Walking in their shoes


A visit to some Five 4ths of July sites.

    Five Mile Point – so called because it was five miles from there to the center of New Haven – is near the lighthouse at what is now Lighthouse Park. (There was no lighthouse on the site during the Revolution; the first one, made of wood, was built in 1805.) Today there’s a popular beach and a carousel in the park. You can stand, or picnic, on Jake’s red rocks; turn your back on the water, and you’ll see the peaks of East Rock and West Rock. From “the point,” you can walk, bike, or drive to “Tim’s house,” rebuilt after the war by Captain Morris and now known as the Pardee-Morris House, below.

    At left is Black Rock Fort, the rebuilt remains of the same one the Patriots defended during the Revolution. The idea for Five 4ths of July came from learning that my husband’s 17-year-old ancestor, Jesse Mallery; his brother, Asa; and their father, Isaac, all fought in the Battle of New Haven on the East Haven (or East Shore) side. To visit Black Rock, enter at Fort Nathan Hale Park.

“Let us get another cup of cider.” According to family history, Jesse Mallery, 17, uttered those words upon hearing that the British were approaching the Morris House (right), on the morning of July 5, 1779. Jesse is the model for the character of Jake in the book; why he and his friends were at the Morris home prior to the invasion is unclear.

Jesse and Hannah Mallery are the real-life models for Jake and Hannah in the book. They’re together forever in New Haven’s Union Cemetery.