Boyd & Parker State Park

Park commemorating the western most penetration of New York by the Continental Army

Photos 

Boyd & Parker Memorial

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in October 2020

Enlarge

Map 

Description 

This wayside shrine marks the place where on September 14, 1779 two young soldiers of the Revolution Lieutenant Thomas Boys and Sergeant Michael Parker met death undaunted in the line of duty after lingering torture. They marked with their blood the western limit in the state of New York of the great struggle for American freedom.

Text of the plaque mounted on a boulder as a shrine to the fallen members of the Continental Army. The plaque is shown in the photo matrix. The following text is taken from an interpretive sign located near the stream to the east of this marker, near "The Torture 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 the 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 wee 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 to 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 50,000 spectators. Concurrently, a boulder was unveiled with bronze tablets recognizing the park as a Revolutionary Was landmark.

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

Sullivan-Clinton Campaign

In one of the largest campaigns of the Revolutionary War, Generals John Sullivan and James Clinton led an army of over 5,000 Continental soldiers on an expedition through western New York in 1779 that destroyed almost all Cayuga and Seneca Indian villages.

Little Beard's Town was the largest Seneca village encountered by Gen. Sullivan and encompassed the surrounding area east to the Genesee River. Numerous Indian and Tory raids on the American frontier originated here.

The Continental Army arrive shortly after the Indians had fled and at the spot discovered the mutilated remains of Lt. Boyd and Sgt. Parker. Captured the day before during a scouting mission, they were put to death in retaliation for he American invasion into the heart of the Seneca Nation and decimation of their homeland.

On September 15th General Sullivan, following orders from General Washington, destroyed 128 dwellings and extensive fields of crops here in an effort to remove a peril to American Independence. That winter many Seneca families sought refuge with the British forces at Fort Niagara, where many died of starvation and disease. Many veterans of the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign settled in the region after the war.

Update Log 

  • October 28, 2020: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • October 28, 2020: Added by J.R. Manning

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - Lugnuts969 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • The Story of the Torture Tree - WARNING: The story contains graphic descriptions and is disturbing.