History of Troy, New York (As a Village)


When the first white men, from Holland, sailed up the Hudson river and landed upon its shore with the intention of making settlements and engaging in trade with the Indians, the site of the present city of Troy was the home of the Mohegan or Mohican Indians, whose chief was Uncas, made immortal in name by the novelist, James Fenimore Cooper, in the "Last of the Mohicans." It has been shown that the daring navigator, Sir Henry Hudson, made a landing on the east bank of the river which bears his name during his voyage up that stream, but there is no record that he set foot upon any of the soil of Rensselaer county north of a spot between Schodack and Castleton.

Just who the first settler on the east bank of the river was probably never will be known. Jacob Janse Stoll (or Hap) came to Beverwyck in 1630 and succeeded Henry Albertsen as ferrymaster. He removed to Esopus about 1657. Capt. Volkert Janse Douw came to Beverwyck as early as 1638. In 1664 he and Jan Tomase Mingael received a conveyance from the Indians of a tract of land in Schodac. He died in 1686. He first located on Papsknae island and had three houses and a brewery there about 1666, when a freshet swept everything away, including his papers and records.

In the year 1642 a ferry was established across the Hudson near the mouth of Beaver's kill. As early as 1648 Teunis Dirkse Van Vechten, who came over from Holland with his wife and child in the Arms of Norway in 1638, had a farm at Greenbush occupied by Teunis Cornelise Van Vechten, and how much earlier than that he built his house there is purely a matter of conjecture. He is referred to in 1663 as "an old inhabitant here." He died in 1700, leaving four children. Gerrit Teunis De Reue also had a farm there, probably as early as 1631 and possibly even before traders had settled at Fort Orange. There consequently is reason for the belief that the Van Vechtens had neighbors who had settled there before they are recorded as owning property there. Evert Pels Van Steltyn, a brewer, and his wife lived at the mill creek in Greenbush as late as 1658. They came to New Netherland in 1642 with Dr. Megapolensis.

Jan Barentsen Wemp (or Wamp) arrived in Beverwyck in the year 1644. He was afarmer of the first class: that isto say, he paid his own expenses to this country and came prepared to do business with his own capital. He prospered, and in the spring of 1659, with the consent of Arendt Van Corlaer and Jan Baptiste Van Rensselaer, agents of the first patroon, he negotiated with the Mahikander (Mohican) Indians for a tract of land on the east side of the river, about seven miles north of Beverwyck, known as the "Great Meadow Ground." This he secured and at once began the work of building a house and laying out a farm. The exact limits of the "Great Meadow Ground" have never been defined so that they may be recognized to-day, but from subsequent transfers of his property it is known that it covered a considerable portion of the present site of Troy. Unfortunately the records for the period between December 17, 1657, and November 12, 1664, during which period Wemp purchased the "Great Meadow Ground," are missing.

From all that can be gleaned from the records kept during the early days of Fort Orange or Beverwyck, all of which have been translated into English, Jan Barentsen Wemp was the first white man to make a permanent settlement above the Wynants kill. Wemp was a shrewd Dutchman. He had amassed wealth by trading in furs with the Indians, and when he let it be understood among the other traders at Fort Orange that he intended removing to the wilderness farther north and across the river it was generally believed among them that they were about to get rid of a rival who was securing the cream of the traffic with the wild men. Wemp located at the "Great Meadow Ground" ostensibly for the purpose of cultivating the soil; but this move on his part was merely a pretext. It is true that he did lay out a large farm on land as fertile as any which the inhabitants at Fort Orange had heard of, but while he was doing this he craftily sent, out word to the Indians that he would pay the highest prices for their furs and that by dealing with him they would not only secure better bargains but be saved the trouble of traveling through to the fort. The traders of Fort Orange soon found that their rival, of whom they had expected to be relieved, had found a location where he could intercept a large number of the Indians on their way to the original post, and they immediately began to make complaints to the agents of the patroon. Wemp, indifferent to the wishes of the other colonists, continued to secure the best of the skins which came his way. Two years after locating at the Great Meadow Ground he and several other enterprising colonists purchased of the Mob awks a second large tract of land called "Groote Vlacht," or Great Plain, the site of the lower part of the city of Schenectady.

The demand of the colonists that Wemp and his associates should proceed no further in their intended monopoly of the best trade on the east and west of the complainants was based on the general ground that in so doing the spirit of the rule governing the colonists in this respect was being violated. The protesting colonists presented to the directors of the West India company a petition which, after reciting the facts in the case, requested the company to direct Wemp and his associates to discontinue their trade with the red men. To this the company consented, but Wemp and the others who had established a fine, wealth-producing business with the Indians, denied that the company had any right to interfere with their plans. The result of the controversy is not positively known, but from subsequent occurrences it is doubtful if Wemp paid any further attention to the wishes of the company, and he and those associated with him, both on the Great Meadow Ground and on the Great Plain, continued to trade at pleasure with the Indians. Jan Barentsen Wemp died in June, 1663. His large estate was left to his widow, two Sons and three daughters, the eldest daughter being the wife of Jan Cornelis van der Heyden. The farm later became the Vanderheyden farm, which was the site of nearly the entire business portion of the city of Troy.

Sweer Teunise Van Velsen having married Marytie Mynderse, widow of Wemp, and thereby coming into possession of his estate, his tenure became secure, April 13, 1667, when Richard Nicolls, the English governor of the province of New York, granted to him a patent covering the entire estate, three morgens of land, which is described as "a certain parcel of land, lying near Albany, on the other side of the creek or kill, beginning from the mill on the creek and to go on over the said creek into the Great Meadow Ground, whereabout sixty-six paces the trees are marked." The site of the mill mentioned in the patent was probably a saw mill built on the bank of the Poesten kill below the falls. The name of Wemp is found written as Jan Barentsen Poest in the early redords of the colony. His mill appears to have been a starting point for many land measurements in early days, and was one of the most important of the early landmarks of Rensselaer county. North of this creek, the site of a part of the city of Troy, was a portion of land called Pafraets Dael (meaning Pafraet's part), named in honor of Maria Pafraets, the mother of Killiaen Van Rensselaer, the first patroon. The name was also a synonym of Luylekkerland, meaning "The paradise of alazy man."

In the days of which we are writing the tract of land lying between the Poesten kill and the Wynants kill was known commonly as Lubberdeland. This section, originally called the tenth part of Rensselaerwyck, was a part of the original estate of Johannes De Laet, one of the partners of Killiaen Van Rensselaer. It descended by inheritance to his daughter, Johanna Ebbingh, who afterward leased a portion of it to Sweer Teunise Van Velsen, and in June, 1669, sold it to him outright. In the same year Van Velsen removed to Schenectady and took possession of the former estate of Jan Barentsen Wemp. His property at Lubberdeland he left to the management of Jacob H even. Later -on Pieter Pieterse Van Woggelum purchased a farm in Lubberdeland.

The records of the manor of Rensselaerwyck show that on the 18th day of October, 1674, Geertruyt Pieterse Vosburgh, widow of Abraham Pieterse Vosburgh, transferred to Wynant Gerritse Vanderpoel her half of a saw mill on the creek south of the farm of Johanna Ebbingh. The creek on which the thill was located soon became known as Wynants kill, after Wynant Gerritse Vanderpoel, which name it has ever since borne. June 25 of the following year Jan Cornelise Vyselaer (or Gow) and Lucas Pieterse (or Coeymans) bought of Sweer Teunise Van Velsen about four acres of land and the Poesten mill, located on the Poesten kill. It is described in the deed as "two morgens of arable land, lying in the colony of Rensselaerwyck, up the udson] river, on the east bank over against Stoney Point, before this called Poesten mill, together with free egress and a road along the hill, by Pieter Pieterse Van Woggelum's, to the shore." May 6, 1679, Van Velsen sold to Pieter Pieterse Van Woggelum the entire estate known as the Great Meadow Ground. September 19, 1681, Van Woggelum purchased of Robert Saunders a tract of land south of the Piscawen kill, called by the Indians Passquassick. Saunders had obtained the land, most of which was covered with forest, through a patent granted by Sir Edmund Andros, then the English governor of the province of New York.

