The Kingston Daily Freeman from Kingston, New York on June 7, 1969 · Page 17
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The Kingston Daily Freeman from Kingston, New York · Page 17

Kingston, New York
Issue Date:
Saturday, June 7, 1969
Page 17
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Where the Pastor Once Spied on the Pub WEATHER-WORN GRAVESTONES of St. Ann’s Church burgeon with proud Irish names; bear burial dates going back more than 100 years. ST. ANN’S CORNERSTONE tells all those who pause to look that the small white church is 100 years old iu this year of 1969. (All photos by Freeman photographer Robert Haines) CAMERA TRAVELS UPWARD to the shuttered belfry tower to catch the glint of the cross high atop the building on the Sawkill Creek. THE SHRINE AT ST. ANN’S, where a crippled child was reputedly cured by a miracle, has become famous throughout the Eastern Seaboard and Canada. FRAMED BY STATELY PINES, the historic church and its shadowed shrine beckon beyond the sagging headstones and the flights of quarried bluestone steps. In this fast and frenetic age when the rush to get somewhere often leads to nowhere at all, motorists by the hundreds travel along the Sawkill Road daily. Hurrying to beat the clock at work or the crowds at the store, or off to town on an errand, few of them probably give more than a passing glance and no thought at all to the small white church that stands proudly overlooking its cemetery next to the rushing (but for natural and not manmade reasons) Sawkill Creek. Those who have noticed, however, would have been impressed with the beautiful shrine, the long graceful stone steps and the stately pines on the grounds. Intrigued, they might have gazed longer at the weather worn grave stones, bearing burial dates going back more than 100 years and boasting such proud Irish names as Malone. Leahy. Neenan and McCaffery. The house of quiet worship of which we speak is St. Ann's Church—and the cornerstone will tell you that the church is exactly 100 years old in this year of 1969. But the fact that the church has weathered the years to reach its ripe old age is not so heart w arming as the story behind the church and what went into those Irish names on the sagging grave markers. It Meant Power Sawkill became an actuality when people were attracted there by the roaring creek and splashing waterfalls. These first settlers arrived simply because the creek meant power to run mills, mostly the sawmills from which the community takes its name, in combination with “kill” for creek. Sawmills led to powder mills, snuff mills and farms, for the land along the creek was rich and fertile. Ireland's economic catastrophe, the Potato Famine of 1845 47. brought many people to this country from that other Ulster over the sea. Some of them made their way to Sawkill to find the best lands along the creek already taken by earlier settlers. Undaunted. they took to the hills, working hard to farm the land on higher ground. “Eureka!” one or two must have said as their plows turned up stones in the fields. These would have been the men who had labored in the quarries in Ireland and realized the stones could be worked. A Global Enterprise So it was that bluestone was probably discovered in Sawkill- bluestone that eventually paved the sidewalks of New York, Albany and Kingston; bluestone that was shipped all over the world. Capitalism being what it is. men seeking to develop a quarry arrived on the scene almost immediately; bought up the rocky land and brought a steady flow of Irish quarrymen from Manhattan and the old country during the 1840’s. Blue stone quarries were a reality, and Sawkill became “Quarry- town” with company built houses sprouting overnight and owned by the tightfisted quarry owners. All alike and ticky tacky by today’s stan dards were these houses; boasting a “togetherness” in their 16 ft. by 30 ft. frame, hip roof, wood shingles and clapboard siding. And w'here houses rose, general stores (at least two) followed. But the settlers yearned for the church they did not have; bemoaning (Continued on Page 27) •^1 17—THE KINGSTON DAILY FREEMAN. JUNE 7, 1969

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