History of Brunswick, New York


The town of Brunswick was formed from Troy March 20, 1807. It is bounded on the north by Lansingburgh and Pittstown, on the east by Grafton, on tile south by Poestenkill and North Greenbush, and on the west by the city of Troy and the town of Lansingburgh. The surface of the town is undulating. In its eastern portions are the hills which form a part of the Petersburgh range, some points of which reach an altitude of nearly a thousand feet. Every portion of the town is more than 200 feet above the Hudson river, or the level of the sea. The principal stream is the Poesten kill, which flows northerly, then westerly through the southwestern part of the town, entering the Hudson river at Troy. This stream furnishes valuable water power in the town, which has been utilized since the earliest inhabitants located in Brunswick. Branches of the Poesten kill include the Quacken kill and Sweet Milk creek. In the northern part of the town are some of the sources of the Tomhannock creek. The town is rich in natural scenery, some of which is quite striking.

In all probability Brunswick was settled as early as 1745, possibly even earlier. But little is known of the first inhabitants. When the site of the city of Troy was settled early farmers began locating on the hills east of the city, and it is extremely probable that some of these formed homes along the western borders and within the present limits of the town.

One of the earliest settlers of whom anything definite is known was John Fonda, who is said to have removed to Brunswick from Albany county about 1750. He had a farm of 500 acres in the western part of the town, and he and his descendants were prominent in public affairs. By the year 1760 several German families had also located in that neighborhood. There is no record of their names or their doings. Many of these had undoubtedly resided there several years before Mr. Fonda located in the town. Evidence of this earlier settlement is seen in a receipt given Job annes Hainer for dry goods purchased at a manor store, the paper bearing date of May 31, 1746. Another paper of like character is dated January 2, 1747.

Little is known regarding the history of the town prior to Revolutionary times. As early as 1767 several farmers had purchased land in the town. Among them were Hans Hayner, Jacob Quackenboss (Quackenbush), Hans Muller, David Benn, Adam Beem, Franz Hogg, Jacob Van Arnam, Melgert Fret, and families named Borck, Outhoudt, Watson Fischer, Clum, Springer, Goewey, Braunschweiger (Brunswicker), Coons and Hardwick. Major Flores Baucker, who served in the Revolutionary War and who was a surveyor, was also an early settler. He occupied the farm, afterwards in the possession of the wealthy and well-known Derrick family, now prominently represented by Hon. Richard A. Derrick. About 1770 Henry Dator (Dater) moved to a farm which has since remained in possession of the family he founded in Brunswick. In 1809 some of the prominent inhabitants of the town were:

Henry I. Hanor, Barnet Wager, Henry Wager, John I. Wager, George I. Wager, Isaiah Wager, George Wager, John Hanor, Isaac File, Lodewick Snyder, Jacob Snyder, George Snyder, Henry Ham, Nathan Betts, Burwell Betts, Jacob Schermerhorn, Abraham Lansing. Samuel Derick, Charles Derick, Isaac Taylor, William Cleveland, David Coe, Benjamin Brewster, Jacob I. Wager, John P. Coons, Moses Avery, William Lamport, Andrus Colehammer, Barnet I. Wager, Paul Smith, Michael Cipperly, Solomon Bulson, Abraham Bulson. Cornelius Bulson, Alexander Bulson, Luther Haner, Martinus Haner, Christian Bonesteel, Alexander Bulson, jr. Barent Cipperly, Jacob Cipperly, Henry C. Hydorn, Peter Hydorn, John Hydorn jr., Aaron Ferris, John, Robert, Gerrit and Herbert Lansing, Adam and Henry Clum, Henry Clum, jr., David Cropsey, John Cronkhite, Valentine Cropsey, Samuel W. McChesney, William McChesney, Adam McChesney, Samuel R. McChesney, Matthias Coons, Abraham File, Philip H. Coonradt, Nathan Betts, jr., Everett Day, Nicholas Sheffer, jr., Robert McChesney, Hugh McChesney, Joseph McChesney, Francis Collison, Samuel Simfnons, Henry Simmons, Thomas Cotteral (Cottrell?), Joshua Simmons, Peter I. De Freest, Anthony Smith, Daniel Fonda, Hermanus Simmons, Coonrad Colehammer, Coonrad Sharp, John Fonda, Jeremiah Simmons, Jacob Leversee (sometimes spelled Leverse), Jacob Van Arnam, John G. Yates, Adam Yates, John, Daniel and George Goewey, Cornelius Swartwout, Derick Vanderheyden, Moses Dusenbury, Nicholas, Frederick and John Bonesteel, Jacob Derrick, Isaac McChesney, Henry Myers, John Finckle, John Filkins, George and Jacob Springer, and Jacob Springer, jr., John Moul, Wandal Cole, James Cole, jr., Wilhelmus Coons, Adam Clichner, George Colehammer, Paul Snyder, Thomas Brewer, Luther Lyman. Anthony, George and Philip Derrick, Andrew Hanaman, Henry Hanaman, William McChesney, Samuel McChesney, Thomas Betts, Emerson Fay.

