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Papers and Proceedings
The Bergen County Historical Society
Organisation and Proceedings Rev. Ezra T. Saneord
Report of the Committee on Colonial and Revo-
lutionary History and Historical Places CoL. W. D. Snow
Baron Steuben's Estate William Alexander Linn
The Poor Monument Celebration Eugene K. Bird
Oration Upon the Unveiling of the Statue of
General Enoch Poor Hon. Henry M. Baker
GEN. ENOCH POOR
Fr<iiii II I'ahitmii '>.v Kosciusko.
Papers and Proceedings
The Bergen County Historical Society
Organisation and Proceedings Rev. Ezra T. Sanford
Report of the Committee on Colonial and Revo-
lutionary History and Historical Places Col. W. D. Snow
Baron Steuben's Estate William Alexander Linn
The Poor Monument Celebration Eugene K. Bird
Oration Upon the Unveiling of the Statue of
General Enoch Poor Hon. Henry M. Baker
Press of the Evening Record.
President— T. N. Glover, Rutherford, N. J.
Vice Presidents— Cornelius Doremus, Rid^ewood, N. J. ;
B. H. Allbee, Hackensack, N. J. ; Isaac D. Bog:ert, Westwood,
N. J. ; W. M. Johnson, Hackensack, N. J- ; W. D. Snow,
Hackensack, N. J. ; Henry D. Winton, Hackensack, N. J. ; A.
W. Van Winkle, Rutherford, N. T-
Recording Secretary— Rev. Ezra T. Sanford, Hacken-
sack, N. J.
Corresponding Secretary— Arthur Van Buskirk, Hack-
ensack, N. J.
Treasurer— James A. Romeyn, Hackensack, N. J.
The officers and the following compose the Executive
Committee— C. Christie, Leonia, N. J. ; A. C. Holdrum, West-
wood N. J. ; E. K. Bird, Hackensack, N. J. ; Abram DeBaun,
Hackensack, N. J.
Publication Committee— C. Christie, H. D. Winton, W.
LIST OF MEMBERS.
Rev. H. VanDerwart Hackensack
Rev. A. Johnson "
Rev. E. T. Sanford
Rev. W. W. Holley
Rev. J. C. Voorhis
W. A. Linn
W. O. Labagh
E. K. Bird
C. V. H. Whitbeck
L L Demarest "
J. A. Romeyn "
L. S. Marsh
J. E. Esray
Arthur Van Buskirk
Leonard Kirby "
Mrs. Leonard Kirby
H. D. Winton
W. M. Johnson
Milton Demarest "
Abram De Baum "
W. D. Snow
A. S. D. Demarest
Christie Romaine "
H. N. Bennett
John S. Mabon
B. H. Allbee
Peter Bogart, Jr
D. D. Zabriskie Ridgewood
Rev. W. H. Vroom
Cornelius Doremus "
Capt. Andrew C. Zabriskie 52 Beaver Street, N. Y.
AHster Greene i E. 62nd Street, N. Y.
T. N. Glover Rutherford
Arthur W. Van Winkle
Miss E. B. Vermilye Englewood
Geo. R. Dutton
A. D. Bogert
Frank R. Ford
Dr. Byron G. Van Horn
Col. J. V. Moore Leonk
Edw. Stagg ■■•• "
James W. Pearsall Ridgewood
Isaac D. Bogert Westwood
Abram C. Holdrum
Rev. D. M. Tallmadge
R. W. Cooper New Milford
Jacob Van Buskirk
Henry D. Sewall Maywood
Coleman Gray Hackensack
J. R. Lamb Cresskill
George W. Wheeler Hackensack
David Talmage Leonia
Dr. David St. John Hackensack
Mrs. F. A. Westervelt
R. J. G. Wood Leonia
Rev. H. M. Dodd Rutherford
Dr. C. F. Adams Hackensack
Rev. H. Iserman Ridgewood
Fred. W. Cane Bogota
Geo. T. Ackerman
• T J **
Edward E. Easton Areola
E. E. Wakelee Closter
Milton J. Richardson Ridgewood
J. A. Van Nest
ORGANIZATION AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE
BERGEN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
By Rev. Uara T. Sanford.
On March 4, 1902, a company of those interested in the
formation of a Historical Society in Bergen County met in the
Johnson PubHc Library at Hackensack, and was called to
order by William A. Linn. Rev. Herman Vandewart, Pastor
of the First Reformed Church of Hackensack, was made
Chairman of the meeting, and James A. Romeyn, Secretary.
A Committee was appointed to perfect the organization,
consisting of W. O. Labagh, C. Van H. Whitbeck and Rev.
Ezra T. Sanford.
On March 26 the Society was formed, a constitution
adopted and a Committee appointed to nominate officers. The
Committee made its report to a meeting held April q, 1902,
and Hon. William M. Johnson was elected first President. In
connection with the other officers and various committees
appointed by the President considerable work was done the
On June 7 William Nelson, of the State Historical
Society, made an address of encouragement.
On November 21 the Rev. Ezra T. Sanford gave the
Society a lecture on "Old Bergen County Days," Mr. George
Walker kindly furnishing a stereopticon to illuminate the
pictures used for the lecture. A generous offering was made
by the audience on the occasion, towards erecting the proposed
monument to mark the site of Old Fort Lee.
At the first annual dinner, February 23, 1903, in Odd
Fellows' Hall, Hackensack, addresses were made bv Cornelius
Christie, William Abbott, D. D. Zabriskie. C. Doremus, H. D.
Winton. C. V. H. Whitbeck, A. De Baun, W. D. Snow and
T. N. Glover.
At this meeting Cornelius Christie was elected President.
During the year several articles of furniture were purchased
for tlie preservation of the historical documents and relics
belonging to the Society.
On November ii, 1903, Mr. B. H. Allbee g:ave a most
interesting lecture on "Old Houses of Bergen County, illus-
trated with stereopticon views kindly furnished by C.Newman.
On February 22, 1904, the annual dinner was held at
Oritani Hall, Hackensack, where addresses were made as
follows: Rev. H. Van Derwart, on "George Washington;
W A Linn, on "Baron Steuben;" T. N. Glover, on 'Corn-
wallis in Bergen County;" Rev. E. S. Wheeler of Boston on
•'General Greene;" Byron G. Van Home, on '^ Descendants of
Bergen County Loyalists in Nova Scotia;" B. H. Allbee, on
"Monuments to the Builders of Bergen County.
At this meeting the following Committee was appointed
to co-operate with the Sons of the American Revolution m
erecting a monument to General Enoch Poor in the open
space in front of the County Court House : C F. Adams,_ W.
W Holly, A. T. Holly, E. K. Bird, B. H. Allbee, C. Christie
and Rev E. T. Sanford. With the Committee, by request ot
the Sons of the American Revolution, W. M. Tohnson was
asked to serve.
Thomas N. Glover was elected President for the ensuing
^^^^"Various gifts of relics and historical documents were
received during the year, among them being publications 01
the Minisink Valley Historical Society, The Newburg (N
Y.) Historical Society, State Historian Hugh Hastings, of
New York, and the Holland Society.
In the month of April, under the management of Mrs._ F.
A. Westervelt, the Society conducted an interesting exhibition
of relics and historical documents in its rooms in the Johnson
During the year the Poor Monument Committee. Dr. C.
F. Adams, "chairman, raised five hundred dollars towards the
erection of the proposed monument, the State of New Jersey
giving one thousand dollars, the State of New Hampshire five
hundred dollars and the Sons of the American Revolution five
On November 13, Frank G. Speck gave a lecture on
"Indians in Bergen County."
On December 12 the two hundreth anniversary of the
Old Stone House on Essex Street, Hackensack. was observed.
The house was built by Abram Ackerman and his sons and
was sold to Albert A. Brinkerhoff in 1825. J. G. Ackerman
read the Ackerman family history and the Rev. E. T. Sanford
spoke upon the subject, "When the Old House Was New."
At a meeting of the Executive Committee on December
23, the Editorial Committee were authorized to issue a publi-
cation containing a brief History of the Society by the Rev.
Ezra T. Sanford, the address of Col. W. D. Snow at the firBi
annual dinner, the address of W. A. Linn at the second annutl
dinner, the oration of Hon. Henrv M. Baker at the unveiling
of the Statue of General Enoch Poor, with a brief introductiai
to said oration by E. K. Bird, and in addition to the foregoinc;
appropriate incidental matter; two copies to be distributed to
each member of the Society and other copies excliane'ed with
Historical Societies. An edition of five hundred copies
was thought desirable.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON COLONIAL AND
REVOLUTIONARY HISTORY AND HIS-
Read at the Annual Dinner, February 22, 1903, hy Col. W.
The writer of this report presents it with hesitancy as
the Report of the Committee. The field assigned is so broad,
the material so abundant, the difficulty of co-operative work,
arising from the scattered homes of its members so great, that
the writer has been compelled to assume a responsibility he
would have preferred to avoid, could he have had larger
opportunities for consultation and advice with his fellow
Justice requires that he should make this avowal, so that
those who are associated with him, may not be held responsible
for the errors of this document, and that he, solely, may bear
the brunt of whatever is here set down, which shall not satisfy
the critical taste and wider knowledge of the other members
of the Committee or the Society itself.
On a subject so complex and in part so obscure as the
Colonial and Revolutionary History of New Jersey, for want
of earlier societies of the nature of our own, the Committee
has thought, that it ought to proceed upon a system, which
should first present as briefly as possible the ascertained facts
of History, which have affected our territory generally or
locally; whether proprietory, political, military, judicial or
Should they succeed in this, tho* in a hasty and frag-
mentary way, covering but a small segment of the circle of
events of the past of New Jersey and the Bergen region, they
feel that they will at least have striven for the position of Friar
Tuck; who is said not only to have "pointed to Heaven, but
led the way" in that, at least they will have emulated his many
imperfect steps and numerous back slidings; of which, it will
be remembered, he was a most accomplished past-master.
That unmitigated martyr to unexpected and undeserved
good luck, by the grace of the treachery of Major General
Monk, to the cause of the people whilom Duke of Albemarle,
the Second Charles, King of England, among his early
acts after the restoration of Monarchy, in utter disregard oi
the pledges of tiie English Commonwealth, under Cromwell;
proceeded with true kingly arrogance in 1664, to bestow on
his brother James, Duke of York and Albany, the property of
other people, which, he with gracious magnaminity described
as "all the lands lying within the sweep of a line drawn up the
Western bank of the Connecticut River from its source, to the
sources of the Hudson, thence West to the head of the Mohawk
branch of the Hudson River, thence to the Eastern side of
Delaware Bay (March, 1664), and thence to the ocean. By
one of those rare chances of inscrutable History, these lines
correspond with the outer boundary of the Dutch Republic,
sprung from the discoveries of Henrick Hudson in the
Republic's service, and the occupancy and peaceful settlement
of the citizens of that government acquiesced in and respected
from its first settlement. In persuance of this generous scheme
of high-handed robbery, the next step of Royalty was the
sending of Col. Richard Nichols, Sir Robert Carr, Col. George
Coborough and Samuel Maverick, to take possession as Com-
missioners of the regally bestowed territory, to revoke their
charters and assume the Government of this and other territory
claimed as the heritage of Charles II. from the royal martyr,
the first Charles.
The third step was in a time of profound peace between
the Dutch and England, without notice of claim to the Dutch
Republic or notification to the citizens of New Netherlands,
with 450 soldiers and 120 guns mounted on three men of war.
to take possession of the land. This proved easy. Gov. Stuy-
vesant, taken by surprise, without instructions from home —
so secretly had the movement been made — finding himself with
but 120 trained men to arms and only 20 guns at the fort, was
forced to surrender without a blow. There was no choice
between surrender and slaughter, and he succumbed. The
crime was consummated. Bergen and its outer territory was
part of the land seized. A medieval afternoon miracle has been
performed, and the Dutchmen who had gone to bed, members
of the glorious little republic, woke up Englishmen.
