History of North Greenbush, New York


The town of North Greenbush was erected from Greenbush February 23, 1855. It is bounded on the north by the city of Troy and the town of Brunswick; on the south by the towns of Greenbush and East Greenbush; on the east by the towns of Sand Lake and Poestenkill, and on the west by the Hudson river. The principal stream in the town is the Wynants kill, which rises in the town of Sand Lake and passes in a northwesterly direction through the northeastern corner of the town, affording a splendid water power at Albia in the southeastern part of the city of Troy. The town was first settled by tenants under the Van Rensselaers as early as or before 1640. Among those who first established homes within the limits of the town were Cornelius M. Van Buren, Rinier Van Aistyne, John Crannell, Juriah Sharpe, Philip De Freest, Martin De Freest, David De Freest, Cornelius M. Vandenberg, Philip Wendell, Rutgert Vandenberg, Lawrence Rysdorp, Edward Hogg, John Fonda and others. Rinier Van Aistyne lived near what has since been called Blooming Grove. His brother Jacob settled in the town at about the same time. Others who settled near him soon afterward were the three De Freest brothers. David Scott lived in the northwestern part of the town. Among those who located in the town in the latter part of the eighteenth century were the Bloomendale, Hawk, Haynor, Berringer, Sharpe, De Freest, Riley, Conker, Van Etten, Bratt, Earl, Schelp, Bennet and Warner families. The first of the numerous Dearstyne family to. settle in the town was John Dearstyne, who settled in or near the present limits of Bath about 1795 or 1796. He had eight children Lawrence, Abram, Henry, Samuel, George, John, Sarah and Elizabeth. About the same time Henry Kinney came from Dutchess county and located in the northeastern part of the town. From 1802 to 1806 he kept a tavern at Wynantskill. Peter Sharp lived near him and Frederick and Coonradt Berringer (or Barringer) settled a short distance south of him. Henry Frazee, who settled in the town in 1813 or 1814, was one of the most prominent men in the town in those days, and for sixty years was a justice of the peace.

About the close of the Revolutionary War David M. De Freest conducted a- tavern at Blooming Grove, subsequently the site ot the Crouch tavern. He was succeeded in turn by Jonas Smith, Mr. Southwick, Mr. Uline, John Van Valkenburgh, Mortimer Lansing, Mr. Covert, David De Freest, Mr. Couch and others. Twenty-five years later another tavern was established on the hill about a mile and a half east of Blooming Grove by Charles Ostrander. On account of the numerous fights which took place in the hotel, it was commonly known for many years as the "slaughter house." Soon after the establishment of the Ostrander tavern Henry Kinney established one at Wynantskill. His successors in turn included Mr. Edick, Abram Price, Cornelius Du Bois, Captain Fellows, George Fellows, Darius Allen and others. Another old tavern at Wynantskill was built by Henry Frazee and still another in the village of Bath by Mr. Shoemaker.

Among the early merchants of the town were Jonas Smith, Martinus Lansing, John Mason, Cornelis Witbeck and William Witbeck. As early as 1837 Frazee and Warner had a store at Wynantskill and about the same time Clark and Van Alstyne and Asa Mann had stores at Bath.

One of the earliest physicians of the town was Dr. Henry Downs, who was succeeded by Dr. Gbadiah E. Lansing, then by Dr. Anthony Ten Eyck. About 1812 or 1813 Dr. A. Clark practiced medicine at Wynantskill. The first physician to practice at Bath was probably Dr. Tappan.

Among the early lawyers of the town was Henry Coons, who practiced at Bath gt the beginning of the nineteenth century. He subsequently became county judge.

