Fort Edward - Encyclopedia

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FORT EDWARD, a village of Washington county, New York, U.S.A., in the township of Fort Edward, on the Hudson river, 56 m. by rail N. of Albany. Pop. of the village (1900) 3521, of whom 385 were foreign-born; (1905, state census) 3806; of the township, including the village (1900), 5216; (1905, state census) 5300. The village lies mostly at the foot of a steep hill, is at the junction of the main line and the Glens Falls branch of the Delaware & Hudson railway, and is also served by electric line to Albany and Glens Falls; the barge canal connecting Lake Champlain and the Hudson river enters the Hudson here. The river furnishes good water-power, which is used in the manufacture of paper and wood pulp, the leading industry. Shirts and pottery (flower pots, jars and drain tile) are manufactured also. The village is the seat of the Fort Edward Collegiate Institute, a non-sectarian school for girls, which was founded in 1854 and until 1893 was coeducational. The village owns and operates the waterworks. Indian war parties on their way to Canada were accustomed to make a portage from this place, the head of navigation for small boats on the Hudson, to Lake George or Lake Champlain, and hence it was known as the Great Carrying Place. Governor (afterwards Sir) Francis Nicholson in 1709, in his expedition against Canada, built here a stockade which was named Fort Nicholson. Some years afterwards John Henry Lydius (1693-1791) established a settlement and protected it by a new fort, named Fort Lydius, but this was destroyed by the French and Indians in 1745. In 1755, a third fort was built by General Phineas Lyman (1716-1774), as preliminary to the expedition against Crown Point under General William Johnson, and was named Fort Lyman; in 1756 Johnson renamed it Fort Edward in honour of Edward, Duke of York. In the War for Independence Fort Edward was the headquarters of General Philip Schuyler while he and his troops were blocking the march of General Burgoyne's army from Fort Ticonderoga. When a part of Burgoyne's forces was distant only 3 or 4 m. from Fort Edward, on Fort Edward Hill, on the 27th of July 1777, the leader of an Indian band whose assistance the British had sought is supposed to have murdered Jane McCrea (c. 1757-1777), a young girl who had been visiting friends in Fort Edward, and who was to be escorted on that day to the British camp and there to be married to David Jones, a loyalist serving as a lieutenant in Burgoyne's army; it is possible that she was shot accidentally by Americans pursuing her Indian escorts, but her death did much to rouse local sentiment against Burgoyne and his Indian allies, and caused many volunteers to join the American army resisting Burgoyne's invasion. A monument has been erected by the Jane McCrea Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution near the spot where she was killed, and she is buried in Union Cemetery in Fort Edward. Fort Edward township was erected in 1818 from a part of the township of Argyle. Fort Edward village was incorporated in 1852.

See R. O. Bascom, The Fort Edward Book (Fort Edward. 1903).

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