New Jersey became a political entitv for the first time in
July, 1665. when the English Governor Nicolls. who had
taken possession of New Amsterdam in Auarust. 1664, and
included New Jersey as a part of the grant was first apprised,
that two months before he had taken possession, His Royal
Highness, the Duke of York, had granted to his two friends.
Lord John Berkley, Baron of Stratton and Sir George Carteret
of Sal turn, "all his rights, within the territory of New Nether-
lands, between the Hudson River and the harbor of New
York and the Delaware River, and the sea ending at Cape
May in the South." Col. Nicolls, who had been acting as
Governor of the whole territory, was not a little disturbed at
the confusion likely to ensue after a successful year's work of
pacification. As the proof of the grant presented by Phillip
Carteret, who had been designated as Governor by the new
proprietors was incontestible, Col. Nicolls at once surrendered
the territory. Before this, however. Col. Nicolls in ignorance
of his want of power had already authorized a settlement at
Elizabeth, and had granted rights and titles along the Hudson
and outer bay ; particularly in Bergen, Hoboken, Weehawken,
Pavonia, Ahasimus and Constables^ Hook ; the settlers of all of
which were profoundly exercised by the uncertainties, which
beset their political and pecuniary rights and titles.
Instructed by the ideas born of the Civil War, resulting in
the conflict between Kingly prerogative and the fundamental
rights of the people, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret
had authorized Phillip Carteret to offer gifts of land to settlers
on most liberal terms, among which were religious toleration,
and a free Government. This document was called :
"The Concessions and Agreements of the Lords Proprie-
tors to and with, all and every of the adventures and all such
as shall settle and plant in their territory."
It will be observed that these concessions were far in
advance of the Governmental plans of most of the other pro-
prietors, and that for the times, New Jersey started on her
political career on a higher plane of recognition of human
rights, than any of the then colonies enjoyed, till the advent of
William Penn as proprietor some years later.
The Governor assiduously made known throughout New
York and New England the liberal terms he was authorized to
grant, and almost immediately a remarkable immigration,
organized by whole companies, set in from New York, Con-
necticut and Massachusetts as well as from Sweden, the Neth-
erlands, France and England.
The region known as Bergen comprised the present
county and what is now Hudson county, wath undefined limits
South and West, and from its accessibiHty profited most in
numbers, as is shown by the fact that in the first assembly
called by the Governor, May 26, 1668, Bergen was allotted
more so-called "Burgesses" than any of the other divisions of
The assembling of that body revealed the significant fact
that the largest immigration came from Massachusetts, and
that region of Connecticut, which still maintained a theocratic
Government, denying political rights to all who were not
members of the prevailing church in good standing and com-
The Puritans controlled that Assembly and passed a bill
of fines and penalties against various sorts of offenders, which
was drawn in some of its parts directly from the Book of
In that age, characterized by historians as one in which
all sects wanted toleration for themselves, and none were
willing to accord it to others, the New Jersey Puritans found
religious toleration imbedded in the organic contract called
The Concessions and left it untouched, as a basic fact whicli
had brought to New Jersey, and especially Bergen, unbounded
How great a boon they preserved to our forefathers is
strikingly illustrated by two contemporary acts fourteen years
later. The debasing effects of religious rancour even on the
superior minds of devout men, were never more strikingly
illustrated than in the following letter, from one of the most
celebrated divines New England has ever produced.
It is addressed to another distinguished personage of the
Colony of Massachusetts and is as follows :
September ye 15, 1682.
"To Ye Aged and Beloved, Mr. John Higginson:
'There is now at sea a ship called the Welcome, which
has on board an hundred or more of the heretics and malig-
nants called Quakers, with W. Penn, who is the chief scamp,
at the head of them.
"The general court has accordingly given secret orders
to Master Malachi Huscott. of the brig Porpoise, to waylay
the said Welcome, slyly, as near the Cape of Cod as may be,
and make captive the said Penn and his ungodly crew, so that
the Lord may be glorified, and not mocked on the soil of this
new country with the heathen worship of these people.
"Much spoil can be made by selling the whole lot to
Barbadoes, where slaves fetch good prices in rum and sugar,
and we shall not only do the Lord great service by punishing
the wicked, but we shall make great good for his minister and
"Master Huscott feels hopeful, and I will set down the
news when the ship comes back.
"Yours in ye\l30wels of Christ,
A few months afterwards the scamp, William Penn, hav-
ing escaped the fate so unctiously designed for him, was
assuring by written mandate the settlers in his broad domain,
which had cost him 16,000 ($80,000) that:
"They should be governed by laws of their own making ;
that they should be at the mercy of no Governor, who comes
to make'his fortune, that all sects and conditions of men should
be free to worship God as their consciences dictated; that
there should be no class privileges in Church or State, and
that he proposed by extraordinary precaution to leave himself
and his successors, no power of doing mischief; that the will
of one might not hinder the good of the whole community."
Repugnant as the spirit of Cotton Mather's letter is to
the enlightened consciences of our day and glorious as seems
to us, in the enjoyment of the fruition of the policy of Penn
two centuries and a quarter later ; who, knowing the infirmi-
ties of sincere human judgment, shall judge between the
Puritan and the Quaker? Except to say, that the erring one
must not be condemned by the ethics of a later century and
that the other through the susceptibility of a more exquisitely
attuned soul, caught the pearl and crimson morning glow of
the ascending sun of human liberty, while that sun was yet
below the horizon to the earnest gaze of the other, and that
each was honestly true to the light that his nature permitted
him to rceive.
Thus was New Jersey, chiefly Bergen (the Hill County)
Except for the episode of the reconquest of the New
Netherlands by the Dutch a few years afterwards, their pos-
sessions of seven months before the treaty of Westminster
restored it to the English, and the consequences of that treaty,
the division of New Jersey into East and West proprietor-
ships, and the surrender of the proprietory rights to the crown
thereafter, history has only to record a peaceful, orderly
growth in population, wealth and comfort ; until the griev-
ances which produced the Revolution began to be discussed
almost a century afterwards.
The growth was cosmopolitan. It came from every
discontented population, suffering from the disturbed state of
warring Europe, and the narrow doctrines and policies of
some of the surrounding Colonies.
An examination of the records of Bergen County dis-
closes from the names attached to Wills and Deeds, thnt
among the earliest settlers came many with scriptural names,
such as Hezekiah, Rheoboam, Jethro, Azariah, etc., now sup-
posed to represent the Puritan element. The Hugonots, then
fleeing from the results of the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes, were represented by the Debauns, Demarests. DeVoes,
Duboises and other names of pure Norman construction, while
the Teutonic immigration was clearly defined by the numerous
Dutch Vans dotted all over the County, occasionally varied by
the German Von.
As a whole the immigrants were a religous people. From
Smith's History of the Colony of New Jersey, published in
1765, we learn that there was at that time 160 meeting houses
in the Colony, owned by six denominations. The Presbvteri-
ans held about one-third, the Quakers one'fifth. the Episcopali-
ans and Baptists one-eighth each, and the Low Dutch and
Dutch and Dutch Colonist a little less than one-fifth. In
Bergen County at that time, the Low Dutch had the lead with
seven edifices, the Presbyterians came next with six; but the
Quakers. Episcopalians and Baptists were without Houses of
Worship. It is needless to add that the Unitarians — if there
were any — were in a like plight homeless, tho' later history
discloses that the first Universalist Church in America was
founded in New Jersev in Monmouth County.
In 1765 Bergen Countv's lines were exactiv defined and
embraced what is now PTudson County, East of the Hacken-
sack River, and to the North of Hudson territory approximat-
ing its present limits.
Among the intermedinrv CTOvernors of New Jersev were
two of England's nnbilitv. whose names were popularly
regarded as significant of their character. Lord Cornburv
was hated and recalled because of his brutality, and for the
fact that he left his wife and family to starve at Albany, and
Lord Lovelace, who was popular on account of his refined
taste, suavity of manner, and his sympathetic conduct. It
is not known whether he visited Bergen County, but it is safe
to say he would have been welcomed by the ladies at least,
through the suggestiveness of his name.
It fell to the lot of an unusually good man to be the last
William Franklin personally irreproachable, wise, and a
statesman from the Royalist point of view, encountered the
first mutterings of the storm of the Revolution.
It is not too much to say, that by the weisfht of his char-
acter, the adroitness of his acts of conciliation, and the just-
ness of his temperament, he delayed for more than two years
the climax of that political action, which was to be, and it is
from the tumultous session of the Assembly of 1774 that we
catch the first view of the political feeling of Bergfen Countv.
The ofiicial record of that session does not put Bergen
I County, as repreesnted, as anxious for the Revolution. On the
" first of New Jersey's famous resolutions : That the Assembly
heartily accept the invitation of a mutual correspondence
«i and intercourse with its sister colonies, Bergen County voted
. in the negative, and therefore had no representation in the
Committee of Revolutionary Correspondence.
i At the first Provincial Congress of the State, held bv
; invitation of the General Congress (1776) thirteen Counties
*| returned 65 members.
On the resolution : That the proclamation of William
Franklin, "late Governor of New Jersey, appointing a meet-
ing of the Legislature for June 20, of that year, ought not to
' be obeyed," there were but eleven negative votes, and Bergen
■ County cast five of them.
On the following day, on the resolution that Governor
I Franklin had acted in contempt and in violation of the resolu-
; tion of Congress, directing New Jersey and other Colonies to
frame for themselves independent Governments, there were but
eight votes in the negative and Bergen County cast three of
The third resolution that William Franklin had discov-
ered himself an enemy to his country and should be arrested,
was passed by 42 affirmative votes, including two from
Bergen, yet three of Bergen's votes were still cast in the
On the fourth resolution, that the Governor's salary
should cease, New Jersey's thrift re-inforced its patriotism,
and there was but one Bergen vote in the negative. Governor
FrankHn was arrested; his sahiry was stopped; he was trans-
ferred to miHtary custody in East Windsor, where he was
held two years ; was exchanged and disappeared under British
protection in New York.
A.5 early as June, 1774, a large spontaneous meeting of
the citizens of Bergen County was held at the Court House,
Hackensack. The meeting demanded the Repeal of the Port
Bill, and offered to become parties to a closer union of the
Colonies to redress all the grievances, which affected not only
New Jersey, but all the Colonies.
Not to be outdone the Loyalists, citizens of Hackensack
to the number of 37, as late as March 14, 177=;, met and
declared "their loyalty to the King, and their willingness to
venture their lives and fortunes to support the dignity of the
The crisis had arrived. Meetings were held throughout
the County, resulting in a decided preponderance of sentiment
for redress and independence, though to the last there existe<i
a considerable body of loyalists, until the war either drove
them into the ranks of the English or to New York City.
In the New Jersey Gazette of December, 1777, appears a
peculiar appeal of the first Governor of the State of New
Jersey, particularly addressed to Bergen County.
In a letter addressed to Isaac Collins, Gov. William Liv-
ingston says :
Sir : I am afraid that while we are employed in furnish-
ing our battalions with cloathing, we forget the County of
Bergen, which alone is sufficient, amplv to provide them, with
winter waistcoats and breeches. It is well known that the
rural ladies in that part of our State pride themselves in an
incredible number of petticoats; which, like house furniture,
are displayed by way of ostentation, for many years before
they are decreed to invest the fair bodies of the proprietors.
Till that period they are never worn, but neatly piled up on
each side of an immense escritoire, the top of which is decor-
ated with a most capacious brass-elapsed Bible, seldom read.
