By J. H. French103
AUSTERLITZ, COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
Austerlitz was formed from Canaan, Chatham, and Hillsdale, March 28, 1818. It lies on the E. border of the co., N. of the center. The E. and central parts are broken by irregular ranges of hills, and the W. part is undulating. The principal streams are Green River in the E. and Punsit Creek in the W. The soil is a gravelly loam intermixed in some parts with slate and clay. The hills are mostly arable to the summits. Spencertown, (p.v.,) on Punsit creek, in the W. part of the town, contains 2 churches, an academy,6 and 2 gristmills. Pop. 225. Austerlitz (p.v.,) in the valley of Green River, contains 2 churches and 150 inhabitants. Upper Green River is a hamlet in the S. E. part of the town. The first settlements were made about 1745 to 1750 by squatters from Conn.7 Disputes concerning the ownership of lands thus appropriated arose; and on the 31st of May, 1757, the settlers appointed a committee to adjust the difficulties. About 1744, Nathaniel Culver and Jas. Savage were sent to England to secure a grant of these lands to the settlers; but, owing to the trouble existing between the mother country and the colonies, they were unsuccessful. The land titles were finally settled by the act of March 22, 1791. The first church (Cong.) was organized in 1750, and Rev. Jesse Clark was the first pastor.8
6 The Spencertown Academy was established mainly through the exertions of Rev. Dr. T. Woodbridge.
7 Among the early settlers were John Dean, John Williams, Seth and Truman Powell, Jas. Sexton, Ephraim Kidder, and families by the names of Osborne, Lawrence, Spencer, and Whitmore.
8 The census reports 4 churches in town; Christian, Cong., M.E., and Presb.