IV. NEW YORK MCCORDS IN THE REVOLUTION

Andrew McCord, Speaker of the New York Assembly and Governor George Clinton in the American Revolution, the Bill of Rights, other New York McCords, and George Washington just before his Yorktown victory which ended the American Revolution

New York State was Dutch territory from 1624 until 1684 when it became England's territory. During the Dutch rule a number of large Dutch estates such as the Van Cortlandt, Philippse, and Morrissania and were established in New York State which remained large estates until American Independence and well after that. Lands had been sold off in these estates beginning early in the 1700's, however, and became separately and privately owned, including that of the McCords.

The first known McCords to settle in New York state was John McCord who came in 1729 with an emigrating party of Charles Clinton's from Ireland. Charles Clinton's son, George, was the first Governor of New York state in 1777 after independence and was later Vice President of the U.S. under two Presidents, Jefferson and Madison.

The second known McCord to settle in New York state was James McCord who came in 1732, first settling in Morrisiana at the foot of the Hudson River and then moving to Westchester.

The McCords thereafter are found in Stony Point, Peekskill, Ossining, Newburgh , White Plains and Westchester on through Revolutionary War days.

The best known McCord of this period was Andrew McCord from Stony Point, who became Speaker of the New York Assembly in 1807 and who had been a close friend of Governor George Clinton from the days of the Revolution when he had served as a Captain in the 4th Regiment of the New York State Militia. Andrew McCord was the son of John McCord who emigrated to America in 1729 with George Clinton's father, Charles Clinton.

Charles Clinton was the grandson of Henry Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln, England.

"Charles Clinton, John McCord and some 40 friends and neighbors sailed from Belfast in 1725 for Philadelphia, but because of adverse winds landed at Cape Cod and later went to Ulster County (NY). The part where they settled became part of Orange County (NY)."

"John McCord had three sons, James, John and William. Two of the sons, James and John McCord, served in the 4th Orange Regiment of the Continental Line" of the Revolution.

"Andrew McCord represented first Ulster County and then Orange county in the New York Assembly.". Andrew McCord had served in the New York State Assembly during much of George Clinton's many years as Governor of New York State beginning in 1777.

NEW YORK GOVERNOR AND LATER VICE PRESIDENT GEORGE CLINTON ('CATO' IN THE FEDERALIST PAPERS).

GEORGE CLINTON WAS GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK STATE FOR 21 OF ITS FIRST 24 YEARS FROM INDEPENDENCE IN 1776 INTO THE EARLY 1800'S.

Andrew McCord, close friend and protege of New York's Governor George Clinton served under General Clinton as a Captain during the American Revolution.

Andrew McCord in 1801-03 had been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the New York counties which included Westchester and Peekskill. In 1807 he was elected Speaker of the New York Assembly.

Governor George Clinton was born in 1739 at Little Britain, Ulster (now Orange) County, New York, the son of Charles Clinton (1690-1773) who came to America in 1729 and commanded a regiment of New York provincial troops in the French and Indian War. George Clinton went with his father's regiment as a lieutenant in the expedition against Fort Frontenac in 1758.

Charles Clinton, George Clinton's father, is the one whose family John McCord of Ireland reportedly came to America with in an emigrating party in 1728, thus the McCord association with this Clinton family dates back to that year.

George Clinton was in the New York Provincial Assembly from 1768-1775. In 1774 he was a member of the New York Committee of Correspondence and in 1775 he was a member of the Second Continental Congress. The New York Provincial Congress appointed George Clinton a Brigadier General in December 1775. In 1776 he voted for the Declaration of Independence but was on duty with Washington in the defense of New York and was not able to sign it.

In October 1776 he was in charge of the defense of the Hudson Highlands at The Battle of White Plains (October 28, 1776). In March 1777 the Continental Congress appointed him a Brigadier General in the Continental Army and he therefore held two commissions, since the state commission refused to accept his resignation as Brigadier General of the militia.

"So great was George Clinton's popularity (in 1777) that at the first election under the new constitution he was elected both Governor and Lt. Governor. He declined the latter and on July 30, 1777 he entered on duty as Governor...

"In 1780 he took to the field and checked the advance of Sir Charles Johnson and the Indians in the Mohawk Valley.

"In his administration he was both energetic and patriotic...and he was more popular than any of his New York contemporaries. He served as Governor for 18 successive years (1777-95)and for another triennial term from 1801 to to 1804."

