Touring Southern Dutchess County:
A Pilgrimage to the HISTORICAL
OR COMMEMORATIVE MARKERS
placed by the MELZINGAH CHAPTER,
Daughters of the American Revolution
or by the State of New York from
information furnished by the chapter.
Researched and compiled by Lorraine Palmer MacAulay, 2003.
Start your tour at the Madam Brett Homestead, preserved by the Melzingah Chapter, DAR, since 1954. Roundtrip is 42 miles and takes two or more hours depending on whether or not you stop at some of the sites or just drive by…you may want to break this into two days or make a full day trip. There are many places along the route to stop for something to eat…print out the guide or bring a laptop!
50 Van Nydeck Avenue (corner of Teller Avenue, one block south of Main Street)
City of Beacon, NY 12508-3326 Tel. 845 831-6533
New York was still an English colony when Rombout and partners Gulian VerPlanck (see #5) and Stephanus VanCortlandt petitioned the King of England for permission to purchase land now known as southern Dutchess County. They were granted permission in 1685 to purchase 85,000 acres from the aboriginal Americans (see #18). The original document (see #21) is on display in the entrance hall of the Homestead. Francois Rombout married Helena Teller, whose father was one of the original Patentee holders of Schenectady, NY. Rombout's only surviving heir, Catheryna Rombout, was born in New York, 1687. Rombout died four years later, willing his estate to his daughter Catheryna. When Helena died, she willed the money to her children from her first two marriages. Catheryna and her husband, Roger Brett, mortgaged the Manor House in NY, and moved to this wilderness of Dutchess County, to build a gristmill business and home on the inherited one third of the Rombout Patent, 28,000 acres. Christmas 1709, the Brett family moved into this Homestead. In 1716, the Bretts gave approximately seven acres to build a convenient church near the Fishkill Creek, which is where Catheryna was buried in 1764 (see #8).
In 1718, Roger Brett was knocked from his sloop and drowned in the Hudson River. Catheryna, who suffered from the death of her eldest son Francis, and then with three young sons, was a widow at age 31. Immediately, she got to business and made a real estate transaction, selling 2000 acres to Dirck Brinckerhoff (see #18). Fifteen years later, Catheryna Brett sold 959 acres to Cornelius VanWyck (see #10). His daughter, Margaret Thorne VanWyck, married Catheryna's eldest surviving son, Francis. Their sons Francis R. and Theodorus, along with Hendrick Schenck, the husband of daughter Hannah, served in the American Revolution.
Henry Schenck served from Dutchess County of the Province of New York as Deputy to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Provincial Congress. On July 29, 1776, the Convention met at Harlem for one month, until the enemy threatened invasion caused adjournment and the move to safety. Abraham Yates, Jr. from Albany County had his residence at the Homestead while presiding as Chairman over the Provincial Convention in Fishkill. The Convention convened at Fishkill, September 5-7; Sept. 14 - Oct. 5 the public business was entrusted to the Committee of Safety; Oct 15; Dec. 5 & 6; and on Feb. 11, 1777 adjourned to meet in Kingston. The 4th Provincial Congress was “The Convention” where the Representatives adopted the first NYS Constitution on May 13, 1777. A Council of Safety was elected to administer the government temporarily, gradually giving way to the newly-created Legislature.
During the Revolutionary War, Peter T. Curtenius was the Commissary of the Provincial Congress, and Henry Schenck acted as his agent (see #11). The Homestead remained in the family during the American Revolution and was a comfortable and convenient meeting place for General Washington (see #2), and his Officers, Maj. Gen'l. Marquis de LaFayette (see #24) and General Baron von Steuben (see #5). Soldiers spent the night in the Homestead's “Long Room” where they were able to see Mt. Beacon (see #3) from the “Garret” along New York's State's Independence Trail.
Leave Madam Brett Homestead: turn left onto Van Nydeck Ave., turn left onto Teller Avenue. Proceed 3/10ths mile. George Washington statue in median straight ahead. Parallel park on right side of street.
Teller and Wolcott Avenues, City of Beacon
Several hundred people attended the dedication of the bronze bust of George Washington, which Melzingah Chapter donated to the residents of the City of Beacon in a ceremony on September 5, 1999. The bust, which was erected in honor of the bicentennial of Washington's death in 1999, is located on a triangle of land three blocks from the Madam Brett homestead in a well-traveled and highly visible intersection.
The colossal-sized bust was one of eight sited across the country last year through Mount Vernon's wide-ranging encouragement of bicentennial observances, which were staged in hundreds of communities nationwide. Yet, Mount Vernon's Executive director called Melzingah's “a singularly terrific program.” The city and members of the Tioronda Garden Club have since decorated “George” for Veteran's, Memorial, and President's Days.
-Denise Doring VanBuren,
Melzingah Chapter, DAR Regent, 1998-2001
In August 1775, General Washington visited Dutchess County to study the defense of the Hudson.
From April 1782 through August 1783, General Washington's army stood ready for battle in the Hudson Valley until the final days of the Revolution. He particularly liked Constitution Island, and at the end of the Revolutionary War, mustered out his bodyguard there in 1783.
Washington Headquarters State Historic Site http://www.nysparks.state.ny.us/sites/info.asp?siteID=32
PO Box 1783 (Corner of Liberty and Washington streets) Newburgh, NY 12551
Tel. 845 562-1195
The Hasbrouck property, acquired and opened by the State of New York in 1850, was the first publicly operated historic site in the United States.
