Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Like" Schoharie Crossing? Show you care...

Schoharie Crossing has been kind enough to post on their #Facebook page a link to our blog and the plea we are making for new and active members:

As 2015 draws to a close, the Friends of Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site are putting out their annual appeal for members. Please visit their blog for more information on how you can become a member!
Posted by Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site on Sunday, December 20, 2015

     We support the site, and it is great to know that they appreciate and support what we do as well.  It truly is a wonderful Erie Canal Historic Site - but it is even more fantastic than that!  With centuries of #history sure, but the #recreational aspects of this New York State Park is wonderful too!  From kayaking, canoeing, fishing, bicycling, walking, bird watching, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, programs & events, so much is available right here in Fort Hunter - Montgomery County, NY!

     How about to recognize that Schoharie Crossing  for being so great, we ask that you check them out on Facebook by Clicking HERE - then hit "like" and follow their weekly posts!  Our goal is to reach 800 likes by January 1st!  Can we do it?  We can if you help!  "Like" them, share this information and engage with the awesome posts each week.


We would love to have you as a member, but if you do not wish to join and still want to make a donation to the site, please consider doing so through the Natural Heritage Trust by clicking here

The Natural Heritage Trust's mission is to receive and administer gifts, grants and contributions to further public programs for parks, recreation, cultural, land and water conservation and historic preservation purposes of the State of New York.  The NHT accomplishes its mission by accepting donations, raising funds, and throuhg cooperative programs and projects with its agency partners - see more at: http://parks.ny.gov/natural-heritage-trust/#sthash.58Z4F2mY.dpuf

Thursday, December 10, 2015

2016 Membership Drive

As a member of the Friends of Schoharie Crossing, you will be a part of supporting the mission of the site in the preservation and interpretation of the Erie Canal as one of the 19th century's greatest commercial and engineering projects as well as sharing the story of the Mohawk community and Fort Hunter in the 18th century.  In addition to that, the Friends group provides other educational opportunities for students and visitors by conducting special programs at the site.  If that was not enough, the Friends group is active in providing opportunities for recreating visitors as well, and sharing the pride in this great historic park. 
A sure-fire way to help Schoharie Crossing continue to offer great intriguing, entertaining and educational programs and events is to become an active member with the Friends of Schoharie Crossing.  Your monetary membership fee will go to support such programs as the Not Just for KidsStorytelling series, Canal Days, Putman Porch Music, NYS History Month lecture series, professional development for staff & volunteers and to the development of further wonderful programs, educational opportunities and recreational events for the exciting future of the site. 
We are also seeking more than just a membership due; your resources of time and word of mouth about Schoharie Crossing are invaluable!  Share the passion you have for the site with your friends and family.  Help get the word out about the programs, events and fun that can be had on site! Bring your relatives or friends along to meetings, events, or just to the site for a picnic.  As a valued member of the Friends, volunteer for events, and/or help maintain the canal or towpath trails, help with office tasks or promotions, and contribute to the blog and newsletter too!  There really are countless ways to give a little bit of you to further the preservation of history and of Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site.

                Thank you for your time and continued support.  Here is to a bright 2016!

Just print this form, complete and send to us.

Check out this wonderful aerial video shot by Call of the Loon Productions during this year's Parks & Trails New York...
Posted by Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site on Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Blast from SXSHS

Email Blast from Schoharie Crossing's Education Coordinator:

Greetings everyone! 

     What a wonderful November!  As part of New York State History Month the site held a series of talks on Tuesday evenings that the Friends group supported, along with sponsors – Patriot Federal Bank, Jenny Rulison-Fisch State Farm & Hannaford.  The speakers were all terrific and we appreciate their time to come and discuss wonderful topics in NYS History!  Thank you to Fulton County Historian, Samantha Hall-Saladino; Jerry Snyder (president of Historic Amsterdam League); Jenna Peterson-Riley from the Schenectady County Historical Society; and Paul & Mary Liz Stewart, founders of the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region.
     I want to thank everyone who came out to the events.  It was a great show of support for local as well as state history.

