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Intered tmuHag to Act' of OongreM, in Uia year ono thooiaBd ali^t hmidnd tad flftf'dz, 

In fhaClerk'iOffloror tfaoDbtriet Oooitof theUnited BtotM ibr Um Northom DliCriet of 

New York. 

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• • • 


I dedicate this humble and unpretending volume. 
If the manuscript sheets, which have been pre- 
pared with some labor, and a scrupulous regard to 
the best authenticated facts, shall assume the form 
of a readable book, it will be through their gene* 
rous appreciation of the writer's efforts. 

And, if my labors to condense and illustrate the 
annals of what has hitherto been and now is an 
interesting portion of one of the largest and most 
populous states of the American Union, in the des- 
tinies of which the citizens of Herkimer county- 
have hitherto so largely participated, shall merit 
and receive the approval of those so well qualified 
to form just conceptions of their value and import- 
ance, I shall have no hope or ambition left unsatis- 
fied, THE AUTHOR. 


Introdaotoiy Chapter, 5 

Notice of the MohAwk Indians-^ King Hendiik^ 16 

Early History of the Qerman Tribes, 25 

Immigration of the Palatines and Events from 1709 to 1722, 32 

Settlement of the German Flats — Erents from 1722 to 1772, 50 

Historical events from 1772 to 1783, 99 

Misoellaneons Incidents from 1783 to the present time, 109 

Forfeited Estates — Attainder Act of 1779 — Treaties of 1788 and 1794,. . 119 

Biographical Sketches of the Palatine families, 129 


Erection of the Coonty in 1791— Statate Boundaries— Titles to Lands — 
Colonial and State Grants — Attainders — Actual Bonndaries — 
Roads, Canals and Tompikes— Newspaper Press— Colleges and 
Academies — Coonty Medical Society— Poor House Establish- 
ment — Agrionltnnl Sodety, 198 

PoUtical History from 1783 to 1855 257 



CrimiiuJ Gonviotioiis and Acquittals in Capital and other Caaea from 1791 

to 1855, 285 

Biographical Sketohea of the livea of Prominent Men of the County 293 

Uat of Towns — when erected — Bonndariea — Local Historical Inci- 
dents — Biographical Notices of ilrst Settlers — Villages and popa- 
latlon, 388 

No. 1. Petition of Palatines, Indian deed and order of Council for Bor- 

netsfield grant or patent, « 473 

No. 2. List of patents and grants of land in the conntj, 475 

No. 3. Sir William Johnson's petition to purchase the Royal Qnaxi 479 

No. 4. Names of Members of Herkimer County Medical Society, 481 

Ko. 5. List of SheriiSs, Surrogates, Clerks and County Judges, and Attor- 
neys and Counselors, 483 

No. 6. Names of Electoro of President and Vice President, United States, 
Members of Congress, State Conventions, State Senate and Assem- 
bly, 486 


The reader u requested to note the following correctiona : 
Pag<Q 25, line 3, after the word cf there should he a •^. 

25, 5th line from top, for Thxid^Stmrgh read Heiddburgh, 
31, last line, for navigated read immigrated. 
40, 3d line from hotlom, for interest read tfi/fueiict. 
121, 2d par., line 6, for affairs read offences. 
124, 2d par. line 7, for retaining read exerting. 
161, 162 and 193, Col. Ghmseyoort's name is misprinted. 
204, 5th par. line 2, read law of attainder. 
246, 14th line from hotlom, for portion resA fraction. 
271, 12th line from hottom, for states read state. 
320, 2d par. line 11, for county read country. 
361, 3d par. 1st line, for cause read care. 
369, 2d par. for Edward read Edmund. 
377, 2d par. 12th line, for Merray read Merry. 
407, note, for John Spinner read John P. Spinner. 
437, first Une, for Khcks read Klodes. 
The letter J frequently occurs in proper names for I ; the reader familiar 
with the names will be able to make the correction. 


4 ^•»» 

It is now one hundred and thirty-three years since the 
German emigrants from the Lower Palatinate of the Rhine, 
to escape from the iron workings of a colonial vassalage 
more stem, cruel and crushing, than European serfdom in 
its baldest and most naked form, planted themselves in the 
upper Mohawk valley, under the benevolent auspices of 
Governor William Burnet. They came to seek for themselves 
and their posterity homes and abiding places, where they 
could enjoy the fruits of their labor and eat the bread of 
toil, unmolested by imperial hirelings and intrusive task- 
masters, and to worship the God of the living and the dead 
in accordance with a lowly and approving conscience : it is 
now nearly ninety-eight years since that portion of these 
people, who had seated themselves on the north side of the 
Mohawk, at "the German flats,** now Herkimer, were unex- 
pectedly assailed by a numerous body of French and Indians, 
many of them killed, their dwellings and well stored barns 
plundered and burned, their stock of various kinds also killed 
or driven off, and finally the survivors carried into captivity : 
it is now seventy-eight years since the Oriskany battle wfis 
fought, or, I might with propriety say, the Oriskany 
massacre was perpetrated, which disastrous event convert- 
ed the whole valley into a house of mourning : seventy-two 
years since peace restored hope, quiet and safety to the 
desponding husbandman; small consolation to the mourning 
widow and the homeless orphan: sixty-four years since the 
county was organised^ when peace with all its concoputant 




blessings had resumed its sway : and no one bad yet been 
found bold or patient enough, to undertake the labor of 
writing out the annals of Herkimer county. 

It was too late by forty years to collect and arrange the 
early traditional history of the valley, when the writer 
turned his attention to a subject he had often discussed with 
others, and with them regretted that the matter had been so 
long postponed or neglected. I have pursued my original plan 
and object, projected two years ago, as rapidly as other 
pursuits and urgent calls in other directions would allow. 
I have not acomplished in extenso all I designed, and it 
would be invidious in me to state wherein and why, I have 
failed. The reader familiar with the history of this state, 
will at once perceive, I have consulted without stint the 
Annals of Tryon County, Stone's Life of Brant, Schoharie 
County and the Border Wars of New York, the Documentary 
History of New York, Documents relating to the Colonial 
History of this state. Journals of the New York Provincial 
Congress, Schoolcraft's Reports on the Iroquois, Hammond's 
Political History of New York, and Munsell's Typographical 

One of the strongest inducements that led me to undertake 
the task which I have now completed, was to correct as far 
as I could, some of the grave, and it seemed to me manifest 
errors or mistakes, which found their way into published 
works of supposed authenticity, in regard to General 
Nicholas Herkimer and his family. No author ever spoke 
of him, to my knowledge, as a brilliantly great man, and no 
one can with justice or propriety deny that he was a brave 
and good man ; firmly devoted to the provincial cause and 
American freedom. If a cloud appeared in the distance to 
hang over him, growing out of the fact that some members 
of the family were hostile to the movements of the colonists, 
could it be any fault of his, unless he had the ability to 
control them, and failed to exert it? But let it be remem- 
bered that other members of the same family who survived 



the General, devoted themselves in the future progress of 
the war, with zeal and courage in defense of the country. 

Another motive prompted me to the undertaking. Herki- 
mer county was one of the first erected after the revolution, 
and while the surrounding counties, and some of them 
carved from the territory it once embraced, were esteemed 
worthy of elaborate historical notice which had been 
liberally patronized by the populations of those counties, it 
seemed strange indeed that she should so long have remained 
neglected and forgotten, like the illustrious individual whose 
name she bears, and no one of her sons, native or adopted, 
would venture to place her in a just position. All that por- 
tion of the book compiled from public works and documents, 
such as the origin of the titles to lands, the description and 
boundaries of the county and the towns, and the statistical 
and other information derived from the recent census, may 
be relied upon as strictly and critically accurate. 

Heretofore, several, if I may not say many, of the political 
men of the county, have held not only reputable, but high 
positions in the councils of the state, and some of those, who 
are now dead, have left an enduring impress of their talents 
and exertions upon the political institutions of the state. The 
somewhat peculiar political characteristics, which have 
heretofore marked the action of a considerable majority of 
the voting population of the county, seemed to me a matter 
worthy of elaborate consideration. Why two peoples, 
distinct in their origin, dissimilar in tastes, habits and 
customs, should harmonize on a great political problem for 
a period of more than fifty years, and in numbers to carry 
almost every popular election, presented a question worthy 
of inquiry and solution. Animated with a strong desire to 
arrive at a just and proper conclusion in respect to this 
question, I have given, in the sequel of the book, a full 
statement of the facts which are believed to have drawn the 
German and English or New England populations into 




A brief alhision to the aboriginal inhabitants of the 
country, found roaming over its extended surface and 
almost impenetrable wilds, at the first advent of the Euro- 
pean emigrant, was appropriate to the subject in hand as 
a necessary starting point from which to trace the authentic 
events of history, intended to be developed in the subsequent 
pages of the work. This is not the place to make an elBbrt 
to reach the origin and follow the progress of a proud and 
brave, but a barbarous and illiterate people, whose annals 
can only be traced through a dark cloud of traditional 
mysticism, highly figurative, unnatural, and entirely impro- 
bable, when examined and compared with the providences 
of Ood, as given to us and illustrated by the written history 
of other branches of the human race; it has not therefore 
been attempted* ^ 

Although a history of the upper Mohawk valley does not 
necessarily embrace that of any other country or state, I 
have not considered a brief elucidation of German history 
as out of place, inasmuch as the first European settlements 
in the valley were made up entirely of a people of purely 
German origin, whose recent immigration into the colony had 
given no opportunity of change in habits, manners and 
customs, if any such change could have been efilBcted in the 
adult emigrant, even if he had been a whole life time in 
reaching the land of promise, and had meanwhile sojourned 
with divers nations and people. 

The particulars of this Palatine or German immigration, 
BO far as they can now be given, are interesting, and seemed 
worthy of extended notice. The events which produced 
the movement in the heart of an old and polished European 
nation, and the causes which prompted these people to seek 
a refuge and home on the western continent, are quite as 
legitimate a subject of local American history, as the oft- 
repeated relation of the exodus of the pilgrim fathers from 
Europe, and their landing at Plymouth rock. 

Persecution and religious intolerance drove the Puritaas 



to seek an asylam from civil and ecclesiastical oppression, 
and to fix themselves as the planters of ^ new colony, on a lone 
and desolate shore, sorrounded by an unbroken wilderness, 
while the same illegitimate emanations from the religion of 
the cross compelled the German Palatines to plant themselves 
in an exposed and wilderness frontier, as an out-post and 
van-guard, to protect and cover the older settlements in 
their rear from Indian assaults and depredations, and the 
not much less refined warfare carried on by a neighboring ' 
European colony, whose relentless cruelties, unmitigated 
barbarities and bigoted intolerance, they and their fathers 
had so often before seen, suffered and tasted» 

We are not only able to name the first European settlers, 
the pioneers of the upper valley, but we can trace the 
descendants of most of them, as being still inhabitants of 
the county, while some of those families, from emigration 
or other causes have become entirely extinct, and the name 
is no longer known among us. Although there now are 
numerous descendants of the female branch of the Herkimer 
family in the oounty,it is believed there is not, at this time, 
one inhabitant in it bearing that name. With perhaps two 
or three exceptions, the chapter of biographies of the 
Palatine families, will attract but little interest out of or 
beyond a confined locality. As a whole the subject is 
worthy the attention and labor bestowed in getting it up. 
It will be noticed that several individuals of these families 
have held prominent official stations in the county. From 
the first settlement of the valley, under the Bumetsfield 
patent, to the outbreak of the revolution, many German 
settlers came into the upper Valley, some fropi Schoharie 
county, and the lower valley, now Montgomery county, 
others from New York and the shores of the Hudaon 
river, a few from New Jersey, and probably several of th^ 
third emigration of the Palatines, who arrived in New York 
in 1722. I have not been able, as yet, to learn the names 
of a single family of English descent, settled in the German* 


flats district, previous to the revolution, except that of 
Thompson on Cosby's manor. There may have been two 
or three others. Much care and attention, has been given 
to the biographical sketches of the official personages, who 
have been residents of and who died in the county. These 
sketches are not all I intended they should be in the outset 
nor all I would now wish them io be. I took what I 
believed proper measures, at an early day^to obtain precise 
and accurate information in regard to this subject. I did 
not anticipate any difficulty, and much less a failure. But 
my motives and objects were misconceived, or not approved 
of, or some of the parties to whom my circulars were 
addressed have exhibited an ignorance or indifference 
painful to think of. 

I am compelled, reluctantly, to make an apology for a 
seeming neglect of the religious institutions of the county. 
I did hope to have been able to lay before the readers of this 
unpretending volume, a brief historical outline of the various 
religious organizations in the county, their foundation, 
progress and present condition ; and took such measures at 
an early day, as would, I believed, secure this most desirable 
object. I care not to indulge in a single remark further on 
this topic. The statistical results, taken from the late state 
census, which will be found in a subsequent chapter, with 
some extracts from the journals of two missionaries who 
visited the county more than fifty years ago, must content 
the reader on this head. I should have been most happy to 
have followed them with a record of the names and the 
results of the labors of those who then and afterwards 
occupied this ground and ministered to our fathers in 
spiritual things, and should have done it, if I could have 
i^complished it by any other means than the course adopted, 
which entirely failed. 

The reader unacquainted with our localities, should not 
conclude that the people of Herkimer county are indifferent 
to the grave subject which relates to their future welfare, 


because they find no elaborate display of churches, missionary 
and Bible societies organized within the county. As one 
reason of my failure in this respect, it may have been sup- 
posed, I was engaged in a work, the profits of which would 
amply repay me for the trouble and expense of collecting 
all the information needful to make the book perfect, inter* 
esting and valuable. 

The writer, con^>iler and publisher of a local history, is in 
a condition somewhat like the Connecticut parson, whose 
congregation gave him a call and fixed the salary at one 
hundred' dollars a year, one half to be paid in grain and 
such other necessary articles of living as they might have 
to spare and he might want. When he called for the pay- 
ment of the balance of his salary, he was modestly told, he 
owed the parish fifty dollars for the rent of the parsonage 
and glebe. A local historian must be willing to perform 
any amount of labor required to make his book what he 
knows and wishes it should be, but if he hazards a large out- 
lay, merely for the glory of publishing a book, his ambition 
will cost him dear. 

The author who writes for extended glory or large profit, 
must bestow his talents and labor on subjects quite difiisrent 
from those I now have in hand. Nevertheless, if I shall be 
so fortunate as to meet the reasonable expectations of the 
people of the county, I shall have achieved all that my arnbi* 
tion can crave, or my most sanguine hopes have ever antici- 

The chapter embracing the history of the several towns 
in the county will be found interesting, on account of the 
local historical matters there collected, and the statistical 
information condensed and arranged which will render the 
work highly useful as a manual. The brief notices of the 
early New England settlers are necessary links to conduct 
the reader through the early history of the county. The . 
annals of the county would not be complete without the 
condensed view embraced in the chapter comprehending 


its political history. Whatever may have been and are the 
author's predilections on the questions discussed in that 
chapter, he would not feel this a proper occasion to give 
them any undue prominence, and he is confident a candid 
public will acquit him of indulging in any partisanship, or 
the least departure from a liberal and candid recital of facts 
connected with the party politics of the times. . I am aware 
that local historians have hitherto given but small space in 
their works to the political histories of the counties. The 
reasons for this omission do not seem to me quite obvious, 
nor is it in any respect important now to make the)n a sub* 
ject of discussion or inquiry. The intelligent reader will, 
I think, find himself amply repaid for his time by a perusal 
of the chapter. 

The historical works relating to the Mohawk valley, 
heretofore published, have necessarily been confined to the 
prominent and leading events of the old French and the 
Revolutionary wars. The minor events and leading inci- 
dents, which have marked the progress of the country, have 
attracted but little or no attention, and consequently have no 
place in the works alluded to. The author's object has been, 
BO far as relates to the upper Mohawk valley, to supjdy 
this desideratum. The upper valley being only an out- 
skirt of civilization and a frontier during the whole period 
of these two wars, would not of course attract the particular 
attention of writers, not familiar with all its localities, its 
legends and its traditions, and the character of its popular 
tion ; hence We must not be surprised to observe the little 
regard bestowed upon the eventful transactions of that 
locality. The author has endeavored to cover the whole 
ground, and fill up all chasms. 

The attainder by the state government of the adherents 
to the British crown, and the consequent forfeiture and 
confiscation of their estates, has been incidentally mentioned 
by former writers of our history, drawn out by the fact that 
a large tract of valuable lands in the county had escheated 



to the state, by the statute attainder of Sir John Johnson. 
In consequence of the misapprehension of the facts in regard 
to the extent of this escheat, the author, in connection with 
the history of the land titles, has deemed it proper not only 
to elucidate the subject fully and minutely, but to attempt, 
not an apology merely, but defense, ample and elaborate, of 
the revolutionary patriots and fathers, who adopted and 
rigidly enforced the attainder act of 1779. My countrymen 
have more than once been charged with illiberality and 
cruelty in exacting the " pound of flesh," after the British 
king had yielded the point and confirmed the independence 
of his rebellious colonies. These advocates for republican 
munificence and generosity, seem to have forgotten the 
lives immolated on the altar of oppression, and the millions 
of money expended in defending the country against the 
aggressive acts of many of these same attainted adherents 
of loyalty; and that, if stem and inexorable justice was 
exacted, it was only in observance of a rqle of public law 
sanctioned by the most refined civilization. The emanci* 
pated colonists should have been willing to mete out exact 
and even-handed justice, but they were not in any view 
which could be taken of this question, in a condition to be 

Although this may be quite a proper subject for general 
history, and elaborate discussion by statesmen, it finds a 
suitable place in the humbler annals of the upper Mohawk 
valley, where the forfeitures have been incurred, and the 
law of reprisal has been enforced. While the advocates of 
restoration of forfeited estates are zealously engaged in 
finding condemnatory arguments against the Americans for 
not yielding the forfeiture, let them bear in mind not only 
the circumstances that provoked the action of the colonial 
authorities, but the hostile attitude of the British authorities 
long after the peace of 1783 was inaugurated. The frontier 
posts were long held, in despite of the energetic remonstrances 
of the United States, and in violation of the treaty of peace ; 


the western Indian tribes were instigated to acts of hostilitj, 
and rumored threats of a renewal of the war, and a speedy 
subjugation of the rebel colonists, did not and could not 
fail to influence the state governments in their action upon 
this question. 

I take great pleasure in tendering my cu^knowledgments to 
the present Secretary of State, of this state, and A. G. John- 
son, Esq., his deputy; the Hon. Abijah Beckwith, of Columbia; 
Hon. F. E. Spinner, of Mohawk ; Hon. E. P. Hurlbutt, of 
Newport ; Jonas Cleland, Esq., of Warren ; Doct. William 
Mather, of Fairfield ; Lauren Ford, Esq., Little Falls; Samuel 
Earl, Esq., Herkimer ; D. C. Henderson, of Norway ; E. T. 
Cleland, Esq., county clerk ; to whom I am indebted for 
facilities afforded in obtaining useful information, and for 
timely assistance in collecting materials and furnishing 
valuable documents. I am under obligations to several 
other individuals for suggestions and information, for which 
they have my thanks. 

In committing this work to the public, the author admits, 
it might have been better executed by an abler pen than 
his, at an earlier period of the country, but he confidently 
hopes, however, it will be found an interesting and useful 
addition to our local history. 

LUOe FaUs, 1855. 



The Mohawk Indians — The Iroqnoifl — Extent of Country — Confederation — 
Probable Period when it took Place — Not a Perfect Union — Popular As- 
pect of the Sjstem — Presiding Officer in General Conndl — War Chief — . 
Tnscaroras — Territory Claimed bj the Mohawks — St. Regis Colonjr — 
Indians Treated as O^vners of the Soil — The Hostilitj of the Mohawks to 
the French >- Friendship to the Bnglish— Sir William Johnson's Influ- 
ence — They Join the English and Abandon their Country — The Oneidas — 
Bravery and Cruelty of the Mohawks — Upper Castle in Danube — Fighting 
Men in 1677 — Same in 1763 — Hereditary Descent in Female Line — 
Council of Nations — Marriage — Wife's Right of Property — Witchcraft — 
Hendrik — Little Abraham — Garangula. 

The aboriginal inhabitants of the territory whose history 
is intended to be delineated in the subsequent pages of this 
work, were the Maquaes, or Mohawk Indians, one of the 
five confederated tribes or cantons of the Konoshioni or 
Iroquois, found in that part of the state extending from 
Albany north to lake Champlain and the river St. Lawrence, 
south-westerly to the head waters of the Susquehanna and 
Delaware rivers, and westerly to lakes Ontario and Erie, and 
even to the valley of the Ohio, when the Dutch made their 
appearance on the waters of the Hudson, in 1609. 

The period when this confederacy was formed is quite as 
much involved in the mists of tradition as any other remote 
event of Indian origin. Some fix the epoch a short time 
prior to the occupation by the Dutch, while others extend it 
back to A. D. 1414 This confederation seems to have been 
established for the common purposes of defense and ofiense 
in war. It was not a perfect union whereby each tribe oi 
canton surrendered to the council any portion of the internal 
policy of the tribe. Each was perfectly independent of aU 


control by the other members of the confederacy^ except 
when the united cantons in council had resolved unani* 
mously to go upon the war path, and even then, that ques- 
tion had to be referred to the warriors of each tribe assem- 
bled in council, where also a unanimous decision was required. 
Thus every resolve carried with it the full popular will, and 
hence the success which always attended the war parties of 
the Iroquois against the other American tribes. Each tribe 
was governed by its own civil and war chiefs. In the gene- 
ral council of the confederacy, the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onon- 
dagas and Gayugas were each represented by one delegate, 
and the Senecas by two, the latter being much more numerous 
than either of the other tribes. The presiding officer in this 
congress of ambassadors was always assigned to the Onon- 
dagas, and the principal war chief was taken from the 

The Tuscarora^, who were always admitted as ofT-sboota 
of the New York Iroquois tribes, retired from North Carolina 
in 1714, after being severely chastised by the whites and a 
party of southern Indians, for several cruel massacres, and 
joined the Five Nations, and thereafter became one of the 
members of the confederacy. The Oneidas assigned lands to 
them within their cantonal limits. Each tribe claimed 
donxinion over territory having general boundaries, and that 
of the Mohawks embrcu^ all that part of the state included 
within a line running from the Hudson river to the head 
waters of the Susquehanna and Delaware, and extending 
thence to the St. Lawrence near Ogdensburgh, and embracing 
all the lands between Lake Ghamplain and the St Lawrence, 
as well as those about Lake Greorge. Their northern limits 
were not fixed in 1771, and they probably claimed as hunting 
grounds all the lands between the St. Lawrence and St. 
John's rivers to Montreal This probability is much strength- 
ened by the fact that an off-shoot of the Mohawks, the St. 
Regis colony, was seated on the south side of the St. 
Lawrence as early as 1650, or about that period. 


The Dutch and English colonial govemments, althongh 
they treated the Indians within their respective juris- 
dictions as subjects, would not make any grants of the 
ultimate fee until the Indian titles had been extinguished by 
pmrchase. The Mohawks were alwa3rs on terms of amity 
with the English, but exercised the most bitter hostility 
against the French in Canada and their Indian allies, even 
when France and England were at peace. Sir William 
Johnson's influence over these people was unbounded, and 
at his death they transferred all their deep-seated savage 
affections to his family. 

Under the influence of the Johnson family, they early 
attached themselves to the royal cause in the revolutionary 
war, emigrated to Canada, and but few, if any, ever returned. 
The Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, were also hostile to 
the colonists during the whole period of the war. The 
Oneidas promised to remain neutral, but towards its close, 
they with some of the Tuscaroras joined the American forces, 
and performed good service in punishing marauding parties 
of the enemy. In the preliminary articles and definitive 
treaty signed at Paris, Great Britain abandoned their sable 
allies, except those who emigrated to Canada, to the mercy 
of the Americans. 

The Oneidas were driven from their towns by the enemy 
for their attachment to the cause of the colonists, and were 
compelled to seek a home for their old men, women and 
children, near Schenectady. 

The Mohawks distinguished themselves on many occasions 
by acts of bravery and devotion, so striking and peculiar as 
to elicit from those whom they served, the highest commen- 
dations, while their deeds of cruelty in war have been long 
remembered and deeply execrated by those who were so 
imfortunate as to be numbered among their enemies. 

The Upper Mohawks' castle was erected in the present 
town of Danube, on a beautiful flat east of the Nowadaga 
creek, and here a mission was established and a small church 



bnilt for them before the revolutioiL The spot on which 
the first church was erected, has always been consecrated to 
pious useSy and a small church is now standing on the site of 
the old mission building, called in the language of the 
inhabitants of the country the Indian Castle Church. The 
principal Christian mission establishment of this tribe was 
at Fort Hunter, near Amsterdam, in Montgomery county. 

Wentworth Greenhalgh, in 1677, describes the Maquaes or 
Mohawks, as possessing four towns, besides one small village 
one hundred and ten miles west of Albany, and that they 
had in all about three hundred fighting men. 

Sir William Johnson, in 1763, states there were one 
hundred and sixty men of the Mohawks, that they had two 
villages on the river which bore that name, and a few 
emigrants at Schoharie, about sixteen miles from Fort 

An extended notice of these people is not designed, but 
it will not be out of place to present a few of their peculiari- 
ties. Hereditary descent was confined to the female line, 
and thus the son of a chief's daughter would inherit a 
chieftainship to the exclusion of his uncle, and a chief's 
brother would succeed him, and not his male children, pro- 
vided there were no descendants through the female line. 

Another peculiarity marked these people. The matrons 
of the tribe, in council, could always propose a cessation of 
hostilities, and this could be done without compromising the 
warriors and chiefs. For this purpose a male functionary, 
the messenger of the matrons, who was a good speaker, was 
designated to perform an office which was deemed unsuita- 
ble to the female. When the proposition to drop the war 
club was resolved upon, the message was delivered to this 
officer, and he was bound to enforce it with all the powers 
of eloquence he possessed. 

Marriage among the Iroquois was a mere personal agree- 
ment between the parties, requiring no particular sanction 
and in no respect affected the rights of property, if the wife 


had any. Whatever goods, effects or valuables of any kind 
the wife had before marriage, she continued to hold abso- 
lutely, and if a separation took place, the wife was entitled 
to take with her all her property. 

These people, like all others in the rude and savage state, 
were sturdy believers in witchcraft. Their ancient religious 
system or mode of worship no doubt contributed to strengthen 
this belief. The worship of a good and an evil spirit, must 
of necessity have produced such results ; and dreams were 
considered the revelation of inspiration too sacred to be 
neglected or disregarded, and hence the effects of this belief 
upon the prosperity and population of these tribes must have 
been, at times, most disastrous. 

This is a brief and by no means a perfect outline of the 
characteristics of a people who occupied the Mohawk 
valley when first visited by the Europeans. 

After the death of Hendrik, the celebrated Mohawk chief. 
Little Abraham, his brother, became by the laws of the tribe 
the war chief of this branch of the Iroquois confederacy, 
and consequently was the leader of the confederate forces, 
when upon the war path, unless degraded in accordance with 
Indian usages. I shall in a subsequent part of this work 
again allude to Little Abraham's situation, and give the 
reasons why he was probably superseded as the war chief of 
the Six Nations, at the commencement of the revolutionary 
war through the influence of British officials.* 

* I can not forbear to giy«, in thla placo, a speech deUvered by Garangnla, 
- fts Onondaga chief, in the presence of De La Barre, the governor of Canada, in 
1684. He speaks as the representative of the five confederate tribes, and no 
donbi in accordance with the usages of these people, which conferred on the 
chief of his tribe the office of enunciating or declaring the sentiments and 
wishes of the general council of the cantons. 

This speech is found in Colden's History of the Five Nations, and the historian 
may not have done any Injustice to the native orator — at any rate the point 
and sarcasm of the language, spoken in the slow and measured cadence of 
Indian oratory, must have touched his auditor to the quick, and can not but 
iiit«r«tt the geneial rsader. It shows a nobis spedmon of aativA indepead^ 


King Hendbie. 
This celebrated sachem of the Mohawk canton of the 
Iroquois confederacy and distinguished war chief of the Six 
Nations, was bom during the latter part of the 17th century, 

enoe and self-reliance. The sachem, standing in front of the goTemor who 
waa seated, addressed him as follows: 

** Yonnondio, I honor jou, and the warriors that are with me honor you — 
jour interpreter has finished your speech. I now begin mine. My words 
make haste to reach your ears; harken to them, Yonnondio. Yon must 
have believed, when you left Quebec, that the sun had burnt up all the 
forests which render our country inaccessible to the French, or that the lakes 
had so overflown their banks that they had surrounded our castles, and that It 
was impossible for us to get out of them ; yes, truly, you mutt have drtanted 
M, and the curiotity of teeing to great a wmder hat brought you to far. Now you 
tjre undeceived, since that I, and the warriors here present, are come to assure 
you, that the Cayugas, Senecas, Onondagas, Oneidas and Mohawks, are yet 
alive. I thank you, in their name, for bringing back into their country 
the calumet, which your predecessors received from their hands. It was 
happy for you that you left under ground that murdering hatchet, that has 
10 often been dyed with the blood of the French. Hear I Yonnondio ; / do 
not tUipI 1 have my eyes open, and the sun which enlightens me, discovers 
to me a great captain at the head of a company of soldiers, who speaks as if 
he were dreaming. He says that he only came to the lakes to smoke on the 
great calumet, with the Onondagas. But Garangula says he sees the con- 
trary ; that it was to knock them on the head, if siokness had not weakened 
the arms of the French. I see Yonnondio roving in a camp of sick men, 
whose hairs the great spirit has saved by inflicting this sickness upon them. 
Hear, Yonnondio I our women had taken their clubs ; our children and old 
men had carried their bows and arrrows into the heart of your camps, if our 
warriors had not disarmed them, and kept them back, when your messengeis 
«ame to our castles. It it done; Ihavetaidit. 

" Hear, Yonnondio ! we plundered none of the Frendh, but those that 
carried guns, powder and balls to the Twightwies and Chiotagioks, because 
those arms might have cost us our lives. Herein we follow the example of 
the Jesuits, who break all the kegs of mm brought to our castles, lest the 
drunken Indians should knook them on the head. Our warriors have not 
beavers enough to pay for all those arms they have taken, and our old men 
are not afraid of war. 

" This belt preserves my words. 

" We carried the English into our lakes , to trade with the tJtawawas and 
Quatoghies, as the Adirondaoks brought the French to our castles, to cany 
oo % tnds whioh the En^^ say Is theirs. Wt artbomfimg we naithor 

BISTOBT 07 HTmimiTni COUNTT. 21 

not very near the close of it, however, as he was called ** old 
King Hendrik," at the time of the old French war. He 
was in the vigor of manhood and at the hight of power 

depend on Yonnondio or Corlear ; we may go when we please, and cany wiUi 
xiB wlxat we please, and buy and sell what we please. If your allies bt your 
davetf nse them as snch ; command them to receive no others bat your people. 

« This belt preaerreB my words. 

« We knock the Twightwies and Chicagicks on the head, because they 
bad cut down the trees of peace, which were the limits of our country. They 
have hunted beaver on our lands, they have acted contrary to the customs 
of the Indians, for thoy have left none of the beavers alive ; they killed both 
male and female ; they brought the Batanas into their country, to take part 
with them after they had concerted ill designs against us. We have done less 
than either the English or French, that have usurped the lands of so many 
Indian nations, and chased them from their own country. 

" This belt preserves my words. 

'* Hear, Tonnondio, what I say is the voice of all the Five Nations. Hear 
what they answer— open your ears to what they speak. The Senecas, Onon- 
dagas, Cayugas, Oneidas and Mohawks, say that when they buried the hatchet 
at Cadaraqui, in the presence of your predecessors, in the middle of the fort, 
they planted the tree of peace in the same place, to be there carefully pre- 
served ; that in the place of arms and ammunition of war, beavers and mer- 
chandise only should enter there. 

" Hear, Tonnondio t take care, for the future, that so great a number of 
soldiers aa appear there, do not choke the tree of peace, planted in so small 
a fort It will be a great loss, if after it had so easily taken root, you should 
stop its growth, and prevent its covering your country and ours with its 
branches. I assure you in the name of the Five Nations, that our warriors 
shall dance to the calumet of peace under its leaves, and shall remain quiet 
on their mats, and shall never dig up the hatchet till their brother Tonnon- 
dio, or Corlear, shall either jointly or separately endeavor to attack the coun- 
try which the Great Spirit has given to our ancestors. 

'* This belt preserves my words, and this other the authority which the 
Five Nations have given me." 

Then addressing himself to the interpreter, he said : 

" Take courage, you have spirit, speak, explain my words, forget nothing, 
teU all that your friends and brethren say to Yonnondio, your governor, by 
the mouth of Gaiangula, who loves you and desires you to accept this present 
of beaver, and take part with me in my feast, to which I invite you. This 
present of beaver is sent to Tonnondio, on the part of the Five Nations." 

The Indian orator in using the name Corlear, in his address, intends to 
designate the Bnglish or colonial governor of New Tork. 



when the upper section of the Mohawk v^ey was opened 
for settlement. 

Prom his long association with the EnropeanB and parti- 
cularly with Sir William Johnson, whom he highly regarded, 
and who found but little difificulty in directing the actions 
of the chief as he thought best, Hendrik had adopted and 
wore the English costume, and become accustomed to live in 


a houae. He resided much of the time at the upper Mohawk 
castle, in the town of Danulie, his divelling being located 
upon the elevated ground not far from the Indian Castle 
Church, commanding an extended view of the surrounding 
country. He is spoken of as a man of great sagacity and 
vigor of mind, inflexibly brave and of " unmovable integrity." 



The French authorities of Canada, with all their intrigues^ 
were never able to move him and his faithful Mohawks from 
their allegiance to the British crown. Dr. Dwight says, " a 
gentleman of very reputable character, who was present at 
a council held with the Six Nations by the governor of New 
York and several agents of distinction from New-England 
[this was in 1754J, informed me that his figure and counten- 
ance were singularly impressive and commanding ; that his 
eloquence was of the same superior order, and that he 
appeared as if born to control other men, and possessed an 
air of majesty unrivaled within his knowledge." He fell 
at the battle of Lake George, on the 8th of September, 1755, 
winning glory, a fortune and a title for his friend. Major 
General William Johnson. 

The anecdote illustrated by the following dialogue between 
Sir William, before he was knighted, and the old king, should 
be repeated, although^quite as unreal as most dreams are. 

Scene. — Sir William's parlor; the knight seated in deep 
thought. Enter King Hendrik giving a searching glance 
round the room as he approached and saluted his friend. 
King Hendrik (addressing Sir William), " I dream." 
Sir William. ** Well, what did you dream ?" 
King Hendrik. " I dream you give me one suit of clothes." 
Sir William. " Well, I suppose you must have it." 
The scene changes, and Sir William and Hendrik meet 
in their sylvan excursions. 

Sir WiUiam (addressing Hendrik with a bland smile on 
his face). " I dreamed last night." 

King Hendrik. "Did you? What you dream?" 
Sir William. " I dreamed you gave me such a tract of 
land" (describing the outlines of it). 

King Hendrik (pausing). "I suppose you must have it, 
but" (raising and shaking his finger significantly), "you 
must not dream again." 

The petition of Sir William and thirty-nine other persons 
for a license to purchase the Indian title to 40,000 acres of 


land lying between the two Canada creeksi was presented 
to the governor and council on the 8th of July, 1761, six 
years after Hendrik's death. This was the first step taken 
to obtain the title to the royal grant 

Although a stem and rigorous warrior, Hendrik was 
kind to the white population of the valley, and was highly 
regarded by them. He well understood the extent of his 
mission— -that he must guard and protect the liege subjects 
of his sovereign to the extent of his power against the 
attacks of the hostile French and Indians, and he did not 
fail to execute it. If he was not the most distinguished for 
courage and strategy of all the native war chiefs, known 
to the Europeans, after the settlement by them of the 
country, history has dealt too favorably with his fame, and 
he still wears an undeserved crown of immortality. 

Note. — I liave ooUeoted the followiiig notices of Hendrik from the 
" Documents relating to the Colonial History" of this state. July 8, 1697, he 
is recognised as a chief of the Mohawk canton. In 1698, he is described as 
a chief, a '* convert to the Christian faith, of eight years' standing,'* and as 
being of fall age. In 1699, he was examined before the mayor, recorder 
and justices at Albany, in regard to what he had said about Dom. 
Dellius's going away, and is spoken of as a married man. 1710, he visited 
England. 1711, October 9th, at a conference with Gov. Hunter, he gave the 
governor a letter addressed by the chiefs to the Archbishop of CSanterbary, 
and desired him to thank the Queen of Great Britain for the care taken by 
her to convert the Indians to the Christian religion. September 3d, 1720, 
Hendrik, the Maquaes, having been suspended four years before from being 
a sachem in the tribe, was restored and installed as a chief, at the request and 
in presence of the commissioners of Indian aflEairs. In 1753, he attended a 
conference between Sir William Johnson and the Mohawks, and in 1754 he was 
at the Congress of the Commissioners from the six northern provinces, held 
at Albany, to consult on Indian affidrs. He was the chief speaker at both of 
these conferences. Judge Harring, now living, who came to Johnstown in 
1795, and at an early day was quite familiar with the inhabitants, old and 
young, then on the stage, says, that Sir William dreamed for the land known 
as the Eingsborough patent, where he built his own tuaHy mansion, and not 
for the royal grant. 


Baxlj Histofy of the Germftni Tribes — This Name first Applied by Jnlins CeBsar 
— Their Authentic History commences with the Christian Era — Biriy Habits 
and Stature — Confederation of Tribes — Seyere Laws of Conversion to 
Christianity — The Reformation — Lather and Dr. Eck — Lower Palatinate 
of the Rhine — Religions Wars — Frederick Prince Palatine — Theidelborgh 
Libiaiy — The Palatinate Devastated — Continental Wars of Europe — 
Manheim — Characteristics of these People — A Legend. 

The reader having been introduced to the aboriginal 
possessors of the soil of Herkimer county, so far as can now 
be defined, will have the goodness to indulge me a few 
moments, while I give a brief historical outline of a people 
of known European origin, who first planted themselves in 
the upper Mohawk valley. Indeed, the Anglo-Saxon race 
are of German descent, . and whoever claims a Teutonic 
ancestry, traced through an English channel, wiU have some 
of the blood of a Saxon or Dane on which to rest that claim. 
Our design in this chapter is to set out, as far as needful, 
the origin of a race who are losing every distinct national 
characteristic, which they maintained more than one 
hundred years upon the American continent. 

The Germans were believed, by the Romans, to be an 
aboriginal, pure and unmixed race of people. The primitive 
language of the inhabitants of Gtermany is the Teutonic, 
called High Dutch, and has no a£Snity with the Celtic 
tongue. The name Grermanum, when applied to the triben 
collectively, was first used, it is said, by Julius Caesar ; but 
Grerman historians assert the aboriginal name of these people 
is what they bear at this time. It can not be very remarka* 


ble that the original collective name of a people inhabiting 
a particular district of country, so much divided into tribes 
or septs as was the territory embraced in and now known as 
Germany, should be familiar to strangers coming from Rome 
or middle and southern GauL A Teuischerj or Deidscher, 
according' to the method of pronunciation, was a person 
belonging to the nation. Some would no doubt translate 
this as meaning Dutchman. The first intercourse the origi- 
nal barbaric tribes of Germany had with a people practiced 
in historical writing, was in the year 113 before the Christian 
era, 1968 years ago, when the Cimbrians and Teutonians 
made an incursion into the Roman territories ; but this must 
have been too transitory to have permitted the Romans to 
take any particular note of the origin or historical anteced- 
ents of their invaders. When Julius CaBsar, about fifty years 
before the birth of Christ, advanced to the frontiers of what 
might then be considered Germany proper, and hence was 
brought into more immediate contact with its people, he is 
enabled to speak with certainty. Any thing like authentic 
Grerman history commences with the Christian era, and it 
ripens with the progress of civilization and learning, and 
light comes to us through the darkness and gloom of the 
middle ages. 

Historians describe the early German race as having " but 
one determined and equal form of body. Their chests were 
wide and strong ; their hair yellow, and with young child- 
ren of a dazzling white. Their skin was also white, their 
eyes blue, and their glance bold and piercing." Some 
ancient writers say their usual height was seven feet. It is 
also said that '^ from their earliest youth upward they hard- 
ened their bodies by all devisable means. New-bom infants 
were dipped in cold water, and the cold bath was continued 
during their whole lives as the strengthening renovator, by 
both boys and girls, men and women." It is not intended to 
give an extended and detailed view of the habits, manners, 
regulations, and institutions of these people. But it is 


proper to note some points in their history down to the period 
of the immigration of the Palatines to this western continent. 

It must be apparent to all, that in order to provide against 
assanlts from without, there must have been a confederation 
of the German tribes at some period. The laws relating 
to these confederations were very severe, and their principle 
was, " one for all and all for one, for life and death," The 
most perfect of these alliances among the tribes took 
place about the year A. D. 235, in order to form a barrier 
against the Roman armies. The great migration of the 
Mongolian Huns from Asia and the irruption of the western 
tribes into Italy between the years 375 and 476 after Christ, 
changed materially the aspect of things among the German 
confederates, and subsequently produced changes in their 
customs and institutions. It was not until about the close of 
the eighth century, in the time of Charlemagne, that all 
the German tribes, or rather nations, were converted to 

The outbreak of the reformation in 1517 under the conduct 
of Martin Luther, an Augustinian friar, and professor of 
theology in the University oif Wittenberg, Saxony, is the first 
great event to which our attention is directed ; that being 
the epoch from which we can trace the causes that drove 
the Palatines of the Lower Rhine to seek a home in the then 
province of New York nearly two hundred years afterwards. 

It is worthy of note here, that in the celebrated contro- 
versy at Leipsic in 1519, which formed an interesting event 
in the development of the history of those times, two 
peasants' sons, Martin Luther and Dr. John Mayer of Eck, 
represented the antagonistic ideas that characterized the 
times, and whose unity or iurther division could not fail to 
produce consequences of the greatest importance in the civil- 
ized world. Luther was the descendant of a peasant 
family living at the foot of the Thuringian forest in Moravia, 
and Eck was the son of Michael Mayer of Eck, a peasant. 

The princes of the Lower Palatinate of the Rhine early 


embraced the tenets of the Beformation, vibrating between 
the doctrines of Luther and Calvin, as suited the inclina* 
tions and peculiar notions of the individual reigning princes ; 
and the great body of their people usually changed with 
their sovereigns. It once or twice occurred, in the course 
of one hundred and fifty years, that the reigning prince 
embraced the old rdigiony as it was then called ; but 
this happened only when the Palatinate was bestowed upon 
some new family or house, or when political motives dictated 
a return to the Romish doctrines ; but the great mass of the 
people rigidly adhered to the Protestant faith. 

The final adjustment of the religious questions in the Ger- 
man empire and the conclusion of the treaty of Westphalia, 
took place in 1648, but this did not put an end to the reli- 
gious wars in Europe. During the whole of the seventeenth 
century, and before and since that period, up to the extin- 
guishment of the title, the emperors of Germany adhered to 
the Roman Catholic faith, and many of the princes of the 
empire were devoted to the same tenets ; and while multi- 
tudes of the peasantry and middle classes embraced the 
doctrines of the Reformation, there was but small hope of 
toleration until Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden, con- 
quered a peace for them. 

There were, perhaps, two motives that induced the people 
of the Palatinate to look to England for succor, at the com- 
mencement of the eighteenth century. Frederick, then 
Prince Palatine, who had married Elizabeth, daughter of 
James I, king of England, was in 1619 elected king of the 
states of Bohemia ; but in the year following he was signally 
defeated at the battle of Weissenberg by the emperor of 
Germany, driven into exile, and all his estates were confis- 
cated. This was during the thirty years' religious war in 
Germany. By the treaty of Westphalia the eldest son of the 
banished Frederick was restored to his patrimonial estates 
of the Lower Palatinate. This prince was cousin to Anne> 
daughter of James II, who ascended the British throne in 


1702, on the death of William III. The Palatinate was 
occupied by the imperial armies in 1623, when the magniii* 
cent library of Heidelburg was seized and presented to the 
Pope of Rome. It was restored in 1816. The lower Pala- 
tinate was invaded by the French in 1689, many of its towns 
were burnt and the country devastated, while the defense- 
less inhabitants, who begged for mercy on their knees, were 
stripped naked and driven into the fields, then covered with 
snow, where many of them perished. One historian, in 
speaking of the cruelties committed by the French on this 
occasion, states that ^^ the elector beheld from his castle, at 
Manheim, two cities and twenty-five towns in flames, and 
where lust and rapine walked hand in hand with fire and 
sword." Thus for nearly seventy-five years was this fair 
country, described as one of the most beautiful in Germany, 
the theater of wars and the scene of rapine, ravages and 
desolations, until the remnant of its population could no 
longer find a hiding place in fatherland. The Catholic rulers 
of France for a time sided with the Protestant league in 
Germany during the thirty years' war, and soon afterwards 
cut the throats of their Huguenot subjects at home. 

The continental wars of Europe, at the close of the seven- 
teenth and commencement of the eighteenth centuries, seem to 
have been promoted very much by religious considerations. 
The see of Rome was determined to "crush out" heresy, 
and exerted all its spiritual and temporal powers to accom- 
plish it, and well did the Catholic powers and princes of 
Europe second the papal injunctions, except when great 
reasons of state intervened to prevent. The majority of 
Europe adhered to the Romish faith. 

From the proximity of the Lower Palatinate to France and 
the Netherlands, it is very probable that it received acces- 
sions of population from both of those countries during the 
religious wars ; and Manheim, a strong and wellrbuilt city 
at that day, was in the year 1576 appointed as the place of 
retreat for the families of the reformed religion, at that time 


driven from the Spanish Netherlands, which considerably 
enriched this electorate. A historian of the last century 
describes the people of the Palatinate as ^^ the most civilized 
and polite of any in Germany ; extremely open and hospita- 
ble to strangers, and generally well informed." 

Although some of the characteristics of these people may 
have been modified by their intercourse with their southern 
and more civilized neighbors, commencing nearly fifty years 
before Julius Caesar invaded Gaul, it is not supposed that 
this intercourse was so marked or extensive as to change 
materially the habits, manners and customs of the inhabit- 
ants of the Palatinate from those of their German country- 
men, or that they lost any of the primitive High-Dutch 

It is not remarkable that a people so strongly attached to 
the nomadic life as the early Germans were, and being 
divided into tribes or septs, should vary in their dialects in 
the different provinces, all however emanating from the same 
original language. 

This brief outline of the origin and persecutions of a 
people whose exodus from Europe to America it is designed 
to notice, will doubtless be excused, if not approved of, in a 
work so entirely local as the one in hand. A more extended 
recapitulation of European history in respect to the events 
to which the writer has aimed to give prominence, seems 
not to be required or desirable. He has brought forward 
historical evidence of the facts he presents to the reader's 
consideration; concurrent historical evidence, and that is 
the best testimony he can produce after the lapse of more 
than three hundred years since some of those events hap- 
pened, and one hundred and fifty years since the latest of 
those events transpired. The reader who desires to see more 
on this head, is referred to Kohlrausch's History of Ger- 

There is an historical legend connected with German his- 
tory to this effect, but which is variously related by German 


historians. Drusas, the Roman general, had made three 
campaigns into (Germany, and while progressing on the 
fourth, in the 9th year before the Christian era, he was 
standing alone on the banks of the Elbe, ruminating no doubt 
on the events and fortunes of war, when a supernatural 
figure in the form of a gigantic woman of stem and threat- 
ening appearance stood before him and addressed him in the 
following language : ^^ How much further wilt thou advance, 
insatiable Drusus ? It is not appointed for thee to behold 
all these countries. Depart hence ! the term of thy deeds 
and thy life is at hand." 

Drusus retired from his position on the Elbe, whether 
from fright and dismay at hearing words which in that age 
might be deemed prophetic, is not certain, and in a few 
weeks fell from his horse and died in consequence. In a 
superstitious age an ardent imagination might have conjured 
up spectres quite as appalling as this, but it is probable this 
was a device of some of the prophetic women of the country. 

Non — ^Approved anthors assert that the early German tribes navigated from 
oentral Asia into Europe. 

1709 TO 1722. 

The Immigration of the Palatines — Joshua Kockerthal and his Company — 
Arrive at New York in 1708-9 — Naturalized in England ^Settle in Ulster 
Coontj — Second Arrival in 1710 — SicknesB and Deaths on the Passage 
— Governor Hunter -* Board of Trade and Plantations — Lands on the 
Mohakt River and Skohare to be Surveyed — Hunter buys Lands of Living- 
ston — Complaints of the People — Their Children taken from them and 
Bound Out — John Peter Zenger the Printer — They Volunteer to go to 
Canada under /Ool. Nicholson in 1711 — Refuse to Stay Longer on the Manor 
and Insist on going to Scohary — Party Migrate to Schoharie Creek in 1712- 
13 — Reason why placed on Frontiers — Character of Robert Livingston hy 
a Minister of the Crown — Qov. Burnet's arrival — His Instructions — John 
Conrad Weiser — Third Arrival of Palatines, 1722 — Burnet to Board of 
Trade — Indian Deed to Palatmes — Their Desire to Remove — Object of the 
Home Government — Results not foreseen. 

The origin or cause of the first immigrations from the 
Lower Palatinate of the Rhine to America, as we have seen, 
was religious persecution, and the devastations of the country 
consequent upon the religious wars of Europe, of which 
Germany was the battlefield nearly one hundred years. The 
affinity existing between the sovereigns of England and the 
Palatinate, and the deep sympathy felt by Protestant Eng- 
lishmen for their suffering brethren in Germany, produced 
the application to Queen Anne, in 1708, to send the Pala- 
tines to her then colony of New York. 

hnmigraiion of the Palatines, 

In the first quarter of the eighteenth century, three bodies 
of these people arrived in New York, having been sent over 
at the expense of the British government. By an order in 
council made at Whitehall, England, May 10, 1708, it appears 


that Joehna Kockerthal, evangelical minister, and several 
poor Lutherans, had come to England from the Lower Pala- 
tinate in (Germany, being forty-one persons, ten men, ten 
women and twenty-one children. They are described as 
having been reduced to want by the ravages of the French 
in their country, and are represented as being of good 
character. This paper states they would have been sent to 
Jamaica or Antigaa, but it was feared the hot climate of 
those islands would prove injurious to their constitutions. 
It was finally concluded to send them to the colony of New 
York, where they could be employed in obtaining naval 
stores after being seated on the frontiers as a barrier against 
the French and their Indians ; and on the 10th of August 
following, the provincial governor was directed to provide 
subsistence for Joshua Kockerthal and fifty-two GermSb 
Protestants, and *^ to grant him 600 acres of land for a glebe 
with liberty to sell a suitable portion thereof for his better 
maintenance till he shall be able to live by the produce of 
the remainder." 

An order was made in the provincial council at New York, 
May 26, 1709, to continue the relief promised by the queen 
until the expiration of twelve months from the date of their 
arrival, and this relief was to include clothes, mechanical 
tools and materials to work with. This was the vanguard 
which was to be planted in advance of the population then 
in the province as a barrier against the common enemy. 
This company probably arrived at New York about the close 
of the year 1708, and did not leave England before the 
month of August of that year. They were naturalized by 
the crown before they started. In the year 1714, we find a 
Lutheran minister, Joshua Kockerthal, settled in Ulster 
county, and hence it will be inferred that most if not all of 
the first company which came over, followed their spiritual 
teacher and remained with him. 

The second and more numerous company of Palatines 
arrived at New York, some of them in the ship Lyon, a short 


time before June 13, 1710, and in consequence of sickness 
during the voyage they were directed to remain at quaran- 
tine at Nutten island, now called Governor's island, where 
huts were erected for them and provisions furnished at the 
public expense. More than three thousand emigrants 
came over about this time. It was asserted by Governor 
Hunter that over four hundred and seventy died on the 
passage, and ten vessels were employed in bringing them to 
their future and long wished for homes. 

It should be noticed here for reasons that will be suffi- 
ciently obvious by and by, that this company came over in 
special charge of Hunter, who had particular directions 
where to settle them, for in the report of the board of trade 
and plantations, dated December 5th, 1709, approved Janu- 
ary 7th, 1710, on the settlement of an additional number of 
Palatines in New York, the commissioners assert that these 
settlements would be a protection against the French of 
Canada and the Indians scattered over the continent. In 
pointing out the place most suitable for seating the Pala- 
tines, the commissioners designate *' a tract of land lying on 
the Mohaques river, containing about fifty miles in length, 
and four miles in breadth, and a tract of land lying upon a 
creek [evidently the Schoharie] which runs into said river, 
containing between twenty-four and thirty miles in length. 
This last mentioned land is claimed by the Mohaques, but 
that claim may be satisfied on very easy terms." They 
notice the obstruction to water navigation on the river by 
the Gohoes falls, but think this should be no hindrance, as 
there would be only a short land-carriage. In the spring 
of 1710, Hunter directed the survey of lands on the 
" Mohaks" river, and particularly in the " Skohare to which 
the Indians had no pretence." But these lands, although 
very good, he thought unfit for the design in hand, as they 
lay remote and there were no pines, and after admitting 
that pine lands were unfit for farming purposes, he says, " I 
am in terms with some who have lands on the Hudson's river 


fitt for that purpose which I intend to view next week." 
In October of the same year he says, ** I have been obliged 
to purchase a tract of land on Hudson's river from Mr. 
Livingston, consisting of 6000 acres, for j£400 of this country 
money, for planting of the greatest division of the Palatines." 
He remarks that the soil is good, adjacent to pines which 
he had also purchased, and convenient to vessels of fifty foot 
water. He also informs the board of trade he had found an 
ungranted tract near by on the west side of the river where 
he had planted the remainder of the Palatines or intended 
to do so soon. 

Mr. Robert Livingston, who sold the 6000 acres to Hunter, 
obtained a contract from the governor to victual the Pala- 
tines, and cheated them in the quantity of flour delivered, 
by marking the tare of the barrels less than the actual weight 
of them. The Palatines on Livingston's manor and on the 
opposite side of the Hudson river, in 1711, numbered about 
1800 in all, according to the subsistance accounts rendered 
to the government by Livingston and his agents, and it is 
not probable they would make the number less than they 
should be. There appears to have been much complaint 
among these people in respect to their treatment by the 
government officials, and they no doubt felt themselves 
sorely aggrieved, and did not hesitate to present their case 
to the home government in strong but respectful language, 
boldly asserting that the conditions on which they agreed to 
come to New York had not been kept with them. A very 
considerable number of their children were taken from 
them by the governor and bound out to the inhabitants of 
the colony, and among these were two sons of John Conrad 
Weiser, who afterwards became somewhat conspicuous 
among the Schoharie settlers ; and also John Peter Zenger, 
the eon of a poor widow, who was bound to William Brad- 
ford, a printer in New York. Zenger, it is said, afterwards 
became the proprietor of a newspaper in that city, and 
having indulged rather freely in some strictures on the 


government^ his paper was burned b7 the common hangman, 
and the patriotic and fearless Palatine was indicted for a 
libel in 1734. Se was however acquitted on the traverse 
of the indictment, to the great gratification of the people 
assembled to hear the trial Zenger was then about thirty 
years old. 

In the year 1711, about three hundred Palatines accom- 
panied Gol. Nicholson in the expedition into Canada, and 
among these volunteers the following names are found : 
Hen. Hofi&nan, Warner Dirchest, Fred. Bellinger, Hen. 
Wederwachs, Frantz Finck, Martin Dillenback, Jacob Web- 
ber, William Nellis, George Dachstader, Christian Bauch, 
Mich. Ittick, Melch. Folts, Niclaus Loux, Hartman Windecker, 
Hans Hen. Zeller, Jno. Wm. Finck, Jno. Hen. Arendorff, 
Johan Schneider, Henry Feling, Joh. Jost Petry and Lud. 
W. Schmit, names familiar in the Mohawk valley, if they 
did not compose some of the first settlers at the German 

Mr. Clark, the colonial secretary , under the date of May 30, 
1711, informed the board of trade that the Palatines would 
not work at nuking pitch and tar, nor remain on the lands 
where they had been seated, on the Hudson river, but were 
intent on going to Schohary and settle on the lands the queen 
had ordered for them. In 1712 the insubordination had 
become so great that troops were called into the Palatine 
settlements to reduce the people to order. But Gov. 
Hunter failed in compelling an entire submission to his will, 
for in the fall of that year some of their leading men were 
sent to the Indians on the Schoharie creek to crave permis- 
sion to settle among them, and this being granted, a Palatine 
migration to the Schoharie valley took place in the winter 
of 1712-13, comprising some forty or fifty families. Others 
followed, no doubt, soon after. This seems to be the first 
off-shoot of the first two emigrations in the direction of the 
Mohawk valley. 

While the French retained Canada, it was no doubta wise 


policy on the part of the mother country to strengthen the 
northern and western frontiers of this colony, and the Pala- 
tines having tasted the bitter cup of persecution in their 
own country, and suffered all the horrors that savage and 
relentless war could inflict, but death, which to many would 
have been a blessing, were the fittest people on the European 
continent to be placed where the home government designed 
they should be. They had not forgotten the names of the 
nations, the armies and religionists which had sacked and 
burned their towns and hamlets and driven them from loved 
homes and revered fatherland, nor would they soon dis- 
remember them. 

In a letter written in March, 1711, by a member of the 
British government to one of his colleagues, the writer says : 
^' I think it unhappy that Colo. Hunter at his first arrival in 
his government fell into ill hands, for this Livingston has 
been known many years in that province for a very ill man, 
he formerly victualled the forces at Albany, in which he 
was guilty of most notorious frauds by which he greatly 
improved his estate ; he has a mill and a brew-house upon 
his land, and if he can get the victualling of those Palatines 
who are conveniently posted for his purpose, he will make 
a V0ry good addition to his estate, and I am persuaded the 
hopes he has of such a subsistance to be allowed, were the 
chief, if not the only inducements that prevailed with him 
to propose to Colo. Hunter to settle them upon his land." 
Hunter was no doubt the willing dupe of, or sadly over- 
reached by Livingston, and his foUy or imbecility had come 
to the knowledge of his superiors. His bills were protested 
and the adjustment of his accounts suspended for further 
examination and vouchers. 

A biographical notice of this Robert Livingston shows 
him to have been a native of Scotland — that he came to 
this country in 1674, settled at Albdny, and filled several 
important offices in the course of a long and pretty success- 
ful life. That at one time he had some connection with the 



world-renowned and '^ most abandoned villain/' Capt. Eid<]|, 
whom he had introduced to the nptice of Lord Bellomont, 
when colonial governor, and that all three were in some 
way concerned in fitting out a privateer of which Kidd was 
to take charge on joint account. Livingston's biographer 
acquits him and LordBellomont of being cognizant of Kidd's 
felonies on the high seas, but thinks he was possessed of 
large acquisitiveness. He no doubt acquired a good deal of 
wealth from his connection with the Palatines, not alone by 
means of his contract with the government for victualing 
them, but in appropriating their labor to improving his lands. 

Governor Burnet came out in the year 1720, and in con- 
sequence of the preceding troubles had with the Palatines 
and the difficulties attendant on the coercive efforts to retain 
them on the Hudson river, he was specially instructed to 
remove such of them as might desire it, to lands more suit- 
able for them. The action of the home government was, no 
doubt, accelerated by the presentation of a strong memorial 
from the commissioners of the Palatines at Schoharie, who 
went to England in 1718 to present the condition, grievances 
and oppressions of the Germans in the province of New 
York to the proper authorities there. John Conrad Weiser, 
a captain of one of the companies in the expedition against 
Montreal in the year 1711, was at the head of this commis- 
sion. Their petitions or memorials were presented to the 
board of trade only sixteen days before the above instruc- 
tions were given. 

The object has bedn, in this examination, to fix the date 
of the first settlement of the Palatines at German Flats, and 
since it is known that these people came over at different 
times, to ascertain which three bodies of immigrants, or 
what portions of them finally seated themselves in the wil- 
derness frontier of the upper Mohawk valley. 

The third company of Palatine immigrants arrived at 
New York from Holland in October, 1722, having touched 
at England on the passage ; and the ship in which they came 


had lost many of its passengers during the voyage. The 
exodns of the Palatines from Schoharie to Pennsylvania and 
the lower valley of the Mohawk had not taken place before 
this period. 

On the 21st November, 1722, Gov. Burnet informed the 
board of trade, Ac, that he had expected when he was at 
Albany, to have fixed the Palatines in their new settlement 
which he had obtained of the Indians for them at a very 
easy purchase, but in consequence of the divisions among 
them, and their complaints about the quality of the lands in 
the new purchase, he concluded not to show any earnestness 
in pressing them to go on to the Utnds. But he says there 
were about sixty families who desired to have a distinct 
tract by themselves, and being those who had all along been 
most hearty for the government, he had given them leave 
to purchase lands from the Indians between the English 
settlements near Fort Hunter and part of Canada, on a creek 
called Canada creek, where they will be more immediately 
a barrier against the sudden incursions of the French, who 
made this their road when they last attacked and burned 
the frontier town called Schonedady. The Indian deed 
for the lands at and west of Little Falls, covered in part by 
the so called Bumetsfield patent, is dated July 9th, 1722, 
anterior to the arrival of the third company of Palatine 
immigrants, and this fact forces the conclusion that the 
grantees of the patent were composed chiefly, if not entirely 
of those Palatines who arrived in 1710, and were first seated 
on the Hud^n river ; and this view seems to be strength- 
ened by Gov. Burnet's remarks to the board of trade. It is 
quite certain that but few, if any, of the Schoharie people 
were among the first settlers of the German Flats, unless 
they straggled from below. But there is no such name as 
Erghemar, Herkemer or Herkimer in the lists of those who 
came over in the two first companies of immigrants, nor 
apparently any name from which Herkimer could be derived 
or coined without violating all known rules of etymology. 