One of the first taverns in Brunswick was kept by Nathan Betts on the farm now occupied by Hon. Richard A. Derrick. Another was kept by a man named File, and was located near the site, of the old Lutheran church about 1790. Among the early taverns on the "Stone road" were those of Leonard Smith and Lodewick Stanton. Among the early physicians were Dr. Buckland and Dr. Collins at Centre Brunswick, and Dr. Scriven, Dr. Holsapple and Dr. Westervelt at Eagle Mills. Other early tavernkeepers were John Wilson, John Gray, Leonard Smith, Joseph Golden, Daniel Way, George Morrison, John Wheeler, Paul Smith, Henry Bonesteel, Sylvanus Ludden, Jacob Derrick, Henry Snyder, Henry A. Clum and others.

Brunswick was probably so named either in honor of one of the pioneer families of the town, the Braunschweigers, or from the nationality of some of the early German settlers. The town was incorporated March 20, 1807, and on the first Tuesday of the following April the town government was organized at the hotel of Nathan Betts on the "Stone road." The officers elected at that meeting were: Supervisor, Flores Bancker; town clerk, Daniel Wager; assessors, Daniel Simmons, Gilbert Alexander and Levinus Leversee; collector, Barnard I. Wager; overseers of the poor, Daniel Simmons, Augustus Burdick; commissioner of highways, Augustus Burdick, John Filkins, Isaac Bucklin; constables, Thomas Betts, Gay I. Goewey, John Filkins, John Willson, Andrew Myers, Daniel Kiser, Barnard I. Wager, Abner Roberts; fence viewers, John Wheeler, Frederick Meyers, John Wager, John P. Goewey, John H. Shaver; poundmasters, Gilbert I. Travers, Hiram Clowes; commissioners of schools, Robert McChesney, Flores Bancker, Lernuel Hawley; oyerseers of highways, Abraham Roberts, Nathan Betts, George Brust, Isaac Filkins, George Cipperly, Daniel Van Pelt, Benjamin Brewster, John Dick, Jacob I. Wager, William Smith, Walter MeChesney, Michael Philips, Philip H. Coonradt, Henry Coonradt, Cornelius Du Bois, Lemuel Hawley and Moses Dusenbury.

From the time of the first town meeting to that of 1812 there .is no record of any action regarding the schools of the town. In the latter year Flores Bancker, Lodewick Stanton and Daniel Simmons were chosen school commissioners. In this year there were a number of district schools in various parts of the town. Upon the introduction of the system of town superintendents in 1844 Luther D. Eddy was first chosen to fill that office. His successors were: 1845, Robert Collins; 1846-1847, Isaac B. Button; 1848-1849, James J. McChesney; 1850-1853, Daniel D. Bucklin; 1854-1855, Henry Lohnes; 1856, Ira A. But. ton. In the latter year the control of the schools passed into the hands of district commissioners.