In 1804 George Clinton was elected Vice President of the U.S. by Congressional Caucus and served as such under both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He died in Washington on April 20, 1812 before the expiration of his second term. He ran against James Madison unsuccessfully for the Presidency in 1808. Only one other man has served as Vice President under two Presidents as did George Clinton.


THE U.S. BILL OF RIGHTS AND PATRICK HENRY AND GEORGE CLINTON

Virginia Governor Patrick Henry is recorded and given credit in the 50th Anniversary World Book Encyclopedia for being responsible for our nation's Bill of Rights being made a part of our U.S.Constitution in 1789-90.

Patrick Henry also earlier gave his famous speech, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" in 1775 which motivated the Virginia delegation to the Continental Congress to arm itself and later to strike for independence from Britain.

Virginia's first Governor Patrick Henry and New York's first Governor George Clinton teamed up in 1787-89 to oppose the ratification of the U.S. Constitution until a Bill of Rights was included. Governor Clinton wrote as 'Cato' in The Federalist Papers in opposing a Constitution without a Bill of Rights.

Patrick Henry, George Clinton, and some from other states forced James Madison to introduce Bill of Rights Amendments in June 1789 to the Continental Congress, which resulted in our most precious freedom of speech and freedom of religion amendments and other guarantees of liberty. Madison had opposed a Bill of Rights, believing it was unnecessary and that a federal government could be trusted without it.

Andrew McCord, later Speaker of the New York Assembly, is given credit for having worked with New York's 6-term Governor George Clinton in this successful fight for our nation's Bill of Rights.


America's first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay

JOHN JAY'S LONG CAREER OF SERVICE FOR AMERICA

John Jay, a deeply religious man and one of the first Presidents of the American Bible Society, was an American held in very high esteem by America's first President George Washington who appointed Jay the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1789. Jay probably held more critically important and varied positions in American service during his career than any other man in history, other than Washington.

In 1779 the Continental Congress appointed Jay Minister to Spain, and in 1783 he, with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, negotiated the Peace Treaty of 1783 with England which ended the Revolutionary War and gave America its long-sought independence, gained at much sacrifice and great cost.

In 1784 the Continental Congress made Jay its Foreign Secretary to serve under the Articles of Confederation. He wrote in The Federalist Papers in favor of the adoption of the U.S.Constitution. In 1794 he went to England and negotiated Jay's Treaty as it was called. He resigned as U.S. Chief Justice in 1795 to become Governor of New York State from 1795-1801, following which he retired from public service. A prayer of Jay's found among his personal papers is contained at the end of this homepage.

Earlier still, Jay in 1777 had been largely responsible for composing New York's first state constitution, principally his work. He became New York's first Chief Justice of its Supreme Court in 1777.

Jay had been a delegate from New York to the First and Second Continental Congress and in 1778 he was elected the President of the Continental Congress. 1778 was a critical year for the Continental Congress with Washington's troops barely surviving the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge while British troops a few miles away in Philadelphia lived in warm homes sequestered by the British

Andrew and other McCords in New York knew John Jay well.

One McCord family there had two sons who fought for independence on George Washington's side, James and Robert, and two other sons, David and Samuel, who fought as officers for the British side in American Revolution. One of these sons later served as an officer in Scotland for the 79th Highlanders,and the other with the 42nd Highlanders in Nova Scotia.

John Jay in January 1777 interviewed John McCord. their father, early in the American Revolution regarding his sons in the British army. This was while Jay was an official for Governor George Clinton just before Jay became Chief Supreme Court Justice for the State of New York in 1777. The McCord father had the wisdom to stay neutral and Jay the wisdom to let him do so without punishment. The McCord father walked a narrow and successful line to keep his family together much as some fathers did in the Civil War who had sons fighting on opposing sides.

Andrew McCord represented Ulster and Orange counties, which included Westchester, in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1801-03. He had earlier served several terms in the New York State Assembly from that area in the late 1700's and had been a delegate in the Second Provincial Congress of New York State.

Andrew McCord had talked with the family described above whose father was interviewed by John Jay. Obviously, Andrew McCord who was their cousin had sympathies on the Revolutionary side, while the man's wife held the opposite view, sympathetic to the British and they became estranged.

After the Revolutionary War, Andrew McCord sent a message to by his good friend Major Van Cortlandt and sought to restore the family friendship and let their past sympathies be bygones. Andrew subsequently was visited by one of her relatives with whom he and his family had a very touching visit. Major Van Cortlandt was of the family of those who owned one of the large Dutch estates in lower New York state.