Today is #GivingTuesday, which some of you may be hearing a lot about – especially on social media.  The day is intended to focus on donating to charities as part of the holiday season and giving to community, and while the Friends of Schoharie Crossing would greatly appreciate a donation, we also understand that there are so many great organizations out there that it is difficult to decide where to donate monetarily.  So, we ask if you are unable to make a donation of money to the group at this time, there are other ways to help support Schoharie Crossing.  One such way is to contact your local politicians and tell them how important you think the site is to our state heritage.  Another great way to help out is to set aside time to volunteer during our 2016 Visitor Season!  Please contact me at the site for more information or if you have questions on any of these options. 

#GivingTuesday brings out the best in so many!The day is intended to focus on donating to charities as part of the...
Posted by Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

While it may seem like the Visitor Center is dormant until May, we will be busy at work organizing programs & events for 2016 as well as designing new student activities for field trips.  Anyone who may be interested in being a part of the planning can contact me; your input would be greatly appreciated. 

Additionally, the planning, writing and design of the 2017 exhibit continues…more to come on that in the future…

Best wishes for your holiday season and keep in touch!

David Brooks
Education Coordinator
Park & Recreation Aide

New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site
P.O. Box 140
129 Schoharie Street
Fort Hunter, NY 12069
Ph: (518) 829-7516
Fax: (518) 829-7491
Schoharie Crossing Official Facebook Page


Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Cook Mrs. Carlson

The Cook Mrs. Carlson

It is very true that the Erie Canal opened the west to economic prosperity and settlement, fueling further the great migration into the continent of North America.  With that flow of human traffic, came an unsettling number of transient criminals and rapscallions.  A diverse population blossomed within the growing canal towns and cities and eventually the seedy underside of any metropolis could carry themselves along the waterways. 

While passenger traffic had waned by 1867 with the increasing success of the railroads and western settlement, it was not all that uncommon for a cargo barge to take on a passenger for a fee.  In the era of company barges, captained by a man whose wife operated as the cook, this could be advantageous – especially if the company didn’t find out. 

Such was the case of the Carlson family, who as the husband captained the “Vuilmoord” for the Blair Barge Company, his wife – the good Mrs.  Gehenna Carlson was the cook. 

As was the typical custom of the Carlson barge to pick up travelers for short stretches from town to town as they hauled cargo (from the salt of Syracuse to the finished European furniture wares picked up in Albany fresh off a steamer that traversed the Hudson).  Their only condition beyond the fee paid was that those that purchased their fare kept mum the name of the barge so the company accessors wouldn’t discover their extra income. 

In mid-summer of 1867 the Vuilmoord picked up a transient whose name remains unknown but his deed that day unforgotten.  Half way between Lock 31 and 30 traveling east, a thrashing was heard aboard the barge and a thudded splash upon the canal disturbed the quiet air.

While making biscuits the good Mrs. Carlson was set upon by the wayfaring traveler and stabbed with her own bread knife.  The scoundrel took her broach and several items from the boat before leaping off the stern to the berm of the canal, reportedly from witnesses – dropping the broach as he went.

A dismayed Captain Carlson discovered his wife dead upon the floor beside the stove.  His melancholy set fast and no longer was he able to work the canal; blaming himself for her terrible fate.

This tale could fall into the many forgotten occurrences along the canal if it were not for the apparent continued search of the Cook Carlson ghost to retrieve her broach.  Many in the area have reported in the years since, seeing a ghastly figure – translucent in the wispy air – along the banks of the old canal bed.  To today’s travelers pedaling the bike trail just like those that continued labor along the canal, a cold hand often touches them as they stop for a moment to take in the smell of freshly baked biscuits wafting from an unknown source.  This cold touch upon them often leaves behind a small imprint, that of flour from hands so long ago cut down upon the waters of the grand Erie Canal.

The Witch of the Ditch

The Witch of the Ditch

For centuries the specter of witchcraft has hung ghastly over the new world.   Children’s tales are full of knobby fingered, warty nosed screeching witches that devour them if they are allowed to be lead astray.  But what if the threat of witchcraft came to them?  What if it came at night, when they slept in their beds at home?

   Iroquois for centuries believed in the fearful ways of witchcraft, and sentenced those among them thought to be a witch to a gruesome death.  Those beliefs did not change greatly as European settlers from the Netherlands, England or Palatine began their migration into the valley.  In fact, those Europeans brought their own set of witch tales with them, along with “superstitions” about those that practiced the craft.  Seldom openly discussed and nearly void in the archival records, witches were feared and indeed a part of New York history.

