COOPER DISCOVERER: Hilldweller's Roots Discovery Tour

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
#1
It was a pleasant day, June 7, 1663, in Ulster County, NY, when suddenly everyone's lives were permanently changed. A tenuous peace had suddenly ended and the Second Esopus War had begun with the sacking of Hurley, a small village near Kingston. The Esopus warriors were successful in their attack and removed to the safety of the forest with 43 captives ---- two of whom, Sarah duBois and Joost Van Meteren, just small children at the time, were my ancestors.

Men from the village and Dutch soldiers searched and skirmished for 3 long months until they finally met the Esopus in battle and liberated the captives with the help of a Mohawk scout. During those three months the villagers had traveled across lands that white men had not seen before and, after peace was again established, they purchased considerable acreage, determined to build a new village.

While he was with his Indian captors, Joost had learned the Delaware language and many of their ways. The thrill of the event had lit a candle of wanderlust in the boy and, as he grew, it became apparent that he would be no farmer. He became known as The Indian Trader, The Dutchman on the Hudson.

He and his wife, Sarah duBois Van Meteren, had many children and many adventures. They traveled up and down the Hudson and Delaware Rivers, down to the Potomac, the Shenandoah Valley, and the Smokey Mountains. They and their descendants founded many towns during the years and left a lengthy legacy.

So began our adventure some 350 odd years later, to see some of the countryside that held the fascination of my ancestors, to walk in their footsteps, to gaze upon the valleys and hills as they did, to find their graves, to see their ancient homes, still preserved for posterity in several locations. My roots discovery tour.

My wife Mirtes and I, along with our dog, Jessi D. Wundermutt, left on a journey-of-discovery early in the morning, May 2014. Driving a Jeep Wrangler (equipped with Cooper DISCOVERER ST-Maxx tires) and pulling a Little Guy Silver Shadow teardrop trailer, we made for Price Lake for our first night of camping. Joost had been involved in battles with Catawba Indians in and around the Smokies and it seemed a good place to start. We also camped at Sherando Lake ----- Sherando was what Joost called the Shenandoah at the time.


Bill, Mirtes & Jessi at Price Lake
 
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Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
#2
With a kind wind behind us and a fine interstate highway system below us, we made short work of our travels to New Paltz, NY, one of the many towns that my ancestors founded. We camped in a commercial campground (…the shame) and explored Historic Huguenot Street. There we found markers commemorating Louis duBois, the family patriarch, and were pleased to find that the old family home was the present-day welcome center.


The duBois family home, New Paltz, NY
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
#3
New Paltz is a college town, an artsy town, a town with excellent restaurants, bakeries, etc. We had a very good time there, ate well, hiked, and enjoyed the friendliness of the overall atmosphere. I’m sure that Louis would like what has become of his little village.

New Paltz isn’t far from Lake George so we headed that way, intent upon visiting Fort William Henry, Fort Ticonderoga, and finding some moose in Vermont.
Lake George and Lake Champlain are painfully beautiful. Miles upon miles of countryside and scenery. It’s like driving through a Norman Rockwell painting.

We crossed from NY to VT via the Ticonderoga Ferry. The captain of the boat told us of a small local restaurant in a tiny village on the lake so we headed there. We found some interesting dirt roads to explore, all ending at the lake, but didn’t find the elusive moose we were after. But we did find some excellent food again.
There are no ugly roads in Vermont. It’s almost unnatural. Visit Vermont or you won’t understand….


Our Jeep, the sole vehicle on the Ticonderoga Ferry that day
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
#4
We wanted to see more of what Joost might’ve seen so, after Lake George, we made our way up the Hudson, around Lake Placid, and ultimately camped on Fish Creek Pond in northern NY. It’s a wonderful campground with 319 of its 355 sites sitting directly on the lake. We hiked and explored the region, finding more great restaurants and bakeries, and mingling with locals in the Lake Placid area.


Bill & Jessi watching the sunrise at Fish Creek Pond
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
#5
With sad hearts we turned the trusty Jeep southward and began our journey home. We took the Blue Ridge Parkway again, camped at The Peaks Of Otter, Doughton Park, & Mount Pisgah, and then reluctantly returned home. Like Joost, I long for the trail, the wide open places, adventure.
Luckily there’s still more to discover.


Mirtes & Jessi watching the sunset at Price Lake
 

JIMBO

Expedition Leader
#6
:sombrero: Well done HD-

With satisfaction knowing that if the ferry failed--you coulda towedit with the JKU !

:costumed-smiley-007:snorkel: JIMBO
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
#8
Thanks, guys. It was a fun trip and pretty emotional for me.
I forgot to mention Vermont's maple syrup. Very addictive...