Land policy in colonial times in what is now New York State favored nobility and prominent men with connections to the Crown. This involved several countries (The Netherlands, England, and France), several explorers, several early pioneers, and appointed officials who oversaw the disbursement of land by land grants or patents. [Read more…] about New York Land Grants: Some History Until The American Revolution
During the American Revolution in August 1778, given advanced warning of an impending raid by Loyalist and their Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) allies, scores of families around Pakatakan (Margaretville, in the town of Middletown, Delaware County, NY) began leaving their homes to seek shelter with families and friends near Kingston. [Read more…] about New York’s Oldest Standing Log Cabin?
Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) in New Paltz, NY, recently commissioned the translation of historic documents from Dutch to English, thanks to a grant of $25,000 as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York. The project encompasses early-American documents ranging from the mid-1600s through the 1700s, part of a larger project to digitize and make these documents available online with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. [Read more…] about Historic New Paltz Documents Translated
On May 8th, 1972, New Paltz students went from dorm to dorm at the state university, pulling fire alarms, their reaction quick and spontaneous. Few students had television sets, but word spread quickly about President Nixon’s broadcast announcing he had ordered the mining of North Vietnam ports.
Just hours after Nixon’s address, around midnight, the college’s assistant director of housing placed a frantic call to campus security. [Read more…] about Active Dissent: 1970s College Protests in New York
The two portraits, depicting prominent New Paltz residents Dirck D. Wynkoop (1738-1827) and his wife Annatje Eltinge (1748-1827), were missing for fifty years, after they were stolen on February 16th, 1972 while on display at the 1799 Ezekiel Elting (aka LeFevre) House on Huguenot Street. [Read more…] about Paintings Stolen 50 Years Ago Returned to Historic Huguenot Street
In February 2022, the New York State Archives announced that archivists had uncovered court records detailing the 1828 legal battle by Sojourner Truth to secure her enslaved son Peter’s freedom. According to archivist Jim Folts, this case was the first time in United States history that a Black woman successfully sued a White man for a family member’s freedom.
After passage of the New York State Gradual Emancipation Act in 1799, some slaveholders illegally sold enslaved Africans to Southern planters for the expanding cotton industry. When Sojourner Truth, then known as Isabella Van Wagenen, escaped from enslavement in 1826, her former “owner,” John J. Dumont of New Paltz, Ulster County, NY, sold her five-year old son Peter to Eleazer Gedney who planned to take the boy with him to England.
When this plan fell through, Eleazer Gedney sold Peter to his brother, Solomon Gedney, who resold Peter to their sister’s husband, a man named Fowler, who was a wealthy Alabama planter. [Read more…] about Documents Reveal Sojourner Truth’s Battle to Free Her Son from Slavery
Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has been awarded a $500,000 Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant support much-needed major repairs and restoration work at the Bevier-Elting House (ca. 1700, 1735, and 1760) in New Paltz.
The project, expected to start in 2022 and continue over the next five years, is one of 49 projects in 29 states funded by the SAT program this year. [Read more…] about New Paltz Bevier-Elting House Restoration Project Planned
New York State Parks is partnering with the Open Space Institute and the Town and Village of New Paltz to improve a 3.5-mile section of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, a key link in the Empire State Trail in Ulster County. [Read more…] about Hudson Valley’s Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Improvements Coming
Among the first African Americans to buy land in the community, he also served in the Union Army during the Civil War, organized politically on behalf of African American citizens in town, and built a series of homes that today still define a neighborhood in the village of New Paltz. [Read more…] about Black Builder Jacob Wynkoop Exhibit Goes Online
Johannes LeFevre was born in New Paltz on May 26, 1837, to Josiah P. LeFevre and his wife, Elizabeth. Around New Paltz, his family was known as the Bontecoe LeFevres because of their large farm, just outside town.
The oldest child of seven, Johannes was born in his father’s stone house on what is today White Duck Road in New Paltz, off Route 32. The home had been built by Daniel LeFevre. Later, Josiah built a home in 1849, on the opposite side of Route 32. Both houses remain standing and look much as they did during Johannes’s lifetime.