Update on the Caldwell War of 1812 Papers

A portion of a letter in the Caldwell family collection.

I wanted to give an update to the Caldwell family War of 1812 preservation project that I have been a part of.  The digitization was completed some time ago and I finished the transcription for the Moffat Library this past January.  Everything was put together, finalized, and the papers are now available for FREE online at the Hudson River Valley Heritage site (hrvh.org).

There is a super neat twist to this tale though that didn’t get published but I wanted to share here. 

The Importance of Speaking to the Living

Dad with great grand-daughter Mia!

I cannot stress the importance of speaking to your living relatives NOW before it’s too late. In my genealogy course I taught, that was practically my first tip to my students and right now, I’m truly needing to practice what I preach. My dad suffered a stroke last week and while he is expected to fully recover, for a while he was missing time, could not remember his only great-granddaughter, nor her name. He thought for a bit that he was still working at the place he worked at when I was a kid… so he was missing about 30 years there for a few days. It’s coming back to him and even today I quizzed him on a few relatives I had planned on doing an interview with him in October when I’m there for my daughter’s wedding but now, it’s even more pressing for me to make sure I ask absolutely everything I’ve ever wanted to know before it’s too late.

Preserving the Papers of Captain Richard Caldwell, Blooming Grove, NY

Part of the Caldwell papers in the collection of the Moffat Library.

In October 2016, I visited the Moffat Library for part of my genealogy course program to examine historic manuscripts. The Moffat Library had in their vaults a collection of letters from the Caldwell family of Salisbury Mills. Shockingly, these handwritten parchment letters were not properly preserved and were loosely stored in a damaged box. Despite their storage, the letters were in remarkable condition with minimal damage or fading.

I approached my DAR chapter about the state of the papers.  At our March 7, 2017, meeting the Quassaick Chapter, NSDAR, voted in favor of providing the Moffat Library with a grant that would provide for preservation materials and the digitization of the 4 handwritten letters.