By Barrett Seaman–
The 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was still eight years off when Constance “Connie” Kehoe, erstwhile deputy mayor of Irvington, launched Revolutionary Westchester 250 (RW250) in 2018. There were those who thought this effort to identify, renovate (where needed) and celebrate all the historical sites in Westchester related to the American War of Independence that far in advance of 2026 was premature. But as RW250’s founder and driving force. Kehoe went about methodically creating programs, commissioning articles, organizing re-enactments and raising money, it became clear that her patience and persistence in building a foundation for the county’s participation in the national celebration were timely, indeed prescient.
On Saturday, May 13, at the annual fundraiser for St. Paui’s Church National Historic Site in Mt. Vernon, history buffs from across Westchester gathered in the church that was at the center of the revolutionary cause throughout the 1700s to honor Kehoe for her work. Re-enactors of General George Washington and Private Deborah Sampson, the young patriot who disguised herself as a man in order to join the Continental Army, spoke as well as officials from the church and County Executive George Latimer.
“We’re here to honor Connie because Connie has honored us,” Latimer told an audience that included a number of local politicians and friends of Connie from the rivertowns. “She understands that in preserving physical sites, we’re not just preserving bricks and mortar; we are preserving the spirit of what happened in those sites.”
With three years yet to go before the national sestercentennial, Kehoe has ambitious hopes for the county’s role, including the prospect of bringing back the tall ships that were a centerpiece of the bicentennial in 1976 and having them sail up the Hudson and make port at some of the historically significant harbors along the river.
Contributions can be made at Revolutionary Westchester’s web site, www.rw250.org.Read or leave a comment on this story...