The Baylor Massacre Site

Well hello everyone! My apologies for being so behind on this blog. I had been on some excursions, but couldn’t find the words to say to put along with pictures. I’ve been going back and forth with just making posts picture-heavy or to still keep stories and experiences. I had some personal issues which kept me from getting out there. Then winter happened, and we all know what happened there! Now I’m finally getting back into the swing of things and ready to blog! So back to the meat and potatoes!


Back in September during Labor Day weekend, I took a visit to the Baylor Massacre site in River Vale, NJ. I had no idea how rich in American Revolutionary War history New Jersey actually is until I started my research for places to visit. This site is commemorated by a blue historic marker and a general gravemarker.

It lies in amidst a beautiful residential area, but one must think back to 1778 where there was just woods and farmland surrounding the area. There is a brook (or stream…unsure of what qualifies for either/or) which is also the breeding ground for mosquitos and other flying insects. The day I went was so humid and thunderstorms rolled in shortly after I left. I also left with parting gifts of several mosquito bites. The soldiers most likely had to deal with similar elements and issues, but in full military uniform.  

“In memory of the American soldiers killed during the Revolutionary War in the “Baylor Massacre” on September 28, 1778. Lt. Col. George Baylor’s 3rd Regiment of Continental Dragoons took quarters for the night on several nearby farms. Tories betrayed their presence to a British force, who surrounded the Dragoons during the night. A number of Americans were killed or wounded after they had surrendered.”

As you walk around the small park, there is a series of information stands (for lack of better words) in regards to the War and this historical site. They include: Propaganda: The Mighty Pen which tells the story of the American and British side of the Massacre, The Price of Freedom: A Patriot’s Grave that explains what happened immediately after the Massacre, the discovery of remains, and creating this historical site (I will be discussing), September 28, 1778 – “A Night of Savage Cruelty” that explains the leading up to the Massacre, during, the aftermath, then a little over a week later, information about The British General who’s name was Charles “No Flint” Grey, who The Third Continental Light Dragoons were and how they were mainly of aristocratic or “good” families and why they were chosen, and finally, “The Baylor Massacre Site” – September 28, 1778 which tells you about George Baylor and why this park is commemorated.

“This millstone is the only visible marker of the Baylor Massacre in existence today. On September 28, 1778, a detail of Baylor’s Continental Dragoons camping at Haring’s Tannery in River Vale was betrayed into the hands of the British by a tory and several were slain. The bodies of the dead soldiers were thrown into three vats at the tannery and this stone was placed over the vats to hide the bodies. Many years later, Garrett Holdrum’s father dragged the stone to his home with a pair of oxen. Later, Garrett Holdrum , who was president of the school board for some score of years, presented the stone to the Board of Education and, in 1953, it was moved to the school which bears his name.” Presented by the Graduating Class of 1956 of the River Vale Schools.

In 1967, the remains of 6 soldiers were found in the tannery vats and they were re-interred in 1972. According to research, there were approximately 50 men killed here that night. It is unknown where else they were buried, so I presume in the park and/or nearby brook. Others were taken prisoner and not much is said about their fates.





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