   Long after the sensational and now infamous trials in Salem, Massachusetts, New York proposed to dig a canal across the state; across land which held spiritual meaning for more than just the remaining Native American population.  It is said that there were others on the land that were cast off for their beliefs and, choosing to live a life of nearly total isolation, had fled into the unsettled stretches of the Mohawk Valley.  For them the River was a life force, the blood that sustained their practices and gave power to their conjuring ways. 

   Once that grand canal, the Erie Canal, opened across the state, it meant the decline of the relative spiritual peace that had existed along the Mohawk River.  Some have said that the natural world screamed out as it was cut and dug for the canal, and the harbinger of death hung like the smoke of burning sulfur all along its path.  Those witches that for so many years hide themselves along the waterway harkened to the call and placed a curse on the canal.

Many who did not ply their trade nor work along the canal could never fully realize the horror that the curse brought along the artificial river.  Seldom brought up, the murmurs of laborers along the canal that the witches grasp on their souls was strong would be faint and often hid by those who wanted to see the canal succeed not matter what.  Disease and declining morality along the stretch from Albany to Buffalo was seen as a result of progress, the necessary evil in creating a booming economy and freer society overall.  Gradually the wisps of that sulfur smoke would overtake the Valley…

The Witches' Chimney
at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site
   To protect themselves, people settling into the new towns and cities that grew from the fertile canal subtly employed the superstitious into their practical designs.  All along the Canalway there are architectural remnants of such things, from shoes concealed within the walls of the building to salt and witches bottles and tobacco pipes to the ever interesting witches’ chimney.  In Fort Hunter, a hub of canal activity and even the location of several broom manufacturers, there is evidence that those apotropaic magic designs existed. 

   Within the building that now houses the Schoharie Crossing Visitor Center, a witches’ chimney still protects those that are inside from the dreadful prospect of broom welding witches making their way in through the chimney.  A Witches Chimney is slanted from the top downward as a way to keep flying witches from entering.  And with so many fine brooms being made in Fort Hunter, perhaps they were frequent customers!

A portion of that original canal, or DeWitt Clinton’s famous “Ditch” remains in the now sleepy hamlet of Fort Hunter, NY and while the locals may not speak of it, if you are there you can sometimes hear the fading screeches of the witches …………..

Friday, October 30, 2015

Recap Last Years Halloween Spooktacular Tales

Freshen up, get ready and check out the Spooktacular Tales from last Halloween on our blog!

Ghost Barges – The fog hides a lot when you are walking out there alone.

Falling Into Insanity – Watch your step!

Dead Men Still Seeking Escape – Toil through the muck and soil.

Canal Break of Men’s Souls – Never finished work.

Flesh Eater – Don’t go out into the woods! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Autumn 2015 Friends Newsletter - Autos on the Towpath & More!

Check out our 2015 Autumn Friends of Schoharie Crossing Newsletter:

If you have enjoyed this newsletter and want to contribute to the success of the Friends group in supporting Schoharie Crossing, please consider joining us.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

More Small Details - W.K. Lewis & Brothers Gherkins

  Last month we explored the Small Details on the mural in the Putman Canal Store at Yankee Hill Lock – part of the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site.  In this post we will examine another interesting piece of that artwork and its historical context – W.K. Lewis & Bros. Pickles.

   The W.K. Lewis & Bros. Company is featured on the mural as the manufacturer of a container of gherkins.  This jar seems destined for ill-fate as a canal cat is trouncing its way across the shelf – a bit of whimsy included by the artist. 

William K. Lewis
   W.K. Lewis was established by William K. Lewis around 1835 after several years apprenticed to and partnered in Boston, Massachusetts with William Underwood – the first pickle manufacturer in America and whose company is more noted now for the devilishly handsome cans of Deviled Ham.  Shortly thereafter Lewis associated with his father on the enterprise and later the addition of his brothers into the business brought about the addition of Brothers to the company name after the death of William Sr. in 1859. 

