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Grandson Presents Historical Tribute to Moses Rabideau to Special Collections

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ The public's interest in local history will be piqued with a recent donation about Moses J. Rabideau to the Special Collections Unit at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh.

Donald E. Jackson, a 1958 Plattsburgh State graduate, presents Debra Kimok, Special Collections librarian, with "A Memorial Tribute to Moses Joseph Rabideau, 1864 - 1946, Volumes I and II", which he recently donated to Special Collections. Jackson is the grandson of Moses Rabideau. "A Memorial Tribute to Moses Joseph Rabideau, 1864 - 1946, Volumes I and II" has been donated to Special Collections by his grandson and 1958 Plattsburgh State alumnus, Donald Edward Jackson of Gaithersburg, Md.

Debra Kimok, the Special Collections librarian, said that the two-volume set is a significant addition to the collection. "They begin to document Mr. Rabideau's life as a local builder and contractor."

Moses Rabideau was a French-Canadian Plattsburgh resident, prolific builder and contractor and an active member of the St. John de Baptist Association at St. Peter's Church.

He owned land and built several homes on a significant portion of Rugar Street that eventually became part of the Plattsburgh State campus. Two residence halls, Kent and Mason, were constructed on the former Rabideau property.

He also supervised the construction of many building projects in the region, including the Plattsburgh Normal School, Plattsburgh Barracks, the original home of the Press Republican and the Hotel Champlain. He also planned and constructed the home of Rockwell Kent in Ausable Forks.

Volume I includes photographs of the Rabideaus and some of the homes by Mr. Rabideau along with a description of his connection with the Jean de Baptiste Society.

Volume II, the appendix, elaborates on the Rabideau genealogy. It includes primary documents including Mr. Rabideau's last will and testament, a land purchase for 57 Rugar Street and various family letters.

Jackson, a retired elementary school administrator in the Montgomery County (Md.) public schools who is currently serving as principal of St. Martin Catholic School in Gaithersburg, has done a lot of research on Moses Rabideau. He said he was motivated to finish compiling the information after reading an article "Looks What's in Our Basement" in the Winter/Spring 2003 edition of Plattsburgh Magazine concerning the Special Collections section of the Benjamin F. Feinberg Library.

"I have many vivid memories of my grandfather, and I was fortunate to have many pictures and other memories of his life," said Jackson. "I decided a couple of years ago to do something in his memory, because he contributed so much to Plattsburgh. He was very active in his church of St. Peter's and in a real sense the property on Rugar Street is now part of the Plattsburgh State campus."

Jackson said he could not have compiled the information without the help of other relatives including Clyde M. Rabideau, his cousin and former Mayor of Plattsburgh, who provided historical and genealogical information.

In addition to the two volumes that comprise the Memorial Tribute, Jackson has also donated a business ledger that belonged to Mr. Rabideau, an original hand-written transcript of an interview with Anita Beatrice Rabideau Jackson and a copy of St. Peter's Centennial for the years 1853-1953.

"This collection of materials is available for use in Special Collections and is a wonderful beginning for an as yet under-researched segment of local Plattsburgh history," said Kimok. "We thank Mr. Jackson very much for taking the time to compile this information and for graciously placing it in our care."

Special Collections is located on the lower level of the Benjamin F. Feinberg Library at Plattsburgh State and is open Tuesdays 4 - 7 p.m.; Wednesdays 9 a.m. - Noon, 1 - 4 p.m.; Thursdays 9 a.m. -12:30 p.m., 1 - 4 p.m.; Fridays 10 a.m. -12:30 p.m., 1 - 4 p.m.; and Saturdays 1 - 4 p.m.

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