DeWint House (1700)
20 Livingston Avenue, Tappan, Rockland County, New York


Directions:

US 287 to US 87 north over the Tappan Zee Bridge; get off at Exit 13S for the Palisades Interstate Parkway south; drive about 5.0 miles and get off at Exit 5;  merge into traffic heading south on Route 303; go about 1.2 miles and turn right onto Oak Tree Rd; turn left onto Livingston Avenue. The house is the first one on the right.  Park in the back by the white Carriage House.
 


History:

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 Andr

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.

While Major John Andre was captured, jailed, tried, and hanged in Rockland County, he is buried in Westminster Abbey, London, England, UK. The tavern he was held prisoner is now a restaurant called 'The '76 House' and was featured in the movie 'Stepmom' starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. The church he was tried in still exists. The Gallows Hill where he was hanged is now a high ranch development, but there is a marker of the spot where he was hanged.

1932  --  the Masonic Grand Lodge acquired the property. 


Trails:

12/09/2004.  Brother-in-law Ceferino Santana and I visited the DeWint House.  We parked next to a monument to Charles H. Johnson, Grand Master 1930-1932, Founder.  I noticed the nice big lawn behind the white Carriage House (where the museum is), a small pond in a small bit of wood's edge and the Sparkill Creek on the back border.  The place is well-maintained and looks like a park or arboretum.  As we were looking at the plants, the site superintendent, Harold Jones, came over to see if we needed assistance.  He told us of the many foreign species planted here by the last owner of the carriage house (either Robert Small or William Rogers Small).  It occurred to me that if the trees were labeled this could be a good arboretum.  Mr. Jones told us that he would like to make up a plant booklet for visitors that could be used for tree identification.  That sounded like a good idea to us.  Mr. Jones also told us of the lay-out of the town that at the time Washington was here only had seven houses in all. 

The DeWint House is very close to the '76 house (where Major Andre was held captive) and the Dutch Reformed Church (where Andre was tried and convicted).  In fact, we walked out the DeWint backyard, crossed the street into the charming Tappan Memorial Park behind the town library, and came out onto Main Street with the '76 House across the street.  After taking a close look at the '76 House we walked down Main Street, to cross over Washington Street where we found the old Dutch Reformed Church (the third structure on this site).  After reading the historical plaques we crossed the street onto the public green and worked our way up to the cemetery on Gallows Hill where Andre was hanged.

It was wonderful seeing the buildings that I had read so much about in the history books.  The historical area is very small and easily covered.  I enjoyed myself immensely.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, 12/09/2004;  * = blooming on July 15, 2006


Trees:
Acer platanoides (Norway maple)
Acer saccharinum (sugar maple)
Cedrus atlantica glauca (blue atlas cedar) planted
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus sp. (weeping green beech)
Fagus sylvatica (European beech) planted
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Gingko biloba (gingko) planted
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Ilex sp. (Princess holly)  planted
Juglans nigra (black walnut)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Koelreuteria paniculata (golden rain tree) planted
Larix sp. (larch)  planted
Maclura pomifera (osage orange) planted
Magnolia acuminata (magnolia)  planted
Oxydendron arboreum (sorrel tree) planted 
Picea abies (Norway spruce)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus sp. (cherry)  planted
Quercus robur (English oak) planted
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Styrax japonicus (Japanese snowbell) planted
Taxus sp. (yew) planted
Thuja occidentalis (arbor-vitae)
Tilia sp. (linden)
Ulmus americana (American elm)
Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese elm) planted

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus kousa (kousa dogwood)  planted
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Hibiscus syriacus (rose-of-Sharon)
Pachysandra terminalis (pachysandra)
Ribes sp. (gooseberry)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Syringa vulgaris (lilac)  planted

Vines:
Echinocystis lobata (wild balsam apple)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Herbs:
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Arctium minus (common burdock)
Chelidonium majus (celandine)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Glechoma hederacea (gill over the ground)
Hemerocallis fulva (tawny day lily)  * 
Phytolacca americana (pokeweed)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)

Grasses:
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)