Wednesday, April 14, 2010
N 41 degrees 23.651 minutes W73 degrees 37.034 minutes
Mrs. Plum gaped openly when she noticed the 18th century town with such interesting architectural appeal that just sprung up before their eyes. Its streets lined with ancient trees and tall yellow daffodils blooming at their feet. That is where America and the Colonel chose to spend the night. Here in 1777 a female named Sybil,age 16, called out the volunteer militia because the British were burning the town. She had to have been as brave as Paul Revere on his famous ride. They found a fantastic motel with great views, clean sheets and lots of hot water. After a long shower, Mrs. Plum left her face free of all but a minimum of makeup and tucked her long, shiny, strawberry blond, hair into a loose bun on top of her head. She then slipped on her tan slacks and her brown loafers with the 3 inch stacked heels, slid a white with navy blue striped, boat neck pullover on and in walked her husband. All he could say is “you look hot, hot, hot!” Okay, they were late for dinner. America thought “What else can you do when your husband says you look hot?”
The next morning they drove a bit further into yet another New England state and America explained to the Colonel, that when the first settlers came to the area, they were in at the first part of the eighteenth century, the name was pronounced “Vis Kill” in Dutch. They built a mill on the creek as it flowed into the Hudson River. In later years it was the main supply depot for the Northern Division of the Continental Army. In 1777 the first one thousand copies of the New York Constitution were printed on Samuel Loudon’s press in this location. The Colonel remarked “the depth of the history here is shallow compared to Europe, but so much deeper that the West Coast, where we live."
A bit farther down the highway, the Colonel knew information about that area and explained to America, in the voice he used when he taught college, that around the mid to late 1700’s when this area was first exploited it was called “the oblong”. Due to a border dispute, the Governor of New York and the King of England, for Connecticut, sold land with conflicting deeds. Colonel Plum asked his wife “can you imagine the way they settled disputes in those days?" Perhaps they didn’t always deal in the courts of law due to the difference of opinion in who had the say so in the first place. Putnam County split from Duchess County in 1812. In doing so it made yet more changes to the land deeds.
From Religious Quakers to the Howes and Barnums families of circus fame, various types called this area home. Borden Condensed Milk was invented here.
The research centers here were plentiful, a library, funeral home, museum, church and town archives. Except on 5 leading families, one such center had little to offer, and asked Mr.Plum to send copies of his work back to them when he finished. He promised he would.The Colonel didn't find any land deeds for this area but he did find marriage, death and burial information. He was surprised to find that relatives he thought should be a hundred miles away actually had homes and businesses here. His grandfather worked in the a famous mine here, the minerals he helped dig were for hardening steel, the most plentiful mineral in the mine was serpentine pseudo morph. Colonel Plum found his 4th great grandfather opened a "European style Hotel" which was later raided by the police for gambling and liquor. Also a nice surprise was that Mr. Plum's Great Aunt Julia was married here.
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Americana Starts - At The Waters Edge
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