Caughnawaga Chapter, Fonda, N.Y.

Station and hotel at  Fonda, NY

N.Y. Central Station and Hotel Roy, Fonda, N.Y.

Source: History of New York State Conference Daughters of the American Revolution, Its Officers and Chapters with National Officers from New York and Roster of Real Daughters. Compiled by (Mrs. Frederick) Florence Skidmore Brown Menges, State Historian, and Mrs. Charles White Nash, State Regent. 1923.

The Daughters of the American Revolution is a society of women who can document their lineage back to an ancestor who contributed to the creation of the United States as a nation. Chapters across the U.S. work on projects that preserve and maintain historical locations, buildings, and other cultural resources, and keep the memories alive of events before and since the Revolution. Many local cemeteries and documents have been transcribed by members of area DAR chapters. Some of them no longer exist except for DAR documentation. Erecting monuments throughout the region is just one of many success stories of the Caughnawaga chapter.


Organized 1907          Membership 100

An old Indian legend says that Caughnawaga means "Coffin-In-the-water," derived from the fact that in the Mohawk river just south of the old Indian village of Caughnawaga which is now the lower end of the village of Fonda, is a large stone the top of which is the exact shape of an old fashioned coffin. The raising of the river by the barge canal has almost covered the stone. It is also said to mean in the Indian language "Stone in the water" or "At the rapids." An Indian name, although no tribe of the name existed. The chapter derived its name from the old Dutch Church.

This chapter was founded and organized in 1907, by Mrs. Katherine Martin Schuyler, with twenty-eight charter members. The first officers were:

Regent - Mrs. Katherine Martin Schuyler
Last Vice Regent - Mrs. Helen Burtch Dockstader
2nd Vice Regent - Mrs. Ellen G. Banker
Secretary - Miss Cornelia Fonda
Treasurer - Mrs. Grace M. Sammons Wilson
Registrar - Miss Bertha H. Wood
Historian - Miss Hannah Jane VanHorne
Chaplain - Mrs. Elizabeth E. Fritcher

The first contribution made was to Continental Hall, then to the marking of Revolutionary soldiers graves. The old historic Dutch church of Caughnawaga from which the chapter derives its name, was organized in 1758; the edifice was erected in 1763 and totally demolished in 1868. During the Revolutionary War it was headquarters for Colonel Herkimer, and General Schuyler's encampment, January 18, 1777.

On this site September 1st, 1910, with impressive ceremonies, amid a large gathering from surrounding towns, Mrs. Schuyler, Regent, presented the monument erected by the chapter to the village of Fonda, through its president, Edgar Leonhardt. This monument is of Brandon Italian marble, twelve feet high and five feet square. It has imbedded the old Keystone marked 1763, which was over the entrance to the old church. The inscriptions are, on the front, "In loving memory, presented by Caughnawaga Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution," on the west "General Schuyler and Colonel Herkimer, and their armies encamped here January 18, 1777, on the east, "Marks the site of Caughnawaga Church organized 1758; erected 1763; on the north in Low Dutch, the inscription that appeared over the door of the church, from Isaiah 2:3, "Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob and he will teach us and we will walk in his path." $175.00 was raised for this monument.

In 1912, the chapter took part in the exercises marking the Herkimer-Oriskany route. In August of the same year, the surviving members of the 115th regiment known as "The Iron Hearted Regiment," and the 153rd regiment, celebrated their departure from Fonda in 1862 for the Civil War. The chapter gave a dinner to these two hundred veterans.

A novel idea was advanced to raise money to meet patriotic calls and nominal expenses. Each member was to earn $1.00 through the vacation period. At the first fall meeting the forty-seven members told their experiences and $47.00 was added to the treasury. Annually $10.00 in gold is given for prize essays on historical subjects to High School students of Fonda and Fultonville.

Each Charter Day is celebrated with a banquet. On Decoration Day all graves of patriots are visited and flags and flowers are placed thereon.

In 1914, Mrs. Schuyler designed a quilt from which the chapter treasury was enriched by $150. $50.00 was sent annually to Continental Hall until the debt was lifted, and $50.00 each year to the Berry School. On February 8, 1917, the chapter was incorporated, and includes both Fonda and Fultonville, with principal offices in Fonda. During the World War contributions were made of money and linen, the members all working for the Red Cross. A French orphan was supported through the war and is still cared for, at a cost of $36.50 each year. A contribution was made to the Herkimer Trail, also transfer deed of a marker. Twelve Revolutionary soldiers graves have been marked. The annual per capita tax is promptly paid. The chapter has a full set of the Lineage Books to date. Money was given for the education of a Philippine girl for a nurse; ten war service records were sent. The chapter has responded as able to all pleas for patriotic and Americanization requests, and beneficent charities, always aiming to keep the treasury reimbursed with moneys raised from card parties, colonial plays, dances, rummage and food sales.

On May 31, 1919, the well beloved founder, Mrs. Katherine Martin Schuyler passed away. A pledge of $100.00 to the Founder's Fund at Tamassee has been made in her honor. Five feet of ground to enlarge Memorial Hall plot was given also contributions made to the New York State building at Tamassee and $3.00 to Schuyler Mansion gift. To the Immigrants Manual, Pilgrim mothers fountain at Plymouth and for the painting given to France "Convoy of transports carrying American Soldiers," contributions have been made.

All obligations to the National and State Societies have been met in full. The report of the Treasurer, Lillian D. VanDuesen gives over $1330.00 expended in chapter work.


The profile above was contributed by Asst. County Coordinator Lisa Slaski and typed by Carol Gros Waite. A copy of the book it appears in is available for viewing at the main branch of the Orange County Library System, Orlando, FL. All punctuation, spelling and sentence structure are as appear in the original.

Carol Gros Waite is a descendant of Captain Lawrence and Maria Failing Gros. Her line is connected to the Moyer, Smith, Fort, Fox, Bronner, Fetterly, Kinter, Snyder, Dingman, Countryman, Dockstader, Nellis, Backus, Reese, Warner, Harwick, Loucks, Abeel, Schuyler, Snell, Dygert, Knouts, Gray, Bellinger, Hall, Walter and Kast families. Carol would love to hear from others researching her lines.

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Created 10/27/00
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