Grafton NY The Town of Grafton is located in central Rensselaer County, East of the Tri-Cities of Albany, Troy, Schenectady, NY. The Town covers an area of 46 square miles
Communities and Locations in the Town of Grafton
- Babcock Lake: A hamlet in the northeast corner of the town.
- Dunham Reservoir: A reservoir in the south part of the town.
- Dyken Pond: a lake south of Grafton Lakes State Park.
- East Grafton: A hamlet east of Grafton village on NY-2.
- Elizabeth Lake: A small lake near Grafton Lakes State Park.
- Grafton (formerly "Grafton Center" and "Patroons Mill") – The hamlet of Grafton on NY-2 in the central part of the town.
- Grafton Lakes State Park - A state park near Grafton village, north of NY-2.
- Quackenkill: A hamlet in the western part of the town on NY-2.
- Taconic Lake: A private lake and hamlet (Taconic Lake Association) in the southeastern part of the town off County Road 88 (Taconic Lake Road)
The first residents of the area that would one day become the Village of Grafton were the Mohican Native Americans who hunted the lush forests, fished the abundant rivers and streams where they grew Maze (corn), Squash and beans in the fertile soil of the valley floor.
The area that would become the Town of Grafton was first settled by farmers moving up the Hudson River after the ravages of the Revolutionary War and from New England by Dutch settlers. The area was known as Roxborough, a part of the Northeast Manor of Rensselaerwyck owned by the VanRensselaer Family.
Shortly after the birth of our nation Stephen Van Rensselaer III gave Abel Owen, a war veteran, 200 acres of the best farm land in area.
Nathaniel Dumbleton moved to the area from Grafton, Vermont, and became the first supervisor. Tradition holds that through his influence the town was named after his birthplace in Vermont.
The boundaries of the town were established on the north by Pittstown and Hoosick, on the east by Petersburgh, on the south by Berlin and Poestenkill and on the west by Brunswick. The first town officials were elected on March 20, 1807. In addition to Supervisor, Constable and Justice, Pound-keepers, Fence-viewers, and Overseers of the Poor where also appointed.
Pound-keepers were in charge of stray horses, cows, sheep and pigs. They kept these animals at a designated location until reclaimed by their owners. Fence-viewers settled all boundary line disputes and the Overseer of the Poor was in charge of seeing to the welfare of the elderly, orphans, or infirmed who had no families to care for them.
Early settlers clearing the land and planting crops and raised livestock for their table. Abundant forests provided work for loggers, sawyers, potash & charcoal makers, and tanners.
Until 1850 when the Supreme Court revoked the power of the Patroons, farmers leased their land from the Van Rensselaer. When efforts were made to collect back rents residents protested violently in what would become known as the Anti-Rent Wars.
When a debt collector was seen in the area farmers would blow tin horns to warn neighbors to be wary. Agents of the Patroon were beaten and sometimes tarred and feathered and sent packing. On December 19, 1845 Elijah Smith, a rent collector, was shot by unknown persons. His tombstone reads "Killed by Anti-Renters dressed in disguise".
During the Civil War most young men served which resulted in permanent damage to farming in the area from which it never recovered.
Grafton’s breathtaking scenery and abundant lakes and rivers became the town’s major attraction. Several luxury hotels were established. The Tilley farm became the Troy Times Fresh Air Home for children from the cities (pictured below).
Today, Grafton is mostly a bedroom community of the Albany, Schenectady, Troy Metropolis.
As of the 2000 census, there were 1,986 people, 1,059 homes and 554 families living in the town. The population density was 44.3 persons per sq. mi. The ethnic makeup of the city was 98% Caucasian, with less than 1% African American, Asian and Hispanic or Latino.