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This old Dutch Colonial stone house in Kingston, New York is rumored to have been built around 1700. The house is famous in Kingston history because it is one of the few buildings that was not burned down by the British when they set fire to the then New York capital of Kingston. Legend has it that it was spared because it was the home of a Mrs. Hammersly, a woman with Loyalist sympathies, who was in love with one of the British officers. Another version tells that the British began to burn the house, but were ordered to withdraw, allowing the slaves who were hiding in the woods to quickly extinguish the fire. A variant on that tale says that the house was used as an inn at the time, so the slaves rolled a barrel of rum out to treat the soldiers until they left. Further conjectures exist from saying it was spared because a British officer occupied it to suspecting it was too remote to be noticed, but either way, it’s a fascinating tale from one of New York’s most historic cities.

kingston new york history
kingston new york history

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