Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

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Treanor started the Watervliet Journal. In July, 1884, he purchased
the Albany County Democrat, consolidated the two papers under the
name of the Journal and Democrat, and continued connected with the
publication until his death in 1896. At this time the firm of Treanor
& Hardin carry on the business. The paper is a well edited and pros-
perous journal.

A newspaper called the Palladium was published for a time about
1832 by the Warren Brothers, who also conducted a book and sta-
tionery store.

The first bank in the village was incorporated in 1836, with the name
of the Watervliet Bank, and the following officers: John C. Schuyler,
jr., president; Edward Learned, vice-president; Egbert Olcott, cashier;
Gerrit T. Witbeck, teller ; George M. Wheeler, clerk ; the capital stock
was $100,000. This institution failed in 1841. The National Bank of
West Troy was incorporated under the State laws in February, 1852,
and began business on May i, of that year, with the name, Bank of
West Troy. The capital stock was $200,000. The incorporators were
John Knickerbacker, James Van Schoonhoven, James Roy, E. Thomp
son Gale, John Cramer, Joseph M. Haswell, William Sands, George H.
Cramer, and Ferdinand J. Suydam ; these men constituted the first
board of directors and the following officers were chosen : Ferdi-
nand J. Suydam, president; George H. Cramer, vice-president; Albert
C. Gunnison, cashier. In 1853 Mr. Suydam was made cashier and
held the position until 1858, when he resigned and was succeeded by
G. B. Wilson, who held the place about nineteen years. He was sue-




ceeded by Benjamin McE. Schafer, wlio held the position until his
death in i8So, when the present cashier, Arthur T. Phelps, was ap-
pointed. In 1853 Dillon Beebe was elected president and was suc-
ceeded in 1856 b}- Joseph M. Haswell, who held the office until his
death in 1871. James Roy was then chosen, and was succeeded in

1876 by Thomas A. Knickerbacker, the present incumbent. The insti-
tution was changed to a national bank in 1865 and the name changed
to the National Bank of West Troy, with capital stock of $250,000. In

1877 this was reduced to $150,000, and in 1893 to $ioo,000.

West Troy has been and still is a manufacturing center of large im-
portance. Fortunately situated for shipping purposes, and with a num-
erous population near at hand from which to obtain employees, several
large industries have been founded in the village and are still success-
fully conducted. In the southern part of the village are the mills now
operated by Roy & Co., for the manufacture of various kinds of woolen
cloths and shawls. Of this company Benjamin Knower is president ;
John F. Roy, treasurer, and F. B. Durant, secretary. The capital is
$500,000. These mills were founded by James Roy about 1847 J he was
of Scotch birth and came to America in 1835. Not long afterwards he
formed a partnership with John Knower and began the manufacture of
woolen shawls, for which a number of workmen were brought from Scot-
land. Other kinds of goods were afterwards added to the products of the
mills. The establishment now embraces three mills and employs about
700 hands The firm of Roy & Co. was incorporated in 1S71, by James
Roy, John Knower, and Peter Roy, for the manufacture of builders'
hardware, and carried on a large business until 1895, when the works
were closed up. James Roy was a man of prominence and public spirit
and accomplished much for the welfare of the village. He died in 1878.

The Meneely Bell Foundry, which has a reputation extending through-
out the country, was established by Andrew Meneely in 1826. He
had learned the trade of brass founder and began the manufacture of
civil engineer's instruments in what was then Gibbonsville. He also
made town clocks and finally church bells. His business increased and
in 1835 he took Jonas V Oothout in partnership ; the latter withdrew
in 1841 and in 1849 Mr, Meneely took as partner his son, Edwin A , the


firm name being Andrew Meneely & Son. The senior of the firm died in
1 85 1, and the business was continued by Edwin A. and George R.
Meneely. Soon after tlie death of the elder Meneely the whole atten-
tion of the sons was given to the manufacture of bells. In 1874 George
R. Meneely withdrew from the business, and Edwin A. has since died.
The present firm comprises Mrs. E. A. Meneely and Andrew H.

George R. Meneely carries on a brass foundry, in company with his
son, Charles D., who came into the business in 1888, for the manufac-
ture of a patent journal bearing for cars, engines, etc. It has great
merit and a large sale.

