A historic journey in Ballston

If it wasn't for the Rev. Eliphant Ball (and possibly a quantity of rum changing hands), the Town of Ballston could easily have been named McDonald's Town, after 1760s settlers the McDonald brothers.

That's just one fact along the path of a new historical driving tour through the Town of Ballston. The project is the result of six months of work by town historian and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school teacher Rick Reynolds. He created the road trip to give residents and visitors alike a chance to sample the history of the town.

Reynolds kicked off the program on the afternoon of Monday, June 16, by leading the inaugural tour, but one need only pick up a copy of his brochure to have the experience for themselves.

I can't present to everybody all the time, said Reynolds, "so I want people to come and see it for themselves."

The tour is made up of 12 stops that span the history of the town, each with an interesting story behind it.

"You've probably been on tours like this in bigger cities -- walking tours," said Reynolds. "It would take a long time to walk from place to place in Ballston. That's why I created a road tour."

Those who take the drive will stop at Angus McDearmid's house, a settler banished from Scotland who gave Devil's Lane its name when he saw an unholy apparition. A little known fact: a group of British soldiers caved in the floor of his house when they stopped to observe Mrs. McDearmid's spinning wheel. They were searching for General James Gordon.

The area's role in the Revolutionary War is not overlooked by Reynolds' tour. A stop at the Bettys House on Route 50 revealed the story of Joseph Bettys, a famous rebel traitor. Feeling that his bravery in battle wasn't sufficiently rewarded after he joined Benedict Arnold's forces, Bettys began passing along information to the British. He was caught once, but his life was spared by George Washington. He wasn't as lucky the second time around " he was hanged for being a traitor.

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