Jane McCrea First Burial Ground

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Jane McCrea First Burial Ground

Location
Fort Edward, Washington County, New York, USA
Memorials 1 added (100% photographed)

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This cemetery of one is at the first burial site of Jane McCrea. It is located just south of Fort Edward on Route 4 near the junction of Blackhouse Road. Paul Post wrote the following article for the Saratogian Oct 22, 2011:
Jane McCrea's death not only inspired the Patriot cause during the Revolution, but involved one of the most bizarre twists of fate in American history.
In 1777, she came to live with her brother, John McCrea, a colonel in the American army, at his home on West River Road in Saratoga County.
As fate would have it, she fell in love with a neighbor, David Jones, a lieutenant under British General John Burgoyne, who had set up camp at present-day Hudson Falls following a southward advance from Ticonderoga.
With the British closing in, Colonel McCrea urged Jane to head down to Albany. However, she refused to leave and stayed behind at the Fort Edward home of Sarah McNeil, the grandmother of Jane's close friend, Polly Hunter.
The house, which still stands, is next to the Stewart's Shop in downtown Fort Edward.
McCrea and Jones were scheduled to be married on July 27, 1777.
Jones told her to wait for an escort to bring her up the hill from Fort Edward to the British camp, in Hudson Falls, previously known as Sandy Hill.
But McCrea decided to surprise her future husband, and set out that morning on foot accompanied by McNeil. When they reached a site near present-day Fort Edward High School, they encountered marauding Native Americans and retreated back to McNeil's house. Jane McCrea's findagrave # is 5918 at Union Cemetery in Fort Edward.
However, the Indian party pursued them and reportedly pulled McCrea from the home's cellar. The band's leader, named Duluth, sought a reward for her.

While taking her to the British, however, another Native American named LeLoup tried to stop Duluth, also seeking the reward for her delivery.
A confrontation ensued, a shot rang out and McCrea fell dead.
"We do not know for sure who fired the shot," said Elizabeth O'Leary, education director at the Old Fort House Museum in Fort Edward. Recently, she gave a presentation about McCrea's fascinating life and more intriguing death.
It's believed that neither Indian killed McCrea, but that the shot was fired by a townsman who saw the struggle, tried to stop it and accidentally shot her.
She was, however, scalped and word spread like wildfire about the alleged atrocity committed by British-allied Indians.
Americans quickly seized the incident for its propaganda value. Enraged by the tale, many men took up arms for the American cause, which later that fall helped win the day at the Battles of Saratoga, considered the turning point of the American Revolution.
"The poor girl has had more mileage dead than she ever had alive," O'Leary said.
That was just beginning of her incredible story, though, because McCrea has been buried four times in four different locations. Her first resting place was just south of Fort Edward, near the present intersection of Route 4 and Blackhouse Road.
In 1822, when the Champlain Canal was built, her remains were moved, with great pomp and circumstance, to the Old Burying Ground on State Street, in Hudson Falls. Because of her close association with McNeil — who had since died — Jane was buried on top of McNeil's grave, a practice common in Europe.
That's where Jane stayed until 1853 when the Union Cemetery opened on Upper Broadway in Fort Edward. Cemetery officials saw an opportunity, too. They could sell more plots if the new cemetery had a bona fide celebrity, so McCrea was moved there from the Old Burying Ground.
This time, the move was done in crude fashion. So crude, in fact, that McCrea's skull never completed the trip and its whereabouts is still an unsolved mystery.
In 2003, archaeologist David Starbuck and teacher/historian Matt Rozell gained permission to exhume McCrea's remains, seeking clues that might answer unresolved questions once and for all.
To their surprise, they not only discovered some of McCrea's bones, but those — identified with DNA tests — of McNeil, too, the woman who had accompanied Jane on the morning of her wedding day.
When McCrea's remains were moved in 1853, McNeil's came along, too.
Now they are buried side by side in separate graves at Fort Edward's Union Cemetery.
Buried next to McNeil on the other side is Maj. Duncan Campbell of the Royal Black Watch, who had come from Scotland to fight with the French in the French and Indian War, in the 1750s. Wounded at Ticonderoga, he was brought to a military hospital in Fort Edward where he died a short time later.
The only reason McNeil lived in Fort Edward is that her husband, Archibald Campbell, had come to America to bring Duncan Campbell's body back home to Scotland. But Archibald died during the ocean voyage. McNeil's second husband died, too, and she never went back to Scotland.
Two decades later, Jane McCrea strictly by coincidence came to stay with her in 1777.
There is no direct link between Jane McCrea and Duncan Campbell. However, thanks to their association with McNeil, roughly
20 years apart, they've shared the same cemetery plot for more than 150 years and now all three are buried side by side, hopefully for all time.


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GPS Coordinates: 43.23057, -73.58732

  • Added: 31 May 2012
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2451507