July 7, 1676, Madam Johanna Ebbingh sold to Juriaen Teunise Tappen the big farm between the Poesten kill and the Wynants kill. Novem. ber 7, 1677, Tappen mortgaged it to Captain Philip Schuyler, who owned the extensive farm on the opposite side of the Hudson, the site of the present Port Schuyler. It was described in the deed which was given by the patroon of Rensselaerwyck in 1689 as Poesten Bouwery, "bouwery" being the old Dutch term which was synonymous with the word "farm." This bouwery contained about 400 acres of land and was described in the deed as being bounded on the north by a certain mill creek commonly known as the Poesten kill, "now or late in the tenure or occupation of Johannes Wendell ;" on the south by a certain mill creek in the tenure or occupation of Wynants Gerrits (Wynants kill); and on the east by the hills. The western boundary of this bouwery was the Hudson river. Most of the site is now occupied by that portion of the city of Troy known as South Troy. The northern portion of the estate consisted of hills which broke on the north in bluffs, and in the colonial time it formed one of the most sightly spots in the colony. Thirty-four years after its sale to Captain Philip Schuyler, his heirs transferred it to Stephanis Groesbeck of Albany for 1,241 pounds English money. Ten days afterward, on May 3, 1711, Groesbeck sold the farm to Myndert Schuyler and Peter Van Brugh, receiving therefor the sum of 1,241 pounds. Four years later these two owners divided the farm, Schuyler retaining the southern part and Van Brugh the northern part. This division occurred December 29, 1716. June 19, 1730, Schuyler sold his farm to Henderick Oothout for 900 pounds, and June 22, 1732, the latter sold it to Edward Collins for 1,160 pounds. These transactions illustrate the rapid increase in the value of land in these times. The farm was then considered one of the best pieces of property in that part of the manor. Perhaps the only farm which was its superior was the farm on the north which for many years was in the possession of the Van Der Heyden family.

Edward Collins, the last purchaser of the southern half of the farm south of the Poesten kill referred to, was a grandson of Philip Pieterse Schuyler. November 30, 1748, this farm was purchased of Collins by Jan Van Buren. March 5, 1795, Van Buren bequeathed half of it to Sarah Van Buren, his wife, and the remaining portion he divided among Catharine, Sarah and Hannah Visscher, daughters of his deceased daughter, Agnietje Visscher. Van Buren died August 15, 1795, and his widow occupied the farm until her death, which occurred in the early part of the nineteenth century. May 28, 1771, Stephen J. Schuyler purchased of Sarah, widow of Teddy McGinnis, and William McGinnis, her son, who had come into possession of the northern half of the Poesten Bouwery, their property, paying therefor 1,800 pounds. Stephen J. Schuyler and his family lived on this farm for many years, occupy.ing a large brick house which occupied the site at the southwest corner of Madison and First streets. Schuyler's death occurred there December 14, 1820, at the age of eighty-three, and his body was interred in the burial ground a short distance north of the homestead.

Sales of farms and divisions of homesteads were common in those days. New settlers came rapidly into the manor, and at the end of the seventeenth century the lowlands and hills were dotted with houses. As far as can be learned from existing records there were at least seven separate families residing north of the Wynants kill. Ttiere may have been more,, but it is practically certain that there were at least seven families owning the land which they occupied. These were the families of Philip Pieterse Schuyler, Pieter Pieterse Van Woggelum, Wynant Gerritse Van Der Poel, Lucas Pieterse (Coeymans), Barent Pieterse (Coeymans), Jacob Heven and Jan Cornelis Vyselaer.

These people were of the sturdiest Dutch stock which immigrated to Rensselaerwyck in the seventeenth century. They attended strictly to the business of tilling the soiling and trading with the Indians, taking no active part in the government of the colony of Rensselaerwyck. They ground their own grain, utilizing the power generated by the waterfalls in the Poesten kill and the other creeks near them. They treated the Indians with great hospitality and consequently were but little annoyed by the red men of the forest. The Indians liked to trade with them when possible, for the prices they paid for furs, it is believed, were generally higher than those paid at Fort Orange. Little by little, however, the traffic in furs grew smaller and the rate at which the farming lands were developed increased. The soil was productive and crops were bountiful. New settlers arrived every season, and before the eighteenth century was far advanced the colony numbered not less than a hundred souls, all industrious, prosperous, fearless, contented and happy.

Dirck Van der Heyden, son of Jacob Tysse Van der Heyden, who came to New Amsterdam from Holland in 1652 or 1653, purchased of Pieter Pieterse Van Woggelum, June 2, 1707, his farm, extending from the Piscawen kill 'to the Poesten kill. It was more than thirteen years later, however, or December 15, 1720, before the title to the farm was confirmed by Maria and Hendrick Van Rensselaer. The terms of the sale were that the purchaser should pay to the patroon an annual rental amounting to three and three-quarters bushels of wheat and two fat hens or capons. The homestead of Van der Heyden was located not far' from the centre' of that part of the farm bordering on the Hudson river, and not more than five or six hundred feet south of the point opposite the southern extremity of Green island. This farm remained in possession of the Vanderheyden family for many years thereafter and included the site of nearly the entire business portion of the present city of Troy. In November, 1731, he deeded the property to his three sons, Jacob, David and Mattys. March ,2, 1732, David conveyed his interest therein to his brother Jacob. April 3, 1739, Jacob and Mattys caused to be executed a partition deed by which the farm was divided into three parts, the former retaining the northern and middle sections and the latter the southern section. Jacob died April 18, 1746, having bequeathed to his' son Dirck his two sections of the original farm. July 2, 1746, Dirck conveyed half the property to his brother Jacob. March 1, 1770, Mattys Vanderheyden willed his farm on the north side of the Poesten kill to his sons Dirck and John and their sons, but afterwards, June 21, 1771, he mortgaged the entire property for 300 pounds to Lucas Van Vechten. Jacob I., son of Jacob, became owner of the farm on the south side of the Piscawen kill May 11, 1774, by a deed of release. Dirck Vanderheyden died in 1775 and his son Jacob D. inherited the middle farm. The northern farm was then owned by Jacob I. and the southern by Mattys Vanderheyden.

Upon the breaking out of the War of the Revolution the inhabitants of the colony which subsequently became known as Vanderheyden and later as Troy were quick to respond to the call for protection against. 'the invaders who were sent by England to enforce its demands upon all the colonists. It is not known that there was a regular company of patriot militia in Troy, but that there was in the county of Albany is a matter of record. Early in the war many of the settlers living on or near the site of Troy enlisted in the patriot army, and some of them also doubtless were numbered among the Tories. As early as July 30, 1772, Governor Tryon issued the following commission, evidently with the intention of keeping in the royalist ranks one whom he supposed to be in sympathy with the crown: Jacob Van der Heyden, gentleman, of the county of Albany, appointed by his excellency, William Tryon, Esq., Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief in and over the Province of New York, and the territories depending thereon in America, Chancellor and Vice Admiral of the same: First Lieutenant of Captain Henry H. Gardenier's Company of Foot in the Second Battalion in the Regiment of Militia in the manor of Rensselaerwyck. Given under my hand and seal at arms, at Fort George, in the city of New York, the thirtyeth day of July, in the twelfth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, Anno Domini, 1772.

