History of Property in Troy and Rensselaer County

Tracking the History of Property in Troy and Rensselaer County, New York

Troy is a city with great numbers of historic buildings, including homes as well as industrial, commercial, educational and religious architecture. Clearly identifiable neighborhoods have grown up around these historical buildings that provide a foundation for the development of the neighborhoods. Because of the importance of this historic architecture, property owners, historic preservationists and neighborhood activists have become increasingly interested in the ownership of homes and land in the City of Troy, New York. This brief listing provides a general overview of the most important records for studying property ownership in Troy and Rensselaer County, New York. Some of the records are located at the Rensselaer County Historical Society, while others may be found at the county clerk’s office and elsewhere.
Deeds, etc.: These are found at the Rensselaer County Clerk’s Office, 3rd and Congress Streets, Troy. The County Clerk’s Office, is the central place for all land transactions in Rensselaer County, including maps, mortgages, deeds, foreclosures and other related records.

Leases: Most of Rensselaer County was originally possessed by the Van Rensselaer family (generally all of the county except the city of Troy, village of Lansingburgh, and towns of Pittstown, Hoosick and Schagticoke). There were several thousand tenants, about 3000 in the early 19th century, who leased their lands from the Van Rensselaer “patroons.” Many of the leases, indexed by surname, are in the Manuscripts and Special Collections of the New York State Library. The Van Rensselaer Manor Papers at the State Library also include surveys of property and maps of the manor lands as well as rent books listing tenants and their annual rental payments to the Van Rensselaer family.

Title Searches: There are numerous companies in the Capital District, including some in Troy, that do title searches of property. RCHS has the Charles Cohen Collection that consists of title search files for property in Troy and Rensselaer County that were done in the late 20th century. This collection is partially indexed.

City Directories: City directories for Troy from 1832 to 1999 are available in the RCHS library. The city directories include a wide range of information including names of government officials, advertisements of businesses, and other data about the city. The major portion of a city directory is the list of residents, with their addresses and usually with their occupations noted, in the city for each year. The directories may be searched by name only through 1914. Beginning in 1915, the directory also includes a House Directory that allows searching by street address as well as name. Beginning about 1860, Lansingburgh, West Troy (i.e. Watervliet), Cohoes, Waterford and Green Island began to be included in the Troy directories. The City of Rensselaer is included in the Albany city directories.

Surrogate’s Court Records: The records of the Surrogate’s Court have been microfilmed and are available on microfilm at the County Clerk’s Office. The original paper records for 1791 to 1916 are in the collections of RCHS and are indexed by surname in an automated database available only at RCHS. These files may have a small or great amount of information depending upon various factors. A typical file may contain a deceased person’s will, an inventory of the estate of the deceased, letters of administration given to executors (often children or other relatives of the deceased) responsible for the estate and other legal documents with family names and information with potential value for tracing the history of a family, estate or house.

Cartographic Resources: Maps and atlases of Troy may show buildings, lots, property owner’s names and other pertinent data useful for studying the history of houses and neighborhoods. Using maps with a range of dates will help represent the changes over time of the neighborhoods and city generally. Some useful atlases are:
Beers, F.W., County Atlas of Rensselaer, New York, New York, F.W. Beers, 1876.
French, J.H., Gazetteer of the State of New York, Syracuse, R.P. Smith, 1860.
Hopkins, G.M., City Atlas of Troy, NY, Philadelphia, G.M. Hopkins, 1881. 
Sanborn Map Company, Insurance Maps of Troy, New York, New York, Sanborn Map Company, ca.1903-1950.
Single sheet maps of Troy and other parts of Rensselaer County are also in the collection of RCHS and can be searched in the card catalog.Other libraries and archives also have maps; the Rensselaer County Clerk’s Office has land maps for places in Rensselaer County; the New York State Library has maps of Troy and the county as well as Sanborn Insurance Atlases of Troy for 1876 in hard copy and other years on microfilm. The State Library also has insurance maps on microfilm for other places in the county, including Castleton, Hoosick Falls, Lansingburgh, Rensselaer, Schagticoke and Valley Falls. The Troy Public Library has insurance maps of Rensselaer County on microfilm.Panoramic maps of Troy (1877) and Castleton (1884) are available at RCHS and give an overall birds-eye view of these communities while showing individual buildings.

Photographs: There are several thousand photographs in the RCHS collection, including many of houses, chiefly in Troy, both exterior and interior views, and street scenes. The photographs are not indexed; copies of the photos are filed in broad subject categories in binders. A preservation survey of homes and other buildings done in 1970 of buildings in downtown Troy and along 1st and 3rd Avenues in Lansingburgh is in the RCHS library and includes very brief descriptions of buildings as well as photographs of them taken in 1970. 
Building Permits: The City of Troy Code Enforcement Bureau has records for the past two years only in its office. Earlier records are placed in records storage. For information about access to building permit records, you must contact the Code Enforcement Bureau. Building records prior to 1938 were probably lost when the City Hall burned.

