Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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Albany County


















CHAPTER IX.... . 84


CHAPTER XI, Civil List 121

CHAPTER XII, Judicial-)' and Bar 130

CHAPTER XIII, The Medical Profession.. 168

CHAPTER XIV, Journalism 233

CHAPTER XV, General Education 253

CHAPTER XVI, Public Institutions and Buildings.. '..... 268

CHAPTER XVII, The City of Albany... "'^^

CHAPTER XVni, Tcuvn of Watervliet (now Colonie), West
Vrov (now Watervliet Citv), Green Island as Town and Vil-

' 39-4

lage, and the City of Cohoes.

CHAPTER XIX, Town of Rensselaerville - - - - - - "^^^

CHAPTER XX, Town of Coeymans ' •'

CHAPTER XXI, Town of Bethlehem ^^^

CHA-PTER XXII, Town of Berne

CHAPTER XXIII, Town of Guilderland

CHAPTER XXIV, Town of Westerlo ^28

CHAPTER XXV, Town of Knox. ... - - - ■

CHAPTER XXVI, Town of New Scotland 5^^







Amsdell, George

.facing o78, Part

Barnes, Thurlow Weed,

facing 159, Part II
Barnes, William, jr... facing 338, Part I

Beattie, William facing 12, Part II

Bendell, Herman, M. D.,

facing 168, Part I

Best, George N facing 158, Part II

Bigelow, John M., M. D., Ph. D.,

facing 203, Part 1
Blair, Louis E., M. D., facing 10, Part II

Blunn, James facing 420, Part I

Borthwick, James M. . facing 83, Part II
Brady, Anthony N. ..facing ICO, Parti

Brass, Richard W facing 86, Part II

Briggs, John N facing 480, Part I

-'.n.nk, Barent T. E.. facing 166, Part II

'.r.Miks, Jonas H facing 68, Part II

!r' i\vn, Frank facing 440, Part I

^jniwn, W. Howard ...facing 43, Part II
Buchanan, Charles J. . facing 166, Part I

^uich, John G facing 140, Part II

Burke, Rt. Rev. Thomas

facing 353, Part I
Burlingame, Eugene A.,

facing 144, Part I
Byington, William Wilberforce,

facing 356, Part I

Cantine, Edward B. . .facing 54, Part II
Carpenter, Charles Whitney,

facing 108, Part II

Clute, Jacob H facing 143, Part I

Covert, lames C .facing 423, Part I

Cox, James W., M. D.,

facing 217, Part -I
Curreen, George H. . .facing 130, Part II

Delehanty, John A^
Dickson, Walter..
Doane, Rt. Rev. V
D. D., LL. 1

.fncinc;S2, Part II
laniv.; Ii:;, Part II
ham t;i..swell,
tauuv.; ;j40, Part I

Easton, Frederick facing 33, Part II, Frank H., M. D. facing 167, Part II
Fitzgerald, David C. ..facing 49, Part II
Fuller, Howard N facing 292, Parti

Griflfin, Rev. William, D. D.,

facing 344, Part I

Hale, Matthew facing 130, Part I

Harris, Hamilton.. ...facinc 3, Part II

Hastings, Hugh fami- 7:;, I'art II

Hornby, Ralph fa. in;., lis, I 'a it II

House, George A faLin;.; IC;;, i'.ulll

Howell, George Roger.s,

facing 274, Part I

Jerraain, James Barclay,

facing 8, Part I

Jones, Charles Edmund, A. M., M. D.,

facing 155, Part II

King, Rufus H facing 24, Parti

Kinnear, Peter ...facing 6, Part II

Lewi, Joseph. M. D facing 172, Part I

Lewis, T. Ho ward... facing 47, Part II
Liieke, Henry .facing 160, Partll

Marsh, Benjamin facing 56, Parti

Marvin, Selden E., Gen.,

facing 375, Part I
Marvin, Selden E., Col., jr.,

facing 33, Part II
McCormic, Robert H., jr.,

facing 77, Part II

McCreary. Edward facing 17, Part II

McKee, James B facing 434, Part I

McKown, James A... facing 141, Part II

Meegan, Edward J facing 50, Part II

Merrill, Frederick J, H.,

facing 271, Part I
Munson, Samuel L. . ..facing 358, Part I
Myers, Ma.x facing 14, Part II

Nead, William M.. M. D.,

facing 210, Part I
Newman, John L. .... facing 20, Part II

Oliver, Robert Shaw, Gen.,

facing 384, Part I

Parker, Amasa J facing 143, Part II

Parker, Amasa J facing 151, Part II

Palmer, Edward DeL.,

facing 320, Par


Attilio facin

Perry, Isaac G. facing Klo, Part II

Plympton, Lucy Ann.. facing 266, Part I
Porter, Charles H.. M. D..

