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Schenectady County, New York: Its History to the Close of the Nineteenth Century
Chapter I: The Founding of the City

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[This information is from pp. 1-17 of Schenectady County, New York: Its History to the Close of the Nineteenth Century by Austin A. Yates (New York: New York History Co., 1902). It is in the Schenectady Collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at Schdy R 974.744 Yat, and copies are also available for borrowing.]

The Mohawk was the most magnificent specimen of an Indian that America produced. As far back as tradition and history go, this tribe was easily the master of all that surrounded it. Their domain extended through the whole length of the Mohawk Valley, the Northern and Western part of New York, and a portion of Northwestern Pennsylvania. The bravest, the brightest, the most eloquent, warlike and cruel, of all Indian organizations, they were yet the only nation that ever became the white man's steady, firm and faithful friend. Their names, as Christian communicants, are on the records of the Reformed Church. The bodies of their dead, until scattered by the march of sanitary science in the laying of water, sewer and gas pipes, lay under our feet. Their blood flows in the veins of all descendants of the Van Slycks, the Bradts, the Vielies and of Jonathan Stevens.

Along the Mohawk they had five castles, one named Minemial, after one of their chiefs, and situated on an island at the mouth of the Mohawk, below Cohoes, one at Schenectady, one at the outlet of Schoharie Creek, now called Fort Hunter, one at Chaughnawaga, called Canajoharie, in the town of Danube, Herkimer County.

After the settlement of Schenectady and the apportionment of the lands among fifteen original proprietors, no burials were made within the quadrangle bounded by Ferry, State, Washington avenue and Front streets. The number of Indian skulls, tomahawks, and savage implements, exhumed in past years, show conclusively that, before the white man came, there was a populous settlement of red men on the spot now covered by the city.

Less than twenty-five years ago, a lad living at No. 26 Front, fired with emulation by the finding of skulls and bones by a comrade, went out under the big tree, yet standing there, to dig for Indians. The derisive smiles which followed him in his quest, were changed to expressions of astonishment as he turned a wonderfully preserved skeleton, facing the east, with tomahawk and arrow heads beside the bones. Subsequently, on digging for sewerage, skulls and bones enough to stock a small cemetery, were tossed by every spadeful.

There are other evidences of Indian occupation. An ancient path coming from the direction of Niskayuna, once wound around the brow of the hills that but a half century ago, battlemented the eastern half of the town. Traces of it may yet be seen across the front of Prospect Hill, curving around southeasterly towards the cemetery enclosure.

Previous to the coming of the white man the valley from Freeman's Bridge to Rotterdam Junction was cultivated by the Mohawks and in harvest time was fairly gilded with the tassels of Indian corn.

The locality was called by every possible variation of pronunciation of the name that has at last settled down into Schenectady. It was a well known spot. The great flats of Rotterdam from Centre street to beyond the first lock west of the city, was known as Schonowe. Van Corlear, in 1643, describes the whole territory as that Schoonste, "loveliest land that the eyes of man ever beheld." The name the county now bears is said to have a beautiful origin, Schoon (beautiful) Aden (valuable) deel (portion of land,) making the sound Schoon Aden deel, changed and twisted by the different Nationalities that have been busy with the name. But this pretty derivation is only conjecture. The name in ancient papers and records is spelled seventy-nine different ways, but all the orthography with its marvellous combination of letters produced the sound of Schenectady. Governor Stuyvesant wrote it as we spell it now as early as 1663, two years after the original patent. The name is undoubtedly of Mohawk Indian origin and belonged originally to the land lying around Albany. Four years after the charter, it settled down from Corlear, as the settlement was originally called, to Schenectady.

White men well knew the spot in 1642. Van Curlear, returning from one of his errands of mercy to the Mohawks, who listened and heeded him because they loved him, wrote to the Patroon Killian Van Rensselaer, "that a half day's journey from the Colonie, Town of Albany, on the Mohawk River, there lies the most beautiful land that the eye of man ever beheld." Any man who has stood on Youta Pusha Berg, Prospect Hill, over Landon Terrace, or Schuylerberg, midway between the Troy and Albany turnpike, east of Brandywine avenue, cannot fail to understand the rapture of the Dutchman.

