In this, the first book in a series of three, the author invites her reader to come with her on a journey into the past. It begins in the Connecticut Berkshires in 1801 and transports us north with George and Lydia who set forth to Willsborough, New York and, established a family presence in the early days of that town. The lure for George is adventure and a financial opportunity. We experience their emotions as they prepare to leave behind all that they have ever known and begin a long trek north. We join them on the oxen-drawn wagon that becomes home for Lydia and their 4 offspring, including a tiny infant, while George rides beside them as their ultimate protector. We are with them as they brave the elements, wait in fear of the night and wild animals and cook their meager meals and sleep by the roadside.
We board the sail ferry at Charlotte, feeling their trepidation as they stare at the vast expanse of water that lies before them, and, finally, step gingerly onto the warm sand as they reach New York at last. As they enter Willsborough they sigh with relief and as they are welcomed into their new home with loving-kindness. They quickly sense that this is what Willsborough is all about. George takes us into the Iron Shop where we see he and his fellow workers crafting huge anchors for the newly created ocean going vessels of the U.S. Navy. We see the town grow, just as their family grows. The years pass swiftly. They are very busy, productive and happy times for George, Lydia and their children.
Through it all we become a part of their lives as we develop our own perspective as to who these early Clarks really were – one that is often immensely personal. In the end, we are drawn into the final drama of the series, filled with anguish and concern.
Darcey Hale and her husband discovered an enormous cache of material culture and documents that extensively describe the lives of three generations of an extraordinary family, the development of a town and region, and enterprise ranging from making anchors, agriculture to a vibrant company town. The Long Trek North introduces the moving experiences of the first generation, the pioneering Clark family whose energy, tribulations, fears and celebrations laid the foundation for the next two generations and sequels in the series.
– H. Nicholas Muller III, Ph.D. Professor of History, University of Vermont, former President, Colby Sawyer College. President & CEO Frank Lloyd Wright Foundationon
This historical novel about the Clark family’s life in early Willsborough is very well written and historically accurate. This book will certainly make the reader anxious for the sequels. As a historian, I encourage everyone to read all of Darcey’s novel, so much Willsboro history that needs to be told.
– Ronald Bruno, Town of Willsboro Historian
The Long Trek North begins with the 1801 arrival of George Clark, a skilled iron maker, in the small industrial settlement on the Boquet River, Willsboro, New York. Darcey Hale’s research traces the story of the extended Clark family through several generations during the 1800s wherein they were engaged in many trades including agriculture, shipbuilding, quarry operations, building imposing government structures and civil works and, intermittently, charcoal and lime burning. This book has been years in the making and Darcey Hale’s broadly informed study, with its readable text, will please local history buffs as well as the more-informed readers.
– Morris Glenn, Historian
About the Author:
For Darcey Hale, history has been a passion since, as a ten year old, she was introduced to the world of antiquity while residing temporarily among the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Uxmal in Yucatan. This experience was the catalyst for her ongoing quest to learn more about those who had lived in a time gone by. She moved to Willsboro, New York and became the guardian of the treasures that the Clark family had left behind. Through their legacy she has lived their lives and now, in her first book, shares the story of the Clark family, as it so vividly portrays nineteenth century life in New York’s Champlain Valley.