Labor and Working Class History Timeline for Troy and Cohoes, New York

A History of Working People in Troy and Cohoes, New York:
A Time Line, 1600s to 1977

  • 1660’s   Lumber mill on Poestenkill built by two Dutchmen

  • 1775-83    American Revolution

  • 1791     Rensselaer County formed from Albany County

  • 1791     Troy founded (first called Troy in 1789; incorporated as a city in 1816)

  • 1791     Mahlon Taylor builds saw, grist and paper mills on Poestenkill

  • 1794     First strike; New York City printers

  • 1805     First known strike fund, collected by New York City shoemakers

  • 1807    Troy's iron industry begun with founding of Albany Rolling and Slitting Mill

  • 1809     Troy Iron and Nail Company formed; later became Burden Iron Company

  • 1812    Arsenal built at Gibbonsville, later Watervliet

  • 1816    Troy incorporated as a city

  • 1817    Powers floor cloth business begins in Lansingburgh

  • 1818    Brushes first made in Lansingburgh

  • 1824    First women's strike as Pawtucket, R.I. weavers strike against wage cuts

  • 1825    Marshall Textile Mills built on Poestenkill; Bells first made in Troy

  • 1826    Andrew Meneely Bell Foundery [sic] founded in West Troy

  • 1817-25   Erie and Champlain Canals built

  • 1828    First workingmen's labor party formed in Philadelphia

  • 1830    Meeting of Farmer's, Mechanics and Workingmen's Party in Troy

  • 1832    Major legislation in New York for free public schools, end of imprisonment for debt and mechanics lien law passed with support of labor

  • 1832    First railroad to Troy: Rensselaer and Saratoga line opened

  • 1833    Troy Orphan Asylum founded

  • 1835    Burden patents first horseshoe machine

  • 1837    Financial panic in United States

  • 1837    Harmony Mills complex begun

  • 1840    Benjamin Marshall builds hydraulic power on Poestenkill for his Mt. Ida Cotton Mill

  • 1841    Probable birth year of Kate Mullany. She died in 1906. Mullany organized and led the Collar Laundry Union in Troy. She was the first woman to be appointed to a national union office (National Labor Union).

  • 1842    First strike at Harmony Mills caused by 20% wage reduction

  • 1844    St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church organized

  • 1845-49    Irish Potato Famine: Immigration to U.S. increases

  • 1844-46    Ogden Mills built

  • 1846    Fuller, Warren and Company, Troy's largest stoveworks founded

  • 1846    Manning and Peckham, later Manning Paper Company built on Poestenkill

  • 1846    St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church built; first Irish Catholic church in Cohoes

  • 1848    St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in South Troy, known as the Iron Workers’ Church, is founded

  • 1849    Erastus Corning built first steam powered rolling mill, at mouth of Wynantskill in South Troy

  • 1849    Ogden Mills workers strike after 15% wage cut, but returned to work after a threat of outside workers

  • 1850    Manning Paper Company formed

  • 1852    Typographical Union founded; the earliest national union to remain in permanent existence

  • 1853    Gilbert Car Manufacturing Company shops built on Green Island

  • 1853    Harmony Hill Union Sabbath School founded by the Cohoes Company

  • 1857    Founding of the International Iron Molders Local No. 2 in Troy

  • 1857    Harmony Mills wage cut of 10% and later 25% and shutting down of mill precipitates strike; mill workers win 12 1/2 % wage increase

  • 1857-58    Winter is difficult for Cohoes workers who must rely on soup kitchens of the Relief Committee for the Poor

  • 1859    Strike by Troy iron workers wins right of union to regulate the work force

  • 1860    Fugitive slave Charles Nalle is freed in downtown Troy by Troy citizens and Harriet Tubman

  • 1860    Troy local of Typographical Union founded

  • 1860    International Iron Molders Union meets in Albany; Troy Local is largest in country with 400 members

  • 1861-62    Albany Iron Works in Troy rolls iron plates for the Monitor. The ship was launched in January 1862. The plate-rolling started in September or October of 1861.

  • 1861-65    American Civil War fought; Troy molders enlist in large numbers; Troy iron industry plays a significant role in Union cause especially with horseshoe production for Union cavalry and railroad track production

  • 1862    Great Fire in Troy on May 10, destroys most of downtown area

  • 1863    New York City draft riots; draft riot in Troy, July 15, 1863

  • 1863    Emancipation Proclamation issued freeing Southern slaves

  • 1864    Collar Laundry Union formed in February

  • 1864    Regional trades assembly formed in Troy with 14 unions as members

  • 1865    Bessemer steel made for first time in U.S. at Troy

  • 1865    New York State Trades Assembly formed to help protect right to strike

  • 1866-1871    National Labor Union with iron molder, William Sylvis as President; goals are 8-hour day, co-operative stores and workshops

  • 1866    Great Lockout of Troy iron molders

  • 1866    Cooperative Iron Founders Association of 70 members formed in Troy

  • 1868    Kate Mullany, President of the Troy Collar Laundry Union, appointed Assistant Secretary of the National Labor Union

  • 1868    Collar laundresses strike

  • 1868    St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church founded in Cohoes; first French-Canadian church in Cohoes

  • 1869    Knights of Labor formed

  • 1869    Three-month strike of collar laundresses

  • 1869    Dissolution of the Collar Laundry Union; cooperative is attempted, but fails by 1870

  • 1870    Thomas B. Carroll, first Irish mayor of Troy is elected. He served from 1871 to 1873.