Up to February 23, 1855, the town formed a part of the town of Greenbush. In that year it was erected, by act of the Legislature, into the town of North Greenbush. The first town meeting was held April 3, 1855, and was presided over by Henry Frazee and William Witbeck, justices of the peace. At that meeting these officers were chosen:

Supervisor, Abram Witbeck; town clerk, Gerrit Vandenburgh; assessor, Philip L. De Freest; commissioners of highways, Rinier M. De Freest, Matthew V. A. Fonda, Francis E. Ritchie; justices of the peace, Barney Wendell, Abram Witbeck; overseers of the poor, Cornelius Dübois, John S. Sharp; collector, David D. De Freest; superintendent of common schools, Sandford A. Tracy; inspectors of election, -1st district, John Fond4, John W. Vandenburgh, George W. Green; 2nd district, Andrew V. Barringer, Alonzo N. Kinney, James Henderson; constables, David H. Whyland, Chauncey I. Wendell, David S. Wendell, Harmon Snyder, Barney Cole; sealer of weights and measures, John B. Marble; poundmasters, John Mason, Hubbard Ferguson.

The early inhabitants of North Greenbush were principally Hollanders and the Dutch language was taught exclusively in the first schools.

The people were mostly sturdy farmers, devoted to their religion and fond of education. Before money could be conveniently raised for the erection of a school house the sessions were held sometimes in private houses and sometimes in barns. For many years the pastors of the Reformed churches in the town combined the duties of preaching and teaching at small salaries. The first school house in the town was located a little more than half a mile from Blooming Grove. The schools of Bath have a high standing. The graded school system was established about the time of the incorporation of the village, since which time rapid strides in matters pertaining to education have been taken.

In the War of the Revolution the population of the town was small, nevertheless a large number of men shouldered muskets for the defense of their country. Among these were Major Jacob De Freest and Peter De Freest. A number of men prepared to take part in the War of 1812, but they were not called into very active service. Among those who enlisted and stood ready to obey the call to action were Colonel John De Freest, Captain Philip De Freest, Majqr Jacob Barringer, John Dearstyne, Stephen Williams, Martin Van Aistyne, Volkert V. Vandenburgh and Henry S. Kinney.

North Greenbush promptly filled out her quota of men for the war of the Rebellion, entering companies connected with the 43rd, 44th, 113th, 3rd, 91st, 122nd, 22nd, 10th, 144th, 177th, 14th, 192nd, 125th, 169th, 134th, 121st and 102nd New York regiments principally. Those who died in the service were James McKnab, John Moore, John A. Morris, Edward Yodkins and Hollis French.

It is impossible to say when the village of Bath was founded, as settlements were gradually made many years before the opening of the nineteenth century., Captain Marvin built one of the first houses in the village, the timber composing the frame having been cut from the lot upon which the house stood. Soon after houses were erected by Asa Mann, Jeremiah Clark, John Woods, Robert Orsons, Volkert Orsons, Henry Dearstyne and families named Livingston. Even at so late a day as 1816 the number of dwelling houses in the village did not exceed a score. The settlement was formally incorporated as a village May 5, 1874, the law describing the bounds of the village as follows:

Beginning at a point on the east shore of the Hudson river (at low-water mark), where the north line of the town of Greenbush intersects the said river; and running thence from the said point along the said north line of said town of Greenbush south, fifty-nine degrees forty minutes east, about two thousand and eighty feet to the centre of Quackendary kill (in this line there are two stone monuments set in the ground, one on the west side of Broadway, and one on the brow of the hill west of the said Quackendary kill, to indicate the direction of the line); thence up and along the centre of said Quackendary kill, and the most westerly branch thereof, to a stone monument set in the ground, and which said stone monument bears south, sixteen degrees forty-five minutes west, one hundred and forty feet from a stone monument set in the ground on the north side of the Albany and Sand Lake plank-road; thence north, sixteen degrees forty-five minutes east, one hundred and forty feet to said stone monument on the north side of said Albany and Sand Lake plank-road; and thence south, sixty-eight degrees thirty minutes west about one thousand one hundred and ninety-four feet to a stone monument-in the centre of the gateway at the entrance to the grounds of P. S. Forbes; thence north twenty-one degrees twenty-five minutes east, about four hundred and six feet to a stone monument; thence north forty degrees thirty minutes west, about seventeen hundred feet to the Hudson river; thence westerly, and at right angles to the shore of said Hudson river, until such line meets the channel of such river; thence down and along the said channel (and which line is the westerly boundary of the county of Rensselaer) until a line drawn westerly and at right angles to the shore of said river from the place of beginning shall intersect such channel; and thence from said point easterly to the place of beginning; and containing, exclusive of said river, about two hundred and fifty acres, as surveyed by L. D. Eddy and others, and the courses taken as the magnetic needle now points, comprising a part of the town of North Greenbush, in the county of Rensselaer, and. State of New York.