The number of inhabitants who served their country in the War of the Revolution was small, on account of the limited population in the town at that time. In the War of 1812 Major Philip Dater served, as did a few other inhabitants of the town, some of whom joined the Eddy expedition to Plattsburgh. The records relative to the participation of the men of Brunswick in these wars unfortunately have not been carefully preserved.

Upon the opening of the War of the Rebellion the war spirit in Brunswick ran high. When the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Regiment was organized Lieutenant' Hagadorn and about thirty-five men from Brunswick enlisted and were soon bound for the seat of war. When the second call for troops was made by the president, Joseph H. Allen became captain of a full company, most of whom were residents of Brunswick. The town promptly raised all the money necessary for bounties and other expenses, and every quota of men demanded was filled with commendable promptness. The army list of the town contains one hundred and twenty-six names, but a few of these came from other towns, enlisting in Brunswick. Those who died while in the service of the United States were:

James M. casey, Charles Bruce, Philip Polock, Ottman Grimmerger, Edson Brun dage, David Luce, Charles A. Simmons, Levi Wager, Myron B. Major, Charles E. Dumbleton, Samuel Bulson and William Bergen.

The largest and most important village in the town is Eagle Mills, which is sometimes called Miliville. The name was given to the place on account of the early location at that point of the Eagle mills. The Poesten kill runs through the village and furnishes abundant water power, upon which several manufacturing industries have been located from time to time.

The four-story brick building. now standing in 'the centre of the village of Eagle Mills is a monument to a number of unsuccessful enterprises in the earlier years of its completion. It was erected in 1821, before the turnpike was laid out through the village, by Daniel Sheldon, who engaged in the making of a choice brand of flour for the home market, drawing his wheat from' Troy. For a while he did a good business, but reverses came and he was obliged to suspend operations. The building was kept idle for a while, when the property was sold to James Burnstead, who renovated the machinery and ran it as a feed mill; but not finding that a remunerative business after a few years' trial, he disposed of the property to James McChesney, who retained possession of it for a short time and without changing the deed in his own name transferred the property to Catlin & Saxton, who began the manufacture of augers and bits. This enterprise, like the former ones, was short-lived and soon abandoned. The property was then purchased by Groome & Shattuck, who began the manufacture of monkey-wrenches. After a few years' engagement in this enterprise they concluded it was not profitable and suspended work.' Groome & Shattuck sold to Paul Smith, now of Cropseyville, who began a business similar to that in which he is now engaged; but seeing a brighter field for operations in Cropseyville he sold out to Col. Joseph H. Allen, who conceived the idea of converting the machinery into use for the manufacture of large hoes for the southern markets. He had not long been thus engaged before the Rebellion broke out, which destroyed his markets and sales, and he turned the property over to George T. Lane of Troy, who retained Col. Allen as his superintendent and sales agent. While Col. Allen had charge of the business a large corps of help was kept employed, and it was a great industry for the village. A portion of the time the property was held by Col. Allen he engaged in making chains and files, but this was an experiment, and the whole business culminated in the making of hoes under the present owner and manager, George T. Lane.

The building now contains a large amtunt of heavy machinery, including trip hammers, grinding stones, forges, blasting furnaces and other implements, and twelve or fourteen men are kept employed under the direction of George Livingston, who has had a long term of service in the different departments of hoe making. A good many tons of iron are yearly consumed in this business. Mr. Lane is the only proprietor who has engaged in a successful enterprise in this building since its erection. It has been known as the hoe shop for upwards of thirty-five years.

Eagle Mills has also been the site for several other manufacturing industries of less importance. A foundry for the manufacture of plows and other agricultural implements was operated for many years by Hiram Phillips, and Reuben Simmons owned a saw mill of some importance. The village is located in the centre of the most populous part of the town, and many of 'the farms near it are fertile and productive. Garden farming in recent years has become an important industry, the produce finding a ready market in Troy.

Centre Brunswick, located north of the centre of the town, upon the "Stone road," was the scene of considerable activity in the days of stages. In recent years it has become a quiet hamlet. The old Lutheran church is located just east of the' hamlet.

