Armonk History  (North Castle) | Armonk Westchester County New York
Early evening over the Bear Mountain Bridge

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Armonk History (North Castle)


Westchester County

10504, religious persecution, Mohican people, American Revolution, neutral territory, patriotic, Revolutionary War, Battle of White Plains, General George Washington's, turning point in the war, Continental Army, Points of Interest, Underground Railroad Armonk History (North Castle)

Battles of the American Revolution
Battle atop Chatterton Hill in White Plains
Date: October 28, 1776
Between: British against the American Continental Army
Location: White Plains, New York

Battle-Whitney Park is a historical landmark in White Plains. This park commemorates the Battle of White Plains and the historic event that occurred on this site on October 28, 1776.

    "Following their occupation of Manhattan Island, British forces under General William Howe chased George Washington’s retreating Continental Army into Westchester County. Washington’s troops amassed atop Chatterton Hill and other heights near White Plains, where the British and their Hessian auxiliaries attacked them on October 28, 1776. Although Howe was credited with a victory because Washington eventually withdrew, he allowed the Americans to retreat into New Jersey."

    Signage at Site
    Interpretive sign in Battle-Whitney Park, atop Chatterton Hill, recount the battle.

    "During the Battle of White Plains, the Americans under General Washington were forced off Chatterton's Hill after inflicting heavy casualties on British troops, checking their advance into Westchester."

    Historic Account of Battle of White Plains on Chatterton's Hill

    "Chatterton's Hill, where the battle was fought, sixteen hundred Americans being engaged, is a commanding eminence west of the Bronx River, about a mile from White Plains. Washington's head-quarters, at the "Miller House," were to the north of the village, and east of that stream, the main body of the army being intrenched (entrenched) two miles beyond."

    Wednesday, October 30
    "At White Plains: Visits the several posts of the army. On the night of the 31st of October, General Washington withdrew his army to a very strong position upon the heights of North Castle, about two miles in the rear of his first encampment, and five from White Plains, where he caused new works of defense to be thrown up.

    Wednesday, November 6
    "At White Plains: "Yesterday morning the enemy made a sudden and unexpected movement from the several posts they had taken in our front. They broke up their whole encampments the preceding night and have advanced towards Kingsbridge and the North River. . . In consequence of this movement I called a council of general officers to-day to consult on such measures as should be adopted in case they pursued their retreat to New York."— Washington to the President of Congress.

    "The council agreed unanimously, that, in case the enemy were retreating towards New York, it would be proper immediately to throw a body of troops into Jersey; that those raised on the west side of Hudson's River should be detached for this purpose, and that three thousand men should bo stationed at Peekskill and the passes of the Highlands.

    Sunday, November 10
    "At White Plains: "The late movement of the Enemy, and the probability of their having designs upon the Jerseys, (confirmed by sundry accounts from deserters and prisoners), rendering it necessary to throw a body of troops over the North River, I shall immediately follow, and the command of the army, which remains, (after General Heath's division marches to Peekskill,) will devolve upon you." - Washington to General Lee.

    "Washington left White Plains at eleven o'clock on the morning of November 10, and arrived at Peekskill, the entrance to the Highlands, at sunset.

    Sunday, November 11
    "At Peekskill, New York: "November 11th.—The Commander in Chief directed our General [Heath] to attend him in taking a view of Fort Montgomery, and the other works up the river. Lord Sterling, Generals James and George Clinton, Gen. Mifflin and others were of the company. They went as far up the river as Constitution Island, which is opposite to West-Point, the latter of which was not then taken possession of; but the glance of the eye at it, without going on shore, evinced that this post was not to be neglected. There was a small work and a block house on Constitution Island. Fort Montgomery was in considerable forwardness."—Heath's Memoirs."

    Source: "Itinerary of General Washington, From June 15, 1775, to December 23, 1783" by William S. Baker, J. B. Lippincott company, 1892.

Visit more historic sites in the Hudson Valley and learn about the Battle of Fort Montgomery in Bear Mountain.

