County Historian Johanna Yaun named chair of Semiquincentennial Commission

Goshen. Throughout all eight years of conflict, Orange County residents were at the center of military campaigns designed to control the Hudson River corridor and protect the borderlands along the Delaware River.

Goshen /
Sep 11 2019 | 06:30 PM

Orange County Historian Johanna Porr Yaun has been named chair of the Orange County Semiquincentennial Commission, and is now accepting applications to fill a dozen positions within the group.

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus signed an executive order in August tasking the commission with commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Revolutionary War era, which lasted from 1775 to 1783. The commission will be active from now until Nov. 25, 2033, to highlight Orange County’s role throughout the war years.

Anyone interested in joining the Semiquincentennial Commission should send their résumé to Yaun at the 1841 Courthouse, 101 Main Street, Goshen, NY 10924; or via email jyaun@orangecountygov.com.

There will be 13 commissioners in total, and they will serve three-year terms.

Congress created the United States Semiquincentennial Commission to plan an observance of the July 4, 1776, Declaration of Independence. The Orange County Semiquincentennial Commission is an expansion of this resolution, and will commemorate the rich local history surrounding many facets of the war as it pertained to Orange County.

Washington slept here

Orange County and its neighboring communities played a critical role in the Revolutionary War. Throughout all eight years of conflict, Orange County resident were at the center of military campaigns designed to control the Hudson River corridor and protect the borderlands along the Delaware River.

In 1775, Orange County residents recruited volunteers for the Orange and Ulster County militias and in 1777 defended the Hudson Valley in the attacks on Forts Montgomery and Clinton. In 1780, the garrison at West Point was promised to the British in an act of treason by General Benedict Arnold, who tried to exchange the post for money and a high position in the British Army.

While headquartered in Newburgh in 1783, General George Washington issued the General Order for the cessation of hostilities, ending the war. These are just a few examples of the region’s significance throughout this era.

Yaun is already at work as commission chair. She hosted the first Hudson Valley 250th Roundtable on Aug. 21, at which historians and museum professionals from around the region discussed collaborating on the upcoming commemoration. This included representatives from West Point Museum, Washington’s Headquarters, the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society, Hudson River Valley Institute, Revolutionary Westchester 250, and many others.

“The Hudson River Valley was at the center of patriot operations for much of the Revolutionary War and the 250th gives us a platform to talk about events that shaped the diplomacy, supply, recruitment and military campaigns during the war years,” said Yaun. “But we also want to explore beyond familiar themes to ensure that we bring important peripheral stories to light for a fuller picture of Orange County’s past.”

For more information, contact Yaun at jyaun@orangecountygov.com.