Where Was George Washington? Revolutionary War Fact Checking

One of my family traditions tells us that George Washington made his headquarters, from 4 July to 19 August 1781, at the home of my 5th Great-Grandfather, Joseph Appleby (1732-1792) in Greenburgh, New York, in the Dobbs Ferry section of town, during the American Revolutionary War.

Joseph Appleby served as a 2nd lieutenant in the First Regiment of Westchester County, New York Militia.

I found this interesting 1935 newspaper article reporting that in 1935 Messmore Kendall (1872-1959) was living in a house in Dobbs Ferry—and erroneously stated that was the house that George Washington used as his headquarters in 1781, not the home of my ancestor Joseph Appleby.

article about Messmore Kendall and George Washington, Seattle Daily Times newspaper article 27 August 1935

Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington), 27 August 1935, page 8

Kendall took great pride in his home’s supposed connection to George Washington and its key role in the American Revolution.

It was an impressive home.

photo of Philipse Manor

Photo: Philipse Manor. Source: Library of Congress.

Kendall served as the national vice-president of the Sons of the American Revolution and as the president of the Empire State Chapter of the NSSAR. In 1894 he had a monument erected in front of his house commemorating its place in history.

Enter Last Name

Kendall collected dozens of historic heirlooms previously owned by George Washington and had them on display at his home.

It was a nice story—but it was not true.

A Historic American Building Survey Report issued 29 March 1934, written by Thomas Hotchkiss (Re: Messmore Kendall Residence), stated that:

The 1894 monument…incorrectly alleges that Washington and Rochambeau met at this house [Philipse Manor] to plan the Yorktown Campaign in 1781. As explained authoritatively…these commanders of the allied armies occupied the Appleby and Odell houses respectively on country roads back in the hills, and conveniently held their conference there surrounded by their troops.

It turns out that Kendall lived at the Philipse Manor built by Frederick Philipse. His great-grandson, Frederick Philipse, was a Tory and “his lands and houses” were seized and sold. The manor house was purchased by Philip Livingston.

See: Historic American Building Survey, Report HABS No. 4-105

Genealogy Tip: Historical claims can be wrong—even when they make it into print in a newspaper, such as Kendall’s claim about his home being a former headquarters of George Washington.

Enter Last Name

The Appleby home which George Washington did use as his headquarters stood on what is now Secor Road in Dobbs Ferry, New York. The WFAS radio station offices are now located on this site.

photo providing an aerial view of the Appleby farm

Photo: aerial view of the Appleby farm. Source: Google Earth.

There is a video interview with Mary Sudman Donovan, Ph.D., Village Historian of Dobbs Ferry, New York. See the interview on YouTube here:

Donovan is the author of the book George Washington at “Headquarters, Dobbs Ferry” July 4 to August 19, 1781. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2009.

photo of the cover of Mary Donovan's book "George Washington at 'Headquarters, Dobbs Ferry' July 4 to August 19, 1781

Find and document your family’s stories in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

Carefully review the facts you are gathering. Evaluate them and seek out corroborating sources.

Make sure that the stories about your ancestors are accurate, preserved and passed down in the family.

Related Articles:

ad for gift subscriptions to GenealogyBank

23 Million Newspaper Records for all 50 U.S. States Just Added!

Did you realize that every day GenealogyBank adds more records from over 3,000 newspapers from all 50 states? Our archivists and digital experts are gathering and digitizing more of America’s newspapers and putting them online continuously.

In the past month alone we added over 23 million newspaper records—that is more than 5 million records every week!

Here is a glimpse of just some of the new newspaper content that has recently been added to GenealogyBank. Since we can’t list all 3,000 newspapers here, we have selected a representative sample to give you a sense of GenealogyBank’s dynamic growth. Dig into our rapidly expanding newspaper archives and uncover your family history now!

Newspapers marked with an asterisk (*) are new to GenealogyBank.

