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East Greenbush Town


East Greenbush Town Hall is located at 225 Columbia Turnpike, Rensselaer NY 12144; phone: 518-477-4775.

Beginnings [1]

East Greenbush originally composed part of the old town of Greenbush, but in 1855 it was incorporated into a separate town called Clinton. Three years later its corporate name was changed to East Greenbush.

The town was settled by tenants under Van Rensselaer about 1628 and 1629. In 1669 a fort was erected on the Island of Papsknee, opposite the town, and upon that island some of the earliest settlements in the vicinity were made. Among the early inhabitants of the island was Cornelis Maas Van Buren, who came from Holland in the ship Rensselaerwyck. He and his wife were both buried on the island at the same time, in the year 1648. All traces of most of the earliest inhabitants have been lost or destroyed.

Between these early days and the 1760s there were many changes in this locality. Farms had been laid out in every part of the town, and many of the inhabitants had amassed wealth. About 1765 or 1766 Colonel Killiaen Van Rensselaer, son of Hendrick Van Rensselaer and a great-grandson of the first patroon of the colony of Rensselaerwyck, occupied a large and handsome property along the river bank in the southwest corner of the town. At that time he had been a resident there several years, just how long is not known. His first wife was Arientje Schuyler, a member of a prominent Albany family. She died October 17, 1763, and he married Maria Low, daughter of Colonel John Low of New Jersey. He had five sons, Hendrick, Philip, Nicolaas 2nd, and Killiaen, and four daughters, Catharina, Catarina, Elsie and Maria. Hendrick became a colonel in the Continental Army in the War of the Revolution and died September 19, 1816, aged 72 years. Nicolaas became a colonel in the Continental army, and died March 29, 1848, in his 95th year.

One of the earliest physicians locating in East Greenbush, probably the first, was Dr. John S. Miller, who, at the age of 21 years, came from Claverack in Columbia County in 1804. The first hotel proprietor in the village of East Greenbush was Manasseh Knowlton, early in the 19th century.

  1. George Baker Anderson, Landmarks of Rensselaer County, New York, The Troy Press, D. Mason & Company, Publishers, Syracuse, 1897.
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