“Annexation or no Annexation” (February 28, 1879)
BY AN OLD RESIDENT.
In 1869 a small knot of taxpayers got together in the National Exchange Bank and drew up a bill for the annexation of Lansingburgh to Troy, without action or consent of the people at large. The people remonstrated; the bill was hurried through both houses and passed. Gov. Hoffman in his wisdom vetoed the bill. Now the subject of annexation is up again. Let a meeting of the inhabitants be called and vote on the question. If they vote for annexation let all say amen.
A few years ago the south part of the village called Batestown, was annexed to Troy, but before they had got fairly warm in the embrace of the city fathers, they were anxious to return to their old homes on account of taxation. If annexation must take place Troy should be annexed to Lansingburgh, Lansingburgh being much its senior in point of age, population and business. It was a flourishing business place when Troy was a mere hamlet, with two of three buildings about Ashley’s tavern, the ferryway, and at the head of Division street. What benefit are we to receive by annexation? Some say our roads and avenues will be improved, our streets will be lighted and we shall have the benefit of a city life. We shall have water taken from the Hudson river if Troy ever makes up its mind on the subject; others say that Trojans will come here to live and do business here. Some come here to live now, but do business in Troy and pay taxes there. They say that Lansingburgh is not known abroad. If we had the stamp of Troy on our manufactured goods they would be at the head of the market. Where has our brushes, oil cloths and other goods been but at the head of the market? Our taxes have been high but they are being gradually reduced; look at the taxes of Troy compared with ours. The city fathers can vote any amount of money for city improvements and the taxpayers have no action in the matter, but to pay their taxes. The trustees of our village cannot vote a single dollar for public improvements without a vote of the taxpayers—not even to building a sewer or lighting the streets.
Perhaps a short description of the rise and progress of the village and the strife and feeling between the rival places might be interesting to the present generation and the descendants of those who lived and did business here in former days.
In the year 1763, Abraham Jacob Lansing purchased from Robert Wandell a plot of ground known as Stone Arrabia Patent, the ground on which Lansingburgh stands, for the sum of three hundred pounds, lawful money of the State of New York. Early in the year 1771, Mr. Lansing had a portion of his land surveyed by Joseph Blanchard, and named the newly laid out streets, alleys and lots the city of Lansingburgh, the streets running east and west commencing at South street and running to North street; King and Queen streets running north and south. (In 1833 the trustees altered the names of King and Queen to State and Congress, it being a little more democratic.)
After the village plot was laid out the people began to build stores and dwellings, and the people began to build stores and dwellings, and settlers from Vermont and Connecticut began to arrive and commence building stores and dwellings. We soon became a thriving village; we had the trade of Vermont and the northern part of this State. In 1771 a meeting was called and officers were elected to regulate the affairs of the village. In 1798 several farmers came from Connecticut and located at troy. Among them was Eliakim Warren and his three sons, Esiaus, Nathan and Steven, with the Richards, Dauchys, Kellogs, Bostons and others. Then Troy took a start in business; in the course of a year or two several of our most prominent merchants removed to Troy to seek their fortunes with the Trojans. Some of them loaded their goods in wagons and departed in the night time, among them were George and Benjamin Tibbits, Charles and Dudley Selden, Aaron and Derrick Lane, Redfield and Bradley, Jonas Morgan and some of our prominent lawyers, John D. Dickinson, John Lovet and Alanson Douglas.
Then commenced a crusade against New City. The first kind act was done by Benjamin Covel, on a trip down the river to Stony Hook. A Dutchman there told him the best thing he could take up the river was paper. He immediately wrote to his brother in New York not to sell any paper to any merchant in New City. The next kind act was committed in 1792. Wait Rathburn [sic] came from Connecticut to Troy to purchase a lot and locate. He called on Mr. Vanderheyden and he refused to sell him a lot for cash, but would lease him one for a small sum. The offer was met with a decided refusal, Mr. Rathburn wishing to become the lawful owner. Mr. Vanderheyden could not see why Mr. Rathburn wanted to pay cash when he could lease a lot for a mere pittance. Mr. Rathburn came to New City with the intention of locating here. Dr. Gale and Mr. Covel being informed of the nature of the case, called on Mr. Vanderheyden and with much earnestness persuaded him to sell the New Englander a lot. They procured a horse and wagon and the three proceeded to New City, where they found Mr. Rathburn and after an apology from Mr. Vanderheyden, an agreement was entered into the parties whereby Mr. Rathburn became the first occupant of the lot on the northeast corner of Congress and First streets. That was another kind and friendly act on the part of the Trojans. In those days our Merchants were obliged to do their banking business in Albany. For the accommodation of Lansingburgh, Waterford and Troy, a building was erected near the State dam for a banking house. The structure is now occupied by Jacob Lown. As Troy began to increase in business, the bank was removed to Troy, and Lansingburgh and Waterford built banking houses of their own.
Lansingburgh Courier. February 28, 1879: 4 cols 1-2