Name Ossining Means
The Democratic Register
March 2nd, 1901
we have time and again been asked for information as to
the derivation and meaning of the name Ossining, which is
to be our village name, we give it now for the benefit of
The name is of Indian origin. Its meaning and derivation
were given by Henry M. Schoolcraft, in 1844, at the request
of General Aaron Ward, an old Sing Singer, and at the time
Member of Congress from this district.
We are told that the word Ossin, in the Chippeway language,
signifies a stone, that Ossinee or Ossineen, is the plural
for stone. This etymology was accepted, and, in May 1845,
when our town was taken from Mount Pleasant, it received
the name of Ossin-sing. In March, 1846, it was changed,
by dropping the third “s”, and made to read
Ossin-ing, and still later the hyphen was omitted.
The name of the village has a more ancient origin and use.
In the early part of the seventeenth century this locality
was occupied by a tribe of the Mohegan Indians, know as
“Sint Sincks”. They owned the territory as far
north as the Croton River, then call the “Kitchewan”,
the tribe inhabiting above this steam being the ”Kitchawongs”.
An Indian village occupied the present site of Sing Sing,
and bore the name Sink Sink. The kil was called “Sint-Sinck”
or at least it is so written on a map, which bears the date
In or about the year 1680 a patent was granted by the British
Crown to one Vredryck Flypsen, or as afterward written,
Frederick Philipse, permitting him “to freely buy”
the district of country extending from Spuyten Duyvel Creek
northward to the Croton River.
In the course of five or six years he secured the whole
region specified. The last purchase of lands from the Indians
was made August 24th, 1685, being the “tract or parcel
of land commonly called Sinck Sinck”.
Frederick Philipse first spelled the name as two words “Cinque
Singte” and afterward as one word, with the same letters
but without the second capital.
Thus it is seen the stream, the tribe, and their original
village, all were called by the name, the sound of which
is expressed in various renderings above cited, and which
the present name perpetuates. It will be found variously
written on old maps and in ancient documents – Cinque
Singte, Sink Sink, Cinquesingte, Sinck Sinck, Sin Sinct,
Sint Sinck and Sin-Sing.
This is the only village in the world that bears this musical
name, but Sing Sing by and other name would be better off.
That’s what there is “in a name”.