   Lewis took what he had learned from his time with the William Underwood Company and implemented the production of processed meats, preserves and sauces in a building on Broad St. in Boston – right next to his former employer.  The company expanded in 1842, including a facility in Portland, Maine – Lewis’s hometown – that was producing “hermetically sealed meats, soups, fish, vegetables, poultry and milk.”  These items were in an increasing demand as west-ward expansion flourished.  Most particularly, the mass movement of people to California in 1849-1850 as part of the gold rush brought prosperity to canning companies like W.K. Lewis.  Between the years 1849 and 1854 the company retained the Broad Street building but added to its capacity a factory on Purchase Street as well as three other buildings near the Broad Street storehouse & offices as part of the Tilden Block. 

  In 1859 W.K. Lewis purchased the right, under the patent of Gail Borden, to manufacture condensed milk; for which the company developed a factory at Shirley Village.  1865 saw the building of another condensed milk factory at West Brookfield.  These factories utilized what was at the time the most state of the art machinery and technology to manufacture and can such products.  By the late 1870’s the monthly production of the West Brookfield factory was at 36,000 one pound cans of condensed milk, as well as 6,000 quarts of what was dubbed as “plain condensed milk.”   

The W.K. Lewis Company added a factory in Maine on the Isle au Haut, specifically to can lobsters, in 1860.  This operation was enlarged several times and more factories were added to the ever growing company holdings over the successive years within Nova Scotia and Halifax – as well as other towns along the coast.  By 1879 they were collectively putting to market over 9,000,000 lobsters by this method. 

   The pickle production of the company was increased in 1869 when they established another processing factory in Lincoln, Massachusetts – a “noted pickle producing region.”  In 1873 the Broad Street facilities moved to Somerville (a hop across the Charles River) and employed nearly one hundred men whom produced over ten million pickles a year. 

The New Orleans Daily Democrat
September 01, 1877
There is a slight indication that by the later part of the decade the pickle enterprise hadn’t worked out that entirely well.
“Among the canned baked beans on the market were those of W.K. Lewis & Brothers, of Boston. The product spread quickly to distant points. An ad appearing in the Galveston (Texas) Daily News on Feb. 23, 1878 announced that three-pound cans of they beans were being “Sold by All First Class Grocers in Galveston.”
Had it not been for Lewis, the baked bean “freak*” would not have occurred in the late 1870s. A Gettysburg, Pa., newspaper, the Star and Sentinel, noted on Aug. 21, 1888 that “W. K. Lewis of Boston received the first patent for canning beans, in 1877.”
Lewis had gone broke as a pickle dealer in Boston in 1875, being able to pay creditors only 50 cents on the dollar, according to news accounts of the time, but apparently rebounded because he knew his beans. - ROGER M. GRACE, Metropolitan News Company 2006

*freak in this context & form outside of today’s colloquialism means “whim” or “fancy”

W.K. Lewis Company
Ketchup Bottle
The Hawaiian Gazette
April 04, 1877
Honolulu - Oahu, Hawaii
   The W.K. Lewis & Brothers Company is represented on the mural at the canal lock grocery as part of an interpretation of how the stocked items of the Putman family business may have looked somewhere around the 1860’s within the first decade to fifteen years of its operation at that location.  While pickles were only a small portion of the items the company produced or imported, the gherkin bottle is there as part of a larger story that is included in the overall narrative of westward expansion and the inter-connectedness of people and commerce. 

The New Orleans Daily Democrat., January 27, 1878

 Check out this really interesting advertisement for W.K. Lewis & Bros. Baked Beans

Northern tribune., September 01, 1877 - Cheboygan Michigan
-Click to enlarge-

The New Orleans Bulletin., November 22, 1874


D. Brooks - Education Coordinator for Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site

Schoharie Crossing 
PO Box 140
129 Schoharie Street
Fort Hunter, NY 12069

(518) 829-7516

Friday, September 18, 2015

Small Details - Hostetter's Stomach Bitters

     Some of the really truly interesting aspects of Schoharie Crossing are the little details.  Many of the visitors to Yankee Hill Lock with the Putman Canal Store notice and enjoy the mural depicting what might have been on the shelves of that lock grocery between the mid-19th Century and the early 20th Century.  It may be surprising to some, but those items are historically accurate and researched specifically for the purpose of supplying the artist details from which to work.  Of course there’s a bit of fun in there, with the bees, cat and more (take a few minutes next you are there to look for them).  

Let’s take a look at one of those items depicted in the mural, Dr. J. Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters. 

