Henry Hudson Days - When Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River in 1609, laying claim to the valley for the Dutch Crown, the east bank of the river had been home for centuries to the Wappinger Indians and other members of the Algonquin Federation. They called one of their encampments Poughkeepsie, the reed-covered lodge by the little water place." Dutchess was named after England's future Queen Mary, not after the Dutch, who relinquished their claims to the area in 1683.
Dense forests and rolling hills were hospitable to trappers and farmers who immigrated to the valley, many of whom were European political and religious refugees. Trading posts became settlements; inns sprang up along the King's Highway (now Route 9) from Manhattan to Albany and the Mohawk Valley.
During the Revolutionary War, the Village of Fishkill served as an encampment for General George Washington's troops and, briefly, as the capitol of New York State. Poughkeepsie was the state capitol in 1788 when the United States Constitution was ratified with the provision that certain amendments later incorporated into the Bill of Rights were needed to insure personal liberty.