Edgemont residents restore a piece of history

Michael Mellis, left, and his son Bradley stand with a historic marker they helped restore in Edgemont.

Evandale Road resident Michael Mellis said he and a family friend in 2013 were catching up and remembered there used to be a historical marker located on Underhill Road, commemorating a former French Army camp that existed in the area during the American Revolution.

Mellis, who grew up in Edgemont, said he and his son Bradley have always been interested in local history.

Michael and Bradley checked an online New York State registry to confirm the marker’s existence, then the pair investigated how they could restore that piece of early American history.

The Mellis’ stumbled on the William G. Pomeroy foundation, an organization that specializes in funding for restoring historic markers.

In order for the foundation to provide the Mellis’ the $1,250 in funding necessary to restore the marker, Michael had to twice write extensive applications detaining the historical significance of the marker.

“It was like writing two term papers,” Mellis said with a laugh.

The marker noted the location of a French Army Camp where Count de Rochambeau settled on July 6, 1781 during the American Revolution. He was preparing to aid General George Washington in an attack on the British in New York City. However, Washington canceled the attack and Rochambeau’s troops left the camp Aug. 17.

The new marker now sits on the 16th hole of the Sunningdale Golf Club in view of drivers passing by on Underhill Road. It reads:

“FRENCH CAMP: Whereabouts, French Troops under Count de Rochambeau, sent to assist Washington, made their camp July 6 to August 19, 1781.”

“Knowing about the community's history just brings people closer together,” said Bradley, a senior at Edgemont High School.

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