Sinterklaas and the toymaker

The Old Dutch Church welcomes children to special Christmas events with a Dutch flavor.

Since 1697

Infants are baptized at Old Dutch today, just as they have been for well over 300 years.

Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Washington Irving made the Burying Ground the haunt of the Headless Horseman in his well-known story.

Celebrating 200 Years: 'Legend of Sleepy Hollow'

This year and next, Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of America's favorite ghost story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Irving's enduring story made the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow famous as the burial site of the Headless Horseman.

Scheduled events this summer and fall include:
-- Summer Saturdays: Open house at the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy  Hollow, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
-- Sept. 19: "Everybody's Reading The Legend," a single-session book club to be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Dutch Church. It is one of several sessions scheduled in the villages of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, including the Warner Library, the Historical Society, Christ Episcopal Church and Patriots Park. Warner Library will have free copies of the short story for participants to pick up.
--October weekends: Old Dutch Church Fest will return to the burying ground from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 


Memorial Day Weekend with Deb at the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow


Dean Family Crypt - Old Dutch Church - Sleepy Hollow, NY
Saturday at the Old Dutch, Pastor Jeff Gargano spent the morning replacing old flags with new in anticipation of Memorial Day, as visitors strolled the grounds and toured the 334-year-old church. Perhaps it was the site of the new flags that stirred a patriotic feeling or a simple curiosity of who these headstones belonged to that turned our visitors' attention away from Irving's Legend and to the lives of those now buried beneath the trees of the Old Dutch.

The historic burying ground has headstones for over 70 soldiers of the American Revolution, although there are probably others buried there without a marker. The Dean crypt above, erected in 1849, includes the body of Sgt. John Dean (1755-1817) and his wife, Mary Storm Dean (1756-1845). Sgt. Dean's service is remembered in tales of heroism, narrow escapes, and compassion. He was also the officer who assigned John Paulding, Issac Van Wart and David Williams to patrol the area wherein they encountered and captured the British spy Major John Andre.
dean2.jpgPetrus Van Tessel 1728-1784

The Van Tassel name is famous in Sleepy Hollow and can be also found on headstones spelled as Van Tessel, Van Tessell, or Van Tassell. Petrus Van Tessel's headstone, carved by Solomon Brewer, is written in three languages: Latin, Dutch, and English. A soul-effigy carved in relief is a distinctive feature. Petrus and cousin Cornelius, who is buried nearby, experienced the terror of a Hessian raid on their properties on Nov 17, 1777. It was a punitive raid on the part of the British who were aware of the cousins' patriotic leanings. Cornelius' farm was burnt to the ground, the livestock along with the two men were marched to New York City. The men were imprisoned for 11 months and paroled for British officers. Petrus' heath was affected by his imprisonment and he did not live long after the war. This event would incite retaliatory action by the Liberty Boys, a group of local men who boarded whale boats and sailed down the Hudson into British held territory to burn down the home of a leading loyalist.

After the Revolution, many of the men returned to find their farms and crops burnt and their livestock scattered or gone. They were able to purchase their farms at auction as the lands of Frederick Philipse III were confiscated under the Forfeiture Act of 1779 and were put up for auction by the New York Commission on Forfeiture. (The Old Dutch Church and three-acre burying ground were deeded to the Minister, Elders and Deacons for 10 shillings.) 


During summer worship at the Old Dutch, we are never far away from the memory of these men and women who suffered great hardship and loss during the American Revolution. And while most of soldiers here did not die in battle, these farmer/soldiers who served in the founding of our nation were ready to make the ultimate sacrifice if called to do so. We honor their memory.

Sinterklaas and Toy Shop Friends Came to Old Dutch Dec. 7

Unique Views of Old Dutch

The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow & Burying Ground, courtesy of Nathan Gargano. 

WORSHIP at the Old Dutch Church this summer was deeply meaningful. The "Seven Sundays: A Celebration of Music in Worship" again brought an eclectic and talented bunch of musicians. Along the way we met a half-dozen women of the Bible, heard from a missionary to Oman, were blessed by the leadership of the Rev. William Burke, and extended our gratitude to young teens for looking after even younger children. We were delighted to host more than 30 children for Vacation Bible School at the "Clock Church" in Tarrytown.

We hope the photos above will bring back delightful memories to those who were with us this summer. To those who weren't, we invite you to join us on our path to furtherthe  spiritual growth, fellowship, and fun when the new year starts September 9 at our winter home at 42 North Broadway--the "Clock Tower" church--in Tarrytown.

Honoring 333 Years

Old Dutch Church book coverIn 1685, when it was built in the wilderness north of New York City, the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow brought comfort and community to isolated pioneer families. Succeeding generations treasured the old church, the only house of worship in a wide area until 1837, when members of Old Dutch built a larger church nearby then another a few years later. Yet somehow they didn't abandon the old church, which continues to this day to host the congregation every summer for worship services. What was it about the church on the Pocantico River, made famous by Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Read about its rich history and colorful characters in The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow: Legends and Lore of the Oldest Church in New York. It is available from the church office at (914) 631-4497, or order it online here.