American Revolution, Battle of Newtown, Battlefields, Blue Sign, Brigadier General William Maxwell, Cemetery, Chemung County, Declaration Of Independence, Elmira, I Love New York, Iroquois, Knoll Cemetery, Major General John Sullivan, New York, Newtown Battlefield, State Parks, The Final Journey
Somewhere on the way from there to here I found a giant rock with writing on it. But before that I saw signs for a historic area in which the American Revolution was fought in a town just outside of Elmira, New York. A stop I hadn’t planned on stopping for a few hours later. But one I’m glad I did, for there is a part of history that many Americans don’t know happened so many miles away from the known sites where the birth of our nation was fought for.
As part of my epic ten million part tale of The Final Journey, as I was driving by a town I would visit in a few hours to tour a town my heart was left years ago. I saw a sign, a sign that there was a battlefield in the area. And with my recently learning of a Civil War Prison in Elmira, I thought hey, it’s probably a Civil War battlefield. And with me recently visiting a Civil War battlefield a few weeks earlier in Virgina, this would make for a great follow up story.
A story that well, wouldn’t be about the Civil War this time, but about the original war of our nation, the American Revolution. A war that gave us U.S. A war that saw us fight for our freedom from a nation on the other side of the Atlantic. A war that was fought on the Eastern coast of our young nation.
But it wasn’t just fought there, as I would soon learn. A battle for our freedom was fought in numerous locations in Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Virginia, New York as well as many others but also fought in the Western New York area.
This particular battle occurred years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Another unknown fact for most Americans probably. As the Declaration of Independence was only a document that stated what our young countries intentions were and wasn’t a date in which victory was achieved.
The American Revolution saw the birth of legends. Names that even after nearly 250 years later are still around today name’s like George Washington, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, as well as countless others. A name you may not particularly known or have ever heard of is John Sullivan, who was the general that was appointed by the Continental Congress to take care of the Iroquois and other Amerindians who had sided with the British.
Bet you didn’t know that there was Amerindians who sided with the British. I’m not all certain what their intentions would have been after defeating the American Colonist. Like would they have drank tea with the British? Would the colonist be running the casino’s? Would there be a football team in Washington? Oh so many questions that luckily we don’t have to answer because well… AMERICA!
But what we can answer is that there is a place near Elmira called the Newtown Battlefield State Park. And in August of 1779 a major battle occurred here as the Iroquois were defeated by General John Sullivan and his troops. The year previous Sullivan and his troops are responsible for the Cobleskill, Wyoming Valley and Cherry Valley massacres. And with all of this devastation created huge hardships for the Iroquois and other natives. While the tales are quite brutal, it did help to shape what now is called the state of New York.
You can now visit this location, as I did, and learn and see a great deal of things. And they have done a great job by pointing out key locations as they have included numerous signs and even this handy dandy map, that you can take a picture of, because it’s way to big and bulk to fold up and put in our pocket.
As you see there’s 15 locations on this map. I didn’t end up stopping at all of them. But I however did stop at a few of them. Such as the Knoll Cemetery, which is located on Cemetery Rd ironically enough. It’s is located on a dirt road and travels past a few houses. Which for me, made it quite well, weird to travel down because here I am just driving on someone’s drive way basically and seeing graves of soldiers from the Revolutionary War days.
The cemetery is located on the left, and as I said this is a dirt road not big enough for two cars and there isn’t really a pull off spot to view the cemetery. So it may be quite difficult in case another car comes by. It’s located atop a hill, with a staircase built into the ground to help you get there.
Once you get to the top you’ll notice numerous graves. Most of which are obviously from the era they were buried in 1779. Someone or some organization has placed small American flags next to the graves.
Also next to the graves you see this plaque or emblem or whatever you called it. It symbolizes that this grave is of someone from the Revolutionary War and it was presented by the Chemung county.
What I found fairly odd and particular was that located towards the left hand side of the cemetery are three newer looking grave stones. I’m not sure if this was done because the original grave stones had broken or that these graves were unmarked.
While they contemporary look is nice it does take away from the authentic nature of the grave stones. But then again compared to the originals you can actually read them. As is the case with this tombstone.
It wasn’t until I visited the ever so popular FindAGrave.com that I learned that while there is numerous victims of the American Revolution resting here. There are members of the Baldwin Family buried here as well as the Carpenter family after they obtained the land from the Baldwins.
After taking in the sites of this small cemetery, I headed back to my car and back on the dirt road just barely big enough for my car. Not knowing which way this dirt road would take me I was pleasantly surprised it took me back to the main road.