Newspapers and Published Books: When attempting to date a house, knowing the characteristics of the style of the house can be very helpful in dating its construction. The RCHS library has books with information about architectural styles. RCHS also has all the basic published histories of Troy and Rensselaer County and these books may have information, including pictures about buildings. The Troy Public Library and New York State Library have Troy newspapers on microfilm dating from the 19th century to the present. Newspapers may have articles about the construction, renovation, or demolition of buildings, particularly large, non-residential buildings. The Troy Public Library also has a large scrapbook collection of newspaper articles and other historical items that has been microfilmed and indexed.

National State Registers of Historic Sites: RCHS has a file of National Register of Historic Places Registration Forms that include information on sites nominated for the national register. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau on Peebles Island, Waterford, NY has further information about historic site registration.

Internet Web Sites: Searching web sites may be helpful in finding clues to the history of buildings. Here are a few sites to check:

If you have other questions about a building in Troy or Rensselaer County, please call the Rensselaer County Historical Society at 518-272-7232.

Bethesda Home

Bethesda Home, Lansingburgh, New York
Records Inventory – Accession 1982.47

Historical Note – Bethesda Home (1902 – 1982):
The Bethesda Home was founded as a privately funded institution in 1902 in Lansingburgh, New York and was operated until 1982. The Home was managed by a Board of Directors, a Superintendent and in later years a Board of Women Managers also provided assistance. It was founded for older women who were homeless or destitute, although in its early years it cared for children and younger women as well. The Home was funded by donations from Protestant churches in the city as well as from endowments and legacies made by the residents of the Home and their families. The home was located at two places in Lansingburgh and one address in Watervliet; for most of its history it was located at Second Avenue and 113th Street [pw_map address=”5 113th street, troy,ny” width=”400px” height=”200px”] in Lansingburgh. For many years, there was a Bethesda Home Circle and a Friendship Circle of people who assisted by providing linens, preparing monthly suppers and providing entertainment for the residents of the Home.

As the 20th century progressed and progressive social welfare laws, such as Social Security and Medicare were legislated, the need for private residences such as the Bethesda Home decreased and there were fewer applications for residence there. The Home closed in 1982 after arranging to donate their assets to the Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, Troy, New York. The Eddy was to provide care until decease of the ladies from the Home who moved to the Eddy.  The Presbyterian Home Association also closed around this time and the Bethesda Home and Presbyterian Home Association assets were used to build what is known as the Bethesda-Presbyterian Wing of the Eddy. The last president of the Bethesda Board of Directors was Frank McKnight.

Scope of Records:
The Bethesda Home archives include the Constitution of the Home, Minutes of the Board of Directors, including Treasurer’s Reports, Minutes of the Board of Women Managers, Inspection Reports by the NY State Board of Charities and Dept. of Social Welfare, Annual Reports of the Home and Annual Reports of the Home made for the State Board of Charities, deeds to cemetery lots, wills of residents, Daily Register of Events, House and Home Registers of residents and financial records, including journals, donations, bills and receipts. They provide a detailed documentation of the history of the Home. There are only a few photographs.

Size: 8 boxes and 1 package


Container List:

Box 1:  Constitution, Minutes of Board of Directors of the Bethesda Home of Troy, Revision, 1921

Minutes of the Board of Directors, including Treasurer’s reports, bound volumes, as follows:

v. 1: March 17,1902-February 1/1913, includes minutes and Articles of Incorporation, 11/3/1909; also, dedication of Home, 1/20/1910 with scripture selections read at dedication, list of directors, officers, committees, representatives of churches from Troy and Watervliet and rules of the Home.

v. 2: March 1913-May 1925, minutes

v. 3: June 1925-June 1933, minutes

v. 4: July 1933-December 1938, minutes

v. 5:  January 1939-December 1952 (unbound); Treasurer’s Reports, 1944-1952; also Roll Call of Church Representatives to Board of Managers, 1943-1952(includes names of Board of Managers, names of residents of Home and names of people on waiting list).

Box 2:  Minutes of the Board of Women Managers

Bound volumes,  follows:

  • January 1958-December 1961
  • January 1962-December 1967
  • February 1968-December 1976
  • Inspection Reports, May 1927, May 1937-December 1939, including information about dinners, events at Bethesda Home, health of the residents, donations of gifts and other matters.
  • Reports of General Inspection by NYS Board of Charities, later the NYS Dept. of Social Welfare, 1922, 1922-1923, 1927-1930, 1933.  Also, letter s from NYS Dept. of Social Welfare, 1967; Operating Certificates from New York State , 1974, 1975, 1979.
  • Monthly Reports of a Private Home for the Aged, 1954-1958.
  • Miscellaneous correspondence with NYS Dept. of Social Welfare,  1965; also, Report of a Long-Term Care Home, Bethesda Home, n.d.

