Whitehall Festival 87 Logo

The pin containing Festival ‘87’s logo is the Row Galley WASHINGTON that was part of the first United States fleet that played an active part in the Battle of Valcour. It is the fifth ship chosen by the Festival for its activities during Festival week in July in Whitehall, Schooner LIBERTY, Schooner ROYAL SAVAGE, Sloop ENTERPRIZE, and Gundelo PHILADELPHIA.

In 1776 while the fleet was building in Skenesborough Harbor, Benedict Arnold, in charge of providing the ships, designed the row galley to replace the gundelo then being built. The row galley was larger to carry more men; it was heavier to carry more armament; it was easier to handle. Four such row galleys were built in the harbor WASHINGTON, CONGRESS, TRUMBULL, GATES. They were rigged in Ticonderoga and sent down the lake to join the rest of the fleet. All but one took part in the battle. The GATES was not  finished in time to reach Valcour Bay.

Since the British made a plan of this ship after its capture we know the dimensions: Hull, 80 feet; deck length, 72; keel length, 66; beam, 20; depth, 6; draft, 7; tonnage, BM 123. This design is in the national museum in Greenwich, England.
WASHINGTON was in the curved line of American ships stretched across Valcour Bay as the fleet met the British ships. That evening it followed the TRUMBULL as it led the American ships out of the Bay and fled toward Schuyler Island. The sails were badly ridden but after slight repairs ran guard, 13 October, at the rear of the fleeing ships that the British were fast overtaking. General David Waterbury asked permission to scuttle her but was refused. Shortly afterwards the enemy overtook her and her crew. They were later released and praised the kind treatment they received at the hands of the British.

The British repaired WASHINGTON and reached Crown Point with the British force. On 28 October 1776 with German General Riedesel aboard for St. John, she ran aground during a storm but was released by passing boats. There Riedesel left her for Three Rivers. She wintered at St. John.

The next year 1777 when General Burgoyne’s huge fleet started south toward Albany many small boats accompanied his fleet. Among them was Row Galley WASHINGTON with Gundelo JERSEY and Cutter LEE, which had also been captured by the British in the retreat from Valcour. She arrived at Fort Ticonderoga with troops and since the small boats accompanied General Burgoyne to Skenesborough it can be assumed that WASHINGTON was with them and two weeks later was sent back to Canada with the soldiers and officers effects as there were no horses to carry them south.

Row Galley WASHINGTON served the British until 1784 when she was allowed to deteriorate or was broken up in Canada. The Gundelo JERSEY and Schooner LIBERTY suffered the same fate.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – January 15, 1987

(Title Unknown) John H. Polley

The Whitehall Drum Corps was reorganized under the direction of Drum Major John H. Polley who was fully determined to have a credit able organization. The performers would be put through a course of instructions necessary to perfect them in their work of furnishing good music.

The organ grinder was expected soon with his choice selection of good tunes.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – May 4, 1978

A Library in 1885

A hundred years ago establishing a library was an affair of cooperation among interested citizens. Several such collections were made over the years. Such a one was made in 1885.

The room chosen was over the Sullivan and Company’s store in the Pippo building. It was furnished with bookcases, desks and chairs for the village library. The desks moved from the Union School were neatly painted and grained to give the needed shelf room.

Over 1,000 books were collected from various sources and placed on the shelves. They were ready to be cataloged. At that time this process was a laborious one for the librarian. There was no central place where this service was provided complete with cards.

A call went out for books. “Now is the time to send whatever works you may be willing to contribute to the library.” Perhaps this is where the idea was gained that all unwanted books could be given to the library. This idea is not altogether useless for many volumes of value come to light.

An effort was being made to secure the “Alvord Library,” evidently sold in a series to subscribers as many such had consented to send their copies to the library. This would add 100 volumes to the collection.

Another source of books was publishing companies. Messrs. Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor and Company sent about 20 volumes, among them a fine atlas of the United States. A. S. Barnes and Co. forwarded a lot of 15 volumes of miscellaneous books. A popular history, U. S. Carrington’s Battles of the American Revolution and a memoir of President Garfield was among them.

The principal of the Union School, Professor Miller, contributed 30 volumes of new books. Among these were a set of 11 volumes of Washington Irving; Miss Young’s history on England, France, Rome and others, six volumes in all; Macauley’s England in five volumes; and light volumes of Macauley’s Essays. Evidently the high school had increased its collection of books from the time it had received the library of the second Whitehall Academy when it was dissolved so that it could give some away.
What a difference there is in the concept of a library today 100 years later. The school library with its fine collection of books has all the other attributes to add to youth’s training in microfilm, slides, magazines, computers, and other materials. It evolved in formal collection from the classroom libraries in the back of the rooms of Miss Waite and Miss Layden at Central building. The village library has grown from collections of donated books to it services in association with the Southern Adirondack Library System. Both are ready to serve youth and adults alike.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – Whitehall Times – December 11, 1986