New York State Wanderings: William Johnson House – The Mohawk Valley

October 5, 2014

After visiting Fort Johnson, I headed north on Hwy 67 to Johnstown.  It was about 8 miles. I was on schedule so I didn’t have to rush and was able to find the Johnson Hall State Historic Site in Johnstown, New York.

http://nysparks.com/historic-sites/10/details.aspx

In Johnstown I turned right onto Hwy 29 and it was about 1.5 miles to the park. At Pearl St. you turn to the right into the park.  There is a very huge statue out front so it is not hard to miss.

There is plenty of parking up near the house. This includes a video of the house:  http://historystarproductions.com/blog/a-visit-the-home-of-sir-william-johnson-johnson-hall/

Announcement Sign

Announcement Sign

Johnson House

Johnson House – front

Johnson House the back area

Johnson House the back area

The tour starts over in the left block house where they have a bookstore.  Apparently they do them on the 1/2 hour and the docent was determined to wait till 1 pm.

Once again, I was impressed, Sir William Johnson liked big houses.  We started in the basement and viewed the kitchen and butlers quarters. The main area of the house had about 4 rooms. The hallway was wide and the stairs were also wide.  Each room was carefully decorated and quite large. There were two more floors to investigate.  According to the docent, Sr. William was sick during a conference he was having in the house and died.  That must have been a very sad day.  He died in 1774 and just missed the Revolution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_William_Johnson,_1st_Baronet

I was unaware that Sir William Johnson had a lot of land, I knew he had some which he rented to tenants but I did not realize that he was extremely wealthy.  I also was not aware that he earned his fortune in the fur trade.  Because of his service in the French and Indian War he was given the barony of New York and that was a hereditary title. He was very powerful and very privileged.  His wife Molly Brant or rather second wife was rather powerful herself.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Brant   I asked the docent if he knew the six tribes of the Six Nation and much to my delight he did and he listed them right off, the six Iroquois nations:  Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora. He was very excited because they had a reenactment that past weekend and they were cleaning up the straw on the lawn.

I purchased a book:  “Liberty’s Exiles,” by Maya Jasanoff as recommended by the docent at Fort Johnson.  They had sold their last copy.  I will see if it is of value.

Once again I have only touched the surface of the history of a place and there is more that could be learned about this man, his family and his life.   There was more to explore on the property but I was exhausted and headed for my lodging on Hwy 29 in Gloversville.  This scene reminds me of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

Johnstown, NY

Johnstown, NY

 


New York Wanderings: Fort Johnston and the Mohawk Valley

October 5, 2014

Driving along I-87 through the Adirondacks you come upon names of towns like Elizabethtown, Saranac and the lake, North Hudson, Schroon Falls, and Warrensburg and Lake George. I saw a sign for Lake Placid and Lake Luzerne.

My goal was Johnstown and so I headed out of Warrensburg after getting some gas and checking the oil.

The fog was starting to let up, well not really, and I was soon in Saratoga Springs which I found to be a very wonderful town and really liked the main street area that I saw before I turned west onto Hwy 29.  I suggest Google Images to see sites of this very lovely town. Just put the name of something you want to see into the search engine then click on images.  You can then follow and image out to its original page if you like.

This highway took me through the towns of North Milton, East Galway, Galway and North Galway, Honeywell Corners and Broadalbin.  It was at Broadalbin that I turned south on Hwy 30 and just decided to go into Amsterdam to Hwy 5.  It was easier than what I originally had planned.   Hwy 30 took me through Perth.  Yes another Perth and we are seeing some interesting names of towns in this area.

I followed Hwy 30 through Amsterdam and onto Hwy 5 heading west. This Hwy 5 follows the Mohawk River.  No luck today for photos it was all shrouded in FOG! and the railroad tracks sort of pushed the highway away from the river…darn!  So go to Google Images for some really cool views of this river, maps and all kinds of great stuff.

