The exact date of Europeans settling the land is unknown, but the Dutch fought against local natives in the early days of New Netherlands. In 1655, a Dutch colonist published a document that referred to the area as "Slapershaven" or, literally, "Sleepers' Haven". In 1664, the British took over the colony and renamed it New York. The village would be officially incorporated as North Tarrytown in the 19th century. The Anglicized version of this name did not appear until later and was not used as the town's proper name until centuries later.
(Irving's story was successful enough to get North Tarrytown to change its name to Sleepy Hollow in 1996, but not enough to make anyone named Ichabod attractive or popular. –V.)