SEASON STARTS — Herkimer Home State Historic Site will open for the season on Saturday, May 26. (Photo submitted)
Herkimer Home opens Saturday
LITTLE FALLS — Herkimer Home State Historic Site will open for the season on Saturday with a militia muster living history event. The muster will be held on Saturday and Sunday and will include demonstrations, guest speakers and a taste of what life was like in 1773 for the newly formed Tryon County Militia.
Demonstrations both days between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will included African American foodways, Palatine German foodways, 18th century trade bales, laundry, blacksmithing, medicine and medical practices and chocolate. The militia will provide drilling demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., and there will be bateuax afloat on the Mohawk river with demonstrations at 1 and 3 p.m. At noon Col. Wells will read the Militia Act and at 2 Anne Clothier will present “Maladies, Medicine and Mortality: Disease in Upstate New York, 1750-1850.”
Militia musters were an annual gathering to determine the number and readiness of local militia soldiers. Officers inspected the firearms and equipment of every individual and then lead the men through the evolutions of the drill and marching to the delight of parents, siblings and young ladies present. As much a social occasion as military exercise, peddlers sold wares, blacksmiths, leather craftsmen, tailors and others worked in their trade and the day culminated in a meal.
Herkimer Home will open this year with an improved tour and interpretation as well as a new cedar shingle roof. Other events at the site that will be offered include a Garden Fair on June 6, a Ghost Hunt on June 30, and a wreath laying ceremony on Aug. 16. Additionally, this season Herkimer Home will have on display the Petrie Textile, an approximately 300-year-old bedcover featuring several motifs that were common in German artwork during the time period. The textile belonged to the family of Catherine Petrie who married Johan Jost Herkimer, the father of Gen. Nicholas Herkimer.
Herkimer Home State Historic Site is the Georgian-style mansion that was the home to Revolutionary War hero, Gen. Nicholas Herkimer. He completed construction of his mansion about 1764 and he assured his place in history in 1777 at the Battle of Oriskany. In August 1777, while the British were attacking Fort Stanwix, Brigadier Gen. Nicholas Herkimer assembled 800 militiamen, supported by 60 allied Oneida warriors, and marched to aid against the seige. Upon hearing of Herkimer’s advance, British and Loyalist troops under Sir John Johnson and Col. John Butler, and Indian forces led by Mohawk Joseph Brant, set a trap in a boggy ravine west of Oriskany Creek. Although seriously wounded in the leg, Herkimer kept command. After the battle, Herkimer was carried home where he died 10 days later.
The site is open daily from sunrise until sunset. The Visitors Center is open and house tours are available on Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays and Monday holidays from 1 to 5 p.m. Herkimer Home State Historic Site is located at 200 State Route 169. Call 315-823-0398 for more information.
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