Village of Bath-on-the-Hudson
The Village of Bath-on-the-Hudson was incorporated in 1874. Like the Village of Lansingburgh, it was annexed by a neighboring city around the turn of the century. Bath was annexed by the City of Rensselaer (incorporated in 1897 from the former Village of Greenbush) in 1901, following 1890s attempts by the City of Albany to annex the Village of Bath, and later to annex both the Village of Bath and the City of Rensselaer.
Despite the Village of Bath-on-the-Hudson and the City of Rensselaer being across the Hudson River from Albany, the “Greater Albany” plan, like the “Greater Troy” plan, was extremely ambitious. It wouldn’t have been without historical precedent, given that Rensselaer County had been formed from part of Albany County, and they’d both been within the Town of Rensselaerwyck and the prior Manor of Rensselaerwyck.
Bath is one of four villages in Rensselaer County that have passed out of existence, along with the Village of Troy (1794-1819), the Village of Lansingburgh (1771*-1901), and the Village of Greenbush (1815-1897).
ASSEMBLY—Hon. H. B. Howard, member from the South Assembly district of this County, introduced a bill yesterday to amend the Capital Police law. It provides to exempt the town of North Greenbush from the provisions of the Capital Police Act.—It is stated that the town, which is essentially a “rural district,” is compelled to contribute some $3,000 annually for the support of the Capital Police. The little village of Bath, which is not an incorporated village, is the only portion of the town where the Police perform any patrol duty. The North Greenbush line runs through the south portion of the village of Bath, and in Bath there are two patrolmen. The tax-payers of the town, with great unanimity, and without distinction of party, have asked to be relieved from this very heavy annual tax of $3,000, alleging that there is no necessity for patrolmen at Bath or in the town. Mr. Howard will make a vigorous effort to secure the passage of the bill.
“Legislature–Yesterday.” Troy Daily Whig. February 11, 1869: 2 col 3.
WANT THEIR NAME CHANGED.—Like a good many young ladies in this city, the residents of the village of Bath want the name of their village changed to “Bath on Hudson.” Bath already boasts of an icehouse, and will soon want a theatre, opera house and hotel. Where’s the Dearstyne boys? Look out for the engine when the bell rings.
Albany Evening Times. September 14, 1869: 1 col 3.
AIRISH.—It is said that the citizens of Bath held a meeting at Justice Hevenor’s office, a few days since, and resolved to change the name of the village of Bath to “Bath on the Hudson.” This is putting on airs. We shall probably next hear that the denizens of “[…] Hollow” [about a mile east of the unincorporated village of East Albany] have changed its name to the “Vale of Avoca.”
Albany Morning Express. September 15, 1869: 1 col 4.
☞ PROPOSED INCORPORATION OF BATH.—The resident population of Bath number 1,520. At a meeting of citizens a night or two ago, to take action in regard to the proposed incorporation of the village, it was decided that the name should be “Bath-on-the-Hudson,” and it was resolved to appropriate the sum of $1,000 for ordinary expenses in case the village should be incorporated. Another meeting will be held this evening.
Troy Daily Whig. December 2, 1871: 3 col 3.
An election is to be held in Bath on the 9th of January next to determine whether or not the village shall be incorporated. This subject has agitated the citizens of Bath for nearly three years. Two years ago the movement failed for want of a proper activity on the part of those who undertook to bring about such a result. [About two] months since the question was again brought up, and, as stated in these columns, a committee of five was appointed to make the necessary arrangements required by law for this purpose. The committee have been very active in the work. They immediately took steps to have a proper map drawn, a census taken, and the necessary papers filed. A meeting was held [on] Saturday evening at which the action of the committee was endorsed by the inhabitants, and [?] of January, 1872, set apart as the day [?] to decide the question of incorporation. There is little doubt that there will be a [?] in favor of incorporation. The name proposed to be adopted, in case of incorporation as we have stated, is “Bath-on-the-Hudson.”
Albany Daily Evening Times. December 6, 1871: 3 col 1. [Digital scan of microfilm of newspaper is faint in parts.]
—The village opposite the Albany Lumber District is hereafter to be known as Bath-on-the-Hudson.
“Mail and Telegraph; New York State.” Syracuse Daily Standard. January 16, 1872: 2 col 2.
…..An election is to be held in Bath on the 29th of April, to determine whether the place shall be incorporated as a village, the proposed name to be “Bath-on-the-Hudson.” The present population within the proposed bounds is 1,523.
“City and Vicinity.” Albany Morning Express. April 6, 1872: 1 col 3.
