The courthouse is no longer here. But the blocks that originally supported it now form a walk to its memorial.
The delegates to the 2nd Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They then sent copies to shadow governments of every colony for their agreement. In NY, the shadow government met outside the city because of heavy British presence. They met in this Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains to read the declaration. When they’d agreed to it, they moved in secret to establish a new government for the now state of New York.
Judge John Thomas was one of the first settlers of Purchase, three miles away. He was one of the most influential men in the county. He read aloud the Declaration from these courthouse steps.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness….”
The British were afraid he was motivating an army. So a few nights later, they pulled him from his bed, from his home, and imprisoned him in NYC. …and he died, after being tortured 40 days.
(This is the 1st in a 4-part series of stories from the American Rebellion. Read part 2 on Thu, June 23. You can read my Tripadvisor review of courthouse memorial here.)