The Schoellkopf Memorial Well in Forest Lawn Cemetery, 1411 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York, commemorates Paul A. Schoellkopf, Jr. (1917-2000). It is ringed by delicately-carved bronze, neoclassical figures dancing in a circle. The Schoellkopfs are a legendary Buffalo family dating back several generations to Jacob F. Schoellkopf, whose mastery of hydroelectric power on the Niagara River made him a fortune and led to the creation of the Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. Paul Schoellkopf, Jr. served on the boards of several prominent corporations, as well as the Buffalo Sabres ice hockey team.
This angelic monument in Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th Street in Brooklyn, New York City, is dedicated to composer and pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) and his brother, Edward George (1836-1863). Louis and George were from New Orleans, where Louis developed a taste for Latin American and Creole music. He was known as the “Valkyrie of the Piano” for his virtuoso performances. This current “Angel of Music” statue, designed by sculptors Giancarlo Biagi and Jill Burkee in 2012, replaced an older statue that was destroyed by vandalism in 1959.
Locals say ghosts refuse to allow the past to remain buried at this military base in Upstate New York.
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I was stationed at Fort Drum for over three years. When I wasn’t freezing my rear-end off during field exercises in the training area, I was researching the area’s history and lore. Like Fort Huachuca in southern Arizona, Fort Drum has its share of ghost stories, but because it’s a military base, its haunted sites aren’t readily available to the public. This seclusion lends an air of mystery to these already strange tales.
Fort Drum and its training area sprawls over 14 square miles of Jefferson County, New York, which shares a waterway with Canada. Relations with our neighbor to the north have not always been so friendly, and nearby Sackets Harbor served as a naval shipyard as far back as 1809. The US Army established Fort Pike and the Madison Barracks during the War of 1812 to defend the harbor. Nearly a century later, the Army opened Pine Camp several miles south along the Black River near Watertown, New York.
In 1940 and ’41, Pine Camp rapidly expanded as the Second World War threatened to drag the United States into another international conflict. The expansion displaced 525 families, swallowed five villages, and left over 3,000 buildings abandoned. The estate of James Le Ray, son of Revolutionary War hero Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, was appropriated by the military base. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.Continue reading “Fort Drum Specters Preserve the Past”
This near-bloodless skirmish on the Long Island coast was one of many raids and counter-raids during the Revolutionary War.
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The Battle of Setauket was fought on August 22, 1777 between American patriot forces commanded by Brig. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons and British loyalist forces commanded by Lt. Col. Richard Hewlett in Setauket on Long Island, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle ended in British victory when Americans withdrew after realizing they couldn’t capture British fortifications without significant casualties.
In early August 1777, British loyalist Lt. Col. Richard Hewlett’s 3rd Battalion of DeLancey’s Brigade, consisting of approximately 260 men, fortified a Presbyterian church in Setauket with breastworks and four swivel guns in anticipation of an attack. In fact, Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam had ordered Brig. Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons to take his 500-man force and raid Loyalist outposts on Long Island.
On the night of August 21, Parsons and his force crossed Long Island Sound with several small cannon. The next day, he sent a flag of truce to Richard Hewlett and demanded his surrender. Hewlett refused. The two sides traded fire for three hours, but the Patriot’s small cannon failed to make a dent in Loyalist fortifications. During the fighting, Parsons’ men took cover behind a large boulder now known as Patriot Rock.Continue reading “The Battle of Setauket, Aug. 1777”
Since the rebuilt colonial-era fort opened for tourists, some say sunrise brings a haunting melody of musical instruments from the past.
Fort Stanwix National Monument is a reconstruction of a historic fort occupying approximately 16 acres in downtown Rome, New York. Originally built by the British, it was captured and used by American colonists during the Revolutionary War. Since reconstruction finished in 1978, visitors have reported strange encounters with otherworldly sights and sounds, as though ghosts from the past have returned to reclaim their home.
British General John Stanwix originally ordered construction of the fort in the summer of 1758 to guard a portage connecting the Mohawk River and Wood Creek during the French and Indian War. It finished in 1762. The 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix between the British and the Iroquois attempted to solidify the frontier boundary and reduce hostility there. The fort was then abandoned and allowed to fall into ruin.
Colonial troops under the command of Colonel Elias Dayton occupied and repaired the fort in July 1776 and renamed it Fort Schuyler. British forces besieged the fort in August 1777, but were demoralized by a colonial raid on their camp and withdrew. It burned down in 1781. A treaty between the United States and the Iroquois League was signed at the site in 1784.Continue reading “Phantasmal Melody at Fort Stanwix”
A humble gravestone marks the final resting place of abolitionist, wartime spy, and social activist Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) in Fort Hill Cemetery, 19 Fort Street in Auburn, New York. Born Araminta Ross, a slave in Maryland, Harriet escaped to the free states in 1849, where she helped hundreds more escape slavery through the Underground Railroad. During the American Civil War, she served as a scout and spy for the Union Army. After the war, she advocated for women’s suffrage. She died of pneumonia in 1913 at the age of 90 or 91.
A roadside marker, quietly removed from its original location, is all that remains to mark the location of this Revolutionary War skirmish.
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The Battle of Young’s House was fought on February 3, 1780 between American patriot forces commanded by Lt. Col. Joseph Thompson and British and Hessian forces commanded by Lt. Col. Chapple Norton in Westchester County, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a disaster for the Americans: their outpost was destroyed and nearly every combatant was killed, wounded, or captured.
This area of New York was considered a “no man’s land” between British occupied New York City and Long Island and Patriot forces in Upstate New York. Joseph Young’s stone house and barn became a fortified camp for the opposing sides. It was occupied by Continental Army forces in 1776, the British in 1778, and the Continental Army again in 1779. The winter of 1779-1780 was brutally cold, and frozen waterways left New York City vulnerable to attack. The British decided to harass Patriot outposts to deter any offensive.
Lt. Col. Joseph Thompson and a contingent of 250 men from Massachusetts regiments garrisoned Young’s property, waiting in the harsh snow to be relieved by another unit. Unfortunately, a mixed British force of approximately 550 men, including 100 cavalry, led by Lt. Col. Chapple Norton marched north to seize their outpost.Continue reading “The Battle of Young’s House, Feb. 1780”