Watervliet (town), New York

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The town of Watervliet ( /wɔːtərˈvlt/ waw-tər-VLEET or /wɔːtərvəˈlt/ waw-tər-və-LEET) was a town that at its height encompassed most of present-day Albany County and most of the current town of Niskayuna in neighboring Schenectady County, in the state of New York, United States. Just prior to its dissolution, the town encompassed the current towns of Colonie and Green Island and the city of Watervliet.

Albany County, New York County in the United States

Albany County is a county in the state of New York, in the United States. Its northern border is formed by the Mohawk River, at its confluence with the Hudson River, which is on the east. As of the 2010 census, the population was 304,204. The county seat is Albany, the state capital of New York. As originally established by the English government in the colonial era, Albany County had an indefinite amount of land, but has had an area of 530 square miles (1,400 km2) since March 3, 1888. The county is named for the Duke of York and of Albany, who became James II of England.

Niskayuna, New York Town in New York, United States

Niskayuna is a town in Schenectady County, New York, United States. The population was 21,781 at the 2010 census. The town is located in the southeast part of the county, east of the city of Schenectady, and is the easternmost town in the county.

Schenectady County, New York County in the United States

Schenectady County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 154,727. The county seat is Schenectady. The name is from a Mohawk language word meaning "on the other side of the pine lands," a term that originally applied to Albany.

Contents

History

Town of Watervliet in 1866 Townofwatervliet1866.jpg
Town of Watervliet in 1866
Watervliet Historical Populations
YearPop.±%
1790 7,667    
1800 5,012−34.6%
1810 2,365−52.8%
1820 2,806+18.6%
1830 4,962+76.8%
1840 10,141+104.4%
1850 10,675+5.3%
1860 25,449+138.4%
1870 22,609−11.2%
1880 22,220−1.7%
1890 24,709+11.2%
Sources:

On March 7, 1788, the state of New York divided the entire state into towns, eliminating districts as administrative units by passing New York Laws of 1788, Chapters 63 and 64. This transformed the Western District of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck into the town of Watervliet. [1] In the census of 1790, the town had a population of 7,419, which made it twice as populous as the city of Albany. [2]

Manor of Rensselaerswyck Place in New Netherland, Netherlands

The Manor of Rensselaerswyck, Manor Rensselaerswyck, Van Rensselaer Manor, or just simply Rensselaerswyck, was the name of a colonial estate—specifically, a Dutch patroonship and later an English manor—owned by the van Rensselaer family that was located in what is now mainly the Capital District of New York in the United States.

Albany, New York Capital of New York

Albany is the capital of the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of its confluence with the Mohawk River and approximately 135 miles (220 km) north of New York City.

The European settlement of Watervliet predated the creation of the town by almost 200 years. Fort Nassau on Castle Island was built by Dutch colonists in 1614 within the original boundaries of the town. It passed to the town of Bethlehem upon its creation in 1793, later to be annexed to the city of Albany in the 20th century. Early settlers were Dutch farmers owning land north and south of Fort Orange along the Hudson River. The lands to the north came to be known as Watervliet, while the lands to the south were named Bethlehem.

Castle Island (New York)

Castle Island is a former island located in the city of Albany, Albany County, New York. Over the past 400 years, Castle Island has been referred to as Martin Gerritse's Island, Patroon's Island, Van Rensselaer Island, and--since the late 19th century--Westerlo Island. The land known as Castle Island has been connected to the mainland and now forms a part of the Port of Albany.

Bethlehem, New York Town in New York, United States

Bethlehem is a town in Albany County, New York, USA. The town's population was 33,656 at the 2010 census. Bethlehem is located immediately to the south of the City of Albany. Bethlehem includes the following hamlets: Delmar, Elsmere, Glenmont, North Bethlehem, Selkirk, Slingerlands, and South Bethlehem. U.S. Route 9W passes through the town. The town is named after the biblical Bethlehem.

