Land Titles and Settlement


Columbia County,

New York

Capt. Franklin Ellis383


    The northern portion of the town was included in the Powell and Kinderhook patents, and the grants made to Major Abram Staats in 1667, and at subsequent periods.  Major Staats was a surgeon attached to the garrison at Albany, in 1643, and was among the earliest of the immigrants from Holland to America.

     The patents granted to him in 1667 and 1685 have already been mentioned and described in the general history of land-grants in the county.

     On this tract Major Staats had a bowery, and also carried on the business of a fur-trader.  It is very probable that he lived in this locality before he applied for a grant of land (as he was a licensed and extensive dealer in furs before 1657), and that he was one of the first settlers in the county.  A stone house, formerly his residence, and believed ot be the oldest on the Hudson, between New York and Albany, stands on a small elevation at the mouth of the Stockport (formerly Major Abram's) creek, and was originally forty feet long by twenty-five feet wide.  Its walls are of massive stone, three feet thick, and may have been designed to afford protection against the warfare of that day, as well as storage for his goods.  The roof is gambrel-shaped, and was first covered with Holland tile.  At a later day the house was lengthened by a brick addition on its west end of like size and shape as the stone part.  Among other evidences of native occupancy, was the unusually abundant presence, near the house, of Indian implements of all kinds.  The writer has been informed that more than twenty-five bushels of stone axes, arrowheads, etc., have been picked up in this locality.  It is also traditionally reported that an Indian battle took place on the adjoining hill, in which many of the red men were sent to the happy hunting-grounds.

     The sons of Abram Staats were Jacob, Abram, Samuel, and Jochem.  From a map of this section made in 1767, we note the existence of the old Staats house above described, and a house belonging to Isaac Staats at Chittenden's Falls.  The family continued identified with this section many years.

     South of Stockport creek, the land formed a part of the lower Rensselaer manor, and was subject to the conditions of that patent.

     Among the first settlers in this part were members of the Van Rensselaer family, who made extensive improvements where Stottsville now is.  Vrooman Van Rensselaer, a member of the fifth generation of the family that settled there, is yet a resident of the place.  Peter Van Rensselaer, an older member of the family, was a man of considerable prominence, and did good service in the American cause during the Revolution.

     It is a difficult matter to fix the date of settlement of other families, but it is well known that among the most prominent were the Van Valkenburghs, Vosburghs, Van Alstynes, Van Alens, Van Burens, Burgarts, Schermerhorns, Kittles, Harders, Wights, Hoes, Clows, and Van De Carrs.

     Being a manufacturing town, the population is somewhat fluctuating, and is subject to a large increase or decrease in a short period.  In 1875 there were seven hundred and ninety-four males and eight hundred and forty-two females; and the number of land-owners was one hundred and forty-three.