What I would, therefore, humbly propose, is to make prize of
those future female habiliments, and after proper transforma-
tion, immediately apply them to screen from the inclemencies
of the weather those gallant males, who are now fisfhting for
the liberties of their country. And to clear this measure from
every imputation of injustice, I have only to observe, that the
generahty of the women in that county, having:, for above a
century, worn the breeches, it is hig:hlv reasonable that the
men should now, and especially upon so important an occasion,
make booty of the petticoats.
It is pleasant to know that this suggestion was met by
patriotic women, who organized a society for the purposes
indicated for the whole State; that they accumulated a large
supply of material, and the records show, that notwithstanding-
the Governor's clumsy humor about the century worn breeches
of the ladies, this country responded nobly, and that on its
most important committees are found the names of the two
Misses Deys, Mrs. Fell, Mrs. Knyper and Mrs. Erskine of
Of Historical Places, the attention of the Committee has
been called to houses and events in Rutherford, Lodi, Kings-
land, Carlstadt, Fort Lee, New Bridge, Paramus Plains,
Ridgewood, Mawah, River Edge, Sufferns, Tappan and
Riverdale; all teeming with Revolutionary Romance, relics
and incidents, which merit the attention of the Committee,
when it shall have more time, and a better co-operative
As yet the Committee have had opportunity through the
reporter to give attention to but one of these places, and that
the last mentioned, Riverdale, three miles northeast of West-
On September 23, 1778, Sir Henry Clinton, just returned
from his Bedford expedition, sent his forces along the New
Jersey coast to capture some American privateers, and their
prizes, and destroy grain mills, salt works, &c.
To divert attention and forage for meat and provisions,
he ordered Lord Cornwallis, afterwards the Commander-in-
Chief, captured by Washington at Yorktown, with =;.ooo men
into Bergen County.
He also ordered Gen. Knyphausen to Dobbs Ferry with
3,000 men to collect all description of craft possible to trans-
port the whole 8,000 across the Hudson.
Gen. Washington had just left White Plains, and estab-
lished headquarters opposite West Point. He thought from
the direction the two columns were taking that an expedition
up the Hudson was contemplated, and ordered Col. George
Baylor, with parts of three companies of Light Dragoons — 116
men to move from Paramus and post themselves on the upper
Hackensack River to watch the CornwalHs movements.
Col. Bayer arrived at the bridge crossing the Hackensack
at River Vale late in the afternoon of September 28th, and
learned that Gen. Wayne, with 3,000 militia, was just north
of Tappan. Deeming Wayne's command within supporting
distance of him, he resolved to stay over night at that point;
stabled his horses and men at the barns of the Holdrum's, De
Voe's and Haring's of the immediate neighborhood on the
west bank of the river, threw out a picket of twelve men at the
bridge with orders for patrols of two men each to watch each
of the four roads for a mile from the bridge, and then selected
the house of Cornelius A. Herring for his own and his staff's
dormitory, and Herring's barn for the sleeping places of
twenty of his men.
CornwalHs was at New Bridge and his force scattered
from there to Liberty Pole. Apprised by a spy of Col. Bayer's
whereabouts, he immediately formulated a plan to capture his
contingent and simultaneously have Knyhausen attack Gen.
Wayne. Maj. Gen. Gray was ordered with a regiment of
Light Infantry and the Second Battery to attack the sleeping
Just before midnight Gen. Gray struck the west bank road
silently and in good order, about two miles below the bridge.
Here he forced a guide to take the troop through the fields and
around the patrol in such manner that he captured all of them
This accomplished, with picked men of six companies of
his command, he went directly to the house of Cornelius A.
Herring. The escaped sentinel had arrived and given Baylor
the alarm but a moment before Gray's men burst in the doors.
Simultaneously all the barns in which the Americans were
sleeping were assaulted.
Col. Baylor and Maj. Clough, realizing the situation, en-
deavored to conceal themselves up the wide Dutch fireplace.
Both were discovered and brought down by bayonet thrusts
up the chimney. Col. Baylor received three wounds and Maj.
Clough died instantly. Cornet Morrow, after being bayoneted
seven times, begged for quarter, which was refused and he was
stabbed again and stripped of his clothing. Dr. Thos. Evans,
surgeon, was wounded, but with Col. Baylor made a prisoner.
The party attacking the barn used the bavonet freely.
Lieut. John Steth, in command, finding himself surrounded,
called out that they surrendered, but was immediately
wounded with a sword and yet escaped.
At a barn attacked by Sir James Bond's cotingent one
British soldier was killed, but of the sixteen Americans in the
barn nine were killed and seven made prisoners.
Ensign Morrow, stripped and left for dead, was found by
Lieut. Sleth the next morning and ultimately recovered.
The general result was of the ii6 Americans thirteen
were instantly killed, seventeen left behind supposed dead or
dying, thirty-nine taken prisoners and forty-seven escaped.
Col. Baylor was the personal friend of Washington, had
served on his staff and had been one of his family; was the
first man to report to Washington the surrender of the Hes-
sians at Trenton ; had been complimented by Congress and
presented by that body for gallantry with a hosre fully capari-
soned and promoted to a Colonelcy of Light Horse.
His disposition of his men on that fateful night was se-
verely blamed as unmilitary. Congress ordered an investiga-
tion. Wayne, warned by surrounding patriots of Knyp-
housen's advance, retreated in time to save his own command
from being surrounded.
The main object of the expedition was therefor a failure,
but as for Col. Baylor his ascending career as a soldier was ar-
rested. The mistake of that night was fatal.
The graves of the humble soldiers killed still remain
marked by tottering headstones in a lonely field beside the silent
flowing Hackensack. Wounded and a prisoner, Col. Baylor
disappeared into the mass of the unfortunate and no man
knows for a certainty when and where he passed the Rubicon
A single mistake had blasted a patriotic career and all we
can say is, that his fate has only added another illustration to
the truth of the poet, who has said :
"There is a time, we know not when,
A point we know not where,
That turns the destiny of men
To glory or despair.
"There is a line, by us unseen,
That crosses every path ;
The hidden boundary between
God's patience and His wrath."
BARON STEUBEN'S ESTATE AT NEW BRIDGE,
BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.
WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF HIS EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE AND HIS
SERVICES TO THE AMERICAN ARMY.
Read at the Annual Dinner, February 22, 1904.
BY WILLIAM ALEXANDER LINN.
All of you who have passed over New Bridg-e, about :i
mile above Hackensack, have doubtless noticed the dwelling
of ancient architectural design on the west side of the river,
facing the bridge. It is one of the "old houses" of Bergen
county, and some interesting things in connection with its his-
tory were presented to those of us who were fortunate enough
to listen to Mr. Albee's address at the Park Street Church last
autumn. Sometime within the last ten years I read in one of
our local papers a statement that this property was given to
Baron Steuben by the State of New Jersey, after the Revolu-
tionary War, in recognition of his services to this country dur-
ing that struggle. Ever since that time, whenever I have
ridden or driven over the bridge, I have looked with peculiar
interest on this house, and have imagined the old soldier sitting
on its porch in his latter days, smoking his pipe and slapping
mosquitoes. For I accepted the statement of his ownership
But when, after the organization of this society, I men-
tioned this incident to some of those who were looking up local
history, I found that the ownership by Baron Steuben was in-
volved in some doubt. Then I began an investigation of the
matter on my own account, and I have found the results so
interesting, and the Baron's story so connected with our local
history, that when I was asked to say something: here this even-
ing, I decided to give you the results of my inquiries.
The subject of my investigations, William Augustus
Henry Ferdinand von Steuben, was the oldest son of Capt.
Wilhelm Augustine Steuben. The Steubens were of noble
family — "I am a Baron of the Holy Roman Empire," said our
Steuben in later life — but like so many German families in the
years following the Reformation (they were Protestants),
they had lost their landed estates. Capt. Steuben was a Prus-
sian soldier of scientific attainments, who, after serving his
own country with distinction, was in 1733 ordered by King
William I. to enter the service of Russia, and later served Prus-
sia again in the Seven Years' War.
The Baron was born at Magdeburg on November 15,
1730. His father could afford no special educational advan-
tages to his son, who said in later years that he "did not re-
ceive any better education than that which a poor young noble-
man in Prussia always received." But he was without pro-
fligate habits and he was naturally studious, and so he learned
to write and speak French and was well grounded in mathema-
tics and history.
His father's calling attracted him, and when only fourteen
years old he served under him during the war ot the Austrian
succession. The accession of Frederick the Great to the throne
when Steuben was only ten years old gave the young man op-
portunity to take part in some of the greatest militarv struggles
which the world has v/itnessed. Entering a famous regiment
as a cadet, at the age of seventeen, he was promoted to be an
engineer in two years, to be a lieutenant in four years and to
be a first lieutenant two years later.
His military service was of the most practical and active
character. He was wounded in the battle of Prague in May,
1757, helped rout the French in the battle of Rossbach in the
following November and, joining von Mayr's "free corps," he
participated with distinction in that daring officer's exploits;
after his commander's death was appointed adjutant-general
under von Hulsen and was again wounded in the disastrous
battle of Kunersdorf in 1759. In 1761 he was on the staff of
Gen. Knobloch, whose brigade operated against the Russians
in Poland, and to him was intrusted the negotiation of the
terms of surrender of Colberg, in which city Gen. Knobloch
was blocked up ; and he, with other officers, was sent thence a
prisoner of war to St. Petersburg.
His imprisonment ended the following year with the
armistice effected between Peter HI. and Frederick, but he had
made himself so popular with the Russians that he was urged
to enter the Russian service. This invitation he declined, and
returning home, he was made a captain and appointed aide de
camp on the King's staff, and in that capacity took part in the
siege of Schweidnitz, with which the active campaigns of the
Seven Years' War ended. Steuben's services, especially as an
organizer, were so highly appreciated by the great Frederick,
that he was one of the few chosen officers whom Frederick
personally instructed in the military art.
Steuben, however, soon resigned from the army. Various
reasons have been advanced for this step, the one accepted as
most probable being a slight to his rank by Frederick, who was
very inconsiderate of his officers' feelings, his favorite ex-
pression when an officer made any complaint being, "He may
go to the devil."
If Steuben received that advice he did not act uDon it. On
the contrary, he made a trip to Hamburg and was there intro-
duced to the Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, from whom
he accepted the office of grand marshal of the court. This
place, the duties of which gave him supreme direction of the
Prince's household and the arrangement of all court cere-
monies, he held for ten years, and a contemporary has testi-
fied that "he filled his post with all that dignity and knowledge
of his duty which it eminently required." But Steuben was a
Protestant, and the court was Catholic, and finding that he was
the object of the plottings of certain priests, he retired, and in
1769 joined the court of the Margrave of Baden, after refusing
liberal offers to enter the military service of the King of Sar-
dinia and of the German Emperor. He now held an honor-
ary military position, leading an easy life, and having oppor-
tunity to visit France and make the acquaintance of many
distinguished Frenchmen and Englishmen.
To form a just estimate of Steuben's services to our own
country we must keep in view not only his military career, but
his social opportunities, and remember how his previous life
and surroundings corresponded with those of Valley Forge and
the other camps of the poverty-stricken patriots. Had he been
a mere hireling, or a mere seeker after military honors, a short
period spent with Washington would have sufficed to dampen
his hopes in America.
We now come to the events which led to Steuben's throw-
ing his fortunes with the American cause. The outbreak of
the rebellion of the American colonies seemed to many French
statesmen to give to France the opportunity they had longed
for, viz. : to take revenge on Great Britain for the humiliation
to which France had been subjected by the peace of Paris in
1763, which had deprived her of her North American posses-
sions. But the King, Louis XVI., was timid, and while he in-
trigued in secret, he refused to give open aid to the American
cause. His ministers did not conceal their sympathies, and
Franklin's work at the French court was making progress.