Haynerville is a small hamlet in the northern part of the town, and is also located on the "Stone road." It is probably the oldest centre of population in Brunswick.

Tamarack, sometimes formerly called Platestown, once was a thriving community. Half a dozen families are all that remain.

East Brunswick is located on the Quacken kill above Cropseyville. It sometimes is referred to as Rock Hollow, an appropriate descriptive title. The creek at this point has numerous fine mill privileges but they have not been properly developed. An important industry many years ago was the Lawton twine factory. The manufacture of brushblocks and brush.handles for the brush factories of Lansingburgh was begun there many years ago. In the early days of the place it also boasted a tannery, a paint thill, a paper mill and a saw mill.

Cropseyville is probably the second oldest settlement in the town. Paul Smith's grist mill and saw mill, Daniel Rockenstyre's wagon shop and Green's fulling and carding mills were among the early industries. The amount of business transacted in the place has fallen off considerably of late.

Clum's Corners was once quite a prosperous community in the northeastern part of the town. Its present business is small.

The Gilead Evangelical Lutheran congregation of Centre Brunswick is the oldest church organization in Rensselaer county. The Gilead congregation is supposed to have been organized about 1742. ,The records as far back as 1746 have been preserved. It is claimed that a log church was built 'by the congregation within a few years after the above date. The first pastor who is known to have served this congregation was the Rev. Peter Nicholas Sommer. The first frame church was built in 1775 and was located near the village of Haynerville, about three miles north of where the church now stands. The names of the pastors who served this church from 1760 to 1768 are not given, although it is believed they went over to the Protestant Episcopal church. The Rev. Samuel Schwerdfeger was pastor from 176S to 1792, the Rev. George Joseph Wichterman from 1792 to 1802, the Rev. Anthony T. Braun from 1802 to 1812, the Rev. John Bachman from 1812 to 1813, the Rev. John Moither from 1814 to 1817. In 1817 the Rev. William McCarthy became pastor of this congregation, in connection with Schaghticoke, and continued to serve until 1821. During his ministry the ' old brick church" was erected. The Rev. John R. Goodman became pastor in April, 1821, and continued until 1828.

After the Rev. Mr. Goodman came the Rev. J. Z. Senderling, who served for twenty-five years-from November, 1828, to November, 1853. This was the period of the church's greatest prosperity. The Rev. David Kline succeeded Mr. Senderling in 1853, and served the church until 1864. The Rev. P. A. Stroble succeeded him, serving from December, 1864, until 1868. During Mr. Stroble's pastorate the present church was built. The corner stone was laid July 6, 1865, and was completed and dedicated November 23, 1865. After Mr. Stroble the Rev. P. M. Rightmyer was pastor from 1868 to 1871. Then came the Rev. A. T. Ludden. He remained from October, 1871, to October, 1875; the Rev. J. N. Barnett, 1876 to 1879; the Rev. I. J. Delo, 1880 to 1884; the Rev. J. N. Morris, 1884 to 1888. The Rev. J. H. Weaver, the present pastor, commenced his ministry in July, 1888, and is now serving the congregation of about 325 members. The church edifice was begun in 1775, but on account of the hard times and the War of the Revolution it was not completed until 1789. It was located at Haynerville on the site of the old log church built about 1749.

The First Presbyterian church of Brunswick originated in 1809, when preaching services were inaugurated by the Rev. John Keyes "in the school house near Mr. Matthias Abbott." The society was regularly organized the following summer, and, incorporated August 19, 1810. Part of the time services were held in a barn. Early in 1812 work upon a house of worship was begun, and Mr. Keyes preached for the first time in the edifice June 21 of that year. July 11, 1816, seventeen members of the First Presbyterian church of Troy organized as the Church of Christ, and the Rev. John Younglove became their first regular pastor. The society was reorganized and reincorporated in 1825, and the church was at once thoroughly repaired. In the spring of 1861 the old-fashioned church was thoroughly remodeled to conform to the modern style of architecture, under the pastorate of the Rev. Samuel M. Wood, at an expense of over $2,500. Since then it has been repaired and made more attractive.