☞ NOT SATISFIED.—Those of the residents of Bath who are opposed to the incorporation of the village are not satisfied with the result of the last election, and have notified Judge Strait that they intend to ask him to set aside the returns of the election.
Troy Daily Times. May 10, 1872: 2 col 4.
☞ DECISIONS.—Judge Strait has granted an order affirming the legality of the late election for officers of the village of Bath on the Hudson.
Troy Weekly Times. June 15, 1872: 3 col 5.
The president of Bath-on-the-Hudson, has issued a call for a meeting of the citizens to take into consideration the necessity of procuring fire apparatus.
“Sundries.” Albany Daily Evening Times. July 25, 1873: col 5.
FIFTY MEN KILLED.
There will be a large funeral in Bath on Thursday afternoon, between the hours of eleven and half-past two, when fifty men expect to be executed—the father of the village and forty-nine “innocent ones,” and the funeral will take place immediately after the execution. Three committees—the Village Committee of the Assembly, the Assembly Sub-Committee of the Whole and Village Senate Committee—will act as pall bearers. The father of the village will be executed first. It is expected his children, the Common Council of the village of Bath, will act as chief mourners. The father of the village says the only regret he has is that he had to own to being the father of so ungrateful a set, but he says that for shrewdness these children beat the world. Why they have a man $100,000 for taking a third of Bath. Another man wants to know what they will give him if he will take the other two thirds. As for sidewalks and lamps they will have to go without them for the next half century, for their chief lawyer will want all that $2,000 appropriation for making one speech, and the rest of the lawyers have a right to charge all they can get, as none of them come under the $500 clause.
P.S.—Fifty lawyers wanted to take their pay in Bath script, and the one who will tell which of the three existing governments of Bath is the right one, may have his first choice of script. The rest of the lawyers may file an injunction and different suits at the General Term, leaving the others to make things even with East Albany for next year, when a repeal of this charter will be called for to make room for a new one.
A (SINGLE) RULE OF THREE.—If it costs $500 to run 600 acres, how much will it cost to run 200 acres?
A four-year old boy answers $200.
The Bath Common Council, composed of the heaviest minds of the place, says it costs $2,000.
Who is right?
If 600 acres take three trustees, how many trustees will 200 acres take? A two-year old baby says one trustee. The Bath Board of Aldermen, made up of all the truly great men of the village, say six trustees.
Who is right?
DOUBLE RULE OF THREE.—If it takes fifty-nine seconds to give away one-third of Bath, worth $100,000, how long will it take to give away the other two-thirds, worth $200,000?
Our boys gives it up. The Mayor and Commonalty of the village of Bath say they can give away two-thirds just as quick as they did one-third. As they have had considerable practice in this line, they must be right.
Common Council up head, boy to the foot of the class.
REASON WHY THEY DARE NOT DO IT.
What? Submit the present incorporation bill of Bath-on-the Hudson to the vote of its inhabitants. This is the reason: They say they are afraid in such a vote they would be beaten two to one. Neither dare they submit it to the taxpayers of the village, well knowing they will be beaten three to one in such an arrangement. Why, three of the prime ministers only pay a poll tax. Why not accept the proposition of the anti-incorporators to pay $1,000 to lay walks and put up lamps. I’ll tell you why they can’t afford to lay sidewalks and pay their lawyer, and the lawyer is first on the list, for their lawyer is a good friend to the village, as he would rather Bath would lose one-third of its territory and $100,000 than he lose his bill.
Such a rush you never saw as Ayer has for his houses. He said he would sell out if Bath was incorporated, and he is as good as his word. A line two deep are constantly filing in and out of his office, all to buy his $875 houses. They are better houses than he sold for $1,600 before the village was incorporated, and such is the rush that Ayer can’t build them half as fast as they want them. If he had 100 of them he could sell them to-day. Ayer’s office is at 496 Broadway, corner of Maiden lane, Albany.
Albany Morning Express. April 14, 1874: 1 col 5.
The election in the village of Bath-on-the-Hudson, yesterday, resulted in the election of the ticket supported by the party which was in favor of incorporation. The following are the persons elected, with their majorities:
President—Whiting G. Snow……………….38
Trustee, for one year—Edward Yates……….25
Trustee, for one year—Frederick Cook……..65
Trustee, for one year—Henry Cone…………43
Trustee, for two years—John G. Cooper…….35
Trustee, for two years—Oscar F. Ingalls…..48
Trustee, for two years—Albert H. Southwell…14
Collector—Levi E. Worden………………..23
Assessor—Reuben J. Melius………………27
Assessor—Robert I. Moe…………………40
Inspector of election—John McInerney…….43
Inspector of election—Wilson A. Orcutt…..38
Inspector of election—Robert J. Patten……47
Albany Evening Times. May 13, 1874: 3 col 5.
