Niskayuna (corrupted from Native language "Canistigone" possibly meaning "corn flats") was a term referring to the southern flats of the Mohawk River - located east of Schenectady and north of the Manor of Rensselaerswyck.
Located beyond the jurisdiction of the Van Rensselaers, New Netherland-era farmers first occupied the bottomlands during the 1660s. Some of them including Jan Clute and Ryckert Claese Van Vranken and his son, Maas Ryckse, were or became residents of Albany. New Netherland pioneer Captain Marte Cregier and/or his same-named son also were prominent residents of Canastigione.
A military outpost called "Fort Niskayuna" was mentioned as early as 1691.
About 1776, Ann Lee's Shakers settled in the area near today's Albany Airport. They cleared the land and erected a meeting house as early as 1784. In 1790, David Meacham and Hezekiah Noble were prominent in the Niskayuna Shaker community which mostly was referred to as Watervliet.
Originally part of old Albany County, Niskayuna then was a part of the town of Watervliet and in 1809 was erected into a separate town within newly formed Schenectady County. The bridge across the Mohawk at Rexford was built about 1805.
posted: 5/1/02; revised 1/29/10