The Albany Post Road, or Rt. 9 of today, was the main artery between New York City and Albany during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and was the center of all kinds of interesting stories and activity that Hyde Park town historian Carney Rhinevault, and his wife Tatiana, bring out in fascinating detail in their 2011 book Hidden History of the Mid-Hudson Valley: Stories from the Albany Post Road. Its a fun work filled with anecdotes than span history from the Pre Revolution Era to Poughkeepsie of the nineteen sixties, the reader gets a taste of what the region meant to its’ history and how human all people are during times of peace, turmoil, and change.
Some more of the interesting stories revolved around legends of underground tunnels dating back to the abolitionist period. In Rhinebeck:
“A tunnel ran under Livingston Street from house to house a few yards east of the Post Road. Reverend Robert Scott, founder of the Baptist church on that street, was one of the more vocal abolitionists in the area. (It is interesting to note that if every rumored tunnel was used frequently, the escape to freedom would have been damp and dark, indeed.”
Another fun read is Poughkeepsie’s connection to Samuel F.B. Morse who “retired to Locust Grove, his Hudson River estate on the southern outskirts of town. Morse is known as a painter, inventor, photographer, and political agitator. He invented the telegraph and the code that bears his name. A fact that may not be well known was that Morse designed his estate in Poughkeepsie in 1847 but did not actually move in until 1852. He had to adjust to events such as building of the Hudson River Railroad during that time which cut off their river view.”
Almost two hundred pages of fascinating fun, drama, and engaging Mid-Hudson history, and also filled with wonderful drawings and illustrations, Hidden History of the Mid-Hudson Valley: Stories from the Albany Post Road is available from publishers The History Press and online from www.historypress.net.
Roosevelt the Explorer: Teddy Roosevelt’s Amazing Adventures as a Naturalist, Conservationist, and Explorer
“The free, self-reliant, adventurous life, with its rugged and its stalwart democracy, the wild surroundings, the grand beauty of the scenery, the chance to study the ways and habits of the woodland creatures — all these unite to give to the career of the wilderness hunter it peculiar charm” —Theodore Roosevelt, 1893
Paul Jeffers’ Roosevelt the Explorer: Teddy Roosevelt’s Amazing Adventures as a Naturalist, Conservationist, and Explorer is an excellent biography of one of America’s most memorable presidents. Through his book, Jeffers expands upon the deep connection that Theodore Roosevelt had with the great outdoors. From a young age, Roosevelt’s curiosity of animals and the environment spurred him to continue a life-long journey of exploration and adventure. As a young boy, he had the opportunity to travel throughout the world with his family. The young Roosevelt fell in love with the lands of Egypt and Africa during these travels. One of the most important characteristics of Roosevelt grew from this and his love of exploration — his ability to document. In his later years, Roosevelt would become a prolific author and writer, and Jeffers does a wonderful job of conveying both the importance of Teddy Roosevelt’s writings and his contributions to conservation.
The main aspects of this book are devoted to Roosevelt’s great love of hunting and the many trips that Roosevelt took to hunt after big game. Roosevelt took many adventures out into the West of the United States, and also into many parts of Africa. One of the most famous adventures of Roosevelt was his trip to the Amazon along the River of Doubt which almost led to Roosevelt’s death. Jeffers documents these adventures well, which allow the reader to understand the type of individual Teddy Roosevelt was and the effect that these explorations had on the larger than life figure.
Teddy Roosevelt’s political career is explained by Jeffers, but it is not a primary focus of the book. Instead, Jeffers refers to Roosevelt’s fight for preservation and conservatism, and the political actions that Roosevelt takes in order to preserve the great lands and animals of the United States. Through this, it is clear that Theodore Roosevelt was by far a pioneer in the fight for conservation and the preservation of the nation’s national resources.
Jeffers does not forget to include the aspects of Roosevelt’s personal life, and the many tragedies that Theodore faced during his career. Early in his life, Roosevelt dealt with the death of both his mother and wife on the same day which had an eternal impact on his character. Through it all, Roosevelt remarried and became a devoted and loving father to his children to whom he referred to as “my bunnies.” Roosevelt was the type of father who advocated for “the strenuous life” and encouraged his children to go after adventure and achieve greatness in life through hard work. He would lecture to them, “Don’t be quarrelsome, but stand up for your rights, if you’ve got to fight, fight hard and well.” Through all his adventures and travels, Roosevelt would always enjoy returning to his home and family at Sagamore Hill.
On a chilly morning by the Marist waterfront, I pulled up to the dock to see a majestic ship anchored in the Hudson River that looked like something out of the 1800’s. A sophomore at Marist College, I was given the unique opportunity to attend graduation commencement—from the sloop Clearwater. Three brave crew members rowed a group of us to the sloop and we climbed aboard for a mid-May afternoon sail.
