The Settlers Arrive in Kingston (1652)
Statue of Peter Stuyvesant
In 1609, the Half Moon passed by the creek near which the future Kingston would be built. Some historians believe that, by 1614, a small trading post had been established on the Hudson near present-day Kingston. In 1652, a handful of settlers from Holland moved down from near Albany. They had seen the fertile flood plains of the Esopus Creek and, in 1653, they arranged to purchase land from the Esopus,a tribe of the Delaware Nation, and to farm near them. On the slight promontory overlooking the flood plains, they built houses in a village that they first called Esopus, and later Wiltwyck (Dutch for "wild woods").
The Stockade Is Built
After the settlers had several small skirmishes with the Esopus Natives, Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of the Dutch colony, brought soldiers up and built a stockade for the settlers to live in. The palisades stood eight feet above the ground and protected what is now an area of about eight square blocks. In 1664, Wildwyck, now part of an English colony, was renamed Kingston.
For the next century or so, Kingston would be a quiet country town, farming wheat nearby and shipping it eastward or up or down the Hudson. Kingston had one of the first college preparatory schools in the colony, Kingston Academy. Dewitt Clinton, a future Governor, went to school there. Class was interrupted, however, on October 17, 1777, but that's another story.