While this was the situation there, Steuben set out for a
visit to England by way of Paris. Arriving at the French
capital he let his friend, the Count de St. Germain, then min-
ister of war, know of his arrival. The Count's reply mystified
him. It asked him not to go to Versailles, but made an ap-
pointment to meet hini at the Paris arsenal. As Steuben was
traveling merely for pleasure and was not an official person,
he could not understand all this precaution. But he allowed
himself to be conducted to the Count's apartment by an officer,
and was warmly received. The greeting over, the Count
opened a map, and pointing to America, said : "Here is your
field of battle. Here is a republic which you must serve. You
are the very man she wants at this moment. If you succeed,
your fortune is made and you will gain more glory than you
could hope for in Europe in a great many years to come."
Several elements entered into the making of this proposal
by a French war minister to a German soldier. France wanted
to help America and yet not to appear to do so. To European
soldiers the American army presented itself merely as a gath-
ering of citizens made up wholly of volunteers, without mili-
tary organization, without drill masters, without orderly camp
inspection, and without method or economy in the handling of
supplies. No greater practical assistance, it seemed to these
French well-wishers, could be given to the Americans than to
send them an officer of Steuben's experience in all these mat-
ters. His selection had another feature. He was not a French-
man. If he was captured by the British, or if Congress did not
accept his services, France could in no way be held account-
able for his mission, and the French could simply wash their
hands of him.
The scheme did not at all appeal to Steuben's inclinations,
and he gave the Count no encouragement. But other inter-
views followed, and he was introduced to Dr. Franklin, who
also urged his acceptance of the task. But when Steuben
brought up the subject of his expenses, Franklin declared that
he had no authority to make him any pecuniary offer, except
perhaps a grant of land of doubtful value, and his manner so
offended Steuben that the interview ended abruptly, and
Steuben told his French advisors that he did not want to hear
anything more of America. The Count continued, however,
to urge the project on him, and at a dinner at which the Span-
ish Ambassador was present the Count, referring to Steuben,
said: "?Iere is a man who will risk nothing; consequently he
will gain nothing."
Instead of continuing his journey to England, Steuben
returned to Germany, where letters from France followed, re-
newing the American proposal. Steuben accordingly took
counsel of his friend, Prince Louis William of Baden, who did
not hesitate to advise him that he could never hope for a better
opportunity to achieve distinction. This was the turning point.
The King of Prussia gave his consent to Steuben's departure ;
he conferred on a cousin his civil position, which brought him
a yearly income of 4,600 livres, and returning to France in
August, 1777, he made his preparations for sailing to this
country. The decision arrived at was that he should ask for
no definite promises from the American agents — not even
money for his traveling expenses — but should simply propose
to make one or two campaigns with the American army as a
volunteer, thus avoiding the jealousy of the younger American
With letters to Washington, Samuel Adams and other
American leaders, he sailed from Marseilles on September 26,
1777, in the 24-gun ship I'Heureux, whose name for this voy-
age was changed to Le Flamand, entering his own name as
Frank, and carrying, as a disguise, letters to the French gov-
ernor of Martinique. M. de Beaumarchais, a warm sympath-
izer with the American cause, advanced to Steuben his travel-
ing expenses as a loan, and sent to the patriots, in the same
vessel, supplies of powder, cannon, mortars and small arms.
The voyage was a perilous one in several ways. Terrible
gales were encountered, three times the powder-laden ship was
on fire and the crew of eighty-four mutinied and had to be
brought to terms by the fourteen officers and passengers. But
after sixty-six days they entered the harbor of Portsmouth,
N. H., where the vessel was saluted by the fort and the vessels
in harbor, and the passengers were welcomed by the inhabitants
who had just been cheered by the surrender of Burgoyne.
One little piece of deception was practiced in connection
with Steuben's mission. In a letter to Alexander Hamilton, in
1790, concerning his remuneration, Steuben observed: "If I
should be charged with having made use of ilHcit stratagems to
gain admission into the service of the United States I am sure
the army will acquit me." This "stratagem" was the presenta-
tion of Steuben as a Prussian lieutenant-general. It was sug-
gested by the French statesmen who induced him to serve us
that not a member of our Congress had ever heard of the Mar-
gravite of Baden, and that, to limit his title to that dependency,
would deprive him of the rank that was necessary to secure him
the recognition that was mapped out for him in America.
From Portsmouth Steuben sent to Congress and to Gen.
Washington letters defining his object and enclosing: his intro-
ductions. The short letter to Congress sets forth his purpose
in a few words :
"Honorable Gentlemen: The honor of serving a nation
engaged in the noble enterprise of defending its rights and
liberties was the motive that brought me to this continent. 1
ask neither riches nor titles. I am come here from the remotest
end of Germany, at my own expense, and have given up an
honorable and lucrative rank, I have made no condition with
your deputies in France, nor shall I make any with you. My
only ambition is to serve you as a volunteer, to deserve the con-
fidence of your general-in-chief, and to follow him in all his
operations, as I have done during seven campaigns with the
King of Prussia. Two-and-twenty years spent in such a school
seem to give me a right of thinking myself amonsf the number
of experienced officers; and if I am possessed of the acquire-
ments in the art of war, they will be much more prized by me
if I can employ them in the service of a republic such as I hope
soon to see in America. I should willingly purchase at the ex-
pense of my blood the honor of having my name enrolled
among those of the defenders of your liberty. Your gracious
acceptance will be sufficient for me, and I ask no other favor
than to be received among your officers. I venture to hope that
you will grant this, my request, and that you will be so good
as to send me your orders to Boston, where I shall await them,
and take suitable measures in accordance."
Proceeding to Boston, John Hancock told him that it
would be necessary for him to journey to York, Pa., where
Congress was then in session, and he was provided with the
equipment necessary for the trip, including saddle horses,
vehicles and five negro servants. The start was delayed for
five weeks, awaiting a reply to his letter to Washington (com-
munication was very uncertain in those days), and he did not
get under way until January 14, 1778. His party included
Duponceau, his interpreter (the Baron could not speak a word
of English), two other Frenchmen and a cook whom he had
brought with him from Europe. They rode on horseback, and
the journey was by no means free from peril. The American
army was suffering the deprivations of Valley Forge; the
British had possession of Rhode Island, New York and most
of Pennsylvania, and the travelers were liable to encounter
parties of Tories, or to ask shelter of a Tory who would not
hesitate to betray them. For instance, they had been warned
against a certain landlord near the Connecticut boundary of
Massachusetts, as a bitter Tory. But a snow storm left them
no alternative against seeking refuge at his house. He recog-
nized their affiliations and absolutely refused them food or
beds. Steuben thereupon called for his pistols, and with these
in hand and the assistance of a volley of German oaths, he soon
brought the landlord to terms.
They arrived safely at York on February 5, and Steube.i
was warmly w^elcomed. Pleased with his reception, he wrote
to John Hancock : "Now, sir, I am an American, and an
American for life." Three members of Congress, including
Dr. Witherspoon, the only member who could speak French,
were appointed to ask Steuben on what terms he proposed 10
serve this country. In his reply he reiterated the declaration
of his letter to Congress, but said that he expected to have his
expenses paid, as he had relinquished his only income on leav-
ing Germany; that if the Americans failed to win their inde-
pendence he would hold them free from any further obligations
to him, but if they were successful he should expect full in-
demnification for his sacrifices. Congress by resolution ac-
cepted this offer, and asked him to repair to Washington's
headquarters as soon as convenient.
It would be almost impossible to exaggerate the condi-
tions that he found on arriving at Valley Forge. Washing-
ton had written to Congress that unless something was done,
the army must either starve, dissolve or disperse to seek food.
There was neither organization, discipline nor supplies. Men,
enlisted for three, six and nine months, were coming and go-
ing as their terms expired. "Sometimes," wrote Steuben, "a
regiment was stronger than a brigade. I have seen a regiment
consisting of thirty men, and a company of one corporal. There
was no established system of maneuvres, no settled regulations
for discipline or good order, and no uniformity in the service.
The soldiers were scattered about in every direction. We had
more commissaries and quartermasters than all the armies of
Europe. The arms were in horrible condition, covered with
rust, many from which a single shot could not have been fired.
The men were literally naked. I saw officers at a grand parade
mounting guard in a sort of dressing gown made of an old
blanket or woollen bedcover. The idea the officers had of their
duty was that they had only to mount guard or put themselves
at the head of their regiment or company when they were go-
ing into action."
Washington at once asked his new assistant to sketch a
plan of inspection, and he undertook the task, knowing full
well how necessary it was to avoid the jealousies of officers
coming from different States, and all looking askance at a for-
eigner. When his scheme was in order it was approved by
Washington and by Congress, and from that date Steuben's
influence made itself felt. He taught the value of an efficient
staff, and provided Washington with one of which it has been
said that it was one which Frederick would not have despised.
The men themselves he had to teach such elementary practices
as presenting arms, firing by platoons and the use of the bayo-
net. He would make his officers drill a single man first, then
a company of six, and so on up to a platoon. "In less than
three weeks," he says, "I executed maneuvres with an entire
division in the presence of the commander-in-chief."
All this was done by a man who had to give his orders
through an interpreter. Of course, he lost his temper at times,
but his patience never gave out. It must have been an amusing
picture to see this military expert trying to drive the first no-
tions of order and discipline into the minds of these rawest of
recruits. Speaking only a few words of English, he would ex-
haust his store of German and French oaths, and then call on
his aide to curse them in English. "Viens, mon ami Walker,"
he would cry. "Vien bon ami. Sacre bleu, gott vertamn, de
gaucherie of dese badauts. Je ne puis plus. I can curse dem
no more." "It was a brave attempt," says his friend North,
"which nothing but virtue, or high-raised hopes of glory, could
It must be remembered that Steuben's task was performed
by a man who had for years had charge of the formalities of a
German court, and was accustomed to all the refinements and
luxuries of such a life. Now, however, he got up at 3 a. m.,
smoked a pipe and drank a cup of cofYee and was on horseback
ready for parade duties at sunrise. Even his imported cook
could not stand what his master did. Finding little to cook at
Valley Forge and no utensils to cook with, the cook asked a
wagoner what he should do. "We cook our meat," was the
reply, "by hanging it on a string, and thus turning it before
the tire.'' Whereupon the cook presented himself to his mas-
ter and resigned in these words: "Under happier cimcum-
stances, mon general, it would be my ambition to serve you,
but here I have no chance of showing my talents ; and I think
myself obliged, in honor, to save your expense, since your
wagoner is just as able to turn the string as I am."
Three months after Steuben's arrival at Valley Forge Con-
gress showed its appreciation of his services by adopting a
resolution appointing him inspector-general with the rank and
pay of major-general. The army, too, appreciated his work.
There was jealousy when his major-generalship was announced
and later, but officers who first felt hurt were glad to serve un-
der him. After the battle of Stony Point, which was won by
the bayonet alone, the use of which he had first taught our
soldiers, the younger soldiers, w^ien Steuben visited the field,
gathered around him and assured him that thereafter they
would use their bayonets for something else than utensils on
which to broil their steaks. The result of his discipline was
strikingly shown at the battle of Monmouth, where he brought
retiring troops to a stand under a heavy cannonade as easily as
if they had been on a dress parade.
