FRANKFORT — At the Dec. 20 holiday dinner meeting of the Oriskany Battle Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, Marsha Roseen, chaplain of the Col. Marinus Willett-Mohawk Valley Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Frankfort, presented the Community Service Award to Donald Fenner of Springfield Center.
The presentation was primarily concerned with the attention, care and preservation efforts Fenner has shown to Fort Herkimer Church, construction of which began in 1753 and was completed in 1767. The church served as a stronghold in the defense of the Mohawk Valley settlements during the French and Indian War and also during the Revolutionary War.
On July 25, 1912, the Mohawk Valley Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Ilion, which merged with the Col. Marinus Willett Chapter in 2008, conducted an event concerning the presentation of the Dutch Reformed Church at Fort Herkimer to the Montgomery Classis for the worship of God. The chapter had made repairs to place the church in a suitable condition. Regent Estella Folts Callan addressed the gathering. Over the years neglect and lack of funds for repairs caused damage to the entire church. Fenner has dedicated his life to the history, preservation and restoration of the Fort Herkimer Church on state Route 5S east of Mohawk. During his 40 years associated with the church, Fenner has worked to bring the site from a point of almost unsalvageable disrepair to a state of structural and financial stability while preserving its historical significance.
The church will soon be transferred to the town of German Flatts and will be part of a park complex at that location with a restored schoolhouse, a gazebo for outside gatherings and a renovated house for community meetings and historical events. With Fenner’s dedication to the church it has been assured a prominent and unique position in Mohawk Valley history.
George Gydesen, president of the Oriskany Battle Chapter SAR, and all who gathered at Orchard Hall in Sauquoit, including Mary Ellen Fenner, wife of the recipient, were happy to honor Fenner and witness presentation of the award.