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St. Paul's Church with Bell Tower
St. Paul's Church with Bell Tower. Photo: Gray Williams

St. Paul's Church National Historic Site

This 18th century church and site, in southern Westchester County, New York, is closely associated with major events during the American Revolution. The Battle of Pell's Point, fought a mile from the church on October 18, 1776, was instrumental in keeping the British from attacking General George Washington's 13,000-soldier army, as it moved from New York City to the safety of White Plains. As fighting grew closer to Westchester County, Washington ordered parishioners to bury their treasured church bell, which had been forged in London and brought over by the Anglican minister, to prevent the British from melting it down for ammunition.

Along with the 18th century church, the site comprises a five-acre cemetery, a remnant of an old village green, and a carriage house that now serves as a museum for exhibitions of local and national history. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1943, after its interior was restored to its 1787 appearance. Now owned by the National Park Service, the church was a functioning Episcopal place of worship until the 1970s.

The parish that founded St. Paul's Church comprised 10 families that came to the village of Eastchester in 1665. The first church was a simple square wooden building, called the Church of Eastchester, built in 1695. A new church was built in 1764; its name was changed to St. Paul in 1795. Following the Battle of Pell's Point, the new church served as a hospital for the British and their Hessian mercenaries, who used the old church for fire wood. In 1825, revolutionary leader Marquis de LaFayette visited St. Paul's cemetery to pay respects to his friend Philip Pell, who is buried there. This Battle of Pell's Point is commemorated each October during a Revolutionary War encampment, which includes several interpretive stations in the church, on the green, and in the cemetery.

The project is well documented with a six-page narrative, 15 photos, brochures, and several booklets: "St. Paul's Church National Historic Site," "St. Paul's Church, Eastchester: A Colonial and Revolutionary Parish in New York," and "The People of Post Road: Life Along Route 22 from Mount Vernon to White Plains, 1665-1900."

Originally submitted by: Nita M. Lowey,Representative (18th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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