Gazetteer of towns in Albany County, NY
From: Gazetteer of the State of New York
By: J. H. French, LL.D.
(Note: The Gazetter also had several large footnotes and tables that could not be easily read on my copies and not included on this page)
BERN- was formed from Rensselaerville, March 17, 1795. Knox was taken off in 1822. It lies near the center of the western border of the county. The Helderbergh Mts., 1200 feet above tide, form the eastern border. Grippy and. Irish Hills, two broad mountains, with steep declivities and rolling summits, 900 to 1000 feet above tide, occupy the center. The s. and w. parts are hilly, and the N. rolling. The principal streams are the Foxen Kil and the Switz Kil. These streams flow N. w. through narrow valleys bordered by steep hill sides. Weruers and Thompsons Lakes, in the N. E., are small sheets of water. In the lime rock, in the n. e. part, are numerous small caves and sink holes. There are several sulphur springs in town. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam interspersed with clay. Bernville (Bern p.o.) contains 50 houses; E. Benn (p.v.) 15; S. Bern (p.v.) 15; and Reidsville (p. v.) Peoria is a small village on the line of Knox. Settlement was begun about 1750 by a few German families. In 1777, a company of 85 militia were raised in this town, of which the captain and 63 men joined the British, and the remainder the Americans at Saratoga. Bernville, then called "Beaver Dam," was fortified during the war, and sentinels were posted at night to prevent surprise by the Indians. The place at one time became a rendezvous for tories. The Ref. Prot. D. Church of Beaver Dam was formed in Jan. 1763. The first settled pastor was Johannes Sehuyler, in 1767.2
BETHLEHEM- was formed from Watervliet, March 12, 1793. New Scotland was taken off in 1832. It lies on the bank of the Hudson, e. of the center of the county, and. includes the islands w. of the main channel of the river. Its surface consists of a rolling upland, ending upon the river in steep bluffs 100 to 150 feet high. Near the center of the town are a few sand ridges and. rocky knolls. The principal streams are Coeymzns Creek, Vlamans Kil and Normans Kil. The declivities of the upland are broken by numerous deep gulleys worn by streams flowing into the Hudson. There are two small caves, several sulphur springs, and, quarries of coarse brown sandstone, in town. The soil is sand and clay. Groesbeck is a suburb of Albany. Pop. 1,232. Kenwood, a village near the mouth of Normans Kil, contains an extensive mill, and a manufactory of woolen and cotton knit goods. Upper Hollow, Adamsville, Normanskill, (p. o.,) Bethlehem Center, (p. o.,) Beckers Corners, Cedar Hill, (p. o.,) and. S. Bethlehem are hamlets. Callanans Corners, in the N. W. corner, is a p. o. On the hills overlooking the Hudson below Albany are several fine country seats. The first settlement was made upon Castle Island,4 in 1614, and a fort erected the same year. As this island was liable to overflow, in 1617 another fort was built at the mouth of Normans Kil. Agricultural improvements commenced in 1630, by tenants under Van Rensselaer. Mills were built on the Normans Kil and Beaver Kil at a very early period. A part of the house known as "Whitehall," near the Delaware Road, was built by Gen. Bradstreet, and during the Revolution is said to have been a secret rendexzvous for tories. Cherry Hill, just out of Albany, on the river road, was the residence of Gen. Solomon Van Rensselaer. A Ref. Prot. D. church was formed in colonial times, and in 1794 S. Van Rensselaer gave the society 100 sores of land, known as the parsonage farm.
COEYMANS- (Quee'mans) was formed from Watervliet, March 18, 1791. A part of Westerlo
GUILDERLAND- was formed from Watervliet, Feb. 26, 1803. It lies near the center of the northern border of the county. Its surface is greatly diversified.. In the w. rises the precipitous wall of the Helderberghs to a height of 800 feet above the general level of the valleys. The central part is undulating, and the eastern is occupied by numerous sand ridges. The Normans Kil with its branches, the Bozen Kil, Black Creek, Wildehause Kil, and Hunger Kil, are the principal streams. The lower course of the Normans Kil in this town is through a narrow ravine, with steep clayey banks. The soil is light and sandy in the E., and gravelly loam mixed with clay in the w. A mineral spring is found upon the farm of Wm. McGowan. Hamiltonvilie, (Giilderland p.o.,) formerly known as the "Glass House,"3 is situated on the old turnpike, 8 mi. w. of Albany. Guilderland Center, (p.v.,) locally known as "Bangail," contains 18 houses. Dunnsville, (p.o.,) Knowersville, (p.o.,) and Frenchs Mills, on the Normans Kil, are small villages. During the Revolution, a portion of the inhabitants sided with the British; and the feuds which grew up between families and neighborhoods have not yet entirely subsided. The Ev. Lath, church (St. Jame's) was organized Oct. 13, 1787. Heinrich Moeller was the first pastor.
