Skip to comments.Seeking Brooklyn’s Lost Mass Grave
Posted on 08/25/2012 7:23:53 AM PDT by Pharmboy
CONFIDENT Bob Furman suspects that up to 256 Revolutionary soldiers lie under this lot in Gowanus.
Dave Sanders for The New York Times
NOTHING is visible at the intersection of Third Avenue and Eighth Street in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn to indicate that anything extraordinary is there. The artisanal-pie place on one corner and the auto body shops across the way suggest it is merely another spot in the city where grit is giving way to gentrification. But if a small group of history enthusiasts are right, this particular corner of Kings County is hallowed ground.
HEROIC Kim Maier, executive director of the Old Stone
House, a Revolutionary War educational center in Park
Slope, describes the self-sacrifice of the First Maryland
Regiment in the Battle of Brooklyn as an act of great valor.
Dave Sanders for The New York Times
They believe that there is a mass grave a few dozen yards to the east of the intersection that contains the remains of American heroes: soldiers from the First Maryland Regiment under Col. William Smallwood, which saved Washingtons army during the Battle of Brooklyn on Aug. 27, 1776. Their burial site, these advocates say, deserves the same level of veneration accorded the military cemeteries at Gettysburg and Normandy.
The leader of the find-the-Marylanders group is Bob Furman, a Brooklyn historian and president of the Brooklyn Preservation Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining brownstone Brooklyns look and feel. The evidence is quite strong, Mr. Furman said. Im confident enough that I tell everyone I know.
But Mr. Furman has no way to test his theory. Right now, the site he is targeting is a vacant, concrete-covered lot studded with weeds and surrounded by a chain-link fence.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Watching the action from a redoubt, General Washington said of these men: "Good God, what brave fellows I must this day lose!"
The property owners are not interested in allowing an archaeological dig at the site.
The RevWar/Colonial History/General Washington ping list...
Eminent domain.If a municipality can take property for a shopping mall (thanks a bunch,"confirmed bachelor" Soutter) then they can take this plot...certainly the parking lot if not the whole thing.Give the slumlord that owns it $25K (which is more than it's worth) and start digging.
let us know what you see
Nothing to see at the grave site, but check out the Old Stone House. Also, near there, is the Greenwood Cemetery where much of the battle took place; there are markers there.
Where’s that monument located? New York? Maryland? Elsewhere?
Thanks for posting.
I am a member of the Sons of the American Revolution(SAR), for anyone interested and believe that they are able to trace an ancestor to the Rev. War go to:
This monument is on Lookout Hill in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
I have a cousin that has been MIA there for 236 years now. I hope they find him.
Remember the tornado a few months back near Henryville? A couple of heroes there ~ Mrs. Decker saving her children and losing her legs, and a Mr. Smallwood, are undoubtedly descendants of those folks, and the high character still runs strong in their blood.
FYI - For all history buffs.
Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier (sometimes written as Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of American Revolution) is a war memorial located in Washington Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It honors the thousands of soldiers who died during the American Revolutionary War, many of whom were buried in mass graves in that park.
The memorial was built in 1954 and features an eternal flame and a statue of George Washington gazing toward Independence Hall.
These words are engraved in the side of the tomb.
“Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness”
“In unmarked graves within this square lie thousands of unknown soldiers of Washington’s Army who died of wounds and sickness during the Revolutionary War.”
The plaque upon the tomb of the Unknown Soldier reads:
“Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washington’s army who died to give you liberty.”
I wonder what my favorite Revolutionary soldier, Private Yankee Doodle, (Joseph Plumb Martin from New England) was doing during this battle. Gotta check out his diary again.
IIRC, he was there; and further, I believe he was on duty a bit later in Manhattan at Kip’s Bay when the Brits came across the East River.
I’m a DAR through a couple of male ancestors but also through the Water Carriers of Bryant Station.
When I visited Philly several years ago I remember how touched I was when seeing that memorial. Thanks for the reminder about it...
I'm sure some acorn member registered them to vote in 2008...
Good point...but NY State has been so far gone leftward in the past 20 years or so that they needn’t bother.
I’ve been away for about a week, but I’m sure you’ve heard about this somewhat related recent story...
Vandals Desecrate More Than 50 Memorials, Monuments At Historic Brooklyn Cemetery
August 23, 2012
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Workers at a historic Brooklyn cemetery discovered a senseless act of vandalism on its grounds Tuesday and now police are investigating.
