HISTORY of HALFMOON, NY
FROM OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A DESCRIPTIVE AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF
SARATOGA COUNTY
NEW YORK
PREPARED AND PUBLISHED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF
THE SARATOGIAN
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 1899




TOWN OF HALFMOON.

Halfmoon occupies a part of the southeastern corner of the county. It is bounded on the north by Malta and Stiliwater, on the east by the east bounds of the county, on the south by Waterford and the south line of the county, and on the west by Clifton Park. The Revised Statutes define the town as follows:

The town of Halfmoon shall contain all that part of said county bounded northerly by Anthony's Kill, easterly by the east bounds of the county, southerly by Waterford and the south bounds of the county, and westerly by a line beginning at the outlet of Round Lake; then running south to the east side of William Gates' grist mill; then southerly through the centre of the mill pond across the bridge over said pond; then southerly to the west side of Joseph Merrill's dwelling house; then south to the Van Schaick line, then along said line to the Mohawk river, varying the same at the dwelling house of Ephraim Stevens so as to leave the same on the west side of the line.

The surface is undulating and contains several small streams running in places through narrow ravines. The eastern section, extending along the river bank, is fiat and fertile, as is most of the land. Anthony's creek and Dwaas' kill flow into the Hudson, and Steena kill into the Mohawk. The Erie canal passes through the western half of the southern part of the town, running nearly parallel to the Mohawk river. The Champlain canal traverses the eastern part of the town from north to south. The Delaware & Hudson Canal company's railroad runs nearly parallel with this canal, and east of it, from Waterford to Mechanicville, running thence in a westerly direction about parallel with the north line of the town. The Fitchburg railroad also extends westerly from Mechanicville nearly parallel with the northern line of the town.

The earliest settlements in Halfmoon located on the banks of the Mohawk about 1680. Killiaen Vandenburgh built a home near Dunsbach's Ferry in 1718. The earliest building in Mechanicville doubtless was Gates's tavern. Henry Bailey had a tavern about a mile below, near the river, soon after the Revolution, perhaps earlier. Shiibael Cross had another at Middletown before the Revolution.

Mechanicville is the principal village in Halfmoon. It lies partly in the northeast corner of the town and partly in Stillwater. It is a manufacturing and railroad centre of considerable importance. Here are located large shops of the Delaware & Hudson and the Fitchburg railroads, the immense plant of the Duncan company, manufacturers of fine paper; two large sash and blind factories, two large brick kilns, four knitting mills, a shirt factory, important lumber yards, a factory for manufacturing electrical goods, and other manufactures. The Duncan company is supplied with power principally from a dam across the Hudson river, In 1897 and 1898 a second large dam was erected in the Hudson for the development of power for transmission to the works of the General Electric company at Schenectady, about fifteen miles away. The electric current will be transmitted from Mechanicville to Schenectady by heavy insulated wires. The village has excellent railroad facilities, including, beside the steam roads mentioned, an electric line between Mechanicville and Stiliwater. A line extending southward and connecting with Troy and Albany is in course of construction, and plans are being made for an extension to Saratoga Springs. The school system has undergone great improvements in recent years, and two new school buildings are soon to be constructed. There are five churches in the village-Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal and Roman Catholic. There are also a Masonic lodge, and Odd Fellows lodge, three social clubs and several other fraternal organizations. It also has a well organized and equipped fire department. Mechanicville was not incorporated by law as a village until 1870. It was chartered by the County Court in July, 1859, and at the first election, September 10, following, ninety-five votes were cast. These trustees were elected: Cyrus Gilbert, Stephen Burtis, Lewis Smith, Job G. Viall, A. A. Buckhout. The board of trustees elected Lewis Smith chairman and William P. Harris clerk. Until 1870 the chief executive officer of the village was the chairman or president of the board of trustees. These officers were:

1859, Lewis Smith; 1862, William Clements; 1863, Lyman Dwight; 1864, Isaac M. Smith; 1865, John W. Ensign; 1866, John Elmer; 1867, John C. Greene; 1868, John C. Greene (removed from village and succeeded by Alonzo Howland); 1869, Lewis E. Smith; 1870, William W. Smith.

