Lansingburgh was first formed as the “Town + Borough of Stone Arabia” in 1771, later referred to as the “town of Lansingburgh and Patent of Stone Arabia.” It was formally incorporated as a village in 1790 and continued to exist as a village to 1901, at which time it was annexed by the City of Troy.
Prior to the incorporation of the Town of Lansingburgh, from 1788 to February 7, 1791 the Village of Lansingburgh was within the Town of Rensselaerwyck in the County of Albany. From February 7, 1791 to March 18, 1791 the Village of Lansingburgh was within the Town of Rensselaerwyck in the County of Rensselaer. From March 18, 1791 to 1807 the Village of Lansingburgh was within the Town of Troy in the County of Rensselaer.
The appearance of the village as a formal unit of local government began in the 1790’s. Villages were created by special acts of State Legislature, but the starting date for this process is in dispute among historians due to a lack of precision in terminology in those early legislative acts. In 1790, the Legislature granted specific powers to the trustees of “… part of the town of Rensselaerwyck, commonly called Lansingburgh.” The term “village” first appeared in state law in a 1794 enactment incorporating Waterford [sic]. The legislative act of 1798, providing for the incorporation of Lansingburgh and Troy as villages, is seen by many historians as the first formal authorization in the state for the village form of government. This enactment included all of the legal elements (including an incorporation clause and delegation of taxing and regulatory power) deemed necessary for a true unit of local government.
New York State Department of State. Local Government Handbook. 6th Ed. 2011. 67-68. https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/publications/Local_Government_Handbook.pdf
The term “village” actually appeared earlier than 1794, e.g. in Law 1793, chapter 10, “An ACT for building a Court-House and Gaol in the County of Rensselaer”, referred to “the village of Troy, in the town of Troy” and Law 1793, chapter 33 “An ACT relative to the Church in Johnstown” referred to “the village of Johnstown, in the town of Caughnawaga, in the county of Montgomery”
AN ACT to appoint trustees to take and hold certain lands therein mentioned, and for other purposes.
PASSED the 5th of April, 1790
WHEREAS in that part of the town of Rensselaerwyck in the county of Albany herein after described, a considerable number of houses are already erected, and occupied by merchants mechanics and others to the advancement of commerce and manufactures in this State; and in order to enable them to regulate their internal police, and to secure the benefits of certain commonable lands lying within the same, have prayed that they might be enabled to appoint trustees. Therefore
Be it enacted by the People of the State of New York represented in Senate and Assembly, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That John Van Rensselaer, Christopher Tillman, Elijah Janes, Aaron Ward, Stephen Goreham, Ezra Hickock and Levinus Lansing shall be and they are hereby declared to be, the first trustees for the freeholders and inhabitants of that part of the town of Rensselaerwyck commonly called Lansingburgh, and shall continue to be trustees until the third Tuesday in May next, and that it shall and may be lawful to and for the said freeholders and inhabitants, qualified by law to vote at town meetings, to assemble on the third Tuesday of May next, and annually on the third Tuesday of May in every year thereafter, at such place and at such time of the day, as the trustees for the time being, or the major part of them, shall by public advertizement appoint, and under the direction of the said trustees, or such of them as shall be present, who are hereby made inspectors of such election, then and there by a majority of voices, to elect seven discreet inhabitants, being freeholders, to be trustees as aforesaid, who shall continue in office until the third Tuesday in the month of May in the next ensuing year
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said trustees hereby appointed, and their successors, are hereby enabled to take a grant or grants feoffment or feoffments of any lands lying and being in Lansingburgh aforesaid, and to hold the same to them and their successors forever, in trust to and for the common use and benefit of the freeholders and inhabitants aforesaid.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said freeholders and inhabitants, at their annual meetings to be held as aforesaid, and at such other times in the year as the said trustees or a majority of them may think necessary and advertize for the purpose, shall be and they are hereby authorized and empowered from time to time, to make, ordain, constitute and establish, such prudential rules, orders and regulations, as a majority of such freeholders and inhabitants so assembled and having a right to vote, shall judge necessary and convenient for the better improving of their common lands, and for ascertaining and directing the use and management thereof, and respecting the cutting of wood on the same; and also to ordain and establish such prudential rules and orders, relative to the cleansing and keeping in order and repair the common streets and highways in Lansingburgh aforesaid, and removing nuisances therefrom — and also to make and ordain rules and regulations proper to compel the house keepers in Lansingburgh aforesaid, to furnish themselves with a sufficient number of proper fire buckets, and with necessary tools and implements for extinguishing of fires, and to impose such penalties on the offenders against such rules orders and regulations, or any or either of them, as the majority of such freeholders and inhabitants so assembled, shall from time to time deem proper, not exceeding forty shillings for any one offence, to be recovered by the said trustees for the time being in their own names with costs of suit, for the use of the said freeholders and inhabitants, by action of debt, before any justice of the peace residing in the said county of Albany.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said Common trustees hereby appointed, and their successors, shall and may from time to time, constitute and appoint, one fit person to be a common clerk for the said freeholders and inhabitants, whose duty it shall be, to record all rules orders and regulations, made by the said freeholders and inhabitants at their meetings as aforesaid, in a proper book to be by him provided for such purpose, and also to do and perform all such matters and things as the said trustees or a majority of them shall lawfully from time to time, by writing under their hands appoint and direct.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful, to and for the said trustees or the major part of them, and they are hereby required with all convenient speed, to elect nominate and appoint a sufficient number of men, willing to accept, not exceeding fifteen in number, out of the inhabitants residing in Lansingburgh aforesaid, to have the care, management, working and use of the fire engine or engines belonging to the said freeholders and inhabitants, and also the other tools and instruments for extinguishing fires; and the said trustees or the major part of them, are hereby authorized and empowered to remove or displace all or any of the firemen so as aforesaid to be elected nominated and appointed, when and as often as they shall think fit, and others in their stead to elect nominate and appoint ; and also to make establish and ordain such rules orders and regulations, for the government conduct duty and behaviour of such fire men as to them shall appear necessary and proper.
