152 ALBANY COUNTY.
The first Prot. E. Church (St. Peter’s) was erected in 1715, on a site granted by the governor of the
colony. It stood in the center of State. St., opposite Barrack (now Chapel) St., and was demolished
in 1802, and the present edifice built by Philip Hooker. The communion plate of this church was
presented to the Onondagas by Queen Anne. The most imposing and costly church edifices in
the city are the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, corner of Eagle and Lydius Sts.,
and St. Joseph’s (R. C.) Church. There are now (1858) 48 churches in the city.1
At an early period Albany acquired much importance from being the principal center of the
Indian trade, and afterward the place where the great military expeditions against Canada were
fitted out.2 Its importance as a military station led to its being fortified at an early period; and,
although it was often threatened with invasion, no hostile army ever reached it.3 It became the
permanent seat of the State government in 1797. For 30 years after the Revolution, Albany was
the seat of the entire trade of the western part of the State, the produce being brought in by sleighs
in winter. The first great impulse to its commercial prosperity was given by the successful trip
of the Clermont,3 the first steamboat of Fulton, in 1807, and the improvements in steam navigation
which immediately followed. The steamboats now upon the Hudson River are among the very
largest that navigate any inland waters.4 The completion of the Erie Canal, in 1825, and
of the various lines of railroads since that time, have each essentially added to the growth and
prosperity of the city.5 Business is principally centered upon Broadway, State, S. Pearl, and
Washington Sts. The Dutch language and customs, which continued until long after the English
conquest, have almost entirely disappeared. Yery few families retain any characteristics of their
origin, although many occupy the same lots that were conveyed to their ancestors two centuries ago.
The peculiar Dutch architecture has now nearly disappeared, and within the limits of the city there
are not more than a dozen houses with the sharp gables fronting even with the street, the tile roof,
and antiquated appearance, so common hut a few years ago. The city has been visited by several
disastrous fires,6 and the lower part has often been inundated by water.8
BERM9—was formed from Rensselaerville, March 17, 1795. Knox was taken off in 1822. Il
lies near the center of the western border of the county. The Helderbergh Mts., 1200 feet above
tide, form the eastern border. Grippy and Irish Hills, two broad mountains, with steep declivities
and rolling summits, 900 to 1000 feet above tide, occupy the center. The s. and w. parts are hilly,
and the n. rolling. The principal streams are the Foxen Kil and the Switz Kil. These streams
flow n. w. through narrow valleys bordered by steep hill sides. Werners and Thompsons Lakes, in
the n.e., are small sheets of water. In the lime rock, in the n. e. part, are numerous small caves
and sink holes.10 There are several sulphur springs in town. The soil is a sandy and gravelly
loam interspersed with clay. Bernville (Bern p.o.) contains 50 houses;11 E. Bern12 (p. v.)
15; S. Bern (p.v.) 15; and Reidsville (p.v.) 12. Peoria is a small village on the line of
Knox. Settlement was begun about 1750 by a few German families. In 1777, a company of 85
militia were raised in this town, of which the captain and 63 men joined the British, and the
remainder the Americans at Saratoga. Bernville, then called “ Beaver Bam,” was fortified during
the war, and sentinels were posted at night to prevent surprise by the Indians.13 The place at one
8 As a contrast to the “ Clermont,” it may be stated that tho,
“Isaac Newton,” of the People’s Line of Steamers, is 404 fee,
long, 75 wide, and 47 deep, and has sleeping accommodations far
more than 700 passengers.
6 The sloop “ Experiment,” of 80 tons, Capt. Stewart Dean,
sailed in the fall of 1785 from Albany to China. This was the
second vessel from the U.S. to Canton. She was absent 18
months, and returned with a cargo of teas, nankeens, damask
silks, and 13 sets of China ware, to order, for family gifts.
7 A fire in 1797 burned 96 dwellings, and rendered 150 fami¬
lies houseless. Aug. 17,1848, a most destructive fire broke out,
which destroyed a considerable portion of the commercial part of
the city bordering upon the river,and also many boats in the basin.
8 Upon the breaking up of the ioe in the river, Feb. 9, 1857,
the water completely submerged the lower part of the city, and
came up so high, that it covered Broadway in front of the Ex¬
change. The damage to property was immense.
9 Named from the native place of Jacob Weidman, first settler
and mill owner.
10 In one of these caves, during the war, a notorious tory and
spy named Salisbury was concealed for some time, but was at
last arrested. The place is still known as “Tory’s Hole.”—
Simms's Schoharie, p. 525.
n In 1825 an extensive ax factory was erected here; but it
was soon after removed to Cohoes.
12 Formerly called “ Philadelphia,” and still locally known as
18 The family of Johannes Deitz, consisting of 8 persons, were
murdered by the Indians.—Simms's Schoharie, p. 499.
Of these there are 8 Meth. E., 7 Bap., 5 Prot. E., 5 Presb., 5
B. C., 3 Bef. Prot. D., 3 Jewish Syn., 3 Evang. Luth., 2 Wes.
Meth., Cong., Evang. Ger. Asso., Evang. Prot. Ger., Asso. Presb.,
Friends, TJnita., and Univ.
On the 19th of June, 1754, the first Congress of the colonies
assembled at Albany, to devise a general plan of union and
measures of defense, in view of the French and Indian hostilities,
then just commencing. This Congress consisted of delegates
from N. II, Mass., B. I., Conn., N. Y., Penn., and Md. The “ plan
of union” drawn up by Dr. Franklin was adopted, but it was
afterward rejected by the British government as being too demo¬
cratic, and by the colonies as giving too much power to the king.
The Clermont was 100 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 7 feet
deep. The first voyage to Albany was accomplished in 28 hours
and 45 minutes. This boat was afterwards enlarged, and her
name changed to the “ North Biver.”