Bath is located almost entirely upon the hillside. It has excellent transportation facilities, being upon the line of the old Troy & Greenbush railroad, now operated by the Albany & Troy Belt Line railroad, and two steam ferry boats ply between the upper dock and Albany and Greenbush. The fire department was organized many years ago, the A. L. Hotchkin Hook & Ladder company, the first in the department, dating from the incorporation of the village in 1874. The water works are equal to any in the State for a village of the size of Bath, the pressure being very high. In 1887 a steel standpipe or water-tank was erected on the hill in the eastern part of the village, and new mains were laid at the same time. The village has no post-office and is served by carrier from the Albany post-office. In its early days a post-office was maintained, the first postmaster having been Cornelius Dearstyne. The Bath Sun and the Evening Star, weekly newspapers, were founded many years ago. The village is well supplied with stores and has a few small manufacturing concerns. In recent years Bath has been more commonly called Bath-on-the-Hudson to distinguish it from Bath in Steuben county. A thriving secret society in the village is Riverside lodge No. 47, Knights of Pythias, which was instituted about 1873.

De Freestville, a hamlet in the southern part of the town, sometimes called Blooming Grove, was probably settled before Bath. The postoffice was established at an early day, and Jonas Smith is believed to have been in charge of the office.

Wynantskill, in the northeastern part of the town, is a small hamlet, the first residences in which have been erected but little more than a century. The post-office was established about 1820, and the first postmaster was Dr. Aseph Clark.

The oldest church in North Greenbush is the Reformed church at Wynantskill, which was established sometime before the year 1794. The records do not show just when the church was built, but a call was extended to the Rev. Jacobus Van Campen in 1794, and it is believed that he was the first pastor. The officers of the church at that time included George Sharpe, William Cooper, George Barringer and Philip Barringer.

The Second Reformed church at Wynantskill was organized early in the nineteenth century by members of the Ficst Reformed church. A house of worship was erected soon after the establishment of the society, in which the congregation has since worshipped.

The Dutch Reformed church at Blooming Grove was established in 1814, upon the dissolution by the classis of the union between the Wynantskill and Greenbush churches. The Greenbush and Blooming Grove churches formed one pastoral charge until 1830, when each became independent. The first pastor of the church was the Rev. Nicholas J. Marselus, who served from 1814 to 1822.

The Baptist church at Bath, whose incorporate name is the North Greenbush Baptist church, was organized between 1860 and 1867. A meeting house was built at the corner of Second and Ferry streets, but in the fall of 1870 this gave place to a larger one. The latter church was burned January 21, 1874, at a loss of $8,000. Work upon a new edifice was begun soon afterward, and it was dedicated February 18, 1875. The Rev. W. F. Benedict was the first pastor of the church, serving the congregation until April 21, 1869.

Some time between 1856 and 1860 the Albany Methodist Sunday School Union organized a mission Sabbath school in Bath, with Joseph H. Palmer of the Greenbush M. E. church. as superintendent, and for some ten years sustained a Sunday school. In 1866 a neat, commodious chapel was erected by the Union at a cost of more than $5, 000. A class was formed with John G. Cooper as leader, and Rev. A. A. Farr of Albany was secured as a supply to preach in 1867 and 1868. May 6, 1868, the Bath society was organized as a mission by Rev. Samuel Meredith, presiding elder of Albany district, with more than 100 members. Rev. Louis N. Beaudry was appointed by Troy conference to the Albany Methodist S. S. missions and took up his residence in Bath, the first Methodist preacher living among this people. Such success attended his work that Rev. P. P. Harrower of Albany was appointed to a portion of the work. Tn 1872 the Bath people asked for a man to supply them independently, and Rev. I. C. Fenton was sent to them. Rev. John E. Metcalf was appointed to Bath and during his pastorate the society was incorporated under the name and style of Bath-on-the-Hudson Methodist Episcopal church. Under the pastorate of Rev. H. L. Kelsey in 1881 a new parsonage was built and paid for, and Rev, W. E. Potter, by strenuous efforts and hard personal labor, enlarged, repaired and beautified the church.