The Covert Manufacturing Company was organized in Troy in 1873,
the members being James C. Covert, Madison Covert, Henry Wakeman,
and Scudder Wakeman. In 1879 the business was removed to West
Troy, and soon afterward the Wakemans withdrew. In 1893 Madison
Covert withdrew and James C. Covert is now sole proprietor. About
eighty hands are employed in the manufacture of saddlery hardware
and wrought iron chains

In 1 83 I Sanford S. Perry established the pottery now situated on the
corner of Washington and Schenectady streets, the factory at that time
being situated on Champlain street fronting the Erie Canal In 1S45
Nathan Porter and Robert H. Eraser purchased the pottery and removed
it to its present location. About a year later Mr. Eraser died and was
succeeded in the firm by his brother, George B. The firm continued a
successful business for eighteen years, when it was dissolved and the
establishment was sold to George H. Seymour. Erom him it passed to
the present owners, Shepley & Smiths.

The J. M. Jones' Sons horse car works were founded as a wagon
manufactory in 1839 by Henry W. Witbeck and John M. Jones, under
the style of Witbeck & Jones. The business continued until 1863,
when Mr. Witbeck withdrew and George Lawrence took his place.
The manufacture of horse cars was then begun and the making of wag-
ons was soon abandoned. In 1864 Mr. Lawrence withdrew from the
business and Mr. Jones associated his sons with himself In Eebruary,
1882 John M. Jones died, and since that time his son, Walter A. has
died, leaving John H. Jones in charge of the works, the firm name re-
maining the same as before.




On the site of the Y. M. C. A. building a Mr. Kilgour built a saw and
planing mill in 1852, and was succeeded in business by Uffoid & Latham,
and they by James Kerslake in 1873. He continued in business until
his death in July, 1892. The factory finally gave way to the present
handsome Y. M. C. A. building which was erected in 1892.

Lewis Rousseau, senior member of the later firm of Rousseau S: Har-
rington, established a planing mill in 1834, and soon took as partner
Mr. Easton, who continued as such for twenty-eight years. Arvin W.
Harrington succeeded him as a member of the firm under the style of
Rousseau & Harrington. Mr. Rousseau died July 2, 1884, after a long
and active life. This mill was subsequently burned. A large planing
mill and lumber business is now conducted by Harrington & Co., for
whom A. W. Harrington and J. H. Harrington are managers.

By the act of the Legislature of May 26, 1896, the city of Watervliet
was erected, embracing the former village of West Troy, with the ex-
ception of a small section at the southern end. This act provided that
the village officers then in power should hold their places until January
I, 1897 ; they are as follows :

President, M. J. Day; trustees, First ward, S. V. Feary, one year, Charles M. An-
gus, two years; Second ward, W. C. Baxter, one year, J. J. Bennett, two years;
Third ward, James H. Foley, one year, J. P. Bridgman two years; Fourth ward,
G. H. Mitchell one year, Robert Williams two years; William J. Shaughnessy, cham-
berlain ; William Lynch, Henry Crall, William H. Cronkhite, assessors; Daniel
Knower, Charles F. Polk, John D. Brown, William Fitzgerald, police commissioners;
Stephen V. Sturtevant, E. A. Foley, George Witbeck, William Foley, fire commis-
sioners; Charles H. Fort (president), Thomas Cavanaugh (secretary), Michael E.
Gunneu, James D. Maloney, Thomas E. Coggins, Derwin Mitchell, Thomas F. Ma-
har, board of health ; Dr. P. E. Fennelly, health officer.

The presidents of the village elected in each succeeding year have
been as follows :

1S;J7, Martin Witbeck; 1838, Miron R. Peak; 1839 Andrew Meneely; 1840, Martin
Witbeck; 1811, Samuel Wilgus; 1842, Miron R. Peak; 1843, Andrew Meneely; 1844,
Albert T. Dunham; 1845, .\lbcrt Richards; 1846, Archibald A. Dunlop; 1847, Albert
T. Dunham; 1848, Daniel l\ Suwarl; 1849, Hcraan Mather; ISfiO, Daniel C. Stew-
art; 1851, Samuel Crawlunl, 1S52, M.ngan L. Taylor; 1853, Lorenzo D. Collins;
1854, George B. Eraser; 1855-5(i, Martin Witbeck; 1857, Samuel H. Waterman;
1858, James Roy; 1859, James Brady ; 1860, George R. Meneely; 1861, William Os-
wald; 1862, Peter A. Rogers; 1803, James Duffy; 1864-65, Francis Beebe ; 1866-67,


James Hamil: 1808, William B. Williams; 1869,Terrence Cummings; 1R70-71. Perry
Robinson; 1872, Joseph M. Lawrence; 1873, Terrence Cummings; 187-1-75, Sliehael
Riley; 1876-77, Patrick Lane; 1878, Robert P. Tunnard; 1879-80, Joseph McLean;
18SI, George B. Mosher; 1882, John H. Hulsapple; 1883, William E. Cox; 1884,
Patrick Lane: 188"), Terrence Cummings. The term of office being for one year.