The town had been settled by many immigrant groups who settled different regions of the town. In the western section of the town, in what would later become the town of Berne, Germans from the 1750s and Scots during the US Revolutionary War settled around the Helderberg Escarpment.

Berne, New York Town in New York, United States

Berne is a town in Albany County, New York, United States. The population was 2,794 at the 2010 census. The town is at the west border of Albany County.

Helderberg Escarpment

The Helderberg Escarpment also known as Helderberg Mountains is an escarpment and mountain range in eastern New York, roughly 11 miles (18 km) west of the city of Albany. The escarpment rises steeply from the Hudson Valley below, with an elevation difference of approximately 700 feet over a horizontal distance of approximately 2,000 feet. Much of the escarpment is within John Boyd Thacher State Park, and has views of the Hudson Valley and the Albany area.

Over the next 20 years, several towns would be broken off from this town, often called the "Mother of Towns". Rensselaerville in 1790 would be the first town separated, [3] Coeymans would separate in 1791, [4] while Colonie would be incorporated as a municipality but would stay within Watervliet. [5] Bethlehem would be created in 1793 from Watervliet. [4] Colonie would become incorporated again, this time as a district in 1801. [6] Guilderland would separate in 1803, [7] and Colonie would become a village in 1804 [5] and then a separate town in 1808. [5] Niskayuna would separate in 1809, [3] when Schenectady County was broken off from Albany County. In 1815 Colonie would be split between the city of Albany and the town of Watervliet.  [5] In 1836 West Troy would incorporate as a village, [3] Cohoes in 1848, and then Green Island in 1853 also as a village. [8] Cohoes would be set off from the town as a city in 1869. [9] In 1870 the portion of the former town of Colonie that Watervliet received in 1815 was annexed by the city of Albany. [9] In 1870-71 the city of Albany west of Magazine Street (the so-called "Liberty" of Albany) was given by the state to the town of Watervliet. The town however was unwilling to accept the territory and subsequently ceded the territory to the neighboring town of Guilderland. [10] At this same time the city of Albany annexed from Watervliet the hamlet of North Albany. [11]

Timeline of town creation in New Yorks Capital District

The towns and cities of New York's Capital District were created by the U.S. state of New York as municipalities in order to give residents more direct say over local government. The Capital District is an 11 county area, which consists of the counties of Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schoharie, Warren, Washington, Columbia, Montgomery, Fulton, and Greene. New York experimented with different types of municipalities before settling upon the current format of towns and cities occupying all the land in a county. Districts were created for Albany and Tryon counties in 1772; all were transformed into towns in 1788 when all of the state of New York was divided into towns. Two years before that, in 1786, all of what Washington County encompassed at that time was divided into townships with the same legal status, abilities, and responsibilities as districts with their status as towns confirmed in 1788. Some other forms of government in earlier years included land patents with some municipal rights and boroughs. The following timelines show the creation of the current towns from their predecessors stretching back to the earliest municipal entity over the area. The timelines only represent from which town(s) a particular town was created from and does not represent annexations of territory to and from towns that already existed. All municipalities are towns unless otherwise noted as patent, township, borough, district, or city. Unless otherwise sourced with a footnote all dates of incorporation represent those stated in the 1860 Gazetteer of the State of New York by John H. French.

Rensselaerville, New York Town in New York, United States

Rensselaerville is a town in Albany County, New York, United States. The population was 1,843 at the 2010 census. The town is named after Stephen Van Rensselaer. The "official" hamlets are Cooksburg, Medusa, Potter Hollow, Preston Hollow, and Rensselaerville.

Coeymans, New York Town in New York, United States

Coeymans is a town in Albany County, New York, United States. The population was 7,418 at the 2010 census. The town is named after an early settler, who was the patent-holder for the area. The town is in the southeast part of the county, south of Albany, New York.