Box 3:  Annual Reports

  • First A.R., 1902-1903, printed, 2 copies
  • Second to Thirteenth A.R., 1903-1915, printed, 2 copies of all ex. Second A.R.
  • 20t h A.R., 1922
  • 24th-42nd A.R., 1925-1944, 1949, 1951, typescripts
  • Annual Reports to NYS Board of Charities and NYS Dept. of Social Welfare, 1917, 1920-1923, 1931, 1933, 1941-1943, 1945-1947, 1949-1950, 1964-1967, 1969.
  • Duplicate copies of printed annual reports, 4th, 5th, 8th-13th.
  • 25th Anniversary of Bethesda Home, 2nd Ave. and 113th St., Troy, 1902-1927, 8 copies, includes list of Board of Directors, Board of Managers, Representatives of the Board of Managers; also financial statement of BH, 1927.
  • Reports, minutes of meetings, correspondence of the Investment Committee of BH, 1932-1951, mainly about stocks and mortgage sales.
  • Deeds to burial lots in New Mount Ida Cemetery, 1897, Albany Rural Cemetery,, Woodlawn Cemetery, Schodack, Elmwood Cemetery, Schagticoke,  1880, 1882, Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery, 1924.
  • Receipts for perpetual care of graves, Albany Rural Cemetery
  • Proprietor’s tickets, (2), Albany Rural Cemetery
  • Mortgages and other documents re: to the purchase of the Bethesda Home property on Second Avenue; also bank books with Union National Bank, 1919, 1931-1939, and Troy Savings Bank, 1934-1940.

Box 4:  Wills and related estate records

Including bank books, insurance premium as follows:

Folder 1:

Sophia Arff, 1931
Frances Barnes, 1938
Cora E. Bruce, 1934
Helen Carpenter, n.d.
Adelina Clark, 1931
Ella A. Cozine, 1931
Mrs. May Lenox Sims Crawford, 1927
Mary Crounse, letter, 1928
Mary J. Fanshaw, 1931
Emma Goodspeed, 1931
Celia Groat, 1931
Sarah Hall, 1931
Jennie E. Hartwick, 1928

Folder 2:

Belle Hendry, 1935
Margaret Hotaling, 1933
Wilhemina Hughes, 1931
Ida Gertrude Kennedy, 1931

Folder 3:

Caroline E. Liney, 1914
Mary Lean, 1931
Mary Kullman, 1931
Charlotte King, 1931

Folder 4:

Emma Lockrow, 1931
Elizabeth Long, 1931
Ella McCrea, 1931
Elizabeth Nash, 1931
Elizabeth M. Nelson, 1920

Folder 5:

Hattie Osterhoudt, 1935
Angelia Palmer, 1931
Frances Palmer, 1931
Mary E. Graham Phipps, 1924
Mary C. Quackenbush, 1931
Florence Saal, 1931

Folder 6:

Frances Yout, 1931
Anna Wetsell, 1931
Mary J. Todd, 1931
Emma Tubbs, 1931
Welling, Lindsley J., 1932
Laura Ophelia Tilley, 1934
Katherine Sherman, 1931
Jane Sherman, 1936

Box 5:  Daily Register/Diary of events at Bethesda Home, 2 vols.,

June 1916-March 26, 1918 and January 1, 1927-December 31, 1927.

These diaries note weather, visits to residents of Home or visits by residents away from the Home, church attendance, inspections, health of residents, and other events.

House Registers, 2 volumes,  1911-1930 and 1918-1957. These include names of residents of the Home during particular years, sometimes with ages given, and a few pages in one volume with details about birth, death, parent’s names of particular residents.

Bethesda Home Register, 1 volume, 1902-1927, register of names of people who came as residents or employees of the Home with date, age, city of residence, and remarks (how and why the person came to the Home and same information about leaving); in chronological order. There are also pages of records of individual residents with more information about them and their residence at Bethesda Home, ca. 1920-1928. Also, a few records of deaths of residents, 1912-1924.

Box 6:  Record Book of Donations, 1902-1927, 1 volume.

  • Lists donations of food and other goods to the Bethesda Home from various individuals, churches and organizations. Also, includes chronological notes about meetings of various groups and donations made to the Home.
  • Ledgers, 3 volumes, of income and expenditures, in broad categories, “care of inmates,” “groceries and provisions,” “individual gifts,” “dues and fines,” “repairs,” “endowment fund income,” and so forth, 1924-1929, 1930-1933, 1934-1943.
  • Daybooks of receipts and expenditures, 4 volumes, 4/1/1909-10/1/1921;  10/8/1921-9/23/1929; 10/1/1929-12/31/37;  1/1/1938-3/31/1945.

Box 7:  Journals of daily receipts and disbursements of the Home

4 volumes, as follows:

  • 4/1/1909-10/1/1921
  • 10/8/1921-9/23/1929
  • 10/1/29-12/31/1937
  • 1/1/1938-3/31/1945

Box 8:  Miscellaneous framed items

As follows:

  • Notice of workmen’s compensation compliance, 1933
  • Photograph of Bethesda Home, 1902-1982, 504 Second Avenue,  Lansingburgh, 1920-1982.
  • Group photograph of ladies in residence at Bethesda Home, n.d., ca. 1940
  • Printing block with photograph of Bethesda Home at 504 Second Ave.
  • Rules of Bethesda Home, Article I: Matron and Article II: Residents, 2 copies, one framed.