facing 178, Part I

Pruvn, John V. L., LL. D.,

facing 63, Part II

Root, Josiah G facing 447, Part I

Sanford, John C facing 452, Parti

Sisson, Noel E .facing 132, Part II

Slavin, Thomas facing 91, Part II

Slingerland, John I facing 492, Part I

Spalding, Nathaniel B., facing 87, Part II
Stedman, George L._ facing 40, Part II

Stern, Louis... .facing 92, Part II

Story, George facing 168, Part II

Stowell, Charles F facing 296, Part I

Sweet, Elias W facing 165, Part II

Sweet, Elnathan facing 386, Parti

Thacher, George Hornell,

facing 58, Part II
Townsend, Frederick, Gen.,

facing 361, Part I

Tracev, Charles facing 123, Part I

Tucker, Luther , facing 239, Part I

Tucker, Luther H facing 240, Part :

Van Alstyne, Thomas J.,

facing 101,
Van Alstyne, William C,

facing 288,
Van Antwerp, John H.,

facing 376,
Vandcr Veer, Albert. M. D.,

facing 179,
Van Loon, Arthur B., M. D.,

facing 25,
\'an Rensselaer, Howard. M. D. ,

facing 80,
Van Woriner, John R.,

facing 110,
Vosburgh, Isaac W facing 40,

Ward. Samuel Baldwin, M. D.,

facing 177

Wilson, James H facing 116,

Wooster, Benjamin W. , facing 44,

Zeh, M. J., M. D facing 412, Parti

Part II


Part I

Part I

Part II

Part II

Part II
Part I

Part I
Part II
Part II

Landmarks of Albany County.


The history of Albany county begins in IGOil, when, as far as can be
known with certainty, the first Europeans visited this locality. If
white men were here previous to that time the fact is not susceptible
of proof; but thenceforward to the present, through a period of more
than two hundred and eighty-five years the historic record may be
clearly traced, and the story is filled with interesting details of events
of great historical importance. The county of Albany was not formed
until 1683, at which time the early history of this region was far ad-
vanced and the great struggle for conquest and possession of this con-
tinent was foreseen.

Albany county ' was one of the ten original counties of the present
State of New York, and the other nine being New York, West Chester,
Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Richmond, Kings, Queens, Suffolk. At
the time of its erection the county embraced an immense area, from
which the following counties were erected on the dates named :

Gloucester, March 16, 1770, including what is now Orange, Wasli-
ington, Caledonia, Orleans, Essex, Lamoille, Franklin and Grand Isle,
all in Vermont.

Tryon, March 13, 1772 (name changed to Montgomery April 2, 1784),
from which all the counties of the State west of Greene, Schoharie,
Schenectady, Saratoga, Warren, Essex and part of St. Lawrence were

Charlotte, March 12, J 772 (name changed to Washington April 2,
I7S4), from which were erected Warren, Clinton, St. Lawrence, Essex,
and Franklin.

' .\l the time of the formation of Albany county nine ,.thers were erected from territory now
embraced in the State of New York, and two, Dukes and Cornwall, from Massachusetts and

Cunibciiaiul, April I, ITSC, cnibracino; lliu present euunties cif Ren-
ningluii, \Viiulsor, Windluini, Rutland, Addisun, and Chittenden, all
in X'ermont.

L'cilnmbia, April 4, I'SO.

Rensselaer, February 7, 1701.

Saratoga, February 7, 1701.

Schoharie, April (i, 1795.

Greene, March a5, 1800.

Schenectady, March 7, ISOO.

Albany county took its name from the Scotch title of the Duke c;f
York and Albany, who was afterwards King James II of England. It
is situated between forty-two degrees, twenty-three minutes, and forty-
two degrees, forty-nine minutes north latitude, and between two de-
grees, forty minutes, and three degrees, fifteen minutes, east longitude
from Washington, and with the erection of the last county from its ter-
ritory (Schenectady) it was left with an area of about bii square miles,
or ;)48,lfJ0 acres. Its northern boundary is formed by Schenectady
and Saratoga cotmties; its eastern by the Hudson River; its western by
Schoharie county, and its southern by Greene county.

