Ossining



Sing Sing Prison, Ossining NY
Photos courtesy of Karl R. Josker.

Ossining, New York

Ossining is a town located in Westchester County, New York. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 36,534. It contains two villages, the Village of Ossining and part of Briarcliff Manor, the rest of which is located in the Town of Mount Pleasant.

Present day Ossining is a vital community with a vast range in types of housing, from the very modest to the luxurious estates, and a diversified population enjoying a healthy racial and religious mix. The Village of Ossining is situated within 3 square miles.

History

In 1685, Frederick Philipse bought the town from the Sint Sinck Indians, members of the Wappinger Confederacy. It constituted a part of the Manor of Philipsburg, which extended from Spuyten Duyvil Creek to the Croton River.

Because the last Lord of the Manor, Colonel Frederick Philipse, was a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War, the Manor was confiscated by the State in 1779. Subsequently, many of the former tenants bought their old farms from the State.

The creation of the village of Ossining, the Town of Ossining, and the village of Briarcliff Manor:

  • In 1813 the Village of Sing Sing was incorporated.

  • In 1845, by an action of the state legislature, a new township was created from the northern part of the Town of Mount Pleasant. On the advice of an eminent Indian authority this new town was christened Ossinsing, a different form of Sing Sing. The next year the name was shortened to Ossining which proved easier to pronounce.

  • In 1901, local officials changed the name of the village to Ossining to avoid confusing goods made in the village with prison-made products that were at that time allowed to be sold on the open market.

  • The village of Briarcliff, east of the village of Ossining, was settled during the nineteenth century, and was then called Whitson's Crossing after one of the early families. In 1902 it was incorporated as the village of Briarcliff Manor, the name was given to it by Walter W. Law founder and chief landowner.

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