Founder’s Weekend


Founder’s Weekend re-enactment and colonial trade fair on Van Rennselear (Lighthouse) Point is a commemoration of Ogdensburg’s French colonial roots. The weekend is a colorful tribute to the founding of Fort de La Présentation in 1749 through to the end of the French period in 1760 with the Battle of the Thousand Islands, which was the last battle of the French and Indian War.  All presentations are made possible through a grant by the New York State Council for the Humanities.


Adults $7    Children ages 7 thru 12 $2     Children 6 and under FREE

                  Sunday, Children 12 and under free when accompanied by a paid Adult 


SATURDAY – JULY 19, 2014


10:00 AM    GATES OPEN

11:00 AM     Water Battle begins

11:30 AM     Children’s Muster

 Noon           Historical Music with Linda Russell 

12:30 PM      18th-Century Fishing on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River with Brian McDonald

1:00 PM      Synopsis of the French and Indian War with Jack Frost

1:30 PM      Land Battle

2:30 PM      Children`s Muster

3:00 PM      Native American Culture with Rick Salazar

4:00 PM      Book Signing The Spike Tomahawk with Jack Vargo

4:00PM       English Country Dance Demo

4:30 PM      Life at Sea in the 18th Century with Sarah O Connor


Colonial trades, Camp life, Drills, Demonstrations and Exhibits throughout the weekend. Children's Scavenger Hunt


SUNDAY – JULY 20, 2014


Children 12 and under free when accompanied by a paid Adult on Sunday


7:30 AM      MASS Lighthouse Point with Akwesasne Choir. Bring your own chair. On-site parking for the service. Rain location - Notre Dame Church

10:00 AM    GATES OPEN

11:00 AM    Water Battle

11:30 AM    Children’s Muster

Noon          18th-Century Music with Linda Russell

12:30 PM    Native American Culture with Rick Salazar

1:00 PM     Synopsis of the French and Indian War with Jack Frost

1:30 PM     Land Battle

2:30 PM      GATES CLOSE

Colonial trades, Camp life, Drills, Demonstrations and Exhibits throughout the weekend. Children's Scavenger Hunt

Re-enactor and visitor information click here.



The Music of New France

Balladeer Linda Russell will lead the audience on an entertaining and enlightening historic journey through New France. Her musical performances of period songs are punctuated with anecdotes and facts from primary sources. She especially enjoys introducing children to traditional instruments and performs on guitar, mountain and hammered dulcimer, penny whistle and limberjack . Linda is recognized as an expert in historical interpretation. She has interpreted history through music for 16 years as a National Park Service balladeer at Federal Hall National Memorial in New York City. Her performance venues include A Prairie Home Companion, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Symphony Space and the National Archives. Linda performances are Saturday and Sunday and throughout the weekend she will interact with the public.


Battle Narration


Jack Frost is a member of several historic societies who has worked and volunteered at historic sites. He has narrated Founder’s Weekend's land and sea battles since 2009. Jack's presentation includes a synopsis of French and Indian War, which include military, economic and political reasons for the conflict. His narration includes an 18th-century tactical weapons and information on material culture and local history. He will describe the last stand of the French at Fort Lévis and the end of the French and Indian War in North America. The program is specifically designed to appeal to and educate the public and includes an open discourse with the audience. Jack will also have a display of historically and architecturally correct models of 18th-century military fortifications.


The Spike Tomahawk


Jack Vargo the author of The Spike Tomahawk will explain the spike tomahawk a popular tool and weapon in colonial North America. Jack is recognized as the producer of museum quality reproductions of 17th- and 18th-century tools and personal accoutrements. Specializing in the French and Indian Wars era, he replicates period knives and trade axes using original forging and finishing methods. Through 20 years of research, Jack has extensively studied the originals and his work reproduces documented tools.


Traditional Baskets


Sue Ulrich will speak about flat woven baskets made from materials native to the area: ash; spruce root; bark; and vines. She will explain the methods material preparation and demonstrate the reed-weaving process from more readily available material. The baskets are tools meant to be used. Sue have been participating in Revolutionary War and French and Indian War re-enactments for eight years and has been making baskets learned from traditional basket makers for more than 25 years.


Native American Stories and Song


Richard Salazar, a Native American storyteller dressed in Iroquois attire, presents songs, tales and myths of the Iroquois along with creation stories and history. Expect audience participation in the songs and dance. Richard, a Native American historian is a historical re-enactor of the Native peoples for various time periods. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Nebraska specializing in the Native American and archeology.

