Major Luke Miller

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   The Secret “Indian Raid Tunnel”

     A detailed engineering study was conducted on The Luke Miller
     House, including the secret “Indian Raid Tunnel” and its entrances
     during 1936. The study was performed by architects and draftsmen
     working for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), which
     was one of President Roosevelt’s New Deal programs run during the
     Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) through
     the US Parks Department of the US Department of the Interior.
     Thirteen drawings were made of the Miller house and its historical
     features, and most of these drawings show the location and exact size
     of the “Secret Tunnel To Forge” and its entrances in great detail. You can
     see all of the HABS images and documents in the Historical
link on this site). On the 13th drawing, which is an
     architectural survey of the blacksmith forge, the “secret tunnel” is
     specifically described as the “Indian Raid Tunnel.” The “Indian Raid
     Tunnel” is also noted as “the interesting feature of the property” on the
     HABS bibliography pages.

     Some people wonder why an Indian Raid Tunnel would be built in an
     area where the local native Americans were friendly.  Perhaps it was
     because Luke Miller fought local Iroquois Indians during the Battle at
     Minisink Ford on the Delaware River in July 1779, which began after
     the burning and destruction of colonial settlements there, reminiscent
     of Jamestown. Fifty militiamen lost their lives in the battle, which sent
     shockwaves of loss and grief throughout the frontier population.
     Having witnessed the savage destruction and brutality of “friendly”
     local Indians firsthand in combat against the Colonists, it is highly
     plausible that Luke Miller (of a relatively prosperous, landowning
     family) had the tunnel built as a secret escape route in the event the
     house was surrounded, attacked, and burned by Indians or the British.

     Others believe that the tunnel connecting the house and forge    
     60 feet underground may have also served as a cistern for fresh water,
     or as a secret hiding place within a station (ie, Miller’s Station) on the
     Underground Railroad during the 19th century. Evidence of all these
     possibilities may be unearthed if additional grant money can be
     obtained to conduct further excavation and study of the tunnel and
     blacksmith forge. 

     Information on the tunnel research is available through the In The
link on this site. You can also click here to read a newspaper
     article that documents the initial archaeological dig activity in February,
     2008 to uncover and reopen the forge-side entrance to the secret tunnel.

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