Washington Hollow is one of the three hamlets that make up the Town of Pleasant Valley, NY. Originally called Pittsbury, it was later renamed after George Washington who passed through and camped there during the American Revolution.
The current state highway, Route 44 follows what had been a Native American trail along the Wappingers Creek and some of its tributaries. In the early 1700’s it was called Filkinstown Road and led settlers west from New England. A group of Presbyterians from Connecticut came to this area, and beginning in 1747 they built a church on the Filkinstown Road called The Pittsbury Church.
A Cemetery was established across the road in 1747, as a “Burial Grounds” for the Church. The first burial, of Conrad Ham was in that year, and only a half-dozen other burials took place during the rest of the 18th century. Early stones show burials of Simon and Zachariah Flagler, a name familiar to us even now.
It was at this Church that a group of Tories wintered in 1777. While practicing marching they were surprised and defeated by a group of patriots, with 30-40 of them captured and marched off to Sharon, Connecticut.
During the 19th century burials in the Cemetery increased considerably. The original Church stood until 1859, when it was purchased by a group of Methodists who tore it down. They built a new church building that still stands on the site, and is currently used as an antique store. The first Dutchess County Fair was held next to the Pittsbury Church, across the road from the Cemetery in October 1842, and in 1852 that property was chosen as the permanent site of the annual Fair.
By 1867 the Fair site had grown from 7 acres and 1 building to over 30 acres, several buildings and a half-mile racetrack. Also located near the Cemetery were the Washington Hollow Inn or “Wheeler House” as well as a large turkey farm. Today the headquarters for Troop “K” of the New York State Police stands on the site of the turkey farm. On May 11, 1907 a meeting of Plot Holders and persons interested in the Washington Hollow Cemetery met to vote on the question of incorporation. Twenty votes were cast, with nineteen in favor and one against. The Law on Incorporation of Cemeteries was read by J. M. Ham. Edward Clement moved that the name be “The Washington Hollow Cemetery Association.”
In August of 1909, a parcel of 3 acres of new land was added to Cemetery as follows: “Webster Knickerocker & Melissa widow of Alenzo M Carrol conveys to The Washington Hollow Cemetery Association, a parcel according to survey by John Ogden C.E, June 1909, adjacent & adjoining existing Cemetery.”
During the 20th century most burials were in the new sections of the Cemetery, while a few were in already existing family plots in the older section.
In 1926 our beautiful stone and iron gateways were built to create two entrances, one at each end of the Cemetery. In 1989 the current entrance was created at the west end of the shopping center parking lot at 2510 Route 44.