On the July 4th, I braved a sore back and the unlivable heat for a brief stroll around Woodlawn (the neighborhood, not the cemetery, though I did go past it). It’s a sliver of the Bronx wedged between Van Cortlandt Park, Woodlawn Cemetery, the Bronx River Parkway, and the undefended border of the Bronx and Yonkers. It’s an extraordinarily insular area, and in the past, a fellow shuffling about taking pictures has not been treated altogether kindly. Today, however, the residents were peaceable (on the holiday, not many were in evidence, anyhow). Locals call their neighborhood Woodlawn, while outsiders have it as Woodlawn Heights.
I had long heard of the Nimham Monument, but had never been able to find it. Strolling along Van Cortlandt Park East, It suddenly appeared.
On August 31, 1778, 17 Mohican Indians, led by Daniel Nimham and fighting on the side of the patriots, were massacred after their defeat by Colonel Simcoe and his Queens Rangers, fighting for the Crown. The Indians are commemorated at Indian Field in Van Cortlandt Park on E. 233rd St. east of Jerome Ave. The Mohicans, all from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, had tracked the British through the Bronx but were finally met by an overwhelming force of British and Hessian troops. This battle, on land owned by the Devoe family, was the only one in the Revolutionary War that occurred completely within what would become Van Cortlandt Park.
The Mohicans were buried in Indian Field by the Devoes and their gravesite is marked by a plaque and a cairn, a stone mound used in Scottish burials, at Van Cortlandt Park East and E. 238th Street. Chief Nimham was also commemorated by tiny Nindham Place in Kingsbridge Heights, but that street has since been demapped.
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