The Esopus Indians live in the area. Esopus means “land of flowing water and high banks.”

In 1540, the French construct a trading post south of Albany.


1609 – Henry Hudson sails up the Hudson River. In his Captain’s log he describes the Esopus area as “faire” land.

1615 – The New Netherlands Company receives its official charter.

1630’s – “The slow expansion of New Netherlands, however, caused conflicts with both English colonists and Native Americans in the region. In the 1630s, the new Director General Wouter van Twiller sent an expedition out from New Amsterdam up to the Connecticut River into lands claimed by English settlers. Faced with the prospect of armed conflict, Twiller was forced to back down and recall the expedition, losing any claims to the Connecticut Valley. In the upper reaches of the Hudson Valley around Fort Orange, (present-day Albany) where the needs of the profitable fur trade required a careful policy of appeasement with the Iroquois Confederacy, the Dutch authorities maintained peace but corruption and lax trading policies plagued the area. In the lower Hudson Valley, where more colonists were setting up small farms, Native Americans came to be viewed as obstacles to European settlement. In the 1630s and early 1640s, the Dutch Director Generals carried on a brutal series of campaigns against the area’s Native Americans, largely succeeding in crushing the strength of the ‘River Indians,’ but also managing to create a bitter atmosphere of tension and suspicion between European settlers and Native Americans.” http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/kingston/colonization.htm

– The VanAkens settle in the area and built many houses – two of which, c1660 and c1690, are still standing.


1651 – The area south of the Rondout Creek is first called Klyne Esopus, Dutch for “Little” Esopus. A trapper named Kit Davis lives in what is now the hamlet of Connelly along the Rondout Creek. He trades with the Esopus Indians.

1652 – Jan Van Vliet receives a land grant from King William of Holland.

1657 – Seeing the strategic practicality of a fort located halfway between New Amsterdam and Fort Orange, Director General Stuyvesant sends soldiers up from New Amsterdam to crush the Esopus Indians and helps build a stockade with 40 houses for the settlers in present-day Kingston.

1660 – Aert Jacobsen Van Wagenen settles in Wagendal. Settlers from Holland receive “patents” from the Dutch rulers for land in Klyne Esopus and Kingston area.

1664 – “The Dutch lost New Netherlands to the English during the Second Anglo – Dutch War in 1664, only a few years after the establishment of Wiltwyck. Along the West Coast of Africa, British charter companies clashed with the forces of the Dutch West India Company over rights to slaves, ivory, and gold in 1663. Less about slaves or ivory, the Anglo-Dutch Wars were actually more about who would be the dominant European naval power. By 1664, both the Dutch and English were preparing for war and King Charles of England granted his brother, James, Duke of York, vast American territories that included all of New Netherlands. James immediately raised a small fleet and sent it to New Amsterdam. Director General Stuyvesant, (statue image, left) without a fleet or any real army to defend the colony, was forced to surrender the colony to the English war fleet without a struggle. In September of 1664, New York was born, effectively ending the Netherlands’ direct involvement in North America although in places like Kingston, the influences of Dutch architecture, planning and folk life can still be quite clearly seen.” http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/kingston/colonization.htm

1681 – Fischer’s patent is granted by the English.

1682 – The Mogowasinck Patent for land purchased from the Indians by Henry Beekman is granted.

1699 – The Hardenburg Patent is granted.

hardenburgh lan patent map


1700’s – Building starts on permanent homesteads using field stone found in abundance in Ulster County. Many of these early houses are still standing today. The Van Vliet Homestead, at the corner of River Road and Broadway, is built in 1767. The VanAken Homestead (pictured at left), near to where the train tracks cross Clay Road, is built c1696. The Lowe (Louw) family builds a house which is destroyed by fire in the early 19th Century. A newer homestead on Wildflower Drive, running along Hussey Hill, is built in 1840. Willem Smit works for the Hardenburgs and builds a home on what today is Church Hill Road in Rifton. It is among the oldest houses in Esopus.

1745 – The younger Isaac Van Wagenen of Wagendal settles St. Remy. The Freer-Delamater Mill House is constructed.


1776 – 1783 – A stone house, built above what will become Elmore’s Landing on the Hudson River, becomes an Inn. During the American War for Independence British officers party there prior to burning Kingston. The property is part of a patent owned by loyalist Thomas Jones. He is stripped of his land after the Revolutionary War. The stone house forms the center of Alton B. Parker’s Rosemont Mansion.

1791 – The population of Klyne Esopus has grown so much that members of the Reformed Church petition the Classis of Ulster County for a church of their own.

1796 – James Grier and his partner John Armstrong build a factory to make metal items such as nails at the Eddyville-St. Remy Falls.

1797 – Isabella Baumfree, who is today known as Sojourner Truth (seen here in a commemorative stamp), is born at the Johannes Hardenburgh house and farm on the Swartekill Creek. The Klyne Esopus Low Dutch Church is formed and a stone church is built near the southern intersection of River Road and 9W.


1811 – The Town of Esopus is formed. The area has previously been part of the Town of Kingston.