The Van Cortlandt home is in the style of a number of the homes in the Peekskill, Ossining New York area, one of which belonged to John McCord, smaller in size.

Andrew McCord was Speaker of the New York Assembly in 1807.

HUDSON RIVER VALLEY ESTATES SHOWING LOWER CORTLANDT AND PHILLIPSE ESTATES. ANDREW MCCORD REPRESENTED THE LOWER HUDSON RIVER VALLEY AREA IN THE U.S. CONGRESS AND STATE ASSEMBLY

HOME (ILL.) OF ONE OF ANDREW MCCORD'S DESCENDANTS

(courtesy Col. Glenn D. McCord via David McCord)


The James McCord of New York who came in 1732-reportedly the son of the Clan Chieftain James MacKorda!

James McCord was the second McCord settler in New York in 1732, settling at Morissiana, and died in 1759 and is buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery at White Plains, New York. 

He was reported to have been born on the Isle of Skye and the son of the Clan Chieftain James MacKorda who was killed at the Battle of Killiecrankie Pass in 1689.

Citing "Record copied from the Presbyterian Church, Stewartstown, County Tyrone, by the writer's uncle, William S. McCord, May 12, 1911", Margaret McCord Robinson writing in The Westchester County (N.Y.) Historical Bulletin of April 1948, page 50, wrote,

"Shortly after the Battle of Killiecrankie John (McCord, son of Clan Chieftain James MacKorda) and his wife with his infant brother James McCord, left Scotland settling in Stewartstown, County Tyrone, Ireland where it is said, they had relatives."

The quoted information above, Margaret McCord Robinson thus said, came from the records of the Presbyterian Church, Stewartstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. 

This information provides a lead in trying to locate the old McCord family Bible of the 1600's reportedly last seen at the home of Mrs. William McCord of Westchester, N.Y., according to a McCord who wrote that he had seen the old 1600 Bible there, along with a sword belonging to the old Clan Chieftain James MacKorda, and an old clock. 

The one who wrote that he had seen it, date not stated, was James Sturgis McCord, descendant of John McCord, born 1702 who settled in Hanover, near Derry (now Hershey) Pennsylvania ca 1720. 

The writer of the article in the Westchester County Historical Bulletin, Margaret McCord Robinson, stated that she is a descendant of the James McCord described above who she further wrote,

 "This second James McCord born in 1688, married his cousin Sarah McCord on May 7, 1706," again citing the records of the Presbyterian Church at Stewartstown, Northern Ireland seen by her uncle William S. McCord on May 12, 1911.

Margaret McCord Robinson further writes that,

"Ben McCord's Bible was lost in the fire which destroyed his son William's home on Mt. Airy about 1900 but a copy of those records exist." She does not state who has them. 

However, Margaret McCord Robinson does write,

"The writer's father, Robert McCord 1864-1946, over a period of 50 years copied all the then extant records and recorded all traditions heard from his great uncles Samuel and Jacob McCord as well as from his grandmother Rachel Tompkins McCord, the widow of Jordan McCord. He also corresponded with the descendants of his immigrant ancestor, James McCord of Foxes Meadows, living in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Kentucky, as well as those in Dutchess and Orange Counties in New York."

In the 1980's, the author of this online book, James McCord, was in contact with other descendants in New York about any records of the Robert McCord she mentions. Further leads from that research are being pursued at this time in order to try to locate the old 1600 Bible and other records of Robert McCord and others.

 James McCord, son of James MacKorda, was believed to have possibly have moved to America in 1732 to pursue missionary work for the Presbyterian Church. In Westchester county, he traveled the Westchester countryside on horseback as a lay preacher and circuit rider. He was a devout Presbyterian and an elder in the Presbyterian Church of White Plains.

A home which originally was on a 300-acre farm belonging to James' son, John McCord, remained in the family until the 1930's and the home still may be seen at the corner of Narrangasset Avenue and Collyer Drive, Ossining, New York.

DAVID MCCORD HOME IN OSSINING, NEW YORK 1977

(courtesy Norman T. McDonald)

The farm was originally in the northern part of the large Frederick Philippse estate.

