History of Fishkill, NY
In 1683, nineteen years after the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the English, two New York City merchants, Frances Rombout and Gulian Verplanck, purchased 85,000 acres in Dutchess County from the Wappinger Indians for a quantity of rum, powder, cloth, hatchets, shirts, knives, bottles, white wampum, earthen jugs and 80 pounds of tobacco. Rombout and Verplanck never lived on their land, intending to use it only for fur trading. The first white settlers were Rombout's daughter, Catharyna and her husband, Roger Brett, who built a mill at the mouth of the Fishkill Creek as it flows into the Hudson. Their house, built about 1709, still stands in Beacon, and is the oldest continuous residence in Dutchess County. The name Fishkill is derived from two Dutch words: Vis (fish) and Kill (creek or stream).
Fishkill played an important role in the Revolutionary War when a vast military encampment was established one mile below the village to guard the mountain pass to the south. Signal fires lay in readiness on tops of the surrounding mountains. The Fishkill encampment became the main supply depot for the northern division of the Continental Army. The first 1,000 copies of the New York State Constitution were turned out on Samuel Loudon's press at Fishkill in 1777. Trinity Episcopal Church became a hospital for soldiers recovering from smallpox, and the Dutch Reformed Church was used as a military prison.
A few miles to the south, you’ll find yourself in Putnam County’s 19th century showplace, Cold Spring. This Hudson River border town, directly across the water from West Point, draws art dealers and antique enthusiasts. A stroll down Cold Spring’s main street is a shopper’s delight. The annual Cold Spring Antiques Show at picturesque Mayor’s Park on the banks of the Hudson takes place in October and brings in more than 60 dealers and thousands of visitors. In Cold Spring, you can also dine at one of many excellent restaurants, catch a Metro-North train to New York City, or visit one of the hiking trails that will allow you unparalleled views of the Hudson Highlands, the Hudson River’s highest peaks at the river’s narrowest point.