Long before European settlers arrived in this country, native trails ran alongside the Hoosic River on what was called the “Great Eastern Trail.” In 1668, Governor Thomas Dongan of the New York Province granted the Hoosick Patent to Marie Van Rensselaer and her business associates, but the population grew slowly as a result of the continual threat of attack during the French and Indian Wars. When the French and Indian Wars came to an end, settlers established a primarily agrarian community and Van Rensselaer established mills on the Hoosic.
In 1777, Hoosick came center stage as British General John Burgoyne dispatched German Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum to recruit loyalist support, spread false rumors and obtain supplies from an outpost at Bennington. American General John Stark learned of the advance and engaged Baum in Hoosick before they could reach the Bennington outpost. Prior to the engagement, local Francis Pfister was able to raise almost 600 men into the Loyalist militia, but Baum was defeated and later died of his injuries as the Americans gained a 3:1 advantage while Revolutionary forces poured in from the surrounding areas. Baum’s defeat created a significant setback for Burgoyne as he advanced from Fort Miller to Stillwater to engage the Americans at the Battles of Saratoga.
Like other settlements with abundant water-power, Hoosick Falls developed a robust milling industry in the post-Revolution era, and the Turnpike created an opportunity to bring those goods to market in Troy. Hoosick Falls grew even more prosperous when Walter A. Wood started manufacturing farm machinery in 1852, the same year that the Washington and Rutland Railroad, later Delaware and Hudson RR, created a line parallel to the turnpike. The Walter A. Wood Mowing and Reaping Machine Company (1852-1923) produced cutters, reapers and binders that were sold on every continent and won awards and medals at international expositions.
Today, the Village of Hoosick Falls boasts a historic downtown community, rooted in the boom days of the late 19th century. The Louis Miller Museum/ Hoosick Township Historical Society on Main St., tells of the community’s rich history and prominent citizens. Particularly of Anna Marie Roberson Moses, A.K.A. Grandma Moses, a renowned American folk artist from Hoosick that had her artwork discovered at a local drug store when she was 70 years old. Her paintings were so popular that they broke attendance records all over the world, and Life magazine celebrated her 100th birthday by featuring her on its September 1960 cover.