Poughkeepsie, NY ALHN

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New!   Senior Class of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess, NY, 1916 - Contributed by Ginny Buechele.


Population 25,000 - Square Acres, 22,140

Poughkeepsie was formed as a town March 7, 1788. March 27, 1799, the village of Poughkeepsie was formed and March 28, 1854, it became an incorporated city. The town borders upon the Hudson, and contains some fine farming lands. Its surface is mostly a rolling upland. Wappingers Creek, forming the east boundary, and the Fallkill, flowing through Poukeepsie city, each furnish a considerable amount of water power. The soil is clay in the west, and a sandy and gravelly loam in the remaining parts. New Hamburgh, Manchester, Rochdale, and Locust Glen, are small villages. A portion of the incorporated village of Wappingers Falls lies in this town.

The name Poughkeepsie is from the Indian word Apo-keep-sinck, and signifies a safe harbor. The Fallkill was so named by the Dutch, because of the number of cascades or falls occurring in that stream. The Indians called it the Minnakee. The bluff north of the bay at the mouth of the Fall Kill was called by the Dutch Slange Klippe, Snake or Adder Cliff, because of the venemous serpents that abounded there in olden times. The southern cliff bears the name of Kaal [Call] Rock, that being the place where the settlers called to the captains of sloops when they wished to take passage with them. With this bay, after whose beautiful Indian appellation the city and town of Poughkeepsie are named, is associated an Indian legend.

Some Deleware warriors came to this spot with some Pequod captives. Among the latter was a young chief, who was offered his life and honor if he would renounce his nation, receive the mark of the turtle upon his breast, and become a Delaware brave. He rejected the proposition with disdain. His captors thereupon bound him to a tree, and prepared to deal with him according to their customs. A half score of tomahawks were raised to hurl at the unfortunate captive, when a sudden shriek startled the executioners. A young and beautiful Indian girl leaped before them, and plead for his life. She was a captive Pequod, and the young chief was her affianced.

The Delawares debated. Suddenly the war-cry was sounded, and some fierce Hurons falling upon them made them snatch their arms for defense. The Indian maiden seized upon this opportunity to sever the thongs that confined her lover; but during the excitement of the strife they were separated, and the Huron chief carried off the handsome Pequod maiden as a trophy. Her affianced conceived a bold design for her rescue, and boldly carried it out. A wizard entered the Huron camp. The maiden was taken suddenly ill, and the wizard was employed to prolong her life, until her capturer could satisfy his revenge upon Uncas, chief of the Mohegans. The lovers fled at nightfall, and shot out into the river in a light canoe, followed by blood-thirsty pursuers. The Pequod paddled his beloved one to the mouth of the Minnakee, where he concealed her; and, single handed, fought the Hurons, and finally drove them off. This sheltered nook was a "safe harbor" for her.

General History of Duchess County, 1609 to 1876, by Philip H. Smith, Pawling, NY, 1877, pages 332 - 334.

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Copyright Dutchess, ALHN October 17, 1999

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