In 1870 the State Legislature granted a new charter for the village, when these officers were elected by the people direct:

President, William W. Smith; trustees, William Johnson, Newton H. Ballou, William M. Warren, Charles Wheeler; clerk, J. Frank Terry; treasurer, Richard Richards; collector, Michael Short.

The following is a complete list of the village presidents since the incorporation of Mechanicville:

1871, William W. Smith; 1872-78, Lewis E. Smith; 1879, Newton H. Ballou; 1880, John C. Greene; 1881, Charles Wheeler; 1882, J. Frank Terry; 1883. Daniel E. La Dow; 1884, George R. Moore; 1885-86, George E. Lockwood; 1887, Obadiah Tompkins; 1888-89, William W. Smith; 1890, Edward H. Strang; 1891, John C. Greene; 1892, William C. Tailmadge; 1893, Herbert 0. Bailey; 1894, John H. Massey; 1895, Albert H. Barnes; 1896, Hiram B. Mace; 1.97, Emmons A. Starks; 1898, William H. Allen.

There are five hamlets in Halfmoon. Newton is located about two miles southwest of Mechanicville; Smithtown about two miles south of Newton; Clifton Park west of the centre of the town near the Clifton Park town line; Crescent just north of the great bend in the Mohawk; and Middletown about a mile easterly from Crescent. The First Baptist church of Halfmoon, located at Middletown, organized in 1835, succeeded the Baptist church at Newtown, long since extinct. The Second Baptist church of Halfmoon, at Clifton Park, was founded in 1841, the M. E. church at Smithtown about 1870, the M. E. church at Crescent in 1852, the Reformed Protestant Dutch church of Middletown (now extinct) in 1791, and the M. E. church at Coon's Crossing about 1858.

Half moon was one of the original districts of Saratoga county, the other being Saratoga. In 1816 Waterford was set off, the name of Halfmoon then becoming Orange. The old name was restored in 1820. Clifton Park was taken off in 1828. The district of Halfmoon was organized as a part of Albany county in 1772, as a town of Albany county in 1788, and as a town as at present constituted in 1828. In the following list of supervisors, those serving from 1788 to 1828 came from various parts of the old town:

1788-90, Jacobus Van Schoonhoven; 1791, Benjamin Rosekrans; 1792-94, Richard Davis, jr.; 1795-1800, Benjamin Rosekrans; 1801-17, Zebulon Mott; 1818-20, Nathan Garnsey; 1821-27, David Garnsey; 1828-37, Asahel Philo; 1838-39, Isaac Smith; 1840, Platt Smith; 1841, Chauncey Boughton; 1842-43, Abraham Travis; 1844-45, William Chute; 1846, Benjamin S. Cowles; 1847, David W. Wait: 1848, Lucius M. Smith; 1849-50, James Noxon; 1851-52, Stephen Emigh; 1853-54, Benjamin Wait; 1855, Shubael Taylor; 1856-57, Thomas Noxon; 1858. Nehemiah Philo; 1859, William Cary; 1860-61, Thomas Noxon; 1862-63, C. J. Warrington; 1864-66, Thomas Noxon; 1867, John C. Greene; 1868, Charles H. Clute; 1869, Henry L. Haight; 1870-71, M. 0. Caldwell; 1872-73, Daniel R. White; 1874, Jacob C. Defreest;1 1875- 76, Charles H. Clute; 1877-78. Henry L. Haight; 1879-82, George Rogers; 1883, Peter Smith; 1884-85, Cornelius R. Sheffer; 1886-87. Edward L. Haight; 1888-89, Melbourn H. Van Voorhees; 1890, Silas Hayner; 1891-97, Henry D. Saford; 1898, George H. Whitney.

