If you're new to town, you may think Clifton Park sprang up primarily in the 1960s and beyond. It may surprise you to know that there are families in town who have been here since the late 1600s. As you explore further, you may notice the blue plaques outside many historic buildings. If you want to learn even more, the Ed & Francine Rodger Local History Room at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library houses the Town of Clifton Park’s History Collection. 

The first town historian for Clifton Park, Howard Becker, collected numerous items pertaining to the Town's history. His sucessor, John Scherer, has continued to add to the collection. The following are some of the oldest items belonging to the Town, and can be viewed in the Local History Room at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library.

Click on image to enlarge.

The will of Ryckert Claase Van Vranken of Canastagione, 1688.

Ryckert Claase (Claessen) Van Vranken was a Dutch settler in 1672. He bought land over river at Canastagione with Claes Janse Van Boeckhoven. The Van Vranken family is the longest living families in the town of Clifton Park. Ryck Claessen Van Vranken had three sons: Gerrit, Maas (Maus/Maes), and Evert.

Transport (Deed) of Property 1706

Transport (deed) of property on the north side of the Maquaes (Mohawk) River from Ryker Schermerhorn to Maas Rycksen, Sept. 10, 1706. Maas Rycksen is one of three sons of Ryckert Claase (Claessen) Van Vranken of Canastiagione.

Dutch Document, 1712

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Dutch Document

Dutch document signed by Ryckert Claase Van Vranken’s three sons Garret, Maus and Evert in 1712.

Enslavement in Clifton Park

Terrible treatment of human beings was not confined to the South. This is a bill of sale for a woman named Nann and an infant boy named Yap (presumably Nann's son) for 45 pounds. The sale took place in 1786, between Derrickje Van Vranken and Christopher Miller. The Van Vranken family was the largest slave-holding family in Clifton Park. Derrickje was probably the widow of Abraham Van Vranken. 

Derick Volwider estate papers

Memorandum of goods bought and sold, including “1 Negro sold, 25 pounds.” According to records, Derick Volwider enslaved one person. The document's date is unknown, but presumably it was written before the 1800s.