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Schuyler Mansion hosts a last hurrah for the holidays

The holidays might be winding down, but there's at least one more chance to enjoy the merriment. On Saturday, Jan. 8, the Schuyler Mansion will hold a Salutations of the Season celebration from 4 to 7 p.m.

After all, that's how it was done in the days of Philip Schuyler, the home's namesake.

"We celebrate Twelfth Night as it was celebrated in the18th century in Albany," Michelle Mavigliano, the mansion's historic site interpreter, said. "This is how it could have happened at the mansion."

Twelfth Night, also known as the Feast of Epiphany, was one of the traditional holidays celebrated by Dutch and English families of the time. The mansion's annual re-creation takes pains to accurately portray the period and its people, with re-enactors standing in as the Schuyler family. Philip Schuyler was a U.S. senator, an acclaimed Revolutionary War general and an entrepreneur, and the mansion played a key role in his life. Schuyler networked, strategized and socialized there. This year's Twelfth Night celebration is set in January 1778, which Mavigliano described as a "very tumultuous time."

A year earlier, Schuyler had been a commanding general, working to ward off British invasions into New York. But Schuyler fell ill, so he passed on command of one of the posts he was hoping to protect, Fort Ticonderoga, to Arthur St. Clair. It was a fateful decision; when the British swarmed Ticonderoga on July 5, 1777, St. Clair gave it up without so much as a gunshot. Congress replaced Schuyler with General Horatio Gates, who accused Schuyler of dereliction of duty.

In 1778, Schuyler was preparing to answer a court martial he had requested to refute Gates' charges (he was eventually cleared). He was also busy working with the Board of Indian Commissioners, trying to convince Native Americans to join America's side in the war, a proposition that was met with plenty of resistance.

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