The Methodist Episcopal church at Eagle Mills was not organized until 1849, the certificate of incorporation bearing date of April 2 of that year. But a Methodist class was formed in the town as early as 1801. In 1810 Troy including Brunswick, became one charge with the Rev. Dr. Phoebu.s as pastor. This relation continued for many years. The church at Centre Brunswick was organized February 2, 1835, and was the outgrowth of the early meetings referred to. The church at East Brunswick was organized March 28, 1874, and a house of worship was erected soon after that date.

The church of the Disciples of Christ filed its certificate of incorporation February 27, 1854, though the society was organized December 14, 1852. In the summer following organization the church edifice was erected and was dedicated February 5, 1854. The first pastor was Elder Silas B. Shepherd.

The most recently organized church in the town is the Memorial Methodist Episcopal church. The history of this society is briefly related as follows by the Rev. E. C. Farwell: There is a record of a class being held here as early as 1835. But little was done here before 1860, when a Sunday school was organized with James Cornell as superintendent, who held his position until 1877. The first bell in the church bore his name as a memorial of faithful service. Previous to 1886 whatever preaching services were held were in the school house, the minister then residing at Centre Brunswick. In 1886 money was raised and the Memorial church built, being dedicated December 16 of that year and disconnected from the Brunswick charge, the Rev. Thomas Monro being pastor. The cost of the edifice was about $10,000. A parsonage was completed in 1889, costing $3,200. Sunday morning, November 17, 1889, the church was totally destroyed by fire; but nothing daunted the people set to work at once to rebuild, and a church costing $12,000 was dedicated July 20, 1890. The church property is now free from all indebtedness. The names of the pastors of the Memorial church are: Thomas Monro, 1886-1887; Frederick Lowndes, 1888-1890; P. F. Youlen, 1891-1892; T. B. Gardner, 1893-1895; E. C. Farwell, 1896-. .


1807-1809, Flores Bancker; 1810-1811, Sebastian Lohnes; 1812-1822, Daniel Simmons; 1823-1825, Lodewick Stanton; 1826-1829, Daniel Simmons; 1830-1833, John Wheeler; 1834-1835, Daniel Simmons; 1836-1839, Martin Springer; 1840, Theodorus Dusenbury; 1841-1842, Henry A. Clum; 1843, Theodorus Dusenbury; 1844, Harry Betts; 1845, Jabe Green; 1846, George Derick; 1847, Theodorus Dusenbury; 1848-1850, Henry McChesnéy; 1851, William Lape; 1852, Henry Morrison; 1853, Martin Springer; 1854-1855, William Lape; 1856-1857, Joseph H. Allen; 1858-1859, Alanson Cook; 1860-1861, William Lape; 1862-1864, William McChesney; 1865-1868, Abram Bulson; 1869-1870, William Lape; 1871-1872, William McChesney; 1873-1874, Joseph Lord; 1875-1876, Jacob Brust; 1877, Daniel L. Van Pelt; 1878, Paul Springer; 1879- 1881, Robert Morrison; 1882, Edward McChesney; 1883-1884, William Lape; 1885- 1886, Joseph Lord; 1887, Thomas H. Betts; 1888-1896, Richard A. Derrick.'


1807, Daniel Wager; 1808-1810, Daniel Simmons; 1811-1817, Martin Springer; 1818, John M. File, jr.; 1819-1820, Robert Collins; 1821, Henry A. Clum; 1822-1824, Martin Springer; 1825, Daniel Simmons; 1826-1830, John Wheeler; 1831-1834, Henry A. Clum; 1835, Henry Ensign; 1836-1840, Henry A. Clum; 1841, Moses Smith; 1842, John T. Lape; 1843, Moses Smith; 1844-1845, William A. Derick; 1846, Michael Wetherwax; 1847, Henry Morrison; 1848-1850, William Lape; 1851-1854, Joha W. Clum; 1855-1857, William H. Ensign; 1858, James Smith; 1859, John W. Clum; 1860-1861, Moses Lohnes; 1862-1863, John S. Eddy; 1864-1870, John Springer; 1871-1872, Francis C. Collison, jr.; 1873, Elijah Bulson; 1874-1875, Martin H. Hayner; 1876, Elijah Bulson; 1877, John Springer; 1878, Martin H. Hayner; 1879- 1881, Andrew Mullin; 1882, Charles Springer; 1883, Joseph Buison; 1884, Peter H. Van Zandt; 1885-1896, Andrew Mullin.