The town of Fort Johnson came up quickly but it was a little confusing to find the fort itself.  I saw a sigh and turned off by Park Row and then reread the sign and went back out on Hwy 5 till I got to the turn for Hwy 67 going north and there was the Fort right there on the left.  I turned right onto Hwy 67 and pulled into the parking lot.

The bridge to the Fort

The bridge to the Fort

 

The stream beneath the Bridge

The stream beneath the Bridge

The outhouse…no not the bathrooms.

An Historic Privy

A Historic Privy

 http://www.oldfortjohnson.org/

The Visitor Center at Fort Johnson

The Visitor Center at Fort Johnson with a great book shop

Fort Johnson

Fort Johnson – a very large house with many rooms, a large hall area, basement and full attic.

I signed in at the book register, paid $4 for the tour and wandered their book shop which had excellent books.

These CD's look comprehensive?

These CD’s look comprehensive?

Fort Johnson Sign

Fort Johnson Sign along Hwy #5

Fort Johnson is a fortified house with gun ports.  I have read about this type of house in regards to the history of the Goss family.  Philip Goss had a house probably similar that he built-in Huntington Twp. in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Johnson loved big houses and this was huge with large rooms and several floors including a useable attic where he held conferences with the Indians. When Sir Johnson moved to Johnstown his son Sir John Johnson took over this house.

I had a great tour of the Fort and the nice docent answered my questions about the history of the fort and the lives of the Johnson family.  I learned he was Irish and that was very interesting.  He didn’t like his sons first choice of a wife so he intervened to try to arrange a better marriage for John.  Sir John Johnson was a son of William and his first wife.

Here are some links to investigate.  At some point I am going to have to select really good links for Loyalist research I have some but at the moment I am experimenting and exploring.

I visited Sir John’s house in Glengarry on my last trip to Ontario in 2012.  I wrote about that visit here in post dated June 26, 2012:  Touring Glengarry:  Glengarry Archives & the Sir John Johnson House.  Sir Johnson really didn’t live in this house that much or at all, he lived in Quebec and died there.  http://100objects.qahn.org/content/gravestone-sir-john-johnson-1830

Sir William Johnson was a Baronet and had lots of land.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_William_Johnson,_1st_Baronet

This article is about Sir John Johnson the son: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/johnson_john_6E.html

Mohawk Valley Region Path Through History:  http://www.mohawkvalleyhistory.com/

The Valley Dwellers:  http://www.mohawkvalleyhistory.com/

Sir John Johnson, son of William, had to take the people from the Mohawk Valley to Canada and he did this by going through the Adirondack Mountains in about 1778.  I plotted this route he took based on the article and it was right through the mountains.  I wondered why he would do that but it probably kept the people from being harrassed by the “Rebels.”

http://www.historyinanhour.com/2011/12/19/sir-john-johnson-summary/

This is very interesting as to what happened to the people who settled this area and then had to leave because they were Loyalists who believed in the Crown.

See this article: http://hortonsarticles.org/hh7thousand.htm

Electric Scotland has this great article about the Highlanders who came to the Mohawk Valley. http://www.electricscotland.com/history/highlands/chapter8.htm 

This is a historical account of the Settlement of Scotch Highlanders in America by J. P. MacLean:

http://books.google.com/books?id=Xxem9Kqd0j0C&pg=PA230&lpg=PA230&dq=Sir+William+Johnson+and+the+highlanders&source=bl&ots=64nWDJ94oW&sig=xH0RLS3xeth_JY947KoS0zxE9Xs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ojoxVJvfEeHWiwLTioGQDA&ved=0CEUQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=Sir%20William%20Johnson%20and%20the%20highlanders&f=false

 


New York Wanderings: The Adirondacks & Warrensburg

October 5, 2014

I was up early and out the door, breakfast at the Econo Lodge was not very good.  So I ate some in the room.  I had brought the remaining steak back with me and put it into the refrigerator, so I warmed that in the microwave and it was good.

My goal today was Johnstown, New York and the Mohawk Valley.  Yup, I am on the trail of Loyalists again…

My route was I-87 south through the Adirondack Park.  Unfortunately it was very foggy and thick with the stuff.  So I was not going to get much in photographs.  As I entered the park on the highway I did get some vistas of the Adirondacks to both sides of me and it was very beautiful including the fog in the valleys and sunlight on the hills.  The colors of fall were slowly showing themselves but it was not at its peak just yet…!