Three years later this company, which was composed in part, at least, of the inhabitants of what is now Troy, had these officers: Captain, Henry H. Gardenier or Gordinier; first lieutenant, Jacob Van der Heyden; second-lieutenant, Adam Beam; ensign, Henry Tincker. The regimental officers then commissioned, residing in the same locality, were: Colonel, Stephen J. Schuyler; lieutenant-colonel, Henry K. Van Rensselaer; majors, Philip De Freest and John J. Fonda; adjutant, Volkert Oothoudt; quartermaster. Jacob Van Aistyne.

Despite the attempt to keep this company in the ranks of the royalists it proved to be patriotic to the core when the crisis arrived, and in the summer of 1777 it marched with the Army of the North, under command of General Philip Schuyler, to meet the army of Burgoyne, as related in a previous chapter. When the army fell back they assisted in preparing for the defense of the Hudson and wielded the spade in the construction of the earthworks on Haver island, under the direction of Thaddeus Kosciusko. Fortunately for the peace of Rensselaer county the defeat of Burgoyne practically ended the war in. this vicinity and the whilom militiamen were left to pursue their vocations without being in constant fear of an approaching enemy.

The name of Van Der Heyden, or \Tanderheyden as it is now known, is ineffably associated with the history of Troy. The Vanderheyden family, as has been related, owned nearly all the land upon which the. foundations of the modern Troy were builded, and for many years the prosperous settlement was known far and near as "Vanderheyden." The upper farm was located between the Piscawen kill and Grand Division, later Grand street. Jacob I. Vanderheyden's house, a onestory brick structure built in 1756, stood on the steep hill near the middle of the farm. The middle farm was bounded on the north by Grand street and on the south by Division street. It was on this farm that the old homestead was located, occupying the site of the present State armory. The homestead was a two-story frame building, and was occupied at this time by Jacob Vanderheyden, who controlled the ferry across the Hudson at this point. The lower farm extended from Division Street to the Poesten kill. The house of Matthias Vanderheyden, a one-story brick structure, built in 1752, was about six rods south of the homestead.

The Vanderheyden family had secured the finest property within a radius of miles, and when affairs began to be settled at the close of the War of the Revolution the settlers for miles around had the fact impressed upon them in more ways than one. About the year 1783 emigrants from the New England States began to arrive in considerable numbers at Vanderheyden's, as it was then known. Some of these endeavored, in order to secure a good location, to buy or lease land of Jacob D. Vanderheyden, the owner of the middle farm and the autocrat of the ferry, but these applicants were uniformly unsuccessful. Settlements were made all around the farm, but for a long time the proprietor was absolute monarch of his fine estate. Jacob I., owner of the northern farm, was not so conservative, however, for in 1786 he leased to Benjamin Thurber, who came from Providence, R. I., and who had been unsuccessful in his repeated .endeavors to negotiate for some land of Jacob D. Vanderheyden, a small lot on the west side of River street just south of Hoosick. Here Thurber established a general store, the first in that vicinity. He sold about everything for which he thought there would be a market, and he prospered. Captain Stephen Ashley, from Salisbury, Comm., had heard of Vanderheyden's, and he followed close upon the heels of Thurber. He, too, tried to get a foothold upon the middle farm and failed, though he finally received a concession from Matthias Vanderheyden and leased for two years his brick house. This he converted into an inn and established a ferry in competition with the proprietor of the middle farm. Though he must have seen that he could not keep competitors away, Jacob D. Vanderheyden continued to refuse to sell or lease an inch of his land. Late in 1786 he turned away another Yankee, Benjamin Covell, from Providence, R. I., and the latter leased a house near Ashley's "Farmers' Inn" and Ashley's Ferry. An idea of the way he prospered, and a sufficient reason for the sudden influx of shrewd traders, may be gained from one single sentence contained in a letter which Covell wrote from his home on Ferry Hook, as that part of Rensselaerwyck was called, to his brother: "Done more business in one day than in one week in Providence." It was evident from this that the 'number of settlers in this locality had become large enough that the occupation of the middle farm was a question of but a short time. One thing alone assured the development of the settlement, and that was the fact that it was located directly opposite the head of navigation in the river.

There seems to be no doubt that nothing but the obstinacy of the sturdy Dutch farmer, who occupied the best position in all this section, and was aware of the fact, prevented the earlier settlement of Troy and allowed Lansingburgh to gain an advantage to overcome which took many years. His determination finally gave way to reason, however, and early in the spring of 1787 he decided to have a portion of his farm surveyed into building lots. The work was intrusted to Flores Ban cker of Lansingburgh, who completed the survey May 1, 1787. His map showed 289 lots, most of which were 50 feet wide and 130 feet deep, with alleys 20 feet wide in the rear of the lots. The width of the streets was 60 feet. Benjamin Covell, who with Captain Ashley had been instrumental in inducing Vanderheyden to lay out a village, was the first man to purchase a lot. He selected one at once and made preparations to move his store on it. It was on the west side of River street, the fourth lot south of Ferry.

A weekly newspaper-the Northern Centinel and Lansingburgh Advertiser-having been established at New City, as Lansingburgh was commonly known, May 15, 1787, business at both Lansingburgh and Vanderheyden was given sudden additional impetus. Vessels sailed up to and even above the two ferries of Ashley and Vanderheyden and anchored within a few feet of the shore, the deep channel running close to the east shore at this point. In the fall of the year Dr. Samuel Gale of Killingworth, Conn., who had expected to locate at Lansingburgh but who had been unable to secure a house there, took up a temporary residence with Jacob D. Vanderheyden at the solicitation of the latter. There he practiced his profession during the fall and winter and in the spring of the next year he leased of his host two lots on the west side of River street, north of Benjamin Covell's store, on which he erected a two-story double frame house. Part of this he occupied as a residence and in the other half he established a general store.

In September, 1787, Casper Frats and Yalles Mandeville established a schooner line for the transportation of freight and passengers between New York and Vanderheyden's ferry. The agent of the line at the north end of the route was Abraham Van Arnam. Captain Stephen Ashley, Jonathan Hunt, Ephraim Morgan, Daniel Carpenter, Robert McClellan, Asa Crossen and William Coit were among those who at this time leased lots of Vanderheyden and either constructed residences or stores or warehouses. The proprietor had no lack of applications for land and Vanderheyden grew rapidly.

Many of the newcomers, indeed the large majority of them, were shrewd Yankees, and they did not like to write or pronounce what they considered an awkward Dutch name. The newcomers therefore decided to choose a new and more convenient name. January 5, 1789, a number of them met at Ashley's Inn, near the northeast corner of River and Ferry streets, and decided to change the name of the prosperous hamlet to Troy. That everybody should know of their decision they decided to advertise the result of their meeting. The advertisement thus prepared, which was printed in the Lansingburgh and Albany papers, read as follows:

To the Public. - This evening the Freeholders of the place lately known by Vander-Heyden's or Ashley's-Ferry, situate on the east bank of Hudson's-river, about seven miles above Albany, met for the purpose of establishing a name for the said place; when, by a majority of voices, it was confirmed, that in future, it should be called and known by the name of TROY. From its present state, and the more pleasing prospect of its popularity, arising from the natural advantages on the Mercantile Line, it may not be too sanguine to expect, at no very distant period, to see Troy, as famous for her Trade and Navigation as many of our first towns.

Troy, 5th January, 1789.

