Stephentown Heritage Center

From Stephentown Genealogy: Roots & More

Written by Tina Ordone

Stephentown Heritage Center

In October, 2006, Clint and I spent a great afternoon at the Stephentown Heritage Center. Bill Zimmerman and Bev McClave made us feel right at home and spent a good deal of time showing us around and telling us about all of the acquisitions.

Several people who visit the site regularly stopped by and we enjoyed meeting them.

For updated information, please visit the Stephentown Historical Society's website.


[Note by Administrator: this article used to contain photos, but the descriptions of those photos are below.]

Clint took this shot of Claire Wheeler and I at the Heritage Center. She and her husband spent several hours at the center with us. She brought me many obituaries for the site. Her husband was great, and Clint enjoyed talking to him about all of their travels.  These are two articles from the February, 2007 issue of the Stephentown Historical Society newsletter. Our visit made the news!

Many of you may have at one time or another written to Virginia Atwater with your genealogy questions. Here is her photo and an article about how the Society honored her for her years of work.  This is the Vanderbilt House sign that was on top of the hotel, as seen in photo of it in its prime. It is now hanging just below the loft at the Stephentown Heritage Center. Just above it you can see the room where many of the acquisitions are kept, waiting to be cataloged.

This is a painting of the Stephentown Railroad Depot, in much better days, that can be found hanging on the wall at the Heritage Center. Some of the important information that can be found at the Heritage Center includes:

Historical records such as deeds, indentures (some dating back to Stephen Van Rensselaer), war records, Rutland Railroad papers, store ledgers, church and school records, genealogical and cemtery data, photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, maps and family collections of memorabilia.

Two of themost interesting historical records in our collection are the Moffitt papers and an extraction of marriages, births and death from George Holcomb's diary, the original of which is in the New York State Archives. (the extraction can be found here.)

One of the first gifts to the Stephentown Historical Society was the donation by Albert Phelps of the Moffitt papers. Hosea Moffitt (1757-1825) was a lawyer who also served as the agent for Stephen Van Rensselaer in the area. He was a businessman, trading in hides and other things, a school trustee, and a trustee of the Presbyterian Church. His papers include land indentures, store receipts, records of loans given and repaid, bills for construction materials for the Church, and letters concerning an internal controversy in the Church, in addition to routine legal matters.

The historical records in the collections of the Society are preserved for the future but are also available for study by anyone interested in the history of the town, whether for scholarly pursuits or just to satisfy curiosity. (above information taken from Stephentown Historical Society's 25th Anniversary Album 1973-1998)  I can't encourage all the site visitors enough to join the Stephentown Historical Society. The people who are living in Stephentown work very hard to keep the Heritage Center going and to teach students in area schools about the history of the town, hoping to cultivate in the next generation an interest to carry on the work. Of course, finances are always an issue, as with any organization. Site visitors could help with that by joining.

They send out a newsletter that is always packed with great information and if you are in the area for their meetings, they always have an interesting program, with guest speakers.

Membership is from January 1 to December 31 and all memberships are tax-deductible. Individual, Supporting and Life memberships are for individuals only.

PLEASE join the Historical Society and tell them that the site sent you! It helps them to know where their members are coming from and it doesn't hurt the site any to have as many members as possible. Thanks. It will be money well spent. Stephentown Historical Society.