Maryknoll is located in the municipality of Ossining in the western part of Westchester County, NY. In 1685, Frederick Philipse bought what later became the Town of Ossining from the Sint Sinck Indians, members of the Wappinger Confederacy. This land formed part of the vast Frederick Philpse landholdings. The Manor of Philipsburg extended from Spuyten Duyvil Creek to the Croton River. All of Colonel Philpse's land was confiscated by the state in 1779 because he was a Loyalist during the Revolutionary War. Subsequently, many former landowners bought their farms from the state.
In 1813 the Village of Sing Sing, now Ossining, became the first incorporated village in Westchester County. In 1845 the Town of "Ossinsing" was created from the section of the Town of Mount Pleasant that contained Sing Sing, Sparta, and Scarborough. This new town was called Ossinsing, a different form of Sing Sing. In 1846, the following year, the name was shortened to Ossining which was easier to pronounce. In 1901, local officials changed the name of the village from Sing Sing to Ossining to avoid confusing village-made goods with products (such as shoes and stoves) made at Sing Sing prison.