Past Meetings

April 2020. With the cancellation of our planned April meeting, Sam Mckenzie has written a short summary of his presentation.
A video is also available on Facebook at
March 2020. In lieu of our typical in-person meeting, we’re offering a peek into what we are working on for the genealogy workshop. Brookside Museum Research Volunteer and Board Member Isobel Connell has been hard at work tracking down William Medlock.  Check out these two pdfs to learn more about William, and the process she used to find out more about him.
Originally Scheduled: Saratoga County History Roundtable. Brookside Museum. The Other Half Genealogy Workshop. SCHR and Heritage Hunters join together to present a Genealogy Workshop. Attendees will learn the basics of internet genealogical research using records of the Saratoga County Poorhouse ca 1900 provided by Lauren Roberts, County Historian.***We hope to present this program at a later date***

Saturday, February 22, 1-3 PM at Brookside Museum. Creating Oral History workshop. As part of SCHR’s Oral History initiative, members of the Rutgers University Oral History Team will present a program on how to capture and present historical narratives. Topics will include identification of prospective interviewees, interview preparation and techniques. as well as information on making interviews available on-line. Attendees will have any opportunity to participate as interviewees or interviewers during the program.

Thursday, January 16, 7 PM – Saratoga County History Roundtable. Brookside Museum. Show and Tell Event.SCHR members are invited to bring a family picture or historical object and share your story with the group. These short 5 minute talks are open to anyone with a story to tell. Discussion welcome. Please notify Jim Richmond and Anne Clothier in advance by e-mail so we can prepare a handout for attendees.

SCHR War Heroes Program   – November 13 7:00 PM

Four Saratoga County Veterans will be honored

David Wallingford was seriously wounded in March, 1969 while serving in Vietnam as a forward observer for an artillery battery. He has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, and numerous other citations. He has served as the President of the New York State Military Museum, directs the Malta Veterans Appreciation Program in Malta and was inducted to the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame in 2014.            Presenter:  Paul Perrault

John W. Martin served in WWII in the marine Corps and re-enlisted in the US Army in 1950 and served in the 32nd regiment, 7th infantry division. In December 1950  he was lost and declared missing in action at Chosin Reservoir in Korea. Fifty years later, in 2001 his remains were recovered and buried with full military honors alongside his parents in Schuylerville, NY                           Presenter: Lauren Roberts

PFC Floyd Mabb served in World War II. And received a purple heart for his service. The medal was lost and was recently found by a woman in Clifton Park in a purse at a garage sale. The purple heart was reunited recently with the family of Floyd Mabb. He was a veteran of the D-Day parachute landing and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He will also be honored at the Saratoga County Deceased Veteran Ceremony on Nov.19th at the County Complex.           Presenter:Karen Staulters

Sylvester Howland of Waterford, New York was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on December 2, 1918, Cross for his activities in France during World War I. On July 13, 1922, in civilian life, he was credited with a life-saving rescue effort in Troy, New York     Presenter: Russ Vandervoort

Dr. Gerald Stulc will discuss surgery techniques and display instruments from the Revolutionary War to the early 20th century. Dr. Stulc is a retired cancer surgeon who served sixteen years as a flight surgeon in the U.S Navy Reserves, Medical Corps. He is also the author of The Surgion’s Mate, a historical fiction drama set during the Napoleonic Wars.



In recognition of the 70thanniversary of the opening of the Navy’s Nuclear training facility in West Milton, the Saratoga Country History Roundtable will sponsor a special event at the Milton Community Center, 310 Northline Road, Ballston Spa on Wednesday, September 18 at 7:00 PM

This event will be highlighted by a presentation by site representative Dean Heithof who will review the 70-year history of the operation. Historical pictures and models will be exhibited as part of the program.  Karen Staulters, Milton Town historian, will speak on the early history of the area which straddles the towns of Milton and Galway.

Area government officials will offer their congratulations, and Milton Town Supervisor Scott Ostrander will present the town’s 2019 Heritage Award to the site in recognition of their preservation of the natural and historical environment,  which includes the maintenance of several cemeteries on the property.

Thursday, August 15 – The Great Debate.
It’s 1836 and two of the most prominent citizens of Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs will square off in a friendly debate over the relative merits of their villages. Among the topics to be addressed by Joshua B. Aldridge
(Jim Richmond) and Henry Walton  (Charlie Keunzel) are their opinion of the springs, their accommodations for visitors, their views on  some of their villages most important  promoters, as well as the future prospects of their villages. Attendees will be encouraged to offer their own opinions at the conclusion of the program.