From the mural at the Putman Canal Store
Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site
   Stomach Bitters and other nostrum remedies permeated the market along the Erie Canal and across the growing country in those years, particularly during the decades from 1850-1920.  These bitters were developed by a Lancaster, Pennsylvania practitioner by the name of Dr. Jacob Hostetter and developed into a larger scale production by his son beginning in 1853. 

   Originally the secret home-brewed tonic was prescribed by Dr. Hostetter to his patients for stomach ailments of all kinds.  This “medicinal tonic” was eventually marketed as “…a positive protective against the fatal maladies…”     That… is quite the statement. 

  The Doctors’ recipe called for a combination of 47% alcohol that was sweetened along with aromatic oils from anise, coriander, etc. as well as vegetable bitters such as cinchona and gentian.  Vegetable bitters provided the medicinal flavor – sort’ve the proof it was something more than just 94 proof whiskey.  That was something that helped the Stomach Bitters of Hostetter’s and many others to survive through the Temperance Movement of the mid to late 1800’s.  In an era of increasing local and state prohibition laws on alcohol sales these “remedies” grew in demand but the insist from Hostetter’s was that it was the herbal compounds that were vital to the potency of the bitters and required the alcohol to “preserve the medicinal properties.”

   The large size bottle illustrated in the mural at the Putman Canal Store was one of the large size bottles from circa 1860-1865.  It features a dark amber color, is square and is approx. 9’ in height.  These large bottles were distributed until around the start of 1865 when the company – now Hostetter & Smith – announced that they would only distribute in a smaller 20oz. bottle.  The popularity of Dr. Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters continued to rise during this era with a reported estimated daily sale of 6,000 bottles.  Through the near century the company sold the bitters a variety of bottles were used ranging in color, size and shape that are well sought by bottle collectors around the world – selling from $800 to $1,250 USD.

The Ogdensburg Journal
July 11, 1881
   By the early part of the 20th century the company continued to sell the bitters globally, however with the passage of the 1905 Pure Food & Drug Act in the United States, the content of alcohol was reduced to only 25% which lead to a decline in sales.  With the era of alcohol Prohibition in America (18th Amendment to the Constitution 1919 to the 21st Amendment in 1933), the content of vegetable bitters and herbs was increased thus making it almost unpalatable to many consumers.  The company continued to sell its “Celebrated” bitters into the late 1950’s and was known simply as Hostetter’s Tonic.

Marketing Style:
Advertisements of the era were always quite interesting &
comparing them to today's standards proves amusing.
The Ogdensburg Journal
July 12, 1890

Dyspepsia's pangs, that rack and grind
The body, and depress the mind;
Slow constitutional decay,
That brings death nearer, day by day;
Nervous prostration, mental gloom,
Agues, that, as they go and come,
Make life a constant martyrdom;
Colics and dysenteric pains,
'Neath which the strong man's vigor wanes;
Bilious complaints, -- those tedious ills,
Ne'er conquered yet by drastic pills;
Dread Diarrhea, that cannot be
Cured by destructive Mercury;
Heralds of madness or the tomb;
For these, though Mineral nostrums fail,
Means of relief at last we hail,
HOSTETTER'S BITTERS medicine sure,
Not to prevent, alone, but cure.

-- Hostetter's United States Almanac, 1867

Westfield Republican.
October 17, 1860
-Click to enlarge-
   It was not all that uncommon for people to self-medicate – much like the over the counter medications of today – with tonics, elixirs, tablets and other remedies; A difference of then to now is that concept of FDA approval and scientific proof of the benefits.  In the Westfield Republican newspaper ad from October 17, 1860, Hostetter’s outlines some of these maladies that their Bitters are intended to cure: 

“For the cure of Dyspepsia, Indigestion, Nausea, Flatulency, Loss of Appetite, or any Bilious Complaints, arising from a morbid inaction of the Stomach or Bowels, producing Cramps, Dysentery, Colic, Cholera, Morbus, &c., these Bitters have no equal.”

   Sounds pretty good right? It also claims to restore vigor for those that are “enfeebled,” not to mention the “indispensable” benefits it has to a nursing mother to “impart temporary strength…to the system.”  Need not remind that there is proof to that, 94 proof. 

