Diabetes Awareness Campaign: Trekking Along the Erie Canal.
North Tonawanda
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Lockport
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Albion
Brockport
Rochester
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Canajoharie
St. Johnsville
Auriesville
Amseterdam
Schenectady
Schenectady
Colonie
Albany
Sunday, October 28
Auriesville
Jesuit memorial.
Jusuit memorial
Late yesterday afternoon I hoofed from Fultonville to Auriesville, so that is where Jerie dropped me off to start the day. As I continued on the path she drove up the hill to the National Shrine of North American Martyrs.
The place honors the eight Jesuits who were martyred in the mid 17th century, three of whom were killed at this spot in 1642 and 1646.
After French trappers arrived in Canada they were followed by Jesuit missionaries. These men traversed Huron lands, administering to and serving the Indians.
The Huron were the sworn enemy of the Iroquois nations who considered the men in black robes to be allies of the Huron. As a result the missionaries were considered enemies to be tortured and killed when captured.
In 1930 the eight martyrs were canonized thus the shrine has become an important site for Roman Catholics. That same year a round church in the shape of the Roman Coliseum was built here. The church can hold 6000 worshippers.
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Jerie the drove over the canal and went to Fort Johnson which was the homestead of Sir William Johnson. He was the ďSuperintendent of the Six Nations and other Northern Indians.Ē General Johnson fought in the French and Indian war and built Fort William Henry.
I remember visiting Fort William Henry, which is situated on Lake George, when I was a kid. One of my favorite books, The Last of the Mohicans, was based of the fall of the fort to the French and the subsequent massacre of the British. Fortunately Johnson wasnít at the fort when it fell. He fought in several arenas including the Battle of Quebec.
As a result of his duties concerning Indian affairs, he became acquainted with the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant. As a young man, Brant fought for the British during the French and Indian War. Johnson eventually married Brantís sister Molly. Although Johnson died two years before the American Revolution, he most definitely would have been a Toryólike his son John.
Joseph Brant also remained loyal to the British and fought with them at the rank of captain. Brant led the group of Indians and British soldiers which ambushed Herkimerís men at the Battle of Oriskany. Brant was influential in convincing many of the tribes of the Six Nations to side with the crown against the rebels (the Oneida being the exception). Brant had a reputation for brutality and earned the nick name ďMonsterĒ Brant. The brutality resulting form both wars had a very negative effect on the survivors of both Indian and European extraction. It enflamed passions and feed into negative stereotypes causing a deadly cycle of violence which resulted in two centuries of repression of the Native American.
While Jerie was off absorbing local history, I was marching forward. From Auriesville I followed the bike path which went through some farm land near. I was looking for the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct. This aqueduct was 624 feet long, four times the length of the Nine Mile Creek aqueduct at Camillus. This was something I wanted to see!
A couple of miles along, the path was crossed by a country road. A tractor pulling a hay wagon full of people went by indicating that there was some sort of fall festival of to my right. I was tempted to investigate, but since I had to meet Jerie later in the day, I kept to the path. Soon the path came to an old railroad trestle which spanned a pretty good size river. As I crossed I thought this river would necessitate and aqueduct and then realized that I was crossing the Scoharie Creek. Some creek! Then I turned and looked back over my left should and saw the stone pillars about a half a mile down stream towards the Mohawk River. The granite arches only spanned half of the creek and stopped amid stream. It was obvious the rest had been demolished.
In order for me to approach the aqueduct, I would have to double back to that road where I saw the hay wagon. Of course since the structure didnít cross the river I would have to double back again to get to the other side. Would that be a triple back or a quadruple back? Regardless, it was farther back than I wanted to go. Once I got on the far side of the bridge, the path crossed another back road. But I trudged ahead toward Yankee Hill Lock where I belatedly learned that I missed a good display at the Schoarie Crossing State Historic Site at the point where the aqueduct would have completed the crossing. O well, I will make a point to visit it on some future trip.
Goats.
Goats
Meanwhile I trudged along some beautiful pastures of a goat farm. It was obvious from their state of lactation that they were being raised for their cheese. This is logical because this part of New York. In fact, Jerie had been in some caves near her on her geological quest and cheese was being stored in some of them.
I like goat cheese and I like goats, having had a nanny and a billy as pets. They are great for mowing a lawn, keeping the grass nice and short. They also like poison ivy which was good because we had a lot on the margins of our land. They also like rose bushes which was bad. On several occasions I was reminded of the consequences if Blackie got into my motherís garden just one more time! Fortunately for Blackie they were just threats and she was able to live to a ripe old age.
Yankee Hill is the location of Lock 28 of the Enlarged Erie Canal. It was a double lock so barges heading in the opposite direction could be accommodated at the same time.
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Next to the lock was Putnamís Grocery which was built in 1855 by Garret Putnam and owned and operated by him or his family for over 50 years until the barge canal made the lock obsolete. In the picture to the right the grocery can be seen in the far right beside a two story Lodging house which was destroyed by fire in the 1930s. At the site were picnic tables where people could a have pleasant repast over looking the Mohawk. I tarried there for w bit reading the displays and having a rest on the porch Putnamís porch imagining being among barge crews having a bit of a rest while the barges were processed through the locks.
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Five miles from Yankee Hill I came to the outskirts of what used to be known as the village of Port Jackson. It was Amsterdamís warehouse district. I was a series of old buildings which served as storage facilities for the rugs and fabrics which were woven in Amsterdamís mills on the north side of the Mohawk River. So many rugs and tapestries were produced here that Amsterdam became known as Americaís rug city. I recognized the area because we had driven through it last night looking for an Italian restaurantóit was closed. Since the motel was about a half mile up the hill, I decided to call it a day and take a shower.
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Sweet Canal Store sign.
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