The Smith House or Sidman’s Tavern along Route 17 in the Ramapo Pass is an important New York and Sloatsburg historical asset that also has a plot of pre-Revolutionary War Cemetery and last vestiges of the Clove Road, or Revolutionary War Highway.
1. With the removal of the thick tree coverage, the old white Smith House has been left standing like some lonely sentinel left over from a bygone era. It is known more recently as the former home of the Pierson Mapes family. But it’s history goes way back to the very beginnings of what would become Sloatsburg. Read an article about efforts to save the historic building here.
2. The route from Morristown to Pompton, and through the Clove, was fairly direct. From the northern end of the passage one could continue on toward Albany or hook east to the Highlands. For most purposes, the Hudson River was a better transportation artery, but the lower part of the river was now controlled by the enemy. Though newly important, the Clove Road was still a rough way to go. Over the years it had been progressively described as an “Indian path,” a “horse path,” and “very stony and narrow” road. As late as 1779, an American officer dramatically described the valley as “most villainous country, Rough, Rocky and a bad climate. Rattle snakes & Robbers are plenty. It was an infringement on the rights of the wild Beasts for man ever to enter this Clove, it ought to have remained as Nature certainly intended for it for the sole use of snakes, adders, & Beasts of prey.” Among those beasts of prey was a group of Loyalist outlaws known as Claudius Smith and the Cowboys, whose tactics approximated modern definitions of terrorism. Read an article about the history of the Clove Road on Journal of the American Revolution