Traditional Geocache

Leatherman Series - Final Resting Place

A cache by worldsbesthomebiz Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 5/28/2006
In New York, United States
Difficulty:
2 out of 5
Terrain:
2 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

Here is the final resting place of the Leatherman

The Leatherman once roamed southwestern Connecticut and southeastern New York from 1858 to 1889. He traveled a 365-mile loop between the Connecticut and Hudson Rivers. Approximately every month he would repeat his journey. The man spoke primarily with grunts or gestures and dressed in crudely stitched leather from his hat to his shoes. The suit was made of soft-tanned calfskin leather and weighed about sixty pounds. He would sleep outside year-round mostly in caves and rock shelters around Connecticut and New York.

Located near the intersection of Revolutionary Road and Route 9 (there is a cut out for parking on Revolutionary Road which is far less traveled than the entrance on Rte. 9 - in addition, it is VERY difficult to back out when leaving, once you pull into the Rte. 9 entrance). While at Sparta, plan to take a little extra time to take in some of the local history. Cache has a TB for the FTF and quite a few KIDS trinkets. This final Cache in the Leatherman series is very KID FRIENDLY (sleight suggestion, wear long pants. Despite being in a cemetery, the grass is quite tall which could be the home to a Tic or two).

Finally, please note that the cache is hidden in the historic Sparta Cemetery which is owned by the Ossining Historical Society ("OHS"). The OHS has graciously agreed to allow us to place and maintain a cache on the cemetery grounds. Although the Sparta Cemetery is an old, historic cemetery, it is still an active graveyard. Please be respectful and discreet.

For those unfamiliar with the Leatherman, please read below.

Sparta Cemetery and The Leather Man Scarborough is about 30 miles north of New York City, located on the Hudson River. It might be best known for two or three old mansions in particular, such as the McKim, Mead and White-designed Woodlea, now the Sleepy Hollow Country Club. Not quite so regal but just as significant and interesting is the Sparta Cemetery, which is located directly off Route 9, about 200 feet northeast of the well known Scarborough Presbyterian Church. The Leather Man's grave is five feet from the road, behind a gate pillar. Another thing the cemetery is known for is a headstone that was pierced by cannon fire from the British sloop Vulture during the Revolutionary War. That headstone, smashed by vandals late in the 20th century, is marked by a plaque where it should be. The Sparta Cemetery is one of the oldest in the area, dating back to the era of the Philipses (1680-1750), the first major land-owning family in Westchester County. My interest in the Leather Man was sparked in early 1998 by the new release by Pearl Jam. The B-side to the single “Given to Fly” was called “Leatherman.” I knew only vaguely enough of the story about this man of the land, but I looked in my copy of History of the Tarrytowns, and sure enough, Eddie Vedder’s description of the Leather Man exactly matched the story as retold in the book. My letter to Synergy, below, and a short speech by Eddie at the 9/11/98 MSG concert in New York, confirmed it that the song was based on the Leatherman of Westchester County. The Leather Man hiked a circuit around southern New York and Connecticut while dressed in a leather outfit. His name and origins remain a mystery. Although his name was reputed to have been Jules Bourglay, research has shown that the popular legend about the Leather Man's origin was fictional. His name was not Jules Bourglay. Here is a typical account, from History of the Tarrytowns: "A grave, unmarked for many years, in Scarborough's Sparta Cemetery holds the remains of Jules Bourglay, a Frenchman whose curious ways earned him the nickname, The Leather Man." "Legend says Bourglay began his strange behavior after his failure in the leather business of his future father-in-law broke up his romance in the mid-19th century. Stricken with grief, he came to America and wandered between the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers, clad in the substance of his ruin--leather. His presence soon was heralded throughout the area as people came to recognize the leather-clad gentleman who was never known to speak, enter a house or accept favors or money from anyone. Some early writers believed he was a mute. He appeared many times in the Tarrytowns, reported Marcus D. Raymond, early historian and editor for the old Tarrytown Argus."

"The Leather Man was known for his great appetite. his regular order in local groceries was a loaf of bread, a can of sardines, a pound of fancy crackers, a pie, two quarts of coffee, a gill of brandy and a bottle of beer." "He wore a suit of heavy leather year-round and must have been a strong man to wear this heavy suit and walk the many miles he tramped each day in his wandering, solitary existence." "The Darrow family of Shrub Oak in northern Westchester developed such an interest in the Leather Man that, in the front of their account book for 1884-93, they listed the dates he passed through that community from 1885-89. the list shows that he visited Shrub Oak a little less frequently than once a month, usually appearing in mid-morning; next to the dates are brief notes about whether he stopped and, if so, for how long and what he did." "Representatives for the Connecticut Humane Society became so concerned about the Leather Man that in December 1888 they had the old man arrested and taken to a Hartford hospital. But he wanted his freedom. He had money and refused to stay, so hospital authorities judged him sane except for an emotional affliction, and released him to his wanderings." "He died March 24, 1889, some say of cancer, in a shelter on the George Dell farm in Briarcliff and, after a coroner's inquest, he was buried as a public charge in an unmarked grave.

History enthusiasts of the Westchester County Historical Society learned the location of the grave and placed markers on it in the 1930's." "the inscription on the modest headstone near the entrance to Sparta Cemetery on Route 9 reads: 'Final resting place of Jules Bourglay of Lyons, France, "The Leather Man," who regularly walked a 365-mile route through Westchester and Connecticut from the Connecticut River to the Hudson, living in caves, in the years 1858-1889.'" Above text taken from History of the Tarrytowns, Canning, Jeff and Wally Buxton. Harbor Hill Books 1975.

Once again, we would like to thank Mr. McDonald and the entire board of the OHS for granting us permission to place this Cache on their property.

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Last Updated: on 7/2/2017 11:12:24 AM Pacific Daylight Time (6:12 PM GMT)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum