Place:Rombout, Dutchess, New York, United States


Located inDutchess, New York, United States


Rombout Patent

In 1683 three businessmen from New York City purchased a tract of land from the indigenous people who then occupied it, and in 1685 they obtained a patent from the Governor of New York. The men who purchased the land were Francis Rombout, Gulian Verplanck and Stephanus Van Cortland. Circumstances held back the development of the property. Gulian Verplanck died in 1684, before the patent was issued. Francis Rombout died in 1691, and Stephanus Van Cortlandt died in 1700. Thus the right of each of the patentees passed to heirs, several of whom were minors.

In 1708 action was taken to divide the great inheritance between the three groups of heirs. The central portion of the land covered by the patent was laid out in three large lots. The lots fronted on Hudson River, between the creeks of Fishkill and Wappingers, and ran inland a long distance in a northeasterly direction. The south lot, adjacent to the Fishkill, was assigned to the right which had been held by Francis Rombout and which had passed to his daughter, Catharyna, wife of Roger Brett. The north lot, adjacent to the Wappingers, was assigned to the right which had been held by Stephanus Van Cortlandt and which had passed to his eleven children (four sons and seven daughters). The middle lot was assigned to the right which had been held by Gulian Verplanck and which had passed to his grandchildren, in three groups (the children of his two sons and one daughter, who had all three died). Beside the three major lots that fronted on the river, minor lots were laid out along Wappingers Creek and assigned to the rights of the three patentees.

Finally, in 1765, partition was made of what remained of the patent. That remainder consisted of two gores or triangular pieces of land. One gore lay along the line which became the southern boundary of Dutchess County. The other bordered the west side of the Beekman Patent in the interior of the county. The two gores were laid out in lots and the lots assigned to the rights of the three patentees.

The Middle Ward of Dutchess County took in the north tip of the area of the Rombout Patent, a small section that was bounded west by the Schuyler and the Sanders and Harmense Patents; east by the Beekman Patent; and north by the Great Nine Partners Patent. The remainder was in the South Ward, which extended from Westchester County, on the south, northward to the mouth of Wappingers Creek; from there a line, running due east from Hudson River to Connecticut, bounded the ward on the north.

Precinct of Rombout

In 1738 the three wards of Dutchess County were abolished and several precincts created. The precinct of Rombout was laid out so that it covered almost all of the area of the Rombout Patent. The small part of the patent not included in the precinct was a narrow strip of land bordering Wappingers Creek on its west and north sides in Poughkeepsie Precinct.

After the Revolutionary War the precincts were done away with and towns were laid out. Under that arrangement Rombout Precinct became in 1788 the town of Fishkill. Later still, Fishkill was subdivided. Set off from Fishkill in 1821 was the west half of the town of La Grange; in 1849 the town of East Fishkill; and in 1875 the town of Wappinger

Research Tips


  • Dutchess County Planning Board. Landmarks of Dutchess County, 1683–1867: architecture worth saving in New York State. (New York State Council on the Arts, 1969). See “Appendix B: Crown Patent Map.” NYGenWeb
  • Reese, William Willis. Eighteenth century records of the portion of Dutchess County, New York, that was included in Rombout Precinct and the original Town of Fishkill. (Dutchess County Historical Society, 1938). WorldCat