George Washington (1732-1799) Experienced Statesman, Soldier, Farmer, Businessman, Explorer, Engineer, Architect, Builder, Churchman, Philanthropist, Writer, Land Owner and Developer.
Visit his home “Mount Vernon” in Virginia. http://www.mountvernon.org/index.cfm
At statue, turn left onto Wolcott Avenue/Rt. 9D, (view Mt. Beacon). Proceed 6/10ths mile (across bridge over Fishkill Creek) ahead to curve. Turn left onto Howland Avenue at blinking dummy traffic light. On right is site of the former Mt. Beacon Incline Railway.
Howland Avenue, at corner of Rt. 9D, (near foot of the former Mt. Beacon Incline Railway)
City of Beacon
(No marker visible 2003) Marked: 1935:
ON THE SUMMIT, 1640 FEET
ABOVE THE HUDSON. BEACON
FIRES BLAZED ALARM WHEN
BRITISH SHIPS SAILED UP
RIVER DURING REVOLUTION
This marker may have been removed due to the ambiguous wording of “fires blazed alarm when British ships sailed up river,” which more accurately should read “stood ready to burn if British ships had sailed up river”…
Since the early 1990s, Scenic Hudson has worked to save Beacon's natural and historic resources. Scenic Hudson has been acquiring and restoring land: 11-acre Madam Brett Park; and 23-acre Beacon Landing on the Hudson River; the 2,000-acre Fishkill Ridge Conservation Area, including Mount Beacon. Check their website for the latest information regarding visiting their historic sites. http://www.scenichudson.org/
Continue on Howland Avenue 4/10ths mile to stop sign. Turn right onto East Main Street.
Proceed up mountain bear left onto Mountain Avenue, (across small cement block bridge) immediately turn right onto dirt road. Gated Private Property. (*Park safely along Mountain Avenue, if prepared to hike dirt road up mountain.) Turn around.
Mountain Avenue to Mt. Beacon, Town of Fishkill
Thousands more watched the lighting of a replica beacon, burned atop the mountain at 9 p.m. in celebration of the nation's independence and in recognition of the 225th anniversary of the war. The monument is a stone obelisk rising 27 feet and located more than 1,500 feet above sea level. It commemorates the beacon fires ordered by the Continental Congress in 1775 and the namesake of the city below. It was first dedicated on July 4, 1900, when State Regent and founding Melzingah Chapter Regent Katherine Wolcott Verplanck served as the keynote speaker. As part of the centennial rededication, hikers visited the monument between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. as part of the day-long series of events sponsored by Melzingah Chapter. During the course of the day, more than 500 people signed a replica of the Declaration of Independence and the first 200 people to the monument received commemorative pins. Approximately 200 people took part in a 3:00 p.m. ceremony. Members of the 2nd New York Continentals Living History Association provided a Revolutionary War musket fire, and a display of historic photographs and articles was erected by the Beacon Historical Society. Nearly 20 members of Melzingah Chapter and a dozen members of the Highland Pass Society of the Children of the American Revolution took part in the celebration, which received extensive local press coverage. The Beacon Historical Society has since donated a brass plaque to be placed on the monument to commemorate the July 4, 2000 ceremony.
-Denise Doring VanBuren, Melzingah Chapter, DAR Regent, 1998-2001
July 4, 2000
More than 600 People
Gathered on this Mountaintop
To Remember the Patriots Who Manned
Revolutionary War Beacon Fires and
To Rededicate this Monument
In Honor of its Centennial
In a Celebration Sponsored by
Daughters of the American Revolution
Plaque donated by the Beacon Historical Society.
Follow East Main Street 8/10ths mile down mountain, left at second stop sign, then bearing right, across East Main St. bridge over Fishkill Creek, across railroad tracks to dummy traffic light. Turn right and immediate next left onto Verplanck Avenue. Proceed 9/10ths mile to “T” at traffic light. Turn right onto Rt. 9D North, proceed 7/10ths mile past I-84 center lane overpass, merge into left lane at curve. Turn left into Hudson View Park apartment complex and immediate next left onto Lamplight Street, which becomes Sterling Street. Bear right around island to historic VerPlanck House straight ahead.
Mount Gulian Historic Site. (off Rt. 9D overlooking the Hudson River,
Town of Fishkill) 145 Sterling Street. Beacon, NY 12508 Tel. 845 831-8172
ORIGINALLY MARKED 1935:
BUILT 1740, BY GULIAN VERPLANCK,
BURNED 1931, HEADQUARTERS
BARON STEUBEN, 1782.
SOCIETY OF CINCINNATI
ORGANIZED THERE IN 1783.
His experience as a General Staff member in the Prussian Army brought technical knowledge necessary to create an effective army to the American revolutionary soldiers. During 1783, he assisted General Washington in demobilizing the army, and with the defense plans of the new nation. The VerPlanck house was used as Headquarters of Baron von Steuben.
At the house, General George Washington gave the Order of Cincinnati, May 1783, which created the first Veterans' organization.
“Named for “Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (ca. 519-439 BC), chosen dictator to save the Roman army, which had been trapped by an enemy force. According to legend when notified by messengers of the honor, Cincinnatus was plowing the field on his small farm. He dropped his work, served through the crisis, and returned to his plow.”