The Erghemar family were not among the Palatines on 
Hudson river in 1711, nor of those who remained in New 
York. They probably arrived with the third company of 
immigrants in 1722, from Holland, where they had sojourned 
many years. 

At what time these people actually settled upon the lands 
patented to them by the crown, in the spring of 1726, is 
perhaps problematical, and rests in tradition. They were 
very urgent to remove to a part of the country where they 
could pursue their avocations and indulge in their owb 
peculiar customs, unmolested by strangers and uncontrolled 
by colonial task masters^ where the lands they tilled were 
secured to them by all the sanctions of a public grant 
emanating from the king. They had long felt and known 
that ^'patience and hope made fools of those who fill their 
hands with them." They and their ancestors, for three 
quarters of a century nearly, had been afflicted with all the 
worldly evils and miseries that an intolerant and tyrannical 
hierarchy, supported by absolute despotic governments, could 
bring upon them ; and they had looked to the future with 
patient and hopeful emotions for a day of deliverance. 
Aflter twelve years of trial and privation incident to a new 
climate and a wilderness country', during which time they 
saw that strangers, and not their families after them, were 
to be benefited by their labors, no lands had yet been set 
out to them, by grant from the crown, well might they 
exclaim that those who endure patiently present wrongs and 
take no other means of relief only to hope for it, were unwise 
and improvident. 

The Dutch recaptured New York in 1673, but it was 
restored to the English by treaty in 1674. At this time and 
to the close of the seventeenth century, a very great majority 
of the people of the province were Low Dutch or Hollanders, 
and the French of Canada exerted much interest with all 
the Iroquois Indians, through the agency of the Jesuits and 
the control of the fur trade, except the Maquaes, Mohocks or 


Mohawks. The whole country from Albany north to Lake 
Ghamplainy and from Schenectady west to Lakes Ontario 
and Erie was an imbroken wilderness, and it was therefore 
important that England should strengthen her colony of 
New York in both directions by planting settlements as 
barriers against hostile approaches, but she had no people 
to spare ; the continental wars in which she had been 
long engaged and was then involved, more than decimated 
her population, and she eagerly embraced the opportunity 
of sending over the Palatines at the public expense. Gov. 
Burnet, whose talents, learning and kindness commended 
him to the well disposed colonists, second#d this policy of 
his government with zeal and success. Little did the 
governor or the home government then believe they were 
planting a barrier of stout hearts and sinewy arms on this 
frontier, which was soon to aid in obstructing the designs 
of the mother country in one of her most deliberate and best 
planned campaigns of the revolution. Nor could these then 
homeless exiles put aside the curtain of futurity and behold 
the terrific and tragic scenes which were so e£fectively and 
relentlessly enacted upon the soil they had chosen for their 
homes, and by the power through whose agency they had 
obtained their promised land. 

The precise time when the Palatines made their first lodg* 
ment in the county is not ascertained. It was not later than 
1725. Some who have speculated upon the subject suppose 
they came up the Mohawk valley as far as the Little Falls and 
to the Stone Ridge as early as the year 1720. Their agents, 
sent to spy out the lands, may have traversed the valley to 
the western bounds of the territory claimed by the Mohawk 
Indians as early as 1720, and perhaps before that period ; 
but Gov. Burnet had not fixed them in the new settlement 
he had obtained for them of the Indians, at a very easy 
purchase, as late as November, 1722, and he that year per- 
mitted some of thorn to purchase lands of the Indians " on a 
creek called Canada creek." They secured the carrying 


place at the lesser falls as well as a long extent of wilder- 
ness country above, by their Indian deed ; and the license 
of the colonial government to make the purchase, may have 
been considered by both parties, an authorization for them 
to remove before the patent was made out, as it no doubt 
was a solemn, irrevocable public pledge that the lands would 
be granted by the crown as soon as they should be surveyed. 
On this hypothesis it may be conjectured that settlements 
were made atr or near the present site of the Stone Church 
in the town of German Flats, and at Herkimer village as early 
as the years 1723-24, if not before. Owning the lands at 
the carrying {Aace, it is not likely that point was long 
neglcQted or unimproved. 

Bumetsfiield patent, so called in popular parlance, is 
a curious document, and well worthy of some special 
notice. It was granted on the 30th of April, 1726. It 
recites that "whereas our loving subjects, John Joost 
Patri and Goenradt Bickert, in behalf of themselves and 
other distressed Palatines, by their humble petition pre- 
sented the 17th day of January, 1722, to our trusty and 
well beloved William Burnet, Esq., Captain (Jeneral and 
Governor in chief of the province of New York, in council 
have set forth that in" accordance with the governor's 
license they had purchased "of the native Indians in the 
Mohawks country" the tract of land on both sides of the 
"Mohawks river" commencing at the " first carrying place 
[Little Falls], being the eastermost bounds called by the 
natives Astourogon, running along on both sides of the said 
river westerly unto a place called Gauondagaraon, or the 
upper end of it," being " about twenty-four English miles 
along on both sides of the said river." The Indian deed is 
dated July 9th, 1722. That the council advised the governor 
to " grant to each of the said persons, man, woman and child, 
as are desirous to settle within the limits of the said tract 
of land the quantity of one hundred acres." 

The grantees were to hold the lands of the crown in free 


and common socage, that being the usual tenure named in 
the colonial grants at this time, as of the manor of East 
Greenwich, in the county of Kent, in Great Britain, subject 
to an annual quit-rent of two shillings and sixpence per 
hundred acres, and on condition that the grantees, their 
heirs and assigns, should within three years from the date, 
plant, settle and effectually cultivate at least three acres of 
land of every fifty acres " granted to them. This patent also 
contains the usual reservation of gold and silver mines, 
timber fit for the royal navy, and the right to enter upon the 
lands and take and^ carry away the same. 

Of the ninety-two persons named in th#patent to whom 
lands were granted, twenty-two appear to be females, by the 
description, married, single or widowed. The paper does 
not disclose the number of families or the heads of families 
represented by males who settled on the tract, or how many 
one hundred acre lots went to any one family, husband, 
wife and children. There are several Pellingers, Starings, 
Wevers, Smiths, Edicks, Beermans, to whom grants were 
made. Jurgh Erghemer, Johan Jost, Madalana and Catha- 
rina Erghemar are separately named, but Nicholas Herkimer, 
afterwards the General, was not a patentee. 

One design of this work is to rescue the names of those 
martyrs to posterity from the oblivion of old parchments 
and musty records, and place them on the historic page, 
from which, humble as their pretensions may be considered 
by some, they have been too long excluded. Some of those 
names will hardly be recognized, at this day, by their 




List of Patentees. 

fimnm of pa t t n te w amaeed. 


1. Beerman, Mary, , 

2. Beerman, Johannes,*. . . 

3. Same, 

4. Bowman, Jacob, 

6. Bowman, Johan Adam, 



6. Dacksteder, Aima, wife 

Juigh Dacksteaer, . . . . , 

7. Dacksteder, Juigh, 

Same, , 



8. Edich, Elisabeth, 

9. Edigh, Johan Michael, 

10. Edich, Jacob, 

11. Editch, Michael, , 

12. Erghemar, Jurgh, 

13. Erghemar, Johan Jost, , 

14. Eighemar, Madalana, . , 

15. Erghemar, Gatharina, . 


16. FeUer, Nicholas, 


17. Feller, Maiy, wife of Nicholas 


18. Felmore, Coenradt, 

19. Felmore, Christiana, 

20. Fols, Jacob, 

21. Fols, Melgert, 


22. Fox, Christopher, 


28. Heger, Heniy, 

24. Hehner, Elizabeth, wife of 

Xjendert Helmer, 

26. Hehner, PhiUp, 

26. Helmer, Johan Adam, 


27. Helmer, Lendert, 


28. Hehner, Fredrick, 

29. Helmer, Anna Margaret, wife 

of John Adam Helmer, .... 

30. Herter, Apolone, 











































































2 30 


2 70 

















6 70 


21 30 


21 70 




12 " 






At the Little Falls. 

All the 30 acre lots were set 
on what were called the 
Great Flats, in and near 
the present village of Hep* 
kimer. The 70 acre lots 
are described in the pa- 
tent as wood land. 

Mohftwk Village. 

And large island in river. 

Mohawk Village. 

East side of West Canada 

* Two lots of aama number to Jobannei D u MUi an. 




cf pstaAtees amagad. 









Herter, Lowrens, . , 
Hess, AugtLstines,, 
Hobs, Jahannes, . 


Eeslaer, Johannes, 

KesUter, Nicholafl, 

Kast, Johan Jurgh, Jr., 


Kaat, Johan Juigh, 


Koons, Maiy Catharine, widow 


Korslng, Rudolph, 

Eoning, Bella, wife of Rudolph 


Eoues, Lodowick, 

Lant, Anna Catherine, widow. 

Mayor, Hendrik, . • 


Mayor, Anna, 

Miller, Johannes, . 


46. Orendros, Conradt, 40 

47. Orendorf, Hendrik, 











lOj " 
31 " 










Pears, Catharine, 23 

Pears, Lodowick, 27 

Pell, Frederick, 15 

Pell, Anna Mary, 16 

Pellinger, Johuines, 20 

Same, 20 

Pellinger, Peter, 23 

Same, 23 

Pellinger, Maigaret, wife of 

Peter Pellinger, 

Pellinger, Frederick, 

Pellinger, Margaret, wife of 

Johannes Pellinger, 22 

Petri, Johan Joost, 


Petri, Gurtruydt, wife of Johui 

Joost Petri, '17 

Petri, Mark, ;15 

Pouradt, Johannes, 46 

Poenradt, Gurtruydt, wife of 
* Johannes Poenradt, 































At the LitUe Falls. 

















Near Rankin's Lock. 

Opposite GToat Flats. 

Opposite QreaX Flats. 
And i of an island. 
On east side of West Cana- 
Same. [da Creek. 

Near Mohawk Village. 

Stone Ridge, Herkimer Vil- 
Capt. Peter Elock. 





Nhum of pa t en to M ■mnged. 

















Reelle, CKxHrej, 

Same, > 

Reele, Godfrey, Jr.,*, 

Reele, Godfrey, 

Rickert, Lodowick, . . . 


Rickert, Catharine, . . . 
Rickert, Conndt^ . . . . 
Rickert, Mark, , 

• • r • » • 


Shoemaker, Radilph, 
Shoemaker, Thomas, . 


Smith, Adam Michael, 

Same, \ 

Smith, Johan Jnrgh, . 


Smith, Ephraim, 

Smith, Marte, 

Speifl, Peter, 

Speia, Elizabeth, wife of Peter 


Spoon, Hendrikf 

Spoon, Hendrik, Jr., 

Staring, Mary Eya, wife of 

John Adam Staring, 

Staring, John Adam, 

Staring, Frederick, 


Staring, Johannes Velden, .... 

Staring, Nicholas, '. . . 

Staring, Joseph, 

Staring, John Yelde, Jr., .... 


Temonth, John Jost, 

Temouth, Fredrigh, 






















































17, 30 
17 70 

3 30 
3 70 


Veldelent, John, 


Veldelent, Anna, 


Wever, Jacob, ,10 30 

Same, 10 70 

Weyer, Nicholas, |16 30 

Same, 16 70 

Wever, Andries, ill 100 

Wever, Jacob, Jr., 115 

Welleven, Nicholas ,'30 






















Dion Village. 

Oion Villsge. 

At the Little Falls. 
And I of an island. 

North At LitUe Falls. 











Ft. Herkimer, Stone Church. 

* Emmm lot to QoAtnr Baekaiiil Godflrvjr RmIo, Jr. 


NoTB. — ^The emigntion of the Palfttines to the province of I^ew York in 
1709, was An intereBting event in the historj of the colonj. John Conrad 
Weiaer, a man of note and inflnenoe among these people, and who went 
to England to solicit relief for them, in his memorial to the govemma^t, of 
Angnst 2d, 1720, states their numbers when the^ left England, near the 
close of 1709, at about 4000, and that 170C of them died on the passage or at 
their landing in New York. His son Conrad Weiser, as appears from the 
CoUectionB of the Historical Society of Pennsjlvania, states that the nmnber at 
leaving was 4000. They came over with Gov. Hunter and under his charge. 
They were sent out at the expense of the British government, not only for 
their passage but for their subeistence one year after they arrived. In all 
published documents, colonial and imperial, their numbers are stated at 3000 
and no more. 

Mr. Cast, who was placed over them as a superintendent, reported the whole 
number on both sides of the Hudson river. May 1, 1711, at 1761, and Secretary 
Clark, to the lords of trade, states there were 1803 in June 1711, still remaining 
on Livingston manor, and on the west side of the river where they had been 
planted by Gov. Hunter. And again, the number reported for subsistence in 
the seven towns on the 24th of June, 1711, is 1874. A six months' Toyage 
across the Atlantic at that early day was a severe taskujMn human endurance, 
bat a loss of more than 2100 lives in eighteen months, or about 1100 out of 
the 3000, shows a want of care on their part, or excessive remissness on the 
part of those who had charge of them. 

Gov. Hunter, as late as 1713, reported that all the Palatines were within 
the province, and for the most part on the lands where he had planted them ; 
and in May following, that " many have gone of their own heads to settle at 
Scokaru and on the frontiers. In October, 1712, the governor told the 
managers of the Palatines they must of themselves seek employment for the 
winter, and upon this intimation some hundreds went to Scohant^ and that 
he was the more easy under it because he could not prevent it. In 1715, he 
says these people were dispersed by his orders. 

It is quite evident the Earl of Clarendon, formerly Lord Combury, colonial 
governor, understood his subject when he told Lord Dartmouth that Living- 
ston was an '* ill man," who would peculate upon the public by his subsist- 
ence contract, and that Hunter should have planted the Palatines on the 
MckadeB river. 

Mr. John Cast wrote Gov. Hunter in March, 1711, that Ave of the Palatines 
said to him, " We came to America to establish our families — to secure lands 
for our children on which they will support themselves after we die ; and 
that we can not do here." In December, 1709, the board of trade reported 
to queen Anne in favor of settling 3000 Palatines on the Hudsons or Mohaques 
rivers, or on the Soon creek, each family to have J'orty acres of land as a 
reward ; to be employed in making naval stores for a limited time, and to be 
naturalised In the province free of charge ; and the attorney-general in Bng- 


lAnd reported a oontrBot which mm exeoatod by them and hj which they 
were to have granted to them forty acres of land for each person forever, free 
from taxes and quit rents for seven yean. It was the non-fnliUlment of this 
oontract, and planting them on lands where they were employed in improving 
other men's estates, that caused their diaqniet, and what was called nnmly 

It was not until 1724, after Qovemor Burnett's arrival, that the 6000 acres 
purchased by Qov. Hunter of Mr. Livingston fourteen years before, was 
secured by patent to the Palatines remaining on Livingston's manor. Justice, 
though slow, came with a liberal hand at last, for each of the sixty-three 
families took what they had in possession improved, and the residue of the 
6000 acres in common. 

Johannus WUhelm Schess, one of the agents of the Palatines in London, 
on the 1st November, 1720, presented a petition to the lords commissioners 
of trade and plantations, in which he asks to have the lands possessed by 
the Palatines in Sdufrie confirmed to them, and also that grants may be made 
to those people residing in other parts of the province. He asks to have 
Weiser's petition, presented the previous August, for a grant of land in Penn- 
syl^mii^ dismissed, as being contrary to the wishes of the people who sent 
them to England. Weiser stated there were 3000 Germans in the Schoharie 
valley. Schess rated them at about 1000 souls and 3000 more dispersed in 
dilTerent parts of the province. 

As all the colonial governments surrounding New York and New Jersey 
were at this time proprietary and not royal, these agents understood very 
well the policy of placing their numbers at a high figure. The whole number 
reported to be in the province in 1718, exclusive of widows and orphans, 
was only 1601. It was the object of the crown, as expressed by Gov. Hunter, 
to retain these people in New York or New Jersey. Apprehending a failure 
on this head by a further eifort to carry out Hunter's plans, the whole policy 
was changed when Gh>vemor Burnet came out. Although several of the 
Schoharie settlers, and among them Captain Weiser, were parties to the peti- 
tion to the governor and council in 1721, for a license to purchase the Indian 
title, and also grantees named in the Indian deed made in 1722, they were 
not, it seems, parties to the act of confirmation which took place Januaiy 17, 
1723. Captain Weiser went to England in 1718, and did not return until 
1723, and in the spring of that year he, with most of the Germans at Scho* 
haiie, went to Pennsylvania. Some of them remained at Schoharie and others 
oame over to the Mohawk river. 

Governor Burnet at one time contemplated removing the whole mass of 
the German population then under his government to the center of the state, 
for in his letter of October 16, 1721, to the lords of trade, he says : " I did 
intend to settle the Palatines as far as I could in the middle of our Indians, 
but finding they could not be brought to that, I have granted their own 
request, which was to have a license to purchase of the nearest Indians which 


are on the Mohocks, which I have granted them with thia condition, that th^ 
be not nearer than 9kfaU in the Mohocks river, which is forty miles from Fort 
Hunter, and four score from Albany, by which the frontier will be so much 
extended, and those people seem very well pleased and satisfied with what I 
have done." 

The governor's first idea was, in confonnity with instructions fh>m the 
home government, to plant all the Palatines together on one large tract, the 
Indian title to which he had then obtained at a late purchase, but he 
found them divided into parties, the eummingut among them fomenting 
divisions in order to induce the most of them to leave the province, and they 
expressing an unwilHngness to take these lands, he abandoned that project 
also ; and in his letter to the lords of trade, of November 21, 1722, " as about 
sixty families desired to be in a distinct tract from the rest," he gave them 
leave to purchase from the Indians on the Canada creek, where they would 
be more immediately a barrier against the sudden incursions of the French. 

The act of confirmation, January 17, 1728, as may be seen, required that 
the names and number of all the persons to be concerned in the grant should 
be certified to the surveyor-general before the survey was made, and as appears 
by the patent issued, there were only thirty-nine families and ninety-four 
persons reported, or who came forward and accepted the bounty of the 

1722 TO 1772. 

Pint settlement ftt the Gemuui Flats — Lioense to Pnichaae of Indians — 
Some notice of the Patent — Names of Patentees — Period of Rest — Fort at 
Oswego built in 1726 — Defenses near Rome — Frontier Posts destroyed hy 
the French in 1756 —Palatine Settlement destroyed in 1757 — M. de Bel- 
letre's account of it — Not credited by one of his Ck>antTymen — Got. de 
Laney — Fort Harenieger — Alleged Apathy of the Inhabitants — Reasons for 
Doubting — Indian Statements — Deputy Superintendent — Indian Fidelity 
Questioned — Escape of the Minister — Another Attack in 1758 — Conduct 
of Teamsters and the Rangers — Woman Scalped — Quiet Restored by the 
Capture of Fort Frontenau in 1758 and Quebec in 1759 — Colonial Wars — 
Commerce Restricted — Complaints of Colonists — Lord Camden — Mr. 
Pitt — Sir William Johnson — Attachment of the Palatines to the Cause of 
the Colonists. 

The settlements at the German Flats enjoyed nearly thirty- 
five years of rest, and in that time had made rapid progress 
in clearing their farms, building houses and barns, raising 
stock and establishing defenses against attacks from any 
hostile quarter. Governor Burnet had in 1726, although 
violently opposed by the governor-general of Canada, erected 
a fort at the mouth of the Oswego river, the good will of 
the Iroquois had been secured in its defense, and the fur 
trade with the Indians within the province, which had been 
chiefly engrossed by the French of Canada, was principally 
secured to the English. Besides the protection afforded by 
the fort at Oswego, there were some defenses at or near 
the present village of Borne; and although other frontier 
portions of the colony had been afflicted with the scourge 
of barbarous and exterminating war, these Palatines had 
enjoyed a long period of repose. In 1756, the English fort 


at Oswego was captured^ and the small fortifications on 
Wood creek and the upper Mohawk were taken and demo- 
lished by the French ; and on the 12th of November, 1757, 
an expedition under the command of M. de Belletre, com- 
posed of about three hundred marines, Canadians and 
Indians, which had traversed the wilderness by the way of 
Black river, attacked and destroyed the Palatine settlements 
on the north side of the Mohawk river at or near the present 
village of Herkimer. A portion of the French narrative of 
this expedition, with all its exaggerations and expletives, is 
given verbatim as a specimen of colonial bragging and 
French grandiloquence of that day: 

** On the 11th November, at three o'clock in the afternoon, 
M. de Belletre, preceded as was his custom by scouts, crossed 
the river Oorlaer [MohawkJ with his detachment, partly 
swimming, partly in water up to the neck. He encamped 
at nightfall in the woods a league and a half from the first 
of the five forts that covered the Palatine settlements. 

"The 12th, at three o'clock in the morning, he gave his 
detachment the order of march and attack so as to surround 
the said five forts and the entire Palatine village, consisting 
of sixty houses. 

"Though M. de Belletre knew that the English got notice 
the day preceding, yet that the courage of the Indians may 
not receive the least check, and to show them that he would 
not rashly expose them, he liberated an Indian of the Five 
Nations, whom he had until then detained under suspicion. 
But this savage could not injure M. de Belletre, because he 
commenced at the same time to attack the five forts and the 
Palatines' houses. 

"At sight of the first fort he decided to take it by assault. 
The enemy kept up a most active fire of musketry, but the 
intrepidity with which M. de Belletre, with all the officers 
and Canadians of his detachment advanced, coupled with 
the war whoop oTT the Indians, terrified the English to the 
degree that the mayor of the village of the Palatines, who 


commanded the said fort, opened the doors and asked for 

** M. de Belletre lost no time in repairing to the second, 
the third, the fourth and fifth, which were not less intimi- 
dated than the first, by his intrepidity and the cries of the 
Indians. They all surrendered at discretion, and were 
entirely burnt. 

^'During this time a party of Canadians and Indians 
ravaged and burnt the said sixty houses of the Palatines, 
their bams and other out buildings, as well as the water 

"In all these expeditions about forty English perished — 
killed or drowned. The number of prisoners is nearly one 
hundred and fifty men, women and children, among whom 
is the mayor of the village, the surgeon and some militia 
officers. We had not a man killed; but M. de Lorimer, 
officer, was wounded in the right side by a ball, and three 
or four savages slightly. 

^'The damage inflicted on the enemy is estimated accord- 
ing to the representations of the English themselves, to wit: 

"Ingrain, of all sorts, a much larger quantity than the 
island of Montreal has produced in years of abundance. 
The same of hogs; 3000 homed cattle; 3000 sheep. All 
these articles were to be sent in a few days to Gorlaer 
[Schenectady] ; "l500 horses, 300 of which were taken by the 
Indians, and the greater number consumed for the support 
of the detachment. 

" The property in furniture, wearing apparel, merchandise 
and liquor, might form a capital of 1,500,000 livres [$277,- 
500]. The mayor of the village alone has lost 400,000 
[$74,000]. The French and Indians have acquired as rich 
a booty as they could carry ofil They have in specie more 
than 100,000 livres [$18,500]. One Indian alone has as 
much as 30,000 [$5,550]. There was likewise plundered a 
quantity of wampum, silver bracelets, &c., scarlet cloth and 
other merchandise, which would form a capital of 80,000 

nan andBttfile cfBetKiicked^^Tiilcrannd HaiSiaiieu luraae Ut G E 1 


more. All this damage conld not be done short of forty- 
eight hours. M. de Belletre made provision to be always 
able to resist the enemy, who, as has been observed, were fo 
the number of 350 men in the said Fort Eouari [Herkimer] , 
about a quarter of a league from the field of battle." 

This is a most extraordinary narrative of a most barbarous 
transaction, and is so characterized by one of M. de Belletre 's 
own countrymen, Mr. Daine, in hi3 report to the French 
minister, in which he says the injury inflicted ^^ in homed 
cattle, sheep and horses has been greatly exaggerated in the 
relation of M. de Belletre's expedition. It must be dimin- 
ished at least a good half. It is still more exaggerated in 
regard to furniture, wearing apparel, merchandise and 
liquors, which are carried up to fifteen hundred thousand 
livres, as well as the loss of the Palatine village in Indian 
corn." And Gov. De Lancy, in mentioning the destruction 
of "a valuable settlement on the north side of the Mohawk's 
river, opposite to Fort Hareniger, called the German Flats," 
says *^ the loss is estimated at twenty thousand pounds this 
money," fifty thousand dollars, a pretty large discrepancy 
from that given by the valorous Frenchman, who seemed 
somewhat desirous that his achievement should begin to com- 
pare with the martial deeds of his illustrious countryman, 
Turrene, when he ravaged the German Palatinate about one 
hundred years before. 

The confidence inspired by a long exemption from hostile 
visits, proved in this case extremely unfortunate. It is 
asserted that these j)^J)Je wete iti^oiimed' th6 day before, by 
friendly Indians, (si th6 cobtempiat^d. attack'Of the French 
and Indians, but l^ibi^g extroE^dty xncteOf^ouif^ they gave no 
heed to these admoilitions.' Th^ir*8e^il^6nt*'Was in sight 
of a fort on the south side of the river, garrisoned by three 
hundred and fifty men; so says the French account, and it 
must be taken at considerable discount. But if this was 
true in all its parts, these people had some grounds to sup- 
pose, if they were attacked, that they would be aided by an 



armed force so near at hand in repelling the assault; their 
retirement to the fort with their families and effects could 
^t have preserved their houses and crops from destruction. 
Militia forces from Albany had been ordered the year before 
to repair to the German Flats ; and the fort mentioned in the 
French account and by Gov« De Lancy is described as a 
'^stockaded work around the church and block-house^ with 
a ditch and a parapet pallisadoed, thrown up by Sir William 
Johnson a year ago [in 1756] upon an alarm then given." 

But there is another witness who must speak in relation 
to this sad affair. Sir William Johnson having been informed 
that the Indians had not notified the Palatines of the enemy's 
approach until the morning the attack was made, sent his 
deputy agent and Indian interpreter, to inquire of the Oneida 
and Tuscarora Indians, several of whom he was told were 
assembled at the German Flats, respecting this affair, and 
ask them to explain why they had not given more timely 
notice of the designs and approach of the enemy. 

The deputy agent, Mr. Croghan, did not arrive at the 
scene of desolation until the Indians had left for home ; he 
sent for them to return ; the narrative then proceeds : 

" The aforesaid Indians returned, and on the 30th Novem - 
ber [1757], at Fort Harkeman, Conaghquieson, the chief Oneida 
sachem, made the following speech to Mr. Croghan, having 
first called in one Rudolph Shumaker, Hanjost Harkeman 
and several other Germans, who understood the Indian 
language, and desired them to sit down and hear what he 
was going tolBay.: . ;. ' ..: . : \ : : :." : : 

Conaghquiefeon'then'profcfeeded cmd said : 

> • 

. . . » . 

" Brother : ' I 6an't \i^tp Idling you thslt -^e were very much 
surprised to hear that our brethren, the English, suspect and 
charge us with not giving them timely notice of the designs 
of the French, as it is well known we have not neglected to 
give them every piece of intelligence that came to our 


*^ Brother: About fifteen days before the affair happened, 
we sent the Germans word that some Swegatchi Indians told 
us the French were determined to destroy the Gerjnan Fl^ts, 
and desired them to be on their guard. About six days 
after that we had a further account from the Swegatchi, that 
the French were preparing to march. 

^^I then came down to the German flats, and in a meet- 
ing with the Germans, told them what we had heard, 
and desired them to collect themselves together in a body 
at their fort, and secure their women, children and effects, 
and make the best defense they could ; and at the same 
time told them to write what I had said to our brother 
Warraghiyagey [Meaning Sir William Johnson. The Pala- 
tines never sent this intelligence.]. But they paid not the 
least regard to what I told them, and laughed at me, saying 
they did not value the enemy. Upon this I returned home 
and sent one of our people to the lake [meaning the Oneida 
lake] to find out whether the enemy were coming or not ; 
and after he had staid there two days, the enemy arrived at 
the carrying place, and sent word to the castle at the lake, 
that they were there, and told them what they were going 
to do ; but charged them not to let us at the upper castle 
know any thing of their design. As soon as the man I sent 
there heard this, he came on to us with the account that 
night, and as soon as we received it we sent a belt of vxxmf/um 
to confirm the truth thereof, to the flats, which came here 
the day before the enemy made their attack; but the people 
would not give credit to the account even then, or they 
might have saved their lives. This is the truth, and those 
Germans here present know it to be so. 

'^The aforesaid Germans did acknowledge it to be so, and 
that they had such intelligence. 

"George Croghan.*' 

In testing historical facts, all the circumstances of the 
relations given must be examined with care, the position of 


the narrators known, and all probabilities nicely and pro- 
perly balanced. Hitherto these people, in their intercourse 
with the colonial oflScials of the crown, had given no such 
evidence of inanition and stolidity as is here charged upon 
them. They did not lack shrewdness and a good degree of 
intelligence in selecting their lands. This is evident to any 
one who will take the trouble to examine into it They had 
every motive, the presenration of life, and the protection of 
property, to induce them to be cautious and guarded in all 
their actions ; they would not be likely in one short year to 
have forgotten that all the frontier posts between them and 
their habitual foes had been captured, and that an invasion 
of their own homes had been feared. 

De Lancy knew nothing of the facts stated, bearing upon 
this particular subject, <fecept what he derived from reports 
or rumors, and M. de Belletre's narrative is a mere bagatelle, 
discredited by one of his own countrymen ; besides, how 
could he know the English had notice of his coming the day 
preceding, except from rumor? The statements of the 
narrative which has been partly transcribed, present tJbe 
gravest subject of reflection, touching the matter to be dis- 
posed of. Sir William Johnson had, at this time, been 
several years superintendent of Indian afifairs under the 
crown, possessing great shrewdness, much talent and an 
untiring perseverance in the discharge of his duties; his 
intercourse with the Indians was marked with uncommon 
sagacity, and to carry into effect, fully, the policy of his 
government in respect to the Indians, appeared to be the 
end and aim of all his actions. He had already achieved a 
standing with the home government, that could not be easily 
assailed, and won for himself a title, to his posterity a for- 
tune. His influence over and control of the native Indians 
within his superintendency, was very great, and it seemed 
their brother Warraghiyagey had only to express a desire, 
to have it fulfilled, so far as it depended on their agency. 
They oould not forfeit his confidence in them with impunity; 


and they well knew that' every approach of the enemy, or 
even rumor of it, through their country, towards the English 
settlements, must in accordance with the conventional rela- 
tions existing between him and them, be immediately com- 
municated to the parties expected to be assailed. This 
attack on the Palatine village was sudden, and no doubt 
unexpected, to Sir William, and when the news reached him 
his first thought seems to have been that his Indian outposts 
had been negligent of their duty, for he despatched his 
deputy and interpreter to the spot to inquire why they bad 
not given more timely notice of the designs and approach 
of the enemy, he having been informed that no intelligence 
had been given by the Indians until the morning the attack 
was made. The affair was a very grave one, and might 
create some embarrassments. 

The blame of permitting this murderous assault, without 
making any preparation to meet it, must fall upon Sir 
William and his sub-agents, the Indians, or the German set- 
tlers, and it is not very difficult to see what would be the 
result of the inquiry, when the judge and witness were 
interested parties, and it must be more agreeable to the sub- 
agent to find the Indians blameless, than chargeable with a 
neglect that must in some degree reflect discredit upon 
the chief superintendent of Indian affairs. The document, 
partly copied, was not found in the archives of the state, 
either here or in England, nor among Sir William's papers, 
and there is no evidence found, except the paper itself, that 
the Palatines knew any thing of its contents or were present 
on the occasion; and what is quite remarkable, no paper 
has been seen or found wherein Sir William alludes to this 
invasion, but he was at the German Flats in 1756, in April, 
1757, and in 1758. The fact is not improbable that the 
deputy agent was better pleased to find the fault of being 
unprepared attributable to the settlers, rather than the 
Indians, for then there could be no cause for censure, how- 
ever remote, against the Indian superintendency. The 



reader has all the facts within the reach of the author, and 
must form such conclusions as may seem just 

These people were then seated on as fertile a spot as any 
in the state, had good buildings on their farms, and were 
generally rich. Their buildings and crops were destroyed 
by fire, and their horses, cattle, sheep and hogs were many 
of them killed. Some of the people were slain by the 
maraaders and nearly one hundred carried into captivity. 
The German minister and a majority of the inhabitants who 
followed him, saved themselves by going to the fort on the 
south side of the river, on the morning of the attack. The 
enemy burned a gristmill, probably on what is now called 
Starings's creek, and a sawmill within a few miles of the set- 
tlement. There were about twenty houses between Fort 
Eouari [Herkimer] and Fall Hill or Little Falls, on the south 
side of the river at this time, and eight on the north side, 
which were abandoned for a time when the settlement at 
Herkimer was destroyed. 

In the following spring, April 30th, 1758, a large party 
of Indians and a small number of French attacked the Pala- 
tine settlement on the south side of the river, near the fort. 
About thirty of the inhabitants were killed, and one olBScer, 
Lieut. Hair of the rangers, was wounded slightly in the 
breast. Hie enemy were rather roughly treated when they 
came in contact with the rangers, having had about fifteen 
of their number killed and wounded. Captain Herchamer 
commanded the fort at this time, and on the first intimation of 
danger, collected within the fort all the inhabitants he could 
gather, before the attack was made upon the settlements, but 
there were several families who had fled from Henderson's 
purchase that spring, and with them two Indian traders by 
the name of Clock, and several teamsters, taking baggage to 
the fort, who were not notified in time, or for some other 
cause, did not retire to the fort before the enemy came upon 
them, rushed into the houses, killing and scalping all they 


could find. The teamsters being together in one of the 
houses attacked, ran up stairs and made a brave defense 
until the Indians were driven away by the rangers ; one of 
them, however, John Ehel, hearing the Indians threaten to 
set fire to the house they were in, became frightened, jumped 
out of the chamber window and was killed. A woman came 
ipto the fort the next morning, who had been scalped, her 
nose nearly cut off, and wounded in her breast and side ; and 
she was even then, in that mutilated condition, supposed 
likely to recover. She related all that happened to her until 
scalped, and said there were Onondaga Indians with the 
enemy. One or two facts are worthy of special notice. 
The account given of this second disaster to the Palatines, 
states that Gapt. Herkimer or Herchamer, was notified by 
an Oneida Indian, at 12 o'clock, that the Indians and French 
were near the fort and would come down on the settlements 
that day, and at four o'clock the attack was made, giving 
only four hours to gather in the inhabitants from the differ- 
ent localities in the neighborhood of the fort, and some of 
the houses were some distance from it. Now, why was not 
a more timely notice given, and why were any Onondaga 
Indians found with the enemy making war upon this frontier 
settlement 1 

At this period of the history of the Mohawk valley, there 
were nearly five hundred houses between the East Canada 
creek and Sir William Johnson's residence near Amsterdam, 
on both sides of the river, and the road or path usually tra- 
veled from Utica as far down as the East Canada creek was 
on the south side of the river. There was no wagon or 
carriage track between the two creeks at that early day. 

The captiire of Port Prontenac, Kingston, C. W., by the 
English in 1758, and the surrender of Quebec and Fort 
Niagara in the following year, with a general pacification 
with the Indian tribes, again secured to the inhabitants of 
the German Flats the blessings of peace. Their surviving 
friends returned from captivity, and with cheerfulness and 


hope rebuilt their homes, replenished their stocks and pre- 
pared their fields for seed time, with a full anticipation of 
once more reaping the plenteous harvest in quiet. 

The gloom of the p€wt now began to fade in the brighten- 
ing prospects of the future, with this little band of frontier 
pilgrims, whose more than fifty years of wanderings, since 
they left their fatherland, had not been imattended by toils, 
privations, sicknesses, devastations and deaths. And such 
deaths too as were inflicted on some of their number! 
Humanity, bowing in reverent submission, weeps in agony 
at the recital, and asks when retributive justice will be 
visited upon the perpetrators of such deeds ; and wh^ and 
how these tribulations shall have an end. 

The repose and tranquility that succeeded the conquest 
of Canada by the English, and the general Indian pacifica- 
tion before alluded to, was only the calm that precedes the 
earthquake. In 1763, Nova Scotia, Canada, Gape Breton 
and other dependencies were ceded by France to the British 
crown, and the two Floridas by Spain, and thus Great 
Britain became mistress of the whole North American con- 
tinent; a territory equal in extent to that of several European 
kingdoms. From 1689 to 1760, a period of seventy-one 
years, the colonies had been involved in four wars, which 
lasted in all, twenty-seven years, but their population had 
increased from two hundred thousand to nearly three mil- 
lions. Agriculture had steadily advanced, and trade and 
commerce had greatly increased ; but in arts and manufac- 
tures little progress was made, the introduction of them 
being opposed by the mother country. Hitherto the com- 
mercial enterprise of the colonists had encountered but few 
checks from the home government, md a direct trade with 
several of the Spanish and French colonies had been per- 
mitted, although contrary to the letter of the British 
navigation laws. This trade was highly beneficial to the 
colonists, as it enabled them to exchange their products for 
gold and silver and other valuable commodities, whereby 


they were enabled to make their remittances in payment of 
British manufactures, which their necessities compelled 
them to have, and could not be supplied from any other 
country. Shortly after the treaty of Paris in 1763, the 
spirit with which the colonists prosecuted their commercial 
affairs, alarmed the mercantile and shipping interests in the 
mother country, upon whose representations the government 
imi)08ed restrictions that annihilated this trade, to the serious 
injury of the northern colonies. Although some modifica- 
tion of former restrictions subsequently took place, they 
were coupled with regulations and the exaction of duties to 
raise » revenue in America, which the colonists considered 
dangerous innovations. The people of the colonies were not 
relieved and their fears were greatly excited in consequence 
of the novel principles attempted to be engrafted upon the 
British constitution by the enactment of laws of this descrip- 
tion. The British national debt had become enormous for 
that period, and it was found necessary to provide means 
for diminishing the burthen, and the idea of raising a sub- 
stantial revenue in the colonies from taxes imposed by 
parliament was conceived, and laws to carry it into effect 
were pskssed. The causes that produced collision with the 
mother country and eventuated in the independence of the 
American colonies, can not be minutely traced in a work of 
this character. The colonies insisted they were members 
of the British empire and could not be taxed without their 
consent ; that representation and taxation were inseparable; 
and that this was a fundamental principle of the British 

Lord Camden, in a debate in the house of peers on one of 
these tax bills, uttered the following emphatic and impres- 
sive language : " My position," said he, ^^ is this ; I repeat it ; X 
will maintain it to my last hour: Taxalum and rq^esentatum 
are xnaeparMe. This position is founded on the laws of 
nature. It is more, it is an eternal law of nature. For, 
whatever is a man's own, no other man has a right to take 


from him without his consent^ and whoever does it commits 
a robbery." And Mr. Pitt said in the house of commons: 
'' You have no right to tax America. I rejoice that America 
has resisted. Three millions of our fellow subje<|ts so lost 
to every sense of virtue, as tamely to give up their liberties, 
would be fit instruments to make slaves of the rest." These 
sentiments, couched in language so bold and nervous, were 
not slow in reaching the ears of a deeply interested audience. 
The distinguished and liberal British statesmen who uttered 
them, did not, perhaps, imagine they were speeding a ball 
that was so soon to strike from the British crown one of its 
brightest jewels. 

It may not be out of place here to remark, that Sir William 
Johnson was highly esteemed, and no doubt justly, by his 
neighbors of the lower Mohawk valley, and exercised over 
many of them an unboimded influence. On his death that 
esteem and regard was transferred to his family, who did not 
fail to exert their influence among their friends and depend- 
ants, in all matters relating to the approaching conflict. 
Quite a number of the people then living at and near Johns- 
town, Fort Hunter and other parts of Tryon county, left it 
with Sir John Johnson and Guy Johnson, and went to Canada ; 
the descendants of some of them may now be found settled 
on the shores of Lake Ontario, between Niagara and Bur- 
lington Heights, Hamilton; and others in different parts of 
Upper Canada. These were followed by others, disaffected, 
who left during the revolutionary war. 

The Palatines at the Qerman Flats, were seated at some 
distance from Sir William, and had comparatively but little 
intercourse with him. They knew him as an officer of the 
government, and not ae a neighbor and friend. They had 
but few opportunities of intercourse with his family, and 
consequently were not influenced by them in regard to the 
difficulties between the colonies and the mother country. 

If any efforts were made to detach them from their 
allegiance to the country, those efforts were not attended 

J L. ^J.i^^^^^^^^^We*B^^P^Hi^^^HMi^M^^i^^|^HB|^H««l^^V^B 

BISTORT OP hbbkucsb couzttt. 63 

with any great success, as only a very few of them are 
known to have abandoned their homes and followed the 
fortunes of the Johnson family. They may have had 
abundant reasons for doubting the disinterestedness of any 
proffers that were made to them from that quarter, and they 
chose not to put any further faith in promises which had to 
their grief and sorrow been so often broken. They had not 
in seventeen years forgotten the scenes of November, 1767, 
and April, 1758, when they were left an unprotected and 
exposed frontier, subject to attack by an enemy whose 
trophy was the human scalp, and the record of whose war- 
like achievements was found in the smouldering ruins of 
destroyed hamlets, slaughtered cattle, and captive women 
and children ; when, if any males were spared, these were 
preserved to grace the triumph of victory, by running the 
gauntlet between two lines of infuriated demons, whose 
privilege and duty it was to inflict torments, and whose 
greatest solace consisted in viewing the agonies of the 
tortured victim- 

But these people had other and loftier motives to guide 
their actions and control them in the course they should 
pursue in the contest, where even brother was to strive with 
deadly weapons against brother, and the son with the father; 
a most unnatural conflict, provoked by kingly power. Tra- 
dition, if they possessed no other means of information, had 
unfolded to them all the miseries of serfdom, a concomitant 
of regal power and the absolute rule of one man. They saw 
and felt the justice of the sentiment, that man ought not to 
be burdened without his consent; but exposed as they were, 
and suffer as they well knew they must, from the blows that 
wotdd be dealt upon them by their old foes, soon to be 
leagued with former friends, they embraced with zeal, and 
with a resolution not to be shaken, the cause of the colonies 
against the mother country, and held out firmly to the end ; 
thereby proving themselves unfit "instruments to make 
slaves of the rest" of their fellow subjects. 


This is plain, unembellished historic truth, respecting the 
/ inhabitants of the country now embraced within the bounds 
of the county, and of which the descendants of the Palatines 
composed, by far, the greatest number. 

From the close of the French war to the stirring events 
that shortly preceded the commencement of the revolution- 
ary contest, neither history nor oral tradition has given us 
any marked or striking incidents worthy of notice. Until 
1772, Albany county extended westward without any defined 
limits, when Tryon county was erected, and the administra- 
tion of justice must have been characterized by a patriarchal 
simplicity, often silenced, no doubt, by military rule. The 
white settlements were mostly confined to the Mohawk 
valley and its vicinity, although some families were found 
remote from the principal settlements along the river. 

1772 TO 1783. 

BTenta Preceding thfi Revolntion — Tryon Countj — Tenitorud Divisions of 
White Settlements before the War — General Congress in 1774 — Provin- 
cial Convention in 1775 — Second General Congress in 1776 — Committees 
of Safety — Meeting of in Tryon County — Conduct of Guy Johnson — 
Indian Council at German Flats — Gloomy Prospects — Sir John Johnson — 
Declaration of Independence — Preparations of the Enemy — Generals 
Schuyler and Herkimer — YigUanoe of the Foe — Fort Schuyler Invested 
by St. Iisger — Herkimer's Proclamation— Tryon County Militia assemble 
at German Flats — Herkimer Marches to the Relief of Fort Schuyler — Col. 
Gansevoort — St Leger's Forces — Insubordinate Conduct of Herkimer's 
Ofloers — Batfle of Oiiskany •— Willett's Sortie — Sir John Johnson's BlTort 
to Detach the Inhabitants from the Patriot Cause — Walter N. Butler cap- 
tured — Arnold arrives at Fort Dayton — His Proclamation — Honjost 
Schuyler's Mission and Success — Situation of the Valley in the Winter 
of 1777, 1778 — Andrus — Town destroyed by Brant — Retaliation on 
Young's Settlement — German Flats destroyed by Brant — The Liberty 
Pole — William Dygert — Fate of the Palatines — Mills burnt at the Little 
Falls — Alexander EUioe — Enemy's Visit to Rhiemensnyder's Bush — « 
Mount FUnily in Jersyfleld — Sir John Johnson's Retreat — Destmotion of 
Fort Schuyler — Solomon Woodworth— John Christian Shell — Donald 
McDonald — Defeat of Ross — Death of W. N. Butler. — Losses and Suf- 
ferings of the Enemy — Willett*s Return from Pursuing the Enemy — 
Resolution of British Commons — Failure of the Expedition against Oswego 
— Close of the War — Conciliatory Proposals of Peace. 

Upon the organization of Tryon County, the territory 
was divided into four large districts of country, although 
each contained but a comparatively small number of inhabit- 
ants. These districts were subdivided into smaller precincts. 
The Mohawk district was the easternmost, and lay in that 


part of the county directly under the influence of the John- 
son family ; the Canajoharie lay above the Mohawk on the 
south side of the river, and embraced all the territory south 
and as far west as the Little falls; the Palatine district 
embraced all the country on the north side of the river 
between the Little falls and Mohawk district; and the 
German Flats and Kingsland districts included all the ter* 
ritories and settlements on both sides of the river westward 
of the Palatine and Canajoharie districts. These comprised 
the territorial divisions. 

In those days, the exciting events that formed the topic 
of conversation among the colonists, on the seaboard and 
in the eastern provinces, were slow in reaching the seclud- 
ed valley of the upper Mohawk. The Johnson family, 
controlled a district of country lying between it and Albany, 
and it was not without some hazard, that any one friendly 
to the colonists could venture to convey intelligence of an 
unfriendly bearing to the mother country into the upper dis- 

A congress, composed of delegates from most of the colo- 
nies, met at Philadelphia, in September, 1774. In April, 
1776, a provincial convention met at New York, and chose 
delegates to the second congress, which convened in May 
following, at Philadelphia; and, on the 22d May, 1775, a 
provincial congress assembled at New York, at which neces- 
sary measures were taken to defend the country. This 
body delegated their powers, for one month, to a committee 
of safety, consisting of three members from the city, and one 
from each of the other counties. 

It may be superfluous to remark that these organizations 
were voluntary; but deriving all their authority from the 
people, these bodies claimed to exercise, and did exercise all 
necessary power, for the protection of their constituents, on 
the disruption of the royal governments. Local committees 
of safety were appointed, in all the districts of Tryon county, 



in accordance with the recommendationB of the general and 
provincial congresses. The committees of the Palatine and 
Ganajoharie districts seem to have taken the initiative in 
these affairs and were active and zealons in their patriotic 
efforts to present to their countrymen the true grounds of 
difference between the colonies and the mother country. 

The committee of the Palatine district, on 2l8t of May, 
1776, in a letter sent by express to the Albany committee, 
say : " We have just sent an express to the German Flats, 
aAd Ejngsland districts, desiring them to unite with us, and 
give us their assistance ; which districts, or at least a great 
majority of them, we are credibly informed, are very hearty 
in the present struggle for American liberty." Mr. Camp- 
bell, in his Annals of Tryon County, says the first imited 
meeting of the committee, for the whole county, was held 
en the 2d day of June, 1776, and gives the following names 
of members from the several districts. 

From the Palatine district: Christopher P. Tates, John 
Prey, Andrew Pink, Andrew Reiber, Peter Waggoner, Daniel 
McDougal, Jacob Ellock, Greorge Ecker, Jun., Harmanus Van 
Slyck, Christopher W. Fox, Anthony Van Veghten ; 11. 

From the Ganajoharie district : Nicholas Herkimer, Eben- 
ezer Cox, William Seeber, John Moore, Samuel Campbell, 
Samuel Clyde, Thomas Henry, John Pickard ; 8. 

From the Eangsland and German Flats districts : Edward 
Wall, William Petry, John Petry, Augustine Hess, Frederick 
Orendorf, Gteorge Wentz, Michael Ittig, Frederick Fox, 
George Herkimer, Duncan McDougal, Frederick Helmer, and 
JohnFrink; 12. 

From the Mohawk district : John Morlett, John Bliven, 
Abraham Van Home, Adam Fonda, Frederick Fisher, Samp- 
son Simmons, William Schuyler, Volkert Veeder, James 
McMaster and Daniel Lane ; 10. In all, 41. 

The members from the Mohawk district had hitherto been 
hindered from meeting with the delegates from the other 


districts, by the Johnsons. Ony Johnson, finding the people 
of the valley resolute in their delbermination, and becoming 
more united, as correct information was circulated among 
them of the true state o£ the controversy between the colonies 
and mother country, had ma<)e up his mind to quit the country 
and retire to Canada. ! Under the pretence of holding a 
council with the Indii^sy be had left Guy Park, with his 
family and dependants, and stopped at a Mr. Thompson's, 
on Cosby's Manor, a few miles above Oerman Flats, where 
this committee addressed to him a spirited, but firm and 
temperate letter, in which they placed before him their views 
of the controversy between the two countries ; disabused 
themselves of ^^ false and malicious " charges that had been 
injuriously circulated against them, and announced their reso- 
lution of standing by the country until all grievances were 
redressed. They besought him, as superintendent of the In- 
dians, '^ to dissuade them from interfering in the dispute with 
the mother country and the colonies.'' This letter was com- 
municated to Johnson by Edward Wall and Oen. Nicholas 
Herkimer, who waited upon him at Cosby's Manor. The 
answer to the committee's letter, dated Cosby's Manor, June 
6th, 1775, was characteristic of a man who had resolved on 
what he would do ; but, in view of the great interests he 
had at stake in the country, and the critical position of Sir 
John Johnson, whom he had left behind, its asperity was 
very much softened. CoL Johnson went to Fort Stanwix, 
from the Manor, thence to Ontario and Oswego, and after 
holding councils with the Indians of the Six Nations, and 
attaching them firmly to the interests of the English, 
by his promises and rewards, finally retired to Montreal, 
where he continued, during the war, to discharge the duties 
of his f^ncy, with a fidelity to his government that infiicted 
upon his former neighbors unutterable sorrows and sore 

The whole country was imprepared for the crisis then 


fast approaching— <ie8titute of arms^ and without munitions 
of war — no public treasury, nor organized governments — ^no 
trained soldiery, or equipped navy; and without officers 
versed in the science of war. Three millions of people, 
scattered over a wide extent of country, reaching from Maine 
to Georgia, and from the Atlantic ocean to the Alleghany 
mountains, are seen preparing for a contest in arms, with the 
most powerful and wealthy nation in the civilized world ; 
and who but the descendants of the resolute Anglo-Saxon 
lace could thus resolve and thus achieve a nation's freedom ? 
No one of the twelve colonies afforded so many and influen- 
tial adherents to the royal cause as New York ; and in no 
other were the severities, that particularly characterized the 
border warfare of the times, more effectually inflicted, for 
years in succession, than upon her northern and western 
frontiers ; the inhabitants of the upper and lower Mohawk 
valleys often drinking deep of the bitter cup. 

The colonists, fully aware of their position, and of the 
exposed condition of the inland border settlements to Indian 
warfare, took early measures to dissuade the five nations, 
inhabiting western New York, from taking any part in the 
approaching contest between them and the mother country. 
A council was held at German Flats, on the 28th of June, 
1775, with the Oneidas and Tuscaroras, who were met by 
the inhabitants of the district, and a deputation from Albany, 
which resulted in a pledge of neutrality by most of the In- 
dians present. 

About this time, the supplies of provisions intended for 
CoL Guy Johnson's journey had been stopped at Mr. Thomp- 
son's, Cosby's Manor, by the inhabitants of the Kingsland 
district, and by a note or memorandimi of a council held 
between the inhabitants and Oneidas, July 1st, 1775, in 
which the reasons for doing so were fully explained, it 
seems that the Indians were dissatisfied, claimed that the 
stores were intended for the Five Nations, who might suffer 
by being deprived of them, and insisted that CoL Johnson's 



designs were not tKen known, but when they were found ont 
they would assemble and consider about them. The pro- 
visions were Sent forward to Johnson, then at Port Stanwix. 

On the 15th and 16th of August, 1775, a preliminary 
council was held, at German Plats, attended by Messrs. 
Turbot, Francis, and Volkert P. Douw, on behalf of the In- 
dian commissioners of the northern department, and several 
sachems of the Six Nations, and among them was Little 
Abraham of the Mohawks. The object of this meeting was 
to induce the Six Nations to send deputies to Albany to meet 
the American commissioners, where it was proposed "to 
kindle up a great council-fire.'^ The people of the valley 
were even then suspicious of the Indians, and gave some 
indications of a resolution which created apprehensions 
among the Indians that they might be molested on their 
journey. They mentioned this to Col. Prancis, who promised 
them the road should " be open for them to go to Albany.'* 

The council at Albany commenced on the 23d, and closed 
on the 31st of August. And although the Indians had been 
kindly treated, furnished plentifully with provisions, during 
the three weeks occupied at German Flats and Albany, and 
on their departure manifesting much good will, being bounti- 
fully supplied with presents, still this was the last time the 
council-fire was opened with the Six Nations until after the 
close of the war. The result of this conference, although 
not fully attended by any but the Oneidas and the lower 
Mohawk clan, was for a time beneficial to the country. The 
engagements of peace and neutrality, then made, relieved 
the frontier inhabitants from apprehensions of immediate 
danger. It was not many months, however, before the great 
body of the Mohawks, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas 
gave undoubted indications of attachment to the royal 

The state of affairs in Tryon county strongly admonished 
the county committee of safety to prepare for coming events ; 
that body therefore organized the militia of the county into 


four battalions, one in each district, and transmitted the 
return, through Nicholas Herkimer, the chairman, on the 
26th August, 1776, to the general committee of safety, in 
session in the city of New York, during the recess of the 
provincial congress. This return was laid before the general 
committee, on the 6th of September following, and approved. 
To conform to the regulations established by the continental 
congress, the nomination of four additional majors and four 
quarter-masters, one for each battalion, was called for. The 
names of only the field officers of the first three battalions 
are here given. 

Fird battalion^ Canajoharie district. — ^Nicholas Herkheimer, 
colonel; Ebenezer Cox, lieutenant-colonel; Robert Wells, 
major ; Samuel Clyde, adjutant 

Second battalion. Palatine district. — Jacob Clock, colonel; 
Peter Waggoner, lieutenant-colonel ; Harmanus Van Slyck, 
major ; Anthony V. Vechten, adjutant. 

Third battalion, MohavJc district. — Frederick Fisher, colonel ; 
Adam Fonda, lieutenait-colonel ; John Bliven, major ; Ro- 
bert Yates, adjutant 

Fourth battalion, German Flats and Kingsldnd. — ^Hanyoost 
Herkheimer, colonel; Peter Bellinger, lieutenant-colonel; 
Hanyoost Shoemaker, major ; John Demooth, adjutant 

1st company. — John Eisenlord, captain ; John Keyser, Ist 
lieutenant; Adam Bellinger, 2d lieutenant; John Smith, 

2d company. — JohnPetry, captain; Hanyoost Mx. Petry, 
1st lieutenant ; Hanyoost H. Petry, 2d lieutenant ; William 
Empie, ensign. 

3d company. — ^Daniel Petry, captain; Peter Volts, Ist 
lieutenant ; Marx Raspach, 2d lieutenant ; George Helmer, 

4th company. — ^Frederick Bellinger, captain ; Henry Her- 
tei-, 1st lieutenant ; John Demooth, 2d lieutenant ; Peter Ja. 
Weaver, ensign. 

5th company. — ^Peter Bellinger, captain ; Jacob Baschawn, 



Ist lieutenant ; Nicholas Staring, 2d lieutenant ; John P. 
Bellinger, ensign. 

6th company. — ^Hany oost Herkheimer, captain ; Frederick 
Ahrendorf, Ist lieutenant ; Tinus Glapsaddle, 2d lieutenant. 

7th company. — ^Rudolph Shoemaker, captain ; Deiterick 
Stale, Ist lieutenant ; Frederick Shoemaker, 2d lieutenant. 

8th company. — George Herkheimer, captain ; Frederick 
Fox, Ist lieutenant ; Archibald Armstrong, 2d lieutenant ; 
Hanyoost Tygert, ensign. 

9th company. — ^William Tygert, captain; Jacob Volts, 
1st lieutenant; Oeorge Wents, 2d lieutenant; Frederick 
Frank, ensign. 

The county committee, at this time, seeing the necessity 
of having some tribunal for the determination of petty 
disputes and controversies, in civil matters, to the amount 
of twelve and a half dollars, adopted a resolution, investing 
its members with a sort of civil jurisdiction, and sent it to 
the provincial congress for approval The general committee 
of safety in reply to it say: 

"The congress of this colony have hitherto avoided inter- 
fering in the administration of justice in civil matters, or 
arresting the cognizance from the officers of justice. We 
cannot, therefore, approve of the resolve by you entered 
into, respecting the trial of civil causes in your county, and 
find it highly expedient to recommend its repeal." 

This was a serious detriment to the inhabitants of this 
remote part of the colony, where there were only a few 
officers of justice, and those few being strongly attached to 
the interests of the crown, felt no inclination to hold the 
scales of justice even, between a loyalist and a man he 
deemed a rebel. 

It was for a time doubtful, whether some marked demon- 
stration unfavorable to the cause of the twelve provinces, 
would not be made in the colony of New York. The 
intrigues of the artful and menaces of power were not vainly 
exerted and unfelt, and disafiection appeared openly in the 


provincial congress. The Tryon county committee of safety, 
ivere at this time a noble body of men. Enthusiastically 
devoted to the interests of their constituents, and the cause 
of the colonists ; their zeal was untiring, and they faltered 
not in the important work before them. Supported by a 
great majority of the inhabitants of the valley, they exercised 
all the powers of government, for the time, executive, 
legislative and judicial, and all their proceedings were 
cheerfuUy acquiesced in, except by those attached to the 
royal cause. Sir John Johnson, was still at Johnstown, 
surrounded by his adherents, whom he had organized and 
armed, waiting a favoruble moment to strike a bold and 
effectual blow against treason and disloyalty, which he 
failed to achieve; and finally fled into Canada in the spring 
of 1776, when he was commissioned a colonel in the British 
service, and raised a regiment composed of men who accom- 
panied him, which was known as the Royal Greens. 

No event of much interest has been noticed as having 
transpired within the territory of the present county of 
Herkimer, during the year 1776. The Declaration of 
Independence was solemnly adopted on the 4th of July, an 
event not originally anticipated by the great mass of the 
colonists ; and immediately proclaimed to the world, after a 
state of war had existed fifteen months; a confiict for a 
redress of grievances, and not for the dismemberment o£ an 
empire. The attitude thus assumed, was solemn, and the 
aspects of the future were ominous of woe to the inhabitants 
of the western frontiers ; but the Palatines of the German 
Flats who still survived, and their descendants, qtiailed no 
before the coming storm. Their delegates in the county 
committee had the year before assented to the principle of 
separation, and they were q.ot now backward in the cause, 
but with their brethren in the lower Mohawk vaUey, wel- 
comed the act which was to separate them and their country 
from kingly power. The British ministry were by no means 
idle. An aggregate of 55,000 men, it was contemplated, 


should compose the invading forces, at the different ap« 
proachable points, and with these the colonists were to be 
crushed at a blow. 

Congress directed Gleneral Schuyler, who then commanded 
the northern department, to repair and strengthen Fort 
Stanwix, afterwards known as Fort Schuyler, an important 
post, and to erect other fortifications in the Mohawk valley. 
Colonel Dayton, then stationed at German Flats with a 
detachment of regular troops, was charged with the works 
at Fort Stanwix, in which the Tryon county militia par- 
ticipated, but he seems to have made slow progress in com- 
pleting the defenses, as they were incomplete when invested 
by St. Leger the following year. 

The interview between Oeneral Herkimer and Capt. 
Joseph Brant, a Mohawk sachem, at Unadilla, in July, 1777, 
will be noticed in another place, that interview partaking 
more of personal character than of local historical interest. 
The important event of this year must receive a passing 

** Sad was the year, bj proud oppresaion driyen, 

When trannatlantio liberty arose ; 
Not in the aonahine and the smile of heaven, 
Bnt rapt in whirlwinds and begirt with woes." 

The untiring vigilance of the emissaries of the crown 
began to unfold itself about midsummer of this year. The 
news of the approach of the British armies and their savage 
allies on the northern and western frontiers of the state, 
had been industriously circulated throughout the whole 
country, and the Mohawk valley was by no means neglected. 
The people there were alarmed and became depressed and 
desponding. They had cheerfully seconded all the move- 
ments of the colonists, in asserting their rights against the 
encroachments of the crown, and their situation was one of 
exposure and hazard. Protected from the inroads of the 
enemy only by light parties of regulars which could afford 
but little security against the marauding tories and their 


savage allies, they were incessantly harrassed by alarms, 
burthened with service, and worn down by fatigues ; who 
can feel surprise that the patriotic should despond and the 
weak falter? Or why should a people so beset with foes 
within and without be suspected of loyalty to the cause to 
the support of which they had so recently pledged their 
lives, fortunes and honor? The first outburst of patriotic 
sentiment had doubtless stifled a lurking aspiration for the 
success of the royal cause, which now began to show itself 
in open disaffection to an alarming extent as the crisis 
approached; but it may with truth be said, that few, very 
few, if any of the inhabitants of the upper valley of the 
Mohawk, were found disloyal to the cause, or unwilling to 
put their shoulders to the wheel at their country's calL 

Fort Schuyler was invested by Colonel St. Leger, on the 
3d of August, 1777, with a force of seventeen hundred men, 
composed of British, Hessians, Johnson's Greens, Canadians 
and Indians. It would be dut of place to notice particularly 
the events of this siege, or the disasters that befell the 

Notice of the assembling of the hostile forces at Oswego, 
for the purpose of invasion, contemporaneously with the 
approach of General Burgoyne by the way of Lake Cham- 
plain from the north, had been communicated by the Oneida 
Indians, to Col. Gansevoort, at Port Schuyler, and the 
provincial authorities in Tryon county, and at Albany ; and 
steps were immediately taken to meet the approaching 
crisis and drive back the invaders. General Herkimer, who 
commanded the Tryon county militia, issued a spirited and 
patriotic proclamation to the people of the county, on the 
17th of July, 1777, notifying them of the assembling of the 
enemy at Oswego, and of their destination and objects, and 
calling on the male population en massCy to repair to the field, 
at a moment's warning, armed and equipped, to meet the 
invading forces. 

