World War I was the first time in American history that the United States sent soldiers abroad to defend foreign soil. For many local families, that action struck very close to home, as their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers went to Europe to face the enemy in the homelands of their forefathers. Local historian Richard (Rick) Brooks will tell the story of one such soldier, Andrew Sannen of Highland and Plattekill, in a presentation entitled “I Went to France” at the upcoming program of the Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society (TOLHPS). The program will be held on January 6 at the Vineyard Commons Theater/Meeting Room in Highland.
Private Sannen was inducted into the service in 1918 and after basic training he was assigned to the newly formed 59th Pioneer Infantry, Company F. As he travelled to and thorough France, Sannen stayed close to his family through weekly correspondence in the form of post cards. After the War Sannen settled onto his family’s sustenance farm in Tuckers Corners and lived there until he passed away in 1970. He is buried in the Modena Cemetery.
Brooks, an avid scholar of local history, acquired access to Sannen’s postcards and a trove of other memorabilia. From that collection he has put together his intimate story of one man’s travels to and through war-torn France and a display of Sannen’s memorabilia. Brooks and his wife, Patricia, co-own Brooks & Brooks Land Surveyors and Land Planners, located in Highland. They share a passion for researching history and offering programs to various organizations throughout the year.
TOLHPS sponsors free monthly public programs from September to June, usually on the first Monday of the month at the Vineyard Commons theater/meeting room in Highland. Vineyard Commons is at 300 Vineyard Avenue, about a mile and a quarter from the Hamlet of Highland on Route 44/55, just south of the Hudson Valley Rehabilitation Center. To reach the theater, turn into Vineyard Commons and follow the signs to Building 6. At the request of Vineyard Commons management, audience members are asked to park their cars in the lot at the far right (west) end of the row of buildings that includes Building 6.
For more information about TOLHPS programs and plans, consult the organization’s website, www.TOLHPS.org, look for Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society on Facebook or call 845-255-7742.