The land on which the modern city of Yonkers is built was once part of a Dutch 24,000-acre (97-square-kilometer) land grant called Colen Donck. It ran from the current Manhattan-Bronx border at Marble Hill northwards for 12 miles (19 km), and from the Hudson River eastwards to the Bronx River. In July 1645, the area was granted to Adriaen van der Donck, the patroon of Colendonck. Van der Donck was known locally as the Jonkheer or Jonker (etymologically, "young gentleman", derivation of old Dutch jong (young) and heer ("lord"); in effect, "Esquire"), a word from which the name "Yonkers" is directly derived. Van der Donck built a saw mill near where the confluence of Nepperhan Creek and the Hudson lies. The Nepperhan is now also known as the Saw Mill River. Van der Donck was killed in the Peach War. His wife, Mary Doughty, was taken captive by Native Americans and later ransomed.
Near the site of Van Der Donck's mill is Philipse Manor Hall, a Colonial-era manor house owned by Dutch colonists. Today the manor is preserved and operated as a museum and archive, offering many glimpses into life before the American Revolution. The original structure (later enlarged) was built around 1682 by workmen and slaves for Frederick Philipse and his wife Margaret Hardenbroeck de Vries. Philipse was a wealthy Dutchman who by the time of his death had amassed an enormous estate, which encompassed the entire modern City of Yonkers, as well as several other Hudson River towns. Philipse's great-grandson, Frederick Philipse III, was a prominent Loyalist during the American Revolution. He had many economic ties to English businessmen, which also resulted in political ties. Because of his political leanings, he was forced to flee to England. The American colonists in New York state confiscated all the lands and property that belonged to the Philipse family and sold it.