Bedford



Bedford, Westchester

Bedford was founded on December 23, 1680 when 22 Puritans from Stamford, Connecticut purchased a tract of land three miles square known as the "Hopp Ground" from Chief Katonah and several other Indians for coats, blankets, wampum and cloth.

These Stamford settlers promptly set about providing for a meetinghouse, gristmill on the Mianus River and burying ground. Today's Village Green is one-third its original size but the graveyard and surrounding principal streets remain substantially as they were originally planned in 1681.

Bedford was made a part of Connecticut in 1697 when a patent fixed the boundaries as a six-mile square and it was only when King William III of England issued a royal decree in 1700, to settle a boundary dispute, that Bedford become part of New York.

Bedford served as the Westchester County seat during the American Revolutionary War after the Battle of White Plains until it was burned by the British on July 11, 1779. After the Revolution, Bedford became one of two seats of County government, alternating with White Plains, until 1870. Westchester County's oldest government building is the Court House in Bedford Village, which was built in 1787 and renovated in the 1960s.

The Bedford Oak

bedford limousineThe Bedford Oak has stood as a symbol of Bedford's strength, beauty and heritage, predating, some think, even the beginning of the Town itself.

A white oak, with branches spanning approximately 130 feet and a girth more than 23 feet, it is thought by some to have been 200 years old when the 22 men from Stamford purchased the Hopp Ground from the Indians in 1680.

In 1977, with construction planned on nearby property, a group of Bedford citizens raised money to purchase that property, providing additional protection for the tree. Not only were they successful in raising enough to purchase the property, but the remaining funds provided a fund for the tree's care.
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