The Vanderheyden family fought against changing the name in the arbitrary manner employed by the progressive new settlers, and Jacob D. Vanderheyden went so far for a number of years afterward as to write it "Vanderheyden alias Troy." Nevertheless the changing of the name and the publicity which was given to the place thereby was followed at once by additions to the population which were unanticipated by the most sanguine promoters of the embryo city. Settlers, hearing of the opportunities which presented themselves at the head waters of the Hudson, came flocking in from all directions-from New England, from other parts of New York and even from Lansingburgh and Albany. New buildings were constructed on all sides and the saw mills on the Poesten kill and the Wynants kill were taxed to their utmost capacity to turn out the lumber required for the building which had been undertaken. Business of all kinds prospered. Some of the new comers were not satisfied with wood as building material, so early in 1790 Samuel and Ebenezer Willson, two young men who had come from New Hampshire, began the manufacture of brick. They found a ready market for their product and furnished the brick used in the construction of the first court house and jail, besides a number of private residences. Among the others who came to Troy about this time were Colonel Abraham Ten Eyck and Colonel Albert Pawling, who had been running a general store in Lansingburgh for several years. Both were officers in the war of the Revolution. They associated with them Conrad J. Elmendorf and did business at the northwest corner of River and . Congress streets under the name of Abraham Ten Eyck & Co. Annanias Platt, a tavern keeper of Lansingburgh, began running a stage from that village to Albany early in 1789, passing through Troy and giving its inhabitants additional advantages. About. this time Christopher Hutton, Timothy Hutton, Josiah Kellogg, Israel Knapp, Isaac Rogers, James Caldwell and Henry Oothout settled here and began business.

March 18, 1791, the Legislature passed an act dividing several towns in various parts of the State. At this time Troy was in the town of Rensselaerwyck. The population of the little village had increased so rapidly and its business relations were developing at so great a rate that the inhabitants felt that they should enjoy self-government as far as possible. This was accomplished in. a measure by the erection of the town of Troy, by the following clause in the general law referred to:

That from and after the first Monday in April next, all that part of the town of Rensselaerwyck in the county of Rensselaer, which lies north of a line to be drawn from a point on the east bank of Hudsons river, sixteen miles distant from the southwest corner of the town of Rensselaerwyck, and running from thence east, to the west bounds of the town of Petersburgh, shall be, and is hereby erected into a distinct and separate town, by the name of Troy; and that the first town meeting of the said town of Troy shall be held at the dwelling house now occupied by Stephen Ashley in the said. town; and that the next town meeting of the town of Rensselaerwyck, shall be held at the dwelling house of James McKown in the said town.

Thus was the town of Troy founded. The political organization was indefinite. But a little over a month before Rensselaer county had been set off from Albany county. The new county government was hardly in motion when the new town of Troy spraig into existence. About this time the need for a religious organization was felt. Meetings had been held every Sunday for some time, for a while, in the hall over Ashley's tavern, then in the village school house. Interest in them increased and it was proposed to organize a church according to law. While many denominations participated in the services, the Presbyterians, mostly from New England, were in the majority and they carried the day in favor of a Presbyterian church. This decision was reached on the last day of the year 1791 at Ashley's tavern, when six trustees were chosen: Jacob D. Vanderheyden, himself an ardent disciple of the Dutch Reformed faith; Dr. Samuel Gale, Ephraim Morgan, John McChesney, Sr., Benjamin Covell and Benjamin Gorton. August 30, 1792, the Presbyterian churches in Lansingburgh and Troy extended a call to Jonas Coe, a licentiate of the Presbytery of New York, and he became their pastor. In the same summer the erection of a wooden meeting house, forty by sixty feet, was begun on the lot on First street on the south side of Congress street, which had been given to the congregation by Jacob D. Vanderheyden. The contractors were Abel House, Roger Powers, Henry De Camp, John De Camp and Benjamin Smith. The work was not completed that summer on account of the scarcity of funds and November 26 Jacob D. Vanderheyden was appointed to receive contributions for the furtherance of the work. The structure proceeded slowly. The floor was laid in the spring of 1793, but at the ordination of Rev. Jonas Coe, June 25, boards resting on boxes and blocks formed the pews and a rough platform served as a pulpit. It was not until the next spring, March 8, 1794, that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was first administered in the church. The work of completing the church dragged along for years on account of the lack of funds to pay therefor. June 1, 1795, Jacob D. Vanderheyden deeded to the trustees of the church sixteen lots, including the three on which the meeting house stood. These lots embraced substantially the same territory as that now known as "Seminary Park," south of Congress Street between First and Second streets. Rev. Jonas Coe remained as pastor of the united congregations of Lansingburgh and Troy until January, 1804, when he resigned to become pastor of the Troy church.

"The Recorder," the first pewspaper published in Troy, made its first appearance in 1791. It was a small folio, four columns to the page, and was printed by George Gardner. It was in Troy that the first paper mill in Northern New York was constructed in 1792. This mill was built by Mahion TaylDr on the west side of the Poesten kill, near which he also erected a grist mill and a saw mill. Power for. all the mills was supplied from a dam which he built some three hundred feet up the stream from the grist mill. The proprietor soon found a purchaser for the paper mill, which he sold, December 29, 1792, to Charles R. Webster and George Webster of Albany and Ashbel Seymour and Perely Ensign of Hartford, Conn., for 400 pounds.

A visitor to Troy in 1792, describing the appearance of the thrifty village, wrote: "There were from fifteen to twenty stores of all descriptions; several from two to four stories high." Among these the, following proprietors were named: Ten Eyck & Pawling, on the northwest corner of River and Congress streets; Benjamin Gorton's, on the southwest corner of the same streets; William Bayeau, south of Gorton; Jonathan and Alsop Hunt, south of Bayeau; the Messrs. Knight, south of the Hunts; John Pease; Dr. Samuel Gale, on the southwest corner of River and Ferry streets; Benjamin Covell, adjoining Dr. Gale's; Asa Anthony & Son, northwest corner of River and State streets; the Merritts, north of Anthony's; Philip Heartt, on the west side of River street, between State and Albany streets; Joshua Owen's tavern, north of Heartt's; Jeremiah Pierce's tavern, northwest corner of River and Congress streets; besides several small shops. The population of Troy at that time must have been several hundred and the surrounding country must have been thickly populated to support such a number of stores and taverns. The writer continued:

Troy prospered greatly, which I always attributed to the way in which the people rightly started. They remembered the Sabbath day to keep it holy. They commenced public worship when there was but one man in the village who could make a prayer. . . . The worship commenced with a prayer by Mr. Frazer, the sexton. After the prayer Mr. Van der Heyden would line out a psalm, and the New Englanders, both men and women, would all sing. After the singing, a sermon was read by Doctor Gale or Colonel Pawling; both good readers and selectors of good sermons. The service closed as it began. Afterward we had preaching every other Sabbath statedly in the little red school house.

Speaking of Ashley's tavern the writer continued:
The most noted tavern was Stephen Ashley's, at the Babcock stand,-a place where just such a tavern was needed for the accommodation of the rivermen and the people from the country, who would naturally resort to it, being near the ferry. Mr. Ashley had two signs which were quite characteristic. On the road running from the country, on the east side of the house, he had a small gate, hanging to a strip of board, on which was printed in large letters: "This gate hangs .high, it hinders none, refresh, then pay, and travel on." In front of his house was a tall sign-post on the top of which was an open three.sided box, turning on a pivot and revolving whenever the wind blew. On each side of it was lettered: "Come, here is Ashley's, let us call."

The village of Waterford and the village of Troy were incorporated by act of the Legislature on the same day, March 25, 1794. The charter adopted on that day was concise. After declaring the first trustees and the boundaries of the village of Waterford, defining the powers and duties of the village officers, etc., the act continues:

And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That Jacob D. Vanderheyden, Benjamin Covil, Anthony Goodspeed, John Pease, Ephraim Morgan, Christopher Hurton and Samuel Gale, shall be and they are hereby declared to be the first trustees for the freeholders and inhabitants of that part of the town of Troy in the county of Rensselaer residing within the limits following vizt. beginning on the north side of a certain creek called Poesten creek where there were formerly a saw mill fifty eight chains from Hudsons river, and runs from thence down along the said creek to the said river, thence up along the said river to a small creek called the Meadow creek, thence along the said creek into the woods, south seventy degrees easterly forty chains, thence south twenty-three degrees and thirty minutes westerly, along the west side of the land of the late Albert Bratt one hundred and six chains to the place of beginning. The above courses to be run as the magnetic needle pointed in the year one thousand seven hundred and twenty. And shall continue to be trustees as aforesaid, until the first Tuesday in May next, and until others shall be chosen in their place, and it shall and may be lawful to and for the freeholders and inhabitants for the time being, residing within the village of Troy, within the boundaries aforesaid, and qualified by law to vote at town meetings, to assemble on the second Tuesday of May next and annually on the second Tuesday of May thereafter at such place, and at such time of the day, as the trustees for the time being, or the major part of them, shall by public advertisement appoint and under the direction of the said trustees or such of them as shall be present, who are hereby made inspectors of such election, then and there by a majority of voices to elect seven inhabitants being freeholders to be trustees as aforesaid, who shall continue in office until the second Tuesday in May in the next ensuing year and until others shall be chosen in their place.

