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Friday, November 4, 2011

Nassau, New York


The above, grayed out area, roughly outlines the location of the Town of Sand Lake within the Rensselaer Plateau. Ten towns comprise parts of the Rensselaer Plateau.

The Town of Nassau was formed from portions of Schodack, Stephentown and Petersburgh on March 31, 1806.  Its original name was Philipstown, in honor of Patroon Philip Van Rensselaer.  The name was changed to Nassau on April 6, 1808.

A detailed map of the Town of Nassau is available as part of a Rensselaer County map at the GIS & Mapping section of the Rensselaer County Online. The elevation at the Nassau Town Hall at 80 Church Street is 412 feet. The 2010 census population of Nassau was 4,789 -- an decrease of .6% from the 2000 census. Nassau is serviced by the East Greenbush School Central District , the Averill Park Central School District and the New Lebanon Central School District.

The Town of Nassau History website has a nice section on Nassau historical markers. One of which I find particularly interesting and ties into a previous posting Anti-Rent War: "Tin Horns and Calico":

Big Thunder Site, Central Nassau Road

From the History of Nassau, NY:
"It was in the town of Nassau that the Anti-Rent War in Rensselaer county had its centre for many years. The farmers of Nassau are said to have been the first to resist in an effective manner the attempts of the proprietors of the land in that section to collect their ground rents, and when Colonel Walter S. Church of Albany came into possession of the title to these lands it was in the town of Nassau that he met with the greatest reverses in his endeavor to enforce his claims. As early as 1843 an anti-rent society was organized at Hoag's Corners, and while its first members were confined principally to the farmers in that immediate locality it was not long before many farmers in all parts of the town, and even some from other towns, became secretly identified with the organization. The meetings were generally held at the old Martin tavern. It is said that efforts were frequently made by agents of the landlords to secure admission to these meetings. It might have been easy for some daring spirit to enter the inner circle on some occasions, for as a rule the anti-renters seldom appeared in a body in public without disguise. These disguises were generally those which caused the rebellious ones to take on the appearance of Indians, and those actively engaged in the fight were frequently referred to as Indians. In their meetings they addressed their leaders by high sounding Indian titles, and a member of the society was seldom addressed by his right name at meetings of any kind for fear that an enemy might be within hearing.

But in spite of the precautions that were always supposed to be taken by the anti-renters the neutral public, and finally the friends of the landlords, then the landlords themselves, obtained the names of some of the leaders in the movement and the information thus obtained was employed in the prosecution of the offenders. After the greatest excitement caused by the insurrection had begun to subside it became known that in the town of Nassau the recognized head of the organized movement was Frank Abbott, whom the conclaves of the anti-rent society knew as Little Thunder. Dr. Smith A. Boughton of Alps was called Big Thunder and Thomas Thompson of Hoag's Corners enjoyed the distinction of being known in party councils as Tuscarora.

Gideon Reynolds of Hoosick, who served as sheriff for one term, having been elected to that office in 1843, about the time of the organization of the anti-rent society in Nassau, though himself reputed to be an enemy of landlordism, at once took an active part in the attempted suppression of the disorders brought about by the conflict between the anti-renters and the authorities. Mr. Reynolds was a staunch adherent of the law, and though he felt that the odds were against him, he summoned a posse of twenty-five men and proceeded to the vicinity of the village of Alps, where he had been informed a body of anti-renters were abroad. When he reached the scene of the disorder he and his posse were overpowered, their horses turned loose and Sheriff Reynolds and his band of deputies were marched to the village of Alps. The deputy who had been entrusted with the legal papers was tarred and feathered and the entire body of men ordered to return, which they did. Soon afterward Deputy Sheriff Lewis, while attempting to serve warrants upon some of the "Indians," was also tarred and feathered and sent back to his home. From time to time similar proceedings were had by the anti-renters, until the troubles were settled by the courts and Colonel Church obtained his legal rights."


Links
History of Nassau, NY
History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County from the Colonization of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck until the Present time
Landmarks of Rensselaer County 
Map of Nassau, NY
Nassau, NY Free Library
Town of Nassau History
Town of Nassau, NY
Town of Nassau, NY - Wikipedia
2010 Census Data

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