In the forties one could easily understand what was the lay of the land when it was said to be the Mohawk Village of Connochaieguharie. The name was an Indian description of the great masses of floodwood which were left every Spring on the flats. The deposit was then as now, often immense, but the name is comprehensive enough to include the whole pile.

Major McMurray has described its ancient appearances. The old township of Schenectady embraced a territory of 128 square miles, a portion of the Mohawk valley, sixteen miles long and eight miles wide. The western half is an irregular plateau elevated 400 or 500 feet above the Mohawk, a spur of the Helderberg, passing north into Saratoga County. The eastern half is a sandy plain, whose general level is 300 or 400 feet lower. The river, running through the middle of this tract, in a southeasterly direction, forms the most beautiful and striking natural object in its landscape. At the westerly boundary where it enters the town, it flows through a narrow valley, whose sides though covered with foliage, are too steep for cultivation. From the hill, "Towereune," the valley widens, gradually to Poversen and Maalwyck, where the hills sink down into the great sand plain. Until the river reaches the city of Schenectady, it is a constant succession of rapids, and its general course is southeast. Here it makes a great bend, and flows with a deep sluggish current northeastward to the Aal Plaats, the eastern boundary of the town. The tributaries of the Mohawk within the town are small and unimportant streams; those at the west end flowing from the slates, are nearly or quite dry in summer, while those at the opposite end, fed from the sand, are constant spring brooks. On the north side of the river are the following brooks: Chucktenunda (stone houses) at Towereune, and coming east in succession are Van Eps Kil, Droyberg, Verf, or color (paint) creek, called by the natives Tequatsera, Jan Mebie's Kil Creek of the lake in Scotia, Cromme Kil and Aal Plaats Kil. On the south side are Zandige Kil, the sloot, Right Brugse Kil, Plaats Kil, Poenties Kil, William Tellers Killetje, Zand Kil, Coehorn Kil and Symon Groots Kill. But of these streams, few are of sufficient size and constancy now to serve as motor power.

With the exception of a little limestone in the extreme western limits of the town, all the rocks found in place, belong to Hudson shales and consist of alternate layers of blue slate and sandstones, some of which are used for building purposes.

In the west half this geological formation is most abundant, and the soil there is a clayey loam, underlaid with clay or hard pan. The immediate valley of the river where it breaks through the range of hills is narrow, and is composed chiefly of drifts of at least two elevations. The highest called the "stone flats," raised twenty to thirty feet above the water, consists of coarse gravel and boulders, and is chiefly found on the north side of the river. The opposite bank is "lower plain of sand and gravel."

The eastern half of the town has no hills worthy of the name; its general level perhaps 100 feet above the Mohawk, and the prevailing soil is a fine sand, underlaid with clay except in the extreme easterly limits where the clay loam again prevails.

Besides this there is found in the bends and eddies of the river, and upon the low islands, an alluvial deposit which is constantly enriched by the annual floods. This constitutes the widely known "Mohawk Flats," which though cultivated by the white man for more than 200 years, have lost little of their unsurpassed fertility.

In the early period of the settlement no other land was tilled. Hence they called the land arable land, or bouwlandt, all else being denominated woodland and little valued. In addition to their fertility, these flats presented another advantage to the first settler — they were mainly free from wood and ready for the plough and seed. For ages they had been the native's corn land, while the adjacent forest furnished him with flesh and the river with fish.

The great sand belt which passes across the town south to north, was once covered with a heavy growth of pines, while the high lands lying north and west of it produced the usual varieties of hard woods. Nothing could have been more charming to the eye of the first white men traveling up the Mohawk to Fort Hunter, than the flats skirting the river banks, clothed in bright green of the Indian corn and other summer crops of the red men.

The site of the village of Schenectady was admirably chosen. No other spot in the neighborhood of the bouwlandt offered such facilities for a village. From the eastern end of the "Great Flat" there makes out from the sandy bluff which surrounds it a low narrow spit, lying upon the east, north and west sides the Mohawk river and Sand Kil. The extreme point, only about 1,200 feet wide, was chosen for the site of the future city — a warm dry spot, easily fortified against an enemy and sufficiently elevated to be safe from the annual overflow of the Mohawk river. This little flat contains 175 acres, and it was the site of an earlier Indian village. Tradition has it that it was a former seat or capital of the Mohawks, whose numerous dead have been, from time to time, found buried along the Benne Kil.

