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Rockland Room

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.

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.

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

WEB SITE OF THE MONTH

Need to find someone on the Internet? If you have lost touch with a relative or lost an email address try these Internet address finders below. There are many more available online. Would love to hear your results.  And, if anyone has favorite web sites to share, please email me or add in the comments section.

findmemail.com

This free site is easy to use. It searches by different languages, registered email addresses and emails in general.

 

infospace.com

This site has been available for several years. It is a one-stop search drawing from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask and Twitter sites.

people.yahoo.com

Several searching options are available. You can look in yellow/white pages for names and addresses;  reverse phone number searching and email address searches.

WEB SITE OF THE MONTH

Take a look at this informative web site created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. You are able to locate a veteran's grave, obtain a list of national and state veteran cemeteries, order a replacement headstone or learn about burial benefits. The searchable database, The Nationwide Gravesite Locator. includes burial records from numerous sources. Enter a name and your results will include which branch of the military the person served in, birth and death dates, where he or she is buried and contact information for the cemetery. Note, information on burials in private cemeteries prior to 1997 is not available. Finally, there is a link to search for American soldiers buried in foreign cemeteries.

www.cem.va.gov

 

 

 

HISTORICAL STUMPER ANSWER

On November 3, I presented an historical stumper that showed a military insignia patch on display in our current exhibit and challenged the reader to identify it. I promised to reveal the answer a week later!

The answer is the 81st "Wildcat" Infantry Division and is generally credited with having the first shoulder patch as we know it today. The unit trained in  Camp (now Fort) Jackson, South Carolina along the banks of the Wildcat Creek. When the division disembarked in France in 1918, they were wearing a shoulder patch that depicted a black wildcat on OD background. This caused a stir among the Staff types in France and the troops were first ordered to remove the patch. But with the insight of forward looking staff officers, General Pershing decided that this concept could have great positive morale aspect among the troops. He then ordered all units to come up with a design that could be made into a patch for their respective organization. This opened the floor-gates for every outfit and today we have this concept throughout the military establishments of the world.

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