History of the
Town of East Greenbush

The following information is from Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of New York State by J. H. French, published in 1860.Ray Brown's website Ray's Place has town histories as published in Landmarks of Rensselaer County by George Baker ANDERSON (Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1897). For Chapter XXX, Town of East Greenbush, click here.

East Greenbush was formed from Greenbush, as "Clinton," on February 23, 1855; its name was changed from "Clinton" to "East Greenbush" on April 14, 1858. East Greenbush lies on the left (east) bank of the Hudson River, southwest of the center of the county. The bluffs which border the river rise from the edge of the water to an elevation of 100 to 300 feet. The principal one of these, opposite Albany, is known as Pon-o-kose Hill1. From the summits of these bluffs, the terrain spreads out into a rolling upland, rising towards the east. The chief streams are Tierken Kil2, or Mill Creek, in the central part of the town, and Moordeners Creek, in the southwestern part of the town. The soil consists of sand, gravel, and clay, and is very fertile. There are several sulphur springs in town, the principal one of which is opposite Albany and is known as "Harrowgate" or "Harrogate". A large island called Papskanee3 lies in the river and belongs to this town. The town of East Greenbush contains only one village, the village of East Greenbush. It contains the Greenbush and Schodack Academy4 and about a dozen houses. Settlements are supposed to have commenced here as early as 16505. During the War of 1812, extensive barracks were erected on the hills east of Greenbush Village [today the City of Rensselaer], and for several years the place was the center of active military preparation and the rendezvous of large bodies of troops6. Edmund C. Genet [known as "Citizen Genet"], Minister of the French Republic to the USA, was long a resident of this town and died here July 14, 1834. There is but one church in the town, the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Greenbush.

1 Name as given by an aged Stockbridge Indian.
2 Signifying "blustering or noisy creek".
3 Sometimes written "Poepskenekoes" and "Papakenee".
4 This academy is now [1860] nearly extinct.
5 Among the early settlers were the names of Van Buren, Van Hegen, Staats, Bris, Vandenburgh, Witbeck, Cuyler, and Van Wesipe.
6 The cantonments contained accommodation for 4,000 troops. There was also hospital accommodation for 100. This elevated position, sometimes called "Mount Madison", was supposed to be a very healthy locality, but during the first year of its occupation, much sickness occurred, in consequence of the unavoidable exposures of the camp. See Mann's Medical Sketches. Several military executions for desertion took place here during the war. The old barracks have nearly disappeared.

The following information is from Gazetteer and Business Directory of Rensselaer County, N. Y., for 1870-71, compiled by Hamilton Child in 1870.

A ferry was established at a very early day across the Hudson River, from Albany to Greenbush.

The following description is from Dwight's Travels in 1798.

"After crossing the ferry at Albany, we rode over a charming interval at Greenbush, handsomer and more fertile than any other which I have seen on this road. It extends several miles towards the south and is divided into beautiful farms and planted in a thin dispersion, with houses and outbuildings whose appearance sufficiently indicates the easy circumstances of their proprietors. From the excellent gardens which I have at times seen in this spot and the congeniality of soil to every hortulan production of this climate, I should naturally have be1ieved that the inhabitants together with the neighbors would have supplied the people of Albany with vegetables. Instead of this, they are principally furnished by the Shakers of New Lebanon, a strong proof of the extreme reluctance with which the Dutch farmers quit their ancient customs even when allured by the prospects of superior gain.

"There is a small village in Schodack, containing about 30 houses, and another at Stephentown of perhaps 20, standing on the borders of Kinderhook Creek. The rest of this region is divided into farms, is moderately fertile and is cultivated by tenants."

The source of the following information is unknown but appears to have been published in about 1870.

The population of the town in 1865 was 1,663. The number of school districts in the town is six, employing the same number of teachers. The number of children of school age is 438; the number attending school is 266; the average attendance is 108, and the amount expended for school purposes during the year ended Sept. 30, 1869 was $2,396.94.

