The difference between telling stories about Henry Knox to friends in California and following his journey in New York and Massachusetts is that here in New York and Massachusetts, people care about Knox. They name businesses after him.
They name art galleries after him.
They name roads after him.
On Wednesday, I made it to Massachusetts Marker No. 7 before I needed to head to Maine, where I will give another book performance this coming Saturday, June 16.
It really is fun driving through the New York and Massachusetts countrysides searching for markers. A historical treasure hunt. I highly recommend it. But two days aren’t enough. I will finish when I return to New England in September for my niece’s wedding.
It was a rainy morning, so the photos are a bit dark.
I found New York Marker No. 24 in front of a church in East Greenbush on Route 20. It was up the road from Marker No. 23. The Hudson Valley Institute Guide stated that the stone and brass plaque indicates the continuation of the route east from where the Train of Artillery landed at the east side of the Hudson River opposite Albany.
Marker No. 25 stands in Schodack at a ‘Y’ in the road where Route 9 breaks away from Route 20. Knox came to the same junction in the road. He turned south (continuing on Route 20) on January 9, 1776. The artillery sleds followed later.
Marker No. 26 stands in the central square of a cute little town south of Schodack called Kinderhook . “This marks a turning of the old road to the east side of Kinderhook Creek.”
During the second week of January, Knox turned southeast on a road near today’s Routes 66 and 9. Marker No. 27 is on the lawn of a house on the corner of Route 66 and Snyder Road close to the village of West Ghent. Crossing Route 66, Snyder Road becomes Cemetery Road.
New York Marker No. 28 was only three miles away. To reach it, I continued southeast on Cemetery Road toward Harlemville. I passed more gorgeous farms. The marker stands on the corner of Taconic State Parkway and Harlemville Road. Very near there is Loudon Road. I wondered if it was an extension of the same Loudon Road I was following for a while in Albany.
Still the second week of January, Knox reached the point where Marker No. 29 stands on a triangle of grass between Route 21 and 71. I proceeded along 71 as it crossed the state border. A sign for Alford lets you know you are crossing into Massachusetts. The trail marker stands below the sign. The brass plaque on the New York side of the granite marker is the same style we have been seeing up to now. Walking around to the other side of the marker, you see, for the first time, a plaque with the style designed for the Massachusetts markers.
A post hiding behind the marker confirms that you are on the state line. Notice how it faces a different direction from the marker.
People in East Egremont, Massachusetts, are very proud of their Henry Knox Trail marker. It stands in front of the general store and is decorated with flowers. Another plaque at the base dedicates the monument to everyone who has died for their country, including victims of 9/11.
The proprietor of the general store told me that the building to the east used to be a tavern and inn. Henry Knox and his men stopped there for refreshment on their way through town.
Over very hilly lands, the train forged eastward through Great Barrington noted by Marker No. MA3 at the north side of town.
In the middle of the mountains, the route passes through another adorable village, Monterey. Marker No. MA4 is at the north end of town. As I did for the library in Hudson Falls, I stopped at the library across the street to obtain an address from the librarian so that I can send him a donated copy of Henry’s Big Kaboom. The librarian’s assistants were very excited about their trail marker. In Hudson Falls, the librarian didn’t know why there was a maker on the library’s front lawn. It is time to put the Henry Knox Trail back on people’s travel radar screens.
Still heading east on Route 23, the route passed through another cute mountain village called Otis. But the marker isn’t in town. It is tucked among the bushes alongside Route 23 about ten or so miles farther up the road. The position of the marker looks nothing like the photo in the guide, which places it by buildings. Maybe the marker was moved after the guide was published. To add to the confusion. the map on the guilde shows the marker near the intersection of Gibbs Road and Route 23. There are two intersections of Gibbs Road about eight miles apart. I nearly gave up on this one.
After passing through the tiny hamlet of Blandford with nothing more than a general store and a post office, the route turns right on General Knox Road. Three miles up the hill, I spotted Marker No. MA6 hiding behind a road work sign.
Following today’s Route 20, the route next passes through the relatively large city of Westfield near Worchester, Mass. You have to be on the lookout for the marker as you turn the corner of Main Street. The marker faces inward toward the sidewalk, not at the street like the other markers do. This allows pedestrians to read it, which is handy.
A block down Main Street, I filled my rental with gas. Then I retraced my tracks north to find the Mass Pike and head to Maine. As I said, I will continue this journey in September. My next post will be about my time in Thomaston, Maine, where Henry Knox spent his later years.