Hudson and his ship topic of slide show
Margaretville – Kipp Cronk Van Aken, chief engineer of the Half Moon, will give an illustrated talk Saturday, Feb. 28 on life aboard the 85-foot replica of the ship Henry Hudson sailed while exploring the Hudson River in 1609.
“Henry’s Excellent Adventure: The Half Moon, Then and Now,” begins at 11 a.m. in the Community Room behind Fairview Public Library, 43 Walnut St., Margaretville. Sponsored by the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown, the talk is free to HSM members, $2 for nonmembers.
In case of inclement weather, the program will be held the following Saturday, March 7.
The program celebrates the 400th anniversary of the 1609 exploration by Henry Hudson and the crew of the Halve Maen of the river that now bears the captain’s name. The Dutch East India Company had hired Hudson, an Englishman, to search for a passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He thought he had found that passageway when he sailed up the river we now know as the Hudson 10 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
Hudson claimed the area for the Dutch and opened the land for settlers who followed. More than 150 years later, in 1764, four Hudson Valley Dutch families journeyed west into the Catskills to become the first white settlers of the Town of Middletown.
Kipp Van Aken is a direct descendant of three early Dutch families – Kips (Kypes), who settled in Manhattan and then Kypesbergen (Rhinecliff); Cronks, who migrated from Long Island to Westchester and Dutchess counties before arriving in the Grand Gorge area in the late 18th century; and Van Akens, early settlers of Wiltwyck (Kingston) who also moved west to the Grand Gorge area.
Van Aken is an original shareholder of the replica Half Moon, which was built in Albany in 1989 by the New Netherland Museum to commemorate the Dutch role in exploring and colonizing America.
The Half Moon is fully operational. Six sails on three masts accommodate 2,757 square feet of canvas. It is equipped with six cannons and four anchors, and accurately reflects the colors and designs of Dutch East India Company ships from the early 17th century. Crew members are often dressed in clothing typical of sailors from this period.
For more information on the Half Moon, and to apply to be an on-board volunteer, visit www.halfmoon.mus.ny.us. To find out about other events celebrating the state-wide Quadricentennial of both Hudson’s voyage and Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of Lake Champlain, go to www.exploreny400.com.