Officials at the Green-Wood Cemetery told CBS 2 that when members of its staff went out to mow lawns, trim grass and weed gardens on Tuesday, they saw more than 50 memorials and monuments had been desecrated.
It is the first case of vandalism at the cemetery, which was founded in 1838, in 30 years. The oldest memorial that was vandalized belongs to a general that dates back to the War of 1812, cemetery officials said.
Most of the damaged monuments date back to the 1800s. Many cannot be replaced. We estimate the cost of repair to be upwards of $100,000, Richard J. Moylan said.
Re: Green-Wood Cemetery:
“Green-Wood is a Revolutionary War historic site (the Battle of Long Island was fought in 1776 across what is now its grounds), a designated site on the Civil War Discovery Trail”
Maryland when it mattered.
Who are the property owners?
Re: “Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier” — I’ve visited Philly many times (my folks lived 30 miles west), but never knew about this memorial. Thanks for letting us know.
The inscription Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washingtons army who died to give you liberty. literally gives me chills when I think of how the communists and islamists have infiltrated our government to the very top levels.
It’s in the article at the link.
A better question is.. Is the property for sale?
But I gotta wonder...
Why don’t they want to know what is under the ground there? I suppose if they found out, they would loose the land to the government in a heart beat.
Protecting their investment so to speak.
Deep in the story I find the answer to our question..
An entity called Derby Textile Corporation owns the lot.
That's too bad. They should at least allow them to go in and do a survey with ground penetrating radar. It's a concrete area, so they might be able to see something with that.
They should have lied and said there was an African-American burial site there, and see how quickly things would roll.
You have to be careful how much your property rights can be infringed once the government (or any activist groups - even “good” ones) takes an interest in it.
Along the Delaware River in NJ the state tried to stop a family from making changes to their property by claiming it was part of the original “Old Mine Road” (one of the first roads in that part of the country, connecting Kingston NY -I believe - to the mines that had been along the Delaware River on NJ’s border with PA). Finally old maps showed the family’s land was actually on part of a re-route of the original road, and they could proceed as planned, but it was tied up for years.
If anyone wants the land let the seller determine the value; if oil or gas is found on my land I don’t want to sell it for 200% of what I paid for it if it is worth 1500%.
I doubt that a proton magnetometer would work well in all that signal clutter — but haven’t New Yorkers ever heard of GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar)?
This is the New York Times? I have to find the story in the paper. Maybe I can send the guy mail.
Google Maps confirmed that that vacant lot was where a factory used to be when I was a kid. We used to steal scraps of cloth that they were discarded and (loosely) tie one end about our necks and run around as superheroes. Ah, good old days, when we couldn't tie a knot tight enough to accidentally choke ourselves to death. (Blue and red capes were obviously in the highest demand.)
Thank you so much for posting this. I had no idea. When my son is home and we go to Philly to see the Dead Sea Scroll fragments at the Franklin Museum in two weeks, we will absolutely go there first.
I knew he was in there somewhere.
I can say without reservation what was long ago well noted - Marylanders were unequivocally the best troops of the Revolution.
The irony is how they ran along with all the others in their last real battle at Guilford Court House. While they were about the only soldiers to stand in their 1st battle on Long Island (only some 2 weeks after arriving). Every other battle, they were basically the only troops to stand fast. The only that had some modicum of training and equipment provided through the state from day 1.
Way back in the early 90’s, I was in Alexandria Virginia. I came across a small cemetery in the downtown area. There was a grave there dedicated to the memory of Revolutionary War soldier buried there. I took some pictures and thought that it was quite interesting.
Your post got me to thinking about what I had seen years earlier. I looked it up. Here’s a link for you to look at:
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
And when any of you might be in Alexandria, Christ Church still has the pew set where General Washington and the family would attend church there. Not to miss for any Washington afficianados...
Great stuff, TS...yes, I you grew up in that nabe. Always trust the locals...
Great stuff, TS...yes, I knew you grew up in that nabe. Always trust the locals...
They do not call this state "The Old Line State" for nothing...
I have a direct patriot ancestor who died on a Brooklyn prison ship. Another who fought with Francis Marion in S. Carolina.
Thanks for posting this.