The following information is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York, With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

Early Settlers
Aring, K.
Bartle, W.
Bries, Anthony
Crannell, H.
Craver, J.
Cuyler, Henry
DeFreest, D. M.
Douw, Peter
Elliott, W.
Feller, Z.
Fonda, John
Goewey, B.
Hayes, S.
Heax, J.
Heron, _____
Herrington, J.
Holler, S.
Hun, T.
Kerner, J.
Muller A.
Muller, B.
Muller, J.
Muller, S.
Murrey, J.
Ostrander, _____ and J.
Ostrander, _____
Ostrander, G.
Ostrander, John
Owen, _____
Owen, J.
Phillips, E.
Phillips, T.
Plas, P.
Proper, J.
Rysedorph, J.
Rysedorph, L.
Salsbergh, Tobias
Salsburgh, J.
Schermerhorn, _____
Townsend, _____
Van Buren, _____
Van Buren, C. and J.
Van Buren, Teuntie
Van Den Bergh, Gerrit C.
Van Den Bergh, R.
Van Der Poel, Meldert
Van Deusen, H.
Van Deusen, W.
Van Deusen, W.
Van Everen, Anthony
Van Everen, Cornelia
Van Hagen, M.
Van Hoesen, H.
Van Hoesen, M.
Van Jereren, A.
Van Jereren, R.
Van Rensselaer, Gen.
Van Rensselaer, H.
Van Rensselaer, J.
Van Rensselaer, Killiaan, Colonel
Van Salsburgh, H.
Van Schaick, _____
Van Scherline, C.
Vandenbergh, _____
Vandenbergh, V.
Vandenbergh, W.
Vandenburgh, G. C.
Ven Den Bergh, William G.
Wederwax, Andreas
Witbeck, A.
Witbeck, Abraham
Witbeck, H.
Witbeck, Hansie
Witbeck, J.
Witbeck, John
Witbeck, Melgert Abraham
Witbeck, T.
Yates, Christopher
Yates, Christopher J.

Early Churches
Reformed Protestant Dutch Congregation of Greenbush, organized in 1767
Methodist Church at East Greenbush, organized about 1875

Civil War Soldiers
Baker, Frederick, enl. Jan 6, 1864, 15th Art., Co. K.
Binck, Philip, enl. May 13, 1861, 18th Regt.
Brocksby, James, enl. Oct. 17, 1862, 177th Regt.
Burrough, Geo., enl. Sept. 5, 1864, 23d Regt.; re-enl. 8th H. Art.
Butts, Anson, enl. April 15, 1865, 92d N. Y. Regt.; trans. to 10th H. Art.
England, Geo., enl. Sept. 5, 1862, 43d Regt.; trans. to Inv. Corps; wounded in left arm.
England, Joseph, enl. Sept. 17, 1862, 43d N. Y. Regt.
Olenhouse, Frederick, enl. May 14, 1861, 3d Regt.
Ostrander, Michael, enl. Sept. 5, 1864, 23d Regt.; re-enl. 8th H. Art.
Pratt, Geo., enl. Oct. 26, 1862, 15th Vt. Regt.; pro. to corp.
Schultz, Alford, enl. Sept. 8, 1865, 91st Regt.
Smith, Abram, enl. Sept. 4, 1864, 91st Regt.
Traver, Alvarah V., nl. Oct. 6, 1862, 169th Regt.; wounded in head at Fort Fisher.

Civil War Soldiers Who Died in Service
Clipperly, Geo. H., enl. April 18, 1862, 125th Regt.; died June 17, 1864, at Petersburg, Va.
Douw, John D. P., lst lieut., enl. Aug 18, 1862, 121st N. Y. Regt.; pro. to capt.; wounded in battle at Cedar Creek; died Oct. 26, 1864 at Winchester, Va.
Traver, Chester L., enl. Sept. 12, 1862, 169th Regt.; pro. to corp.; died Oct. 14, 1863, at Fort Schuyler.

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