Learn more about the Battle of White Plains in Westchester County.

rmonk is located in the Town of North Castle in the eastern part of Westchester County, NY. The Town of North Castle comprises approximately 26 square miles and is situated at the narrow waist of Westchester County. The bulk of the Town's land area lies north of this corner, but the most densely populated part of the town lies to the south. The Kensico Reservoir separates these two parts of North Castle. The Town of North Castle is divided into three distinct geographic areas: North White Plains, Armonk, and the Eastern District, the hamlet of Banksville.

It is believed that the Town of North Castle was originally inhabited by the Siwanoy, part of the Wappinger Confederacy and members of the Algonquin nation. The Siwanoy were taken by force in 1644 by Europeans. In the early 1700s, King William gave his favorite courtiers the West Patent, of which the western portion of North Castle was a part, and the Middle Patent, the eastern part of North Castle. At one time, North Castle included all the territory that became incorporated as New Castle in 1791. The territory comprising both towns was once part of the Parish of Rye organized in 1693.

The area quickly became a refuge for people fleeing from religious persecution. People from Massachusetts and Connecticut settled the eastern part of North Castle, while Quakers from Rye and Long Island gathered in Armonk. By 1730, North Castle was an established settlement.

The Town of North Castle was incorporated on March 7, 1788. North Castle's name is said to derive from a barrier built by the Mohican people to protect themselves from enemy attacks which stood on the hillside now occupied by the international headquarters of I.B.M. Corporation. They called the site "North Fort" and European settlers later gave it the name of North Castle. The name Armonk is derived from another Mohican word, 'Cohamoog', which means 'the wide, flat place where the water runs'.

During the American Revolution, New and North Castle were officially considered neutral territory. However, the area was strongly patriotic. One significant Revolutionary War conflict did occur in North Castle, "The Battle of White Plains". This battle of October 28, 1776 was a series of short skirmishes between General George Washington's small American army and General William Howe's much larger British & Hessian force. Although the British eventually won the confrontation, forcing Washington's troops to retreat, Howe never followed up this advantage by pursuing and capturing the American army. Thus, the battle served as a delaying action that allowed Washington's troops to withdraw to safety in New Jersey. As a result, many historians feel that the battle marked an important turning point in the war.

During the Revolutionary War, the Elijah Miller house in North White Plains served, several times, as the headquarters of General George Washington. A few miles to the west (now known as Mount Kisco) St. George's Church (North Castle Church) served as a camp and hospital. A young Frenchman's diary dated July 6, 1781, reported of the area: "This whole country gives evidence of the horrors of war... All the Whigs here have abandoned their houses. Among them are some very handsome ones, deserted, half destroyed, or burned, with untended orchards and gardens filled with fruits and vegetables and driveways overgrown with grass two feet high."

    Points of Interest
    Press here for "People of the The American Revolution"

    Points of Interest
    Smith's Tavern in Armonk is believed to have been built in the late 1700's. John Smith, a former captain in the Continental Army, operated the house as a tavern, site of town meetings, colonial militia headquarters, post office, and stopping place for the Danbury stage as early as 1797. Smith's son Samuel continued to operate the tavern until his own death in 1884. Since 1974, the building has belonged to the North Castle Historical Society and is now open to the public as a museum.

During the early part of the 19th century, most North Castle residents were farmers. However, several small "cottage industries" did exist. For example, some farmers supplemented their income by becoming shoemakers or shirtmakers. The coming of the railroad in the 1840's marked the beginning of the shift away from the region's agricultural way of life. However, towns without the railroad, such as North Castle, suffered economically. North Castle was also hurt economically by the Industrial Revolution since new manufacturing techniques made the local cottage industries impractical. From 1860 to 1900, North Castle's population declined from 2,200 to 1,470.

    Points of Interest
    The Underground Railroad, which helped runaway slaves travel to freedom in Canada, operated a "station" between Armonk and North White Plains.

By the early 20th century, North Castle's economy improved dramatically due to the New York City purchase of reservoir land and the building of the Kensico Dam in Valhalla (1909-1915) which used North Castle granite. Many of the European immigrant stone masons who built the dam later settled in the town's Quarry Heights section.

Source: History at Town of North Castle.

Location: Armonk

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