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New York Counties

There are sixty-two counties in the State of New York. The first twelve counties in New York were created immediately after the British annexation of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, although two of these counties have since been abolished. The most recent county formation in New York was in 1912, when Bronx County was created from the portions of New York City that had been annexed from Westchester County.

Rensselaer County, New York

Rensselaer County Education, Geography, and HistoryRensselaer County, New York Courthouse

Rensselaer County is a county in the state of New York. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 159,429. Its county seat is Troy. The county is named in honor of the family of Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the original Dutch owner of the land in the area.

Rensselaer County is part of the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Rensselaer County Name

Named in honor of the family of Killiaen Van Rensselaer, the original Dutch patroon


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Rensselaer County History

RENSSELAER COUNTY was taken from Albany in 1791. Greatest length 30, greatest breadth 22 miles; centrally distant from New York N. 156, and from Albany E. 10 miles. The eastern portion of the country is broken and hilly, and in some places rather mountainous and interspersed with fertile valleys. The central and western part is diversified with hills, and a gently undulating surface. It has extensive valleys and flats of alluvion, with a warm rich soil; and the uplands have an easy soil, well adapted to the various purposes of agriculture. There are an abundance of mill sites, and the numerous streams irrigate every portion of the county. This county had partial settlements at a very early period of our history, and has long sustained a very considerable population. The whole of the county, except the towns of Schaghticoke, Pittstown, Hoosick and north part of Lansingburg and part of Troy, is comprised within the Rensselaerwyck patent, leased under the ordinary rent, in farms, at ten bushels of wheat the hundred acres. The county contains 13 towns and the city of Troy. Pop. 60,303. (Rensselaer County, New York; Excerpt From: Historical Collections of the State of New York, by John W. Barber and Henry Howe, 1844)

Seventeenth-century Dutch fur traders were the first Europeans to settle in Rensselaer County. Most of Rensselaer County was then under the patroonship of the Van Rensselaer family, for which the County was named. Due to its strategic location at juncture of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, the area continued to develop as a major center of trade, playing an important role during the Revolutionary War. During that war, Rensselaer County saw action in the Battle of Bennington, which was fought in the county hamlet of Walloomsac.

Geography: Land and Water

Rensselaer County is in the eastern part of New York State. The eastern boundary of Rensselaer County runs along the New York-Vermont and New York-Massachusetts borders.

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 665 square miles (1,723 km2), of which, 654 square miles (1,694 km2) of it is land and 11 square miles (30 km2) of it (1.72%) is water.

The terrain runs from level and flat near the Hudson and then rises into the Rensselaer Plateau around Poestenkill and Sand Lake, then to the Taconic Mountains along the Massachusetts state line.

The highest point is Berlin Mountain, 2,818 feet (859 m)) above sea level, in the town of Berlin. The lowest point is sea level at the Hudson.

The Hoosic River, a tributary of the Hudson River, is in the north part of the county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Washington County, New York - north
  • Bennington County, Vermont - northeast
  • Berkshire County, Massachusetts - southeast
  • Columbia County, New York - south
  • Greene County, New York - southwest
  • Albany County, New York - west
  • Saratoga County, New York - northwest


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