Shortly after The Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863, the Civil War Draft riots broke out in New York City. Angry working class citizens responded to the draft with extreme violence and murderous rage. As the mob burned through the city, some took it upon themselves to push further north to Tarrytown to destroy the Provost Marshal’s house, where the Westchester draft records were kept. It was said they intended to burn down the entire town.
As women, children and African-Americans fled to the Pocantico Hills for safety, an unlikely hero stepped in.
Abel T. Stewart, pastor of The Old Dutch Church at the time, intervened and was able to persuade the rioters to leave the buildings and people of Tarrytown alone. The rioters returned to New York City, leaving Tarrytown unscathed.