By Henry John Steiner
Historian of Sleepy Hollow
It was the forbidden place. As children growing up in Tarrytown we were told to stay away from it. So naturally we tried to get there as soon and as often as possible. The place is called Catfish Pond. We knew the big kids—the teenagers—went there, and of course that made us all the readier to flaunt the prohibition of our parents. Besides, our parents probably had a very dim idea of where Catfish Pond was anyway. Some of the kids on my block knew you could get there by following paths through the woods from the east end of Union Avenue in the Crest—the big kids had shown us the way. But we could also walk down to Tarrytown Heights and pick up the dirt path of the old railroad bed—along the back edge of the Tarrytown Lakes. It was not then a paved bike path as it is today, and there was a chance that you might encounter a particular vagrant person along the way. He was harmless the big kids said, but, personally, I was prepared to run.
Today, most local folks do not know where Catfish Pond is, or even that there is a Catfish Pond. They might recognize the place but have no idea that it actually has a name. The only reason I bring it up here is to give the reader some idea of where Frena Romer lived in the time of the Revolutionary War. She lived a short distance from where the pond lies today—with her husband Jacob and their many children.