History (Knox)

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY
Back to Knox

Links to Histories for other Hilltowns are HERE.

The Town of Knox was established in 1822 from part of the Berne.

Early Settlement - Scoharie was settled by Palatine Refugees 1712 from what is now Germany. The earliest settlers of what is now Knox were both newer Palatine arrivals who found that the land in the Schoharie Valley was already taken, and early settlers who either could not get clear title too their land, or did not (or could not) pay the price. At that time, the wilderness land to the east in what is Knox could be had for the taking.

Settlement began before 1740. At that time it was called Helleberg (various spellings). The settlers were actually squatters, since in the 18th and most of the 19th centuries, Knox was part of the Rensselaerwyck estate. The head of the Van Rensselaer family was the Patroon who owned all the land on which the tenants in the Hudson Valley lived, and used feudal leases to maintain control of the region. Before the Revolutionary War, the patroons acted as feudal lords, with the right to make laws.

The Van Renseelaer 1787 survey map shows that occupied lots were irregularly shaped indicating they were all settled by squatters before the survey. Here is a

Knox central-large web.jpg

to a portion of the map. The main east west wagon road goes from Altamont to Schoharie. The wagon road to the south from the center goes to Thompson's Lake. Vacant lots are rectangular and of 120 acres each.

1846 Historical Collections of the State of New York - Brief Mention
1860 French's Gazetteer of the State of New York
1870 Child's Gazetteer: History of Knox
1870 Child's Gazetteer: Residents of Knox
1884 Altamont Enterprise: History of Knox
1886 Tenney and Howell: History of Knox
1897 Amasa Parker: History of Knox
Sesquicentennial History Article
1820 - 1860 Census Index
1906 Albany Chronicles - Cuyler Reynolds
1932 Altamont Enterprise: Village History
1934 - Knox is Smallest Town in County of Albany - Altamont Enterprise - October 12, 1934
1934 - Altamont Enterprise: School Essay Winner - Helderberg History - October 19, 1934
1936 - Albany Evening News: Rural Albany County - October 15, 1936
Rural Albany County: Knox Pillbox Industry - October 16, 1936
Knox: Planting and Harvesting Photos
1960 The Beautiful Helderbergs: History of Area - Altamont Enterprise – August 19, 1960
1994 Town of Knox Comprehensive Plan

Anti-Rent Wars: The residents of Knox were active participants in the Anti-Rent Wars.

Letters and Papers

Letters obtained by Barry and Terry Schinnerer