In the 1890s the rural residents of the majority of the town of Watervliet became dissatisfied with being under the political control of the urban residents of the village of West Troy. When talk began of the creation of a city of Watervliet, they petitioned the state to be set apart as a separate town. In 1895 the state legislature passed laws of 1895 chapter 975, which established the town of Colonie from the majority of the town of Watervliet, leaving behind only the villages of Green Island and West Troy within the town of Watervliet. [12] In the next year, the original town was dissolved. The laws of 1896 chapter 811, which went into effect on May 21, created the town of Green Island to cover the village of the same name, leaving only the village of West Troy in the town of Watervliet. On August 1, 1896, the village of West Troy, along with some land from the town of Colonie, was incorporated as the independent city of Watervliet, and the town of Watervliet was ended. [13]

Watervliet v Colonie

After the town of Colonie was created but prior to the dissolution of the town of Watervliet into the city of Watervliet and town of Green Island, the town of Watervliet filed a lawsuit against the new town of Colonie to enforce the state law's division of debt payments between the two towns. Before Town of Watervliet v. Town of Colonie could go to trial, the town of Watervliet was dissolved. Chapter 905 of the laws of 1896 creating the city of Watervliet stated that any land in the town of Watervliet not incorporated into the new city would form a "distinct and separate town" and, after a boundary survey, uninhabited strips of land totaling less than 3 acres (12,000 m2) were found. Representatives of the town of Watervliet argued that it still existed and could continue the lawsuit. The Supreme Court of Albany County, Appellate Division, 3rd Department on March 2, 1898 ruled that the town of Watervliet ceased to exist on August 1, 1896 with the formation of the city; it said that the legislature could not have intended to have a town consisting of uninhabited shreds of discontinuous territory. The court declared that when the state dissolves a town and replaces it with a new city, the new municipality succeeds to the property of the old town; therefore, the court declared these strips of land to be of the city of Watervliet. Also, the court ruled that the officeholders of the town of Watervliet could not be officeholders of the town anymore; as they no longer lived within the town of Watervliet, they had no legal standing to sue in the name of the town. The former offices of the town had existed only to wind up its affairs. Since the court ruled that the town no longer existed, the case was dismissed. [13]

Notable locations found in the town

Notable residents

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Guilderland, New York Town in New York, United States

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Green Island, New York Town and village in New York, United States

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Loudonville, New York hamlet in New York, United States

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Latham, New York hamlet in New York, United States

Latham is a hamlet in Albany County, New York, United States. It is located along U.S. Route 9 in the town of Colonie, a dense suburb north of Albany. As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,736.

Boght Corners, New York hamlet in New York, United States

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References

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  2. "Watervliet". NYS Museum. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  3. 1 2 3 John French (1860). Gazetteer of the State of New York. R. Pearsall Smith. p. 165. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  4. 1 2 John French (1860). Gazetteer of the State of New York. R. Pearsall Smith. p. 163. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  5. 1 2 3 4 John French (1860). Gazetteer of the State of New York. R. Pearsall Smith. p. 159. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  6. Joel Munsall (1869). The Annals of Albany. p. 360. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  7. John French (1860). Gazetteer of the State of New York. R. Pearsall Smith. p. 164. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  8. John French (1860). Gazetteer of the State of New York. R. Pearsall Smith. p. 166. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  9. 1 2 George Howell. Bi-centennial History of County of Albany, 1609-1886. W.W. Munsell & Company. p. 79. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  10. George Howell. Bi-centennial History of County of Albany, 1609-1886. W.W. Munsell & Company. p. 461. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  11. "Appendix: Annexations 1815-1967". City of Albany Department of Urban Redevelopment. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  12. Charles Lincoln (1906). The Constitutional History of New York; Vol. 4. The Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Company. p. 401. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  13. 1 2 National Reporter System (1898). New York Supplement, Vol. 50. W.C. Little & Co. pp. 488–491. Retrieved 2009-04-05.