•This e-book is illustrated as per original publication.
•It contains 24 contemporary photographs.
•The images have been re-sized, digitally enhanced and optimized for a Kindle.
•A new table of contents with links to individual chapters has been added by a publisher.
From the first chapter: Our Ancestors
THE mountains hem us in. Beyond the mountains lies the world — a turbulent world of storm and struggle and opportunity. But the sturdy Shawangunks lift up their blue barrier and hold it back so that we in little old New Paltz can sleep on beside the drowsy Wallkill almost as we slept two hundred years ago.
We love our mountain with its patchwork sides of cultivated fields and woodland and its rugged crown of rocks. It is beautiful in autumn when lines of blazing sumac mark the fence rows and its woods are the color of wine and mahogany; and in winter when the glow of sunrise and the mists that creep up from the lowlands paint its blanket of snow with rose and amethyst....
It was in June two centuries and a half ago that Catharine Du Bois clambered wearily up and down its steep sides and all about her the laurel must have been bursting into bloom. But she had little heart for the beauty of it then, with Baby Jacques pressed close in her arms, for they were captives of the Indians and the story of their rescue is the story of how New Paltz came to be settled by our ancestors. Yes, the stranger must summer and winter our mountain and then he will begin to understand why our peace-loving forefathers tarried on in the valley at its feet for generation after generation with little inclination to drift back into the world outside. For a harsh, cruel world it had been to them for many a long year, driven as they had been from pillar to post and from post to pillar because of their religious belief .
Cruelly persecuted, they had fled from their sunny, native France to the Palatinate in Germany where they found safety for a time. Soon the soldiers of the wicked French King crossed the border and began harassing the poor Huguenots there and so our ancestors made their way to Holland and one by one or in small family groups set sail for the New World in some such slow sailing Dutch craft as carried Hendrick Hudson a little more than half a century before. In the New World which had beckoned them with such fair promises they did find what they wanted most — freedom to worship God — from the very beginning, but they scarcely found peace. One day Louis DuBois, the leader of the men who afterward settled New Paltz, came home to find his house in ashes and his wife and three little children gone, stolen by the Indians.