Walking the Post Road

A curious welcoming sign on the border of Pelham and New Rochelle, New York.

“Lawless bands of mercenaries ...called Cowboys and Skinners infested the ‘Neutral Ground’ ravaging the whole country between the British and American lines, a region some thirty miles in extent, embracing nearly the whole of Westchester County.”

Charles W. Baird, Chronicle of a Border Town: The History of Rye, New York in Westchester County (1871), p. 241.


  1. 1.Paula M. Lipsett, M.D., Mamaroneck Town: A History of the Gathering Place (Mamaroneck: 300th Anniversary of town government, 1997).  I used this for a good deal of the information about the town of Mamaroneck, including the information about Caleb Heathcote.

  2. 2.Sarah Knight, Diary, 71.

  3. 3.George Washington, Diary, 20.

  4. 4.Judith Doolin Spikes, Larchmont, New York: People and Places, (Larchmont, NY: Fountain Square Books, 1991), 23.

  5. 5.J. Thomas Scharf, History of Westchester County, New York, Including Morrisania, Kings Bridge, and West Farms, Which Have Been Annexed to New York City (Philadelphia: L.E. Preston, 1886), pp177-457 passim, for information on the Revolutionary War in Westchester County and the role of the Cowboys and Skinners.

  6. 6.Spikes, 51.

  7. 7.Ibid., 14.

  8. 8.Scharf, 27.

  9. 9.After I wrote this passage a new book recently published came to my attention by Maya Jasanoff, Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World, (Knopf) one of the few books to treat the Loyalists as a subject in their own right, which details the “fratricidal” nature of the Revolutionary War to which I alluded above and which previously I have not seriously considered until I did the research for this section of the Post Road. Apparently more than 30,000 Loyalists left for Nova Scotia, while thousands of others moved to far flung corners of the British Empire.

Distance Walked in the Entry: 3.5 miles

Total Distance Walked in New York State:  10.2 miles

Total Distance Walked for this Project (from Boston):  323.8 miles

Distance Remaining to New York (Bowling Green):  24 miles