MOUNT KISCO, NY — Legend says that George Washington took his dinner on a table-sized outcropping in Mount Kisco — hopefully the weather was a little milder for his picnic than the icy windchills on Sunday.
Although our country’s founding father and leader of the revolution might have had other things in mind than the elements on Nov. 6, 1776, when he took his evening repast following a strategic retreat from the battle of White Plains.
Despite the less then ideal conditions on that spot more than two centuries later, the “ghost story” told by the Mount Kisco Historical Society made it worth braving the last gusts of winter. For a few magic moments, Mount Kisco Village Historian Harry McCartney took us back to the earliest days of the United States and how a legend was born and then rediscovered in the years that followed.
It wasn’t until 2015 that history buffs rediscovered this rock of legend that briefly became the very center of the world as history changed course as the Union troops prepared to march onward to Peekskill.
Washington’s more famous visit to Mount Kisco happened nearly five years later when General Washington met General Rochambeau to inspect 5,000 French troops who helped change the course of the Revolutionary War in Yorktown. Perhaps Washington revisited the quiet rock where he had a brief moment of peace years earlier, but it was far more likely that his second visit was a busier and more formal occasion.
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George Washington’s time in Mount Kisco gave rise to another tale that is almost as synonymous with the hero of the Revolution as the legend of the future President’s honesty after chopping down the cherry tree. According to the account, a young girl named Mary Weeks encountered a company of Continental soldiers on her way home from school. She saw General Washington in his full regalia and became frightened, and attempted to flee.
But General Washington famously soothed Weeks, saying, “Don’t be afraid, my little girl, we will not hurt you.”
The Mount Kisco Historical Society invited dignitaries, including the Mayor, the public, George Washington himself and even a few redcoats to celebrate the dedication of a new Legends & Lore historic marker at Washington’s Rock.
The shiny new red marker donated by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation reads simply:
ON NOVEMBER 10, 1776,
GEORGE WASHINGTON SAT UPON
THIS ROCK AND ATE HIS
DINNER BEFORE MARCHING
HIS TROOPS TO PEEKSKILL.
NEW YORK FOLKLORE
WILLIAM G. POMEROY FOUNDATION 2022
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