I cannot do the justice of even a mention of the many
things he did in putting our army on an efficient basis. He
wrote the "Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the
Troops of the United States," which was the army blue book
for many years to come. This work of twenty-five chapters
was first written in German, then translated into bad French,
put into good French by his interpreter, and finally translated
into English by his aide, Capt. Walker. He made recommen-
dations, planned campaigns and commanded troops in action
as an officer of the line. With Washington in New Jersey, he
ascertained Clinton's route from Allentown, took a very prom-
inent part in the battle of Monmouth and believed himself that,
in command of the left wing, he saved the day, after having a
meeting with the traitor Lee, who tried in vain to make him
believe that he had mistaken his orders to push on with his
troops. He was with Washington in the camp at Morristown,
where he received neither rations for his servants nor forage
for his horses, and where a loan kept him from starvation.
Then Congress allowed him 250 louis d'ors (which netted him
$575), for his expenses in coming to this country. From
Moristown he was sent by his chief to West Point when Clin-
ton threatened that position, and thus he came to be a member
of the court which passed sentence of death on Major Andree.
He pitied, but could not save, and exclaimed, "Would to God
the wretch who drew him to his death could have suffered in
his place." Sometime later, hearing a soldier answer to the
name of Jonathan Arnold on parade, he called him to his quar-
ters and said : "You are too fine a soldier to bear the name of
a traitor. Change it at once." "But what name shall I take?"
asked the soldier. 'Mine is at your service," was the reply,
and his name was duly changed to Steuben by the Connecticut
Sent to Virginia to help Gen. Greene when the invasion of
that State by Arnold occurred, he found a condition of things
worse in some respects than he had encountered at Valley
Forge. He remained there until the surrender of Cornwallis,
being in the trenches when that event occurrd, putting forth
all his energy to discipline and reinforce his commander's
forces in the face of almost countless discouragements.
Without attempting to do any justice to his further mili-
tary services we come now to the dark picture which his bio-
grapher draws of the ingratitude of the republic in telling the
story of Steuben's long contest to obtain from Congress some
pecuniary recompense for what he had done. The whole busi-
ness does seem petty in the light of our days, when the nation
appropriates hundreds of millions annually as pensions for
those who rallied to the defense of the nation in her time of
need. But our days are not Steuben's days. The country
then was very poor, the government newly organized, with
scant means of communication, and few newspapers to spread
abroad the story of each man's achievements. Congress was
slow, lamentably slow, in making an appropriation for the
veteran soldier. But let us blame the times and not the men.
In 1782 Congress voted him $2,400 and $300 per month
to enable him to take the field. In 1787 it voted him a gold-
hilted sword. Finally, after seven years of efforts on his part,
an act, approved June 4, 1790, gave him an annuity of $2,500
during his life, in full discharge of all his demands. Had the
appropriation been larger it would not have gone further with
him ; for he was no financier, and his generosity knew no limit.
If he was in funds his table must be filled with guests, and
rank was not regarded in his invitations. "Poor fellows," he
once remarked, when giving orders that some subordinate of-
ficers be invited, "they have field-officers' stomachs without
their rations." When he took up his residence on his farm in
New York State, he made to more than one needy soldier a
present of from forty to one hundred of his acres. Washing-
ton observed that Congress did well to make his recompense an
annuity and not a gross sum, as in the latter case his generosity
would have made him die a beggar. Even this precaution did
not save him from his debtors, and we find on record an assign-
ment which he made in his later years, to cover an indebted-
ness of 2,271 pounds, in which he deeded 16,000 acres of land
and one-fifth of his annuity. Among the creditors named are
Alexander Hamilton and Brockholst Livingston.
If the nation seemed disregardful of Steuben's services,
the States in, which he served most actively did not. Pennsyl-
vania made him a grant of 2,000 acres and Virginia gave him
10,000. What disposition he made of these gifts his bio-
grapher does not say.
We come now to the gift that concerns us locally, and
makes the Baron an object of special interest to Bergen
county. Knapp, in his life of the Baron, says : "New Jersey
had given him a life lease of a forfeited estate of John Za-
briskie, lying in the county of Bergen, township of New Barba-
does, at the New Bridge, in the immediate neighborhood of
New York ; but Steuben, when informed that Zabriskie, in con-
sequence of that confiscation, was left without means, did not
accept the gift, and interposed in behalf of Zabriskie."
If this statement was correct it settled the question of
ownership of the New Bridge estate, without further research.
But as I undertook the work of verification, I found that the
statement was very questionable, and by the expenditure of a
good deal of time and a little money, and the kind assistance
of the State Librarian and the librarian of the New Jersey His-
torical Society, I think I have obtained all the facts as based on
The New Jersey Legislature passed an act which bears
date of December 23, 1783. setting forth as follows:
"Whereas, the Legislature are informed that Maj.-Gen.
Baron Steuben is anxiouslv desirous to become a citizen of the
State of New Jersey, and are also impressed with a sense of
the many and signal services by him rendered to the United
States of America * * * that that part of the real estate
formerly belonging to John Zabriskie, and which has been for-
feited to and vested in this State, lying, situate and being in
the county of Bergen, township of New Barbadoes, and at the
New Bridge, shall be, and the same hereby is, appropriated to
and for the use of Ma j. Gen. Baron Steuben, to hold, use and
enjoy the said estate, and all the emoluments that may there-
unto appertain and belong, in as full and ample a manner as
if the fee simple of the said estate was vested in him. Pro-
vided always, and it is the true intent and meaning of this act,
that the said Ma j. -Gen. Baron Steuben shall have, hold, occupy
and enjoy the said estate in person, and not by tenant" ; other-
wise the estate was to revert to the State.
The Baron did not propose to occupy the estate in person,
and to meet his wishes a supplement to this act, bearing date of
December 24, 1784, was passed, which set forth that the Legis-
lature was informed that the conditions of the gift interfered
materially with his views ; but, being "deeply filled with a sense
of the many and signal services by him rendered to the United
States of America, and desirous to testify to the world the
grateful sense they entertain of the said services." therefore
the agent for forfeited estates was authorized to sell this esate
to the highest bidder and pay the money into the State treasury,
and the interest thereon should be paid to the Baron during his
The estate was sold, in accordance with the act, on April
I, 1875, the successful bidder being the Baron's aide-de-camp,
Capt. Walker, and the price bid being 1,500 pounds. But the
terms of payment were not observed, and again the Legisla-
ture manifested its generosity. A further act was passed, bear-
ing date of February 28, 1786, which provided that, if the pay-
ment was not made by the following March, then the Baron
should have the use and benefit of the estate during the time of
his residence in any of the States. The bid for the estate by
Walker was evidently in the Baron's behalf, for we find a letter
from him to Gov. Livingston in the State library, dated No-
vember, 1785, speaking of having purchased the estate, and
complaining that a certain wood lot was withheld at the sale.
Undoubtedly the Baron had not the money to meet the pay-
ment, and this was why the Legislature again came to his re-
Still he was not satisfied, and once more the Legislature
manifested its generous spirit toward him. An act, bearing
date of September 5, 1788, was passed, repealingr all the pre-
vious acts conferring on him any rights in the estate, and pro-
viding as follows :
"Whereas, the Legislature are still anxious to evince to
the world the high sense they entertain of the important ser-
vices rendered to the United States of America, during the
late war by Ma j. -Gen. Baron de Steuben; and whereas, the
acts of the Assembly heretofore passed on behalf of said Baron
have been found not to be so advantageous to him as were in-
tended; therefore, be it enacted that (dropping the full legal
text) the Baron be vested with the full title of the State in the
said estate, "for the sole and only use of the said Baron de
Steuben, his heirs and assigns forever."
Thus the State of New Jersey paid finally its share of the
debt which the nation owed to the old soldier. And thus it set at
rest any doubt as to the ownership of this estate by the Baron.
But he did not occupy it. Unquestionably he visited it, and he
had a knowledge of its value. But he needed cash more than
land ; and if you will go down to the court house on the Green
and ask for Liber F of deeds and turn to page 2, you will find
a deed dated three months after this act became a law, in which
for the sum of 1,200 pounds he conveyed back to John Za-
briskie all this estate, "together with all and singular the edi-
fices, buildings, grist mill, barns and stables, fences, right-of-
way, privileges and advantages, hereditaments and appurten-
In May, 1786, the Legislature of New York, as a public
testimony to his "very essential service," voted the Baron a
quarter section of a township (16,000 acres), a part of the
lands recently purchased from the Oneida Indians. He made
his selection near the present city of Utica, and there he spent
the summers in his later years, returning in the winters to the
city, where he had the entre to the most exclusive houses.
While at his farm, in November, 1795, he was stricken with
paralysis, and he died on November 27. He had made a will
in 1794 in which he gave certain legacies to his servants on
condition that "they do not permit any person to touch my
body, nor even to change the shirt in which I may have died ;
but that they wrap me up in my old military cloak, and in
twenty-four hours after my decease bury me in such a spot as
I shall, before my decease, point out to them, and that they
never acquaint anv person with the place where I shall be
He had not designated such a place, but he was laid away
under a group of trees which he had mentioned as a p^ood place
for a man to be buried under. Not many years later a high-
way was laid out directly over his graye, and in time the earth
was so worn away that the coffin became exposed, and it is
said that some one opened a corner of it and tore off a piece of
the coat that formed his winding sheet. A friend came to the
rescue, and gaye to the Wesleyan Baptist Society fifty acres
of land on condition that fiye acres, to the middle of which the
coffin was removed, should be kept fenced and uncleared.
I do not doubt that if the Baron had chosen to become an
actual resident of our township, and had died at New Bridge,
we would have seen to it that his grave was properly rever-
enced, and that there would be to him today a monument in
this town erected in grateful tribute to his memory.
THE POOR MONUMENT CELEBRATION AT HACK-
ENSACK, OCTOBER 7, 1904.
BY EUGENE K, BIRD.
In preparation for the formal unveiling and dedication of
the monument many private residences, business and public
houses displayed the national colors, some of them being ela-
borately decorated. This evidence of interest in the patriotic
event was an appreciation very encouraging to the committee,
in charge of the celebration, indicating, as it did, that public
spirit was in accord with the demonstration.
Preceding the parade the local committee entertained
the invited guests from abroad at luncheon, served at the
Hackensack Golf Club House.
The parade was under the direction of Maj. Charles F.
Adams, M. D., and Lieut.-Col. Alfred T. Holley, marshals,
the line forming as follows :
Robinson's Fifth Regiment Band, of Paterson; Fifth
Regiment, New Jersey National Guard, Col. Edwin W. Hine,
commanding; Battery A, Field Artillery, of Orange, Capt.
Oscar H. Condit, commanding; delegations of Sons of the
American Revolution, other guests and the committee in car-
The procession formed on State street at the Armory of
Company G, Fifth Regiment, and covered this course : North
to Central avenue, west to Union street, north to Anderson
square, east to Main street, south to Court square and the
statue. Here the immediate exercises attending the dedication
were carried out at the monment with flawless accuracy of ar-
rangement, an assemblage estimated at 4,000 or 5,000 persons
being massed around the grand-stand. The stand itself was
crowded by delegations of Daughters of the American Revo-
lution from several States, among the ladies being a number of
distinguished for active prominence in the national body of the
organization. Many gentlemen conspicuous in the Sons of the
American Revolution were also present in rcognition of the
merit due him in whose name the shaft and figure were set up
as an inspiration to all who love their country.
The formal program of the unveiling and dedication was
as follows : Prayer by Rev. Charles L. Pardee, chaplain New
Jersey Society Sons of the American Revolution ; presentation
of the plot of ground to the municipality of Hackensack by
Mr. B. B. Barkman and its acceptance by the Rev. E. T. San-
ford on behalf of President Jacob Bauer ; unveiling the statue
by Mrs. Frank E. Dunbar, of Lowell, Mass., a descendant of
Gen. Poor, followed by a salute of twenty-one guns by Capt.
Condit's Battery A, light artillery.
