The City of Lansingburgh
Lansingburgh, early on, was called the “New City” and seems to have had the ambitions to genuinely be classified as a city. An actual bill in the State Legislature to make Lansingburgh become a city does not seem to have been introduced until 1898, at which time the bill was in competition with the “Greater Troy” bill that would annex the Village of Lansingburgh to Troy.
The following very valuable
LOTS OF LAND,
With the improvements thereon, and possession given immeditely, viz. […]
lot No. 29 and 30, in the New-City, about ten miles from Albany. […]
And indisputable title will be given for the above lands. Public securities, West-India or European goods at cash price will be taken in payment. For terms apply to
Albany, December 10, 1785, 2 51 4m
New-York Packet. March 9, 1786: 4.
Then next to see fair LANSINGHBOROUGH raise,
An infant city, which in future days,
Shall be exalted, populous and great,
As any boasted by a sister state.
Northern Centinel and Lansinghborough Advertiser. 1787.
WELL THERE—Lansingburgh is looking up. We perceive in the Gazete a notice of application to the Legislature to incorporate “the city of Lansingburgh!”
Troy Daily Budget. December 18, 1848: 2 col 3.
The new Mayor of Troy recommends that the two “cities” of Troy and Lansingburgh be annexed. Whereupon the Lansingburgh Gazette objects—adding:
“We intend, in this village, to wait until Troy is sold under execution, then buy it for a Cemetery.”
Auburn Daily American. March 14, 1866: col 2.
Village Clerk Miter denies the statement that the Village Trustees voted down a resolution providing for a record of those voting at the special election called for next Wednesday. He says:
Lansingburgh, N. Y., Jan. 14, 1899.
I, Frank H. Miter, clerk of the village of Lansingburgh, do hereby certify that at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the village of Lansingburgh, N. Y., duly called and held on the 12th day of January, 1899, the following resolution was unanimously adopted, six trustees being present:
“Resolved, That the clerk be instructed to provide a poll-book for each polling place at the special election to be held January 18, 1899, and that the name and residence of each voter be taken.”
FRANK H. MITER,
Republican Club Affairs.
At a meeting of the Republican Club held last evening President J. K. P. Pine named James J. Child, E. L. Demers, J. A. Powers, J. W. Wike, W. M. Lea, J. J. Hagen and F. B. Twining as the finance committee, and C. H. Dauchy, J. M. Chambers and J. E. West, a committee on permanent headquarters, the latter committee to report at the next meeting. The club unanimously adopted a resolution to endorse the proposed city charter now before the Legislature. The executive committee was instructed to confer with the County Committee relative to spring caucuses. The meeting was largely attended and enthusiastic, and many new members were enrolled. The following, introduced by William H. Draper, was unanimously adopted, and the club adjourned to meet Friday evening next:
Whereas, A communication signed by two persons assuming to represent the Republicans of Lansingburgh has been presented to the Board of Trustees; and
Whereas, Said parties in no way represent or stand for the Republicans party of the town of Lansingburgh, but on the contrary, by reason of their affiliation with the Democratic party during the recent election, have placed themselves in a position where they are not entitled to be considered members of the Republican party, and consequently not in control of said party; and
Whereas, A Portion of the Board of Trustees of the village of Lansingburgh has unlawfully called an election for the inhabitants of the town of Lansingburgh, to give expression with reference to procuring a city charter for Lansingburgh; and
Whereas, Said portion of the Board of Trustees has refused to take any precaution to insure an honest vote vy declining to keep a poll-list of voters and their residences; therefore be it
Resolved, That we, members of the Republican Club of Lansingburgh, utterly refuse to recognize in any manner the authority of the so-called chairman and clerk above referred to, preferring rather to recognize the organization that so successfully managed and carried out the campaign during the recent election for state and county officers; and
Resolved, That we are firmly of the opinion that neither the trustees nor any portion of said board has any right under the charter to call an election for any purpose other than an election of taxpayers to give expressions on an expenditure of money or to fill vacancies; and
Resolved, That we are convinced that the election which said trustees assume to call would utterly fail in securing all honest expression of the residents of the village in view of the fact that they by a majority vote refuse to keep a proper record of the vote cast, thereby affording and encouraging an illegal and fraudulent vote; and
Resolved, That we decline to participate in said so-called election on the ground that it is without warrant or legality; that it is called at the instance of parties who were active in promoting the success of the Democratic party last fall; that it involves an expenditure which the trustees have no right to incur, and that it encourages and invites a repetition of the methods practiced during the Democratic administration of 1893.
