From the Pre-Revolutionary Past to the Present
A Brief History of the Town of Bedford
Bedford Historical Society
Historic Bedford
Community Images
St. Matthew's Church Benjamin Isaacs' House Presbyterian Church
Hx. Society est. 1916
Historic General Store /
Bedford Hx. Society
St. Patrick's Church Historic School House
Historic Bedford
Community Images
St. Matthew's est. 1692 Post Office Village Green est. 1681
Lounsbery Building
Court House est. 1787 /
Museum Location
Historical Hall Bedford Cemetery
The Tankiteke and other Native American tribes inhabited the Bedford region for centuries prior to the 17th century arrival of the New England settlers and Dutch traders. Artifacts, including arrow heads,
pottery pieces, and stone tools are still
found in the area, fragments which
intimate the aboriginals'
skill and resourcefulness.
The Tankiteke
relinquished the "Hopp Ground"
in 1680, selling to the Puritans a three mile area
known for the thick growth of wild hop vines.
Thereafter the New Englanders built homes, a meeting hall, and a
grist mill, and established a cemetery on the Mianus River. By 1723,
the town encompassed six miles, enlarged through further land purchases from the Native
Americans. Bedford remained a relatively quiet, self-governed farming community over
the next fifty years although surrounded by powerful and potentially intrusive
manorial estates. The American Revolution disrupted the Town's rural repose when
Tory " Cowboys" stole cows from local farms to feed Redcoat Regiments
and British Troops burned nearly all buildings in July 1779.
As a result, almost all offices, churches, and homes
in Bedford date to the post-War era.
During the two
centuries following Independence,
Bedford rebuilt, adapted infrastructures
to accommodate the railroad and automobile, assumed
new governmental roles, and grew in population. From
1790 to 1823 and from 1790 to 1870, Bedford respectively shared
the Westchester County supervisor's meetings and court sessions with White Plains.
Until the arrival of the railroad in the mid-nineteenth century, Bedford Township
encompassed one village and several hamlets. As more people moved to Bedford with suburbanization,
the town delineated into three villages: Bedford, Bedford Hills, and Katonah, and part of Mount
Kisco. Despite regional development, Bedford retains a bucolic charm largely due to the efforts of the Bedford Historical Society.