‘Calico and Tin Horns’ is first in a series of Anti-Rent War programs

— Photo from Dawn Jordan

A StoryWalk at Berne’s town park features laminated pages of Candace Christiansen “Calico and Tin Horns,” a children’s book about the Anti-Rent Wars, which started in Berne.

— Photo from Dawn Jordan

Sharing Hilltown heritage: Zenie Gladieux, left, president of Helderberg Hilltowns Association, presents a copy of “Calico and Tin Horns” to Donna Gwin, president of the Friends of the Berne Library.

To the Editor:

The Hilltowns Regional Historic Summit and the Friends of the Berne Library invite you to join us this coming Monday evening, May 21, for the first in a series of programs commemorating the Anti-Rent War — the 19th-Century struggle of tenant farmers against a Dutch feudalistic system of land grants, leases, evictions and arrests.

The revolt originated in Berne in 1839, spread across 11 counties, and resulted in changes to New York State politics and the societal landscape of the entire nation.

Author Candace Christiansen will talk about her book, “Calico and Tin Horns,” which tells the story of an episode of the uprising as seen through the eyes of a young girl. The book, beautifully illustrated by Ms. Christiansen’s late husband, Thomas Locker, is also the subject of the latest StoryWalk, a deconstructed book whose pages are laminated and then installed on posts along a walking path at the Berne Town Park.

Another of the author’s books, “The Ice Horse,” is the subject of the Knox Town Park Story Walk.

Ms. Christiansen’s books are no longer in print but several gently-used copies of each will be available for those who wish to purchase a book and have it signed.

Ms. Christiansen will also be presenting a program to Berne-Knox-Westerlo fourth-graders earlier in the day. Her programs and the Story Walks at the Berne and Knox town parks are sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Many thanks go to Zenie Gladieux, president of Helderberg Hilltowns Association who led the charge by obtaining multiple copies of “Calico and Tin Horns,” and donating a copy each to the BKW Elementary School Library and the Altamont Free Library, and two copies for the StoryWalk.

The Hilltowns Regional Historic Summit consists of local historical societies, historians, and libraries, and is sponsored by Helderberg Hilltowns Association and meets quarterly.

Upcoming speakers on the Anti-Rent War topic, yet to be scheduled, include Jill Witbeck Knapp, author of “A Time for Redemption,” which relates the tale of her great-great grandfather William Witbeck’s arrest, trial, and acquittal for the murder of Rensselaer County Deputy Sheriff Willard Griggs, and Dr. Bruce W. Dearstyne, former program director of the New York State Archives and professor of New York State History, author of “The Spirit of New York – Defining Events in the Empire State’s History.”

Other programs will be scheduled and announced throughout the coming year. Please check the Helderberg Hilltowns Association website, www.Hilltowns.org, for details.

The evening “Calico and Tin Horns” program is open to the public and starts at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 21, in the Community Room at the Berne Public Library.

Dawn Jordan, secretary

Helderberg Hilltowns Association and

Hilltown Regional Historic Summit

More Letters to the Editor