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Sally Pellegrini's blog

One Great Value

One of the best historical events for the money is the annual Conference on New York State History presented by the New York State Historical Association and in partnership with the New York Archiives Partnership Trust. This lesser known event is a must if you love New York history. Presenters from around the country congregate and for two and a half days you are immersed with topics ranging from newspaper businesses in New York City to the Eriie Canal to the lace industry of the Oneida Indians. There are three programs at each time slot starting in the mornings and ending by late afternoon.

The 31st conference will be held at Ithaca College, June 3 -5. Go to the website, nysha.org for further information and the registration form. There are accommodations at the college as well as nearby hotels. Where else can you pay an $85 registration fee and come home with so much information?!! Try it, you will love it.

 

Rockland Trivia

The 100th anniversary of Boy Scouts of America is being celebrated though officially it began February 11, 1910. This unique organization started small and has on record more than 110 million registered American Scouts. But did you know the importance of scouting in Rockland County? Suffern resident, Daniel Beard (1850- 1941) was the first national commissioner of Scouting and first organized camping within the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in 1910. Mr. Beard is buried in Rockland Cemetery.   Interestingly, 1910 was also the same year the Harriman family gave $1,000,000 and 10,000 acres to create Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks. The Boy Scouts sited their first camp at Lake Stahahe (next to Southfields off the NYS Thruway) in 1913. The first national Scout meeting was held in 1919 at the Bear Mountain Inn. Scouting has certainly had an active history in Rockland County and surrounding Orange. Happy Birthday! 

A Jewel in the New York Harbor

Governors Island: The Jewel  of New York Harbor is one of the many books available in the Rockland Room that focuses on New York City history.  This beautiful book blends a sense of nostalgia with twenty-first-century amenities. The author has included rarely-viewed photos, blueprints, architectural plans and interviews with former residents. Located in the New York Harbor, Governors Island was a British fort in the 1700's and then played a long-standing role as a station for the U.S. Army and the Coast Guard. The island also offers a vivid reflection of historic events in New York City and the world at large. Stop in at the Rockland Room and have a look in the new book section for this fascinating book.

It should be mentioned that there is a new library non-fiction book discussion group, Facts, that has been focusing on books about the Hudson Valley and Manhattan. The May selection was Manhattan: My Downtown by Pete Hamill and the June selection is The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell  by Mark Kurlansky. The group meets the second Wednesday of the month at 1PM. All interested persons are invited.

NEW BOOK DISCUSSION

There is a new book discussion at the library that meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 1 PM. The focus is on non-fiction, and it is open to all.The group is still undecided for a name, for now it is Not Just History, but we're working on a catchy title.  Monthly selections will be chosen by the group members. The April 14th meeting wiill discuss Island in the Center of the World  by Russsell Shorto. This prize-winning book looks at the beginnings of Manhattan history largely due to a current historian who is translating twelve thousand pages of original Dutch documents. The book is presented in a very easy-to-read style and clears up several falsities about early Dutch-Indian relations. Reserve a copy at the adult reference desk and check future fliers for the May and June readings.

TRIVIA QUESTION ANSWER

The answer to the Trivia Question of January 21 is Lady Smuggler, Molly Sneden. Molly and her husband came to Rockland around 1745, and to support his living as a farmer, Molly operated a ferry service across the river to Dobbs Ferry. Their first home, portions of which date back to 1719, was a stone house near the river. During the Revolution, the Snedens sided with the British and refused to sign the Orangetown Resolutions. For this, they were forbidden to operate the ferry or any other boat on the river. Molly continued to ferry British soldiers across.

ROCKLAND TRIVIA

British sympathizers in Rockland during the American Revolution were not uncommon and one of the more famous was a woman.  Her family ran a ferry and under this disguise, she smuggled British soldiers across the Hudson River. One of the  tales has her hiding a British soldier in a large chest and setting large pots of cream on top of it. Later, the soldier's pursuers arrived to search the premises. She offered them milk but cautioned not to move the cream jugs as they needed to "turn". After dark, she successfully ferried the soldier across the river.

Who is this person?

BURIAL REGISTERS IN UK

If you have roots in England or Wales, you likely have a relative who lived, died, and was buried in London. It is a challenge, as each churchyard, burial ground,cemetery and crematorium kept its own records. There are several online sites to visit but if you Google, GENUKI, this is a directory of cemeteries and crematories in the UK. It is organized by the Cemetery Research Group and is the first directory of its kind in the UK. It covers local areas in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,and each site lists owners. Also, local authorities, parish and towns, community councils, religious denominations and private sector companies are provided when available.

For further reading, Internet Genealogy, December/January 2010 issue offers an excellent review of web sites about the subject.

Magazines for the Researcher

Researching genealogy and historical information at the New City Library does not have to be limited to books or the Internet. Have you looked at the periodicals we offer? Two of my favorites are Prologue, a quarterly publication from the National Archives.  The winter issue devotes pages to President Eisenhower and Cold War strategy along with a discussion on the Archives' preservation project of early 20th- century photographs.  Another favorite is  Archives , New York State’s look at its history. This publication is always filled with something of interest for the reader.  We offer other publications such as the popular circulating Family Chronicles that always offers different genealogy researching methods and current Internet sites. This magazine is the only one in the AV department. For all others, stop in at the Rockland Room and take a look.

HISTORIC HOUSES

This replica was the site for the second hospital in Rockland County established in 1902, owned by Mrs. Thomas Fortune Ryan. It was known as the Messimer mansion on Orange Avenue and ownership was given to the Sisters of Charity by Mrs. Ryan. Good Samaritan Hospital opened in November of that year with seven nurses, three physicians and seven beds. Dr. Sylvester Demarest was the first president of the medical staff. This site was abandoned for lack of space for expansion and the present hospital on Route 59 opened in 1938. During its last years the old mansion was used as apartments for the nurses and during World War II the headquarters of the War Rationing Board.

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY TRIVIA

December's history blog  is about the brick industry of Rockland County. At one time, Haverstraw was one of the greatest brickmaking centers in the East with the entire river front from Haverstraw to Grassy Point dotted with brick yards. In its height, there were 38 yards producing 326,000,000 bricks annually. "For a century and a half" wrote G. Wilson Bartine in the Journal News, "Haverstraw's terrain was cut and slashed and pitted with yawning holes to furnish clay for the manufacturing of bricks, which were then sent up and down the Atlantic seaboard.

Try to imagine the terrain as the rolling hills and level plains were replaced with deep water-filled holes, some of them many acres in extent. The trivia question is:

When did brick making begin in Rockland County?

 a)1770's         b)Early 1810's                c. Mid -1830's

Tune in next week for the answer. For futher informatio the Rockland Room has several books on brick making and there is a short concise history in

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