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Ancram Town

Ancram Town Hall is located at 1416 County Route 7, Ancram, NY 12502; phone: 518-329-6512.

Beginnings [1]

The Town of Ancram was formed from Gallatin in 1814. The name was derived from the homestead in Anchoram, Scotland, where Robert Livingston, first Lord of Livingston Manor, was born in 1654. The town comprises a portion of the acreage that the Livingston family maintained in a manorial system following a land grant from the English Crown in 1686. Philip Livingston, grandson of Robert, founded an iron processing operation on the banks of the Roeliff Jansen Kill in 1743, the first of its kind in the New York Colony. Those iron works later became important for their contribution to the Revolutionary effort, as it was here that iron was produced for the manufacture of cannon balls for Continental artillery, as well as links for the great chain that stretched across the Hudson River between Anthony's Nose and Fort Montgomery. This chain was strung to protect the river from northern incursions against West Point by British warships. The iron works went out of business in 1845, however, the site was reborn as a paper mill in 1854.

The first European residents of Ancram were mostly farming families that settled the Manor around 1740, brought to the region by the Livingston family from Scotland for the purpose of populating their lands, important for generating rents and validating land claims, especially in the disputed border area.

These Scots were the first significant block of non-native settlers to populate Ancram, joining a scattering of Dutch and German settlers who had arrived here previously. Some referred to the area as "Scotchtown" due to the prevalence of early Scots. These farmers engaged in improving and farming their leased lands. By the early 1850s anti-rent sentiments prevailed and farmers were given opportunities to purchase their leased lands.

  1. William E. Krattinger, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, St. John's Lutheran Church, Ancram, Columbia County, New York, nomination document, 2008, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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