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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: August 20, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Greenburgh Slice of History

A Battle, a Farmer, and Fairview:
The Story of How Travis Hill Park Got its Name

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A Battle, a Farmer, and Fairview:

The Story of How Travis Hill Park Got its Name

By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber

 

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Introduction:

 

When Greenburgh’s residents think of Fairview, most probably think of American Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist in track, Larry James, or legendary Brooklyn Dodger Roy Campanella who hit 33 home runs and drove in 108 runs in 1951, winning the National League’s MVP Award. While his batting average fluctuated over his ten-year career, he is best known as a catcher. Some say he is, the best catcher of all time.” While both of these amazing athletes have shown a spotlight on Fairview, another notable feature of this section of Greenburgh is Travis Hill Park. Travis Hill Park  is located at 299 Woodland Hills Rd (https://www.yellowpages.com/white-plains-ny/mip/travis-hill-park-528270387), on 16 beautiful acres of land (https://www.billboeckelman.com/greenburgh-parks-recreation). It is known for its: 4 tennis courts, 2 baseball fields, and its play area for young children (https://www.billboeckelman.com/greenburgh-parks-recreation). Even Greenburgh residents who live in the Fairview section however, may not know how this lovely park got its name. 

 

Here is that story. The lot where the park now is used to be occupied by a small hill. During the Revolutionary War (1775-1783)most men and women were farmers, and accordingly, most landmarks of that age were named after the farmers who owned the land. The land where the small hill was located was owned by a tenant farmer, Uriah Travis (Lederer 1978 p. 45). So the hill was named “Travis Hill”. This hill may have been involved in a Revolutionary War battle.

 

A Battle:

 

On October 28 1776, in the beginning of The American Revolution, a British Army commanded by General William Howe, met an American Army commanded by General George Washington just outside of White Plains in what is today the Fairview Section of Greenburgh.  A fierce battle ensued, one which proved to be a learning experience for both sides (https://revolutionarywar.us/year-1776/battle-white-plains/,https://www.battlefields.org/learn/revolutionary-war/battles/white-plains, White Plains Historical Society). This much is agreed upon by all historians. There are however, major discrepancies over the number of troops involved:

Revolutionarywar.us says, Washington had a force which consisted of about 14,500 Continentals and British Forces commanded by Gen. William Howe consisted of about 14,000 soldiers(https://revolutionarywar.us/year-1776/battle-white-plains/).

 

The American Battlefield Trust says, 3,100 American Troops commanded by General George Washington fought 7,500 British Troops commanded by General William Howe(https://www.battlefields.org/learn/revolutionary-war/battles/white-plains).

 

Lastly, Microsoft Encarta Reference Library says, 2000 Americans, under the command of General George Washington, and some 13,000 British and Hessian troops led by the British commander in chief Sir William Howe. (Microsoft Encarta Reference Library © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. ).

 

The White Plains Historical Society says that, Uriah Travis served in Washington’s army as a lieutenant  in the Second Westchester Militia(https://whiteplainshistory.github.io/exhibits/hoch/Battle-of-White-Plains-Roster.pdf), but we the Town Historians stress that this should only be viewed as a possibility because, Uriah Travis is just 1 man. With no consensus on total troop involvement, it is impossible to say for sure if any particular guy who was not well known, such as, Mr. Uriah Travis, was there. Also Travis Hill may have played a key role in the battle.

 

One account of the Battle of White Plains claims that General Howe tried to flank Washington’s position at Miller Hill by climbing to the top of Travis Hill, but, Miller Hill actually looked down on Travis Hill so when the British reached the top, Americans fired on them with cannons. The shots in this cannon volley were the last shots of The Battle of White Plains (White Plains Historical Society).

 

Conclusion:

 

Regardless of whether or not Mr. Uriah Travis took part in the battle, what all historians agree on is that Washington  lost this battle and the loss led to the British capture of Fort Washington and  Fort Lee,   both of which were key strategic locations on the Hudson River (https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/battle-of-white-plains/).

 

The Town of Greenburgh eventually flattened and paved Travis Hill and in the 1970s, built a park there. While “Lieutenant”? or just “Mr.” ? Uriah Travis is long dead, and the hill named after him is gone, his memory shall live on forever because the Town wisely named the park, “Travis Hill Park”. So ends the story of how Travis Hill Park got its name.

 

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Previous Slices of History include:      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

About the Authors:

 

We are both Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.

 

Riley Wentzler:

I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at assistanthistorian@greenburghny.com, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at rjwentzler413@gmail.com 

 

Felicia Barber:

I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at assistanthistorian@greenburghny.com. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at feliciadbarber@gmail.com.

 

 

Two Interviews with the authors:

 

https://riverjournalonline.com/around-town/a-love-of-history-and-each-other/13708/

 

https://wcbs880.radio.com/articles/news/stories-main-street-couple-cerebral-palsy-brings-manytalents-town-greenburgh
 

References:

 

Thryv, Inc. (2022, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)).Travis Hill Park. Retrieved from Yellow Pages.com: https://www.yellowpages.com/white-plains-ny/mip/travis-hill-park-528270387

 

American Battlefield Trust. ((NOT GIVEN), (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). White Plains: New York Oct 28, 1776. Retrieved from Battlefields.org: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/revolutionary-war/battles/white-plains

 

Boeckelman, B. (2007, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Town Of Greenburgh Parks and Recreation. Retrieved from Bill Boeckelman Publications: https://www.billboeckelman.com/greenburgh-parks-recreation/

 

Lederer, R. M. (1978).The Place - Names of Westchester County New York. Harrison, NY: Harbor Hill Books.

 

Microsoft Corporation. (1993-2003, (Not Given) (Not Given)). Encarta Encyclopedia . Redmond, Washington , United States of America.

 

RevolutionaryWar.us. (2017, (NOT GIVEN) NOT GIVEN)). The Battle of White Plains. Retrieved from RevolutionaryWar.us : https://revolutionarywar.us/year-1776/battle-white-plains/

 

Scott, J. C. ((NOT GIVEN), (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Battle of White Plains. Retrieved from George Washington's Mount Vernon: https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/battle-of-white-plains/

 

White Plains Historical Society. (2006-2019, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). White Plains Historical Society. Retrieved from Battle of White Plains Project: https://whiteplainshistory.github.io/exhibits/hoch/Battle-of-White-Plains-Roster.pdf

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