The site of Camp Security is perceived differently depending on whom you ask. It is currently being threatened by developers who wish to create a housing community on the property. While this may typically be a feasible use of “open space”, this particular property is worth preserving. There are many different people within “Friends of Camp Security” who are working feverishly to save this treasure – local property owners, preservationists, and concerned citizens are just a few. My interest in Camp Security is a more personal one that originates in the days when the camp was alive with activity.
MY CONNECTION TO CAMP SECURITY
At the early stages of my genealogical research, I worked hard to discover the identities of my ancestors. This investigation took me to my fifth great-grandfather, John Andreas Stauch, more commonly known as Andrew Stough. I learned as much as I could about his life and family, and discovered he was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Records indicate he marched to Lancaster, Philadelphia, Trenton, Princeton, Amboy and New York. He participated in the Battle of Long Island, and then returned to New York. Andrew went across the Hudson to Fort Lee, and on to Newark, Trenton and Frankford, where he stayed until his enlistment expired. His service at Camp Security began on November 1, 1782, when he served as a guard for two months in Captain Pennington’s company under Major Bailey. For this service, he was granted a pension of $26.66 on January 26, 1835. I was able to acquire his Revolutionary War pension records and subsequent research has allowed me to verify that I have other ancestors who have served at Camp Security, making this link even stronger.
A MEMORABLE MEETING
In 2001, I had the opportunity to meet with Canadian resident Ron Bissett, whose fifth great-grandfather Andrew Bissett was a prisoner at Camp Security. At the same time, my ancestor, Andrew Stough, was serving as a guard.
I remember arriving at the site, and seeing Ron in the distance. As we met in the middle of the barren field, we embraced and had tears in our eyes. This was a moment we both had anticipated, but didn’t know the emotional impact we would both feel. As Ron and I walked the site of Camp Security, we discussed what it may have been there when our ancestors were there. Ron’s ancestor, Andrew Bissett, would die of disease at the camp, his burial place remains a mystery. My ancestor, Andrew Stough, served his tour of duty, and was able to return home to his family and live out the rest of his life.
Despite the feelings our ancestors had towards each other at Camp Security, it was bittersweet for Ron and I that day. We entered the Camp Security site as strangers, but walked away as friends.
As the last undeveloped Revolutionary War POW camp in the United States, the Camp Security should be preserved for future research. There needs to be a thorough investigation needs to be performed on the location of a cemetery that contains remains of the camp’s prisoners. A detailed archaeological investigation would likely uncover many artifacts that have been hidden for over 200 years. If we allow this historic property to be destroyed, we are losing a piece of York County history, as well as a piece of United States history.
Blake Stough has been researching his family history since 1997, and has been involved with Friends of Camp Security since it originated. As the FOCS Ancestral Coordinator, Blake is actively researching the men who served at the camp, and keeping detailed records of his findings. His records are maintained in a database where he can easily access the information. Blake is constantly seeking descendants of the men who served at Camp Security, and acquires pension records when available.
If you have questions about his research, or feel you are a descendant of someone who served as a guard or was held prisoner at the camp, please contact Blake, and he will be happy to assist you.