COOPERSTOWN – The more than 3,000 paddlers in this weekend’s 59th annual General Clinton Regatta can compete with a clear conscience.
Its namesake Gen. James Clinton, who blew up the dam at Cooperstown in 1779 so the waters could carry his 200-bateaux flotilla swiftly down the Susquehanna to Onaquaga, didn’t destroy the Iroquois village there.
He found one building standing, owned by a British sympathizer, a man name Clagford, and Clinton’s troops did destroy that.
But “Clinton didn’t really do much on the way down,” said Bill Starna, the Oneonta historian who spoke on the period Sunday, May 19, at the Cooperstown Village Library.
The actual destruction of Onaquaga was done the year before – in October 1778 – by a contingent of 250 Colonial troops out of Middle Fort (now Middleburgh), led by a Lt. Col. William Butler. (Not to be confused with two feared Tory guerrilla commanders, John and Walter Butler.)
Even William Butler’s troops, who had come down Oullette Creek and razed the Indian village at Old Unadilla (Sidney), found Onaquaga’s population – learning in advance the Americans were on their way – had abandoned the settlement.
LECTURE – 7:30 p.m. Join Mick Moloney for 2018 Buckley Lecture. Learn about Percussive Dance Traditions in North America ranging from Appalachian, African American flat foot, clogging to Irish sean nos, step dance. Donations welcome. 607-547-2586.
HISTORY SERIES – 7 p.m. “Scots-Irish Immigration and Defense of the Colonial New York Frontier including the Cherry Valley Massacre, 1740 to 1778” by Terry McMaster, independent historian whose research focuses on American Revolution in the Mohawk Valley, settlement patterns, family connections, border warfare along New York’s western frontier. Suggested donation, $5. Fort Plain Museum, 389 Canal St., Fort Plain. 518-993-2527 or visit www.fortplainmuseum.com/viewevent.aspx?ID=1032
FRONTIER HISTORY – 6:30 p.m. Terry McMaster presents “Ethnicity, Alliance, Family & War – Defenders of the NY Frontier & The Andrustown, Springfield, and Cherry Valley Attack of 1778.” Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park Road, Cooperstown. 607-547-5098 ext. 6 or visit hydehall.org/event/ethnicity-alliance-family-war/