And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That the -inhabitants residing withing the said last mentioned boundaries, and the said trustees last abovementioned and their successors, shall and they are hereby fully vested with all and singular the powers and authorities, to -all intents constructions and purposes with respect to the village of Troy as is or are intended to be given by this act to the inhabitants and trustees of Waterford.

Waterford was therefore apparently the more important village of the two in the eyes of the Legislature of 1794.

Among the distinguished men who made Troy their temporary home about this time was Frederic Seraphin, Marquis de la Tour du Pin Gouvernet, a French refugee, who was accompanied by his wife, the tuarchioness. He was a loyalist and a distinguished soldier in the French army, but was compelled to flee from his native land soon after the breaking out of the historical Reign of Terror. He sailed for America under the name of Charles Lee, his wife making the journey in another vessel in order to throw the French spies off their track. Soon after reaching New York they came to Troy bearing letters of introduction to Mrs. John Bird, who afterward became the wife of Colonel Albert Pawling. They lived very quietly, at their own request. The marquis rented the tavern on River street which later on was known as Mechanics' Hall. Their only visitors were Mr and Mrs. Bird. Soon after the arrival of the marquis the nephew of the Comte de Rochambeau, likewise a refugee, arrived in America for the same reasons which induced the marquis to leave France, and came toTroy. The couple were frequently seen together walking into the country, and once entertained Prince Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Perigord, the famous French statesman and diplomat, who, while French envoy to England in 1794, was compelled to leave that country for political reasons. Other proscribed French loyalists visited Troy at intervals during the following two or three years. The straitened financial circumstances of the Marquis compelled him to economize so much that he finally left Troy to take up a small farm three miles southwest of the village in Albany county, which he cultivated, selling the produce in Troy and Albany. Upon the close of the French Revolution he returned to his native country where he again became a political power.

In his "Reminiscences of Troy" Hon. John Woodworth writes:
There was at that early day, and what has distinguished Troy in all its progress, and was so conducive to its prosperity, a concert of action; -a concentration of sentiment, and united efforts on all questions relating to the interest of the village. To all these, political questions held a secondary place; there was also a large proportion of practical business men of good sense and industrious habits, well-fitted for the positions in which they were placed; capital in a short time became abundant, although but little at the commencement; the rapid acquisition of wealth by regular business soon furnished an ample supply.

Speaking on some of the early inhabitants he said:
Colonel Albert Pawling . . . claims particular notice. He was one of the earliest inhabitants; he had been well educated at an academy in Kingston; when quite a young man, he joined as an officer the army under General Montgomery, was engaged in the disastrous battle before Quebec's beleaguered walls, on the memorable night of December 31, 1775. I never knew a man having higher notions of honor and integrity. Colonel Pawling was always among the foremost in promoting the interests of the village; untiring in his exertions to procure funds to build the court-house; liberal in contributions to erect the First Presbyterian church for the settlement of a pastor, and always the advocate of a high standard of morals.

Moses Vail, who removed to Troy from Nassau about 1793 or 1794, erected a flouring mill on the Poesten kill in 1794, between Mount Ida falls and the mills of Mahion Taylor. Previous to moving to Troy he had been State Senator four years. In 1800 he was appointed sheriff. One of his sons, George Vail, was president of the Merchants' and Mechanics' bank; and another son, Henry Vail, was a representative in Congress.

The second church founded in Troy was of the Baptist denomination. In response to a request from a number of residents of the Baptist persuasion Elder Elias Lee, who had been preaching in Albany, began preaching Sunday afternoons to small congregations in Troy. As the interest in these meetings increased regular services were held in the court house. October 15, 1795, the Baptist residents organized "The First Particular Baptist Church in the Village of Troy." January 30, 1796, Jacob D. Vanderheyden sold to the society, for five shillings, a lot on the east side of Third street, between Congress and State streets, for a meeting house and burial ground. The first regular pastor was Rev. Isaac Webb, who was chosen in 1803. In the following year, on January 10, Adam Keeling, Edward Tylee, Silas Covell, Ebenezer Jones and Noble S. Johnson were elected trustees. In the same year the church was added to the Shaftsbury Baptist association. In 1805 the first church edifice, a small frame building, was erected.

Up to the year 1796 letters addressed to the inhabitants of Troy were delivered at the Lansingburgh. post-office, which had been established four yearsbefore. In 1796 Troy became a government post village by order of the postmaster-general and Nathan Williams was appointed the first postmaster. Mr. Williams, at the time of his appointment a student in the law office of Hon. John Woodworth, subsequently removed to Utica where he became a Supreme Court Circuit Judge.

The Free Masons in Tróy, becoming desirous of organizing a lodge, forwarded to the Grand Lodge a petition for a warrant in 1796. June 19 of that year,the Grand Lodge granted the charter prayed for, thereby constituting Apollo Lodge, No. 49, Free and Accepted Masons. A room in Moulton's Coffee House was rented for quarters and December 12, the incorporators having elected subordinate officers one week previous, the new officers were installed. The charter officers were: Worthy Master, John Bird; Senior Warden, John Woodworth; Junior Warden, Samuel Miner. The installing officer was James Dole, master of Hiram Lodge of Lansingburgh, and his staff. The first regular communication was held Tuesday, December 13, and the by-laws were adopted Tuesday, January 3, 1797.

Jacob D. Vanderheyden, who at first had objected in most positive terms to the encroachment of trade upon his big farm, who had refused to sell at any price so much as a single square foot of his land to persons desiring to build stores, manufacturing establishments or anything savoring of business, and who had even refused repeated offers to purchase lots of his land for residential purposes, had now become one of the most public spirited men in all Troy. He had practically given the land on which the court house was erected, as described in the history of the county; he had sold for a nominal sum, a few shillings, the land on which the Presbyterian and the Baptist meeting houses stood, and he had performed various other acts which had entitled him to the highest respect and esteem of his fellow citizens. In pursuance of his beneficent policy, May 10, 1796, for five shillings, he deeded to the trustees of the village, "for the advancement of the interests and convenience of the inhabitants," three lots, bounded on the north by Congress street, on the east by Second street and on the west by an alley twenty feet wide, "for the use of a public square, and also for the purpose of erecting a public school house or academy," if the inhabitants decided that such a step were proper. He also conveyed to the trustees by the same deed the lot on the southwest corner of River and Elbow streets, for use as a public ship yard; also land for two burial grounds-the first bounded on the north by State street, on the west by Third Street, on the east by an alley and an the south by lot 231; the second a parcel of land 250 feet long and 130 feet wide, located on the northwest corner of Seventh and State streets. To this day all these properties are owned and occupied by public or quasi-public buildings.