   But perhaps we are hasty to assume this nostrum as anything other than scientifically and categorically proven in its qualitative medical benefits, as the advertisement states,

“All nations have their Bitters, as a preventive of disease and strengthener of the system in general; and among them all there is not to be found a more healthy people than the Germans, from whom this preparation emanated, based upon scientific experiments which have tended to prove the value of this great preparation in the scale of medical science.” 

Right, …sold.  Let’s order up a case.  


D. Brooks - Education Coordinator for Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site

Schoharie Crossing 
PO Box 140
129 Schoharie Street
Fort Hunter, NY 12069

(518) 829-7516

Friday, August 28, 2015

Exploring Fort Hunter Through Maps - NYS Archives Part II

Last week we introduced some of the great Erie Canal maps that can be found in the NYS Archives Digital Collection.  We hope that you have explored those maps as well as the collection.   This week we would like to share a few of the maps regarding Fort Hunter and also make some suggestions for use of the archives.
The first image is not from the collection, however when discussing Fort Hunter it may be helpful to share this drawing of the building plan from the archives of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.   
Click to Enlarge
The fort was to accompany a church that would be supplied by this Society with clergy and supports, the church that is now known as Queen Anne’s Chapel that existed on the grounds that are part of Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site.*  While there are details and records that lend themselves to debate as to the exact location of the original 1712 fort, there is indeed archaeological evidence as to the location of a blockhouse portion from the 1750’s-1770’s version of that outpost.  Many of the maps in the archives indicate either the fort and/or the chapel.  There are also maps that can be found that mention those structures into the canal era.  For the sake of this examination, we will look at maps from the 18th century as available on the NYS Archives Digital Collection.

 Map of lands at Fort Hunter, Montgomery county. NYSArchives A0273-78 Map759
Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). State Engineer and Surveyor. Survey maps of lands in New York State, ca. 1711-1913. Series A0273-78, Map #759.
In this first map – listed as Map of lands at Fort Hunter, Montgomery county on the archives – various patents or land grant holdings are labeled.  Several of those are names that are still familiar in the region today and have deep historical ties to the site such as Mabee & Wemp.  Also what is great is that this map provides the scale as well as directional orientation.  The scale is given in chains; being that one chain “…consisted of 100 links connected by a round ring and had a total length of 4 poles or 66 feet.”  Note too that the map shows the direction of water flow in the Mohawk River as well as several islands (a couple of which no longer exist), along with the Auries Kill which was mentioned in our last post.  One of the great features of the digital collection the state archives makes accessible is simple… the zoom! (Use your mouse wheel or touchpad)
Let’s use that and move into a section of this map. 

Map 759 detail 001
What is interesting about this section is that it indicates “Fort Hunter Church” but not the fort in and of itself.  This could be interpreted as meaning the map was created at a time the fort was in disrepair and it’s concept as a fortification was not dominate.  While there is no date on the map, and within the digital archive there is a range of dates as 1725 – 1734, we could assume that this was a point in time that it was no longer seen as a defensive position. 
Another great aspect is the labelling of “About 100 acres flatt land above the road”!  Terrific information right there – the flat area now is known locally as Dufels Flatts and the road while not extremely evident on this map it becomes more prominent in later maps.  The line that extends under the labeling is the road that would eventually span across the Schoharie Creek by way of an ongoing series of bridges – some of which after 1822 would directly parallel the Erie Canal. 

Click to Enlarge
Map 759 detail 002
                Zooming into another portion of this map provides the information regarding the location of Vischer’s Patent along the Schoharie as well as Mabee’s Patent – part of the vast DeLancy holdings.  More interestingly, at least to us, is the identifier tree.  “Crondiwane tree” was most assuredly a navigation landmark for the creek and even the surveyed patent line continues directly from that point.  The meaning of “Crondiwane” in Kanyen'keha (or Mohawk) language is big tree.   We reached out to members of the Kanatsiohareke Mohawk Community for that translation and it is interesting that the feature is labeled “big tree tree” – a note on British colonial understanding of the native language. 
This tree is evident on other maps as well.  One such map is the Lands and Various Grants at Fort Hunter that obviously dates to a later time than the one we previously examined.

