Dewitt Clinton

Text from William Wade

New Windsor lies at the confluence of Chamber's creek with the Hudson, two miles south of Newburgh. Here, in a mansion of an humble Dutch style of architecture, Washington had his head-quarters; but the place is chiefly remarkable as the native town of De Witt Clinton, " a great man, an elegant and profound scholar, and a practical citizen-a man of letters and the world, and a character of active worth to the present generation, and of solid and permanent advantage to posterity.''

The Clinton family had a number of illustrious members. De Witt Clinton's father was Colonel James Clinton who along with Major Christopher Tappen recommended the fortification of Constitution Island. James' brother General George Clinton (1739-1812) was put in command of the Highlands at Fort Montgomery in 1776. George Clinton was elected as New York's first governor, and served as Vice-President of the United States under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He died in 1812 before completing his second term.

DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828)was also a statesman and served as secretary to his uncle, Governor George Clinton. He was elected a U.S. Senator from New York in 1802 but resigned after being elected mayor of New York City in 1803. As mayor, he was known for establishing the New York City public school system. He was elected Governor of New York in 1817 and was known for his strong advocacy of building the Erie Canal which was opened in 1825, the first year of his third term as Governor.