History Articles written originally for the Sacandaga Express
Before the settlers, legend states that the Indians and later military troops used a trail through Edinburg that later became a road known as Military Road. This winding forest trail was traveled to get to and from Canada during the French-Indian War from 1755-1763.The only settlers then were probably fur trappers and Native Americans who came to hunt and fish.
Edinburg’s section of Military Road ran south to Fish House then on to Schenectady and the Mohawk River, which is another important waterway that joins the Hudson between Waterford and Cohoes. This supports the theory that Edinburg’s Military Road probably did lend a woodland path to marching soldiers and their, at that time, Native American comrades.
There is a house that still stands at along the side of Military Road today that contains hiding places that are thought to have been used as part of the underground railroad during the Civil War. The historic marker that stands in front of the building provides this information “Barker’s store built in 1847 by John Barker and run continuously as a store until 1945. Believed to have been a stop on the underground railroad”
Edinburg’s name came from the capital of Scotland. Originally spelled Edinburgh, in July 1894 the “h” was dropped. Edinburg is a town name it includes quite a few settlements. From the 1790’s through the early 1800’s Batchellerville, Clarkville, Tennantville, Beecher’s Hollow, Edinburgh Hill, Sand Hill, Cold Brook, Partridge, and Anderson all settled on the east or west sides of the river. All of these hamlets contributed to the thriving community.
Farming, logging and woodenware manufacturing were the three largest industries.
The first settler was Abijah Stark in 1787. In 1793 these “firsts” followed: grist mill, general store, and a sawmill.
The first town meeting was held on April 7, 1801. These are some of the actual minutes from that meeting: “the town was to raise $50.00 to take care of the towns poor and that hogs could run at large”. But at town meeting in 1802 it was decided that “hogs could run at large, BUT they had to wear good and sufficient yoak (yoke). Boar hogs were not to run, after being two months old, after the first of May until the 25th of December. Every boar hog being found to run after the above date the owner of such hog was to pay $1.00 or forfeit the hog.” Hogs were very destructive to peoples property the officials set some conditions at that town board meeting to try to keep the hogs from ravaging the countryside. The yokes would at least give a person a place to grab a hog that was unruly. But back then most farm animals chickens, ducks, geese, were allow to roam freely.
Ram sheep were also restricted from running at large from September until November. In 1826 “fence viewers” (people that went around to check livestock fences to make sure they were in good repair) were paid 50 cents per day. Also in 1826 the commissioner of common schools was paid 75 cents a day
One historic gem the Edinburg area holds is the Copeland Covered bridge built in 1879 by Aarad Copeland to get his farm animals across Beecher’s Creek, just down the road from Barker’s Store mentioned previously. The bridge is the only queen truss bridge in NYS. The queen post truss, is similar to a king post truss in that the outer supports are angled towards the center of the structure. But the queen truss style is only suitable for relatively short spans. The Copeland Covered Bridge is 35 feet long. Signs on the front requests “Maximum load 10 adults” The year-round stream that runs under it also has a beautiful waterfall a short walk away. A re-dedication celebration of the bridge was held in June of 2002 opening the site officially to the public.
New York State Covered Bridge Society placed the Copeland Covered Bridge on the State and National Registers of Historic Sites in 1998. The Edinburg Historical Society has received several grants and has waged an aggressive campaign selling “shares” on the covered bridge to raise money for it’s restoration and maintenance.
– by Lorraine Frasier