At the beginning of the year 1797 Daniel Curtis, jr., under the firm name of Luther Pratt & Co., having moved his printing plant from Lansingburgh to Troy, began the printing of the weekly newspaper, the Farmers' Oracle, in the city. December 8, 1797, the store of Asa Anthony, on the northwest corner of River and Staten streets, and that of P. & B. Heartt, north of it, were consumed by fire. The inhabitants of Troy by this time had awakened to the necessity of providing some adequate means of protection against fire, and after the burning of these two stores it was decided to form a fire company and purchase a hand engine. A number of well known gentlemen of Troy were appointed a committee to purchase a suitable engine and went to New York for that purpose, having learned that a second-hand engine had been offered for sale there. The apparatus proving satisfactory to the then limited needs of the young village, it was purchased and shipped to Troy on a sloop. It was of a peculiar pattern seldom seen in these days, but very well adapted for such work as then was required of it. It had no hose attachment, the stream leaving the engine from a nozzle attached to a box above the trunk of the apparatus. It was capable of throwing an inch and a half stream of water over an ordinary two story building.

An act of the Legislature passed February 16, 1798, granted a second or amended charter to the village of Lansingburgh and reincorporated the village of Troy. That part of the act which formed the charter of Troy read as follows:

That the district of country described in a certain law of this State made and passed the twenty fifth day of March one thousand seven hundred and ninety four as the village of Troy be hereafter known and distinguished by the name cf the village of Troy; and that the freeholders and inhabitants who may from time to time reside in said village, shall be a corporation by the name and style of "The Trustees of the Village of Troy," and shall have the same rights, privileges, powers and immunities as by this act are given to the corporation of the village of Lansingburgh; subject however to the same regulations, restrictions, orders and provisions.

The village of Lansingburgh, for many years the leading place north of Albany, at this time was rapidly becoming of secondary importance as compared with Troy. The cause was mainly the geographical location of the two places. Troy was actually at the headwaters of the navigable Hudson, large vessels being able to anchor directly opposite the business portion of the village within a few feet of the east bank of the river. Lansingburgh, on the other hand, had been founded too far up the river to reap the full commercial advantages of a location on this noble stream. Troy was rapidly becoming the trade center of a populous and prosperous community. The number of manufactures had increased and stores were established at an amazing rate. One newspaper had found it to its advantage to remove from Lansingburgh to Troy. May 15, 1798, the Northern Budget, having removed its plant from Lansingburgh, where it had been established nearly.a year, was published for the first time in Troy by Robert Moffit & Co., from their printing office, at the sign of Franklin's head, on the east side of the river- then Water street-" four doors north of Pierce's inn."

October 9, 1798, the office of the county clerk, which had been established in Lansingburgh upon the erection of Rensselaer county, was removed to Troy and the records were kept in a frame building on First street a short distance north of Congress. This change also brought increased business to Troy and made it more than ever the headquarters for trade of all kinds. Troy's prosperity from this time hence seemed assured.

In November, 1799, a writer in the Northern Budget made an appeal to the citizens of Troy for the establishment of a public library. He stated that the population of the village was 2,000 and rapidly increasing. Soon after the subscribers to a petition which had been circulated decided that public opinion would warrant the formation of such an institution and January 11, 1799, they met at the tavern of Jeremiah Pierce and organized the Troy Library by the election of Benjamin Tibbitts, Christopher Hutton, David -Buel and Jeremiah Osborn as trustees. The library was opened in the fall of that year. The membership was limited to stockholders. Ten years later, March 31, 1809, Apollo Lodge No. 49, F. & A. M., was allowed to purchase twentyseven shares at fifteen dollars each, and thereafter the three senior officers of the lodge were annually elected trustees of the library. In January, 1835, the books of the library were placed in the library of the Troy Young Men's Association. Ten years later the stockholders delivered their shares to the association, which also purchased the shares held by Apollo Lodge.

The beginning of the nineteenth century marked an important era in the history of Troy. Up to the year 1801 the merchants of Troy, as well as those of Lansingburgh and Waterford, had been compelled to go to Albany to transact their banking business. The trip always consumed half a day, sometimes a longer period. As the business of the community increased it necessitated more frequent journeys to Albany, but these were becoming too burdensome for the wideawake merchants of the three villages to bear. Several consultations were held by the leading merchants and it was finally decided to ask the Legislature to grant permission for the organization of a bank with a capital of not more than $300,000. In pursuance of this request the Farmers' Bank was incorporated by act of the Legislature passed March 31, 1801, the charter extending to the first Tuesday in March, 1811. The capital stock was limited to $250,000 in shares of $50 each, exclusive of any money which might be subscribed on the part of the State. The charter provided for thirteen directors, two of whom were to reside in Waterford, five in Lansingburgh and six in Troy. The first directors, named in the charter, were Samuel Stewart, Guert Van Schoonhoven, John D. Dickinson, James Hickock, Charles Seldon, William Bradley, Elijah Janes, Benjamin Tibbitts, Ephraim Morgan, John Woodworth, Daniel Merritt, Townsend McCoun and Christopher Hutton. It was also provided that "the said bank shall be established and kept, and the buildings necessary for the accommodation thereof erected, and the business thereof at all times hereafter transacted at such place in the town of Troy as Hosea Moffat, Jonathan Brown, John B. Van Alen and James McKown, or any three of them shall designate and point out., which location when made shall be unalterable; and said place shall be near the road leading from Troy to Lansingburgh and not further north than the mill creek, nor further south than the house of Joshua Raymond. And the said buildings necessary for the accommodation of said bank shall be erected and so far completed as to admit the transaction of the business of said bank by the first day of December next after the passing of this act."

The directors of the bank met April 9, and elected John D. Dickinson president and Hugh Peebles cashier. June 29, at a meeting held at Jacob's tavern in Lansingburgh, it was resolved that "in case the lot for the temporary place of the establishment of the bank shall fall to the village of Troy, that we will point out to the commissioners the house of Joshua Raymond in the village of Troy as the house contemplated in the act, and in case it should fall to the village of Lansingburgh, we will immediately cause a temporary building to be erected on the middle ground at or near the place contemplated by the commissioners for transacting the business until the Legislature shall have decided on the petition of the directors." The temporary location of the bank was decided by lot, the choice falling to Lansingburgh. Jacob D. Van derheyden having offered to the bank for a site for the building two lots in what was then known as Middleburgh, a number of houses at the foot of Mount Olympus, the land was accepted and it was decided to purchase two additional lots upon which to erect a two-story brick building, thirty by forty feet. Work was begun in July and the bank opened for business December 1. April 6, 1808, the Legislature extended the charter of the bank to the first Tuesday in March, 1821, and the directors were authorized to remove the bank to the business portion of Troy further south. November 15, 1808, the bank removed to its new building on the second lot south of the southwest corner of State and First streets. This structure was burned in the great fire of 1820 and business was continued in the building on the northeast corner of State and. First streets. In 1830 it built a new banking house on the next lot north, which it occupied until February 27, 1865, when it ceased to exist.

By act of the Legislature April 2, 1801, the boundaries of the village of Troy were described as follows:

Beginning on the north side of a certain creek called Poesten creek, where there was formerly a saw mill, fifty.eight chains from Hudson's river, and runs from thence down along the said creek to the said river, thence up along the said river to a small creek called the Meadow creek, thence along the said creek into the woods, south seventy degrees easterly, forty chains, thence south twenty three degrees and thirty minutes westerly, along the west side of the land of the late Albert Bradt, one hundred and six chains, to the place of beginning (the above courses to be run as the magnetic needle pointed in the year one thousand seven hundred and twenty).

By the general law dividing all the counties of the State into towns, passed April 7, 1801, the bounds of the town of Troy were described as follows:

Southerly by Greenbush, easterly by Petersburgh, northerly by the north bounds of the manor of Rensselaerwyck, and westerly by the county of Albany, including such of the islands in Hudson's river as are nearest the east side thereof.

