Wiccopee is a name derived from the Indians that
used to inhabit this area, it is so named for an Indian clan living near
Shenandoah. Originally known as Wiccopee, then the hamlet was
called Johnsville - until confusion with some many other Johns-something
named post offices caused too many errors in the mail delivery... it
back to using the Indian name Wiccopee.
Here are some of the derivations of the spelling of the Indian word
"Wiccopee": Wickapee - Weekepe - Weakepey - Wiccopee - Wikapy
Excerpt From: The Highland King Nimhammaw and the Native Indian
Proprietors of Land in Dutchess County, NY: 1712-1765
by J. Michael Smith
"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)."
fascinating reading of Native peoples of the Hudson Valley can be found
at the Hudson River Valley Institute
website by clicking
here (will open in new browser window).
Excerpt From: LOCAL TALES & HISTORICAL SKETCHES,
by HENRY D. B. BAILEY. (born and raised in Wiccopee)
JOHN W. SPAIGHT PUBLISHER
FISHKILL STANDARD OFFICE
"The first settler of the village of Johnsville, the ancient name
of which was Wiccopee, was Johannas Swartwout. He having no money,
leased the farm of Madam Brett for three fat fowls a year, the farm
being covered with a dense forest. He soon cleared a small spot and
erected a log house near an excellent spring of water, and in the year
1750 he set out an apple orchard; many of the apple trees still exist,
one taken down some twelve years ago was twelve feet around at its base,
and fifty feet high. After Madam Brett’s death this farm by heirship
came in possession of Rombout Brett, a grandson of hers, who located on
it in the year 1770. He sold six acres off to a blacksmith, whose name
was William Cushman. The deed was given in October, 1783. He was the
first mechanic in Johnsville. The American army encamped near Fishkill
Village in the time of the Revolution, and their barracks then standing
were given to the inhabitants. Cushman, with the help of his neighbors,
went to the barracks with teams, and hauled up the timber for his house
and blacksmith shop, and built them that year. The house did not front
the street as it does now, but fronted the south, and the roof was very
steep and only one story. The house was painted Spanish brown. A small
portion of it is still standing, the other was taken down in 1814 and
rebuilt by the father of the writer. In 1807 the father of the writer
purchased this house and lot of Thomas Youngs, for $1500, and the
writer, who was born there in December, 1813, sold the premises to
Jeremiah Conklin in 1866. Rombout Brett sold this farm to Peter Monfort
in the year 1787, who came from Long Island and settled on Fishkill
Plains, He gave the farm to his son Adrian, who came there in the spring
of 1787, and lived there till his death, which took place in the year
1849, at the advanced age of ninety-four years. The farm is now owned by
More Coming soon...
if you'd like to
submit any writings, information, and/or old photos or drawings of the
Wiccopee area, please contact us.
Letter from Malcolm Mills, Director East Fishkill Historical Society, to the Editors of the Poughkeepsie Journal
and the Southern Dutchess News:
Wiccopee - An Historic
The Town of East Fishkill is situated on land within Madam Catharyna
Brett's third share of 84,000 acres, known as the 1685 Rombout Patent.
The town originally consisted of several rural communities with names
like Gayhead, Hopewell, Adriance, Stormville and Johnsville. This latter
hamlet, now known as Wiccopee, is the only one relatively unchanged from
when it was a thriving community in the mid-1800's.
Before being straightened, Route 52 curved around Fishkill Hook Road,
which is lined with old homes, the Wiccopee store and continued past the
village green dominated by the fine 1825 Methodist Episcopal Church.
Maybe this is the last unspoiled corner of our town. Nineteen properties
including the church and "red" barn are listed in the town's Survey of
Structures. More than a century ago, these buildings were homes, stores,
a shoemaker's shop and Mr. Hawks' wagon shop, probably where Gene's
cycle business is today. The hamlet had its own schoolhouse and Post
Office as early as 1832.
This may be the last opportunity for Johnsville's residents, assuming
they are interested in retaining the charming character of their
community, to seek recognition of their hamlet as East Fishkill's first
Such designation could enhance property values and encourage homeowners
to make restorations in a traditional style, thereby preserving the
general appearance of this hamlet as it was in the late 19th.Century. It
may attract visitors and remind future generations how our town looked
before residential and commercial development changed its character
January 8, 2004
Supervisor & Town Board
Town of East Fishkill
330 Route 376
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
Dear Supervisor and Town Board Members,
It was with great interest that I read in today's Poughkeepsie Journal,
a Letter to the Editor by Malcolm Mills of Hopewell Junction putting
forth the concept of forming a Historical District for the Wiccopee/Johnsville
I write to you in support of this concept and urge you to actively
pursue this concept and the possibilities of it becoming reality.