Twenty of us total were aboard the Clearwater, from all different walks of life, and we eagerly listened to the ship’s Educator of the day for what was in store. Our first task as Hudson River voyagers was to raise the sails. We sang a shanty and joyously heave-hoed until the massive white sail cast a shadow on half the boat—most of us made our way to the sunny side to enjoy the ride as the motor was cut.
We sailed around and mingled amongst ourselves and the crew; a sense of camaraderie is shared between strangers when surrounded by water, in the navigational hands of a pre-teen who asked the captain to steer the tiller.
In the tradition of all Clearwater sails, the Educator aboard gave us the opportunity to learn a bit about the ecology of the river by introducing us to a small eel caught earlier that week. Though in the wild, any one of us might have shied away from the slimy creature, some lined up to pet the little guy.
Next, we got a tour of the cabin below deck. Light shone in from little stained glass portholes along the hull’s interior woodwork and an image of Pete Seeger, the founder of the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater Organization hangs prominently in the common area.
With every sail, the crew honors a moment of silence to value the river that is part of so many people’s lives. We all took a moment to be completely present, taking in the scenery and appreciating the splendor around us. Waves lapped on the sides of the hull, the ship creaked, and the youngest kids aboard looked at their mothers, pressing a finger on their lips in a silent “shhhh”. The silence was broken with a folk song, we sat and listened to the guitar, clarinet, makeshift drums and vocals of several crew members, reminding us how simply beautiful life can be.
Upon receiving word that Marist’s graduation had concluded, we set off a signal cannon in celebration for the 2015 grads and headed back to the dock. We dispersed to our cars and I headed home with visions of my Hudson River dancing around my mind. Being a student at Marist, I spend a lot of time walking past the library where the view of the Hudson is best. It’s a big part of our lives, yet something we don’t take a lot of time to appreciate as students. This trip reminded me how special this river is to our region and that it is everyone’s duty to care for it in order for its full revival.
– Kristen Semple
With Pete Seeger’s passing last year, the Hudson Valley—and the world—lost a musical and environmental icon, as well as a strong moral compass. A fascinating essay in this issue of The Hudson River Valley Review illustrates how Pete kept fighting, in this case for songwriters’ royalties, to the very end of his life. Another article on a 1943 case involving anti-Semitism in Rockland County will acquaint readers with an equally dedicated but far less renowned civil libertarian, the lawyer Arthur Garfield Hays. Additional features cover Native and African Americans; the Dutch, Quakers, and Shakers; and two centuries of military history—making this an extremely full and historically kaleidoscopic issue.
You can preview the issue, read the contributors’ notes, Book Reviews, and New and Noteworthy Books online at: http://www.hudsonrivervalley.org/review/.
The Hudson River Valley Review is available at select booksellers and museum giftshops throughout the region for $15.00 each. Subscriptions are available through the website at: http://www.hudsonrivervalley.org/review/subscribe.html, or by calling 845-575-3052. A one-year subscription (two issues) is $20.00, save even more by subscribing for two years at $35.00.
The Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College is the center for the study and promotion of the Hudson River Valley, providing information about the region’s history, culture, economy, and environment, and educational resources to teachers, students, and others through www.hudsonrivervalley.org, public programming, and The Hudson River Valley Review. This biannual journal covers all aspects of regional history. All articles in The Hudson River Valley Review undergo peer analysis.
Articles in the Spring 2015 issue:
The Limits of the Law: A 1943 Case of Anti-Semitism in the Lower Hudson River Valley, Richard F. Hamm
Rising Stars: The Cadet Years of the West Point Class of 1915, William P. Leeman
The Meeting of American, European, and Atlantic Worlds in the Seventeenth-Century Hudson River Valley, Jaap Jacobs and L.H. Roper
The Architecture of Quaker Meeting Houses in Dutchess County, Neil Larson
Notes and Documents
Substitutes, Servants, and Soldiers: African American Soldiers at New Windsor Cantonment, Matt Thorenz
Teaspoon Brigade: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and Intellectual Property Law,
Steven R. Garabedian
Regional History Forum:
The Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon, Ian Dorset
On the Cover:
Jean Baptiste Antoine de Verger, 1781-1784. Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library
Jean-Baptiste Antoine de Verger (1762-1851) served in the American Revolutionary War as a member of the Expédition Particulière, commanded by General Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau. While in America, de Verger kept a journal of his wartime experiences; here he depicts a black soldier of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, a New England militiaman, a frontier rifleman, and a French officer.