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A Revolutionary Relic Becomes A Picnic Ground

A Revolutionary Relic Becomes A Picnic Ground image
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One of the most interesting relies of the Revolutionary war is the Apthorpe mansion in New York city, and now used as a picnic ground. The park in wbich this house is situated is all that remains of the great Apthorpe deniesDe which in 1776, when it was occupid by Gen. Howe, the British commander-inchief, was fully 210 acres, and stretched on ita west sidc as lar as tne nuasuu rivcr Apthorpo was one of the nierchant princcs of the day, probably not wealthier than Mr. Walton, of Franklin-square, whose famous residence still faces the great Harper establishment, but of more politica! iniportanco and of higher standing with the British officials who had come to beat the American rebels into submission. He was an Englishman who carne to New York with considerable capital and engaged in commerce vory succe&sfully. Findin.r his means inercasing rapidly, he deterrnined to crcatc a landed estáte which should be handed down to his posterity and keep the name of Apthorpe green in the minds of men to the remotest generations. With these views he purchased various pareéis of land in 17O2:1and 1763 from different persons. From Dennis Hicks hc boujïht for seventeen hundred pounds of colonial ruoney the estáte at "Bloomdale," which the fonner had purchased in 1746 from Anna Van Huysen, wiaow 01 jvyae Van Huysen, who had received it partiy as a gift, partij in purohaso from his father, Jeunis Eydesa Van Huysen in 1720. Further back than the Hollander with these extraordinary names the record does not go. Jeunis Eydesa it is believed mav havo been Hollandish in the beginning of the eighteenth century for Junius Odysseus. J. E. held his land apparently by allodial title, the true meaning of which is "than which the memorv of man goeth no further." from the Goelic word allod, which signifies "oldsn time." This estáte was only 115 acres in extent, and Mr. Apthorpe purchased the other pareéis from Oliver De Lancey, part of an inheritance from Stephen De Lancey the eider, and from Sara Van Evera, widow of Myndert Van Evcra, burgher and blacksmith of the city of New York, and various sons ld (laughters, cartmen and wives of n, of the city of New York aforeIt is painful to be compelled to record that not one of the Van E veras nor one of the husbands of the Van Evera daughters could write, all the signatures being qualified as his or her mark. Apthorpe s land reached from Hudson's River to the Post Road, or Fifth-ave., and from Humphrey Jones's on the north to the common land belonoing to the corporation of the City ofSewYorkon the south. Here he built himself a big house which faced both easl and west, and could be entercd from the avenue of trees reaching to the Post Road or Fifth-ave., or from the niuch shorter avenue reaching to the Blooniingdale Road or Harlem Lane. He planted horse chestnuts and acacias for the most part, with sonie maples and elrns, and the trees on the shorter avenue are still standing and with some exceptions have done well and are in finecondition. A special interest attaches to the Apthorpe House because General Sir William Howe rnade it his headquarters after eating the memorable lunch in the Murray mansion at ninth-st. and Fifth-ave. While he was thus engaged Putnam just contrived to make his escape by marching at speed up the Bloomingdale Road. It was Howe's headquarters during the battle of Harlem Heights, which was gained by the patriots and so remained until Fort Washington had been taken, and Washington with his army had abandoned the island of Manhattan. Charles Ward Apthorpo was a bitter lory, anti nu doubt invited Sir William to his mansion and demesnc, as hc ternied it. Walton was a trimmer who wished well to both partios, and did not really carowhich was victorious. But Apthorpe was a strong British partisan and bis propertv would have boen confiscated but that ono of his daughters was marricd to Hugh Williamson, who subscquently bought out the interest of the other heirs at a torced sale by Sherifl' Morris in the year 1709, niado at the instance of tho Marine Society to obtain a payment of a mortgago loan of $1,500. Mr. Williamson paid for the property $52.500. At present the house and the hotel buildings and the lots on which they stand are the property of Adolf Bernheimer, a leadirig wholcsale merchant in cotton stuffs. The property was divided into lots and sold at auction in 1853, and the brothers of Adolf Bernheinier, Isaac, Samuel and Herman, purchased the greater part of thom. The remaining purehasors were satisfied that tho proporty should be utilized as a picnic ground, so that the once famous mansion still stands in its own demense surrounded by the trees that Apthorpe planted. The horse chestnuts have gro-vn well though somewhat straggling, and still wave their blossom-laaen branches. In Cass county, Mo., is a town with nothing peculiar about it except its name, which is Peculiar. According to local iradition it carne to receivc that singular appellation in the following nianner: When the settlement had becorua sufflciently populous to need a post office oneof the promiuent citizens sent a petition to Washington to have a, post office establlshed. Iu reply he was asked to suggest a name that would please the people, to which ho responded that "the people were not particular so long as tho name was peculiar." Theroupon the postónico was christencd Peculiar and Üio name has never been changed. Henry James says, in the June. Century, that Charle1 "doctrine, reduced to the fewest words, is that life is very serious and that erery one should do his work honestly. This is the gist of the matter; all the rest is magnified vocalization."


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat