The British Map of the Battle of Long Island,
August 27, 1776
includes our "Dutch Church" as a Seat of Action
General Howe's strategy to win the war:
Divide the New England Colonies from the Southern Colonies.
To do this you must capture New York.
To capture New York, you must secure Staten Island.
Logistically vital for its geographical proximity to New York City and New Jersey and its network of roads and ferries, Staten Island remained under British occupation for seven and one half years, longer than any other community in America. At its high point the British had 22,000 men on Staten Island.
Staten Islanders remained overwhelmingly loyal to the crown (at least in public) due to their relative prosperity based on links to the transatlantic market economy and a history of good relations forged when the Island was a British military staging area during French and Indian War (1754-1763). This pitted many Staten Islanders against the colonial resistance movement in what was, in reality, a vicious civil war.
Our Dutch Reformed Churches were condemned as "rebel churches."
The Dutch Reformed were bolstered in their beliefs by the outspoken opinions of their pastor, Rev. William Jackson. Jackson was said to be blessed with a most commanding voice and was, in the Dutch language, a powerful orator. He assured his listeners that resistance to British imperial policies was righteous and justified in the eyes of God.
Our pastor denounced the King, Parliament, and Anglican clergy
for seeking to undermine religious and political liberty in America.
He was taken into custody by Lord Howe, reprimanded and released.