Every year about this time I head off to my old stomping grounds; Stone Arabia. As a founding member and former trustee of the Stone Arabia Preservation Society I help out when local 4th graders come to visit. Our group this year was from the Fort Plain district.
Carol Edwards, who serves as the society’s president, does an excellent job speaking about Stone Arabia’s early settlers who first arrived to work in the tar camps of Queen Anne. That venture proved to be a failure and eventually the Palatines moved up the Schoharie Valley and westward through the Mohawk Valley.
Ken Edwards rang the church bell and invited a couple of very excited kids up to help him ring it. Ken always cautions them to let the rope go otherwise they might fly off their feet. I’m sure if and when that happens it will be the highlight of the visit.
This year Eunice Bollen was on hand to play the pump organ. I’ve known Eunice for years as my dad sang in her church choir at the Fort Plain Reformed Church. Eunice is an excellent musician, even with a sometimes cantankerous old organ.
My role is to share the events leading up to and including the Battle of Stone Arabia which took place October 19, 1780. It was a time when the men of the Mohawk Valley set down their hoes and took up their muskets and squared off against the might of the British Empire. Many fell that day in Stone Arabia spilling their blood in the name of freedom.
The trip concluded with the children walking down to the cemetery where Colonial John Brown and the men who died that fateful day are buried.
When you stand at the church and gaze across to the hills towards Cherry Valley one cannot help but be humbled in the face of such sacrifice.