The British Burn Kingston in 1777
In 1777, the British forces had reason to see the village of Kingston as a hotbed of perfidy and sedulous disloyalty to King George the Third and His Majesty's Parliament. The farmers near Kingston had provided Washington's troops with wheat and other food supplies (Kingston would become known later as "the breadbasket of the Revolution"). In September of 1777, John Jay and other leading patriots met in a stone house in Kingston to declare the province a sovereign state and establish the first New York State Senate. In a nearby building, the first State Assembly met. Kingston became New York State's first capital.
"Here They Come!"
In October, General William Clinton brought British forces up the Hudson on the way to meet Burgoyne coming down from Canada. It was an opportunity to punish Kingston. Landing at nearby Kingston Point, Clinton's forces marched on the village and put the torch to every house in the village but one. The residents fled to Hurley, a smaller village several miles away.
Clinton never joined Burgoyne, who was defeated at Saratoga, and the war turned in favor of the newly independent and soon-to-be-confederated states. The residents of Kingston returned from Hurley and rebuilt almost all of the stone houses that had been burned. Many of these houses can be seen today, including the house where the Senate first met .