Boyd-Parker Torture Tree - Leicester, NY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member sagefemme
N 42° 46.606 W 077° 51.699
18T E 265901 N 4739998
Quick Description: This small park, at 3064 Cuylerville Rd Leicester, NY 14481 has numerous plaques and interpretive signs that tell the story of two members of the Sullivan Expedition, who were captured and tortured at this site in 1779.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 5/28/2012 4:32:03 PM
Waymark Code: WMEGQ9
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Szuchie
Views: 9

Long Description:
Text of plaque at the tree:

"The International / Society of / Arboriculture / and the / National / Arborist Association / jointly recognize this / significant tree in this / bicentennial year / as having lived here / during the American / Revolutionary Period / 1776 1976"

Text of the interpretive sign about thee tree:

"Burr Oak Tree

"A pioneer tradition asserts that Lt. Boyd was tied to and tortured on this Burr Oak tree. His and Sgt. Parker's bodies were buried by their fellow soldiers a few yards away along the creek. This tree was a bicentennial landmark of the Revolutionary War and in 1990 was placed on th NY State registry as one of 11 trees of historic significance.

"In 1841 the remains of Lt. Boyd and Sgt. Parker were removed from this site and taken up the Genesee Valley Canal to Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester for reburial. As a memorial the Leicester residents constructed a mound over the spot where the bones were exhumed. This historic ground was nearly forgotten until 1897 when William Pryor Letchworth contacted the Livingston County Historical Society about purchasing the area and erecting a monument.

"The Historical Society was unable to take ownership until 1927 when they transformed the wilderness into a roadside shrine. A county-wide commemoration with historical depictions and the dedication of a memorial heralded the establishment of the Boyd-Parker Park.

"The 150th Anniversary of the Sullivan Campaign was commemorated across New York State in 1929. A historical pageant in Leicester, re-creating the events of 1779 drew 500 spectators. Concurrently, a boulder was unveiled with tablets recognizing the park as a Revolutionary War landmark."

Neither this interpretive sign, not the other plaques on site explain how Lt. Boyd was tortured, but my husband, the historian, tells me that the Iroquois would cut their captures open and pull out their intestines, then force their captive to walk around the tree, where they were tied to it with their own living intestines. The intestines would dry out (much as an umbilical cord), tightening as it dried. The captive generally died of exposure, dehydrating at an extraordinary rate due to having been thus turned inside out.

"In 1930 the park was acquired by New York State and remained state property until 1970 when Leicester accepted ownereship."

Text of one of the two plaques on the large stone placed in 1929:
"Routes of the Armies of / General John Sullivan / and / General James Clinton / 1779 / An expedition against the hostile indian / nations which checked the aggressions of / the English and Indians on the frontiers / of New York and Pennsylvania, extending / westward the dominion of the United States / erected by the / State of New York / 1929"

Text of the second plaque reads:
"Genesee Castle / or Little Beard's Town / DE-O-NUN-DA-GA-A / (Where the hill is near) / This principal village of the Senecas / was destroyed in 1779 and was the / farthest point reached by / General John Sullivan / and an Army of four thousand men / acting under direct orders of / George Washington / Commander-in-Chief. / This campaign laid waste the indian lands / and so broke the offensive powers of the / British-Tory-Indian alliance against / New York and Pennsylvania, / extended the boundaries of the United States, revealed / the fertile country of the Genesee and / resulted in its early pioneer settlement. / Erected by the State of New York / and the Livingston County Historical / Society, September 14, 1929"

A second interpretive sign reads:
"Little Beard's Town

"Little Beard's Town stood on this location until September 15, 1779.

"On that day American Revolutionary War soldiers in the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign reached the Genesee River Valley and the Seneca towns along its banks. The Genesee River was once the western edge of aboriginal Senecas territory. In their language the Senecas refer to themselves as Onondowahgah - People of the Great Hill.

"Little Beard's town was the major settlement of Senecas living in the lush green Genesee valley. Ten thousand acres of fertile bottom land lay in the velley where the Seneca grew corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, potatoes and other vegetables. Orchards of apples, plums and peaches dotted the landscape.

"In the valley there also grew giant oak trees with branches and limbs that dropped to the ground provided an excellent source of firewood.

"Little Beard, whose Seneca name was Gah si gwa ah doh gwi, was a prominent Seneca leader who lived in this town as did Mary Jemison, an adopted Seneca, and her husband Hiakatoo. One hundred twenty eight houses stood on this site. They were finely built log cabins with ample furnishings; some even had glass window panes.

"The Senecas were the target of the Sullivan-Clinton campaign because their warriors joined the British cause upholding treaties with England. Mary Jemison is quoted in her biography as saying, "They burnt our houses, killed what few cattle and horses they could find, destroyed our fruit trees and left nothing but the bare soil and timber."

The shrine to Lt. Boyd and Sgt Parker is waymarked as a sign of history at: (visit link)
Historic Event:
Revolutionary War Period: The Sullivan Expedition of 1779

Year: 1779

Species: Burr Oak

Approximate Age: 300

Location: Leicester

Website: Not listed

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