Tourist information can be found here http://visitadirondacks.com/ and this link describes the height of the mountains in this group: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adirondack_Mountains  My sister-in-law will not be impressed after having climbed Mt. Rainier, giggle!

My version of the Adirondacs

My version of the Adirondacks

A weathervane on the restop building

A weathervane on the rest stop building

To my surprise many of the rest stops were closed except the one with the bear weathervane.

I am a bit of a Rachel Ray fan and so I decided to stop in Warrensburg to visit Oscar’s Smokehouse which she featured on her TV show.  Oscar’s Smokehouse is on the north end of the town of Warrensburg.  Here is their website:  http://www.oscarsadksmokehouse.com/

Oscar's Sign

Oscar’s Sign

Oscar's Smoke House

Oscar’s Smoke House

Rachel's visit

Rachel’s visit is proudly displaced on their wall!

The building you see is the newer one built in 2005 after the fire, I believe.  It is very nice inside with a self-service area and the main meat counter. I purchased some self-service items: Cheddar Bacon Cheese, and Smoked Cervelet.  The cheese is very mild and I thought with bacon it might be too salty but it is very nice.  The sausage is also very nice and I just ate a big chunk! Slurp….

Self Serivce & Meat Counter

Self Serivce & Meat Counter

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They didn’t have tables at Oscar’s so I headed back to town and found a nice restaurant down the street to have my 2nd breakfast.  It was crowded and there was only one waitress but she was quick.  Notice the tin ceiling in this place.  I have more fun with small town cafe’s.

New Way Lunc

New Way Lunch

 

New Lunch Sign and a shop across the street

New Way Lunch Sign and a shop across the street

This cafe was right next door to the historical society. http://www.whs12885.org/museum.html

Warrensburg's historical Society

Warrensburg’s historical Society and mural

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Next was Saratoga Springs and then heading west on Hwy 29 to Johnstown.


New York Wanderings: Montreal to Plattsburgh, NY

October 5, 2014

Unfortunately I was hyper-ventilating about getting out of Montreal so my time at the BAnQ in Montreal was short.  However, now that I have visited Montreal, seen the Grand Bibliotheque and the Archives of Quebec, I am feeling a whole lot more confident.  I don’t know if I have figured out how to do Quebec genealogical research but I am getting smarter. HA!

It was time to move on and head for New York state and the USA.  Early in the morning I had loaded as much of my luggage into the car parked in the garage down the street as I could.  So I had only my computer case to worry about and as usual I stuff my pockets.  I went back to the Hotel St. Denis to check out.

The area in front of the Hotel St. Denis was filled with construction workers in the morning and by the time I had returned they had cut a hole in the sidewalk right in front of the hotel and taken up the parking space out front. The hotel staff were not happy they didn’t know about this till it happened.  The receptionist was very kind and we figured out that I could mail back the garage card to them rather than have to try to negotiate the mess out in front of the hotel.  She prepared an envelope and put some stamps on it.  I mailed it at my next stop.  I hope they got it safely?

My business done, I headed to my rental car and proceeded to get all my maps and stuff ready for getting me out of Montreal.  I was going over the Champlain Bridge.  See the photo below, yup the very one I drove over.

Champlain Bridge, from Montreal Insites http://www.memorablemontreal.com/accessibleQA/en/bridges/?id=163&menu=histoire

Yes I did this bridge…Champlain Bridge, from Montreal Insites http://www.memorablemontreal.com/accessibleQA/en/bridges/?id=163&menu=histoire

I took Rue Rene-Leverseque to Atwater and then turned left.  I continued on Atwater till it went under an underpass and just on the other side was the turn off to Hwy 20/15.  So far so good.

