Jane Tuers (Jannetje Van Reypen Tuers)

The story of Jane Tuers, a patriot during the Revolutionary War, is that she assisted with the derailing of a plan by the British to takeover West Point.

Jane’s home – southeast corner of present Bergen Avenue and Mercer Street

Jane Tuers lived with her husband Nicholas in a farm house located on the site of the present Hudson Catholic High School back to present Tuers Avenue. At the time of the Revolutionary War it was said to be her practice to cross the Hudson River on the Paulus Hook ferry to Manhattan to sell her farm goods, as well as to bring food to the Sugar House prison, where they British detained American soldiers. She also visited the popular Fraunces Tavern, at Broad and Pearl Streets, which was run by “Black Sam” Fraunces from the West Indies. Here British soldiers spent some leisure time and shared the latest military strategy along with their refreshments. Fraunces, a patriot, overhead the soldiers toast some by the name of (General Benedict) Arnold who was to deliver West Point to the British. “Black Sam,” in turn, informed Tuers of what he overheard.

When she returned home, Tuers informed her brother Daniel Van Reypen, a blacksmith, who traveled by horse to Hackensack, where he advised General “Mad” Anthony Wayne of the British scheme. Wayne brought Van Reypen to see General George Washington, who offered Van Reypen a reward. However, Van Reypen declined the money award and requested only that Washington intercede in the event of his capture.

The information provided by Tuers confirmed what Washington had heard rumored about Arnold and was received in advance to the arrest of Major John Andre, the British agent working with Arnold. Arnold had been assigned the stationary command at West Point after an injury, but was dissatisfied with the post, wishing to return to military combat. He escaped capture by taking a British ship over to Manhattan. Andre was taken at Tarrytown and tried, convicted and hung at Tappan on October 1, 1780. The intervention by Jane Tuers and her brother secured West Point for the patriots. Its strategic location on the Hudson River made possible the receipt of supplies from New England and upper New York without venturing into nearby British controlled territory.

Years later Daniel Van Reypen built a home at 320 Fairmount Avenue. Jane Tuers died in 1834. She is buried in an unmarked grave (Lot 136) in the Old Bergen Church burial ground on Bergen Avenue. Her home was demolished in 1894 for construction of the old Fourth Regiment Armory.

Local historian Owen Grundy reports that in 1925 a bronze tablet in memory of Jane Tuers was placed at the old Armory, at the southeast corner of Bergen Avenue and Mercer Street, by the Jane Tuers Society, Children of the American Revolution. This society was sponsored by the Bergen Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and organized in 1917. When the old Armory was razed, the marker for Jane Tuers was lost.

By C.A. Karnoutsos
Edited by P. Shalhoub