As a local historian and genealogist, I have done in depth research on
the Homestead and Wagon Shop of Isaac Hawks. Isaac Hawks and I share a
common ancestor in Jotham Hawks, Revolutionary War Patriot. The land of
the man who was the well-known Wagon Maker of Wiccopee at the time of
his death in 1907 was divided in half to make way for Automobile Travel.
It would seem to me that Isaac Hawks died never dreaming that in a few
short years, the path he walked from his House to his wagon shop would
be paved over for what is now known as Rte. 52; that automobiles would
be crossing his property rather than horse-drawn wagons. I wonder what
he would think today with the IBM, East Fishkill Facility just a short
distance East of his Homestead & Wagon Shop.
History should not stand in the way of progress but neither should
History suffer a demise because of progress. With the number of
historical properties in the Hamlet, it appears to me that a
Wiccopee/Johnsville Hamlet Historical District would well serve the
present Town and generations to come. Was this not the area of the Town
that Lyndon Corbin Hickman was a native of and lived his entire life in?
Lyndon C. Hickman served the Town as Supervisor for 16 years, from 1951
to 1967, and during that time achieved a position of prominence on the
board of supervisors which, until 1968 was the county's legislative and
executive body. Prior to his election as supervisor, he was East
Fishkill's Superintendent of Highways, also an elective post. In total,
he built a record of 34 years of service to his home town and county.
He served for 55 years as a member of the Wiccopee Grange, was a life
member of the Hopewell Hose Company, and was long associated with
Wiccopee Community Methodist Church, Kiwanis Club of Hopewell Junction,
as well as the New York State and East Fishkill Historical Societies.
I can think of no better way to honor this lifelong Wiccopee Resident
and Public Servant than to form the Town's First Historic District in
his home hamlet. From January 16, 1976 local newspaper article written
following Mr. Hickman's death on January 12, 1976, I quote: "Lyndon C.
Hickman represented the type of old-time solid citizens who are
responsible, in large part, for the position of leadership which the
county enjoys in many areas."
I urge you to consider creating a Historical District in the area of the
Wiccopee/Johnsville Hamlet and thank you in advance for your time and
consideration of same. If Isaac and Lyndon were with us today, I truly
believe they would urge the designation of Wiccopee/Johnsville as the
Town's first Historical District.
Virginia A. Buechele
cc: Town of East Fishkill
Wiccopee hamlet historic designation now
To the editor: printed
Southern Dutchess News - June 8th, 2005
It has been over a year since the East Fishkill
Town Board met to discuss a detailed and thoughtful proposal from
Malcolm Mills (Director of East Fishkill’s Historical Society) to
make Wiccopee Hamlet, East Fishkill’s first historic district. That
was on May 13, 2004.
Malcolm suggested this historic designation
would improve the recognition of the area, encourage homeowners to
improve their properties and hopefully help preserve what is clearly
the most notable area in East Fishkill that has remained largely
unchanged from the mid-18OOs. Some houses dated to more than 200
This historic hamlet has remained pretty much
unchanged from the time it housed blacksmith shops, a parsonage, a
post office, shoemaker, a wagon maker and other early American
livelihoods and housed the hamlet’s populace. It has not been torn
down, cinder-blocked over, neon light glowed.., it remains a quaint
residential hamlet with unique homes, many of which are
characterized by hand-hewn beams, wide-board floors, plaster walls,
hand-cut nails, handmade glass, and other unique colonial building
traits. It retains the name given by the first inhabitants,
American Indians, who called the area “Wiccopee”.
I look at the Town of Poughkeepsie’s quick and
decisive action to save two historic structures over the past year -
the Abraham Fort house, and the old Kimlin Cider Mill. I applaud
their clear thinking and common sense to save what little of our
area’s history and historic structures are left, from the tidal wave
of development that is sweeping over the area. I hope, too, that the
East Fishkill town would see that it is the town’s uniqueness, open
space and charm, which makes it “A great Place to Live”.
I ask that East Fishkill act decisively and
quickly to protect its history and historic structures. Please write
to the E.F. Town Board - implore them to act as boldly as the Town
of Poughkeepsie in protecting our history. East Fishkill Town Hall,
330 Route 376, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
You can view more on historic Wiccopee at