Troy's One Hundred Years 1789-1889:
Centennial Celebration, 1889

These are excerpts from Troy's One Hundred Years 1789-1889, compiled by Arthur James Weise, M. A., and published in1891 by William H. Young of 7-9 First Street in Troy. They were transcribed and contributed by Bill McGrath of Clifton Park, Saratoga County, NY.

pages 281-285 and 28
The last four days of the first week in January 1889 were devoted by the citizens to a commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the naming of Troy. The weather was remarkably fair and mild, the streets were void of ice and snow, the exercises appropriate and interesting, the processions imposing, and the fireworks fine. At the first meeting of the citizens favoring a celebration, held in the lecture-hall of the Troy Young Men's Association, on Tuesday afternoon, December 11th, 1888, A. J. WEISE presented the following resolution as a preliminary to the subsequent action taken to commemorate the notable event of January 5th, 1789:

"Resolved, That the one hundredth anniversary of the naming of Troy be celebrated in a manner worthy of its importance, and creditable to the citizens."

At the next meeting, in the Common Council chamber, on Friday evening, December 14th, C. E. Dudley TIBBITS was elected president, Walter P. WARREN, William E. HAGAN and Lewis E. GURLEY, vice-presidents, and William H. YOUNG, Francis N. MANN and Edward F. MURRAY, secretaries, and Joseph J. TILLINGHAST, treasurer. The following committee of one hundred citizens, named in a resolution, was appointed to make arrangements for the celebration of the centennial anniversary:

  • C. E. Dudley TIBBITS,
  • Derick LANE,
  • Walter P. WARREN,
  • Lewis E. GURLEY,
  • Edward C. GALE,
  • William E. HAGEN,
  • William H. YOUNG,
  • Jonas S. HEARTT,
  • Walter P. TILLMAN,
  • James A. BURDEN,
  • Charles B. RUSSELL,
  • George B. WARREN,
  • Thomas W. LOCKWOOD,
  • John I. THOMPSON,
  • Henry B. DAUCHY,
  • Samuel M. VAIL,
  • Henry R. LANE, M.D.,
  • Benjamin H. HALL,
  • William KEMP,
  • William A. THOMPSON,
  • E. Warren PAINE,
  • J. Wool GRISWOLD,
  • Francis N. MANN,
  • Joseph HILLMAN,
  • Edward MURPHY, jr.,
  • William E. GILBERT,
  • Isaac MCCONIHE,
  • William H. DOUGHTY,
  • Adam R. SMITH,
  • William S. EARL,
  • James A. EDDY,
  • Edward M. GREEN,
  • Gilbert GEER, jr.,
  • James F. COWEE,
  • Peter BALTIMORE,
  • Foster BOSWORTH,
  • Charles S. BRINTNALL,
  • Gardner RAND,
  • Henry SWARTOUT,
  • John H. KNOX,
  • Willard GAY,
  • Charles W. TILLINGHAST,
  • William ORR,
  • Joseph W. FULLER,
  • Martin I. TOWNSEND,
  • the Rev. J. Ireland TUCKER, D. D.,
  • the Rev. George C. BALDWIN, D. D.,
  • the Rev. Peter HAVERMANS,
  • John M. FRANCIS,
  • Daniel ROBINSON,
  • John D. SPICER,
  • George B. CLUETT,
  • Thomas COLEMAN,
  • George H. CRAMER,
  • George H. FREEMAN,
  • Henry C. LOCKWOOD,
  • Charles L. MCARTHUR,
  • Norman B. SQUIRES,
  • Otis G. CLARK,
  • Harvey J. KING,
  • James H. KELLOGG,
  • Henry O'R. TUCKER,
  • Dennis J. WHELAN,
  • Edward BOLTON,
  • David BASTABLE,
  • James W. DALY,
  • Francis A. FALES,
  • Samuel H. LASELL,
  • Chauncey D. PACKARD,
  • George A. STONE,
  • Robert CLUETT,
  • Justin KELLOGG,
  • A. J. WEISE,
  • General Joseph B. CARR,
  • Charles CLEMINSHAW,
  • M. F. COLLINS,
  • Jesse B. ANTHONY,
  • George H. MEAD,
  • Henry G. LUDLOW,
  • John J. PURCELL,
  • George P. IDE,
  • W. J. TYNER,
  • William L. VAN ALSTYNE,
  • John P. PRATT,
  • Edmund FITZGERALD,
  • Charles A. MCLEOD,
  • David M. RANKIN,
  • Clinton H. MENEELY,
  • Edward F. MURRAY,
  • James W. CUSACK,
  • H. B. NIMS,
  • Gilbert ROBERTSON, jr.,
  • Emanuel MARKS,
  • Henry KREISS,
  • Dexter MOODY,
  • William W. WHITMAN,
  • Edward CARTER, and
  • William H. FREAR.

