The Jacob T. Walden House

The Jacob T. Walden House The Home of the Historical Society of Walden & the Wallkill Valley & stone house museum. The "Walden House Tattler" newsletter is free to members--Membership is open to anyone interested in local history preservation.

See details: Our FaceBook page is an introduction to our web site The Jacob T. Walden House, located in Walden, New York. The House is a circa 1768 stone house owned and maintained by the Historical Society of Walden and the Wallkill Valley. The House is on the National Register, and the Society holds monthly member meetings with guest speakers on the 3rd Wednesday evening of most months in April, May, June, July, August, Sept. October, November, and December--with special events throughout the year. Please consult the web site calendar for specific upcoming events. Guests and New Members are always welcome!

Operating as usual

Another album from a Christmas Past:  The 2011 Christmas Tea and Open House.  We were so happy to have special guests--S...

Another album from a Christmas Past: The 2011 Christmas Tea and Open House. We were so happy to have special guests--Sue Rumbold-Taylor provided a beautiful Gingerbread House of our own Walden Railroad Depot; a talented student from the New York School of Music played several violin selections; and Kevin Cronin returned to sing & play guitar, encouraging Christmas Carols.

Empire Exploreris in Walden, New York.December 11 at 10:20 AM  ·

Empire Explorer
is in Walden, New York
December 11 at 10:20 AM ·

New York Knife Co. Part II
Between 1856 and 1931, the New York Knife Co. produced hundreds of different styles of pocketknives. Under their Hammer brand of knives, they produced the first Boy Scouts of America knife. One of their many creations that have become sought after collector’s items.

A look back at Christmas 2009 at the Christmas Tea & Open House!

A look back at Christmas 2009 at the Christmas Tea & Open House!

Please join us for Dining to Donate, tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 24, for our Take Out fundraiser at Franco's  Print the coup...

Please join us for Dining to Donate, tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 24, for our Take Out fundraiser at Franco's Print the coupon below or print several from our website--or pick one up at the Walden House or the Josephine-Louise Public Library,
We appreciate your participation in our fundraisers. We look forward to seeing you again in person after Covid-19 problems. This event, 5-9 PM is for Take Out meals only and you must use the coupon. THANK YOU!!

Historic Huguenot Street

Historic Huguenot Street

This week, the Curatorial staff is eager to share a 19th-century image of a familiar local treasure. This glass plate negative from 1888 offers a view of the Rosendale Trestle, and Joppenbergh Mountain beyond. Rosendale cement mines can be clearly seen in the side of the mountain. These cement mines were a part of Ulster County’s nearly 150-year history of cement production. Due to the large deposits of dolomite limestone found in the area, Rosendale became a thriving production site for more than a third of the country’s cement plants. Cement from the Rosendale mines was used in a multitude of quintessential landmarks and monuments including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty’s base, the wings of the U.S. Capitol, and the Washington Monument. Today, the bridge is a part of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and one can walk across it just like the individuals pictured over 100 years ago, albeit now with significantly safer guardrails!

Glass Plate Negative, 1888. Historic Huguenot Street Archives, Gift of Amy LeFevre.

Happy Halloween from the Trustees of the Historical Society of Walden and the Wallkill Valley!!  Is the Jacob T. Walden ...

Happy Halloween from the Trustees of the Historical Society of Walden and the Wallkill Valley!! Is the Jacob T. Walden House haunted? You'll have to attend meetings and see! Happy History Haunting--Hunting, that is!

From the March 2007 Walden House Tattler newsletter, an excerpt of a Times Herald-Record article that appeared sometime in the 1960s, by Mildred Parker Seese.

