History of Troy, New York Part 1

About the history of small town Troy, New York, home to Uncle Sam and more.


From: H. IRVING MOORE (Troy, N.Y.)

I was born and raised in Troy, N.Y., a town which has had some hard times, but is now experiencing a revival. A person should be proud of where he lives because he has chosen to live there. Troy has a wonderful heritage, its contributions have been great, and I am pleased to share some interesting facts about the city of Troy, N.Y.

On Jan. 5, 1789, a few of the 50 residents of Van der Heyden, also known as Ashley's Ferry and Ferry Hook, met and decided that in the future the site would be known as Troy, N.Y.

After the residents of Troy selected that name, other cities followed the classical format, so today we have Syracuse, Athens, Rome, Ilean, Ithaca, Corinth, and others in New York State and elsewhere. Troy even has its Mt. Ida and Mt. Olympus.

Begun in 1807, using waterpower from Wynantskill Creek, the iron and steel industry in Troy made the city as prominent then as Pittsburgh is today. This was during the 1800s, and besides the plates for the Monitor, Troymade horseshoes were a great asset to the Union cavalry during the Civil War. In 1851 Henry Burden, who invented much machinery for turning out horseshoes, powered his plant with a giant waterwheel situated on the Wynantskill. It was 60 ft. in diameter and 22 ft. wide and was called the "Niagara of Waterwheels." Reportedly the largest in the world, it generated 1,200 hp.

Troy had a night chief of police in the 1850s, whose name was Amasa Copp. Many believe that today all policemen are called "cops" because of this public servant.

In the same vein, in 1860, James Knibbs was the chief engineer of the fire department, and thus it has been said that calling an important man "His Nibs" also originated in Troy.

When John Ericsson was in need of support to present his plans for the construction of the Monitor, John a. Griswold and John F. Winslow, both Trojans and interested in the production of iron products, came to his aid by persuading President Lincoln to accept Ericsson's novel idea.

The President did approve the plan, and Mr. Griswold and Mr. Winslow had their plants in Troy make the necessary armor plates, bars, and rivets. These items went into the construction of the Monitor, which defeated the Merrimac in March, 1862.

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