|THE SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE
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[Taken from "SCHENECTADY DIRECTORY AND CITY REGISTER FOR THE YEARS 1841-42 containing the names, occupation and place of residence of all heads of families, firms, and those doing business in the City, in correct alphabetical arrangement. Also, much other useful matter." Thanks to Nancy Curran for typing help with this file.]
New York was originally colonized by the Dutch, and continued under the government of the States General until "August 27th, Old Style, 1664;" when it surrendered to an English expedition sent against it. The articles of surrender bear this date, but the Governor, Peter Stuyvesant, a man of an indomitable spirit, "a good soldier, and who had lost a leg in the service of the States," refused to sign them till two days afterwards. Until the surrender, the country had been under the care of a governor sent out from Holland. Subsequently the Dutch sent an expedition against the colony, and the commander of "the fort treacherously made his peace with the enemy." They continued in possession but a short season, for on the "9th of February, 1674, the Treaty of Peace between England and the States General was signed at Westminster, the 6th article of which restored the country to the English;" in whose possession it continued till the Revolution. After its conquest by England this colony of course became "the Province of New-York;" and is so known in American History. Of the thirteen original States all were British colonies except New York.
We find the state, in 1755, divided into the following "Original Counties:" New-York, Albany, Kings, Queens, Suffolk, Richmond, Westchester, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange.
At the adoption of the constitution, in 1777, the state was divided into 14 counties: with the addition to the former, or Tryon, Charlotte, Cumberland, and Gloucester; the last two formed part of the present state of Vermont.
By an act of the Legislature, passed 3d April, 1801, the state was divided into 31 counties.
By the erection of new, and the subdivision of the old, the number of counties has been increased to 59.
This county was taken from Albany in 1809; is bounded on the east and north east by Saratoga; south by Albany and Schoharie; west by Schoharie; northwest by Montgomery. Its greatest length 25 miles, breadth 20 miles. The surface is much diversified with hills, plains and valleys. Flint Hill runs along the east side of the Schoharie creek, through Duanesburgh, and part of Princetown, and thence to the Mohawk, ending in the town of Rotterdam. The soil along this ridge is commonly stiff clay, resting on compact and ponderous hard pan, with ledges of lime, slate and graywacke. The town of Glenville is mostly covered by a spur from the Kayaderosseras range, extending within three miles of the city of Schenectady. Generally, it may be observed, that the soil along the Mohawk river and other streams is rich alluvion; on the hills, light sandy loam, sometimes fertile; and on the plains, clay and clay loam, and sand, sometimes barren. The county belongs to the transition formation.
The Mohawk runs southeast through the county, and receives from it on the north, near the east line, the Aelplaace creek. On the south, Norman's kill and Boza-kill flow towards Albany. The Schoharie creek, on the west affords abundance of mill power, particularly at Esperance, on the Great Western Turnpike. The Chuctenunda issues from Lake Maria, and reaches the Mohawk in Montgomery county, opposite the village of Amsterdam. The county is divided into five towns, and the city of Schenectady.
CITY OF SCHENECTADY - The city, as incorporated in 1798, embraced within its limits the whole of the ancient township of Schenectady, which is thus described in the act: "Beginning on the north bank of the Mohawk river, about four miles below the late village of Schenectady, opposite the mouth of a small creek called Laughter's Killitie, where the east bounds of Schenectady patent comes to the said river; thence along the northerly, northeasterly, northwesterly, westerly, southerly, and southeasterly bounds thereof to the north bounds of the manor of Rensselaerwyck, thence along the same easterly to the said easterly bounds of Schenectady, thence along the same northerly to the said Mohawk river, and thence with a straight line to the place of beginning." By this act the city consisted of four wards; the first and second were composed of the city proper; the now town of Rotterdam formed the third, and the town of Glenville the fourth ward.
After the erection of Glenville and Rotterdam, the city consisted of but two wards, and so continued till March 13, 1833, when, by an act of the legislature, it was divided into 4 wards, which are described as follows:
The First Ward to be composed of all that portion of the city lying west of a line to be drawn from a point in the south boundary line of said city, opposite to the centre of Mill-lane, and running from thence northerly to the centre of said Mill-lane at its intersection by State-street; from thence northerly in a direct line across State-street, to the centre of Ferry-street; thence through the centre of Ferry-street to the south bank of the Mohawk river, and from thence in a straight line to the north bounds of the said city.
The Second Ward to be composed of that portion of the said city lying east of the said line hereinbefore designated as the eastern boundary of the said first ward, and a line to be drawn from a point in the south boundary line of the said city, at its intersection by the westerly side of the Mohawk and Hudson rail road, as now used by them; and from thence northerly along the westerly side of said rail road, and the westerly side of the Utica and Schenectady rail road, to the north bounds of the said city.
The Third Ward to be composed of that portion of the said city lying east of the said line above designated as the eastern boundary of the said second ward, and north of a line to be drawn from the said eastern boundary of the said second ward at its intersection by the centre line of Union-street, and running easterly through the centre of Union-street, and the centre of the Troy and Schenectady turnpike, to the eastern boundary line of the said city.
The Fourth Ward to be composed of that portion of the said city lying east of the said line above designated as the eastern boundary of the said second ward, and contained within the line above designated as the south boundary of the said third ward, and the southwesterly, southerly and easterly boundary lines of the said city.
DUANESBURGH, is composed of the patent granted to the late Hon. James Duane, judge of the District Court of the United States, and father of James C. Duane, Esq. of this city. In the act dividing the state into counties, April 7, 1807, it is thus bounded: on the north by the county of Montgomery; on the west by Schoharie creek and the Schoharie patent; on the south by the north bounds of lands granted to Johannes Lawyer and others, and the south bounds of lands granted to Capt. Jonathan Brewer and the manor of Rensselaerwyck , and on the east by Princetown. It is a large and populous town. Lake Maria, in the northeast angle of the town, is about two miles in circumference, upon the highest grounds of the town, and abounds with fish. In this vicinity is one of the most commanding views in the state, comprising near a hundred miles around the compass.
PRINCETOWN, is composed of what was formerly called "Corry's Bush, and the church lands adjoining the patent of Schenectady." It is a long and quite narrow tract of hilly land, lying between the town of Duanesburgh on the west, and the town of Rotterdam on the east. It was erected in 1798, and was named after John Prince, the then member of Assembly "for the township of Schenectady, in the county of Albany."
GLENVILLE - This town was formerly the 4th ward of the city, and erected in 1820, and is named after the Glen family, who were opulent proprietors in that part of the township of Schenectady.
ROTTERDAM - Rotterdam, formerly the 3d ward of the city, was erected into a town at the same time with Glenville, and is named after the celebrated city of that name in Holland, whence the original settlers emigrated. A large portion of the present inhabitants of the town are descendants of the original emigrants from Holland.
NISKAYUNA - This is the only town not legally in existence when Schenectady County was formed in 1809. It was taken from Watervliet. The name Connestigiune was applied to extensive settlements on both sides of the Mohawk below Schenectady in Albany and Saratoga Counties. It is a town of no great extent.
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