Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Annual Pancake Breakfast Sunday, April 27th

Join us at our Annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser on Sunday, April 27th, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Waterford Civic Center. This is one of our major fundraising activities for the year. If you can’t come, please send a donation to help us meet our goal of $1,100.
Waterford Civic Center
Third Street, in the Village of Waterford

Trivia Night March 15th, 6:30pm

Trivia Night
March 15th, 6:30pm
At the Knights of Columbus Hall in Waterford
$25 per person
Dinner, History, Prizes

Corned Beef & Cabbage OR Ham & Cabbage
Soup • Potatoes • Fresh Vegetables • Rolls • Coffee/Tea • Dessert
A fun night of food, facts, and philanthropy!


Please call the Museum at (518) 238-0809 or email This is a team event. Sign up your group of 8 or join the Team Roulette List and we’ll put you with a team!

Knights of Columbus • 76 Grace Street •
Waterford, NY 12188

Spring Day Trip to Olana and Clermont State Historic Sites in Hudson and Germantown, NY Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center’s Spring Day Trip will be on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. In the morning we will visit Olana State Historic Site and in the afternoon Clermont State Historic Site, both in the Hudson Valley.
Olana was the Persian style home of artist Frederic Church and his wife Isabel. The visitor center offers a film and an illustrated panel display about the life of Church and the history of Olana. The house tour follows.
Clermont was home to seven generations of the socially and politically influential Livingston family. Most notable resident was Chancellor Robert T. Livingston, negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase and co-inventor of Robert Fulton’s steamboat.

Lunch: will be at Kozel’s Restaurant on Route 9H in Ghent. It will be a hot and cold buffet consisting of salads, several hot entrĂ©es, desserts, coffee and tea.

Departure: 8:30 a.m. from the rear parking lot across from the Wesleyan Church, 75 Grace Street, Northside, Waterford. Approximate return to Waterford 5:30pm.

Cost: Current Museum members- $80.00 - non-members $85.00. Price includes parking, motor coach transportation with Wade Tours, admission fees, guided tours and lunch.

Paid Reservations by April 4, 2014

Make reservations with Emily Wilson at 518-237-7122 by April 1st. Please make checks payable to the Waterford Historical Museum and mail directly to:
Emily Wilson, Treasurer
26 Columbus Ave.,
Waterford N. Y. 12188

Moving On…

Moving On…
After 13 years as Director of the Waterford Museum, I am moving on to a new position. It is bittersweet to let you all know that in March I will be joining the staff of the NYS Museum as a Senior Historian. Waterford will always hold a dear place in my heart and it has been a rewarding experience to take part in the growth the Museum.
There are many people who have helped along the way and who have played an integral part in both my success and the successes of the Museum. In fact, I do not have enough space here to list everyone who has helped make our successes over the past 13+ years possible. But, I would be remiss if I did not mention my two colleagues who have both played such an important part in my time here, Paul Schneider and Aine Leader-Nagy, without whom much of our behind the scenes successes would not have been possible. Thank you Paul and Aine! It would also be a mistake not to thank the many Board members and volunteers who have served the Museum over the years. Thank you all for your support!
As we look to celebrate 50 years, I think it is important to remember it is the hard work of our volunteers and support of our community that have always been the most important ingredients to the Museum’s success… past, present and future. Please encourage your friends to join and support the Museum. Encourage the businesses you frequent to continue to support the Museum. If possible, give a little extra next time you renew your membership, volunteer one more time and encourage your elected officials to continue to support the museum.
One of the great things about this community is it’s rich history. It seems that even after 13 years of researching the Waterford, there is always more to learn. I encourage you all to love and respect Waterford’s great past and see it as a link to the community’s future, especially in regard to heritage tourism. After all, how can you know where you are going, if you don’t know where you have been?
I am looking forward to sending Emily my check to become a member.

Thank you for your support! Brad

Friday, February 21, 2014

"Irish Revolutionaries: The Fenian Brotherhood in Troy, Cohoes, and Waterford," Waterford Museum’s Winter Series at McGreivey’s

The Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center proudly announces our next Winter Series program, “Irish Revolutionaries: The Fenian Brotherhood in Troy, Cohoes, and Waterford,” with local historian Aaron Robinson. In the mid-19th century, Irish revolutionaries were not confined solely to Ireland, but could be found in the United States, including on the streets of Troy, Waterford, and Cohoes. Celebrate the Irish season by learning about the Fenian Brotherhood in this area, and how their activism caused them to clash with the church, politicians, and even themselves.

Join us for splendid food, fascinating facts, great conversation and engaging company at 7pm, March 11th at McGreivey’s, one of this areas finest restaurants. Food & Drink available for PURCHASE all evening. Suggested donation is $6 per person ($5 members).

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Waterford Museum Seeks Artists for 50th Anniversary Logo Competition

The Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center issued a call for artists interested in designing a new logo in honor of the organization’s 50th anniversary in 2014. The competition is open to all artists. To enter, please submit jpeg or pdf files via e-mail by March 14, 2014 to with “Logo Design Competition” in the subject line.

Key elements for artist consideration are:
• The tagline “Celebrating 50 Years of Unlocking History” can be placed below the logo or in the design.
• Although not required, if the artist would like to use the name of the museum as part of the design, please use one of the following options- Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center, Waterford Museum or WHMCC.
• Design submissions must include two versions of the same design: one with a gold-colored 50th Anniversary symbol or wording and the second without the 50th Anniversary symbol or wording so that the design can be used in the future. The second version must also change tagline to “Unlocking History” or “Unlocking History at the Waterford Museum”.
• The logo will be used on all of the Museum’s promotional materials, newsletters and websites.
• The logo will appear in print in both color and black and white. Artists should take this into consideration with their designs.

