top of page

Coming up at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society

                            SUNDAY APRIL 28TH, 2 PM

Mary Early Down Rent War_edited.jpg
Rent Wars Event Verical Lockup-no copy.jpg

Even after the Revolutionary War, much of New York State’s Hudson Valley was owned by a few  wealthy landowners; ‘Lords’ of their manors. Among the most powerful were the Livingstons and the Van Rensselaers. 


In this feudal system of capitalism, the “Lords” rented parcels of land to tenant farmers, who continued to pay their rent in goods and services. In time, farmers began to wonder why they’d fought for self-government in the Revolution, only to remain under the yoke of European masters. The ensuing, and often violent struggle between tenant and landlord became known as the Anti-Rent War.


On April 28th, Jill Knapp will discuss a couple of key players in the lengthy conflict waged in Columbia and Rensselaer Counties; Big Thunder, aka Dr. Smith Boughton, and the “Fighting Finkle brothers.” 


In the final analysis, was Anti-Rentism a battle for land reform - a crusade for a cause? Or was Anti-Rentism domestic terrorism, resulting from the failure of the legal system to resolve the issue of perpetual leases? 


You be the judge if their actions were justified.

Illustration  (top) :  Mary Early, Down Rent War, Around 1845 (mural study, Delhi, NY post office), ca. 1939-1940, oil on canvas mounted on aluminum board, 12 x 36 in. (30.5 x 91.4 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, 1974.28.367

Mohican Heritage Past, Present and Future

A Packed-House Event at the RJHS! 

Mohican Allyship Event Graphic-WEB.jpg
Millerton News Lockup.jpg

"Indigenous Land-

Back movement

touches Copake"


On Sunday, March 17th, in the premiere event of the Copake Bicentennial, Bradley Pitts. Chair of the Mohican Allyship Committee (MAC), made an hour long illustrated presentation on behalf of the recently established and groundbreaking MAC. 

Mr. Pitts was joined by fellow MAC members Mary Ann Carrick, Catherine Mikic and Rita Jakubowski. 

The talk touched on a number of question like,

what is a land acknowledgement? What is tribal allyship? And why are they important?

The presentation also explored some of the history that predates Copake’s founding in 1824 before bringing the conversation back to present day Copake residents and contemporary Mohicans,

inviting us to consider what our current relationships are with the original people of the land and their contemporary descendants, and how, in the future, might we bring our relationships into greater alignment with our principles and values?”


Above: MAC Chair Bradley Pitts presents to large audience at the RJHS.

About the Mohican Allyship Committee...

Unanimously approved by the Copake Town Board in February, 2023, the Mohican Allyship Committee (MAC) is dedicated to working with the Town of Copake and area residents, in consultation with Stockbridge-Munsee Community representatives, to increase the visibility and understanding of contemporary, past, and future Mohicans, in order to honor them. The committee facilitates inter-government

communications between the Town and

the Stockbridge-Munsee Community

and recommends local policies, procedures, and resolutions concerning the Town’s relationship with the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, their ancestors, and their descendants. In addition to working with area residents, the MAC seeks local ways to serve Stockbridge-Munsee Community initiatives and priorities, acknowledging they are a sovereign, governing body whose core responsibility is to serve their

tribal citizens first.



Learn about the history of the "People of the waters that are never still": 

 the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians - 

 an important website recommended by the Mohican Allyship:





Bradley Pitts, Chair of the Mohican Allyship Committee (MAC)

of the Copake Town Board MAC


Mohican Allyship Committee on the Town of Copake Website:

Upcoming Events at the RJHS:

Sunday April  28th, 2024  2 pm

“The Rent Wars - Criminals or Crusaders?”

Presented by Jill Witbeck Knapp, 

Author of The Time for Redemption
- 8 Miles Road, Copake Falls NY

Sunday, May 19th, 2 pm

“The Bash Bish Inn - A History Shrouded in Mystery

Presented by Linda and Kim Crossman

At the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society - 8 Miles Road, Copake Falls NY

 Below: pictures from our recent Holiday display, all about the 200th anniversary of Clement Clarke Moore's poem,
"A Visit from St. Nicholas" 

Flyer Extended Show Now Text for website.jpg

Our winter Holiday exhibit kicked off with an illustrated presentation by Pamela McColl, author of the acclaimed book;  Twas the Night: The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem. In celebration of the bicentennial of the classic Christmas poem

RJHS President Lesley Doyel loaned the museum her family's extensive collection different of Santa Clause objects and 150 editions of different editions of Clement Clarke Moore's seminal Christmas poem.


Though the exhibit has closed, enjoy pictures of the wonderful holiday display. 

bottom of page