|THE ALLEGED HAUNTED STREET OF WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY
|The history of Buckout Road
|The city of White Plains and town of Harrison within the suburban NYC county of Westchester are
known for a few things. There's multiple shopping malls, an arena which hosts the home games
of the NY Knicks' developmental team and WNBA's NY Liberty, the headquarters for multiple
Fortune 500 companies like Pepsi and IBM, and of course the home of an alleged haunted street
called Buckout Road.
My book gets a lot more in depth and into additional topics such the birth of Pro Wrestling, the
farm with the slaughter house, and more however here's a brief overview.
|Over 50 people are buried in this small cemetery
Almira, Ann, Anne E, Elijah, John, John B, Joseph, Mary,
and Matilda Foster
Emline, Harriet, Mary Ann, Phebe, and Sophia
George, John, Margaret, Mary, Thomas
Isaac, Joseph, Mary G, Mary L, William, Moses, Solomon
Angeline, Epenetus, Epenetus Jr, George, John Henry,
Andrew, Caleb, Caleb Jr, Eva, George, John, Theodore
Josephine and Willie Carpenter
John QA, Elizabeth, John F, Charlotte, Isaac F, Nancy
|During the 1600's a Native American tribe called The Siwanoy
inhabited the land on and around what is now Buckout Road.
Also during the 1600's the Buckhout family relocated from
Holland to Westchester County, NY.
Sachem (Chief) Wampage of the Siwanoy is known for the
killing and scalping of Anne Hutchinson in the nearby Bronx.
They are also known as the creators of the first urban legend
pertaining to the area of Buckout Road.
There were several battles an raids between the Siwanoy and
European settlers in the area. By 1695 a Quaker named John
Harrison owned the land which is now the town of Harrison
where Buckout Road is located.
This picture is of a property map of the Buckout Road area how it
once was. The circled Purdy property belonged to Jacob Purdy who
served in the Westchester Militia during the Revolutionary War.
General George Washington made that house his headquarters from
October 23-28, 1776 during the Battle Of White Plains. Washington
also occupied the house from July 21 – September 16, 1778.
Washington kept supplies at the nearby Horton Grist Mill which
became the site of a two day skirmish in October 1776 between The
Colonists and Red Coats. Its unclear how much bloodshed there
was during The Revolutionary War in the Buckout Road area though
many have found bullets, buttons, and other artifacts in the area.
The African Church on the map was located near Stony Hill
Cemetery on Buckout Road. The folks that lived on Buckout Road
(then known as Old Cottage Road) were Quakers, and while slavery
was disgustingly legal in The US the Quakers did not believe in it.
Starting in 1773 these Quakers of Buckout Road defied the unjust
laws and freed slaves. The heroic Frederick Stephens and his wife
Deborah Foster Stephens gave the freed slaves land to live on and
farm on. The land on Buckout Road became known as the Stony Hill
section and was also connected to the underground railroad. Stony
Hill Cemetery is the burial site of several hundred former residents
of Stony Hill including freed slaves and heroic Black war veterans.
Deborah Foster Stephens was the eldest daughter of John Foster Jr
and Mary Marsh Foster who founded Pine Tree Farm (later Baldwin
Farm owned & operated by their descendants) in 1770. It got the name
after a large pine tree fell on their farmhouse during a storm. Pine
Tree/Baldwin Farm was operational until a series of arson fires took
place in the 1970's. The land is currently used as a local garden and
Deborah's sister Elizabeth married John Quincy Adams Buckhout.