The people of the villages of Wa.=hington and Gibbonsville early
adopted measures to provide themselves with public religious instruc-
tion. One result of this action was the organization in i8i4of the
Reformed Protestant Dutch church of Washington and Gibbonsville by
the Classis of Albany. Peter S. Schuyler was chairman and Volkert
D. Oathout^ clerk of the organizing meeting, which was held in the
school house in Washington village March 19, 1814. Mr. Schuyler
and Mr. Oathout were elected elders, and Samuel Phillips and Stephen
Conger, deacons. The Consistory of this church united with that of
the Reformed Dutch church at the Boght in the town of Watervliet,
and Rev. Robert Bronk preached alternately in the two places. Mr.
Bronk labored in the two churches about twenty years, when he re-
signed his charge at tlie Boght and devoted his whole time to the vil-
lage church until 1834, when he resigned. The first church edifice was
dedicated July 10, 1 8 16, more than a year having been devoted to its
erection. The building stood on the west side of Broadway a little
north of North street on ground donated by John Schuyler, jr. and
James Gibbons. As time passed and it was seen that most of the con-
gregation of this church resided north of the Arsenal, it was deter-
mined to build a new house of worship in a more convenient locality.
A lot was accordingly purchased on the cornerof Washington and Buffalo
streets, and the corner stone of a new edifice was laid in August, 1839.
The building was finished and dedicated in the following year, the cost
being about $13,000. Services were held for a few years in the old
church in the morning and in the new church in the afternoon and
evening. The former was commonly called the South church and the
latter the North church. The parish was divided in 1844 and soon
the old church was sold on account of financial embarrassment, it
being purchased by Clarkson V. Crosby. On the i8th of June, 1844,
the "South Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in the village of


West Troy" was organized with Philip S. Schuyler, Robert Dunlop
and John C. Schuyler, elders, and David Moore and Stephen C.
Dermott, deacons, and thirty-six members. This congregation pur-
chased the old church of Mr. Crosby, and on July 25 called Rev. Theo-
dore F. VVyckoff to the pastorate ; he remained about ten years. In
187 1, the old church building having become entirely inadequate
for the congregation, steps were taken to provide better accommoda-
tions. At this time Hon. James B. Jermain sent to the Consistory a
proposition to build a new church at his own expense under the fol-
lowing, among other, conditions: ;. A change of site and the pur-
chase of a lot by the congregation. 2. The furnishing of the building
when completed, including organ, by the congregation. 3. The edifice
to be a memorial building in memory of Sylvanus P. Jermain (father of
James B.) and of his family. This proposition was promptly accepted,
and the site on the corner of Groton and Middle streets was purchased.
The present beautiful church was finished in November, 1874, and dedi-
cated December 30, of that year. During the year 1874 the tower
was added to the edifice, and in 1878 the chapel was added. It is the
finest church propert)' in the city, the building having cost about
$100 000. By a vote of a majority of its members this church in 1885
severed its relations with the Reformed church and became connected
with the Presbytery of Albany.

In 1840 the "North Church," as it theretofore had been known,
changed its corporate title to " The North Reformed Church of West
Troy," Rev. Dr. O. H. Gregory remaining pastor, and continuing to
act until 1870. In 1865 the chapel was erected. The society still has
an active existence.

Trinity Episcopal church was organized in 1834, mission services
having been held for two years previous thereto by Rev. Dr. David
Butler, of Troy, in a school house on the west side of Burlington street.
The two families of Raymond Taylor and James Lobdell formed the
nucleus of the congregation. The first vestry of the church were the
rector, Rev. James Tappan ; wardens, James Lobdell and A. S. Black-
man ; vestrymen, Raymond Taylor, John Mason, Glover Blackman,
Edgar Botsford, Gilbert C. Bedell, Thomas Evans, John Worthington,
and Jonathan Hart. A brick church edifice was built in 1837 o" the


west side of Salem street, which was consecrated June 4. Owing to
the inconvenience of reaching this church from the northern and central
parts of the village, a new society was organized November 19, 1838,
and called St. Luke's. Rev. Washington Van Zandt was called to serve
this congregation, and a church was built later on the north side of what
is now Central avenue. After a few changes in the pastorate, Rev.
William H. H. Bissell was called to the rectorship of both Trinity and
St. Luke's. In 1844 the Salem street church was sold and was sub-
sequently burned. In September, 1845, Rev. Joshua Weaver became
rector and on January 10, 1848, the present church then just completed,
was consecrated. During the rectorship of Rev. Joseph S. Saunders,
1863-67, the three story brick rectory north of the church was erected.
In 1875 a mission chapel, in connection with the church, was erected
on Groton street, and called St. Gabriel's chapel. In 1878 another
mission chapel was built on Ford street, and named St. Andrew's. The
church edifice was enlarged in 1865 by a wing on the south side.
In 1877 it was further enlarged by an organ chamber. In 1882 a chapel
was built on the rear of the church lot.

St. Patrick's Catholic church was organized in 1839, and in the fol-
lowing year a lot was purchased on the corner of Burlington and Union
streets, whereon a church was erected in 1840. The congregation was
organized and the building erected under the superintendence of Rev.
John Shannahan, of St. Peter's church, Troy. The first priest in charge
was Rev. James Quinn. In F'ebruary, 1850, Rev. Thomas A. Kyle,
then in charge, organized St. Bridget's church. Rev. William F. Shee-
han became priest of the church in October, 1868, and has faithfully
ministered to the congregation up to the present time. The old church
edifice having become unsuitable for the needs of the congregation, a
site was purchased on Ontario street and in July, the corner stone of
the present beautiful edifice was laid.

St. Bridget's Catholic church was organized and built in 1850 under
the supervision of Rev. Thomas Kyle, who was then in charge of St.
Patrick's church. The church is situated on the corner of Salem and
Mansion streets. Rev. William CuUinan was the first priest in charge
of this parish, and was succeeded in May, 1883, by Rev. James A.
Curtin, under whose direction extensive improvements were' made to


the church edifice. In the fall of 1883 the property, corner of Salem
and Mansion streets, was purchased by this church, whereon a rectory
was established in the dwelling with a school in adjoining buildings un-
der charge of the Sisters.

The Washington Street Methodist Episcopal church was organized
in April, 1 83 1, with Daniel T. Wandell, William Tucker, William P.
Hall, Amnion Hammond, and David I. Dutcher, trustees. These
trustees were by resolution given the title of the "Trustees of the Gib-
bonsville Station of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the Town of
Watervliet." They purchased of Ebenezer Prescott a lot corner of
Washington and Ferry streets and built a small one-story edifice. This
was enlarged in 1840 and in the next year a vestry was erected on the
same lot ; this was converted into a parsonage in 1857. ^" the spring
of this year the old church was sold and removed and the present
church built on the site ; the first service in the new church was held
in January, 1858. The old structure was purchased by John M. Jones
and became the machine shop connected with the Jones car works. In
1883 a steeple, bell and clock were added to the new church, and the
parsonage was extensively improved. In 1849 a number of the mem-
bers of this society in the upper part of the village organized the Ohio
Street Methodist Episcopal church ; after this the former title of the
earlier church was dropped and the present one taken вАФ the Washing-
ton Street M. E. church.

The Ohio Street Methodist Episcopal church, before mentioned, was
organized in the spring of 1849 by Alexander S. Lobdell, Ashael Pot-
ter, Edward Mallory, R. E. Gorton, and Otis Wood, an on June 5 of that
year the church purchased the property on the southwest corner of
Ohio and Ontario streets (commonly called the Bethel church). The
small wooden church there standing was burned November 19, 1849,
and in the following spring the corner stone of a two-story brick struc*
ture was laid, while Rev. I. F. Yates, the first pastor, was in charge. In
1 88 1 a brick parsonage was built, adjoining the church. In 1895 this
church was greatly improved at a cost of about $10,000.

The " First Particular Baptist Church and Society of GibbonsvilJe
and West Troy," commonly called the First Baptist church, was organ-
ized at a meeting held March 14, 1827, when the following trustees


were elected : Edward Learned, Thomas Shrimpton, Jonatlian Caulkins,
Hiram M. Hopkins, and Cyrus Kenney. The society consisted at first
of seventeen members. This church site comprises four village lots on
the corner of Ohio street and Central avenue, which were a gift by Philip
Schuyler and others as trustees of the West Troy Company. The first
church edifice was built in 1829, and was a small wooden structure.
This was used until 1842, when it was sold to a French Catholic congre-
gation and removed. The second building erected was of brick and
fronted on Canal street. This served its purpose until 1870, when it
was demolished and the present edifice erected. A parsonage, erected
in 1847, adjoins the church The first regular pastor, Rev. Ashley
Vaughan, began his services in July, 1 830. In the summer of 1867
the Sunday school of this church organized a mission Sunday school
in the Port Schuyler part of the village, which continued actively until
1875. In 1869 the school organized a mission school on Green Island
which continued to 1873, when it was made an independent organiza-