As I entered the Hwy 20/15 to get on the Champlain Bridge I discovered I had a big semi right behind me and he was not nice, he rode my bumper almost the whole of the bridge.  This bridge is very long and it crosses the St. Lawrence River.  Just on the other side I turned off to get on Hwy 15 to go south to the NY border, and fortunately, the signs said just that and I was able to follow easily.

Hwy 15 south to the USA border follows the St. Lawrence for a while and then it is inland and pretty straight with exits that are very far apart.  The signage is not very helpful for food and other needs. It is about 45 minutes to the border but before I arrived there, I stopped at a huge Souvenir shop and bought myself another T-Shirt which had Canada on it and then smaller letters for Montreal.  It is one of those that is very long so it is almost a dress but it was not expensive so it was a good thing.

The border came up very quickly and I was ready.  This time I had a nice young man who asked me just a few questions and then wanted to know more about my genealogy quest.  So we chatted a little and then I had to move on. I think he was bored. I had read this was a very busy border crossing and I had been prepared to wait but I was through it in not time.  There was a lot of construction in the area and the route back onto the highway was a little obscured with cones and things but I managed to find it.  I was now on I-87 going south.

I was home, back in the USA.  I really like Canada it is a beautiful country – Ontario and Quebec – but there is something about the USA…

There was a McDonald’s at the next exit and I decided to stop and take a break.  Plattsburgh was not that far and I was not in any hurry.  It was about 12 noon and so I had plenty of time.

It was nice to hear English and use dollars and I reflected that in Montreal they don’t smile.  I have to mention however that at the cafe down the street while eating my scone and having coffee one morning in Montreal the proprietor burst into song and all of us were smiling.  However, other than that, I did not see any smiling faces or hear laughter in Montreal. The conversations at the restaurants were very serious but animated in French. The hotel staff was friendly and I liked hearing “Bonjour Madame,” or “Pardon Madame” or just a simple “Bonjour.”

A Cafe on St. Denis, one of many

A Cafe on St. Denis, one of many

Finding the Econo Lodge in Plattsburg was not to difficult and I was soon in my room.  They had the Keurig Single Coffee maker but if I wanted coffee I was to buy it in the lobby.  What? Don’t worry I was prepared.

I wanted to see Lake Champlain so I had sought out the Naked Turtle Restaurant as a place to go for dinner but when I got there it was gone!  So I took my pics of the lake and marina and went in search of the Applebees that I had noted earlier.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Champlain

I saw signs for ferry boats to Vermont on the highway I-81.  Here is some info about the city of Plattsburgh:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plattsburgh_(city),_New_York

Lake Champlain Marina

Lake Champlain Marina

Again, Lake Champlain Marina

Again, Lake Champlain Marina

Lake Champlain itself, a portion of this huge lake

Lake Champlain itself, a portion of this huge lake

Well, it was not that hard to go back and forth across the border even with a rental car so in retrospect I could have done my trip a bit different. Living 2.5 hours from the border in Seattle I just don’t go back and forth and when I do we usually have trouble getting from Canada back into the US. So I was concerned.  I have had the car/van inspected and other things happen.  I have to admit that it went a whole lot better going in and out of Ontario and Quebec than I thought.  Rental Car companies do not want you to leave the car in another country so I was obligated to bring it back to New York State.  Make sure that they will allow you to take the car into Canada before you rent.  Budget in Buffalo at the airport assured me they were bonded to do just that and go into Canada.  I did have the rental agreement with me so if I was asked I could hand it to the border guard.


Quebec Wanderings: A last look at Montreal…

October 4, 2014

Here are some of my photos that I took of Montreal.  It is in the form of a slideshow…enjoy! Just click on the first photo. The X to close may be on your left on the page.

There is a park in Montreal called Mont Royal and from there you can view the whole city and look out on Montreal.  I had considered going up there to enjoy the view.  http://www.montreal.com/parks/mtroyal.html  Just use Google Images to see wonderful pictures of the view from this park.

 


Quebec Wanderings: Montreal and the BAnQ…

October 4, 2014

It was fun to watch the day turn to night and the morning dawn in Montreal even though my window was a bit small in my hotel room.