John QA Buckhout was not a slave owner. He was a military captain,
worked as a carpenter, and had sixteen children which grew up on the
family farm. The farm was called "Old Well Farm" and was later
purchased in 1920 by actor John Barrymore (Drew Barrymore's
grandfather) and his poet wife Blance Oelrichs. One of John QA
Buckhout's sons was John F Buckhout whose grave remains on
Buckout Road in a cemetery where several generations of Buckhout,
Foster, Marsh, and Stephens family members were buried. The
cemetery land was once owned by John Foster and was part of Pine
Perhaps an inspiration for "the flesh eating albino twins" of urban
legend lore twin brothers Moses and Solomon Meeks are also buried in
that cemetery, though neither were cannibals. Perhaps that aspect of
the urban legend story derived from cannibalistic serial killer Albert
Fish whom was rumored to have once lived on the street. Fish is said to
be a main inspiration for the Hannibal Lecter character in Silence Of
The Lambs. If you're unfamiliar with the urban legend it's pretty simple;
drive up to a particular house on Buckout Road, honk the horn 3
times,and cannibal albinos will attack. Sadly that house was also
destroyed in an arson fire.
Decades ago several dozen headstones from the Buckout Road
cemetery were stolen by vandals. Some were recovered by local police
and placed on Baldwin farm. The Westchester Historical Society later
removed the remaining headstones ironically in an effort to keep them
from being stolen. Rumor has it that the headstones including Joseph
Stephens', the son of Frederick and Deborah, are currently stored in a
closet of an Elmsford NY office.
There is just one remaining gravestone in Buckhout/Foster family
cemetery on Buckout Road which belongs to John F Buckhout and his
wife Charlotte. In spite of rumors, John F Buckhout also was not a
slave owner nor did he murder his wife. He was a carpenter turned real
estate agent and his wife actually outlived him. She was laid to rest in
1927. 50 years later however in 1977 their grave was dug up as
documented in numerous local newspapers.
Detectives said "there was a distinct possibility that the bodies of
Buckhout and his wife Charlotte Cowan Buckhout were stolen from the
cemetery". Unsure whether or not the bodies were stolen officials
filled the freshly dug hole. Officials theorized that robbers "could have
been cultists in search of skulls or bones for use in witchcraft
A few years later in 1981 some local residents claimed they witnessed
the grave site of Mary Foster in that same cemetery freshly dug up.
According to rumor Mary hanged herself inside a Quaker church on
Buckout Road in 1883 at age 73. There's been numerous reports of
"ghost sightings" in both the Stony Hill Cemetery and Buckhout/Foster
cemetery including orbs and plasmas being visible in photographs,
traces of unexplained recorded EVP, and sightings of apparitions. The
most notable apparition sighting is described as "the lady in white" and
is thought by some to be the ghost of Mary Foster.
|The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow character inspirations
The once prominent Westchester County family The Buckhouts can be
traced back over 350 years to Amsterdam, Holland. Buckhouts began
arriving in Westchester County as early as 1663. Many lived in the town
of Sleepy Hollow. They were Quakers and attended services at The Old
Dutch Church which would later be featured in Washington Irving's
"The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow".
Several Generations of Buckhouts are buried in the Old Dutch Burial
Grounds in Sleepy Hollow including Captain John Buckhout. His
epitaph reads "aged 103 years and left behind him when he died 220
children and grand children".
One of Captain John Buckhout’s children was Jacob Buckhout who
served as a Corporal under Captain George Comb and was a member
of the Westchester Militia alongside one of his sons Jacob Jr. Jacob
Jr, his brother Abraham, and his sister Mary Buckhout each married
members of the neighboring Odell family.
During the Revolutionary War, British and Hessian soldiers encamped
on the Buckhout and Odell farms. On October 28, 1776 General
George Washington placed Colonel Malcolm and Lt Fenno to station the
nearby Merrit Hill in White Plains. Lt Fenno fired a cannon ball directly
at 20 Hessian horsemen approaching. According to a journal entry
written by American general William Heath on October 31, 1776 “a shot
from the American cannon at this place took off the head of a Hessian
artillery-man. They also left one of the artillery horses dead on the field.
What other loss they sustained was not known.” Rumor is this
incident served as inspiration for the infamous Headless Horseman
character and his ghostly horse of Legend of Sleepy Hollow fame. By
war’s end according to Washington Irving’s history, hardly a tree, fence
or building was left standing in the vicinity.
