Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 32

I am enjoying the nice weather. It is humid but the temperatures aren't bad. I started the day by getting lost several times but finally arrived (and found a parking spot) in the Stockade District of Kingston. I enjoyed a self-directed walking tour of more than 30 old homes and buildings. Still spatially challenged but I managed to find my car so I must have conquered the map at least partially!

From downtown Kingston, I drove to Hurley. Now Hurley is a tiny town. You wouldn't think it would take me 3 trips through the historic district to find the museum. I checked in there looking for genealogy/history information. They don't have their library available to the public but sent me to the gift shop for the name and phone number of the president of the genealogy society. I had emailed her but no response. I phoned from the car - no service. I made my way to the Dutch Reformed Church and found the church secretary (genealogy society is in the basement and open 3 half days per month). She tried the president's phone number and got through but no one was home. The secretary sent me down the hall just to see if anyone was in the genealogy office and sure enough - the lady I was seeking (80 if she is a day) was there stapling the newsletter. She gave me a copy of the Middaugh family genealogy book I had been searching for. Unfortunately, our portion of the family is listed in the back as a "shard." In other words, we definitely are part of the family but they don't know how we connect in to the major lines. GREAT - this is what I have been trying to figure out and I found all the information listed in this book last week in Tompkins County. Evidently the author is coming out with a new book. I will have to contact him and see if we have become a "real" part of the family pot or still relegated to the odds and ends pile. I also looked for Davenports as long as I was there. No luck; no new information.

I then went on to Marbletown and Bevier House a museum in a restored home from the 1700s with a research center. Wonderful small museum with fabulous furniture, clothing, guns, munitions, kitchen implements and more. I also got some time in their research center, but again, no luck.

Since I had exhausted all of the known local sources, I headed back to Kingston. I enjoyed a 2 hour boat cruise on the Hudson going as far south as Hyde Park and the Roosevelt estate. Upon return, I walked down the dock to the Hudson River Maritime Museum. I was interested in whether I could find a picture or recounting of the steamship Aremenia's race with the Henry Clay I found a book so will provide you a short account:

"In 1852, the steamship Henry Clay left Albany on July 28th in a race with another steamer called the Armenia. All through the early morning in the narrow channel of the upper Hudson they steamed along almost side by side. Once the actually came together with a crash. Passengers were frightened, and several women fainted. Men tried to get the officers of the Henry Clay to stop racing, but they paid no attention. At one point they even tried to push the Armenia into shallow water where she would run aground. Toward the middle of the afternoon when the Henry Clay, still going at top speed, was almost in sight of New York, fire broke out near the middle of the vessel. Fanned by a strong river breeze, the blaze gained headway fast. In a matter of minutes the whole midship section was a mass of flames. The pilot headed the Henry Clay for the east bank of the river, which she soon struck at full speed. Her bow went up against the bank while the stern still sat in deep water. Since most of the passengers, including many women and children, were on the after end of the steamer, they had a choice of jumping overboard and possible downing or burning to death. The vessel burned to the water's edge in a very short time and when it was all over more than 80 people had lost their lives." GG grandpa Mehrhof had a bet on the race and had agreed to name his first child after the winning boat. Which is how great grandma Armenia got her name.

A nice dinner salad at a restaurant on the dock completed the day.

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