- The Volume Library. The Southwestern Company, Nashville, TN1973.
The formal gardens designed in 1804 are today maintained according to the entries in the 1829-1868 garden journals of escaped slave, James Brown. In 1931, the house was destroyed by fire. The oldest section was rebuilt from original plans and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mount Gulian Society, a non-profit private organization, in 1975, opened the building to the public.
Leave Mt. Gulian: Turn left onto Rt. 9D North; proceed 1.6 miles to traffic light. Turn left onto Red Schoolhouse Road; proceed 1.5 miles across Rt. 52. Turn left onto Old Glenham Road. Historic Kip House is 1 mile on right.
155 Old Glenham Road, Glenham, NY 12527 (Private Property)
Town of Fishkill
In 1746, Hendrick Kip purchased the property and enlarged the house in 1753.
In the summer of 1776, Count Casimir Pulaski (1747-1779) born near Warsaw, in Poland, made an appeal to join the Americans. Benjamin Franklin, who was then in France, sent Pulaski a letter of recommendation, dated May of 1777. In July, Pulaski landed near Boston, and in August 1777 reported to Washington's Headquarters near Philadelphia, PA. While there, he fought in the Battle of Brandywine Creek, after which, General Washington recommended to the Continental Congress to appoint Pulaski, General of Cavalry, which they did on September 15, 1777. General Pulaski spent the winter of 1777 near Valley Forge at Trenton, NJ. On March 28, 1778, he gained consent of the Continental Congress to form a special infantry and cavalry unit, which General Pulaski later became known for as the “Father of the American Cavalry.” February 1779, his troops were ordered to Charleston, SC and arrived there in May. On October 9, 1779 they took part in the Battle of Savannah, GA, where he was mortally wounded. He died two days later, October 11, 1779, in Charleston, SC.
Continue on Old Glenham Road to stop sign. Turn right onto Rt. 52, proceed under I-84 overpass, into left lane to traffic light. Turn left onto secondary road, Geering Way. Park on shoulder. Further on Geering Way on the right is the Town of Fishkill Mauer/Geering Park.
Geering Way at Rt. 52 and I-84, Town of Fishkill
Left onto Rt. 52 East, proceed 1 mile through Fishkill Village. Turn left onto Church Street. Park on right shoulder or turn left into Village parking lot. Walk to view of Dutch Church and Enoch Crosby markers on Main Street/Rt. 52.
Rt. 52 and Rt. 9. Park at Church Street, Village of Fishkill.
First Reformed Church of Fishkill. 1153 Main Street. Fishkill, NY 12524
Tel. 845 896-9836
“The next day all of them about thirty in number were marched to the White plains and remained there several days…The prisoners were finally ordered to Fishkill in the County of Dutchess where the State Convention was then sitting. The declarent [Crosby] went as a prisoner to Fishkill. Capt. Townsend with his company of rangers took charge of the company. At Fishkill a committee for detecting conspiracies was sitting composed of John Jay afterwards Governor of N York, Zepeniah Platt afterwards first Judge of Dutchess County, Colonel Duer of the County of Albany, & a Mr. Sackett.” The prisoners were confined in a building “which had been occupied as a Hatters shop.”
Crosby's second undertaking was “secret service over the river…in the Town of Marlborough & County of Ulster for N York.” “The prisoners including the declarent were marched to Fishkill & confined in the stone church in which there was near two hundred prisoners, after remaining one night in the church the Committee sent for declarent & told him that it was unsafe for him to remain with the prisoners, as the least suspicion of the course he had pursued would prove fatal to him, & advised him to leave the village of Fishkill but to remain where they could call upon him if his services should be wanted.”
January 10, 1777 letter from Nathaniel Sackett to Peter VanGaasbeck:
I had almost forgot to give you directions to Give our friend an opertunity of making his Escape Upon our plan you will Take him prisoner with this partie you are now wateing for his Name is Enoch Crobey Alias John Brown I could wish that he may escape before you bring him Two miles on your way to Committee you will be pleased to advise the Messrs Cornwill and Capt Clark on this Subject and form such plan of conduct as your wisdom may direct but by no means neglect this friend of ours *
Rt. 52 and Rt. 9, Village of Fishkill.
First Reformed Church of Fishkill. 1153 Main Street. Fishkill, NY 12524
Tel. 845 896-9836
“Enoch Crosby, whom [author, James Fenimore] Cooper immortalized in “The Spy,” [as character, Harvey Birch] was born [January 4, 1750] in [Harwich, Barnstable Co.,] Massachusetts, where he lived until three years old, when his parents brought him into Putnam County and settled on Philipse Patent. Here he spent his boyhood.
At the beginning of colonial resistance to the crown he was just flowering into young manhood, and his patriotic feelings were greatly stirred. At that time, however, he was living in Danbury, Conn., where he enlisted and followed in 1775 General Montgomery into Canada.
His most conspicuous services were rendered as secret agent for the Committee of Safety. His hazardous mission had to do mainly in territory known as the Neutral Ground, in Westchester County, although he was know to have carried on his secret work in Fishkill, and over on the west side of the [Hudson] river, in a section around Cornwall and below.
