A new exhibit, presented by the Mount Kisco Historical Society and the Lower Hudson Chapter of the New York Archaeological Association (NYSAA) has opened at the Mount Kisco Town Hall, 104 Main Street, Mount Kisco, New York (Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm).
The exhibit features dozens of artifacts unearthed from an archaeological excavation
undertaken this fall at the St. George’s/St. Mark’s Cemetery, the oldest historic site in Mount Kisco, a suburban town thirty miles north of Manhattan in Westchester County.
Today the cemetery is the resting place for over 400 people; historically, it was the site of two churches: St. George’s or the North Castle Church (1761–1819) and St. Mark’s Church (1850–1916).
St. George’s Church served as a landmark and camp site for American, British, and French armies in their travels through Westchester County. Following the Battle of White Plains on October 28, 1776, Washington’s forces used the church as a hospital and buried their dead in the southeast corner of the cemetery. The church was also host to Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton prior to his July 1779 raid of Pound Ridge and to the army of Count Rochambeau during his July 1781 meeting with Washington.
The archaeological excavation, sponsored by the Lower Hudson Chapter NYSAA and directed by Laurie Kimsal and Madeline Kearin, commenced on September 22, 2013. The excavation team consists of professional and avocational archaeologists. Some are experiencing archaeology for the first time; others have more than 40 years of experience. The artifacts unearthed in the excavation illustrate the history of the cemetery and its churches over the course of 160 years and the religious, domestic, economic, and military spheres that intersected at the site. While most of the artifacts date from 1760 to 1910, a few are earlier, including a coin of George II (1727–1760), and stone tools that may suggest an American Indian presence.
Other artifacts, such as a musket ball and a gunflint, reflect the use of the site as a military
camp during the Revolutionary War. Nails, painted plaster, and stained glass help to reconstruct the appearance of the churches, while a range of personal possessions – including eyeglass lenses and a comb – and household goods represent the materials of everyday life in Mount Kisco in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Lower Hudson Chapter plans to reassume its excavation in March 2014. Over the winter,
both the Chapter and the Mount Kisco Historical Society have planned lectures and events
connected with the St. George’s/St. Mark’s excavation. The present exhibit will be on display
at the Town Hall until the spring.