The town of Waterford occupies the extreme southeastern corner of the county. Its area is the smallest of any of the twenty towns in the county, being but seven square miles. It is bounded on the north by Halfmoon, on the east by the Hudson river, on the south and west by the Mohawk river. The Revised Statutes define the limits of Waterford as follows:

The town of Waterford. shall contain all that part of said county beginning in the bounds of the county in the Mohawk river, at the month of a certain creek or run of water which crosses the road leading from the village of Waterford to Ballston, at the foot of the hill a little to the northwestward of the dwelling house now or late of Claudius Stannard, and running up the said creek to where it crosses the road as aforesaid; then south seventy-three degrees and thirty minutes east one hundred and sixty chains and thirty links to where a creek called the Mudder Kill intersects the public road leading from the village of Waterford to Stillwater; then down the said Mudder Kill to its entrance into Hudson river; then east to the bounds of the county; and then along the bounds of the county southerly and westerly to the place of beginning.

The surface of the town lies mostly from fifty to one hundred feet above the Hudson river. An almost perpendicular range of slate bluffs extend along the Mohawk, and the Hudson valley is bordered by a range of low clay hills. The soil is exceedingly fertile, especially the flats occupying that part of the town north of Waterford village.

One of the finest water powers in the world is furnished by the Cohoes falls in the Mohawk. The Albany branch of the Delaware & Hudson railroad enters the town from Cohoes and a mile above the village joins the Troy branch of the same road, which enters the southern part of the village within three hundred feet of the Hudson. From Waterford Junction the road extends northerly through the town. The Champlain canal traverses the town from north to south.

The survey of the Van Schaick patent, which included the present towns of Waterford and part of Halfmoon, reads as follows, viz.: “The boundaries of a certain parcel of land in the county of Albany, confirmed under Anthony Van Schaick, by Governor Charles Dongan, 31st May, 1687. A certain parcel or tract of land, and being to the north and above the town of Albany, and is commonly called and known by the name of Half-Moon, which stretches up alongst the north river, from a certain place where are several streams of water, to a creek or kill where there is a fall of water which, running into the land, hath its course into the north river; the said creek, or kill, and fall being by the Indians called Tieuwenendahow; and from thence runs up the Maquas-Kill westward, to a place called Dowaelsoiaex, and so strikes presently eastward up along by the said stream and then to the north river aforementioned.”

The first settlements in Saratoga county were made in Waterford, then called Half Moon Point, a few years after the early settlements at Albany. The site for the village was purchased in 1784 by Colonel J acobus Van Schoonhoven and several others, and settlers came rapidly to occupy the building sites offered. Van Schoonhoven was probably the first merchant and innkeeper in town. Numerous small manufacturing concerns were established in town at a very early day, but the industrial development was not very great until after the completion of the hydraulic canal in 1829. Two years later the manufacture of fire engines was begun, and the product since turned out has made the name of Waterford famous throughout the country.

The pioneer religious society of Waterford, which has been extinct for many years, was the Reformed Dutch church, which probably was established long before the Revolutionary period. Of the other churches in town, Grace Protestant Episcopal church was founded in 1810, the Presbyterian church about 1793, the Baptist church in 1821, the Methodist church in 1830, and the Catholic church soon after the Civil war.

Waterford is the principal village in the town, and the oldest in the county, having been incorporated in 1801. The first trustees were Hezekiah Ketchum, Jacobus Van Schoonhoven, Matthew Gregory, Isaac Keeler, John Pettit, Duncan Oliphant and Thomas Smith. Unfortunately the village records were destroyed in the great fire of 1841. Since that year the presidents of the village have been:

