Historic Preservation

ROSA AND THE W3R-NHT

On March 30, 2009, when President Obama signed Public Bill 111-11, America’s 19th National Historic Trail, the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail became official.   The W3R-NHT commemorates the route followed by General George Washington leading America’s Continental Army and French Legions led by the comte de Rochambeau as they made their way to Yorktown, VA, in 1781.  At Yorktown, these leaders defeated British General Lord Cornwallis, forcing British surrender on October 19, 1781, essentially ending America’s War of Independence.  (They returned on the same route through Rockland County in September 1782.)

What is significant to ROSA4Rockland and the Save Patrick Farm initiative is the fact the W3R-NHT includes Route 202 in Rockland County, NY, the road that passes the still-bucolic lovely Patrick Farm.

Knowing present Route 202, it is not hard to imagine the scenery on August 25, 1781, when the Continental Army under command of General George Washington marched from Stony Point.  In his compiled notes, historian Robert A. Selig writes General Washington and the Continental Army marched  ‘to three miles beyond Suffrans (Suffern’s tavern)’”470 over the Mahwah Bridge following what was known then as the "Upper Road" via Kakiat (the "English Church" at New Hempstead). Here the sappers, miners, baggage carts, artillery park -- the right-hand column of the Continental Army under the protection of the Rhode Island Regiment and Lauzun's Legion -- began its march to Andrew Hopper's House and encamped for the night.”

Nor is it hard to imagine, the scenery as Dr. Selig notes that the “First Brigade of the French army followed one day behind the Continental Army, i.e., left its camp at Haverstraw on Sunday, August 25 for Suffern, its 19th camp.474 “”

As he continues in his, “The March From Philipsburg to Pompton Lakes and Return,” Dr. Selig writes,  “While some of the officers stayed at John Suffern's Tavern, (Site 36), the men of the First Brigade and the wagon train camped west of the Mahwah River on the west side of Washington Avenue to about half-way to the bridge on August 25. (Site 37)” This site “on the west side of Washington Avenue to about half-way to the bridge,” is the present ground of the parking lot and building of Avon Products in Suffern, NY.  (My ancestor’s home and tavern were across the road where the building of the recently closed Suffern Fine Furniture now stands.)

Dr. Selig relates the next day the French Second Brigade “occupied the same ground” (in Suffern) used by the First Brigade the day before.

Knowing the stretch of road that passes by Patrick Farm is considered to be so important in American history, it now is  part of a designated National Historic Trail, it is painful to consider what is planned for the site if over-development of Patrick Farm is allowed to continue as planned.  I do hope elected officials and others will come to their senses to not allow this desecration of Patrick Farm.

Carolyn Suffern

Knoxville, TN

March 30, 2011