Troy Daily Times. January 14, 1898: 4 col 3.
A sub-committee of the general committee having in charge the proposed city charter is compiling a full synopsis of the measures, with the view of bringing out its essential features pointedly. When complete each taxpayer is to receive a copy of the compilation and an opportunity given for an expression of opinion. One of the main points to be brought out is the comparative expense of the present and the proposed governments, as this is of special importance to all taxpayers.
A meeting of the city charter committee is to be held to-night at the office of J. J. Child.
“Lansingburgh; City Charter Gossip.” Troy Daily Times. January 7, 1899: col 3.
A synopsis of the Bill to be Introduced in the Legislature Next Wednesday—The Boundaries of the Proposed City—City Officers and Their Powers and Duties—Elections and Primaries—Representation in the County Board—Provisions for the Various Departments—The Principal Features of the Measure.
The measure to provide a city government for the village of Lansingburgh will be presented in the Legislature next Wednesday. The progress of the measure will be watched with the greatest interest, as an effort will be made to early secure legislative approval. The new charter has been very carefully prepared under the guidance of many of Lansingburgh’s most prominent and influential citizens, and that an idea of the provisions may be had the more important features of the charter are given in part as follows:
Beginning at a point in the north bounds of the city of Troy, as now established at the Hudson river, distance eight chains and fifty-eight links from the public highway leading from Troy to Lansingburgh, and running thence easterly along said north bounds to the east line of the Fitchburg railroad; thence along said east line, northerly, to the east line of the highway crossing said railroad at the head of Fifteenth street in the present village of Lansingburgh; thence northerly along the east line of said highway to the south line of the highway running along the north bounds of Oakwood cemetery; thence along said south line of said highway, easterly, to the east line of the town of Lansingburgh; thence northerly along said east line to a point in said line where it would be intersected by the south boundary line of the lands known as the “Water works farm” produced westernly, said line being the boundary on the south of the farmhouse on said lands; thence easterly along such south line to the east line of said lands; thence northerly along said east line to the north line of said lands; thence westerly along said north line to the east boundary line of the village of Lansingburgh thence northerly along said east line and along the same course as said east boundary line produced northerly to a point in said line where it would be intersected by a line drawn parallel with the northern boundary of the village of Lansingburgh, and which will intersect the east line of the Hudson river turnpike and the south line of the highway leading to the farm of W. G. P. Campbell, near the south of the farmhouse of J. K. P. Pone; thence westerly along said parallel line drawn as aforesaid to the western boundary of Rensselaer county; thence southerly along said western boundary to the north bounds of the city of Troy; thence easterly along said bounds to the place of beginning. […]
“For a New City; Lansingburgh’s Charter.” Troy Daily Times. January 6, 1899: 4 cols 2-5.
On the reassembling to-night of the state Legislature a bill will be introduced by Senator [Edgar Truman] Brackett and Assemblyman [Benjamin O.] Brewster to make Lansingburgh a city. The Troy Times believes that this bill should be passed.
The Lansingburgh city charter bill should be passed because Lansingburgh desires it. The names of those who are prominent in advocacy of a city charter are the names of leading citizens, who are recognized as men of property interests, clear heads, and public spirit. No opposition has come to our notice that represents similar citizenship. While opportunity has been given for public dissent, none has appeared in Lansingburgh, and none anywhere except in a certain quarter in Troy which has never favored any plans for Lansingburgh except those of disfranchisement.
