MINISINK FORD, NY — The 233rd anniversary of the American Revolution’s Battle of Minisink will be commemorated with a July 21 observance at Sullivan County’s Minisink Battleground Park in Minisink Ford, NY, and a July 22 ceremony at the Grave of the Unknown Soldier in Lackawaxen, PA.
Starting Friday evening, July 20, members of the Navasing Long Rifles and Third Ulster Militia will set up an 18th century encampment at the Battlefield Park located on County Rt. 168. The public is welcome to visit through Sunday morning, July 22.
The formal itinerary begins Saturday, July 21 with a 2 p.m. living history program in the park pavilion. Tony Domingo, President of the Navasing Long Rifles describes significant sites in the militia’s bloody skirmish with the British Tories and Mohawks led by Captain Joseph Brant, as well as weaponry and other equipment of the period.
The observance moves up to the memorial field at 4 p.m. for the traditional ceremony at which the Sullivan County Division of Public Works sets up chairs and an audio system to accommodate the public. This year they will also provide transportation up the steep hill for those unable to make the climb. Battle of Minisink observance coordinator and Sullivan County Historian John Conway of Barryville, N.Y. will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Historian Peter Osborne of Easton, PA will deliver the keynote address on the topic “Col. John Hathorn, Member of Our Nation’s First Greatest Generation.”
Osborne served as executive director of the Minisink Valley Historical Society from 1981-2009 and is a co-author with Mark Hendrickson and Jon Inners of “So Many Brave Men: A History of the Battle at Minisink Ford”, published in April 2010 by The Pienpack Company.
Following the welcome by John Conway, who is also a director emeritus and life member of the Sullivan County Historical Society which has for decades spearheaded the annual Minisink commemoration, there will be: an invocation by Rev. William H. Chellis, M.Div., J.D., pastor Jeffersonville and Kenoza Lake United Methodist Churches; Presentation of Colors by Sylvan Liebla Post #1363, American Legion, Town of Highland, Tusten-Highland-Lumberland Post #6427, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Navasing Long Rifles; the Pledge of Allegiance led by the Honorable Andrew Boyar, Supervisor Town of Highland; recitation of The American’s Creed by Barbara Gropper, Regent Wayne County, PA Chapter of the National Society Daughters of American Revolution (DAR); the keynote address; memorial floral tributes by the Beaverkill and Old Mine Chapters DAR in NY, the Wayne Chapter DAR in PA, and Navasing Long Rifles; a Time for Recollection during which the names of the battle dead will be read by costumed interpreters from Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History: Debra Conway, Director, Lucas Musetti, Iris Gillingham and David Albanese; a Military Memorial; and closing Benediction by Laurie Stuart, Consulting Minister, Upper Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
“I am pleased to help continue the long tradition kept alive through the years by the Sullivan County Historical Society,” John Conway said. “We thank everyone involved for their participation in this most noble effort, commemorating the ultimate sacrifice of these patriots in the cause of liberty.”
At the program’s anticipated 5:15 p.m. conclusion, participants are welcome to enjoy the park’s picnic facilities, which include grills and tables, and self-guided hiking trails.
For further information on the ceremony, call Debra Conway at (845) 252-6660.
Across the Upper Delaware River, on the actual Battle anniversary date of July 22, Pike County Historian George J. Fluhr will host his 39th consecutive commemoration ceremony at 1:30 p.m. at The Grave of the Unknown Soldier on River Road in Lackawaxen, PA. The graveside ceremony, on the bank of the Delaware between the Roebling Bridge and the Zane Grey House, is sponsored jointly by the Ecker-Haupt Post and the Mountain Laurel Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The gravesite holds the remains of a militiaman killed in the 1779 Battle of Minisink but not discovered until 1847.
The ceremony, traditional since 1975 in Pike County, will be a brief one, generally taking less than a half hour. Traffic along River Road will be temporarily suspended. Bleacher seating is available for guests.
For more information on the Pike County ceremony, please call (570) 559-7444.