The Hon. John Whitehead, president of the New Jersey
Society Sons of the American Revolution, who was the first
speaker, confined his remarks largely to a detail of the work
involved in securing the monument. He gave credit to Eugene
K. Bird, of Hackensack, for conceiving the idea of rearing the
monument; to A. W. Bray, secretary of the New Jersey So-
ciety Sons of the American Revolution and chairman of the
committee, whose alertness, patience, perseverance and deter-
mination were so largely instrumental in carying the enter-
prise to a magnificent completion, and to all others directly
concerned in forwarding the patriotic enterprise.
The Hon. Edmund W. Wakelee, of Bergen county, at
that time president of the State Senate and acting Governor in
the absence from the State of Governor Franklin Murphy,
represented the chief executive. Following Judge Whitehead
Senator Wakelee spoke as follows :
"Ladies and Gentlemen : — It is fitting that at the dedica-
tion of this monument, erected in part through the aid of the
State, that the highest executive officer of the commonwealth
should be present ; but because of other official duties he is pre-
vented from being here, and I have the honor of representing,
upon this happy occasion, his excellency Franklin Murphy,
Governor of New Jersey. He is an honored member of the
Sons of the American Revolution, and commander-in-chief
of the National Guard of this State here represented, and I
know he regrets his inability to be present, as I do my inability
to more worthily represent him and more eloquently to ex-
press thoughts which he would wish expressed.
"It is for others here today to speak of the life and works
of Brig.-Gen. Enoch Poor, whose memory we have assembled
to perpetuate. He served his time and generation faithfully
and well, and we serve our time and generation best by being
faithful to the traditions of the past ; by honoring those who
by honest work and patriotic service at the birth of this country
as a nation laid the sure foundation of our present greatness
and all our future glory.
"I was more than interested in the diary of Col. Israel
Angell, now in the possession of Judge Angell, of Etna, this
county, where I read under the date of September lo, 1780,
" 'In the afternoon the remains of Gen. Poor were in-
terred in Hackensack church yard amidst a numerous con-
course of people.'
"Today, one hundred and twenty-four years after that
date, another and more numerous concourse of people is gath-
ered upon this historic spot. But how things have changed
since that September afternoon when those cold remains were
laid in their last resting place over there in the church yard.
Then the articles of confederation had just been adopted by
the Continental Congress, and only the year before had New
Jersey agreed to them. There was no national existence, only
a league of friendship between sovereign States; only one
house of Congress; no national executive or judiciary, with no
power in Congress to levy taxes or to protect itself, with the
great tractless West unexplored and unknown. Those thir-
teen weak States were even then in the midst of that struggle
which has been the marvel of the world and which resulted in
setting up here the standards of liberty, justice and equality.
"And unlike that other concourse, we are not dressed in
funeral garb ; we are not surrounded by the sound of war and
the dread fear whether our arms would finally be victorious
and freedom be made secure. To-day, because they \vere faith-
ful and true, we meet happy and prosperous — all citizens of
this greatest, grandest and freest country in all the world, at
peace with all nations."
The Hon. Henry M. Baker, of New Hampshire, a former
member of the House of Representatives at Washington, was
next introduced as the orator of the day. He delivered an ad-
dress embodying a just and comprehensive estimate of Gen.
Poor's life, services and character, given in full in the follow-
The exercises closed with the benediction by the Rev.
William Welles Holley, D. D., of Christ (Episcopal) Church,
Hackensack, and "America," sung by the audience.
ORATION UPON THE UNVEILING OF THE STATUE
OF GEN. ENOCH POOR AT HACKENSACK,
N. J., OCTOBER 7, 1904.
BY HON. H^NRY M. BAKER^ OE NEW HAMPSHIRE.
His Excellency, the Acting Governor of New Jersey, Mr.
President, Members of the Hackensack Commission, Com-
patriots, Ladies and Gentlemen : — By monuments and statues
the living commemorate and honor the dead, illustrious for ser-
vice to country and humanity. Such tributes become incen-
tives to high endeavor and brave deeds. Poets and orators,
sculptors and painters vie with each other to express fittingly
the approbation of the people and the people applaud their best
efforts and achievements. Patriotic societies promote and
sustain this natural tendency to perpetuate the honor of the in-
dividual and the glory of the State and in that they find ample
justification for their existence and prosperity.
The period of the revolution is replete with examples of
the highest excellence in patriotism, personal service and
moral purpose. No other era of our history presents so much
of high thinking and noble action. Then wise statesmen, tjrave
as wise, enunciated principles in government which have found
hearty approval wherever men have aspired to personal liberty
They began with the assertion that taxation without rep-
resentation is tyranny and through a series of sagacious
aphorisms declaratory of the rights of mankind passed to those
sublime self-evident truths that all men were created equal and
that governments derive their just powers from the consent of
the governed. The idea of civil liberty grew in their minds
until, before the war ended, they had established upon an en-
during basis the right of mankind to constitutional govern-
ment administered for the benefit of the governed. Wherever
men prayed for liberty and struggled for self-control the suc-
cess of the American revolution gave sympathy and encour-
agement. A new epoch was begun in which manhood was the
ruling factor and the rights of each were secured and main-
tained through the safety and honor of all.
We cannot too often remember or too greatly honor those
who endured hardships and perils and freely made sacrifices
that liberty might live and men be ennobled by representative
To-day, two of the original States — New Hampshire and
New Jersey — and two societies of the Sons of the Ameican
Revolution representing those States unite in erecting a statue
and monument to the memory of a brigadier-general of the
revolution who served the common cause as the representative
of the one and, dying in the service, was buried in the soil of
the other with the military honors due his rank and merit.
We honor ourselves and our respective States by the re-
spect and devotion we pay the memory of Gen. Enoch Poor,
who enjoyed the confidence and esteem of Washington and
the friendship of Lafayette.
Enoch Poor was born on the 21st of June, 1736, in that
part of Andover in the State of Massachusetts which is now
incorporated as North Andover. The family was of good
English stock. In the mother country it had held responsible
positions in both civil and military life with a marked prefer-
ence for army service. Gen. Poor was of the fourth gener-
ation in America. The homestead farm was on the Shawsheen
River, near its junction with the Merrimack. Both rivers are
of clear water and picturesque beauty. The country is diversi-
fied by hill and valley, river and lake. The combination is
pleasing and inspiring.
Here his ancestors settled in the first half of the seven-
teenth century and at once began to clear and till the soil. His
great-grandfather, Daniel Poor, was one of the town officers
and also a member of the first military company organized in
the town. His father was at the siege of Louisburg in 1745.
They were all of the Puritan stock, faith and practice. Their
homes were religious and their lives exemplary.
Amid such suroundings and influenced by such examples
and instruction the boyhood of Enoch Poor was passed in the
usual routine of New England farm life. His education was
that of the district school and the home circle. He appears to
have been an industrious and thoughtful boy with a wonderful
adaptation to details. Whatever he attempted he generally
accomplished through persistent effort and careful thought.
In his early manhood he was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker
and served his time as such. Some of his handiwork remains
to attest his skill and ingenuity.
When nineteen years old he' enlisted as a private in the
French and Indian War and was assigned to the expedition
under Gen. John Winslow, which subjugated the Acadians of
Nova Scotia. His brother, Thomas, was a captairi in the same
service. A few years later he removed to Exeter, N. H., which
remained his home through life. There he engaged in trade,
but soon became a shipbuilder, employing many men. Before
he left Andover he had fallen in love with Miss Martha
Osgood, the daughter of a neighbor. Col, John Osgood. She
fully reciprocated his attachment, but her father did not give
his approval. So when Enoch Poor called at the Osgood man-
sion for his bride he met with firm opposition. Col. Osgood had
locked his daughter in her chamber. He would not permit
young Poor to see or communicate with her. Defeat for the
lovers seemed imminent. Col. Osgood's tactics appeared to be
beyond their power of resistance or immediate skill. Just then,
however, Martha appeared at her open window and quickly
jumped into Enoch's extended arms. Their marriage speedily
followed and Col. Osgood, in due time acknowledging his de-
feat, became fully reconciled to his son-in-law.
Gen. Poor's married life was happy. Three daughters
crowned the union, each of whom survived him. His widow
resided in Exeter until her death in 1830.
No record has been found which determines the date when
he removed to Exeter and began business there. It was prob-
ably prior to his marriage, but diligent inquiry and search have
failed to discover the exact date of his marriage. It is gener-
ally admitted that he must have established himself in New
Hampshire about 1760, for by 1765 he had become sufficiently
prominent in the town to be one of the thirty principal citizens
who united in an agreement to maintain peace and order dur-
ing the excitement occasioned by the Stamp Act and the de-
termination of the people not to conform to it. Five years
later the town voted not to purchase tea until the tax upon it
should be repealed and to encourage so far as possible the use
of home products. Mr. Poor was one of a committee of six
to enforce the vote. When the Continental Congress of 1774
passed the famous non-importation resolution Exeter ratified
them in town meeting and elected a committee, of which he
was a member, to secure a faithful compliance with them. The
following year he was elected to the third and fourth Provin-
cial Congresses of the colony. On the 24th of May, 1775, he
was selected to muster into the service of New Hampsliire the
men at Medford under the command of Col. John Stark. The
same day the Provincial Congress, of which he was a mem-
ber, authorized the enlistment of three regiments to serve for
the year and elected John Stark, Enoch Poor and James Reed
colonels to command them. Stark, with about 800 men, was
already encamped before Boston. Reed's regiment was made
up of two companies detailed from Stark and from enlistments
made before and after his election as colonel and soon en-
camped at Charlestown. Both were in the battle of Bunker
Hill. Col. Poor's regiment was to be wholly enlisted and en-
listment papers were promptly issued and rapidly filled, A
careful examination fails to disclose that Col. Poor ever held
a military commission before he was appointed colonel. We
have already noted that he served as a private in the French
and Indian War and he must have had service in the militia
of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In his business he
had had great experience in the control of men and his ap-
pointment to muster Col. Stark's regiment into the service
indicates that he was known to have military knowledge and
experience. That he was believed to be competent is proved
by the fact that his selection to command the second regiment
appears not to have been criticised and from the further fact
that men did not hesitate to enlist under him. The wisdom
of his selection is attested by his subsequent service. From
May, 1775, until his untimely death, he was constantly in com-
mand of a regiment or a brigade. He was not at Bunker Hill.
Prior to that battle the people of New Hampshire were ap-
prehensive that their territory might be invaded with the pur-
pose of capturing Portsmouth, which led the attack on Fort
William and Mary and Exeter, where the rebellious Provin-
cial Congresses held their sessions. Col. Poor's men were
stationed along the coast, at Portsmouth and at Exeter. At
Exeter they were building fire rafts with which to destroy
any vessels which might attempt to ascend the river. The next
day after the battle the Committee of Safety of New Hamp-
shire ordered the regiment, with the exception of one com-
pany which was stationed at or near Portsmouth, to join the
other New Hampshire troops before Bostgn and they arrived
there on the 25th of June and encamped at Winter Hill. From
that time until the following March when the British evacuated
Boston Col. Poor and his men were performing their usual
routine duty in an army of investment. The records show
that the regiment discharged its full share of guard and fatigue
duty and that the men were perfected in the manual of arms.
The nine months during which the Americans besieged Bos-
ton were valuable to them for instruction and discipline. Be-
fore the evacuation of the city they had learned that a long
contest was inevitable and that they must prepare for it in
earnest. However much the patriots failed to profit by this
experience they knew the necessity for drilled troops and for
long terms of enlistment. They also learned the necessity for
supplies and that the demands of an army are multiform and
incessant. The stern realities of war confronted them and no
man who loved his country could neglect or disregard the
duties of the hour. On the other hand the British had been
taught to respect the foe they despised at first and to recognize
that a man fighting for his home and liberty is a braver soldier
than the hireling of despots.
