most of his short time.  "We included items that reflect his own family history," says David, "like a Free-French uniform, probably something worn by his grandfather, and General Eisenhower's hat and coat. David added, "Though the Prince seemed eager to see more, his schedule only allowed about a 15-20 minute visit." 

Former President Bush spent his day over at Military Academy observing the parade, inspecting the Corps of Cadets before the award dinner. 

Further north, on September 21st, President  Andrzej Duda of  the Republic of Poland, joined by his country's Consule General Maciej Golubiewski and 20 or so staffers visited Washington's Headquarters, aka Hasbrouck House.  Historic Site Manager, Elyse Goldberg  shared that there was little fanfare in their arrival through the wrought iron gates; no flags flying nor horns blaring, just a few dark SUV's.  She had been planning for their visit ever since receiving notice earlier in the month   that the headquarters was on the President's agenda. 
President Duda  at Washington's HQ
Pictures Courtesy of Elyse Goldberg

Elyse made sure the calendar was clear that day, and that her staff would be on hand to greet the visitors and answer questions.   President Duda was very curious about American history, and of the buildings. There were no language barriers, and the only time a translation was needed was when Elyse answered a question about how much snow the area gets, and when she responded with feet and inches, the group converted it to the European metric system. "The President likes to ski," says Elyse, and snow fall amounts were of particular interest.

President Duda was given a tour of the home and and the upper floor galleries. The weather was sunny and warm, and an  outdoor tea service provided ample time to sit and enjoy the beautiful views of the Hudson.   

"It was a special day," Elyse says. "We are so pleased and honored that that with all the available sites to visit around the Hudson Valley, President Duda choose to come here."
MJ Hanley-Goff is a freelance writer and blogger.  She particularly enjoys writing about the rich history of Orange County, and New York State. You can reach her at
County Collections
Slides and Wallpaper Samples Donated to Orange County

A book of slide photos and wallpaper samples taken from Colden House in Montgomery, Haskell House in New Windsor and Edmonston House in New Windsor by Archaeologist Ed Lenik were recently donated to the Orange County Historian's office. In the 1960's and 1970's New York State employed Ed along with other archaeologists to conduct Historic House Surveys in the area.
Community Updates
On Monday, October 30th the new "Legend and Lore" historic marker made possible by a donation from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation was unveiled in front of the 1841 Courthouse in Goshen. The top left image shows Hank Potter from DPW putting the final touches on marker installation before the unveiling. Pictured in the bottom right (l to r) are Goshen Mayor Kyle Roddy, County Legislator James O'Donnell, County Executive Steve Neuhaus, County Historian Johanna Yaun, and Goshen Historian Ed Connor.
Several historians from Orange County presented their research at the Association of Public Historians (APHNYS) during the annual conference. Pictured (clockwis e beginning top right) Mary Ellen Matise (Walden Historian), Clifton Patrick (Chester Historian), Alex Prizgintas (Woodbury Historical Society), Sue Gardner Hathorn-Society (Warwick Deputy Historian)
Alex Prizgintas receives recognition for his efforts in preserving and promoting local history from the Association of Public Historians of New York State. Pictured from left to right; Christopher Pryslopski (Marist College), Devin Lander (New York State Historian), Alex Prizgintas, Rose Tucker (President of APHNYS), and Johanna Yaun (Historian of Orange County).
Upcoming Events, Training & Conferences
Newburgh Suffragettes Take to the Streets:
Celebrating 1895 Convention Leading to Women's Right to Vote
Newburgh, NY - On the 100 th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in New York State

Saturday November 11th from 1PM to 5PM

122 years ago, the Women's Suffrage Convention took place in this grand city overlooking the Hudson. On November 11th, white-clad modern day suffragettes will once more convene in the Newburgh's historic district to celebrate the rich legacy of community engagement here.The Bike Parade will retrace the steps of the 1895 Convention attendees. Participating bicyclists, skateboarders, skaters and pedestrians will be dressed in white to honor the memory of the suffragettes. Starting at the Courthouse, the parade will flow down Broadway, past the site of the former Academy of Music where the convention was held, to the Newburgh Free Library which stands where the Gilded Age gem, The Palatine Hotel, once housed the visiting activists. Newburgh resident, artist Ophra Wolf, who
initiated the first event in 2015 says, "The bike parade honors the parades that led to the 19 th amendment,
and will be a beautiful show of force. It speaks to the external resistances we face, and our ability to defy convention."

The event continues with readings, an expert panel and a Community Circle lead by The Restorative Center's Newburgh Program Director Gabrielle Burton-Hill at the Library. Says Wolf, "The Community Circle will address the internal resistances we must acknowledge and work through. We'll be asking: as women and allies, how can we better support one another? What opportunities can we offer?"

The 1895 Women's Convention marked a change of the guard as aging leaders of the suffrage movement such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony passed the baton to their younger colleagues. Wolf asks, "How can we also best ensure that we move Newburgh forward together as we pass the baton to the next generation? "

A pop-up display, sponsored by Humanities New York and the New York State Museum, is on show throughout November at Community Voices Heard on Liberty Street. It outlines the history of the women's suffrage movement from 1836 to the present day.
Just days after local elections, the event is not only a historical reminder of women's hard-won right to vote. With voter turnout in mid-term elections less than 28% city-wide (and under 13% in the Town of Newburgh), this event acts as a hopeful reminder to all residents that their votes, and their voices, matter.