Town of Newburgh Historian

Town of Newburgh Historian

Well, the temperatures have begun to drop, and fall clean-up projects begin. I trimmed up some dead branches, cut some wood for BBQ smoking, and stained some outside trim and decking. When I pulled the tractor out of the shed to load up the trailer with the brush, I looked up and had to smile.
Hanging overhead, tied together in a bundle, were the ironwood poles my Dad cut, shaped, and used to go scapping. Okay, I realize many of you haven’t a clue as to what I’m speaking. Glancing around, I found a few of the metal pipe jigs these poles fit into, along with the tags from the New York State, which you paid for when you obtained your license. Yup, he fabricated those, too. The tags have the date stamped into the metal and needed to be displayed when you set up to scap. The latest tag I found was from 1986, though I do have some going all the way back to the 1930’s.
In the spring, as the waters of the Hudson River begin to warm, herring begin to run. They are especially bountiful along the shallows. Scapping is the setting up of a tripod, to which the main lifting pole is fastened. One person can push down and lift the other end of the pole out of the water.
The other end which is over the water is the one on which the metal jig is placed on the eye hook. Into this jig, the four hardwood poles are attached. Across the ends of these four poles is stretched a four foot net. The poles are bowed to attach to the net stretching it taunt and flat. If you note in the photos, you will see how the ends of the four poles were planed sanded down to fit tightly into the jig. Now, you’re all set to go!
The person on the tripod lowers the net into the water. He patiently waits and then abruptly and quickly raises the net! Bouncing about on the net are some herring! Well, at least if you’re lucky. The second person uses a long handled hand net to scoop out the herring and place them into whatever is being used to hold your catch.
Every other year or so, we’d load up all the equipment, pack some sandwiches, and cold beverages in a cooler, and head down to the Hudson. We’d spend an afternoon on the shore, catching probably ten or twelve bushels in an afternoon. Most times we did this over in Roseton. Then we’d load everything back up and head home. Now the work started, the fun was finished.
We’d begin cleaning the mess of fish. I don’t care how you do it, but when you are cleaning this many fish, it is a mess. We would cut off and discard the heads and tails. We’d dress them out and rinse them off good. The scraps were ground up in the soil in the garden when we tilled for the upcoming planting season unless some critters happened by.
Now the fillets were soaked for a time before being dried and placed in a brine solution. We used some ceramic crocks for this. You would season the herring fillets with various ingredients such as onions, dill, mustard, and so on, depending upon your tastes and handed down family recipes.
We didn’t know back then they were a high source of vitamin D and long chained Omega 3 Fatty Acids, they just tasted good, and could be enjoyed all year long. Pickling kept them ready for whenever you want some.
This practice came from our ancestors and was brought here from all ethnic groups. Herring are a great source of food and can be pickled for extended storage. From what I’ve read, they’ve been a food source as far back as 3000 BC. They can be served in many ways, though the way we did it was mostly pickling. Some of you may have had kippers which is a smoked version.
Interestingly, pickled herring was prized as a good luck food. I remember it was a yearly ritual with my mother’s Father, my Grandfather, who was second generation Irish being born here, to faithfully eat these at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. This was thought to bring a bountiful and prosperous new year. From what I’ve read, this was more a German custom, and my Grandfather did have a German step-father.
I manage to find a current day photo of fishing like this, as well as others, depicting more historical endeavors. The last time I did this was in the early 1970’s, though Dad continue on every few years to replenish his supply as needed.
Times were changing and so were we. I guess it became easier to simply buy a jar of pickled herring from the grocer than to spend a sunny afternoon fishing, followed by hours of cleaning and prepping your catch for months of enjoyment. The old ceramic crocks are long gone, but the memories remain forever.

Historic Huguenot Street

Historic Huguenot Street

Unlike the majority of objects in the HHS Permanent Collection, this week’s object was actually discovered hidden in one of the historic houses! In January of 2006, a storm damaged the roof of the LeFevre House. During the repairs, this shoe was found. It is believed to be a concealment shoe, hidden in the roof of the house intentionally.

The practice of hiding shoes in homes and other structures to ward off bad luck dates back to well before the construction of the LeFevre house by Ezekial Elting in 1799. There is evidence of concealed shoes as far back as the 14th century. In that instance, a shoe was found behind the choirstalls of the Winchester Cathedral, indicating that it had been placed there prior to or during the spaces’ construction in 1308. These shoes were often hidden in places where it was believed that an “evil spirit” could enter the structure. As such, they are often found in window frames or chimneys, as well as roofs and floorboards. Most of the shoes were well worn before they were hidden in the house. One reason for this may have been the belief that, since a well-worn shoe holds the shape of the person who wore it, an evil spirit who tried to put it on would become trapped in the ill-fitting shoe. The Northampton Museum maintains a concealment shoe index, which tracks the region where the shoe was found and where in the structure it was discovered, among other details.