Box 9:  Folder of bills and receipts from various businesses

  • Mainly Troy related, providing supplies or services to the Bethesda Home, 1928-1949.
  • Folder of newspaper clippings about Bethesda Home, 1914-1980.
  • Folder of unidentified photographs; also newspaper photograph of Leggett family, including Mrs. John Leggett, who was the first president of the Home.
  • Folder of blank Application for Admission of the Home and three Admission and Discharge forms with information about residents; also copy of the rules of the Bethesda Home; also printed “Bethesda Home Tale” entitled Transformed.
  • Folder of miscellaneous material, including a report of the Corresponding Secretary of the Home for 1942-1943; some correspondence, a list of residents with their ages, bond of John T. Lee to Robert Robinson, West Troy, 1868.

Package I: Incorporation certificate of the Bethesda Home from the NYS Board of Charities, October 13, 1909.

Grafton Anti-Rent Mutual Protection Association

Records, 1824-1867

Historical Note:
There appears to be little known about this organization. It seems to have been active from about 1843 until 1867, although it may have been active previous to and after those dates. The members appeared to have been assessed fees based upon a cost per acre of land owned (at one time, 3 cents per acre) and among other functions, the fees were used to fund the costs of attorneys in lawsuits related to the anti-rent crisis. 
On December 20, 1844, Elijah Smith and his uncle Plumb Martin, lumbermen in Grafton, were surrounded by about fifty “Indians” and during that incident, Smith was shot by Norman Goyer and died later. There is a receipt for payment by Goyer to the Grafton Anti-Rent MPA in the papers. In 1854, the Van Rensselaer family sold most of their remaining lands to Walter S. Church. Church brought hundreds of lawsuits to eject tenants for non-payment of rent and many tenant families who had worked the land for generations lost their lands. The receipts for payment for counsel, particularly to attorney, Anson Brigham, indicate that the MPA was fighting lawsuits for their lands until at least 1867.

Scope Note:
These records are chiefly financial and include receipts and lists of residents of Grafton who were supporting the organization. They provide one of the scarce sources of the names of those who may have been “Indians” in the anti-rent dispute that continued for nearly three decades.

Item List:

Folder 1:
Two receipts from the Rensselaer County Mutual Insurance Company to Henry Hydorn, April 21, 1842 and Sept. 20, 1843

Folder 2:
Lists of member of the Grafton Anti-Rent MPA with amounts of money received from them as part of their dues as members, six lists, four undated, one dated Nov. 5, 1861 and one dated March 12, 1859 (assessment for this was 3 cents per acre). Surnames such as Wagar, Hydorn, Lawler, McChesney, Littlefield, Dunham, Clickner, Hayner, Emerson, Bonesteel, Goyer, Coonradt, Shaver and others.

Folder 3:
Two receipts for subscriptions to the Albany Freeholder; to Peter T. Hydorn, dated Nov. 19, 1847 and July 6, 1847, signed by A.G. Johnson for C. F. Bouton.

Folder 4:
Promises to pay and receipts to individuals for payments of the Grafton Anti-Rent MPA, 1843-1863. Receipts made to the following persons, who it probably can be assumed were members of this semi-secret Association.


Allen, Jeremiah, 1853-1861
Barringer, Peter D., 1853-1857
Baxter, Sophia, 1855
Bonesteel, Jonas, 1854-1860
Bornt, Joel, 1858-1860
Branshaw, Israel, 1859-1860
Brock, Benjamin, 1855
Clickner, Adam, 1853-1860
Clickner, Sylvester, 1853-1859
Coonrad, George, 1853
Coonradt, George W., 1863
Coonradt, William P., 1857-1860
Coons, William W., 1853-1859
Crandall, David W. 1853-1857
Dunham, Bradley, 1860
Dunham, William L. B., 1853-1857
Durkee, John B., 1862
Emerson, David, 1859-1860
Ford, Ira B., 1853-1861
Gibson, John W., 1859-1860
Goyer, Norman, 1854-
Hayner, George P., 1855
Hayner, Henry F., 1856-1859
Hayner, William, 1854-1859
Hydorn, David, 1853-1861
Hydorn, Peter T., 1853-1859
Hydorn, William, 1853-1859
Lawler, Edward, 1861
Littlefield, H.W., 1854-1861
Littlefield, Hiram B., 1853-1861
McChesney, J.M., 1855-1860


