History of the
Town of Schodack

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

Schodack was formed March 17, 1795, at the time of the division of the patroon's Manor of Rensselaerwyck. Parts of Berlin and Nassau were taken off in 1806. It lies upon the Hudson in the southwest corner of the county. From the river the surface rises in a series of bluffs 200 feet high, from the summits of which it spreads out into an undulating upland, inclined to the west. Bunker Hill, the highest point, is about 500 feet above tide. The surface is intersected by numerous deep gulleys worn by the small streams. The principal streams are Vierde Kil, Moordener Kil, Vlockie Kil, Muitzes Kil and Valatie Kil. Moordener Kil (Murderer's Kil) was so called, says tradition, from an obstinate battle fought between the settlers and a band of robbers at an early day. Adams Killetje is a small creek, so called from Adam Mall, who was taken prisoner by the Indians while drinking of its waters. The soil is clay in the east and is a fertile sandy gravelly loam in the west.

The village of Castleton, situated on the Hudson River, about fourteen miles below Troy, contains two churches, viz Methodist and Reformed; a hotel; six stores; a stove and tine shop; a jewelry store; a lumber yard; five brick yards; and a population of about 600. Five barges run between this village and New York [City], two of them carrying produce and three of them carrying bricks.

The village of Schodack Landing, in the southwest part of the town, on the Hudson River, is a station on the Hudson River Railroad and contains a Reformed church, two hotels, and about 250 inhabitants.

The village of South Schodack is a station on the Boston and Albany Railroad, containing about 100 inhabitants.

Muitzeskill is a hamlet on Muitzes Kil Creek. It contains about 20 dwellings.

The village of Schodack Depot contains about 20 dwellings.

The town of Schodack appears to have been visited by Henry Hudson while on his voyage up the Hudson River in 1609 and at this time was thickly inhabited by native people. When near the site of Castleton, Henry Hudson went on shore and was received with the greatest hospitality by the Governor of the country, who was Chief over 40 men and 17 women. This Chief occupied a house made of the bark of trees, very smooth and well finished. Large quantities of corn and beans were found, sufficient, the early accounts say, to load three ships, besides what were still in the fields not yet harvested. On Hudson's arrival at the house, two mats were brought forward and were spread upon the ground for Hudson to sit upon. Food was also brought in, in well-made wooden bowls. Men were dispatched with bows and arrows to bring in game. They soon returned with a good supply of pigeons, to which was added a fat dog killed and skinned with shells from the river. The feast was got up without regard to expense, and doubtless was relished by the natives, if not by their guests. The land is described as the finest ever seen for tillage, and timber in large quantities fit for shipbuilding was growing upon its surface. Pumpkins, grapes and other fruits were abundant. The natives exchanged furs and other articles for beads, knives, hatchets and whatever else the sailors could spare. When the Chief found that Hudson would not remain upon shore overnight, and supposing that it was through fear of their bows and arrows, he caused the arrows to be broken and thrown into the fire.

The first settlements were made by tenants under the first patroon, Kiliaen Van Rensselaer. Over 40 settlers are mentioned in Bleecker's survey in 1767. Among them we find the names of Van Buren, Barhudt [Barhydt or Barheidt], Van Valkenburgh, Springsteen, Schermerhorn, Janze [Janszen], Ketel [Kittle], [Van Der] Poel, Miller, Schevers, Lodwick [Lodewick], Huyck, Beekman, Mills, Molls [Moll], Salsberg [Salisbury], Whitbeck and Nolton [Knowlton].

The first mill was built before the Revolution, below Castleton.

The first inn was kept by a man named Barhydt, in 1778. A carding mill was erected on Muitzes Kill in 1800.

The population of the town in 1865 was 4,015, and its area was 36,666 acres.

The number of school districts having their school houses in this town is 14, employing 15 teachers. The number of children of school age is 1,317; the number attending school is 909; the average attendance is 378; and the amount expended for school purposes during the year ending September 30, 1869 was $6,518.80.

The following information is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York, by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

The first white man to set foot upon this soil was Henry Hudson, commander of the ship Half Moon, in which he discovered the Hudson River in 1609.

The first settlement of the town as made by tenants under Van Rensselaer, but the exact date of the first settlement, or by whom it was made, is unknown. The first settlers were of Dutch extraction and probably came over at the patroons's invitation and expense, when he hade his first attempts to populate his domain. That would place the date of the first settlement around 1630 or 1631. The organization of the town dates from March 17, 1795, at the time of the division of Rensselaerwyck. The first town meeting was held on April 7, 1795.

