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Military Road

How did Military Road get its name? Over the years many ideas and theories have been suggested. Local people always called it the "State Road" and still do as a matter of fact. In most recent years it has been called Military Road. Before the Sacandaga Reservoir was formed  this road ran the entire length of the Town of Edinburg from Fish House to the Town of Day line. What is now called Sinclair Road was part of the Military Road.

Legend states that troops of soldiers and bands of Indians used this road to and from Canada during the French-Indian War, 1755-1763. At that time it was not a road as we know it but simply a trail through fields and forests (remember that a township did not exist here at that time). The only settlers were probably fur trappers and Indians who came to hunt and fish.
A letter to former Town Historian Nellie Tyrrell from a gentleman in Stony Creek was found in the files. A portion of this letter follows: "As to the places and areas that were listed as crossings for the old military roads, I can only pass onto you the results of my own research taken from old maps, notations from old diaries and recorded military information. This area as you well know, was crisscrossed with many Indian trails, these later formed the basis for the location of roads, some of the earliest, were military roads.  As mentioned, the roads followed the general directions of the trail, while trails went up the sides of ledges and through gorges.  The roads of necessity followed or were cut through the valleys and lowlands.  But the early trails and later the roads all had one thing in common, to gain access to a waterway. In our case the Hudson, thence north to Lake George, Champlain, Richeleiu River, the St. Lawrence and finally Montreal or south on the Hudson to Troy, Albany and later New York.

All trails led toward Ft. Lyman (later called Fort Edward) or Fort William Henry at the head of Lake George or Ticonderoga. As there were no bridges (until well after the Revolution) and ferries fording areas were used, where flat ledges or sandbars existed that formed natural fording areas. 

One major crossing or ford of the Hudson was just below the present Glens Falls and South Glens Falls Bridge, the area or ford was referred to as "the sand beach" present site of the Finch Pruyn Mill.  The crossing led directly into the first military road constructed by Sir William Johnson in 1755 and led from Ft. Edward to Ft. William Henry at the head of the lake called St. Sacrement, but renamed Lake George by Sir William Johnson. Another ford or crossing was called "Morgans Ford," named after a settler (one of the first in the area), located halfway between Hudson Falls and Glens Falls.  General John Burgoyne used this ford during his invasion from the North in 1777.

Yet another and much older ford and possibly the first crossing area ever used was just west of Glens Falls and south of West Mountain Road.  In all written histories this is referred to as "The Big Bend" or the "Big Bay." For perhaps a couple of hundred years this was the ford or crossing place of untold thousands of Indians and later thousands and thousands of soldiers, military equipment and supplies. They were forded over the Hudson at this point.

Another important ford or crossing was at the site of Fort Miller a short distance above Schuylerville, this later became known as Jones Ferry, operated by a settler named Jones.  This family lived in the present Town of Moreau. The ford was used many years prior to the Revolution and also during the Revolution

All of the old military roads running north from the Mohawk Valley area, after winding through the valleys crossed the Sacandaga River, perhaps through Edinburgh and then continued back into the mountains along Hadley Hill on to Livingston Lake and then down to the present Lens Lake Road. They then continued  through Stony Creek, up Wolf Road , under Crane Mountain, into Thurman, down toward the Hudson and eventually to the several crossings offered.

Our section of Military Road ran south to Fish House then on to Schenectady and the Mohawk River, another important waterway that joins the Hudson between Waterford and Cohoes.  This does add fuel to the theory that our Military Road surely did feel the tread of thousands of marching soldiers and their Indian comrades.

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Edinburg Town Hall - 45 Military Road - Edinburg, New York - 12134 - (518) 863-2034