Abraham Martlenghs and his wife moved to the area in the 1730s. He was a
deacon in the church. His farm makes up much of present day Tarrytown.
Martlenghs’ sons Abraham and Isaac anglicized their surname to Martling.
Abraham junior was in the militia during the Revolutionary War and once led
a successful raid against British troops in Manhattan.
Isaac was also known as Isaac the Martyr. The winter of 1779 was harsh
and left many sick and hungry. A wealthy British sympathizer named Nathan
Underhill orchestrated a raid and drove off Isaac’s cattle and later refused to
share his bounty with the less fortunate neighbors. Isaac, who lost an arm
in the French and Indian War, retaliated with a raid on Underhill's home one
spring day. The mob strung Underhill by his heels to a barn beam and forced
him to eat dry grain.
According to a publication from 1905, on May 26, 1779 Isaac Martling
allegedly met to tryst with a woman named Polly Buckhout by a water spring
near the Martling home on the corner of White and Water Street in
Tarrytown. As the one Isaac was carrying a pail of water, Nathan Underhill
and a small group of British sympathizers stormed the scene. Buckhout
fled however as Isaac begged for mercy. Isaac was fatally stabbed by
Underhill and hacked into pieces.
His body was buried in the cemetery of The Old Dutch Church with his
severed head beside him. The name of his killer also appeared on the
grave’s inscription however that stone eventually was broken at the base
and went missing, as did Underhill who fled to Canada. Isaac was 39 years
old and became the first murder victim of Tarrytown. Isaac’s survivors
included his younger brother Abraham “Brom” Martling who was a
blacksmith, a militia lieutenant, and rumored to be the inspiration for the
Brom Bones character in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
|Katrina Buckhout -
the first murder victim of Sleepy Hollow
The town of Sleepy Hollow, NY (located in Westchester County) used to be
called North Tarrytown.
According to Revolutionary War Captain John Romer’s account:
“On the 26th of May, 1779 a party of refugees suddenly came upon
Tarrytown. The inhabitants drove their cattle in great alarm into the
woods north of Pocantico Brook, on the first approach of the enemy. In
consequence of their numbers, Captain Buchanan had found it necessary
to retreat across the Pocantico where he lay in ambush awaiting their
advance, but they did not go so far. At Tarrytown they killed Isaac
Martling, or rather, Nathaniel Underhill killed him. Then they pushed for the
house of James Requa, where a guard was kept during most of the War,
which they surprised but the whole party made their escape, except one,
who was called, and whose name was John Van Tassel.
John Van Tassel was posted as sentinel near the house, and challenged
the enemy who charged. He fired, defended himself with his bayonet, but
was surrounded and cut to pieces by the dragoons. The men then jumped
out of the window and escaped Katrina Buckhout was killed by a rifleman
belonging to a party under Colonel Emerick. She imprudently appeared at
the door of the house with a man’s hat on, when the two hostile parties
were near other, and was killed by mistake for an enemy. The yager fired
without orders, and Emerick made an apology, being much mortified at
"Katrina Van Tassel" is the name of the female lead character in
Washington Irving's "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow".
"The Mad Murderer of Sleepy Hollow"
|On New Years Day 149 years ago one of the most vicious murders in the history
of Westchester County took place in the town of Sleepy Hollow, NY. One of the
victims and the convicted killer were members of the Buckhout family.
Isaac Van Wart Buckhout was named after one of the heroic men that
apprehended Major Andre (a British Army officer hanged as a spy by the
Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War for assisting Benedict
Arnold's attempted surrender of the fort at West Point, New York to the British) in
nearby Tarrytown, NY. In 1860 Isaac VW Buckhout married Anna Louisa Coupe,
however their marriage was not always a happy one. He consistently thought his
wife was unfaithful and two of the individuals he suspected were his hunting
buddy and neighbor Alfred Rendall and Alfred's son Charles .
On New Years Day 1870, Alfred and Charles were guests at the Buckhout home.
