George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin were among the attendees at Revolution on the Hudson, a living history experience held at Pierson Park on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 22.
The five-hour event was produced by Revolutionary Westchester 250, a nonprofit founded by Irvington resident Connie Kehoe to build awareness about Westchester’s Revolutionary War history in preparation for the 250th anniversary, in 2026, of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. During the event, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced that Kehoe had been appointed to the New York State 250th Commemoration Commission.
Revolution on the Hudson featured theatrical and musical performances as well as demonstrations of daily and military life during the 18th century. There were tables for the historical societies of Ardsley, Irvington, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, White Plains, and Yonkers, as well as Revolutionary Hastings and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Supporters of 18th-century homes were also present, including the Friends of Odell House Rocheambeau Headquarters in Hartsdale and the Friends of Ward House in Eastchester.
Judith Kalaora of Boston performed “A Revolution of her Own,” her play about the life of Deborah Sampson, a woman who disguised herself as a man and then served in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment from May 1782 to October 1883. In July 1782, Sampson was wounded during a skirmish in Westchester. She went on to be honorably discharged and to receive payment and a pension for her service, which she petitioned to receive.
In 2010, Kalaora founded History at Play, through which she portrays Sampson and other historical figures spanning centuries, from Rachel Revere to Hedy Lamarr to Christa McAuliffe. On the evening of Oct. 22, she portrayed Annie Adams Fields at the Grafton Public Library in Massachusetts.
Sean Grady and Gary Petagine performed “Rendezvous with Treason,” one of their six plays about Major Gen. Benedict Arnold’s attempt to surrender West Point to the British. The play depicts the meeting during which Arnold (played by Petagine) handed the plans to West Point to British Major John André (played by Grady) in West Haverstraw on Sept. 22, 1780. André was captured with the plans in Tarrytown on Sept. 23 and then hung in Tappan on Oct. 2.
Grady teaches social studies at Ardsley Middle School. Before Revolution on the Hudson, he and members of that school’s Local History Club, which he co-advises, attended the dedication of a historical marker at Ardsley High School, where Continental troops camped for six weeks during the summer of 1781.
During the final theatrical performance, three brothers — Ron, Vic, and Dennis DiSanto — portrayed John Paulding, David Williams, and Isaac Van Wart, respectively, who captured André in Tarrytown. They were followed by Joy Kelly and then Linda Russell, who both played period music.
The event was punctuated by two parades around the park led by Michael Grillo of Eastchester, dressed as George Washington. He was joined by Tom Hay of Hartsdale, dressed as Rochambeau, as well as members of the Hearts of Oak Militia, the 5th New York Regiment, and the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons, including two horses.
The Hearts of Oak were led by Erik Lichack of Wanaque, N.J., who played Alexander Hamilton. His wife, Eliza Vincz-Lichack, was dressed as Hamilton’s spouse, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton. Before the final parade, the couple led period dance lessons for attendees.
The demonstrations included blacksmithing with Tom Hunt; broom making with Dorene Picker; medicine with Maria Grillo; games and toys with Robert Lee of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; spinning and weaving with Celeste Sherry and Nancy Van Tassel; and Native American tools with Barry Keegan, who made a similar presentation at the Hastings Public Library on Oct. 23.
Erik Paul of Huntington, Conn., who demonstrated woodworking, had a bench and a chest he made with wood from his home, which was built in 1734. Toward the end of the event, he sold another bench he made to Cynthia Abbott Kauffman, president of the Daughters of Liberty’s Legacy and the White Plains Historical Society, who portrays Ann Fisher Miller at the Miller House, an 18th-century historic site in North White Plains. The day after Revolution on the Hudson, Kauffman and other re-enactors participated in the White Plains Historical Society’s annual commemoration of the Battle of White Plains.
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