State City Newspapers

Date Range


Alaska Anchorage Anchorage Daily News


Newspaper Archives

California San Diego Evening Tribune


Newspaper Archives

California San Diego San Diego Union


Newspaper Archives

California San Francisco Bay Citizen, The*


Recent Obituaries

Colorado Denver Denver Post


Newspaper Archives

Colorado Denver Denver Rocky Mountain News


Newspaper Archives

Colorado Golden Arvada Press*


Recent Obituaries

Colorado Golden Golden Transcript*


Recent Obituaries

Colorado Golden Wheat Ridge Transcript*


Recent Obituaries

Colorado Lakewood Lakewood Sentinel*


Recent Obituaries

Colorado Thornton Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel*


Recent Obituaries

Colorado Westminster Westminster Window*


Recent Obituaries

District of Columbia Washington Daily Union


Newspaper Archives

District of Columbia Washington (DC) Evening Star


Newspaper Archives

Georgia Marietta Marietta Journal


Newspaper Archives

Idaho Idaho Falls Post Register*


Recent Obituaries

Illinois Belleville Belleville News-Democrat: Blogs*


Recent Obituaries

Illinois Chicago Chicago Sun-Times: Blogs*


Recent Obituaries

Illinois Elburn Elburn Herald*


Recent Obituaries

Illinois Springfield Daily Illinois State Register


Newspaper Archives

Louisiana Baton Rouge Advocate


Newspaper Archives

Louisiana Baton Rouge State Times Advocate


Newspaper Archives

Louisiana New Orleans NOLA Defender*


Recent Obituaries

Maryland Baltimore Sun


Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Boston Boston Herald


Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Boston Boston Herald: Blogs*


Recent Obituaries

Massachusetts Boston Boston Traveler


Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Springfield Republican, The: Web Edition Articles*


Recent Obituaries

Massachusetts Springfield Springfield Daily News


Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Springfield Springfield Republican


Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Westfield Westfield News, The*


Recent Obituaries

Michigan Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Daily Argus


Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Daily Times


Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor Michigan Argus


Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ypsilanti Ypsilanti Commercial


Newspaper Archives

Mississippi Hattiesburg Petal News, The*


Recent Obituaries

Nebraska Omaha Omaha Star*


Recent Obituaries

Nebraska Omaha Omaha World Herald


Newspaper Archives

Nevada Boulder City Boulder City Review*


Recent Obituaries

New Jersey Leonia Leonia Life*


Recent Obituaries

New York Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry Rivertowns Daily Voice*


Recent Obituaries

New York New York Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper


Newspaper Archives

New York New York New Yorker Volkszeitung


Newspaper Archives

New York Westchester County Newsday: Westchester County Edition*


Recent Obituaries

North Carolina Charlotte Charlotte Observer, The: Blogs*


Recent Obituaries

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Daily News


Newspaper Archives

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Record


Newspaper Archives

North Carolina Reidsville Eden Daily News, The*


Recent Obituaries

Ohio Cincinnati Cincinnati Post


Newspaper Archives

Oregon Hood River Hood River News*


Recent Obituaries

Pennsylvania Philadelphia Philadelphia City Paper*


Recent Obituaries

South Carolina Charleston Charleston Courier*


Newspaper Archives

South Carolina Charleston Charleston News and Courier


Newspaper Archives

South Carolina Charleston Evening Post


Newspaper Archives

Texas Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post*


Recent Obituaries

Vermont Middlebury Addison County Independent*


Recent Obituaries

Vermont St. Johnsbury Caledonian


Newspaper Archives

Vermont St. Johnsbury Caledonian-Record


Newspaper Archives

Virginia Richmond Richmond Times Dispatch


Newspaper Archives

Washington Bellingham Bellingham Herald, The: Blogs*


Recent Obituaries

Washington Forks Forks Forum*


Recent Obituaries

Wisconsin Chippewa Falls Chippewa Herald, The: Blogs*


Recent Obituaries

Wisconsin Milwaukee Wahrheit


Newspaper Archives

9 More Recent Newspaper Obituary Collections Coming Soon!

GenealogyBank will soon be adding nine more newspapers to its Recent Obituaries Collection dating from 2002 to today.

GenealogyBank Recent Obituaries Search Results

GenealogyBank Recent Obituaries Search Results

GenealogyBank is constantly expanding its online archives to offer you more records for your family history research. These upcoming additions provide expanded obituaries coverage for the following 8 U.S. States: Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington.

Here is the list of the recent obituaries coming online:

NOLA Defender (New Orleans, LA)

  • Obituaries: 03/13/2010 – Current

Republican: Web Edition Articles (Springfield, MA)

  • Obituaries: 11/16/2012 – Current

Westfield News (Westfield, MA)

  • Obituaries: 12/13/2011 – Current

Petal News (Hattiesburg, MS)

  • Obituaries: 04/28/2011 – Current

Omaha Star (Omaha, NE)

  • Obituaries: 01/07/2011 – Current

Leonia Life (Leonia, NJ)

  • Obituaries: 01/22/2010 – 11/18/2011
  • Notes: Missing June 2010 through September 2011

Rivertowns Daily Voice (Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, NY)

  • Obituaries: 08/02/2011 – Current

Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post (Fredericksburg, TX)

  • Obituaries: 08/07/2002 – Current

Forks Forum (Forks, WA)

  • Obituaries: 12/15/2010 – Current