If we may believe tradition, Schenectady had already been occupied by the white man many years when Van Curler first visited it in 1642. In fact it has been claimed to be little if any younger than Albany.

That a few fur traders and bosloopers early roved among the Mohawks, married and raised families of half-breeds, cannot be denied; indeed there are respectable families in the valley to this day whose pedigree may be traced back to these marriages. But that the white man made any permanent settlement on the Mohawk west of Albany before 1662, there is no good reason for believing and, in view of the opposition of Albany and the Colony, improbable.

In the summer of 1661 Arent Van Curler, the leader of the first settlement, made formal application to Governor Stuyvesant for permission to settle upon the "Great Flat" lying west of Schenectady.

The foundation and establishment of Schenectady is almost universally credited to Arent Van Curler, indeed it was at first known as Curlear. He was only one of the founders, however. He never lived there, had no hand in the establishment of the early government of the hamlet, or in its subsequent development. But he was the man who obtained the original patent, and who had a long and discouraging battle before he secured it from the cautious Stuyvesant.

Nor was he the first white man to appreciate the natural advantage of the place. The evidence of Bible entries, corroborating tradition, shows that Jacque Cornelise Van Slyck, (the half-breed son of Cornelise Van Slyck and his wife, a Mohawk chieftain's daughter) also Alexander Lindsay, Glen and John Teller, a nephew of Glen's wife, were here as early as 1658. Cornelise Antonise Van Slyck, father of Jacque Cornelise, married Alstock at Mohawk Castle, was adopted into the tribe, and was known, with Arent Cornelise Viele as one of the two great interpreters of the Indian language. Cornelise Antonise Van Stuck could live anywhere among the Mohawks whose fidelity and devotion followed the family down, deeding the land to his sons Martin, Maurice and Jacque Cornelise. To the latter in 1658, Van Slyck's Island, between what is now known as the Frog Alley river, and the Benne Kil.

Alexander Lindsay Glen, to whom also the Mohawks were warmly attached, and whose son, John Alexander, was the so-called Mayor of Schenectady on the night of the massacre, lived where the Glen family mansion still stands, in the possession of the Sanders family, his descendants.

John Teller, a nephew of Glen's wife, was a resident of Rotterdam, where his family burial lot still exists on the lands of the Hon. Simon Schermerhorn. Arent Van Curler, as his real name is spelled, was a grand specimen of the genuine Hollander, tenderhearted, humane and brave. He was universally trusted and beloved by the Mohawks, all governors of New York being called after him. He was a cousin of the Patroon, a brewer in Beaverwyck, and an intimate friend and companion of Arent Andreas Bradt, who is an ancestor of a distinguished county family which has given a long list of distinguished men, who have served their county in Legislature, Congress, and on the battlefields of King and Colony. Van Curler was also a trader. His correspondence with the Patroon, and his letters to Stuyvesant, in arguing the issue of the patent, show him to have been a man of intelligence and of unusual education for his day and generation. He knew the location of Schenectady by heart, and wrote rapturously of the natural beauty of the spot and its remarkable adaptability to Indian trade and commerce. But he had other motives urged upon him by Bradt and Schermerhorn, Teller, Banker. and others, who subsequently became the original proprietors. Holland claimed and possessed, in right of discovery, the whole territory that included Beaverwyck and the banks of the Hudson and Mohawk. Manhattan was the chief port and headquarters of the traders, who, to prevent competition, organized a great corporation, first under the name of the United Netherland Company, and afterwards in 1621 secured exclusive privilege, by the title of the Privileged West India Company. The real object of this company was trade of which it had a complete monopoly. In the parlance of this day, in comparison with this gigantic commercial output, the Standard Oil and the Steel Trust "wasn't in it." Pressure was put upon the directors of the Company in Holland, and they yielded by making concessions to the Patroons, another name, as was afterwards discovered to the disgust of the Colonist, for the Baron with the feudal system of the middle ages. The directors were Patroons in earnest. They took up immense tracts of land, and though organized ostensibly for the development of the county, engaged not only in trade, but burdened it with restrictions, introducing slavery, and raising up an aristocracy that for wealth and power was not surpassed in the dark day of feudal tyranny.

