History From America's Most Famous Valleys
History of Montgomery Classis, R.C.A.
by W.N.P. Dailey,
Recorder Press, Amsterdam, NY 1916
To which is added sketches of Mohawk Valley men and events of early days, the Iroquois, Palatines, Indian Missions, Tryon County, committee of Safety, Sir Wm. Johnson, Joseph Brant, Arendt Van Curler, Gen. Herkimer, Reformed Church in America, Doctrine and Progress, Revolutionary Residences, Etc.
VALUE OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH
History has been spoken of as a mere chain of facts, which serve the purpose of comparing knowledge, but this is the lesser half of the truth, for while we need the guidance of established facts, systernatically arranged, and their true connection with preceding and succeeding events, we submit that by far the larger purpose of history is to unite ourselves with these facts, to fix our personal responsibility as heirs of the past, and to determine our present duty to ourselves and to others, in the light of such knowledge If men and women were unrelated and individual units of humanity we might review the past and forecast the future with such pleasure as comes naturally from historical research, as we weave into one body the warp and the woof of the story of the centuries. But history, as we interpret it, is not knowledge merely, but in a higher sense it is power, for it is inclusive of those fine relationships that link men to their homes, their country and their God. In recent years there has been a wholesome revival of historical study, which finds development in local and general celebrations, in state and national expositions, in pageants and antique loans, in translation and reprint of the church records, cemetery inscriptions, and the papers preserved in the archives of state and nation. This is not a work of vanity or of self-aggrandizement, but a wholesome exercise of the mind and soul of the people, through which we get life's true bearings, and gain courage and inspiration with which to meet the days before us. Such study and research as may be provoked by this Classis History cannot help but weave its influences into our lives, and thus mould our character and direct our conduct. Imagination takes us back along fascinating footsteps that lead to history-making scenes in both church and state-to the first settlers in the valley of the "Mohaque," indomitable in spirit and Protestant in faith-to the church of our fathers, built before they reared their homes, and built, too, better than their homes--to the kindred, and friends, and childhood scenes-to the familiar woods with their blazed trails--to the men and women, most of them asleep in unmarked graves in God's Acres close by these churches, who lived to toil, and fought and died, that they might hand down to us this glorious heritage of a land swept by thespirit of liberty, where God dwells continually in the midst of His people. Our purpose in these pages is to record the incidents and facts of the churches of the Classis and their environment. No attempt is made to consider the organic development of the life of the communities in which they are found, especially the churches and fields of a century ago. It is this study of local history, the development of a passion for our countryside and our church, this practical demonstration and administration of God's kingdom in our midst that will put holy zest into our character, and thereby equip us for life's highest duties. The environment of these stories, the Valley of the Mohawk, is unsurpassed in the grandeur of its picturesque scenery. Through it ran the old Indian trails, which for two hundred years after the coming of the white man, were the pathways for the armies. Then they were the roads by which the hardy pioneers traveled westward, to return, later, with the commerce of the western world. How rich with historic incident, with legendary lore! No other section of our land is more replete with romantic and tragic story than this' valley. We have come to this study and research in an honest attempt to give the reader the vision splendid as we see it, of this wonderful heritage that God and our fathers have conserved for us in these old Reformed churches of this Classis, praying ever that the vision may lure us away from any lower levels of contentment or indifference, unto the higher and broader fields of opportunity for worship and service through the church of God. In some such way we will be able to realize in the character and conduct of our daily life the ideals and hopes of the founders of these churches.
Methinks I hear the sound of time, long past, still murmuring o'er me and whispering thro most these pages,-like the lingering voices of those who long within their graves have slept.
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