The winning design will be selected by the Museum’s Board of Trustees and staff on March 26, 2014, and the winner will be notified the following day. The winner will receive $100, a free one-year Museum membership and two free tickets to the Museum’s 50th Anniversary gala to be held in October 2014.

The official unveiling of the new logo will take place at an exhibit opening at the Museum on May 2, 2014. For further information, contact the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center at (518) 238-0809 or

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

John Carlin, Pioneering Deaf Painter

 John Carlin, born in 1813, became deaf as an infant, yet overcame his disability to become a well known landscape and portrait painter. The circumstances of his life and accomplishments are extraordinary and reveal a great deal about him as a person and the understanding - or lack of - and treatment of the hearing impaired in the mid-nineteenth century.

The following information is taken from Questroyal Fine Art, LLC's entry for the artist (the full entry and references may be found at: )

"John Carlin (1813–1891)

Pioneering Deaf Painter, Writer, Poet, and Public Sign-Speaker

By Amy Spencer

"Carlin was born in Philadelphia in 1813. His father was a cobbler who struggled to find work to support the family. Carlin became deaf in infancy and, without the ability to communicate with or understand instruction from his parents, was left to roam the streets of Philadelphia.

"In the late 1810s, a merchant and philanthropist named David Seixas founded an informal school for deaf children in his Philadelphia home. In 1820 Seixas found Carlin on the streets and brought him to his school. Around the same time, Seixas hired pioneering deaf teacher Laurent Clerc to help the fledgling school. Carlin thrived at the Mount Airy School (now the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf), learning reading, writing, sign language, and painting, which he loved.

"After graduating in 1825 at the age of 12, Carlin supported himself as a sign and house painter. He continued to study and draw in his spare time and by age 19 had mastered five foreign languages.....

"In 1843 Carlin married Mary Wayland (a relative of President Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, William Henry Seward) who was also deaf. The couple raised five children together, none of who were hearing-impaired. Three years after his marriage, Carlin published his poem, “A Mute’s Lament” in the first issue of American Annals of the Deaf. He went on to publish many poems in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and various newspapers. Carlin also wrote and illustrated a children’s book The Scratchside Family, in 1868. He also published an article, “The National College for the Deaf,” in The American Annals of the Deaf in 1854.

"From the early 1850s, Carlin began actively participating in deaf community affairs in addition to painting. Carlin helped raise $6,000 to build St. Ann’s Episcopal Church for the Deaf in New York. Erected in 1852, this church was founded by Reverend Thomas Gallaudet, and was the first church for deaf people in the United States. Carlin was a member of this church for the next forty years.
Carlin was also secretary of the committee in charge of financing a monument to Thomas Gallaudet at the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in Hartford, Connecticut."
John Carlin

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"A National Game that is Played Out"

This cartoon appeared in Harper's Weekly in December 23, 1876, just nine days after the "home invasion" of the Gillette home near Waterford. 

One of the fascinating things about history is context between the past and present. This cartoon by well-known 19th century artist, Thomas Nast, offers such context on two levels.

On one level, Nast's cartoon was intended as a visual lampoon on the bitterly contested US Presidential election of 1876 between NY Governor Samuel J. Tilden and his Republican challenger, Ohio Governor, Rutherford B. Hayes. There were disputed election returns from the states of Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida - hence Nast's portrayal of the ballot box as a football. Presidential shenanigans have a long and inglorious history. To read more about the election in the nation's centennial year of 1876 follow this link to HarpWeek, which is a wonderful source:

On another level, Nast's rendition of a ballot box being kicked around like a football provides a bit of appropriate sports context to Super Bowl XLVIII. Here is the complete HarpWeek explanation:

"The disputed presidential election returns from South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana, are here represented by a sports analogy to American football, which evolved out of English rugby. In 1876 Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia established the Intercollegiate Football Association, with Yale also participating. Until rule changes in 1881, the ball was not passed, but kicked or carried (it took four carried touchdowns to equal one kicked goal)."

File:President Rutherford Hayes 1870 - 1880 Restored.jpg
Rutherford B. Hayes, Ohio Governor
Sameul J. Tilden, NYS Governor

Saturday, February 1, 2014

" an instant five masked and armed men were at his bedside."

The microfilmed copies of historic newspapers, or those found online as this one was, are sometimes difficult to read.

Here is a transcription of the entire article of the December 1876 burglary near Waterford.

“Masked Burglars Again

            Another masked burglary near Waterford, Monday night, appears to confirm the general belief that one or more gangs of masked burglars are and have been for months pursuing their nefarious calling in Saratoga county. This is the fifth case which as occurred in the past three weeks. About midnight of Monday, Mr. Henry Gillette, residing two miles northwest of Waterford, was awakened by the loud barking of his dog, and immediately thereafter the front door of his residence was burst open and in an instant five masked and armed men were at his bedside. Pistols were presented at the head of Mr. and Mrs. Gillette, with orders for them to keep quiet. They were securely bound and gagged after which the outlaws went to the room of Mr. Gillette’s son who was similarly treated. The premises were then thoroughly searched, chests, bureau, trunks and closets being broken open. The robbers secured $30 in money, all the silverware, clothing, provisions and other valuables in the house amounting in value to about $700. After partaking of refreshments they loaded their spoils into a wagon and drove off. The family were released by a neighbor who chanced to call the next morning. The matter is in the hands of the proper authorities, but no trace of the thieves has been found. The alarming frequency of these masked burglaries would seem to require that something more than ordinary measures be taken to ferret out the perpetrators.”

Source: Evening Journal, Albany, NY, December 14, 1876.