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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 reference to an Ulster County Gazette story about the killings and the book also reprinted an elegy (not to be confused with an eulogy ) called "Elegy on the death of Maria Deyo". I have ordered the book, so more to come on this subject.

The challenge this poses is that our understanding of the history of the house is that it was built by Christoffel Deyo, who records show married Deborah Van Vliet. Christoffel died in May 1792 and Deborah died in May 1801. The maps of 1790 show that the house was owned by D. Deyo . Christoffel's first son is called David Deyo is reported to have married Rachel Ean in 1798.

David Deyo dies in 1804 and the house goes to Rachel Deyo (Ean) who remarries Abraham Relyea. We have documentation for latter part of this chain in the deads of the house. These deeds (below) are Dated 1826 and document the of all lands known as "Kline Bonticoe" were sold to Abraham Relyea. This includes 94 Acres that were left by David Deyo to Rachel Relyea (wife of Abraham and previously wife of David Deyo and we assume this to be the Rachel Ean mentioned before). It also documents Christopher Deyo (David's son) and Abraham E. Deyo (and his wife Elizabeth? not sure who they are) selling the remainder of the farm for $2520. Totaling 221 acres.

So, in terms of ownership of the house there is not much room for Maria Deyo in between David Deyo as shown in 1790 map and the murder mystery of this space. If anyone can help clear this up, please write a comment.


  1. Absolutely fascinating.

    Dying to know who she was and why she did that.

    One of you is going to have to write the story....(or the movie script)


    does this help? john x

  3. or

  4. Fantastic mystery. There was a pretty good movie in 2001 "The Others" that tells a very similar story to Maria's. If you haven't seen it, you must check it out! Great ghost story.

  5. We have a copy of the history of new paltz and have searched all the archives that Google has. There is no Maria Deyo that died in 1801. There are lots of Maria Deyos, the main one being much earlier. We have only found reference to a Maria Terwilliger Hofman Deyo b1762 d13SEP1801 who's second husband was Josiah Deyo. She had 6 children by her first marriage and two by Joshiah Deyo. Of these 8 children Elizabeth Hoffman b. 17 November 1795, John Jay Terwilliger b. September 23rd 1792 and Sarah Deyo b. 18 Dec 1800 - all 3 children died on September 13th 1801.

    The problem remains that there does not seem to be any link between maria's second husband. Josiah b. 1763 d. 1841 and The Deyos we believed owned the house. The closest option would be if Josiah and Jerzok (Christoffel and Debora's second son) were the same person. The rather unreliable genealogy sites claim that "Jerzok" was baptised in New Paltz September 23rd 1764. While Maria's husband was listed as being born 31st March 1763. Now, these could be the same person but it seems odd that they have different names and birthdays.

  6. I wonder if you could ask the ghost when you move in? Stella

  7. William--who but you could find the premier haunted house in Ulster County. For what it is worth you might want to contact Dick Stokes, excavator to the stars. He is a long time local from the High Falls area. His great grandfather was the grounds keeper at Mohunk when it was owned by the Smileys. If anyone might know how to connect to the ocal lore it would be him.

    Let me know if you want to contact him.


  8. Its a good tale... and since when has the fact ever got in the way of a good story... There is common reference to missed spellings because they were written phnonetically - Jerzok is commonly Isaac - I suggest you make the most of the story and charge for staying during the week in Ulsters most haunted... It may help the stone wall fund !!

  9. From Frank, Milena, Laura & Julia:
    thanks for showing us the house. I will upload the pictures this weekend.
    Sorry for the delay. Too busy .
    Julia Parise & family

  10. While this event transpired within the same family, it was not in your house, but in a house about a mile north on the other side of the road. We have more information about it at Historic Huguenot Street, as well as an original broadsheet.


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