The sturdy Dutchman, always a freeman in heart and soul, the most liberty-loving and tolerant man on earth, could not and would not endure it, and began to get away from his irksome condition, scattered out of Beaverwyck and the dominion of Fort Orange. It was for men like these that Van Curler strove to obtain the patent.

In the summer of 1660, three years before the emissary of the Duke of York came from England to overthrow the Dutchmen, Van Curler applied to Governor Stuyvesant at New Amsterdam, for permission to take possession of the Groote Vlachte, after purchasing it from the Mohawks who were willing to take a moderate price for it.

On the 23rd of June an order was issued providing that the title be as usual transferred to Stuyvesant, as Director, whatever the petitioners price to be, returned to them. Before the authority was received a terrible freshet occurred, which cut off communication with the executive at New Amsterdam and not until a month later was the land purchased. It was bought of three Mohawk representatives and Chief Cautuqua signing with a grotesque etching of a bear as his mark, Aiadane with an impossible turtle as his coat of arms, Sonareetsie with a lamb distorted with agony as his sign manual, who designated the Groote Vlachte as "Sconnowee." April 6th, 1662, Van Curler notified Stuyvesant of the action, and asked him to send a surveyor. But Beaverwyck and Rensselaerwyck, jealous of the new township, and desirous of keeping a monopoly of the fur trade, "had a pull" with Director-General Stuyvesant, and induced him to order that the settlers of Schenectady should confine themselves to agriculture exclusively, and restrain from all trade with the Indians. To this Van Curler and the settlers would not agree, imploring the Governor that, as they had paid for their lands, they should have them without any restriction. At last, after a long and tedious correspondence, desiring to be honest and fair, as all good Dutchman of that day desired to be, the Director-General at last in immediate answer to the last appeal of April 17th, 1664, sent up Jacques Cortelyou, surveyor to the Board of Directors. Van Curler's description in this deed from the Indians was followed and resulted in a very meagre plot of land. So continuing the progress inaugurated by his Yankee neighbor of crowding out the aboriginal,the burgher bought more land, conveyed in the fantastic language of the time signed by Mohawks of unpronounceable names and attested by grotesque hieroglyphics in imitation of animal life that was never seen in the heavens above, or the earth beneath, or the waters under the earth.

Meantime the Duke of York through Nicholls had ousted Stuyvesant and the Great West Indian company. The Mohawk Dutchman in his forest home, where he had begun to settle down to his pipe and build on the Groote Vlachte, (the elevated plain on which Schenectady was being built) knew little and cared less. So that he was free from the Lords of the Manor and was free to worship God and Mammon with strict impartiality in his dealings with both, cared little or nothing for the change but kept on figuratively and literally sawing wood and swapping "aukers of good beer," rundlets of brandy, beads, trinkets and any old thing for Mohawk land.

They applied for a charter to Dongan, the English Governor. This charter embraced fully twelve miles of land, extending about four miles in width along the north and south banks of the Mohawk river. This was denied for indefiniteness of boundary though the petitioners were granted the use of a seal and graciously permitted to pay quit rent. Their descendants in Rotterdam are doing it yet.

Meantime the Indians (Indian givers as the phrase is yet used in the valley) began to repudiate their bargain. They were staunchly devoted to Jacques Van Slyck, and claimed that he owned the first flat for he was of their people, and that much of Van Curler purchase to Hilletece and Leah, half breed sisters of Van Slyck, who had married Danielse Van Olinda and Jonathan Stevens, and that of all the land, Van Curler had bought only the "grassed" and not the land, "that is may be some drunken fellow may have made some writings without their knowledge." But some more good aukers of beer, rundlets of brandy, some beads and a shoddy blanket or two, probably settled the question, for the Governor, satisfied with title and boundary, finally, Nov. 1st, 1664, gave a charter to William Teller, Ryer Schermerhorn, Swere Teunessen Van Velsen, Jan Van Eps and Mynderst Wemple, on behalf of the inhabitants of the town of Schenectady.