Crosby was never a man to speak much about his own exploits, and so in old age while speaking freely of the war he seldom went into any detailed account concerning his own part in the war. Once, however, he was asked to correct certain statements or traditions which had grown up around his name, and he allowed himself to be interviewed. The result was that a book concerning his life as secret agent of Washington was written and published.*
He was long a deacon in Gilead [Presbyterian] Church, and for some time its treasurer. He died in June , 1835, at the close of the ministry of the Rev. Beniah Y. Morse, whose pastorate in Gilead closed the same year of Crosby's death. [He held office of Justice of the Peace for 14 years, and from 1812-1814 was Supervisor of the Town of Southeast, Putnam Co., NY.] The famous Revolutionary hero was 85 years old. He is buried in the old Gilead cemetery, near where the old church used to stand, and his grave is the object of many pilgrimages.
- “Little Known Facts and Well Known Folks” By A. ELWOOD CORNING
*Barnum, H.L. The Spy Unmasked; or, Memoirs of Enoch Crosby, Alias Harvey Birch. New York: J&J Harper, 1828. Reprinted with introduction and appendix by James H. Pickering, Harrison, NY: Harbor Hill Books, 1975.
Continue one block on Church Street to traffic light. Turn right onto Rt. 9 South, proceed 1.1 miles under I-84 overpass into left lane at traffic light. Turn left onto Snook Road and immediate left into historic site of Van Wyck Homestead and the Continental Soldiers Memorial.
Snook Road. Town of Fishkill
Original marker placed 1932; reported missing 1979:
THE WHARTON HOUSE
HEADQUARTERS OF OFFICERS
IN COMMAND OF TROOPS
STATIONED AT THE HEAD
OF THE HIGHLANDS.
Author James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) wrote in 1821, a novel, “The Spy.” His story intertwined fact and fiction; based on the real VanWyck Homestead, the fictional lead character, Mr. Wharton's homestead was called the “Wharton House.” The book was so popular that the nickname of the VanWyck house, “The Wharton House” was used so often that unless you referred to the house by the name in Cooper's fictional story, people didn't know the place you were referring to! For more on the author, visit Cooperstown, Otsego Co., NY. http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/jfcooper.htm
Replaced: by Town of Fishkill marker at entrance to historic site:
Van Wyck Homestead Museum. Rt. 9. Fishkill, NY 12524. Tel. 845-896-9560. www.artcom.com/museums/nv/sz/12524-01.htm
Here Gen. Putnam had his Headquarters and the house numbered among its guests John Jay and Alexander Hamilton. Here too, Washington, LaFayette, and Steuben met in council, and the mock trial of Enoch Crosby, 'secret agent for detecting Tory plots,' was conducted here by the Committee of Safety.”
- Edith VanWyck, Melzingah Chapter, DAR Historian, c. 1930.
Preserved by the Fishkill Historical Society.
Snook Road and Rt. 9, Town of Fishkill
Turn left onto Rt. 9 South, proceed 2.2 miles to a curve, on the right, near the road, upon a hill, where the stone boulder is located. *Parking on shoulder is unsafe; proceed to next business on the left to park. Use caution walking along Rt. 9 of the Highlands.
Rt. 9 South, Town of Fishkill, (Just north of the Putnam County line)
Photograph of Melzingah Chapter members and the Fishkill Ridge Caretakers during a Spring clean-up.
Take Rt. 9 North 3 miles across Rail Road tracks to traffic light. Turn right onto Elm Street and immediate left into parking lot for Parish House. Climb stairs up to Trinity Churchyard.
Main Street East of Rt. 9
Trinity Episcopal Church, Rt. 52. Fishkill, NY 12524 Tel. 845 896-9884
Turn left onto Elm Street. Straight ahead is Louden Drive Court historic site of Louden's printing shop. At stop sign turn left onto Main Street.
Louden Drive (East of Rt. 9) Village of Fishkill
(House demolished c. 1980; No marker visible 2003) Tablet on a stone boulder Dedicated June 20, 1930:
Story of Louden
Mr. Dean's address, given at Fishkill:
...The maintenance of the simple domestic and commercial life during these terrible years demanded a great expense of energy and heroism. We dedicate here, today a memorial to one of those who by the operation of his chosen trade or art tendered very valuable service to the attainment of American liberty.
“In 1775 Samuel Loudon, a native of Scotland, who had tried several vocations, purchased of the founders, the outfit and good will of a weekly paper, the New York Packet, which today because of its diminutive size and limited clientele would be considered almost insignificant. There were then four other papers of about the same size issued weekly in the city, a town of 30,000 people. To furnish an approximately daily news service for the citizens, the papers were issued in succession throughout the week. One on Tuesday, another on Wednesday, another on Thursday, another on Friday, and the last of the five on Saturday.
“Of the five little newspapers of that long-ago period, the one most distinctly remembered by the antiquarians of today is Rivington's Gazette, which became notorious throughout the thirteen states because of its rabid support of the royal cause--but as Kipling says, “that is another story.”
“After the disastrous battle among the wooded hills that surrounded the village of Brooklyn on August 27th, 1776, it was immediately apparent that the forces commanded by General Washington must abandon Long Island and Manhattan Island to the enemy. The realization of this fact caused consternation to the patriots of New York and large numbers of them fled from the city in various directions. Mrs. Loudon and the children went to live with friends at Norwich, Connecticut. Mr. Loudon, and ardent supporter of the American ideals, saw it as his duty to remove his printing establishment to some place of safety where he could render service to the propagation of the faith that was in him.