John House, 1841; John Stewart, 1846-47; John Knickerbacker, 1848-49; John Wood, 1850; John Stewart, 1851; William H. King, resigned November, 1852; J. H. Cudworth, elected December, 1852 to fill vacancy; William Scott, 1853; John Lawrence 1854; John Cramer, 1855; L. G. Hoffman, 1856; John Stewart, 1857; Daniel B. King, 1858—65; E. B. Cole, 1866; John Titcomb, 1867—70; William Hoiroyd, 1871—72; Moses Bedell, 1873—74, died August 1, 1874; C. A. Waidron, elected August 5, 1874, to fill vacancy; Edward Stewart, 1876; David T. Lamb, 1877—78; John Proper, 1879; George Stewart, 1880; Gad H. Lee, 1881-84, died August, 1884; William Holroyd, elected to fill vacancy; William Holroyd, 1885; Eli M. Powell, 1886—89; Jeremiah Husted, 1890; James W. Brooks, 1891—98.

There are five churches in the village. The public school system is an excellent one. The union school is the outgrowth of the once famous Waterford academy.. The latter institution, which stood on the corner of Division and Sixth streets, where St. Mary’s church now stands, was incorporated by the Legislature April 28, 1834, and admitted by the Regents February 6, 1839. William T. Seymour was principal in 1836—38; Samuel R. House, 1839—40, and William G. Lloyd, 1841—47. The last few years of the career of the academy it was located in the building on Second street previously occupied by Mrs. Emma Willard. The Emma Willard Female seminary, which subsequently removed to Troy, was at one time one of the most noted female schools in the United States. The Masonic lodge in the village was instituted in 1848. Waterford lodge, No. 231, I.O.G.T., was organized in 1867, and Maple Valley lodge, No. 427, I.O.O.F., in 1875. The Saratoga County bank was incorporated May 29, 1830, with a capital stock of $100,000, with John Knickerbacker as the first president.

The Waterford Waterworks company was incorporated in 1885 and on October 6 of that year made its first contract with William Holroyd, then president of the village, to supply the village with water. Frank A. Hinds was the first president of the company. Water is pumped from the Hudson river to a standpipe on Prospect hill, three quarters of a mile from the village, whence it is distributed by mains.

The Waterford town hall is a commodious building located on Broad street. The corner stone of the structure was laid September 16, 1873.

Waterford’s manufactures have always been of considerable importance. The famous Button Fire Engine works were established in 1834. Hoiroyd’s stock and die manufactory in 1847, the straw board mill in 1864, the Rock Island flour mills in 1847, the Gage machine works in 1835, Frank Gilbert’s Mohawk & Hudson paper mill in 1872, the Brooks nut factory in 1835, Van Schoonhoven & Co.’s knitting mill in 1875, the Franklin ink works in 1831, the Waterford sawing mills in 1872, the Globe Iron works in 1873, the Waterford soap and candle factory in 1830, the Massasoit knitting mills in 1872, King’s stock, die and tool works in 1829, the Mohawk & Hudson Manufacturing company in 1847, Van Kleeck’s brush factory in 1864, the Hudson Valley knitting company in 1870, the Shawtemack mills in 1834, the Munson knitting mill in 1871, the Eureka knitting mills in 1881, the Waterford knitting company in 1885, the Bishopton knitting mill in 1886, the Kavanaugh knitting company in 1891, Sidney D. Sault’s paper box manufactory in 1892, the Clyde knitting company (successor to the Meeker, Spotten & Meeker company) in 1892, the Clover knitting company (successor to the Hudson Valley knitting company) in 1897, the Ormsby Textile company in 1893, and the Eddy Valve company in 1891.