Those in health between the ages of 16 and 60, were re- 


quired to take the field, and those above 60, as well as the 
invalids, were directed to assemble, armed, at proper places, 
for the defense of the women and children. The members 
of the county committee of safety, and the exempts from 
military duty, were invited to repair to the place to be ap- 
pointed, to join in repulsing the common enemy. 

The whole American force at Port Schuyler, when invested 
by the enemy, was seven hundred and fifty men. CoL Gan- 
sevoort was joined by Lieutenant Col. Mellon, of Col. 
Weston's regiment, with two hundred men, and two batteau 
loads of provisions, and military stores, on the 2d day of 
August. The deficiency of ammunition for the cannon was 
very great — ^being an inadequate supply for a protracted 
siege at a frontier post. 

As soon as the approach of St. Leger to Port Schuyler 
was known in Tryon county. General Herkimer ordered 
the militia of his brigade to rendezvous at Port Dayton 
(then called German Plats). This defense was erected in the 
western part of Herkimer village, and the General soorf 
found himself at the head of about nine hundred men, com- 
posed of the three militia regiments commanded by Colonels 
Elock, Cox, Vischer and some others, with volunteers of 
officers and men from various parts of the country. The 
published accoimts of the forces collected under General 
Herkimer on this occasion, do not designate the localities 
from which the several regiments were drawn ; enough is 
known, however, to warrant the assertion, that the militia 
of the German Plats and Eingsland district were attached 
to the regiment commanded by CoL Peter Bellinger, whose 
lieut. colonel was Prederick Bellinger ; major, Enos Klep- 
sattle. The militia of these districts participated in the 
battle of Oriskany. The alacrity and zeal evinced on this 
occasion should have entirely eradicated all impressions 
unfavorable to the patriotic devotion of the inhabitants of 
the valley, growing out of the expression of despondency in 
the early part of the year. Surely after this, no one could 


complain of German disloyalty to the cause of the colonists. 
General Herkimer left Fort Dayton on the 4th of August, 
and encamped near the Oriskany on the 5th, crossing the 
Mohawk river at old Port Schuyler (now Utica) on the 
march up. At this point the General expressed his doubts 
of the expediency of a forward movement, until reinforce- 
ments should arrive, or the prearranged signal should be 
given by CoL Gansevoort from the fort. An express, Adam 
Helmer with two other men, had been dispatched to the 
fort, informing the commandant of the General's approach, 
and to arrange measures of cooperation. The messengers 
did not reach the fort until ten or eleven o'clock in the 
morning of the 6th. Three successive discharges of heavy 
ordinance was the signal agreed on, announcing the arrival 
of the express ; the reports of which, it was assumed, could 
be heard at Herkimer's encampment, eight miles distant 
from the fort. Recriminatory and insubordinate language 
was used on the occasion, and the General was denounced to 
his face as a tory and coward ; who replied, that their safety 
was in his hands, and he desired to avoid all difficulties that 
could not be surmounted by bravery and good conduct. On 
this occasion the Greneral told some of his subordinates, who 
had been rather noisy and liberal in their accusations of his 
fidelity and courage, that they would be the first to run on 
the approach of the enemy; which was soon verified to the 
very letter. 

All previous accounts had fixed SL Leger's forces at 2000 
strong, nearly half of which were Indians led by Brant, a 
brave, active and artful Mohawk sachem. Herkimer knew 
this, and he no doubt believed, as well he might, that a force 
superior to his own, could be sent against him, which would 
select its own battle-field, without in any way interfering 
with the investment of the fort. But noisy insubordination 
prevailed, and precipitated the little band of patriots into 
the jaws of death. Smarting under the repeated accusations 
heaped upon him, and irritated no doubt, the General gave 


orders to take up the line of march, which was received with 
cheers by the meD, who proceeded rapidly on their way, two 
deep, having thrown oat the usual advanced and flanking 

At 10 o'clock, on the 6th, the main body of troops passed 
over a causeway on a marshy ravine, the advance having 
commenced an ascent of the westerly slope, when a well 
directed fire from the enemy, in front and on both flanks, 
fiu^companied with the dismal Indian war-whoop, unfolded 
to the Americ€ui general that his division had become involved 
in an almost inextricable ambuscade. Betreat was impossible, 
for the causeway over the marsh was already blocked up 
with teams ; and the rear guard, just commencing the descent 
of the eastern declivity, commanded by one of the officers 
who in the morning had taunted his general with cowardioe, 
turned and fled on the first file of the enemy. But flight did 
not save them from the fate that awaited their comrades on 
the west side of the ravine ; the enemy, knowing well the 
ground, had gained the rear, and shot down the fugitives as 
they ran away from their companions. As might well be 
expected, the suddenness of the attack and the intensity of 
the enemy's fire, not only produced great disorder among the 
provincials, but annihilation seemed almost inevitable for a 

In this disorder, the conflict raged about half an hour, 
when the Americans forming themselves into circular squads, 
the more effectually to repel the attacks of the enemy, who 
were steadily approaching on aU sides ; and, from this mo- 
ment, resistance became more effective. The enemy then 
charged with bayonet, but they were met by brave hearts 
and strong arms, and thus the battle raged, until the parties 
were compelled to desist, by a heavy shower of rain, which 
raged with great fury more than an hour. The enemy sought 
the best shelter they could find, at a good distance from the 
provincials, when the latter, under the directions of their 
general, occupied a favorable piece of ground, and then so 


formed themselves as to be able to repel an attack from any 
quarter. The fight was renewed, bnt the Indians, suffering 
severely by the deadly fire of the militia, began to give 
grotmd, when a detatchment of Johnson's Greens, composed 
chiefly of loyalists who had fled from Tryon county, were 
bronght into action face to face with many of their former 
neighbors. Then mutual hate and revenge raged with un- 
speakable intensity between the combatants, and the conflict 
now became, if possible, more a death struggle than ever. 

In the meantime, while the battle was the most fierce, a 
firing was heard in the direction of the fort ; no unwelcome 
sound, as may well be supposed, to the handful of surviving 
provincials, nor very gratifying to the enemy. During the 
conflict at the Oriskany, a well conducted sortie from the 
fort, under the command of CoL Willett, was made upon the 
forces under St Leger, for the purpose of drawing the 
enemy's attention to the preservation of their camp in that 
direction. This was well understood by the provincials, and 
in it th^ saw great hopes of deliverance. This was not a 
fight suited to the taste of savages, who found ihevr numbers 
fast diminishing, nor could such a contest be long maintained 
with much hope of survivorship, by either party. ** 0<mahy* 
the retreating cry of the Indians, was heard in the distance, 
and their flight commenced with a salute of shouts and bullets 
from the surviving provincials. The Greens and Rangers 
soon followed the example of their illustrious allies, by a 
precipitate retreat, abandoning their dead and wounded, and 
the deeply crimsoned battle-field, in the undisputed posses- 
sion of the Tryon county militia. Was this a victory, or a 
defeat of the provincials? By all the laws of war, they are 
victors who remain masters of the battle-ground. The 
American report gave the number of provincial militia 
killed, two hundred, besides the wounded and prisoners. 
The British accounts state the killed at four hundred, and 
two hundred prisoners, making in all six hundred, besides 
the wounded. Now in modern warfare, and in the severest 


battles, the wounded are more than two to one of the killed, 
say nothing about prisoners. The British accounts do not 
claim there was over one thousand militia on the march at 
this time to raise the siege of Port Schuyler. Surely four 
hundred killed, eight hundred wounded and two hundred 
prisoners, out of one thousand, is making said havoc in the 
fighting line. But this is not so ; and St. Leger, when he 
gave this statement of killed and prisoners to Gen. Burgoyne, 
was indulging not a little in the M. de Belletre vein. 

The battle was a severe one. The severest, perhaps, for 
the number engaged, that took place during the whole revo- 
lutionary war. And from the character of the combatants, 
the surprise, and the disadvantages under which the provin* 
cials labored during the whole six hours conflict, the pro- 
portion of killed to the wounded must have been greatly 
beyond what ordinarily occurs in the hardest actions, where 
firearms are used as the principal weapon of assault and 

Leaving the personal incidents of this disaster to be noticed 
in another place, the events of the year, subsequent to the 
battle of Oriskany, must now be considered. Failing to 
induce CoL Gansevoort to surrender Fort Schuyler on any 
of the terms offered by Col. St. Leger, an efibrt was made by 
Sir John Johnson, and Cols. Claus and John Butler, to detach 
the inhabitants of the valley from the patriot cause, and for 
this purpose emissaries were sent below with incendiary 
proclamations, to induce the timid, terrified and disafiected 
people to abandon the cause of the country, and to join the 
British forces under St. Leger. CoL Weston was at Fort 
Dayton, with his regiment, during the siege of Fort Schuyler, 
and learning that a secret meeting of tories was to be held 
at Mr. Shoemaker's, a loyalist residing a mile or two distant, 
Weston sent a party of men, who surprised and captured 
Lieut. Walter N. Butler, of St. Leger's army, and twenty- 
eight soldiers and Indians, who had come clandestinely to 
the German Flats on a mission from Sir John and others* 



Butler was tried by a court martial as a Bpy, and received 
sentence of death, but was reprieved^ sent to Albany a pri- 
soner, where he was detained some time, and finally making 
his escape, afterwards exhibited his kindly feeling to the 
land of his birth by becoming one of its severest scourges. 
Humanity has no tears to shed over the subsequent fate of this 
man, nor can the pretense that he came ^' on a truce to the 
inhabitants of the county," be of any avail whatever. He 
came on a secret mission and in a clandestine manner, and 
was taken in the very act of attempting to alienate the inhabit- 
ants from their allegiance to the country, and his reprieve 
by the American general was an act of grace, favored by 
many influential persons, who had previously known him at 

General Arnold arrived at Fort Dayton a short time before 
the 21st of August, at which point troops were assembling 
with a view of proceeding to the relief of Fort Schuyler, 
still beleaguered by St. Leger's forces, and to counteract the 
effect of the incendiary efforts of Johnson, Glaus and John 
Butler, the American general on the 20th of August, issued 
a proclamation stating that ^'whereas a certain Barry St. 
Leger, a Brigadier-General in the service of George of Great 
Britain, at the head of a banditti of robbers, murderers and 
traitors, composed of savages of America and more savage 
Britons ( among whom is the noted Sir John Johnson, John 
Butler and Daniel CUus), have lately appeared in the fron- 
tiers of this state, and threatened ruin and destruction to aU 
the inhabitants of the United States,'' urging the inhabitants 
to continue their fidelity to the common cause, offering 
pardon to all those who may have been misled by the artifice 
and misrepresentation of the enemy, if they would in ten 
days come in and lay down their arms, but denouncing "the 
just vengeance of heaven and of this exasperated countrjr*' 
against all who should persist in their wicked courses. On 
the 23d of August Gen. Arnold left Fort Dayton, determined 
to hazard a battle with forces inferior to the enemy before 


Fort Schuyler, rather than have the garrison surrender, and 
had proceeded half a day's march, when he was met by an 
express from CoL Gansevoort, with the cheering news that 
the seige had been raised; but the cause of this sudden 
movement on the part of the enemy was wholly unknown to 
the gallant Colonel and his brave garrison ; not so however 
with Arnold. i 

Hanyost Schuyler was the instrument made use of to 
scatter the besieging forces surrounding Fort Schuyler, and 
send them helter-skelter back to Canada in double quick time. 
The home of this strange and singular being, was near the 
upper Mohawk Indian castle in the present town of Danube, 
where he resided with his mother and brother Nicholas, and 
hence in early life had much intercourse with the Indians. 
He is described as coarse and ignorant, and but little re- 
moved from idiocy, and still possessing shrewdness enough 
to be made the instrument of accomplishing an important 
object. Hanyost was somewhat taitited with loyalty, and 
had been captured at Shoemaker's with Walter N. Butler, 
and others ; he was tried by a court martial and sentenced 
to death. His mother and brother, on hearing this sad news, 
of course hastened to headquarters to intercede for his life. 
For a time their efforts were unavailing, but finally it was 
proposed he should repair to St. Leger*s camp with a friendly 
Oneida Indian, and so manage to alarm the enemy as to 
produce an abandonment of the siege. 

Hanyost gladly embraced the alternative, leaving his 
brother as a hostage for the faithful execution of his mission; 
being assured that Nicholas should die if he faltered in the 
enterprise. Schuyler having procured sundry shots through 
his garments, that he might show he had run for dear life, 
departed with his Indian comrade for the enemy's camp. 
They had arranged between them to approach St. Leger's 
position from opposite directions, and were not to appear 
acquainted with each other, if they should meet. This 
affair was wisely planned, and most skillfully and adroitly 


executed. The instrument was well chosen. He was 
well known as a loyalist, and the parties to whom he first 
addressed himself were no nnwillng auditors, nor in an 
unfavorable mood to be deeply impressed and even awed by 
his ambiguous language and mysterious maniibr. The 
native American Indians, like the followers of Mahomet, 
were ever inspired with a peculiar respect and even rever- 
ence for idiots and lunatics. Fraternal regard strongly 
prompted Hanyost to apply all his energies and to leave 
no effort untried to secure the complete success of his mis- 
sion, and relieve his brother from the fate that was hanging 
over him. He was completely successful, and having fol- 
lowed the retreating enemy to Wood Creek, he there left 
them, and returned to Fort Schuyler the same evening, and 
gave Col. Gansevoort the first intimation of Arnold's ap- 
proach- It was not until Schuyler's arrival at the fort, that 
its commandant was able to solve the problem of St. Leger's 
sudden departure and precipitate flight. 

Hanyost returned to the German Flats when his brother 
was released from confinement, to the great gratification of 
his mother and relatives, but he was too strongly imbued 
. with sentiments of loyalism, to resist giving a permanent 
adherence to the interests of the crown, and in the fall of 
the same year went to Canada and remained there until 
the close of the war, when he returned to the Mohawk 
valley, where he died about forty-five years since. 

The project of sending Schuyler in advance to announce 
Gen. Arnold's approach to the besieging forces, has been 
attributed to that officer. Such an idea however is not 
characteristic of the man. The forces on the march were 
not equal to the enemy then before Fort Schuyler, in point 
of numbers, but they were chiefly composed of continental 
light troops, enured to service and accustomed to obey, and 
the patriotic militia of the country had again rallied to the 
defense of their homes and families, eager for the strife and 
determined on revenge. Under such circumstances, know- 


ing the strength of the garrison, and being, without donbt, 
well advised of the position and numbers of the enemy, the 
American forces all told were a match for their opponents 
in the neighborhood of the fort, and it was by no means 
likely Si Leger would again attempt to interrupt the 
approach of the provincials by offering battle on any other 
field, and by dividing the strength hazard the safety of his 
camp in another sortie. Lefiections somewhat like these 
would be presented to the mind of the American conmiander, 
who was brave and intemperately rash, and who would 
delight in scourging the men he had denounced as a 
" banditti of robbers, murderers and traitors," and therefore 
would be less likely to suggest a stratagem to avoid a battle 
than some one possessing a different temperament. The 
probability is that this project did not originate with Arnold, 
although on reflection, while impatiently waiting at Fort 
Dayton for reinforcements and supplies, he acquiesced in 
the measure, at the same time, perhaps, doubting its success. 

Nothing further occurred during' the residue of the year 
1777, within the present confines of the county, worthy of 
particular notice. Death had visited almost every dwelling 
in the upper valley, and mourning and lamentations were 
heard in every hamlet ; but hope cheered the survivors, and 
the alliance with France, brought to a successful issue by the 
favorable aspect of American affairs at the close of the year, 
caused universal rejoicing throughout the whole country. 

Unmolested by the enemy in the fall of 1777 and the spring 
of 1778, the inhabitants had planted their fields, expecting 
to reap an abundant harvest in due season ; but in this they 
were sorely disappointed. Fort Schuyler, an important 
post, commanding the western entrance, by water communi- 
cation, to the Mohawk valley, was thirty miles distant from 
the principal settlements at the German Flats, and presented 
no barrier against sudden irruptions of the enemy, who could 
easily avoid that fortress, and fall upon the inhabitants 
below, from almost every direction ; and during the summer 


of this year the work of devastation was vigorously prose- 

June 26th, 1778. — ^The following appointments ^were this 
day made by the governor and council, to the regiment of 
local militia in the German Flats and Kingsland districts : 

Field cjficersand Regimental dcff. — ^Peter Bellinger, colonel ; 
Frederick Bellinger, lieutenant-colonel; Gtoorge Demoth, 
adjutant ; Rudolph Steel, quartermaster. 

Michael Ittig, captain ; Jacob Baulcom, Ist lieutenant ; 
Frederick Frank, 2d lieutenant ; Patrick Campbell, ensign. 

Henry Harter, captain ; John Demoth, Ist lieutenant ; 
Peter Ja. Weaver, 2d lieutenant ; John F. Bellinger, ensign. 

Jacob Small, captain ; Oeorge F. Helmer, 2d lieutenant ; 
Jacob D. Petrie, ensign. 

Henry Staring, captain ; Theobald Baker, 1st lieutenant ; 
George Weaver, 2d lieutenant. 

Soverenus Cassleman, captain $ Henry Huber, 1st lieuten* 
ant ; Jacob G. Klock, 2d lieutenant. 

Frederick Getman, captain ; Jacob Meyer, 2d lieutenant ; 
John Meyer, ensign. 

Henry Eckler, captain ; Conrad Orendorff, 1st lieutenant ; 
Timothy Frank, 2d lieutenant \ Adam A. Staring, ensign. 

The nine companies organized in August, 1776, were reduced 
to seven in about eighteen months of active war. The most 
of this loss was sustained at Oriskany. The names of Her* 
kimer, and Shoemaker have entirely disappeared from the 
rolls, and the Petries have but one representative left. 

The Mohawk chief. Brant, with a small party of Indians, 
attacked a settlement of seven families, called Andrustown, 
in the present town of Warren, in the month of July, plundered 
the inhabitants, burned up all the buildings, killed four per- 
sons, among whom was an aged man by the name of Bell, 
and his two sons. One other man perished in the flames of 
his own house. The rest of the inhabitants were carried 
away captives, and all the property that could be removed 
was taken by the Indians. 



This achievement wa49 perpetrated for the purposes of the 
plunder, as Brctnt was then collecting a large force at Ogh- 
kwaga, or Unadilla, for a more important and far more serious 
expedition, in its effects, which he led in the following month. 
Brant wanted provisions, and took this method of replenish- 
ing his stock. The Indians made a hasty retreat, and were not 
overtaken, although pursued by a ]party of Americans from 
the German Flats. After reaching the scene of desolation, 
the provincials interred the dead, and with several friendly 
Indians followed the marauding party as far as the Little 
lakes, in the south part of Warren, when finding the object 
of their pursuit beyond their reach, they gave up the chase. 
There were a few white families at the lakes, called Young's 
settlement, and the principal man was Young, the patentee, 
to whom the lands had been granted by the crown in 1762. 
This man was a tory in feeling, but wa« not known to have 
committed any open acts of violence against the country. 
His nearest neighbor sympathized with him ; and when the 
Americans found these people had been spared by Brant and 
his party, they plundered and burned their houses, in retalia- 
tion for the destruction of Andrustown. John Frank, 
then one of the committee of safety of Tryon county, from 
the Qerman Flats district, and long known in this county as 
Judge Frank, was one of the party who went in pursuit 
of Brant. 

The Palatine settlements at the German Flats were doomed 
to suffer again under the scourge of Indian warfare, about 
the last of August or the first of September of this year. At 
this period there were two stockadoed defenses called forts, 
midway these settlements east and west. Fort Herkimer, 
near the south bank of the Mohawk river, containing the 
stone church and the stone mansion of the Herkimer family, 
and some other buildings, was surrounded by a ditch ; and 
Fort Dayton, on a somewhat elevated spot of ground in the 
westerly part of Herkimer village, a few rods from the site 
of the present court house. Fort Herkimer, so called, was 


inclosed with a ditch and stockades during the French war 
in 1766, and Port Dayton was constructed a year or two 
previous to the time now under consideration. These de- 
fenses, and others of like construction, erected in the Mo- 
hawk valley, were intended to be used as places of refuge 
for the inhabitants, in cases of sudden incursions by the 
enemy in their plundering and murdering expeditions, and 
to store public property when necessary. They were a 
sufficient defense against the tories and Indians, who were 
never incumbered with arms heavier than the musket and 
rifle, and, with few exceptions, their armaments were small, 
consisting of cannon used in firing signal guns to warn the 
distant inhabitants of some impending danger. The first 
liberty pole erected in the valley was raised at Fort Herkimer, 
in the spring of 1775, and was cut down by White, sheriff of 
Tryon county, who came from Johnstown with a body of 
militia for that purpose ; and it was probably afterwards 
burned by this common hangman. 

There were then about seventy dwelling houses on both 
sides of the river in the neighborhood of these forts, besides 
bams, other out-buildings and mills, with a large population 
for the number of dwellings. The earth had yielded an 
abundant harvest and the crops had been mostly secured. 
Brant's long stay at the Unadilla without striking a blow on 
some one of the exposed points of the frontier, excited a 
suspicion among the inhabitants that he might be meditat- 
ing an attack upon them, and a party of four men were sent 
to watch his movements, who falling in with the enemy three 
of them were killed, and the fourth, John Helmer, saved 
himself by flight, and returning to the Flats about sundown, 
gave notice that Brant with a large force was approaching 
and would be down on the settlements in a short time. Forts 
Dayton and Herkimer now became the asylums for the 
terror-stricken inhabitants, to which men, women and children 
fled for safety, taking with them their most valuable effects, 
such as could be moved; but their crops, cattle and buildings 


were abandoned of course, to the disposal and tender mercies 
of the enemy. There were many among them in whose 
recollections the scenes of 1757 and 1758 were vividly fresh, 
and the apprehension of the ruin that awaited them must 
have been painfully severe. 

Brant, at the head of three hundred tories and one hund^ 
red and fifty*two Indians, approached the confines of the 
settlements just at nightfall, but the weather being unpro- 
pitiouB and the night dark, he made a halt near Shoemaker's, 
his tory friend, and remained there with his forces until 
morning, unconscious that his approach had been notified 
to the inhabitants in time to allow them to escape. The 
untiring vigilance of the chief set him early afoot, and 
in the gray of the morning the whole valley was illuminated 
by an almost simultaneous blaze of houses, bams, stacks 
and barracks of hay and grain and other combustible mate- 
rials. A sorrowful sight, to the people in the forts, who 
saw their houses and other buildings, with the produce of 
the season's labor, entirely consumed by fire. But this was 
not all, nor did the destroyer here stay his hand. As soon 
as it was light enough to discern objects at a distance, the 
tories and Indians collected all the stock that could be found, 
and every thing that could be gathered was driven or carried 

Almon's Remembrancer states that there were 63 dwelling 
houses, 57 bams, 3 grist-mills and 2 saw-mills burnt, with 
most of the Aimiture and grain kept therein; 236 horses, 
229 horned-cattle, 269 sheep and 93 oxen taken and carried 
away. Only two persons lost their lives in this affair. The 
Indians were compelled to be content with their plunder, 
such as it was ; they got neither scalps nor prisoners this 
time, nor did they make any attack upon the forts. Soon 
after the enemy left the valley with their booty, a party of 
between three and four hundred militia followed in pursuit 
as far as the UnadiUa, but this expedition was fruitless, 
except in finding and burying the bodies of the three scouts 



who went out with Helmer to watch the moyements of 

Shortly after the events above narrated, William Dygert, 
who had been taken prisoner by Brant dn Fall hill some 
time in July or August, was recaptured by the Oneida and 
Tuscarora Indians and restored to his friends. This aggres- 
sion at the Grennan Flats did not long go unpunished, and a 
severe retribution soon overtook the Indians by the invasion 
and destruction of two of their chief towns, Unadilla and 
Oghwkaga, the particulars of which do not come within the 
scope of this work. 

Mavor, vicar of Hurley, in Berkshire, Bngland, said there 
was no race of people on earth save the Anglo-Saxon, who 
to maintain and carry out a principle of civil government, 
would submit to the ravages, devastations and destruction 
of property, and bear the consequent destitution of all the 
necessities of life, inflicted by the British armies during the 
revolutionary war. 

Is not the fate of the Palatines somewhat remarkable? 
Twice during the latter half of the seventeenth century the 
houses of their ancestors, on another continent, had been 
visited by the severest calamities of cruel and exterminating 
war, when the whole surviving population were driven by 
a ruthless soldiery into the fields and forests to perish by 
want or exposure ; and when a few thousajud of the survivors 
landed in this country most of them were compelled to endure 
twelve years of serfdom under a corrupt and peculating 
colonial government, and finally when seated by the kind 
hearted and benevolent Burnet at the German Flats, their 
land of promise, and the ulHma ikule of all their hopes, 
they were twice doomed in the last half of the eighteenth 
century to see their fair fields laid waste, their dwellings 
and crops destroyed, their flocks and herds driven away 
to slaughter and themselves reduced to destitution and want. 
And on one of these occasions many of them were slain, but 
more were dragged into captivity. Surely this last visitation 


must have been extremely severe; but severe as it was 
no thought of submission to the crown obtruded itself 
upon their minds. 

Although the lower portions of the Mohawk valley, and 
the white settlements south and east, were repeatedly visited 
by the enemy subsequent to the destruction of the German 
Flats in September, 1778, and the year 1779, the Palatine 
or German Flats settlements in the upper section of the 
valley seem to have been exempted from invasion for more 
than eighteen months, and the whole valley proper was 
comparatively quiet during the winter of 1780. 

On the 3d of April, 1780, a party of about sixty 
tories and Indians fell upon the settlements in Rheimen- 
synder's bush, a few miles north of the Little Falls, and 
burnt a grist-mill in that place. A tory by the name of 
Cassleman was with this party. They came and returned 
by the way of Jerseyfield. They took John Gfirter and his 
son John prisoners at the mill, and captured three men in 
the road, one of whom was Joseph Newman ; at the same 
time, or on the same day, John Windecker, Henry Shaver, 
€teorge Adle, Cobus Van Slyke and one Youker or Uker, 
with several others, were taken at Windecker's father's 
house, some distance north of the mill. The enemy carried 
off nineteen prisoners, twelve of whom, collected in one 
house, surrendered to less than half their number of strag- 
gling Indians without making any resistance or an effort to 
escape. All of these prisoners returned at the close of the 
war, except John Garter, who died in Canada, and George 
Adle, who escaped either on the way out or soon after he 
got to Canada and returned before. John Garter and a man 
named Espley, another prisoner, preferring colonial freedom, 
beset as it then was with privations and dangers, to a 
Canadian prison, agreed to make an effort to escape, and 
hired an Indian to pilot them through the wilderness ; but 
imderstanding they intended to blow up the magazine before 
they left, or making that a pretense for his conduct, he dis- 


closed their intentions to the British officers, when Gkrter 
and Espley were punished severely for their temerity. 
Espley got back, bnt Garter died in consequence of the 
severity of the punishment inflicted upon him. 

There was a blockhouse in this settlement called Bheimen- 
snyder's Fort, to which the inhabitants resorted at night 
for safety and protection. When the Indians made their 
appearance on this occasion many of the inhabitants fled to 
the woods, or otherwise secreted themselves. The objects 
of this expedition seem to have been accomplished by burn- 
ing the mill and the capture of a few prisoners. 

After this visit in April, the inhabitants in that part of the 
county, except two or three tory families in Salisbury, aban- 
doned their farms and retired into the lower valley. Except 
the retreat of Sir John Johnson through the county, near 
the close of the year, after the battle at Eiock's field, and the 
arrival of Gten. Van Rensselaer at Fort Herkimer soon after, 
in pursuit of the Greens and Rangers, whom he was very 
carefcd not to overtake, there is no other event worthy of 
notice. Johson's sable allies having deserted him and taken 
to their heels, and the gallant knight having left his Greens 
and Rangers to take care of themselves as they best could, he 
did not feel that it would be very prudent to mark the pro- 
gress of his retreat with the usual burnings and slaughter 
which had hitherto betokened his visits to the valley. 

The events of 1781 now claim the reader's attention. 
The destruction of Fort Schuyler by flood and fire, in the 
month of May, led to the abandonment of that post and 
the withdrawal of the garrison to the German Flats. The 
works had been materially injured by a heavy flow of 
water produced by long and incessant rains, and on the 
13th of May a fire broke out at mid-day, which rendered 
the place indefensible. The fire was attributed to design 
and that suspicion was never removed. 

While great Britain held her sway over the provinces, 
controlled the western Indians and desired to command 


the fur trade, defensive positions at the carrying place 
from the Mohawk river to Wood creek were no doubt im- 
portant. Old Fort Stanwix when first built was almost in 
the heart of the Indian country, and commanded the ap- 
proaches by water from Canada by the way of Oswego ; but 
during the revolutionary war it was too far advanced into 
the wilderness lo.afiford any protection to the white settle- 
ments below, against the predatory system of warfare carried 
on by the enemy. That post was easily avoided whenever 
the enemy came over by the way of Oswego, by passing to 
the south of it from the Onondaga and Oneida lakes. Most 
of the expeditions, however, sent against the Mohawk valley, 
came by the way of the Unadilla, that being the most avail- 
able point to strike the settlements in that valley, the 
Schoharie creek, or on the west banks of the Hudson* 
Several small parties, however, approached the settlements 
on the Mohawk by the way of Black river. 

Mr. Solomon Woodworth, commissioned May 11th, 1780, 
a lieutenant in GoL John Harper's regiment of New York 
levies, was afterwards, on the 8th March, 1781, appointed 1st 
lieutenant in CoL Fisher's regiment of Tryon county militia, 
'^ in the place of William Lard taken by or deserted to the 
enemy.'* I do not find any record of Mr. Woodworth's 
appointment as a captain. Acting under one of the above 
appointments, he, with a company of forty rangers, was 
stationed at Fort Dayton, for the purpose of scouring and 
traversing the wilderness country north of the German Flats. 
Woodworth was a brave man. Once during the war he 
was taken prisoner, but made his escape, and returned suf- 
fering very consideraUe hardships; at Miother time he 
defended a blockhouse north of Johnstown, and single- 
handed drove away the enemy. Lieut. Woodworth left 
Fort Dayton with his company to reconnoitre the Boyal 
Grant Having proceeded a few hours on the march, an 
Indian was discovered who was immediately fired upon, 
when the rangers found themselves involved in an inextrica- 


ble ambnBcade, and completely Burrounded by an Indian 
force double their own numbereu The conflict that followed 
was severe and sanguinary, as might well have been expected 
from the character of the combatants engaged, and a hand 
to hand fight left but fifteen of the Americans, who escaped 
to tell the sad fate of their brethren. Some of this party 
were taken prisoners, but Woodworth and about half 
of his men were killed on the spot. 

This fatal encounter took place about three miles north 
of Herkimer village, on the east side of the West Canada 
creek, in a deep ravine, where now may be seen the mound 
of earth, under which rest the remains of the gallant Wood- 
worth and his brave companions. The killed, it appears, 
were all collected and buried in one common grave, un- 
shrouded and uncoffined, with no monument to teU where 
rest the brave but unfortunate defenders of American liberty. 

On the 6th of August, a German settlement called Shell's 
Bush, three or four miles north of Fort Dayton, was visited 
by a party of these formidable asserters of the rights of the 
crown. Donald McDonald, a Scotch refugee from Johns- 
town, with a party of about sixty Indians and tones, with 
whom was Empie and Oassleman, two famous traitors, the 
latter being the same man who was with the party that 
attacked Bheimensnyder's bush in April, 1780, made their 
appearance in the Shell settlement in the afternoon of the 
above day, when most of the inhabitants had retired to Fort 
Dayton, for protection. Some indications of this hostile 
movement must have been previously discovered, or the 
inhabitants would not have sought the protection of the 
fort. There was, however, one man, John Christian Shell, 
the husband of a brave and resolute wife, and the father 
of six sons, who determined to brave out the storm, let 
come what would. He had a strong blockhouse on his 
farm, well constructed for purposes of defense against ma- 
rauding parties of tones and Indians ; *and he resolved to 
fight rather than run. The first story of logs had no open- 


ings except a doorway or entrance, well protected by a 
massive door, and loopholes through which the besieged 
conld fire npon their ctssailants. The floor of the second 
story projected over the lower part of the building, and had 
apertures in the projecting floor, afibrding ample means of 
annoying any enemy who might approach the building to 
fire it or break open the door below. Shell had a good 
supply of arms and ammunition to stand an ordinary siege. 
When the enemy made their appearance, Shell and his sons 
were in the field at work, but his two youngest, being twins 
only eight years old, were so far off he could not save them 
when he retired to his blockhouse, and they were taken and 
carried to Canada. Having gained his castle and secured 
the entrance. Shell and his little garrison were resolute and 
alert, and kept up a spirited fight from two o'clock until 
dark. Some of the incidents are worthy of particular 
notice. Shell's wife was active in loading the pieces fired 
by her husband and four sons. McDonald several times 
attempted to set fire to the building, but failed. His men 
were several times compelled to retreat, in consequence of 
the galling fire received from the party in the blockhouse. 
McDonald made an effort to force the door with a crowbar, 
but was wounded in the leg while so engaged, and none of 
his party being near enough to rescue him. Shell did not 
hesitate a moment to unbar the door and drag the wounded 
tory leader into his fortress. This capture not only secured 
Shell against being burnt out by the enemy, but afforded 
an ample supply of ammunition to the little garrison, whose 
stock was becoming rather short. To save his life, McDonald 
gave up his cartridges to be used against his followers. A 
short respite took place between the belligerents, but the 
enemy returned and made a vigorous effort to take the 
blockhouse by assault. They came up to the walls and 
thrust the muzzles of their pieces through the loopholes, 
when Madam Shell by a blow upon five of them wHh an 
axe, rendered them useless ; this being followed by several 



deliberate shots from the little garrison, compelled the 
assailants to retire to a respectfnl distance. Just at dark. 
Shell practised a little stratagem which induced the enemy 
to suppose that troops were approaching from Fort Dayton, 
whereupon they fled to the woods, taking with them Shell's 
two little sons. After providing for the tory commander 
in the best manner they could, the family started for the 
forfc, which they reached in safety. Some of McDonald's 
Indians visited him, after the family went away, but finding 
he could not be removed, they left him to the mercy of the 
Americans, with a message to Shell that the welfare of his 
little boys depended on the treatment bestowed on McDonald. 
The wounded prisoner was taken to the fort the next day, 
when his leg was amputated. The enemy's loss on the 
ground was quite severe, eleven killed and six wounded. 
The little boys, on their return after the war, stated that 
nine out of twelve wounded which the enemy started with, 
died before they reached Canada. 

In the following year Shell and two of his sons, being at 
work in the field not far from his block-house, were fired 
upon by a party of Indians secreted in a wheat field, and 
he was dangerously wounded. The sons remained with 
their father until a party from the fort came to their relief. 
One of the sons was, however, shot dead and the other 
wounded, before the guard arrived. John Christian Shell 
did not long survive his wounds, and thus closed the life of 
a brave and resolute man and a pure and devout Christian. 
During the short cessation in the attack on the block-house. 
Shell addressed his Maker in a hymn of deliverance from 
peril, used by the early German reformers. 

The Shellsbush settlement is on what is usually called 
Gens Purchase, embracing perhaps some portion of the 
Royal Grant, and it will be observed that the name of SheU, 
Schel or Shaul does not occur among the patentees of Bur- 
nets field, nor is the name found in the list of Palatines 
remaining in New York, or taken to Livingston Manor, of 


the first two companies that emigrated Enongh is still 
known of him to authorize the conclusion that he was a 
German Lutheran, and he or his ancestors may have come 
oyer with the third body of immigrants in 1722, or at a later 
period. The singularly rude and unharmonious account 
of Shell's conflict with the tones and Indians, contained in 
Campbell's Annals of Tryon county, has contributed very 
much to keep that event fresh in the recollection of the 
descendants of his German neighbors. 

After the defeat of the expedition led by Major Boss, 
aided by Walter N. Butler, and which fell upon the lower 
valley on the 24th of October, like an avalanche of lava, 
burning and destroying every thing in its course, the 
enemy retreated in a northerly direction through Jersyfield. 
OoL Willett having ordered Uie destruction of their bat- 
teaux, left at the Oneida lake, arrived at the German Flats 
by forced marches, in order to intercept Boss's retreat on 
the west Canada creek, unless he should return to Buck's 
island on the St. Lawrence river. On the morning of the 
29th Willett with four hundred of his best troops with sixty 
Oneida warriors, provisioned for five days, started in a 
northerly direction from Fort Dayton along the West Canada 
creek. The first day's march of the Americans through a 
snow storm was severe, and at night they camped in a thick 
forest on the Boyal Orant. Here Col. Willett, having 
ascertained during the night, by means of his scouts, the 
locality, position and force of the enemy, remained until 
the next morning when he started well prepared to give 
battle to the foe, determined to inflict a justly merited and 
suitable chastisement upon the marauders; but Boss being 
equally alert, and quite as anxious to avoid the action as 
his opponent was to bring it on, and being well advised of 
the proximity of his antagonist, was in full retreat as early 
as the Americans had started in the pursuit, and it was not 
until afternoon that Willett came up with a party of the 
enemy's rear. A smart skirmish ensued, when several of the 


enemy were killed and taken prisoners^ among the latter 
was a tory. Lieutenant John Rykeman, and the remainder 
fled. The Americans overtook the main body of Boss's 
party soon after, when a rmming fight was kept up between 
the pursuers and pursued until the4atter crossed the creek 
late in the day. Butler succeeded in rallying his men and 
made a stand on the west bank, when a brisk action took 
place between the parties on opposite sides of the creek, 
during which the enemy had about twenty men killed, and 
among them was Walter N. Butler. The death of this 
officer was followed by the immediate and confused flight 
of his men, and Willett pursued his terror stricken foes 
until compelled to desist by darkness and the fatigue of his 
men, who had been on foot all day and more than half the 
time fighting. The enemy continued the retreat all night 
and marched thirty miles before they made a halt 

Gol. Willett says, ^'strange as it may appear, it is never- 
theless true, that notwithstanding the enemy had been four 
days in the wilderness, with only half a pound of horse- 
flesh per man per day, yet in this famished condition they 
trotted thirty miles before they stopped. Many of them, 
indeed, fell a sacrifice to such treatment." The British 
had six hundred and seventy men in this expedition, which 
closed the active oflfensive operations of the enemy at the 
north for the year. 

Walter N. Butleb'b Death. 

According to the most authentic tradition we now have 
of Butler's death, derived from Major Thornton, late of 
Schenectady, who was a captain under CoL Willett, in the 
pursuit of Ross and Butler, on their retreat from Johnstown, 
there seems to be a somewhat different version given to 
this affair, than that heretofore published. Thornton stated 
that Ross and Butler, with their party, encamped on But- 
ler's ridge in the town of Norway, on the night before the 
Americans overtook them, having traversed the forest from 


Mayfield the day before. That Col. Willett was fearful the 
enemy had escaped him in consequence of his having made 
the detour to Fort Dayton, or that they might have gone 
a more northern route than the one usually taken, to reach 
the Black river or Oneida lake. A light autumnal snow 
had fallen during the night. Thornton was sent out from 
Willett's encampment as early in the morning as objects 
were visible, with a few men, and among them was an 
artilleryman, for the purpose of reconnoitring and finding 
the enemy's trail, if there was one to be found. ' The party 
separated into files of two for the purpose of examination, 
moving towards the West Canada creek. The artilleryman 
was with Oapt Thornton, and they had been sometime 
afoot without discovering any traces of the enemy, when 
they began to fear they were not on the right course ; they 
continued on, however, until they reached Butler's ridge, 
when, from their examinations, they were satisfied there 
had been an encampment the night before, although the 
snow on the ground rendered the question somewhat doubt- 
fuL Having communicated this fact to CoL Willett, Thorn- 
ton and his companion struck what they supposed was the 
enemy's trail, and continued their course in pursuit, little 
expecting to find the enemy near at hand. It was not long, 
however, before they heard voices, and looking in the 
direction of this noise they saw a small scouting party, 
who had probably been on the lookout for Willett, coming 
up in a direction partly from their rear. Thornton and his 
comrade avoided this party by hiding in the underbrush. 
Ailer this scout had passed them long enough to allow an 
advance with safety, as they believed, they struck the fresh 
trail and continued the pursuit cautiously, expecting every 
moment to be overtaken by Willett's advanced guard in 

The artilleryman was soon killed, by a volley from a 
thicket in advance ; and when hit by the ball he jumped 
two or three feet into the air. Willett's forces followed the 


enemy to the creek, the sontherlj bank being covered with 
large hemlock trees and a thick undergrowth. A heavy, 
dense fog hung over the creek, when the American advance 
got into it for the purpose of crossing, which being suddenly 
lifted by the wind, exposed them to the enemy on the op- 
posite bank, who gave them so warm and unlooked-for a 
reception that they retired momentarily up the creek bank, 
behind the trees and into the bush, having some of the 
party killed and wounded. The fog again settled upon the 
creek and the parties fired four or five rounds, each at the 
other, quite at random, as they could not see across the 
stream at the time. The enemy's fire slackened, and the 
Americans then went over and found Butler and five of the 
enemy dead on the bank of the creek. Thornton stated he 
was among the first who reached the opposite bank, but an 
Indian was the first, of their party who went to the spot 
where Butler lay dead, near a tree, and looking at him a 
moment turned and told Thornton who it was. Thornton 
examined the lifeless body ; the hat, with a gold band around 
it, was then on the head; he pulled it ofi^, saw the bullet hole 
in the head, and no other wound or fracture about it. When 
Thornton started on the expedition he wore a thin pair of 
summer pantaloons, which were pretty much gone when he 
reached the creek. The Indian pulled off Butler's pants at 
Thornton's request, and the latter put them on. Major 
Thornton was. confident no one knew or could tell who it 
was that killed Butler, he being dead before any of his pur- 
suers found him. 

The enemy were pursued by CoL Willett, until hunger and 
want of provisions compelled him to retrace his steps. On 
their return to the creek crossing, our people heard the cry 
of a child near the wayside ; some of them went in search 
of it and found a female infant near a large fallen elm tree, 
which had been abandoned by its stricken and toil-worn 
mother to a far different fate from that which awaited it. 
The child was brought away from its cold and comfortless 


cradle by some hungered and weary rebel, whose heart may 
have been sorely riven more than once by the hand of its 
father. Thornton also stated that Willett's forces had a 
smart brush with the enemy at Black Greek, in the parsuit 

After Willett's forces recrossed the Canada creek, they 
turned off in the direction of Mount's place in Jerseyfield, 
to bury some of their dead. At this time the party had a 
British sub-officer, a prisoner, who seems to have been aban- 
doned to the tender mercies of the Indians. This man was 
a tory and had formerly lived in the valley. Anticipating 
his fate, he inquired of the American officers whether they 
intended to allow the Indians to massacre him. No direct 
answer was given to the inquiry, and the officer disappeared 
before the troops reached Fort Dayton. 

This relation of the manner Butler was killed, corresponds 
with that given by CoL Willet in his official account of the 
affair. -It is fully corroborated by several traditional state- 
ments handed down from persons who were on the spot, and 
who saw and knew all about it. In every published account 
I have seen, from that of Marshall, in his Life of Washing- 
ton, down to our own times, no two of them correspond in 
the precise statement of facts. Col. Willett could not have 
had any motive in withholding a fiill and true relation of 
the facts attending Butler's death. If he bad been wounded 
and afterwards despatched, when discovered, by one of 
Willett's men, or an Indian, why should not that fact have 
been officially stated by the commander of the expedition ? 
He had inquired into the matter; it was a subject too import- 
ant to be omitted. When, therefore, the Colonel says, **he 
was shot dead, at once, having no time to implore for 
mercy," we are called upon to pause a little before we pro- 
nounce the statement untrue. But, to use a legal phrase, 
how stand the impeaching witnesses ? One says that Butler, 
in fleeing from his pursuers, sioam his horse across the 
stream, and then turning round to them on the opposite 

^ ^IWJ !-< 


bank, defied them. An Indian discharged his rifle at him 
and he fell wounded. The Indian then staam to the opposite 
bank, foond Butler alive and able to supplicate for mercy, 
but who answered the supplication by burying his toma- 
hawk in Butler's brains. This relation assumes the improba- 
ble facts that Butler was entirely alone and unattended by 
any of his men, otherwise, if only wounded and capable of 
speech, having a horse at hand, he could and would have 
been carried a long distance into the wood, while the Indian, 
axe in hand, was swimming across the stream. Another 
says he was sorely wounded while standing behind a tree 
watching a brisk engagement between the hostile parties, on 
opposite sides of the creek, and that when he fell, his troops 
fled in great confusion, leaving him uncared for, whether 
dead or alive, when they had full time to remove him, and 
ample means at hand to do it. The Indian then crossed the 
creek and finding Butler alive, shot him again, through the 
eye. An Indian never loses a charge of powder and ball, 
when his tomahawk, his never-failing and favorite weapon, 
will answer his purpose. And yet another says the enemy 
had passed the creek, when Butler stopped, dismounted from 
his horse, and was in the act of drinking water from a tin 
cup, in full view from the opposite bank, when he was fired 
at by two of his enemy and felL The Indian, a Mohawk, 
inunediately crossed the creek, and finding Butler wounded, 
only, ended his life with a tomahawk. Now let us consider 
a moment. Was it not quite remarkable that the command- 
ing officer of an expedition, who had been three days strain- 
ing every nerve to elude the pursuit of a superior, active 
and vigilant foe, and whose rear guard had been skirmishing 
nearly the whole day with His enemy's advance, should loiter 
in his way, suffer all his men to proceed on their route with- 
out him; nay, more, that he should deliberately dismount 
and drink a tin cup of water, exposed to full view of his 
pursuing enemy on the left bank of the creek. But opposed 
to this, is Col. Willett's official declaration, that Butler ^' was 



shot dead, at once, having no time to implore for mercy," 
when this last account makes him present when Butler was 
scalped; and when he, Willett must have been informed, if 
it was true, that Butler, in the first instancef, had only been 
wounded and afterwards tomahawked. 

I have already given quite as much space to the subject as 
its importance will justify. Many persons had expressed a 
desire to know which of the several accounts describing the 
manner and circumstances of Butler's death was the more 
probable or true one. That is, whether he was shot dead in 
the first instance, and nothing was known of his person until 
the body was afterwards examined, or whether he was first 
identified across the stream, then fired at, wounded, deserted 
by his followers, and finally shot in the eye or tomahawked. 
The scalping part of the tragedy was probably performed in 
the best style of Indian execution. 

I have elaborated Maj. Thornton's statement, and, in the 
main fact, it seems to accord with the official report. 
Although the memory of the man has been and is still 
regarded in our county with deep and unalleviated horror, 
there are many who would still like to be informed of the 
truth of history. 

The route taken by Maj. Boss and the survivors of this 
cruel expedition, after leaving the West Canada creek, is 
spoken of by Stone as in the direction of Oneida lake, 
where the batteaux had been left when the expedition came 
from Canada, while other writers assume that Boss pro- 
ceeded to the Genesee country. It is not probable that he 
would have attempted the latter route in the destitute con- 
dition of his men. He reached Granadier island in about 
eight days after leaving the creek, in a most pitiable con- 
dition, having suffered every thing but death by exposure 
and want of food. 

Thus ended the career of Walter N. Butler, a man of 
enterprizing boldness, but whose heart was a compound of 
ferocious hate, insatiable cruelty, and unappeasable revenge. 


Even Brant himself denounced him as more unrelenting 
than the savages themselves. It certainly can not excite 
surprise and wonder that the news of his death should have 
produced one universal shout of joy along the whole Mohawk 
valley. The miserable man met a fate he but too well 
deserved, and retributive justice was not robbed of a proper 

The losses of the enemy during this expedition were very 
severe, and the sufferings of the survivors in traversing 
eighty miles of wilderness, without food or blankets, in cold 
and dreary weather, were intense. Willett abandoned the 
pursuit and returned to Port Dayton, having lost only one 
man. The surrender of Gornwallis at Yorktown, and other 
unpropitious events during the year, had produced an 
apathetic feeling on the part of the enemy. 

In June, 1782, a party of the enemy, tories and Indians 
as usual, appeared at the Little falls for the sole purpose 
of destroying a grist-mill at that place, for they do not 
seem to have achieved any other valorous exploit in that 
way. The grist mill on the falls of the Mohawk became 
quite important to the inhabitants of the upper valley, as 
well as to the garrisons of Forts Herkimer and Dayton, after 
the destruction of those at German Flats, by Brant, a year 
and a half before. The enemy came upon the party at the 
flouring mill at night, and accomplished their designs with- 


out much difficulty.* At any rate, only a few shots were 
fired, and one man, Daniel Petri, was killed. When the 
Indians entered the mill, the occupants attempted to escape 
the best way they could. Two of them. Cox and Skinner, 

*The foUowing persons were at the mill when it was bamed, and all of 
them, except the millers and soldiers, had brought corn to the miU, and 
were wuting for their grists. Peter Wolleaver, Christian Bdiok, Frederick 
OetniAn, Marks Rasbach, John Rasbach, Thomas Shoemaker, Lawrence Hatter, 
Jacob Petri, Daniel Petri, who was killed, Peter Orendorff; Qershom Skinner^ 
and F. Cox, miUers ; a sergeant and six men from Capt. McGregor's compan j 
of continental troops. Two of the soldiers escaped, and five were taken pri- 


secreted themselves in the raceway, under the water-wheel, 
and escaped death and captivity ; bnt two others, Christian 
Edick and Frederick Getman, jumped into the raceway, 
above the mill, and there endeavored to conceal themselves, 
bnt the burning mill disclosed their hiding place and they 
were taken prisoners. After burning the mill the enemy 
retired, taking with them several prisoners! 

In Stone's, life of Brant, the author states that these mills 
were erected by Alexander EUice, Esq., a Scotch merchant, 
'' who had, under the favor of Sir Wi|liam Johnson, obtained 
a patent of the wild mountain gorge, through which the 
Mohawk leaps from the upper into the lower section of the 
valley.'' This is not strictly accurate. The lands on the 
north side of the river, from the upper to the lower end of 
the falls, are embraced in the patent granted in 1726 to 
Johan Joost Petri and other Palatines, and the lands on 
the south side are covered by a patent granted in 1762 to 
Johan Jost Herchkeemer and another person, known as the 
Fall-Hill patent. Mr. Ellice, in his lifetime, and his family 
in England after his death, held the title to two of the four 
Bumetsfield lots on the north side of the river, and to the 
whole of Vaughn's patent, granted to CoL John Vaughn 
and others in 1770, the titles to which were derived through 
Mr. John Porteous, who was many years a merchant at the 
Little Falls, and died there. The names of the Burnetsfield 
patentees are given in another chapter, and it is there shown 
to whom the lots at the Little Falls were granted. 

The upper Mohawk valley was not again visited by any 
serious calamity during the remainder of the contest. The 
war had not entirely ceased in other quarters, but there was 
a general subsiding of hostilities, as if by common consent, 
and the mother country had sickened of the effort to whip 
her rebellious children into submission. Towards the close 
'of the year the British commander-in-chief directed that no 
more Indian expeditions at the north should be sent out, and 
those already on foot were recalled. The house of commons 


passed a resolution, soon after the news of the surrender 
of Comwallis had reached England, declaring ^'that the 
house would consider as enemies to his Uiajesty and the 
country, all who should advise or attempt the further pro~ 
ecution of offensive war on the continent of North America." 
In conformity to the pacific sentiments expressed in the 
above resolution, if a ministerial change should take place, 
the American people might reasonably expect an entire 
change in the policy hitherto pursued towards them. The 
principal historical events of the war will be closed with this 
chapter, and the compiler, in common with many others, 
who like him have heard the oftentimes repeated traditional 
tale of the suffering infltcted upon the frontier settlements 
of the valley, must express his deep regret that some one 
had not written out a particular history of the revolutionary 
transactions within the county, while most of the surviving 
actors and eye witnesses were living. 

In February, 1783, the forces under the command of Col. 
Willett, were concentrated at Port Herkimer, the undeveloped 
object being to surprise and capture the British fortress at 
Oswego. The expedition failed in consequence of the small 
number of troops employed, and the want of a proper arma- 
ment to besiege the place, attended with the unfortunate 
occurrence of the Indian guide having, when within a few 
miles of the fort, lost his way, and conducted this little band 
into a deep forest covered with snow, instead of directing 
his course to the place of destination. Colonel Willett 
returned to Albany in time to hear the gladsome news of 
peace proclaimed, and to rejoice with his emancipated coun- 
trymen in that welcome event. 

Here closed the great drama of the revolution, which, 
for almost six years, had presented to the inhabitants of 
this frontier, little else than one continued scene of 
desolation, and blood. The enemy were too keen and 
indefatigable to leave a single out-laying hamlet unvisited 
at some period during the war, and probably not one in fifty 


escaped destmction by fire. In the winter and spring of 1780 
the inhabitants whose dwellings were not within the protec- 
tion of forts and block-honses defended by provincial troops, 
were compelled to abandon their farms and seek a shelter 
within the armed defenses, so fierce and exterminating had 
the Indian warfare become in retaliation of the exploits of 
the Americans during Sullivan's expedition in 1779. 

In 1781 it was supposed that one third of the population 
of the whole Mohawk valley had gone over to the enemy, 
and another third had been killed or driven from the 
country, and that among those who remained were two 
thousand orphan children and three hundred widows The 
people of the upper valley su£fered severly during the war 
and from the militia organizations before and after the war 
it would seem they lost nearly half their men capable of 
bearing arms during that period. But it is not true that 
one third of the population of the upper valley abandoned 
their country and its cause and went over to the enemy, 
nor is it probable that even one in twenty of them espoused 
the interests of the crown. 

My desire to record in'this book an historical fact, which 
illustrates, in a eminent degree, the spirit and bearing of the 
leading men of the revolution, induces me to append it to 
this otherwise long chapter, although it transpired at an 
early period of the war. 

Soon after the confirmation of the treaty of alliance and 
commerce between the United States and France was re- 
ceived in England in 1778, the ministry acting under the 
authority of recent acts of parliament, sent out commis- 
sioners to America to negotiate respecting the diflScultiea 
between the two countries, and fully empowered them : 

*^ To consent to a cessation of hostilities both by sea and 

" To restore free intercourse, to revive mutual affection, 
and renew the common benefits of naturalization through 
the several parts of this empire. 



"To extend every freedom to^ trade that our respective 
interests can require. 

^^ To agree that no military forces shall be kept up in the 
different states of North America, without the consent of 
the general congress or particular assemblies. 

^' To concur in measures calculated to discharge the debts 
of America, and to raise the credit and value of the paper 

" To perpetuate our union by a reciprocal deputation of 
an^gent or agents from the different states, who shall have 
the privilege of a seat and voice in the parliament of Great 
Britain ; or, if sent from Britain, in that case, to have a 
seat and voice in the assemblies of the different states 
to which they may be deputed respectively, in order to 
attend to the several' interests of those by whom they are 

" To establish the power of the respective legislatures in 
each particular state, to settle its revenue, its civil and 
military establishment, and to exercise a perfect freedom of 
legislation and internal government, so that the British 
states, throughout North America, acting with us in peace 
and war, under one common sovereign, may have the 
irrevocable enjoyment of every privilege that is short of 
a total separation of interests, or consistent with that union 
of force, on which the safety of our common religion and 
liberty depends." 

These terms were not acceptable to congress, nor was 
that body in the least inclined to negotiate on^ny terms of 
conciliation with the mother country in the then aspect of 
affairs. Having thus far single-handed and alone stood up 
against all adversities and weathered the storms of war, 
congress and the people, with the aid of the French alliance, 
now fancied the haven of peace to be full in view. Mr. 
Laurens, in reply to certain inquiries put to him on the 
subject, said the Americans would not enter into the con- 
sideration of a treaty of peace, without a direct and open 

108 msTOBT OP HEBKiMEB couimr. 

acknowledgment of the independence of the states, or the 
withdrawal of the British fleets and armies. The terms 
offered in the6e propositions look very much like a total 
abandonment of all the antecedent arrogant pretensions of 
the crown, and to present the case of a mere nominal con- 
nection with and not subjection to the head of the British 
empire. If the hopes of America were elated by the anspi* 
cions events which had happened, the fears of Britain 
checked her vaulting ambition and drove her to propose 
an accommodation, whichi if offered three years EOoJkff 
might have produced a reconciliation* 


IfiflSbUaneonB Inoidento, from 1783 to the Preflent Time — Hostile Feelii^ 
towasdfl the Indiins and Tories after Peaoe — Old Snglaad Diatriot — JoaUoea 
of the Peace Appointed in 1772 — 1784— Immigration before the War — 
New England Emigration — Character of the Population — Militia OllLcers — 
jUlQaion to the Bhaj'a War in MaBaaehnaettB — Jnatioes Appointed in 1791 
— DifKcaltj about the Stamps — Clerk's Ofloe Bnmt In 1804 — War of 1812 
—Militia of the Coimtj— Bonntj Lands^State of the Conntj after the 
War— Cholera— Jail — Court House — Clerk's Ofloe. 

The restoration of peace between the former colonies and 
the crown did not restore internal tranquility within the 
borders of the npper valley. The surviving inhabitlants 
awoke, not as from a pleasing dream, whose thought, if so 
it may be called, had run riot in elysium, but to ii^e sad and 
woeful reality of slaughtered relatives, ruined habitations, 
wasted fields, and a devastated country. When they first 
went abroad from the blockhouses, forts and places of refuge, 
would they not remember the hand which had inflicted 
the wrong and been made the instrument of a cruel and 
tyrannous chastisement? The Indians, those who were 
known to belong to the hostile clans of the Iroquois, could 
not safely pass through or sojourn in the country. Not a 
few of them, who ventured upon the hazardous exploit, 
forfeited their lives. The men who had been almost aban- 
doned by the country, during the whole war ; and particu- 
larly during the harrassing campaign of 1780, to their own 
resources and exertions, felt it to be no wrong to shoot an 
Indian, when and wherever they met him,, in peace or 


But the most sore trial the snryivors were put to, and the 
greatest cause of irritation they had to suffer, was the re- 
turn of the tories after the peace, claiming a restoration of 
their forfeited estates, and compensation for property des- 
troyed and taken for public use during the war. A unani- 
mous feeling of resistance to this claim pervaded the whole 
valley, and, for several years after the war, he must have 
been a bold and resolute man, who would visit the country 
a second time on such a mission. If one of these Mohawk 
tories got out of the country on his first visit after the 
peace, without meeting with some disagreeable interviews 
with the German population, he was a lucky man. 

The ^' old England" district, embracing a small portion 
of the territory in the south part of this county, and a por- 
tion of Otsego and Madison counties, on the UnadiUa river, 
erected by the colonial government, was organized as a 
part of Montgomery county in 1784, and officers appointed 
by the court of general sessions. Rudolph Shoemaker and 
Frederick Bellinger were appointed justices of the peace in 
Tryon county. May 26th, 1772 ; and Greorge Henry Bell and 
Andrew Finck, Jr., were appointed to the same office in 
Montgomery county, July 8, 1784. These persons then 
lived within the present limits of this county. 

The county had received a considerable accession to its 
population, between 1725 and 1775, from the country below, 
from Columbia county, New York and Germany, chiefly of 
German extraction, with some Low Dutch or Hollanders 
from the borders of the Hudson* The din of war had 
scarcely ceased along the valley, ere the sturdy New Eng- 
lander was seen wending his toilsome way along the valley, 
with his face set towards the Royal Grant, or the woodland 
regions of Warren, Columbia, Litchfield and Winfield. The 
earliest New Finland settlers found their way into the woods 
north and south of the river, about the year 1785, and from 
that time forward to 1800, the emigration from the south- 
part of this state and the Eastern states was very rapid, 



and exceeded ten thousand the first fifteen years after it 
fairly set in. The foreign emigration was nothing during 
this period. The Celt could not be spared, the loyal Scotch 
and English would not come, and the wars in Germany were 
consuming the population of that empire. No event of 
sufficient importance to attract special attention occurred 
from 1783 to 1791, except the organization of two towns 
in 1788, which is noticed in another chapter. 

I will notice here the first organization after the war, in 
1786, October 2d, made in the regiment of local militia in 
the German Flats and Eingsland districts, and arranged as 
follows : 

Fidd and Regimental staff. — ^Henry Staring, lieut. colonel ; 
Peter Weaver, major, 1st battalion ; Patrick Campbell, major, 
^2d battalion; John Frank, adjutant; Melchert Fols, pay- 
master; William Petrie, surgeon. 

1st company. — Jacob Petry, captain; Dederick Petry, 
lieutenant ; William Father, ensign. 

2d company. — John Meyer, captain ; William Clapsaddle, 
lieutenant ; Henry Frank, ensign. 

3d company. — Adam Staring, captain ; Liutwick Campell, 
lieutenant ; Lawrence Herter, ensign. 

4th company. — ^Peter P. Bellinger, captain ; Joost Herc- 
himer, lieutenant ; Peter Fox, ensign. 

5th company. — Michael Meyer, captain ; Peter F. Bellin- 
ger, lieutenant ; George Weatirce, ensign. 