Lands and various grants at Fort Hunter, Montgomery county. NYSArchives A0273-78 Map829
Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). State Engineer and Surveyor. Survey maps of lands in New York State, ca. 1711-1913. Series A0273-78, Map #829.
The original map is 19” x 29” and contains many of the same aspects as the last map; however there is greater detail regarding the land patents such as the date of the grant, more detailed route of the roadway, as well as difference in scale (15 chains).  Some of the names are different, for instance Barclay’s 1741 patent is recognizable on this one – perhaps the tear in the other obscures the name – and Vischer is labeled as Fisher. As a land grant map it seems only proper that the parcels would be more identifiable and indicate the dimensions for each line. 
While the archive doesn’t provide a date on this map or even a generalized range of years, all of the patent dates precede the French & Indian War.  Perhaps the label of Fort Hunter Church is again indication that the fort itself was not either in any working order nor distinct enough to identify.  Through other records and interpretation the fort was bolstered under the oversight of Sir William Johnson at the onset of hostilities in the 1750’s with (yet again) the French.
Click to Enlarge
Map 829 detail 002
That impressive big tree appears on this map as well.

Indicated here is that there is now a structure near the tree, presumably occupied by a family- Newkirk.
Newkirk shows up on the Maps of Corporation Lands as well but with more detail as it states, “Gerrit G. Newkirk” along with a structure and our old friend the Crondiwane Tree. 

Map 828 detail 001
This map is overall much sparser with details and there may something to be interpreted by that.  What the map emphasizes then becomes more the means to understand it in comparison to other maps and noting what is leaves out.  Acreage is noted in the “flatt” as well as the road is clearly marked by hash lines.  What else? There are buildings and names labeled within formerly noted patent or granted lands.  The church as well as the fort is not noted and no date is provided either on the map or as part of a description within the digital archive.  MAP 828 Detail 002 Could it be presumed that the map is unfinished? Or is it possible that the map was only to indicate those specific places with the name of the occupant? 

Maps of Corporation Lands at Fort Hunter, Montgomery county.NYSArchives A0273-78 Map828
Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). State Engineer and Surveyor. Survey maps of lands in New York State, ca. 1711-1913. Series A0273-78, Map #828.

When reviewing all of these maps it should be noted on the various spelling differences or attributes to sections that may differ but also keep in mind that somewhere on that landscape were perhaps other inhabitants, Mohawk families and other features deemed not important enough by the cartographer or their employer for the purpose of their work or appropriate for the information the map intended to convey. 

Some of the other features that the Digital Archive allows are being able to share an identified part of the collection via email or Facebook as well as downloading some of the files.  For educators there are great learning activities available that utilize portions of the collection as well.  There are important source and copyright use details that should be reviewed as well as adhered to.
We have also found that the related collections links are a great way to connect items of interest.  

There are a few other Fort Hunter maps available in the digital collection and it is encouraged that if you found this article interesting that you seek them out, access them online and examine for your interpretation of their content.  Especially the December, 1785 survey by Col. Throop that also contains field notes!  This is especially remarkable to compare to the pre-American Revolution maps we commented on above.  It may present itself as a topic for another post in the future as well.

Please leave us some feedback in the comment section below and thank you for checking out our blog.  Come back again for more great content!

*More on Queen Anne’s in a future post.

     1) Map of lands at Fort Hunter, Montgomery county. NYSArchives A0273-78 Map759
Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). State Engineer and Surveyor. Survey maps of lands in New York State, ca. 1711-1913. Series A0273-78, Map #759.
    2) Lands and various grants at Fort Hunter, Montgomery county. NYSArchives A0273-78 Map829
Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). State Engineer and Surveyor. Survey maps of lands in New York State, ca. 1711-1913. Series A0273-78, Map #829.
    3) Maps of Corporation Lands at Fort Hunter, Montgomery county.NYSArchives A0273-78 Map828
Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). State Engineer and Surveyor. Survey maps of lands in New York State, ca. 1711-1913. Series A0273-78, Map #828.
     4)Map of Fort Hunter lands with Field notes, Montgomery county; surveyed December, 1785, by Col. Throop. This map is not in the holdings of the New York State Archives. The digital image was created by scanning a black and white aperture card.
Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). State Engineer and Surveyor. Survey maps of lands in New York State, ca. 1711-1913. Series A0273-78, Map #822. (Parts 1-5)