PHILIPPSE FAMILY ESTATE MANOR HALL

A large clock whose works is over 300 years old, had been brought by the original James McCord when he came to America in 1732 and is still in the family of Mrs. Helen McCord of New York. The family of Benedict Arnold at one time in the clock's history negotiated for the purchase of the clock from the McCords, indicating it had originally been in their family in England. However the clock remains in the McCord family. It was buried on the farm during the Revolutionary War and was dug up and reconstituted after the war, replacing the woodwork around the clock works.

300-year old McCord clock in the family of Mrs. Helen McCord of New York

Sleepy Hollow, of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow published in 1820, was located on the PHILIPPSE Estate and its wording graphically describes the area and some of the crops grown on the farms in that area then.

JOHN MCCORD'S GRAVESTONE MARKED 1777, LOCATED IN DALE CEMETERY, OSSINING, NEW YORK. SIX GENERATIONS OF HIS DESCENDANTS REST AROUND HIM. JOHN MCCORD WAS THE SON OF JAMES MCCORD WHO CAME TO AMERICA IN 1732



GEORGE WASHINGTON'S 1781 HEADQUARTERS IN THE HUDSON RIVER VALLEY

The Appleby Home in Westchester County

Two grandsons, Samuel and Benjamin McCord, of this original James McCord who came in 1732, married two twin daughters of the Joseph Appleby family in Westchester County, New York before the American Revolution.

General George Washington made his headquarters in the New York Hudson campaign of 1781 of the Revolution in the home of Joseph Appleby's brother located nearby.

A writer has described General Washington at the Appleby home he occupied and some of the meals there as follows:

"Washington occupied the Appleby house (as his headquarters), which stood on what is known as Washington's Hill, about three quarters of a mile west of the Odell house--a busy place, where the only relaxations were the daily dinner of his military family to which the French officers were often invited.

"Blanchard, the French Commissary General described, such a dinner which took place about a week before in the Birdsall House at Peekskill, at which he was a casual guest.

" 'On the 29th, I got on horseback to see some barracks which had been occupied by an American Regiment during the winter; my purpose was to establish a hospital there. On the road I met General Washington, who was going to review part of his troops. He recognized me, stopped and invited me to dine with him at three o'clock.

"'I repaired thither, there were twenty five covers, used by some officers of the army and the lady to whom the house belonged. We dined under the tent. I was placed alongside the general. One of the aides-de-camp did the honors.

" 'The table was served in the American style and pretty abundantly...I arose when I saw General Washington ask for his horses because I desired to have a conversation with him and Mr. Coster (Carter) the purveyor of our army and who had arrived and spoke French well...We all three left the table. The other officers remained. The lady also withdrew at the same time as we...." The Count De Grasse, French Military Chief in America was toasted during the evening as was Washington.

" In the description of another dinner to which Blanchard was invited a few days later (presumably at the Appleby house) he gives a few additional particulars which fill out the first:

" 'I found the table served as at the first time with about the same number of guests.

'" 'There was a clergyman at this dinner who blessed the food and said grace after they had done eating...

" ' I was told that General Washington said grace when there was no clergyman at the table, as fathers do in America. ' "

The writer went on, "By July 7th the camp had settled down and Rochambeau reviewed the American army, while on the following day Washington received the salute of the French army drawn up in review.

" 'On the 11th, Washington paid a visit to Lanzun in White Plains. ....the construction of substantial redoubts was begun at Dobbs Ferry on both sides of the river. ...the one on the east side when completed later in July mounted 8 heavy cannon and as many howitzers (by Washington's forces).' "

The writer then goes on to further describe battle preparations in the area by Washington and his men. Count de Grasse mentioned above was in overall charge of the French fleet and troops which later in October 1781 assisted Washington defeat British General Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia.

Rochambeau mentioned above was Comte de Rochambeau, commander of French troops in America and who fought with Washington at Yorktown. Rochambeau had just marched his troops from Connecticut to the Westchester area at the time of the review of troops mentioned above and had placed his troops under Washington's command.

ROCHAMBEAU, COMMANDER OF FRENCH TROOPS IN AMERICA

This time described above when Washington lived in the Appleby home was perhaps the most critical time for Washington in the whole Revolutionary War, for he was planning then the crucial strategy which won the war. The conversations in the Appleby home by Washington and his military leaders and those of the French must have been most interesting ones. They certainly were critical ones.

Were the McCords around when all this was going on at the Appleby home? While we do not know, it was customary for related families to pitch in to help out when a large group of guests arrived in the home. It is likely that more than one McCord family pitched in and helped out the Applebys with so many of the honored guests they were hosting, and there is one report that the McCord family did so.