Concealment Shoe from 1799 LeFevre House, 18th Century. HHS Permanent Collection.

Please join us as our Dining to Donate fundraiser--TAKE OUT dinners from Franco's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant resumes ...

Please join us as our Dining to Donate fundraiser--TAKE OUT dinners from Franco's Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant resumes on the LAST Tuesday of every month. Coupons are a printable PDF file under "FILES" on our page.

Wonderful online Archive exhibits at Huguenot Street.

Wonderful online Archive exhibits at Huguenot Street.

We are pleased to present an online exhibit on the life of Jacob Wynkoop (1829-1912). Jacob was born in New Paltz two years after slavery was legally abolished in New York State. Jacob had an exceptional and varied life for any man of his time, Black or white. Among the first African Americans to buy land in the community, he also served in the Union Army during the Civil War, organized politically on behalf of Black citizens in town, and built a series of homes that today still define a neighborhood in the village of New Paltz. Unlike countless other Africans and African Americans from the dawn of European colonization through the 19th century and beyond, Jacob’s story is fairly well documented in the historical record. This exhibit, curated by Josephine Bloodgood, Director of Curatorial and Preservation Affairs, was originally installed in the DuBois Fort Visitor Center in 2019, but has been expanded online.

Image: Jacob Wynkoop, ca. 1908. Detail from a photograph of Civil War veterans at the New Paltz Rural Cemetery. Courtesy of Shirley Anson and the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection, Elting Memorial Library.

Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands

Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands

This day in Newburgh History- August 7, 1869 President Grant visited Newburgh overnight as the guest of our mayor.

In his first year in office, President Ulysses Grant spent 24 hours in Newburgh. He came at the invitation of Mayor George Clark who hosted a grand dinner for him at the mayor's home on Liberty Street. The mayor made the date with Grant just after his inauguration to lobby for federal support for better transportation options for Newburgh in its central role in Hudson Valley commerce. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper was widely read throughout the country and it's artist came to capture an image of Grant's visit here. The feature showed the President and the Mayor along with a welcoming committee touring Washington's Headquarters and discussing Newburgh's rich history.

Arvid E. Miller Library Museum and Cultural Affairs Department

Arvid E. Miller Library Museum and Cultural Affairs Department

Arvid E. Miller Sr., a tribal leader for 26 yrs., had saved all the tribal documents over the years. When after his passing, there was a house fire, the realization of a need for a safe place to preserve those documents was created.

African Americans at Princeton
African Americans at Princeton

African Americans at Princeton

This article describes the role of African American soldiers who fought alongside white soldiers at the Battle of Princeton during the Revolutionary War.

Historic Huguenot Street

Historic Huguenot Street

Leading up to and during the American Revolution, the New Paltz community was largely in favor of independence. Over 220 New Paltz men signed the 1774 Articles of Association (also referred to as the Continental Association) in response to the “Intolerable Acts” the British government imposed on its subjects in the colonies. Here in the Hudson Valley, Americans blocked British attempts to control the riverway, patriots boycotted British teas and other goods, they accepted the Declaration of Independence, and created the State of New York. Just 20 miles south of New Paltz, Huguenot descendant Tryntje Hasbrouck (wife of Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck) and her children gave up their residence on the Hudson River in Newburgh for General George Washington to make his headquarters from 1782-1783.

The United States’ victory in the Revolutionary War would not have been possible without the courage and sacrifices of women and men across all of America’s diverse cultural groups. An estimated 5,000 Black soldiers fought on the side of the Patriots, with the greatest number of soldiers coming from the North. In Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where many Munsee Native Americans settled after they were displaced from the Hudson Valley, a company of Mohican and Munsee soldiers joined the Continental Army in the autumn of 1777. In July of 1783, Mohican Chief Hendrick Aupaumut (1757-1830) visited General Washington at his headquarters in Newburgh to secure a testimonial, in which Washington praised the Stockbridge company for their “attachment to the United States during the late War.” Women also played a significant, but often overlooked, role in the American Revolution. In addition to the legions of women who took over their husbands’ estates, businesses, and household responsibilities while they served, some women went to the frontlines and served as nurses, soldiers and spies, sometimes going as far as disguising themselves as men to join the service. Women did not only step up to fill traditional men’s roles in society, they also proved they were equally capable.