The town of Waterford was not formed until several years after the incorporation of the village. It was originally known as Half Moon Point. The supervisors since that time have been:
1816, John Cramer; 1817—18, Jacobus Van Schoonhoven; 1819, Daniel Van Aistine; 1820—25, William Given; 1826—28, Joshua Mandeville; 1829, Nathan Bailey; 1830, Joshua Bloore; 1831—33, Eli M. Todd; 1834, John Stewart; 1835, John Vernam; 1836, Charles Scott; 1837, Joshua Bloore; 1838, Robert Blake; 1839, Joseph H. Cudworth; 1840, James I. Scott; 1841—42, George W. Kirtland; 1843, William Scott; 1844, William T. Seymour; 1845—47, David Brewster; 1848, David T. Lamb; 1849, Abram L. Brewster; 1850, David T. Lamb; 1851—52, Daniel G. Smith; 1853, John Fulton; 1854, W. C. Vandenburgh; 1855. Joshua Mors; 1856—58, John Titcomb; 1859—66, David T. Lamb; 1867—70, Courtland Brewster; 1871—72, Thomas Breslin; 1873—75, David T. Lamb; 1876, James H. Brewster; 1877—78, Henry C. Vandenburgh; 1879, John Lawrence; 1880-81, John B. Palmer; 1882—84, James H. Shine; 1885—90, John E. Gage; 1891, Jeremiah Husted; 1892—97, Eli M. Powell; 1898, James H. Glavin.

The following list of town clerks of Waterford is as nearly complete as it can be made from the records:
1832-34, John Cramer, 2d; 1835—41, M. C. Powell; 1848-49, William A. Waidron; 1850-52, Courtland Brewster; 1853, John Smith; 1854, Lyman U. Davis; 1855, Charles B. Pickett; 1856—57, Millen Bedell; 1858—62, George S. Waterman; 1863—70, Samuel A. Northrop; 1871—75, George E. Pickett; 1876, Benjamin Singleton; 1877, Major B. Winchell; 1878. George E. Pickett; 1879—81, James H. Lloyd; 1882—83, Frederick W. Williams; 1884, Frank D. Barnfather; 1885, Thomas G. Dunwoody; 1886-87, Lewis S. Van Arnum; 1888-1889, Thomas G. Dunwoody: 1890-91, David D. Steenbergh; 1892, W. Frederick Lawrence; 1893—97, James H. Glavin; 1898, John G. Cole.

The justices of the peace have been as follows:
1848, Joseph H Cudworth; 1849,William T. Seymour; 1850, Charles Johnson; 1851, John Cramer, 2d; 1852, Robert Moe, Joshua M. Todd; 1853, Joseph H. Cudworth, Cornelius A. Waldron; 1854, John Wood; 1855, John Cramer. 2d; 1856, Lewis G. Hoffman; 1857, Chauncey Sherman; 1858, James McKallor; 1859, John Cramer, 2d; 1860, Joseph H. Cudworth; 1861, Chauncey Sherman; 1862, Anthony J. Brease; 1863, John Cramer, 2d; 1864, Joseph H. Cudworth; 1865, Chauncey Sherman, Gad H. Lee; 1866, Gad H. Lee, John F. Pruyn; 1867, John Cramer. 2d.; 1868, Pearl Spafford; 1869, J. F. Pruyn; 1870, Peter Quackenbush; 1871, John Cramer, 2d; 1872. John A. Waidron; 1873, Henry Foley. William Shepherd; 1874, Chauncey Sherman; 1875, Peter Quackenbush; 1876, George S. Waterman: 1877, Charles W. Barringer; 1878, Henry Foley; 1879, Peter Quackenbush, Frank D. Peck; 1880, Frank D. Peck, John D. Lewis; 1881, Charles W. Barringer; 1882, Henry S. Tracy; 1883, William A. Dennis, John Evers; 1884, Benjamin Singleton; 1885, Charles W. Barringer; 1886, William K. Mansfield; 1887, George E. Pickett; 1888, J. William Atkinson; 1889, Benjamin Singleton; 1890, William K. Mansfield; 1891, John Evers; 1892, 3. William Atkin son; 1893, Benjamin Singleton; 1894, William K. Mansfield; 1895, Frederick W. Kavanaugh; 1896, J. William Atkinson; 1897, William German; 1898, William K.

The term of the police justice’s office is two years. The incumbents of this office have been:

1879—80, Henry Foley; 1881—82, George B. Pickett; 1883—84. Henry Foley; 1885—90, Charles McKaflor; 1891—92, William Curtis, sr.; 1893—96, George E. Pickett; 1897—98, Michael Brown.

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