As Ann Louisa was in the kitchen, Alfred and Charles enjoyed a glass of Isaac's
homemade cider in the living room area of the Buckhout home. Isaac then
excused himself to the bedroom and returned with a shotgun. He stood in the
doorway of the room and fired at Alfred Rendall, killing him. He then swung the
gun around and emptied the second barrel at Charles. Part of the charge hit him
in the left side of the head, which broke the glass goblet which he was drinking
from. Glass shattered with pieces embedded in his eye and forehead, leaving him
blinded in one eye and covered in blood. Isaac then went into the kitchen where
he beat his wife to death with the gun, crushing her skull and breaking the
gun.Isaac fled. Moments later a confused Charles staggered to the body of his
father, shook him, but he was gone. Afterwards Charles was unconscious for
three days. He recovered however with facial injuries including the loss of an eye
Dubbed "The Mad Murderer of Sleepy Hollow" Isaac was arrested and placed in
the Westchester County jail. Two weeks later on January 14th Isaac attempted
suicide in his cell. He reportedly told guards that he saw the apparition of his wife
in his cell. His trial began in March 1870, lasted for several days, and resulted in a
disagreement of the jury. Eight voted for a conviction of murder while four for an
acquittal on the ground of insanity.
A second trial for the murders began in April 1871. This trial ended just as his first
with an undecided jury. Several doctors that interviewed Isaac in his cell testified
that he thought Westchester County was under masonic control and the
freemasons were "out to get him".
Isaac's third trial for the murders occurred in July 1871. On July 19th the jury
reached a verdict and the ringing of the courthouse bell attracted a large crowd
anxious to hear the result. The jury had found him guilty of murder in the first
degree with a recommendation for mercy. Judge Barnard sentenced him to be
hanged on Friday September 1st, a decision which was appealed. The appeals
delayed his hanging until February 16, 1872. The ground between the courthouse
and the prison was closed in by a high board fence and the scaffold was erected
against the west end. Rumors spread that there would be an assault on the jail to
free him. These rumors intensified so much that a regiment of the New York
national guard and all available deputy sheriffs stood by to repel the expected
assault. The assault however did not happen.
Isaac marched directly to the platform. The clergy read. Isaac shook the sheriff's
hand. A black cap was drawn over his head and at 11:45am a dull thud of the ax
was heard by the crowd and instantly he was swinging in the air. He hung for 22
minutes. When he was cut down his 39 year old body was placed in a plain coffin
without any inscription and turned over to his relatives. He was buried in a nearby
Quaker cemetery. Some locals claim the area around his unmarked grave is
haunted. Isaac was the last man hanged in Westchester County. The site of his
hanging in White Plains is currently a masonic temple.
Caves in the area of Buckout Road were used to store ammunition during the
Revolutionary War. One such cave is known as Pop’s Cave which is located in the woods
off of Buckout Road. This particular cave is also to be rumored to once be the home of
perhaps the original hobo, the wandering hermit known simply as The Leatherman.
Dressed in homemade leather pants up to his chest with suspenders, a long leather coat,
and wooden sole shoes The Leatherman came to doors of farm kitchens between the
1850s and 1880s looking for handouts of food and tobacco. According to legend, “The
Leatherman’s Loop” stretched for over 300 miles and included towns in Connecticut,
Putnam County NY, and Westchester County NY which included various caves he dwelled
in. According to legend if The Leatherman enjoyed one’s hospitality he would return every
34 days. His regular visits coupled with his appearance and the fact that he did not speak
but instead mumbled, turned him into a bit of a local celebrity. According to interviews
with people who have encountered him, families would mark their calendars for his next
visit, sure to have warm food ready for him. Merchants used photographs of him at their
shops to advertise their goods
The Leatherman was buried in Ossining NY with a used tombstone over a simple pine
box. The identity of this wandering hermit who walked with a cane and carried a leather
bag which included an axe and a French prayer book remained unknown. An old theory
was that he was born Jules Bourglay in France and traveled to The US by boat after
accidently burning down the leather business owned by the family of his love interest
Maragarette Larson. Another version has Bourglay working for Larson’s family business
and making a bad investment in Persian leather leaving the business bankrupt. While this
theory is completely unsupported by any evidence, The Leatherman’s headstone was
“Final resting place of Jules Bourglay of Lyons, France. The Leatherman Who walked a
365 mile loop through Westchester and Connecticut from the Connecticut River to the
Hudson, living in caves, in the years 1858–1889”.