Thus ancient Schenectady was established. The charter was the legal title to lands embraced within 128 square miles of territory, and about 80,000 acres of land. Its boundaries, as near as we can discover from ancient maps, began on the west about where the county line is now, at Hoffman's Ferry on the Glenville side, extending over a strip about four miles north of the river bank to the Aal Plaats, (Eel Place) creek. On the south bank it extended to the hillside, following the line of the highland back to Pattersonville and Rotterdam junction, the lands of Hon. Simon Schermerhorn, skirting the base of the hills at the residence of the Hon. John D. Campbell, and curving around behind the Villa Road, the bowery wood, below Union College grounds, (then a forest) with "Hanse Janse Eanklu Kil," a large stream that fifty-five years ago contained in what is now Jackson's garden, the perch, rock bass, sunfish and suckers of the Mohawk River. Now it is dried up and shows no water except in early spring or after heavy rains. From thence to the boundary line.

Arent Bradt died during the negotiation by Van Curler for the charter. He left two sons, of whom and their descendants more hereafter. He was represented in subsequent divisions of the land by Catalina, his widow, who had borne him six children and married Barent Jan Van Ditmars. Schenectady, be it remembered, was on the Groot Vlachte, a level plateau that began under the hills at about Center and Smith streets, ran along on the brow of the slope, easily yet to be traced, to the Benne Kil, "Frog Alley River." The Benne Kil, the name now given to the center stream, was then called the middle Benne Kil, at that time a narrow creek. Thence it followed the stream in a high bluff, long since cut away, turning at the Glenville Bridge until at the poor pasture it curved around the College hill, then a forest of pines, keeping southward in a slight elevation until it met its starting point. All the rest of the charter lands and Indian grants were called Bouwelandts, or farm lands. The inhabitants of the city were known as burghers. The farmers as bouweries. The highest point in this plateau was about opposite the present parsonage of St. George Church where the first fort was built.

The village was under the government of five trustees, the persons named in the Dongan Charter, who governed the hamlet apparently to the entire satisfaction of the scanty population until the Leisler and anti-Leisler factions divided the town just before the massacre.

A division of lands and property had been made, and the inhabitants in those perilous days began at once to fortify. They did so and from what we have learned of their work, to such good purpose that, but for their own fatuity and want of watchful care, the horrors of the night of February 2nd, 1690 need never have reddened history. Thanks to the energy and public spirit of the Hon. J. W. Clute, formerly mayor of the city, all important points in the annals and records of the city have been handsomely identified and commemorated by a series of bronze tablets that mark the sites of the scenes of eventful occurrences that have made Schenectady known the world over. These bronze tablets tell a wonderful story to the passer-by. There were several forts built in the village — in fact there was always a fort and garrison here until long after the Revolutionary War.

The first defences of the city are described by Major McMurray, whose military education has evidently materially aided him in coming near to the exact situation. This is the result of his discoveries. The method of fortification was by stockades, which the abundance of timber at their very doors made a cheap and ready protection. Cannon were only used for defense, attacks being always made by the musket.

The stockade consisted of a series of posts or logs from fifteen to eighteen feet long, and twelve inches or more thick, sharpened at one end and hewed flat on opposite sides. Pine was usually chosen because most abundant and easily worked.

The line of stockade being marked out, a trench three feet deep was dug, the posts were set therein, the flattened sides together and the earth shoveled back and rammed against them. To strengthen the top two adjoining posts were bored and fastened together with oaken trenails. At the angles, gates and other important points, blockhouses for the shelter of the garrison and guards were built and within the stockade all around was a free space, called the rondweg, of sufficient width in which the patrol could march.

In addition to this outer circle of fortification in Schenectady, there was a fort in one of the angles of the latter place, surrounded by a double row of high palisades. This fort was furnished with barracks for the garrison, platform, guns, lookouts, etc. In later times, when Schenectady became a depot for men and materials, there were barracks outside the walls. In 1765 the troops were posted along the east side of Ferry street, from Union street to the Episcopal church; in 1762 on the south side of Union street from Ferry street to the late Mrs. Colon Clute's house; in the Revolutionary War on the south side of Union street from Lafayette street eastwardly to Quackenbush street.

For protection and safety, Schenectady was admirably placed, being surrounded with water and marsh on three sides and open only to the southeast, from which side the inhabitants had little to fear.

The first settlers, though their land lay elsewhere, built their habitations mainly together for their greater protection. As soon after the settlement in 1662 as could conveniently be done, the village was stockaded. Starting at State street the line ran along the east side of Ferry street to about the gate of the Episcopal church, then in a straight line to the north side of Front street a little beyond Washington avenue, then southerly and parallel to the same to State street and lastly along the same twenty-eight feet south thereof to Ferry street or Mill Lane. This was the original plot enclosed, and it contained most of the houses of the first settlers.

