Germain Family Farm History at the Saratoga Surrender Site

Polie E Germain (1888-1975) and Mary Agnes Patterson Germain (1890-1966) purchased about 70 acres of farm land along the Hudson River on the corner of what is now Schuyler St and River Road (Route 4) 1 mile south of Schuylerville in 1920. There they raised two sons, Kenneth and Raymond Henry Germain. Polie and Agnes raised corn and squash on the 55 acre flats along the river. The Champlain Canal ran along the River Road and Ray and Ken often pulled canal boats along the tow path with the plow horses. The flats were very fertile as the river flooded about every 5 years (and still does) leaving lots of rich soil and nutrients as it receded.

The Germain family raised dairy cows, chickens, pigs and vegetables on the 15 acres up on the hill, behind the house and barns. The house was built in the 1840’s (we think) and burned in 2006. There were many barns which burnt in 1975. The house overlooked the river and the surrender sign. That sign was there as long as Polie could remember.  The Germain family cared for the historic land and farmed it with love and respect for over 87 years. They always knew it was a special place for all Americans.

The Hudson River was always important in history. There are remnants of 3 French and Indian War Forts on the flats along the river north of the inlet to the canal, Fort Vrooman, 1690,  Fort Saratoga, 1702 and Fort Clinton, 1746. There is a New York State Sign about that near the mailboxes along River Road. Three of the four blockhouses are still buried in the corn field.

Raymond H. Germain (1915-2004) and Rose Gaudreau Germain (1915-2000) moved to the farm after they retired and continued to care for the land as they had all their lives. The farmland was rented out for many years for corn, dairy and other crops. All of the family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren spent special times there including summers and holidays. Mary Anne Germain had a horse there for many years. The view of the river is lovely.

After the house burned and Raymond H. died, the children, Raymond S., Stanley and Mary Anne Germain sold the land and development rights to Open Space Institute. The flats are protected by an agricultural easement. They cannot be developed. The children tried to protect and care for the historic land the way Polie and Agnes, and Ray and Rose had for over 87 years, with love and respect.

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