McChesney, Richard, 1854-1860
McChesney, Walter B., 1854-1861
McChesney, William J., 1855-
Murphy, David, 1861
Ott, Adam, 1854-1860
Reynolds, Thomas, 1857-1861
Rifenburgh, George, 1857
Rifenburgh, Nelson, 1863
Shaver, Christian, 1855-1860
Shaver, James H., 1855-1859
Shaver, Nathan, 1855-1857
Simmons, David L., 1859
Simmons, William H. ,1855-
Smith, John L., 1855-1860
Snyder, Adam, 1853-1861
Snyder, Jacob, 1853-1857
Tilley, Nelson, 1859
Wagar, Adam, 1861
Wager, George, 1855-1857
Wagar, Peter, 1853-1861
Wagar, Jacob, 1853-1861
Wagar, William H., 1855-1861
Snyder, George, 1863
Wagar, Adam H., 1853-1861
Wilds, T. B., 1853-1859
Wagar, Adam, 1853-1860
Wager, Henry L., 1853-1860
Wagar, Jacob P., 1853-1860
Wagar, Simeon, 1853-1857
Weeden, James, Jr., 1861
Wagar, William N., 1853-1860

Folder 5:
Eight receipts to Executive Committee of the Grafton Anti-Rent MPA for payments to Bennajah Allen, Treasurer of the MPA, 1843-1844

Folder 6:
Orders (7) to Peter T. Heydorn, Treasurer from William Heydorn to pay various sums of money to various members of the MPA, 1853-1861.

One receipt of money received from Peter Hydorn for blacksmithing, 1853.

Folder 7:

Receipts of payments made to Peter Hydorn and others related to payment for counsels in “Indian suits,” and other actions, 1853-1867.

Integrated Book Technology, Inc. 2

Documenting Change: Industry and Business in Troy and Rensselaer County, NY

Records, 1991-

Extent: ca. 75 cu. ft.

Historical Note: Integrated Book Technology utilizes modern electronic technologies to produce short runs of books for publishers and for individuals. The company was founded in 1991 by John Paeglow, who continues as its president and owner. The firm began its life in the Rensselaer Technology Park and in the summer of 1996 moved into larger quarters on Industrial Park Road in Troy. Most of the firm’s business consists of order from publishers for short runs (typically 250-2,000 copies) of books that have gone out of print. IBT scans the text of these books and then prints the sheets of the books from the digitized text. Sheets are shipped to the binder for binding and ultimate shipping to the customer.

Scope and Content: IBT maintains an internal database that contains information on all orders received and fulfilled by the company. Paper records for these orders are also currently maintained. Order records include the original quotation for the job and a series of forms requesting action and detailing specifications on various parts of the job, including scanning request, printing request, proofing request, cover request, bindery request, and invoice summary. The IBT database also includes the texts that have been produced in order to facilitate reprinting or remote access if necessary. The original printed copy that was used for scanning is also retained.

Location: Integrated Book Technology, Inc., 18 Industrial Park Rd., Troy, NY 12180. For access, contact the company.

Ready Fund Raising Company

Documenting Change: Industry and Business in Troy and Rensselaer County, NY

Records, ca. 1950-1988

Extent: ca. 30 cu. ft.

Historical Note: A leader in the business of supplying and selling fund raising programs to youth groups and church groups across the United States, Ready Fund Raising was founded in 1909 by Herbert S. Harp who had developed a gelatin dessert which he called Ready Jell. He began manufacturing the dessert on Green Island and making it available for churches and other organizations to sell in fund raising. The company moved to Lansingburgh in the 1950s and continues to be run by the Lewis family , descendants of the company’s founder. The firm stopped making Ready Jell in the early 1960s. A related business operated by the Lewis family, Lewis and Company, engages in a mail order business selling kits and parts for the making of rosaries.

Scope and Content: Correspondence files, ledgers and ledger cards, payrolls, and sales records.

Location: Ready Fund Raising Company, 391 Third Ave., Troy, NY 12181.

Rensselaer County Soldiers and Sailors Monument Association Records

Historical Note:
The Rensselaer County Soldiers and Sailors Monument Association was formed in October 1886 with the goal of constructing a monument honoring the soldiers from Rensselaer County who served in the military during the Civil War. The names of these soldiers were placed in a copper box at the base of the monument. The monument also honors all those who served and fought in all previous wars. It does so by an inscription of the names of battles listed on the monument base. The RCSSMA was responsible for choosing a design and builder for the monument., funding the construction of the monument, maintenance of the monument until 1950, the year the ownership of the monument was transferred to the City of Troy.

Scope Note:
The records contain correspondence between RCSSMA members and associates. The minutes of meetings documents the work of the RCSSMA from its origins to the construction of the monument. There are newspaper clippings about the monument, particularly the unveiling of it and the transfer of ownership in 1950 to the City of Troy. There are financial records and insurance policies, including a policy that paid for repairs needed after a 1903 fire in the vicinity of Broadway and River Street damaged the monument and records of donations by individuals and businesses. There are submissions of plans for the monument competition with estimates of construction costs and correspondence between the RCSSMA and architect, builders and suppliers of construction material. A bound volume (Box 6) includes minutes of meetings and many separate documents about the RCSSMA including the constitution, newspaper clippings, correspondence and other material.