Boston having been occupied by the patriot army it be-
came evident that the British intended to make New York their
headquarters. Washington immediately ordered a march
upon that city. Among the troops selected for that service
was Gen. Sullivan's brigade, including Col. Poor's regiment.
The British troops evacuated Boston on the 17th of March,
1776, and ten days later Col. Poor and his men marched for
Long Island. Soon after their arrival there they were ordered
with other regiments to join the ill-fated expedition under
Montgomery which had attempted the occupation of Canada,
At that time there were no steamboats and no railroads. The
march of an army was literally a march. All the privates and
many of the officers were on foot. There were few roads and
they were in poor condition. Frequently the troops followed
a trail or cut a road through the forests as they advanced. The
country was too sparsely settled for an army to subsist upon
it and the transportation of munitions and other supplies was
by horse and ox teams or occasionally by boat. Such a march
from Long Island to Canada is a hardship from which the
veteran troops of today would shrink. The patriots began it
without complaint and endured reverses and disasters seldom
equaled. To add to their losses and ill fortune smallpox rav-
aged the American army to such an extent that in some regi-
ments hardly a man was fit for duty. Col. Trumbull said:
"I did not look into a tent or hut in which I did not find either
a Aqv-cI or flying man." Everything went wrong and the army
abandoned Canada and retired to Crown Point. There a coun-
cil of war was held July 7, 1776, and it was decided to retire
to Ticonderoga, which then became the only fortress held by
the Americans on Lake Champlain.
Against the evacuation of Crown Point Cols. Stark and
Poor, with others, protested in writing and it is conceded that
Washington believed the surrender of Crown Point unneces-
sary and ill advised.
While at Ticonderoga Col. Poor became president of the
court-martial which tried Col. Hazen, who had been arrested
upon charges presented by Gen. Arnold. In the course of the
trial the court refused to admit the testimony of Maj. Scott,
who was one of Arnold's principal witnesses, on the ground
that he was personally interested in the result. Gen. Arnold
protested in a vigorous communication which the court held
to be disrespectful and prejudicial to its authority. They re-
fused to enter it upon their records and instructed their presi-
dent to demand an apology from Gen. Arnold. This Col.
Poor did in a letter which would have done credit to an ex-
perienced lawyer. Gen. Arnold returned an intemperate re-
ply in which he refused to apologize and suggested his readi-
ness to fight a duel wnth any member of the court. Col. Poor
then reported the whole transaction to Gen. Gates in a cour-
teous and dignified letter, but Gen. Gates thought it unwnse to
enforce the rights of the court at that time against an officer
of Arnold's standing and popularity. Hence he dissolved the
court and the trial ended. Col. Poor continued to serve under
Gen. Arnold and did not permit this episode to influence his
conduct toward him. In this he exhibited a magnanimity and
k)ve of country worthy the emulation of all soljdiers.
The British commander, Sir Guy Carleton, went into win-
ter quarters in Noveml^er and the danger of an attack upon Ti-
conderoga being removed, Gen. Gates sent a considerable part
of his troops to reinforce Washington in New Jersey. Col.
Poor's regiment and two others from New Hampshire were in-
cluded in the order and joined Washington in December. These
troops enabled him to win the battles of Trenton and Prince-
On the 7th of January, 1777, the army under Washing-
ton arrived at Morristown, where it built log huts and w^ent
into winter quarters. The army suffered for supplies of every
kind. The destitution of that winter was exceeded only by
that of the next at Valley Forge.
Gen. Howe occupied New York as his winter headquar-
ters. Neither army engaged in any extensive offensive oper-
ations during the winter. The Americans were active in per-
fecting their mihtary organization, in recruiting and in secur-
ing supphes. The army was estabhshed upon a more perma-
nent basis, enhstments were made for three years or during the
war and the officers were commissioned accordingly.
To meet the new conditions and to provide for an in-
creased army, Congress appointed additional generals and on
the 2 1 St of February, 1777, Col. Poor was commissioned a
brigadier-general. Col. John Stark was the senior colonel
from New Hampshire and had had considerable service prior
to the revolution. He was a brave officer, conspicuous at
Bunker Hill, and had proved himself capable and vigilant at
all times. Therefore when Congress promoted Col. Poor and
other colonels and did not promote him he felt the slight bit-
terly, especially as he believed that his merits had once before
been unrecognized. He at once resigned from the army. Col.
Poor offered to decline his promotion and ask for the appoint-
ment of Col. Stark in his place. This Stark positively refused
and congratulated Col. Poor upon his promotion, which he
said was merited. There was no enmity between them and
they remained friends through life.
In the early spring Gen. Poor was assigned to duty in
the Northern Department and stationed at Ticonderoga. His
brigade was composed of three regiments from New Hamp-
shire and detachments from Connecticut and New York.
It was the purpose of the British commanders to extend
their posts from Crown Point southward and from New York
north until they should have a complete line of fortifications
from Canada to the sea, thus segregating New England from
the other colonies. To that end Burgoyne was to fight his
way to Albany, where forces from Gen. Howe ascending the
Hudson were to join him. The plan was excellent and almost
Gen. Schuyler, who was in command at Ticonderoga, had
neglected to fortify or occupy Sugar Loaf Hill, which com-
manded the fort. The excuse was that he did not have troops
sufficient to hold both places. This may have been true, but
the result was unfortunate. The British occupied this hill,
sometimes known as Fort Defiance, on the 5th of July, 1777.
A council of war decided to evacuate the fort, which was done
early in the morning of the next day. Gen. Poor favored the
evacuation. Congress was excited by the abandonment of the
fort and demanded the immediate removal of Gen. Schuyler
and that the other officers be tried by court-martial. The wiser
and cooler judgment of Washington prevailed. The court-
martial was not held and Gen. Schuyler remained in command
until superseded by Gen. Gates on the 19th of August.
At that time the tide of victory had turned in favor of the
patriots. The advance of the British upon Albany by the
Mohawk Valley had been defeated and the glorious victory at
Bennington under Stark, who had returned to the service of
his country under the authority of his State, had been
achieved. The spirits of the patriots revived and confidence
again ruled in camp and field.
Meanwhile Burgoyne had great difficulty in supplying his
army with provisions. The devastation he had accomplished
counted against him. It was almost impossible to procure
sufficient supplies from Canada and there was no immediate
prospect of a union with Gen. Howe. His Indian allies were
importunate in their demands and failed to obey his orders.
The Americans harassed him upon every side. They had
abandoned Fort Edward anrl Fort George, but they made it
difficult for Burgoyne to profit by their retreat or to follow in
pursuit. Their numbers increased daily and by the time the
Americans were encamped at Stillwater Burgoyne was com-
pelled to provide against an attack upon his rear.
Upon the 19th of September, 1777, soon after noon, the
British attacked the American camp. The battle, now gener-
ally known by the name of Stillwater, ensued. On the part of
the Americans it was almost wholly fought by the left wing,
commanded by Arnold. Gen. Poor's brigade, then consisting
of about 1,600 men, constituted one-half of Arnold's division.
The battle was not decisive, though generally favorable to the
Americans, whose loss was only one-half that of the British.
The total Ameican loss was 321. Of this number Gen. Poor's
brigade lost 217, or more than double that of all the other
troops of the patriot army.
The battle of the 7th of October — one hundred and
twenty-seven years ago today — became a necessity to the Brit-
ish, for inaction was assured starvation. There was no safety
in camp or in retreat. Victory alone could save Burgoyne and
his men. Therefore the British again assumed the initiative.
The attack was met by a superior force and the British were
soon driven from the field. Poor's brigade was in the thick
of the fight and in conjunction with Morgan's regiment really
won the battle of Saratoga, as it did that of Stillwater,
Gen. Wilkinson says in his Memoirs : "After I had de-
livered the order to Gen. Poor, directing him to the point of
attack, I was commanded to bring up Ten Broeck's brigade of
New York troops, 3,000 strong. I performed this service and
regained the field of battle at the moment the enemy had turned
their back, only fifty-two minutes after the first shot was fired.
I found the courageous Col, Cilley (of Poor's brigade)
astraddle of a brass 12-pounder and exuUing in the capture."
The victory was complete; the enemy being pursued and
driven from his own camp. The surrender of Burgoyne oc-
curred ten days later.
It was well known to Gen. Gates that about 2,000 men
under command of Sir Henry Clinton had left New York and
were marching up the Hudson with the intention of joining
Burgoyne at Albany. They had captured Forts Clinton and
Montgomery and in consequence Forts Independence and Con-
stitution had been abandoned. Everywhere the Americans had
retired before him. Hence it was a matter of supreme import-
ance to occupy Albany before Gen. Clinton could arrive there.
To accomplish that Gen. Poor's brigade marched forty
miles and forded the Mohawk below the falls in fourteen
hours. Clinton, having heard of the surrender of Burgoyne,
returned to New York.
The campaign on the Hudson having ended gloriously,
Gen. Poor and his brigade joined Washington near Philadel-
phia. The battle of Germantown had been fought, nearly won
and then lost. Washington, being urged by the Assembly of
Pennsylvania and some of his officers not to go into winter
quarters, but to attempt the capture of Philadelphia, required
the written opinion of his officers as to the advisability of an
assault upon the city. Four of them favored the attack and
ten, including Gen. Poor, advised against it. The prevailing
opinion was that the army was in no fit condition to risk a gen-
eral engagement which might prove fatal to the patriot cause.
The army went into winter quarters at Valley Forge on the
19th of December. To those who objected, Washington re-
plied as follows : "Gentlemen reprobate the going into winter
quarters as much as if they thought the soldiers were made of
sticks or stones. I can assure those gentlemen that it is a
much easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances
in a comfortable room than to occupy a cold, bleak hill and
sleep under frost and snow, without clothes or blankets. How-
ever, although they seem to have little feeling for the naked
and distressed soldiers, I feel superabundantly for them and
from my soul I pity their miseries, which it is neither in my
power to relieve or prevent."
Gen. Poor was no growler. He did his duty fearlessly
and so far as possible accommodated himself to his environ-
ment. He wrote few letters. Probably there are not a score
of them relating to public affairs now in existence. Such as
have been found are well expressed, direct and positive.
Just before the troops went into winter quarters he wrote
to a member of his State Legislature, stating their condition
and needs and the duty of the State to them in simple, but burn-
ing words. An extract from that letter is as follows :
"Did you know how much your men suffered for want
of shirts, breeches, blankets, stockings and slioes your heart
would ache for them. Sure I am that one-third are now suffer-
ing for want of those articles which gives the soldier great rea-
son to complain after the encouragement given by the State to
supply those of its inhabitants who should engage in their ser-
"But there is another circumstance more alarming still ;
that is when you engaged your men to serve for three years or
during the war they were promised a certain sum for their ser-
vices ; your State at the same time fixed a reasonable price upon
such articles as the country produced and which they knew
their families must be supplied with which would but barely
support them at those prices. But after they left home it seems
by some means or other the contract on the side of the State
was broken and those very articles which their families must
have or suffer rose four or five hundred per cent. ; soldiers'
wages remain the same. How can it be expected that men
under those circumstances can quietly continue to undergo
every hardship and danger which they have been and are still
exposed to ; and what is more distressing is their daily hearing
of the sufferings of their wives and children at home?
"I don't write this by way of complaint, but do wish that
some mode may be hit upon that the families of those in service
may be supplied or I fear we shall have many of our best offi-
cers resign and many soldiers desert for no other reason than
to put themselves in a way to support their families or share
with them in their sufferings; and should that be the case I
fear the consequences."