Fishkill was recognized by soldier and statesman as on of the most strategic points in the state, and to Fishkill Loudon transported his establishment early in September, bringing all the implements of his craft which he possessed and such supplies of paper and other stock as he could obtain with the help of friendly printers. He also brought with him two or three journeymen to assist him.
…Mr. Louden moved the establishment back to its former stand in New York shortly before the evacuation of the city by the British forces in the autumn of 1783...
...In closing I will inform you that the peculiarly adapted boulder to which the bronze memorial is fixed, occupied a detached position on this lawn, within 100 feet of its present location when the Van Wyck family moved here a little more than a century ago, but who placed it there and for what reason is unknown. Perhaps even then it was destined for the laudable purpose for which it now used.”
-1930 newspaper article
Proceed on Main Street to stop sign. Turn right onto Rt. 52 East; proceed 1.4 miles to Brinkerhoff traffic light. Turn right into Pardy Lane (Private Road) at A&L Service building into parking lot for Blue Seal Feeds & Needs. Walk historic area of Star Mills and the Brinckerhoff Store.
1570 Rt. 52 and Pardy Lane, Brinckerhoff in the Town of Fishkill, NY
Marked July 10, 1905;Buildings no longer exist
Walk along Rt. 52 East to Tea Party marker. (Note: view of LaFayette monument across
1570 Rt. 52 and Pardy Lane, Brinckerhoff in the Town of Fishkill, NY
Building no longer exists.
Exit parking lot right onto Rt. 82 East, bear right onto Rt. 82 and immediately park on the right shoulder. Use caution crossing traffic to the Wappinger's Chief's monument located on the grass between the two State roads.
Rt. 52 and Rt. 82 split, Brinckerhoff in the Town of Fishkill, NY
Monument to Honor Indians
State to Erect Stone at Brinckerhoff Site to Nimham Heroes - DAR Hears Mrs. Gardner
The state department of public works will take over erection of a monument to the Indian Chief Nimham and his son, Melzingah Chapter, DAR was informed Wednesday.
This news came from Mrs. Robert Verplanck [Katherine Brinckerhoff Verplanck], who sent word that a boulder will be placed in the road intersection at Brinckerhoff to commemorate the fact the Nimhams, who are buried somewhere in Dutchess County, gave their lives for America in the Revolutionary Army. Contributions received for this purpose will be returned.
-Jan. 6, 1937
Set June 4 to Dedicate [Nimham] Stone
William Verplanck Asks Historic and Patriotic Groups to Participate - Finish Landscaping
William S. Verplanck of Nutley, N.J., has been designated by his mother, Mrs. Robert N. Verplanck, as chairman to arrange dedication ceremonies for the beautiful memorial to Chief Daniel [Nimham] of the Wappingers tribe of Indians.
Mrs. Verplanck was the first to urge a memorial to this brave Indian, who fought in the American Revolution. She did a great deal toward stirring
sentiment to get a suitable memorial through private subscription.
The matter came before the attention of James S. Bixby of the state Highway Department, who considered the memorial of sufficient importance for the department to erect and landscape in a very fitting manner.
Mr. Bixby felt that while the Highway department cared for the erection of the memorial, the dedication should be under the general direction of the project's first patron, Mrs. Verplanck.
-THE BEACON NEWS,
April 26, 1938
Nimham, Lands Lost while Fighting French, Gave His Life for Colonists' Cause
At the dedication of Chief [Daniel] Nimham's monument at Brinckerhoff, William B. Newell, himself a full-blooded Mohawk, gave an interesting history of the last Wappingers sachem. In part Chief Newell said of Nimham:
…”In the course of time a strong friendship grew up between them and their Dutch neighbors, and the English who soon after came into power. Originally they occupied the territory on the east bank of the Hudson River from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan Island and extending east beyond the Connecticut River. To the north of them lived the Mohican and on their south the Deleware. The Wappingers were a confederacy of Algonquian tribes consisting of nine different groups. And they were closely affiliated with the Mohicans.
Forced to Leave Lands
“As time went by, much of the land belonging to these different tribes was either purchased or stolen from them. The most outrageous land deal, and the one with which Daniel Nimham concerned himself years afterwards, was the `grant made by the Governor of New York to one Adolph Phillipse in 1697.”
Made Sachem In 1740
“In 1740, 100 years after their war with the Dutch, we find the Wappingers still living on the banks of the Hudson maintaining an organization amid all the changes which surrounded them and attended them. In this year Daniel Nimham was raised to the highly honored position of Chief Sachem of the Wappinger tribe. This position he retained until his death 38 years later. During his 38 years of service he distinguished himself not only as a sachem and statesman but also by his service in the field, having participated in the wars between the French and English, in 1744 and again in 1755.
After 13 years away from his homelands, leading his warriors in the field of battle, we next find Nimham back among his people on the Hudson. But what a homecoming. When he left in 1746 and departed for war with the able bodied men of his nation, his people were living, more or less, in peace and contentment in their ancient domains. But upon his return after the fall of Quebec in 1759 he was confronted with the fact that his lands had been stolen from him and most of his people had become wandering exiles.