KNOX-named from the celebrated Col. Knox-was formed from Bern, Feb. 28, 1822. It is the N. w. corner town of the county. Its surface consists of a high plateau region broken by a few small hills. Its eastern part constitutes a portion of the Helderberg region; but the declivities are so gradual that they only serve to give to the town a moderate inclination towards the N. and w. The Bozen Kil, forming a part of the E. boundary, with its tributaries, and the Beaver Dam Creek, are the principal streams. There are two caves, supposed to be of considerable extent, about 1¼ mp. N. of Knoxville. The soil is principally gravel and. clay, with bard pan underneath. Knoxville (Knox p.o.) contains 23 houses. W. Township, (p.o.,) E. Township, and Peoria, on the line of Bern, are small, villages. This town was settled by Germans before the Revolution. During the war the people became divided in politics, and after the defeat of Burgoyne many of the tory families went to Canada. Saml. Abbot and Andrew Brown, from Conn., settled in town in 1789; and soon after 20 to 30 families came in from the same State. The first church was a Ref. Prot. D."
NEW SCOTLAND- was formed from Bethlehem, April 25, 1832. It is the central town of the county. The eastern and central parts are high and rolling, with occasional isolated hills and. ridges; and the western border is occupied by the Helderbergh Mountains. The principal streams are Normans Kil, Vlamans Creek, and Coeymans Creek, (or Oxiiskethau Kil,) and several of their tributaries. Upon the side of Bennett Kill, in the s.w. part, is a strong sulphur spring. Near Clarksville are two caves, extending respectively and mi. under ground. Streams flow through each of them. The outlet of Lawsons Lake, in the N. W. part, about 1 mi. from the lake, falls into a deep cavity and flows mi. in a subterranean passage, and in its course it receives a considerable tributary." At the northern foot of Copeland Hill, near the same locality, are remarkable sink holes, 5 to 8 feet in diameter, and extending down through the soil and. lime rock to a depth of 10 to 20 feet. A subterranean stream connects the bottoms of these cavities. The soil is a gravelly loam mixed with clay. Clarksville (p. v.) is situated at the foot of the Helderberghs, on Coeymans Creek, and contains 211 inhabitants. New Salem (p. v.) contains 27 houses; and New Scotland (p. v.) 15. UnionvIlle, (Union Church p. o.,) Feuribush, and. Oniskethan (locally known as "Tarrytown") are hamlets. Teunis Slingerland, from Holland, was the first settler on the Oniskethan flats. He purchased 9874 acres, and built a dwelling near the center of the tract, and erected the first mills. The first church (Ref. Prot. D.) was organized at New Salem about 1786
RENSSELEARVILLE- named from the Van Rensselaer family-was formed from Watervliet, March 8, 1790. Bern was taken off in 1795, and a part of Westerlo in 1815. It is the s. w. corner town of the county. Its surface is mostly upland, broken by parallel ridges extending N. and s. and rising 400 to 600 feet above the valleys. The principal streams are Catskill Creek and its tributaries, Scrub, Fox, Ten Mile, and Eight Mile Creeks, and Wifiow Brook. The valleys of these streams are narrow, and are bordered by steep hill sides, and the streams are rapid, and. subject to sudden and destructive freshets. Upon Ten Mile Creek, near Rensselaerville, is a fall of 100 feet; and upon Willow Brook is another of 40 feet. Bog iron has been found in the e. part. There is a sulphur spring 2½ miles N. E. of Preston Hollow. The soil is clay and gravel, underlaid. by hard pan. Rensselaerville (p.v.) contains an academy. Pop. 561. Williamsburgh, on the w. border of the town, contains 18 houses; Preston Hollow (p.v.) 40; and Medusa (p.v.) 30; Potters Hollow and. Cooksburg are post-offices. The town was mostly settled by emigrants from New England soon after the Revolution. Michael Brandt, a German from Schoharie, lived in town during the war. Daniel Shay, the leader of the revolt known as Shay's Rebeffion, moved to this town in 1795. Maj. John Edmonds, a Revolutionary officer, was also a settler in this town. The first church (Presb.) was formed in Nov. 1793, and the edifice erected. in 1796. Rev. Samuel Fuller was the first pastor.
