The Wappingers Indians were a loose confederation of tribes living along the eastern banks of the Hudson River who spoke an eastern-Algonkian Native American language. Culturally they were closely related to the Lenape People (Delaware Indian). "Wappinger" means "easterner" in most Algonkian languages. Madam Brett, the area's first settler, befriended the indians, namely Abraham and his son Daniel Ninaham, who fought for the British in the French and Indian Wars and later gave their lives in the American Revolution fighting for the Americans.
In 1609 Captain Henry Hudson set sail on his ship, the Half Moon sponsored by the Dutch East India Company to find a western route to the East Indies. The Wappingers Indians welcomed the crew with gifts of maize, pumpkins and tobacco.
In 1683 Francis Rombout, Gulian Verplanck and Stephanus van Cortlandt, friends and business associates from New Amsterdam (now New York City), traveled north by ship to settle and acquire land.
Post-Civil War (1865-1875)—The villages of Fishkill Landing and Matteawan had the greatest spurt of growth during this ten-year period. Main street was developed, all the churches were built, The Howland Library was constructed.
This timeline simply "scratches the surface" of our history. We encourage all our visitors here to join the Beacon Historical Society and attend our monthly meetings (4th Tuesday night of each month) to share in our slideshow presentations of various topics of this amazing city's history that spans over 300 years!