6th company, (light infantry). — ^William Colbreath, cap- 
tain ; Daniel C. White, lieutenant ; George J. Weaver, ensign . 

These militia arrangements must indicate the numbers and 
strength of the population capable of bearing arms ; and 
although three years of peace had intervened in which there 
had been a large influx of population, quite enough to make 
up two companies, we .have three organized companies less 
at this time than there were in 1775. The names of the 
officers are copied^as found in the council minutes. Ensign 
William Father, I think, represents William Feeter, and 
George Weatirce, represents George Weaver. 


The recaperative energies of the Teutonic race were not 
long nnseen or unfelt when left free to act, and the fields 
that were laid waste by war for years, again waved with 
golden harvests and the accomplished woodman's axe was 
doing its work in the sturdy forest. 0! what a priceless 
boon to man had grown from the stem calamities of a war 
whose dirge had just been sung by mourning thousands. 

A fact which to some extent illastrates the American 
character has come to my notice while preparing this 
work for the press. It is this. A considerable portion of 
the New England emigration between 1787 and 1793 was from 
Massachusetts. Many of these people had been implicated 
in or connected with the disturbances in that sfcate which 
terminated in what has been called Shay^s rebellion. Now 
the history of that affair is briefly this. During the contest 
recently ended that state had contributed largely in men, 
money and credit to the support of the common cause, its 
commerce had been destroyed and its manufactories lan- 
guished on the return of peace by the introduction of 
foreign fabrics. The whole debt of the state, domestic and 
due to the confederation was about 1 10,000,000, and in the 
year 1785 a tax of one and a half millions of dollars 
was levied on the people and property in the state, equal to 
about four dollars for every man, woman and child in it. With 
no money to meet this heavy excessive burden the commer- 
cial and agricultural classes became more and more indebted 
to the state. John Hancock resigned the office of governor, 
and was succeeded by Mr. Bowdoin by a legislative appoint- 
ment. Soon after his reelection in 1786, numerous symp- 
toms of discontent were exhibited in different parts of the 
state, and especially in the western towns, whose population 
was confined to agricultural pursuits. 

In August 1786 a convention of delegates from 60 towns 
convened at Hatfield, Hampshire county ^* to consider and 
provide for the grievances they suffered;*' In consequence 
of the disorderly proceeding of the people in different parts 

m^'^^'^^mmmm'*-- .] 


of the state ; little attention was given to the petition for- 
warded to the government by the convention. The legis- 
lature met in September following, passed some stringent 
laws against disorderly and riotous meetings of the people, 
suspended the writ of habeas corpus eight months, and 
took some measures to relieve the public burthens. The 
disturbances continued and several of the leaders were 
arrested and confined in Boston jail. The main object of 
these people seems to have been to prevent the sittings of 
the courts of common pleas which they alleged imposed a 
heavy burden on the public. About 1000 met at Worcester, 
but committed no other offense than to place guards round 
the houses where the judges put up, to prevent them from 
holding the courts. While here, Daniel Shays urged them 
to proceed to Boston and release by force the prisoners 
confined in jail there. ' 

The project was not carried out They obstructed the 
holding of the courts in some of the western counties in 
the state. They afterwards made an attempt, in 1787, to 
take the Springfield arsenal They were met by Gen. 
Shepard at the head of 1000 militia, and after having three 
men killed the rest dispersed. 

These rebels, as they were called, then petitioned for a 
pardon for the offenses committed by them, but it was refused 
because they stated they had reason to complain of the wrongs 
and sufferings they endured. They had collected in a con- 
siderable body at Petersham in the winter of 1787-8, when 
they were surprised by General Lincoln, who took 150 pri- 
soners, and the remainder returned home or left the state. 
This was the last of the famous Shay's rebellion. No lives 
were lost except on the part of these disaffected people. 
They do not seem to have aimed at the overthrow of the 
government, but sought relief from unbearable burthens. 
They took an unwise course. The remedy did not lay in 
that direction. John Hancock was again elected governor 
in the spring of 1788. He was a moderate politician of the 


federal school The state was federal when the people 
arranged themselves into parties. In the western part, the 
seat of these disturbances, the anti-federalists or republicans 
contended resolutely for victory at the first election under 
the federal or national constitution, and in some places had 
a majority. The head and front of this offending could not 
have been very grievous. There were no executions for 
treason. There can be no doubt the government of the 
state was at that time very exacting and intolerant, and the 
people had not then learned the true melhod of self-govern* 

In resuming the history of the county, after the above 
digression, it may be proper to state the following persons 
were appointed justices of the peace ; ou the 27th March, 
1790, George Henry Bell, John Frank, Henry Dygert, Michael 
Myers and John Bowman, and on the 17th February, 1791, 
Henry Staring, Michael Myers, John Frank, Patrick Gamp- 
bell, William Veeder, William Dygert, Jun., Moses Foot, 
Benjamin Bowen, Hanyost Schooimiaker, Melchert Folts, 
Lodowick Campbell, Johannes Finck and Abraham Harden- 
burgh. These persons are believed to have then lived 
within the limits of this county. 

Soon after President Adams's famous stamp act went 
into operation, and the agent for vending stamps had been 
furnished with them to sell, the people in difTerent parts of 
the county became a good deal excited, and a combination 
was set on foot to destroy the obnoxious st^hnps, or prevent 
their being sold. At the fall musters or trainings, the people 
marched down from the hills, north and south, and up from 
the valleys, to Herkimer, ^^ armed and equipped as the law 
directed," to make war on the stamps, with fiejd piece ready 
charged. They tore down the agent's sign, demanded of him 
a promise that he would not sell the paper eagles, and other- 
wise behaved somewhat noisily, but committed no other act of 
violence. It was a bloodless affair. A number of the lead- 
ing men were indicted and taken to Albany under arrest, 


when Governor Jay met them, and after giving them sound 
and jndicous advice sent them home. One can not help 
thinking that the worthy governor was somewhat annoyed, 
during the conference, with the reflection ^Hhat he, not long 
hefore, had been m arms against his king and the mother 
country on account of stamps and stamped paper.'' 

In March or April, 1804, the county clerk's office was 
consumed by fire with all the records and papers it con- 
tained. Mr. Joab Griswold had held the office of county 
clerk from March 19th, 1798, and Mr. Elihu Griswold was 
appointed in his place April 6th, 1804 The office was 
burned in the night, and it had been arranged previously 
that the new incumbent should take possession of the office 
the day after the fire occurred. 

^* In the war with Great Britain, declared by the United 
States on the 18th day of June, 1812,'' the militia of Herki- 
mer county behaved nobly. They claimed no exemption 
from service when the governor ordered them to the frontier 
to protect and defend the state from hostile aggression or 
foreign invasion. It is no disparagement to the militia of 
any other county, to say the Herkimer militia met these 
calls and suffered the privations of the camp with a patriotic 
devotion and zeal not excelled by any of them. 

A detached regiment under Col. C. P. Bellinger, had been 
ordered to Sacketts Harbor before war was declared, under 
a six months'* draft. Others followed soon after, and in 
1813 and 1814, volunteers, detached, and the militia en mass, ^ 
were on the lake and St. Lawrence frontier nearly the whole 
time. Companies and regiments succeeding others, whose 
terms of service had expired. The pay granted by the 
United States was no compensation to the farmer and 
mechanic, and substituted service could only be afforded by 
the wealthy. If the sacrifice was great, each man could 
well console himself with the reflection that he had done 
his duty to his country. Governer Tompkins bestowed high 


praise upon the citizen soldiers of Herkimer county, and it 
was well deserved. 

It is now more than forty years since these events hap- 
pened, and many farms have been and are being located 
under the operation of the bounty land laws of 1860 and 
1855, by the descendants and relatives of those who per- 
formed the military service. Although a land recipient 
under the former law, I can not admire a policy which is 
dictated by a present expediency and not by a rule of equal 
and exact justice. There are thousands who are excluded, 
whose husbands and fathers performed service as meritorious 
as any now living ; and there are other thousands, long since 
laid in their graves, to whom this little pittance would have 
been grateful; whose hunger it would have assuaged, and 
whose cold and palsied limbs it would have wanned. Bui 
these can not vote now. They are tenants of the graveyard, 
under an eternal - lease ; an immovable fixture, and can not 
swell the population of the illimitable west. 

The restoration of peace with Great Britain in 1815, found 
our population in a state of universal embarrassment, which 
they did not recover from fully in ten years. The merchants 
with large stocks of goods on hand, found themselves under- 
sold by more than one-half on the new importations. A 
series of cold and unproductive seasons, from 1816 to 1820, 
had cut off the surplus of agricultural producta Fanning 
lands during the war had been sold at very High prices, and 
were eagerly sought for at nearly four times the value they 
bore from 1817 to 1825. The county did not produce 
exportable 'Commodities sufiScient to balance the mercantile 
imports, and shinpladers were the circulating medium. 
Gheesman's plasters were a more sure remedy for the public 
ailments than his balsams. Lands sold during the war at 
such prices that the purchaser, who paid one-third of the 
consideration money at the sale, and kept the interest on the 
balance paid up, could not the first ten years after the peace 


sell them for a price sufBcient to pay the balance of principal 
due. In other words he could not give them away and get 
indemnity against his bond. The state expenditures in con- 
structing the Erie canal gave some relief; but the comple* 
tion and opening of that great work brought the grain- 
growing regions of the west into direct competition with the 
then staple agricultural product of the county, wheat. The 
Mohawk valley had more than seventy-five years enjoyed, 
without competition from the west, the advantages of the 
Albany and eastern markets. The county recovered slowly 
from its depressed and embarrassed condition. It lost, how- 
ever, very considerable of its Gorman population between 
1818 and 1830. 

The Asiatic cholera has never prevailed in the county to 
much extent. On its first appearance in this country in 
1832, when fright and apprehension nearly paralyzed the 
whole community, a few cases occurred in several of the 
villages, most of them fatal, and along the canal. Since that 
time, however, the county has been nearly exempt from that 
dreadful pestilence. 

In the years 1833, 1834 and 1835, the legislature author- 
ized the supervisors of the county to contract loans to the 
amount of $10,300 to erect a new jail and purchase a site 
for it. An annual tax was also levied to reimburse the 
principal of these loans by installments and pay the interest. 
The building is of stone, procured at Little Palls, strong 
and permanent. The interior arrangements are such as 
to afford comfort to and insure the safety of offenders. 
Martin Easterbrooks contracted to complete the mason work, 
and Edmund Vamey, Cornelius T. E. Van Horn, Isaac S. 
Ford, Jacob F. Christman, Warner Folts, Frederick P. Bel- 
linger and Charles Gray, were the commissioners appointed 
to superintend the erection of the jail. 

On the night of January 25th, 1834, the old court house 
and jail was destroyed by fire. This was an old two-story 
structure of wood, and had been standing many years. 


lis HnrroKT or mminim commr. 

The jail on the ground floor had been fonnd unsafe, and 
besides the public bnildings at that time did not reflect 
much credit upon the county. On the Slst of March, 1834, 
the legislature authorized the supervisors to borrow from 
the common school fund, on the credit of the county, four 
thousand six hundred dollars to build a new court house, 
and directed a tax of five hundred dollars a year to be 
levied on the county to refund the loan and pay the interest. 
Francis E. Spinner, Arphaxed Loomis and Prentice Yeo- 
mans were named in the act as commissioners to superintend 
the erection of the building. 

The court house is a handsome structure of brick, stand- 
ing nearly in the center of the village of Herkimer. The 
jail is on the opposite side of the street. The rooms on the 
first floor of the courthouse are arranged to suit the public 
convenience, but the interior arrangements of the court 
room may be easily improved. Owing to some defect or 
oversight in ^the construction, the long side walls of the 
house began to give way and swell out, not long after the 
house was completed. They were however soon secured 
by iron rods extending across the building. These rods or 
bars were inserted in their place when red with heat, and 
being secured with proper fastenings at the ends on the 
outside of the walls the contraction of the iron brought 
them quite into place. The citizens of Little Falls did not 
fail to make an effort at this time, to change the county 
seat and bring it to th^n; but with two-thirds or perhaps 
threes-fourths of the population of the county against them, 
they " hardly made a ripple." 

A new fire proof clerk's office^ of brick, was erected in 
1847. Mr. Aaron Hall, builder. 




Forfeiied Estates — Act of 1779 — Persons Attaioied under George m — Trea^ 
of 1783 — Attainder of the Johnsons and Butler Justified — Rules of Evidenoe 
laid down — British Parliament — Further Provisions of the Act — Rojal 
Orant — Extent of Same — Qvlj Johnson Tract — Herkimer Estates — ^Motiyes 
of the Johnsons — Sir William Johnson — Events of Revolution still Remem- 
hered — Reception of Sir John in Canada — Guj Johnson's Conduct as In- 
dian Agent — Judicial Tribunals always open — The Fifth Article of the Treat j 
of 1782 — The 9th Article of the Treaty of 1794 — Motives of the Loyalists 
in Embracing the Cause of the Crown — Codgress Fulfilled Treaty Stipula- 
tions — Ito Messages not Well Received by the States — Present Law of Treason. 

At the risk of repeating some of the facts contained in 
the preceding chapter, and of beiSg considered tedious, I 
venture to submit some further remarks in reference to the 
" forfeited estates " of British subjects, confiscated during 
the war of the revolution. The subject is within the scope 
of an historical research into the annals of the county, 
because the title to large tracts of land within its limits has 
been affected by the action of the legislature of the state. 
Now, when more liberal sentiments seem not only to be enter- 
tained by some governments, but by enlightened individuals, 
in respect to the mode of conducting war, and of inflicting 
punishment upon individuals, for acts of hostile aggression 
in cases where, by the public law, no allegiance was due to 
the injured state, the opinion has been expressed that the 
confiscated estates of individuals should have been restored 
at the peace of 1783. This is a very grave question, and will 
not meet with an affirmative response from any considerable 
number of enlightened Americans, even at this day, and 


they, 1 am sure, are quite as liberal as any other people in 
the civilized world. The legislature of this state may have 
laid down and enforced a rigid rule, and one to which there 
should have been some exceptions. But the distracted state 
of the country, and the circumstances of the times, called 
for the exercise of the most stringent measures of defense 
and protection. Subjugation, confiscation and the halter 
was the punishment denounced against what was called an 
unnatural rebellion. " Life, liberty and the pursuit of hap- 
piness," was the prize contended for. 

The act of October 22d, 1779, declared " Sir John Johnson, 
late of the county of Tryon, knight and baronet, Guy John- 
son, Daniel Glaus and John Butler, now or late of said county, 
esquires, and John Joost Herkemer, now or late of the said 
county, yeoman," to be, ipsofado^ convicted and attainted 
of voluntarily adhering to the fleets and armies of the king 
of Great Britain, in the cruel and unjust war then waged by 
him against this state, and the other United States, with 
the intent to subvert the government and liberties of this 
state, and the other United States, and to bring the same 
into subjection to the crc^n of Great Britain. Their estates 
real and personal were declared forfeited to and vested in 
the people of this state. 

When George III, on the 3d day of September, 1783, 
acknowledged the thirteen united states " to hefree^ sovereign 
and independeiU states ; that he treated with them as such ; 
and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquished all 
claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the 
same, and every part thereof," no question could be raised 
by the British crown, nor by its subjects, in regard to any 
of the antecedent acts of these ^e6,£(wemg7i and independent 

When we examine the traces of blood, and fire, and deso- 
lation that marked the footsteps of the two Johnsons, Glaus 
and Butler, through this state, and especially in the Mohawk 
valley, from 1775 to the fall of 1779, who can justly say 
this act of attainder, confiscation, and banishment was wan- 


ton, cruel or oppressive towards them? Retributive justice 
demanded the punishment and it was inflicted. 

Other persons were convicted and attainted by the same 
act, some of them civilians, and all the persons named in 
the act were perpetually banished from the state, and their 
return to it was denounced a felony punishable with death, 
without the benefit of clergy. Persons adhering to the pub- 
lic enemy, and guilty of treason against the state, after the 
9th day of July, 1776, were subjected to indictment and trial ; 
and it is here worthy of notice, that the legislature were so 
tender of the rights of those who might be complained of 
and brought to trial, as to declare that the several matters 
which, by the laws of England, were held to be evidence and 
overt acts of high treason, in adhering to the king's enemies, 
should be the rule in like cases when the parties were charged 
with high treason against the people of this state, making 
some other provisions to meet the peculiar circumstances of 
the times. 

After exerting an act of high prerogative, which had been 
done by the British parliament at various periods in the history 
of that country, and for causes much less justifiable than 
those which provoked the attainder we have been consider- 
ing, all proceedings against other parties chargeable with 
affairs of this character, against the state, were turned over 
to the courts, where a conviction could only be had upon an 
indictment and trial or outlawry. 

By the attainder of Sir John Johnson it was supposed 
the whole of the Royal Grant, so called from the fact that 
the patent granted to Sir William received the sign manual 
of the king in person, was forfieted. That tract comprises 
all that part of the county lying between the East and West 
Canada creeks, the Mohawk river on the south, and the 
south line of Jerseyfield on the north, which runs from the 
village of Devereaux at the northeast comer of the Grant, 
on the East Canada creek in a northwesterly direction to 
the West Canada creek, intersecting it north of Prospect in 



Oneida county, with the exception of Glen's Purchase, a few 
lots in Burnetsfield, and some few patents in Manheim. The 
towns of Norway, Russia, Newport, Fairfield, Salisbury, 
Manheim, Herkimer and Little Falls, contain portions of 
this extensive domain. The tract of 2000 acres granted 
to Guy Johnson in 1765, situated in the present towns of Ger- 
man Flats and Little Falls, was forfeited by his attainder. 

The Herkimer estates forfeited lay within the present 
limits of German Flats and Herkimer, and are believed to 
embrace portions of the Palatine grants; the only case of 
attainder or forfeiture within the limits of the patent granted 
to Johan Joost Petri and others. 

Sir John Johnsop and the wife of Guy Johnson, were the 
children of Sir William, by a German woman, legitimated 
a short time before the baronet's death by the solemniz- 
ation of marriage with the mother. Johan Joost Herkemer 
is the only instance of attainder and forfeiture by any of the 
Palatines or their descendants in the upper Mohawk^alley. 
There may have been others who deserved it, and perhaps 
there was one, but his case did not come within the letter 
of the statute. 

Those who are familiar with all the revolutionary events 
of Tryon county, can not but be amazed at the infatuated 
conduct of the Johnson family through the whole of that 
eventful period. They must, on the outbreak of the struggle, 
have concluded that all their princely estates in the country 
were lost to them^ and they would henceforth deal with 
them and the property of their former neighbors as well 
as trusty adherents, as belonging to the common enemy, 
to be consigned to indiscriminate destruction; or they 
must have resolved to act the part of marauders out 
of mere wantonness and a spirit of revenge. 

Sir William Johnson came to this country at an early 
day, occupying no higher position than that of land agent. 
By his zeal, ability, good conduct and attention to business, 
he acquired large estates, and was promoted to the highest 


honors ever bestowed by a confiding sovereign upon a colo- 
nial subject. Many are tbe vague surmises in respect to the 
cause of his death, which took place but a short time before 
the colonists assumed their defiant attitude to the crown. 
He was beloved and respected by his neighbors and depend- 
ants, and he perhaps foresaw all the miseries in store for a 
country he could not look upon -in any other light than his 
own. He might have died by his own hand, but facts do 
not authorize this conclusion. There were, it must be ad- 
mitted, many powerful considerations which should have 
induced his &mily to adhere to the royal cause. They had 
been bountiful recipients of their sovereign's favor. Honors 
and wealth had been literally showered upon them, and they 
felt it would be forfeiting all claim to ho^orable distinction, 
should they abandon the mother country in the eventful 
emergency which had overtaken it. They mistook the 
temper and feeling of their fellow subjects in the colonies, 
and did not, probably, comprehend the final result of a 
separation between the two countries. This family did not 
embrace the cautious policy of having some one or more of 
their nxmiber nominal adherents to the patriotic cause to 
protect their possessions, which was adopted by others, and 
some too of much less distinction and note^ 

The startling events of the revolution are yet remembered 
by a few now living witnesses, and a more just estimate 
of the rights and duties of nations, belligerent and neutral, 
seem to be more generally entertained at this day than 
during the last century. This no doubt has occasioned 
the remark that the provincial governments had been top 
stringent in enforcing a forfeiture against the adherents of 
the crown, and that when the independence of the states 
was acknowledged, restitution ought to have beien na^de. 
It should be remembered that the colonies never eijicouraged 
but at all times deprecated the employment of the Indians 
in the revolutionary war, or in any way making them parties 
in that contest They knew their situation ; that their own 


country must be the battle field ; and that their own frontier 
inhabitants would be subjected to a warfare and desolation 
of the most unmitigated severity, not practiced by civilized 
nations, and like that with which they too recently had been 
afflicted, to be then disremembered. When these visitations 
were renewed with a ten-fold severity by those who had 
previously deprecated this mode of warfare, and when too, 
the object seemed to be to kill, bum and plunder, and not to 
subjugate and hold the conquered territory ; it was not the 
surviving sufferer who could forgive or forget the authors 
of his calamities or the instruments used in the infliction of 

To one member of this family, as soon as he was able to 
reach Canada, a regiment was given, called the Johnson 
Greens, principally composed of refugees, who made con- 
tinual marauding expeditions into the Mohawk valley, during 
tBe war, and the memory of whose deeds were not forgotten 
at the close of the last century. The other, at the head of 
the Indian agency at Montreal, retaining a great influence 
over the western tribes, including most of the New York 
Indians, was zealously and efficiently employed in retaining 
them in the service of the crown, and encouraging and pro- 
moting expeditions against the frontier colonists, in which 
they were to be joined. This service was not performed by 
a slack hand or an unwilling mind. In this work of mischief 
and revenge he was but too well supported by that shrewd, 
active, but stem and resolute Mohawk chief, Joseph Brant, 
who displayed no more of the savage, in his hostile incur- 
sions, than should have been expected, perhaps, when the 
motives of his prompters were carefully scanned. 

There may have been instances in which restitution might 
have found a willing response in the heart of the country ; 
but that was not the case in respect to this family ; where 
was the point of discrimination ? That was the great diffi- 
culty. Expatriation and adherence to the common enemy 
were open acts of avowed hostility, so marked as not to be 



mistaken. If the party left the cotmtry and remained ont 
of it nntil the close of the war, unless on business of an open, 
pacific nature, and if he failed to return to it, after being 
required to do so, these were taken as overt acts of hostility, 
sufficient to authorize sequestration and forfeiture. There 
could be but one rule prescribed, which must be broad 
enough to embrace the whole class of ofienders, and while 
hostilities were being carried on, exceptions could not be 
applied, and when a state of war no longer existed and the 
country assumed regular and settled forms of government, 
it so happened that the individual states retained the whole 
power of remission, and these were not recognized in diplo- 
matic relations, nor could they separately form treaties with 
foreign governments, or even enter into negotiations. There 
was no mode of remission or restitution except by individual 
application to the states ; and here the fundamental rules of 
government had been settled with so much precision and 
exactness, as to prohibit the legislative department of the 
governments from granting restitution of the forfeited 
estates. The poverty of the states and the excited feelings 
of the people on the subject of the war, rendered any appli- 
cation for recompense entirely hopeless ; and it would have 
been found very difficult to settle upon any rule for granting 
relief except that of mere grace and favor, and no refugee 
of that day could be found bold or craven enough to put 
his loyalty to that severe test. There were cases in which 
restitution, remission or recompense could not be asked for 
with even a remote prospect of success, and which, certainly, 
could not be granted without violating the plainest princi- 
ples of justice. 

The judicial tribunals of the country have always been 
open to appeals for legal redress, and the legislative depart- 
ment of the state governments has never interfered, and 
indeed it could not have done so with any efiect, being pro- 
hibited by the fendamental law. The title to the lands in 
one county and part of another, in this state, held under the 


commiBsioners of forfeitures^ has within twenty years been 
declared invalid by the courts, on the ground of some 
informality or irregularity, and not because the law itself 
was unconstitutional The constitutions of this state have 
uniformly recognized the grants made by the king of Great 
Britain, or persons acting under his authority before the 
14th day of October, 1775 ; the constitution of the United 
States prohibits the state legislatures from passing laws 
impairing the obligation of contracts. 

By the 6th article of the treaty of 1783, the United States 
did not agree to recommend to the legislatures of the several 
states to provide for restitution of confiscated estates to those 
who had borne arms against them^ but that treaty did provide 
that there should be no further confiscations or prosecutions 
against any one, and that instrument being the supreme law 
of the land, was of course binding on all subordinate authori- 
ties. No claim was set up in behalf of those tnAo had borne 
amUf and this is enough to show that no violations of public 
faith had been committed in respect to that class of adherents 
to the interests of the British crown. 

The treaty designated a class who should be recommended 
to the favorable consideration of the states, but as before 
remarked, the difficulty was this ; the legislatures could not, 
or would not, discriminate between those who actually bore 
arms, and others who counseled, promoted, set on foot and 
directed a marauding expedition against their country, and 
humanity will justify the deed. That treaty, it is true, did 
secure to ^^ persons of any other description," the right to go 
into any part of the United States and remain unmolested 
twelve months, to obtain restitution of their confiscated 
estates. The congress were bound by that treaty to recom- 
mend to the states a revision of all laws regarding the estates 
of British subjects, to render them consistent with justice 
and equity, and with that spirit of conciliation which ought 
to prevail on the return of peace, and also to urge upon the 
states to restore to those who had borne arms against the 


colonies their properties and estates, on their refunding to 
the persons in possession the bona fide price paid on the 
purchase of the confiscated estates and lands. And it was 
further agreed that all persons having any interest in con- 
fiscated lands by debts, marriage settlements or otherwise, 
should meet with no lawful impediment in the prosecution 
of their just rights. 

By the 9th article of the treaty of November 19th, 1794, 
commonly called Jay's treaty, American citizens and British 
subjects, holding lands in the territory of either party, were 
secured in the exercise of the rights appertaining to them 
in the same manner as if they were natives. 

What just grounds can there be in view of all the facts 
involved in the case of these forfeited estates, to charge 
the state governments, and especially our own, with illibe- 
rality and a desire to profit by a contingency brought about 
by no act of its own seeking. The parties who abandoned 
their homes and properties, acted from choice and not com- 
pulsion, except that of duty and allegiance, which they 
may have thought was due to the king of Great Britain. 
They cast their bread upon the waters of strife; it returned 
not to them again. If the colonists had been crushed in the 
contest, these people would have returned to a wasted and 
depopulated country, enriched by the spoils of attainted 
rebels, and ennobled by a sovereign grateful for the service 
of preserving the brightest jewel in his crown. This was 
the fortune that awaited them in case of success, and they 
knew it. They thought this a prize worth contending for, 
but they misjudged in respect to the chances of success. 
They had not yet fully experienced the energies of the men 
whose motto was ^^ one for all, and all for one/' when banded 
together in the great struggle for life, for home, and for 
liberty. They did encounter those energies, and were over- 
thrown ; they grasped for the prize and lost it, and thereby 
forfeited all claims for restitution to abandoned houses and 


The American congress fulfilled its treaty stipulations to 
the letter, but its messages. met with a cold and silent recep- 
tion from the several states when they spoke of surrendering 
up estates to those who had been active participators in what 
was deemed an unjust and cruel war of aggression. While 
the attainder act, before mentioned, was in full force in this 
state, and the commissioners of forfeitures were executing 
their office, the constitution of 1787 was ratified, which 
declares that ^^ no attainder of treason shall work corruption 
of blood or forfeiture, except during the life of the person 


Biographical Sketches of the Palatine Families; Bell, Beeiman^ Bowmaa, 
Bellinger, Bane, Casler, Dackstader, Editch, Fnlmer, Feller, Fox, Folts, 
Helmer, Herkimer, Herter, Hose, Hess, Eorsing, Kast, Eoons, Eones, 
landt. Miller, Mayer, Ohrendorff, Petri, Ponradt, Reelle, Rickert, Shoe- 
maker, Smith, Spies, Spohn, Starring, Tejmoath, Veldelent, Welleyen, 

The descendants of the following Palatine families are yet 
extant in th# county : Bowman, Dacksteder, under the name 
of Dockstader, Pelmore, by that of Fulmer, Herter, Lant, 
now known as Landt, Mayor changed to Moyer, Orendros 
and Orendorf, now called Ohrendorff, Pears changed to 
Barse, and Pell to Bell, Beckert and Spoon. 

I should not omit to mention the name of Miller, or neglect 
to say, in this place, that the descendants of Johannes, the 
patentee, have until the year 1854, retained the ownership 
of the whole or some portion of the lot granted to their 
ancestor. But the last proprietor of the name parted with 
the remnant of a patrimony held in the family more than 
one hundred and twenty-five years ; where sire and grand- 
sire had sported their youthful pastimes, and, when maturer 
years had cast the burthen on them, where they had toiled 
and endured in obedience to a high command. Earned by 
a long and tedious pilgrimage in search of a ^^ haven of rest," 
and consecrated by the sufferings endured through two long 
and cruel wars, the title has now passed to a stranger, and 
the "home-farm" is now divested of all the interesting 
incidents that have been clustering around its hearth-stones 
through five generations. 


The following families soon became extinct, or removed 
from the county, and no trace of the names, even, can now 
be found, if they ever had any real existence : 

The Beermans, Fellers, Hoss, Korsings, Pouradts, Spies, 
and Yeldelents. The title to the lots drawn to these names 
passed into other hands before the revolution, and in some 
instances can be traced back many years before that event. 
Owing to the great abuses practiced at one period, under 
the colonial governors, of granting large or extravagant 
quantities of lands to individual applicants, in some instances 
to the extent of fifty thousand acres, where there was no 
pretence of colonization or settlement, the home government 
directed that no more than one thousand acres should be 
patented to one person at any one time, and within a limited 
period after a grant had been made, and the colonial legis- 
lature resumed many, if not all the previous extravagant 
grants. This restriction was, however, maternally, if not 
completely evaded, when the leading families and influential 
personages in the colony combined to accomplish by indirec- 
tion, what the home government prohibited. A number of 
names would be procured to a petition to the governor and 
council for a license to purchase the Indian title to as many 
thousand acres of land as there were names to the petition. 
The license would, almost as a matter of course, be granted, 
and the Indian deed being obtained, a patent would be issued. 
When this was done, the real parties in interest, the affair 
having been previously arranged and understood, would 
invite their cograntees to a dinner party, and while the glass 
circulated freely, and the generous wine had done its office, 
the stool-pigeon men would execute releases of their interest 
in the lands patented. In this way many thousand-acre 
tracts were obtained at the cost of a dinner. 

Some of the names which so suddenly disappeared from 
the upper Mohawk valley are found on the Livingston manor 
and New York lists. The Zellers may, by a clerical mistake, 
have been written Fellers. ZoUer and Zuller are familiar 
names among the German population of the county. If any 



of tli^ original patentees gave a dinner for a hnndred-acre 
lot, in this then seqnestered region, the consideration may 
not have been inadequate, when compared with a metropo- 
litan feast. 

Great changes took place in the prontmciation and method 
of spelling the original German names, when translated or 
changed to English. This was unavoidaUe with a people 
who did not comprehend the two alphabets. 

The Bell (ob Pell) Family. 

Frederick and Anna Mary Pell each took one hundred 
acres of land on the north side of the river, in the Bnmets- 
field grant, near Herkimer village. The family were never, 
I believe, very numerous in the county, and before the 
revolution seem to have been confined to farming. One of 
this family, with his son, was killed by Brant and his Indians 
in the attack upon the settlement on Henderson's patent in 
July, 1778. The "aged man'' may have been Frederick 
himself. QeorgQ Henry Bell, who married General Herki- 
mer's sister Catharine, was a man of considerable note in the 
valley during the revolution. He had been well educated 
and wrote a neat, compact hand, with much rapidity. 
Although not among the militia officers appointed in 1776, 
he commanded a company at the Oriskany battle, was 
wounded there, and afterwards placed on the invalid pension 
roIL His disability continued through life. Capt. Bell had 
two sons in the battle, Joseph and Nicholas; the former was 
killed and the latter run away during the action, which was 
always a subject of deep grief and mortification to the father 
in after life. Nicholas was afterwards killed and scalped 
by the Indians and tories, about a mile from his father's 
house, on the road passing over Fall hill. Capt. Bell 
remained on the battlefield with Gen. Herkimer until the 
action was over, and took charge of the escort which car- 
ried his wounded commander more than thirty miles on a 
litter. He brought with him from Oriskany a gun which 


he took in a hand-to-hand fight with a British ofScer, whom 
he killed. This trophy was long retained in the family and 
exhibited as evidence of military prowess. Gapt. Bell lived 
on Fall hill, within the limits of the patent granted to his 
wife's father. His house, built of stone, was surrounded 
with wooden pickets during the war, as a protection against 
the enemy. 

He was commissioned a justice of the peace of Tryon 
county, February 2d, 1778, by the council of appointment, 
again commissioned in Montgomery county, July 8th, 1784, 
and reappointed March 27th, 1790. It is said of him that 
he administered justice with great precision, and sometimes 
with severity, when he had to deal with those who sympa- 
thized with royalty. He had two sons and two daughters. 
One of the daughters married Henry I. Walrad and the 
other Peter Waggoner. The late Col. Joost Bell was the son 
of Nicholas, whose strong attachment for his family is said- 
to be the cause of his leaving his post at Oriskany. 

The Bellinger (or Pbllinger) Family. 

There appear to be five persons of this name, grantees of 
Bumetsfield patent; two of them being married women. 
During the first quarter of the present century, the descend- 
ants of these families were considerably more numerous in 
the county than they now are. 

The name is found among those Palatines who volunteered 
under Col. Nicholson, in 1711, for the expedition against 
Montreal, then held by the French. On their arrival at New 
York, they seem to have been sent by Governor Hunter to 
the camps, so called, on Livingston's manor, under the pre- 
tense of collecting naval stores ; and there is strong reasons 
for believing they were originally seated on the east side of 
the Hudson river. The emigration of the Palatines to 
Schoharie appears to have been from the west side of the 
Hudson, and consisted of those who had been the most 
restless and unquiet under the hard treatment inflicted upon 



them, throagh the instrumentality of the colonial authorities, 
and the apparent indisposition to conform to the engage- 
ments made to them by Queen Anne, when they started for 
their new homes. Indeed, most if not all the di£Sculties en- 
countered by the colonial officers originated with the Palatines 
settled on the west side of the river. 

These observations are drawn out in consequence of a 
tradition, existing in the county, that this family, or some 
members of it, came from the Schoharie into the Mohawk . 
valley, which seems not to be supported by the documentary 
history of the times. 

In November, 1722, Gov. Burnet, in a letter to the board 
of trade and plantations, says, ^' but as about sixty families 
desired to be in a distinct tract from the rest, and were of 
those who had all along been most hearty for the government, 
I have given them leave to purchase land from the Indians 
. ...... on a creek called Canada creek.'' 

From what had then taken place. Gov. Burnet would not 
have said that the Palatines, who went to Schoharie in spite 
of the efforts to prevent them, had been very hearty for the 
government, while he censured those who had participated 
in that exodus, though not in strong language. The simi- 
larity of names found among the Palatines on the east side 
of the Hudson river, and those contained in the patent, must 
go far, in connection with Gov. Burnet's declarations, to 
establish the conclusions now advanced. 

This family seems to have held a prominent place in the 
public regard, at the time of the revolution, and were unde- 
viating and unflinching in their attachment and devotion to 
the cause of the colonists, in the revolutionary struggle. 
Col. Peter Bellinger, whose regiment was composed of the 
militia of the German Flats and Kingsland district, and 
Lieut. Col. Frederick Bellinger, of the same regiment, parti- 
cipated in the bloody fight at Oriskany ; the latter was taken 
prisoner and carried to Canada. CoL John Bellinger, of this 
family, was also in that battle, as a private. He removed 
to, and settled at Utica, about the year 1791. 



Most, if not all the lands allotted to the patentees, have 
been held by their descendants down to the present time, in 
spite of the divisibility of our laws in regard to real estates. 
This has probably been effected by means of wills and testa* 
ments, for the statute €>f distributions, in the period of three 
or four generations, even where the children of each are few 
in number, would have divided a hundred-acre lot into very 
small parcels. One branch of this family placed a high 
estimate upon military titles, and we find the son succeeding 
the father in military rank and title, with about as much 
certainty as to an inheritable estate. 

Gen. Chbistopheb P. Bellinger. 

la pursuing the plan marked out, of grouping the indi- 
viduals of the stocks of the Palatine families under one head, 
from tlieir origin to the present time, great inconvenience 
has been encountered for want of such accurate data as family 
records would afford. 

Gen. Bellinger was bom in the town of German Flats, or 
within the territory formerly embraced within its bound- 
aries. In the prime of life he was a large farmer, and at- 
tained considerable wealth. In 1828, when the town of 
Little Falls was erected, a part of the eastern portion of 
German Flats, in which was located Gen. Bellinger's home- 
stead farm, was set off to the new town. His native town 
contained a very large majority of inhabitants of German 
extraction, among whom his family connections were quite 
extensive and influential. 

In the early division of political parties, he was a repub- 
lican of Mr. Jefferson's school, and in this respect sympathized 
with a very large majority of the German population in his 
town and in the county ; and, in the course of a long and active 
life, enjoyed a large share of public confidence. He was often 
elected a supervisor of his town, and to other minor town 
offices ; and, for many years, acted as a justice of the peace. 
He was diligent, careful and upright in the discharge of all 




his pnblic duties, and bestowed the most watchM care to 
the public interests committed to his charge. No stronger 
illustration of this need be produced than the fact that for 
many years he had no competitor in his town, for any public 
favor his fellow citizens had to bestow, or to which they 
coiild promote his interests or wishes. He was four times 
elected member of assembly, in the period of fourteen years, 
and once returned as elected, by the county clerk, when he 
was not chosen by a plurality or majority of votes. 

At the annual election in the spring of 1809, he succeeded 
by a majority of five or six votes, and his two colleagues 
were defeated. Thomas Manly and Budolph Devendorff, 
two federalists, were elected over the two republican can- 
didates. It has been said that Oen. Bellinger owed his 
election at this time to a partial belief entertained by some 
porticm of the federalists that he favored the political views 
of that party. This was a mistake. He was the next year 
elected on the same ticket with two other well known 

In 1821 he was again a candidate for the assembly, and 
having a larger number of votes than either of the two other 
republican candidates running with him, he obtained the 
certificate upon an alleged informality in the return of the vote 
from the town of Danube, when one of his competitors, the 
lowest on the Glintonian ticket, had obtained a considerable 
majority. At this time the county clerk alone, canvassed 
the county vote for members of assembly. The constitution 
of 1777 was still in force, and the political majority in the 
assembly would determine the character of the council of 
appointment, which then wielded an immense political 
power, having nearly all the civil appointments in the stat^ 
within its gift. 

For a time, after the election, it was doubtfol which party 
had secured the majority of the assembly; it was charged 
against the clerk, who was a republican, or buoktail as then 
called, and who held his office at the pleasure of the council 
of appointment, that he had given the certificate to secure 

,'^ ^m^s^mimt 



the election of an anti^Clintonian speaker and four anti- 
Clintonian members of the council. The clerk of course 
denied the charge, insisting he had no right to look behind 
the returns, and he must take the certificate of the town 
canvassers as it stood. And although an Irishman by birth, 
and could talk high Dutch with the most glib-tongued Qer- 
taan in the valley, he said he could not make the word Tood 
read, mean or spell Todd, and therefore he should give the 
certificate to the candidate having the highest number of 
votes, after placing those certified to Stephen Tood among 
the scattering. The general was however unseated imme- 
diately after the organization of the house, and Doct. Stephen 
Todd of Salisbury, the party who had been chosen, took his 

Gen. Bellinger in the party split of 1819 and 1820 acted 
with the section called in that day bucktails; was an ardent 
admirer of Daniel D. Tompkins, and in the presidental con- 
test of 1824 adhered to the fortunes of William H. Crawford. 

In the fall of 1823, he was again elected to the assembly 
with John Graves, Esq., of Russia, and Dr. Caleb Budlong, of 
Frankfort. It devolved on the legislature, which assembled 
in January, 1824, to choose the electors of president and 
vice president of the United States, or provide by law for 
some other mode of appointment. A large majority of mem- 
bers elected in 1823 were republicans or democrats, but very 
much divided in respect to the candidates for the presidency, 
and a new element of party strife was presented to the 
assembly, soon after the election of speaker. The Clintonian 
party had ceased to exist, and thaold federal party had been 
disbanded. At the election in 1823, a new party, called the 
people's party, composed of Clintonians, federalists and re- 
publicans, hostile to the election of Mr. Crawford, sprung up, 
and, by the united action and votes of this political combina- 
tion, a large number of members, hostile to Mr. Crawford, 
were returned to the assembly. It is not my design to pre- 
sent to the reader anything more of the political history of 
the state than may be required to give a proper view of the 


position occupied by the individual whose biography is a 
subject of consideration. 

The speaker, Mr. Goodell, of Jefferson, was friendly to Mr. 
Cvawford. Gen. Bellinger was appointed one of the com- 
mittee of nine members to which was referred the subject of 
altering the law prescribing the mode of choosing presiden- 
tial electors. The minorities had combined to defeat Mr. 
Crawford; six of this committee, however, were supposed 
to be his friends, and Gen. Bellinger was one of that number. 
He assented to the report of the bill, by the select committee, 
changing the mode of election, and voted for it on the final 
passage. This bill was defeated in the senate, and in No- 
vember, 1824, at the adjourned legislative session, he voted 
for Crawford electors. This was the last time he represented 
the county in the legislature. 

When war was declared by the United States, against 
Great Britain, in 1812, the General had then attained the rank 
of colonel in one of the militia regiments of Herkimer county. 
Congress, anticipating that event, had, in April of that year, 
authorized the raising of 100,000 men, to be drafted from 
the militia of the several states; 13,500 of which number 
was assigned to this state. Col. Bellinger was detached by 
Gov. Tompkins, to take command of the regiment of militia 
designed for the defense of the northern frontier, and re- 
paired, with his command, to Sackett's Harbor, in May 
following. The term of service fixed by congress, for these 
troops, was three months. The object of the government 
in thus placing a military force upon the frontier, at this 
early period, was to watch the movements of any armed force 
that might be collected in Canada, protect the public pro- 
perty that should be collected at the various points designated 
as military depots, and enforce a rigid execution of the non 
intercourse law with Great Britain and her dependencies. 
A good deal of illicit commerce had been carried on, along 
the frontier ; the laws of the United States had been openly 
and extensively violated, and the authority of her revenue 
officers contemned; and, when needed, even an armed force. 


from the filOuer sidSy would sometimes be at hand, to aid the 
evasion. A portion of the force, under Col. B.'8 immediate 
command, was stationed at points most suitable to assist the 
civil officers of the United States in executing the laws of 
the land. 

A distinguished American statesman is reported to have 
said, when delivering a political harrangue on the sabbath, 
"there were no Sundays in revolutions." His Britannic 
majesty's liege subjects, acting upon the principle that a 
state of war abrogated the omnipotent behests of Jehovah, 
approached Sackett's Harbor with five armed vessels on the 
19th of July, 1812; which day, the calendar tells us, was 
Sunday, with the view of capturing or destroying several 
American armed vessels at that place. CoL Bellinger's 
regiment with the crew of an eighteen gun brig, and a few 
militia collected on that occasion, constituted the whole 
American force at the harbor when the formidable expe- 
dition made its appearance. Although GoL Bellinger was 
at that time the commanding officer of the post, the arrange- 
ment of the batteries for defense, and the direction of the 
artillery, was supervised by the senior naval officers on that 
station. The enemy abandoned the object of the visit, after 
being somewhat crippled by American shot. Gen. Jacob 
Brown, in a letter to Governor Tompkins, spoke in terms of 
high commendation of GoL Bellinger's conduct on this 
occasion. In other letters to the governor, the general 
spoke of him as " a brave officer, and a worthy man" ; " he is 
one of the best of men'* j "the more I have seen of GoL Bel- 
linger, the more I am pleased with him. He is disposed to 
do every thing for the best" 

During a part of this term of service there seems from the 
correspondence to have been some misunderstanding between 
Gen. Brown and GoL Bellinger, in regard to the position of 
the latter. When the colonel was ordered to the harbor 
the command of the post was no doubt assigned to him, he 
being the senior officer in service at that point; and it was 
not until a brigadier's command was ordered out, and Brown 



assigned to it, that the latter could rightfully assume anj 
control over him. 

At the expiration of three months the regiment was 
mustered and discharged without being paid. In the sub- 
sequent campaign of 1814, Col. Bellinger performed a tour of 
military service on the frontier with the patriotic and de- 
voted militia of the county. Being placed in defensive 
positions, he had no opportunity of distinguishing himself, 
except as a diligent officer, attentive to his duty, Bxacting 
its performance &om his subordinates, and exercising those 
acts of kindness to the sick of his regiment, which rendered 
him beloved and respected by his men. His experience in 
military affairs was wholly limited to casual militia service, 
and some years after the war closed he was promoted to the 
rank of brigadier^eneral. Warm in his attachments, he 
was confiding to a fault, and consequently was not wholly 
exempt from the approaches of the artful and designing, 
although he possessed a strong and vigorous mind. His 
education was somewhat limited, being mostly confined to 
the teachings of the German country schoolmaster. He 
died at Little Falls about seventeen years ago, without male 
issue, at an advanced age, leaving four married daughters. 
He was twice married, and his second wife survived him. 

Major Frederick Bellikger, 

Being, another descendent of the Palatine stock, was a 
native of the co\^ty. He embarked in mercantile pursuits, 
early in life, which he continued with some interruptions to 
its close. He won the regard and confidence of his fellow- 
citizens, which was frequently shown by expressions of pop- 
ular favor on the part of the people of his native town, 

He represented the county in the assembly of this state 
in 1836, with Stephen Ayres of Fairfield and Thomas Hawks 
of Columbia. 


Major Bellinger possessed many amiable qualities, and 
was highly esteemed by all who knew him. He died at 
Mohawk, German Flats, leaving descendants. He was twice 
married and his last wife survived him. 

His family, in common with every other inhabitant of the 
valley, were visited by the sconrge of Indian warfare. 
During the revolutionary struggle, two brothers, descendants 
of one of these Palatine families, had occasion during harvest 
to go into the meadow after a load of hay, and as usual one 
or both of them went armed. One of the brothers had 
placed his gun against a stump in the field and commenced 
pitching hay to the other on the wagon« They had not 
been long engaged in this before they were fearfully warned 
of danger at hand by the savage yell and the discharge of 
muskets. The brother on the wagon after seeing the other 
shot down and marking the man who did the act, succeeded, 
by the fleetness of his horses and being partly protected by 
the hay, in making his escape. The young man shot, was 
killed while endeavoring to reach his gun, by a well known 
tory, who had lived on Young's patent, in the south part 
of the county. He had most likely recently joined the sable 
allies of the king, and was out on a mission to reduce his 
rebellious subjects to duty; and true to the instincts of his 
nature and obedient to the orders of his masters, he could 
shoot down the peaceful husbandman in the harvest field, or 
drive the hatchet into the head of the unofiending mother 
while nursing her infant offspring, and hang the scalp lock 
of both to his belt with as much zest as the most proficient 
of his nimble-footed compeers. Many long years had rolled 
over the head of the surviving brother ; he had a family 
and sons grown to manhood, but time had not obliterated 
from his memory the recollection of a brother's death or the 
face and form of the man who had done the foul deed. So 
late even as when Henry S. Whiting kept the stage house 
in Herkimer, and a line of passenger stages was running 
between Utica and Albany, when large wood fires and 
massive andirons were much in fashion, Mr. Bellinger went 


into the tavern, to see whether some friend or acquaintance 
had not just then arrived in the stage, with no thought that 
he should meet face to face the man who many years before 
had slain his brother. 

But there sat the slayer enjoying himself before a rousing 
wood fire, which had imparted so much heat to the andirons 
as to make them red-hot Mr. Bellinger saw and knew the 
man at once, and, no doubt, considering him a murderer, 
seized one of the hot irons by the top, drew it from the fire 
intending to inflict a blow upon the head of his tory ac- 
quaintance, which must have greatly disfigured his scalp- 
lock if the bystanders had not interfered and prevented 
hioL I very much doubt whether this man ever again 
traveled through the Mohawk valley, or would venture 
within reach of Bellinger's curling tongs. He rightfully 
believed himself protected by the guaranties of the treaty 
of peace, but Mr. Bellinger did not think so, and when pre- 
vented from using the andiron, he sought for and loaded 
his gun, declaring that he would take the life of his brother's 
murderer. His son interfered, explained how matters stood 
between Americans and their late enemies under the treaty 
of peace, and finally took the gun and put it away. 

There may be some who will look upon the outburst of 
fraternal feeling with great disfavor, and overlook all miti- 
gating circumstances which at the moment seemed to 
justify Mr. Bellinger in his own mind for any act of retalia- 
tion, however severe, or even fatal to the individual who had 
thus unexpectedly and presumptuously made his appearance 
upon the field of his former hostile exploits. 

Let the scenes of the revolution enacted in the valley be 
remembered ; let it be borne in mind too, that this family 
with many, if not every other inhabiting the German Flats, 
had been subjected to the severest calamities of an unnatural 
and cruel warfare of seven years' continuance, had looked 
upon harvests and houses destroyed, fields desolated, and 
cattle and horses shot down as if in sport, or driven away to 
gorge the appetites of an unrelenting enemy, and last of all. 


but by no meanB the least inconsiderable canse of irritation 
and unappeasable hate, idio had monmed some relative 
slain, either in the field of battle, or by stealth and Indian 
stratagem ; when these things are bron^t to memory, we 
can not visit with stem rebnke an act, palliated, if not jus- 
tified, by so many bold and indisputable mitigating circnm- 
stances. The treaty of peace had thrown round this man 
its broad protective shield, and he was therefore entitled to 
an immunity which he was in no haste to claim a second time. 

Thb Ksslasr and Casleb Family. 

This was, a few years since, and is now, probably, one of 
the most numerous of the Palatine families in the town of 
Little Falls. We can trace the name back to the camps on 
Livingston's manor, and find it on the lists of volunteers in 
the Montreal expedition. In respect to this county, so far 
as I have been able to discover, the name has been derived 
from the two patentees, Johannes and Nicholas Keslaer. 
The industrial pursuits of this family have been principally , 
directed to agriculture, and this has been attended with 
such uniform success, that, in most instances, the sons have 
inherited the homo farms of their fathers, through several 
generations ; and, even at this day, the two lots granted to 
the first patentees, are still possessed by their lineal descend- 
ants. John and Nicholas were brothers, no doubt unmarried, 
and without families, as each drew a lot of one hundred 
acres; and no more lands were drawn to that name. An- 
other fact bears out the presumption taken : the third genera- 
tion from one of the patentees, now living, inherit the 
property, and the combined ages of the three oldest is more 
than one hundred and eighty years, and making due allowance 
for the adolescence of the first and second generation, the 
period from 1725 to 1855 is more than filled up. In a recent 
interview had with Richard Casler, a venerable patriarch of 
one branch of the family, and now eighty-nine years old, 
I gathered some materials for this notice. He was with 


CoL Willett's party when W. N. Bailer was killed, on the 
West Canada creek. Gapt. Ellsworth, Lieut. Bloodgood and 
Ensign Show, were the officers of his company. He knew 
Oen. Herkimer, and says he was a thick-set, stout man, not 
quite six feet high. The general's dwelling, at Danube, was 
built before his recollection. He recollected his grandfather 
Johannes, the patentee. His father, Jacob, and his uncle, 
John Gasler, who died about the year 1816, at an advanced 
age, were both in the Oriskany fight. Johan Marks Petri, 
who was also there, killed an Indian, and told Jacob Casler 
he might have the Indian's gun, and all he had about him, 
and be welcome, if he would go and get them, which Jacob 
took and brought away. A small grist-mill was built on the 
Casler creek, before the war, which, being stockaded, pro- 
tected it from being destroyed by the enemy. The Petri 
and Casler families were connected by marriage. Johan 
Marks Petri owned lot No. 12, at Little Falls, before the 
revolution, and built a small grist-mill in the first place on 
Furnace creek. The mill that was burned by the enemy, a 
relation of which has been given in another place, was on 
the river, aftd supplied by water from it Jacob Casler, 
probably a distant relation of my informant, and commonly 
called Black Jacob, by reason of his having black eyes, a very 
unusual circumstance among the Germans, at an early day 
in the settlement of the country, had a severe fight with a 
bear. The contest was for dear life, and whether black Bruin 
or black Jacob should live to see another day. Gasler had 
gone otzt, towards nightfall, in pursuit of cattle strayed into 
the woods, armed with a common bayonet fixed on a heavy 
stick several feet long, and when passing up a woody ravine 
some distance from the clearings, the black tenant of the 
forest saluted Jacob with a hostile growl, which brought him 
to a halt. The belligerents did not look at each other with 
much fraternal feeling. .One of them prepared himself for 
an embrace entirely too bearish to suit his antagonist, and 
when Master Bruin opened his arms to give the unfriendly 
hug, Jacob thrust his bayonet into the bear's side as far 


as he could drive it. This only enraged the wounded beast. 
It did not disable him entirely, nor cause him to retire from 
the contest. The bear wrenched the bayonet from his side 
with his fore paws, and endeavored to disarm his foe; 
but Casler held fast to his stick and in the scufSe the bayo- 
net became detached from it. Jacob pounded his antago- 
nist on the head and back with his club, and the bear tore 
Casler's clothes and lacerated his limbs and body with his 
claws ; but Black Jacob knew he must conquer or die, and 
made up his mind to fight as long as he could strike a blow 
with his faithful club. The issue of the combat was some 
time doubtful. Casler bled profusely from his wounds, and 
was nearly exhausted by his exertions. The bear bled some 
from his first bayonet wound, and exhibited signs of being 
confused by the repeated heavy knocks bestowed upon his 
head, when a happy blow over the eye laid Master Bruin 
on his back. Casler, no doubt, counted his own life among 
" the spoils of victory " on this occasion, and would have 
freely given the bear's hide and bruised carcass to be rid of 
the ungentle scratches he had received. Jacob long enjoyed 
the reputation, and justly, of a bold and resolute man. 

Frederick Casler, a descendant from one of the patentees, 
died October 19th, 1849, about seventy yeaxs of age, and 
his father, Jacob Casler, died April 1, 1822, aged sixty-nine 
years. John Jacob Casler, the grandfather of Frederick, 
died in January, 1811, aged 88 years. This carries his 
nativity back to 1723, renders it probable that he may him- 
self have been the patentee, Johannis, and overturns the 
supposition previously advanced, that the two patentees 
were brothers. The family tradition respecting the pur- 
chase of one of the two patented lots from strangers by the 
sons of John Jacob, may induce a belief that he was a son 
of Nicholas, and that the lot having been parted with by 
the father or his other children, had been brought back into 
the family by purchase. Jacob and George Eesslair, were, 
it seems, two of the seventeen patentees of Staley's first and 

' .."■U" 


second tractB, granted in 1765, chiefly to the Palatines of 
the upper valley. 

Richard Casler, referred to in this notice, died on the 
18th of September, 1865. The newspaper obituary notice 
states his age at ninety-five years. He told me when I saw 
him, he was then eighty-nine years old. One of his sons was 
present and confirmed this statement, by saying that was 
his reputed age in the family. His health was not firm 
during the latter part of his life, but he was never known 
to neglect joining his fellow citizens in celebrating the 
anniversary of American freedom. 

The Editch Familt. 

This name is also found written and printed Edigh, Edich, 
Itigh, Ittigh and Ittich. Michael Ittich was one of the 
volunteers under Nicholson in the expedition against Mont- 
real in 1711. This family were seated for a time on Living- 
ston's manor, and employed, as pretended by the colonial 
authorities, in making naval stores for the British government. 
Of the four persons of this name who were patentees, I 
have no means of ascertaining which was the head of the 
family, or what relationship they bore to each other. 
Michael Itigh was one of the patentees of Gornradt Frank's 
patent, granted in 1765, and Hans Michael Ittig, Jun., and 
Jacob Ittigh, were patentees of Staley's Ist and 2d tracts, 
granted in 1756. This name is still extant in the county, 
although not very numerous.- I still recollect a Mr. Edick 
who figured considerably in our courts some twenty or 
thirty years ago, especially in ejectment suits brought to 
settle lines between patents and farm lots, with which he 
was very familiar on the south side of the river in the 
Staley and Frank patents. 

146 histobt of hebkdieb oountt. 

The Folb (or Folts) Family. 

The patentee Jacob took lot three on the south side of the 
river and a short distance east of Frankfort village, and 
Melgert, now Melchert, took lots two, high and low land, 
on the north side. 

Their descendants are found in the county in considerable 
numbers, near the spots where the patentees planted them- 
selves in 1725. The reader will notice that two of the 
name of Volts were appointed first lieutenants in the fourth 
battalion of the Tryon county militia in 1775. This was a 
misspelling of the family name. Melch. Folts's name is 
found on the roll of volunteers for the expedition against 
Montreal, in 1711, from Haysbury on Livingston manor. 

Warner Folts, who was chosen one of the members of 
Assembly at the general election in 1824, was a descend- 
ant of the patentee Jacob Fols, a farmer and a worthy 
good man. Ambitious of nothing but to act well his 
part in this life, and ^Uo make a clean breast of it" 
with all mankind when he took his final leave of this world. 
He was a good neighbor and a warm friend. He was 
elected under circumstances which called forth considerable 
reprehension, at the time, from former political associates 
and party friends. Such things, however, are not long 
remembered. The party which had elected him had also 
returned a very large majority of members to the house, 
and when he took his seat and became more intimately 
acquainted with the political men with -whom he was 
expected to act and associate, he felt embarrassed and un- 
happy, and finally made up his mind ^^that come what 
would" he must go with his old political friends. 

Melchert Folts, a son of one of these patentees, was 
appointed paymaster of the regiment of militia commanded 
by CoL Henry Starring, in October, 1786 ; elected the first 
town clerk of Herkimer, in March, 1789, and held the office 
several years by reelection. He was also commissioned 
a justice of the peace soon after the erection of the county. 


Bom May 5, 1746, and died May 2, 1829 ; his wife Mary 
died one month later. The combined ages of the two 
make one hundred and fifty-seven years and three months. 
Mr. Folts had received a good common-school education, 
and was an easy and rapid penman. He kept a journal of 
the principal revolutionary events in the upper Mohawk 
valley, but, unfortunately, it has been destroyed or mislaid. 

The Fox Family. 

This name is not yet extinct in the county, and some of 
the descendants of the patentee, Christopher, reside near, if 
not upon, the lot taken up by him in the vicinity of the Stone 
Church, German Flats. Frederick Fox, a son of the patentee, 
was a first lieutenant of Capt. George Herkheimer's company, 
4th battalion Tryon county militia^ as arranged in 1776. 
Peter Fox was commissioned, in 1786, as ensign in Capt. 
Peter P. Bellinger's company of militia, in the regiment com- 
manded by Lieut. Col. Henry Starring. I do not place Peter 
on the list of descendants from the patentee, but it is proba- 
ble he was. 

This family is not now, I believe, very numerous in the 
county, although several of the name, of German descent, 
are settled in the southern towns. Christopher Fox was 
one of the volunteers, in 1711, in the expedition against 
Cemada. He then was at Haysbury, on the manor, and was 
the Palatine list master of that town. 

The Helmeb Fahilt. 

This name is still pretty numerous in this and the adjoin- 
ing county of Montgomery, but I do not ^suppose they all 
claim to be descendants of the Palatine stock, who first came 
to the upper Mohawk valley. Of the six patentees, in the 
grant of 1725, two were married women, whose husbands 
were alive. Philip and Frederick, two of the patentees, 
were probably children of the other grantees. Lendert Hel- 


mer, one of the original patentees of Bnmetsfield, was also 
the grantee of lots No& 13, 21 and 38 in the patent or grant 
made in 1739, called Glen's purchase. John Adam Helmer, 
with Capt. Demuth and another man, was sent forward, on 
the daj previous to the Oriskany battle, to Fort Schuyler, 
by Gen. Herkimer, to apprise GoL Gunsevoort of his approach. 
This duty was executed, although some delays took place in 
reaching the fort, occasioned no doubt by the extreme cau- 
tion necessary to be observed to avoid a watchful and numer- 
ous enemy. Helmer was also one of the messengers sent by 
the committee of the Kingsland and German Flats district lo 
Albany, with an account of the disastrous residt of the battle. 
Capt. Frederick Helmer, of Col. Peter Bellinger's regiment 
of militia, was killed at Oriskany. 

John Helmer was the only survivor of four men, sent in 
August or September, 1778, to watch Brant's movements at 
the Unadilla, who was then collecting his tory and Indian 
forces for a descent upon the German Flats, which he, at 
that time, so successfully accomplished. Helmer's three 
companions were killed at the Edmeston settlement; but he 
made his escape, and returned in time to notify the inhabit- 
ants of the impending danger, and they saved themselves 
from slaughter and captivity by fleeing for protection to 
Forts Herkimer and Dayton. I have no means of deciding 
whether this was the same man sent to Fort Schuyler, by 
Gen. Herkimer, but suppose it was. 

The historians of the revolutionary period mention a man 
by the name of Helmer, who was arrested, tried by a court 
martial, condemned and executed as a spy, at Johnstown, in 
April, 1779. This man, it seems, belonged to the expedition 
which came from Canada, in the fall of 1778, for the purpose 
of recovering Sir John Johnson's iron chest. He became 
disabled, so that he could not pursue his journey back to 
Canada, and secreted himself in his father's house until 
spring, when he was arrested. He had left the county with 
Sir John, and had attached himself to the baronet's fortunes. 
This man could not have been one of our family of Helmers, 


as his father, it appears, was settled at or near Johnstown, 
and the tide of German emigration, before the revolution, 
flowed westward. 

