Madam Brett Park
Beacon, Dutchess County
12 acres


Directions:

The following directions I found a little confusing.  Crossing Newburgh-Beacon Bridge (I-84) from west to east, turn right on Route 9D south. Proceed 2.2 miles. Right on Tioronda Avenue. After 0.7 miles, turn left and go under railroad overpass. Parking area on left.

The Madam Brett House: From 9D heading north, turn right onto Tioronda Avenue and drive 0.2 of a mile and turn left onto Van Nyack Avenue.  Drive 0.1 of a mile and park.  The house is on the left.


History:

1685  -- the first land grant in Dutchess County was the Rombout Patent (Fishkill, East Fishkill and Wappinger), issued to Francis Rombout and his partners by King Charles II in 1685.

Named for Beacon founder Catharyna Rombout Brett. Built in 1709; oldest house in county. 17th-century furnishings, paintings; dolls, gowns of 18th-19th centuries.

The house was built in 1709 for Catharyna Rombout Brett and her husband, Roger Brett, on land that was part of the Rombout Patent. Widowed early, Madam Brett went on to become a respected figure in Hudson Valley mercantile and milling activates.

Historical Letters:

"This discussion examines references pertaining to the "Dutchess County Wappingers," a Munsee-speaking band living on the east side of the Hudson, and to the first leader of the influential Nimham family known to have been associated with this group in the eighteenth century."

August 25, 1762. Old Ninham identified in Catharyna (Rombout) Brett's written complaint to British Indian agent (Northern Dept.) Sir William Johnson about claims to her lands made the previous year by a "Capt. Nimham" (Daniel Nimham fl.1745-1778). Brett alleged that "Old Nimham" had died about 12 years ago. He was permitted to live on land set aside for him near the Town of Fishkill. He had two sons, the eldest known by the nickname "One Shake" Nimham II, fl.1745-1762. Brett also claimed that the reserved lands of Old Nimham (at Wickapee / Weekepe / Weakepey / Wiccopee / Wikapy) were sold after he died to Capt. Swartwout for 20 pounds by One Shake and "Seven or Eight more Indians," after they received her permission "to Sell ye Emprovement" (Papers of Sir William Johnson, 10: 493-495).

September 20, 1763. Old Captain Ninham mentioned in a personal complaint made by Hendrick Wamash (fl.1758-1763) and some of his people to Sir William Johnson, that "Mrs. Brett .. Coll. Beekman, Verplank, Cortland, & Phillips .. had not paid his Ancestors vizt. old Capt. Nimham &ca. For a Tract of Land near to ye. Fish Kills." Hendrick receives a pass to travel to New York City and address their complaints to Lt. Governor Cadwallader Colden (1760-1765) "who they hoped & expected would do them Justice in the Affair, as they imagined that He must, [from his Surveying the Same] be well acquainted with the State of the Case" (Papers of Sir William Johnson, 10: 853-854).

Source: http://www.bard.edu/hvrr/essays/nimhammaw/ The Highland King Nimhammaw and the Native Indian Proprietors of Land in Dutchess County, NY: 1712-1765; by J. Michael Smith

 


Facilities:

Fishing in Fishkill Creek. Formal Dutch garden. May-Dec., first Sun. of the month, open 1-4 p.m. Closed July and August.


Habitats:

The park is located along the final reaches of the Fishkill Creek.


Trails:

One-mile trail. Elevated boardwalk adjacent to former hat factory. Viewing decks at Tioronda Falls and Fishkill Creek Marsh.

Eventually, there will be a hiking/biking trail that links with the New York State Estuary Fishing Access and Greenway Trail and connecting to Scenic Hudson's Beacon Landing and to Denning's Point/Hudson Highlands State Park.