All lectures will be preceded by a brief meeting of the Pittstown Historical Society
Meetings are free and open to the public
Refreshments will be served following each lecture
Please Join Us!

All meetings will be held at the new Town Offices in Tomhannock at 7:30 PM

For further information about the meetings contact:
Connie Kheel (518) 686-7514 or email:

Fall, 2019

September 19: Mysteries of the Mabee Farm

The mysteries of the Mabee Farm (the oldest farm in the Mohawk Valley) will be revealed by Mike Diana, Education and Programs Manager at the Schenectady County Historical Society. The farm, located in Rotterdam Junction, dates to 1705. From the weathered pine floors in the home of settlers Jan and Annetje, to the hand-pegged Dutch Barn, to the site’s elusive 1600s fur trading post, Diana seeks answers to the mysteries that lie buried beneath Mabee Farm’s soil. Archaeology, research, and deduction will be cited when reviewing clues to the Mabee farm’s past. Diana, who has been studying the history of the Mohawk Valley for years, has written the script for the award-winning reinterpretation of the Mabee Farm Historic Site.

October 17: 200 Years Since the First Rensselaer County Fair

Learn about the history of the Rensselaer County Fair, now known as the Schaghticoke Fair. Celebrating the fair’s 200th anniversary, historians Kathy Sheehan and Chris Kelly will relay the many chapters of the fair’s history, starting in 1819 with the formation of the Rensselaer County Agricultural Society. The Society’s mission became the fair’s mission, which was to allow farmers to show off the results of their hard work and provide education on new and improved farming practices. Sheehan and Kelly ask those attending to share their memories and photos of their best fair experience. Kelly is the Town of Schaghticoke Historian and Sheehan is the Rensselaer County and Troy City Historian and Registrar of the Rensselaer County Historical Society.

November 21: Enterprising Waters: New York’s Erie Canal

Brad Utter, Curator of the New York State's Museum's new exhibit "Enterprising Waters: New York's Erie Canal", will give an overview of the exhibit and highlight some of the stories and special artifacts featured in the exhibit. The Erie Canal directed the course of New York and American history. When it opened in 1825, this “boldest and biggest American engineering project of its century” unlocked the Western interior for trade and settlement. One of the largest public works projects in American history, the Erie Canal inspired a nation-wide transportation revolution. Utter will detail the Canal’s history with unique objects, documents and images. Utter has been the Senior Historian/Curator of Science and Technology History at the New York State Museum since 2014.

Spring, 2019

March 21: Eastfield Village

Eastfield Village is one of Rensselaer County's hidden gems – an extraordinary group of antique buildings in East Nassau that recreates an early American Village. Historian Peter Schaaphok will tell the story of Eastfield Village and how Don Carpentier, its founder, collected and rebuilt over 20 late 18th to early 19th century buildings which were moved from locations throughout the Northeast. Schaaphok has served for many years as Petersburgh town historian as well as town councilman and supervisor. He is currently the president of Friends of the Historic Eastfield Foundation and owner of a manufacturing business in Hoosick.

April 18: From Plank Roads to Horse Boat Ferries: Traveling through Rensselaer County in the 19th century

Learn of the many ways people traveled throughout Rensselaer County in the early 19th century. Historian Kathy Sheehan will present an illustrated lecture featuring maps, letters and photographs from the Rensselaer County Historical Society archives. Sheehan will explore the early turnpikes, plank roads, covered bridges and the stories of crossing the Hudson River, our main highway to the outside world. Sheehan is the Rensselaer County and Troy City Historian and Registrar of the Rensselaer County Historical Society.

May 16: The Anti-Rent War: 1839 to 1869

The Anti-Rent War (1839 – 1869) will be the subject of a lecture by historian Michael Barrett. He will talk about the turbulent pre-Civil War period in which armed resistance, terror, imprisonment and strife swept across 16 counties of upstate NY. The Anti-Rent movement protested the leasehold property that the landed aristocracy refused to relinquish. Barrett, who is presently serving as the Executive Director of the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway and the Burden Iron Works Museum in Troy, has lectured extensively and is a member of numerous local historical societies.

June 20: Expert in Historic Dress to Review a Pittstown/Hoosick Family’s Vintage Clothing Collection

A collection of men and women’s clothing and accessories dating from the late 1800s to the early 1900s will be the topic of conversation. Clothing and textile expert Connie Frisbee Houde will examine and comment on over two dozen pieces from the collection. The entire collection was assembled and preserved by descendants of the Baker and Cottrell families. Houde, long-time Curator of Clothing and Textiles at the New York State NYS Museum, has looked extensively at textile and clothing collections across NYS, assisting organizations with the care and identification of their clothing and textile collections.