Nicholas Bratt
Nicholas Bratt

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.


The town of Schaghticoke has at the present time one centenarian, - a connecting link between the present age and the Revolutionary period of the nation. Nicholas Bratt was born in Albany County, Dec. 23, 1779.

His father kept a tavern about seven miles from Albany, on the old turnpike to Schenectady. The family removed to Schaghticoke in 1791, when Nicholas was twelve years old, and settled in the northeast part of the town, opposite Johnsonville, at the corner where Erastus Curtis now lives. There were in the family seven children, - Nicholas, Anthony, Christopher, John, and three daughters. Two of the brothers went to Chautauqua County.

Nicholas Bratt was a farmer, but worked also at the carpenter business. He erected many barns throughout his town, and also in Easton, where he lived a few years. He put up one of the barns at the old Knickerbocker place. His home is now with his son William.

The latter has a son married, and an infant child completed four generations in the room, during an interview by the writer.

Mr. Bratt remembers that James Mallory was a teacher in one of the schools he attended, and at another a woman whose name he could not recall, but quaintly described her "as a widow, though she was never married."

When his father's family moved to Schaghticoke there were only five or six buildings in Troy, as he remembers the place. One of these was a tavern. There were more in Lansingburgh. He remembers the first pair of boots he bought, when perhaps fifteen or sixteen years of age. They were made by Samuel Osborne, who lived between Valley Falls and Johnsonville.

Thomas L. Whitbeck built the first saw-mill at Johnsonville. He was the "boss" of the patroon farms and became the owner of 600 acres of land. The dam for the first mill touched the land of John Bratt, on the north side, and for granting this privilege he had the right to have 100 logs sawed each year. He recalls some of their neighbors when his father moved to this town, as Joseph Tanner, Isaac Van Hoosen, Samuel Livingston, Tunis Vanderwerker. Near Dr. Ezekial Baker's was a blacksmith shop in the early times; another at Millertown, by Jerry Purdy.

Mrs. Bratt's life comprises the entire historic period of the present national government. Born amid the doubtful years of the Revolution, he has lived under the Confederation and the Constitution.

He has seen the wilderness of a century ago become a fruitful field, and the desert blossom as the rose. An now in the evening of his days, surrounded by his children, and by their children's children, he calmly awaits the appointed end.

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