Little Red Church in Peekskill NY

A little church sits pretty at a crossroads in NY state. It is a rare pre-revolutionary Church and the burial place of 54 revolutionary soldiers. The one-room frame church was dedicated in 1767.

During the Revolutionary War it was used as a shelter for soldiers and as a hospital for Continental and French soldiers.

My great7 grandparents, Richard Curry and Elizabeth Jones Curry, lived during the Revolution.  They resided in the politically diverse, wildly divided, Westchester County, NY. In the midst of the war, Richard and Elizabeth were senior citizens and they had already lived through much hardship.

When Richard was only twelve years old his father died. On the 5th of June 1722 the  Court proclaimed that Richard Curry, son of Richard Curry dec’d (who had just died the previous month), was to be bound unto Nathan Jones of Bedford until the age of 21. It is uncertain if Richard’s mother was still alive. It is possible that, as a widow, she could not feed and cloth her children and she was forced let her children go as indentured servants.

Richard’s new home with Nathan Jones would prove to be beneficial to his future. Nathan’s young, and I like to image extraordiarily beautiful, daughter was to eventually become Richard’s bride.  In approximately 1734 Richard and Elizabeth married in Bedford NY and they settled in the Cortlandt Manor/Peekskill area of NY.  According to Rev. Warriner’s book, Old Sands Street Methodist Episcopal Church, written in 1885:

About 1730, having married, he [Richard Curry]  took his young wife and all their effects, and, mounting themselves on a single horse, they rode northward into the almost unbroken forrests in the northern part of Westchester County, then still, occupied by the wild Algonquins. He located in the valley of Peekskill Creek, a few miles back from the Hudson, where he became an extensive land owner, reared a large family and died in 1806.

On Valentine’s Day, 1778, Elizabeth passed away.  Her daughter Martha, who I am descended from, died only 9 months later during childbirth. Elizabeth was buried in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Cortlandt Manor, Peekskill NY. It is possible that Martha might be as well.  Martha’s husband and their remaining children would leave NY as Loyalists and settle in what is now New Brunswick.

Richard Curry would live on for another 28 years. He did not leave with his son-in-law as a Loyalist.  If he did side with the Loyalists his age may have prevented him from attempting the long and arduous journey. He was 96 when he died and is buried alongside his wife.

Here is the idyllic little church and cemetery where the remains of Richard and Elizabeth Curry reside…

St.Peter’s Episcopal Church, Cortlandt Manor, Peekskill NY.

St.Peter's Episcopal Church, Cortlandt Manor, Peekskill NY.

From Benson J. Lossing's "Pictoral Field Book of the Revolution", 1850

From Benson J. Lossing's "Pictoral Field Book of the Revolution", 1850

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Published in: on 26 June 2009 at 12:07 am  Comments (3)