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ALBANY TO TAPPAN Notes on its History and Legends, its Ghost Stories and Romances. Gathered by a wayfaring man who may now and then have erred therein.
This book is out of print.
Walking from Albany to New York may sound like something of an undertaking, but the fact is I started late in May and only arrived as far as Nyack by early November. Took two bites to my cherry, one in the Spring when the bite only went as deep as Catskill, the other in the Fall, when all the woods were brown.
I am not a walker, as those of my friends who really walk view the situation, a stroller rather, who, as the gifted William puts it, "fleets the time carelessly". These same friends look on my little jaunts with a scornful eye, and there is no doubt that one man's pleasure may be another man's weariness, for it makes them tired to dawdle with me, and it makes me very tired to hustle with them.
However, I can stop at any time to note the color scheme provided by meadowland or mountain, and frequently feel called on to do so. Can even stoop so low as to gather a wild flower now and then, while my friend, Mr. Fastfoot, is disappearing down the road in a cloud of dust.
Last year the all pervading gloriousncss of the Autumn coloring was the dissipation of the tramp, but this Fall a series of hard, early frosts gave the foliage no opportunity to be gay, and, except for the green of an occasional willow or the russet of the oak's early Winter garb, the trees were stripped for the annual struggle with old Boreas. A November haze veiled the mountains much of the time and even the sunsets were subdued. While there were many bright spots the landscape was in general a disappointment, though there was provided ample evidence that it was capable of better things.
The history and legendary interest of the region I found wonderful. The more so, possibly, because of my comparative slight previous acquaintance therewith. The average citizen (that's me) knows that Kingston was burned during the Revolution and that there is a Washington headquarters in Newburgh. He knows of West Point and Stony Point, of Fort Montgomery, and has from his school days recollection of a chain stretched across the Hudson during the Revolution, but beyond that most is dim. Of Dominie Schuneman he probably never heard. The Vale of Tawasentha, Leeds, Katsbaan, Hurley, Temple Hill, or Vail's Gate are but names, if known at all. The Treason House he might find it difficult to locate. He may know that Andre was executed at Tappan because the newspapers have harped on the subject more or less, but what does he know of the interesting old buildings and relics of the Revolution at the village of Palisades, but two miles from Tappan?
Some of the statements made hereafter may be open to criticism by those versed in local lore, for I find it is far from difficult to get things wrong; that part of the county histories, the history by towns, from which I must secure my foundation, has in some cases at least a fine reputation for inaccuracy, and the result is that I seem to know many things that are not so.
However, I have made friends by the way, each a storehouse of information pertaining to his own neighborhood, and feel like openly confessing obligations to such patient gentlemen as Dr. A. W. Van Slyke of Coxsackie, Dr. Claudius Van Dusen of Leeds, Mr. Franklin Salisbury of Catskill, Dr. John G. Van Slyke and Mr. B. M. Brink of Kingston (whose "Olde Ulster" is a gold mine), Dr. George W. Nash of Hurley, Mr. Ralph Lefevre of New Paltz (and his history of that town), Mr. E. M. Ruttenber and Dr. John Deyo of Newburgh, Mr. Weiant of the Treason House, Stony Point, and to others, while much is due to the help of Mr. Kelby, librarian of the New York Historical Society, and his able assistants.
The books read to secure a local flavor or consulted for facts were, besides the afore slandered County Histories, the local histories of Saugerties, Kingston, New Paltz, Newburgh and Stony Point; articles in the Magazine of American History and Harpers' Monthly; Joshua Het Smith's "Authentic Narrative of the Causes which led to the Death of Major Andre", which same is about as reliable as the weather reports from Washington; an interesting novel published in I86I entitled "The Dutch Dominie of the Catskills"; a story, "King Washington", based on the Revolutionary happenings around Newburgh. The Ecclesiastical Records and the Documentary History of New York. The able pen of John Fiske, and of course Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution.
And now we will proceed to find out all about it. . .
(by the author of "Old Mine Road", C.G.Hine -- 174pp P $14.95)
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Copyright © 1996 by Richard Frisbie -- All rights reserved.