I was recently informed that a speaker at a most recent city of Schenectady Common Council meeting stated that the shoulder patch worn on the uniforms of the Schenectady Police Department was racist because it displayed an Indian on it.
The patch isn’t racist and represents a very historical part of the city’s history.
I am a tenth-generation descendant of Jan Barentse Wemple, who was one of the original founders of the city. I also wore the patch on my Schenectady police uniforms during the latter years of my 34-year career with that department. It was unique and very nice to look at.
According to historical reports, the French and Indians raided the Schenectady Stockade, whose gate was allegedly left open with two snowmen placed there to guard it.
They massacred the majority of the men, women and children and scalped them. Myndert Wemple, eldest son of Jan Barentse and Maritia Mynderste, was killed and his son Johannes was carried away and later released.
“Lawrence the Indian,” a Christian Mohawk and friend of the settlers, whose statue sits at the convergence of North Ferry, Green and Front streets in the Stockade, needed an expedition to rescue those kidnapped in the attack. He later convinced the survivors to rebuild the burned-out settlement.
The Schenectady County Historical Society site is an excellent source of information on this matter.
The patch represents a very historical part of the city’s history. It depicts the French and Indians burning the buildings with a family fleeing the scene on the right.
Of course, our friend Lawrence is at the center of the patch. There is…
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