The grave site was exhumed in 2011. No visible remains were recovered during the
exhumation. Rather, coffin nails and soil recovered from the original burial plot were
reburied elsewhere within Sparta Cemetery in Ossining. Part of the reason for the
exhumation process was to test his remains to determine his origins. His new headstone
simply reads “The Leatherman”, perhaps a man whose identity will never be known
however a man who certainly left an impression on those he encountered in his travels.
There have been rumors that The Leatherman buried gold coins near caves he stayed in
and some have even claimed to encounter his ghost or a Leatherman double near Pop’s
Cave in the woods of Buckout Road. Could The Leatherman’s ghost be protecting buried
treasure near Buckout Road? While there’s been no proof of these claims, the legend of
this unique individual live on. Years later a trash collector dressed in similar garb
nicknamed Muskrat Sam began being seen around White Plains.
In the late 1920’s the local area of West Harrison became a tourist
attraction with a new hotel, casino, and the internationally known 118 foot
Norway Club ski jump. The ski jump was destroyed by a hurricane in
1949 and collapsed to the ground. The casino and hotel were either
“closed down or burned down” according to historian Charles Dawson.
In 1949 a storage barn valued at $10,000 and its contents worth about
$40,000 at the Norda Experimental Farm on Park Lane off Buckout Road
were destroyed by fire of undetermined origin. The Norda Experimental
Farm was run by Buckout Road resident Joseph Pryor. The farm
garnered newspaper attention throughout the country in 1959 when six
Black Angus steer escaped from the farm which lead to local police on a
wild…cow, chase for three months. Over 100 police officers participated
in the hunt with usage of horses and helicopters .
From 1955 until 1963 a Nike missile site was operational in the area.
Missile site NY-09 was built during the Cold War to defend the New
York City area against Soviet bombers. It had 30 Nike-Ajax missiles.
The 34 acre site contained twelve missile launchers, barracks, and
three underground bunkers.
The missile base bought for $105,000 was abandoned by the New York
Army National Guard in 1968 and the missiles and other valuable
equipment were removed. The site was purchased by the town of
Harrison in 1969 with hopes of converting the area into a recreational
area. Some proposed uses of the property included sledding, ice
skating, bicycle paths, a picnic area, tennis and paddle ball courts, and
if land was cleared, baseball and football fields.
The underground area which is lined by four foot concrete walls was
once considered for use as a rifle range, bowling alley, and mechanical
and craft work shop. By 1975 the facility was used by Harrison Fire
and Police departments as a training center. The facility is located near
Buckout Road on Park Lane near the intersection of Park Lane and
White Deer Lane.
It’s not exactly Atlantis however three miles away from
Buckout Road once stood the village of Kensico. It had a
population of roughly 200 and was named in 1849 for
Siwanoy chief Cokenseko who had sold most of the land
surrounding White Plains to English settlers in the 1600’s.
Kensico had houses, stores, churches, hotels, and a
In the late 1800’s there was a need for reservoir. By 1905
legislation was passed by New York State to allow money to
be raised for the building of the Kensico Dam. Seventeen
miles of railroad track were privately built to carry materials
from the quarry at nearby Cranberry Lake (near Buckout
Completed in 1917, the Kensico Dam “replaced” Kensico
Village, which was burned down and then flooded. The dam
took 1,500 workers, one million cubic feet of masonry (as
much masonry as the Egyptians used to build some of the
pyramids), and four years to construct at a cost of $15
million (roughly $250 million in today’s currency). It blocks
about 30 billion gallons of water.
