The Slingerland Family

All NY members of the Slingerland Family trace their roots back to Teunis Cornelisz Slingerland who first appeared in Colonial records in the 1650s. Around 1650, he left Amsterdam, Holland for Beverwijck (Albany, NY). By 1654 he married Engeltie Albertse Bradt and built a 30 ft. x 22 ft. house on Jonckerstraet (State Street). In 1673 he purchased approximately 10,000 acres of land on the north side of Onesquethaw Creek to the west of Albany behind the Normans Kill. The Mohawk Indians were paid “one Peece of Strouds, three Casks of Rom, three kitles, three Shirts, hondert & fifty hand white wampam, one bag of Pouder”. This deed was signed with the marks of the Wolf, Bear and Turtle. The land comprising Slingerlands was not included in this purchase. The early branches of the Slingerland family populated Albany, Schenectady, Bethlehem and New Scotland as they are known today.

In the 1860s, the hamlet of Normans Kill was renamed Slingerlands (originally Slingerlands Corners) to honor the Slingerland family. It has remained Slingerlands ever since, with the exception of a 2 week period in November of 1891 when it was known as Ruxton. The November 21, 1891 edition of The Enterprise published a poem covering this temporary name change. Here is an excerpt:

"We retired in Slingerlands on Sunday night, And then without a moments warning, A startling transfer was made outright, For we arose at Ruxton Monday morning.


This is the eleventh day in Ruxton to myself I said, As the beautiful sunlight was dawning, But as I jumped out of bed, wife she hit me on the head, Crying, "we are in Slingerlands again this Thursday morning."

Portrait of Leah Britt courtesy of MaryEllen Grimaldi

Leah Britt Slingerland

The first Slingerland in today’s hamlet of Slingerland was John A. In 1790 he leased land and, along with his wife Leah Britt, established a farm and began construction of their home, which still stands at 1575 New Scotland Road. John and Leah’s descendants made an impact on the developing hamlet, especially sons John I., William H. and Albert.

Memorialized in the vault:

The Tomb of John A. Slingerland who died 1850, Aged 82 years. This Tomb Contains the Remains of the Best of Fathers

The Tomb of Leah, Wife of John A. Slingerland, Died Feb. 13, 1863, Aged 86 yrs., God My Redeemer Lives, And Often From the Skies, Looks Down and Watches Over my Dust, Till he Shall Bid me Rise

Portrait of John I. Slingerland courtesy of the Albany County Historical Association

John I. Slingerland

John I. served in the NYS Assembly and was a US Congressman. His causes included the Homestead Act, the abolitionist movement and the Anti-Rent Party, portions of which are covered in his 1848 speech entitled Internal Improvements, the War, and Land Monopoly. Wikipedia covered John I. extensively.

In the early 1940's, historian Henry Christman wrote this in a letter to John I.'s daughter: "...he introduced a Homestead Act which was killed, but which under Lincoln became law 14 years later. The Act, passed in Mr. Slingerland's time as a member of the house (1847-1849), might have averted the Civil War." John I. appeared on the same political poster as Abraham Lincoln.

His will, written years before the emancipation proclamation and the 13th amendment to the US Constitution, included this item: "I give, devise and bequeath to the colored man James Dixon and to his heirs and assigns forever all that certain lot and house situated in the Town of Bethlehem, County of Albany, bounded on the north by lands of James B. Wands, west by the Oliver Road and on the south and east by the fence which now encloses said lot containing about 3/4 of an acre of land be the same more or less."

Memorialized in the vault:

The Tomb of John I. Slingerland, Born March 1, 1804, Died October 26, 1861, Aged 57 years, 7 months, 25 days. Here Sweet be my Rest, Till Christ Bids me rise, To Hail Him in Triumph, Descending the Skies.

The Tomb of Sally Hall, Wife of John I. Slingerland, Born July 21, 1813, Died May 30, 1874

Photo of William H. Slingerland from New York State Men: biographic studies and character portraits, Volume 1 by Frederick Simon Hills

William H. Slingerland

William H. served in the NYS Assembly (1880) but was more widely known as a surveyor and civil engineer.

He oversaw improvements to the New York State Capitol building. The dangerous stone ceiling of the Chamber was replaced with wood due to his efforts.

In 1902, he organized the Suburban Water Company which provided Slingerlands (as well as a few other areas) with spring water from the Helderbergs. The Town purchased the Suburban Water Company in 1927 to form their water district. He established the Slingerlands Post Office and served as postmaster for 20 years.

During his lifetime, he was also a Colonel in the State Militia, a Division Judge-Advocate and a US Loan Commissioner. Somehow, he also found time to become a noted breeder of “Cream Pots", which were a better milking cow produced by breeding a short-horn bull with a native cow.

Memorialized in the vault:

The Tomb of William H. Slingerland, Born November 13, 1820, Died May 13, 1910, Age 89 Years, 6 Months

Elizabeth, Wife of William H. Slingerland, Farewell (design with hands clasped), Died May 25, 1868, Aged 40 years, 4 Months, 25 Days.

Photo of Ironweed House courtesy of Sue Virgilio

Albert I. was the real estate mogul in the family responsible for the construction of many of the lovely Victorian-style homes in the hamlet including the “Ironweed” house on New Scotland Road. He also donated the land for the Methodist Church.

Portrait of John H., George W. and Helene Slingerland courtesy of MaryEllen Grimaldi

Memorialized in the vault:

Helene Slingerland, Wife of Hiram Bender, Entered into Rest December 18, 1884, Aged 31 years, 8 months. William H.'s daughter

Photo of John H. Slingerland, courtesy of MaryEllen Grimaldi

Memorialized in the vault:

John H. Slingerland, son of Wm H., Born June 13, 1844, Died Dec. 20, 1914.

Also memorialized in the vault:

James W., Son of William H. and Elizabeth Slingerland, Died May 8, 1857, Aged 1 year, 8 months, 2 days

Charles Arthur, Son of George W. and Rosalie M. Slingerland, born February 10, 1881, died November 11, 1883 William H.'s grandson

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