Famous People of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow


~ John Davison Rockefeller ~Nelson Rockefeller
~ John Paulding ~ Jeff Canning
~ Jay Gould ~ Sanya Owolabi
~ Jacob Odell ~ Bruce Jenner


John Davison Rockefeller Sr.

July 8, 1839-1937

John Davison Rockefeller was once the richest person in the world. When he was young, he bought cheap candy and sold it for a higher price and made a profit.

Mr. Rockefeller, then made his money from oil the business. By 1878, Mr. Rockefeller had control of 90 percent of the oil refineries in the United States. His personal fortune was estimated at almost $1 billion at the time of his death.

He also became a famous philanthropist. Mr. Rockefeller gave away about $550 million during his lifetime. Most of the money went to foundations and organizations for charity.

Mr. Rockefeller built his home on a high point in the Tarrytown area (now Pocantico Hills) that he named Kykuit.




Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller

July 8, 1908 - January 26, 1979

Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., was a four-time Governor of New York State. Mr. Nelson Rockefeller served as Vice President of the USA from 1974-1977. He filled the vacancy when Vice President Gerald R. Ford served as President after President Richard M. Nixon resigned. Vice President Rockefeller was married to Mary Todhunter Clark. They had three sons and two daughters, Rodman, Anne, Steven, Mary and Michael. They were divorced and in 1963, Mr. Rockefeller married to Margaretta "Happy" Fiter Murphy. They had two children, Nelson Jr. and Mark. Mrs. "Happy" Rockefeller still lives in Tarrytown today at Kykuit.


John Paulding


John Paulding was one of the three men who captured Major John Andre, a traitor to the American cause. Paulding, Van Wart, and Williams were eating lunch and playing cards behind a bush when Major Andre appeared. The Americans found Major Andre with incriminating papers. Major Andre was captured on September 23, 1780, and was executed by hanging on October 2, 1780.

John Paulding was rewarded by Congress with a medal and $200 for his role in the capture of Major Andre. He was also given farm land to live on and work. ( Pictured to the left is Major Andre)



Jeff Canning

1947- Present

Jeff Canning was born in Tarrytown, New York, in July 1947 and graduated from Sleepy Hollow as valedictorian. Soon after, he joined the Tarrytown Daily News. In 1965, he attended Manhattan College while he was working for the newspaper. He received a BA degree in Russian studies.

Mr. Canning enlisted in the army as a Russian intelligence specialist. He served in the army for ten years. Mr. Canning returned home in 1972. This is when he began to write and study the history of the Tarrytowns. Mr. Canning is a parishioner of Transfiguration Church. He became an editor of the Mamaroneck Daily News. He is the author of The History of the Tarrytowns. Mr. Canning still lives in Tarrytown today.



Jay Gould


Jay Gould was born on a farm in Roxbury, New York. He dabbled in many things before he became a famous, well-known multimillionaire. He started his career as a surveyor. Then Mr. Gould switched to the tanning business in Northern Pennsylvania. He moved on to become a leather merchant in New York City.

Before the Civil War began, Mr. Gould began buying shares in a railroad. He bought bonds of the Rutland and Washington Railroad. This brought the rising financier ready cash and influential contacts. Mr. Gould used these things to manipulate stocks. Because Mr. Gould hurt many people on his way to becoming a millionaire, he was not well liked and was called the "Skunk of Wall Street."

Mr. Gould acquired the beautiful Lyndhurst Estate that is located in Tarrytown, New York. This elaborate mansion was built in 1883, and was designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, one of the most prominent Gothic revival architects.



Sanya Owolabi

August 7, 1960 - Present

Sanya Owolabi went to Sleepy Hollow High School in Tarrytown, New York where he started his career as a track and field athlete. He was born on August 7, 1960. He lived in Tarrytown until he graduated in 1978 and then received a scholarship for track to go to the University of Kansas.

He is famous for the track and field triple jump record; the distance was 53 ft and 4 1/4 inches. He set the record on July 4, 1978. This record was achived in Donyetsk, USSR. He was competing for a place on the A.A.U. Junior National team. He won first place and a place on the team. He also set the National High School Record.

He was also recognized by the Track and Field News as 1978 Male Track and Field Athlete in the United States. Soon after, he won five New York State Championship medals!



Jacob Odell


Jacob Odell was born in 1819, in Tarrytown, New York. He was born into a rich family and continued to be rich until he died. When Odell grew up, he became the first Mayor of Tarrytown in 1870. He was mayor of the town from 1870-1872. Before he became Mayor, he was a merchant, a post master, and a Supervisor for the Town of Greensburg (sic), New York. Previously he built his house at One Grove Street, which now houses the Historical Society.



Bruce Jenner

October 28, 1949 - Present

Bruce Jenner was born in Mt. Kisco, New York on October 28, 1949. He moved to Tarrytown and went to Sleepy Hollow High School for about a year.

Mr. Jenner went to the Olympics twice, once in 1972 and again in 1976. In the Olympic trials, he performed in the first seven events; the 100-meter race, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter race, and 10 meter hurdles. Then he did the last three events; the pole vault, javelin, and the 1,500-meter race. He won a spot on the Olympic team. That was his first Olympic appearance. He finished in tenth place. He went to the Olympics again in 1976 in Montreal, Canada. He won the Olympic gold medal in the decathalon.

The picture below shows Jenner winning the 1976 Olympics. The inscription is to Sleepy Hollow High School saying Congratulations.


Produced by Mariah, Meredith & Sela




John D. Rockefeller- Ter Horst, J. F. "John Davis Rockefeller." The World Book Encyclopedia. 1982.

John Paulding- Swanson, Susan C. and Fuller, Elizabeth G. Westchester County Pictorial History. Printed in Donning Company, USA, 1982.

Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller- Ter Horst, J.F. " John Davis Rockefeller." The World Book Encyclopedia. 1982.

Jay Gould- Haviland,Jim "The Skunk of Wall Street." Westchester Illustrated October 1978.

Jeff Canning - Canning, Jeff and Wally Buxton. History of the Tarrytowns. Harbor Hill Books, Harrison New York 1975.

Bruce Jenner- Moritz, Charles. Current Biography-Bruce Jenner. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1977.