Revolutionary War Burial Site, Langhorne Pa.
Flowers and Bellevue Ave. (Directions at bottom of page)
AMERICAN COLONIES 1776
War with England began with leaders in the cities of Boston, Philadelphia and New York. In all likelihood, newspaper accounts of the days after Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 reached Four Lanes End through travelers. By November of that year one might read, "Fort Lee Abandoned: British Secure in New York City" and "Americans Retreat: Washington's Troops Cross Hackensack River. " General Washington's army of 2,000 men had suffered another terrible loss and only by placing a major river between himself and the enemy could he gain space to survey and regroup. General Howe chased the Americans across the Passaic and the Raritan, often only a few miles behind the retreating army. So hard-pressed, they often had to leave behind artillery, food supplies, tents and blankets in their hasty flight. The Delaware River was their only hope.
General Washington realized the strategic importance of the river and necessity of preventing a crossing. Locating two ferries across from Trenton, New Jersey - Coryell's at New Hope and McConkey's in Taylorsville, his officers were ordered to collect all boats from above and below that point and swiftly set up quarters on the Pennsylvania shore. With resolve, the General watched British movement, expecting another attack. Capture of Philadelphia would surely spell defeat of the army and possibly collapse of the entire cause for independence.Our nation hung in the balance. The Quartermaster department's meager supplies were placed in Newtown, a safe distance from the front line.Also, a dispatch was sent to Dr. William Shippen, Sr., Surgeon General to set up a hospital for the sick knowing that his dwindling forces suffered from starvation and disease in this harsh, cold December; many could not endure the next fateful ten days. Shippen located such a place in Four Lanes End, a thriving village of trades and craftsman. Washington learned of the Hessian garrison at Trenton through a spy who posed as a Tory, afterward secretly allowing himself to be captured by an American patrol. Keeping few in his command aware of his plan for Crossing, preparation for this "Victory or Death" strategy was quickly put into action. The objective was to surprise and capture the enemy forces in Trenton, Bordentown and Princeton. Silently groundwork continued in the storm of snow and sleet, across the "running ice" in the river during the afternoon and evening of Christmas Day, 1776.
FOUR LANES END 1776
The first group of English Quakers began to settle our area soon after the arrival of Wm. Penn in 1680's. Within a few years they had sufficient number to petition the Falls Meeting for their own Meetinghouse called 'Neshamina', then Middletown. With these beginnings our town became a sizable Quaker farming community even in the early 1700's. Reaching back to the 1750' s, it was already known as a center for commerce and transportation - remarkably similar to today. According to an 1832 Gazetteer, 4 wheelwrights, 3 apothecaries, 2 coach makers and an extensive list of trades required for surrounding farm families could be found. Transportation converged at this early crossroads location which acted as a transfer point between stagecoach lines. Washington's soldiers occupied four buildings after the famous Crossing here in Langhorne. The Middletown Monthly Meeting and School and the Isaac Hicks House and Tannery. Approximately 166 soldiers from the First Battle of Trenton (December 25, 1776). Second Battle of Trenton (January 2, 1777) and Battle of Princeton (January 3, 1777) were buried here, most of whom died not of wounds in battle but disease and starvation. As a child of 11 years in 1776 Jane, daughter of Joseph Richardson witnessed her experiences vividly years later and they were subsequently written in the Journal of Joshua Richardson II in 1869. From the window of the house, she watched sleds standing outside the Hicks house, just across the street. Coffins were being drawn down to this burial site. Individual soldiers were placed in shallow mass graves, 3 or 4 soldiers per grave. This continued until May 15, 1777 when the troops departed.
PROTECTION & PRESERVATION 1992
Until an Archaeological Survey was made of this site, only local custom kept the legend of the Revolutionary War Burial Site existent in this unpublished Journal over the years. When owners of the property applied for subdivision of this tract a request was made to verify the information in both Journal and Letter, as they were known to indicate the burial of Revolutionary War soldiers. The evidence compiled confirms the 18th century burial site by the discovery of rose-head coffin nails aligned vertically, wood fragments attached, among other data. The soldiers who offered their loyalty and lives to their country represent 7 of the Original 13 Colonies. According to available records, it appears these 4 buildings in Langhorne were the only military hospital in the northern Philadelphia area. This single campaign provided the most enduring results for the future of our Nation.
BOROUGH OF LANGHORNE 1999
Establishment for stewardship began when Wood Services, Inc. dedicated this parcel to Langhorne to be preserved forever. The site occupies an area 65' x 100' and is on the National Register of Historic Places within a large historic district since 1989. The site is encircled by a period farmers' fence, flagpole, memorial bench for contemplation and granite monument noting a brief history. A Pennsylvania State Marker stands at the entrance.
Langhorne is committed to preserve this site not only as significant within its border but to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our Nation as well. It has recently been placed in public hands for future generations to visit, learn and honor. We invite you to join with us to enhance, beautify and interpret this property.
This historic site now belongs to you.
Tax deductible contributions may be directed to:
Langhorne Borough, 114 East Maple Avenue
Langhorne, PA 19047 (215)757-3768
Web Page sponsored by
Revolutionary War Site Commemoration Committee
Design & Text: Florence Wharton, Langhorne, PA
Directions to Langhorne Borough
From Harrisburg & West
PA Turnpike (Exit #28). Follow Sign for Route l (North).
Enter Route 1 North - remain in left lane toward sign, "Route
1 - Morrisville NOT Business Route 1. Take Exit ("Route
413 North ") to stop sign. Left turn at sign onto Route 413
North. Continue short distance (approx. 1/4 mile to Flowers
Avenue.) Left turn.
From New Jersey & East
Tacony Palmyra/ Betsy Ross Bridge to 1-95 North to
(Exit #29B - Langhorne) Exit 29B places you on Route 1
South. Continue on Route 1 South to 2nd exit (Bellevue
Avenue) Proceed to Revolutionary War site at Bellevue &
Local Highway Connections:
Business Route 1
Bellevue Avenue (Route 413) North. Continue on 413 N.
Left turn at Flowers Avenue after overpass.
Route 413 South through Newtown via By-Pass. Right turn to continue
on Rt. 413. Pass St. Mary Hospital on left. Proceed under 2
railroad tunnels and at next traffic signal, turn Right at
(Winchester Avenue). Follow one block to intersection with
(Bellevue Avenue) turn left and continue past Langhorne Hotel on right
for 2 blocks. Site on Left.
Route 213 (Bustleton Pike/Maple Avenue)
Enter Langhorne Borough on Maple Avenue to intersection with
Bellevue Ave. go South. Continue 2 blocks. Site on Left.