In addition, the head of the French troops in America, Rochambeau stayed just three quarters of a mile away in the Odell house mentioned above in the conversation about the Appleby home.

Brigadier General George Clinton head of all New York state troops was in the area at the time. Andrew McCord was in his Quartermaster force which was his logistical support group. They must have been taxed to the utmost with such a large group of American and French troops in the area and it would not have been unlikely that Andrew would have called on all his relatives in the area to help out in a myriad of ways. This was his territory, Westchester.

Washington in July 1781 had 10,000 troops around Westchester and French military chief's several thousand French troops had just pulled into the area. And they were on Captain Andrew McCord's turf, at Westchester. He must have been working day and night and calling on all everyone he could in the area to feed and support them all.

Subsequently, with 5000 troops Washington then went on a reconnaissance mission to New York City to assess the military situation there. He determined that New York City was strongly fortified, so Washington settled then on the deception strategy which ended the war.

That strategy of Washington's was to go on then with his men into Virginia and trap British Commander Cornwallis and his troops at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781 and to leave British forces in New York City thinking that he was going to attack them there.

Cornwallis was coming up through Virginia from the Carolinas where he had suffered two major humiliating defeats, one at The Battle of Kings Mountain under Colonel Sevier, General Andrew Pickens and other frontier leaders, and the other at The Battle of Cowpens from Brigadier General Daniel Morgan and his crack frontier troops.

So Washington came down from the north with the deception plan just mentioned. The deception worked and Washington ended the war with total victory. America was finally independent and free.

GEORGE WASHINGTON'S TRAP OF THE BRITISH AT YORKTOWN

Washington's sense of timing and strategy was superb. With French ships available to block off Cornwallis' troops at the bay, and French troops to support the American frontier troops of his 2-star general from Virginia--who was a Protestant minister on leave from his church near Winchester and heading the American troops at Yorktown--Washington was ready to strike with lightning speed and surprise. And he did so , winning the war after 8 long years against almost impossible odds. His great tenacity and perseverance and brilliant strategy paid off with complete victory.

Washington was the greatest military and civil leader America has ever had.

Lord Frederick North, British Prime Minister is said to have exclaimed when he heard the news of Cornwallis's defeat at Yorktown, "Oh my God, it is all over!" And it was and Lord North resigned as King George III's Prime Minister.

Lord North became known thereafter as the British leader who lost the American colonies.


Other McCords lived in the area described above. On January 2, 1777 two sons of John McCord, James and Robert, took their oath of office before John Jay to serve in Colonel Hammond's Westchester County Militia Regiment in the American Revolution. John Jay was then Chairman of the Westchester County Committee which was then meeting at Connor's Tavern in Westchester.

James and Robert's father, John, is buried in a 1777 grave in Dale Cemetery in Ossining. His headstone with the year 1777 carved on it may still be seen there. His son James who served in the Revolutionary War is also buried there.

John McCord's farm was raided by the British during the war. Horses from the farm also served the Revolutionary cause and were used by Washington's army during the war at Pines Bridge.

WPointNY.jpg (30568 bytes)

WEST POINT NEW YORK IN THE 1700'S

West Point was the scene of a major engagement event of the Revolutionary War.

Westchester in 1776 was the Provincial capitol of New York state and its Provincial Congress meeting in White Plains had approved the Declaration of Independence which the Continental Congress had adopted on July 4, 1776. George Clinton was elected the State's first Governor. Andrew McCord was a delegate to the Provincial Constitutional Convention. Andrew McCord was in New York when George Washington become President and served in the U.S. Congress when America's third President came into office, Thomas Jefferson.

BRIGADIER GENERAL DANIEL MORGAN'S VICTORY AT SARATOGA

The Battle of Saratoga, New York, occurred in 1777 in which Brigadier General Daniel Morgan with his frontiersmen won a victory over the British and in which 6000 British troops surrendered.

Much additional fighting occurred in New York state in the next few years until victory finally came to Washington at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781.

Eight years later, Washington was sworn in, in New York City, as America's first President, encouraged to do so by his good friend, Major General John Armstrong of the Pennsylvania frontier at Carlisle, Pennsylvania who Washington had known since French and Indian War days when they had served together.

GEORGE WASHINGTON'S INAUGURATION AS OUR FIRST PRESIDENT 1789, IN NEW YORK CITY

New York City, a few miles from Westchester, was the first capitol of the United States.