On Sunday, September 16th I attended the Rock City Lutheran Church’s 150th anniversary service as a guest of Rhinebeck Town Historian and church organist Nancy Kelly. Congregation founder John G. Schultz donated the land and built the church in 1868. Milan History uploaded an 8mm movie to their youtube channel shot during the Church’s 100th anniversary (see below). I think I recognize only one person (Dick Battenfeld) from what I’ve seen so far. If you know some of the folks in the video, do us a solid and jot the time-elapsed down and email me (see the contact section)!
For my part in the festivities I provided a draft of an updated survey of the Memorial Cemetery across the street in which Mr. Shultz and his family are buried (as well as my great-grandparents Clayton and Bertha Hermans). In 1974 my grandmother (on the other side) Clara Losee compiled records of burials from not only the tombstones, but from other vital records found in Rhinebeck and Red Hook. In 2017 I photographed the stones for Find-A-Grave and uploaded what I recorded there. After comparing my work with Gram’s I realized I missed a few and have yet to go back and retrieve them (it’s on the list!). I would also like to pad the record out with those burials for which there is no stone or inscription, but won’t have time to do the research for a long while (not on the list). After this, Art Kelly emailed me a bit irritated that I didn’t consult his work – a survey of the 20th century burials that I did not know existed. I have yet to consult this work, but it’s on the list… some day! Among those resting in the cemetery and also recorded on the quilt are a few members of the Battenfeld, Hermans, Schantz, Rhynders, and Shaffer families―only a handful of folks compared to other area cemeteries such as the Gallatin Reformed Church, Elizaville Methodist, Evergreen (Pine Plains), and Red Hook Lutheran. The numbers seem to correlate to stronger geographic proximity, church membership, and generations of the same family being interred in the same ground.
Before I discovered proof that the quilt was created for the benefit of the Jackson Corners Methodist Church’s then pastor Rev. W.L. Cadman, I had thought that perhaps it was made for the local Grange as there were so many folks named on it that were members.
The Grange in 1903 was one of the most important resources for farmers not to give them a political voice, but for sharing skills and information, and served as probably a third of a rural person’s social life (the remainder filled by church service and events, and by calling on family and friends).
Thanks to connecting with Ryan Orton at the Milan 200th event, I was invited to the Stanford Grange #808’s open house meeting and pot luck on Tuesday the 24th. I got to see firsthand the camaraderie and community involvement that the Grange still has today, as well as the very cool (to me, anyway!) traditional rituals that govern their meetings. There’s a lot of parading, singing (with live piano!), call and response, hand gestures, and heavy velvet sashes on each officer. Cool stuff. And I was assured that what I saw did not differ that much from a meeting in 1903. Well, I don’t think they recessed the meeting to pop balloons with their butts back then, but that’s progress for ya! I had a great time and am very thankful to Ryan and the fine folks at Stanford Grange for having me. I sat next to the New York State Grange President Stephen Coye at dinner and he’s offered to help me see if there is anything regarding the Jackson Corners Grange in the archives at Cornell!
Best part, tho? They have a signature quilt!
It’s from 1940 and each block was signed (some are actually “signed” proper, others are in one hand) by members of a different Grange. It is joined with turkey red between the blocks and it is backed and tied, though does not feel like it has any batting between the layers. The embroidery is done in rainbow colors and one block is inked. 10 cents was raised from each signer. Below is the the Jackson Corners block and the Rock City block with notes.
This Saturday (April 7th, 2018), I’ll be talking the ears of anyone who will listen about the book at the Town of Milan Bicentennial event. The address sounds out there, but the town hall is just west of the gas station near the Taconic Parkway off Rt 199 between Pine Plains and Red Hook. Can’t miss it. Big banner. Plenty of parking. The forecast is for rain/snow with a high of 46 so you don’t have any gardening to do, so…
Come over and say hi! Get a rare change to see the quilt in person! Thrill at the…uh…cool historic stuff!