WATERYLIET-was formed March 7, 1788, and included the w. district of the manor of Rensselaerwyck. Rensselaerville was taken off in 1790, Coeymans in 1791, Bethlehem in 1793, Guilderland in 1803, and Niskayuna in 1809. It lies at the junction of the Hudson and Mohawk, in the n. e. corner of the county. Its surface is mostly an upland, 200 to 300 feet above the river. The declivities of this upland are broken by numerous gulleys worn by the small streams. A fine intervale, nearly half a mile in width, extends along the Hudson. At Cohoes, on the Mohawk, the river flows over a rocky declivity 78 feet in height, of which 40 feet is perpendicular." The banks, both above and. below the falls, are high and precipitous. The Erie Canal rises, by a series of 18 locks, from the Hudson, through the village of Cohoes, to the most northerly angle of the town 3 mi. above, and 188 feet above tide. At this point it crosses the river into Saratoga co., in a stone aqueduct l137½ feet long, 26 feet high, and resting upon 26 piers. The soil is a deep, rich alluvial upon the river intervale, and a light, sandy loam upon the upland. Sulphur and chalybeate springs, and bog iron ore, are found in town. The quarries of graywacke furnish an excellent flagging and building stone. This is the most populous town in the State. West Troy, (p.v.,) incorp. April 30, 1836, is a commercial and manufacturing village opposite the city of Troy. Pop. 8306. It is especially noted for the extent of its lumber trade, and for being the seat of an extensive U. S. arsenal. It has a bank, printing office, 8 churches, and extensive manu factures of woolen goods, bells, butts and hinges, castings, carriages, and malt. The annual aggregate value of manufactured products is about $1,000,000. Green Island (p. v.) was incorp. Oct. 14, 1853. Pop. 1,324. It contains 2 churches, a car factory, brass, malleable iron, and 2 iron founderies and R. R. machine shops. It is also the seat of considerable lumber trade. Cohoes, (p. v.,) incorp. under general act, is a manufacturing village upon the Mohawk. Pop. 6106. A dam is here erected across the Mohawk, and the water is conducted by canals to convenient places for factories. The whole fall is 103 feet, and. the water is used 5 times from canals of different levels. The annual aggregate of manufactured products is nearly $2,000,000. The village contains two banks and six churches, and a large number of stores, shops, &c. Boght (p.o.) contains 15 houses. The Ref. Prot. D. church of this place was organized April 14, 1784, by Rev. B. Westerlo. Liahas KH, Newtonville, and Ireland Corners are hamlets and p. offices. Loudonville is a hamlet, 2½ miles from Albany. Tivoli Hollow, on Patroon Creek, adjoining Albany, has extensive manufactures of ag. implements, bolts, and hollow ware. North Albany lies on the river, north of the city, and contains 40 houses. It includes a portion of the "Lumber District" and several manufactories. Spencerville, or West Albany, is the name applied to the recent establishments of the N.Y. C. R. R. 3¼ mp. N. w. of the city, including the cattle and. wood yards and car and. engine houses of the company. The Shaker Settlement," in the w. part of the town, consists of about 300 persons, living in 4 distinct families, in a manner peculiar to that people. Town House Corners is a populous neighborhood near the center of the town, where town business has sually been transacted. Watervilet Center (p. o.) is a hamlet. The Albany Rural Cemetery was incorp. April 20, 1841, and. the site selected April 20, 1844. The premises were dedicated and consecrated Oct. 7 of the same year. Haver (Dutch for "Oat") and Van Schaicks Islands, in the Hudson above Green Island, are separated from each other and the mainland by the "Sprouts" of the Mohawk. Upon the approach of Burgoyne, in the summer of 1777, Gen. Schuyler retired to these islands and threw up fortifications to check the advance of the enemy expected from both the N. and w. Upon the retreat of St. Leger from the siege of Fort Stanwix, no further trouble was apprehended from the direction of the Mohawk Valley; and Gen. Gates, upon assuming the command of the northern army, advanced into Saratoga County. The traces of the fortifications are still visible.
WESTERLO- was formed from Coeymans and Rensselaerville, March 16, 1815. It lies upon the center of the southern border of the county. Its surface is broken and hilly, with a general southerly inclination. The highest point in the northerly part of the town is 800 feet above tide. The hills are very steep and irregular, and the valleys are mere narrow ravines. The streams are Haauakrois, Basic, Wolf; Fly, and Eight Mile Creeks and their branches. These are all rapid streams, and. are liable to severe freshets. The soil is a sandy and gravelly loam, interspersed with clay and underlaid by hardpan. There are several fine quarries of flagging stone in town. Chesterville (Westerlo p. o.) contains 196 inhabitants. Dormansville, (p. o.,) South Westerlo, (p. o.,) Lambs Corners, and. Van Leuvens Corners, are hamlets. Settlement commenced before the Revolution. A Bap. church was organized, about 1800, at Chesterville; Roswell Beekwith was the first pastor.