It has been another busy and eventful holiday season here at the Ticonderoga Historical Society. Our home, the Hancock House, was opened to the community on December 7th to thank all for their support, donations and other good will shown to us during 2014. As in the past we also hosted, with Ti Arts, The Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce’s holiday “mixer” where we had an opportunity to personally welcome — and thank — their members who help make this town and region a better place to be. On this eve of Christmas we present some visual presents of the season and a few historical reflections of times past.
To An Evergreen Tree
From a tiny shrub we watched you grow;
Now can you tell us why
You stand so strong, so straight,
Arms uplifted to the sky?
Here, within your branches
Summer birds have built their
While so oft, the winter snows
Have laid their burden on your
Children play beneath your
Light of heart and full of joy
May they, too, grown straight and
Every little girl and boy.
Learn to fill their place in life
With a purpose firm in life
With a purpose firm and true;
May every tempest that they
Make them stronger, just like
– Ellen M. Johnson, Ticonderoga
In another time and place, the beginnings of the construction Fort Carillon by the French, we find in the writings of Burt Garfield Loescher and from the Journals of Robert Rogers the beginning of the formation of his “Rangers” and the scout to Ticonderoga in December, 1755.
Loescher – (The beginning) The Company had no uniforms. “They Cloath themselves and were very ragged consequently they catch cold.” (Rogers)Most of the men wore the Indian Leggings. Some wore the hunting shirt, while others sported jackets or coats with the long tails cut off. They carried whatever arms and camp equipage that they might own.
“In spite of the forbidding weather, Captain Rogers went to Ticonderoga on one last scout for the year. In his typical unassuming style, Rogers gives his customary detailed “report of a Scout.”
Journal – “On the 19th of December I set out by Orders with three Men to make discoverys of the French and the Situation of their Fort at Tianderoga. We Paddled in a Battoe about 15 miles down the Lake and saw a fire on an Island, then we turned our Course and landed our Battoe on the West side of the lake by the Great Mountain and lodged there that Night.
The 20th day of December – we Traveled by Land towards Ticonderoga about 20 Miles and Camped in a Pleasant Place between two Mountains, nothing remarkable happened this day.
The 21st we went on our Course towards Ticonderoga and about 12 of the Clock we Came in plain sight of the French Fort, where we discovered their Men busy at Work all of them excepting the Guards, some were Sawing Boards, others Shaving Clapboards, some of them were at Work finishing their Barracks in said Fort and some small Houses and several on the outside of the Fort and Men living in some of the them. On the North West Bastion were mounted two Cannon two laid on Wheels by the Gate and four or five pointing towards the Lake. On the East and South East part of the Fort, I tryed to Number their Men but could not do it, they were going about their Secular Affairs so busy, by my Judgment was that there were about 500. In the evening we advanced nearer the Fort and way laid a Road in order to take a Prisoner or get a scalp. The said Road led towards Lake George. About half an Hour after we set our Ambush, there came ten Men by us within 8 Rods but were so weak we durst not fire on them, and so let them pass. A few minutes after, there came a Company of Indians over from the East side of the Lake on the Ice loaded with Venison & Skins. Just about Sunset there went 5 Men with a Horse & Cart for a Load of Wood to the Northside of the Fort and went beyond the Clear Land into the Woods. Then we left our Ambush in order to fall upon said five, but before we could get near enough to them they had got their Wood and were returning to the Fort so we sat down till it was quite dark intending to wait till the morning & try them again but it was so cold we could not sit still, and were olig’d to keep moving, and went softly down to one of their Hutts which they had left and went into it for a shelter from the cold, and about break of Day next Morning the Snow fell so fast that we were oblidged to retreat. We travell’d homewards that day about 25 Miles and Camped yet lay in fear of a pursuit and by Break of day next Morning set our homewards. Within about two Miles of our Battoe we Came upon a Flock of Deer and kill’d two to them. With the utmost Expedition dress’d them and made to our Battoe and Launched it ready to set homewards.. We dug up our bottle which we had hid with about one Quart of Rum in it which revived our Spirts greately. Then set home with good courage and about 2 of the Clock in the Morning Arrived at Fort William Henry in a good time to hold Christmas.”
Loescher – So ended the first campaign of Rogers Rangers, Out of eight scouts performed by Rogers and his men towards Ticonderoga and Crown Point, two of them were engagements with the enemy and most of the remaining six were so daring in their execution as to well establish the name of Rogers and “Rogers Rangers.”
A Sailor’s Drawing – USS Ticonderoga 1944
In another time and place, almost two centuries hence from Rogers’ Scout we share with you a WWII era Christmas aboard the USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14)
A Christmas Menu:
And on the home front a 1940s Ticonderoga Christmas
A Christmas Party at Adkins & Scott, Montcalm Street, Ticonderoga, NY
(Current location of Sunshine Laundry)
From all of us to all of you, wishing you the very best of these Holidays.
TACC & THS “Mixer Photo”
(Next year will be 70th anniversary of end of WWII, we plan on making the 1940’s one of our main exhibit themes. We are looking for items related to the war and the home front to aid us in telling this history. Your assistance in planning and development is extended. Donations of material of this era is sought and will be greatly appreciated.)