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Creator in the manner most agreeable to his conscience. No opinions are dictated, no rules of faith prescribed, no preference given to one sect to the prejudice of others.” Influenced early by nature and nurture, including home schooling by his mother and tutors in Rye, as well as sensitivity to three siblings with disabilities, Jay possessed not only incredible intellect, but also developed deft people skills. As an adult, these traits allowed him to navigate political maelstroms with gravity and profound results. His inner circle, which included Washington, Adams and Hamilton, held him in the highest regard and sought himout for hismeasured temperament. As the chief negotiator of the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War in 1783, Jay was, according toAdams, “of more importance than any of the rest of us.” And, like Adams, Jay was motivated not only by his hopes for his countrymen, but also those aspirations the two shared for their families back in the States. Adams observed to his wife Abigail, “I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy.” Not surprisingly, when Jay returned to New York after winning the peace, like a Superbowl quarterback, his first stop was home to be with family. The Jay Estate, with its uninterrupted meadows and shoreline views fed his soul during this and other brief respites from public life. The property was a landmark of its time to travelers and admirers of the statesman, like Samuel F. B. Morse and Yale’s Timothy Dwight, well after Jay’s retirement to neighboring Bedford. Longtime friend James Fenimore Cooper immortalized the Rye setting and Jay’s autobiographical tales of Revolutionary War espionage in 1821 in what became Cooper’s first blockbuster, The Spy . Cooper even gave Jay’s ancestral homestead a name – “The Locusts” – after three tall trees that shaded the family’s farmhouse. It was an ideal backdrop for a romantic saga of misplaced allegiances with spies and counterspies ricocheting around Westchester. The creator of Last of the Mohicans threw in AMC turn-worthy plot devices like George Washington in disguise rescuing star-crossed Patriot and Loyalist lovers. John Jay died and was buried in Rye in 1829 in the private cemetery he established near his home for himself and his descendants. By 1838, Jay’s eldest son Peter Augustus and his

wife had reluctantly replaced the farmhouse where generations had gathered with a stately Greek Revival mansion; still they reused pieces from the original and carefully made the new piazza the same dimensions as the first. A grandson, John Clarkson Jay, added other improvements, including a boathouse and bowling alley. Towards the close of the 19th century, the Jay mansion and grounds were leased by descendants to various notable Manhattanites like art collector and Met Museum benefactor Junius Spencer Morgan, financier James Talcott, and the daughter of antitrust attorney John E. Parsons – Parsons lived next door to the Jays on another magnificent property called Lounsbury. Astonishingly, through all of these hands these two estates with their antebellum edifices remained intact, as did another former Jay

property now occupied by a Gothic Revival castle known as Whitby. By 1915, newspapers enticed weekend drivers to try out “The Old Colony Tour” of Boston Post Road with Jay’s home singled out as a major attraction. “This tour, through lower New England, could be covered in four or five days, but the whole of the territory is so full of scenic and historic interest that the traveller should allow even more time than has been planned in the six- day itinerary. Two weeks, in fact, would be none too long an allowance of time for those who wish to tour to learn something about one of the oldest and most interesting parts of the United States.” “The Automobile Blue Book of 1919” told Sunday drivers to keep their eyes peeled for the Jay home behind marker 24. The land had by this time passed



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