Although the Netherlands only controlled the Hudson River Valley from 1609 until 1664, in that short time, Dutch entrepreneurs established New Netherland, a series of trading posts, towns, and forts up and down the Hudson River that laid the groundwork for towns that still exist today. Fort Orange, the northernmost of the Dutch major outposts, is known today as Albany. New York City’s original name was New Amsterdam. The Dutch lost New Netherland to the English during the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1664. It would be another 20 years, until 1684 or 1685 that the first patent would be given for Saratoga. It was wealthy investors from Albany that were the initial patentees. The patentees included people of Dutch decent including Colonel Peiter Schuyler, Dirck Wessels, Esq., Jan Jan Bleecker, Esq., Johannes Schuyler, Esq., and Cornelius Van Dyck. The original Saratoga patent embraced six square miles on both sides of the Hudson River.
People at Saratoga by choice or by chance is the theme that describes the individual decisions and sacrifices by people of all walks of life that helped define this community. It is the determination of our forefathers (and mothers) in surmounting overwhelming odds that help define the American spirit – the will and ability to shape a better future. Saratoga is a place of special significance. It is somewhat easy to define the location of Saratoga in the general area of the intersection of Fish Creek and the Hudson River. But it is the people it is that have populated this community by choice or by chance have changed this country and even the world political development. That is why studying the people of Saratoga is integral to a good understanding of the condition of being human.