This family, or these Bnmetsfield patentees, the Helmers, 
were Palatine immigrants, but whether they came over in 
1710 or 1722 is not certain. They probably composed a 
part of the second body of immigrants. 

The Ebohemab (ob Hebeimer) Family. 

Jnrgh, Johan Jost, Madalana and Catharina Erghemar, 
were each, as appears, patentees named in the Burnetsficld 
grant. One hundred acres, on the south side of the Mohawk 
river were allotted to each of them. This name is not found 
in the li3t of Palatine immigrants who were sent to Living- 
ston's manor, by Gov. Hunter, or of those who remained in 
the city of New York. We have no reliable information in 
regard to Jurgh, or George, Herkimer. There is a tradition 
among the descendants of this family, that two brothers 
emigrated from Germany, and after being here some years, 
they were informed that a considerable estate had fallen to 
them in fatherland, when they concluded they would return 
to Germany and look after it; but on going to New York, 
and seeing only a small portion of the broad expanse of 
water they would have to cross, their resolution failed, and 
they returned to their then quiet homes on the Mohawk. 

This family early exhibited evidence of wealth and thrift 
far ahead of any of the other Palatine settlers, in the erection 
of costly stone edifices, and the possession of many broad 
acres, purchased after Gov. Burnet's grant. This grant pro- 
fessed to set apart one hundred acres to each man, woman 
and child of the families who had petitioned to be removed 
to the upper section of the valley, and it may well be assumed 
this privilege was claimed and acceded to in every instance. 

Was the Catharina named in the patent, and who drew 
lot No. 5, on or near which the former county poorhouse 
was erected, the wife of Johan Jost? If Jurgh and Johan 



Jost were not brothers, and this idea seems to be very much 
strengthened by the subseqnent ownership and occnpancy of 
the lands granted, unless Jurgh died without issue, and left 
his estate to his brother, the conclusion seems to be that 
Johan Jost, subsequently known as Hanyost Herkimer the 
elder, was the son of Jurgh. If Johan Jost was married in 
1725, the date of the patent, he probably had no children 
to whom lands could be granted according to its terms. 
The fact is well known that lands were granted to children 
whose fathers and mothers are named as patentees. Mada- 
lana and Catharina are not described as married women, and 
may have been sisters of Hanyost the elder; if this be the 
true solution of this matter, they probably died unmarried, 
or sold their interest in the lands allotted to them, for we 
find some of the same lands in the possession of Hanyost the 
elder, in April, 1771. This Hanyost left a grandson, bom 
in October, 1751, who was the issue of his second son, 

This name has undergone many changes. In 1752 it was 
written Herchkeimer, and the same in 1777, by the family. 
In 1758, Gov. Delancy wrote it Hareniger. In 1756 we find 
it written Harkemeis. Then, at other periods, Herchamer, 
Harchamer, Harkeman and Herkermer. In 1775, the family 
was, in all its branches, somewhat numerous, influential, 
and esteemed friendly to the popular cause, and all, except 
the General, residents of the German Flats district ; for we 
find one of them named as colonel and two others as cap- 
tains in the fourth battalion of the Tryon county militia by 
the county committee. The name is then written Herkheimer. 
This colonel, who was one of the general's brothers, after- 
wards proved recreant, as well as one of the captains, for 
we find no account of them afterwards. It is not improbable 
they belonged to the attainted branch of the family. 

The patentee, Jurgh or George Herkimer, did not leave 
any descendants, unless Johan Jost and one or both of the 
females named were his children, or they left this part of 
the country before the revolution. We have no tradition 


or information of any sort, of any pereonB of that name, 
except those who trace their descent irom Hanyoat Herkimer 
the elder ; nor can we find that any of the other Palatine 
familiea claim relationship by marriage with the Herkimer 
family, behind Hanyost the elder's descendants 


Wae the oldest son of 
Johan Jost Herkimer 
the elder, who wae 
sometimes called Han- 
yost, and died in An- 
gust, 1775, leaving five 
sons, Nicholas, Henry, 
Johan Jost, George and 
John ; and eight daugh- 
ters, Elizabeth Barba- 
ra, Lana, Delia, Catha- 
rine, Anna, Gertruyd, 
Anna Maria and Eliza- 
Oen. Herkiiner's Dwelling. beth. The father of 

this namerouB family was the Johan Jost Erghemar, one of 
the patentees of Bnmetsfield, and drew lot number 36, 
and he was also one of the patentees of the Fall Hill tract 
granted in 1752 to Johan Jost Herchkeimer and Hendrick 

Although a little out of the order of events, I will here 
give all the information I have been able to collect in regard 
to the surviving branches of the General's family. Of the 
four brothers who remained in the country and attached to 
the revolutionary cause, Nicholas and John died without 
issae; George left two sons, John and Joseph, who have been 
dead a namber of years. Joseph left one son only, who until 
very recently resided at the Little Falls. Henry left five sons, 
Joseph, Nicholas, Abraham, George and Henry. I have not 
been able to trace out the descendants of Joseph and Nicho- 
las. Abraham removed to Pennsylvania where bia descend- 

152 mSTOBY OP TfHRKmrat couxtty. 

ants are now to be found. George, the General's nephew, 
left four sons, Henry G., Timothy and George, who in 1854 
lived in Otsego county, near Schuyler's lake, and William 
who had removed to Ghautauque county. The General's 
nephew, Henry, left Joseph, Henry and Bobert H, The 
first named of these three brothers lived in Springfield, 
Otsego county, in 1854, and the two latter emigrated to 
Michigan some years ago. The General's sisters were all 
married. Elizabeth Barbara, the eldest, married Peter D. 
Schuyler; she was the mother of Hanyost Schuyler referred 
to in the former chapter of this work. Lana was three 
times married ; her first husband was Warner Dygert ; the 
second, Nicholas SneU; and the third, John Boorback. 
Delia was married to Col. Peter Bellinger, Catharine to 
George Henry Bell, Gertruyd to Budolph Shoemaker, Anna 
to Peter Ten Broeck, Anna Maria to the Bev. Abraham 
Bosecrants, and Elizabeth to Hendrick Prey. 

These daughters of the venerable patriarch left numerous 
descendants, and among them are some of our most respect- 
able citizens. The General was not fortunate in some of his 
family connections, and he was no doubt to some extent 
damaged by the adherence of a brother and one or more of 
the husbands and children of two of his sisters to the inter- 
ests of the crown, to which may be added the equivocal 
conduct of his reverend brother-in-law. This was no fault 
of his, however, so long as he performed his whole duty to 
his country. 

The General was commissioned a lieutenant in Captain 
William Wormwood's company in the Schenectady battalion 
of militia, on the 5th of January, 1768, by Lieutenant- 
Governor James De Lancey. The commission, it will be 
observed, is directed to Han Nicholas Herchkeimer, gentle- 
man. He must have been, at this time, the senior officer of 
his name, and commanded at Fort Herkimer in 1758, when 
the expedition of French and Indians attacked the settle- 
ments on the south side of the river. This I advance as an 
inference drawn from the fact of his then holding a militia 


commiBsion, and being the only person of the same name 
who did. He was commissioned a brigadier general of the 
militia of Tryon county, embodied for the defense of Ameri- 
can liberty, and to repel every hostile invasion thereof, by 
the provincial congress, September 5th, 1776. It should 
here be noticed that in 1775, he had been appointed or 
elected colonel of the 1st battalion of militia in his county, 
when that force was organized by the provincial authorities. 
At the commencement of the revolution he lived in the 
* Canajoharie district of the county and represented the dis- 
trict in the county committee of safety. His younger 
brother George was a member from the German Flats and 
Kingsland district. The General was also a member of the 
committee from his diskict and chairman thereof in 1776. 

He acted as chairman pro tem. of the Tryon county com- 
mittee of safety in July and August, 1775, and several letters 
signed by him are found published in the journals and 
proceedings of the New York provincial convention of that 
year. Although twice married he left no children at his 
death, and his family papers have been scattered, lost and 
destroyed, so that at this day we are left much in the dark 
as to his early history. ^In 1760 he resided intheOanajo- 
harie district, and in May of that year, his father conveyed 
to him five hundred acres of land, portions of Lindesay and 
Livingston's and Fall Hill patents. This conveyance also 
covers a small island in the Mohawk river of about two 
acres. The consideration expressed in the deed is the love 
and affection the grantor had for his son^ 

His family mansion had then been or was subsequently 
erected on these lands, and the home he occupied while liv- 
ing still remains, but little changed in outward appearance, 
and some of its interior arrangements and finish are left as 
when first completed although it has long since been pos- 
sessed by strangers. The two commissions before referred 
to are now given to the public, believing they will be 
interesting to the reader. 


By the Honorable 
James De Lancet, Esq: 

His Majesty's Lieatenant-Govemor, and commander in 

chief in and over the Province of New York, and the 

Territories depending thereon in America. 
To Han Nicholas Herchkeimer, Gentleman, Greeting, 

Reposing especial trust and confidence, as well in the 
care, diligence and circamspection, as in the loyalty, courage 
and Beadiness of You, to do His Majesty good and faith- 
ful service ; Have nominated, constituted and appointed, and 
I Do, by Virtue of the Powers and Authorities to me given 
by His Majesty, hereby nominate, constitute and appoint 
You, the said Han Nicholas Herchkimer, to be second Lieu- 
tenant of the company of Militia in the Schenectady Batalion, 
whereof William Wormwood, Esq., is Captain. 

You are therefore to take the said Company into your 
ChiM-ge and Care, as second Lieut, thereof, and duly to 
exercise both the Officers and Soldiers of that Company in 
Arms. And as they are hereby commanded to obey you, as 
their second Lieutenant, so are you likewise to observe and 
follow such Orders and Directions, from time to time as you 
shall receive from Me or any other your Superior Officer, 
according to the Rules and Disciplme of War, in Pursuance 
of the Trust reposed in you ; and for so doing this shall be 
your Commission. 

Given under my Hand and Seal at Arms, in New York, 
the fifth day of January, in the Thirty First Year of His 
Majisty's Reign, Annoq : Domini one Thousand seven Hund- 
red and Fifty eight. Jakes De Lancet. 

By His Honour's Command, 

Go. Banyer D. Secry. 

Sealed. This is on coarse cap paper stamped fourpenny 

The provincial convention of the state, on the 5th of 
September, 1776, after organizing the militia of Tryon 
county into a brigade, separate from that of Albany county, 
adopted the following preamble and resolution : 


''And whereas, Nicholas Herkimer, Esq., is ji^tly entitled 
to be appointed the brigadier-general of the brigade of 
militia of Tryon county, as well from his military rank in 
that county as from his great merit and many exertions in 
the present glorious struggle for liberty : Therefore, 

Besolved, unanimously, That Nicholas Herkimer, Esquire, 
be appointed brigadier-general of the militia of Tryon 
county, and that a commission issue to him accordingly for 
that purpose." 
In convention of the Representatives of the State of New 

To Nicholas Herkimer, Esquire, greeting: 

We reposing Especial trust and Confidence in your patriot- 
ism, Valour, Conduct and Fidelity, do by these presents 
constitute and appoint you the said Nicholas Herkimer 
Brigadier General of the Brigade of Militia of the county of 
Tryon Embodied for the defence of American Liberty and for 
repelling Every Hostile Invasion thereof, you are therefore 
carefully and diligently to discharge the duty of Brigadier 
General by doing and performing all manner of things, 
thereunto belonging, and we do strictly charge and Require 
all officers and privates under your command to be obedient 
to your orders as Brigadier General: And you are to observe 
and follow such orders and directions from time to time as 
you shall receive from the present or any future Congress 
of the United States of America, or from this or any future 
Convention of the Bepresentatives, or future executive 
Authority of this State, or from the Commander in Chief for 
the time Being of the Army of the United States, or any 
other your superior officer According to the rules and Dis- 
cipline of War, in pursuance of the Trust Reposed in you. 
Provided such orders and directions of the said Commander 
in Chief or of such Superior Officer be grounded on the autho- 
rity of the present or any future Congress of the United 
American States, or the present or any future Convention of 
the Representatives or other Executive authority of this state, 
or their Respective committees of Safety ; This Commission 


to Continue in force nntil Bevoked by this or a future con- 
vention of this State. 

Given at FishkiUs the fifth day of September in the year 
of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy six. 

By order, Ab*m Yates JunV, President. 

Attest, John McKesson, Sec'ry. 

It is not now known whether the General held any civil 
office under the crown. As the Johnson family controlled 
all such appointments in the Mohawk valley, it is not 
probable he did. He was an early advocate for the rights 
of the colonists, with the rest of the family, except his 
brother Hanyost, who was attainted under the act of 1779, 
and removed to Canada where he died in 1787. The family 
were wealthy and exerted great influence with the German 
population in the upper districts of the valley. 

From the first organization of the Tryon county commit- 
tee of safety until he was commissioned a brigadier, Gton. 
Herkimer appears to have been a prominent member of 
that committee, and was actively engaged in promoting 
the patriot cause. His services were known to and appre- 
ciated by his fellow citizens in the whole valley, and the 
voluntary revolutionary associations in the colony. It has 
been asserted that his education was limited. It is proba- 
bly true bis early instruction was confined to the schools of 
the country, and wcm only such as was deemed necessary 
at that day to fit him for the occupation he was destined to 
follow. He was a farmer. 

In June, 1777, Gen. Herkimer^ at the head of about three 
hundred of the local militia of the county, and one hundred 
and fifty men of Col. Van Schaick's regiment, repaired to 
UnadiUa. and sought an interview with Capt. Joseph 
Brant, the too celebrated Mohawk chief. 

Brant had been a considerable time at Oghkwaga on the 
Susquehanna, collecting an Indian force, and although he 
had not then made any hostile attack upon the frontier 
settlements, he held no equivocal language in respect to his 
own feelings, and those of his people, in regard to the ex- 

QHH. NICHOLAS mCTumneffc. 157 

istiDg di£Giciiltie8 between the crown and colonies. The 
Mohawk did not speak with a forked tongue, nor can he be 
charged with duplicity. Herkimer and Brant had been 
long acquainted ; had been friends and quite near neighbors 
before the chief left his farm at the upper Mohawk castle, 
now in Danube, and went to Canada with Guy Johnson, in 
1776. The particular object of this risit has never been fully 
disclosed; nor does it appear to have been made without 
consultation among the leading and prominent men of the 
day. Qen. Herkimer's conduct, on this occasion, strongly 
indicates that he went on a mission of peace. It was 
known that Brant was surrounded by a very considerable 
Indian force, numerically larger than ihe expedition which 
accompanied the GeneraL 

A part of the Mohawks had at German Flats and Albany 
bound themselves by treaty not to take any part in the con- 
test, and it is by no means a forced inference to conclude 
that Herkimer's object was to persuade Brant and his fol- 
lowers to adopt the same resolution. It was not inappro- 
priate, even if the General designed nothing but a friendly 
visit and pacific consultation with his former neighbor, that 
he should be attended with an imposing force. It was no 
doubt considered important to make a show of strength to^ 
the Indians on that occasion, that they might see if they 
took up the hatchet'against the provincials, what they might 
have to encounter. It was not until after this conference 
between Herkimer and Brant that the Indians concluded at a 
council held at Oswego, to take up the war hatchet in favor 
of the king ; and it was then, and not before, that Brant 
was acknowledged the war chief of the Six Nations. That 
place according to the usages of the Iroquois confederacy, 
belonged to Little Abraham, after the death of his brother 
Hendrik. Abraham having been a party to the German- 
Flats and Albany treaty of neutrality, was no doubt dis- 
placed or superseded as war chief at the instigation of the 
British commissioners. 

Gen. Herkimer held two consultations with Brant, on two 


different days, a limited number of each party being pre* 
sent, unarmed. His object seems to have been to ascertain 
the feelings and intentions of the Mohawk, and the confer- 
ences were animated. Here, as on former occasions, Brant 
was explicit and decided. He told the General the Indians 
were in concert with the king, as their fathers had been, 
and they would not violate their pledge. 

Brant desired that the Bev. Mr. Stuart, missionary at 
Fort Hunter, and the wife of GoL Butler, might be allowed 
to retire into Canada, which the General agreed to, and 
presented the Indians with several head of cattle, which 
they slaughtered immediately. The conference ended, and 
Herkimer returned home. 

If this was intended as a hostile demonstration, rather 
than a peaceful visit, the force employed was entirely in- 
sufficient; and this must have been known to Gen. Schuyler, 
who then commanded in the northern department. We 
have referred to this incident in the life of Gen. Herkimer, 
not on account of its importance, or any very striking or 
peculiar features it may possess, but to endeavor to rescue 
the memory of a good and a brave mcoi from a most grave 
and serious imputation. We have endeavored to show, and 
we think successfully, that the General's visit to his former 
neighbor was peaceful in its inception and with the intention 
of inducing Brant not to take up arms against the Americans ; 
it being well known that he left Canada with a considerable 
party of Indians, soon after he had had a pretty serious mis- 
understanding with Guy Johnson. Brant was himself con- 
vinced that no hostile demonstration was intended, and if 
any such views were entertained, they must have been 
abandoned, for the General declared to Brant's messengers, 
and to Brant himself, he came on a friendly visit. 

Now in the face of all these facts, corroborated by concur- 
rent events, is it probable that Gen. Herkimer ever contem- 
plated a foul and treacherous murder ? It is certain Brant 
never suspected any insidious attempt on his life, or, if he 
did, he possessed the means of successful defense, which 

■^- '■-« III I B^^^^^p^i^^s^^^ae^^ -'"^■^^*^! 


have not been disclosed. The General has a right to throw 
himself npon his former good character, or his friends have 
for him; and they may well ask that he be acquitted of a 
charge, fonl and dishonorable, based npon a recollection of 
events which took place sixty years before they are put 
upon record. 

That Gen. Herkimer should have taken all needful pre- 
cautions to guard against surprise, and protect his command 
from any sudden attack by Brant and his followers, is quite 
natural This it was his duty to do, even if he was com- 
pelled to strike down Brant to accomplish his object ; and 
this would have been quite a different position from that he 
is made to assume, in the life of Brant, by CoL Stone. In 
the one case, he is made to stand out the premeditated 
aggressor; concerting meMures to destroy a man he had 
inyited to meet him in a consultation of peace, and who 
held his safe conduct, which, by all the laws of war, was his 
shield and protection ; and in the other case, he shows a 
settled resolutioii not to be circumvented or surprised by an 
artful, inveterate and resolute foe, without being prepared 
to strike a blow that must have been instantly fatal to the 

The latter view of this question entirely accords with the 
whole tenor of Gen. Herkimer's life to its close, which hap- 
pened a few weeks subsequent to this event. All hope of 
inducing the Indians to remain neutral, in the contest 
between the colonies and mother country, had not then been 
abandoned by the former, and this was well known to the 
General; any rash or unguarded act, on his part, would 
have precipitated an event which all must have deplored, 
and who would have felt more keenly the severity of Indian 
retaliation than the General's connexions and neighbors? 
This expedition was set on foot by Gen. Schuyler, and if, in 
its inception, it was intended as a hostile demonstration 
against Brant and his followers, it was most strangely and 
clumsily conducted. But this could not have been its object, 
nor the design of its projectors. 

160 HI8T0BT OF HmnnmeR gouhtt. 

The approach of the Britiah army from the north under 
Oen. Borgoyne, and the concentration of the enemy under 
St. Leger, at Oswegq, Indians, Tories, Canadian and others, 
produced great consternation in the Mohawk valley, and 
Gen. Herkimer on the 17th of July, 1777, issued the follow- 
ing spirited and patriotic proclamation: 

^Whereas it appears certain that the enemy, of about 
2000 strong, Ckrittitms and iooagesy are arrived at Oswego, 
with the intention to invade our frontiers, I think it proper 
and most necessary for the defence of our country, and it 
shall be ordered by me as soon as the enemy approaches, 
that every male person, being in health, from 16 to 60 years 
of age, in this our country, shall, as in duty bound, repair 
immediately, with arms and accoutrements, to the place to 
be appointed in my orders; and will then march to oppose 
the enemy with vigor, as true patriots, for the just defence 
of their country. And those that are above 60 years, or 
really unwell, and incapable to march, shall then assemble, 
also armed, at their respective places, where women and 
children will be gathered together, in order for defence 
against the enemy, if attacked, as much as lies in their power. 
But concerning the disa£fected, and who will not directly 
obey such orders, they shall be taken along with their arms, 
secured under guard to join the main body. And as such an 
invasion regards every friend to the ODuntry in general, but 
of this county in particular, to show his zeal and well- 
affected spirit in actual defence of the same ; all the members 
of the committee, as well as all those who, by former com- 
missions or otherwise, have been exempted from any other 
military duty, are requested to repair also when called, to 
such place as shall be appointed, and join to re|)ulse our foes. 
Not doubting that the Almighty Power, upon our humble 
prayers and sincere trust in him, will then graciously succor 
our arms in battle, for our just cause, and victory can not fail 
on our side.'* 

We have, in another place, brielBy noticed the battle at 
Oriskany, in which Gen. Herkimer commanded the brave 

^ V- 

QSK. mcaoLAB HmtyrmiiL 161 

American militia, and were indnced to do so from the con- 
sideration that many of the inhabitants of the territory now 
composing this comity, were actors in that bloody drama ; 
and not because it came within the scope marked ont by the 
writer when he conuoenced a work wMch was intended to 
be purely local In the published notices of that event, 
full justice has not, in the estimation of many, been done to 
the motives and character of Oen. Herkimer. That he was 
a good and brave man, can not be questioned, and now, 
when all the circumstances attending that unfortunate event 
are calmly considered, no one is disposed to doubt his fixed 
and unwavering devotion to the patriotic cause; and yet we 
can not but see that the unfortunate results of that day were 
owing more to unjust and unmerited aspersions, combined 
with the characteristics of the men composing the little 
army, than a want of capacity or inattention to the safety 
of the troops on the part of the General. 

The little army commanded by Herkimer, then hastening 
by forced marches to the relief of Fort Schuyler, was com- 
posed entirely of undisciplined militia, little used and not 
inclined to submit to the discipline of war, and among them 
were several members of the county committee of safety, who 
had theretofore exerted almost unlimited control in all 
matters relating not only to civil government, but to the 
movement of troops called out for defense upon the frontiers. 

The General was advised that a body of hostile Indians 
would intercept his approach to the fort, and he sent forward 
a messenger to Ool Ganesvoort advising that officer of his 
position, and concerted a signal, whereby the arrival of the 
messenger at the fort was to be announced to the General. 
As soon as the messenger arrived a spirited sally was to be 
made by the besieged against the beleaguering army, in 
order to divert the enemy's attention from Herkimer, who 
designed a rapid approach, and would have been able to pass 
the point of expected attack and reach the vicinity of the 
fort unmolested. Unfortunately the General's messenger did 


not reach Ool. Ganeevoort *at the hour expected, and the 
anticipated signal was not heard in the camp near Oriskany. 
General Herkimer's forces were not sufficient to warrant 
him to risk an action with the enemy single handed. On the 
morning of the 6th of August, while waiting for the signal 
of the sortie from the fort, several of the Gen^al's officers 
and some of the committee of safety urged an immediate 
advance to the relief of the garrison, but the General was 
reluctant to peril the safety of his little army, composed of 
his neighbors and friends, and desired to wait the arrival of 
reinforcements, or until he was notified his express had 
* gained the fort. But the enthusiasm of his followers could 
not be restrained, nor were his subordinate disposed to treat 
his opinions with the respect and consideration to which 
they were justly entitled. This was not all, some of them 
charged him with cowardice and disafiection to the country ; 
he still adhered to his resolution of delaying a forward 
movement until it was known whether OoL Ganesvoort had 
been advised of his approach ; and instead of meeting with 
a proper submission from his subordinate officers, some of 
them in passionate words charged him to his face with being 
a tory and a coward. The alternative thus presented to the 
citizen general was one of great delicacy and immeasurable 
responsibility. On the one hand it was his duty to march 
to the relief of the beleaguered fortress and aid in preserv- 
ing it from falling into the hands of the enemy, but he was 
yet without any reliable information that his express had 
reached or could reach Col. Gansevoort in any event, or even 
that Fort Schuyler itself was not then in possession of St. 
Leger; on the other, his little army, composed entirely of the 
militia of the county, fathers, sons and brothers who had 
recently passed from a state of almost hopeless despondency 
to the extreme elation and uncontrollable resolution, was no 
match for'the enemy in numbers, and besides if it had been 
it was alike the imperative duty of the General, by all pru- 
dential means, to preserve his men from needless slaughter 
and captivity, and above all other things not to allow them 


to become ensnared in an ambuscade from which they conld 
not be extricated. This the General told his insubordinate 
officers who had so causelessly and cruelly taunted him with 
cowardice and toryism. He moreover told those who had 
been the most clamorous for an immediate forward move- 
ment, and most liberal in their epithets, that they would be 
the first to turn and run when the enemy made his appear- 
ance. This appears to have been verified to the letter 
when the action commenced. But what could the Qeneral 
do ? To remain in camp only eight miles distant from the 
fort would lead to further outbreaks of insubordination, and 
circumstances might happen whereby he would be seriously 
compromised. He had been informed of the spot where he 
would be attacked on his march, and he seems to have 
adopted all the precautions to prevent surprise, that his 
small force, the nature of the ground and the condition of 
the country, then a dense wilderness, would allow ; although 
writers differ on this point. It is not intended to repeat in 
this place any of the events of a battle which filled the val- 
ley with mourning. 

The troops were ordered to march, and they obeyed with 
alacrity. After proceeding a short distance Herkimer and 
the principal part of his men foimd themselves involved in 
an inextricable ambuscade, with no alternative but to fight 
or surrender. 

The General's horse was killed under him early in the 
action, and his leg was at the same time broken by a musket 
ball ; in this situation he directed his saddle to be placed 
upon a small hillock, where he rested himself, and coolly and 
firmly issued his orders to his troops. When requested to 
place himself in a less exposed situation, he answered as a 
brave and true man would in like circumstances, " I will 
face the enemy.*' He found himself surrounded by his neigh- 
bors, family relatives and friends, in a position from which 
they could not be extricated, and where but a few hours 
before he had told them he did not wish to have them placed ; 
and himself disabled so that he could not walk. While the 

164 mSTOBT OF meEmMKE coustt. 

battle raged the fiercest and the savage yell was lotidest, he 
took his flint, steel and tinder box from his pocket, aqd lit 
his pipe, which he smoked with great composnre. 

The deliberation and coohiess exhibited by the command- 
ing officer on this occasion infused into his men a spirit of 
unconqnerable resistance ; and it is not nnlikely there were 
some, who in the morning had heard his conrage doubted 
and his prudential motives assailed, if they did not partici- 
pate in this aggression, that felt keenly the wrong which 
had been done, and were the more resolved they would not 
see any further indignity heaped upon him. The General^s 
conduct through the whole of this eventful day was admir- 
able, and greatly contributed to produce order and com- 
bined action in his little army. 

After the action, General Herkimer was conveyed to his 
own home, in the present town of Danube, a few miles east 
of Little Falls, where his leg, which had been fractured 
below the knee, was amputated. The published statements 
in regard to this operation do not ^ree. It was no doubt 
unskillfully done. The leg, flesh and bone were cut off 
square, without taking up or tieing the large blood vessels, 
and he consequently died of an hemorrhage. He was, in his 
last moments, collected, cheerful and resigned. When he 
became satisfled that the hours of life with him were num- 
bered, he called for the Bible and read to those around him 
the thirty-eighth psalm, commencing with the earnest 
invocation : 

^ Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath ; neither chasten 
me in thy hot displeasure.'' 

Thus closed the life of Gen. Nicholas Herkimer. The 
name of Herkimer was at an early day bestowed on a tract 
of country erected into a county which was the place of his 
birth, as an appropriate memoricd to one who had laid dovm 
his life in a heroic defense of that country, and the liberty 
of its citizens. 

The General's loss was keenly felt and sincerely deplored 


by the people of Tryon county, and the country generally 
deeply sympathized with his friends in their bereavement. 

In October following his death, the continental congress 
passed a resolution appropriating five hundred dollars for 
the erection of a monument to his memory, and in communi- 
cating the resolution to the governor of this state, the 
congress said : 

"Every mark of distinction shown to the memory of such 
illustrious men as offer up their lives for the liberty and 
happiness of this country, reflects real honor on those who 
pay the grateful tribute; and by holding up to others the 
prospect of fame and immortality, will animate them to tread 
in the same path." 

Gov. Gteorge Clinton, when he sent the resolution and 
letter to the committee of safety in Tryon county, remarked : 

" Enclosed you have a copy of a letter and resolves of 
congress for erecting a monument to the memory of your 
late gallant general. While, with you, I lament the causes, 
I am impressed with a due sense of the great and justly 
merited honor the continent has, in this instance, paid to 
the memory of that brave man." 

Reader, have you seen that monument, erected by a grate- 
ful country, to the memory of a good and brave man, who 
offered up his life for its liberty and happiness ? 

Have you seen the proud memento that reflects real honor 
on those who paid the grateful tribute ; and which holds up 
to others the prospect of fame and immortality? 

Descendants of the Palatines; sons of the Pilgrim Fathers; 
and ye, who have sought an asylum " in the land of the free 
and the home of the brave," since that monument was resolved 
to be erected, can you point out the spot where it stands, 
and have you read the inscriptions by which the republic 
has bestowed a "great and justly merited honor" **to the 
memory of that brave man?" 

In what direction shall the thousands, who daily pass 
through the valley at a speed which almost annihilates time 
and space, turn themselves for a momentary glance at the 




indestructible memorial which proudly attests a nation's 
honor and gratitude ? Or where shall they look for it« 
mouldering ruins, after seventy-seven years' exposure to a 
severe and destructive climate ? , 

But why ask questions that have been answered more than 
three-quarters of a century, and when no other response 
thati that already given will ever be obtained? Although 
the national congress has been remiss in executing its own 
resolve and redeeming its solemn pledge, our state has per- 
petuated the name of Herkimer so long, at least, as the 
republic shall stand. 

Some writers have gone so far as to call in question Gen. 
Herkimer's prudence, if they do not doubt his capacity as a 
military commandant, in the disposition and arrangement 
of his forces in the march to Oriskany, on the morning of 
the battle. The writer of this sketch feels no disposition to 
become the partisan, but as these remarks have not been 
made by military men, so far as his observation has extended, 
he can not assent to the justice of any such conclusions 
drawn from the historical facts stated. The material error 
committed was the forward movement until reinforced, or 
the signal to be given from the fort was heard. Now let it 
be borne in mind that Gen. Herkimer was not in command 
of regular troops, nor the chief of subordinate officers, and 
his powers as commanding general might be circumscribed 
by the county committee, a large number of which, it appears, 
were in attendance. He doubted the expediency and pro- 
priety of breaking up his camp, and resisted until overruled 
by a necessity that knows no law and admits of no restraint 
whatever. His character as an officer was assailed, and his 
motives as a man were impugned. The state of things in 
his camp no doubt impressed him with the strong conviction 
that one act of insubordination might well be followed by 
another, which would prove more fatal to those engaged in 
it, and perhaps to himself and those who remained faithful 
to him, than any hazard he might incur by a combined move- 
ment of hi9 whole force- If only a part of his small army 


bad adyanced, it is apparent every man would have been cut 
off and the remainder, with himself, would have shared the 
same fate; or, if they had not, he would have been greatly 
censured for permitting his troops to be attacked in detail. 

General Herkimer is in no respect justly chargeable with 
committing an error by giving the order to march. It 
seems to be very well authenticated that front, flank and 
rear guards were thrown out and accompanied the march 
of the forces. The strength of these covering parties, or 
the distance they marched from the main body, is not stated. 

In passing the marshy ground at the creek, it is very 
likely the flankers were compelled to fall into the advancing 
column, in order to cross on the bridge and causeway, and 
enable them to keep up with the line of march. Here was 
the spot the enemy chose to occupy in ambush. We might 
as well blame the commanding officer for taking this road, 
when there was no other, as to censure him for any disorder 
in the march consequent upon passing this defile. When 
seeking grounds to censure the conduct of others, we may 
overlook points very material to be considered. Surely the 
men of the revolution, and especially those of the Mohawk 
valley, were not to be told that the only mode of meeting 
an Indian attack was in solid column, or in regular formed 

It is said the line of march was so irregular, and the 
attack so sudden, there was no opportunity of forming 
the men. In what manner would any officer acquainted 
with Indian warfare arrange his men, except ta direct each 
one to take his cover, and watch the movements of the foe, 
and as he uncovered to deliver his fire? Why then seek to 
charge want of capacity for not doing what would have 
been condemned on all hands as unwise and extremely 
disastrous? A conflict with the northren Indians, in our 
dense forests, is almost an individual, hand-to-hand affair, 
depending more on personal prowess and skill, for success, 
than combined movements in column or line. This can not 
be better illustrated than in the words of an eloquent 

:iA 4 «i i:< 


a/i Ingfls deliTered br tLe late Govemear Morris. bePDre the 
X^TT York Historical .Societj: "Let me recalL gemleiaen, 
to Toir rec^/Jection* tLit bl»»lv fieil in which Heridmer 
f*:!L Tf>rre wa^» foniid the Indian and the white man* lorn 
fjn the l^r-fc? of the Mohawk, their left han«ls clenched in 
ea^'h orLer*' hair, the ri^ht gra*p»ing. in a gripe of death, the 
knife plan;red in each others' fco=c»m ; thus thevlay firowning-'* 

Home anthor* have stated that Gen. Herkimer was sixty 
rears old when he died. He wa* not h-om ontil after April, 
1725, and it i« highly probaMe, when we take into consider- 
ation the fact« before stated, his father was not then mar- 
ried. He might hare been about fifty years of age at his 
death, bat some collateral members of the family say, he 
waa not over forty-seven or forty-eight when that event 

The following letter being pertinent to the subject in 
hand, on acconnt of the facts stated in it, should have a 
place in this pablication: 

Grerman Flats, Committee Chamber, 

August 9th, 1777. 

Gentlemen: Just arrived CapL Demuth and John Adam 
Helmer, the bearer hereof, with an account that they 
arrived with some difficulty at Fort Schuyler, the 6th of the 
month, being sent there by order of Gen. Herkimer. Before 
he set out for the field of battle, he requested some assist- 
ance from the fort, in order to make an efibrt to facilitate 
our march to the fori. Two hundred and six men were 
granted. They made a sally, encountered the enemy, 
killed many, destroyed the tents of the enemy, and came 
off victorious to the fort The commander (of the fort) 
desired them to acquaint us, and his superiors, that he 
is wanting assistance, •and thinks to stand out so long that 
timely assistance could come to his relief. 

Concerning the battle : On our side, all accounts agreed, 
that a number of the enemy is killed; the flower of our mili- 
tia, either killed or wounded, except 150, who stood the field 
and forced the enemy to retreat; the woimded were brought 


off by those brave men ; the dead they left on the field for 
want of proper support. We will not take upon us to tell 
of the behavior of the rear. So far we know, they took 
to flight the first firing. Gen. Herkimer is wounded; Col. 
Cox seemingly killed, and a great many officers are among 
the slain. We are surrounded by tories, a party of 100 of 
whom are now on their march through the woods. We 
refer you for further information to the bearer. Major 
Watts of the enemy is killed. Joseph Brant, William John- 
son, several known tories and a number of Indians. 

Gentlemen, we pray you will send us succor. By the 
death of most part of our committee members, the field offi- 
cers, and General being wounded, every thing is out of 
order; the people entirely dispirited; our county at Esopus 
unrepresented, that we can not hope to stand it any longer 
without your aid ; we will not mention the shocking aspect 
our fields do show. Faithful to our country, we remain. 

Your sorrowful brethren, 

The few members of this committee, 
attested Peteb J. Dtgert, Chairman. 

To the Chairman of the Committee of Albany. 

The reader will detect the mistakes in the above letter, 
although of little consequence now. Neither Brant or John- 
son were killed or hurt in the least, except in feeling, al- 
though in the subsequent years of the war there were many 
in the valley who would have much rejoiced had a quietus 
been placed on Brant at Oriskany. 

Gen. Herkimer's will appears to have been used as an exhibit 
in a suit in chancery, and is now deposited in the office of 
the clerk of the court of appeals. It bears date February 
7th, 1777. He is described in it as.a resident of Canajoharie, 
Tryon county. His first wife, was a sister of Peter S. 
Tygert, and his second wife, Maria, the daughter of the 
same person, was well provided for in the wilL Some time 
after the GeneraPs death, she married again, and removed 
to Canada. This Mr. Tygert lived near Gen. Herkimer, 
and survived the revolutionary war several years, ^e 


made eight devises of real estate, comprising nineteen 
hundred acres of land. There are besides, twenty-seven 
pecuniary legatees named in it, to whom various sums of 
money were given and directed to be paid by his residuary 
legatee. He gave to his younger brother, George, his ** home- 
place," containing five hundred acres of land, and consti- 
tuted him the residuary legatee. George, who was with his 
brother at Oriskany, died in 1786, leaving seven children, 
aU of whom were living in 1820. 

The executors named in this will, were, Hanyost Shoe* 
maker, John Eisenlord, John Tygert and the testator's wife. 
The will is signed, Nicholas Herckheimer. It was proved 
October 4th, 1783, before Christopher P. Yates, surrogate 
of Tryon county, and George Herkimer admitted the admin- 
istrator with the will annexed. 

John Herkimer 

Was the son of George Herkimer before mentioned, the 
nephew, and not the grandson of the General. On the death 
of his father he inherited with his brother and sisters the 
estate devised by his uncle, and he occupied the family 
mansion until about the year 1814. 

In the prime of life he was an active politician and occu- 
pied a somewhat prominent place in the public regard. 
While a resident of Montgomery he represented that county 
in the assembly of this state, and was one of the judges of 
the court of common pleas. After the town of Danube in 
which he lived in 1817 was annexed to Herkimer, he was 
appointed one of the county judges and held the office some 
years. He was commissioned a major in the regiment of 
New York Volunteers, commanded by CoL John Mills, by 
Governor Daniel D. Tompkins on the 30th day of March, 
1813, and served with his regiment at Sackett's Harbor in 
the late war with Great Britain, and was in the action when 
Col. Mills was killed. 

In the early political divisions of the country he acted 


mth the republican party, and when the split in that party 
took place under Qovemor De Witt Clinton, or in the year 
1819, he became one of the leading opponents in the county 
to the views and pretensions of that gentleman. 

At the first general election after the adoption of the new 
constitution of 1821, his political friends contemplated plac- 
ing his name before the public as a candidate for the state 
senate. This nomination would have been equivalent to an 
election in a district where his party could safely count 
upon a large and certain majority. The county then being 
a congressional district, could not be so safely relied upon to 
return an Anti-Glintonian member unless the heavy adverse 
vote in the town of Danube, where Major Herkimer lived, 
could in some way be overcome. 

Preferring a seat in the United States house of repre- 
sentatives to one in the senate of thi» state, he told his lead- 
ing political associates if he could have the congressional 
nomination he would see to it that the vote of Danube 
should not defeat him; and it did not. He was put in 
nomination and chosen at the general election in November, 
1822. The period of President Monroe's last term was 
drawing to a close, and numerous aspirants were early in the 
field as candidates for the succession. Messrs. Adams, 
Crawford, Calhoun and Clay, the three former members of 
Mr. Monroe's cabinet, and the latter a member of congress 
and speaker of the U. S. house of representatives, had been 
attached to the old republican party, and were men of eminent 
and distinguished talenta The qualifications of these gen- 
tlemen were presented to the country and their claims 
actively canvassed by their respective friends. General 
Andrew Jackson was also in the field, but his pretensions, 
at first, seem not to have been favored by all the leading 
republicans of that day. It had been usual for members of 
congress to designate the candidate for the presidency, in 
caucus, and such a meeting was to be held during Judge 
Herkimer's term. He early declared his preference for 
Mr. Adams, and as nearly all the members, except thosd 


who favored Mr. Crawford, had arowed their inlenrion not 
to SLttetA the cancoii or be boand by it* proceedings, it waa 
for a tJiDe dooLtful what coarse Judge Herkimer woidd 
pnri^njh. It wsuf beliered that a verr large majoritr of his 
repnr/iican corj*tiineiit« were in iaror of Mr. Crawford, and 
coriformiDg to their reqnei^ be attended the cancan, com-' 
poded of a minontj of the republican membo^ which 
pre«9ented Mr. Crawford's name as a candidate, then roted 
for Mr. Adanu, and declared his intentions to support him 
in the approaching canyassL We do not design to go into 
any dmcwmon of political qnestions, except so far as it 
may be neces^iiary to give a sensible relation of the inci* 
dents that hare taken place, which may be proper to notice. 
The electoral colleges failed to choose a (Miesident, bat 
MeiMsrs* Jackson,. Adams and Crawford, having the hi^est 
number of votes on the list, the election of one of the 
three devolved on the House of Bepresentative& Judge 
Herkimer favored the election of Mr. Adams, in the 
house. This event took place in February 1825. He died 
at his residence in the town of Danube, some years ago, 
i^ed 73 years, without leaving any male descendants. After 
leaving congress, he was a number of years engaged in the 
ardous pursuits of private life, and had become enfeebled 
by too much exposure in an unhealthful climate. We have 
not noticed the part Judge Herkimer took in the canvass 
of 1824-25, with any design of arraigning his conduct before 
the public, or of imputing any wrong to him. Many distin- 
guished republicans of that day acted with him, and if they 
misjudged the sentiments and wishes of their constituents, 
numerous occurrences of that sort have happened before 
and since. 

The Hebteb Family. 

This name is generally pronounced Hatter. We do not 
find the name among those who took a prominent part in 
the early stages of the revolution. Henry Herter was ap- 
pointed first lieutenant in Gapt. Frederick Bellinger's com- 


pany of the Tryon county militia, in 1776. Although the 
lands allotted to the patentees, Apolone and Lawrence Herter, 
were on the south side of the river, it was not long before 
one or both of them, or some of their descendants, moved 
to the north side of the river. Some of the family were at 
the Great Flats at the time of the French expedition, in 
1757, where one of the Herters, who waa a militia o£Scer, 
was taken prisoner, with his wife and family, and carried 
into captivity, with the other Palatine prisoners, to Canada, 
where they were detained about twelve months. Mrs. Herter 
gave birth to an infant daughter, while crossing the St. 
Lawrence river, in a birch-bark canoe. Humble as was the 
birth and state, at that time, of the captive's daughter, she 
was destined, in after life, to fill a large space in society, at 
Herkimer and elsewhere. She married Michael Myers, a 
short biographical sketch of whom can be found in another 
chapter. Mrs. Catharine Myers survived her husband many 
years, and it seems but as yesterday that I saw the venerable 


matron walking along our streets. She died September 4th, 
1839, aged eighty-one years and four months. The old 
people now living say that when young and in the prime of 
life, Mrs. Myers was a lady of rare personal beauty. She 
was the grand-daughter of one of the patentees. The male 
members of this family, of the first and second generation 
from the patentees, have often been spoken of, as a noble 
looking set of men, tall, well-formed, and full of health and 
animation. It has been remarked that the female branches 
of this family, at one or two degrees farther remove from 
the original stock, have not lost the family pre-eminence 
of raising handsome children, both male and female, but 
particularly the latter. Whether aJl this has been brought 
about by intermarriages and crossing the blood, or is an in- 
herent quality of this family, the biographer is not required 
to determine. 

Mrs. Nancy Etheridge, the relict of Joab Griswold, who 
died September 26th, 1840, aged fifty-seven years, a lady of 
rare personal attractions and graceful carriage, was a daugh- 


ter of Mrs. Myers. I must beg the reader to note that I ank 
not a professed connoisseur in such matters, and that^ if I 
repeat ^^ common fame/' in this case, I am not uttering a 
fabulous tale. 

This family has lost some of its number by emigration to 
other states, and to other counties in this state; it is still 
very numerous, and probably the most numerous of any in 
the county, who are descendants of the primitive Palatine 

Some of the family, Nicholas and Philip, emigrated to 
Deerfield, Oneida county, after the revolution, and settled 
there. Nicholas died at Deerfield, in the summer of 1856, 
at the venerable age of ninety-three years. He was quite 
familiar, personally, with the principal events of the war in 
the upper valley, and took much satisfaction, in his advanced 
years, in handling his cane, and showing how Indians and 
tories were killed. 

The Hess Pamtlt. 

The descendants of Augustines Hess, the patentee of lot 
number ten at Little Falls, are yet found in the county in 
considerable numbers. As there is but one person of that 
name among the patentees, he was probably a young man 
and unmarried. From an examination of the church records 
of the Rev. Mr. Bosecrants from 1763 to the close of the 
last century, it appears that this family were somewhat 
numerous at that time in the Mohawk valley. 

Augustine Hess, one of the members of the Tryon county 
committee of safety from the Kingsland and German Flats 
districts, which first met on the 2d of June, 1775, was a son 
of the patentee, and a member of the committee some time. 
From this circumstance he must have held a reputable stand- 
ing among his neighbors, and been considered a true friend 
to the country ; a fact to which his descendants may refer 
with pride and satisfaction. I can not ascertain when the 
family parted with their title to the lot granted to the 


patentee, but it must have been so long since ^' that the 
memory of man runneth not to the contrary." 

Augnstines Hess, the elder, who was also one of the 
patentees of Staley's first tfnd second tracts, was killed in 
July, 1782) by the Indians near Fort Herkimer, on the south 
side of the river. He was shot dead while on his ^vay to 
the fort for protection with his femily. He was a very aged 
man, and among the last survivors of the Palatines. 

The East Family. 

Johan Jurgh Kast, and his son Johan Jurgh Kast, Jr., 
were patentees, and each drew a small lot on the Great 
Flats, and seventy-acre wood lots on the uplands, in the 
Bumetsfield tract In 1724, a small grant of eleven hundred 
acres was made to this family, or rather to the wife and 
children of the elder East, situated in Schuyler and sur- 
rounded by Cosby's manor, on which some of the descend- 
ants of the family resided many years. The elder East had 
two sons, Johan Jurgh and Lodowick. I do not find any 
traces of the latter ; he may have died young and unmarried. 
Johan Jurgh, the younger, had two sons, Conrad and Fred- 
erick. Conrad was taken prisoner during the French war 
in 1757, and was taken to England to be exchanged, and 
after his return to New York he enlisted in the British army 
and never returned to the Mohawk valley. Some of the 
descendants of Frederick q,re still found in the county. The 
ancestor of this family probably came over with the second 
company of immigrants in 1710. At an early period in the 
history of the settlement of the valley, this family were 
wealthy and prosperous farmers, having pretty large pos- 

The Petrib Family. 

The genealogy of this family can be traced with considera- 
ble accuracy to the parent stock. Johan Joost Petrie was 
one of the Burnetsfield patentees, and lands were allotted 


to him, his wife Gertruyde, and his son Mark, or Marks. 
This name is found among the volunteers who went with the 
expedition against Montreal in 1711, under Col. Nicholson. 
He arrived in New York with the second company of Pala- 
tine immigrants in 1710, accompanied his countrymen to the 
camps on Livingston's manor, where he remained until he 
removed to the German Flats. He was tall and well formed ; 
even more than "six feet high and well proportioned." 
From what I have heard of him, he very much resembled, 
in stature and appearance, the best of the ancient German 
race. He and Coenradt Rickert were the leading men of 
the little colony which first came to the German Flats. He 
early won the confidence and good will of the colonial 
government, and it is no doubt owing to this circumstance 
that he was first named in the lioense given by Governor 
Burnet to purchase the Indian title to the lands afterwards 
granted, and also the first named in the patent. He was 
selected with others to search out the " promised land." 
The eighty-six acre lot, then and long afterwards called the 
Stone Ridge, was allotted to his wife. This lot is described 
as wood land, " lying in the middle of the great flatts." The 
present village of Herkimer, or the compact part of it, is 
mostly on this lot. Surrounded by rich alluvial fiat land, 
subject to inundations, there was no other site for the hamlet 
unless resort was had to the higher lands northerly of the 
low lands. I think this allotment was made as a compli- 
ment to the wife and her husband. When it became known 
that safe building lots could only be had on this ridge, dis- 
satisfaction was expressed by the other settlers that they 
were excluded, and Mr. Petrie divided the large lot into 
smaller parcels, and gave them to the owners of the adjoin- 
ing low lands. It has been said that no written conveyances 
were ever made by him and his wife. I have not made any 
particular inquiries in regard to this fact. It is not probably 
one of those cases that would come within an anti-rent, roving 
commission, with the attorney-general at the head, to hunt 
up some spot to which the state could assert a paramount 


title, otherwise the good people at the county seat might 
be called on to show their papers. 

It seems very probable that Mr. Petrie was one of the 
principal men in the settlement called the German Flats, 
from the first planting of tjiis little frontier colony, until 
1757, or till his death. Up to that time he had been 
employed by the colonial government, and had accumulated 

considerable wealth. 


When the French and Indians attacked and destroyed 
the settlements on the north side of the river, 11th Novem- 
ber, 1757, the particulars of which are given in a former 
chapter, all his property, save the land, was taken and 
destroyed, and he with his family were carried into capti- 
vity. He was the individual named in the French account 
of this affair as " the mayor of the village of the Palatines ;" 
and in speaking of the losses sustained by the inhabitants, the 
writer states that " the mayor of the village alone has lost 
400,000" livres. 

The writer here means the livre toumois of France, equal 
to eighteen and a half cents in value of our currency ; quite 
a large sum this must have been for those times. This was 
no doubt an exaggeration. All accounts, however, concur 
in stating that his private losses were very heavy. He had 
on hand a very large sum in silver, which was taken by the 
enemy. Whether this money was a part of his private 
fortune, or had been placed in his hands to purchase govern- 
ment supplies, is not certain, although family tradition 
speaks of it as private property. Mr. Petrie was detained 
some time in captivity, and while in Canada was frequently 
compelled by the Indians to wear a cap with tassels and 
small bells, and dance for their amusement ; a mark of dis- 
tinction shown him in consideration of the o£Sce he held 
when taken prisoner. He was one of the copatentees with 
Philip Livingston and John De Peyster of a grant of six 
thousand acres of land made in 1740, being six lots in a 
tract called Henderson's or Petrie's purchase, now in the 
towns of Columbia and Warren. 


~ ~ t 


This patriarch of the Petrie family died before the com- 
mencement of the revolutionary war, leaving a large num- 
ber of descendants, although he had but one child, a son, 
when he first came to the German Flats. Nearly all the 
inhabitants of the name in the coimty were descended from 

the same stock. 


Mrs. Petrie, the wife of Johan Jost, was a lady of educa- 
tion and considerable refinement, far above what was found 
in the German peasantry of that day. It has always been 
believed that her father was a man of wealth and distinction 
in Germany, and that her marriage with Mr. Petrie was not 
in accordance with the wishes and feelings of her family. 

I am somewhat perplexed in having to deal so much 
with probabilities, but the great lapse of time that has 
intervened since the happening of the events I have under- 
taken to write an account of and the present period, and 
the want of precise, accurate, recorded information in 
respect to those events, compels me to assume as probable 
facts, what may be, after all, a pure fiction. My intention 
is not to place on these pages any matter resting wholly on 
vague tradition, unsupported by cotemporaneous testimony 
having strong marks of authenticity. 

Finding the name of Johan Jost Petrie among those who 
were for a time seated on Livingston's manor ; finding in 
the Documentary History of the state, that those Palatines 
who had been temporarily lodged on the east side of the 
Hudson river had given the existing government but little 
trouble about a permanent settlement, and that many of 
them had volunteered under British officers to fight the 
battles of their adopted country ; and finding Gov. Burnet, 
at a later day, declaring in an official letter he had given 
about sixty Palatine families '^ who had been most hearty 
for the government," permission to settle on a tract by 
themselves, I feel authorized to say what I have in respect 
to Mr. Petrie, the patentee, and the Petrie mentioned in the 
Documentary History, being the same man. But, after all, 
this seems irreconcilable with the idea that he was a married 


man in 1711, and if he was not, the lady he did marry must 
have joined him in this country, where a long contemplated 
nnion took place. This corresponds with the family legend 
of a young lady leaving country, home and parents, defying 
old ocean's storms, cleaving to the man of her choice in his 
rude wilderness home. The crown land commissioners 
bestowed the Stone Ridge lot upon this lady as a token of 
respect and mark of special consideration. 

John Petrie, a son of the patentee, was a member of the 
Tryon county committee from the German Flats and Kings-* 
land district, which met in June, 1775, to consider the state 
of affairs between the mother country and the colonies, then 
rapidly approaching a crisis. In a letter addressed to Guy 
Johnson, the committee say they had met " to consult the 
common safety of our rights and liberties, which are infringed 
in a most enormous manner, by enforcing oppressive and 
unconstitutional acts of the British parliament, by an armed 
force in the Massachusetts Bay." 

The same gentleman was appointed by the Tryon county 
committee, on the 16th August, 1779, one of the delegates 
from the county to a state convention, called to consider 
proper measures "for appreciating the currency, restraining 
extortion, regulating prices and other similar purposes." 

I have been shown a commission granted by Sir Henry 
Moore, bart., captain^eneral and governor-in-chief, &c., &c., 
issued to Ded'k Marcus Petrie, gentleman, dated October 
13th, 1768, in the eighth year of the reign of George III, by 
which Mr. Petrie was appointed "to be Ensign of a com- 
pany of Militia Foot in a regiment in Albany county, of 
which company George Henry Bell Esq. is Captain." Mr. 
Petrie continued to hold this commission till the country 
changed rulers, when he was appointed a lieutenant in the 
Tryon county militia. He was killed in the Oriskany battle, 
being then attached to Col. Peter Bellinger's regiment. At 
the time of writing this notice his widow was still living, 
an aged and venerable matron. It was thus early and effect- 
ively that we find the members of this family " doing battle 


for the right," and one of them laying down his life in 
defense of the just rights of his country. Surely such deeds 
ought neither to be blotted out or forgotten. 

John M. Petrie, who represented the county in the assem- 
bly of this state, in 1808, and 1809, with Westel WiUoughby 
Jr. and Aaron Budlong, was a nephew of Lieut. Petrie, 
the son of the patentee, Mark Petrie, and consequently the 
grandson of Johan Joost. John M. occupied the Burnets- 
field lot, number 46, some time. It was owned by his father 
when he died. This son afterwards changed his residence 
to a farm on Glen's purchase, a few miles north of the Little 
Falls, where he died, respected, full of years, and his loss 
regretted, leaving several descendants. Two brothers of 
the Petrie family, Jost D. and John D., sons of Ded'k Marcus 
Petrie, are yet in the recollection of the writer. They each 
possessed a goodly share of sundry broad acres, which were 
inherited by their children after their deaths. Daniel Petrie, 
one of this family, was killed in the attack upon and de- 
struction of the mills at Little Palls, in 1782. 

John Conrad Petrie, who is described as an orphan, 
twelve years old in 1710-11, was a brother of Johan Joost, 
and remained on the manor when the latter came to the 
German Flats. We find John Conrad still at the camps in 
November, 1715. 

The Reblle Family. 

I do not find this name on Livingston's manor, or New 
York list of Palatine emigrants. Lot number 15 lowland, 
30 acres, and 15 woodland, 70 acres, at the German Flats, 
were granted to Godfrey Reelle, and lot number 10, on the 
south side of the river, was granted to Godfrey Reele, Jr. 
This name is not familiar in the county. Christian Reall, 
settled, near Deerfield Corners, Oneida county, with several 
other Germans from the upper valley, before the revolution. 
In the second year of the war, the settlement was destroyed 
by the enemy, but the inhabitants escaped to a stockade fort. 


below, in the now town of Schuyler. After the war, Mr. 
Beall returned to Deerfield, and occupied the farm he had 
been driren from by the tories and Indians. There is a 
small stream in Deerfield called BeaU's creek, which empties 
into the Mohawk. Not long after the revolutionary war, 
some members of the family, or all of the then survivors, 
removed to the "western country," now Onondaga county, 
and settled on the Military tract, where several of the de- 
scendants now reside. One of this family has recently 
returned to the county, and is now a resident of Little Falls; 
but he comes under the name of Reals. Eighty years have 
passed, and we again see a descendant of this Palatine stock 
among us. Christian Beall, moved to Onondaga and was 
there when quite an old man. 

The Shoehakess. 

There were two brothers of this name, in the list 
of patentees; Ludolph, afterwards called Rudolph, and 
Thomas. They were, both of them, young and unmarried, 
when they came to the (Jerman Plats. "Rudolph had several 
sons, and one of them, Johan Jost, married the daughter of 
an Englishmaji, in 1775, by the name of Smith, the fame of 
whose eccentricities and devotion to the British crown still 
occupies considerable space in the unwritten history of 
the valley. 

At the commencement of the revolution, Johan Jost had 
been one of his majesty's justices of the peace in Tryon 
county. He was not friendly to the cause of the colonists, 
and it was at his house that Lieutenant Walter N. Butler, 
Hanyost Schuyler, and a number of white soldiers and 
Lidians were taken prisoners, in the night, by a party of 
American troops sent from Port Daytan by Col. Weston. 

Butler, soon after the Oriskany battle, had been sent 
down to the German Flats, on a secret mission, with the 
appeal of Sir John Johnson, Claus, and the elder Butler, to 



the inhabitants of the Mohawk valley, inviting them to give 
in their adhesion to the crown, and send a deputation of 
their principal people, in order to compel an immediate 
surrender of Fort Schuyler : promising kind treatment, and 
protection from Indian vengeance and retaliation for losses 
at Oriskany, in case of compliance. It was this address 
which drew from Gten. Arnold the denunciatory proclama* 
tion noticed in a former chapter. Some vigilant friend of 
the country had given notice of this clandestine meeting, 
and the tory caucus was broken up in the midst of Butler's 
midnight harangue. 

Mr. Shoemaker, although disaffected, was not molested in 
person or property, and we must therefore conclude he was 
rather a passive than active adherent of the king. Brant 
halted near his house in 1778, the night before he with his 
Indians fell upon and destroyed the property of the inhabit- 
ants at the German Flats, but took no scalps or prisoners. 
With the exception of one member of the Herkimer family, 
I do not find any other name of note belonging to the Pala- 
tine emigrants or their descendants who faltered in their 
duty to the country and the cause of humanity. 

Rudolph I. Shoemaker, born in 1776, who represented 
this county in the assembly of this state during the session 
of 1812-13, was the son of Johan Jost, before named. He 
was a farmer, and lived and died in the present town of 
German Flats, not far from the present village of Mohawk* 
He was a man of ardent temperament, and a warm sup- 
porter of the war of 1812. 

Robert Shoemaker, a younger brother of Rudolph L, 
was appointed sheriff of the county in 1817, and held that 
office several years under the old council of appointment. 
He was often a contestant for popular favor in his native 
town, German Flats, against General Christopher P. Bellin- 
ger, and sometimes came off victorious, but he has often 
told me his victories were hard won. He was a gentleman 
of considerable general intelligence, and a prompt, efficient 
officer. Inheriting a portion of the paternal estates, gath- 


ered and enlarged by prudent and frugal hands, he devoted 
much of his time to agriculture, although he was not 
unmindful of political preferment when opportunity offered. 
He represented the county in the assembly in 1822, with 
Simeon Ford and Stephen Todd. At a late period in life, 
the spirit of immigration took hold of him and he removed 
with his family to northern Illinois, where he died many 
years ago. I have not the means of stating the fact with 
certainty, but from my knowledge of Mr. Robert Shoemaker, 
and his apparent age when I first saw him, I conclude he 
was bom during the revolution. 

Thomas Shoemaker, the patentee, raised a pretty numer-* 
ous family, and some of his sons were not backward when 
danger and duty called the inhabitants of the valley to arms. 
His son Thomas participated in the Oriskany battle, and 
afterwards his wife and one of his children, Christopher, 
and a son of John Shoemaker, then quite young, were taken 
prisoners and carried to Canada. Mrs. Shoemaker and her 
child returned from captivity before the close of the war, 
but the other child did not come back until after. There 
are now many descendants of this branch of the Shoemaker 
family in the coimty as well as some of the other stock. 

In looking into the Documentary History of the state, I 

find the name '^Schumacher'' among the Palatine immif 

grants of 1710, from which the present name, Shoemaker, 

is derived. 

The Smith Family. 

Two of this family cast their lots on the north side of the 
Mohawk, on the Great Flats, and two on the south side. 
The Schmidts were among the emigrants of 1710, and seated 
for a time at the camps on Livingston's manor. Adam 
Michael Schmidt was a volunteer, in the expedition against 
Montreal in 1711. The descendants of the patentees are 
yet found in the county in considerable numbers, but emi-> 
gration has diminished them to some extent. Colonel 
Nicholas Smith, now one of the oldest inhabitants of the 


city of Utica, if alive, and whose parents were killed by the 
Indians and tories at Herkimer during the latter part of the 
revolutionary war, was a descendant of one of the patentees. 
John Smith was assigned as an ensign to Gapt. Eisenlord's 
company of militia in 1775. In common with the other 
patentees of Bumetsfield, this family had its share of suffer- 
ing during the French and revolutionary wars. Some 
branches of it have held the lands assigned, in regular suc- 
cession, one hundred and thirty years. Maria, the wife of 
George Smith, lived to the imusual age of ninety-six years. 
She died in 1817. 

The wife of Joseph Smith was overtaken during the 
revolution, on the east side of the west Canada creek, by a 
party of Indians, tomahawked and scalped. The Indians 
left her, supposing she was dead. She revived after a time, 
and with much suffering found her way home across the 
creek. She recovered and lived to a very advanced age. 

The Starings. 