Container List:

Box 1:
Folder 1: Meeting minutes of Oct. 21, 1886 of organization of RCSSMA. 
Folder 2: Minutes of RCSSMA, Nov. 29, 1886, presenting constitution and by-laws.
Folder 3: Articles of incorporation of RCSSMA with Board of Trustees & Advisory Committee names.
Folder 4: Correspondence of RCSSMA members and associates. Includes resignation of Arthur W. Bradley as Secretary and William Kemp as Treasurer.
Folder 5: Correspondence of RCSSMA and G.A.R. posts in re: representatives for Advisory Council.
Folder 6: RCSSMA blank certificate given to donors to authorize them to vote on design and location of monument. 
Folder 7: Invoice to RCSSMA for invitations for the laying of the monument cornerstone, March 7, 1890.
Folder 8: Responses to invitations for laying of cornerstone: acceptances
Folder 9: Responses to invitations for laying of cornerstone: regrets
Folder 10: Newspaper clippings; mainly announcement of plan to construct the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and formation of RCSSMA and the GAR Advisory Board
Folder 11: Documents related to the loan of four captured Confederate 12 pound bronze field guns from the Watervliet Arsenal for the base of the monument.
Folder 12: Responses to invitation to attend dedication ceremony of monument: Regrets
Folder 13: Correspondence related to damage to monument caused by a fire in vicinity of Broadway and River St. , 1903. 
Folder 14: Treasurer’s report for 1904 by William Kemp.
Folder 15: Correspondence in re: to cleaning monument after fire of November 3, 1903. Waterproofing and cleaning by sandblasting was done. Receipt for collection of $30 from a Pennsylvania insurance company.
Folder 16: Insurance policies for monument, 1905,-06,-12,-13. Also, related correspondence from 1891. Each policy notes condition of the monument. 
Folder 17: Bills for maintenance of the monument and landscape maintenance, 1911-1912.

Box 2: 
Folder 1: Bill from Troy Daily Times, 1889, for printing the circular for the monument design competition.
Folder 2: List of people who were sent circular about the monument competition.
Folder 3: Requests for competition circular and competition related information.
Folder 4: Monument competitions submissions, #2-6 (Charles H. Niehaus, C.M. Lang, George E. Bissell, MA St. John “Clark’s Island Granite Works,” J.W. Carpenter and Son.
Folder 5: Monument competitions submissions, #7-12 (Lazzari & Barton, Alex Doyle, M.H. Mosman (2 submissions), NE Monument Co. (C.B. Caulfield), Robert Cushing.
Folder 6: Monument competitions submissions, #13-15 (Albert R. Ross, P. Reinhalter & Co., (Paul J. Pelz, architect and Henry J. Ellicott, sculptor) with blueprint, J. Philipp Riim.

Box 3: 
Folder 1: Copyright from Library of Congress for monument design. Also, specifications for Fuller & Wheeler, architect and Frederick & Field for monument.
Folder 2: Correspondence between architect Fuller & Wheeler with Arthur W. Bradley, C.L. MacArthur and Frederick & Field.
Folder 3: Correspondence between A.J. Zabriskie, engineer for monument project with General Joseph B. Carr (Board of Gettysburg Monuments Commissioners), C.L. MacArthur and Arthur W. Bradley. Also included are two estimates to Frederick & Field.
Folder 4: Correspondence from Frederick Field to A.J. Zabriskie, C.L. MacArthur, Arthur W. Bradley. Also from Bradley to Zabriskie and Frederick & Field to Ausable Granite Works.
Folder 5: Research information for monument plaques; also document appointing Col. Sidney Park as compiler of list of soldier and sailor names from Rensselaer County in the Civil War. Also draft of battle information to be inscribed on plaques, including an incorrect date for Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga.

Box 4: 
Folder 1: Subscription books and other papers regarding donations for monument construction.
Folder 2: Correspondence related to donations for monument.
Folder 3: Papers from a subscription book.
Folder 4: Letter re: to souvenir for subscribers to the monument construction.
Folder 5: Subscription lists by firm with individual names and donations; including police, post office, and other public offices

Box 5: 
Folder 1: Original printing block for view of the monument.

Box 6: 
Bound record book of RCSSMA, ca. 1886-1949. Includes loose bills, correspondence related to illuminating the monument in 1903 with counter proposal and related newspaper clippings. Also includes the RCSSMA constitution (pp. 6-9), name and address of subcommittee members (p. 15), dedication ceremony invitation (pp. 85-89), newspaper clippings (pp. 90-98), dedication ceremony program (p.98), minutes of meetings, bills and correspondence, and a newspaper article about the transfer of monument to City of Troy in 1950.

Rice Cook Bull

Guide to Papers in the Collection

Biographical Note:
Rice Cook Bull was born in 1842 in Hartford, Washington County, New York. He was a farm boy before the Civil War, enlisted in 1862 and served in the 123rd New York Volunteer Infantry. After the war, he returned to Troy, New York where he was banker, Secretary-Treasurer of the Troy and New England Railroad, and a member of the Ninth Presbyterian Church in Troy. He died May 19, 1930. Several years after the Civil War, he wrote his recollections of his experiences in the conflict. His son George had the recollections transcribed. A typescript of those recollections was used by K. Jack Bauer in his published edition entitled, Soldiering: The Civil War Diary of Rice C. Bull, 123rd New York Volunteer Infantry, 1977.