1855, Abram Witbeck; 1856-1859, R. M. De Freest; 1860, J. W. Vandenburgh; 1861-1863, P. M. De Freest; 1864-1867, M. V. A. Fonda; 1868-1869, M. P. De Freest; 1870-1873, C. C. Phillips; 1874, J. M. Wendell; 1875-1877, J. A. Miller; 1878-1880, John H. Dearstyne; 1881-1884, Martin I. De Freest; 1885-1891, James M. Wendell; 1892-1895, Henry Cone; 1896- -, Isaac A. De Freest.


1855, Gerrit Vandenburgh; 1856-1857, Barney Cole; 1858, George H. Manville; 1861, Gerrit Vandenburgh; 1864, Martin L. Haner; 1866, Gerrit Vandenburgh; 1868, John D. Lansing; 1871, Gerrit Vandenburgh; 1873, Henry Lansing; 1874, Jacob L. Abbott; 1876, Henry C. Younghaus; 1877-1879, John Cavanaugh: 1880-1882, Frank Patterson; 1883-1884, J. L. Dings; 1885-1887. Frank Cave; 1888-1889, Thomas Wornham; 1890-1895, Levi C. Michrie; 1896- -, C. E. Crandall.


1855, Barney Wendell, Abram Witbeck; 1856, William Witbeck; 1857, Henry Frazee; 1858, Abram Witbeck; 1859, Barney Wendell; 1860, William Witbeck; 1861, Henry Frazee; 1862, Abram Witbeck; 1863, Edwin Stall; 1864, David B. Williams; 1865, Henry Frazee; 1866, De Witt C. De Freest; 1867, Winfield S. Hevenor; 1868, David B. Williams; 1869, Henry Frazee, John Fonda: 1870, William H. Hegeman; 1871, Charles J. Wells; 1872, David B. Williams; 1873, Henry Frazee; 1874, Thomas Cole; 1875, Edgar Sharpe; 1876, John D. Houghtaling; 1877, Charles E. Kinney; 1878, Thomas Cole; 1879, Abram E. Roberts; 1880, Rinier M. De Freest; 1881, Charles E. Kinney; 1882, Thomas Cole; 1883, Abram E. Roberts; 1884, Frank S. Niver; 1885, Charles E. Kinney; 1886, Thomas Cole; 1887, Jacob H. Snyder; 1888, David E. Mason; 1889, Abram E. Roberts; 1890, Thomas Cole; 1891, Jacob H. Snyder; 1892, Abram E. Roberts; 1893, Charles B. Kinney; 1894, Thomas Cole; 1895, William H. Scriven; 1896, John D. Houghtaling.


1874, Whiting G. Snow; 1875-1876. W. S. Hevenor; 1877, Chester G. Ham; 1878-1880, David B. Mason; 1881-1882, Charles A. Bailey; 1883-1884, John S. Bellinger; 1885, James S. Rowley; 1886-1887, F. W. Peterson; 1888-1889, James S. Rowley; 1890-1891, John S. Knight; 1892, Henry G. Gomph; 1893, Charles A. Bailey; 1894, George S. Worden; 1895- -, Thomas Penny.


1874-1876, W. J. Cooper; 1877-1880, John H. Dearstyne; 1881-1884, David E. Mason; 1885-1886, William D. Wilson; 1887, R. A. Dearstyne; 1888-1891, J. L. Dings; 1892, George H. Dorwalk; 1893-1894, Thomas G. Wornham; 1895- , John B. McNary.

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