The surface of this county has a general southeastern inclination and
is undulating and hilly. An intervale of a width varying from a quar-
ter of a mile to a mile extends along the Hudson River, which is
bounded by a series of steep bluffs from 100 to ISO feet high; from the
summit of these an undulating and slightly ascending plateau stretches
westward to the foot of the Helderberg Hills,' where it reaches an ele-
vation of about -too feet above tide. This range of hills rises to a
height of from 400 to 800 feet above the plateau, with declivities some-
times steep and precipitous on the east, but sloping more gradually on
the west. Other minor hill i-anges extend through portions of the
county in a general northerly and southerly direction. The loftiest
eminence in the county is in the Helderbergs in the northeast corner
of the town of Berne, and is 1,200 feet above tide. These hill ranges
are spurs of the Catskills, which are the northerly continuation of the
Allegany Mountains.

The principal streams of Albany county are the Hudson, the Mohawk,
the Catskill, the Schoharie, and the Norman's Kill. The streams trib-
utary to the Hudson are the following, which come under the title of

' The name Hckk-rber.!,' signitie.s ' Clear JIminlain," the fine prospect from the summit of

either river, creek, brook, or kill: The Catskill, Coeymans, Haana-
Krois, Vlaman's, Norman's, Beaver, Rutten, Foxen, Patroon, Ralger,
Cemeter}^ Dry, and Mohawk. Tributaries of the Mohawk are the
Schoharie, Lisha's, Town, and Donker's. Those of the Catskill are
Eig-ht-Mile, Ten-Mile, Scrub, Fox, and Wilbur. Of the Schoharie,
Beaver Dam, Foxen and Switz. There are other minor streams which
will be mentioned later in the town histories. In the western part of
the county the streams g-enerally flow through narrow ravines, while
those that flow into the Hudson have worn deep gullies in the soil,
some of which are one hundred feet in depth and extend nearly to the
river flats.

The eastern boundary line of this county is through the middle of the
Hudson River, which gives all of the islands lying west of that line to
the count}^ These are Van Rensselaer's, or Westerlo Lsland, the
largest, containing 160 acres, lying east of the sottthern part of the city
of Albany-; Haver Island, Van Schaick's Island, and Whale Island, all
near the junction of the Mohawk with the Hudson; Green Island, di-
rectly opposite Troy and now a thickly settled villag'e ; Pleasure Island,
a short distance above Albany; Reeren, or Bear's Island, eleven miles
below Albany and belonging to the town of Coeymans; Shad, Scher-
merhorn (or Neifer), Wooden and Poplar, opposite Coeymans : Sill's (or
Van Woert)j Bear, Beacon (or Bisby), Cabbage (or Jolly), Marsh, and
Rogart's, opposite Bethlehem; Lower Patroon, Patroon, Cuyler, Hill-
house (or Glen), and Breaker, opposite Watervleit. On the Mohawk,
above the Cohoes Falls, are Fonda and Cobble Islands. Some of these
islands have an important history which will be found in its prrevent the canker of free-traders en-
tering his '■ colonic."

The first patroon died in H'tW. but his general policy was afterwards
continued b}- his executors. At the same time Sheriff Van der Donck
was superseded by Nicolaus Coorn, while in 1647 Kieft was succeeded
by Peter Stuyvesant. The Indian wars which had been a source of
so much trouble and loss to the southward, did not materially affect
Rensselaerwyck, throughout which a fair degree of prosperity and
growth prevailed, though at the time of Stuyvesant's arrival there
were only about a dozen houses in Beverwyck, with a small settle-
ment at Bethlehem, while a few " bouweries " were also cultivated on
the east side of the river opposite Fort Orange. Little had been done
in the Katskill region, it being substantially a wilderness from Fort
Orange to Manhattan.

The heir to the patroonship of Rensselaerwyck was Johannes Van
Rensselaer, a minor, whose interests devolved upon his uncle, Johannes
Van Wely, and Wouter Van Twiller, executors of the estate, who im-
mediately rendered fealty and homage to their High Mightinesses for the
"colonic" and in behalf of their ward. The immediate management of
the estate, however, was entrusted to Brant Arent Van .Slechtenhorst, of
Nieukerke in Guilderlandt, who was appointed director of the colony,
president of the court of justice and superintendent of all the bouweries,
farms, mills and other property descending from the patroon. His
salary was 750 florins ($300) per annum, with a house, four cows, two
horses, eight acres of tillage and the same quantity of pasture land.
He was charged to maintain and defend the freedom and privileges of
the colony; to promote the interests and advance the settlement of
Beverwyck and its immediate neighborhood, and to acquire by purchase
the lands about Katskill, as some of the colonists were forming com-
panies to remove thither. He was ordered also to explore for minerals,
and to report in full to his superiors. His son, Gerrit, was to act as
schout-fiscal, at a salary of 600 florins, but served thus only two months,
when the office was merged in that of director.

