Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site has announced their 2021 Virtual “History at Home” Winter Lecture series. The site will offer free online programs from January to March covering a range of history topics.
On Wednesday, January 20th the site will celebrate the birthday of industrialist and contractor, Otis Eddy. The program, Otis Eddy’s Aqueduct, will explore Eddy’s life and how he came to be a canal contractor for the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct. Attendees will learn about his connection to Cornell University and more about the current efforts to preserve the aqueduct remnants at Schoharie Crossing.
January 27th the site will welcome Schenectady Historian Chris Leonard as he discusses the importance of Schenectady’s home front 75 years after the end of WWII. Leonard will explore how Schenectady’s industrial capabilities helped the Allies defeat Japan and Germany with war time production and groundbreaking technologies created by the city’s twin economic powerhouses, General Electric and the American Locomotive Company.
On March 4th, Bill Merchant of the D&H Canal Museum will join Schoharie Crossing for a program about The Black Experience on the D&H Canal. Merchant will discuss the people that worked and traveled on the Delaware and Hudson Canal during its heyday as it conveyed coal from Pennsylvania to New York’s Hudson River. An often under-represented segment of canal history, the experiences of black people along this waterway will examined with documents, images, and anecdotes.
The following week on March 11th, Anne Clothier will provide a lecture on the History of Phrenology. While phrenology often merits only a footnote in modern examinations of social and medical history, it played an important role in how people regarded themselves and others during the formative years of the 1840s. Influencing topics as varied as courtship, employment, criminal justice, abolition, medicine, and suffrage, phrenology was intertwined throughout the everyday lives of many. Attendees will also examine the darker sides of the now debunked concepts, exploring how people of color and indigenous populations were further disenfranchised by its teachings. Clothier is Director of Education at the Saratoga County History Center at Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa.
Hudson Valley Community College professor Matthew Zembo will provide a discussion on February 18th titled, “The 34th Regiment of Foot: A British Regiment in the Northern Frontier of the American War of Independence.” Zembo will discuss how the regiment operated in a vastly different theater of war then those experienced in Europe, how civilians played a role, and what actions the soldiers engaged in during the fight to put down rebellion in New York.
On March 4th, Schoharie Crossing educator David Brooks will present DeWitt’s Duel. The life of DeWitt Clinton is an exploration into the politics of early America and New York State. Recognized now as the “Father of the Erie Canal,” NYS governor and former mayor of New York City, Clinton had tended to personal and political rivalries to accomplish legislative goals. Examine some of the intrigue, wrangling, and dirty politics that lead ultimately to DeWitt’s Duel on the plains of Weehawken, New Jersey.
To wrap up the series, Audrey Humphrey from Johnson Hall State Historic Site will present an exploration of Sir William Johnson and his connection to Fort Hunter on March 18th. Johnson was one of the largest landowners in New York by the mid-18th century and his influence in the Mohawk Valley is evident even to this day. As Superintendent of Indian Affairs, his connection to the Mohawk village of Tionondoroge and congregation at Queen Anne’s Chapel influenced the how the American Revolution played out in New York after his death in 1774.
All the programs will begin at 6:30 pm and are offered for free via the online platform, WebEx. The links for these programs go live at 6:20 pm. There are no tickets to purchase and no need to pre-register.
Links for the programs can be found on Schoharie Crossings NYS Parks webpage, on their Facebook, or by contacting the site.
For more information, call the Visitor Center at (518) 829-7516, email SchoharieCrossing@parks.ny.gov, or visit their website.