There were six males, and one married female, of this 
name, patentees of Bumetsfield. The Starings were formerly 
pretty numerous in the county, but of late years, they have 
lost some by emigration. I am not aware that a single lot, 
granted to the first patentees, is now retained in the hands 
of their descendants; and it is quite certain, that lot 13, at 
Little Falls, set apart for Mary Eva, the wife of John Adam 
Staring, was sold many years previous to the revolutionary 

I do not find this name enumerated among the Palatine 
families on the Hudson river, or with those who remained 
in New York, and it does not seem possible that it could 
have been derived from any of those contained in the lists of 
immigrants published. This name appears to have been 
uniformly written in all the ancient manuscripts, which have 
come under my observation, as copied from the patent. In 
this case, aa in every other relating to the families who 

% • 


first settled in the upper Mohawk vallej, all the parties 
were near relations, and may not have comprised more than 
two families. 

Hendrick Staring, or as he often wrote his first name, 
Henri, was a man of some note during the revolutionary 
war and subsequent to that event. 

He was a native of the county, and lived and died within 
the limits of the present town of Schuyler. He was one of 
the few fortunate survivors of the Oriskany tragedy, and 
from that time held a prominent place as a militia officer in 
the district. He was the son of one of the Palatine families, 
but I have been unable to ascertain with certainty his father's 
name. Born after his parents came to the German Flats, 
his infant years were cradled in the wilderness, and his days 
of manhood were occupied with the stirring and dangerous 
events incident to two border wars, unparalleled in severity, 
and the often repeated destruction of crops and all means 
of human subsistence. Even the devastations of fatherland, 
which drove his ancestors to seek repose and protection in 
a wilderness, beyond the verge of civilization, would not 
exceed, in all the inflictions heaped upon the devoted heads 
of the German peasantry of the Palatinate, the cruelties 
practiced by the combined efforts of French and British 
loyalism, stimulating Indian ferocity with rum and bribes. 
These were not the times when parents could venture to 
send their children to their distant schooUhouse for the pur- 
pose of instruction. The population was scattered over a 
broad extent of wilderness; and few, if any, had the means 
or the opportunity of instructing their children at home« 
CoL Staring's education was quite limited, but he possessed 
a sound and vigorous mind; he was brave, active and zealous 
in defeating the schemes and counteracting the efforts of 
the enemy, so far as his limited position would allow. He 
had, in the course of the war, become a leading man in hid 
neighborhood, and attracted the attention of the royalists, 
who made several fruitless efforts to capture or destroy him. 
But the untiring vigilance of the Indian could not always 


be guarded against; and the Colonel, late in the fall of the 
year, supposed to be October, 1781, was so unfortunate as 
to be surrounded and captured near Fort Herkimer, with 
Abraham WoUever, by a party of Indians. The captors 
were much elated with their success, and hurried off with 
their prisoner into the deep recesses of the forest, where it 
was supposed they intended to inflict upon him a lingering 
death by torture. 

The Colonel understood this to be their intention, and for 
a time, no doubt, felt some disquiet and a fervent solicitude 
to get rid of such uncomfortable companions. He had no 
relish for a stake-burning and as little desire, probably, to 
have his ears saluted with the music of an Indian pow-wow ; 
and therefore contrived during the night, after he was 
taken, to make his escape and return to the fort after an 
absence of two days and two nights* He felt it was no dis- 
grace to turn his back upon an enemy on an emergency of 
this kind, and thereafter avoided being placed in a like pre- 

He lived near the small stream called Staring's creek, in 
Schuyler, on which there was a small grist-mill burned by 
the French and Indians in 1767, and being rebuilt the miM 
was again destroyed during the revolution. He was a man 
of thrift and owned many broad acres of land, some of which 
have been retained by the descendants to a very recent date, 
if they are not now the owners. The reader who may be 
curious to see the particulars of the GolonePs capture and 
escape will do well to consult the Annals and BecoUections 
of Oneida County, published by Judge Jones. 

At the treaty of peace in 1783, Colonel Staring was a 
prominent and influential man and enjoyed the confidence 
of his countrymen almost without stint. He was a member 
of the convention from Montgomery county, called in 1788, 
to consider the present constitution of the United States, 
which had been submitted to the several states for ratifica- 
tion or rejection. He was an ardent friend of Governor 
George Clinton, an anti-federalist, and he with a large 


majority of the convention, -when elected, were opposed to 
the rajtification of the constitution. 

It has been often asserted that he was absent on the 26th 
of July, 1788, when the final* vote was taken on the resolu- 
tion to ratify the constitution, having been detained from 
attendance by the management of one of the prominent 
advocates of the measure. This can not be true if the mem- 
bers composing the convention and voting on the resolution 
have been accurately given by Mr. William Jay, who states 
in his life of John Jay (vol. I, p. 266), there were fifty-seven 
members in all elected, and this was the number besides the 
president, Gov. George Clinton, which voted on the resolu- 
tion, there being a majority of three in favor of it. 

Mr. Hammond (vol. I, page 21 of his Political History), 
thinks Mr. Jay*8 statement incorrect. He sets down the 
whole number of members elected to the convention at 
sixty-seven, consequently there must have been nine absent- 
ees on the final vote. Ten states had ratified the constitu- 
tion when the final vote was taken in the New York 
convention. The assent of nine only was required to give 
the constitution effect. The ratification by New Hampshire 
on the 2l8t of June, 1788, she being the ninth state, was not 
known at Poughkeepsie where the convention was in session, 
until some time in July. The news from Virginia which 
ratified on the 26th of June, reached the New York conven- 
tion in all probability before the 26th of July. This changed 
the whole aspect of the controversy going on in the conven- 
tion, and must have placed Governor Clinton and the 
majority in a very embarrassing position. By a rejection 
New York would have seceded from the confederacy, and 
being then one of the smaller states her condition in that 
case must have excited the most intense apprehensions. 
This was felt and expressed by some of the leading and 
influential members of the majority, who gave the resolution 
such form of expression as they hoped would'quiet the pub- 
lic and still preserve to the state her place as a member of 
the union.' 


Indtdging somewhat in speculation, I can not refrain from 
sayingy if Mr. Hammond's account of the whole number 
elected be right, it is fair to presume that the nine absentees 
were anti-federaUsts, unless they were kept away by some 
other cause than voluntary absence. 

There is no doubt the Colonel was a great admirer of good 
horses, desired to possess those of the best blood and most 
improved breed, and if he did loiter a little from his place 
in the convention to indulge his fancy in examining Baron 
Steuben's stud, his vote could not have defeated the ratify-* 
ing resolution had he been present. If we may now judge 
him by all the characteristics of his life he was the last man 
in the convention to swerve in the least from opinions once 

His friend, Governor George Clinton, was reelected in 
1789, but his adherents were defeated in every direction, show- 
ing that the Governor had a strong hold in the confidence 
and affections of the people, and could stand up against the 
influence of a powerful party at home backed by all the 
influence of the general government, then directed by 
Alexander Hamilton* 

Upon the organization of this county in 1791, Colonel 
Staring was appointed first judge of the court of common 
pleas, by Governor Clinton, which , ofiice he held many 
years. By the constitution of 1777, first judges of counties 
held their places during good behavior and until sixty years 
old. The selection of laymen for the bench at that early 
day in the history of the state was not unfrequent, and 
especially for the courts of common pleas, and even one of 
the justices of the supreme court organized soon after the 
adoption of the constitution, was not a lawyer. I allude to 
John Sloss Hobart, who held the office of United States 
senator, from this state, from January to May 1798. 

Many amusing and curious anecdotes are still remembered 
and repeated of Judge Staring's mode of administering jus* 
tice during his judicial career. He was an honest, straight- 
forward man, but he entertained very peculiar notions of his 


THE 8TABING8. 189 

powers and duties as a judge. Some of his decisions while 
on the bench were considered by the lawyers rather in the 
light of judicial novelties, than as chiming in exactly with 
common law precedents. The country was new, however, 
and the demands of justice comparatively smalL He no 
doubt performed the duties of his station, notwithstanding 
his limited knowledges of legal principles and restricted 
elementary education, with quite as much success, and with 
as much satisfaction to the suitors and the public as many 
have done who filled like stations, at far later periods in the 
history of our country. 

The story of the Yankee Passy the fame of which had 
reached the farthest bounds of New England more than 
forty years ago, and which I heard repeated west of the 
Mississippi river in 1819, is no doubt familiar to most of 
the people in the county, and particularly to those of Ger- 
man extraction. I have been frequently told the whole 
story was fabulous, and got up to amuse our primitive 
fathers of the valley at the expense of the judge, or by 
some one envious of his promotion to such honors ; for it 
must be remembered that no longer ago than the close of 
the last century the county was not exempt from party 
strife, nor destitute of men who felt themselves competent 
to fill any office in it within the gift of the people or govern- 
ment. Stripped of all embellishment, the story, as told, has 
this extent and no other. One Sunday morning the judge 
saw a man, on horseback, coming along the highway from 
the west, and presuming that no one would venture openly 
to violate the laws of the state, unless justified by the 
exceptions named in the statute, he asked the man to stop, 
and seeing he was a stranger, inquired of him re€isons why 
he was thus disregarding his duty and the requirements of 
the law. The stranger, who is reported to have been a 
New England Yankee, did not excuse his conduct to the 
judge's satisfaction, and declining to stop over until the 
next day, the latter exacted the payment of the fine of six 


York shillings imposed by the statute, for the infringement 
of this branch of it. 

After paying his fine, the traveler asked the judge to give 
him a certificate to that effect, urging the necessity of it to 
protect him against being again called to account by some 


other magistrate. The judge had no doubt heard of dis- 
pensations and indulgences from the lips of his parents. 
He thought the request reasonable, and told the traveler to 
write one and he would sign it. This was done, and the 
stranger proceeded on his journey eastward. Some few 
months after this occurrence, the judge having occasion to 
visit the Messrs. Kanes, merchants, at Canajoharie, on mat- 
ters of business, was requested by them to pay an order of 
twenty-five dollars which he had several months before 
drawn on them, as appeared from the date. It is said he 
was much surprised by this demand made upon his purse, 
and at first denied having given the order, but finding the 
signature to be his handwriting, and making particular 
inquiries in respect to the presentation of the order and the 
individual who brought it to the store, he came to the con- 
clusion that the pa^er presented to him for payment was no 
other than the one he had signed allowing the traveler to 
continue his journey on Sunday, after paying his fine. It 
was then called the Yajikee PasSj from a supposition that no 
one except a native of New England had the cunning and 
audacity to practice so keen and grave a joke. 

The act to prevent immorality, in force at that time, 
contained several exceptions, and among them was one 
allowing any one to travel on Sunday twenty miles to attend 
public worship, and this fact was quite as likely to bo known 
to the traveler as some others he was no doubt quite familiar 
with. He must have known Judge Staring and the Kanes, 
and was well enough acquainted in the Mohawk valley, and 
with the standing and business occupation of its inhabitants, 
to know that the judge^s order on the Messrs. Kanes would 
be honored at sight, or he would not have attempted the 





cheat ; and, besides, it was necessary for him, to prevent 
detection, to make the order payable as far distant as prac- 
ticable from the judge's residence. 

I do not make these suggestions from any disposition 
whatever, to shift the paternity of this joke from the Yankee 
traveler, if he was one, on to the shoulders of any other 
person, not claiming nativity in the far famed land of 

From whatever nation this individual may have claimed 
descent, foreign to the Mohawk Germans, he had been long 
enough a denizen to become quite naturalized, and familiar 
not only with the names of the principal inhabitants of the 
valley, but with the pecuniary standing of some of them. 
He knew that Judge Staring had dealings with the Kanes, 
and hence believed the order would be paid when pre- 
sented, or we must award him the palm of being the most 
accomplished guesser that ever emigrated from the land of 
wooden nutmegs and bass-wood hams. 

I have indulged somewhat in these speculations on the 
assumption that the story was founded in fact, and to give 
place to a new version as to the origin of this affair, which 
excuses the Yankee from being the projector, although it 
leaves him under the serious imputation of being what the 
law terms a particqps criminis. 

The new version is this : One of the judge's sons had 
become enamored with a fair, blue eyed daughter of one of 
his father's neighbors, and had resolved, with her consent of 
course, to make her his frau, but found himself rather short, 
as the phrase now is, of the means to carry out the object of 
his desires in a manner befitting his standing and position as 
son of the first judge of the common pleas, who was a wealthy 
farmer, and a gentleman of standing and influence in the 
county. There may have been some Guelf and Ohibelline 
feud existing between the heads of the two families, that pre- 
vented th^ early accomplishment of the young man's wishes. 
At any rate, whatever may have been the cause therefor, the 
judge, it seems, kept the purse strings tied rather too tight on 


this occaeiouy and the son was thrown on his own resources 
to devise the toays of obtaining the needful to celebrate his 
intended marriage. The young man opened his mind to an 
Anglo-Saxon friend, relying upon his inventive genius to aid 
him in carrying out a suggested plan of relief. The son 
knew his father's credit was good for any amount he would 
give his name for, and that he had an open account with 
the Kanes ; he knew his father's scrupulous regard for the 
maintenance of the laws to the very letter, and what he 
would do in case he found a man traveling on Sunday. The 
plan was matured and the thing was done. The judge's 
genuine signature was obtained to the celebrated Yankee 
Pass, the fame of which is known over this broad land. 
Necessity was in this case the mother of a successful inven* 
tion, which has been unfairly attributed to the genius, or 
cunning contrivance of an individual who was supposed to 
belong to a peculiar American stock. 

This relation was obtained from a source which I know is 
respectable, and I was assured that the origin of the story 
and the pass was based on the statements now given. Aside 
from the facts showing, as I think pretty strongly, that the 
intention of getting the judge's name to a paper of this kind 
was not prompted at the moment, and that the party who 
got it in the manner described, was quite familiar with all 
the peculiarities of the man he was dealing with, although 
he may have been wholly unknown to the judge ; there is 
an additional fact worthy of some consideration in balancing 

The Messrs. Eanes were reported upright, fair dealers as 
merchants, but were as fond of jokes as they were anxious 
to sell goods at a large profit to their German customers, 
and it is not likely, even if they knew the fact in respect to 
the origin of the order and the purposes to which its avails 
were to be applied, they would divulge any secrets of that 
sort, while they would by no means aid a stranger to cheat 
an old and valued friend and customer. 

Judge Staring lived to an advanced age, died in the town 




of Schuyler, leaving male and female descendants. He mar- 
ried a daughter of Johan Jxurgh East, and obtained by 
purchase and inheritance the title to abont six hundred 
acres of the Kast patent which he left to his children. 

I should have noticed in the proper place that one of 
Judge Staring's children, a little girl about ten years old, 
was carried o£f by the Indians during the war. She had 
gone to one of the judge's relatives near Fort Herkimer, 
where she could be taken for security, in case of an attack 
upon the settlements. The woman in whose charge the 
child was left permitted her to go into the field near the 
house, where she was seized in a stecdthy manner and borne 
into captivity. The judge was not very forbearing towards 
his relation for this careless act, as he no doubt fully antici- 
pated the little girPs fate in case her name and parentage 
should be found out ; she was however recovered after the 
war closed. 

The Tbmouth Family. 

Hie name is written Demot and Dimouth in the Palatine 
records. Those who were not used to the German method 
of spelling and pronunciation often wrote the name Dame- 
wood. I have found the name printed Damoth and Demuth. 
John Jost parted with the lot granted him at Little Falls 
before the revolution, and probably before 1757, as no 
traces of the family can now be found near that place. The 
Demuths were in the vicinity of Herkimer during the revo- 
lutionary war. One of them moved to Deerfield, Oneida 
county, before the commencement of hostilities, but that 
settlement being broken up by the enemy he escaped with 
his family and returned to the German Flats for greater 
security. Captain Demuth was with John Adam Helmer in 
the difficult and dangerous service of carrying a message 
from General Herkimer to Colonel Ganesvoort during the 
siege at Fort Schuyler. He also was sent by the committee 
of safety to Albany with an account of the transaction at 


Oriskany and Fort Schuyler in company with Hehner. As 
Demuth was an officer at this time and Helmer was not, it 
appears to me undue prominence has been given to the 
latter by Colonel Stone in the matter of carrying the mes- 
sage to Fort Schuyler, in which Capt. Demuth's name is not 
mentioned at all, but Helmer is shown to be the principal 

Greneral Herkimer would not have been guilty of so 
indelicate an act towards an officer as to make a private his 
prominent agent in c^irrying an important dispatch to the 
commanding officer of the beleagured fort, nor could an 
officer consent to execute a military service under such 
circumstances. I make this correction not to disparage 
Helmer in any way, but in justice to the memory of a man 
equally devoted with him to the cause of humanity and the 
juflt rights of his country. The records of our govemment 
sufficiently testify that Capt. Demuth's services were duly 
appreciated by a grateful people. 

Some of the Demuth family emigrated to Onondaga after 
the close of war with the Realls, where their descendants 
now reside. There are but very few people of this name, 
if any, now living in the county. There was a George 
Damewood who lived at one period during the revolution on 
the north side of the Mohawk river between Little Falls and 
West Canada creek. 

Since writing out the above I have been informed that 
two small boys of this family were carried into captivity by 
the Indians during the war. They were taken at the river 
bank near Fort Herkimer. At the restoration of peace one 
of them returned to his family and remained with them, but 
the other having been adopted into the family of an Onon- 
daga chief, had become so much attached to Indian customs 
and habits that he could not be induced to quit his savage^ 
roaming life. When grown up to manhood he would often 
visit his relatives who lived not far from the Onondaga 
reservation and remain with them over night, but he would 
not on any occasion sleep upon a bed. A blanket and the 




floor yielded all the sleeping luxuries he required or would 
indulge in, and it was not often he could be induced to pro- 
long his visit longer than one night. He spoke the English, 
German and Indian very well, and was often very useful in 
promoting a friendly intercourse between the whites and 

The Wblleven Family, oe Wolleavebs, 

This name is found written Wolleben and Wohleben in 
the statement of the heads of Palatine families on the west 
side of the Hudson river in 1710. 

Nicholas W., the patentee in Burnetsfield, who was also 
one of the patentees in Staley's 1st and 2d tracts, died in 
1773, leaving six sons, Henry, Peter, Richard, John, Abra- 
ham and Jacob ; and six daughters, Catharine the wife of 
Frederick Shoemaker, Mary Sophia the wife of Peter Flagg, 
Elizabeth who married with Frederick Schute, Lany who 
married with Frederick Bellinger, and Hannah the wife of 
John Emgie or Empie. Empie was a tory and went to 
Canada with his family. Bichard, John, Peter and Abra- 
ham were in the Oriskany battle ; the two former were 
killed and the two latter returned, Peter slightly wounded. 
Nicholas WoUever, from whom I had this account of the 
family, stated he was the son of Peter, and was born August 
1st, 1769, and is now nearly 85 years old ; says his father was 
born March 9th, 1732, and died November 17th, 1829, having 
attained the age of 97 years and 8 months ; that his father Peter 
was taken prisoner during the French war in 1757, and was 
sent to England for exchange. He was also in the mill at 
Little Falls when it was attacked and burned by a party of 
the enemy, which my informant assured me was in June, 
1782, and made his escape. 

Peter Wollever lived on the farm in Manheim, since 
known as the Christy place, which he hired of Joseph Brant, 
the Mohawk chief; and Brant sent word to him, in 1777, that 
he would come and tomahawk him, if he did not leave the 


farm immediately. Peter then moved to Fort Herkimer 
with his family, in the fall of 1777, after the Oriskany battle ; 
where he remained until the close of the war. My inform- 
ant stated, his father once borrowed money of Gten. Her- 
kimer, to pay the rent to Brant. He had three sons, who 
attained the age of manhood, Nicholas, John and Henry. 
His daughters were, Elizabeth, wife of Frederick Shoemaker; 
Catharine, the wife of Garret Van Slyke, whose father John 
Van Slyke, was killed on Fink's Flats, during the war ; Susan, 
the wife of Jacob Edick; Hannah, who married a Mr. 
Furman; Mary, now living, who married a Mr. White and 
Eva, the wife of Stanton Fox. 

Abraham WoUever, one of the patentee's sons, was taken 
prisoner, in October, 1781, with Henry Staring near Fort 
Herkimer; soon after he was taken, he was knocked down, 
tomahawked, scalped by his captors and left; the enemy 
with their other prisoner, Staring, pursuing their course 
towards Oneida. Abraham survived this horrid treat- 
ment, was oftt two nights, his feet having been very much 
frozen, and near sunset of the third day after his cap- 
ture, he was brought to the fort. He lived a number of 
years after this event, to recount the story of his sufferings. 
He was discovered by a party from the fort, who had gone 
out after horses, which had strayed away. When first 
seen, he was trying to mount one of the horses, and being 
covered with blood was taken for an Indian, and would 
have been killed by his friends, if he had not clung so close 
to the horse, that they could not shoot him without killing 
the animal. Jacob Wollever, the youngest son of the pat- 
entee, shot the tory or Indian who killed old Mr. Hess. This 
family have a tradition that their ancestor came into this 
county directly from Schoharie. This tradition is supported 
by the fact, that the name is found among those Palatines 
who were seated on the west side of the Hudson, from whence 
the first German settlers of Schoharie came. This name is 
now nearly extinct in the county. 



The Wevee (ob Weavbb) Pamilt. 

This name is written on the Livingston manor lists, Weber 
and Webber. Jacob and Nicholas were volunteers in the 
Montreal expedition, repeatedly mentioned in other parts of 
this chapter. Peter Ja. Weaver, was an ensign in 1775, in the 
4th battalion of the Tryon county militia. Some of the 
family settled in Deerfield, Oneida county, in 1773, and after 
the war, other members of the family, from Herkimer, fixed 
themselves at that place. Gteorge I. Weaver was taken pri ^ 
soner durii^ the war, and was detained in captivity about two 
years, and some part of the time he suffered very much by 
the inhuman treatment of his captors. Four hundred acres 
of land were assigned to this family, two hundred on 
the north, and two hundred on the south side of the river. 
A portion of these lands is still possessed by the descendants 
of the patentees. 

Jacob 6. Weaver, whether of the same family or not, I 
am unable to state, was cotemporary with John Jacob Astor, 
and at an early period of our history, was engaged in the fur 
trade, by which he accumulated a large estate, which ho 
left te be inherited by three daughters. He was shrewd and 
active in the prime of life. He died at Herkimer, Nov. 28th, 
1820, aged 79 years. 



County when Erected — Statute Boundaries in 1791 — Gounttefl Erected from 
Herkimer — Winfield — Salisburj — Manheim — Danube — First Counties 
in the State — Montgomeij — List of Patents to Lands in the County — 
Colonial and Crown Grants Confirmed — Attainder Act of 1779 — Forfeited 


Estates to be Sold — Bills of Credit — Commissioners of Forfeitures — Lots 
in Royal Grant Sold — Lodian Children — Lots in Jersejfleld Sold — in 
Glen's Purchase — Bayard's Patent — Guy Johnson Tract — Johan Joost 
Herkimer — Area of the County — Actual Boundaries — Rivers, Streams, 
and Lakes — Face of the Coimtry — its Soil, Produce, Minerals, Manufac- 
tures, Roads, Canals, and Turnpikes — Newspaper Press of the County-— 
Colleges and Academies — Religious Aspects — Medical Society — Poor- 
House Establishment — Agricultural Society. 

The county was erected on the 16th of February, 1791, 
from the county of Montgomery, formerly Tryon, and em- 
braced all that portion of the state lying west of its eastern 
boundaries, except the counties of Otsego and Tioga, which 
were erected at the same time, and extending to the eastern 
boundaries of Ontario county, erected January 27th, 1789, 
and covered, according to the statute designation, all the 
territory bounded north by Lake Ontario, the River St. 
Lawrence, and the north bounds of the state ; easterly by 
the counties of Clinton, Washington, and. Saratoga, as they 
then were ; southerly by the counties of Montgomery, Ot- 
sego, and Tioga. These boundaries were not accurate, even 
at that time ; the true boundaries of the county, as it now 
is, will be stated hereafter. Onondaga county was set off from 
Herkimer in 1794 ; Oneida in 1798 ; Chenango, from Herki- 
mer and Tioga, in 1798 ; Cayuga, from Onondaga, in 1799 ; 
Cortland, from the same, in 1808; St. Lawrence, from 
Oneida, in 1802 ; Jefferson and Lewis, from the same, in 
1805 ; Madison, from Chenango, in 1806 ; Seneca, from Cay- 



Qga, in 1804 ; Oswego, from parts of Oneida and Onondaga, 
in 1816; Tompkins, from Seneca and Cayuga, in 1817; and 
Wayne, from Seneca and Ontario, in 1823. There were only 
fourteen counties in the state when Herkimer was set-off; 
and the three then created, Otsego, Tioga and Herkimer, 
made the number seventeen. There are now eleven whole 
counties, and parts of t-^o others, embraced in the territory 
first set off, as Herkimer. 

In 1816, parts of the towns of Richfield and Plainfield, in 
the county of Otsego, were with a portion of Litchfield, in 
Herkimer county, erected into a new town, by the name of 
"Winfield, and attached to Herkimer county. 

In 1817, the towns of Salisbury and Manheim, and all that 
part of Minden, Montgomery county, now comprised in 
Danube and Stark, were annexed to the county of Her- 

The first counties created, by law, in this state, then a 
colony, were Albany, New York, Dutchess, Kings, Orange 
Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester, Novem- 
ber 1st, 1683. Albany took its present name in 1664. 
Montgomery was created, by law, as a county, March 12, 
1772, by the name of Tryon, which was altered April 2d, 
1784 for reasons well understood by readers of our revolu- 
tionary history. 

The present county comprises within its limits the follow- 
ing tracts, and parts of tracts of lands granted by the 
crown, before the revolution, and by the state, since the 
treaty of 1783. 





This muk (*) denotes tliat the patents 
And partly in adjoining connties. 

are partly sttoated in Herkimer, 

NamM of Patents or Tracto. 

Adgate'a Tract,* 

Ba^ard'8 Patent,* 

Broim's (John) Tract,*. 

Bumetsfield Patent, . , 
Ck>lden'8 (C.) Patent, 
Goflby's Manor,* .... 
Colden'8 (A.) Patent, 

Frank (Ckinrad) & Go's Patent,. 

FaU-Hiil Patent,. 

Glen's Purchase, 

Hommedieu'a (L) Patent, 

Henderson's Patent,* 
Hafienclerer's Patent, 

Johnson's (Guy) Patent, 
Jerseyfield Patent,*. . . . . 

Kass's Patent, 

Lindsay's Patent, , 

liyingston's Patent,* . . , 
Lispenard's Patent,*. . • , 
Lansing's Patent,* 

McComb's Purchase,*. 

MoNeirs Patent, 

Matchin's Patent,*.... 
Nobleborough Tract,*. 
Moose Riyer Tract,*. . . 

Petrie's Purchase, 

Royal Grant, 

Remsenburgh Patent,* 

Snell and Tinunerman's Patent, 

Btaley's 1st and 2d Tract, 

Schuyler's Patent, 

Totten and Crossfield Patent,* 
Vrooman's Patent,* 




No. of 


Nain«8 of Orlgliial Patantew. 






1765 6,000 
1762 2,324 














1798 43,907 Mathew Adgate, 

60.000 William Bayard, Alexander El- 
lis, and fifty-three others, 

A part of 1,920,000 acres granted 
to Alexander ICacomb, 
9,400 Johan Jooet Petri, and ninety- 
three others, 

Cadwallader Golden #ie younger, 
and Goenradt Ryghtmeyer, 

Joseph Worrell, William Gosby, 
and nine others, 

Alexander Golden, and three 

Goenradt Frank, and Aye others, 

Johan Joost and Hendrik Herch- 
26,0761 [keimer, 

4,000 Ezra L'Hommedieu and Nathan- 
iel Piatt, 

James Henderson, and two others, 

Peter Hasendever, and seventeen 

Guy Johnson. Forfeited by at- 
tainder of G. J. 

Henry Glen, Alexander Ellis, and 
ninety-two others, 

Johan Juigh Eass, and his child- 
3,000 John Lindsay and PhiUp Liiing- 

Philip Liringston, and nineteen 

Leonard Lispenard and thirteen 
6,000 Jacob and Abraham Lansing, and 
Jacob Glen, 

Alexander Macomb, 

John McNeil, and three others, 

Thomas Matchin, 

Arthur Noble, 

Owned by the state, except 18,- 
080 granted in 1847 to Anson 

John Jost Petrie, and two others. 

Sir William Johnson, 

Henry Remsen, and three others, 

Jacob Timberman, and Johan 
Joost Schnell, 

Rudolph Staley , Johan Jost Herch- 
keimer, Jr., Nicholas Herch- 
keimer, and fifteen others, 

Abraham Lynsen, and twenty- 
[one others, 

Isaac Vrooman, 
















NamM of Fatants or Xraeta. 

Van Diieaen, Peter, , 
Van Drieaen, John,. , 
Van Horn's Patent,*, 

Vanglm'B Patent, 

Watson's James Tract,* 

Winne's Patent, 

Walton's Patent, 

Young's Patent,*. . 


NuB«t of Origliial Pa to nt ajg. 


Petms Van Drieasen, 
428'Johan Van Diiessen, 
8,000!Abraham Van Home, and three 

I others, 
1770 8,000John Vaughn and seven others, 

1792 1 A x>ftit of Haoomb^s purchsae, 

1741 2,000 Peter Winne, 

1768 12,000 William Walton, Jr., and eleven 

I others, 
1752 14,000 Theobald Toung, and ten others. 

The Indian title to Glen's purchase, was extinguished in 1734. The whole 
tract was subdivided into thirty-nine large lots, of unequal quantitieB. In 

1738 fivt of these lots were granted to Patrick McClaughrj and Andrew Mc- 
Dowell, and eight to James DeLancey, John Lindsay, and Abraham Qlen. In 

1739 ihrte were granted to Lendert Helmer, two to Jacob Glen, tkrte to Archi- 
bald Kennedy, thru to John Schuyler, Jr., tkrtt to Arent Brant, and ihru to 
Phil^ Schuyler. In 1761 thru were granted to Samuel Auchmuty, <ftrM to 
William Mitchell, and thru to William Ogilvie. 

The patent for the royal grant was never recorded in this state. The grant 
was made by the king in council, and not by the colonial authorities, conse- 
quently the date and number of acres oaoi not be given from any entries in 
the Secretary's office at Albany. 

The Guy Johnson tract was conveyed by Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Jacob 
G. Klock, and Henry Oathoudt, commissioners of forfeitures of the western 
district of New York, to Benjamin Tallmadge, major in the army of the United 
States, June 7th, 1784, and by Tallmadge to Caleb Brewster, July 9th, 1794. 

The above abstract shows that the title to most of the 
lands in the county^ with the exception of those in the 
extreme northern part, were granted by the crown before 
the commencement of the revolutionary struggle, and those 
grants were recognized as valid by the constitution of 1777. 
But although declared valid by the fundamental law of the 
state, this declaration was in effect nothing more than an 
inhibition upon the legislative power of the state to resume 
these grants at pleasure. The state was left free to protect 
itself against the treasonable acts or hostile aggressions of 
any of the parties holding under these grants. This power 
was exercised by the legislature and carried into effect to 
some extent in this coimty, and this makes it expedient to 
give &at subject a little examination. 


The attainder act of 1779 embraced fifty-nine persons, 
three of whom were married females, and they were also 
declared convicted and attainted with their husbands of 
offenses against the act. It had been the practice under the 
colonial government to include females in the grants by the 
crown, even when the patents were issued to parties for 
* lands not intended for immediate settlement. At this day 

^ a proceeding of this kind against a married lady would 

seem harsh, discourteous and ungallant. The particular 
reasons, if any existed, which induced the legislature to 
adopt a measure so stringent, is not disclosed in the act, 
and there were none probably which marked them as 
special objects for confiscation and banishment, except the 
fact that they were seized in their own rights of large 
landed estates within the colony, and their husbands had 
been prominent and infiuential partisans in the cause of the 
crown, and continued their active and devoted adhesion 
to the king to the date of the act. It was expedient to dis- 
arm such persons of all the powers of mischief which 
wealth and appliances would bestow, as well as to punish 
past and future aggressions against the state ; and besides, 
this was but a slight departure from the British maxim that 
an attaint of blood cut off the inheritance. 

The legislature passed an act on the 12th of May, 1784, 
directing the speedy sale of confiscated and forfeited 
estates, requiring the proceeds to be applied to the sinking 
and discharging the public securities, created for the pur- 
pose of carrying on the war. This was the first step taken 
to dispose of these estates and the functions of the commis- 
sioners ceased in 1788. The act of 1784, designated the 
kind of money and certificates or biUs of credit issued by 
the state, which anight be received in payment for lands 
sold ; and one class of bills were receivable at the rate of 
one dollar in silver for every one hundred aud twenty nomi- 
nal dollars of such bills ; others at the rate of one dollar in 
silver for every forty of the nominal dollars specified in the 
certificates, and a certain class of warrants payable in wheat 


msTOBY OF hebkhieb countt. 203 

were receiveable at the rate of one silver dollar for every 
bushel of wheat expressed therein. 

Most of these certificates and bills had not been issued, at 
the date of the act, over four years, and the commissioners 
of forfeitures were directed not to receive in the aggregate 
over five millions of dollars in these bills and certificates for 
lands sold by them under the act. A large nominal sum of 
public debt was by this process extinguished with a smedl 
amount of actual cash, or its equivalent. This was a heavy 
depreciation of public securities, and was severely felt by 
the people, who were compelled to take them from the 
government. The purchasers of the public domain, how- 
ever, were in no respect losers by the operation. Having 
purchased these securities at the current specie market 
price, or at the sum fixed by the continental scale of depre- 
ciation, they exchanged them in most instances for some of 
the best lands in the state, at a price per acre a little more 
than nominal, and thus accumulated large fortunes, which 
have been or soon will be wasted by their posterity. These 
purchasers hazarded nothing ; the state warranted the title 
against all claims, and assumed to pay the debts of any 
person owning the forfeited estate which existed prior to 
9th of July, 1776, and were due to an inhabitant of this 
state on that day, who had not been attainted or convicted 
of adhering to the public enemy during the war. 

The commissioners of forfeitures of the western district 
of the state, sold and deeded between September, 1784 and^ 
September, 1788, ninety-three lots in the 1st allotment of the 
royal grant ; ninety-one in the second allotment ; one hund- 
red and thirty in the 3d allotment ; and one hundred and 
thirty-seven in the fourth allotment. 

This proceeding on the part of the state was founded on 
the attainder of Sir John Johnson, by the act of 1779. 

The map made by Lawrence Vrooman, in 1797, shows 
that Sir William gave by his will to six of his natural child- 
ren by Molly Brant or Brandt, fifteen thousand acres of this 
grant, as follows : To Margaret, 2000 acres ; George, 3000 ; 


Mary, 2000 ; Susan, 3000 ; Ann, 3000 ; Brandt, 1000 ; and 
to William, 1000 acres. The portion of this tract thus 
devised adjoins the East Canada creek, and is in the present 
towns of Manheim and Salisbury. 

The lots as numbered on the map are, 166 in the Ist 
allotment ; 102 in the second ; 136 in the third ; and 143 in 
the fourth. These are the highest numbers, but in several 
instances intervening numbers below are not found. 

A specific half of eighteen lots in Jerseyfield patent, was 
also sold and deeded by the commissioners of forfeitures, 
within the periods above mentioned. The original patentees 
of this large tract were mostly of the Dutch extraction, not 
(German, and residents in Albany, Schenectady and the lower 
Mohawk valley. None of these names appear in the attain- 
der act of 1779. Some party known to be obnoxious to the 
penalties of the act, must have been proceeded against by 
indictment for treason against the state, and the lands 
declared forfeited on inquisition found. The whole of five 
lots and a specified half of four others in Livingston's patent 
was also sold and conveyed by the commissioners. Peter 
Du Bois, who was attainted by the act of October 22d, 1779, 
was one of the patentees of this grant, and the sales probably 
covered hia interest^ or what remained of it, in the whole 

One lot, Na 62, Bayard's patent, was also sold by the 
commissioners, under the attainder of some of the patentees. 

A part of Glen's purchase seems to have been owned by 
some one obnoxious to the law attainder. James De Lancey 
was one of the three joint patentees of several lots in this 
purchase. He was attainted by the act of 1779. Six small 
lots in that tract were sold and deeded for j£1095, New Tork 
currency, on the 27th August, 17^, to replenish an exhausted 
treasury. James Caldwell purchased five of the lots and 
Michael Myers one of them. Johan Jurgh Kast's little 
patent of eleven hundred acres in Schuyler, contributed five 
hundred dollars to pay war expenses. One lot in that patent 
seems to have been sold to make compensation for treason 












'ine comity covers an area oi i<i/v eqnare-imieBy or oov,- 
000 acres, and is bounded on the north by the county of St 
Lawrence, on the east by the ooonties of Hamilton, Foltoik 
and Montgomery, on the south by the county of Otsego^ and 


on the west by the counties of Oneida and Lewis. It lies in 
the central part of the state, between 42 degrees and 60 
minutes, and 44 degrees and 5 minutes north latitude, and 
1 degree and 43 minutes, and 2 degrees and 14 minutes east 
longitude from the city of Washington ; and is 76 miles 
long from north to south, and about 26 miles in width from 
east to west 

BiYEBs, Streams and Lakes. 

The Mohawk river runs through the southerly part of the 
county from the west, on. an easterly course, and is the most 
considerable stream of water in it The East Canada creek, 
or kill, as formerly called, takes its rise in Hamilton county 
and discharges itself into the Mohawk river from the north, 
and forms th^ eastern boundary line from the river to the 
northeast corner of the royal grant. 

The sources of the West Canada creek, or kill, called by 
the Indians Tueghtaghrarow, are traced to the northerly 
part of the county, and into the westerly part of Hamilton, 
running a southwesterly course to the southwest corner of 
Matchin's patent, and thence southerly and easterly to the 
northwest corner of Walton's patent) it forms the boundary 
line between Herkimer and Oneida counties. It empties 
into the Mohawk river from the north, near the village of 

The Moose, Black and Beaver rivers, which flow into 
Lake Ontario, have their sources in the north part of the 
county, fed by numerous lakes and ponds of pure water, 
none of which, however, are of any commercial note, but 
are now often visited by the amateur angler and hunter, as 
they formerly were by the veteran aboriginal of the forest, 
and sad is the fate of him who is not proof against the 
assaults of the mosquito and midge. The bite of these 
insects is very annoying and poisonous to many of the 
whites. There are two small lakes or bodies of water in the 
south part of the town of Warren, called the Little Lakes, 

_ -« » - ' 


but there are no others of note on the south side of the 

The Nowadaga creek^in the town of Danube, which flows 
north into the Mohawk river; the Otsquaga creek, that 
drains the town of Stark, and the head waters of the Una- 
dilla and Susquehanna rivers take their rise in the towns of 
Columbia, Warren, Litchfield and Winfield, and flow south, 
are the only streams which are worthy of note on the south 
side of the Mohawk. On the north side, besides those 
already noticed, are several tributaries of the Mohawk and 
East and West Canada creeks, affording eligible sites and 
water power for mills and manufactories, improved to a 
limited extent* 

Pace of the Couktry. 

The surface is much diversified, and it may properly be 
called ** a hill country," but it is not mountainous, as it has 
been sometimes asserted. The Adirondack range of elevated 
lands enters the county on the northeast from Hamilton 
and extends to the Mohawk at Little Falls, where it is 
broken through by the river ; thence the same range extends 
southwesterly in the southern part of the county, forming 
.a dividing ridge for the waters running south and those 
that flow into the Mohawk river. The settlements now 
extend about thirty miles north of the Mohawk and the most 
elevated points of land on the north and south sides of the 
river, are productive of grass, Indian corn, and coarse grains. 
These remarks apply particularly to the settled parts of the 
county. The ranges of upland are quite elevated, in some 
places being eight hundred feet above the waters of the 
river. The Ostrander hill, south of Newville in the town of 
Danube, the hill east of Fairfield academy, and an elevated 
plat in Russia, observable in a clear day, on the road from 
Little Falls to MiddleviUe, fourteen miles distant in a north- 
erly direction up the valley of the West Canada creek, are 
prominent points of this description, and still these eleva- 
tions are not precipitous or inapproachable. 


The northern part of the county^ femaining in forests^ is 
elevated, but not more broken than the sonthem portions 
under cultivation, and along the valleys of the Mohawk and 
the Bast and West Canada creeks. 


This is somewhat various, depending npon localities. 
Sandy and argillaceous loams, based on limestone, sandstone 
and primitive granite gneiss, clay and calcareous loam, cal- 
careous and sandy loam, calcareous loam, sandy and clay 
loam, are the general characteristics of the uplands. Rich 
alluvial flats are found in the Mohawk valley, and quite as 
productive in grains of various descriptions, as any of the 
best lands in the state. The alluvial flats of the smaller 
streams are also rich and productive. The soil north of the 
royal grant is light and sandy, producing fair summer crops, 
and is pretty well adapted to grazing. 


Before the war of 1812, and as recent as 1820, the princi- 
pal productions of this county were wheat, con, rye, 
barley, peas, beans, oats, hay and potatoes; wheat and 
barley forming the chief articles of export to the Albany 
market; of com, oats, peas and rye, there was some surplus, 
and also of fat cattle and hogs. The Mohawk valley and 
the Schoharie were once the granaries of the Albany and 
New York markets, even when ^^ York flour " had attained 
some celebrity in New England, and was preferred there to 
the southern article. The opening of the Erie canal in 
1825, brought a rival into market, against which it was 
useless to contend — Western New York and the country on 
the south shores of Lake Erie, where the harvests were 
gathered nearly two weeks earlier than in Oneida, Herkimer 
and Montgomery, and the crops in bulk would be in market 
before the grain growers in those counties had begun their 


wheat harvests. If there was no difference in the quality of 
the article produced, the difference in the price of land in 
western New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and that along 
the Mohawk valley and in the county, and the disparity in 
the quantity of the yield per annum, made grain*growing 
an onerous and unprofitable business to the Herkimer 
county farmer. 

During the period of ten years, from 1820 to 1830, agri- 
culture was at a low ebb in the county. Tear after year the 
insect destroyed all the fields of wheat, and year after year 
the toil-wearied farmer found himself without the means of 
paying even his small debts, much less to grapple with 
bonds, mortgages and interest, given to secure the purchase 
money of his lands. 

In 1820, if all the personal or movable property in the 
county had been sold at a fair appraisal, it would not have 
produced sufficient means to pay the domestic debt of the 
county, and probably not more than half of it. But the 
recuperative energies of the American can not be borne 
down even by formidable obstacles, nor can " his hopefdl 
and go-«head resolution " be " crushed out.** As early as 
1825, some few of our farmers began to think seriously of 
'^ changing their mode of husbandry.'* They abandoned 
grain growing and turned their attention to grazing, and 
now the dairy house, and not the granary, is the great point 
of attraction. Butter, cheese and fat cattle now constitute 
the staple of the agricultural exports from the county. At 
one period, Herkimer county cheese stood the first in the 
market, and it has not lost any of its qualities, but other 
localities have no doubt improved their productions, still the 
supply hardly keeps pace with the demand, so that prices 
do not recede but advance moderately. The business has 
been quite remunerative for years past to those who bought 
lands as prices ranged about ten years since. Formerly, the 
most considerable portion of cheese made was taken to 
market in the fall of the year ; the shipments by canal com- 
mencing in September and continuing until the close of 


nayigation, or until all the early made cheese was sent off, 
and that made late was kept over the winter and sent for- 
ward in the spring. But since the rail roads have carried 
freight, the article is now sent to market as soon as it 
becomes sufficiently cnred to bear transportation in boxes. 
The raieing of broom-corn and the cultivation of the hop 
has lately attracted attention, and are now being produced 
to some extent, and on some soils it will no doubt be found 
quite as profitable as raising grain or devoting the lands to 
grazing. The soil of the royal grant is said to possess, in 
an extraordinary degree, the quality of yielding sweet fall 
pasturage even nntil covered with snow. 

Sawed lumber from the North woods is yet produced 
in moderate quantities and forms an article of export; and 
since the construction of plank roads in that direction this 
business has somewhat increased, and will continue to afford 
employment for the hardy pioneer lumberman for some 
years to come. 

At no period within forty years have the agricultural 
interests of the county been as prosperous and healthful as 
at present, and the domestic or home indebtedness so small; 
and with the balance of trade largely in its favor, the future 
prospects of its people are most cheering and hopefuL In 
the article of breadstuffs, and particularly flour, the con- 
sumption greatly exceeds the production, and very conside- 
rable quantities of western flour and wheat are annually 
brought into the county for home use. Wheat is not raised 
in any quantity ; the home supply of com, oats, rye, buck- 
wheat, potatoes and apples is equal to the consumption ; 
and apples are sometimes exported when the crops are good 
and the eastern supply short 

. Minerals. 

Iron ore is found in large quantities in the north part of 
the county, and formerly in what is called Brown's tract, 
there were works for smelting the ore, but these have been 


long since abandoned. This ore is said to have been dis- 
covered in the town of Salisbury, but the quantity is not 
sufficient to a£ford any encouragement to capitalists to work 
it, or the quality of it is not as good as that found in other 
localities at much greater distance from the market, as no 
efforts have as yet been made to open and work the mine 
since its discovery. Gypsum has been obtained in small 
quantities in the town of Stark. Some specimens of lead 
ore have been found in the county, but neither lead or gyp- 
sum has yet been found in sufficient quantities to attract 
attention. The rock crystal, or false diamonds, were for- 
merly found at Little Falls and at Middleville, nine miles 
north, on the West Canada creek, in large abundance, and 
more beautiful than in any other portion of the United 
States. They were of different sizes, and most of them 
beautifully clear and transparent, and exceedingly multi- 
form in shape. Those found at Little Falls were taken from 
the sandstone ; and those at Middleville were obtained in 
cavern or grotto, apparently formed by the crystallization 
of some mineral waters. Some specimens were found larger 
than a walnut, with water in the centre, and others with 
dark spots entirely inclosed or surrounded with clear crystal. 
The writer was several years ago told by a gentleman, that 
he took a number of these crystals, obtained at Little Falls, 
to London, England, and the lapidary informed him that 
one of them was a real and not a false diamond ; and that 
he saw the stone submitted to the test of fire. No positive 
indications of coal have yet been feund, and there probably 
will not be, as the geological formations are not character- 
istic of that fossil. At present the wealth of the county 
consists principally in its agricultural products ; but we 
might speculate a moment, in these days of improvement 
and progress, and fancy the navigation of the Moose river, 
improved as high up as the iron region of the county, by 
which the products of the ore beds will be brought to mar- 
ket on the Black river canal. 



These, althongh not unmerooB, or employing large amoimtB 
of capital, when compared with some other counties in the 
state, or some other localities in the United States, are 
respectable, taken altogether, and contribute an important 
item to the sum of our integral prosperity and wealth. 

The manufacture of leather has heretofore been success- 
fully carried on, and several large tanneries have been 
erected in different parts of the county. Several extensive 
paper mills are in operation in the county. An extensive 
building is now being erected at Little FaUs, by Mr. Gteorge 
W. Beardsley, to be used in manufacturing paper of various 
descriptions and qualities, from wood. 

BoADs, Canals, Turnpikes. 

Before and during the revolutionary war, the Mohawk 
river was navigated by batteaux of light draught and easy 
transport over the carrying place at the lesser falls. At 
this time the main traveled road between the East and West 
Canada creeks, was on the south side of the river. As early 
as April, 1790, the legislature appropriated *' one hundred 
pounds for the purpose of erecting a bridge across the East 
Canada creek, not exceeding three miles from the mouth 
thereof, upon the road from the Mohawk river to the royal 

On the 6th of April, 1793, the legislature appointed com- 
missioners, and directed them to erect ** a bridge over the 
East Canada creek, nearly opposite Canajoharie castle, on 
the public road leading from Tribes Hill to the Little Falls; 
the building and erecting a bridge over the West Canada 
creek, on the public road or highway leading from the Little 
Palls aforesaid, to Port Stanwii." 

The Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, was in- 
corporated March 30th, 1792. The object of this company 


was to open and improve the navigation of the Mohawk 
river, and other streams, from the Hudson to the Seneca 
lake and Lake Ontario, to -^encourage agricnltnre, promote 
commerce and facilitate intercourse between the citizens'' 
of the state, as put forth in the preamble to the act. The im- 
provements made by the company, in this county, consisted 
in opening a short canal in the river flats, and the construc- 
tion of a lock, to avoid a rapid in the river, near old Fort 
Herkimer, in the town of Qerman Flats; and the construc- 
tion of the canal and locks, at Little Falls. This work was 
completed in 1796. The locks were first made of wood, 
were rebuilt of stone in 1804, and in good condition in 1825, 
when the Erie canal was opened. On the completion of 
these works, the river w|ks navigated in a good stage of 
water, by the large Durham boats, between Schenectady 
and Lake Ontario. There was a light and commodious 
passenger boat on the river, in the year 1817. The trip 
from Utica to Schenectady was rapid and agreeable, but the 
return was so slow and tedious, that passengers did not in- 
cline to embrace it. The entire cost of thiE^ company's 
improvements was about $450,000, 

The state owned $92,000 of the stock, and individuals, 
$140,000. The state wishing to use the waters of the 
Mohawk and Oswego rivers, and occupy some portion of 
the company's canal, for the purpose of the Erie canaU and 
being unable to agree with the company, on the sum to be 
paid, took the franchises and property of the corporation by 
appraisal, paying to the individual stockholders, for their 
interest, $91,616; the interest of the state, at the same rate 
of allowance, being $60,204*80. This company, it appears, 
sunk of capital in twenty-two years after their works at the 
Little Falls were completed, $298,180*20. 

The next improvement in roads, which materially affected 
the interests of the people of the county, was the construction 
of the Mohawk turnpike. The charter of the Turnpike and 
Bridge company, was granted April 4, 1800. The road from 



Schenectady to Utica, on the north side of the river, wae 
built in an expeditious and unsubstantial manner, of the ma- 
terial found along the line. Although the opening of the 
Erie Canal, in 1825, materially affected the income of the 
company, by diverting transportation from the road, it was 
an immense thoroughfare for travel, until August, 1835, 
when the corporate franchises of the company and the road 
itself were transferred to the Utica and Schenectady rail 
road company, for t62,500, and the successors of the com- 
pany, now own and control the turnpike, from the west 
bounds of the town of Herkimer, to its termination on the 
west bank of the river, at Schenectady. I need not say, 
perhaps, for the information of any inhabitant of the county, 
that the Erie canal traverses its territory, from west to east, 
on the south side of the Mohawk river, passing through the 
villages of Frankfort, Ilion, Mohawk and the town of Dan- 
ube; nor that the New York central rail road traverses the 
county from east to west, on the north side of the river, 
passing through the town of Manheim, the villages of Little 
Falls and Herkimer, and part of the town of Schuyler, cross- 
ing the Mohawk, near the west bounds of the county ; having 
five passenger and freight stations along the line in the 

One of the most, if not the most, successful enterprises j 

of modem times, was the the Utica and Schenectady rail 
road company, chartered in 1833, and now forming a part 
of the New York central rail road. The original capital 
was t2,000,000. The road was constructed, equipped for 
running and opened on the 1st of August, 1836, for a sum 
somewhat less than capital. It was a pioneer road, and the 
art of chitsding had not then been brought to its modern 

On the first organization of the company, in 1833, after 
the distribution of the stock, Erastus Corning, John Town- 
send, Lewis Benedict, James Porter, of Albany ; Alonzo C. I 
Paige, of Schenectady ; Tobias A. Stoutenbergh, of Mont- i 
gomery; Nathaniel S. Benton, of Herkimer; Nicholas i 


Devereaux, Henry Sejnnonr, Alfred Munson, Utica ; James 
Hooker, Poughkeepsie ; John Mason and Churchill C. Cam- 
breleng, of New York, were chosen directors ; James Porter 
was appointed secretary ; Gideon Hawley, treasurer ; Wm. 
C. Young, chief engineer ; and Gideon Davidson, com* 
missioner. The charter required that one director, at least, 
should be a resident of the county through which the line 
of the road passed. Messrs. Coming, Townsend, Paige, 
Devereaux^ Benton and Hooker, of the first board chosen, 
remained in the direction twenty years, and until the con- 
solidation took place, May 17th, 1853. Mr. Young was 
appointed engineer and general superintendent after the 
road was finished, and held that highly responsible place 
until 1851, when he resigned, went on to the Hudson river 
road, and was succeeded by Mr. Chauncey Vibbard, who 
had been several years an efficient aid to Mr. Young. Mr. 
Vibbard is now the general superintendisnt of the New York 
central company. It is not too much, nor out of place 
here, to say, that Mr. Young was a most valuable and effi- 
cient officer. There were but few men in this country at 
that time, who could have taken the charge and active 
superintendence of an entirely new enterprise, organized 
and arranged the running of the trains, selected competent 
and suitable agents to aid him, with better or more complete 
success than he did. He lived on the road for years, until 
order and exactitirde pervaded the whole line, and at every 
station, and in every department of service. But it may be 
said, he did not and could not do all this work alone and 
single handed. This is true ; he had active, able and vigi- 
lant assistants on the line, as local superintendents ; and 
Maj. Zenas C. Priest, who entered the service of the com- 
pany before the road was opened for traffic, and has remained 
on it ever since, was among the most reliable and efficient of 
Mr. Young's assistants. 

At the time of consolidation, the stock capital of the 
company was t4,500,000, on which the shareholders 
received fifty per cent premium in six per cent bonds of 


the consolidated company, eqtial at par to $2,475,000, and 
how mtich of the two and a half millions of increase to the 
original two millions was made up by extra dividends in the 
old company, and how mnch of surplus has been and will be 
paid by the trustees to the stockholders of the company, I 
need not name, to make good the assertion, that the Utica 
and Schenectady company has turned out the most success-, 
ful of modern railway enterprises. 

The Utica and Schenectady rail road is now enrolled 
among the things that were, and history teaches by the 
examples inscribed on its pages. Twenty years the direct- 
ors of that company served the shareholders without com' 
pensaHan or rewardy and not only repaid them their whole 
capital, with interest, but gave them a litUe surplus, and 
left the original stock unimpaired in the new company. If 
this success does not show that there was ability, applica- 
tion and integrity in the direction and management of the 
concerns of the company, it will be extremely difficult to 
produce an example of this sort that wilL I am not aware 
of a single year, and I marked the progress of affairs with 
considerable attention, when the annual expenses of the 
toad exceeded thirty-three per cent of the gross earnings. 
Those expenses seldom reached that sum during the whole 
seventeen years the road was operated. Why, then, do we 
now see those expenses reaching to and even exceeding 
fifty per cent of the gross earnings of rail road companies? 
I place these facts on the record, and those who have time, 
and are so disposed, may discuss causes and their effects. 

The shareholders of these companies have a remedial 
power in their own hands, and can apply it once in each 
year, if they choose to do it. They can know, if they will, 
whether the laws of the state have been strictly obaerved 
by the directors and agents of the company ; and they 
should know, too, whether the principal agents of the corpo- 
rations have been interested in contracts with the company ; 
or have used the information or knowledge which could only 
come to them confidentially, for the purpose of dealing in 


the Btock of the companies to which they bekmg, and spec- 
ulate on a rise or fall in the market When men seek places 
in rail road directions, to control and participate in the con- 
tracts for supplies, and when the chief agents of these com- 
{>ames are allowed to be contractors, the stockholders 
directly, and the general public indirectly, suffer materially. 

I will dismiss the subject of rail roads, and go back in 
order of time a half century or more. March 26, 1803, an act 
was passed, authorizing certain great roads in this state to 
be opened and improved, and for that purpose $41,500 was 
directed to be raised by lottery. 

' The State road, so called, from Johnstown te^lhe Black 
river country, passing through parts of Manheim and Salis- 
bury and the towns of Norway and Russia in this county, 
was laid out and siurveyed, and probably opened by com- 
missioners appointed by the governor, pursuant to the 
authority conferred by the above act. This road was used 
a good deal in the early part of the present century, when 
the eastern emigration was flowing towards the present 
counties of Lewis and Jefferson, the western portion of St. 
Lawrence and the northern parts of Oneida and Herkimer. 

The Fall Hill turnpike and bridge company, incorporated 
in 1804, was authorized to build a toll-bridge over the 
Mohawk at Little Falls, and construct a road from the house 
of Lra Crane in Minden, Montgomery coimty, to the Mohawk 
river, thence along said river to Henry A. Yrooman's, in 
Ctorman Flats, and thence to Samuel Abbott's house and 
Kassler's mills. The object of this improvement was to 
avoid the difficulties of the road over Fall hill, which was 
pretty steep and rugged. The bridge was erected and used 
many years, and until the charter was abandoned. The 
road was not made. 

In the year 1806, commissioners were appointed to lay 

out and straighten the road on the south side of the Mohawk 

river, from Schenectady to Utica, where they should judge 

, the same expedient. This road was directed to be opened 

three rods wide, and the towns through which it passed 


were required to work it In all the cases which I have 
noticed, if any portion of these roads, surveyed by the direc- 
tions of the legislature, was laid out through improved lands, 
compensation was made to the owners, and after the roads 
were surveyed and opened by the state, the towns through 
which they passed were required to repair and maintain 
them. This requirement could only be observed where 
there was sufficient population. 

An opinion prevailed at an early day, that the northern 
travel would leave the Mohawk valley at East Greek or 
Little Falls, and turn towards the Black river country, 
but the project of opening and improving a road from Little 
Falls in that direction was never carried into e£fect. The 
people of Johnstown, Utica, Whitestown and Rome, were 
too much alive to their own interests to allow such a pro- 
ject to get the start of them. The route from Johnstown 
through the northern parts of Montgomery and Herkimer, 
crossing the East Canada creek at Brackett's bridge, and the 
West Canada creek at Boon's bridge, near Prospect, in 
Oneida county, was much the shortest, and the best adapted 
to emigrant traveL 

The Great western turnpike passes through the southeast 
comer of the town of Warren, at the Little lakes, a distance 
of two or three miles. This road does not touch the Mohawk 
valley. The Minden and Utica turnpike company was 
incorporated in 1809. The designated line of this road in 
the county passed through the present towns of Stark, 
Warren, Columbia, Litchfield, the southwest comer of 
Frankfort into Oneida county. Some part of this turnpike 
was completed, and one or more gates were erected to col- 
lect tolls, but it has long since been abandoned, the charter 
having been declared forfeited for a misuser, and the people 
are not obstructed by the toll-bar. 

CoL Jeremiah Drake projected a rail road, to connect with 
the Utica and Schenectady line, near A. A. Fink's, two miles 
east of Little Falls, and running northerly a distance of 
about fifteen miles in this county, to the northeast comer 



of the Boyal grant. He procured an act of incorporation in 
1834, had the line of road surveyed and locate^^ and esti- 
mates of cost of construction and traffic made up. CoL 
Drake was sanguine the road would yield a good return, 
upon the investment, but failing to convince capitalists of 
Uiis fact, he was compelled to abandon the project. The 
line of the road as surveyed, passed through Manheim Center, 
Wintonville, Salisbury Center to Devereaux. This lind 
would not have yielded an income quite as prolific as the 
Utica and Schenectady, but that company and the New York 
central line would have found it a most valuable auxiliary 
in furnishing fuel from the North woods. 

The plank road mania of 1847-8, in its epidemic progress 
through the state, visited the county, and roads of this 
description were constructed in various directions. 

The first, in point of time, was the road from the village 
of Mohawk, through Herkimer and Middleville to Newport, 
up the valley of the West Canada creek. 

The Little Falls and Middleville, connecting the two places 
named by plank. 

The Manheim and Salisbury, connecting Little Falls with 
Salisbury Four Corners. This line has been extended to 
GraysviUe, a village on the Black creek in the north part of 

The Little Falls and Salisbury, connecting the former 
place with Devereaux at the northeast comer of the Royal 
grant. The route of this road is nearly on the line of CoL 
Drake's proposed rail road. The plank road from Utica, 
passing through Frankfort, Litchfield and West Windfield 
to Unadilla. 

The Mohawk and Dion, connecting the two places named 
by plank. 

The Frankfort and Utica, . extending from Frankfort vil- 
lage to the west line of the county, along the Erie canaL 

Dion and Cedarville, extending from the former village 
south to Cedarville. 

The plank road from Fort Plain, in Montgomery county, 

^ A « . 'W 


to Oooper^wn, passes through Starkville and Van Homes* 
ville, in th^ town of Stark. 

The North Gkge and Russia plank road, connects Russia; 
in this county, with North Gage, in Oneida county. 

The Utica, Deerfield and Schuyler plank road. 

Although not in the order of time, I may here remark 
•that a charter was granted in 1836, to construct a rail road 
from Herkimer to Trenton, Oneida county, along the valley 
of the West Canada creek; but no. further effort was ever 
made to carry into effect the objects of the law. Like many 
other projects of this kind, its promoters found it difficult to 
obtain the capital to build the road, although the route was 
quite feasible and unobstructed by deep outs and heavy 

The Newspaper Press op the Countt. 

Strange as it may seem to the reader, the history of the 
newspaper press of the county, although covering only about 
half a century, has come to rest in tradition, and while itself 
the recorder of events that have moved a world in arms, 
and shook crumbling empires into dust, it has failed in this 
county to place its own existence and career beyond a sur- 
mise and a probability; or, the frail memory of man when 
he makes the effort to speak of dates and limit periods 
without a written or printed rekjord before him. Tradition 
is much more imcertain among a civilized people who claim 
to record events as they transpire, than with the aboriginal 
natives of this continent, who perpetuate their legends and 
important national events by reciting them in a full assem- 
bly of the tribes, where the young, the old and the middle 
aged of both sexes are seated around the great council fire 
to hear repeated and impress upon the memory, the history 
of their tribe, the exploits in war of their great chiefs and 
distinguished braves, to describe the limits of their hunting 
grounds, and to recoimt the moons and the seasons since the 
happening of some great event 

HI8T0ttY OF HHRKnraaEt (MnSTt. 221 

In the beginning of the present century^ and probably 
ahont the year 18Q2, Mr. Benjamin Cory published the first 
newspaper in the county, called the Telescope, designed to 
uphold the interests of the federal party. In January, 1805, 
David Holt a (name long familiar to the people of the county) 
and J. B. Robins purchased Mr. Cory's interest in the paper 
and issued another instead of it, called the Farmer^t Monitor. 

