Nathaniel P. (N.P.) Willis – author/poet – (1806-1867) – Knickerbocker writer - while living at Idlewild in the mid-19th century, Willis left a lively picture of Cornwall in Out-Doors at Idlewild and in his articles for the Home Journal, a popular weekly for which he wrote articles detailing the charms of Cornwall scenery its healthful air and climate. Other works include American Scenery with engravings by W. H Bartlett.
Lewis Beach – (1835 – 1886) writer/political figure/historian – came to Cornwall in 1861 and settled on a farm he named “Knoll View”. Wrote Cornwall in 1873 detailing the beauty and history of the town including valuable information of a factual record of life in mid-19th century Cornwall. Served as Town Supervisor (1868), elected to House of Representatives for three terms.
Edward Payson (E.P.) Roe – author/horticulturist/pastor (1838 – 1888) – a visit to the scene of the great Chicago Fire inspired his first novel, Barriers Burned Away - wrote 25 books including Driven Back to Eden along with informative articles on farming.
Amelia E. Barr – author (1831 – 1919) – one of the best paid and most popular women writers of her time. Readers admired her strong moral tone. Wrote many novels including A Bow of Orange Ribbon.
David Sands – (1745 - 1818) - Quaker preacher – the Sands genealogy brings this family from Europe in the 1600’s to Block Island and Long Island. Sands Point, NY named from descendants of this old family name. In Cornwall, David, son of Nathaniel, hosted General George Washington on occasions. When daughter Catherine married Elias Ring the Old Homestead became the Sands-Ring Homestead. During war-time (Revolution, Civil, WWI & WWII) the home was headquarters for war efforts.
Winslow Homer – (1836 – 1910) artist – spent many summers at Houghton Farm in Mountainville where he produced a series of watercolors of farm life.
The Ward Brothers – champion oarsmen (1850’s – 1890’s) – the four Ward brothers achieved their greatest victory on September 11, 1871 at Saratoga’s International Regatta. This feat was followed by single-scull matches in which the brothers also distinguished themselves. In 1890, a regatta took place in Cornwall with two thousand spectators watching the races from the Cornwall Landing shore. The scull was recently donated by the Storm King School to the Village of Cornwall on Hudson Historian.
Harriet J. Terry - (1885 - 1967) - founder/educator - born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, attended Cornwall Presbyterian Church, and was educated in the Village's school. She attended Howard University where, in 1908, she and fifteen other women founded the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which was the first intercollegiate African American sorority. Following graduation, Harriet went on to a career as teacher for over 40 years.
William “Willie” Hoppe – champion professional billiards player – (1887 – 1959) – born and raised in Cornwall on Hudson.
David Petraeus – born (1952) and educated in Cornwall. Locally known by friends as Peaches. Graduate West Point Military Academy (1974) – retired Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), former Commander of International Security Assistance Force, former Commander of United States Central Command
Bonnie Blair – Olympic Speed Skater (winner of Gold Medal - 1994 Lillehammer, Norway) – born in Cornwall (1964)
Armand Assante – actor – raised and educated in Cornwall – movies include Lords of Flatbush, Mambo Kings, American Gangster – nominated for Emmy, Golden Globes, Actors Screen Guild awards.
Nita Klein – artist – her original pastels, watercolors, and acrylic paintings have been exhibited in both local and national venues including Palisades Interstate Park, Marymount College and The River Gallery. Her work was sold to Bloomingdales and once had a commission to create any original painting for a hotel in Manhattan where every room featured an original Nita Klein work. Many pieces hang in restaurants, including the Cosimo’s chain. Her art has been featured on the cover of Valley Table magazine.
Ryan Balfe – minor league baseball player - born (1975) and educated in Cornwall. Drafted by Detroit Tigers (1994 - 2004) – plays for Seattle Mariners (2014)
New York Military Academy (NYMA) Alumni – many young men and women attended the military academy. Most notable is Donald Trump – Entrepreneur (Class of 1964), Les Brown – bandleader (Class of 1932), Francis Ford Coppola – film director (Class of 1956 – did not graduate), Fairleigh Dickinson, Jr. – businessman/Politian (Class of 1937), John A. Gotti – organized crime figure (Class of 1983 – did not graduate), Stephen Sondheim – Broadway composer/lyricist (Class of 1946)
There have been numerous movies and television made in Cornwall – Michael Clayton starring George Clooney (2007), James O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra (19..), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar – starring Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze (scenes shot on Route 218 – (1995), The Thin Man starring William Powell and Myrna Loy (1934).