The diligence and well-directed efforts of the different sub-committees, into which the committee of one hundred was divided, quickly determined the character of the celebration. The commemorative acts projected by the committee began on Wednesday evening, January 2d, 1889, with a concert of vocal and instrumental music at Music Hall, followed on Thursday and Friday afternoons and evenings with historical addresses at the same place, and ended on Saturday with a procession in the morning, and a parade, an illumination, and fireworks in the evening. Restricted entirely to the citizens, the celebration was accomplished without the aid or participation of other people. The decorations of the buildings were elaborate and befitting. Relics and mementos of the early inhabitants were displayed in the store windows, and maps and pictures marking the growth of Troy embellished the newspapers. The sermons preached in the city on the preceding and following Sunday were generally pertinent to the centenary event.

[page 28]

The Inaugural Concert, on Wednesday evening, at Music Hall, in charge of John H. KNOX, Edmund CLUETT, Justin KELLOGG, William H. HOLLISTER, jr., J. E. SCHOONMAKER, and A. W. HARRINGTON, jr., strikingly attested the high culture of the musicians of Troy, who vocally and instrumentally made the occasion memorable. The participants, Mrs. William B. WILSON, Miss Jeannie LYMAN, the Troy Vocal Society, the Troy Choral Union, the Troy Mannerchor, DORING's Military Band, and MASCHKE's Cadet Bank, won hearty and deserved applause. The Centennial Hymn, written for the occasion by Benjamin H. HALL, Esq., was sung unitedly by the three societies to the tune of "Old Hundred" with thrilling effect.

Ancient of days! accept the praise
Thy children in thine honor raise -
Praise wafted to thy heavenly throne
From hearts that beat thy grace to own.

Led by thy powerful, guiding hand,
Our fathers sought this stranger land,
Founding upon the rule of right
The life whose glory is thy light.

Almighty Father! at whose call,
Dominions rise, and wane, and fall,
Guard thou this city, let it share
The favor of thy love and care.

Teach thou its rulers, make them pure,
Keep them alike from fear and lure,
Let them be wise without pretense -
The heritors of common-sense.

So shall this realm, in glory be
Built on its love and praise of Thee,
Rising in grandeur 'neath thy rod,
The freeman's Commonwealth of God.

pages 283-285

Thursday was properly called "the Historical Day." The cast of the addresses of the afternoon was, for the most part, a presentation of information respecting the settlement and growth of the place. The meeting was under the direction of Norman B. SQUIRES, J. W. A. CLUETT, Henry B. DAUCHY, M. F. CUMMINGS, Edward CARTER, and H. Clay BASCOM. The subjects named in the programme were,

  • "The Patroon of Troy," by Edwin A. KING, Esq.;
  • "The Naming and Progress of Troy," by Benjamin H. HALL, Esq.;
  • "The Future City Improvements of Troy," by J. W. A. CLUETT;
  • "Manufacturers of Troy," by Lewis E. GURLEY;
  • "Mercantile Interests of Troy," by Walter P. WARREN; and
  • "Dirk VAN DER HEYDEN's Dream," by William E. HAGAN.
Edward A. KING, Esq., a direct descendant of "the Patroon of Troy" - Jacob D. VAN DER HEYDEN - after describing, in his address, the circumstances attending the early occupation of the territory of Rensselaerswyck, by immigrants from Holland, interestingly detailed the incidents of the residence of his ancestors on the site of Troy:
"In or about the year 1653, there came from Holland - probably from Amsterdam - to New Amsterdam, Jacob Tysse VAN DER HEYDEN. Later, he returned to Amsterdam and, having on July 25th, 1655, married Anna HALS, with her again sought this country and settled at Beverswyck, now Albany. Some time about 1690, he died there, leaving his widow and a son, Derick.

"Derick VAN DER HEYDEN seems to have been very thrifty and energetic, and to have participated in Albany affairs as a good citizen, merchant, and trader. He also speculated in leases at Schaghticoke. His name appears upon a petition addressed in 1701 to King William III of England. In 1686, he went from Albany upon an expedition to the Indians. His party was set upon by French and Indians, robbed, and carried to Quebec. There, he states, he was severely maltreated and was subjected almost to slavery by his captors. Finally, with three others, he made his escape and reached Albany in five days, having journeyed all but about three miles by water.

"On June 2d, 1707, still residing at Albany, he purchased from Pieter Pieterse VAN WOGGELUM two parcels of land, . . . extending from the Poesten Kill on the south to the Piscawen Kill on the north. . . . The VAN RENSSELAERs claimed their vested rights, but finally, on December 15th, 1720, by release, Maria and Hendrick VAN RENSSELAER, as executors of Kiliaen VAN RENSSELAER (the younger), confirmed the title, subject only to a nominal annual ground rent.

"Following the changes of ownership of the property by the different members of the VAN DER HEYDEN family, he related how Jacob D. VAN DER HEYDEN, born on October 28th, 1758, became proprietor of the middle farm at the age of seventeen years. There seems to be some doubt as to the early education of the patroon, but it is stated by a contemporary that he attended college for a time, never being graduated. In 1781, he attained his majority, and very soon married Annatji YATES, daughter of Adam and Anna G. YATES, who died in 1793. Their children were two sons, Derick Y. and John G., and two daughters, Catharine and Elizabeth. In 1794, he married Mary OWEN, daughter of Joshua OWEN, who died in 1809. Their children were two sons, Samuel and Jacob D. E., and three daughters, Jane, Blandina and Sally Ann. . . . All his nine children survived him. Here let the genealogy rest.

"The patroon resided, until 1794, in the old home located at the (present) corner of Ferry and River streets. In 1794, he built and occupied, at the south-west corner of Eighth and Grand Division streets, what was called his "mansion," which was destroyed in the great fire of 1862; and in 1803 he conveyed the homestead to his son Derick Y."

Narrating the facts of the renaming of VANDERHEYDEN as Troy, Mr. KING further remarked:

"The patroon died at the age of fifty years. Although, as had been stated, all his nine children survived him, not one of them lived to enter upon the forty-third year of life. Their average life was but thirty years. Very few descendants survived them, and to-day their number is very little increased. . . .

"The last will and testament of the patroon is a long and curious instrument. It is characterized by that same sturdy justice which had led his father to voluntarily divide his property with his brother. Perhaps its most singular provision relates to the division into specific shares of the lands devised to his children. It very minutely and elaborately provides that the lands shall first be divided into lots of equal value, and numbered, one lot to each child; then the numbers, respectively, shall be placed on ballots and the ballots in a box; next, the names of the children, respectively, shall be similarly placed in a second box; and finally, two disinterested persons, one at each box, shall draw therefrom and match names and numbers, which result is declared to be the will of the testator. Most characteristic of all, however, is its provision that if his executors and the guardians of his children shall, at any time, during the minority of any child, deem it best to sell or lease certain lands named and limited, they may do so, but only subject to the same conditions specified in similar instruments executed by him, and reserving an annual ground rent thereon. . . .

"A recent historian says of him: 'Descending from a Dutch ancestry of grave, virtuous, and industrious people, he was one of Troy's most estimable citizens,' and Judge WOODWORTH, who knew him well, and became himself eminent, adds a generation thereafter: 'His example at that early day shed a moral influence in the community, the fruit of which is visible at the present day.' "

Notes from Bill McGrath:

Note 1: Page 282 also has an illustration of the Centennial Emblem that was used during the celebration.

Note 2: Many of the individuals' names mentioned in this write-up will be recognized as the names of current streets in Troy.

page 286
Poem on the Naming of Troy

The poetical contribution of Benjamin H. HALL, Esq., abounded with happy conceits and figurative pleasantries. The grave zeal with which the settlers accomplished the task of selecting a suitable name for the village was fancifully pictured in the following verses:

"The wise heads all assembled
   In seventeen eighty-nine,
Determined that the hamlet
   Should have a title fine;
That so, throughout the ages,
   In peace as well as strife,
Some brilliant designation
   Should ever give it life.

"And first they took the Bible,
   And turned its pages o'er;
Read Numbers and the Chronicles,
   Did Joshua explore:
Then thumbed the leaves of Rollin,
   Josephus studied through,
And sought in Guthrie's system,
   For something that might do.

"They copied all the proper
   Names, and improper too;
Exhausted combinations
   Till every man was blue,
Then spelled each title backward,
   In hope at last to find
Some startling appellation
   For future fame designed.

"Ten hours in fruitless effort
   These grand old heroes passed,
Till nature faint, exhausted,
   Gave signs she could not last;
The tongue of one was twisted,
   Another's neck was wry,
A third was still with lock-jaw,
   A fourth desired to die.

"Such was the fearful present;
   More dark the apparent fate,
That on their mental labors
   Seemed threateningly to wait;
When one old classic scholar
   On trembling legs arose
And drawing out his mouchoir,
   Attended to his nose.

"Thus spoke he ---'I remember
   When I was very young,
The story of a city
   In ancient fable sung,
That for ten years resisted
   Siege and starvation slow,
And then surrendered only
   Through treachery of the foe.

" 'The name of that walled city
  Was good in olden days,
But we can use it better
   By means of modern ways;
And keep it as a lesson,
   That no insidious foe
Must be allowed to enter
   And turn our weal to woe.

" ' For ten hours we have labored,
   And not a single name
Has yet been deemed sufficient
   To sound our local fame;
To save this noble people,
   For grief to give them joy,
Oh! call these dozen dwellings
   And five small groceries - Troy.'

"He said: a gleam of sunshine
   Shot from the western sky,
The river burned in crimson,
   The heavens in Tyrian dye;
The sages of the village regained,
   At once, their strength,
Shouted for rum and treacle
   and swallowed drinks of length.

"Like lightning, through the hamlet
   The joyful tidings flashed,
And from that dozen houses
   Five dozen people dashed,
While from the corner groceries
   At least a dozen more
Rushed forth in wild confusion
   and through the highway tore.

"The men and eke the women
   And little children too,
And pigs and dogs and horses,
   And goslings, not a few,
Joined in the general chorus,
   While, like a grand refrain,
That word of beauty - Troy -
   Rang high above the plain.

"It struck the eastern hill-tops,
   And thence, in echoes clear,
Rolled grandly down the river,
   In tones that all could hear;
At Albany it awakened
   The Dutchmen from their sleep,
And with prophetic terror
   Their flesh began to creep.

"But when next day a shallop
   Sailed proudly down the stream,
And brought the news that Troy
   No longer was a dream,
The streets were all deserted,
   Each true Albanian wailed,
A fast-day was appointed,
   Five sturgeon-venders failed."

pages 286-288
The observations of J. W. A. CLUETT, on the city's future improvements, were both opportune and forcible [sic]. He prefaced his excellent suggestions by saying:

"Whenever we find our city described in print, it never surprises us to read that Troy is beautifully situated. An old cylopedia - well known to bookworms - published seventy years ago, says that the 'village of Troy' is agreeably situated on a gravelly plain; that it is regularly laid out in streets and squares; that the streets are wide, with sufficient sidewalks; that many of the houses, though built of wood, are large and elegant; and that the hill that rises in the rear of Troy is very appropriately called Mount Ida, and that its fine sides and summit present elegant sites for building, that command an extensive view of the city and surrounding country....

"Certainly Troy is 'beautiful for situation.' Fronting on the Hudson, facing the setting sun, intersected by picturesque creeks and crowned by lofty and accessible hills, from which toward three points of the compass may be obtained panoramic views that might excite the envy of more than half the cities of the old world. To behold from Mount Ida a clear sunset is worth the price of a day's toil. Below is the busy, peaceful, compactly-built city, bordered by our noble river and the green wooded hills. Northward are rocks of the Hudson River group, through which the rapid Mohawk has cut its way. To the south is seen our sister city of Albany, which seems to cluster round the State Capitol, whose impressive, immense proportions, like a great cathedral shorn of its towers, are made the more conspicuous by a distance of six miles. The delighted eye, wandering to the south-west, lights on the shelving ranges of the Helderbergs. These, as they disappear southward, invite the beholder's admiration to the lofty, undulating outlines and mellow shadows of the Catskill Mountains....

"While enjoying, quite recently, a six month's vacation across the Atlantic, I was not infrequently, by the law of contrast, reminded of my own city.... The Europeans have done very much for the indoor education of the people; but this is not the only need recognized by their civic liberality. There, it seems to be assumed that a city must have, so to speak, its own doors and windows, and be supplied with such openings as admit the air and sunshine that heaven so freely offers to those who will have it."

Regretting that commerce had pre-empted the river front of the city and rendered it unattractive as a place of resort and recreation, he outlined his views of the practicability of the improvements suggested by him:
"One of the few remaining breathing spots is the open space west of the college grounds, between Grand and Congress streets. It commands one of the loveliest views that any city of America can boast of; but at present it is a somewhat sinking piece of real estate, a sort of artificial ruin, such as nature seldom creates without man's help. What a lordly terrace could be built up in place of that crumbling bank. A strong, heavy wall - a filling of builders' refuse - and a platform twenty-five or thirty feet wide and several hundred feet long would be created. Such a spot along Eighth Street would repay a pilgrimage. It would be the rich man's breathing place and poor man's park.

"Another commanding hillside outlook and excellent breathing place is yet practically possible. The large piece of ground on the west side of Eighth Street, between Hutton and Hoosick streets, is already leveled off. A securing wall - a parapet along the western line of the property - would scarcely be a matter of excessive expense. Here could be easily constructed a lovely little park 100 feet wide by 200 or 300 feet in length. It would be reached by one of the pleasantest walks in the city. It could be planted with shade trees, ornamented by small showery fountains, and furnished with garden seats. The spot commands pleasant distant views toward the west and north. On the hottest summer day it would offer a breezy, restful refuge to the warm and weary citizen."

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