Event fundraising

Jail & Bail event to celebrate the history of the courthouse and raise funds for the organization

The Fulton County Courthouse is on North William Street in Johnstown. The courthouse, which is the oldest continuously used courthouse in the state, will commemorate its 250th anniversary on Thursday.

JOHNSTOWN- A dozen volunteers will become “suspected criminals” on September 10 in a fundraising event for the Johnstown Historical Society which is also celebrating a historic anniversary for the Fulton County Courthouse.

The courthouse, which is the oldest continuously used courthouse in the state, will commemorate 250 years on September 8. The building was erected in 1772 when New York was still a British colony – four years before the Declaration of Independence was signed and 15 before the United States Constitution was created.

To recognize the long history of the facility, the facility will be open to the public outside of court use for the first time in years for the Johnstown Historical Society’s Jail & Bail event between noon and 4 p.m. September 10.

For the event, people from across the community, including government officials, volunteered to be charged with crimes that existed or were similar to those that existed at the start of the courthouse. People dressed in this period will arrest the volunteers and bring them before a judge who sets their bail at $100 and they have to bring people in and bail them out,” said Jessica Henry McClemments, board member of the Johnstown Historical Society.

McClemments said the event will give people a chance to see how the court is going.

“It’s a bit of a spectacle and it will be fun,” she said.

Fulton County Supervisor Greg Young, who represents Gloversville’s 5th Ward, is one of the people who volunteered to be arrested.

“I was charged with not killing at least three crows or 12 blackbirds between March and June,” he said.

Young said he’s always had an interest in history, so attending the event was a no-brainer.

“I think this will be a rare and exciting opportunity for members of our community to step into the historic courthouse and experience what a true gem we have,” he said.

Others in attendance include Johnstown historian Noel Levee, Johnstown City Council member Eric Parker and Vintage Cafe owner Linda Joseph.

There will also be various exhibits such as reproductions of courthouse document prints.

McClemments said the Great Sacandaga Brewing Company also brewed a special beer for the event which she will taste. The beer is based on something that Sir William Johnson, who started the construction of the courthouse, would have served at that time.

Young said the Fulton County Department of Highways and Facilities has created a replica of the bell that is in the courthouse and will be displayed.