Hie Monitor was continued until the summer of 1807, 
when it was discontinued for want of patronage ; Mr. Cory 
having established another federal paper, which, as the law- 
yers and merchants of the village were mostly of that party, 
engrossed nearly all the advertising patronage. 

The Herkimer Pelican established by Gory, was probably 
continued until the year 1810. The Pelican supported Gov- 
ernor Lewis, and the Monitory it is said, was attached to the 
George Clinton branch of the republican i>arty. 

Hie fourth paper was established in January, 1810, by J. 
Hk & H. Prentiss, called the Herkimer American / it was 
published several years by them and William L. 8tone, 
afterwards of the JVao York Commercral Advertiser^ when 
Edward P. Seymour purchased the establishment and con- 
ducted the paper to ^* its life's end" in 1831. Mr. Seymour 
always kept his paper to the true party lines while he con- 
trolled it, but he would not refuse to print tickets for the 
republicans when they had no press in the county. 

The Bunker Hill made its appearance some time in the 
year 1810, established by Mr. G. G. Phinney 1 The political 
tendencies of this paper were pretty high-toned. The 
motto, " Live free or die ! Death is not the greatest of evils," 
{Gen. Stark)j showed its conductor was ready for the fight. 
Mr. Phinney brought out the Honest Jhnerican about the year 
1812. The editorial courtesy of those times was quite pun- 
gent, taking the following article as a specimen : 

'^A Mean Blackguard. — Captain Consequence^ or in other 
words, Charley Holt, has been pleased, if he ever was pleased, 
to daub in his paper the following ridiculous paragraph 
against the editor of the Honest American : 



" 'A DisboneBt American. — ^The foolish rascal in Herkimer, 
who to the disgrace of the name of an editor, is the lickspit- 
tle of the Public Advertiser, can not expect further newspaper 
notice, but will be silenced without disturbing our readers 
by so pitiful a subject.' 

^' Gapt. Charley talks of ' silencing us/ but the captain is 
informed that he nor all the men he could raise while a 
captain in Hudson, will be able to silence us. Gapt. Charley 
says we can not expect further ^newspaper notice.' God 
grant we may not receive any further notice from so mean 
a scoundrel This * pitiful subject ' wishes not to ^ disturb ' 
his ^ readers.' It is well known, that as far as Gapt. Ghar- 
ley's influence extends, he has done more to disturb the 
republican party than any other editor in the state. An 
elemal good-bye to you, Gapt. Charley, unless you intend to 
take other notice of us than that of * newspaper.' " 

This language smacks some of an indictment or prosecu- 
tion for a libel. These two papers, the Bunker Hill and 
Honed Jlmerican were both discontinued before 1821, and in 
September of that year, Edward M. Oriffin established the 
People^s Friend, a democratic paper, at Little Falls, which 
M'as published by him until about the year 1832, when seve- 
ral of the leading democrats of the county, to prevent the 
sale of the establishment and discontinuance of the paper, 
bought out the concern. Messrs. G. S. Benton & Go., con- 
tinued the publication of the paper under the title of Jtfo- 
havJc Courier, until the proprietors sold out their interest to 
Josiah A. Noonan. Mr. Noonan transferred his interest in 
the paper to Horatio N. Johnson who after publishing it 
some time, sold it to Elias O. Palmer, and again purchased 
it of Mr. Palmer, and now conducts the paper. 

The Herkimer Herald made its appearance at Herkimer in 
1828, under the direction of Mr. John Garpenter, and advo- 
cated the election of Greneral Jackson. 

Next in order of time came the Republiccm Farmer*s Free 
Press, in 1830, an anti-masonic paper, established by an 
association, printed by David Holt and edited by B. B. 


£[otchkiiu Its life was short Then came the Herkimer 
Ccfmty Journal in December, 1837, a whig paper. It was 
owned by a company, commenced at Herkimer, under the 
editorial charge of J. 0. Underwood, and printed by E. P. 
Seymour. In about one year Mr. 0. A. Bowe took charge 
of the paper and published it about six years. It was at 
different times edited by B. U. Sherman, G. W. Smith and 
A. H. Prescott Mr. Orlando Squires took charge of the 
paper in 1849, and removed the establishment to Little 
Falls, where the paper is now published under the direction 
of Mr. Daniel Ayer, and has nearly reached the close of the 
17th volume. 

The Republican Farmer^s Free Press was transferred to 
Little Falls, its name changed to the Herkimer County Whig, 
and published by Larned W. Smith, who also issued Iprom 
the same press the Inquirer, a deistical affair. This was not 
a very long lived concern. It commenced its career in 
1834, and closed I believe in about two years. 

Mr. E. M. Griffin established The Enterprise at Little Falls 
in 1839, and continued its publication about two years, and 
then started the MohavJc Mirror, a quarto sheet which he 
published or pretended to publish twice a month. This 
paper died out in 1844. 

Next in order of time came the Frankfort Democrat, estab- 
lished at Frankfort in the fall of 1842, by J. M. Lyon, now 
of the Utica Gazette. It was afterwards removed to Herki- 
mer village, and the name changed to Herkimer County Denuh 
crat. Until 1853 this paper was the organ of the Hunker 
section of the democratic party, and enjoyed a pretty good 
patrons^. Mr, Robert Earl, who succeeded Mr. Lyon in 
the proprietorship of the paper, sold out his interest, and the 
paper has since sustained the other section of that party. 

When Mr. Bowe quit the Journal, in 1844, he established at 
Little Falls an abolition journal, called the Herkimer Free- 
man^ which he published about six years, using the type and 
press of the Enterprise. Failing 4;o accomplish all he designed 
and aU that his industry and application to his business 



deBerved, Mr. Bowe in April, i860, started the Mohawk 
Time$ at the village of Mohawk. Hope again with him ^ on 
trembling pinions soared/' and the advocacy of *^ free soil'' 
with a spice of ^* news and miscellany/' was to conduct his 
bark to a haven of rest. Mr. Bowe soon abandoned this, his 
last enterprise in the state, in a short time, and established a 
press somewhere among the green hills of Vermont. 

The Mohmok Valletf SmUnd was established by L. W. 
Peters and G. W. Ooidd, at Mohawk in the winter of 1856. 
It has been oondncted by Mr* Peters several months, Mr. 
Gould having left the concern. Its motto, '*^ Put none but 
Americans on guard" {WadUngtan), very clearly denotes 
the political bias of the paper. 

The monhdqfatdentj the last to be now chronicled in his- 
tory, was brought out in February, 1855, at the village of 
Ilion by Mr. George W. Bungay. It seems to be devoted to 
temperance and advocates the prohibitory liquor law. Its 
motto, '^ Liberty, Equality and Fraternity " show an enlarged 
and comprehensive benevolence. 

Out of the seventeen or eighteen newspiqpers established 
in the county during the past fifty-four years, only three of 
them, the Courier^ Journal and DenuKrat have stood the test 
of time. The Sentinel and Independent have not yet passed 
the ordeaL Fourteen have enjoyed a brief existence, have 
performed their mission and are now forgotten. The Herki' 
met American attained the respectable age of twenty-one 
years. The Courier and Peoples Friend conjoined have seen 
thirty-four years. The Herkimer County Journal has thrown 
its banner to the breeze eighteen successive years and ral- 
lied its friends to many political defeats in the county ; and 
the Herkimer Comity Democrat^ although thirteen years an 
active campaigner can not claim always to have recorded 
victories of its friends. 

The reader will notice as an act of justice to J. Munsell of 
Albany, that I am much indebted to his interesting work, 
7%e Typogrtgphical Miscellany, for the important matter 
contained in this article. 



Colleges and Academies. 

Fairfidd Medical College. 

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of the -western 
district of New York, located at Fairfield, Herkimer connty, 
had its origin in the medical school established by the trus- 
tees of Fairfield academy, in 1809. This school had acquired 
some reputation while attached to the academy. It was 
even such in the second year of its existence, as to induce 
the legislature of the state to endow it with t5,000, and 
when it received the rank of college, they generously added 
to its funds the further sum of 1 10,000. 

The charter of the college bears date June 12, 1812, to 
which is appended the seal of the university of the state, 
and signed by Daioel D. Toupkjns, Chancellor 

of the University of the State of New York. 

H. Bloodoood, Secretary. 

In the charter the following persons are named as consti- 
tuting the first board of trustees, viz.: Westel Willoughby, 
Jun., Jonathan Sherwood, Luther Giteau, Solomon Wolcot, 
Isaac Sears, Abijah Tombling, Amos Hale, Simeon Ford, 
Clark Smith, Joseph White, Alexander G. Fonda, Oliver C. 
Comstock, John Miller, Isaac Sargeant, Reuben Hart, Amasa 
Trowbridge, Francis A. Bloodgood, William D. Ford, James 
Kennedy, Oliver Ellis, Andrew A. Bartow, William Smith, 
John Steams and James Hale ; they and their successors 
were to have perpetual succession. 

At a meeting of the board of trustees, held Dec. 1, 1812, 
the following individuals were appointed officers of the 
college, viz.: 

Lyman Spalding, professor of anatomy and surgery. 
Westel Willoughby, Jun., professor of obstetrics. 
James Hadley, professor of chemistry. 
John Stearns, professor of the theory and practice of 


The class of 1812-13, as appears by the records, consisted 
of eighteen medical students. - During the session of 1813- 
14, it numbered twenty-four. 

At a meeting of the board, March 23, 1815, T. Bomeyn 
Beck was recommended to the honorable regents to fill the 
office of professor of the institutes of medicine. 

Jan. 30, 1816, the degree of doctor of medicine was con- 
ferred on two individuals, viz.: Horatio Orvis and Sylvester 
Miller. Dr. Beck gave his first course on medical jurispru- 
dence. Number of students, 28 ; 4 graduates. 

At a meeting of the board. May 20, 1817, Doct. Joseph 
White, of Cherry Valley, was appointed president and pro- 
fessor of anatomy and surgery in the college, in place of Dr. 
Spalding ; at the same meeting, it was resolved, that Presi- 
dent White have leave to substitute his son, Delos White, 
M. D., to deliver lectures on anatomy in his stead. 

Jan. 20, 1818, the class consisted of 41 students, of whom 
7 were considered worthy of the degree of doctor of medi- 

Jan. 19, 1819, a resolution was passed by the board of 
trustees, dismissing any student who should be concerned 
directly or indirectly in digging up any dead human body, 
for the purpose of dissection in the college. 

Jan. 20, 1820, the legislature were petitioned for a law 
for giving the dead bodies of unclaimed convicts of the 
state prison, at Auburn^ to the college, for the purposes of 

Jan. 23, 1821, Dr. Delos White resigned his professorship 
of anatomy, in consequence of the difficulty of procuring 
subjects for dissection. The same year, it was resolved to 
extend the course of lectures from twelve to sixteen weeks. 

Jan. 22, 1822, James McNaughton, M. D., made professor 
of anatomy and physiology. 62 students ; 14 graduates. 

For several years subsequent to this period, the afi'airs of 
the college continued to prosper, and the number of students 
to increase. At the close of the session ending in January, 
1827, Joseph White, M. D., inconsequence of age and infirm- 



ities, resigned his profesBorBhip, and was succeeded in the 
chair of surgery by John Delamater, M. D. Number of 
students in attendance this session, 144 ; graduates, 25. In 
\ consequence of the increase of students, an additional 
college edifice was erected, containing thirty-two lodging 
rooms, and the lecture rooms of the old college edifice were 
enlarged and rendered more commodioua 

1828, number of students, 171 ; graduates, 33. 

1832. This year the number of students had increased to 
205; graduates, 39. 

1834. The largest class ever assembled at the college 
was during the session ending in January, 1834, when the 
number reached 217, of whom 55 received the degree of 
doctor of medicine. The following year the number was 198. 

The organization of the medical department of Geneva 
college, and subsequently the incorporation of a medical 
college in the city of Albany, together with other causes, 
had the efiect to diminish the number of students in attend- 
ance at the Fairfield college from the year 1834, until the 
final suspension of lectiures in the latter institution, by the 
faculty ; yet the numbers continued to be respectable, and 
probably would have been until the present time, had the 
proper eff'orts been continued to sustain it. During the year 
1836, the regents confirmed the following alterations, by 
which the professorships stood as foUows : 

Westel Willoughby, M. D., emeritus professor of mid- 

James Hadley, M. D., professor of chemistry and phar- 

T. Bomeyn Beck, M. D., professor of materia medica and 
medical jurisprudence. 

James McNaughton, M. D., professor of anatomy and 

John Delamater, M. D., professor of practice of physic, 
and diseases of women and children. 

Eeuben D. Mussey, M. D., professor of surgery and mid- 


Subsequently, Frank H. Hamilton, M. D., succeeded Pro£ 
HuBsey in the chair of surgery, and with this exception, the 
faculty remained as above during the operation of the insti- 
tution. The last course of lectures was given during the 
winter of 1839*40. The number of students in attendance 
was 105, of whom 26 received the degree of doctor of medi- 
cine. Since the cessation of medical lectures, the college 
buildings have undergo&e material modifications, and have 
been thoroughly repaired, for enlarging the accommodations 
of Fairfield academy, for which purpose they are at present 
appropriated. Lyman Spaulding, M. D., was the first 
president of the college, and was succeeded in office by 
Joseph White, M. D., in 1817, who resigned in 1827. The 
venerable Prof. Willoughby succeeded Dr. White, and held 
the office until his decease. 

FcArfidd Academy, 

This institution was incorporated March 13th, 1803, by 
the regents of the university of this state, and has been in 
successful operation ever since. The first board of trustees 
consisted of Moses Mather, Thomas Manley, Nathan Smith, 
Samuel Giles, Westel Willoughby Jr., William Griswold, 
Alvah Southworth, Cyrus M. Johnson, John Meyer, Jonathan 
Hallet, Abijah Mann, Mathias B. Tallmadge, Samuel Wright, 
William Smith, Benjamin Bowen, Charles Ward, Clark 
Smith, Thomas Bennett, Moses Wheeler, Francis A. Blood- 
good, Aaron Hackley, John Snell, John Herkimer and Henry 
Coffin, and the school was opened under the supervision of 
the Bev. Caleb Alexander, as the principal, and under his 
care and management of about ten years, the institution 
became extremely popular, and was esteemed the best aca- 
demic school in the country. It enjoyed a wide- field of 
patronage and usefulness, the first twelve or fifteen years of 
its existence, it being the only school of the kind in central 
or western New York in which thorough academic instruc- 
tion could be obtained. 


Even at this late day it is not an nnfreqnent occnrrence 
to bear the members of tbe legal profession, advanced in 
years and living in tbe central, western and nortbem parts 
of tbe state, speak of tbeir baving been educated at Fair- 
field. Tbe same remarks may no donbt be made witb trutb 
by many engaged in otber pursuits, or bave devoted them- 
selves to medicine or divinity. Fairfield Academy bas sent 
out many worthy and excellent men, and some who have 
distinguished themselves in public life and in tbe learned 
professions, and it may well bave done this. She had tbe 
young and aspiring talent of tbe country flocking to her 
halls, and she maintained sound, thorough and enlightened 
instructors. Tbe trustees and patrons of this institution 
bave just grounds to felicitate themselves on tbe past suc- 
cess of the schooL 

At former periods tbe aid of the state has been bestowed, 
witb sparing munificence, and it may be with as much libe- 
rality as justice to otber institutions and tbe ability of the 
state would allow. It is however gratifying to know that 
this institution, the oldest in the county, and tbe first esta- 
blished in a now wide-spread, populous and wealthy region 
of country, enjoys a permanent endo^vment which places 
the successful progress of the school beyond a contin- 

No people ever committed a graver mistake than t&ose 
who make up tbeir minds that almost any body or thing 
will do for a school teacher. Those who look for cheap 
instructors, without inquiry as to qualifications, err exceed- 
ingly. The youthful mind is quite as capable of erroneous 
as rightful impressions when engaged in learning, and all 
experience teaches us how difficult it is to eradicate error 
and impress trutb in its place in tbe mind of tbe pupil ; 
hence tbe importance of placing in our schools teachers 
capable, accomplished and experienced. ^^ Set tbe blind to 
lead tbe blind," and what will be tbe end? The reader will, 
I hope, bear witb me a moment longer. It bas seemed to 


me^ we regarded less than we should the permanent endow- 
ment of our academic schools. I mean such an endowment 
as would give a permanent annual income sufficient to carry 
the institution through all temporary adversities that may 
overtake it in the progress of years. This enables the 
trustees to retain an efficient corps of teachers and maintain 
the usual grade of instruction, and when prosperity returns 
no changes will be required to meet that fortunate exigency. 
There are no people within the pale of civilization who 
practice expediency so much as the Americans in accom- 
plishing proper objects and achieving just results. This 
may be the mighty lever that has brought the country to 
its present elevated position; but are the foundations suffi- 
ciently strong and adamantine to sustain us in that position? 
The truths of science can only be reached by keeping on 
the right tract and within its orbit ; and who can lead and 
direct the neophite save the accomplished master, the expe- 
rienced teacher and guide ? 

Caleb Alexander was a native of Northfield, Massachu- 
setts, who graduated at Yale College, and having been 
admitted to the ministry, settled as pastor over the church 
at Mendon. He came into Western New York as a mis- 
sionary in 1801, and I am enabled through the kindness of 
one of his descendants to consult his journal, from which I 
have made some extracts: 

^^ August 10, 1801. Having received my commission from 
the Bev. Nathaniel Emmons, D. D., President of the Massa- 
chusetts Missionary Society, having obtained the consent of 
my church and congregation and committed myself and 
family to the direction and disposal of Ood, I began my 
missionary tour to the people in the western parts of the 
state of New York." 

He visited various localities on the North river, in Sara- 
toga, Schenectady, Albany, Schoharie, Otsego, Madison, 
Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Ontario and Herkimer counties, 
and finally reached Norway, in this county, November 10, 


I8OI9 and temained until 23d, visiting and preaching at 
Fairfield, Norway and Salisbnry. At this period Mr. Alex- 
aiider says, that Fairfield contaiied 52065, Salisbury, 1694 
souls, and the whole county, 14,503. 

While at Fairfield and Norway, on this occasion, he made 
ari'angementa for opening a school at the former place. A 
frame building was erected, and in May, 1802, he returned 
from Massachusetts with his family, and commenced in good 
earnest to lay the foundation of an institution which gave 
birth to the Academy. During the whole period of his 
engagement at the liead of the Fairfield Academy, he 
preached alternately at Fairfield, Norway, Salisbury and at 
other places in the northern part of the county. 

He left Fairfield in 1812, and took charge of the academy 
at Onondaga Hollow, where he remained engaged in teach- 
ing and preaching, giving a portion of his attention to 
farming, until he was called home to give an account of his 
stewardship, at the venerable age of 73 years. 

Mr. Alexander was the author of several educational 
works, and among them were his Latin and English Gram- 
mars, which were of high repute in their day, although he 
sold the copy right of the ** Grammatical Elements, or a 
Comprehensive Theory of English Grammar,'^ &c., to Isaiah 
Thomas and Ebenezer T. Andrews, of Boston, in 1793, for 
1 133*33. His education was as thorough and complete as 
could well be obtained in this country at the time he gradu- 
ated, and he evinced no lack of energy and application in 
subjecting his acquirements to the severe test of writing out 
an elementary treatise on the English language. 

The present trustees of this institution are Charles Willard, 
Sidenis Teal, David W. Cole, Jarius Mather, William B. 
Porter, Roswell D. Brown, George Pierce, James Seaman, 
Thomas A. Bice, Bichard K Smith, Henry Tillinghast, 
Lorenzo Carryl, Jeremiah Cory, Varnum S.Kenyon, Ezra 
Graves, William Lamberson, Parley Arnold, Horace Ford, 
Jeremiah Smith, Alden S. Gage, William Mather, George 

iga«?«^9i«lBH j/^*? 


W. Philips, Asa Chatfield and John Green. Jeremiah Smith, 
president of the board of trustees, Jarius Mather, secretary. 

The Academy at Little Falls in the county ofHerkimer, 

was incorporated by the regents of the university of this 
state, October 17, 1844. 

The trustees named in the charter were, Nathaniel S. Ben- 
ton, Arphaxed Loomis, Frederick Lansing, George H. Feeter, 
William 0. Craine, David Petrie, Henry Heath, Martin W. 
Priest, Harry Burrell, Richard N. Casler, Albert G. Story, 
Zenas G. Priest, Thomas Burch, Nathan Brown, Soloman 
Petrie, Stephen W. Brown, Henry Eysaman and William 

The whole value of academic property, consisting of lots, 
buildings, furniture, library and apparatus, as appears from 
the first annual report of the trustee? made December 8th, 
1845, was 114,849-38. 

Merritt G. McKoon, Esq. A. M., opened the school, as 
principal teacher, and the same has been continued to the 
present time, under the direction of different instructors. 

The citizens of the town and surrounding country exhibited 
a generous liberality in donating funds towards the erection 
of the splendid stone edifice occupied as the academic build- 

The present trustees of this institution are, Nathaniel S. 
Benton, Arphaxed Loomis, Harry Burrell, Martin W. Priest, 
Albert G. Story, Thomas Burch, Zenas C. Priest, John Beards- 
lee, Seth M. Richmond, James Feeter, William J. Skinne^, 
William Ingham and Philo Beed. 

The academy at Herkimer was incorporated in 1838 or 
1839, and was subject to the visitation of the regents of the 
university. It flourished a few years and was finally aban- 
doned for want of patronage. 

This school, as is well known, was located in one of our 
most pleasant villages, containing a population, able of itself 


to form the DQcleuB of a very liberal support, but owing to 
some serious difficulty, originating with some of the faculty^ 
the school unfortunately failed to command the public 

Wed Wir^idd Academy. 

Incorporated by the regents of the university, February 
14th, 1851. 

The trustees named in the charter are, William Stuart, 
Alonzo Wood, James M. Rose, Walter Palmer, Joseph Hard- 
ing, Joel Wadsworth, Rufus Wheeler, Zenas Eldred, J. L. 
Moore, David R. Carrier, Ira Walker, Samuel Smith, H. D. 
Kellogg, Orange Holmes,Newton Wilcox, William McLough- 
lin, Levi S. Knight, Alvah Barker, Hiram Brown, L. G. 
Holmes, T. W. Morgan and N. M. Morgan. 

The present value of the academic buildings, library and 
apparatus, at the date of the application, was stated at 
^3,200. The location of this institution in an elevated'and 
healthful district of country, easy of access, and being 
surrounded by a vigorous and wealthy population, must 
make it an inviting spot for youth to pursue academic 
studies, and it should not fail, as it seems to me it need not, to 
become highly useful and influential in disseminating classi- 
cal instruction over a wide and extended territory. The 
academy, thus far, gives promise of much usefulness. 

Religious Aspects op the Cotjktt. 

I shall not add one word to what has been said in the intro- 
ductory chapter, in reference to the small show now made in 
this important and interesting branch of our local history. 
If the extracts from the two missionary journals, here pre- 
sented to the reader, contain truthful views of our condition, 
more than fifty years since, we must know our situation in 
this respect has changed, and we doubt not for the better. 
Reliable data to show these facts are beyond my reach. 
There is, or has been, an organized Bible society in the 


county. UnfortuDately, its records and proceedings can not 
be obtained, to exhibit its operations and prospects. 

The state census of 1855« affords materials for the follow- 
ing brief table of statistics respecting the religious aspects 
of the county. The United States census tables of I86O9 
give as the whole number of churches in the county, 54. 
The Methodists have only 8, and the Presbyterian only 2 in 
those tables. I notice this because I have learned not to 
confide implicitly in statistical evidence of this character. 
Differences like these can not easily be reconciled or 
accounted for : 

Mm* Sf cni> 

(jhtiirhM. ben. CImmlm tMn. 

Baptists, 12 713 Methodist Bpiscopia, 28 1430 

CathoUcs, 2 744 Presbyterian, 10 '346 

Congregatioiial, 1 72 Protestant Methodist, ... . 2 60 

Ihitch Reformed, 6 498 Uniyersalist, 7 141 

Episcopal, A... 3 74 Union Churches, 9 275 

Free WiU Baptists, 3 152 WhitJaeld Calylnists, 1 5 

Lutheran, 4 94 

Presenting an aggregate of 88 churches and 4,593 church 
members, or persons attached to the several churches, and 
conforming to the rituals in discipline, government and 
doctrine. This, then, I apprehend, does not embrace among 
the Protestant congregations, at any rate, the whole num- 
ber of persons attending religious services in those congre- 
gations. The above number is only one in four of the 
adult population of the county, and one in eight and four- 
tenths of the whole number of inhabitants. A beggarly 
account of empty pews, when we assume, as we should, that 
the capacity of the churches is equal to seating the whole 
population of the county. 

The Bev. Caleb Alexander having performed a missionary 
tour to thQ western parts of this state in 1801, by the direc- 
tions of the Massachusetts missionary society, I have tran- 
scribed such portions from the original journal as are of 
local interest : 

November, 1801. — Tuesday, 10. — Rode east 11 miles, to 
Norway, dined at Lieut. Smith's, in the morning delivered a 
sermon on Bom., vii, 7, 8, ^^ The carnal mind is enmity against 

0^-4, i'jT h L* L/-1 •c^j-ect t.j the li**- cf G:«i, r>e:tber in^kcd 
car: r*t. S> :Lea, :L*ry tL^r arie I- 'Le f -r-L can •>:? j lease 
ij*AJ* ASier fectTire a ^czl^r^z^-yt ^^ fcr=:-eil in wiich wc 
L^i E.-:L fre«r C':i:Teraa:::a oik rp:Ii;n:i5 ^^t'-e^r:*. Here is 
^ Pre^ljterian CL^ircL of ai-on 27 mv^ileriw of wi::in some 
a{.pear to be p:c-L^ At tLeir r&^-e?; I a^rtel to ri^it them, 
tr*at Friday preach a k»r:Tire an-l attend a cLTirch or-nferencc 
oa tbe e^irject of tbeir di5cTiIt:e«* Ijyi^tA at Lieut. Smhh'i 

Wfdme$imf. 11, rainj a&d sdowt, role 6 miles socth. to lb. 
Xatban ff loitL^ in Fairfield ; rery mcddy, chilled with the 
storm atid much fatigued* 

Thmniag^ 12, rainy and gnowy, paSi in my liml-s ^ept 
hoajie all day yisited by Capt. Griswold. By him I learned 
that religion id in a low state in this town. There is a 
Congregational Chnrch, but no officers, and no meeting on 
the Sabhath. Proposed to call the chorch together and 
converse with them. The storm ai.d badness of traTeling 
rendered it unadTisable to attempt to collect the church. 

Fridofff 13, retomed to Norway, dined at Deacon Brown- 
son's, preached a lecture at a Mr. Cook's ; text, Pror., xxix, 1 : 
** He that being often reproTcd hardeneth his neck diall 
suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." After 
lecture attended a conference with the church on the sab> 
ject of difficulties, and agreed to meet them again next 
Monday morning at nine o'clock. Lodged at Mr. Cook's. 

Saturdaif, 14, breakfasted at another Mr. Cook's, returned 
to Fairfield and wrote joumaL 

LordPi Day J 15, delivered two sermons in the school house 
near Mr. Nathan Smith's. A. M. text 2 Tim., iv,7, 8:^1 have 
fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 
the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give 
me at that day." P. M. text Acts iv, 11, 12 : ** This is the 
stone which was set at nought by you builders which is 
become the head of the corner, neither is there salvation in 
any other. For there is none other name under Heaven given 
among men whereby we must be saved." A full assembly 


and attention. The people contributed |2*33 cents for the 
use of the M. M. Society. 

At Steuben the people contribtited #6*96 cents for the use 
of the M. M. Society. 

Monday y 16, rode early to Norway, met with the church at 
Mr. Newland's and attended all day to the settling of diffi- 
culties of long standing. It c^peared that in many instances 
they had been irregular in their proceedings, which served 
to be the principal cause of the contentions and animosiities 
existing among them. These were all canvassed and reduced 
to a happy train of accommodation. Adjourned to meet 
oil Saturday morning, at which time I agreed to preach a 
lecture and to administer the sacrament of the Lord's Sup- 
per on the next Sabbath so be that all difficulties should be 
settled. f 

Lodged at Mr. Lewis Hinman's, and spent the evening in 
preparing papers to be laid before the church on Saturday.' 

Tuesday^ 17, . breakfasted at Mr. George Cook's, dined at 
Mr. Moses Mather's, returned to Fairfield. There has been 
some attention to religion in Norway, several have attained 
a hope and give evidence of true piety. The church con- 
sists of 37 members, incorporated three years since by the 
Bev. Mr. Marsh in union with the associate churches of 
Morris jCounty Presbytery. Mr. Marsh preached here two 
years and is now settled in Ballstown* In Norway are two 
Baptist churches, one on the open communion and the 
other on the close communion plan. The open communion- 
ists are Armenians in sentiments. 

Wednesday, 18, visited. In Fairfield is a Congregational 
church of 24 members, some attention to religion. This 
town contains 2065 souls, no minister ; some Baptists and 
some never attached themselves to any denomination. The 
royal grant is a tract of land 20 miles square of excellent 
soil, situate north of the Mohawk, and between the two 
Canada creeks and contains Salisbury, Fairfield and Norway 
in which are 3606 souls and no minister. The county of 
Herkimer contains 14,603 and no minister, excepting 

338 mSTOBT OF hebktmbb countt. 

illiterate Baptist preachers, who are exerting every possible 
means to gain converts to their denomination. 

Thursdayy 19, rode east 4 miles to Salisbury, in Montgo- 
mery county, called upon Aaron Hackley, Esq., and 
preached a lecture on Titus, iii, 5, 6 : " Not by works of 
righteousness, which we have, but according to his mercy 
he saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing 
of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through 
Jesus Christ our saviour." A decent congregation in the 
school house. There is a Presbyterian Church of 36 mem- 
bers, belonging to the Northern Associate Presbytery of 
Morris County Presbytery. A Baptist Church has lately 
been established here. There has been in this place last 
summer much attention to religion, and almost every con- 
vert has joined the Baptist communion through the vigorous 
exertions of the Baptist teachers itinerating. Salisbury 
contains 1694 souls, a Presbyterian meeting house. 

Friday y 20, cold ; extremely bad riding, delivered a lec- 
ture P. M. in the school house, on Rom., i, 16 : ^^ I amfnot 
ashamed of the Qospel of Christ." The people contributed 
#1*12 cents for the use of the M. M. Society. Beturned to 
Fairfield and called on Mr. Nathan Smith. 

Saturday^ 21, rode early in the morning to Norway, very 
cold and rough riding. Convened with the church at Mr. 
Buland's, and attended to the difficulties and controversies 
existing among them. After much conversation, explana- 
tions and mutual confessions it was unanimously agreed that 
they would all make a public confession to-morrow in the 
presence of the congregation, and renew their covenant 
with Ood and one anotjier. During the whole of the trans- 
action they all appeared to manifest a tender, charitable and 
forgiving spirit, and it appeared that their divisions arose 
more from mistake of judgment than error of heart. Went 
to Mr. George Cook's for lodgings. 

Lord^s Dayy 22y cold, snowy and very bad traveling, the 
church and congregation convened about half-after eleven. 
Delivered a sermon, text John xv, 5 : ^^ He that abideth in 

» ■!■ I ^.^m^mm^mmumm^^^m^^K^^Km^mmKmK^m^m^t^mmmmm^ 


me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit." A 
full and attentive assembly. An inflammation in my throat 
and nose rendered speaking very difficult Bead the con- 
fession of the church for their past misconduct, read their 
covenant to which they all gave consent, administered the 
sacrament and took tea at Lieut. Smith's. The congregation 
contributed #2*44 cents for the use of the M. M. Society. 
Returned to Mr. Nathan Smith's. 

Monday^ 23, set out from Fairfield on my journey home- 
wards. Cold weather. Rode south 7 miles to the Little 
Falls, vdth a view of taking a boat to fall down the river to 
Schenectady. Found the Mohawk covered with ice, then 
rode up the river 7 miles to German Flats to take the stage. 
Finding that the stage is not to run till to-morrow I crossed 
the Mohawk to Herkimer Court House, 2 miles. Around 
the Little FaUs the country is hilly and very rocky near the 
river. On the northern bank are seven locks and a canal 
for the conveyance of boats. Here is a village of 40h^uses, 
several merchant stores, mechanical shops and a new meet- 
ing house of hexagonal construction. The people are prin- 
cipally English, and they seldom have preaching. The 
place abounds in vice, especially profanity. Since my arri- 
val on the river, I have heard more cursing and swearing, 
horrid oaths and imprecations, than in ten years past. They 
fell chiefly from the lips of boatmen. Li some taverns were 
English and Dutch farmers drinking and swearing, and the 
English appeared to be the most abandoned. They regard 
not the presence of a clergyman, for the dominie drinks and 
swears as much as the common people. At the German 
Flats I observed an old Dutch stone chapeL There is a 
Dutch clergyman who preaches to the people every second 

On the flats in the town of Herkimer is a handsome 
flourishing village. Nine years since there were only two 
Dutch buildings in the place. There is now a handsome 
street, a meeting house, a court house, a gaol, about 30 ele- 
gant dwelling houses, a printing office, merchant stores and 

340 sBnurr or HMwwirir comnrr. 

several mechanical shops. Ko minister. Beligion appears 
to have no footing here. 

Between Fairfidd and the Little Falls is a Dnich settle 
ment, called M^nli^ni • rich fiirms, a meeting honsei, and a 
minister. Meinden, another Dntch settlement, lies sooth of 
the Little Falls ; no minister, HasencleviNrs hills, north of 
Heiidmer eonrthonse, about 8 miles, and 7 west of Fairfieid. 
No preaching. Schuyler Short Lots lie N. W. of Herkimer ; 
many English, a Baptist chnrch and some Congregationalists. 

In the whole coonty of Herkimer, there is neither a Pres- 
byterian nor Congregationalist minister. The people seem, 
in general^ to be growing np in ignorance and wickedness. 
▲ resident missionary mi^t do mnch good in this connty. 

Tuesday, 24. Took the stage at Herkimer; and passed 
through the German Flats, Minden to Canajoharie, 26 miles. 
In Minden is a Dntch Beformed chnrch, and one at Ganajo-? 
harie, which are supplied by Dutch clergymen. 

The Bev. J<^ Taylor, of Massachusetts, performed a 
missionary tour through the Mohawk and Black river conn* 
try, in 1802, and believing the subject would not he unin* 
teresting, I have transcribed such portions of his journal and 
remarks as relate to this county^ He commenced his journey 
July 20th, 1802, and on his way out he reached the Mohawk 
valley on the 26th of the month, and his journal proceeds : 

^^Manheimf the last town in Montgomery county — extent 
6 by 6 — vacant, not a large congregation. 

^^ Salisbuny, north of Manheim— -extent about 6 by 8 miles; 
contains not far from 1700 souls. One Presbyterian chh, 
vacant. The people, it is said, are tolerably well united 
and wish to settle a minister. 

^^ Bode this day 36 miles. Weather extremely hot and dry. 
The people in the towns thro' which I have passed, are 
something sickly with the dysentery and influenza. 

^^ Herkimer, Little FaUs. The Albany stage arrived at the 
public house which I now am at, one o'clock last night." 

The journal then gives an account of the loss from the stage 
and recovery of some boxes of books. " This parish," Little 

msto&T Of flBiueaHEft comrrr. 341 

Falls, contains six or seven hundred inhabitants. They 
have a new meeting honse, but do not improve it. 

"Before I go to Utica, I have concluded to vi^it Fairfield 
and Norway. Abont 3 o'clock I left the river, traveled 8 
miles, and called on some of the principal men in Fairfield, 
and found things respecting religion very discouraging. I 
offered to tarry and preach the next day, but it was thought 
y* no people would attend. I find that people are univer- 
sally in the midst of their harvests, and it is extremely 
difficult for them to attend lectures. At night I arrived at 
Norway, 6 miles north of Fairfield. 

^^Jforwayy bounded east by Salisbury, west on Canada creek, 
south on Fairfield. A young gent, by the name of John- 
son, has preached in this town several sabbaths, and the 
people have hired him for 3 or 4 sabbaths to come. But it 
is in this town, as in all those parts. There is a mi^nre of 
Baptists, of Methodists, IJniversalists and Deists. In the 
various parts of the town, there is preaching' by sectarians 
of almost all kinds, every sabbath. 

"There is one Methodist church, numerous; two Baptist 
churches, and part of a third ; no meeting houses..^^ .... The 
people almost universally inclined to hear preaching, of 

their various sects. I have concluded to visit this place and 


several other towns in this quarter, near the close of my 
mission, should I be able to make it convenient. 

" 29th July. I this morning left Norway for Utica, and 
arrived at Utica about 5 o'clock, having traveled 23 miles. 
I passed through a comer of Schuyler, and found the people 
to be generally Baptists ; from there I passed into Deetfield, 
upon the Mohawk. There is a considerable congregation 
of Presbyterians. In Deerfield the people are Baptists, and 
• are vacant." 

I will observe in passing, that Norway at this time com- 
prised most of the present town of Newport, and all the 
town of Russia, and the country north. , 

On his return from the north part of Oneida county, in 
September, Mr. Taylor continues : 


^^ 24th. Rode to the royal grant, 6 miles ; found that in 
this part of the town of Norway the people are all Baptists, 
and that they had not appointed a lecture. I accordingly 
passed on ten miles to another part of the town, called 
Pottersbush. Here I found a church of 30 persons, and 
was received with gladness. 

25th. Too much fatigued to preach. 

26th, Sunday. Preached to about 200 persons — very 
attentive. Administered the Lord's Supper. After meet-, 
ing endeavored to settle a difficulty in the church, but could 
not effect it. Bode 1| miles to visit a dying person, and 
baptise a child. This town is almost ruined by the method- 
ists and baptists, [I suppose he means so far as regards his 
own denomination] and the difficulty in the congregational 
chh has had a very bad influence. The chh is proceeding 
upon y* advice of Mr. Alexander" [the Bev. Caleb Alexan- 
der, then having charge of Fairfield Academy], ^^ which I 
think is very wrong. 2 of the best members of this chh 
are become baptists in sentiment, and they came forward 
and stated their difficulty between their consciences and 
their covenant — and no one in y* chh supposes that they 
are not conscientious in the matter — and yet Mr. Alexander 
advised the chh not to dismiss y", but to proceed to excom- 
muliion, and brought the chh to a vote that there was no 
possible way by which any member could be separated 
from the covenant only by excommunication. This is what 
is stated to me by y* most judicious members of the chh, 
and I think this will be y* ruin of y* congregational interest 
in this town. 

27th. Bode ten miles to SaliJmry [county of Montgomery], 
having previously appointed a lecture this day. Preached 
to about 150 persons — appearances good. Had a confer- 
ence in the evening — as many present as in the afternoon. 
This people, like most others in these parts, is very much 
divided, and the methodists prevailing." 

The voluntary system of supporting religious institutions, 
which prevails in this county, is the only one which can be 

.m. I 1-14 - -r^ 


recognized, or would be tolerated, by a population made up 
of almost every nation, kindred, tongue and language in the 
civilized world. The inconveniences of this system are 
hardly seen and scarcely felt at this day, and we can only 
hope they may be less, far less, than the evils and inconven- 
iences that have heretofore grown out of systems established 
by law and supported by governments. 

County Medical Society. 

This venerable society was organized on the 5th day of 
August, 1806, at a general meeting of the physicians of the 
county, held at the Court House, pursuant to an act of the 
legislature of the state, regulating the practice of physic 
and surgery, passed April 4th, 1806. 

Dr. George Rogers was chosen chairman, and Dr. Westel 
Willoughby, Jr., secretary, for the day. On canvassing the 
votes for officers of the society. Dr. Westel Willoughby, Jr., 
was elected president; George Rogers, vice-president; 
Andrew Farrell, secretary ; and Amos Haile, treasurer. 

Drs. Amos Haile, Andrew Farrell, Jonathan Sherwood, 
RufuB Grain and Isaac Sears, were chosen censors. 

The names of the physicians present at this meeting were, 
Westel Willoughby, Jr., George Rogers, Andrew Farrell, 
Amos Haile, Abijah Tombling, David Perry, Jonathan Sher- 
wood, John Eastman and Samuel Redfield. 

The first Tuesday in January in each year, was assigned 
as the anniversary of the society. At the annual meeting, 
held at the court house in January, 1807, the society resolved, 
that to entitle a physician to become a member of the society, 
he must either produce a diploma from some medical society 
in the United States, agreeable to the late law of this state, 
or a voucher that he is a reputable physician. 

Westel Willoughby, Jr., M. D., was appointed a delegate 
from the society to meet the delegates from the other coun- 
ties in the state, on the first Tuesday in February, 1807, to 
form a state medical society. 

244 HiaTOBT OF ffffiJBKTTOK COUIiTir. 

Drs. BeDJanuB Hazen, Nathan Harwood, James Hadley, 
Isaac SearSy Jacob Abrams and William Traver, were 
admitieid memberB of the society. A comimttee was 
appointed to form a code of by-laws, who reported the same 
at an adjourned meeting, on the 5th of May, following, 
which were adopted, and ordered to he printed. Dr. Wil- 
loughby was requested to deliver a dissertation before the 
society, at the adjourned meeting in May, 1807. In 1808, 
at the quarterly meeting in May, a seal was ordered to be 
procured for the use of the corporation ; and at the anni- 
yersary meeting in January, 18Q9, the meetings of the society 
were reduced from four to two annually, and a fine of one 
dollar imposed for nonattendance. 

Having thiis briefly noticed the establishment of this 
highly interesting and beneficial institution, I shall continue 
my historical abstract to the present time, noticing as I pass, 
any marked or interesting incidents. Dr. Willoughby was 
continued president of the society, until January, 1816, when 
Bufus Grain was elected, who held one year, and was suc- 
ceeded by James Hadley, who also held the oflSce one year, 
and was succeeded by Westel Willoughby, M. D., in 1818. 
This year the society passed an order, that the county cen- 
sors of any incorporated medical society should not proceed 
to examine a student for a license to practice physic and 
surgery, unless he produce a certificate of having attended 
at least one session at one of the medical colleges in the 
United States or in Europe, after the first day of January, 


Dr. Willoughby held the office of president of the society 
until January, 1837, when he delivered a farewell address, 
for which, and for his constant and unwearied exertions for 
the interest and welfare of the society, a vote of thanks was 
tendered to him. The society also, by resolution, requested 
a copy of the address, and also a copy of a commimication 
that day made by him, to be deposited in the archives of the 
society. In 1818, a vote was taken to apply the funds of 
the society to increase the library of the medical college at 


Fairfield, on condition that its members could have the ben- 
efit of the library daring the recess of the lectures at the 
college. In January, 1819, a resolve was passed, that every 
middical practitioner in the county who was not then a mem- 
ber, be notified by the secretary to attend at the next regu- 
lar meeting of the society, and connect himself therewith, 
pursuant to the act passed in 1818. 

In January, 1823, an order was passed to apply the funds 
of the society, in the hands of the treasurer, to the benefit 
of the CoUege library, in accordance with a previous reso- 
lution. The funds afterwards received were also appropri- 
ated to the same object. In 1825, the society asked the 
trustees of the college to pass a resolution, that all the books 
purchased by its funds should be delivered to the society, 
when the college should be located in some other place than 
Fairfield. In 1828, the society adopted resolutions of con- 
dolence with the families of Drs. Bryan, Willard and Todd, 
who died the preceding year, and requested biographical 
sketches of their lives to be deposited in the archives of the 
society. The society had not met with a more severe loss 
in one year. These gentlemen were of high professional 
repute, and of great personal worth. The society in 1830, 
had its attention called to evils of intemperance, and resolved 
unanimously to discountenance the use of ardent spirits ; 
and the annual meetings were changed to the first Tuesday 
in June, in each year. 

In 1831, measures were taken to procure a medical topo- 
graphical survey of the county, in accordance with a circu- 
lar from the state medical society. I have not noticed that 
the several committees, appointed under the resolution, to 
procure the survey, ever made any reports. Dr. Calvin W. 
Smith was designated as the candidate to the state medical 
society, for the honorary degree of doctor of medicine. 

The society this year, 1832, took measures to petition the 
legislature, to relbtore that part of the revised statutes, 
regulating the practice of physic and surgery, repealed by 



the act of 1830 ; and appointed a conunittee to circulate 
memorials for that object. 

la 1837, the society adopted a regulation requiring the 
physician employed at the county poor house tp make an 
annual report of his cases of practice ; that the library 
committee should make an investigation into the state of 
the society's library, count the number of books on hand, 
and compare the treasurer's reports, and the augmentation 
of the library for the preceding five years. Also, that each 
member of the society be requested to keep a record of all 
the deaths which might occur in his practice, the age of the 
patient, the dises^es of which they died, and how far said 
deaths were caused by intemperate habits of life, and report 
thereon to the society. This was a very important regula- 
tion, easily carried into effect by the members of the pro- 
fession, and if strictly attended to, would i^ord useful and 
importaijit information. We must abandon all hope, for the 
present, at least, of obtaining i^scurate information by the 
agency of state regulations, in respect to the statistics of 
births, marriages and deatha The medical profession could 
well supply the number of births and deaths, and without 
much trouble and no expense. Annual abstracts of these 
would present actual results within a small portion, and 
would entitle that profession to the gratitude of the country. 
We must now resort to tables compiled in foreign countries, 
upon a far distant continent, if we desire to ascertain the 
probable duration pf human life, or calculate the value of 
an annuity. These are the best data we have. They 
approximate to the truth, or they are supposed to do so, or 
they wpuld not be used. We should, however, long since 
hi^ve laid the foundation for results, applicable to our own 
plimate, population and condition of society, which would 
no doubt have been more accurate and satisfactory. 

Doct. Harvey W. Doolittle was chosen president of the 
society in. June, 1837, was succeeded by Dr. Calvin W. 
Smith for one year in June^ 1838, and was again chosen in 


1839^ and held the office by annual election until June, 

In January, 1839, the society adopted the following : 

"Whereas, by the dispensation of Divine Providence, 
since our last meeting, this society has been deprived of 
one of its most valuable members, and community one of its 
brightest ornaments, in the death of Doct. John Holmes : 

Resolved, That the members of this society will wear the 
usual badge of mourning for thirty days, as a testimony of 
their high respect for their deceased friend ; and that the 
secretary be a Committee to present the condolence of this 
society to the relations of the deceased." 

At the semi-annual meeting in January, 1840, the society 
adopted a like resolution on the announcement of the death 
of Dr. Calvin W. Smith, and appointed a committee to write 
a biographical sketch of the lives of Drs. Smith and Holmes. 

The professors of the Medical college at Fairfield, having 
resigned, and the trustees of that institution having failed 
to procure the appointment of others to continue the lec- 
tures, the society, in 1843, took effectual measures to reclaim, 
secure and preserve the society library, which had been 
deposited in the college under the care of the trustees and 
professors of that institution, as before noticed. 

In June, 1842, Doct Lester Green was elected president 
of the society, and a resolution was adopted, pledging the 
influence of the members to forward any feasible plan for 
resuscitating the Medical college at Fairfield, and tendering 
the use of the society's library to the trustees of the college 
when the professorships should be filled and the lectures 

At the annual meeting in 1843, Doct. Green waa reelected 
president. The whole number of volumes on the catalogue 
of the society's library was 690, of which 473 were brought 
from Fairfield, 54 were charged to members and 63 were 
lost or missing. The society adopted a set of by-laws, 
regulating the safe keeping and use of the library. Doct. 
Alfred E. Yamey was chosen president at the annual meeting 


in 1844, and the delegate to the state society was requested 
to lay before that body the opinion entertained by this 
society, ^' that it was the duty of the medical faculty gene- 
rally, to memorialize the legislature of this state to procure 
the passage of a law to prohibit the scde or use of any secret 
compound as a medicine," and to ask the state society to 
adopt measures to lay this subject before the legislature at 
the next session. These proceedings were rescinded at a 
subsequent meeting. Some doubts having been entertained, 
growing out of the legislation of the state in respect to 
medical societies, in regard to the legal existence of the 
society, a resolution was adopted in January, 1846, to con- 
tinue the association as an organized body, and the unani- 
mous opinion of the society to that effect, was declared. 

The republican principle of rotation in office, even with- 
out emolument, seems to have obtained some footing in the 
society, and Dr. Abram Snyder was chosen president in June, 
1845. A resolution was passed to raise a committee to pre- 
sent the condolence of the society to the family of Doct. 
Westel Willoughby, deceased, and request a biography of 
his life, and also that the society would wear the usual badge 
of mourning. 

At the annual meeting in 1846. Doct. Caleb Budlong was 
elected president ; Dr. Walter Booth in 1848, and Dr. Abram 
Snyder again in 1849. Drs. J. R. Brown, Wheeler, Griffith 
and Snyder delegates to the National medical association. 
Drs. Brown and Wheeler were appointed a committee to 
prepare and present to the society a biographical sketch of 
the life of Dr. Lester Green. The transactions of the society 
at its annual meeting in June, 1847, do not appear to have 
been recorded, nor is the death of Dr. Lester Green noticed 
except as above mentioned. 

Dr. Harvey W. Doolittle was elected president of the society 
in 1850 and 1851. Drs. Booth, Brown, A. P. Doolittle and D. 
Belknap were appointed delegates to the National medical 
association in 1850. In June, 1852, Dr. A. Green was chosen 
president, and Drs. A. F. Doolittle, C. A. Griffith, A. Hawn 


and W. Booth, appointed delegates to the National medical 
association. The proceedings of the society this year were 
important and interesting, but they are such that I shall not 
venture to publish them so long as the society hold them 
under the injunction of secresy. 

The society, at its annual meeting in June, 1853, elected 
Dr. Walter Booth president, and appointed Drs. Budlong, 
Griffith, Hawn and Parkhurst delegates to the National 
medical association. 

The proceedings of the semi-annual meeting of the society 
in January, 1852, are deeply, nay more, solemnly interesting. 
Although crowded for space, I shall let those who know the 
man better than I did, pronounce his eulogy on these pages. 
Dr. C. A. Griffith presented the following resolutions, which 
were unanimously adopted : 

^^ Whereas, It has pleased the Allwise Disposer of events 
to remove from this life our late friend and brother, Harvey 
W. Doolittle, one of the oldest, most eminent and highly 
respected physicians of this county, and who was for many 
years president of this society ; Be it therefore. 

Resolved, That we deeply deplore the loss sustained by 
his bereaved family, by the medical society, of which he was 
long an active member, and by the public at large, in the 
death of that excellent man and physician. Dr. Harvey W. 
DoolitUe, whose professional attainments, not less than his 
own personal qualities, contributed to render him a most 
useful and estimable member of the community : 

That we know and cherish his qualities as a man and a 
citizen ; that we admire his sound judgment, his scientific 
knowledge and philanthropic spirit, which gave him a desi* 
rable eminence in his profession : 

That we loved and lament him as a friend, and we doubt 
not his translation to a higher and happier sphere, where 
the pains and cares of this transient life give place to 
unbroken rest and unspeakable felicity. 

Resolved, That as a mark of respect for the talents and 

of ^PMT wporCed bnxner, xbt 
irHi wear cnpe on tiie leA ara Stt die «paee of tkirtr dajs. 

Bearjlrcd, That a copr of tbeae icsolaticaa be kbI br tke 
aoereiafj to the famflj of the dfccMg>t, aad that copies be 
aliio famished to the editors of the wtwml wewtfmpen in 
the eoontT, with a re qu e rt to p«LbIi<h the aaae.* 

A committee waa ^^upocntad to fi te yai e a biographical 
sketch of Dr. Doolittle's lifcL 

Dr. W. H. ParkhoTit was choaen preadent of the aocietj 
IB 1K4, and Dn. Doolittle, Booth, P tokhui a t and Grilidia, 
d eie gJtc t to theyatiopal medical aa e oci atioiL At the annual 
meeting in Jme, 1855, the following oliicerB were dioaen : 
Dra. Abm. Hawn, president ; L S. Caaej, Tice-president ; C 
A* Chiflith, secretarj' ; A. Green, treasorer ; A. F. Doolittle, 
W. H. H. ParkhnrsI, F. R Ethridge, A. XiDer and S. &nith, 
censoTi ; delegates to the national medical association, Drs. 
X R. Brown, A. Hawn, L E. Case^, and C. A. GriflML The 
president of the society. Dr. ParUmrst, read the annoal 
address^ Biographical sketches of the liyes of Dr& Doolittle, 
Snyder, Belknap and Sherwood were presented and deposited 
in the archives of the aocietj. My abstracts mnst close for 
want of materiaL I do not find any record of the proceed- 
ings of the semi-annnal meeting in January, 1855, in the 
mamiscript document from which the preceding notes were 
compiled. I wonld have been pleased to have given a more 
extended and particular account of the doings of a body of 
professional gentlemen, in which the community at large 
have so great an interest, and upon whose professional 
progress so much depends to sooth and alleyiate ''the iUs 
that flesh is heir to,'' but my chapter is fast growing to a 

It must suffice to say, that this society held its regular 
meetings for nearly fifty years, elected all its officers, secre- 
tary, treasurer, delegates to the State medical society and 
censors, on whom it enjoined the most rigid and careful 
attention in examining students for admission to practice. 

ttffiTOftT 01? ssBEiHfiit cotiirrY. 251 

That fines were imposed for nonattendance at the stated 
meetings, but their collection t^as not at all times rigidly 
enforced. The initiation fees appear to have been punctu- 
ally paid, and from a small beginning the society had col- 
lected a very respectable medical library. Members were 
annually designated to deliver discourses on subjects relating 
tp the practice of medicine, and members were invited to 
report special and unusual cases coming under their obser- 
vation and care. ' The archives of the society must be 
replete with important and interesting information. 

The common remark, ^^ that Americans are careless of 
human life/' is most strikingly illustrated in our treatment 
of this profession. We are quite as likely to deliver a 
valued friend or dear relative, laboring under some critical 
or latent disease, into the hands of some ^' quack doctor,'' 
1?ho knows no more about the anatomy or organism of the 
human system, than a Malay does of ethics, as we are to 
search out the best-read and most experienced medical 

The coimty has sustained, if it did not produce them, 
several men of eminence and distingtiished ability in this 
profession. But the avaricious grasp of the ^' almighty dol- 
lar " may strike down science and the arts and accomplish- 
ments, or^inrvite them to new fields of enterprise and exer- 
tion in the westward track of emigration^ and leave us 
nothing but a dull stultified mass of imbecility. There is 
no reason, within human cognizance, why the cotmtry, and 
such a country as ours, should not uphold and maintain meli 
of eminence in all the professions and pursuits of Ufe. No 
man with us holds the tenure of his existence and Ifis labor 
on a lease from another. None are so poor but he can cast 
in his mite to the erection of the splendid monument of 
American progress ; there are thousands who lack the will. 
Progressive ignorance is a broad and steep declivity which 
must quickly land us on a platform of anarchy or under a 
throne of absolutism. 

262 histobt of hkrktmbb cottntt. 

The Poor House Establishment. 

This county was among the first in the state to come 
nnder the provisions of the act of November 27th, 1824. 
The board of supervisors met at Herkimer, May 6th, 1826, 
and appointed Abijah Beckwith of Columbia, Robert Shoe- 
maker of Qerman Flats, and William Griswold of Fairfield, 
a committee to examine into the subject of establishing a 
poor house in the county and to report at a subsequent 
meeting of the board. This committee reported on the last 
Monday of May, 1826, when the supervisors resolved to 
purchase the property in German Flats, near the line of 
the canal formerly owned by Mr. GiUespie, for the sum of 
two thousand dollars, to be appropriated to the purposes of 
a county poor house ; appointed Samuel Etheredge and 
Gideon Johnson to negotiate the purchase, and Rudolph J. 
Shoemaker, Alfred Putnam, Lauren Ford, John B. Dygert 
and Caleb Budlong superintendents. The supervisors also 
directed their clerk, as soon as the proper officers had taken 
possession of the house, to cause public notice of the fact to 
be published in the Herkimer American and Peoiplf^s Friend. 

On the 16th November, 1827, the supervisors resolved by 
a vote of 10 to 6 to abolish the distinction between town 
and county poor in accordance with the provisions of an act 
of the legislature then recently passed. Up to this time 
each town had supported its own poor at the county estab- 
lishment, that is, such persons as had according to existing 
laws become settled in the respective towns, were, when sup- 
ported at the public expense, known as town paupers. The 
new system had networked to the public satisfaction, either 
through defects in the management or want of proper 
accommodation as to buildings and grounds. On the 16th 
of December, 1827, the supervisors resolved to ask the legis* 
lature for authority to sell at their discretion the *^ present 
county poor house establishment, and purchase a more 
suitable piece of land and erect buildings thereon for the 
future reception and accommodation of the paupers of the 



cotmtj." A law was passed to this effect, but no immediate 
action seems to have been taken under it. In November, 
1829, the supervisors authorized the county superintendents 
of the poor to provide for support out of the county house, 
idiot and ligiatic paupcg^s. In 1837, the question of dispos- 
ing of the poor house was again agitated, although at the 
annual meeting that year the superintendents were author- 
ized to purchase a part of the Steel farm for the use of the 
county, which was subsequently effected. In 1839 and 1840, 
the question of a sale and change of location was discussed 
by the supervisors, and there appears to have been a settled 
opinion that something should be done, but what it should 
be, was very difficult to settle upon. The legislature again 
passed laws on the application of the board of supervisors, 
allowing a sale and change of location. In 1842 the super- 
intendents were authorized by the board of supervisors to 
sell the ^^ present poor house and the small piece of land 
contiguous thereto for five hundred dollars," a pretty clear 
indication that the house was not considered of much value 
and was deemed entirely inadequate to the purposes it had 
been devoted. It was i^eed on all hands that the time 
contemplated by the resolution of 1828 had fully arf ived, 
but the difficulty about the new location and the plan of a 
new house were not very easily settled. The legislature in 
1844 vested in the board of supervisors full power to sell 
out the old establishment, purchase a new site and erect 
suitable buildings thereon. 

An active and exciting controversy of nearly three years' 
duration was kept up in the county before a majority of the 
supervisors made a final disposition of the subject. That 
body was almost equally divided on the question of the new 
location. The centralists were very urgent to keep it on 
the south side of the river, or near the centre of the county, 
while the supervisors of the northern and eastern towns 
were very zealous to have the poor house establishment 
removed from the Erie canal. While the contest existed, 
the towns placed their best and most influential men in the 


board of sapervisors, when Greek met Greek in the tug of 
war. After the board had appointed commissioners ta 
select a new site, the friends of the river location carried a 
resolution at a subsequent meeting of the board, to rebuild on 
the old site, and after repealing all former resolutions of the 
board relating to this subject, adjourned. Before any further 
action was taken in reference to carrying this project into 
effect, this resolution was repealed, and the matter wa« 
again entirely afloat, and continued undetermined some 

At a meeting of the board, on the 17th March, 1846, the 
supervisors, by a vote of 11 to 7, sanctioned the contraot 
for the new buildings, made by the commissioners previa 
ously appointed, and directed the superintendents of the 
poor to deliver and assign to the said commissioners all 
moneys and securities belonging to the county poor house 
establishment. The board had, at a meeting held on the 
15th January, 1846, fixed upon a new site, by a vote of 10 
to 9. The commissioners who superintended the erection 
of the new establishment were, George W. Alton, George 
Burch and Oomelius T. E. Yan Home. 

The new Poor House is located in the town of Herkimer^ 
on the west side of the West Canada creek, on the road 
from Herkimer to Newport, and about two miles south of 
Middleville, and far enough from the canal and rail road 
thoroughfares to discommode roaming mendicants, which I 
conclude was the leading object of the advocates of the 
change. The establishment is large and commodious, and 
well adapted to the benevolent purposes for which it was 
erected. The supervisors of this county now perform all 
the duties in respect to pauper relief that formerly devolved 
upon the overseers of the poor by law« 


A society to promote the improvement of this important 
branch of our industrial pursuits, was organized under the 

HiSTOBT OF hebkucsb cotiimr* 5256 

act of April 7th, 1819. The objects of the society taet the 
approval of the non-agricultural portion of the people of 
the cotmtjto a considerable extent, and some exertions 
were made to induce the farming community to attend the 
annual fairs and exhibitions, but the coercive tax authorized 
by the act to sustain these county institutions was not looked 
upon with favor in that quarter, and after one or two efforts 
to make a respectable show, the affair was abandoned. 

A reorganization of the society was had in the county, 
under the act of May 6th, 1841, and the annual exhibitions 
which have taken place have been highly creditable to the 
agricultural, manufacturing and mechanical interests of the 
county. It could not be expected that the extent and vuriety 
of show would be as large as in the more populous and 
wealthy counties. The proceedings of this society are 
found published with the annual transactions of the State 
society, and I will not recapitulate them. I notice with 
regret, the fact, that of late years the society has been 
sustained mainly by the population in the southern and 
western parts of the county , while the northern and eastern 
sections do not seem to have participated in these annual 
social meetings and industrial exhibitions, with the zeal and 
alacrity which might well be expected from an intelligent, 
wealthy and progressive population. 

I must close this notice of the society with giving the 
last annual meeting of its executive officers. 

At the annual meeting of the officers of the Herkimer 
county agricultural society, held pursuant to adjournment, 
at the Remington House, in Ilion, on the 2d day of January, 
1 865, the following members were present, viz.: Messrs. 
McKee, Morgan, Bonfoy, Smith, Jones, J. B. Smith, t). Bon- 
foy, Hawks and Wilcox. 

