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THE VOORHEES HOMESTEAD...
IN THE CELLAR OF WHICH TRADITION SAYS: A HESSIAN SOLDIER WAS BURIED
"8 miles to Brockland Ferry," says the old milestone in front
of the VOORHEES homestead on Neck Road, Gravesend. The old stone
was placed there under the English provincial government, and about
it hangs a romance. One hot day in midsummer a young British officer
rode out to Gravesend to place the mile-post. He asked for a drink of
water at the farm-house, and a lovely girl gracefully served him.
Love at first sight is an old story, with new charms revealed at each
repetition; and in the case of the young officer and the winsome maiden
it resulted in marriage and a journey to far-away England, where, they say,
in a noble house. hangs a picture of the milestone in front of the homestead
from which the English noble-man brought his beautiful bride.
The house is said to have been built more than two centuries ago by one
John Coerte VOORHEES, son of the first VOORHEES who came to Gravesend.
Though little is known of the early history of the home-stead, it came
into local prominence at the time of the Revolutionary War, when Stephen VOORHEES
joined the American army. On learning that the British were coming,
General Washington ordered all supplies to be destroyed, all grain burned
in the fields, and the cattle killed. For many years after the enemy swept
through that part of Gravesend, back on a lonely road of the town were
great piles of the bones of cattle bleaching in the sun, and the townsmen
as they passed the white heaps gazed silently on the remnants of their stock,
and wondered when the weary days would pass that had brought an enemy to
destroy their crops and their livestock.
The Patriot officers, when they warned the people to kill their cattle,
allowed Mrs. VOORHEES to keep one cow, that her baby might have milk;
and for safety's sake the lady concealed it in her house. Not long afterward
a Hessian came prowling about for beef; and, discovering the cow that the thrifty
Mrs. VOORHEES had concealed, he'started to drive it off, when Mr. VOORHEES,
who had been separated from his regiment in the battle of Brooklyn and had
hastened home, interfered.
Words led to blows, and the Hessian was killed. Fearing lest the
other members of the army would discover the loss of their companion
and search for him, the VOORHEES; the tradition runs, buried the dead
man in their cellar. Mr. VOORHEES hastened by night to join the American army.
Cortelyou Manor Housed
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