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Introduction
1)
Title
Andre Monument
2)
Town, State
Tappan, NY
3)
ID #
1498
4)
Compilation Date (Initial)
December 08, 2005
5)
Compilation Date (Latest)
March 31, 2011
6)
Site Worked Last
April 09, 2011
Description
The monument recalls the 1780 hanging of a British army spy, Major John André. Situated on a circular island in the middle of a road, the granite stele memorial marks the spot in the hamlet of Tappan, Rockland County, New York, where following his court-martial the Major’s hanging was carried out on the order of General George Washington. The spy was interred at the foot of the gallows. This incident, during colonial America’s war for independence from Britain, unfolded not far from the west bank of the Hudson River, some 25 miles upstream from the city of New York and about 80 feet from the New Jersey border. Major André (b. 1750) entered the war in America in 1775 and by 1778 was known favorably to, among many others, General William Howe, the British commander in chief, and Elizabeth “Peggy” Shippen, who would later marry the American general Benedict Arnold. Howe’s replacement, General Henry Clinton, by October, 1779, promoted André to the position of deputy-adjutant general of the army. The military air André was breathing by 1780 seems pretty rarified. Unfortunately, it turned out, one of his duties brought André into contact with British secret agents – including, notably, Benedict Arnold (1741-1801). Arnold’s negotiated plan with André was that in exchange for £30,000, Arnold would defect to the British and surrender to General Clinton the Continental Army’s West Point post, recently placed under Arnold’s command, and its 3,000 troops. The plot was foiled, however, by American militia in Tarrytown, New York (see ID #1040). While Arnold and family were able to escape to New York City and, ultimately, Great Britain, André was captured dressed in civilian clothes behind American lines, brought to army headquarters in Tappan, charged with spying and court-martialed. Found guilty, his application to face a firing squad rather than hanging was denied by Washington: André was hung at noon, October 2, 1780. The major was, as noted in “Oxford American National Biography Online,” “remembered for his nobility of character, manners, military abilities, and varied talents as an actor, playwright, stage and costume designer, sketch artist, and satirical poet.” • There have been two André memorials at the Tappan site. The original was a stone, or “bowlder,” with the inscription: “André was executed October 2, 1780” (Lossing, p. 109). The stone, put in place about 1847, was sponsored by Mr. James Lee, a civic-minded New Yorker. Lossing indicates he himself saw this boulder during a visit to Tappan in 1849 and drew a later-published sketch. However, by about 1878, this first memorial stone had gone missing, as observed during the seminal visit to the site by Cyrus W. Field, New York industrialist, and the Reverend Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, antiquarian and dean of Westminster Abbey, London. (Inside the Abbey, André had in 1821 been reinterred, having been memorialized even earlier. See below, under COMMENTS). Today’s André monument (the second) takes the form of a five-ton granite stone (maybe Maine, possibly Quincy), polished and shaped in the form of a stele. The piece rests on an oval in the middle of Andre Hill Road (at about #42), a wrought iron fence surrounding it. According to a New York Times correspondent present for its 1879 unveiling, the André monument was some seven-and-one-half feet tall, which height included a two-stepped base of the same kind of granite. Subsequently, this base was destroyed by several hostile bombing attacks – see COMMENTS, below -- so that now the work appears to rest upon the ground (understanding that the monument is positioned atop a three-foot foundation and concrete bed). Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the memorial site is maintained by Rockland County, Department of Parks and Recreation, with support from Tappantown Historical Society. There are four inscriptions, three of which are engraved. (The four writings are copied below, under COMMENTS.) The primary inscription – seemingly, ultimately focused on André -- was undertaken by Westminster’s Stanley with the encouragement of Cyrus Field, who for his part agreed to purchase the land and to sponsor the monument. The two other engravings provide words of support. One is in Latin, from Virgil’s “Aeneid.” The other is two quotations by General Washington in evaluation of the Major (actually two separate quotes, not one as suggested by the engraved inscription). Lossing notes that by this time, prior to 1879, there had been some “controversy” associated with, apparently, the Lee marker (p. 110). There was more such “controversy” to come, in the form of attacks, bombings and mutilations of the second André monument, in February and March of 1882 and another bombing in 1885 (see COMMENTS, below). In a word, the memorials seemed to honor an “enemy,” someone trying to harm “us” — why: what’s going on, why is this right, who said it was? Important to this situation, then, is the final writing, situated on the stele’s fourth side, a gold-plated plaque of comparatively recent time, certainly 20th century. Its text clearly brings the André monument and its narrative up and into the sphere of U.S. history as might be viewed typically by Americans, and as well, structurally, lashes the stele to the traditions and customs of U.S. public monument-making. So that, finally, the dangerous American Revolution spying episode as related through the presence of this monument is made less a homage to an English army Major and more an American crisis resolved favorably, though painfully, by the effective and difficult work of American soldiers doing their duty to America and the American public. • The first André marker was developed, as noted, by James Lee, a New York merchant who also, according to Lossing, supported the Henry Kirke Brown, 1856 equestrian of General Washington, which is situated on the south side of Union Square, New York (which sculpture Gayle and Cohen note as “the city’s first major outdoor bronze statue” (see ID #1342, this database)). Cyrus West Field (1819-1892), a wealthy New York City financier, businessman and, most notably, a key developer of the transatlantic telegraph cable, sponsored the second André monument, dedicated on the 99th anniversary of the André hanging. Years of laying cross-Atlantic cables positioned Field well opposite prominent and influential English inventors, engineers and other public and government figures in London, like Dean Stanley of Westminster. The André site when purchased by Field from John Blauvelt, in 1878-1879, was a piece of a peach field, on the top of a hill. Back in the day, this future monument location over-looked the headquarters from which General Washington directed military efforts against the British. And today, this headquarters is known as the DeWint House, built about 1700, owned and maintained by the Free and Accepted Masons of the state of New York and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Content
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1)
Self-sacrifice
2)
Foreign national/NonAmerican
3)
Military
5)
Caucasian
6)
War for Independence
Design
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1.)
Man-made
2.)
Inscription/Text Design
Integrated
3)
Geometric w/wo pedestal
4)
Stone/rock
5)
Average (life-size)
6)
Four +
7)
Inscribed/lettered directly and on tablet
8)
Text available, partial
9)
Yes (see below)
9.1)
Image numbering/location
3000-348.1, 3000-348.2, 3000-348.3, 3000-348.4, 3000-348.5, 3000-348.6, 3000-348.7
10)
Design Preservation
Satisfactory
11)
Inscript. Separate from M|M
No
12)
Designers
13)
Fabricators/Builders
Known
13.1)
Fabricator/Builder 1
Taseman & Company 
13.2)
Fabricator City
Nyack 
13.3)
Fabricator State
NY 
13.4)
Fabricator Country
United States 
13.5)
Fabricator/Builder 2
B.S. Olmstead
Setting
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1)
Park/Garden/Lawn/Field
3)
Appearance/Setting
Completed
3.1)
Appeal of the Item
4 Satisfactory
3.2)
Setting appears appropriate
5 Good
3.3)
Traffic near for access, distanced for appreciation
4 Satisfactory
3.4)
Visualization and panorama
4 Satisfactory
3.5)
Opportunity to view, to enjoy the item
5 Good
3.6)
Overall Averaged Score
4.4 Satisfactory (Given a 1.0 - 7.0 Range)
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4)
Not Entered
5)
October 02, 1847