Agriculture, including fruit, has always been the chief industry of Schodack. Saw- and grist-mills existed from an early day. The first was built before the Revolution and was operated by a Van Buren. For years, brickmaking was a prominent business. Thousands of bricks were shipped yearly from Schodack Landing.

Revolutionary War Soldiers
Most of the old settlers of Schodack served in the Revolution, though tradition has handed down the names of some who were Tories. Among those who served in the Continental Army [American side] were:
Green, _____
Pools, _____
Schermerhorn, Joseph, Col.
Van Benthusen, William

War of 1812-1815 Soldiers
Huyck, Abram C., Capt.
Ketel, John I.
Milham, Jacob
Miller, Jeremiah.
Schermerhorn, ______
Simmons, David
Van Denburgh, ______
Yale, Braddard

Civil War Soldiers
Acker, Wm., enl. Sept. 1864, 91st Regt.; died in service.
Andrews, James, enl. March 31, 1864, 91st Regt.
Barrenger, James, enl. Apr. 1861, 3d NY Regt.; re-enl. Aug. 27, 1862, 19th Regt.
Beekman, John J. K., pro. to corp.; cavalry.
Bicknell, William, enl. 125th NY Regt.
Boughton, Selden E., enl. Aug. 1862, 134th Regt.; died Mar. 16, 1865 at Albany.
Boyce, John E., enl. Oct. 10, 1861, 91st Regt.; re-enl. Jan. 1, 1864.
Brockway, Edwin, enl. Sept. 1864, 91st Regt.
Brown, Philetus, enl. June 5, 1864, 169th Regt.; died Aug. 3, 1864 at Albany.
Bruse, George, enl. Oct. 11, 1862, 150th Regt.; pro. to sergt.
Carhardt, Alfred, enl. Aug. 22, 1862, 125th Regt.; lost an eye.
Carhart, Alfred, enl. Aug. 1862, 125th NY Regt.
Cayan, Peter, enl. Sept. 1, 1864, 91st Regt.
Cayan, Silas, enl. Aug. 22, 1862, 5th NY Regt.; trans. to 146th Regt.
Chaplin, Calvin, 7th corp., enl. Aug. 12, 1862, 169th Regt., Co. A.
Comstock, Franklin, enl. Apr. 14, 1863, 177th Regt.; died in service.
Coon, Smith, enl. Sept. 1864, 199th Regt.
Cornelius, Abraham, enl. Aug. 2, 1862, 125th Regt.; died in service.
Elder, Nicholas, blacksmith, enl. Aug. 1862, 113th Regt.; re-enl. 7th Art.
Folmsby, Chester, enl. Dec, 31, 1862, 169th Regt.; died Sept. 20, 1864 at Andersonville.
Folmsby, Henry, enl. July 18, 1864, 16th Cav.
Freeman, Andrew, enl. Sept. 1863, 14th R. I. Regt.
Freeman, Frank.
Gleason, Edward.
Gleason, James.
Golden, Reuben, enl. 1861, 10th Zouaves.
Gregory, Oscar, drummer, enl. Aug. 15, 1862, 7th H. Art.; pro. to sergt.
Hays, Jacob, enl. Sept. 1864, 91st Regt.
Hays, John W., enl. May 1861, 14th NY Regt.; re-enl. Sept. 1864, 11th Cav.
Herbert, Casper, enl. Aug. 1862, 125th Regt.; died in service.
Higbee, Martin, sergt., enl. Aug. 2, 1862, 125th Regt.; wounded in left knee.
Higgins, Caleb, enl. Aug. 3, 1862, 125th Regt.; died of fever after battle of Gettysburg.
Higgins, David, enl. Aug. 1861, 47th Regt.; trans. to Invalid Corps.
Hogeboom, Charles S., enl. Aug. 2, 1862, 125th Regt.; died in service.
Hough, William, enl. July 30, 1862.
Houghtaling, Charles, enl. Apr. 23,1861, 20th Regt.; re-enl. 73d Regt.
Hunckstine, Augustus, enl. Aug. 20, 1862, 125th Regt.; disch. for disability.
Hunckstine, John, enl. Jan. 1864, 7th Art.
Johnson, Seth F., enl. 44th Regt.; pro. to Capt.; died in service.
Kittle, Joseph C., enl. 91st Regt.; re-enl. 125th Regt.
Knapp, Rensselaer, enl. Aug. 2, 1862, 125th Regt.; pro. to sergt.; died in service.
Lewis, Jacob, enl. Sept. 1862, 10th Regt.
McGinnis, William, enl. 125th Regt.
McKown, James, maj., enl. Oct. 1861, 44th Regt.
Messenger, James L., enl. Jan. 1862, 169th Regt.
Messenger, William, enl. Jan. 1864, 169th Regt.
Miller,John, enl. Jan. 6, 1864, 169th Regt.
Mizener, Edward, enl. Sept. 2, 1864, 91st Regt.
Moser, John, died Aug. 25, 1864 at Schodack.
Myers, Henry C., Captain's Clerk, enl. Oct. 1862, 19th Regt.
Myers, Lewis, enl. Sept. 11, 1861, 3d NY Regt.; pro. three times.
Myers, Peter, orderly sergt., enl. Sept. 1862, 169th Regt.
Myers, Simcon, sergt., enl. May 24, 1861, 2d Regt.; re-enl. Jan. 1864, 16th Art.
Race, George H., 1st sergt., enl. Aug. 1862, 125th Regt.; pro. three times; died Jan. 29, 1865 at Troy City Hospital.
Reger, Augustin, enl. Aug. 12, 1862, 128th Regt.; died Aug. 28, 1863 at New Orleans.
Rhodes, Elbert, enl. Dec. 1864, Navy ship "Hunchback."
Rose, David, enl. Aug. 2, 1862, 125th Regt.; died in service.
Rourke, John, enl. Sept. 1864, 91st Regt.; died in service.
Salisbury, Daniel H., enl. Sept. 1, 1864, 91st Regt.
Schermerhorn, William, enl. Aug. 9, 1862, 125th Regt.; pro. to 2d lieut.
See, Adam H., 1st sergt., enl. Sept. 1864; died in service.
See, John, enl. Feb. 1863, 19th NY Regt.
See, Sanford, enl. Dec. 16, 1861, 91st Regt.; pro. to copr.
See, Zachariah, enl. Dec. 16, 1861, 91st Regt.; pro. to corp.
Sennor, Samuel I., enl. Sept. 3, 1861, 12th U. S. Inf.; pro. to corp.; seven months prisoner at Salisbury.
Skase, Charles D., enl. Ocxt. 1861, 101st Regt.; re-enl. Dec. 1863, 14th Art.
Slemmer, Charles, enl. Aug. 27, 1862, 125th Regt.; trans. to Invalid Corps.
Slummer, Jacob, enl. Aug. 2, 1862, 125th Regt.; died in service.
Smith, Abiel, enl. 1861.
Smith, Abraham, drummer, enl. 91st Regt.
Smith, Charles P., sergt., enl. Nov. 1861, 102d Regt.
Smith, Clark, 1st sergt., enl. Aug. 12, 1862, 169th Regt., Co. A.
Smith, Cornelius, enl. 113th Regt.
Smith, Manasseh, 2d engineer, enl. Oct. 16, 1861, Navy ship Ticonderoga.
Smith, Nathaniel, enl. 18th Regt.
Smith, Sylvester, fireman, enl. Sept. 1861, Navy ship Unadilla.
Smith, Wesley.
Smith, William E., enl. Aug. 1862, 125th Regt.
Southwick, Wm. H., enl. Aug. 2, 1862, 125th Regt.; died in service.
Springsteen, Alexander, corp., enl. Aug. 2, 1862; pro. to capt.; died in service.
Steuben, Charles, enl. Aug. 18, 1862, 43d Regt.
Teator, Loren, corp, enl. July 31, 1862, 169th Regt.
Thorburn, Henry N., enl. Aug. 2, 1862, 125th Regt.; pro. to lieut.; trans. 36th Colored.
Tobias, Geo., enl. Dec. 12, 1861, 11th Art.; re-enl. Jan. 23, 1864.
Tobias, George, enl. aug. 1862, 125th NY Regt.
Van Buren, Aaron, enl. Oct. 8, 1862, 9th NY Regt.
Van Buren, Andrew, enl. Aug. 2, 1862, 125th Regt.; re-enl. 169th Regt.; pro. to sergt.; died in service.
Van Buren, John H., enl. Aug. 22, 1862, 125th Regt.
Van Denberg, Edward, enl. Feb. 3, 1865, 192d Regt.
Van Denburgh, Robert S., Capt., enl. May 2, 1862, 174th Regt.
Wilbur, Horace, enl. Sept. 12, 1864, 26th Col. Regt.
Wilcox, Abel, enl. March 5, 1863, 104th Regt.
Wilkinson, Philo, enl. Aug. 1864, 12th Cav.; died Nov. 21, 1865 at Newbern, NC.
Wilkinson, Samuel, enl. Aug. 1864, 12th Cav.
Wright, Franklin G., enl. Aug. 9, 1862, 74th Regt.; died Dec. 1862 at Gallatin, TN.

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