The south and west lines remained substantially the same down to the time of their extinction soon after the Revolutionary War. The Front and Washington street lines were later moved north and west to the river bank and the Ferry street line some time after 1765, was carried southeasterly to the New York Central Railroad depot and thence northerly through the Dutch church burying ground to the river bank.

In 1690 it was said, in the French account of the village, that there were but two gates; one at the north end of Church street called the "north gate," the other at State. This was doubtless at the junction of State and Church streets and opened out to the roads through Mill Lane and Water street, leading to the bouwlands and to the Mohawk country.

In later times there were others at Front and Union Streets. The foundations of the gates and guardhouses where Ferry crosses State and Union streets were exposed in laying the water pipes in 1871.

Schenectady was so important a post for the protection of the province against the incursions of the Canadians that for the first hundred years of its existence it was deemed necessary to strengthen it by a fort and garrison.

The writer is led to believe, from references in the records, that the first block house was in the north angle of the stockade at or near the junction of Front and Washington streets. This was destroyed in 1690 by the French, at which time it was garrisoned by a small detachment under Lieutenant Enos Talmage, from Captain Jonathan Bull's company, then stationed at Albany. These troops were Connecticut men.

The magazine stood on or near the lot of Mrs. Willard, then belonging to Captain Sander Glen.

Outside of block houses and the Fort, the most prominent structure built before the massacre, was the little Reformed Netherland Dutch Church. It stood directly in the centre of the space at the intersection of State, Church and Water streets. It was an insignificant little place of worship, its exact dimension being unknown, perfectly square in shape, with its four roofs running to a peak, on which was perched a small belfry or cupola. Around it was a grave yard, from whence in 1848, the Hon. John Sanders removed the bones of his ancestor, Alexander Lindsay Glen. The building was erected in 1682. The houses were built in the old Dutch style, some of them with brick; not in a single instance it is believed with bricks brought from abroad. Houses are repeatedly pointed out as being built of brick brought from Holland. It would not have paid to bring bricks from there — the Hollander was of a commercial race — he did not carry anything around in trade that did not pay. Bricks did not come over in ballast. Ships came from Holland when they had paying cargoes, or remained in the Maas or Scheldts until they had one. Clay was plenty, and the best of it. Brick making was not such skilled labor that its product had to be imported. Abundant material was made in Fort Orange, only twenty miles off by a fairly good road. Stone was abundant, of the best kind at that. And lumber of all kinds was in the possession of almost every land proprietor.

The style of the buildings whether of wood, stone or brick, was almost that of a building gable end to the street, or with a round topped front. A specimen can be seen in the house built by Abraham Yates (1734) opposite the Court House (now owned by Mrs. Joseph Vandebogart) the Bradt house in Rotterdam, west of the Pump House, or the Vrooman mill at the Brandywine. Within the stockade and quadrangle, above described, were the lots of the fifteen original proprietors.

The original plat embraced only the ground extending from the main Benne Kil on the west, to what is now the east side of Ferry street, on the east, and from the Mohawk River, on the north, to the line of the low lands on the south, including a small portion of the Flats. This area they carefully fortified with stockades or palisades well knowing that at this point they occupied the extreme front line of civilization. And although compactness was studied and desirable yet, with a view to business and convenience of posterity and an enlightened policy, they laid out their streets wide, regular and at right angles, as still exhibited when the palisades were laid.

1st. Handelaers' street, literally Traders' street. This name continued until soon after the destruction and massacre at Schenectady in 1690, when the name was changed to "Lion" street, and was so called until after the close of the Revolutionary War, when it was named "Washington" street, (Washington Avenue) in honor of the great First President. This street, until the disastrous fire of 1819 when its docks, wharves and storehouses along the main Benne Kil and the mercantile and dwelling houses on the street itself, were swept away, was by far the most valuable business portion of the city and had been from the day of its settlement. But with that desolation of fire and the progressive movements of the Erie canal and the strides of railroad power, its business activities have been transferred to our State street and the old business center has become, with quiet dignity, a delightful place of residence — one of the most charming points of Schenectady.

2d. Front street retains its original name and was so called because it was on the north line of the place, and ran parallel with the Mohawk river.

