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DeWint House

The oldest surviving structure in Rockland County, NY and an outstanding example of Hudson Valley Colonial Dutch architecture, the DeWint House, also known as Washington's Headquarters, allows the visitor to step back into the American Revolution. Built in 1700 by Daniel DeClark, a Hollander who emigrated to New York about 1676, one can see the black glazed bricks which mark the date of construction across the front of the building. The Carriage House in Tappan, NY., together with the surrounding grounds, comprise the George Washington National Historic Site. The property was acquired by the Grand Lodge of New York in 1932.

The house's two first-floor rooms have been restored and furnished to reflect the period of Washington's occupancy. The original kitchen dependency has also been rebuilt. An adjacent 19th-century carriage house contains displays of artifacts uncovered at the site during archaeological digs, as wells as items related to Washington, Andre and Arnold, and the Masons.

General George Washington headquartered at the DeWint House four tmies during the American Revolution.

  1. From August 8 to 24, 1780, Washington stayed at the house while he was inspecting a redoubt on the Hudson.
  2. Washington returned to the house on September 28, through October 7, 1780, for the trial and subsequent hanging of the British spy, Major John André. André had been captured after a meeting with American General, Benedict Arnold, at which they made plans to betray the fortifications at West Point.
  3. Three years later - May 4 through 8, 1783, Washington and his key staff again headquartered at the DeWint House while negotiating the final withdrawal of British troops from New York City with British General, Sir Guy Carleton. Samuel Fraunces (owner of Fraunces Tavern in New York City) came up to prepare the dinner for Washington and his guest. The DeWint house played its last major role in the American Revolution as the site of the first formal recognition of the new nation by the British. On May 5, 1783, General Washington received the British Commander, Sir Guy Carleton, at the DeWint House to discuss the terms of the peace treaty. On May 7, Sir Guy received Washington aboard his vessel Perserverance. On this day, the King’s Navy fired its first salute to the flag of the United States of America.
  4. On November 11-14, 1783, the weather brought Washington to the DeWint house during a terrible snowstorm on his trip to visit West Point and later to New York City where he tendered his resignation. During the War he had forbidden his soldiers to play cards because it took time away from the pursuit of the war. Now, with the fighting over, a much more relaxed Washington took off his boots and played cards.

Timeline of the DeWint House

1676 -- Daniel DeClark, a Hollander, emigrated to America.

1700 -- DeClark built the DeWint House. It was made of native sandstone and is the oldest standing residence in Rockland County. It was visited four times by George Washington.

1746 -- West Indies planter John DeWint bought the house. His daughter, Anna Maria, and her husband, Major Fredericus Blauvelt, lived at the house.

1780 (August 8 to 24) – Washington stayed at the house while he was inspecting a redoubt on the Hudson.

1780 (September 28 to October 7) – Washington returned to the house for the trial and subsequent hanging of British spy, Major John André

1783 (May 4-8) – Washington and his key staff headquartered at the DeWint House while negotiating the final withdrawal of British troops from New York City with British General, Sir Guy Carleton. It was said to have been a friendly conference combined with an elegant dinner. Samuel Fraunces (owner of Fraunces Tavern in New York City) came up to prepare the dinner for Washington and his guest.

1783 (November 11-14) – a terrible snowstorm forced Washington to the DeWint house n his trip to visit West Point and later to New York City where he tendered his resignation.

1932 -- the Masonic Grand Lodge acquired the property.

Visiting the DeWint House

Hours & Admission:
Open daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Free admission.

A Brief History of Major John André

British Major John André was one of the most famous prisoners of the Revolutionary War. A favorite of British General Sir Henry Clinton, the handsome young major was also popular with Philadelphia "high society;" intelligent and witty, André was noted for the elaborate entertainments he wrote and designed for parties.

André was part of American General Benedict Arnold's treasonous plot to surrender the strategic American fortification at West Point to the British. Arnold delivered key information about West Point's weaknesses to General Clinton through André, meeting him on the banks of the Hudson River. Captured on September 23, 1780, André was convicted as a spy, and ordered to be hanged. Many on General George Washington's staff felt great sympathy for the condemned man, visiting him frequently during his brief imprisonment. André was executed on October 2, 1780.

André was born 1750 in London to Huguenot parents, Antoine André (a merchant from Geneva, Switzerland) and Marie Louise Giradot (from Paris, France). He entered the British Army at the age of twenty, and came to North America and joined his regiment in Canada in 1774 as a lieutenant. He was captured at Saint Johns in November 1775, and held a prisoner at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, until December 1776, when he was exchanged. He was promoted to captain in 1777, and to major in 1778.

He was a great favorite in society, both in Philadelphia and New York. During his nearly nine months in Philadelphia, André occupied Benjamin Franklin's house. He had a lively and pleasant manner and could draw and paint and cut silhouette pictures, as well as sing and write verses. He was a fluent writer who carried on much of General Clinton's correspondence.

In 1779 he became adjutant-general of the British Army with the rank of Major, and soon after (1780) began to plot with American General Benedict Arnold. Arnold's Loyalist wife, Peggy Shippen, had become a close friend of André when he was in Philadelphia, and she was probably the go-between. Arnold, who commanded at West Point, had agreed to surrender it to the British for £20,000 — a move that would enable the British to cut New England off from the rest of the rebellious colonies.

André went up the Hudson River on September 20, 1780, to visit Arnold. At night, André rowed ashore in a boat from the sloop-of-war Vulture and met Arnold in the woods below Stony Point. Morning came before they had finished talking, and some Americans began to fire on the Vulture. The Vulture was forced to go down the river without André, who met with Arnold on the 21st and 22 September.

In order to escape through American lines, André was provided common clothes and a passport by Arnold. André took the name John Anderson. Arnold also gave six papers (written in Arnold's hand) showing the British how the fort could be taken. André hid them in his stocking.

André rode on in safety until 9 A.M. on September 23 when he came near Tarrytown, New York, where three men with guns stopped him, including David Williams. "Gentlemen," said André, who thought they were Tories, "I hope you belong to our party." "What party?" asked one of the men. "The lower party," replied André, meaning the British. "We do," was the answer. André then told them he was a British officer who must not be detained, when, to his surprise, they said they were Americans, and that he was their prisoner. He then told them that he was an American officer, and showed them his passport. But the suspicions of his captors were now aroused, and they searched him and found Arnold's papers in his stocking. André offered them his horse and watch, if they would let him go, but they were not to be bribed (which was unusual at the time).

The prisoner was taken to Tappan, the headquarters of the American Army, tried as a spy on September 29, 1780, found guilty of being behind American lines "under a feigned name and in a disguised habit", and condemned to be hanged. Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander in New York, did all he could to save him, but refused to surrender Arnold (who had escaped to British lines upon learning of Andre's capture) in exchange for Andre. He appealed to George Washington to be executed by firing squad, but by the rules of war he was to be hanged as a spy at Tappan on October 2, 1780.

"He was more unfortunate than criminal." -- from a letter of George Washington to Comte de Rochambeau, October 10, 1780

"An accomplished man and gallant officer." -- from the sentence of a letter written by Washington to Colonel John Laurens on 13 October

Specifics on visiting the DeWint House were correct at time of publication. We would suggest that you confirm dates and times prior to your visit.
 
 
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