The dam is 1,825 feet long. It stands 307 feet above its
foundation and contains 1,000,000 cubic feet of masonry
which is comparable to the amount of masonry used in
building some Egyptian pyramids. In one month, 2.5 million
cubic yards of concrete were poured into blocks which had
to cure for three months before being swung onto the rising
hyperbolic pile of the dam. The dam is able to hold back
about 30 billion gallons of water. Many Westchester
communities, as well as over eight million City residents,
rely on the Kensico Reservoir for their drinking water.
It was acquired as parkland in 1963 from the New York City
Watershed Commission and remains the property of the
New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
There is a nearby millstone with a plaque which reads “near
this site stood Reuben Wright's Mills headquarters of
General Washington from July 20th to July 25th 1778.” The
mills were in Old Kensico Village, now inundated by the
waters of Kensico Lake. Kensico Dam in modern day 2017 it’
s a popular spot for sunbathers and bike riders on nice
sunny days and is also the site of cultural festivals and
concerts. After 9/11 cars are no longer able to drive across
the dam. Some times when the water level is low you can
see the steeple of Kensico village’s church poking through
Rocks to build Kensico Dam came from the stone quarry on Park Lane
near Buckout Road. The quarry attaches via walking trail to Cranberry
Lake located on Old Orchard Street. Prior to Cranberry Lake turning into
an established nature reserve in 1967, the lake was considered part of
the quarry and was a popular swimming spot for locals. Unfortunately it
was also the site of tragedies.
In June 1922 a car stolen from a Yonkers resident was found in the
flooded quarry. Police were uncertain whether the driver and/or
passenger(s) of the vehicle went down with the automobile and possibly
On September 26 , 1927 thirteen year old Mt Vernon boy Frank Govin Jr
drowned in Cranberry Lake after suffering from a cramp.
In August 1929 eighteen year old Morris Isaacs of White Plains drowned
in the lake while swimming in the quarry. Troopers dragged through the
deep quarry lake and used dynamite in an effort to dislodge the body from
the bottom of the quarry however they were unsuccessful.
In June 1942 police and firemen recovered the bodies of 41 year old
Walter Wells and his 18 year nephew from the bottom of Cranberry Lake
after fishing for over an hour with grappling hooks. The two men had
acquired a homemade boat from two local boys which they set out to row
in the water on. The boat however overturned and threw them twenty feet
deep into the water.
The county purchased the area in 1967 and developed a nature reserve.
The 190 acre site includes woodland, wetlands, several bodies of water,
the quarry, and old ruins. Cranberry Lake is a natural body of water
formed around 18,000 years ago by glacier activity. The lake is fed by an
underground spring. The wetlands area features a small dock and
nearby is a nature lodge. A popular attraction is “the stone chamber”
which is a man made cave on the former property of local farmer Thomas
Cunningham. Old abandoned cars are also scattered on the trails. There
is also an abandoned tennis court which was once part of the Birchwood
Swim club which used Quarry Pond for swimming.
In November 2017 actress Emma Stone filmed scenes for the Netflix
series Maniac in the Cranberry Lake area.
The Hatfield House was built in the late 1700's where Hall
Avenue becomes Buckout Road.
About 400 feet behind and to the north of the house is
Mucklestone Rock, a outcropping of granite ledge named as a
landmark in early maps of White Plains. Hall Avenue used to
pass above, rather than below, the rock. When approached
from that side it appeared to be a flat part of the hillside, but it
breaks off suddenly with a sheer perpendicular drop nearly
fifty feet to a dark glen below. It is said that during the
Revolution Captain Tilton, a British officer, being pursued by
American soldiers and unaware of the abrupt ending of the
rocky platform, plunged off the cliff into the ravine below and
was killed. Because of the Captains’ tragic fate, Mucklestone
was sometimes called “Tilton’s Rock.”
The house was destroyed in 2012.
|House built in the late 1700's where Hall Avenue becomes
Buckout Road. The abandoned house is the most recently
destroyed house pictured after a fire in November 2017.
|Buckout Road Houses Destroyed - 2000's - Buckhout house, "Albino House", and more