1814 – Esopus establishes a system of public school districts. For more information about school districts see Chapter XVIII in The Town of Esopus – 3000 BC to 1978 edited by Roger Mabie, et al.

1827 – The Klyne Esopus congregation builds the brick church (pictured at left) which now houses the Museum. All slaves in New York State are freed. Sojourner Truth is freed.

1835 -The Perrines Bridge, which is still standing, is built across the Walkill River in Rifton. It is the oldest surviving covered bridge of its design in New York State. It is named for James Perrine, a Frenchman.

1840 – The hamlet of St. Remy is named by Abram B. Hasbrouck after a town in France.

1842 – Ascension Church, an Episcopal Church, is built in West Park for parishioners who must cross the Hudson River to attend services in St. James Church in Hyde Park.


1851 – The Pennsylvania Coal Company builds a coal depot near the mouth of the Rondout Creek. The town of Port Ewen, named after John Ewen, the Company President, is laid out.

1853 – The Port Ewen Reformed Church opens on Salem Street.

1858 – The Methodist Church in Port Ewen opens. The population of the town reaches 4,700.

1861 – Jeremiah W. Dimick purchases the mill at Arnoldton. His estate, known as Woodcrest, is owned by the Hutterian Society of Brothers today.

1870 – The first bridge across the Rondout Creek connecting St. Remy with Eddyville is opened to traffic.

1871 – Future Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals, Alton B. Parker of Cortland, NY comes to Ulster County to teach school.

1873 – Naturalist John Burroughs lives at Riverby, in West Park. He is visited by Presidents and poets such as his friend, Walt Whitman.

1874 – The Catholic Church of the Presentation opens in Port Ewen. For more information about churches in Esopus, see Chapter XVII in The Town of Esopus – 3000 BC to 1978 edited by Roger Mabie, et al.


1877 – A gold mine is established on Hussey Hill. The vein dwindles after only a-year-and-a-half.

1883 – The West Shore Railroad (seen here in photo of railroad station) begins service through the Town of Esopus.

1890s – The Rondout Creek and Sleightsburgh become a hub for Delaware and Hudson Canal boat traffic.

1895 – John Burroughs builds his sanctuary in the woods, Slabsides Cottage.


1901 – Rifton gathers the hamlets of Swartekill, Rifton Glen, and Dashville to become a village.

1904 – Judge Alton B. Parker accepts the nomination to be the Democratic presidential candidate to run against incumbent Theodore Roosevelt. The Redemptorists, a Catholic order of priests and brothers, begins to build a major seminary on the site of Robert Livingston Pell’s mansion. They named the seminary Mount Saint Alphonsus in honor of their 18th century founder, St. Alphonsus Maria De Liguori.

1910 – The great flood of January 1910 destroys the Eddyville-New Salem Bridge over Rondout Creek.

1911 – Telephone service begins in the Town of Esopus.

1918 – The American Grenade Plant on the Henry Van Aken farm blows up injuring many and killing several just before the Armistice ending World War I is signed.

1919 – The mills in Rifton close (ruin of carpet mill seen here in photo) and the Village of Rifton is officially dissolved.

1921 – Electricity produced at Central Hudson’s hydro-electric plant in Rifton becomes available in the town. The first radios in Port Ewen owned by Charles W. Card.

1922 – The first bridge connecting Port Ewen with Rondout (Kingston) is opened. It is a suspension bridge and remains today.

1928 – Street lights installation begins.

1930 – High-pressure gas available along 9W through pipelines from Kingston and Poughkeepsie.

1938 – Port Ewen Water System begins service from wells along Clay Road.

1946 – Natural Gas becomes available by pipeline from Texas and Louisiana.

1949 – First television is received in Port Ewen.


1953 – The Port Ewen School opens on Clay Road. It is later named Mt. View School and finally, in 1978, it is named the Robert Graves School in honor of its long-time principal.

1954 – WKNY operates the first television station in the area on the present site of the Time Warner Cable.

1958 – Dr. George W. Ross donates land for Ross Park in Port Ewen.

1963 – The Port Ewen Water District opens a water purification plant drawing water from the Hudson River along River Road. The town landfill is opened on Floyd Ackert Road in West Park.

1965 – The Klyne Esopus Low Church is closed by the Mid-Hudson Classis.

1972 – Kingston Cablevision begins service.

1974 – George Freer Park (pictured at left) is opened on the river and two mini-parks are opened in Connolly and St. Remy.

1975 – A Town of Esopus Police department is organized.

1976 – The 118 year-old Port Ewen Methodist Church is destroyed by an arsonist.

1978 – The Methodist Church is rebuilt on the site of the previous church.

1979 – The Port Ewen Sewer System is constructed. The John Loughran Bridge is opened between Port Ewen and Downtown Kingston. It connects 9W to the Town of Ulster by way of the Frank Koenig Highway.

1980 – The Esopus Police Department is disbanded and patrol of the Town is assumed by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department.

1983 – The Town of Esopus Volunteer Ambulance Service (TEVAS) begins.

1986 – The Klyne Esopus Historical Society Museum in Ulster Park opens to the public in the preserved former Klyne Esopus Reformed Church.