The 1776 Declaration of Independence represented the colonists’ boldest collective action, proclaiming in a unified voice they no longer recognized the authority of the British Crown. But many in the colonies rejected this break with Britain, and shortly thereafter these Loyalists signed a document supporting the British crown. Among the signatures was that of Frederick Philipse III. For the next eight years, the American Revolutionary War would rage across the colonies, pitting neighbor against neighbor.

New York, with its deep natural harbors, significant navigable rivers, and border with Canada, played a key role from the war’s beginning until its end.  Over one third of the war’s battles were fought in New York, and the impact of the war affected everyone, no matter their economic standing or cultural heritage.  In the end, some New Yorkers left as a result of the war. It is from New York that formerly enslaved soldiers and others of African descent boarded ships headed to Nova Scotia and freedom, while some Loyalists would escape to other British colonies or England itself. Many who supported the rebel cause would declare their allegiance to the new United States, and begin the arduous tasks of rebuilding their towns, farms, and lives. For most of the remaining Native People in the region, the war and the uneasy peace that followed continued the decades of violent removal and relocation.

Beginning in 2024, New York state will join the nation in a multi-year celebration honoring the 250th anniversary of the Revolutionary War. A series of kiosks sharing information on the war will be located through the New York State Parks system, including here at Philipse Manor Hall. We look forward to celebrating this momentous period of history with you.

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