Jane McCrea

Jane McCrea (HM2H14)

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N 43° 15.93', W 73° 35.239'

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Fort Edward, NY

—July 27th, 1777 —

Jane McCrea was a Fort Edward area resident in 1777 during the Saratoga Campaign. With the approach of the British army, Jane's brother, Colonel John McCrea
a supporter of the Patriot cause, evacuated his farm on the West bank of the Hudson River, located on West River Road in the Town of Moreau. Unbeknownst to the
family Jane stayed behind to meet her fiancé David Jones, a lieutenant in a loyalist militia unit serving with Burgoyne's regulars. Jane went to the house of Sarah McNeil, grandmother of her friend Polly Hunter. On July 27th, Jane and Sarah travelled up the Fort Edward hill to meet up with the British Army. Spotting a group
of Native Americans led by the Chief Duluth, the ladies ran back to the McNeil house to hide. The Indians found Sarah and Jane and pulled them out of the cellar. Jane was placed on a horse and Sarah was forced to walk as she was physically unable to ride. On the way to the British Army, a second group of Native Americans, led
by the Chief LeLoup, confronted Duluth and tried to take Jane. A struggle ensued, and at least one shot was fired, killing Jane. As she was already dead the Indians
scalped Jane and returned to the British Army's camp. Lt. Jones recognized the scalp and then found Jane's body near the site of the current Fort Edward High School.
He buried Jane along the East bank of the Hudson

River and then resigned his commission, moving to Canada where he died a few years later. After her death, many claimed that this atrocity spurred area volunteers to fight in the Patriot army and help turn
the tide of the Revolution with their support at the Battle
of Saratoga. Stories of the young maid's beauty grew. There are no known contemporary images of Jane and later ones have shown her hair to be many colors, usually blonde or red. Later entrepreneurs used Jane's memory to sell all sorts of items. Songs, paintings, and prints
were among the most popular. Pictures of Jane McCrea's house on Broadway were very good sellers. Fort Edward resident George Harvey felled the famous tree near where Jane had been killed, the "Jane McCrea Tree" in the mid Nineteenth Century and created thousands of Jane McCrea souvenirs. Among the most popular items from this forest of Jane McCrea Trees came souvenir snuff boxes and canes. In 1822 as the Champlain Canal was under construction, Jane McCrea's remains were removed from the East Bank of the Hudson River and placed in the McNeil lot in the State Street Burying Ground in Fort Edward. This was done with full ceremony. Thirty years later Jane's niece allowed her remains to be transferred to the Sandy Hill
and Fort Edward Union Cemetery. In the early Twenty-first Century Jane's remains were twice
disinterred for scientific and historical purposes. It was found that two sets of female remains were in the grave, one of which was positively identified as Sarah NcNeil. It is thought that when Jane was moved to State Street that the two sets of remains became
comingled. It was also discovered that reports of souvenir seekers stealing her bones in 1852
were true; however, most of the second, younger skeleton are present in the Union Cemetery gravesite minus her skull and a few other bones.
HM NumberHM2H14
Placed ByRogers Island Visitor Center, Fort Edward Historical Association, Old Fort House Museum
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 at 8:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 614649 N 4791267
Decimal Degrees43.26550000, -73.58731667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 15.93', W 73° 35.239'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 15' 55.8" N, 73° 35' 14.34" W
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Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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