Morning comes to Montreal

Morning comes to Montreal or was this night-time? Giggle!

Today I was going over to Viger Street to explore the BAnQ or if you prefer the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales Du Quebec.  (I don’t do the accents).

I headed down St. Denis (south-east) and stopped at one of the cafes to buy a sandwich.  I crossed Avenue Rene-Levesque and had to decide which direction to go because they had Rue St. Denis barricaded from this point on. So I turned left (northeast) and headed to Rue Berri which was also barricaded, with one lane left for cars, but I was able to get across it to the other side and I turned right (southeast) and headed down that street to Viger Street.

I was expecting the BAnQ to be on the right side of Viger (south-east) but it was not.  It was on the left side (northeast) and as I was walking I noticed this building seemed very familiar.  It is actually on the corner of Rue Labelle and Avenue Viger.  http://www.banq.qc.ca/accueil/#

The Archives of Quebec - BAnQ

The Archives of Quebec – BAnQ

 

Looking toward the river

Looking toward the river across the street – Place Viger?

I was very early so I sat on the side area up the steps and waited and was just getting comfortable when a lady came up the steps and went inside.  It was cool outside and maybe about to sprinkle so I followed her through the door and it opened up into a large foyer.  I spotted the security guard on the left and walked over to him.  He had me sign in, took my $2.00 coin and gave me a locker key.  He gave me directions to the locker room which was around the corner through the two big doors.  He told me I could wear my jacket but not take my computer bag inside.

The entrance sign

The entrance sign

Archives of Quebec

Archives of Quebec

It took me a while to find my locker and it was very generous in size, not all are.  I prepared myself for my time at this archive and in the locker room area there is a little kitchenette with tables, machines with food and bathrooms.  I headed out to the stairs which were silver metal (yes you make noise when you walk on them) and walked up them to the next level which was filled with tables. It was very wide open with a high ceiling. I turned up some more metal stairs to the lobby area where there were these enormous statues guarding the lovely door to the archives.

Entrance - Archives of Quebec

Entrance – Archives of Quebec

Greeted by one of several statues

Greeted by one of several huge statues…made me think of Rome…

They had nice comfy chairs to sit in while the researches gathered at the door waiting for it to open at 9 am.  One man was standing with his laptop in tucked under his arm and he was apparently impatiently waiting.  Most of the researchers talked quietly in French.

They have done extensive remodeling so the interior is very modern yet you feel comfortable.

Once the door was open the other researchers disappeared quickly…probably to upper floors.  I turned right into the main room.  I found a table and proceeded to explore the area and the stacks.  It was where the genealogy stacks were housed and they had various Drouin collections, church records and more.  It was beautiful in this room for they had retained the old style of it.  It had a high ceiling and you could see the upper levels.  Their was lovely scroll work and columns.  It was all in white.

The librarian was very kind and friendly. He spoke good English.  He answered my questions readily. I told him about my bad experience at the Gatineau branch and he explained that they had the original records but most was on microfilm. So I could do notarial research there at this main branch. I was very happy to hear this.

He would have to prepare a researcher card for me because the microfilm was housed elsewhere in the building.  I was not going to be there that long so I declined.

I then asked him about land records and he referred me to the Registre foncier website. We chatted about this site and that I could sign up to obtain land records.  I knew about this site. I had been to the Palais de Justice in Campbell’s Bay for Pontiac County and she only was able to go back to late 1800’s on the land records.  He mentioned that there had been fires and other things which I cannot remember now.  This is the site:  http://www.registrefoncier.gouv.qc.ca/Sirf/

We talked about notaries and he said the online version is still being added too.  I showed him my copies of the list of notaries and he said that it was a good thing I had that because it was from the book that lists all the notaries throughout Quebec.  I was on the right track.  Quebec does things by French law and a notary is like a lawyer and they do all the legal things like deeds, mortgages, estates, wills, and even marriages and a whole lot more. Anyway, they are organized by notary name and years not by the subject or instrument.  Some day they may be to this point of being able to research by keyword.  So you have to know the name of the notary and where he was located and his time frame.

