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AN HISTORICAL, BETHLEHEM CRUISE ON THE HUDSON RIVER
During the time of the Revolutionary War, the Hudson River was
a major transportation route. If the British could control this route, it would
cut communication and the flow of supplies between New England and the rest of
the colonies. It would also eliminate a very navigable passage as an American
transportation route. At the same time for the British, it would open a major
supply route from New Britain (Canada) to New York City, which were both held by
the British for most of war. Therefore, it's not surprising that the Hudson
River passes near a wealth of Revolutionary War sites from New York City to
Glens Falls, including "Our Towne" of Bethlehem.
Henry Hudson Park at Cedar Hill
Commemorating the arrival of the Halfmoon, September 18-19, 1609.
Erected by Town of Bethlehem, September 19, 1975
(Henry Hudson Park Marker)
CEDAR HILL -- Prior to the 19th Century, the river was
main-street America. Today, Cedar Hill is an historic place on this “street.”
One of its first visitors was the Dutch explorer, Henry Hudson, as documented by
a marker near the American Flag in the Henry Hudson Park.
During the Revolution, the area was home to Colonel Francis
Nicoll, who served in the New York Militia from 1775-1778. He participated in
the extraction of cannons and munitions from New York City, prior to its
surrender to the British in 1776. He also participated in the defense of Albany
from Burgoyne’s invasion from Canada in 1777.
Although not visible today from the Hudson, Nicoll’s home
still stands at Cedar Hill. Near the home is a small cemetery where Col. Nicoll
is buried. Also buried in the cemetery are seven other Revolutionary War
soldiers, including Lt. Arie Van Wie and Sergeant James Selkirk. Van Wie’s
point is another historic place on the Hudson and is about two miles further
north on the Hudson. The Bethlehem hamlet of Selkirk was named after the Selkirk
Buried in this Cemetery are
Eight Soldiers of the American Revolution
Cornelius Glen, 1st Regiment, Albany County Militia
Hugh Jolly, 3rd Regiment, Albany County Militia
Zimri Murdock, 5th Regiment, Albany County Militia
Colonel Francis Nicoll, 3rd Regiment, Albany County Militia
James Selkirk, 2nd Regiment, - Line
Major Richard Sill, Continental Army
Caleb Smith, 2nd Regiment, West Chester County Militia
Lieutenant Arie Van Wie, 3rd Regiment, Albany County Militia
Placed by Tawasentha Chapter, NSDAR, 1977
(Cedar Hill Marker)
VAN WIE POINT -- The point was settled by the Van Wie
family in the mid 1600’s. Later, it became a popular docking area for
passengers going to Albany. Docking in Albany was considered hazardous due to
shallows in the river. Dredging corrected this problem in the early 20th
Hendrick Gerritse Van Wie
Dutch colonist in Fort Orange 1664, built house here in 1679.
(Van Wie Point Marker)
ABBEY HOTEL -- About a mile and a half north of Van Wie
Point is the hamlet of Glenmont where the Abbey Hotel once stood. It was owned
by Hugh Jolley, who emigrated from Galway, Scotland in 1772. The Abbey Hotel was
an important way station between Albany and Van Wie Point. It was raised in the
Hugh Jolley served in the New York State Militia during the
Revolutionary War and is buried in the cemetery at Cedar Hill.
As you sail further north on the Hudson, you will pass other
areas where 18th century patriots once lived including Fort Crailo in
Renssalaer, the Schuyler Mansion in Albany and the Van Schaick home in Troy.
Above the Capital District, you will pass areas where they fought and
skirmished, including the Saratoga Battlefield in Stillwater, Fort Hardy in
Schuylerville and Fort Edward. For more information about these areas, see http://www.revolutionaryday.com/champlaincanal/.
[Article originally published in the 2005 "End of Winter Edition" of Our Towne]
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