3d. Ferry street also maintains its first name, and was called because one of the gates of the place, and the landing place for its boats, canoes and only scow, was at its foot. The Mohawk was crossed by no bridges then. The village, and the sparse population on the north side of that river, maintained communication by water except in the winter season. There the sentinel of snow was stationed when the place was surprised in 1690. Here the only entrance was made by the French and Indians. The French account given by Monsieur DeMonseignat (Paris Doc. LV.,) states:

"The town of "Corlear," (Schenectady) forms a sort of oblong with only two gates, one opposite the road we had taken (Ferry street,) the other leading to Orange (Albany.) Messieurs DeSainte Helene and DeMantet were to enter at the first, which the squaws pointed out and which, in fact, was found wide open. Messieurs d'Iberville and DeMontesson took the left, with another detachment to join the remainder of the party. A profound silence was everywhere observed, until the two commanders, who, separated at their entrance into the town for the purpose of encircling it, had met at the other extremity."

4th. Church street was always called so because the earliest church (Reformed Dutch) was erected on the small public square at its southern termination.

5th. Niskayuna street was so named in honor of the old Niskayuna settlement just outside of the manor of Rensselaerwyck, whose inhabitants sympathized with those of Schenectady, and in some families were of the same kith and kin. It is now known as Union street.

6th. Albany street was so called until after the burning and massacre of 1690, when it was named "Martelaer's street" (Martyr's street,) in memory of the cruel slaughter of many of its residents, where the murders of that hour and the barbarities of that night seem to have been the most terrific. It was so named until it received its present designation, "State street."

The lots on the village plat and the farming flats on both sides of the Mohawk river, embracing the islands therein, as contained in the grant, were equitably divided or apportioned among the original proprietors, who subsequently sold out sections or rights to actual settlers on easy terms. Aided by such encouragement, the fertility of the soil and the advantages of local trading position, Schenectady soon advanced in population, prosperity and wealth.

As is apparent at this late day, the lots on the north side of Front street ran through to the "Strand" on the Mohawk river.

The east side of Ferry street was occupied by a line of pickets, placed deeply and firmly in the soil, some remains of which this writer, in the march of later-day improvements, has seen excavated from the line where both tradition and history claim they were fixed by the old pioneers.

The lots on the south side of State street ran down to and, generally, some short distance on the flats. And the lots on the west side of Washington avenue extended to the Strand on the main Bennekill, which was, until 1819, the harbor and commercial port of our comparatively venerable place.

Besides the portion above named, within the pickets, there were four blocks, laid out 400 feet square, Rhineland measure, (400 feet Rhineland being 413 feet English measure.)

In the division Van Curler was first taken care of. With no intention to discredit this distinguished man, all indication points to the fact that his interest here, as were those of many of the original proprietors, was purely commercial. He knew the locality well, admired it for its beauty, but was not in the business of founding colonies to enjoy beauties of scenery. In fact he was establishing a land improvement company for what there was in it. Arent Andreas Bradt was a half-breed, the son of Andreas of Albany and Kinetis, a daughter of a Mohawk chief. Arent Bradt was an actual resident of Schenectady. Curler and Bradt were brewers and warm personal friends. Cornelise Antonisen Van Slyck had married Olstock, a sister of Bradt's wife. It was Bradt and Van Curler Slyck who induced the speculative Van Curler to enter into the deal. Bradt bought his lot before Van Curler obtained his charter, had built his house and lived in it before the survey. He died in 1668, one year before the little township was plotted out. Arent's son, Andreas Arent, married a half-breed daughter of Jacquese Cornelise Van Slyck. He and his wife were killed in the massacre and left one son surviving, Arent Bradt, who subsequently became one of the most prominent and distinguished men of Schenectady. Samuel Bradt, a son of Arent Andreas, the first settler, married also Susannis, another half-breed daughter of Jacques Cornelise. The Bradts, it thus appears, contrary to the general impression, have more Indian blood than the Van Slycks. They have transmitted it by direct descent in male and female line, through most all of the old Mohawk families and through many of the English who subsequently came here. All the Yateses, descending from Col. Christopher and Teller who were born at the Aal Plass in 1734 and 1744 and married daughters of Capt. Andreas Bradt, have a full strain of it.

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