History of Fishkill Township and Village

Dutchess County, New York

Castle Point




Beacon Hills

X  Village of Fishkill


pre-Colonial times  --  the Wappinger Indians had an encampment on Fishkill Plains. 

1685  --  merchants Francis Rombout and Gulian Verplanck received their Rombout Patent that was the first and largest portion of Dutchess County purchased from the Wappinger Indians.  The land include what today is the city of Beacon, the village of Fishkill and the hamlets of Dutchess Junction, Glenham and Brinckerhoff, and the towns of Wappingers and East Fishkill. 

Catharyna Brett was the daughter of Francis Rombout.  She married a former British naval officer and they built a home and mill near the mouth of the Fishkill River (in today's city of Beacon).  Catharyna inherited all the lands of her father. 

Her husband drowned in a boating accident during a storm on the Hudson River.  Having to care for three children, Catharyna started to sell parcels of her land to other settlers and population started to soar.

Captain Daniel Nimham, Chief of the Wappani Indians, proved very helpful to the settlers moving into the Fishkill area.  (Later he was a valuable guide and warrior during the Revolutionary War.)

1716  --   founding of the First Reformed Church of Fishkill.

1719  --  Derick Brinckerhoff builds the Brinckerhoff House (one of the oldest home in the Town of Fishkill).  General Washington and Baron von Steuben were guests in the house.  General Lafayette recuperated in the second floor bedroom. 

1731   -- construction of the first First Reformed Church building, that was later incorporated into a larger building (prominently displayed near Route 9). Madame Brett is buried under the pulpit. 

1732  --  surveyor Cornelius Van Wyck purchased 959 acres from Madame Brett and built a house on it.  (Later the Continental Army used the house as officers' headquarters.  It is now the Van Wyck Homestead Museum on Route 9 in Fishkill.)

1750  -- the Dubois House built (and later removed to a location next to the First Reformed Church).

at the time of the Revolutionary war  --  the population was 7,000 making Fishkill the largest village in Dutchess County.

1776 (Sept.) to 1977 (Feb.)  --  the New York Provincial Congress met at the First Reformed Church of Fishkill making the village the temporary capital of New York State.  The Committee of Safety met in the Dubois House.  Enoch Crosby, a spy, reported on Tory activities before the committee. 

later in Rev. War  --   the church was used as a military prison.

1778  --  Captain Daniel Nimham killed at the battle at Cortland's Ridge, New York.  (There is a memorial plaque dedicated to the Chief east of the Village of Fishkill at the intersection of Routes 52 and 82.)

1783  --  the Society of Cincinnati established in the parlor at the Dutch-style Mount Gulian homestead.  Present were George Washington and Baron von Steuben.  The idea arose with General Henry Knox who named the society after Quintius Cincinnatus who left his plow in the field to defend his country.

1789  --  the post office opens. 

1789  --  Cornelius C. Van Wyck built the Old Mansion House (still standing).  Located on the King's Highway, it served as a stage coach stop and inn.

1836  --  James de Lancey Verplanck inherited Stony Kill from the estate of Gulian Verplank. 

1843  --  James de Lancey Verplanck's Manor house completed at Stony Kill. 

1840s-1930  --  there were six brickyards flourishing at the small community of Dutchess Junction.  Here the Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad intersected with the Hudson River Railroad.

1858  --  construction of the Bank of Fishkill.

1866  --  the Dutchess and Columbia Railroad organized.

1868  -- rail line through the small community of Glenham completed.

1871  --  a railroad bridge built across the Fishkill Creek.

1873  -- date of the great Main Street fire. 

1876 --  national depression and economic decline.

1877  --  failure of the Bank of Fishkill.

1882  --  James Dean started the Fishkill Weekly Times.

1898  --  after becoming wealthy serving the gold miners in California, Henry DuBois Van Wyck returned to Fishkill and built Van Wyck Hall as a theater. 

1899  --  village of Fishkill incorporated. Mr. Van Wyck became the first mayor. 

1902  -- death of Mayor Van Wyck.  Van Wyck Hall was given to the village as home to the Van Wyck Play House.  It later became the Fishkill Village Hall. 

1931 --  Mount Gulian destroyed by fire. 

1962  --  the Fishkill Historical Society organized. Judge Lawrence Hancock was the first president.

1966  -- a committee of descendants of Gulian Verplanck formed to rebuild the Mount Gulian House.  (It is now a museum.)

1973  --  the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) took control of Stony Kill and the center now sponsors outdoor educational programs.

Source: The Fishkill Historical Society.  1996. Images of America: Around Fishkill. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.