Fishkill is a town in the southwest part of Dutchess County, New York, USA. It lies approximately 60 miles north of New York City. The population was 20,258 at the 2000 census. Fishkill partly surrounds the city of Beacon.
The location of Fishkill was known as Tioranda by the Native American peoples. The name means "The place where two waters meet".
In 1683 New York City merchants Francis Rombout and Gulian Verplanck purchased in Dutchess County from the Wappinger Indians for a quantity of goods including rum, powder, and tobacco. Neither ever lived on the land, intending to use it only for fur trading. The first white settlers were Rombout's daughter, Catharyna and her husband, Roger Brett, who built a mill at the mouth of the Fishkill Creek as it flows into the Hudson River.
Fishkill played an important role in the American Revolutionary War when a huge military encampment was established one mile (1.6 km) below the village to guard the mountain pass to the south. Signal fires lay in readiness on tops of the surrounding mountains. The Fishkill encampment became the main supply depot for the northern division of the Continental Army. The first copies of the New York State Constitution were printed at Fishkill in 1777.
In the 19th century mills and factories sprang up in Glenham and Matteawan brought an influx of skilled weavers from the British Isles. The healthy economy came to an end in the post-Civil War depression and the once thriving factories fell into decay. In 1931, Texaco purchased the old woolen mill site and established a research center there. Today, the town's industry is mostly technology based.
In 1996, the animal rights group PETA suggested the town change its name to something less suggestive of violence toward fish. The town declined.