Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

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Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

New postby mike » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:41 pm

We think that we finally found the old Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Mtn Range. We took the old west access trail. 80% of the trail is there. You can read more about it in the history section.
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Re: Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

New postby dave » Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:48 pm

Are you going back next weekend, or are you going to do Hawkeye?
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Re: Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

New postby mike » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:36 pm

I also understand that back in the late 1800's kids used to push larger boulders off the top of Round Top. These were boulders from the Glacier age. That may be the reason for the large boulders on the large ledge.

In any event, I do want to return again.
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Re: Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

New postby mike » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:10 pm

Here is a picture of the conifer forest around 3,000':

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Re: Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

New postby Platte2008 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:14 pm

I have visited the Tory Fort several times in the past 20 years - the first time with a local Platte Clove historian who lived here all his life. The location has been confirmed by at least 2 other individuals who have also lived in this area all their lives. I checked the location with a GPS and the altitude is 2520 feet - well below the summit of Round Top. It is located on the edge of "Tory Swamp".
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Re: Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

New postby rkugel » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:21 am

Mike also documented finding the Tory Fort using the old West Access trail. What I've always wondered is whether the fort is accessible by bushwhacking from the circular snowmobile trail where it passes north of the fort. From what I can tell by looking at maps, the snowmobile trail passes only about 1/4 of a mile north of the fort - as the crow flies. And that's the problem. Besides the thick conifer forests, I have no idea how steep the climb is, or even if it is possible due to high ledges. Compounding the problem is that there are no points of reference to help guide you.
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Re: Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

New postby mike » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:36 am

I checked the location with a GPS and the altitude is 2520 feet - well below the summit of Round Top. It is located on the edge of "Tory Swamp".


Yes, this is what we call Brant Fort. It is also referred to as Joseph Brant Fort or a Tory Fort. It is located at the bottom of the col between KHP and Round Top. Michael Kudish published that it is at elevation of 2,540' on page 131 (The Catskill Forest - A History). But, after some research, we believe that it is actually located 100' up on the westerly plateau at 2,640'. At that location we found evidence of a past camp buried in the humus. You can find more information here: http://www.catskillmountaineer.com/KM-brantfort.html

We also believe that there may be a Long House just south of there near the old horse trail. We were going to revisit it in April, but with the snow, it didn't work out. We do want to visit it next April and investigate it some more. You are more then welcome to come along. We know that Michael Kudish is going to do some research in this area, so we might ask him for his expertise.

There is also an old Mohawk Indian camp on the east side of KHP. It is in between the Snowmobile trail and the Long Path. You can see it here: http://www.catskillmountaineer.com/KM-Indian.html

But, this thread is about another Tory Fort on the top of the col between Round Top and KHP. This one drove us absolutely nuts for about 5 years. This whole thing started with some pencil markings on Roland Van Zandt's 1949 Arrowhead map. This map, along with the pencil markings, were published in his book, "The Catskill Mountain House" on page 108 (first printing 1979/1982 - later editions had the pencil marks erased). It showed a Tory Fort on the north side of KHP and Round Top near the old Tory Swamp. We did close to a hundred hikes up there looking for this elusive Tory Fort. Finally, someone told us that it was ON the col between Round Top and KHP. After looking at the map again we determined that maybe we were missing something on the map. So, we took the map and blew it up digitally, and had it enhanced. Once, we did this, a line showed up between Tory Fort and a circle with an X in it. We then hiked up to where the X was located. That is how we discovered this second Tory Fort. We then took pictures and consulted with a few historians in the area. Luckily, they knew a military historian who knew all about this Tory Fort and gave us a detailed history of it. He had been there. Roland Van Zandt had it right, but the printing of the map lost the detail, and led us in the wrong direction. You can see more about it here: http://www.catskillmountaineer.com/KM-KHPwest.html

Rich is also correct about being able to access it from the north side. You could get a wagon up to the col this way. Up there you can see where horses had been. We also think that they kept horses on the northeast side of the col. But, today the easiest way is to access it from the west. Very easy walk. You can cross country ski up most of it.

We still have some mysteries in this area. We don't know what the building on the Huckleberry path was for? Haven't been able to find any information about it. One person believed that it might be Brant Fort, but we don't think so.
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Re: Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

New postby rkugel » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:25 am

Mike, thanks as always for your input. Based on what I've read, I would have to agree that the "easiest" way to find the Tory Fort is via the West Access trail. However, I think that is best done with a group. Besides the fact that the trail is very vague (you noted that in some places it completely disappears), there is also a large population of bears in the area. Hiking alone is potentially dangerous and not a great idea.

Assuming we ever get a nice clear weekend and you would like to do the hike again, I'm still "in".

Thanks, Rich
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Re: Tory Fort on Kaaterskill Found

New postby mike » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:06 am

We should probably refer to it as the Upper Tory Fort, as opposed to the Lower Tory Fort. Yes, the west access is definitely the easiest and shortest. You can access the col from from the North (snowmobile trail), but there is no longer a defined path. Except for the black bears who use it to access the North side of the Kaaterskill Mtn range.

But, Platte2008 also has a point about the Lower Tory Fort. The area had a wide area of usage. It is possible that there is some usage on the lower section in the 2500' level. We canvased the area with a GPS, and I don't think we missed anything, but you never know. The 2500-2550' section gets significant storm runoff from the col, so I don't know why someone would stay in that area. If there was a Long House there, then there would have been hundreds of Mohawk Indians living in the basin. The area warrants more research.
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