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Jane Tuers (Jannetje Van Reypen Tuers)
Revolutionary War Patriot
Home - southeast corner of present Bergen Avenue and Mercer Street

 

 

Late nineteenth century photograph of the Tuers Homestead
which once stood near Bergen Avenue and Montgomery Street.
The photograph was labeled "Wheelihan House on the Armory Site: August 1893.
The Fourth Regiment Armory occupied the site between 1894 and 1927.
Hudson Catholic High School was constructed on the site in 1965.

Courtesy: Jennifer Wiggins

 
Bronze plaque attached to Hudson Catholic High School marking the former site of the home of Jane Tuers.
Photo: A. Selvaggio 2002

Early twentieth century postcard of the Fourth Regiment Armory.
View looking southeast from the intersection of Bergen Avenue and Mercer Street.
Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library.

Hudson Catholic High School
Photo: A. Selvaggio, 2002


Jane Van Reypen Tuers of Bergen Township was a patriot during the Revolutionary War. She earned her place in local history for confirming information about a British conspiracy to takeover West Point.

Tuers lived with her husband Nicholas in a farm house located on the site of the present Hudson Catholic High School that extends to Tuers Avenue and the former Fourth Regiment Armory at Bergen Avenue and Mercer Street. Legend holds that it was her practice to cross the Hudson River on the Paulus Hook ferry to British-held Manhattan to sell her farm goods. She also brought food to the Sugar House prison, where the British detained American soldiers. On one such New York visit, she made a stop in the popular Fraunces Tavern, at Broad and Pearl Streets and spoke with the patriot owner "Black Sam" Fraunces from the West Indies. He informed Tuers of what he overheard at his establishment. British soldiers spent leisure time at the tavern and discussed the latest military strategy along with their refreshments. According to Fraunces, the soldiers were toasting General Benedict Arnold who was to deliver West Point to the British.

When she returned home, Tuers told her brother Daniel Van Reypen, a blacksmith, about the conspiracy. A staunch patriot, Van Reypen traveled by horse to Hackensack, where he advised General "Mad" Anthony Wayne of the British scheme. Wayne reportedly 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; it was received in advance of 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 he was dissatisfied with the post. After discovery of Arnold's treasonous plot, he escaped and defected to the British, becoming one of America's best-known traitors. Andre was tried, convicted, and hanged as a spy on October 2, 1780. The intervention by Jane Tuers and her brother helped secure 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.

Jane Tuers died in 1834. She is buried in an unmarked grave (Lot 136) in the Old Bergen Church Cemetery on Bergen Avenue. Her home was demolished in 1894 for construction of the old Fourth Regiment Armory.

Local historian J. 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.

References:

Grundy, J. Owen. "Where's Plaque to Jersey City Heroine?" Jersey Journal. 13 April, 1968.
Grundy, J. Owen. The History of Jersey City, 1609-1976. Jersey City, NJ: Progress Printing Co., Inc., 1976.
Robinson, Walter F. Old Bergen Township (Now Hudson County) in the American Revolution. Bayonne, NJ: Keystone Printing Company, 1978.

By: Carmela Karnoutsos
Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub