Austerlitz, New York

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Austerlitz is a town in Columbia County, New York, United States. The population was 1,453 at the 2000 census. The town was named after the Battle of Austerlitz.

The Town of Austerlitz is in the east part of Columbia County.



Ellis, Capt. Franklin, "History of Columbia County, New York", (1878), page 381

The town was organized from parts of the towns of Hillsdale, Chatham, and Canaan, March 28, 1878(sic 1818). A little more than one-fifteenth of the present town was taken from Chatham, a little over one-eighth from Canaan, and a little less than five-sixths from Hillsdale. From the fact that among the first settlers there were no less than twelve families of Spencers, the north part of Hillsdale and been known from the first as "Spencer's-town." This name finally attached itself simply to the village, and when the division of the town was being talked up it was proposed to call the new town "New Ulm." When the bill erecting it passed the Legislature, however, Martin Van Buren, then a State Senator, and who, being an ardent admirer of the great Napoleon, was somewhat incensed at one of his political opponents (Elisha Williams, if we mistake not), who had succeeded in having a town in Seneca county christened "Waterloo," leaped to his feet and moved to amend by calling the new town "Austerlitz." Having carried his point, he retired to his seat, saying "There's an Austerlitz for your Waterloo."

Past residents of note

Edna St. Vincent Millay, poet, lived at Steepletop, a more than 800-acre (3.2 km2) property that had previously been a farm. Her sister, Norma, inherited the property at Millay's death. In 1973 Norma founded a non-profit artist residency program, Millay Colony for the Arts and deeded a small portion of the land to the organization. In 1978, Norma created the non-profit organization, The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society that now oversees the house and remainder of the property.

Pliny Wood (Lieutenant), Civil War Lieutenant for the Union Army, born in Austerlitz, New York. Enlisted from Westfield, Massachusetts. Died a hero in Washington, North Carolina.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 48.8 square miles (126.5 km²), of which, 48.7 square miles (126.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.20%) is water.

The east town line is the border of Massachusetts.

The Taconic State Parkway crosses the northwest corner of the town.


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