Hands-on Leather Working


Craig Russell started re-enacting in 1965 joining the Westchester County Militia. He has studied leather working under Peter Oakley (cordwainer) at Old Sturbridge Village, MA, as well as harness work with Eric Myhall of Colonial Williamsburg, VA. His leather work is utilized by many American and Canadian re-enactors. Craig will offer children easy to make projects. His interest in making period clothing and equipment started at thattime. He made his first muzzle-loading rifle in 8th grade and has studied hand-tools 

woodworking, tinsmithing, blacksmithing, tailoring, timber framing, hornsmithing,

coopering and leather/harness work.


Firearms of the 18th Century


About 25 years ago John Osinski acquired an interest in Colonial history and became involved in living history. John will be discussing various types firearms commonly used in 18th century. He participates in the French and Indian War reenactments as a 

 member of Schuyler’s Co., NY Provincials and Revolutionary War as a member of Col. Wemple’s Regiment of the Albany County Militia. John command Kellogg’s Company, NY Militia in War of 1812 re-enactments. John is the current chairman of the Burning of the Valleys Military Association, an umbrella organization for Revolutionary War renactment groups in Mohawk, Schoharie, and Hudson Valleys, John is a board member of the Schuyler Mansion Friends group and a trustee for Montgomery County Historical Society.


18th-Century English Clothing


In 1973 Chris Osinski began her re-enacting career with a special interest in the 18th century. In her talk about 18th century English clothing, she will cover who wore what and why and differences in class and styles. Over the years she has been a volunteer and seasonal employee at various National and State Parks, including Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY and Morristown National Historic Park in NJ. Currently she is a member of Schuyler’s Company of NY provincials (1759), 2nd Regiment Albany county Militia (AWI) and Kellogg’s Company NY artillery (1812).Through these groups Chris has organized and presented workshops on 18th-century clothing construction and needle arts.


Building a Bateau


Sarah O’Connor obtained her MA in Atlantic History and Museum Studies from the University of New Hampshire in 2008 and was for five years a curator of a small museum  She now travels throughout New England and Canada as a maritime historical re-enactor aboard a reproduction gunboat.  Her co-presenter Chris Collins is a professional blacksmith and boat builder with more than 20 years experience as a living historian.  His work has been seen throughout New England and Canada. Sarah and Chris will discuss the building of their historically accurate bateau.


Coopering a Traditional Bucket


As part of the Artisans Program at Fort Stanwix, Bob Aliers began to learn the trade of coopering - the making buckets, barrels and casks. His presentations cover use tools and process of making and forming buckets or casks by hand in the manner of an 18th-century cooper. He has trained under the master cooper at Genesee Country Village in Mumford, NY, and has taken workshops with the cooper at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge MA. His demonstrations have been presented at Fort Stanwix National Monument, Old Stone Fort (Schoharie, NY), Hanford Mills (East Meredith, NY), and The Framers Museum (Cooperstown, NY). He has been living-history interpreter at Valley Forge and at Saratoga National Historic Sites. He is member of the Second Albany Militia (Rev. War), Kellogg’s Company (War of 1812) and a member of the Company of Historic Coopers. Bob uses an extensive collection of period and reproduction hand tools during his interactive with programs.


Belt Weaving


Ken Aries caught the re-enacting bug in 1999. After serving 17 years active duty Ken decide to stay in the Fort Drum area to be near his re-enacting community. Ken made the decision to take up weaving because wife learned to spin for her re-enacting persona and ball and balls yarn were accumulating in the house. Kem found weaving relaxing, so as a team she spins and he weaves. Ken portrays a belt weaver of the early colonial period. He currently works for the Department of Defense in Medical Administration at Fort Drum.


18th Century Quilting


Terri Whittaker and her sister Chris Nicholson have sewn since they were children. Not wanting to be caught doing something ordinary the took their love of fabrics and design back to the 18th century. Working at a traditional hand built quilting frame, the two will  

be quilting a woman's garment. On display will be a range of time-honored patterned cotton cloth and illustrations of centuries-old quilts in museums around the world. The women are members of the living history organizations, the Quebec Historical Corps and Civilians in the Midst of Alarums.


The Akwesasne Choir


The women Akwesasne Choir will sing traditional hymns in the Mohawk language at the outdoor Sunday mass. They will sing in traditional regalia to enhance the multicultural milieu and promote appreciation of one aspect of life in the Mohawk nation. The women have sung for celebrations in their community and the surrounding region. Their most memorable performance was singing for Pope Benedict at the recents canonization of Kateri Tekahkwitha at the Vatican.


All Founder's Weekend presentations are made possible by the New York Council for the Humanities