The East Albany News says some idea of the growth of Bath-on-the-Hudson may be obtained from a statement taken from the New York Gazetteer, published in 1860. It says: “Bath is opposite the upper part of Albany, and contains about 12 houses.” It then adds in a foot note: “It was named from a mineral spa in the vicinity. It was laid out as a village by the patroon towards the close of the last century. In 1800 the traveler Maude, in his ‘Visit to Niagara,’ says that it is likely to soon rival Troy and Lansingburgh in trade, and Ballston and Saratoga as a watering place.” The predictions of Maude have not been and probably never will be verified.
Troy Weekly Times. April 6, 1876: 3 col 3.
—The Greenbush Democrat, Castleton Times, Bath Sun, and Nassau News are one and the same paper only the headings are changed to suit the locality. The West Troy Herald was one of the gang but has long since tuned [sic] up its toes.
“Up the Hudson.” Coeymans Herald. February 26, 1879: 3 cols 4-5.
The Bath Sun was first published May 1, 1874, by William H. Westfall. John D. Houghtaling succeeded him in the ownership of the paper, April 1, 1876. The publication of the paper was discontinued August 1, 1879.
The East Albany News, which was first issued October 16, 1875, and changed in October, 1876, to the Greenbush Democrat, was established by John D. Houghtaling, the publisher of the Bath Sun.
The Evening Star, still published at Bath, was first issued in March, 1873, by C. F. R. Coe & Co. publishers. The paper is now known as the Evening Star and Schodack Sentinel, and is edited and owned by C. F. R. Coe.
Weise, Arthur J. History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County: From the Colonization of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck to the Present Time. Troy, N.Y: J.M. Francis & Tucker, 1880. 55.
Many Residents Not In Favor of The ‘Greater Albany’ Plan.” […]
A number of citizens, comprising the most influential men in town met in Bailey hall Wednesday evening and opposed the plan of annexation to Albany known as the “Greater Albany plan.” Another meeting will be held during the week and more decisive action taken in the matter. About 60 were present and all voted against the movement.
Albany Morning Express. January 11, 1895: 3 col 4.
Bath is Hustling Petitions Against “Greater Albany.”
Bath proposes to lose no time in doing its utmost to defeat the “Greater Albany” plan, and has appointed this committee to go about to get signatures to petition against the movement and which will be presented to the Legislature: Thomas Penney, C. F. R. Coe, Henry G. Gomph, Charles A. Bailey, George Worden, Henry Cone, B. McNary, C. J. Smith, C. L. R. Barnhart, Dr. Roberts, Thomas Thompson, John Teeling, Lionel Brown, George Dorwaldt, E. Davis, Judge Roberts, J. S. Knight, E. R. Knight, Irving William, Edward French, A. H. Southwell, E. C. Crocker, Daniel Laydon, A. Leffler, S. Baker, jr. One petition is at the office of Chester G. Hain, where all who are opposed to the measure may sign it. About 100 names have been signed to the several petitions since Wednesday last.
Albany Morning Express. January 19, 1895: 3 col 4.
What Is Going on in Rensselaer and the Village of Bath Today.
Those who are opposed to annexation in Bath have posted the following circulars about town:
“It is alleged that a movement is on foot and that a bill has been drawn, and it is to be railroaded through the legislature, to annex the village of Bath-on-the-Hudson to the City of Rensselaer; a new city with a bonded indebtedness of $300,000, against the wishes of the majority of our people. Come to the meeting and protest. It means protection to your homes and firesides. If annexation succeeds it means higher taxes.
“The public will assemble at the trustees’ rooms on Wednesday at 8 p.m. E. E. French, Charles A. Bailey, Edwin [Friot?], Edwin Maggs, John Waugh, R. B. White, Jackson Babcock, E. C. Crocker, A. J. Cowan, Elmer W. Wicks, Thomas Thompson, A. H. Southweil, George S. Worden, E. B. Knight, J. J. Castle.”
Albany Evening Journal. January 10, 1898: 2 col 4. [surnames on digital scan of microfilm of newspaper are indistinct]
A number of citizens, headed by Captain Bailey, called on Assemblyman Russell in Troy, Saturday, and asked that he oppose any bill calling for the annexation of Bath and Rensselaer. Another committee will call upon Mr. Russell this week, and ask him to favor any bill calling for the annexation of Bath and Rensselaer.
