Skip to main content

Calling all Military Minds

One of the amazing things about owning a house that is 270 years old is that with every turn there is a mysterious fact about the house that needs investigating.

Ken, one of the partners of Eight Point Construction (who incidentally are doing a fabulous job and keeps an incredibly clean building site) asked me what I knew about the history of the house. He pointed out a feature that I'd noticed but not put much thought to. The front porch, that is a new (ish) addition, somewhere between the 1870 Jesse Elting photo and the 1940 Irma DeWitt photo, has a large round stone acting as the first step to the porch. Initially I thought this was a grind stone. On the floor of the porch, among the blue stone flagstones, is what I thought was a small round river stone.

Ken told me he thought the small round stone was in fact a cannonball. He had hit it with a hammer and sure enough it gave a ring of metal on metal. He then pointed out that the big round stone was NOT a grind stone as it did not have any 'grooves' radiating from the centre. This 'stone' only had one worn groove around the edge. Ken, said he had seen something like this before and he thought it could be a 'pivot' or 'traverse' for a cannon. This made me think that perhaps the 2Lt on the inscription in the dining room did in fact stand for Second Lieutenant.

This is where I need some help from military minds. Look at the pictures below and let me know if you can help answer the following questions....

a) Is this stone a cannon pivot/traverse?
b) How can I tell if this is a civil war cannonball?
c) Does anyone know anything about 2nd Lieutenant John J. Burns who did some of the renovations in 1934? Can anyone link 2Lt John Burns and George Fiorentino (of the Colony Restaurant NY) who bought the house just before these renovations took place.

Mysterious front step?


Who is 2Lt John J. Burns?


  1. Bill Jeffway found John J. Burns in Manhattan.
    Daniel worked out that the letter after the NY were NYG - New York Guard. 10 or 20 may be the regiment.

    thanks for your interest and help.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

DeJoux House to be published

Our house has been watched over the years by a couple, Susan Daley and Steve Gross who create amazing books of old houses and Hudson Valley (each name below is a link to Amazon).  They knew the house and had been watching our progress. As we came close to finishing they reached out and asked if they could photograph the house for a book of cottages:

Catskill Country Style Book, Old Houses, Farm House Revival, Homes With A Past, Gardens of Hudson Valley, Time Wearing Out name but a few.

All of these books are beautifully produced. I can't wait to see our home in one of them later in 2015/16.

I won't reveal all of the amazing photographs that have been taken of our house, you'll have to buy the book to see them all....but here is a little taster.

The story of three Marias

For the first time in a long time I have had a few hours to spare to investigate the relationship between Maria Deyo, the story of the murders on Springtown Road in 1800, DeJoux House and the Deyo family -  especially now I have both the complete family tree and ownership of the house.   

My investigation started with the facts that we knew so far.

1) The document from the Library of congress that documents the murders and the names of the husband (Josiah) and the wife (Maria).   In this news DOCUMENT she is described as killing two children from a previous marriage. Also an infant daughter of 9 months old. (presumably the daughter of Josiah)

2)  The map of 1790 shows the only other Deyo owned house as being owned by C. Dojo

3)  The tax record of 1798  references a stone house, next door to David Deyo's house (Our house) that is "owned by"  Christian Deyo but was being occupied by "Josiah Deyo"  and is described as being "Between the main road and the mou…

Maria Deyo - a chilling tale

We arrived at the house this weekend to meet with the contractors who had poured concrete in the basement on Friday. When we arrived we found a family standing in front of the house taking pictures. Being the friendly types we are, we went over to chat.

They told us they were on a haunted house tour and were looking at the house because their daughter had been talking about the ghost at our house for the last couple of days. She had bought a book called "Spooky Hudson Valley" and in it was the story of Maria Deyo and a tragic tale of a mother killing all three children and then killing herself.

The family were wonderful and excited to be shown the house. They showed us the book and at the beginning of the story was a picture of our house. The book went on to say that Maria sent the men to the fields and then she slit her daughter's throat and the throat of her other two children...then killed herself. All this happened on September 13th 1801. There was ref…