Online at the BAnQ:  http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/notaires/index.html

Source that I had copies from:

Notaries listed

Notaries listed

I was starting to feel a whole lot better about my Quebec research.  He said that he was there during the week and if I had questions I could call.  They only speak French in Gatineau at least the man behind the counter but I figured he could read it and he did.

Unfortunately, my time was short and I had to head back to the Hotel St. Denis to check out by 12 noon.  I think I just might have to come back to Montreal and now that I know a little more about this city, the archives there, I just might do that.  I wonder if I could stop there on my way to New Brunswick??? Giggle…

The security guard wanted to check all my stuff at the door before he would let me leave.  This was before the locker room.

The BAnQ takes up the whole block

The BAnQ takes up the whole block – along  Rue Labelle

 

The Back door?

The Back door?

 

Hotel Viger is across the street

The sign!

Hotel Viger

Hotel Viger right across the street!

http://www.hotel-viger.com/index.html?viewPage=pages/reservations.php

My time was very short but I was okay with that.  I had really just wanted to see these two archives and get a feel for what they were about.  I am a very visual person so this has helped greatly.  I also feel that I have plenty of research to do which I can do online so I am not too concerned; however, I am considering going back to Montreal.

This looks interesting, perhaps a tour of the harbour?

http://www.oldportofmontreal.com/heritage/history-of-the-old-port.html


Quebec Wanderings: Historic City Center – Old Montreal (Vieux-Montreal)

October 4, 2014

Old Montreal the historic center of the city is not far from my hotel and I could walk to the area. The weather had improved yet it was a little cool and windy.  I had found a website that gave presented a historic walking tour of the area so armed with my maps I headed out to Rene Levesque Street and then turned to head to the Ave L’Hotel de Ville.  As I was walking along I discovered that there were several other hotels not to far down the street.  I spotted a Days Inn, a Holiday Inn Express not to far from where I was on St. Denis.  I think it was the way they looked that intrigued me, because normally these hotels are more spread out.

Other hotels

Other hotels Days Inn, Holiday Inn….

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Holiday Inn Express on the left and another hotel on the right.

I walked along L’Hotel de Ville to a park and then a very large an old building with big wide stairs to climb and it opened out onto the Jacque Cartier Square.   I had lunch at the Restaurant des Gouverneurs  off to the right of the square.  It was a nice ravioli.

Here is a brochure in PDF of a walking tour of Old Montreal:

http://www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca/mus_attr/pdf/attr_09a.pdf

So you could plan out a really nice tour of the area. I ended up wandering around. http://www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca/tour/eng/0cartea.htm

Jacques Cartier Square

Jacques Cartier Square, he is on the top of the tall monument!

Jacques Cartier and more

Jacques Cartier and more

More of the square

More of the square

Statues of course

Statues of course

Old Montreal…enjoy!  To get inside some of the shops you had to climb up very steep stairs.  You know me and stairs, HA!

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The Musee Pointe-a-Calliere

The Musee Pointe-a-Calliere

http://www.pacmusee.qc.ca/en/home

Heading back to my hotel…

The church rang its bell

The church rang its bell..bong…

Notre Dame

Notre Dame – behind this was the parish office…hmmm…what treasures would be there!

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Wonderful cakes and a Christmas Shoppe!

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Below:  A wine shop where I bought a very nice Quebec Wine “Frontenac” 2012 by Vignoble de l’ Orpailleur:  http://orpailleur.ca/en/

Wine Shop in this hotel

Wine Shop in this hotel

Montreal's Palais de Justice

Montreal a Palais de Justice, seems I saw several?

Chinatown was about 1 block long:

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There is so much more to explore in Old Montreal, it could take a good week! Not to mention all the history in this area.  I wanted to know where the immigrants came in to the harbour but apparently they have replaced the area with a marina.  This link walks you through the history of Old Montreal:   http://www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca/tour/etape1/eng/1fena.htm

Here is a slide show for you to enjoy, just click on the first photo and it will open.  The close button may be in your left corner find the X:


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