The First Presbyterian church was organized February 12, 1834,
when Hiram Hopkins, Horace L. Dann, and Henry Kiniberly were
chosen trustees. On the 27th of that month the society organized as a
Congregational church, which seemed a preferable form of government,
and by September of that year a house of worship had been completed.
This was of wood and stood on the southwest corner of Ohio and Ontario
streets. In 1835 the church government was changed to the Presbyte-
rian and the name altered to that given above. Two other changes of the
same character were made, the first a few years after the one just mention-
ed, by which the Congregational form was again assumed, and the second
on August 26, 1839, when it again became Presbyterian and joined the
New School Presbytery of Troy. Between 1845 and 1875 no regular
pastor was employed. On June 5, 1849, the struggle to properly main-
tain the church decided the trustees to sell their house and lots to the
Ohio Street Methodist Society, as before stated. The society then re-
mained dormant until about 1875 when the present brick edifice was
erected on the porth side of Union street near P'ord.

The Church of the Sacred Heart of Mary (French Catholic) was or-
ganized by Rev. Eugene Rey, and the corner stone of the first church



edifice, on the corner of Staftbrd and Buffalo streets, was laid September
II, 1881. This church was burned April 2, 1885. The present building,
was erected on the same site.


Green Island originally constituted a part of Rensselaer Manor and
with what was called Jan Gownson Island and land opposite thereto on
the west bank of the sixth sprout of the Mohawk and extending back
one-half an English mile, comprised the farm or " Bowery " called
Turkee. This farm was sold by Killian Van Rensselaer to Col. Peter
Schuyler on May 6, 1708, the consideration being one-tenth part of the
annual crops of the farm. Maria Schuyler the colonel's wife, was a sister
of the Patroon. On June 8, 1713, Schuyler sold the Turkee farm to
Hendrick Oothout of Albany, a carpenter, for ^^850 New York money.
Green Island remained the property of Oothout and his descendants
until the early part of the present century, when George Tibbitts became
the owner of 262 acres of the northern part, which is about two- thirds
of the whole.

In 1835 the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad Company built its
bridge from the island to Troy and the first train of cars passed over it
on October 8, of that year. A little later the company erected a wooden
bridge connecting the island with West Troy, and opened the roadway
across the island which became and now is Albany street; this was the
first public street opened. Previous to these improvements the island
had little importance. Until 1854 the cars were drawn by horses from
the island terminus of the bridge to the Troy House in Troy ; in tliat
year a second bridge was built adjoining the first and locomotives took
the place of horses in crossing it, while the first bridge was repaired and
given up to teams and pedestrians. On May 10, 1862, the eastern half
of the old bridge was burned, but at once rebuilt with wood. In 1879
the western half was rebuilt of iron and in 1884 the eastern end was
likewise renewed.

In 1823 the Sta^e constructed a dam across the Hudson River from
Green Island to Troy, its completion being duly celebrated. This dam
is 1,100 feet long and nine feet high. At its eastern end was built a
sloop lock with a length of 114 feet, a width of thirty feet, height of


twenty- five feet and nine feet lift. In the year 1S49 work was begun
by Daniel Hartnett, James Brady, and Ephraim Baldwin of West Troy,
under State direction, on a dyke and pier, the first at the northern end
and the second at the southern end of the island. The dyke was so
located as to turn the water of this sprout of the Mohawk into the Hud-
son, while the pier at the soutliern end acts as a dam and raises the
water in the large basin thus formed several feet. At the southern end
of the pier a lock was built through which boats pass from the basin to
the Hudson. This work was finished in 1852. In carrying out these
improvements the former bluff, eight to ten feet high, along the east
side of the island, was cut away to obtain dirt. Human bones and
other evidences of early occupation were found while making this
excavation. Prior to 1850 that part of the island south of Albany av-
enue was in a wild state and was used for picnic grounds. Thither the
remnant of the St. Francis Indians came in the summer months to camp
and sell their baskets and other goods. In 1840 was begun the con-
struction of the Troy and Schenectady Railroad, which crosses the
island, the first trains on which ran about November i, 1842. At this
time there were only six dwellings on the island, a small school house,
a saw mill at the State dam, and a few shops.

After these various imiirovements Green Island was rapidly settled

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 43 of 138)