Appeals to King
“In 1762, three years after the close of the war, Chief Nimham in company with some Mohican chiefs, went to England to petition the King for a return of his lands which, he charged had been wrongfully taken from him by one Adolph Phillipse who forged a deed of conveyance.
“They received a favorable hearing and promises made that Sir William Johnson, the British Indian agent in the Colonies, would take up their case. Upon their return to America they applied by petition, in 1765, to the lieutenant-governor and council and had a hearing upon the case. Sir William Johnson in a letter dated April 1, 1767, and addressed to the Earl of Shellbourne, read that the `Wappinger land case was heard in New York City on March 5, 1767 before the Governor and Council who decided the case was vexatious and that the Indians had no claim...'
Called to Boston
“Along the Hudson were numerous broken tribes of the so-called River Indians, many of them lived in Dutchess County. The Indians who still remained in the section of land were a division of the Wappinger Confederacy. Brave and loyal men were they, and when they had received the light, better [Christians] never lived. The Colonists knew this and this is why the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in April 1774, sent a proclamation to them to tell them of the impending war against the King.
In October of 1776 these red Americans were with General George Washington at White Plains. They fought in the first battle line under Col. Haslet and were the chief defenders of the Chatterton Hill entrenchments.
How Nimham Died
“They established a lasting `record in Westchester County, where they met the British, and where they were stationed soon after the engagement at Barren Hill. Their most distinguished service was performed in August. It was while Col. Emerick was on a scouting expedition that he met a body of Wappingers under Nimham, and in the engagement which followed the British were compelled to retreat. On the following morning the whole of the British force at Kingsbridge was ordered out and the largest portion placed in an ambuscade, while Emerick was sent forward to decoy his assailants of the previous day. The plan failed because the Indians were not to be tricked so easily, but an engagement was brought on by Emerick's corps, on what is now known as Cortland's Ridge in the present corporation of Yonkers, which was one of the most severe of the New York Campaign.
“That this single company of Indians was regarded as a formidable foe may be known when we read the testimony of Col. Simcoe himself. From his military Journal we read that the Indians were opposing the Queen's Rangers, under Simcoe, a detachment under Col. Emerick, troops of Hussars and the legion of Cavalry, besides a company of grenadiers under Major Ross. It was a sharp cruel hand-to-hand fight. As the Cavalry rode them down, Chief Nimham and his brave fighter, rather than surrender, grasped the legs of their foes and pulling them from their horses attacked them with the butts of their guns or with sabers. When all hope was gone and the enemy was swarming about them, Chief Nimham commanded his men to flee. `I am an aged tree,' he said, `I will die here.' Just then Simcoe charged him with his horse and when the old chief grasped the colonel's legs to pull him from his horse. Wright, Simcoe's orderly, shot him.”
-June 9, 1938
Immediate left behind landscaped triangle. Yield right onto Rt. 82 East, proceed 1.3 miles. On right is a wagon wheel sign for “Lomala.” (A Finnish word for “vacation resort” named by the group that built cottages there during the 1920s.) Turn right onto Lomala Road. Marker is located on triangle of grass. Privately owned house on left is 1/10th mile on Lomala Road.
Rt. 82 and Lomala Road, Town of Fishkill.
Turn right onto Rt. 82 East; proceed through traffic light 6/10ths mile. On the left are the remains of the historic “rendez vous” site.
Rt. 82, East Fishkill, NY (Private Property)
(House burned Jan 1995; stone structure remains standing, overgrown with weeds).
No marker visible, 2003:
“It was necessary to prove that this house was really Griffin's Tavern or Rendez-vous in order to obtain State aid. Through the efforts of the Historical Committee, consisting of Miss Alden and myself [Miss Edith VanWyck, a direct descendant of Jacob Griffin and the Historian of the Melzingah Chapter, DAR], we have been able to do this, and through the courtesy and help of Dr. Alexander Flick State Historian at Albany and Peter Nelson, Executive Secretary, we are able to dedicate this memorial today.
…We give a list of the members of the Committee of Observation for the town of Fishkill in Rombout Precinct - Fishkill and East Fishkill were then undivided. Dirck Brinckerhoff, Chairman; Capt. Jacobus Swartwout, Department Chairman; John H. Sleight, Clerk; Jacobus DeGraf, Capt. Isaac Hageman, Elias VanBenschoten, Capt. Joseph Horton, Thomas Storm, Col. A. D. Brinckerhoff, John Myers, John S. Brinckerhoff, John A. Brinckerhoff, Richard VanWyck, Henry D. Godwin, John Langdon, William VanWyck, Capt. Jacob Griffin, Matthew VanBenschoten, Capt. Isaac DuBois, Henry Schenck (see #1), Henry Rosecraus, Jur., and Doct. Theodorus VanWyck (see #22).”
This Committee served for ten weeks at the opening of the war. Its purpose was to obtain signatures for the Association Papers in American Pledge. This Pledge was a `decided expression of the sons of Liberty against British tyranny.'
The first meeting was held here on July 13, 1775, the second one July 29, but as a number of persons had not as yet signed either owing to the shortness of time or lack of conviction, an extension of time was given. On Tuesday, August 15, 1775, the committee again met here, this time to make a `true return of the persons who signed and those who refused to sign the Association.'
