Tales From the Neutral Ground; James Lyon (Part 2)

A recollection of the “Neutral Ground” as told by my fifth-great-grandfather James Lyon in 1848, during an interview with Judge James MacLean MacDonald. 

(What were the McDonald Papers? According to the Westchester County Historic Society, “The McDonald Papers are comprised of over 1000 pages of reminiscences about the American Revolution. Compiled between 1844 and 1851, they record the interviews of 241 elderly men and women who had been living in Westchester County during the war. This valuable resource was the work of Judge James MacLean Macdonald, a Westchester attorney who, because of illness, had to give up his law practice. Although he was partially paralyzed, he determined to record the recollections of the war of the remaining people in the county who had lived through it. The result of Macdonald’s efforts is a rich and personal picture of the hardships of Westchester residents, living in the “Neutral Ground” between 1776 and 1783.

When Macdonald completed the interviews, he wrote a series of lectures which were delivered in 1855 at meetings of the New-York Historical Society. These lectures were published by WCHS in 1927 in two volumes titled The McDonald Papers. Although he spelled his name Macdonald, the interviews have always been known as the McDonald Papers.”)

November 17th, 1848:

James Lyon, of Bedford, aged 87:

I belonged to Captain Moseman’s company of militia, and was out with him a number of times in pursuit of Refugees and Cowboys who had taken off our cows and sheep. Once, while Captain Pritchard was with us, we pursued them to the vicinity of Clark’s Corner (Pleasantville), had several skirmishes, and recovered part of the cattle. On one of these occasions, Andrew Irving – the Irish hatter – joined the Refugees and left them when they were hard pressed. I remember the story well.

Vermille was the Captain and Abijah Harris was the Lieutenant of a militia company in Bedford, to which my neighbor James Sutton belonged.

Colonel Armand with his legion was sometimes in New Castle and Bedford. Colonel Holmes was with the party that took Bedford. Holmes was a bad man.

Lieutenant Abijah Harris was a good and skillful soldier. So was Captain Vermille, but he was somewhat addicted to plundering.

Succabone Street is about two miles from Bedford in a westerly direction and commences when you turn to the right and ascend a hill in coming from Bedford to this place. The Refugees several times came to Succabone Street and were pursued from thence to Clark’s Corner. We were in a skirmish near Clark’s Corner when Captain Pritchard, and Captains Moseman and Vermille with their companies pursued the Refugees to that place, which is about six miles below Old North Castle Church on the Tarrytown road. The Americans when they attacked occupied ground much higher than the Refugees, in consequence of which although they fired two or three rounds, they overshot the enemy, doing them no injury.

Colonel Armand with his legion lay at several times in Succabone Street but did not remain there long, changing his quarters frequently. He had a fine company of riflemen who were excellent marksmen.

In May, 1781, Pinesbridge was guarded by negros, and they were attacked by the Refugees at the same time in the morning that Davenport’s house was surprised and taken. This negro guard was entirely cut to pieces, but by a different party from that which surprised Greene and Flagg.

(relationships 1 – 8 are proven via DAR documentation):

Genealogy Snapshot

Name: James Lyon (1761 – 1850)
Parents: Roger Lyon and Phebe (Unknown)
Spouse: Martha Banks
Relationship to SK Roots: 5th Great Grandfather

  1. James Lyon (1761 – 1850)
  2. Deborah Lyon (1791 – 1877)
  3. George Washington Moseman (1827 – 1888)
  4. Willet William Moseman (1852 – 1924)
  5. Nathaniel Greene van Buren Moseman (1872 – 1961)
  6. Augusta Wilhemenia Moseman (1909 – 1998)
  7. Herbert Charles Woznick
  8. Sally

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