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The Village of Fort Edward is located on the East bank of the Hudson River, approximately fifty miles north of Albany, NY. The first inhabitants of this place were of course native Americans, however, by the time of the historic period Native Americans only used this immediate area as a hunting ground and an area for portage between the Hudson River and Lake Champlain on their trips North and South. The area was known by the old Indian Name Wahcoloosencoochaleva or “Great Carrying Place”.
Fort Edward is in Washington County, the home of the county offices. The D&H Railway also runs through here. Railtransportation was first available in 1869 in the area, then known as the Glens Falls railroad. Hodgeman and Palser was one of the first firms manufacturing paper. Frederick Hodgeman was the first mayor, orpresident of the Village of Fort Edward in 1849. His firm was very successful when he brought in a partner from England by the name of Palser. In the early days paper was made from rags, but as the 19th century progressed lumber played an important role and new technology found the paper industry turning to pulp from the Adirondacks so the saw mills were ultimately replaced by pulp mills.
George Underwood of Fort Edward became a key player in the development of the local paper making industry. He had substantial property holdings in the Adirondacks. Towards the end of the 19th century he, along with several other prominent Glens Falls industrialists organized the Glens Falls Paper Mills. Later George Underwood would become a founder of International Paper, which would dominate paper making for the first half of the 20th century. IP as it was locally called, became the regions local employer. The Fort Edward Plant would eventually close to be sold off to Marinette Paper Company, which was subsequently bought out by Scott Paper Company.
In the 1980's Scott was absorbed by Kimberly Clark, then after a few years, part of its paper division was sold off to Irving Tissue (a Canadian company), which continues to produce some paper items originally created by Scott Tissue in their mill here today.
Fort Edward was namedin honor of Edward, Duke of York and Albany, grandson of George II and brother of George III. At this time a large military hospital complex was constructed on the island, presently known as Rogers Island.
Nathaniel Gage, arriving in 1762, was the pioneer settler. In 1766 Noah Payne, Levi Crocker and Timothy Buel came from Connecticut to build farms and comfortable homes on tracts of land granted them by England. Two years later, Judge William Due (born in England in 1747) purchased a tract of land including the river falls, and built a sawmill, a gristmill, and later erected a powder mill and snuff mill. He became prominent and active in public affairs and held numerous public offices, of which the most important was assistant Secretary of U. S. Treasury under Alexander Hamilton. His home, a mansion of spacious dimensions and elegance, stood on a low hill east of the village. The homes of Noah and Daniel Payne, which are both located on the old River Road, are the only two who survive today.
Shortly before the Revolutionary War, the fortifications were dismantled. Now the War of Independence put Fort Edward on the “Great War Path” once again. With the fortifications in ruins, Fort Edward was defenseless. Schuyler retreated to Saratoga and Fort Edward came under Burgoyne’s occupation. In 1777, an event took place here which has been said to have changed the course of the Revolution. With the tragic murder of Jane McCrea, many area settlers took up arms against the British and helped to cause Burgoyne’s defeat in Saratoga.
After the war little is known of Fort Edward’s early settlers. Durkeetown, located in the eastern section of Fort Edward was settled by Solomon Durkee, one of the first settlers. The Baptist Church which is still active there, was established in 1832. The old District #5 schoolhouse on the Durkeetown Road no longer stands.
The settlement of Moses Kill located on the Hudson River in the southern section of town takes its name from the stream which flows into the Hudson at this point. A post office was established in 1872 and for a short time, the name of Mock was used for this hamlet. Susan B. Anthony taught school here in her early life.
Rogers Island is an island on the Hudson River in Washington County and is part of the Village of Fort Edward. Archaeological discoveries on Rogers Island show Native Americans hunting and fishing activities dating back approximately 4000BC. Due to its strategic location on the Hudson, Rogers Island and Fort Edward became a fortress operated by the British Empire, involved in the French and Indian War with invasions into French Canada. Due to the expansion required to house such large numbers of troops, estimated to be 16,000, Fort Edward and Rogers Island became the third largest community in North America after New York City and Boston.From 1756 to 1759, Rogers Island was used as a training ground for Major Robert Rogers, from which the island takes its name.
Fort Edward is the home of many tourist attractions, one of which is Rogers Island Visitor Center. Several of the attractions are thought to be haunted and attract many visitors. One of thehistoricalplaces, “The Jane McCrea House” which is said to be haunted by the spirit of a woman named JaneMcCreaswho was killed by Native American warriors in July of 1977.
According to historians, Jane was engaged to aBritishsoldier when fighting broke out in the fort. When sheattempted toflea, she was captured and later scalped after a failed ransom negotiation with British troops. Ever since, her spirit is said to haunt the Jane McCrea house and residents report experiencing strange paranormalactivity. Annually, there is an event called Heritage Days. It is an annual celebration in Fort Edward NY, on the last weekend of June, starting Friday evening thru Sunday afternoon. There is a rather impressive Parade on Saturday down Broadway, and various activities throughout the weekend at the Fort Edward Yacht Basin, including fireworks, vendors, music, carnival rides, wrestling, food and even helicopter rides.
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