Anniversary bells today for Mr. and Mrs. George Hyatt.
Whitehall is now a National Bicentennial Community. With the official flag and certificate presentation to come, the community will be farther along with the plans that have been formulated to make Celebration ‘76 a success with the assistance of all Whitehallers.
In 1959 Whitehall celebrated its Bicentennial in association with New York State’s observance of the 350th anniversary of the Lake Champlain – Hudson River Valley. This time the celebration of its part in history will be in association with the national bicentennial.
Our cause for celebration is manifold. Although it has been repeated often in this column, reiteration can put emphasis on the part Whitehall played in history as Skenesborough. Celebrations over the United States will take in events of the whole Revolutionary period; Boston has already had the Tea Party reenactment. Whitehall’s main action in the war was during 1775 to 1777 and so the celebration can cover 1975 to 1977.
The first event took place 9 May 1775 when Skenesborough was captured by two forces sent to obtain the schooner and other boats known to be in the place by Captain Herrick from Castleton and Captain Barnes from Salem. At that time the schooner was 41 taken and became the first ship of the Colonial and the Federal Navy. This action was the first war activity in New York State.
The second series of events came in 1776 when Skenesborough became the shipyard of Benedict Arnold when he constructed the first fleet of the United States that succeeded later in obstructing British action. This resulted in saving George Washington’s army and so; gave us the United States.
The third event was the – battle in Skenesborough Harbor 6 July 1777 when the last of the fleet was captured or sunk by British forces. This event called Burgoyne to Skenesborough where he made his headquarters for three weeks. This delay, while he waited for a road south to be cleared, again allowed the Americans time to recoup their forces and led to the British defeat at Saratoga.
These events are a part of Whitehall’s heritage — heritage which all citizens— former, present or future — can well be proud of and should be able to relate.
Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – January 10, 1974