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Freedom rang early in the Town of Canaan

This Canaan Historical Society marker was funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. Photo by Peter Flierl

CANAAN—While most of us prepare for the Fourth of July and Independence Day with all that it connotes, the Canaan Historical Society celebrated the 226th anniversary of Declaration Day in Kings District. Towns covered by Kings District on June 24, 1776 included: Canaan, New Lebanon, Austerlitz, and East Chatham. Its citizens voted that day, 11 days before the nationwide Declaration, to declare their independence from Great Britain. And the rest is, as we say, history of independence and growth of an exceptional nation.

Brenda Adams, Canaan town supervisor and member of the board of the Canaan Historical Society, welcomed celebrants and reflected on the local declaration of independence all those 226 years ago. She noted they were choosing independence and the unknown, selecting delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. She asked that we remember and respect their courage, putting their lives on the line by taking on the most powerful nation in the world.

Ian Kerr reflected on and read the resolution, which is preserved in Town Hall, noting an enormous reluctance to break away from Britain and its unwritten constitution. He noted Tom Paine in Common Sense noted two flaws in that model, namely, monarchy and hereditary rule. There were approximately 90 delegates in the region, many from Massachusetts. Delegates from New York were not empowered to vote in favor until July 9, 1776.

Jennifer Ambrosio and Dodie Gearing took the lead in unveiling the new historic marker funded by a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, noting the history of the church and transition to Canaan Historical Society in 1963.

Max Cane had a Guess the Mystery Artifacts exhibit. The Declaration Day parade featured Village Fife & Drum Corps from Delmar, Sherrie Van Tassel’s Cowgirls Up Ranch, Cub Scout Pack 127 from Chatham, and the Capitaland Chorus from Albany. Songs from our history were sung as celebrants began making their own sundaes courtesy of Stewarts.

For information on membership, supporting the Canaan Historical Society and its free summer programs, email

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