The bill should be passed because such city government as Lansingburgh will receive will be a saving in taxes to the people. Lansingburgh is too large for village government; the garment has been outgrown, and is too old to be pieced out. Where the population is great enough, as in Lansingburgh, the municipal government which a city provides is essential to economy and to the facilitation of further growth.
The bill should be passed because as a city Lansingburgh will have an influence corresponding to her deserts in the affairs of the county. Lansingburgh’s large population is entitled to a greater representation in the lawmaking of Rensselaer county than falls to the smallest ward in Troy or the most sparsely settled mountain town in the county.
The bill should be passed because the industrial and commercial reputation and effectiveness of Lansingburgh should not be dwarfed by the comparisons which the name of a village presents to the names of cities. If the wares and institutions of a place are to keep up with the procession, the place itself must not be content to appear in the jacket of the child instead of the coat of the man.
The bill should be passed to complete a circuit of enterprising cities: Troy, Lansingburgh, Cohoes and Watervliet. None of the three which are at present cities would go back to village government. Nor will Lansingburgh. This uniformity of government in the four places, although each would be administered by its own people and in its own way, would mean greater effectiveness of all as a public facor when the interests centring at the junction of the Hudson and the Mohawk are to be regarded. This will not be annexation, nor in the formal sense consolidation, but it will be co-operation helpful to all.
Lansingburgh as a city will be a blessing to itself and an exemplar to others. Speed the act!
“Should Be a City.” Troy Daily Times. January 11, 1899: 2 col 1.
Senator Brackett Introduces the Lansingburgh City Charter
Albany, Jan. 12.—Senator Brackett of Saratoga last night introduced the bill to incorporate the city of Lansingburgh. Assemblyman Brewster offered it in the House. Its salient provisions have been printed in The Troy Times.
Troy Daily Times. January 12, 1899: 1 col 2.
Lansingburgh’s City Charter will not be Argued Until Next Tuesday—Deferred Out of Respect to Assemblyman Hutton, who has Suffered Bereavement
Albany, Jan. 24.—Owing to the bereavement which has overtaken Assemblyman Hutton [the death of his wife] the hearing arranged for this afternoon before the Senate and the Assembly Cities Committees, in joint session, on the Brackett-Brewster bill to incorporate the city of Lansingburgh, has been put over for one week. This adjournment has been taken out of courtesy to Assemblyman Hutton, who is much interested in the Lansingburgh measure, and wishes to be present when the hearing upon it is held.
Troy Daily Times. January 24, 1899: 1 col 2.
A delegation consisting of former Assemblyman J. M. Chambers, William H. Draper and Mr. Flack of Lansingburgh waited upon Assemblyman Russell last night and asked his co-operation with Assemblyman Brewster in having the Brackett Senate bill to incorporate the city of Lansingburgh amended so as to conform to the Assembly bill in its present shape. This result will be brought about without delay. When accomplished it will serve to aid materially in advancing the bill through the Legislature, as it will permit the substitution in the Senate of the Assembly bill in place of the Brackett bill.
“Lansingburgh’s City Charter.” Troy Daily Times. February 21, 1899: 1 col 2.
Assemblyman Brewster to-day gave notice that at some future time he should move to suspend the rules for the passage of his bill to incorporate the city of Lansingburgh. As a result of this motion he will call up the bill to-morrow and will secure its passage despite Democratic opposition.
“Lansingburgh Charter.” Troy Daily Times. February 22, 1899: 1 col 3.
As soon as routine business had been disposed of in the Assembly to-day a call of the house was had to obtain a full attendance of members in order that the needful votes might be assured to pass Assemblyman Brewster’s bill to incorporate the city of Lansingburgh. The motion to suspend further proceedings under the call was adopted at 11:35. Soon afterward the charter discussion was opened.
