Fort Plain Museum gears up for third American Revolution event

The audience at last year’s event is shown. (Photo submitted)

JOHNSTOWN — Brian Mack, a trustee of Fort Plain Museum, has a right to be pleased.

Back in 2016, Mack, Norman Bollen and other trustees set out to garner more public interest in the museum and the American Revolutionary period, focusing on the Mohawk-Hudson area.

They began the museum’s annual conference that gets more participation every year and spawned the American Revolution Round Table of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys which travels around the Capital Region presenting talks on the revolutionary period.

For the fourth year, Fort Plain Museum’s American Revolution Mohawk Valley Conference will be held primarily at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Route 67.

“The conference has been excellent, increasing in attendance, and has had really good speakers,” said Mack.

The first year, the conference had 150 attendees, 165 the next, and almost maxed out with 187 last year. So far, 77 people have signed up, and what’s especially important to Mack, is that all but nine are from outside Fulton and Montgomery counties or outside the state, Mack said. The conference has drawn people from Canada and such states as California, Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Texas.

“We try to get them connected to the Mohawk Valley,” including descendants of British loyalists who fled to Canada during the revolution, he said.

This year’s conference, from June 7 to 10, will feature 11 author/historian talks, panel discussions, a bus tour of 1778, an evening with Washington and Madison including a fundraiser dinner, and a genealogy day.

Starting on Thursday, June 7, Michael E. Newton will present “Alexander Hamilton’s Revolutionary War Service” at 7:30 p.m. Registration starts at 6:30.

On Friday, June 8, at 7 p.m., Russell Shorto will speak on “Revolution Song: America’s Founding Era in Six Remarkable Lives.” A cocktail reception and registration will begin at 6.

On Saturday, June 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the following presentations will be given:

∫ Edward G. Lengel— “George Washington and the Burning of New York City, 1776.”

∫ Eric H. Schnitzer — “’Hessians’ at the Battle of Bennington, 1777.”

∫ James L. Nelson — “Benedict Arnold’s Navy: The Story of the Rag Tag Fleet that Lost the Battle of Valcour Island and Won the American Revolution.”

∫ Don N. Hagist — “Redcoats Along the Mohawk: British Soldiers in Western New York, 1777-1783.”

∫ Bruce M. Venter —”Benedict Arnold’s Nemesis: Colonel John Brown’s Fateful Journey to the Mohawk Valley.”

On Sunday, June 10, from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., the following presentations will be given.

∫ Jennifer DeBruin —”Traitors, Spies and Heroes: Loyalist Espionage in the American Revolution.”

∫ Glenn F. Williams — “Sir William Johnson, the Iroquois Confederacy and Lord Dunmore’s War.”

∫ John Buchanan — “Two Warriors: George Washington and Sir William Howe.”

∫ Wayne Lenig — “The Tryon County Committee of Safety.”

In panel discussions, presenters and the audience will discuss which side they would choose—patriot or loyalist.

On Thursday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., a bus tour of the 1778 battle and raid sites will feature the events of 1778; the Battle of Cobleskill, the Cherry Valley Massacre, Springfield, Andrustown, Adam Helmer’s Run, Fort Herkimer and Fort Plain/Rensselaer. A lunch stop in Cooperstown will be included with an extra cost.

New this year is a genealogy day, to be held on Friday, June 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests can visit the Mohawk Country historic sites located throughout Montgomery County. Sites will have presentations and/or historians on hand to discuss the families that fought on both sides during the American Revolution.

On Saturday, June 9, at 6 p.m., “An Evening with Washington and Madison” will include a fundraising dinner at the Bridge Walk at the Perthshire, Amsterdam. Washington and Madison will be portrayed by Brian Hilton and Kyle Jenks, as they discuss their journeys to upstate New York and other founding moments.

The cost will be $75 for the conference, $50 for the bus tour, and $50 for the dinner. Microtel Inn & Suites in Johnstown will reserve space for out-of-town conferees.

To register or for more information, visit, email [email protected], or call (518) 774-5669. The registration deadline is May 31.

The conference is the museum’s yearly fundraiser with 100 percent going back into museum exhibits and upkeep.

By Patricia Older

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