18th C. | Founding Wardens
The historical destiny of the region surrounding St. Philip’s Parish in Garrison was set forth over 300 years ago when, in 1697, William III granted what is now the entire area of Putnam County to Adolph Philipse of England. Despite an early census report which recorded a “rude and heathenish country” with few inhabitants, the eldest Philipse son was given the challenge to develop the colonial property and begin a community. The Philipse family prospered and became one of the wealthiest entities in the New York region.
In 1748 Beverley Robinson, a gentleman from a politically and historically prominent family in Virginia was attracted to a fine match with a niece of Adolph Philipse and married Susannah Philipse. For the first twenty years of married life, the Robinsons enjoyed the active, commercial life of New York City.
In the late 1760s their interests turned north to the Philipse family property (called the ‘Philipse Upper Patent’) and they built a home in Garrison. The resident population at that time was recorded as 146 tenant families clustered around the Philipse land in Garrison and around Van Cortland Manor.
In 1770 a charter from King George III formally recognized the first church in the area, St. Peter’s Church in Peekskill. The wooden church, which still stands in the center of the community cemetery in Cortland, to the north of Peekskill, had been constructed in 1767. Beverly Robinson and Charles Moore were appointed as the first church wardens.