The Town of Milton, along with much of Saratoga County, was a part of the Kayaderosseras Patent, granted by the English in 1708 to Samson S. Broughton, Attorney General of New York, and 12 associates. Earlier, all of these lands had been a part of Albany County, established is the mid-1600’s and extending all the way to the Canadian border. It was in the 1770’s that the area of Albany County was divided into Districts of Saratoga, Halfmoon, and Balls Town. These areas plus Stillwater became Towns of Albany County in 1788. Finally, in 1791 Saratoga County was created by the NYS Legislature by setting off the Towns of Saratoga, Halfmoon, Ballston and Stillwater from Albany County. Then, in 1792 the Towns of Milton, Charlton, and Galway were established from portions of Ballston. The Town of Milton was established by Act of the NYS Legislature on March 7, 1792. By 1828 other divisions of lands within Saratoga County resulted in the towns as they exist today.
The boundaries of the Town of Milton’s 22,000+ acres form nearly a perfect square just to the southwest of the geographic center of Saratoga County. Along with the Kayaderosseras Creek intersecting Milton from Northwest to Southeast, the Town was also crossed by Native American trails used by these people to hunt and fish in the rich lands of the "Crooked Stream." These trails became the footpaths and horse/oxen wagon trails that brought settlers to the area after the boundaries of the Kayaderosseras Patent were finally surveyed and established. It is generally agreed that the first settlers in what is now the Town of Milton were the David Wood family, coming about 1772, some twenty years prior to the establishment of the Town. Most probably the Wood family came by way of the north-south native trail that was to become Middle Line Road, homesteading just a bit to the west of the trail and the area that became known as Milton Hill, a designation still referred to today.
Settlement continued with homesteads, communities, saw and grist mills, and blacksmith shops established in this area of fertile lands, abundant forests, and plentiful water supplies and water power along the Kayaderosseras and the Glowegee, Gordon and Rowland’s Hollow Creeks. These pioneers were largely self-sufficient farming families who quickly established their churches and erected houses of worship, Old Stone Church being one of the earliest. The whole area became known as Mill Town and in 1792 was established as Milton. Soon thereafter Milton Hill supported two churches and a store and was considered the center of the Town. It is believed that early town meetings were held in one of the churches here.
In the early 1800’s Milton was establishing a system of district grade schools as required by law, and in 1812 the Milton Union School, including higher grades, was located in Ballston Spa. About 1870 the Union Free School District #1 of Milton was incorporated by Legislative Act. Nearly a hundred years later, in 1952 the schools became part of the Ballston Spa Central School District, encompassing much of the towns of Malta, Milton, Ballston, and the Village of Ballston Spa.
By the mid-1800’s industrial entrepreneurs had established mills along the Kayaderosseras Creek and its tributaries all the way through Milton and the Village. Chief among these were the paper mills; but there were also cotton mills, foundries, tanneries and leather factories, wheel shops, lumber and cabinetry mills, and limestone quarries and kilns in addition to the saw mills, grist mills, and blacksmith shops established when the settlers first came. Communities, including Rock City Falls, West Milton, Milton Center, Craneville, Factory Village, Bloodville, and Rowland’s hollow, were clustered in the mill areas where churches, schools, stores, hotels and boarding houses were established. Family dairy farms and orchards dotted the landscape surrounding these settlements. Transportation continued to be by foot, horseback, and carriage or wagon over dirt roads until 1896 when the mills and communities along the Kayaderosseras were joined by an electric railway running from Ballston Spa to Middle Grove to provide both freight and passenger service that connected to other rail lines in the Village of Ballston Spa.
During the first quarter of the 20th century mills were closing and/or moving for various reasons. Likewise, the electric railway, the "PP & J" or Push, Pull, and Jerk as it was called by the school children riding from the country to attend high school in the Village, had to close operations in 1928. In this same time period auto and truck production was advancing and improved roads and highways were developing. Thus, we first began to see the transformation of early settlements to predominately residential areas with workers able to commute to employment, especially the industries of Schenectady where factory skills could be utilized. As we enter the 21st century, only the Cottrell Paper Company in Rock City Falls is a manufacturing enterprise operating at an early mill site.
In 1948 major change happened in West Milton when the Site for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program/Kesselring Site was established to test nuclear propulsion plants and train Navy personnel as operators of nuclear-powered vessels. While this necessitated the relocation of the farm families that had long been on those 1433 acres of Milton, the Site has been a major employer of local as well as out-of-town personnel. Changes throughout the world are leading to changes at the Site and the Town of Milton maintains an active and continuing concern regarding changes there.
Throughout the last part of the 1900’s residential development and small to moderate-size retail, professional, and service business has taken place in the eastern areas of the Town. Many residents now commute to employment throughout the Capital District, including State government agencies as well as educational institutions and businesses there. Saratoga County government offices and services are also a major employer of Milton residents.
Milton is concerned to continue to provide services to its residents, examples being well-maintained roads, an enlarged Town Park, Summer Youth Recreation Program, and Community Center. The Town also looks to continued cooperative efforts with the Village of Ballston Spa through shared services and programs such as Woods Hollow Nature Preserve, Senior housing, Family Fun Day.
An approved Comprehensive Master Plan is taking Milton into the 21st century with vision that provides for planned growth while preserving rural and recreation areas throughout the town and along our historically significant Kayaderosseras "Old Mill Stream."