The town clerks have been:

1788-90, Jacob Fort; 1791-18 18, Abraham Moe; 1819-21, Asahel Philo; 1822, Ephraim Stevens; 1823-31. Benjamin I. Hall; 1832, Nicholas Emigh, jr.; 1833-35, John P. Steenburgh; 1836-37, Robert Forbes; 1838-39, Chauncey Boughton; 1840-43, Nicholas E. Phio; 1844-45, Nehemiah Phio; 1846, Henry L. Landon; 1847, Aaron A. Knight; 1848, Isaac Clements; 1849, James T. Wiley; 1850, Lyman W. Clements; 1851-53, L. B. Schermerhorn; 1854-55, Selafi Knight; 1856, Warren Rulison; 1857-59, C. J. Warrington; 1860, Henry Lape; 1861-62, Daniel R. White; 1863, Martin Sherman; 1864-67, Warren Rulison; 1868, M. 0. Caidwell; 1869, James H. Clark; 1870, Jacob A. West; 1871, Warren Rulison; 1872-73, Jacob C. Defreest; 1874-75, S. S. Teachout; 1876-77, Henry Clark; 1878-82, J. Frank Terry; 1883-85, Edward L. Haight; 1886-90, William G. Davry; 1891-93, Norman W. Kelso; 1894- 98, William T. Moore.

The justices of the peace elected by the people have been:

1831, William Fowler; 1832, William Clute; 1833, Stephen Varnum (or Vernam); 1834, Asahel Phio; 1835, William Fowler; 1836, Nathan A. Philo; 1837, Stephen Vernam; 1838, Benjamin S. Curtis; 1839, James Noxie; 1840. Nathan A. Philo; 1841. James V. Bradshaw; 1842, Stephen H. Sherman; 1843, Lewis E. Smith; 1844, Nathan A. Philo; 1845, David W. Wait; 1846, B. S. Cowles; 1847, Moses Clements; 1848, Eldert I. Van Woert; 1849, .D. W. Wait; 1850, Samuel A. House; 1851, John R. McGregor; 1852, Abram Sickles; 1853, D. W. Wait; 1854. Charles H. Fowler; 1855, William Ostrander, John 0. Mott; 1856, Selah Knight; 1857, William Hicks, Henry I. Dunsbach, Deodatus W. Hurd; 1858, Harmon J. .Quackenbush; 1859, Nathan Tabor; 1860, Abram Sickles; 1861, Samuel R. Mott; 1862, Melvin Van Voorhees; 1863, H. J. Quackenbush; 1864, Nathan F. Phio; 1865, Charles E. Dillingham, Smith L. Mitchell; 1866, James Clark; 1867, Charles E. Gorsline, William Hicks; 1868, Selab Knight; 1869. Charles E. Dillingham; 1870, Melvin Van Voorhees; 1871, Charles E. Gorsline, Charles E. Dillingham; 1872, Selah Knight; 1878, William A. P. Cassidy; 1874, Melvin Van Voorhees; 1875, William L. Potter; 1876, Selah Knight; 1877, William A. T. Cassidy; 1878, Henry Clark; 1879, William C. Tailmadge; 1880, Selah Knight; 1881, William A. T. Cassidy; 1882, Henry Clark (long term), William A. Mansfield (short term); 1883, William C. Tailmadge; 1884, James A. Knight; 1885, William A. T. Cassidy (long term), George W. Porter (short term); 1886, Fred I. Steenberg; 1887, Charles E. Hicks; 1888, George W. Porter; 1889, William A. T. Cassidy (long term), David P. Smith (short term); 1890, Fred L Steenberg; 1891, Nicholas Steenberg; 1892, John E. Thomson; 1893, John Baker; 1894, F. I. Steenberg; 1895, David F. Smith; 1896, John E. Thomson; 1897, William A. P. Cassidy; 1898, F. I. Steenberg.

Under a law passed in 1894 a police justice has been elected every two years. In that year William G. Davey was elected to the office, and was reelected in 1896 and 1898.

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