And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That such persons shall be elected and appointed firemen, and each and every of them firemen during the time such person or persons shall remain firemen, and no longer, shall and hereby are declared to be, freed and exempted from serving in the office of constable and overseer of the highways and of and from serving as jurors, and of and from serving in the militia, except in cases of invasion or other imminent danger.
And whereas it hath been represented to the legislature, that the seventh section of the act entitled “An act for erecting a town by the name of Middletown, and to alter the bounds of the town of Rochester and Woodstock in the county of Ulster, and for erecting a town by the name of Easton, and to alter the bounds of the towns of Schenectady and Balls-Town, in the county of Albany, and for other purposes therein mentioned” is by experience found to be injurious to the interest of the township of Schenectady. Therefore
Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That every person who shall at any time hereafter, cut or otherwise destroy or carry away from and out of the common lands of the town of Schenectady any hickory, oak, maple, beach or ash trees growing thereon, of a less size than six inches diameter at the stump, shall forfeit and pay the sum of five shillings for every such offence; and that every person who shall at any time hereafter in any of the said common lands cut down any tree with intent to make staves thereof, or shall cut down any tree, and shall not carry away every part of such tree fit for fuel, excepting all kinds of pine trees and such as may be applied to building and fencing and opening of roads, every person so offending, shall for every such offence forfeit and pay the sum of twenty shillings: And that the said seventh section of the aforesaid recited act is hereby repealed.
• Presidents of the Village of Lansingburgh (1791-1901)
The Village Trustees of Lansingburgh held their final meeting Monday night. Reports of the various departments of the village were received, and the affairs of the village government, which went out of existence at midnight, closed.
President Skillman and Messrs. Roemer, Chapman, Bolton, Gray, McCrea and Gillespie were present. The President announced that it was an adjourned special meeting. Mr. Bolton of the law committee reported on the bill of contractor Thomas H. Karr for $223.73 for extra work on the Fifth Avenue pavement, and on his motion the sum of $46.73 was ordered paid to Mr. Karr, and the question of auditing the remainder of the amount was referred to the Water Commissioners. It was claimed that the remaining sum was due for water used during the contract. Contractor Karr rose a little later and asked why his whole claim had not been audited. He said that the Board was responsible for all extra work done by him on the contract, and he asserted that Engineer Roemer had directed him to do the work charged for. Engineer Roemer stated that the inspector had been instructed to keep an account of all extra work, and the matter was not further considered.
The bill of Dr. George L. Johnson for $97 caused considerable discussion. Eugene L. Demers, who presented the bill to the Board, was given the privilege of the floor to explain it. He said the bill was contracted during the diphtheria quarantine in 1899, and had been sent from Board to Board, and each in turn had refused to pay. He presented affidavits as to the correctness of the bill, but Mr. Gray questioned the legality of paying it, as no orders were produced. On motion the bill was referred to the law committee, which practically kills it. The bill of Dr. Rich for $1.25 for vital statistics was audited.
Treasurer G. P. Williams presented the following report of the year:
Balance January 1, 1900……. $37,649 54
Total receipts for the year… 65,068 62
Disbursements…………….. 64,434 84
Balance………………. $1,533 78
The annual report of Village President Skillman of the various funds was as follows:
Roads……………………. $2,174 67
General fund……………… 17,214 77
Electric light and gas…….. 16,457 30
Police Justices…………… 8 25
Alleys…………………… 14 64
Street Commissioner……….. 499 92
The condition of the Fifth Avenue pavement fund was reported as follows:
Total receipts…………….$95,224 40
Disbursements…………….. 73,649 26
Balance on deposit in People’s Bank..$21,575 14
The report of the Fire Commissioners was presented by Secretary C. M. Clark, as follows:
General fund…………………$6,500 00
Special fund now in hands of Re-
ceiver of Taxes for collection.. 3,537 22
Amount………………….. 7,824 48
Balance on hand………….. $275 52
Receipts………………………. $439 15
Expenditures per vouchers on fire… $439 15
Number of alarms………………. 36
Total loss…………………….$13,417 19
Fire insurance………………… 74,688 00
The report of Police Commissioner Magee recited the charges against officers during the year and the litigation in the janitor case. He reported that $13,647.72 had been expended during the year, of which $352.28 was applied largely on account of the new police station. Bills to the amount of $433.73 remain to be paid by the city of Troy.
President Skillman reported that the mortar to be placed in the village park had arrived, and another cannon, weighing 7,200 pounds, had been secured. A resolution was adopted on motion of Mr. Gray that the sum of $150, or as much therefore as is required, be expended by President Skillman and Mr. Bolton, as a committee, to pay for transportation of the guns to Lansingburgh and placing them in position on suitable foundations in the village park between Thirteenth [113th] and Fourteenth [114th] Streets, and an audit was ordered drawn to them for the amount. On motion Clerk Miter was empowered to reindex the books and papers of the village at an expense not to exceed $100, the same to be done under the direction of the authorities of Troy.
On motion of Mr. Roemer the Clerk was instructed to have printed the reports received during the meeting and 250 copies distributed to officials and taxpayers. The minutes of the meeting were approved and the Board adjourned sine die.
“Upper Troy.” Troy Daily Times. January 2, 1901: 4 col 3.