By Zachary Rousseas
This week’s object in itself is a teaser for next week’s post. In June of 1924, a pageant was put on in tribute to the 246th anniversary of the settling of New Paltz. The event was organized by the Village of New Paltz in collaboration with the Normal School (which was founded by Huguenot descendants and is the foundation of SUNY New Paltz). The pageant begins with a prologue describing the First and Second Esopus Wars and then segues into the story of hostages Catherine and Louis Dubois with their three children – how they were rescued and brought to an Indian village that would later become Die Pfalz. It is here when an overture played accompanied with a description of butterflies flitting in a meadow with children skipping and robins flying about.
The climax of the story occurrs when the Indian tribe council burns their hostages at a stake. Instead of exhibiting fear, Catherine begins to sing a Psalm, which enchants and distracts the Indians. This leads to a grand, heroic feat by the Huguenots who come to rescue her and reunite her with Louis.
The pageant ends 14 years after the hostage situation with the purchase of New Paltz from the Esopus tribe in 1677, which they would then begin to settle in 1678. The final conclusion after this scene includes a fanfare of trumpets, folk dances, and an Indian peace song.
Below is a photo of the initial page of the program which includes a list of the 17 members of the executive pageant council.
Can you guess what next week’s object will be?