April 2, 1802, the Legislature passed an act authorizing the construction of a turnpike from a point opposite the village of Troy to Schenectady. This step was taken in accordance with the wishes of a large number of the merchants of Troy, who wished to attract the trade of the farmers residing on the west side of the Hudson. The capital stock of the chartered company was placed at $17,500 and the first omcers were: President, Ephraim Morgan; directors, George Tibbits, Abraham Oothoudt, Derick Lane, Abraham Ten Eyck, Albert Pawling, John Bird, Silas Covell and Daniel Merritt. All were residents of Troy excepting Abraham Oothoudt, who resided in Schenectady. The road was constructed at once and its heavy cost was amply repaid in a few years by the increased trade which it brought to Troy.

Changes in the boundary of the village had been made several times since its foundation, having been deemed necessary by the constant expansion of the population. March 3, 1803, the north boundary along Meadow creek, near the line of Hoosick street, was made coincident with the south bounds of the village of Lansingburgh, near the Piscawen kill, which flowed into the river just north of Mount Olympus.

About the year 1803 the residents of Troy who were of the Episcopal persuasion began to agitate the question of constructing a suitable house of worship, none having been built up to that time. Several years before lay readers had officiated in various places in the city on occasions frequently long apart. As a rule these meetings were held in the Presbyterian meeting house. Rev. David Butler, rector of Christ church in Reading, Conn., was among those who conducted services in 1803. Learning that Trinity church in New York city had offered to assist the Episcopalians of Troy in building a church edifice, he urged the members of the little congregation to take advantage of the offer, to become an incorporated body and undertake the erection of a house of worship. In accordance with his advice the male members of the congregation met in the court-house January 16, 1804, and decided to become incorporated as a permanent body to be known as "The Trustees of St. Paul's Church in Troy." They then elected as church wardens Eliakim Warren and Jeremiah Pierce, and as vestry. men Nicholas Schuyler, David Buel, Lemuel Hawley, Thomas Davis, Thomas Hilihouse, John Bird, William S. Parker and Hugh Peebles. March 26 the society purchased for $425 the eastern halves of lots 183 and 184, a plot one hundred by sixty-five feet, on the northwest corner of Third and Congress streets. The building committee, David Buel, Thomas Davis and Nicholas Schuyler, were placed in charge of the work. The frame was filled in with brick, one thick. Rev. David Butler, the. first rector, laid the corner stone July 2, 1803, and the edifice was completed early in the summer of 1805. Two thousand dollars of the expense of construction was paid by Trinity church of New York. The organ, which was made in England and for many years had been used in the old French church in Nassau street, New York, was the only instrument of its kind in Troy for more than twenty years. Rev. ,David Butler was installed rector of St. Paul's parish January 8, 1806, and on the following day assumed the same formal relation to Trinity parish of Lansingburgh. The church was consecrated August 21 by Bishop Benjamin Moore. The first three communicants, upon the organization of the church in 1804, were Eliakim Warren, his wife, Phebe Warren, and Lemuel Hawley.

The Quakers or Friends were the next sect to establish regular religious services in Troy. in accordance with permission extended by the Easton Monthly Meetings the few Friends in Troy held their first service in the village-a preparatory meeting- May 30, 1804. Over three years later, October 20, 1807, Abraham Staples and Edward Southwick, influential members of the local congregation, purchased of Jacob and Daniel Merritt an unfinished house on the southwest corner of State and Fourth street, which had been temporarily rented by the society a year before, Sixteen years later the society built the school house west of the meeting house. April 19, 1836, the society increased its temporal possessions by the purchase of the lot south of the building originally purchased. In 1874 the property was purchased by the First Unitarian church and in the fall of that year the old Friends' meeting house was razed to the ground.

As the population of Troy increased the problem of an adequate water supply became an important one. Early in the century most of the inhabitants were supplied by a small stream running along Spring avenue, then known as the Hollow road. The spring supplying it was on the farm of Stephen J. Schuyler. November 15, 1800, Stephen Van Rensselaer conveyed to Dr. Israel Clark of West Windsor, N. J., the right to use and control the water, which was then retained in a small reservoir. For several years Dr. Clark collected the rents for the use of the water. From time to time the waterworks were improved according to the needs of the growing village. June 16, 1812, Abraham Ten Eyck, Derick Lane, Platt Titus, Nathan Warren and Daniel Merritt, trustees of the Earthen Conduit company of Troy, were given a franchise by the village authorities allowing them to pipe the streets to furnish a better supply to consumers. Two years later another company was incorporated and granted the privilege of substituting iron pipes for the conduits then in use. The trustees of the new company were Daniel Merritt, Richard P. Hart, Nathan Warren, Townsend McCoun and Derick Y. Vanderheyden. This company laid the foundation for the present splendid system of waterworks in the city of Troy.

For the facilitation of the government of the village the Legislature passed a law April 4, 1806, dividing it into four wards. The first ward was described as that part of the village lying south of a line drawn through the middle of Ferry street; the second as that part between the first ward and the line drawn through the middle of State street; the third as that part between the second ward and a line drawn through the middle of Elbow (Fulton) street; and the fourth as all that part north of the third ward. Up to this time the president of the village had been elected by the board of trustees from among their number. Under the new law that official was to be appointed annually by the governor, with the consent of the Council of Appointment, and was to be an inhabitant of the village.

In 1797 the members of the Methodist society in Troy, which had begun to hold meetings four years previous, numbered thirteen. In 1796 the class had been placed under the pastoral care of a traveling preacher on the Cambridge circuit, in 1800 it became a part of the Pittsfield and Whitongham circuit of the New England conference. The class then had increased to thirty members and was under the leadership of William Cleveland. Rev. Michael Coates was in pastoral charge. The class grew steadily and in 1808 it was decided to organize an incorporated society according to the laws of the State. November 29 of that year the members of the class met at the residence of Samuel Scoby and organized by electing David Canfield, Eliphalet King and Samuel Scoby trustees of "the Methodist Episcopal church of the Village of Troy." The next step of the society was to purchase of Jacob D. Vanderheyden on Christmas day of that year two lots on the east side of the alley running between Fourth and Fifth streets and north of State street. For this property the society paid $500. Early in 1809 subscriptions to a fund for the erection of a church were taken and the edifice, a plain, two-story frame building, still unfinished and unfurnished, was used the first time for worship in 1811. A few months before, in 1810, Troy had been made a station by the New York conference of the Methodist Episcopal church and Rev. William Phoebus had been made pastor of the new church.

We have said, in the chapter upon the militia of the county, that the status of the early regular militia is vague and indefinite. This is so, but it is known that Troy had an independent military company even before the beginning of the nineteenth century. As early as 1796 Thomas Davis was captain of the Troy Grenadiers, the first military company in the village, which ceased to exist about 1804. In 1803 the Troy Fusileers were organized, with Nathaniel Adams as captain, Amos Salisbury as lieutenant and Oliver Lyon as ensign. The Trojan Greens were organized in 1806 with Thomas Davis as captain, William S Parker as lieutenant and Stephen Warren as ensign. The Troy Invincibles were organized in 1808 with Hazard Kimberly as captain.

Ten years after the incorporation of the first bank in Troy, the Farmers' Bank, that institution evidently had become inadequate to the needs of the business men of the thriving community, for March 22, 1811, the Bank of Troy was incorporatea by the Legislature with a capital stock of $500,000, divided into shares of $25 each, exclusive of the amount taken by the State, which was limited to $50,000. The charter provided, that the bank was to be under the management of seventeen directors, of whom three were chosen by the Governor and Council of Appointment. One of these was to reside in Troy, one in Lansingburgh and one in Waterford. The remaining fourteen directors, six of whom were to reside in Troy, four in Lan singburgh and four in Waterford, were to be elected by the stockholders of the bank. The charter permitted the directors to establish a branch bank in Waterford, for deposit and discounting paper. April 9, 1813. the charter was amended by allowing the directors from Lansingburgh to reside in either Rensselaer or Saratoga counties. By a still later amendment, passed February 4, 1814, the Waterford directors were privileged to reside anywhere in the State. The right to establish a branch bank in Waterford was taken from the directors April 2, 1829. The bank continued in operation until February 27, 1865, when its corporate existence ceased. The bank building was located on the northwest corner of First and State streets, and its first directors were Albert Pawling, Benjamin Smith, Joseph D. Selden, Ebenezer Jones, Esaias Warren, Richard P. Hart, Jacob Merritt, Thomas Trenor, Alanson Douglas, Jonathan Burr, John Stewart, Roger Skinner, John Cramer, John T. Close, Moses Scott, Richard Davis, jr., and John House.