  • 1871    Clinton Meneely opens Meneely Bell Company in Troy

  • 1872    Mohawk and Hudson Paper Mills established at Waterford

  • 1873    Gasholder House in Troy is built

  • 1873    Industrial Council of Troy, first federation of Troy unions, formed

  • 1873    Depression nationally; wages cut for iron and stove workers

  • 1874    Strike of iron workers after 22% wage cut

  • 1874    10-hour day law passed in Massachusetts

  • 1877    Nationwide railroad strikes and violence

  • 1877    Stove foundries negotiate contracts for prison labor and labor violence results

  • 1878    Labor Reform Party formed in New York State

  • 1879    Greenback-Labor Party elects mayors in four upstate New York cities

  • 1879    Harmony Mills Company imposes a 10% wage reduction to meet competitors prices

  • 1879    Ross Valve Company established

  • 1880    Cohoes workers strike; win 10% increase in wages and a dinner break

  • 1881    Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions formed

  • 1881    Workingmen's Trade Assembly formed in Troy with headquarters at Murray Building

  • 1882    Burden Office Building completed

  • 1882    First Labor Day proclaimed by New York Governor, David B. Hill and parade held in New York City

  • 1882    Strikes in iron industry in Troy especially at Malleable Iron Company, lasting 16 months and finally resulting in a wage reduction of 20%

  • 1883    Iron workers accept a 10% wage cut until price of horseshoes rises and receive promise that the Burden works would not close

  • 1883    New York State Bureau of Labor Statistics created

  • 1884    Bureau of Labor Statistics investigated child labor in Cohoes focussing on 10-hour day, ventilation and amount of work required

  • 1885    Contract prison labor abolished in New York State

  • 1886    Haymarket Square massacre in Chicago

  • 1886    Laundresses and collar sewers form Joan of Arc Assembly of the Knights of Labor

  • 1886    Workingmen's Trades Assembly of Troy changes its name to Central Labor Council

  • 1886    Strike and lockout of collar workers lasting 5 weeks over right to organize and recognition of Knights of Labor

  • 1886    First ironing machines installed in plant in Troy and strike results

  • 1886    Four month strike by iron workers

  • 1886    American Federation of Labor formed

  • 1888    James Hooley of Troy elected Vice-President of International Iron Molders Union

  • 1890    United Mine Workers formed

  • 1892    Homestead Steel Strike

  • 1893    Central Labor Council of Troy changes its name to Central Federation of Labor of Troy

  • 1894    Pullman strike led by Eugene V. Debs

  • 1894    Laughlin Textile Mill built in Waterford

  • 1900-1901 Major strikes by street railway motormen and conductors against the United Traction Company

  • 1903    Starchers in Troy strike over presence of non-union workers in shops

  • 1905    Injunction vs. picketing won by Troy Collar Manufacturers Association

  • 1910    Cluett, Peabody and Company Bleachery built on Peebles Island

  • 1918-1919    World War I; Many union men from iron industry and collar industry go overseas as Doughboys

  • 1918    United Traction Co. strike

  • 1921    United Traction Co. strike lasting almost one year

  • 1921    Labor Temple on Congress St. destroyed by fire on October 16. Had been the temple since 1908 and all the union records stored there lost. Of 40 union charters, only 5 saved; those of the three oldest unions, the molders, typographers and cigarmakers lost

  • 1922    Labor Temple rebuilt again on Congress St. on January 31.

  • 1922    Ford plant on Green Island opens

  • 1923    Survey of Troy indicates that 10,000 men and women produced 43 million
    dollars in collars and cuffs

  • 1929    Great Depression begins

  • 1933    Trolley car era ends in Troy

  • 1935    Social Security begins; CIO formed

  • 1937    Garden Way opens in Troy

  • 1938    Flood of 1938 destroys many mills on Poestenkill

  • 1938    Troy City Hall burned

  • 1941-1945    U.S. in World War II

  • 1942    Cluett-Peabody is largest manufacturer of shirts in U.S.; over 4000 employees.

  • 1946    Wave of strikes in many industries across U.S.

  • 1947    Taft-Hartley Act passed

  • 1948    Germania Hall burned

  • 1949    McCarthy Era--CIO expels several unions for supposed communist leadership

  • 1955    AFL and CIO merge; George Meany first president

  • 1959    Dania Hall destroyed by fire

  • 1962    Manning Paper Company transferred last of its plant from the Poestenkill to Green Island.

  • 1972    Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway chartered

  • 1977    New York State Urban Cultural Park System law

  • 1977    Hudson-Mohawk Urban Cultural Park Commission (RiverSpark) formed by the local governments of Troy, Cohoes, Watervliet, Green Island, and the Village and Town of Waterford.


    For corrections, additions, deletions, please contact Prof. Gerald Zahavi at: gz580@csc.albany.edu
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