As I continued my journey on-wards towards the Newtown Battlefield I came upon another location on that map. As on the left hand side of the road was a British flag waving in the air with a rock located next to it. The rock would end up showcasing numerous facts about the Battle of Newtown as well as the routes taken by Sullivan and General James Clinton.
And the back side…
Other than the flag and two sides to the rock, there wasn’t much more to see besides the major 4 lane highway. So I gathered myself back into my car as I journeyed on. Finally coming upon the location of the ever so awaited Newtown Battlefield.
Obvious Andrew Cuomo has been demoted to Governor of the Finger Lakes Region.
Yet, much to my shock the battlefield wasn’t located quite as close as I thought it would be. As I ended up having to drive a little ways, up a hill and finally found the location in which the battle took place.
And finally I found it. This big monument sticking straight up into the sky.
I also found another rock.
And it would have a very impressive rock, if those two polls sticking next to it hadn’t been bare. Maybe if I came anytime in the summer when they would have been other people around and maybe like flags on those flag polls. But alas I came in December that one when it was like very warm all the time. Well, except for this time. It was kind of cold.
As I started to look around at the sites, there were plenty of picnic tables with those metal grills, but you know, it’s December and nobody wants to cook out in December esplecially when it’s cold outside. And actually it was pretty cold up here.
Then I saw another rock. You might not see it, because of the tree trying to hide it.
I walked over to the tree hiding the rock and well I realized there’s some more stuff to learn. Rocks do teach people. This rock is in honor of Major General John Sullivan the man who lead this ravaged expedition.
And there’s even a plaque on the back of it. Which showcases that this rock is actually from New Hampshire.
Past this rock is a viewing area, a nice deck on the edge of the world. Just be careful which side of that picnic table you sit on. You might fall off.
Before falling down the cliff, you can read this sign.
Before walking on this deck, you can see a concrete slab honoring Brigadier General William Maxwell. And some nice fan of his left him a beverage from his favorite sub shop, Charley’s Grilled Subs.
While walking onto this deck, you can relax on Carol Martin’s bench. She obviously loved the New York Yankees and leaves. That’s quite the life. Behind her bench you see a plaque in honor of Doris Morris, because this deck is dedicated to her because of her countless hours as a dedicated volunteer of the Chemung Valley Living History Center.
Her sister didn’t talk to her for 30 years, because she was a member of the Chemung Valley Dead History Center.
Moving on ward, you see some signs. The first one teaches us how to do math using people. Much of what this whole Sullivan Expedition had done to the native people.
This next sign showcases how the Battle Of Newtown actually was fought. Which is pretty cool to know, especially if you are ever put in that same situation. You know, like you’ve fled a country and discovered a new one, and that old country wants you to stay with them, yet, you don’t want to. And then you fight them off a bunch of times only to find that there’s people already living in the country you’re now calling your own. So someone comes up with this great idea of “Hey, let’s kill those people off too!”
You know, because that might happen in your lifetime.
This next sign explains how The Marhsall Tucker Band came up with their song Fire On The Mountain. Please don’t click on it to make it bigger, just believe what I’m telling you.
And finally this last sign explains what the Sullivan Campaign is and even mentions this guy named George Washington. And quotes him in saying “I am clear in opinion that the cheapest… and most effectual means of opposing (the Indians and loyalists)… is to carry the war into their own country”
Which just proves Washington was crazy!
Here’s a panoramic picture overlooking that supposed cliff I’ve been talking about. If only I came a few weeks, maybe even months, this would have been a beautiful picture. You know, because of the leaves changing colors in Autumn.
Well time to leave… and read signs..
I guess this location was put together by the Republicans.
But before I leave this hill top battle site, let me look at that huge monument one more time.
I wonder who thought this design was a good idea. I mean, honestly, how many of these have you seen in your life. There’s a bunch in cemeteries and even that big famous one in Washington, D.C. oh, what’s it called oh yeah it’s called the Washington Monument.
But before let’s learn about this history of this reservation. According to a 1879 newspaper, Alfred Searles gave 15 acres to the Newtown Monument Association. While reports are that this wasn’t a legal transfer of ownership, his daughter Hattie Elliot, however would deed the original park and several surrounding parcels to New York State.
And as a journey continues we find one of those Blue Signs we love so much!
While I stopped to take a picture of this sign, I should have been quicker to read and realize which route I was on. Because well, I got killed off.