Colonial Currency, August 13, 1776
HHS Permanent Collection

Be sure to check out our collection of reproduction coins and currency on our online Museum Shop


Enjoy a post from Historic Huguenot Street!

Enjoy a post from Historic Huguenot Street!

Today, we are pleased to highlight the life of Eliza Ransom DuBois (1803-1883). As a school teacher at the Kettleborough School in Gardiner, New York, Eliza taught a variety of subjects. Most notable, however, was her embroidery work and teachings. Many other women from the New Paltz area studied under Eliza. The samplers they created with her guidance often featured her initials as an homage to her instruction. Samplers such as these were occasionally passed down through families.

Featured today is a hand-stitched sampler created by Gertrude LeFevre (1813-1856). The sampler dates to 1828 and features a blue and white floral border, which is a hallmark of pieces created under Eliza’s tutelage. The sampler is an example of embroidery on linen, with letters and numbers stitched in white, black, and varying shades of blue.

A photograph of Eliza, available through HHS' archives depicts her later in life. Eliza married Henry Dubois in 1837 at the Reformed Church in New Paltz, located on Historic Huguenot Street. Her family ties to New Paltz are significant. During the Revolution, her grandfather served as a member of the Committee of Safety in New Paltz and signed the New Paltz Articles of Association.

Sampler, 1828. HHS Permanent Collection, Gift of David and Mary Ann Clark.

Eliza Ransom Photograph, HHS Archives.


34 North Montgomery Street
Walden, NY


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Here is a little look back in time...
Hello all, I am looking for any information anyone might have about my great grandfather, Edwin Dawson Stevens, Sr. I know he was born in Walden and worked at a knife factory before starting his own trucking business and then general contracting business before being elected Town of Montgomery Highway Superintendent for many years before he retired. I "think" he worked at the New York Knife Factory (1887 - 1915?) because his father, Charles H Stevens, came to Walden with that company in 1856 or so as an apprentice cutler himself. I have reached out to our expert, Lynn Foote, about the pocket knives they produced and the process so I can better understand his life working as a cutler mass producing knives. If anyone knows of organizations he belonged to or any other pictures or anecdotes I am interested. I am writing about him for a class about family history writing and need more information about his early life if possible. I have downloaded the report by the NYS Museum on the excavation of the site before the reconstruction of the upper bridge. Great information that helps me but I am looking for the process of mass producing pocketknives in the early 1900s. I appreciate any info you can share with me in my research.
More antique postcards of Walden
My father grew up in Walden and brought his war-bride back to Walden after the close of World War II. These are postcards my mother sent home to family in England of her new home. My parents eventually relocated to Washington, DC in 1952.
Hi all I am wondering if anyone has any pics or knows where they would be of a local home on west Main Street. I am specifically looking for a pic or a few of 136 West Main Street. Help. Lol. Thank you.
Hello - My mother was an English war bride whose first home in American was my father’s home village, Walden. She arrived in Walden around 1946. She sent letters and postcards home to her family in England that I recently uncovered. I thought they might be of interest to the historical society. Please let me know if you have questions. Susan Shaffer
The members of the Walden Community Council will meet at the Jacob T. Walden House on Wednesday, December 5th at 7 pm, one week early, to enjoy the hospitality of the Historical Society, see the festive decorations and consume tasty, sweet treats. A meeting will also be held. Please join us! 🎄with Anita Vandermark, Sandy Vandermark Magill
Hello Everybody, I am trying to trace family or relations of a James (Budd), Vincent O'Neill who died in 1943 in a flying accident just outside of Edinburgh in Scotland. Would you happen to know if there is a local Historical Society in Walden or would it be possible you might be able to help me yourselves? Sincerely, Kenny Walker, Blackness, Scotland.
The Walden House under rehabilitation. 1963 or 1964.
Model of the Jacob Walden House made by Ben Mills and William Ransom. 1961. I don't know the identities of all the people.
Ben Mills and String Cooper (?) July 18, 1965 Open House.