Saturday, July 27, 10 AM Vischer Ferry Tour Clifton Park Historian, John Scherer, will lead a walking tour of the Vischer Ferry Historic District on Saturday, July 27 at 10 AM.  The Vischer Ferry Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is a typical Erie Canal hamlet with a high concentration of Greek revival homes constructed by canal boat builders who worked at the two Erie Canal dry docks located in the hamlet.  Learn about the Erie Canal and the growth it brought to a sleepy hamlet settled by the Dutch in the mid eighteenth century. Explore architecture styles from Clifton Park’s oldest home built by Nicholas Vischer in 1740 to a large Queen Anne Victorian home constructed in 1902. Hear about some of the interesting characters who once roamed the streets of Vischer Ferry, and at the conclusion of the tour enjoy lunch at the restored Vischer Ferry General Store.  Parking at the store and across the street at the fire house.

Tuesday July 9, 6:00 PM Grant’s Cottage Tour Tour the final home of Civil War General and two-term U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. Discover the compelling story of perseverance and family devotion in his final days on beautiful Mount McGregor. See rooms full of artifacts frozen in time from 1885 and journey to the nearby Eastern Overlook for stunning views of the historic Hudson Valley. We will meet in the Visitor Center for SCHR updates and an introduction by Ben Kemp, Grant’s Cottage Operations Manager.

Thursday, June 13 at 7 PM Saratoga County History Roundtable will present a program on “Forgotten Railroads” at Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa. Independent historian Bill Bennison will discuss the failed post-civil war attempt to construct a railroad through Saratoga County to compete with the New York Central in connecting the East to Chicago. While a con-man duped investors and a local industrialist, the overall project was partially successful and still in operation today.

Wednesday, May 15 at Historic Grooms Tavern, Rexford, NY
Dredging up the Past: Researching Clifton Park’s History
Clifton Park Historian, John Scherer, will present some of the more interesting experiences he has encountered in researching the history of Clifton Park. Hear about some remarkable discoveries and the serendipitous manner in which they came to light.
Wednesday, April 17 “History Isn’t Old, It’s New!” 
Any idea why an old desk is important to our past? Do you know about the “French Connection” to our area? How about the torrid love affair between Kitty Heaton and George Gilbert??  Town of Ballston Historian Rick Reynolds invites you to come hear all 
this and much more and see how the past truly connects to now!
Thursday, February 13  Race And Prejudice in ante-bellum Saratoga County
Black slavery and servanthood, as well as prejudice against people of color, was prevalent in Saratoga County in the years between the American Revolution and the Civil War. However, so was mutual acceptance, shared community and friendship. Jim Richmond will lead a discussion on the treatment of blacks during this period
Thursday, January 17, 2019 Discovering Old Newspapers.  Our 2019 programs begin with an opportunity to explore old newspapers from the 19thand 20thcenturies. Upon arrival, attendees will choose the period they would like to explore and receive a copy of a local newspaper from that era. Working together in groups, you can share interesting articles, advertisements and fun facts that illustrate the history of the period, and learn how newspapers evolved over the last 200 years. This program is the first in a series of discussion topics that the BAHR will offer during 2019.

Tuesday November 20, 2018 Local War Heroes

James Gordon  – as Lt. Colonel of the 12th Regiment of the Albany County Militia, Gordon led his Ballston men both in their time at war and their captivity in Canada during  the  American Revolution. Elmer E. Ellsworth – The Most Talked About Man in the Country. The meteoric rise and fall of this Saratoga County boy who became a friend of the Lincoln family, a national hero and the first martyr for the Union cause in the Civil War.  Corporal Thomas J. Farnan enlisted in Company L,  105th Infantry in the 27th Division in World War I He most notably fought in the battle to break the Hindenburg Line, a strong hold for the Germans. Farnan wrote a letter to his sister which describes the harrowing event through the eyes of a young man from Stillwater. Leonard Schallehn from Saratoga Springs was flying his 46th sortie over France on June 16, 1944 where he was shot down. Rescued by the French Resistance, he was moved from one hiding place to another until rescued by Patton’s Third Army.

