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January 19th, 2011

My Great Great Great Great Grandfather

I was looking for something else and found a link to this. I have a dozen or so ancestors who fought in the revolutionary war, but this is a sad story.

Rockland Lake is a pond up above the Hudson River that was used for ice for many years. There is a landing on the Hudson and a steep trail that leads up to the “High Road” which is now Route 9W, and then the “Lake Road” leads to the low road called “King’s Highway”. The British and Revolutionary forces used this road to go from Fort Lee, NJ to Albany. It ran along the top of the Palisades. “King’s Highway”, also known in parts as “The Greenbush” ran along the valley floor from Haverstraw, NY to Teaneck, NJ.

Verdridica appears to be one of the hills north of Hook Mountain, if not the Hook itself, which is about two miles south of where this happened. There was a militia at Haverstraw so it may have been the hill just south of Haverstraw that is a north shoulder of Hook Mountain.

The path to Rockland Lake was the only point between Nyack and Haverstraw where the British could land on the Hudson in force without being resisted.


The Revolutionary War POW window memorial is situated near NYPD Hq seen above. [Window photos by NYCHS.]

The “sugar house” mentioned was the Rhinelander Sugar House in New York City that was turned into a notorious prison.

This was a brick warehouse into which American prisoners of war and private citizens, suspected of helping the patriots, were thrown. Sanitary conditions were frightful and starvation was a constant threat, so that its evil reputation was well earned, and its death toll unbelievably high.


“The History of Rockland County”, by Frank Bertangue Green, M.D. page 112 and 113

Toward the close of the war, a boat load of marines landed at Rockland Lake, in the dusk of the evening, and under the guidance of neighboring Tories, started on a search for booty. On this errand bent, they marched around the lake and down the old lake road towards its junction with the Kings Highway.

On the west side of the lake road and almost opposite the junction of the mountain road with it, lived Garret Meyers, a militia-man. All that day Mr. Meyers had been watching the British vessels, to alarm the country in case an attempt was made to land from them, and only at nightfall had returned to his home.

Just before bedtime, he heard the tramp of feet on the road and surmising at once that the enemy had landed, he started out to light the beacon fire on Verdridica Hook, and thus warn the Minute Men.

As he stepped from his door however, he saw that the enemy was between him and the mountain, and that it would be necessary for him to wait till the road was clear. Hastening to a pear tree, which stood near the house, he flattened himself against it, hoping to be unobserved in the darkness.

But, fate was against him. In the yard was a pet white calf that Mr. Meyers had been accustomed to feed, and the animal had become so tame, that it would follow its master like a dog. Seeing him appear, the calf ran to the tree behind which he was standing and stood beside it.

Among the Tories, who accompanied the British, was a near neighbor of Meyers, who knew the habit of the calf, and when he saw it run to the pear tree, he suspected the presence of his neighbor. He therefore told the commanding officer of the party that a rebel Whig was hidden at that spot, and the search that followed resulted in Meyer’s capture.

The party then visited his house, gutted it completely, knocked Mrs. Meyers senseless with a blow from the butt of a musket, which drove her teeth down her throat, and then took their departure for the landing with their prisoner.

Mr. Meyers was confined in the Sugar House until the close of the war, and left it with his health forever broken. This unfortunate man always suspected a neighbor, who claimed to be a patriot, of having betrayed him, and, rendered frenzied by his sufferings while a prisoner, registered an oath to shoot the suspect on sight.

Being informed one day, long after the war had ended, that this neighbor was coming down the road, the bed-ridden old man, toilsomely dragged himself to his loaded gun, but fell dead ere he could take aim, and the villain who caused his misery escaped the judgment of man.

 

One Response to “My Great Great Great Great Grandfather”

  1. Debbie Schermerhorn says:

    Garret Myers was my 6th great grandfather. His son, Joris is my 5th great-grandfather.

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