☞ LANSINGBURGH. […] —At the recent sale of the property of D. Brainerd King, late of Waterford, deceased, Whale Island, in the Hudson at the lower end of the village, was sold to D. B. King, his brother, for $25,000.
Troy Daily Whig. March 29, 1866: 3 col 3.
☞ WHALE ISLAND—THE GRAND STAND OF THE REGATTA—A TRADITION OF THE HUDSON.—The little spot of earth in the Hudson which is to furnish standing room for the guests and “one dollar” spectators of the coming regatta, has long been known to the older inhabitants as Whale Island. There is a tradition that, in the early colonial days preceding the Revolution, a medium sized whale ventured up the Hudson, extending his travels to the Point Rock, opposite Waterford, but that, while descending, the waters suddenly receded, (there was no Troy dam then,) leaving his Cetacean majesty upon dry ground; that being unable to “stand drouth,” he died there, and his bones and carcass, joining with the alluvial deposits, formed the little island which now appears as a monument to his memory. For years it has been diminishing in size, and we are informed that its owner, Daniel B. King, of Waterford, feels so little interest in real estate in the Hudson, that he is willing that it should entirely disappear. A few years since, during one of the heavy Spring freshets, some of the trees (with which the island was then covered) were washed out and fell across the channel of the river, and blockading the ice, threw the waters back so far that the large dam in the Mohawk, owned at that time by D. Brainerd King, was lifted from its foundations, involving a cost of some thousands of dollars to its owner for repairs. Mr. King thereupon purchased the island, cut away the trees, broke the surface of the banks, and left it to the mercy of the stream, which has since been gradually washing it away, and we are informed that it is already reduced to one half of its original size. After the death of D. Brainard King, the property was sold by his executors to Daniel B. King, the present owner, for $25. He has dedicated it to the same fate that had been prepared for it by his brother, and the citizens along the river must be prepared to see it eventually disappear. Since its purchase by the elder King, it has never caused any injury to King’s Canal, and it is probable that no farther reduction of its proportions will ever be needed. The water power which its destruction was intended to subserve is a very valuable interest, carrying a number of large mills and manufacturing establishments in Waterford.
Troy Daily Times. October 5, 1867: 3 col 2
Immense piles of snow to the north of us, threaten to completely inundate Waterford, and Whale Island.
“Lansingburgh.” Troy Daily Whig. March 10, 1869: 3 col 2.
☞ THE FRESHET—RAILROAD BRIDGES WASHED AWAY—TRAINS DELAYED. […] The water in the river opposite Lansingburgh is higher than ever before at this season. Several canal boats lying at the docks are washed high and dry, and most of the storehouses are completely inundated. George B. Allen & Son lost some cord wood which was piled on the dock at the foot of North street. Whale Island is completely covered, as is also a large portion of Van Schaick’s Island.
Troy Daily Whig. April 21, 1869: 3 col 1.
LANSINGBURGH.—The dorsal fins of Whale Island are now visible to the naked eye.
Troy Daily Press. April 27, 1869: 3 col 2.
—The little spot of land in the river known as Whale Island has entirely disappeared, only one little stick like a struggling arm appearing above the water. We remember when it was a good sized corn field.
“City Notes.” Troy Daily Times. April 22, 1870: 3 col 2.
☞ LANSINGBURGH—DISAPPEARANCE OF WHALE ISLAND.—Our gardeners are beginning to clean up, and tree planting is the order of the day. […] Whale Island has entirely disappeared. There is not a vestige of it left, and the waters of the Hudson now flow as placidly and smoothly over the spot as though an island had never grown corn in their midst.
Troy Daily Whig. April 20, 1872: 4 col 3.
—Never before since the building of the state dam has the water in the Hudson river opposite the upper part of the city been so low as it is at present. Portions of the once famous Whale island are to be seen above the water near the first Mohawk sprout, which has not before been possible since the island was submerged some years ago.
Troy Daily Times. August 14, 1880: 3 col 2.
—A claim for $3,000 has been presented to the state board of claims by Lina W. Benjamin. The claimant says the rising of the river washed away 15,000 yards of gravel from Whale island, near Lansingburgh, and owned by Mr. Benjamin.
“Freshet Facts.” Troy Daily Times. November 10, 1885: 3 col 5.
—Whale island is growing larger as the water in the river lowers.
Lansingburgh Courier. June 22, 1893: 3 col 1.
The Water Set Back.
An ice gorge was formed in the Hudson at Whale island, opposite Third street, Lansingburgh, Saturday night about 9 o’clock, and the waters were set back for some distance. Considerable apprehension was felt by property owners along First avenue, but after the river had touched high water mark the gorge broke and the rising was checked. The flooding of cellars and the floating away of wood piles placed too near the banks were the chief damage. A wagon box belonging to Brooker Brothers was taken down stream, and workmen were busy keeping a large pile of laths and wood from sailing away.
Troy Daily Times. March 2, 1896: 3 col 4.
An important record of the heritage of the Capital Region, the de Hooges Memorandum Book contains documentation of the legal and financial affairs of the patroonship while Antonie de Hooges served as principal business manager of the colony. This important document, which details business and other transaction in the Dutch settlement, is now online and accessible via the [New Netherlands Institute] NNI’s new website. Formerly at great risk, the manuscript was largely unavailable for study and research because of damage suffered by the manuscript over time and in the 1911 Capitol fire.
The book features a record of one of the most unusual and notable events in the history of the New Netherland colony – the sighting of a white whale in the Hudson River near Fort Orange, now the City of Albany. Many have speculated on the impact the event might have had on author Herman Melville, who could trace his ancestry back to New Netherland through the Gansevoort family in the maternal line.
For more about the above-mentioned story, see “The White Whale” linked below:
“The White Whale.” New Netherland Institute. http://www.newnetherlandinstitute.org/history-and-heritage/additional-resources/dutch-treats/the-white-whale/