Wednesday October 10, 2018– Precedent-setting legal cases that originated in Saratoga County. Each of these cases increased the rights of average citizens to seek and obtain court protection.  In the Hook-Headed Spike Case, Sam McKenzie, volunteer at Brookside museum, will review a famous case in Patent law which was mired in the proceedings of Chancellor Walworth of Saratoga Springs for more than a decade. John Cromie, local attorney, will introduce MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co, originally tried in Ballston Spa, which expanded the protection afforded to citizens for product defects. Finally, Charles Hogan, former editor of the Ballston Journal, will discuss Whalen v. Union Bag Paper Company which expanded the rights of citizens to seek redress against companies in environmental pollution cases. All presenters are members of the Ballston Area History Roundtable. Attendees are encouraged to question the presenters on these decisions and their current-day impact.

Thursday September 20, 2018– Methodist Church at Rock City Falls.
The Ballston Area History Roundtable will join with the Town of Milton Historic Structures and Places Committee to present a program on the early history of Rock City Falls and the church. Jim Richmond will briefly discuss the early history of the hamlet and Karen Staulters will outline the history of the Church and  present the Town of Milton’s annual Preservation Award to the congregation.

Aug 22 History of Photography ProgramAnne Clothier, Education Director at Brookside, will present a program on the early history of photography. Attendees are encouraged to bring their 19thCentury photos (Daguerreotype, tin types,etc) for discussion and evaluation. The program will include local connections of early photographer Mathew Brady and Ballston photographer  J.S. Wooley

Ballston Spa Village Cemetery Tour, July 21, 2018

David Fisk, local historian and author lead the tour focused on business leaders of Ballston Spa.

Prior to the tour, John Cromie, a member of the board of the Ballston Spa Village Cemetery, gave a quick summary of the cemetery’s history, and distributed literature about it. The walk, visited the grave sites of five individuals who had roles in the village’s business community. Isaiah Bloodhad factories on the Kayderosseras that manufactured high-quality axes and scythes. George Westowned a number of mills in the region, including mills near the present Route 50 bridge over the creek, which turned out paper and paper bags. Fred Bischofflater purchased those mills, converting some of the facilities to produce cocoa and chocolate products. Bischoff also tore down the old mill on the north side of the Kayderosseras and created a park for the use of the public. Floyd Shuttsmoved his sock-making operation from Amsterdam to Ballston Spa, and built a mansion near the boundary of Milton and Saratoga Springs (which most recently has been used as the Villa Balsamo restaurant). Donald K. Stewart was a tea and coffee salesman as a young man, but later, along with his father–a former grocer–ran a dairy business that bottled and delivered milk and, later on, made ice cream. In 1944 members of the Dake family bought the company and have expanded it into the present chain of convenience stores

BAHR meeting at Brookside Museum June 28, 2018 

Saratoga County offers many resources for researching local history and genealogy. A sampling of those resources were on display at a recent meeting of the Ballston Area History Roundtable at Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa. Five historians presented a brief overview of their collections in repositories in Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs. See the July 2018 blog for details of the presentations and links to these historical resources.

BAHR May 24th

  •  The meeting was attended by 24 people
  •  How to engage younger people
  • Support organization basket-proceeds go to Brookside or any other location we use to meet
  • Lending Library-anyone willing to lend?
  • Looking for Blogs and research topics
  • Looking for old pictures to share on website and Facebook
  • Links to historical societies
  • June 28th meeting-researching local collections-5 people are scheduled to speak
  • Pending village cemetery walk through-July? Dave Fiske
  • Heritage Award September 20th at the Simpson Methodist Church-interested in making historical church talk?
  • Any old pictures? Brookside can scan photos for copies
  • August-Archeology Camp-8/3
  • Discussed the idea of a local history journal – cited articles published on-line and possibility accumulated and printed periodically. Paul Perrault and Jim Richmond lead
  • Saratoga Neighborhood history walk
  • ‘This Old House’ Talks

    Jim presented for Mary Ann Fitzgerald-”Dublin” House History
    Alan Maddaus-The Preston Family-Genealogy
    John Cromie-Historic House and Floor Plans

Voting for upcoming programs:

Local War Heroes – 17
Slaves of Saratoga County – 13
19th C Family Life – 13
Local Legal Cases – 11
Mills in Conflict – 10
Show and Tell night – 9
Medical History of Ballston – 7
Folklore – Legends or legitimate? – 7