A NYSP horse mounted patrol was on hand to signify the transportation the original troopers had to use. (Photo by Hayleigh Gowans)
By Hayleigh Gowans
The New York State Police Department recently kicked-off a celebration of 100 years of service to the citizens of the state, and unveiled a historical marker that will be placed at the original training camp of the force in Manlius.
“This is a very special place for us and why we’re here today. It was the birthplace of the state police,” said Superintendent George Beach II, of the New York State Police. “I’ve been on the force for 34 years and I’ve got to say this is the single most important day I’ve witnessed so far. I can’t tell you how special it is that at 100 years are able to gather on the very grounds where we began. Everything that the state police does today began here.”
On April 11, hundreds of state troopers and guests gathered at the Cavalry Club, which was home to the first training camp of the New York State Police in 1917 — Camp Newayo. In those days, Beach said, troopers didn’t have access to vehicles, so horses were the main form of transportation for the force, which is why a NYSP Mounted Patrol riding on horseback was present at the event. A replica tent from the days of Camp Newayo was on display to show how the original 232 troopers lived in the early days of the organization.
A historical marker to signify the importance of this area to the New York State Police was unveiled at the event. The marker reads, “State Troopers 1917 Camp Newayo, first training site of 232 troopers led by Supt George F. Chandler on property of NYNG Troop D 1st Cavalry.”
The marker will go to the Troop D open house, which will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, and eventually be placed permanently along the road near the Cavalry Club.
Throughout the rest of the year, each state police troop will host an open house where the traveling state police history exhibit will be on display.
For more information about the New York State Police and their centennial, go to centennial.troopers.ny.gov.
The event which sparked the interest in creating a state police force in New York was the murder of Sam Howell in Bedford, N.Y. Howell was a construction foreman for the property of Moyca Newell and was delivering payroll when two former workers attempted to rob him. Howell was shot seven times and, although he was able to escape with the payroll and identify the robbers, later died of his wounds. His murderers were never found and brought to justice, which is what inspired Newell and her friend Katherine Mayo to initiate a movement to establish a state police force that can provide protection to rural areas.
The Wells-Mills Bill, which appropriated $500,000 to establish a state police force, was passed by one vote in the New York State Senate on March 20, 1917. Governor Charles Whitman signed the bill into law on April 11 and gave the task of creating and building the New York State Police force to George Fletcher Chandler, a surgeon and military officer.
For its part, the land that now holds the Cavalry Club was purchased in 1909 by a group of about 60 men from the National Guard Troop D, 1st New York Cavalry, to be used to house and train horses. The military ties of this location — originally the Devendorf Farm — and the emphasis on horse training were what led Chandler to establishing training facilities called Camp Newayo, a combination of Newell and Mayo’s last names.
From June to September 1917, 237 men were trained to become the first troopers of the New York State Police. The training was a combination of military drill, horsemanship and legal training provided by two judges and an assistant attorney general.
After training, troopers undertook their first assignment, policing the New York State Fair. From there, troopers spread across the state to police rural areas and have grown to a force of nearly 5,000 members and two divisions.
The above information is from an Eagle Bulletin article from June 26, 2016 covering the Manlius Historical Society’s annual meeting where New York State Trooper Brian Gergoire and retired trooper Ted Palmer of Manlius gave a presentation that outlined the early years of the New York State Police and its ties to using the land at the current Cavalry Club on Troop K Road in Manlius as training facilities in 1917.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.
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