6)
October 02, 1879
7)
Not Entered
10)
Other Monuments on Site
11)
Satisfactory
12)
County government , Community Group/Not For Profit
Themes
1)
MonumentsandMemorials.com Themes
No Perceived Theme Match
2)
National Historic Landmark Themes
The War for Independence
Demography
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1)
File Number
45
2)
Town/City
Tappan
3)
County
Rockland
4)
District
Orangetown
5)
State
NY
6)
Zip
10983
7)
Country
United States
8)
Latitude (GPS)
41.0213410000
9)
Longitude (GPS)
-73.9548780000
10)
Intersecting Street 1
Old Tappan Road
11)
Intersecting Street 2
Andre Hill Road
12)
Additional Identifier 1
Andre Hill
13)
Additional Identifier 2
15)
Man-made
16)
16.1)
Business/businesses
16.2)
Other non-government
17)
Revolution: War/Governance | 1774-1788
18)
Compilation Date (Initial)
December 08, 2005
19)
19.1)
Government Materials
19.2)
Newspaper
19.3)
Website
20)
Compilation Date (Latest)
March 31, 2011
21)
Compilation Technique (Latest)
21.1)
Site Survey
21.2)
Government Materials
21.3)
Newspaper
21.4)
Website
22)
Source Originator
monumentsandmemorials.com
Comments and Notes
DESIGN: Maker/Foundry/Fabricator -- B.S. Olmstead, Rye, New York (landscape engineer)
SITE MAINTENANCE: County government -- Rockland; Community Group/Not For Profit -- Tappantown Historical Society
SPONSOR(S): Business/businesses -- Cyrus W. Field; Other nongovernment -- Rev. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Dean of Westminster Abby
SOURCES (1): Benson John Lossing, “The Two Spies, Nathan Hale and John Andre” (Digitized version, by Google books); Margot Gayle and Michele Cohen, “Manhattan’s Outdoor Sculpture.”
SOURCES (2): “John Andre’s Monument,” The New York Times, October 3, 1879. Alexander Hamilton, “Cyrus W. Field’s Audacity: The Andre Monument as viewed by a grandson of Alexander Hamilton,” The New York Times, December 20, 1885.
SOURCES (3): Letters to editor, The New York Times, published: 10/28/1857, writer not identified; 10/4/1879, writer not identified; 10/10/1879, by John Austin Stevens
NOTE (1) INSCRIPTION A – Primary:
Here died October 2, 1780 / MAJOR JOHN ANDRÉ, of the British Army, / who, entering the American lines / on a secret mission to Benedict Arnold, / for the surrender of West Point, / was taken prisoner, tried and condemned as a spy. / His death, / though according to the stern code of war/ moved even his enemies to pity; / and both armies mourned the fate / of one so young and brave. / In 1821 his remains were removed to Westminster / Abby. / A hundred years after the execution / this stone was placed above the spot where he lay, / by a citizen of the United States against which he / fought, / not to perpetuate the record of strife. /but in token of those better feelings, / which have since united two nations, / one in race, in language, and in religion, / with the hope that this friendly union / will never be broken./
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Dean of Westminster
NOTE (1) INSCRIPTION B – Washington Quotations:
He was more unfortunate than criminal.
An accomplished man and gallant officer.
First line, from a letter, Washington to Rochambeau, 10/10/1780
Second line, from a letter, Washington to Colonel John Laurens, 10/13/1780
Source: Lossing, p. 115
NOTE (1) INSCRIPTION C from Virgil’s “Aeneid”:
“Sunt lacrymae rerum et mentem mortalia tangent,”
Translates as: “These are the tears of things, and our mortality cuts to the heart.”
Source translation from: Yuni Words of Wisdom, at www.Yuni.com
NOTE (1) INSCRIPTION D -- Bronze plaque
THIS PROPERTY / ACQUIRED NOVEMBER 13 1905 BY / THE AMERICAN SCENIC AND HISTORIC SOCIETY / PRESERVES THE IDENTITY OF / A PLACE OF HISTORIC INTEREST / AND COMMEMORATES THE FORTITUDE / OF WASHINGTON AND HIS GENERALS / IN ONE OF THE CRISES OF THE / AMERICAN REVOLUTION
NOTE 2: Site Ownership --
Blauvelt family: settled by, 17th c.; house built around 1700
Cyrus W. Field: purchased 1878/1879
American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society: 1905
Rockland County: 1983, by conveyance
NOTE 3: Bombing attacks --
1/ February 22, 1882, hacked and mutilated
2/ March 30, 1882, 11:35 PM, explosion slightly damaged the monument
3/ November 3, 1885, 10:00 PM, explosion toppled the monument





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