These papers consist of Bull’s 1864 diary, letters of Bull, the original manuscript of Bull’s recollections, a typescript of that manuscript, the manuscript of K. Jack Bauer’s book, a photograph of Bull as a Civil War soldier, and miscellaneous related items. He served at Chancellorsville, in Tennessee, in the Atlanta and Carolinas campaigns and his recollections are a vivid recounting of his experiences during the war.

Container List:

Box 1:
Original manuscript of my recollections of the Civil War, by Rice C. Bull, n.d.. 
“From the diary of Rice C. Bull, Sergeant Company D 123rd Regiment N.Y. Vol. Inf. kept for the period of service of that Regiment September 4, 1862-June 8, 1865.” (Typed transcript. (74.12.1)

Box 2:
Diary of Rice C. Bull, Co. D, N.Y.V., Jan. 10, 1864-January 1, 1865. (76.164.20). 
Correspondence of Rice Bull,1862-1863; original letters and transcriptions.
Letters from Rice Bull:
to his brother Gurdon, Washington, DC, Sept. 11, 1962 (76.164.1)
to Gurdon, Camp Chase, Arlington Hgts., VA, Sept 21,1862 (76.164.2)
to Gurdon, near Harpers Ferry, Oct. 5, 1862 (76.164.3)
to Gurdon, Pleasant Valley, VA, Oct 21, 1862 (76.164.4)
to Gurdon, Hospital, Harpers Ferry, Nov. 20, 1862 (76.164.5)
to Gurdon, Loudon Valley, VA, Dec. 7, 1862 (76.164.6)
to Gurdon, Fairfax Station, VA, Dec. 19, 1862 (76.164.7)
to Gurdon,Fairfax Station, VA, Dec. 25, 1862 (76.164.8)
to Gurdon, near Fairfax Station, VA, Jan. 11, 1863 (76.164. 9)
to Gurdon, near Stafford Court House, Jan. 30, 1863 (76.164.10)
to brother George, near Stafford Court House, VA, Feb. 6, 1863, (76.164.11)
to Gurdon, Camp William, VA, April 5, 1863 (76.164.12)
to Gurdon, Camp William, VA, April 26, 1863 (76.164.13) 
to George, Aquia Creek, May 17, 1863 (76.164.14)
Other Correspondence:
N[athaniel] Bull to Rice Cook, [Hartford, NY] June 12, 1842, (76.146.19): Letter mentions birth of Rice Cook Bull. 
Letters (2) of Enoch Squires, Research Associate, New York State Civil War Centennial Commission to Ralph Mather Jillson, 1962 and Miss Helen Bull, 1963 related to Rice Bull’s diary and cane. Also one letter from Jillson to Miss Bull, 1962 (76.164.15-16)
Printed Material:
New York State Centennial Commission,, New York State and the Civil War, Nov. 1962 issue with article “Sergeant Bull gets a cane and wins a Rebel friend.” (76.164.17)
Daguerreotype photograph of Rice Bull in dag. frame and larger frame.(78.74.2)
Photographic print, enlarged, of photograph of Sergeant Rice Bull, n.d. ca. 1862-63. (64.113)
Newspaper clipped article. Troy Record, 1/15/1978, by Jack Casey, “Civil War Diaries paint grim picture.”

Box 3:
K. Jack Bauer, manuscript of his book, Soldiering including some research notes. (77.58.1-4).

Note: The Rensselaer County Historical Society also owns Bull’s cane.

Women in Rensselaer County History

Resources for Study

Women played a variety of significant roles in the story of Rensselaer County as mothers, factory workers, labor leaders, educators, in charitable organizations, founders and board members of community organizations. Names such as Emma Willard, Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, Mary Warren, Kate Mullaney, and others set examples of leadership and intelligence that resonate to the present. The Rensselaer County Historical Society’s library considers the collecting of the archives of the history of women and woman-led organizations to be a major part of its mission.

The following is a sample of the archival collections available for researchers studying women’s history of Troy and Rensselaer County. The library is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday, 12 to 5 p.m.

Diaries of women include among several others: 
Mary Sanford, 1901-02, diary of her travels in England and Europe.
Ellen Julia Lesley Stevenson, diary for 1862-63
Ruth Howe’s Diary, 1942-1971
Harriet G. Hart, travel journals in Europe, England and Egypt, 1841-42 and 1857-59
Martha Weisbrod, Snyders Lake, NY diary, 1943-1958.
Diary of an unknown young woman, 1866 and 1870
Diary of Amanda Cluett, 1847-1918

There are hundreds of photographs in the collections that show women depicted in individual portraits, as workers, in family portraits, in street scenes and other views. There are also many family photograph albums. Cluett, Peabody and Company, Archives, include photographs of women collar workers. The company magazine, The Arrow, dating from the early 20th century has photographs showing women and articles about the women factory workers who manufactured the collars and shirts.

