One of the most important sites on the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route along the length of the almost 700-mile National Historic Trail stands at 425 Ridge Road in Greenburgh, New York. Almost 250 years ago in 1732, John Tompkins of Eastchester built the central portion of the house and owned it until 1760. Gilbert Bates occupied the farm from 1760 to 1785, when John Odell purchased the property. The Odell family was among the founders of Westchester in 1662. John Odell, from whom the property received its name, served as one of Washington’s main Westchester Guides during the War of Independence and was later commissioned a Colonel by Gov. John Jay in the New York State militia.
When French forces entered the territory of what is today the Town of Greenburgh (founded only in 1788) on 6 July 1781, their commanding officer, the comte de Rochambeau’s search for his headquarter led him to the home of Sarah Bates, the widow of Gilbert Bates. Bates was remembered as a loyalist who was tied to his horse and run out of town prior to 1781. Sarah allowed Rochambeau the use of her home as his headquarters. During Rochambeau’s six-week stay in Greenburgh, the Odell House hosted many important meetings between Washington and Rochambeau. Here they laid the plans for the Grand Reconnaissance of 21-23 July 1781, which they hoped would lead to the siege and capture of New York City. Aware of the need of a naval component to complete the siege ring around the city, they waited to hear from the French fleet. When news arrived at the Odell House from Admiral de Grasse on 14 August that he was sailing his fleet to the Chesapeake, Washington and Rochambeau quickly changed plans. By 18 August 1781, Rochambeau and his troops set out from the Odell House onto the road that led to Yorktown and victory.