Teacher Samuel Youngs: The Inspiration Behind Washington Irving’s Iconic Character Ichabod Crane

History abounds with school teachers who have earned fame outside of the classroom. Such is the case with Samuel Youngs, an American school teacher who was a close friend of famous American author Washington Irving. In fact, it has been speculated that Samuel served as the inspiration for the character of Ichabod Crane in Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Samuel Youngs was born December 4, 1760. During the Revolutionary War, he served as a lieutenant in the 4th New York Infantry Regiment led by Baron Frederick von Weissenfels. Throughout the war, Samuel served the fledgling American army as a guide over the roads and trails in the county around his home. He was one of a dozen native soldiers who were known as “The Westchester Guides. His father’s farmhouse, located near the intersection of Bradhurst Avenue and Grasslands Road in Eastview, was the scene of a British raid during the Revolution.

After the war was won, Samuel served as a Federalist member of the New York State Assembly from 1796-1797, 1809, and 1810. Additionally, Samuel served as a Surrogate of Westchester County for terms of one or more years in 1800, 1807, 1810, 1811, and 1819.

The intrepid school teacher and veteran passed away on September 12, 7051406_1175741520611839. He was originally buried in the yard of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow in New York. There he was honored with other citizens of Tarrytown who fought during the Revolutionary War with a monument, pictured at left. The inscription at the bottom of the monument reads: “This monument is erected by Major General Aaron Ward, 9 division, N.Y.S.M. in testimony of his high appreciation of the services of a brave officer and a true patriot.” In 1851, Samuel’s remains were relocated to the Dale Cemetery in Ossining, New York. He was the first person to be buried in that cemetery.