It was precipitated by Assemblyman Brewster’s motion to suspend the necessary rules so that immediate consideration might be given to the charter bill.
The Democratic [Minority] leader, Assemblyman [George M.] Palmer [of Schoharie County], said he hoped the motion would not prevail.
The motion was adopted by a rising vote, Democrats in the negative, 81 to 50.
The bill was then declared by the chair to be on the order of second and third reading. Assemblyman Hutton, for the purpose of an explanation, thereupon moved to strike out the bill’s enacting clause.
In reply Assemblyman Brewster said the village of Lansingburgh was now a thriving community of over 15,000 inhabitants, with large manufacturing industries.
The machine Democrats were almost united against the bill, continued Assemblyman Brewster. To offset that he presented a petition signed by over 1,000 of the village’s most reputable citizens favoring the bill. As a matter of fact, he said, the great majority of the people of the village wanted the bill enacted into law.
Assemblyman [William] Hutton [Jr., of Troy] argued against the bill, declaring his belief that most of the villagers were against the measure. He added that the change from a village to a city government would impose a big increase of taxation upon the residents of the place.
Assemblyman Hutton went on to talk disparagingly about Lansingburgh and its people.
“It is wretchedly located,” he declared. “It’s not suited to become a city. It would never be a success as a municipality.” If there is any improvement to take place in that locality Troy is sure to benefit by it, not Lansingburgh, whose residents were not fitted to assume the responsibilities following its incorporation, according to Assemblyman Hutton.
Assemblyman [Cornelius F.] Collins of New York offered an amendment providing that the act shall not take effect until its provisions have been ratified by a vote of the people of the village.
Assemblyman [Charles P.] Dillon of New York followed with an amendment providing that one supervisor shall represent the first and second wards and one the third and fourth wards.
Assemblyman [Daniel E.] Finn of New York then proceeded to talk some partisan Tammany nonsense, designed, as he hoped, to influence Republicans to oppose the bill.
Assemblyman Lewis of Monroe, replying to the Democratic attacks on the bill, declared that in point of population Lansingburgh was quite large enough to take on the responsibilities of city government. Furthermore, such a change would benefit the people there financially. Their taxes were scandalously high. If the bill under consideration became a law the burdens under which the residents of the village now stagger will be lessened, and in addition they will be enjoying all the advantages growing out of the village’s development into a municipality.
Assemblyman Russell followed in a brief but spirited defense of the bill. Incidentally replying to Democratic criticism he said that inasmuch as Mr. Bolton’s name had been brought into the discussion it might be well for the members of the house to know that at the last election he had declared himself for Van Wyck for governor, and had refused to rent his hall in Lansingburgh when the Republicans wanted it for a Roosevelt meeting.
“This bill is wanted, despite what the Democrats say, by the people of Lansingburgh,” said Assemblyman Russell. “It will give them better and cheaper government, and they are deserving of it.”
After Assemblyman [Joseph I.] Green of New York had inveighed at some length against the bill, Assemblyman [Robert] Mazet, the chairman of the Cities Committee, spoke a few words endorsing the measure. He recalled that at the committee hearing on the bill a petition favoring it was presented, signed by over 1,800 residents of the village. Under the proposed city charter the taxes of the people will be reduced almost half.
Chairman Mazet added that he had received a petition from three members of the Town Board and a petition signed by four of the trustees, reach opposing the bill. The petitioners claimed to be Republicans.
“I hardly think this claim of Republicanism should avail them much,” remarked Mr. Mazet, “inasmuch as I am credibly informed that two of the men who signed both petitions worked openly and voted for Democratic candidates at the last election.”
Assemblyman Green offered an amendment providing that the house and grounds of Rev. Dr. [Alexander] Dickson shall not be included in the proposed city’s limits.
