Kinderhook is a town in the northern part of Columbia County, New York, United States. The population was 8,498 at the 2010 census. The name of the town means "Children's Corner" in the language of the original Dutch settlers (Kinderhoek). The town of Kinderhook contains two villages, one of which is also named Kinderhook, where the eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren, was born; the other is the village of Valatie. In addition, the town contains the hamlet of Niverville, next to Kinderhook Lake.
In 1609 Henry Hudson sailed as far north as Kinderhook on his exploration of the Hudson River and named the location "Kinderhoek". Kinderhook signifies in the Dutch tongue "the children's corner", and is supposed to have been applied to this locality, in 1609, on account of the many Indian children who had assembled on one of the bluffs along the river to see his strange vessel (the Half Moon) sailing upstream. Another version says that a Swede named Scherb, living in the forks of an Indian trail in the present town of Stuyvesant, had such a numerous family of children that the name of Kinderhook was used by the Dutch traders to designate that locality. Hudson had mixed dealing with the local Mohican natives, ranging from peaceful trade to minor skirmishes. As the Dutch attempted to colonize the area, further warfare broke out with the natives.
Kinderhook was settled before 1651 and established as a town in 1788 from a previously created district (1772), but lost substantial territory to form part of the town of Chatham in 1775. Kinderhook was one of the original towns of Columbia County. More of Kinderhook was lost to form the town of Ghent in 1818 and the town of Stuyvesant in 1823.