New Netherlands now became the scene of a prolonged contest, with
Director-General Stuyvesant and Brant Van Slechtenhorst at the head
of the opposing factions. New Amsterdam had been and still was
jealous of the existence of the patroon colonies, considering them an-
tagonistic to rapid settlement, and efforts had, at an early period, been
made by the New Amsterdam authorities to induce the patroon to cede
to them his rights and possessions; failing in this they now determined
to circumscribe and restrict his field of operations as far as lay in their


power. Stiiyvesant claimed to be supreme in the countr}', irrespective
of all feudal rights and privileges. Van Slechtenhorsfs position may be
inferred ; he was there tii protect the interests of the heir and would rec-
ognize no authority within his limits, other than that of his superiors or
legal representatives. He claimed that the director-general could issue
no order that would be obligatory upon him, unless it were endorsed and
countersigned by his commander and executed by the officers of his
court. An ante-climax was reached before Slechtenhorst had been in
office a month

A proclamation ordering the first Wednesday in May, inis, to be
observed as a fast, was received from the director-general by the Rens-
selaerwyck authorities as an invasion of the rights of the lord of the
manor, and Van Slechtenhorst protested. This action touched vStuy-
vesant's pride as well as opposed his authority, and he visited the
"colonic" to put a stop to such proceedings, with;his military escort,
being loyally greeted by a salvo of artillery from the patroon's ar-
tillery. His interview with Van Slechtenhorst was not very satis-
factory. When he accused the old Dutchman of infringing" the
scjvereignty of the Dutch West India Company, he was met with the
reply: "Your complaints are unjust ; I have more reason to complain
on behalf of my patroon against you." Stuyvesant then put forth a,
long protest, accusing Van Slechtenhorst with having conveyed lots
and authorized the erection of buildings in the immediate vicinity of
Fort Orange in disregard of the sovereign authority and in contempt
of the director-general's commission, and thus destroying the security
of the fort. He ordered, therefore, "in a friendly manner," that a
stop should be put to all building operations within cannon range of
the fort, unless under orders of the Lords Majors; that no new
ordinances should issue that would aiTeet the sovereign authority, or
relating to commerce or public welfare, without consent of their High
Mightinesses or their representative in New Netherland; that no ex-
clusive right to any branch of trade be rented, nor an}' grain, masts,
or other ]3ropert}''belonging to the company's servants be seized, unless
in suits that should be prosecuted without delay. The inhabitants of
the colony of Rensselaerwyck had been compelled to sign a pledge
that as defendants they would not appeal to the Supreme Court of New
Netherland from judgments of the Court of Rensselaerwyck; this
practice was condemned by Stuyvesant as a "crime," an infraction of
the law of the land and a subversion of the charter. To abolish this


]3ractice he insisted upon an annual return to the director and council
of all the proceedings in the colony court. A'an Slechtenhorst was also
called upon to produce his authority from either the States-General or
the Chamber at Amsterdam. Failiny in all this Van Slechtenhorst
would be protested against for disobedience of orders.

\'an vSlechtenhorst was a man of strong will and choleric temper;
moreover, he sincerely believed that the rights and privileges of his
young patroon were being trampled upon, the charter overridden and
the Lords-Majors insulted by Stuyvesant's demands. He promptly
answered protest by protest. He charged the director-general with
having ordered a day of fasting " contrary to ancient order and usage,
as if he were the lord of the patroon's colonic." He accused the hire-
lings of the company at the fort with cutting timber and firewood in
the piatroon's forests without permission, "as if these were their own " ;
with having overrun the colon)- with people from Manhattan, "with
savages by their side to serve as brokers," trading publicly with the
Indians without license from the patroon or his agents and without
paying duties. He claimed the order to cease building within certain
limits near the fort had no justification, insisting that the patroon's
trading house stood "a few years ago" on the border of the moat sur-
rounding the fort; all that soil, he claimed, still belonged to the pa-
troon, who had not been disturbed thereon until Director Stuyvesant
now sought " by unbecoming means " to deprive " his orphan heir " of
his rights. i\nd so the strife went on, increasing in vigor on both

Van Slechtenhorst was in the right as far as building near the fort
was involved, and that was, perhaps, the chief point at issue. The
pretense that buildings near the fort endangered it was folly. The
buildings referred to were more tlian five hundred rods from the fort,
and eight houses had already been built between them and the fort.
Van Slechtenhorst continued his improvement at Beverwyck, and an-
other protest came up from Manhattan warning him to stop or force
would be used to bring him to terms. But this only called out another
reply from Van Slechtenhorst, in which he asserted that no suit cotdd
be begun, nor execution issued in another district without consent of

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 1 of 138)