Constitution Island in Orange County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Warner House
Constitution Island was purchased by Henry Whiting Warner, an attorney from New York City, who became interested in the island while visiting his brother, Thomas, who served as the Chaplain at West Point from 1823 until 1838.
A thick stone wall was all that remained of a Revolutionary War-era barracks building that was built in 1775, and Henry built an eight room home using this as a foundation. After his wife’s death in 1829, Warner, his sister Frances, and his daughters Anna and Susan moved from New York City to their new home in 1836. The house is still furnished with original family possessions, such as the Warner sisters cradle and their Henry’s wedding china. Henry Warner died in 1875.
Susan and Anna Warner were both religious writers. Susan Warner began a Bible class for the cadets in 1875, every Sunday afternoon in the Cadet Chapel. The Cadets considered trips to Constitution Island a privilege; they called themselves “Miss Warner’s Boys”. She had workers bring over as many cadets as possible, usually by filing a small sailboat to its carrying capacity. They were known for providing the cadets with a meal during their visits, because the cadets were not otherwise allowed to leave West Point.
Susan Warner wrote one of the most circulated novels of the era, The Wide, Wide World,
Susan Warner died in 1885. Anna Warner turned over the property to West Point in 1908, as a gift of faith. She turned down offers that were even higher than the property was worth, just to see that her land would become a part of the West Point Reservation.
“My dear Miss Warner:
I have written to Mrs. Sage thanking her, and I write to thank you for the Singular generosity which has prompted you and her to make this gift to the Nation. You have rendered a real and patriotic service, and on behalf of all our people I desire to express our obligation and our appreciation.
With regard, believe me,
Anna Warner died in 1915. Susan and Anna Warner are the only two civilians buried in the military cemetery at West Point.
The Constitution Island Association is working hard to maintain the house and gardens so that they remain similar in appearance and description to Anna Warner’s “Gardening by Myself”, another one of her bestsellers.
Location. 41° 24.131′ N, 73° Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: West Point NY 10996, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Anna B. Warner Memorial Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); The Great Chain (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hill Cliff Battery (about 300 feet away); Revolutionary War Constitution Island (about 400 feet away); Marine Battery (about 400 feet away); Fortress West Point (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named The Great Chain (about 400 feet away); Gravel Hill Battery (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Constitution Island.
Also see . . . Information about the Warner Family. Constitution Island Association website. (Submitted on September 27, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Notable Buildings •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 27, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 193 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 27, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.