As the 245th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approaches, Rye residents will celebrate the community’s distinctive role during the Revolutionary War. According to the Rye Historical Society, the area, along with much of Westchester County, was neutral ground between the larger population of Patriots in Connecticut and the British and Loyalists in New York.
Rye was subject to marauding and devastation from both sides and its population was divided between Patriots and Loyalists. Families, too, faced divided loyalties. Many residents, including the woman who owned the Square House tavern (now the Square House Museum), left Rye for safer territory.
George Washington, John Adams and Samuel Adams all stayed overnight at the inn following the war as the community struggled to recapture is pre-war tranquility. Washington noted in his diary (October 15, 1789) that the Square House is “A very neat and decent inn.”
As Rye residents faced the daily obstacles related to the war, a plot to end the rebellion was hatching and and then revealed in Tarrytown. One September 23, 1780, British Major John André was captured with the plans to the Patriot garrison at West Point. Quickly, the treasonous plot pointed toward American General Benedict Arnold.
This Man’s A Spy
Recognizing the people, events and sites related to what General Washington described at the time as “treason of the blackest dye,” Revolutionary Westchester 250 (RW250) is launching an aptly named initiative – This Man’s A Spy. The effort will create community awareness, understanding and enthusiasm for the historical significance of this critical event in U.S. history through a variety of public outreach programs. See the announcement here.
The volunteers of This Man’s A Spy will cooperate with local volunteer groups at the planned events in Westchester and important sites in nearby counties, designing, planning and executing projects that acknowledge and interpret the plot through a variety of colonial era demonstrations, mobile applications, art, music, presentations, re-enactments, theatrical plays, driving, walking and biking tours, and videos. See the RW250 video about the plot here.
This Man’s A Spy will feature the stories about the Patriots of Westchester County who primarily were responsible for the capture of André and foiling Arnold’s plot. If Arnold’s plan had been successful, the loss of West Point could have led to an American defeat.
RW250 is Westchester County’s commitment to remembering the local events and people associated with the American Revolution in accordance with the United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act of 2016. With the upcoming observation of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America during 1776, many local events preceding, during and after the Revolutionary War will be recognized by RW250.
This Man’s A Spy welcomes the involvement of all Westchester County organizations and individuals interested in the county’s history to assist in the planning and oversight of programs, and to share local and family stories related to the people, places and events associated with this significant historical event. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the preservation and interpretation of this critical period of local history should email [email protected] .