Democratic Leader Palmer then talked awhile in a perfunctory way in opposition to the bill, after which the Republican [Majority] leader, Assemblyman [Jotham P.] Allds [of Chenango County], addressed the House in support of the measure. He said that the people of the village had come to Albany, through their representatives, and announced that they wanted this proposed charter for a variety of reasons, one of which is because its adoption means reduced taxation.
The three amendments offered by the Democrats were defeated by a party vote. The bill was advanced to a third reading.
Without further discussion it was placed on final passage, and at 2:45 o’clock passed by a strict party vote of 82 to 54.
“Democratic Opposition to the Lansingburgh City Charter.” Troy Daily Times. February 23, 1899: 2 col 4-5.
State Senators Are Challenging Each Other.
Refusing to Support Party Measures and Causing Confusion—Much Bitterness in the Conflict—Some Measures Hung Up—Matters of Local Interest.
ALBANY, March 4.—No one can longer complain that this session of the legislature is a dull one and every day is multiplying the number of complications and opportunities for squabbles and rows. It has got to the state where each senator, for the fight is particularly in the senate, is going around with a chip on his shoulder challenging every other member of the body to knock it off. No opportunity is lost by one senator to bury the knife in another, and it seems to be particularly the desire of such Republican senators as stayed in the two caucuses this year, one on the biennial sessions resolution and the other on the New York police bills, to lose no opportunity to molest the senators who bolted on those propositions.
In the first place Senator Brackett and Senator Malby bolted on the biennial sessions resolution. The day following the caucus Senator Brackett had a pet measure, the Lansingburgh charter bill, absolutely held up and recommitted to the cities committee by Senator Stranahan, who is chairman, ostensibly for a hearing but really to kill the bill. The reason for this was apparent to every senator who knew that the biennial sessions resolution was Senator Stranahan’s pet hobby and that he was simply getting even for the action of Senator Brackett. […]
Rome Daily Sentinel. March 4, 1899: 3 cols 1-2.
At the request of Senator Brackett, who has had the measure in charge in the upper house, the Senate last evening advanced to third reading the bill to incorporate the city of Lansingburgh, amended so as not to touch the property of Rev. Mr. Dickson. There was no discussion over the bill, save that regret was expressed by its opponents that Senator [Frank M.] Boyce was unable, by reason of serious illness, to be present in order to antagonize it.
Troy Daily Times. April 25, 1899: 1 col 2.
The bill of Assemblyman Brewster creating the city of Lansingburgh failed of passage in the Senate yesterday afternoon. But twenty-four Republican senators voted for the measure. Senator [John] Ford of New York and Senator [Charles T.] Willis of Schuyler voted against the bill, and Senator [George R.] Malby of St. Lawrence announced that he was paired with Senator Boyce, who is absent on account of illness. He therefore declined to vote. As twenty-six votes are needed to pass a bill the Lansingburgh measure failed.
When the bill came up on the order of third reading Senator [Thomas F.] Grady of New York said he knew the measure was antagonized by the senator from Rensselaer, and as that gentleman was unavoidably detained from his legislative duties he asked that the bill be laid aside.
Senator Brackett, who took charge of the bill in the upper house, expressed regret over the absence of the Rensselaer representative. He urged that the bill be taken up without further delay, saying that but little time remained in which to dispose of it.
Senator [Curtis N.] Douglas of Albany spoke against the bill.
On roll call much astonishment was created by Senator Ford’s attitude, coupled with the statement that he had originally intended to support the measure.
Naturally the Republican representatives were deeply incensed over the New York representative’s peculiar change of front. After all was over Senator Ford began to realize that he had erred in his course when he discovered that, through the efforts of Assemblyman [Michael] Russell and Brewster, and of others, one of his bills was defeated, and that a scheme was under way to kill several other measures pending in which he has a lively interest.
“Lansingburgh Charter; Defeat of the Bill in the Senate.” Troy Daily Times. April 27, 1899: 1 col 2.