A fine was imposed upon the members if late or absent. Four shillings for non-appearance without reasonable excuse, the first quarter of an hour, six pence; one half hour, one shilling; and the whole hour, two shillings.”
…On August 18, a meeting was held here at which time a `resolve from the County Committee's was read. This resolve requested the `Committee of each Precinct to go with sufficient guard to the persons called Tories and in a friendly manner to request then to part with their firelocks, for the use of the Continental forces at a reasonable price. Upon refusal, to take forcibly, to value them, keep a list of the names of the persons from whom said firelocks shall be taken together with the value of each firelock. These are the names of those who were appointed to hire or purchase arms in the following districts: `For the district of Capt. Southard's Company - Derick G. Brinckerhoff, Isaac DuBois, Theod. VanWyck (see # 22), Henry Goodwin; for Capt. Griffins' Company - Jacobus Swartwout, Jacob Griffin, John Myer; Capt. Beedle's Company - Henry Schenck (see #1), William VanWyck; Capt. Horton's Company - Joseph Horton, Abm. Brinckerhoff, Thomas Storm (see # 21); Capt. Hageman's Company - Richard VanWyck, John A. Brinckerhoff, Henry Rosecraus, Jun.; Capt. Leyster's Company - Matthew Van Benschoten, John G. Brinckerhoff.”
“…genealogy of the Griffin family was given by Charles DuBois, a direct descendent of Col. Jacob Griffin: In 1730 Jacob was born . He married Ruth Woolsey. He became captain of the Rombout Dutchess County Militia, under Colonel Abraham Brinckerhoff.
On July 13, 1775, he circulated a petition which was signed by 502 persons declaring their support to the committee of Independence. He was representative to the New York State Assembly from Dutchess county 1786-89.”
-(Special to the News)
Hopewell Junction, June 7, 1928.
Before 1781, the United States was not "united" - it had no national government. The new nation was virtually formed on March 1, 1781, with the ratification of The Articles of Confederation - a document proposed on June 11, 1776, before the Declaration of Independence, but not agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777. But the Maryland delegation refused to sign the document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands. When Maryland signed the document in 1781, the United States - as a nation - was united.
The Articles of Confederation formed the United States of America in perpetuity. All major legislation required an unanimous vote of all States. This, in itself, created sufficient problems and was the cause for the convention that drew up the new Constitution.
- Nelson, Peter, editor. "Minutes of Rombout Precinct [Committee] of Observation July 13-September 9, 1775." Quarterly Journal of the New York State Historical Association, 12 (July 1931),
Continue on Rt. 82 North through Hopewell Junction 2.7 miles. Turn right onto Dutchess County 9/Beekman Road at traffic light. Hopewell Reformed Church on the left. Hopewell Hamlet marker on left at traffic light.
Beekman Road at Clove Branch/Carpenter Roads, East Fishkill.
(near Hopewell Reformed Church. 80 Beekman Road. Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
Tel. 845 221-9542)
Proceed on Beekman Road 1.4 miles, passing over Taconic State Parkway, immediate left is historic Brinckerhoff house. Turn right into Phillips Road and turn left back onto Beekman Road.
Beekman Road and Taconic State Parkway, Hopewell Junction.
Bronze tablet on a concrete base; Dedicated: June 20, 1930
In 1708, Francis Rombout having died, his share of the land passed to his daughter [Catheryna Rombout], wife of Roger Brett, who in turn, in 1759 sold 108 acres of the farm on which this house stands, to Derick Hegeman, blacksmith.
Ten years later, Hegeman sold the farm to Thomas Storm or rather to his father, Garret Storm, who made him a present of the land. In 1785 the place again changed hands, being sold to John Adriance, son-in-law of Garret Storm, and in 1795 it came into possession of George Brinckerhoff, remaining in the Brinckerhoff family until purchased by the owner, Mrs. Young, in 1929. The year in which the house was built is purely conjecture, though as Derick Hegeman purchased the place in 1759 it is probable that the west end, which is very primitive, was built by him. The east end is better built, and may have been added by the next owner, Thomas Storm, between 1769-1785. This seems quite likely as Erskines's Military Map of 1778-1780 shows a house on this site marked, `Capt. Storm.'
Thomas Storm, Adjutant of the 2nd Regiment, Dutchess Co. Militia, and later Captain, and member of the Vigilance Committee kept a store and tavern here and in the middle room of the house is a trap-door leading to a room in which articles have been found which seem to confirm the tradition that Captain Storm had prisoners confined there.
…It is a tradition handed down in the family from Revolutionary times that Washington and his staff remained at this house one night on their way to Boston and that the next morning as the neighboring farmers gathered on the green at these cross-roads to greet him, raising their hats with the old-time deference, he said to them, `Gentlemen, put your hats on; I am but a man like yourselves and wish no such deference shown.'
From the fact that Capt. Thomas Storm owned the place from 1769-1785 it would seem that Washington must have been his guest on that occasion. George Brinckerhoff was also captain in the Revolutionary Army, 6th Regiment, Dutchess Co. Militia.”
