Hudson Falls in Washington County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
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
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, July 3, 2019
1. Jane McCrea Marker
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, July 3, 2019
2. Jane McCrea Marker
Click or scan to see
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.
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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.
3. Murder of Miss Jane McCrea, A.D. 1777.
This is a print done by N. Currier. It depicts a romanticized view of the death of Jane McCrea in which the Native Americans are depicted as savages, a typical Nineteenth Century view. Note the Jane McCrea tree is seen in the background.
Lithograph by N. Currier, 1846.
Erected by Rogers Island Visitors Center, Old Fort House Museum, Fort Edwards Historical Association.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, US Revolutionary • Women. A significant historical date for this entry is July 27, 1777.
Location. 43° 17.248′ N, 73° 35.161′ W. Marker is in Hudson Falls, New York, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Broadway (U.S. 4), on the right when traveling north. Marker is in Union Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hudson Falls NY 12839, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Ghost Story of Duncan Campbell (a few steps from this marker); The Grave of Duncan Campbell & Jane McCrea (within
shouting distance of this marker); Hon. Silas Wright (approx. 0.9 miles away); Washington County Civil War Monument (approx. 0.9 miles away); World War II Memorial (approx. 0.9 miles away); Memorial to Jane McCrea (approx. one mile away); a different marker also named Jane McCrea (approx. one mile away); Sixteen Soldiers (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hudson Falls.
4. Jane McCrea Tree
This is a print of the Jane McCrea tree which stood near where Jane was killed until it was cut down in 1853.
From The Pictorial Fieldbook of the Revolution by John Benson Lossing, 1859.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 5, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 151 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 5, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. 3, 4. submitted on November 10, 2020, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.