The first attempt to popularize passenger traffic by water between Troy and Albany was made in 1810, when a boat named the Trial began making regular trips between the two places. She was propelled by machinery, but whether steam was the motive power or not does not appear. Two years later, in the fall of 1812, the Fire Fly, a 118-ton steamboat, began making two trips a day between the two places, leaving Troy at seven A. M. and one P. M., with extra trips three days in the week for the accommodation of passengers patronizing the boats plying between Albany and New York. The Fire Fly was undoubtedly the first steamboat that made regular trips between Troy and elsewhere.

Up to June 8, 1812, the official records of Rensselaer county were kept, first in Lansingburgh, until October 9, 1798, and thereafter in a building on First street, Troy, a few doors north of Congress. In 1812 the Legislature authorized the board of supervisors to raise by tax the sum of $1,500 for the erection of a fireproof office for the use of the county clerk. Soon afterward a two story brick building was constructed on the southeast corner of Congress and Second streets. It was used thereafter by the clerks of the county until the building was demolished to make way for the court house which in turn was razed to the ground in 1895.

In 1812 a statistical writer said that there were in Troy 540 dwelling houses and 120 stores, beside a large number of shops. He continued: "Few, if any, of the towns on the Hudson enjoy greater facilities for manufactures than Troy. There are a rolling and slitting mill,, an extensive cotton and woolen factory, a paper mill, carding machine, fulling mill a manufactory of fire-arms, and one also of shovels and spades, besides several nail works, a distillery, and several grain and saw mills."

The part which the inhabitants of Troy played in the War of 1812 was one to which the present generation may revert with feelings of pride. No less important was it, considering the comparative magnitude of the two struggles, than the part which they took in the War of the Rebellion. The Greenbush barracks were the headquarters for the troops of the Department of the North, and Troy, only six miles away, was fired with patriotism. In September, 1812, the militia of Rensselaer and Columbia counties rendezvoused about a mile from the village, the two Troy companies, the Troy Invincibles and the Troy Fusileers, going into active service at the same time. At this time the Invincibles were commanded by Captain Benjamin Higbie and the Fusileers by Captain Oliver Lyon. September 19, in obedience to orders from Governor Tompkins, commander-in-chief of the State militia, both companies began their march to Plattsburgh. Before leaving they were joined by a company of volunteer riflemen from Watervliet and a company of cavalry made up in Saratoga county. At Lansingburgh a fourth company entered the little army, a company of artillery under Captain King. They were accompanied as far as Waterford by Governor Tompkins in person and were escorted to that village by the Trojan Greens, in command of Lieutenant Dole. After reaching Plattsburgh the two Troy companies were ordered to St. Regis, which was occupied by a reconnoitering force of the British regulars. Here they surprised the British, killing four, mortally wounding one and taking forty prisoners with two batteaux and thirty-eight stand of arms. Finding nothing further to accomplish in that vicinity the victorious companies, flushed with their first victory, returned to Troy in December. January 5, 1813, the colors which they had captured were formally presented to the State at Albany.

In February, 1813, John E. Wool of Troy, who a year before had been appointed a captain in the Thirteenth Regiment of the United States Infantry, opened a recruiting office in the village, and in response to his appeals large numbers of men from Rensselaer county and vicinity entered the service of their country and were sent to the front,, where they served with honor

The popular term "Uncle Sam," as applied to the United States government, originated in Troy and Greenbush during the war of 1812-14. Elbert Anderson, jr., one of the contractors supplying the Army of the North with provisions, in October, 1812, advertised for proposals for pork and beef to be delivered to him during the first four months of the following year in New York, Troy, Albany and Waterford. Among those who contracted to furnish him with beef, packed in barrels, were Ebenezer and Samuel Wilson, the latter familiarly called by Trojans "Uncle Sam." As the beef was delivered at Greenbush barracks from time to time, the Troy soldiers referred to it as "Uncle Sam's" beef. The other soldiers, not knowing who "Uncle Sam" was, thought that the term was applied to the letters U. S. stamped upon the barrels by the government officials. Consequently it was not long before the term "Uncle Sam," meaning the United States, was in common use.

The city of New York being threatened by the British troops in the summer of 1814, the Trojan Greens, in command of Captain Sidney Dole, volunteered their services for the defense of that city and were sent there in August with troops from Albany. In the following month the Invincibles and Fusileers followed the example of the Trojan Greens and were sent to New York. Though they were not called into active service, their gallantry was such that when they returned, late in November, they brought with them high official commendation. Soon after their return, on December 3, 1814, the people of Troy gave an enthusiastic reception to Commodore Thomas MacDonough, the hero of Lake Champlain, who, in command of the American' flotilla in those waters, had achieved a complete and glorious victory over the British. Upon the ratification of the treaty of peace, the news of which was received in Troy February 21, 1815, there was general and great rejoicing. Among the features of the joyous occasion was a great procession which marched .to the Presbyterian meeting house, where the ministers of the different churches conducted suitable services of thanksgiving. On the evening of that day the whole village was illuminated, fireworks in profusion were burned and the roar of cannon was almost incessant for four hours or more.

The necessity of an additional burying ground becoming apparent in 1813, on August 25 a meeting of the taxable inhabitants was held at Seymour's Inn for the consideration of the question. The trustees were authorized to raise by tax the sum of $1,250 to purchase land for that purpose, and that body appointed Timothy Hutton, Hugh Peebles and Esaias Warren to select a site. The land for the new cemetery was donated to the village by Stephen Van Rensselaer- a lot containing about three and three-fourths acres, situated on the east slope of Mount Ida, west of the Poesten kill-the deed conveying it to the village being dated January 20, 1815.

The panic of 1814 was felt in Troy as elsewhere throughout the country. Money was scarce everywhere. In response to resolutions adopted by influential inhabitants the Farmers' bank and the Bank of Troy suspended specie payment, following the example of many other banks which took a similar step for self-protection. On account of the scarcity of small coin the firm of Parker & Bliss, in pursuance of permission granted by the village trustees, on September 10 issued $1,000 worth of small notes from twelve and a half cents in value down, and this measure relieved to a large extent the stringency in the "change" market among local merchants.

Despite the hard times in all sections of the country at this period Troy continued to prosper greatly. The population in 1815 was 4,254,2,000 greater than it was ten years before. Mills and factories had sprung up on all sides, new stores had been established and trade came to Troy from' a territory having a radius of many miles. Feeling that the future of the place was secure and believing that Troy's prosperity would be greater under a better system of government the inhabitants concluded to petition for a city charter, which they did, the Legislature granting their appeal. The village board of trustees met for the last time as a body at Titus's Inn May 9, 1816, and a new era for Troy was opened.

For newer history starting with 1818 see City of Troy.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Return to [ NY History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

NY Counties - Albany - Allegany - Broome - Cayuga - Chatauqua - Chenango - Clinton - Columbia - Cortland - Erie - Essex - Franklin - Fulton - Genesee - Herkimer - Jefferson - Lewis - Livingston - Madison - Montgomery - Niagara - Oneida - Onondaga - Ontario - Orange - Orleans - Oswego - Putnam - Queens - Rensselaer - Richmond - Rockland - St. Lawrence - Saratoga - Schenectady - Steuben - Suffolk - Tioga - Tompkins - Tryone - Ulster - Washington - Wayne - Yates

All pages copyright 2003-2012. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy