History of the Town of Schaghticoke

the results of research about the history of the town of Schaghticoke

About Christina Kelly, town historian of Schaghticoke

I have a strong belief that all history is basically local. Learning about the lives and actions of earlier residents of the town helps us realize that there really is “nothing new under the sun.” Hopefully it can help us deal with new problems. To me, at least, it is fascinating to see how earlier folks dealt with the same life issues that we have today.

There have been some things written about the history of my town, but thanks to the internet, there is lots of new primary information to correct or confirm what was written before. I also have been using more of the existing primary sources- for example deeds, and wills, to shed light on the history.

48 responses to “About Christina Kelly, town historian of Schaghticoke

  1. J November 5, 2011 at 10:14 am


    I was conducting a search and I came across your site. I may have additional information for your site. One point I found Peter Yates that I have not been able to find further information on was an incident in July of 1782.

    July 24th, 1782 – Charges preferred against Colonel Yates by Elisha Lovelace for malconduct as Colonel, and as a Supervisor and Assessor of his district.

    I found this in:
    Fernow, Berthold. Documents relative to the colonial history of the state of New York Vol. XV – State Archives Vol. I. Albany. Weed, Parsons and Company. 1887.

    Have you gone through the Lansing papers in Albany, NY at the State Archives?

    I also have records of soldiers attached to the 14th Albany Regiment serving in other regiments.

    Please feel free to email me.

  2. Martin T. Surdam Jr. November 30, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Dear Christina

    I am descended of the Van Surdam Family and trying to locate My GGGG Grandfathers grave.
    The tombstone inscriptions are:
    In memory of Mr. Anthony Surdam who died November 14th 1841, in the 85th year of his age.
    In memory of Cibber*, wife of Anthony Surdam who died Oct. 8th 1826 aged 66 years. *Intended for Sybil.

    They are both in Van Ness/ Gooding Farm/ Sancoick Cemetery. They are all the same Cemetery rumored to be in the Hoosick/ Shodack/ Ft. Croix area.

    Any help greatly appreciated, many others seek this resting place also. There were at least 20 graves there some from the 1700’s.

    Thanks greatly!

    P.S. Many there are Revolutionary Soldiers and wives.

    • schaghticokehistory December 5, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Hello- I can tell you that that cemetery is not in Schaghticoke. Schodack and Hoosick- two possible locations you give- are far apart. I’m guessing that it is in the town of Hoosick. You might check out the usgenweb web site- look at the town of Hoosick information, or contact the town of Hoosick historian- look for the contact info on the web page of the Rensselaer County Historical Society- http://www.rchsonline.org. Good luck, Chris Kelly, town of Schaghticoke

  3. Brian S. Barrett January 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I enjoyed reading your posts about the Revolutionary War. I am writing a book about my ancestor, Pvt Eleazer Barrett, 1st Berkshire Massachusetts Militia.
    My research suggests that another skirmish occurred Schaghticoke on October 3, 1777. General John Fellows (Berkshire Militia commander) reported: Fellows (camp at falls mill) to gates-yesterday (Oct 3) about four o’clock in the afternoon a small party of Indians, about twenty…came down to the road about a mile & half west of this incampment; and fired at the inhabitants as they ware at work near a house. they pushd a little forward, and fell upon som scatering men; killed and scaulpd four; and took off two prisoners. which ware inhabitants. One of the slain belong’d to this camp and the other to the camp at Stillwater…the scout that returned yesterday; report that they discovered several scouting parties: consisting of regulars tories and Indians…appear’d to be about one hundr’d in number—
    This morning I have ordered out two hundred men as scout which are to advance near to the enimie bridge…if some scouts ware sent out that way from camp at Stillwater we might prevent the enemy scouting parties …ever returning….
    Oliver Boardman reported in his journal …
    We hear that 6 of our men were killed & sculp’t (date unk) at Scatta Hook (Schaghticoke) on way to Bennington
    I’m desperate to learn the location of General Fellows’Falls Mills Camp. Any ideas?

  4. James Bell June 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm


    Sancoick is the old name for North Hoosick. Gilbert Wright gilwright328@aol.com and Charles Filkins staff@hoosickhistory.com are the two local historians who might know where this cemetery is located.

  5. Marg. Hall September 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    5 children of one of my ancestors children Christened in the Schaghtikoke Dutch Reform Church.
    They were Loyalists so after the Revolutionary war they escaped to the area which became known as Upper Canada, later, Ontario.

  6. Marty October 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Brian, I almost wonder if that wasn’t the Grain mill outside of White’s creek (Sancoick mill), before the Falls? My G Grandfather’s door was a mere few hundred yards away. He and family were Revolutionaries that lived on the Van Ness Land Patent (N. Hoosick). Below citations may help others to find Military records in the future. Yes Marg, the War was more of a Revolution! Mixed with the dead English were Loyalists from Boston (Battle of Bennington).

    Van Ness/ Gooding Farm/ Sancoick Cemetery are all in the same place and were located. Sadly the stones have been removed from several graves. The Cemetery is located N. of Hoosick Junction and E. of the tiny River Island, on a plot of land between the Island and roadway. Sorry the road is not labeled on the old map I have but the Island very distinguishable in N. Hoosick!

    Anthony “Tunis” Van Surdam fought in the Battle of Bennington, Vermont. He fought with his father, Peter Surdam. Anthony harbored General Stark and several of his officers in his home. Just before the battle General Stark said in Anthony’s home “I’ll win the battle today or Molly Stark will lay a widow tonight”. Ref.: “New York in the Revolution as a Colony and State” Vol. 1, pg. 132. See also pg. 249, History of Wyoming County, New York by Beers, 1880. Also: DAR application for membership #150194 by Mrs. Eva Williams Dec. 1919, also DAR application #110994 by Mabel Williams Oct. 1914, also DAR application 264084 by Hazel Hall of Oct. 5, 1846. Anthony Cert. 39195 issued to Teunis Van Surdam for services as private in Capt. Thomas Brown’s Company of Col. Peter Yates regiment (Hoosick and Schaughticoke districts of Albany County Militia. Certificate of Treasurer manuscript record vol. 8. He was also on the roll of the 16th regiment of Albany county militia by Col. Lewis Van Woert: “New York in the Revolution as Colony and State, Vol. 1, pg. 132”

    P.S. N. Hoosick is on the E. side of Whites creek, Sancoick the West, just for others who may be looking for info latter on… Any info on Surdam & Whites Stereoscopes appreciated! That whole area sure is rich in History! Thanks and I hope I helped!

    • schaghticokehistory October 2, 2012 at 9:07 am

      thanks so much for your comments! I know that Brian is still working on finding the site of the camp, and I feel your information will really help him. I think that Sancoick and Schaghticoke- then sometimes spelled Skatecook- get confused.

  7. Rudy VanVeghten January 4, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Christina,
    I just discovered your Schaghticoke history blog and I’m loving it! Keep those posts coming!

  8. Penny Sandstrom May 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Hi Cristina,

    My son is doing a genealogy project for a class at the University of Chicago. My grandma was a Weatherwax, and he tracked down the family to your town. I just read all the history you had posted, I’d found a lot of it in other places, but never presented in so cohesive a fashion.. Thanks for that. My daughter is graduating from Skidmore College this coming Saturday, While we are so close we are planning to look for the grave at the Brookins cemetary, which I take it is next to the Paradise Tree Service. We have very little time to spend, so any advice as to anything else we should see would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Penny Sandstrom June 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for the reply and for doing the research in the first place. My aunt June (daughter of a Weatherwax) is having family from all over the country come to celebrate her 90th birthday and I am sending the information from your site for her/them to read.

    We went to Peter Weatherwax’s grave when we went to my daughter’s graduation in Saratoga Springs a few weeks ago. I’m so glad we found all this out in time to make the side trip to visit the grave when we were so close.

    Thanks again,
    Penny Sandstrom

  10. Jonathan Caswell August 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Happened to find you searching for “Mills”. Grew up in N.Y.S….around Binghamton….college in Cortland…some work in the Albany/Taconic region and the Catskills….my wife’s people from the Adirondacks. So have an interest in this! 🙂

  11. jj August 28, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    I am so very interested in the history of schaghticoke. i am 14 and metal detector enthusiast. I absolutely love recovering objects the let me see and hold parts of our rich history. I live just out of the village i have done a lot reading on the town website and was wondering about the 6,000 man British and hessian march through schaghticoke (i am looking for a farm or camp or some location of were this took place). i am also interested in the Indian fort and British fort near or on Knickerbocker road (also looking for a near to location) your response would be so very much appreciated.PS i already have permission to detect on the land on the opposite side of the road as the Knickerbocker Mansion.

    • schaghticokehistory October 18, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Hi Jamison- I’m sorry it took me so long to approve your comment. As we discussed, I think you are looking in the correct area for the fort at Schaghticoke. I feel that when the captured British and Hessians marched through town, they crossed the river at Stillwater. I suggest you seek permission from landowners in that area for your metal detecting. As we also discussed, that permission is very important, as is documentation of where you find items. Good luck,

  12. Jim Vore April 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Cristina, I was wondering if the Schaghticoke Historical Society has any pictures available of the old Melrose School District #10, or Grants Hollow school. I graduated from the school in 1955, from the fourth grade, would love to see a image as it was at that time or earlier. Thank you for your time and interest. Jim Vore

    • schaghticokehistory May 5, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Hi Jim- There is no Schaghticoke Historical Society, btw. I do have a couple of photos of the school. I would love to hear your memories of the school. contact me at historian@townofschaghticoke.org!! chris kelly

      • Mike Honan May 5, 2015 at 10:39 am

        Jim had also commented on my post about the Melrose School. If you have photos, I’d also love to see to see them. Perhaps I might also have permission to add them to my post? It would also be cool if you had a photo of the bell you possess. Thanks, Mike.

  13. Carolyn August 16, 2015 at 10:51 am

    From this site: http://www.rbinforesearch.com/FarmersReg.htm
    Rundel, Abel (estate)
    4 April 1815
    Admin: Phebe Rundel. Abel died 9 March. Land sale at Hugh Kennedy’s residence. Also mention of Washington Co.

    Which resources are the best to access to verify which Hugh Kennedy is mentioned in the Estate of Abel Rundel?
    My goal is to provehe is my 4th great grandfather Elihu “Hugh” Kennedy b. Jan 1779 (possibly Ireland) d. 23 Sep 1839 Bristol twp, Kendall county, Illinois.

    • schaghticokehistory August 17, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Hello Carolyn- resources are scarce from that period. I do see “Hugh Kennaday” in the 1820 census for Schaghticoke,but not in 1810- but of course that census will just list the numbers of people in a couple of age groups, male and female. I did check in the records of the Schaghticoke Dutch Reformed Church and the Presbyterian Church – the only ones with records that early- and he does not appear in either. He does not appear as an early office holder in town in the classic history of Rensselaer County written by Sylvester in 1880. You might do a search of deeds in Rensselaer County for property he owned- where his wife could be listed as co-owner- that might be a clue. Other than that, there are just not records to use. Good luck! You might contact me at my town email: historian@townofschaghticoke.org if you have further questions. Chris Kelly

  14. grawburg2012 September 15, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Since 1993 I’ve made 3 visits to the Melrose Lutheran Church cemetery just down the road from the Schaghticoke Town Offices. Several of my ancestors are buried there (Grawbergers). While I have a listing of who is buried there I seem unable to find any records from the church itself. From what I know it is built in 1777 but don’t know when it was destroyed or closed. I also have the impression, perhaps incorrect, that people left the church for Gilead Lutheran. If that is correct, I wonder why. Chris, on a personal note. I met you in 1993 when you stopped what you were doing at home — baking pies, I believe — to come and talk to me. In fact, I seem to remember you still had some flour on your dress or apron.

    • schaghticokehistory September 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Hello- I can’t believe I haven’t published about the Lutheran Church- I have written about it…I’ll go back and post that as a blog soon. Meanwhile, St. John’s Lutheran Church was an offshoot of Gilead, with the first preaching happening here about 1777. The church was located where the cemetery is. In the late 1800’s it was moved, literally, down the road to the corner of Church Street and Melrose-Valley Falls Road in Melrose. It merged with the Grace Lutheran Church at the corner of Route 40 and Oil Mill Hill in Speigletown in 1959. I have a transcript of the record book, indexed, from about 1830 to 1959. The earlier records are lost. I probably would still have flour on my apron if you stopped by my house today.

  15. George Clark February 1, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Ms. Kelly…I am reading one of your posts on the 125th NYV. It is very informative. My Great Grandfather (Harrison Clark) mustered in the regiment in August 1862 (he was 20). He was a corporal and then promoted to color sergeant at Gettysburg. Harrison was shot in the knee on May 5 (6?), 1864 and his leg was amputated. He passed away in 1913.

    I am a retired Air Force officer and I live in New Mexico. About twice a year I travel to Maryland to visit my family. This year I hope to spend a couple weeks in your area to see if I can locate letters, articles, or books about the regiment. Do you have any suggestions where I could look for such documents or who I could contact?

  16. Steve July 19, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Hello, as a native of Hoosick Falls and history buff I have interest in the 125th NY. Your article on Gettysburg was most enjoyable. Would you by any chance be able to share the Troy Times casualty list referenced for July 11, 1863. I would like the list for Co A Hoosick. Thanks

    • schaghticokehistory July 31, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      Hi- I only copied the casualty list for Schaghticoke. I suggest you try http://www.fultonhistory.com. If you do a boolean search like this: Troy NY Daily Times 1863 and …. and then put in Gettysburg, or 125th, or a name you know was a casualty…you will get a bunch of hits and be able to narrow them down. or check the history of the 125th NY Infantry Regiment- it’s online as a google book- and check that out- I’m not sure if it will tell all the wounded but it’s worth a try.
      good luck

  17. Carrie Knickerbocker November 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Christina. I came across your posts today and noticed that you had included Abraham Knickerbacker (born 1796) from the Knickerbocker Mansion. I am a Knickerbocker researching the family roots and just want to ask if you have any info on Harmen Janse Knickerbacker, particularly his father and/or mother. He was born in the Netherlands in 1648 and is the first of the Knickerbocker family to arrive in America in 1674. Harmen is the father of Johannes Hermensen 1, born Mar 16, 1679, which would make Harmen the great great grandfather of Abraham.
    Do you have any information that goes back this far? If not, any suggestions/thoughts on this lineage? Thank you so much for your time.

    • schaghticokehistory November 15, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Well Carrie, you have hit the jackpot. The only historical society in Schaghticoke is the Knickerbocker Historical Society, which works to preserve the family mansion, built about 1785. I suggest you consult their website http://www.knickmansion.com. They have an annual reunion of Knickerbocker descendants, and one of their members is an expert on Knickerbocker genealogy. I also refer you to several other posts on my blog- one about Herman Knickerbacker, one entitled “Immigrants to Schaghticoke.” Have fun!

  18. Carrie Knickerbocker November 15, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Thank you Christina. I have been to the Knickerbocker Mansion and have all of their information. There is some doubt around the parentage of Harmen though…most of the folks on Ancestry and other websites just accept it as accurate and true, but there are several possibilities out there. There is a missing link between Harmen and his Dutch ancestors (specifically at Roelof van Wijhe ca 1560, his supposed grandfather, The historians at the Echteld Castle in the Netherlands tell me that Roelof only had 2 daughters, no sons. We’re digging way back here but it starts with proof of Harmen’s father. Just thought you might have some info regarding this. I’m trying any avenue I can find! Thanks again for your help and I will check out your blog on Herman.

    • schaghticokehistory November 15, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Carrie- I’m glad that you are relentless in the pursuit of accuracy. As you saw, I have not dealt with the Knickerbackers in Holland. I have left that to the local society. I know I tell the story of Herman and his wives differently from the Historical Society, based on my research.

  19. Peter Lindemann July 29, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Ms. Kelly,
    My name is Peter Lindemann. I live in Cobleskill, Schoharie County.
    On November 16, 2017 I will be doing a presentation on ‘Rensselaer County in World War One’ at the Pittstown Historical Society.
    I visited the Rensselaer County Historical Society and was given your name as a resource.
    Thank you for any leads you may have.
    – Peter Lindemann

  20. Constance Beckley August 15, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Hi Christina, Do you have any information on the Button House across from the Arvilla Diver Library? Thanks.
    Connie Blais Beckley

  21. Leo Kolonay August 15, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Christina,
    I am helping my wife trace her Griffin ancestors. I have identified an ancestor, Patrick Griffin, age 40 in the 1860 census living in Schagcitoke with his first wife Catherine, age 32 and daughters Mary, age 5 and Catherine, age 2. Patrick’s family is shown in the 1865 New York census with a new wife Bridgett Casey. As this was a Roman Catholic family, I believe their birth, marriage and death records might have been in the registers of the local Catholic church,St. John the Baptist? Have you any suggestions on where I might find these, if they exist?
    Thank you,
    Leo Kolonay

    • schaghticokehistory September 6, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      St. John the Baptist is now Transfiguration North. You could write to them- they are on South Main St., Schaghticoke, NY 12154 – but their records are not very good at that early period, so don’t hold out a ton of hope for answers. I did check in the cemetery records, but Catherine Griffin is not there- as I said, early in the records- and the first cemetery, next to the church, was destroyed in the 1950’s. Only stones for those whose relatives were still around were moved to the new cemetery, sadly, so if she had a stone, it was probably destroyed.

  22. Barbara (Wager) Stevens October 11, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    I am researching the Wager/Waeger family, specifically Johann Leonhard Waeger. He & his wife Christina had 5 children born and baptized in Rensselaerwyck or Schaghticoke. They had a son, Johann Leonhard born Feb 8, 1781 and baptized March 18, 1781. I am attempting to trace a connection to this person. My great-grandfather was Leonard Wager, of Waterford and Troy; his father, my great-great grandfather, was John H Wager of Waterford. I am searching for the parents of John H Wager. What local Schaghticoke records would you recommend I search? I appreciate any suggestions you can offer.

  23. David J Chambers November 18, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Hi Christina,
    I am trying to find an obituary for my relative, John Chambers, who passed away in Schaghticoke in February 1907. Do you know what newspapers covered the town at that time, and if any are available in archives?

    Thank you,
    David Chambers

  24. David J Chambers November 21, 2018 at 7:10 am

    I sent an email to the above address, but it bounced…

  25. Dawn May 18, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Hi, I just read your article about the Dutch Reformed Church. I am wondering where the records for this church are kept. My husband’s 3xgreat grandparents were married there.

    • schaghticokehistory May 20, 2019 at 11:10 am

      Hello Dawn, I believe the original records are in the NYS Library, as is a negative copy- I mean with black pages and white print- I have a carefully done index of the records and would be happy to help you with any questions. The records are also included in the data base of family search, and to some extent in ancestry.com.

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