Toponymies of places in New York's Capital District

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The toponymies of places in New York's Capital District are a varied lot, from non-English languages such as Native American, Dutch, and German to places named for famous people or families, of either local or national fame. Also, in the early 19th century, many places in the Hudson Valley, Capital District and points west were either named or renamed after places from Classical Antiquity (e.g. Athens, Cairo, Carthage, Greece, Ilion, Ithaca, Phoenicia, Rome, Syracuse, Troy, Utica)


Place Name
County Toponymy Language of origin Year
Notes or previous names
Albany Albany Duke of Albany[1][Note 1] English 1636 Fort Orange, Fuyck, Beverwyck, Williamstadt
Alplaus Schenectady Aal Plats, "place of the eels" Dutch
Altamont Albany High mountain[4] Latin 1887 Knowersville
(city and town)
Montgomery Amsterdam, Netherlands Dutch 1804[5] Veddersburg[5]
Ancram Columbia town in Scotland where the Livingston family originated[6] Scottish 1814 Livingston Forge, Scotchtown, Gallatin
(town and village)
Washington Argyllshire, Scotland where early settlers were from Scottish
Athens (town and village) Greene Athens, Greece
Austerlitz Columbia Battle of Austerlitz German 1818
Ballston Saratoga Eliphalet Ball a surname Ball's Town, Ballton
Bethlehem Albany in honor of the religious in the community English
Bleecker Fulton Barent Bleecker, early settler surname of possible Dutch origin
Bloodville Saratoga Isaiah Blood, operator of the Ballston Axe & Scythe Works English
Boght Albany bend of river Dutch Groesbeck's Corners
Brunswick Rensselaer possibly for Brunswick-Lüneburg, Germany German 1807
Burnt Hills Saratoga Condition of the area at the time the first settlers arrived
Cairo Greene Cairo, Egypt 1808
Canaan Columbia Canaan, Connecticut 1788 Kings District
Canajoharie (town and village) Montgomery Canajoharie, a town, translated as "a washed kettle" or "the pot that washes itself"[5] Iroquoian languages Name traced to a hole cut out by a 40-foot waterfall[5]
Catskill (town and village) Greene Dutch
Charleston Montgomery Charles Van Epps, an early settler[5]
Charlton Saratoga Village of Charlton, UK English 1792 Queensboro, New Robertson
Claverack Columbia Corruption of "clover fields" or "clover reach" Dutch Lower Manor of Rensselaer
Clermont Columbia Clear mountain French 1728 Livingston Forge, Scotchtown, Gallatin
Clifton Park Saratoga Derived from Nanning Harmansen; after he purchased piece of land from Native Americans, he wrote Lord Cornbury to request letters of Patent for Land for said purchase, also stating that it be known as "Your name of Cliftons park".[7] English 1829 Clifton
Coeymans Albany Barent Pieterse Coeymans surname of possible Dutch origin
Cohoes Albany Cohos, translated as "pine tree" Algonquian
Colonie (town and village) Albany Colonye; Colony of Rensselaerswyck surrounding Albany Dutch 1895
Copake Columbia Cook-pake or Ack-kook-peek ("Snake Pond") Native American 1824 Derived from a lake in the town
Corinth (town and village) Saratoga Corinth, Greece Greek 1818 Jessups Landing
Coxsackie (town and village) Greene "Hoot-owl place" or "nest of many owls"[8] Koixhacking or Koixhackung[9]
Day Saratoga Eliphaz Day, noted lumberman English 1827 Concord
Delmar Albany 1892 Adamsville; chosen by the Albany & Susquehanna Railway in order to avoid confusion with Adams, Jefferson County
Duanesburg Schenectady Last name of man who purchased the landed English 1765 Duane's Bush
East Greenbush Rensselaer Grennen Bosch (pinewood or literally, "Green Bush") Dutch 1858 Clinton
Edinburg Saratoga Edinburgh, Scotland English 1808 Northfield
Florida Montgomery State of Florida Spanish
Fonda Montgomery Douw Fonda, settler who was scalped during an Indian raid in 1780[5] Italian 1780 Caughnawaga
Fort Johnson Montgomery Sir William Johnson, 1st Baronet[5] 1912 Mount Johnson, Akin[5]
Fultonville Montgomery Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat ca. 1824 Van Epps Swamp
Galway (town and village) Saratoga Misspelling of Galloway on incorporation of the town English 1796 New Galloway; originally named for Galloway, Scotland
Gansevoort Saratoga Peter Gansevoort Dutch 1792 New Robertson
Ghent Columbia Ghent, Belgium Dutch 1818
Glen Montgomery Jacob Saunders Glen, an early settler[5] ca. 1725
Glenville Schenectady Alexander Lindsay Glen 1650s
Gloversville Fulton Glove factory in the city English 1828
Green Island Albany Turkee Farm of Green Island[10] 1834 Tibbits Island
Guilderland Albany Province of Gelderland, origin of many of the town's settlers Dutch 1803 Guilderlandt
Hadley Saratoga Hadley, Massachusetts English 1801
Hagaman Montgomery Joseph Hagaman, founder[5] ca. 1777 Hagamans Mills
Halfmoon Saratoga Anglicized from Halve Maan Dutch to English 1788 Orange (1816-1820)
Hudson Columbia Hudson River; ultimately Henry Hudson English 1785 Claverack's Landing
Johnstown (town and city) Fulton Sir William Johnson, founnder English 1762 John's Town
Jonesville Saratoga John Jones, "first collector of the Town of Half Moon"[11]
Kinderhook (town and village) Columbia Kinderhoek ("Children's corner") Dutch 1814 Livingston Forge, Scotchtown, Gallatin
Latham Albany Former hotel owner William G. Latham English
Livingston Columbia Livingston Manor 1686
Loudonville Albany John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun English
Malta Saratoga There was a malt brewery in the town in its early days, now known as Maltaville 1802
Mechanicville Saratoga occupation of early residents 1829
Menands Albany Louis Menand, founder of the village 1842
Milton Saratoga Either for Irish poet John Milton or a shortening of "Mill-town" English 1792
Minden Montgomery Probably for the town of Minden, Germany[5] German
Mohawk Montgomery Mohawk River Dutch language Derived from Mohican
Moreau Saratoga Jean Victor Moreau, French general French 1805
Nelliston Montgomery Andrew Nellis, member of the founding family
New Lebanon Columbia Mount Lebanon Shaker Society 1818
Newtonville Albany John M. Newton, early landowner English
Niskayuna Schenectady Ni-sti-go-wo-ne; roughly "extensive corn flats" Mohawk
North Greenbush Rensselaer see entry for East Greenbush 1858 Clinton
Northumberland Saratoga English county of the same name English 1798
Palatine Bridge
Montgomery Palatinate[5]
A bridge in the settlement that spans the Mohawk River
Philmont Columbia George P. Philip, who constructed a dam to power his factory via hydroelectricity, and so doing, built a reservoir in the Taconic Mountains[12] English 1878 Factory Hill
Pittstown Rensselaer William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham[13] English 1761 George III named the town in honor of the leading statesman—and Prime Minister—of the time
Providence Saratoga Village of Charlton, UK English 1792 New Robertson
Rensselaer Rensselaer The Van Rensselaer family Dutch 1792
Rexford Saratoga Edward Rexford 1792 Rexford Flats
Root Montgomery General Erastus Root, New York state senator[5]
Rotterdam Schenectady Rotterdam, Netherlands Dutch
St. Johnsville (town and village) Montgomery Either Alexander St. John, surveyor, or St. John's Church, an early name for the area[5][14] ca. 1818 St. John's Church
Saratoga (town)
Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Known to be a corruption of a Native American name Se-rach-to-que Mohawk N/A
It is unsure whether it means "hillside country of the great water", "place of the swift water", or even "floating scum upon the water"
Schenectady Schenectady Schau-naugh-ta-da, translated as "on that side of the pinery" or "place beyond the pine plains" Mohawk language
Schuylerville Saratoga Philip Schuyler, general in the American Revolution Dutch language 1831 Saratoga; sometimes referred to as Old Saratoga or Olde Saratoga
Scotia Schenectady Scotland Latin 1650s
Taghkanic Columbia Older spelling of "Taconic" Native American 1803?
Tribes Hill Montgomery Disputed (see below) The name comes from either the earlier name of "Tripes Hill", so named because of a female settler who made tripe, or a popular gathering spot for Iroquois tribes[5]
Troy Rensselaer Classical Troy, from Homer's Iliad Greek 1789
Valatie Columbia Vaaltje ("little falls") Dutch 1665
Victory Saratoga Defeat of the British at the Battles of Saratoga in 1777 1849
Vischer Ferry Saratoga Eldert Vischer Dutch 1783
Waterford Saratoga Derived from name of village English 1794 Half Moon Point
Watervliet Albany Probably from the town of Watervliet, Belgium (then in the Netherlands) Dutch late 19th C. Gibbonsville, West Troy


  1. ^ James Stuart (1633–1701), brother and successor of Charles II, was both the Duke of York and Duke of Albany before being crowned James II of England and James VII of Scotland in 1685. His title of Duke of York is the source of the name of the province of New York.[1] Duke of Albany was a Scottish title given since 1398, generally to a younger son of the King of Scots.[2] The name is ultimately derived from Alba, the Gaelic name for Scotland.[3]


  1. ^ a b Brodhead 1874, p. 744
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (Albany, Dukes of). Encyclopædia Britannica Company; 1910. OCLC 197297659. p. 487.
  3. ^ Leslie 1888, p. 354
  4. ^ Grade 7, Altamont Grade School (1946). "History of Altamont". Village of Altamont. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Zurlo, Sam (15 April 1996). "Area place names reflect local history and personalities". The Daily Gazette. pp. B5. Retrieved 5 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Masters, Hillary. "Town of Ancram, NY History". Town of Ancram. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  7. ^ "Bits and Pieces of Saratoga County History" by Richard Dorrough published in the Ballston Journal. Copies of the original documents in Dorrough's possession.
  8. ^ [1] Old Dutch Place Names from
  9. ^ "Development of the Coxsackie Quadrangle, New York". New York State Museum of Natural History, New York State Museum, New York State Museum and Science Service, Bulletin Issues 332-337. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York: 40. 1943. Retrieved 16 February 2016 – via Google Books. 
  10. ^ "History of Green Island - A Partial Timeline" (PDF). Retrieved February 15, 2016. 
  11. ^ Sylvester, Samuel Bartlett. "History of Saratoga County". Rootsweb. Retrieved December 14, 2015. 
  12. ^ "History". Village of Philmont, New York. Retrieved February 16, 2016. 
  13. ^ Weise 1880, p. 90
  14. ^ Three Rivers. "Which came first?". Berry Enterprises. Retrieved 5 March 2016.