At the organization of the town in 1807 the three presiding justices already were Robert McChesney, Daniel Wager and John McManus. From that down to the adoption of the constitution of 1821 the following served one or more years each, some of them continuing in office for a long period:
Daniel Simmons, Lemnel Hawley, Roswell Knowlton, Henry Clum, jr., Gilbert Alexander, Jared Betts, Burwell Betts, Jacob I. Wager, Thaddeus Dan, William Van Vieck.

In pursuance of laws enacted under the constitution of 1821, justices of the- peace were chosen at the general election or appointed by the courts. During this period the following names appear upon the roll:

Thaddeus Dan, sworn in February 22, 1823; Jared Betts, February 27, 1823; Jacob I. Wager, March, 1823; John M. File, December 29, 1827; William Van Vleck, January 1, 1828; Jacob I. Wager, January 9, 1828; Martin Springer, January 19, 1831.

The election of the justices at town-meetings began in 1831. The record is as follows:
1831, William Van Vleck; 1832, John M. File; 1838, Jacob I. Wager; 1834, Martin Springer; 1835, William Van Vieck, Joseph Hastings; 1836, Abner Roberts; 1837, Apollos Harvey, Joseph Betts; 1838, Samuel B. Cipperly; 1839, Russell Peck; 1840, Daniel Simmons, John M. Way, David F. Smith; 1841, Samuel B. Cipperly; 1842, Samuel B. Cipperly; 1843, Samuel B. Cipperly, Dennis Belding; 1844, Peter Tice, Thomas Newbury; 1845, Joseph Betts; 1846, Joseph Betts, Peter Tice; 1847, Samuel B. Cipperly; 1848, Thomas Newbury; 1849, Jonas C. McChesney; 1850, William A. Derick; 1851, Samuel B. Cipperly; 1832, Thomas Newbury; 1853, Paul Springer; 1854, William A. Derick; 1855, Reuben Smith; 1836, Thomas Newbury; 1857, George W. Devine; 1858, William A. Derick (full term), James McChesney, to fill a vacancy; 1859, Henry Brust; 1860, Jonas Smith; 1861, Joseph H. Allen (short term), Alford Buss (full term); 1862, George Brust; 1863, Daniel L. Van Pelt (full term), Charles H. Dater, vacancy; 1864, Edward McCbesney; 1865, William S. Newbury; 1866, George Brust; 1867, Joseph H. Allen; 1868, Edward McChesney; 1869, Thomas Newbury (full term). Reuben Smith (vacancy); 1870-1872, (no election recorded); 1873, David F. Smith; 1874, Judd A. Van Pelt (full term), Thomas Newbury (vacancy); 1875, Isaac S. Main; 1876, Edward McChesney; 1877, Josiah B. McChesney; 1878, Richard A. Derrick; 1879, Isaac S. Main; 1880, Judd A. Van Pelt; 1881, Josiah B. McChesney; 1882, Martin H. Hayner (long term), Jeremiah I. Best (short term); 1883. Paul Springer; 1884, Judd A. Van Pelt; 1885, Thomas H. Betts; 1886, Richard A. Derrick; 1887, Paul Springer; 1888, Judd A. Van Pelt; 1889, Thomas H. Betts; 1890, William C. Winne; 1891, John H. Brust; 1892, Arba N. Link; 1893, Thomas H. Betts; 1894, William C. Winne; 1895, John H. Brust; 1896, Arba N. Link.

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