Edwin D. Reilly, County Historian  ♦  historian@schenectadycounty.com


 

Schenectady County was incorporated on March 7, 1809 when the Towns of Niskayuna, Duanesberg, Princetown, and the City of Schenectady, all part of Albany County at the time, came together. The Towns of Glenville and Rotterdam were incorporated at later dates and were originally wards within the City. 

The name Schenectady is believed to be derived from the Iroquois word Schau-naugh-ta-da, which is translated to "over the pine plains," or "across the pine plains.” It is said it was applied to the place where Schenectady now stands, as being over the plains from Albany.

While Schenectady County was incorporated in 1809, our history goes back much further. In June, 1661, Arent Van Corlaer and 14 others applied to Governor Stuyvesant for permission to purchase from the Mohawk Tribe the "Great Flat," a tract of land on the lower Mohawk. Permission was granted and the land was bought the following month. The earliest European settlers of Schenectady County came from the Netherlands.

Schenectady County is now comprised of five towns - Duanesburg, Glenville, Niskayuna, Princetown and Rotterdam, the City of Schenectady and two villages. The Village of Scotia lies wholly within Glenville and the Village of Delanson wholly within Duanesburg.

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Copious County historic literature exists in many forms, principally books and e-books and postings on many websites accessible to the public.