Records of organizations founded and/or led by women:
Deborah Powers Home for Old Ladies, 2 cu. ft., 1883-1950. Deborah Powers, a manufacturer and banker, who owned the very successful Powers Oil Cloth and Linoleum Co. in Lansingburgh, New York in the 19th century, became a philanthropist in her later years. Probably her most significant philanthropy was the Home for Old Ladies she established in Lansingburgh in 1883. The bulk of the Powers Home collection consists of correspondence of the staff and women who lived at the Home, papers related to the management of the Home including application forms from prospective residents and signed agreements by residents, financial records of the Home and correspondence related to complaints by residents.

Troy Day Home, 3 cu. ft., 1858-1954. The Day Home was founded in 1858 and was the oldest day nursery in the United States. It was incorporated in1861 by the same women who were its founders and was the first incorporation in New York State comprised solely of women. The Day Home with approximately 100-150 children per day, provided these pre-school age children with some basic education, taught handicrafts, meals and had onsite medical examinations and care. The records include the charter and by-laws, annual reports, scrapbook of clippings, photographs, meeting minutes of the Day Home trustees and other material.

Presbyterian Home Association of Troy, 2 cu.ft., 1871-1984. The Presbyterian Home Association of Troy was founded in 1871 and survived until 1984 when it closed and donated its property and moved its remaining residents into local nursing home in Troy. The Home Association was formed to provide a place for aged and infirm women to reside until their decease. The records consist of minutes of the Board of Managers and Advisory Committee, financial records, correspondence, journals recording the meals served, a history of the Home Association and papers related to the final years and closing of the Home.

Mary Warren Free Institute, 6 cu. ft., 1839-1970. The Mary Warren Free Institute had its origin in a Saturday Sewing School begun by her mother Phebe Warren at   St. Paul’s Church in 1815 for orphaned children. In 1846, Mary B. Warren founded the school that would be renamed the Mary Warren Free Institute in 1859. The school was dedicated to educating economically deprived girls. The school taught girls reading, writing, religion as well as sewing skills. The records documenting the Free Institute include photographs dating from the late 19th to early 20th century, several ledgers listing the names of children attending the school with additional information, many volumes of music used by the children in their choruses, manuscript copies of The Portfolio, the Institute children’s magazine, and other material.

Rensselaer County Almshouse Records, 1 cu.ft., 1875-1892. The county almshouse must have served hundreds of county residents in the 19th century. Almost all these clients remain anonymous. This small collection consists of records of 250 of the inmates, many of whom were women, of the almshouse over two decades. It is a sample of the inmates only, because it appears that all other inmate and administrative records of almshouse are no longer extant. These records are very interesting because they describe each inmate in great detail on a form that includes 30 questions about each inmate. An index to the names has been created and is available on genealogy web sites, but the collection has never been cataloged in a national online catalog.

Wiawaka Holiday House, 18 cu.ft., 1905-1990. Wiawaka Holiday House, Inc. is located on Lake George, New York, but was founded and has always been lead by women from Troy and has its winter office in Troy, New York. Wiawaka was a camp created by prominent women in Troy as a vacation retreat for working women, particularly collar workers in the early 20th century. The records document the work of the board of directors and staff of Wiawaka, their programs for women, financial records, newsletters and other material.

Bethesda Home, 3 cu.ft., 1901-1969. The Bethesda Home was founded in 1901 to provide for the care of homeless girls and women. It remained in existence until about 1969. The records consist of minutes of meetings of the board of directors, reports to the New York State Department of Social Welfare, records of residents at the home, journals of daily activities of the residents, financial records, wills and other documents of donors to the Home and other material.

Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing, 30 cu.ft., 1899-1980. This collection includes photographs, photograph albums, scrapbooks, artifacts of nursing, curriculum materials, Faculty Association minutes, Board of Directors minutes, Traveling School material, annual reports and other materials. The Samaritan Hospital was planned beginning in 1896 and was opened in 1898. The School of Nursing, originally called the Training School, was begun in 1898. The School trained nurses and provided a residence for them as well. In 1922, the school became affiliated with Russell Sage College where students could pursue a five-year degree in nursing. The School of Nursing continues to the present day.

Family Papers Collections:
There are many family papers here. These list just a few collections:

The Hart Family Papers include a vast collection of financial records kept by Betsey Howard Hart over nearly half a century as she managed a large household, the Hart family home, now the Hart-Cluett House Museum, and her many business interests.

Julia Dickinson Tayloe. This is a collection of Tayloe’s diary, commonplace and poetry manuscript books and correspondence from her homes in Troy and Washington, DC, dated mainly from about 1830-1846.

Emma Willard: There are letters and other papers of the Willard family.

Lansing family of Lansingburgh and Troy collection includes correspondence and other archival material of this family.