Later, while in camp, he wrote the Legislature of New
Hampshire: "I am every day beholding their sufferings and
am every morning awakened by the lamentable tale of their
Gen, Poor's camp was on the extreme west of the encamp-
ment at Valley Forge. The best that can be said of his troops
is that they suffered no more than the oth^s. During the win-
ter a committee of Congress visited Valley Forge and made a
careful report of their observations. In mid-winter Baron
Steuben arrived at the encampment and the troops were sub-
jected to stern discipline and exacting drill. Gen. Lafayette
again joined the army here. Plans were discussed and formu-
lated for the coming campaign. It was not a winter of idle-
ness. On the 7th of May, 1778, there was great rejoicing in
camp. The treaty of alliance with France was announced to
the troops while on parade at nine o'clock in the morning.
The chaplains thanked God that He had given them a power-
ful friend. The troops sang "Praise God from Whom All
Everywhere in camp there was thanksgiving and rejoicing
with cheers for the King of France, for Washington and
The encampment at Valley Forge was not broken up un-
til late in June, but on the i8th of May Washington sent La-
fayette with 2,100 chosen troops, including Gen, Poor's brig-
ade, to occupy Barren Hill, an eminence about half way to
Philadelphia. This was Lafayette's first independent com-
mand and it gave him an excellent opportunity to observe and
prove the ability of Gen. Poor. Subsequent events show he
was well satisfied with his ability and efficiency. Gen. Clinton
sent 5,000 troops to surprise and capture Lafayette and his
The surprise was nearly complete, but Lafayette, with
great wisdom and coolness, ordered Gen. Poor to lead the re-
treat, which was done so promptly and in such good order that
their guns were saved and the loss in men was only nine. The
British returned to Philadelphia.
At three o'clock of the morning of the 18th of June Gen.
Clinton began the evacuation of Philadelphia and before noon
his entire army was in New Jersey en route to New York.
Washington had anticipated this movement and immediately
bridges were burned and roads obstructed so as to impede his
progress. A series of skirmishes led up to the battle of Mon-
mouth. Clinton did not wish to fight, but desired a safe and
expeditious march to New York. Washington hoped to en-
gage him in battle and win a victory.
Rev. Israel Evans, a native of Pennsylvania and a gradu-
ate of Princeton, was the chaplain of Gen. Poor's brigade. He
was a stanch patriot and a firm believer in the rights of man.
He was one of those outspoken, independent and arrogant men
"Would shake hands with a king upon his throne
And think it kindness to his majesty."
When the brigade was about to engage in the battle of
Monmouth it paused for a moment for prayer by the chaplain,
in which he is reported to have said :
"O Lord of hosts, lead forth thy servants of the American
army to battle and give them the victory ; or, if this be not ac-
cording to Thy sovereign will then we pray Thee stand neutral
and let flesh and blood decide the issue."
Each was partially successful. Clinton escaped and
joined his troops to those in New York, but Washington com-
pelled him to fight and would have won a decisive victory had
not jealousy and treachery prevented. The Americans re-
mained masters of the field, but the British fled under cover
of the night so quietly that even Gen. Poor, who was near
them, did not know they were escaping. The heat was intense,
the suffering extreme. The thermometer registered 96 degrees
and the troops contended not only with the enemy, but with an
inexpressible thirst which could not be satisfied. Washington
and the whole army slept upon the field of battle. Gen. Poor
was active in efforts to retrieve the fortunes of the day and re-
ceived the approbation of Washington.
There were in that year no extensive field operations in
the Northern States after the battle of Monmouth. Washing-
ton stationed his army so that it could be easily concentrated
and at the same time restrict the British in securing supplies.
The Southern States were rapidly becoming the theatre of the
By intrigue and purchase the British frequently availed
themselves of the service of the Indians. They were unable
satisfactorily to control them in the camp or in battle. The
hatred and independence of the Americans thus engendered in
the hearts of the Indians broke out in frequent depredations
and in the massacres of Cherry Valley and Wyoming. Wash-
ington determined to end these brutalities by such an object
lesson as would prevent their repetition. The so-called "Six
Nations" were selected for punishment.
A total force of about 5,000 men was detailed for that
service. The command was ofifered to Gen, Gates, but declined
for the reason that in his opinion a younger man was prefer-
able. Gen. Sullivan was then given the command. His orders
were to devastate their country, destroy their villages, crops
and orchards and capture those of every age and sex. Gen.
Poor and his brigade constituted the right wing of Sullivan's
army. Evidently from the records of the expedition he relied
upon Poor and his men for faithful service in difficult situ-
ations. The Indians were overtaken on the 29th of August,
1779, and the battle of Newtown was fought. Geu. Poor was
ordered to gain the enemy's rear. In doing so he encountered
some 600 of the savages and a warm fight took place in which
twenty of them were killed.
The Indians fought from tree to tree until our troops had
gained the summit of the hill and captured their stronghold
by a bayonet charge when they fled in disorder. In his ac-
count of the battle Gen. Sullivan said Gen. Poor, his officers
and men deserve the highest praise for their intrepidity and
soldierly conduct. The bloody work was continued until the
Indians were completely subjugated.
Gen. Sullivan made a full official report of his expedition
to Gen. Washington, in which he gave great credit to his
troops for bravery and efficiency. Upon its receipt Washington
wrote to Congress congratulating it upon "the destruction of
the whole of the town and settlements of the hosile Indians in
so short a time and with so inconsiderable a loss of men," and
to Lafayette rejoicing that the Indians had been given "proofs
that Great Britain cannot protect them and it is in our power
to chastise them." The Indian confederation in New York
was broken and their lands opened to peaceful settlement. A
historian of the expedition has said : "The boldness of its con-
ception was only equalled by the bravery and determination
with which its hardships and dangers were met and its object
It was late in the fall before the expedition rejoined the
main army. Soon after the troops went into winter quarters.
This winter was an exceedingly severe one and the hardships
and suffering endured by the army were scarcely less than those
of Valley Forge.
Lafayette, availing himself of the winter's inaction, went
home for a visit, returning the latter part of May with renewed
promises from his government of substantial help. Again he
offered his services to Congress, which were gladly accepted
and recognized by an appointment to the command of a division
to be composed of two brigades of light infantry, a troop of
horse and a battery of artillery.
He selected Gen. Poor to compiand one of these brigades.
The whole division went into camp in New Jersey and the
work of drill and discipline began under his own direction.
Largely by his generosity the soldiers were uniformed. The
division was known as the best clothed, equipped and disci-
plined in the Continental Army. It has been said that in the
essentials of drill and efficiency it equaled the veteran troops
of Europe. By the fortunes of war they were to see no im-
portant service during the year.
While in camp on the 8th of September, 1780, Gen. Enoch
Poor died. Universal sorrow pervaded the army. He was
popular with officers and men. Two days after he was buried
with full military honors. The officers of his brigade followed
immediately after the coffin. Then came Gen. Washington and
Gen. Lafayette and other general officers of the army. The
escort consisted of three regiments of light infantry and a
troop of cavalry. At the grave the chaplain of the brigade de-
livered a eulogy in which he said :
"Oh. sacred liberty! with thee this day we condole the
loss of one of thy worthy sons ! Early he saw thy danger and
early in this contest espoused thy cause. Happily he united
the love and defense of thy glorious person with the practice of
sublime virtue. That glory which results from the generous
protection of the privileges of our country and that righteous-
ness which exalteth a nation he laudably pursued. * * *
"The State of New Hampshire in tears will lament the
loss of a brave defender of her rights. To him she may not
fear to decree the title too rarely found of a patriot. * * *
No charms were powerful enough to allure him from the un-
utterable hardships of the American war and the dangers of
the field of battle. * * *
"He was an unchangeable friend of the moral and social
virtues and taught the excellence of them more by his amiable
example than by a pompous parade of words without actions.
He was an invariable advocate for public and divine worship.
His virtues laid the solid foundation for all his other excell-
ences to build upon and stand immovable amidst all the seem-
ing casualties of time. Intemperance and profaneness and
every vice were strangers to him. * * *
"From the time when he with his country first armed in
opposition to the cruelty and domination of Britain and pre-
cious American blood was first shed in defense of our rights
near Boston * * * j-,g ^^g entitled to a large share of
those laurels which crowned the American arms."
One of his staff officers, Maj. Jeremiah Fogg, in the in-
tensity of his love and grief, wrote : "My general is gone. A
cruel, stubborn, bilious fever has deprived us of the second
man in the world."
In a communication to Congress announcing his death
Gen. Washington said : "He was an officer of distinguished
merit, one who as a citizen and a soldier had every claim to
the esteem and regard of his country." As a further mark of
respect and esteem the Congress ordered Washington's letter
to be printed as the nation's tribute to his memory.
Governor Plumer, of New Hampshire, said of him
(quoting almost literally from the eulogy of Chaplain Evans) :
"As an officer he was prudent in council and sound in judg-
ment, firm and steady in his resolutions, cautious of unneces-
sary danger, but calm and undaunted in battle, vigorous and
unwearied in executing military enterprises, patient and per-
severing under hardships and difficulties, of which he had
many to endure, and punctual and exact in performing all the
duties assigned and devolving upon him. His mind was de-
voted to the improvement of the army. He possessed great
self command. * * * He promptly obeyed his superior
officers, respected his equal and subordinate officers and
thought no man who was faithful and brave unworthy of his
notice. The soldiers when distressed had free access to him
and he was a father to them."
Of very few of the men famous in civil or military life
during the revolution are there authentic and accurate por-
traits. The friends and relatives of Gen. Poor are to be con-
gratulated that his features have been preserved to them and
posterity by a talented artist known to us more by his generous
patriotism than by his artistic talent and accomplishments.
Among the friendships Gen. Poor formed in the army
was that of the distinguished Polish engineer and general,
Thaddeus Kosciusko, who was an artist of considerable merit.
Gen. Kosciusko had several times requested him to sit for his
portrait, but he had not done so. One day Kosciusko handed
it to him. Gen. Poor was greatly surprised and asked, How
is this general, I have never sat for my picture? Kosciusko
replied, "I drew it in church on the fly leaf of a hymn book
and have since painted it for you." Gen. Poor presented it to
his wife when on his last visit home. It represents the general
in Continental uniform and is now in good preservation. From
it the oil painting which adorns the hall of the New Hamps^iire
House of Rerpresentatives and all other pictures of Gen. Poor
have been copied. The graceful statue unveiled today repro-
duces the features preserved to us by Kosciusko.
The war of the revolution is crowded with events ot pa-
thetic and dramatic interest. Possibly no life, not even that of
Washington, presents more incidents in the same number of
vears to attract the attention and secure the sympa hy of the
observant student than that of Gen. Poor. His rank was less
and his field of service more limited than that of many others
and hence he does not fill the space in history to which they are
entitled, but there was no officer in the revolution more con-
scientious or more faithful, who gave more ^"^"tion to de-
tails and performed within his sphere of action his whole duty
more wisely and discreetly than he whom we now commem-
orate He was equallv beloved by his superior officers and the
soldiers of his command. His courtesy was constant and un-
influenced by rank or position. He was courageous in mmd
as well as in bodv and stood firmly upon the right as he saw
it He withheld his approval from no one whose conduct was
meritorious or whose intentions were kindly and honorable.
In the highest sense of the words he was a soldier, a pa-
triot and a man. Had his life been spared fresh laurels would
have crowned his work and his chosen State would have en-
trusted to his keeping her dearest rights and conferred upon
him her highest honors.
In behalf of the people of New Hampshire I thank you
gentlemen of New Jersey, that you have guarded and honored
his memory and his grave and that to-day you have distin-
euished yourselves and them by this further testimonial of your
respect, esteem and love for one of the purest and bravest men
of the most renowned era in our history.
"Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light.
Protect us by Thy might
Great God, our king."
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