Kingston, New York is the seat of Ulster County, and is located at 41.9º north and 74.0º west. It is current population is about 24000. It is situated at the confluence of the Hudson River and Rondout Creek.
There was a Dutch trading post on the site of Kingston in 1614. This was on land that was occupied by the Esopus tribe, which was part of the Delaware nation. The trading post was soon destroyed. A more permanent colony, named Esopus after the tribe, was settled in 1652. As before, the presence of the colonists agitated the tribe, and were driven out of the area by 1655.
In 1658, the area was once again settled, this time with people from Beverwijck. Peter Stuyvesant sent troops up from Nieuw Amsterdam to build a stockade and better defenses for the village. After it's completion, Stuyvesant renamed the colony Wiltwijck, or "wild district." Skirmishes still continued, but the Esopus tribe was unable to dislodge this new batch of settlers. During one particularly brutal attack, the tribe destroyed the nearby village of Nieuw Dorp, and nearly destroyed Wiltwijck. Stuyvesant composed a militia and rid the area of the natives. When the British took over the Dutch colonies, the new colonials gave the settlements more English names. Thus, Wiltwijck was renamed Kingston in 1664.
Kingston would be known as "the breadbasket of the American Revolution." Farmers from the surrounding hills supplied George Washington's army with wheat and other foodstuffs during their campaigns. This, and their location on the Hudson, made themselves a target for British forces. In October of 1777, General William Clinton landed his army near Kingston, and burned every building in the village except for one. The building that survived, whether because of coincidence of not, was the same one where John Jay and others founded the New York State Senate.
The village and area around the city became a hub for materials making their way down the Hudson. Local farmers would warehouse their goods for the weekly boat to New York City. Bricks made from the mud of the river were sent down river, where they were used to build many of New York's structures. Coal from Pennsylvania found it's way to Kingston through the Delaware and Hudson Canal.
The area around the river landing became a village called Rondout, which was combined with the city of Kingston in 1872. The village now part of Kingston's historic district. Much of the village has been restored to it's colonial days, including the rehabilitation of two dozen revolutionary period structures, and a replica the Rondout lighthouse.
The Delaware and Hudson Canal closed in 1899, shutting off the shipping industry in Kingston. The railroad
did little to improve the economy, as the tracks were built through easier terrain on the other side of the river. Kingston today is an odd mix of New York suburbanites
, and Upstate
The stone blocks used in the construction on the Brooklyn Bridge were cut from quarries in Hurley, New York, just outside of Kingston. The bricks were then shipped down river from Rondout to the construction site.
The Ashokan Reservoir is also in Hurley, and provides much of the drinking water for New York City.
http://members.aol.com/moncoog/cities/kingston.htm (for settlement date order)
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