-June 1930 newspaper article
West on Beekman Road, to traffic light. Turn left onto Rt. 82 South, proceed 3.4 miles through Hopewell Junction, to traffic light. Turn left onto Dutchess County 31/Palen Road to traffic light. (Pass North Kensington Road; Home of the East Fishkill Historical Society, PO Box 245 Hopewell Junction, NY 12533, located at the “Brinckerhoff - Pudney - Palen House 1750-1830.”) Turn right onto Rt. 52; proceed 1 mile to the area of Fishkill known as Wiccopee.
Rt. 52, Wiccopee
Photograph 1930, Marker Dedicated 1932 (House demolished, 1987).
“Theodorus VanWyck built his house here in 1740…about 1746, with Elisha Kent and others he was one of the founders of the Rombout Presbyterian Church, and one of its first deacons under Rev. Chauncey Graham, afterwards his son-in-law…in 1750 [VanWyck] was appointed one of the first Judges of the Court of Common Pleas by Governor George Clinton. He was a member of the 2nd Provincial Congress 1775-76. His son Theodorus, later Dr. Theodorus, was six years old when his father moved from Long Island to Fishkill Hook.”
-Edith VanWyck, Melzingah Chapter, DAR Historian, c. 1930.
Dr. Theodorus VanWyck (1730-1797), first physician in the vicinity, was a member of the Committee of Safety. It was this house that was offered to John Jay as a refuge for himself and his family 1776-1781, during most of the Revolutionary War when they were forced by the British army to flee from their home in Westchester County.
Revolutionary War military maps refer to this site as “The Jay House.” “Also in the autumn of 1778 [John Jay] retired to the farm for a much needed rest. While there he wrote to his wife: ”I have not been without the bounds of the farm since I have been here, and to tell you the truth, were you and our little boy here I should not wish to leave it this year provided it would be all that time exempted from the visitation of both armies.” Peter Jay, writing to his son from the farm describes the “gangs of villains who make frequent excursions from our neighboring mountains for prey."
-Edith VanWyck, Melzingah Chapter, DAR Historian, c. 1930.
The spy Enoch Crosby (see #9) reported that in May 1777, he “reached Col. Ludingtons about day light in the morning, from thence he went to Fishkill to the house of Doct. VanWyck where John Jay boarded & there informed him of all the occurrences on that northern expedition.”
It was, while living here, that John Jay held court in Griffen's Tavern (see #19). “John Jay [1745-1829] was at the time in double capacity, serving also as chairman of the Committee of Safety [and member of the Continental Congress].” “John Jay brought in amendments that would have abolished slavery. The Convention refused them, and contested eventual freedom.” According to the biographer of Morris, the original draft [of the New York State Constitution] was composed in that Village.”
-OLD DUTCHESS FOREVER!, Henry Noble MacCracken, Hastings House Publ., NY, NY, 1956, pp 416, 418.
The final version of the New York State Constitution was adopted in Kingston, NY on the 20th April 1777. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/statech.asp
After the Revolutionary War, John Jay was elected Governor of New York State and served from 1795-1801.
Proceed 2.5 miles on Rt. 52 to Rt. 82 traffic light. Brinckerhoff house, and Rombout cemetery on the right. Immediate right turn onto Westview Avenue. Parking in shopping plaza lot on left. Walk through Rombout Rural Cemetery.
Rombout Rural Cemetery. Westview Avenue and Rt. 52, Brinckerhoff in the
Town of Fishkill, NY
Marked May 19, 1900, rededicated 2000:
“The medical history of the Revolution is tragic. Nine times as many men died of disease as of wounds. The sufferings at Valley Forge were far surpassed by conditions in the hospitals. Incompetence in the staff was the chief cause.
Where, as in Albany, there were good beds in an adequate hospital, a competent head surgeon like Dr. Jonathan Potts, and a sufficient number of good surgeons, losses were small, less than two hundred out of several thousand.
One of the surgeons at Fishkill was Dr. James Thatcher, whose `Military Journal' is a chief source-book of the war. He served at Boston and Saratoga, and left Albany in June, 1778. In that pleasant city, after the first crowded days, he had leisure to join his colleagues in dancing lessons taught by a Mr. Trotter. Thus equipped, he sailed with baggage and hospital supplies to Fishkill and with a pilot from New Windsor managed to land at Garrison's and take charge of the military hospital which had been set up at Beverly, the homestead of the Loyalist Colonel Robinson. Here with frequent visits at Fishkill and West Point, he managed to vary his professional duties with his favorite recreation. On July 8, 1778, he dined at the Fishkill hospital with his friends Drs. Adams and Eustis, and found them `pleasantly situated in a secure retreat for the accommodation of our sick and wounded soldiers.' He reported next month, however, an excess of dysentery and putrid fever at his own base.”
-OLD DUTCHESS FOREVER!, Henry Noble MacCracken, Hastings House Publ., NY, NY, 1956, p 366.
Rombout Rural Cemetery. Westview Avenue and Rt. 52, Brinckerhoff in the
Town of Fishkill, NY
Marquis de La Fayette (1757-1834) came from France to America in 1777.
“On August 28 [1778, Dr. James Thatcher] called on the Marquis De La Fayette, then convalescing from a severe attack of fever. The young general was `affable' in his broken English...”
-OLD DUTCHESS FOREVER!, Henry Noble MacCracken, Hastings House Publ., NY, NY, 1956, p 366.
He led the army in Virginia, and defeated Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781 before returning to France.
Proceed on Rt. 52 West to point of origin - “All roads lead to the Brett Mill.”
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