Story by Lourice Angie
Before the start of the Town of Warwick Board meeting on Thurs., Nov. 1, Town Historian Dr. Richard W. Hull held a special presentation honoring Donald Doc Bayne for his selfless years of work and dedication to the history of Sterling Forest.
“By now, many of you might know or have heard of the name Donald Doc Bayne, but for those that don’t, you should,” said Dr. Richard Hull. “He is constantly being featured in the media for presenting hundreds of public lectures on local history to numerous organizations throughout our County. For many years Doc Bayne has done extensive field and archival research on Sterling Forest State Park, one of the largest geographical areas in our Town.”
In addition to his extensive research, Bayne has served the park for more than two decades in several capacities including, Park Ranger, Historian and Environmental Educator with a deep knowledge and passion for the past. He provided spirited and articulate presentations, and history hikes to thousands of visitors.
Through years of work he became the leading authority on the mining and natural history of the vital Sterling Forest region, which provided America with necessary iron resources during the colonial era from the mid 19th century into the early 20th century. It was Warwick’s first industry and played a crucial role in winning independence from the British and defending the union of the nation during the Civil War and beyond. It is Doc Bayne who has helped bring this all to life.
Bayne was also honored for his community leadership, serving on the boards of the O.C. Historical Society and the O.C. Chapter of the NYS Archeological Association for which he received their Meritorious Service Award, the and as president of the Friends of Sterling Forest State Park.
“I really feel it is very important for us to recognize Doc Bayne and to thank him and express our appreciation and wish him well in his continuing endeavor. I can think of few individuals who know as much of the area’s history and lore as Doc, he is many respects indeed, a walking and talking encyclopedia,” said Dr. Hull.
Bayne was then awarded a special plaque by Dr. Hull and Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton that reads:
The Town of Warwick wishes to express its deep appreciation for your extraordinary efforts to research deeply and speak widely on the history of Sterling Forest especially its role in the American Revolution. Signed Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton and Town Historian Richard W, Hull.
“Thank you very much for this honor. I have been so fascinated by Sterling Forest, and as you know we made a discovery nearly ten years ago, but we finally got a permit to do an archeological dig at the forge site that made the chain that was put across the river at West Point during the Revolutionary War. We want to reveal that to the kids and bring people to the site,” said Bayne.
He continued, “We have actually found four of the forges. George Washington felt that the Hudson River was the key to the colonies, which it is and was. The chain stopped the British from attacking New England colonies and basically cut the Revolutionary War in half, and if it wasn’t for that chain we’d be speaking English.”