Newburgh Suffragettes: Bike Parade & Community Convening
Saturday, November 11, 2017, 1-5 pm
City Courthouse, 300 Broadway at 1pm and Newburgh Free Library, 124 Grand Street at 2pm

Rain or Shine. Kid Friendly. Free.
Facebook Invite     #NBSuffragette

Sponsored by Humanities New York Vision Grant and the New York State Museum, with help from Friends of the Newburgh Free Library, The Fullerton, Target, Recycle-a-Bicycle & Community Voices Heard.
Ontario and Western Railroad Historical Society 54th Annual Convention

Saturday, November 11 Noon

On Saturday, November 11th, 2017 at 12:00 pm, the Ontario and Western Railroad Historical Society will be holding its 54th annual convention. This year will be particularly special, as the society has selected a new location, which is "The Country Club at Otterkill" located at 100 Otter Rd in Campbell Hall, NY. The club is surrounded by numerous railroads, both abandoned and in use. The former New York, Ontario and Western Railroad borders the north side of the complex, while the abandoned Lehigh and Hudson River railroad borders at the east. Both railroads cross at a point towards the northeastern end of the property known as "Burnside", which was once home to a busy junction and station.

This year will be ... packed with many new and exciting venues! Member Bob Earle will be giving his program on the nearby Wallkill Valley railroad and member Doug Barberio will give a presentation on the surrounding railroads that serviced Maybrook. To top it off, member Ray Kelly will be giving a program on the O&W's Middletown branch as well as a "rubber tire excursion" of the surrounding railroads in the area. There will also be numerous displays of railroad memorabilia, model dioramas, railroad antiques and literature for sale, as well as delicious food! This is certainly not an event that you will want to miss, especially if you are a railroad buff!

The event costs $20 without dinner and $45 with dinner included. If you are interested, please send your money to
Allan F. Seebach, Jr. O&W Car Shop, P.O. Box 405 TAPPAN, NY 10983

Interested in learning more about local railroad and transportation history, why not become a member of the O&WRHS! The Ontario and Western Railroad Historical Society meets on the first Friday of each month (except for July, August, and November) at the Middletown Senior Center (aka Mulberry House), 62- 70 West Main Street. For more information on the convention, please contact president Jeff Otto at 845-343-2467.

General Gates Day

Saturday, November 11 5PM to 8PM

Meet General Gates and his staff as he arrives at his new Headquarters. Hear from the Revolutinary War Major General if he is pleased or not! Speak to his staff and then tour the house. Donations are accepted.  Facebook invite

Edmonston House
Rt. 94, Vails Gate

Fort Constitution: the Plan vs. the Reality

Saturday, November 11 Noon

Fort Constitution was located on Constitution Island, across the Hudson River from West Point. Its construction by the Americans was their earliest effort to secure the river at the outbreak of the American Revolution. Paul Ackermann of the West Point Museum will trace the history of this fort through the presentation of primary sources and modern day analysis.

Call (845) 446-2134 to Reserve a Seat for this evening lecture at Fort Montgomery State Historic Site.

PLEASE NOTE: Thursday Night Speaker Series seating is by reservation only. Suggested Donation: $5, Members $3. The
Series is proudly sponsored by the Fort Montgomery Battle Site Association.

Thanksgiving Tasting at Museum Village

Saturday, November 11 Noon

Join us for another Thanksgiving Tasting at Museum Village! We'll do a combination of historic recipes right here on the hearth. Visitors will be able to sample small amounts of many Thanksgiving delicacies! This will be a WWI Thanksgiving! And in the Snack Bar we'll have a slide show about turkeys and turkey crafts for the children! Wild turkeys are amazing birds! Do you know where wild turkeys sleep? How fast they can run? What they eat? Or what the "gobble" sound means? Learn about these and other cool turkey facts! And of course you want to make sure and visit the Museum's resident turkey! 845-782-8248 Keep checking our Facebook page for more information. Adults $12.00; Seniors (65+) $10.00; Children 4-12 $8.00; Children under 4 Free!

Centennial Tour: The 107th NY Infantry Regiment in World War I

September 24 -October 2, 2018

Throughout Belgium and France, the influence of WWI can still be felt. As you visit memorials, trenches, and museums, you'll learn about the important role American forces played in the outcome of the war. Explore the locations that were the backdrops for pivotal battles and take time to honor the sacrifices made by the Allied soldiers.

On September 29, 1918, the 107th New York Infantry Regiment was ordered to attack the Hindenburg Line in an Allied attempt to pierce through the German's strongest defenses. They encountered fierce resistance and were engaged in the heaviest fighting on the line. The severe loss of men was compounded by the fact that, as a National Guard regiment, most of the men were from tight-knit communities back home. The impact of the Battle of St. Quentin Canal on Orange County specifically was so devastating, that the 40 men who died together that day are still remembered each year in a memorial service. For the centennial of this battle, join us as we travel in the footsteps of the 107th NY Infantry Regiment in Belgium and France.

Sign-up for the trip here. Space is limited.
History in the News
Historic marker dedicated for Smith, 'Cowboy of the Ramapos' in the New Jersey Herald

845 Life: Remembering Claudius Smith, 'The Cowboy of the Ramapos'
Orange County Historian | Goshen, N.Y. |  845-545-7908 |  jyaun