Albany Morning Express. January 24, 1898: 3 col 4.
East Side Residents Oppose Annexation.
The agitation regarding the annexation of the city of Rensselaer and the village of Bath to the city of Albany has spread to the East Side, but those who have expressed opinions, but with one or two exceptions, are against the proposed “Greater Albany.” They claim that annexation would complicate the county governments and that there would be no benefit to be derived. All the city officials and the most prominent taxpayers are against the annexation proposition and there is little doubt that the scheme will end as it begun—in talk.
Times-Union. November 27, 1899: 2 col 2.
Annexation of Bath.
To The Times-Union:
At the hearing of the proposed annexation of Bath-on-the-Hudson and East Greenbush and adjacent territory, the corporation counsel of Rensselaer, Mr. Le Boeuf, made the statement that over one-half of the people of those localities were in favor of the scheme of annexation. I believe the people of Bath-on-the-Hudson and East Greenbush to the extent of ninety per cent, are emphatically opposed to any such idea at any price. From the standpoint of the promoters one wouldthink that the people of the aforesaid localities could scarcely bide the time when they would become Rensselaerites. The Bathites to-day have one of the best conducted and well-governed communities in the state. Its citizens one and all take a deep interest in its affairs and it was certainly apparent to any well-balanced mind at the hearing upon said bill that the objectors were most strenuously opposed to the move.
Times-Union. February 21, 1900: col 4.
Republican Plan to Annex Bath
DESIRE TO INCREASE RENSSELAER’S POPULATION.
The republican leaders of Rensselaer have mapped out plans whereby, in event of the annexation of Bath and a section of East Greenbush, and the creation of a greater Rensselaer, this city will have a post-office. Substantially the same bill will be introduced in the legislature next January as was introduced a year ago. A copy will be presented to the assembly by Assemblyman-elect Reynolds of this district, and to the senate by Senator-elect Michael Russell, who fathered the bill last year, despite the opposition of a committee of thirty-five citizens of Bath, thirty-three of whom were republicans. It is probable that the board of trustees, which is republican, will be called on to pass a resolution declaring in favor of annexation. As soon as it becomes certain to the republican leaders that the bill will become a law then it is intended to interest the present congressman, A. V. S. Cochrane, and the congressman-elect, Mr. Draper, of Lansingburgh, and endeavor to have congress provide for the establishment of a post-office in the enlarged city. It is claimed that Rensselaer with its 8,000 population, could not expect to get a post-office of any size or importance, but with Bath annexed and a portion of East Greenbush included in the city, the population would be raised to over 10,000. It is claimed that if the proper influence could be gained Rensselaer could get a nice post-office building and have the mails sent out and distributed from here. Mailing facilities would thereby be greatly improved and business men could get their letters promptly.
Times-Union. November 21, 1900: 2 col 3.
The official census figures for Bath are: Population, 2,504, population in 1890, 2,390; increase, 205.
Times-Union. December 6, 1900: 2 col 5. [Bath’s population in 1900 was smaller than the Village of Hoosick Falls in 2010, but larger than the other Rensselaer County villages of Castleton-on-Hudson, East Nassau, Nassau, Schaghticoke, and Valley Falls.]
To Annex the Village of Bath to Rensselaer
OPPONENTS WILL BATTLE FOR REFERENDUM CLAUSE.
Senator Russell, of Troy, will introduce in the senate next Wednesday night the bill to annex Bath and sections of East and North Greenbush to the city of Rensselaer. Senator Russell said to the Times-Union man yesterday that he had not received the copy of this year’s bill from the Rensselaer leaders, but expected it in the course of a few days. He did not think that the provisions would differ to any great extent from those of last year. There is no doubt that many of citizens of Bath and East Greenbush are opposed to the enactment of the Greater Rensselaer bill, for they believe that the burdens of taxation will become larger. it is expected that those who will lead the opposition to the bill will make their fight for the referendum clause, believing that if a vote of the inhabitants of the places affected is taken that the measure will be defeated.
Times-Union. January 3, 1901: 2 col 4.
Bath-On-Hudson (Rensselaer, NY). Blog. http://bathonhudson.blogspot.com
Greenfield, Jim. “North Greenbush Notes: Bath – Our Former Village.” Town of North Greenbush. http://www.townofng.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/NGN_20070608_BathOurFormerVillage.pdf