Annual calendar depicting Champlain area's history published

CHAMPLAIN A Vermont man has continued his effort to educate others of the rich history of the Champlain Valley through a calendar he produces year after year. David Patrick, Colchester, Vt., has completed his sixth calendar highlighting both the Town and Village of Champlain in historical black and white photographs. The project, which Mr. Patrick undertook in 2002, has been a means to not only provide education, but serve as a way to raise money for local causes as well. I do the calendar because it is fun and because I want people to know more about Champlain's earlyhistory, said Mr. Patrick, who added he also wants to learn about the history himself. The calendar lets me write about Champlain's history in an easy-to-read format that I know people besides distant relatives would be interested in ... I have a unique opportunity here. Mr. Patricks interest in creating a calendar began in 2002, when trying to decide what to do with photographs and papers in his possession from his great-grandfather's brother, Hugh McLellan. The memorabilia including papers from Pliny Moore, the founder of Champlain and Mr. Patrick and Mr. McLellans common ancestor had been collected by Mr. McLellan from 1915 until his death, spanning more than 50 years. With copies of thousands of pages of material related to Champlain's early history in his possession, at first, Mr. Patrick was interested in creating a picture book. The idea later evolved into the annual calendar he creates today. Typically, development of the calendar is a four-month process, starting in June and wrapping up by October. The upcoming calendar, however, was what Mr. Patrick described as the most ambitious. I actually started it in January by working with a transcription of Pliny's diary made by Hugh McLellan 75 years ago, explained Mr. Patrick. I reverified every line and word in the transcription and made a lot of edits.I then transcribed from scratch the 40 pages of expense ledger that Pliny kept.I could only do two pages a night so this took a month to do.In all, the transcription of his diary and expense ledger took the winter to do. Mr. Patrick then assembled photos and wrote their captions and, in July, he wrote the historical essay portion of the calendar based on the transcriptions he made. The essay, he said, ties many facts together not readily apparent when reading the day-to-day entries in the diary.Fortunately, he was also able to include Pliny Moores entire diary in the calendar, which describes the work done to build Champlain's first sawmill, roads and houses.The diary shows hardship faced by settlers in the Champlain wilderness as they received little support being from a handful of inhabitants. The blacksmith that Pliny brought to Champlainhad tomake every nail from scratch from scrap iron that hescrounged, Mr. Patrick described. Wood was obtained by either cutting the trees themselves and shaping the logs or rowing to Plattsburgh forcut boards. In this years calendar, in addition to the historical essay and photographs, Mr. Patrick was able to include a copy of the first map drawn of the Village of Champlain and a color reproduction of a 1829 painting of Pliny Moore's house.The painting includes Oak, Elm and Prospect streets and shows a scenic river bank in front of the house, of quality Mr. Patrick said he feels people will be amazed. Amazement of the historic calendar is not surprising. Initial copies of the calendar have sold out year after year, leading Mr. Patrick to order larger quantities in subsequent years. Annually, he now orders 350 copies of which he sells the majority. For the past two years, proceeds from calendar sales have gone to a fund to restore the Pliny Moore gazebo once it is moved from Clark Funeral Home to Glenwood Cemetery.Prior to that, proceeds went to the college library in Plattsburgh to help preserve their collection of Champlain papers, a costly process, Mr. Patrick said. But the interest in Mr. Patricks calendars isnt just found locally. Requests for calendars have extended as far as Florida, California and Oregon as well. All of these people have ties to Champlain and usually write short notes about how much they like the calendars, said Mr. Patrick. Some have relatives living in town now and others lived there many years ago. Descendants of the Bredenbergs, a well-known family in Champlain for at least a century, and fellow descendants of Pliny Moore, whom Mr. Patrick identifies as his sixth-cousins, are some, for example. One woman even identified a man in a photo used from 1895 as her grandfather. Its that same enthusiasm for his calendar Mr. Patrick loves to witness from each person who views the calendar for the first time and something he hope to continue to enjoy for years to come. The 2008 Champlain Historic Calendar, which is sold for $13, may be purchased at several locations in the Champlain area including Kinney Drugs at the corner of State Routes 9 and 11; the Village of Champlain office, 1104 State Route 9; the Town of Champlain office, 729 State Route 9; Champlain Memorial Library, 148 Elm St.; and Paquettes Insurance Agency, 1033 State Route 9. The calendar is also available at Cornerstone Drug and Gift, 72 Champlain St., Rouses Point; Conroys Organics, 8173 State Route 9, Beekmantown; and the Corner-Stone Book Shop, 110 Margaret St., Plattsburgh.

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