Besolved, That Wm. Stewart, Esq., be appointed chairman, 
pro tem.j and Hon. Jonathan Jones, secretary. 

The following gentlemen were elected officers for the 
current year : 

President — Geo. B. Judd, Frankfort. 


Vice President — Dnane Bichardson, Sdhuyler. 

Secretary — ^Wm. Dygert, Frankfort. 

Treasurer — J. A. Basbach^ Dion. 

Besolved, That an execntive committee of nine persons be 
appointed, whereupon the foUowing gentlemen were chosen : 
Daniel Mason, Frankfort ; James Folts, Frankfort ; Geo. W. 
Joslin, Frankfort; Ezra Graves, Herkimer; Samuel H. Kin- 
ney, Litchfield ; Wm. P. Pryme, Schuyler ; J. D. Ingersoll, 
Ilion; Lemuel F. Hawks, Columbia; Amos Gilbert 

Besolved, That a corresponding secretary be appointed, 
from each town in the county. 

The following gentlemen were then chosen : Conrad Oxner, 
Columbia; Ralph Simms, Danube; L. B. Arnold, Fairfield; 
Amos Mann, Frankfort; E. W. Patridge, German Flats; 
Samuel Earl, Herkimer; Jeremiah Kinney, Jr., Litchfield; 
Josiah Davis, Little Falls; John Markell, Manheim; Seth 
Fenner, Newport ; Benjamin Hurd, Norway; Wm. CoppemoU, 
Ohio; Stephen Pryme, Bussia; Lorenzo. Carryl, Salisbury; 
Amos Bridenbecker, Schuyler; Daniel Hawn, Stark; Chas. 
Delong, Warren; Gardiner Hinckley, Wilmurt; E. W. Will- 
cox, Winfield. 

Resolved, That the secretary famish each of the correspond- 
ing secretaries with a printed subscription to solicit persons 
to become members of the society. ' 

Besolved, That the vice president act as chairman of the 
executive committee. 

Besolved, That the several examining committees be direted 
to report in writing, the restdt of their examinations, before 
the delivery of the address. 

Besolved, That the executive committee meet at the house 
of D. M. Golden, in Frankfort, on the first day of February 
next, at 10 o'clock A. M. 

Besolved, That the secretary furnish the several papers of 
the county, with the proceedings of this meeting. 

Besolved, That the next annual meeting be held at the 
Bemington House, in Ilion, on the first Tuesday of January, 
1856. Adjourned. 



1783 TO 1855. 

Politioal Parties— Origin of, in this State— George Clinton— Leader of the 
Anti-federalists — Montgomery Countj Anti-federal in 1788— Herkimer 
Countj, Federal from 1791, to 1800 — Judge Sanger — State of Parties change 
in 1801 — Jay's Treaty — Alexander Hamilton — Germans Anti-federalists 
— Mathiaa B. Tallmadge — Object of his settling at Herkimer — Suocess and 
Defeats of the Republican Party for 19 Years^ — Reetrictiye Measures of the 
U. S. Counsel of Appointment — Robert Williams — Removals from Office 

— Contest in 1810 — Henry Hopkins — Clintonians and Bucktails — Meet- 
ing of the latter in 1819 — Secretary superseded — Suocess of Federalists 
in 1819 — The Reason of it — Policy of the Leaders — Federalists succeed in 
1820 and 1821 — Clinton elected Governor, in 1820 — SUte Convention of 
1821 — Popular Vote in the County, for and against — Prospects of Parties 

— Simeon Ford, Richard Van Home, Sanders Lansing, Sherman Wooster ^ 
Bemooratio Sucoess — New Constitution adopted — Suocess of Democrats, 
from 1822 to 1847— Political Excitement in 1824— People's Party— Elec- 
toral Law — Michael Hoifinan — Democratic Assembly Ticket defeated 
— Presidential Election — Martin Van Buren — William H. Crawford —As- 
pect of the Election — Democratic Success in 1825 — Silas Wright — Pro- 
spective Troubles continue among Democrats — Call of a Convention to 
amend the Constitution of 1821 — Position of the Democratic Party in the 
County — Convention Law originated in this County — Vote for Conven- 
tion — Vote for Delegates — Vote for and against Constitution — Demo- 
cratic Party defeated in 1847 — Henry P. Alexander elected to Congress in 
1348 — Review of the Chapter — Vote amending the Financial Article — 
Senate Document No. 70—1831, Charaoteristics of Population. 

Distinct political party divisions and distinctions do not 
seem to have assumed any very definite shape, the first twelve 
years after the adoption of the Federal constitution. Until 
the formation of that instrument in 1787, and its submission 
to the states for ratification, there was no general subject on 
which the people of the states could well divide and array 
themselves in national party lines. New York was opposed, 
under the leadership of Gov. George Clinton, to thefonnation 


of a new government j or any material change in the articles of 
confederation, and this was emphatically declared in the 
resolution of the legislature at the time the three delegates, 
Messrs. Lansing, Yates and Hamilton were appointed to 
attend the national convention. When the constitution 
which emanated from that body came before the people of 
the coimtry for consideration, and while under advisement. 
New York was the great battlefield ; and in none of the 
states was the opposition to its ratification more decided, 
animated and emphatic than in this. A strong anti*federal 
feeling predominated among the inhabitants of the whole 
state, and notwithstanding the conditional ratification by 
the state in 1788, Oov. Clinton was able to sustain himself 
until r796 against cdl the power and patrons^ of the gene- 
ral government, wielded by QexL Hamilton and other 
distinguished adherents of President Washington's admin- 

This fact shows most clearly that the ratification before 
mentioned was compelled by the necessities of the case, and 
was not a voluntary acquiescence. The people of the 
Mohawk valley placed as high an estimate upon the charac- 
ter and services of the commander in chief of the American 
armies as any other ; they held the name of Washington in 
deep reverence and profound respect, but they had fought 
the battles of their country, and conquered for it independ- 
ence and peace under the banner of New York. Theirs had 
been a seven years' campaign without retirement to winter 
quarters, and they felt little inclination to surrender to 
others any portion of the boon so dearly purchased. On the 
question of ratifying the federal constitution, Montgomery 
county was decidedly anti-federaL 

From the organization of Herkimer county, in 1791, to 
1800, federal members were chosen to the assembly, except 
the two years the county was represented by Judge Sanger, 
and the year before Oneida county was set off from Herki- 

I assume that Judge Sanger was an anti-federalist in 


1793-4, when he represented the coiintyy because he was 
elected to the senate in 1800 by the republicans, and after- 
wards acted with the federalista The members of the 
assembly elected in 1797, seem to have been taken from both 
parties ; or rather, one anti-federalist was that year elected 
The great influx of population from New England between 
1790 and 1800 had changed the political aspect of the 
county, and especially in that part of the territory set off as 
Oneida, in 1796. 

The political contest which preceded the election of Mr. 
Jefferson in 1801, had arrayed the voting population of the 
county into two political parties, which in that day were 
known as federalists and republicans ; and it is a fact not 
unworthy of notice in this place, that while the eastern popu- 
lation seated within the territory of Oneida county, almost 
unanimously acted with the federal party, the immigration 
to Herkimer seems to have been more equally balanced, 
although a considerable majority of that population which 
settled in this county adhered to their New England pro- 

The federalists, at that early day, possessed another great 
advantage over their opponents which was not unimproved. 
The establishment of county seats at Herkimer and Whitee- 
town opened a new field for the legal profession, and it was 
not long left unoccupied by gentlemen of great weight of 
character, standing and talents, as their subsequent politi- 
cal and professional career abundantly shows. The mercan* 
tile interest was also strongly attached to that party, and 
the men at that time engaged in commercial pursuits, con- 
trolled much of the money capital of the country. The 
establishment of trade upon a permanent and favorable 
basis with England was by this class of our population 
deemed most essentially important. The commercial treaty 
negotiated by Mr. Jay with great Britain in ^794, had been 
assailed and denounced, by the planting or agricultural 
interests with persevering zeal and ardor ; while other 
portions of the population not particularly identified with 


those interests, evinced their disapproval of the treaty and 
the negotiator by mobs and riotous burnings in effigy, 
unmistakable evidence of a misdirected popular feeling 
Such was the state of party feeling, its bearings and influ- 
ences upon society, that a republican lawyer or a republi- 
can merchant was seldom to be found in the country villages 
or at the county seats in this part of the state, where it would 
be now difficult to point out one of either class who does 
not profess the true democratic creed of some sort. 

The survivors of the revolution were slow to see the 
necessity of a strong government ; the very name was dis- 
tasteful and odious. They had gone through one war ^^ to 
crush out '^ what they believed a monstrous evil, kingly 
rule, and they had yet to feel the necessity and be si^tisfied 
of the propriety of having any connection or intercourse 
with kings or kingly governments ; and besides, the leading 
federalists were strongly suspected of sympathizing with 
Great Britain, then engaged in active hostilities to put 
down republican France. iJexander Hamilton, although 
nurtured in the revolution, was known to be favorable to 
strong and high toned governments ; I say known, because 
his project of a constitution read to the convention at Phila- 
phia in 1787, was spread far and wide over this broad land. 
He was the leader of the federal party in this state and 
exerted no small influence with that party in other states. 
And although he was a great man, holding rank with the 
most solid and brilliant of his compeers of the revolution, it 
must be confessed he was not an adroit and skillful mana- 
ger of a political party. 

I do not believe, and never have, that the masses belong- 
ing to the federal party, when it maintained a political 
existence, ever gave their full adhesion to the extreme 
notions of some of their leaders ; nor do I suppose every 
man professing to belong to the republican party is bound 
to adopt and defend the unwise or pernicious notions of 
some of his so called political friends, but, after all, the 
character of the leader is impressed upon his party, which 



miut stand or fall acoording to the estimate placed by the 
popular judgment upon the principles and measures enun* 

At the period under consideration, the opening of the 
nineteenth century, the whole framework of our govern- 
ment was but little more than an untried experiment, so far 
as respected its actual workings. We had gathered soma 
strength as a nation, and the hopes of the old stepdame for 
an opportunity of resubjugation had become very much 
darkened. But it is not my purpose to write a treatise on 
goyernments, or the history of political parties outside the 
confines of the county, any farther than may be needful to 
explain results as we have found them. 

The Grerman population of the county was strongly imbued 
with the anti-federal feelings, when the federal constitution 
was ratified. After political parties assumed the names of 
federalists and republicans, a very considerable majority 
of that population was found acting with the latter ; it was 
not brought out, however, to act effectively, until the April 
election in 1800. An able and efficient body of men, law- 
yers, merchants and others, had settled at Herkimer, whose 
influence, in conjunction with others in the county, decided 
the political character of the members. 

Before the period here mentioned, Mathias B. TaUmadge, 
a republican lawyer, and connected by marrii^ with the 
family of Governor Qeorge Clinton, settled at Herkimer. 
I can not give the actual time Mr. Tallmadge came into the 
county, but I find he was elected a delegate to the conven- 
tion of 1801, from this county, with Evans Wharry and 
Oeorge Bosecrant& He was afterwards elected to the senate 
of this state, in April 1802. Mr. Tallmadge was, no doubt, 
sent into the county as a political leader, and by this move- 
ment Governor Clinton extended his family influence to an 
important point in the state, then fast filling up with popu- 
lation from the older southern and eastern counties, and 
from the other states, particularly New England. It is not 



improbable that Evans Whany, a native of Orange coimtj, 
well known to, and a fast friend of Governor Clinton, was 
mainly instrumental in bringing Mr. Tallmadge into the 

Mr. Tallmadge's contemporaries do not speak of him in 
terms of extravagant praise. He was not equal in point of 
talents and energy of character to any of his leading oppo- 
nents. But the soil was congenial to his touch, and the har* 
vest ripened to his hand ; and such was the veneration and 
respect for the name of Greorge Clinton in the Mohawk val- 
ley, and so deep seated was the anti-federal feeling in the 
county, strengthened and embittered by some of the acts of 
the federal government under the administration of John 
Adams, and particularly the stamp act, that it only remained 
to select the candidates, print and circulate the ballots, and 
the election from that moment became a ^* fixed fact," so far 
as this county was concerned. Mr. Tallmadge was appointed 
United States judge for the district of New York in 1805, 
and soon after removed from the county. 

During the period of nineteen years, from 1800 to 1818, 
inclusive, republican members were elected to the assembly, 
with one solitary exception, and then that party only sus- 
tained a partial defeat in the county. At the spring election, 
in 1809, Thomas Manly and Rudolph Devendorff, federalists, 
and Christopher P. Bellinger, republican, were chosen 
members, the latter by some five or six votes. The federal 
party that year, for the first time since 1799, achieved a 
political triumph. This event has been charged to the 
restrictive measures of the general government, under Mr. 
Je£ferson, which weighed heavily upon the navigating and 
grain-growing interests of the country. 

Wheat had fallen from twenty-four shillings a bushel, 
before the embargo, to six shillings after that measure was 
enforced, and products found no foreign market. Daniel D. 
Tompkins was then governor, and the freehold vote in the 
state upon the choice of senators showed a little over seven 
hundred republican majority. Under the constitution of 


1777, the political majority in the assembly controlled the 
choice of the council of appointment, composed of one 
senator from each senate district. It so happened, there 
was not, at this time, a single federal senator from two of 
the districts, and the majority in the assembly were forced 
to choose two members of the council who had been elected 
as republican. This was a gloomy prospect for those who 
were hopefuDy looking to the enjoyment of the " spoils of 
victory." While the republicans were reposing in security, 
supposing every thing would be safe with the casting vote 
of their favorite governor, the dominant party were actively 
engaged in looking up some disaffected republican senator, 
who could be brought over to their views. The constitution 
of the state had given the civil list appointments into the 
hands of the federalists, and all they lacked was instruments 
Dy which to exercise their power. They however found 
the man they wanted, in the person of Mr. Robert Williams, 
of the Middle district, who had been a Burrite, Lewisite, 
Clintonian, and was elected to the senate by the republicans. 
He, it appears, was one of the trading politicians of that 
day, who set themselves up to the highest bidder ; and he 
met the fate in after life that all such men deserve — the 
scorn and contempt of his former friends, and the studied 
neglect of those he had recently served. The federal 
council, after its organization, went to work with a zeal 
that met a warm response from its friends in every quarter 
of the state ; but was far from being very agreeable to 
their opponents. This council appears to have done a 
pretty large and extensive business in the way of removals 
and appointments to office. 

The party in power were no doubt induced to this course 
in view of the election of governor, about to take place, in 
the spring of 1810. The federalists had contested the 
election the previous year on the merits of the measures 
pursued by the national administration, aud had succeeded. 
Those questions, though of grave importance, still remained 
to pass the ordeal of the popular judgment at the ballot 


box, bat were not the only elements that entered into the 
contest, which became unusually excited and animated. 
The federalists were in office, and the reelection of Gk>Yer- 
nor Tompkins would postpone to an indefinite period all 
hope to the federal party of a permanent restoration to 
power in the state and union ; and the republicans were 
smarting under their recent defeat and consequent loss of 
office, by the treachery, as they alleged, of one who should 
have been a friend. 

Mr. Hammond says, that " contrary to the expectation of 
both parties, the republicans were not only successful, but 
their success was complete. They achieved an entire and 
complete overthrow of their opponents. Tompkins was 
reelected by about ten thousand majority. The republican 
candidates for the senate succeeded in all the four districts, 
and in the assembly the republicans had a majority of 
almost two to one." 

It does not come within the objects of this publication to 
discuss the causes which produced the above result, or to 
speculate upon motives that may or may not have actuated 
political men or parties. At the election in April, 1810, 
the republican party in the county regained its ascendency, 
and the members of the new council of appointment were 
careful to revise and correct, in 1811, all the mistakes of 
their immediate predecessors. 

A word of explanation should here be given in reference 
to the spirited, uniform success of the republican party in 
the county during the period of nineteen years. I have 
stated one exception. On a further examination, I find 
another. At the spring election, in 1816, Henry Hopkins, 
a gentleman who had uniformly acted with the federal 
party, was elected to the assembly with John McGombs 
and William D. Ford. One of the republican candidates 
first put in nomination died a few days before the election, 
and Mr. Hopkins was chosen by a majority of nineteen votes 
over George Paddock, who was taken up and supported by 
the republicans. 

HI8X0B7 OF HWBKnffiH G0l»IT7. 265 

Many of the leadiii^ republicans in the county were, 
between 1816 and 1820, known ae Clintonians; they sus- 
tained the measures of Governor De Witt Clinton, and 
selected candidates to the assembly friendly to that gentle- 
man, who were of course chosen. I believe the members 
elected in the county, the three years previous to 1820, did 
not act with the bucktail opposition (so called) against the 
governor* Disaffection in the republican ranks manifested 
itself pretty decidedly throughout the state, towards the 
dose of the governor's first term, and a meeting was called 
at the Court House in Herkimer, in the spring of 1819, to 
organize and nominate an assembly ticket. The meeting, 
although not very numerous, was composed of a considera- 
ble number of active republicans, and attracted some atten- 
tion. John Herkimer, then one of the county judges, and 
afterwards member of congress, was appointed chairman* 
Michael Hof&nan, Esq., submitted a series of resolutions, 
setting forth the grounds of complaint against the governor, 
and among them was one condemning, in pretty strong 
terms, the action of the council of appointment in removing 
Martin Van Buren, and a^^pointing Thomas J. Oakley, a 
leading and distinguished federalist, to the office of attorney 
general The resolutions were adopted and published, with 
my name appended as secretary. For this act of inmbordp' 
nation, the secretary was complimented with a supersedeas 
as a justice of the peace at the following July session of the* 
council of appointment. The same meeting nominated 
candidates for members of assembly in opposition to the 
ticket already in the field friendly to Governor Clinton. 

This division among the republicans brought out the 
federalists, who, on' the eve of the election, nominated a 
fuU assembly ticket, which was chosen by a handsome 
majority, although the anti-Clintonian or bucktail repxiUi- 
. cans abandoned their ticket, and generally voted for the 
Clintonian candidates. 

The result of the election showed a dear federal majority 
in the county at that time, and this was probably the fact ; 


not arising out of any material change in the political senti* 
ments of the population within the territorial limits of the 
county before 18 17, but from the annexation, in that year, 
of the three eastern towns from Montgomery connty, Salis- 
bury, Manheim and Danube. 

The federal party in the county, like that of the republi- 
can in Oneida, although twenty years in a minority, was 
neither dead nor asleep. Its wakefxd and recuperative fac- 
ulties were extremely facile. Whenever at a gubernatorial 
or senatorial election, it became expedient to poll a full 
freehold vote, their strong and tried men were put upon the 
local tickets, and the elections were canvassed with a zeal 
and animation that betokened a confident assurance of 
success. The annexed towns had usually given a pretty 
strong and reliable aggregate federal majority, when attached 
to Montgomery county. Of the candidates presented by 
the federalists in 1819, one was selected from Manheim, a 
gentleman of influence and weight of character, with a view, 
no doubt, of impressing our new neighbors with the notion 
that their interests were to be carefully looked after, and 
their prominent men not neglected. Candidates were taken 
by that party from each of the remaining towns at the two 
succeeding elections. In adopting and pursuing this policy, 
the federal party, under the circumstances, evinced a good 
deal of political skill. I well remember speaking with a 
Glintonian republican, Robert Shoemaker, on the subject, 
who remarked, it would do very well unless it provoked 
jealousy in other parts of the county. 

At the succeeding spring elections, in 1820 and 1821, the 
federalists achieved two more victories in the countv, and 
then rested upon their honors more than a quarter of a cen- 
tury. It had, I believe, become a fixed common law princi- 
ple with the political parties in the county, when it was 
entitled to three members of assembly, to select one of Ger- 
man and two of English descent, as candidates. This rule 
may not have been observed in every instance during thirty- 
six years, and if not, the exception was extremely rare. 


The contest for governor in 1820, between the bncktail and 
Glintonian parties was, no donbt, one of the most severely 
c(mtested of any that had taken place in the state for many 
years. The freehold vote in the county was 1226 for Clinton, 
and 947 for Tompkins. Mr. Clinton's majority in the state 
was only fourteen hundred and fifty-seven, and although he 
escaped defeat, his opponents held the political power of 
the state by having a working majority in each legislative 
branch. The federalists as a party supported Mr. Clinton, 
notwithstanding some fifty higf^minded gentlemen, of grea^ 
personal worth, talents and Wealth, renounced their connec- 
tion with that party, declared it dissolved, in a published 
manifesto, and avowed their intention of supporting Mr. 
Tompkins. A portion of the old republican party adhered 
to Mr. Clinton, and a perfect reunion of the dissevered 
fragments did not take place until General Jackson's elec- 
tion in 1828, and in the meantime most of the high-mnded 
gentlemen had gone over to the Adams party. This brief 
view of the aspect of affairs outside of the county, seems 
necessary to enable us to appreciate more justly the true 
state of things at home. There were several provisions in 
the constitution of 1777, framed and adopted while the 
country was in a state of war, and when it was believed too 
many guards could not be thrown around the exercise of 
the powers of self-government, such as the veto power, 
vested in a council of revision, composed of the chancellor 
and justices of the supreme court, who held their offices 
during good behavior ; the power of appointing all the civil 
and military officers in the state vested in the governor for 
the time being, and four senators, and the restriction upon 
the elective franchise, confining the choice of governor and 
senators to those citizens who owned a freehold of the value 
of two hundred and fifty dollars, which attracted public 
attention, and became the subject of discussion among poli- 
ticians and in the public press. This subject, if properly 
managed, could be used as an effective instrument to pro- 
duce a political crisis, and the opportunity was not neglected 


by Mr. Clinton's opponents. It is not my purpose to inquire 
after the reasons, or to discuss the motives which indnoed 
that gentleman and his leading friends to oppose the call of 
a convention to revise the oonstitnticm of 1777. Whatever 
may be the exact tnith in respect to this matter, the people 
were told, and they believed, that he and his friends were 
in fact hostile to the measare, and with this impression 
strongly fixed in the public mind, the convention was called, 
and the result in the choice of delegates was precisdy what 
every intelligent politician in the state expected. 

The majority of the popular vote in the state for the con- 
vention, was seventy-four thousand four hundred and forty- 
five. In this county the aggregate vote for it was 1696; 
against, 1627. The election of delegates took place on the 
third Tuesday of June, 1821. The republicans, or democrats 
as they w^e now called, had been defeated the previous 
April, and the Olintonians controlled the only newspi^r 
in the county. 

Although the current of public opinion in the state was 
setting strongly in favor of the democratic party, the con- 
dition of affairs in the county did not afford much prospect 
of success in the election of delegates to the convention. 
Mr. Simeon Ford, a gentleman whose private character was 
without reproach, of highly respectable talents, and who 
had long been a leading m^[nber at the bar in the county, 
had been elected a member of the assembly in 1830, and 
reelected in 1821. His capacity for business and industri- 
ous habits, rather than briUiant displays of oratory, ren- 
dered him an efficient member of the house, and one of the 
prominent Clintonian leaders. He was a politician of the 
old federal school, and had been long a resident of tiie 
county. It was considered very important by Gk)vemor 
Clinton and his friends to secure Mr. Ford's election as a 
delegate to the approaching convention. In view of the 
great interests at stake, no man in the county was better 
qualified by experience and ' ability to grapple with the 


aecfiimiilatiiig difficulties of the times, and which eTsntualiy 
precipitated his party, for a time, into a hopeless minority. 

I think the Glintonian cund democratic conventions met 
at Herkimer, on the same day, to select candidates to be 
supported at the election for choosing delegates; and if this 
was not the fact, the Clintomans had made their nominations. 
It was known to the democrats that Mr. Bichard Van Home, 
of Danube, was a candidate on the ticket with Mr. Ford, 
before they made out their ticket. The democrats were 
neither hopeful nor sanguine, and their convention was not 
very numerously attended, but we had come resolved to 
make up a ticket, win or lose. During our deliberations it 
was stated in the convention that Mr. Yan Home was in 
favor of the extension of the elective franchise, and a modifi- 
cation of the veto, and appointing powers, and had given ver- 
bcd assurances to that effect It was somewhat difficult to 
make out a ticket, not on account of the pressure of claims by 
the firiends of candidates, but for the want of the right sort of 
men, and none were envious of the distinguished honor of 
being defeated. We finaUy nominated a ticket, consisting of 
Sherman Wooster, Sanders Lansing and Richard Yan Home. 

It was urged in the convention, that by placing Mr. Yan 
Home on the democratic ticket, we should render his 
influence in the town of Danube less hurtful to Messrs. 
Wooster and Lansing, than it would be if he was left off. To 
the surprise of some, and contrary to the sober expectations 
of many, Messrs. Lansing and Wooster were chosen delegates 
by a majority of four hundred and thirty six. It was gen- 
erally believed the Olintonians were opposed to the extension 
c£ the elective franchise, and this damaged their ticket wilii 
the non freeholders, to some extent. But considerable 
apathy prevailed among Mr. Clinton's friends at the polls of 
Section which I attended. I always attributed this to dis- 
satisfaction, in a certain influential quarter, in respect to 
Mr. Ford's third nomination, althongh the avowed reasons 
for non interference in the election, was, that the individual 
approved of the call and objects of the convention. There 

270 nROKT QP 

is no doubt, I think, tliat the minds of many peof^ 
in the connty, became settled and fixed in fiiror of the 
measore, after it was generally known that the call of the 
convention had been sanctioned by such animmenae majority 
of the voters in the state. 

After finifthing their labors at Albany, the convention 
adjoomed, sobmitting the new constitation to be a{^roved 
or rejected by a vote of the electorsL At a qiecial election, 
held in the month of February, 1822, the constitution was 
ratified by a vote of 75,422 for it, to 41,497 against it; 
showing a majority of 33;925, in the slate. 

Without riots, bloodshed or the least disturbance in the 
machinery of government, this civil revolution was accom- 
plished, and the large approving vote was followed by the 
most salutary eflkct& I do not wish to be understood in 
this remark, to refer to mere party politics. It showed to 
the civilized world, that Americans were c^»able of self- 
government; that old and well established principle of 
the fundamental law of the social compact, could be abro- 
gated when found inconvenient or unsuited to our condition, 
with the same order and peaceable decorum which usually 
attend our annual elections. The vote in this county, on 
adopting the new constitution, was, 1683 in favor, and 1254 
against it. 

The first election in the county, under the new constitution, 
in November 1822, resulted favorably to the democratic 
party, and from that time, to 1847, 1 am confident no can- 
didate, other than an avowed democrat, was elected to any 
office by the people. I shall notice the exceptions in due 
order of time, when the regular county-convention nomin- 
ations were set aside or disregarded. I should notice the 
fact in this place, that a democratic paper was established 
in the county, by Mr. Edward M. Griffing, in 1821. It was 
called The People^s Friendy and published at Little FallsL 

The presidential controversy in 1824, produced the ephe- 
meral nondescript called the Peoples Parly. It lived 
one year, and no longer. Its leaders were in favor of almost 


every body, or any body for preeident, except William H. 
Crawford. Some of my readers, if I should have any, may 
think I do not treat this subject with the impartial pen of 
an historian. I wish to call things by their right names, 
and tell the plain unvarnished truth. 

At the November election in 1823, Christopher P. Bellin- 
ger, John Graves and Caleb Budlong were chosen members 
of assembly, and were not unfriendly to Mr. Crawford. The 
electors of president and vice-president were then appointed 
by the legislature, and it was supposed, and such was no 
doubt the fact, that a majority of the legislature chosen that 
year, were, when elected, favorable to Mr. Crawford, 
assuming he would be the regular nominee of a democratic 
congressional caucus, and it hence became necessary in 
order to defeat Mr. Crawford in this state, to change the 
mode of appointing electors, and with that view early in the 
session of 1824, a bill was introduced into the assembly 
directing the appointment of electors to be made by the 
people through the ballot box by general ticket, at the 
annual election preceding the expiration of the official term 
of the presidency. I do not use the cant phrase of the day 
^^ restore the election to the peopW The people never had 
exercised that power directly, and therefore it could not be 
restored io them. The bill passed the assembly, but was 
indefinitely postponed in the senate, which was virtually a 
rejection. At former periods in the history of the states, 
the federalists and republicans when in the minority in the 
legislatures, on which would devolve the appointment of 
electors, made efforts to change the law and refer the sub- 
ject to the people directly, but the majorities in both 
instances considered it a sort of clap-trap affair and retained 
the power in their own hands. The rejection of the elector- 
al law placed the democratic party in a very unenviable 
predicament. The democrats had now placed their necks 
under the axe which they used to decapitate the Clintonians 
three years before. The current of popular opinion set 
against them with a force perfectly resistless. Party drill, 

272 HDfOBr or 

I - * <i I 1 

regular nonubmfcioi^ and peraonal appeals did not snul way 
thing. The democratic coonty convention met as nsoal and 
nominated candidates for assemblj, and concurred in the 
several state and senatorial district nonnnationa. The same 
convention nominated Michael Hoffinan to be supported 
as a candidate for congress. This was Mr. H<^Ebian's first 
i^ypearance on the political arena in the connty as a candi* 
date for an elective office. 

A meeting not very nnnmnonsy I believe, sabsecfQently 
convened at Herkimer, and nominated John Herkimer 
member of congress for reelection, and Samnel Dexter, Jr., 
Warner Folts and Jacob Wire for the assembly. These 
gentlemm had all of them acted with the democratic party 
dorii^ the last fonr years. TUs was a PtapUth move- 
ment^ and it was nnd^^tood at the time that the Clinton* 
ians proper or federalists did not appear openly in the affair, 
although they mnst have secretly encouraged it from the 
sapport given by them to the ticket at the election. There 
had not been during the summer and fSedl any organization 
of a people's party or any indication showing disaffection in 
the democratic ranks in the county. A large majority of 
the party in the county was supposed to be friendly to Mr. 
Crawford against all the other candidates, and when the 
convention met to make nominations, there was a fair pros* 
peot of an old-fashioned field fight between the veteran 
parties. Mr. Herkimer was an Adams man, and Mr. Hoff- 
man an avowed Crawfordite. 

The Clintonians generally supported what was called the 
people's ticket, and after the election, during which a good 
deal of bitter feeling was exhibited, the canvass riiowed that 
Mr. Clinton had 134 majority over CoL Toung ; Hoffinan 
over Herkimer 244; the average of people's assembly 
ticket over the democratic was only 49. The democratic 
assembly candidates received the entire support of the party 
in good faith, yet all of them left it within a few years and 
attached themselves to other political organizations, and 
Messrs. Dexter and Folts were on the best of terms with 


the democratic members of the house during the whole ses- 
sion. This political tornado was not confined to Herkimer 
coimty alone, it swept oyer the whole state, and Mr. Clin- 
ton, who only two years before had been so rednced in 
popularity in consequence of his coarse on the conyention 
question, that his friends dared not to venture his being a 
candidate for goyemor against Mr. Yates, was now elected 
by 16,906 votes over OoL Toung. 

But the eleemnts of dissolution existed in this people's 
party at its very formation. The only bond that brought 
them to act in concert, was the defeat of William H. Oraw- 
ford ; that once accompliidied, and the union became a rope 
of sand. Mr. Clinton, whose position made him the strong- 
est man in this state, among the coalesced minorities, did 
not favor the pretensions of Mr. Adams by any avowed or 
overt act of adhesion or preference. He expressed an 
opinion, before the question was actually decided, that 
Qen. Jackson would be chosen by the house of representa- 
tives ; founded on the belief that the house would choose 
the candidate highest on the list and having the greatest 
number of votes, and thus conform its action to the declared 
will of the largest popular vote. These facts with others 
that might be here repeated clearly show, that Mr. Clinton 
did not sympathize with the Adams and Clay sections of the 
people's party which combined at the November session in 
1824, to secure a majority of the electoral vote in this state 
for their respective favorites. 

Much surprise has been expressed, that Mr. Yan Buren 
and his friends did not at once consent to change the mode 
of appointing electors, appeal to the popular vote of the 
state, and some of his warm friends and the advocates of 
Mr. Crawford's election censured him and them for not doing 
so. Mr. Yan Buren possessed a clear and comprehensive 
political sagacity ; this his greatest and" most bitter oppo- 
nents allowed and feared. The disturbing and disquieting 
controvert growing out of the Missouri compromise, had 


not been forgotten. The south had enjoyed eight presiden- 
tial terms, and the north one, since the adoption of the 
constitution. The sectional preferences and prejudices of 
the north were against the candidate preferred by Mr. Van 
Buren, and many of his influential friends in this state ; and 
there was but little prospect of controlling or changing the 
direction of those prejudices and preferences, except throu^ 
the agency of a regular caucus nomination, made by the 
republican members of congress, and even that might fail 
in the absence of any great national question on which an 
appeal could be made to the patriotic feelings of the people. 
A regular nomination could not be obtained for Mr. Craw- 
ford, and the era of good feeling doctrine promulgated 
under Mr. Munroe's administration had soothed the political 
asperities which had existed between the old republican and 
federal parties, not a little sharpened by the events of the 
war of }812. A democratic electoral ticket pledged to 
support Mr. Crawford, would probably have obtained a 
plurality of the votes given in the state, if backed by a 
regular congressional nomination, and the friends of all the 
other candidates had presented, and in good faith supported, 
separate tickets ; but if the minorities should combine, as 
they did in the legislature, and divide the candidates for the 
electoral college, assigning a given number to each of their 
favorites, and go down to the election with but one ticket, 
there would not have been much question as to the result. 
The democratic ticket might have succeeded, if there had 
been no issue on the electoral law ; and that issue would not 
have been raised, if there had been only two candidates in 
the field for the presidency. 

That there would be a democratic majority elected, on 
whom would devolve the appointment of the electoral 
college, and that such majority would act in accordance 
with the wishes of Mr. Van Buren and his friends, if the 
caucus system was strictly adhered to, was quite as certain 
in July, 1823, as it was at the meeting of the legislature, in 
1824. That there would be no choice by the college in 

msTOBT OF hebehieb gountt. 275 

December, 1824, was pretty well settled in the minds of 
politicians before the New York election in November, 1823, 
so that the whole object aimed at by the friends of the 
several candidates was, to place their respective favorites 
in a position to be chosen by the house of representatives. 
That was the issue in this state, and this indicated too 
clearly to be mistaken what course Mr. Crawford's oppo- 
nents would take in case a plurality or majority electoral 
law should be passed. Even the loss of the election did not 
place the power of choosing democratic electors out of the 
reach or beyond the control of the democratic party ; if 
there had been no dishonorable violation of the most solemn 
voluntary pledges, Mr. Crawford might have as easily 
obtained the whole thirtynsix electors as four. 

At the November election in 1825, the democrats regained 
the ascendency in the county by a majority of about six 
hundred, and the Clintonians lost the election in the state* 
This result again placed the political power of the state 
substantially in the hands of the democratic party. From 
this time to 1847, the democrats invariably elected their 
regularly nominated members of assembly, and witjh one 
exception, in 1846, their county officers. The candidates of 
the party never failed of an election by the people during 
the above period, with the exception noted, although in that 
time, the state had been several times lost and won to the 
democratic party, and the country had seen the election of 
two whigs to the presidency. General Harrison, in 1840, and 
General Taylor, in 1848. 

The rejection of Mr. Van Buren by the Baltimore conven- 
tion in 1844, the disaffection manifested by a section of the 
democratic party in this state against Governor Bouck, who 
was elected in 1842, and the disagreement among leading 
democrats in regard to the canal policy of the state, had 
combined to produce a feeling of estrangement in the demo- 
cratic ranks, which was distinctly exhibited at the annual 
election in 1846. Governor Wright was then a candidate 
for reelection. My intercourse with Governor Wright, 

276 HESVOBT (NP HiBKHiwt oommv 

political and social, had becD, for twentj4wo years, intimate 
and cordial. I had contributed my feeble exertions to his 
elevation to the senate of the United States, and never 
regretted having done so. After the development of the 
difficulties in the democratic party in the state, and they 
had sufficiently shown themselves prior to the election in 
1844, to satisfy any considerate man, that a dismption was 
at hand, which must soon overwhelm any man occupying 
the executive chair, I objected to and advised against his 
acceptance of the office of governor, and thereby vacate his 
seat in the senate of the United States. Mr. Wright had 
other friends who viewed this subject in the same light, and 
who were governed by the same disinterested motives that 
I was, and they did not hesitate to express their opinions on 
the subject. I do believe he did not cheerfully consent to 
leave Washington, and that he had strong forebodings of 
the fate that awaited him in the event of his coming in direct 
contact with the bitter family feuds at home. I need not 
speak of Oov. Wright's character and standing as a pablio 
man or private citizen ; other and abler pens than mine, have 
already inscribed a just memorial of them on the page of 
history. He was a strong, able and popular man. What I 
have said and shall say in regard to Mr. Wright, may not 
seem to be exactly in place in the local history of a county 
which did not claim him as a resident, but I have an object 
in alluding to him in this place in consequence of his name 
being connected with our local affidrs. His nomination for 
reelection was apparently acquiesced in by the party, and 
nothing appeared to disturb the smooth surface except the 
little anti-rent ripple which originated in Albany, Columbia 
and Rensselaer counties, and had now began to attract some 
attention ; but there was a secret under-current operating 
strongly against his success. So confident were his active 
friends of achieving an easy victory in the state, that in 
several instances they did not observe due precaution in 
selecting candidates who could secure the general support 
of their party friends. Such was the case in respect to the 



nominee for sheriff in this county, and the nominee for con- 
gress in the districtycomposedof Herkimer and Montgomery 
comities. The former was nominated in the county conven- 
tion by a small majority of a strongly contested vote, and 
the latter in the district convention by the casting vote of a 
member, whose object was to present the man who could be 
the most easily defeated at the polls. Sections of the demo- 
cratic party in both counties organized opposition to these 
nominations, presented other candidates, and with the aid 
of the whigs defeated the regular nominees of the party. 
Mr. Wright must have been a good deal dami^ed in this 
county by this contest among his friends. I say friends, 
because the successful candidates and their supporters 
claimed to be his friends. His majority in the county was 
nine hundred and ninety-four, several hundred less than in 

Previous to 1846, considerable discussion had taken place 
in the state, respecting its financial condition, and the expe- 
diency of imposing restrictions upon the power of the legis- 
lature to borrow money, and contract a state debt. The 
judicial department of the government had been found 
inadequate, not from the inefficiency of the judicial fanction- 
aries, but from want of numbers, to dispatch the business 
brought before it, and the delays of litigation were nearly 
equivalent to a denial of justice. 

At the legislative session in 1844, the two houses passed 
the resolutions of which the following are the titles: 

1. '^Resolution proposing certain amendments to the 
constitution, in relation to state debt and liability." 

2. ^'Besolution proposing an amendment to the constitu- 
tion in relation to the court of chancery." 

3. '^ Resolution proposing an amendment to the constitu- 
tion, in relation to the supreme court." 

The amendments embraced in these resolutions came up 
for consideration at the session in 1846, and were agreed 
to by two thirds of all the members elected to the senobte, 



bat failed of receiving the requisite majority in the assem- 
bly. Although there was a democratic majority in the 
house, as well as in the senate, a marked diversity of opinion 
existed among the members of the majority, in respect to 
the constitutional amendments then under consideration, 
and the project of calling a convention to revise the consti- 
tution of 1821, which had been introduced into the assembly. 
While one section of the democratic members strongly 
favored the financial amendments, the other section did not 
yield them a hearty assent, or its cordial support, although 
willing to place them before the people for their adoption 
or rejection. The position of these two sections was 
reversed on the judicial amendments. The whigs, as a party, 
generally favored the judicial amendments, but were strongly 
opposed to the financiaL That party however were not 
inclined to go in favor of any measures, or any policy, which 
would defeat the calling of another convention, to new-model 
the constitution. To use their own language, ^* they went for 
a new deal," with the hope of securing some of the promi- 
nent offices of the state from which they had been excluded 
for nearly twenty years. I shall not attempt to discuss 
the various questions presented, and views entertained for 
and against the call of another convention. On one side it 
was urged that the legislature could not constitutionally 
pass any law, authorizing the call of a convention, inas- 
much as the existing constitution prescribed a mode in 
which amendments to, or alterations of that instrument 
could be made entirely different from that then under 
consideration. On the other side, it was insisted, that 
the whole subject was at the disposal of the electors, and if 
on submitting the question to the people, a majority should 
decide in favor of a convention, that one might, and should 
be convened. It is quite certain that the convention of 
1821 did not suppose that instrument would be altered or 
changed, except in the manner pointed out in it; and it is 
equally certain, that the convention of 1846 must have 
considered the act initiating its existence might be justly 



characterized as revolutionary : otherwise, direct authority 
would not have been conferred upon the legislature, to pro- 
vide for taking the sense of the electors in respect to calling 
future conventions. The financial convulsion of 1837, and 
the commercial embarrassments of 1840 and 1841, consequent 
upon the great inflation of prices in 1839, followed b)^ an 
unexampled depression in the state stocks, attributed mainly 
to the recent rapid increase of the state debt, had contributed 
to infuse into the public mind a strong and settled conviction, 
that to avoid (interminable taxation and embarrassments, 
the legislative power over the finances and credit of the 
state, must be strictly defined and limited to a very narrow 

The democratic party of this county had taken ground 
at an early day in favor of an amendment to the constitution, 
to the effect that every law passed by the legislature pro- 
posing to create a debt by the issue of state stock, or impose 
a tax for certain purposes, in order to become eflectual, must 
be submitted to, and sanctioned by a direct vote of a majority 
of the electors of the state, at an annual election. This propo- 
sition, subsequently modified and amended, and known as the 
People*s Resolution, was adopted by a convention held in 
this county, in the year 1837. Its paternity was afterwards 
attributed to a distinguished politician of the county, 
through a mistake as to its origin. The rough draft of the 
resolution was shown to me in my office, by my then law 
partner, in his own handwriting, and I am confident that 
he alone was the author of it. The substance of that reso- 
lution now composes a part of the seventh article of the 
present constitution of the state. When first brought out, 
the project attracted but little attention outside of the 
county, but it became one of the standing resolutions of the 
county conventions for several years, and was finally 
adopted as a cardinal point in the democratic creed, first in 
the county, and then in the state. 

The passage of the law calling the convention originated, 
I am fully cohvinced, with the politicians of this county ; 


and, althoagh I do not mesui to say their object was confined 
to the adoption of the financial restrictions, and it probably 
was not, still that measnre incited their unceasing vigilance 
and most active exertions. The act calling the convention 
was approved by Governor Wright, and became in form a 
law. The vote in this county on the question of convention 
or no convention, was, 4,346 in favor, and 86 against it. At 
the election of delegates, Michael Hofiman had 1,470, and 
Arphaxad Loomis 1,468 votes, about two-thirds of the demo- 
cratic strength in the county. There was no organized 
opposition, and the scattering vote was smalL When this 
constitution was submitted to the people for adoption, less 
unanimity seemed to prevail in the minds of the electors. 
The vote for it was 3,382, against it 1,029, and on the ques- 
tion of admitting our colored population to an equal suffirage 
with the white, without property qualification, the yeas were 
1,442, and the nays 3,156, showing 187 more votes on the 
equal suffirage question, than the aggregate for and against 
the constitution. The aggregate of the whole vote for 
governor in 1844, was a little over 7,295, and in 1846, 5,633. 
This shows that nearly 3,000 of the electors of the county 
did not participate, either in the call of the convention, or 
the adoption of the constitution. 

The changes proposed in the fundamental law by the con- 
vention of 1846 were much more extensive than those made 
by the convention of 1821. It was thus that a great revo- 
lution in the institutions of a state was brought about, 
founded, when the movement commenced, on the single 
complaint against improvident acts of legislation in respect 
to the finances and credit of the state. 

The above figures show that one-half of the electors of 
the county did not approve of the constitution by an affirm- 
ative vote. The convention had incorporated a provision 
into the constitution restricting the power of the legislature 
to pass laws of a certain character, except by a majority of 
all the members elected to each branch, three-fifths of all 
the members being present, in which case the absence of a 



member operates as a negative upon the law, which, in many 
inBtancee, may be only temporary and affecting the rights of 
only a few people ; but in fixing the fundamental law of the 
state, it only required the msyority of the Toices of those 
who might choose to speak to control the destinies of 
millions. It is not my object to write a political treatise, 
and I therefore forbear further remark. I have aimed to 
give a true statement of the events of this period, and believe 
I have done it. 

At the succeeding annual election, in 1847, the county 
performed a complete political somerset. James Feeter, in 
the first district, and Lawrence L. Merry, in the second, 
whigs, were elected to the assembly by considerable majori- 
ties, and Thomas Burch, whig, was chosen senator in the 
senate district. The defeated candidates were two radical 
democrats and one hunker. This was preparatory to the 
canvass for the presidency in 1848. Hitherto, for a period 
of about forty years, the people of the coxmty had not been 
represented in the congress of the United States, by a man 
who was not known and recognized as a republican or de- 
mocrat, but Henry P. Alexander, a highly respectable whig, 
was this year elected to congress from the district composed 
of Herkimer and Montgomery, and was not very badly 
beaten when again a candidate in 1850. 

I hardly need say, in this connection, that the whig party 
has not obtained any ascendency in the county since 1847, 
except in the election of Mr. Alexander. 

It is now, 1855, sixty-four years since this county was 
erected, and it may not be uninteresting to some»to take a 
brief view of the state of political parties in it during that 
period. It is in no respect of any moment, except to show 
the current of public feeling at home in regard to the 
political questions which have agitated the country since 
the foundation of the national government and the forma- 
tion of political parties, consequent upon the diversity of 
opinions not only in respect to the federal constitution of 
1787 , but also in regard to what was esteemed the tnu^. 


principles and proper form of government to be adopted by 
the American states, as well as the fair and jnst interpreta- 
tion of that instrument The sut)ject of American politics 
and American political parties, derives all its interest and 
importance from the fact that the state and national govern- 
ments are administered conformably to the popular will, 
enunciated in the form prescribed by written fundamental 
rules. Since the county was organized, the representatives 
in the popular branch of the legislature, the assembly, have 
been elected wholly, or in part, by the anti-federal, republican 
and democratic parties fifty-four years. I use these names 
to designate the same political party in succession at differ- 
ent periods of time. I should add here a word of explana- 
tion ; the above period embraces every year when the can- 
didate elected was nominated by the political party above 
designated. Of the twelve state senators elected from the 
county at different times, two were federalists, nine were 
republicans and one was a whig. There have been three state 
conventions to modify, alter and change the state constitu- 
tion, and republican delegates were chosen to each, except 
Richard Van Home, in 1821. Six republican electors of 
president and vice-president have been selected in the 
county, and one whig. In respect to the members of con- 
gress sent from the connty, I have had some difficulty in 
ascertaining the whole number. From the best information 
within my reach, there were twelve in all ; and of these, 
one was a federalist, nine were republicans or democrats, 
one was an independent, chosen in opposition to the regu- 
larly nominated candidate, although he claimed to be a 
republican, and one was a whig. 

There are but few counties in the state, if any, in which 
the population has shown such steady and uniform adherence 
to the republican or democratic party, and where the 
political men of that party have been so frequently elected 
to office by the^ople. And I am proud as a citizen of the 
county, to record the fact, that hitherto there has not been 
a single instance, save one, of corruption and malconduct 


charged against our public men, and those who have ** gone 
to that bourne from whence no traveler returns," now "rest 
from the labors of life's toilsome pilgrimage,'* leaving behind 
them fame and characters untainted and untarnished. 

The financial article of the constitution of 1846 has been 
recently modified so as to allow the legislature to contract 
a debt to a limited amount to complete the state canals. 
A majority of the electors in the county who voted on this 
modification, were in favor of the amendment. The vote was 
a small one, and affords no evidence of a change of opinion 
in the county favorable to an unlimited grant of power to 
the legislature over the credit and finances of the state. 
This review closes with the year 1864, and will not be 
resumed by the author of this work. 

Note. — The reader, I donbt not, wiU ezGOBe a brief allufiion to a subject 
which has, on more than one occasion, attracted public attention. 

The governor, in his annual message to the legislature in 1831, had directed 
attention to the accumulating surplus reyenue of the United States, under the 
oi>eration of the tariff laws, and the senate of this state raised a select com- 
mittee consisting of Mr. Benton, Mr. Mather and Mr. Deits, to whom that part 
of the message was committed. The members of the committee gave the sub- 
ject their early and earnest attention, made up their minds to present a report 
to the senate, and designated Mr. Benton to pre}>are it. In the mean time, as 
Mr. Hammond states, the assembly, on the 10th of March, passed a concurrent 
resolution, without a division, declaring that the suiplus revenue ought to be 
annually distributed among the several states, without alluding to the consti- 
tutional incompetency of congress to act on the subject. I tlranscribe what 
Mr. Hammond says in vol. H, of the Political Histoiy of New York, page 353. 
''It [the resolution] was sent to the senate, but was by that body referred to 
a select committee, of which Mr. Benton was chairman, who, on the 4th of 
April, made a long and able report, in which they discussed the constitutional 
question in relation to the powers of congress to make the proposed division 
without decidedly expressing their views on the question." [Senate Docu- 
ments of 1831, No. 79.] Mr. Hammond seems to infer that because the com- 
mittee withheld a decided expression of opinion as to the constitutional power 
of congress to make the distribution under the power then vested, that the 
committee entertained doubts on that subject. This conclusion does great 
injustice to two of that committee, Messrs. Benton and Deits, at any rate. 
The whole aigument of the report on this point, which Mr. Hammond says 
was an able one, went to show that congress had no more power to create a 
lurplus for the purpose of distribution, than it would have to bnUd a dhuroh. 


■ehool hooae or an toademj within U10 territorial UmilB of one of the states. 
The oommittee oonld not fidl to see thftt thej were (JlBcnwAng a snhiieot sub- 
mitted to their oonsideration by the execatiye department of the goyemment, 
and which had been acted npon bj a coordinate branch of the l^gialatare, 
withont anj allnsion to the constitational question; and thej felt nnwUling to 
meet the dii&onlties which seemed to them insnnnonntable, other than by- 
presenting the ftignment against the exertion of the power by congress in the 
best possible light and in the most forcible manner they conld, and leare the 
subject withont any other expression of opinion. Had the committee enter- 
tained any other views, or no decided views at all on the subject under con- 
sideration, would they hare elaborated an argument in sui^rt of principles 
they repudiated or about which they Halt indlAnent T There is no subject of 
oonstitutional power or legislation, over which the people of this country 
should be more watchfbl or guarded than the " money power," wheierer it 
may be exerted, whether by the state or United States. 

1791 TO 1856. 

William Orendori^ Atfon B. Clark, John Bowiiisii« Samnel Bennetti Samuel 
Peny, Nathaniel Foster, John Allen. 

The catalogue of crime of the higher grades is quite brief. 
It is believed there was no trial or conviction from 1791 to 
1798, when Oneida county was set off. I have gleaned from 
criminal records of the county only six trials which resulted 
in convictions and acquittals. 

On the 31st of May, 1809, William Orendorff was tried 
and convicted upon an indictment for a rape, and sentenced 
to the state prison during his natural life. 

On the 6th of June, 1811, Aaron B. Clark was tried and 
convicted before Mr. Justice Van Ness of the supreme court 
upon an indictment for manslaughter, and sentenced to the 
state prison for three years and three months. 

On the 16th of September, 1812, John Bowman, who had 
been previously indicted for murder, was arraigned before 
Justice Van Ness of the supreme court, D. V. W. Gtolden, 
Walter Fish and Gfeorge Bosecrants county judges, and J. 
Ingham, assistant justice, and plead not guilty. The fol- 
lowing are the names of the jurors empanneled to try the 
case: Augustus Carpenter, Lucius Wetherby, Benjamin 
Beiyamin, Jr., Jabez D. Wolf, Oliver Miner, James Alexander, 
Daniel L Petry, Jost L Petry, Ezra Mallory, Gibson J. 
Stranahan, Joseph Pooler and Sheldon Harvey. There 
were nine witnesses sworn on the part of the prosecution, 
and examined. Not apy witnesses were called and sworn 
on the part of the prisoner. 

286 mSTOBT OF hebeiueb gouktt. 

The entry of the yerdict and sentence pronounced by the 
court is recorded in these words: "The jury found the 
prisoner gtdltyy and he was sentenced to be hanged by the 
neck until he was dead, on the fourth day of December next, 
between the hours of 11 o'clock A. M. and 1 o'clock p. M." 

John Bowman was a lad not oyer ten years of age when 
he was tried and cpnyicted for this crime. He was ably 
defended by Daniel Cady, Esq., now one of the justices of 
the supreme court of the fourth district. Bowman had 
killed one of his playmates, a small girl younger than him- 
self, and the point insisted upon by Mr. Cady in the defense, 
was, that he was too young to possess a mind and judgment 
capable of understanding and appreciating the nature of the 
offense he had pr was about to commit The jury thought 
otherwise, and brought in a yerdict of guilty. The judg- 
ment of the court was not executed. The sentence was 
commuted by a law passed Noyember 10, 1812, to imprison- 
ment for life in the state prison. 

Samuel Bennett was conyicted upon an indictment for 
manslaughter, on the 12th of December, 1822, before Mr. 
Justice Piatt of the supreme court, and judges Holt and 
Herkimer of the common pleas, and sentenced to confine- 
ment in the state prison at Auburn for ten years. Simeon Ford, 
Esq., the district attorney, conducted the prosecution, and 
Messrs. Hoffman and Maculey defended the prisoner. In 
this case the counsel for both parties exerted all their pow- 
ers for conyiction and acquittal, and a Herkimer audience 
haye seldom witnessed more able forensic efforts than were 
displayed on this occasion. 

At the September term of the oyer and terminer in this 
county in 1826, Samuel Perry was arraigned on an indict- 
ment for murdering his wife. The court consisted of Nathan 
Williams, circuit judge of the fifth circuit, and Hiram Nol- 
ton, Sanders Lansing and John Mahon, county judges. The 
jurors sworn were Jeremiah B. Cooper, William Williams, 
Henry F. Orendorff, Elnathan Haryey, Peter House, Henry 
Dockey, Milton Philleo, Joseph Griswold, Eli Fortune, John 


Eysaman, James Van Yalkenburgh and Su&enns Snell. The 
whole panel having been exhausted by peremptory chal- 
lenges and challenges for cause, the two last named jnrors, 
Van Yalkenbnrgh and Snell were summoned to sit as tales. 
George H. Feeter, district attorney, assisted by Abijah Mann, 
Jr., and David Bucklin, Esqs., conducted the prosecution, 
and Lauren Ford, Michael Hoffinan and Oran G. Otis, Esqrs., 
defended the prisoner. Twenty-three witnesses were called 
by the prosecution and examined, and two only on the 
part of the defense. The trial commenced on the 14th day 
of September, and on the 16th the jury pronounced the 
prisoner guUty by their verdict. The prisoner's counsel 
tendered several exceptions to the ruling of the court during 
the progress of the trial, and the judgment upon the verdict 
was respited to allow the supreme court of the state to 
examine and give judgment upon those exceptions. The 
social position of the prisoner, the alleged or supposed 
causes which prompted the commission of the offense, and 
the estimable character always borne by the unfortunate 
victim murdered, conspired to excite in our community a 
deep and intense feeling. The court room in which the 
trial was conducted, although not as large as some in 
our cities and most populous counties^ was quite spacious. 
Long before the court convened to open the trial, this room 
was filled almost to suffocation, with an anxious and deeply 
excited audience ; the avenues to the room were so densely 
thronged with people seeking admission that ingress and 
egress by the officers of the court was at times very difficult. 
I felt a strong desire to hear this trial, as I had never been 
present at the traverse of an indictment for murder, but 
my human endurance could not stand it. I once, during the 
trial, under the auspices of the district attorney, got into the 
court room, and after remaining a short time made my 
escape from it, and was compelled to remain an outsider. 
Many others were excluded from hearing the trial, and for 
the like reasons. 
The respite of the judgment rendered it necessary for the 


prifloner to be present, when the sapreme court should make 
a decision on the exceptions taken on his behalf, in order 
that the sentence of that conrt might be pronounced, in 
case the exceptions were oyermled, and with the view of 
removing the prisoner to Albany, the sheriff of the county, 
John Dygert, Esq., had brought his conveyance to the jail, 
when a short delay occurred in starting, to permit the prisoner 
to execute a testamentary di^>OBition of his property. While 
the will was being prepared, the sheriff's officers visited the 
cell where the prisoner was confined, and found him dead, 
or so nearly dead that he survived but a short time. He 
had cut his throat with a razor. This act was performed 
with a strong and unflinching hand, and sure instrument. 
The jugular artery was severed, by a long deep gash, which 
ended life almost as soon as made. 

When the grim messenger of death bore the tidings of 
this man's fate to the chancery of Heaven, think ye, did the 
recording angel, as he registered it, drop a tear of regret 
upon the record, and blot it out for ever? This suicide was 
committed in the month of October, followingthe conviction, 
and between the two periods. Ferry had devised plans of 
escape from prison, and flight to Canada. He had consider- 
able pecuniary means, and was therefore enabled to subsidize 
fit instruments for his purpose ; but all his plans were defeated 
by the vigilance of the public officers, and the care taken 
for his security. 

The next capital offense appearing on our criminal records, 
is the case of Nathaniel Foster, indicted for the murder of 
Feter Waters, a St. Regis Indian. This trial was opened on 
the 16th and closed on the 17th of September, 1834, at the 
Court House in Herkimer, before the Hon. Hiram Denio, 
circuit judge of the fifth circuit ; John B. Dygert, Abijah 
Osbom, Jonas Cleland and Bichard Herendeen, county 
judges ; and a jury consisting of the following persons : 
John Davis, John Harder, Henry Ostrander, James F. Fox, 
William Bouck, Peter Rickert, William Shoemaker, James 
Shoemaker, Lester Green, Nicholas A. Staring, Earl Trum- 

HI8T0BT OF hsbumbr oouvtt. 289 

bull and Peter Bell. James B. Hunty the 'district attorney, 
assisted by Simeon Ford, Esq., conducted the prosecution, 
and Joshua A. Spencer, Aaron Hackley, George H. Feeter, 
Lauren Ford and E. P. Hnrelbut, Esqa., appeared for the 
prisoner. The record shows there were five witnesses called 
and examined on the part of the prosecution, and five by 
the prisoner's counsel The jury rendered a verdict of noi 
guHty^ after a consultation of about two hours. That Foster 
deliberately shot the Indian, at a time, too, when he was in 
no inmiediate danger of assault from or by the Indian, and 
that this act was premeditated, there can not be much doubt, 
if there is any reliance to be placed on human testimony. 
Foster and the Indian had for some months lived near neigh- 
bors on Brown's tract, so called, in the north part of the 
county. Both were hunters of the wild game of the northern 
forests, and were probably envious of each other's success, 
if they had no substantial causes of complaint to produce 
hostile feelings between them. Foster was an old man, 
upwards of sixty winters had bleached his locks, and the 
Indian was in the prime of life, stout, athletic, and like all 
his people indulged in the use of '* fire-water," when he 
could get it, and was easily irritated and passionate. On 
the morning of the day the Indian was killed, he and Foster 
had a scuffle, and the latter was slightly wounded by the 
Indian. Some bystanders interposed and parted them, or^ 
Foster would probably have been more seriously hurt. 
Shortly after this, the Indian and several whites started off 
in a boat and bark canoes on a hunting excursion on the 
Seven lakes, and Foster followed or preceded them five 
miles by land, to a point in one of the lakes, where he shot 
the Indian, who was then alone in his canoe, but there was 
another bark canoe near by, containing two white men. 

On the trial, the prisoner's counsel proposed to ask one of 
the witnesses on the stand if he had ever heard this Indian 
threaten to kill Foster, insisting the evidence was competent 
and tended to prove that Foster was in " imminent danger " 
of being killed himself by the Indian; submitting the suffi- 


ciency of the proof to the consideration of the jury. Objec- 
tions to the admissibility of this testimony being made, the 
presiding judge of coarse sustained the objection, and ruled 
that such evidence was not competent ; one of the county 
judges concurred with Judge Denio, but the other three 
judges holding the evidence was admissible, the circuit 
judge was overruled by a majority of the common pleas 
bench. This was a novel decision in our criminal courts, 
and will not, probably, be often followed in trials for murder. 
The majority of the court must have held, that when an 
American Indian threatens to take life, the danger becomes 
imminent, from the inflexible pertinacity he has always 
evinced in carrying such threats into execution. Id certum 
ett quod certum fotestj is a sound legal maxim, but it will 
not do to apply it to the future actions of an Indian, any more 
than to an Anglo-Saxon. It is very difficult to say what 
' effect such evidence had upon the minds of the jurors, or 
might have had in a case where the killing of an Indian 
was not involved. It is not very material to discuss this 
point to any great extent, when the reasons for the acquittal 
are so well known as they were when the verdict was given, 
and even at this day. Three-fourths of the jury were of 
German descent, whose memories still lingered on the tra- 
ditional scenes of woe and desolation inflicted upon the 
families of their ancestors, by the Indian races, who never 
claimed the protection of the laws of civilization, or sub- 
mitted to the municipal regulations of the whites. I do 
not intend to impute any moral wrong to the twelve men 
who held Foster's conviction or acquittal at their disposal, 
much less will I seek to impeach their judgment or motives ; 
but truth and candor compels me to express the belief that, 
if, under the same circumstances, a white man had been 
killed by Poster, instead of the Indian, he would have been 
found guilty. Foster was not a bad man, although a hunter 
and an inhabitant of the forest nearly all his days ; he was 
not inclined to provoke quarrels with any one. The Indians 
visited the wilderness between the settled parts of St. Law- 


rence and Herkimer and Hamilton counties, and claimed the 
whole country as huntinggronnds, although their title had 
been long extinguished. This seemed to produce an un- 
friendly feeling between the hunters of the two races, which 
proved fatal to some of them, but the red men were the 
greatest sufferers. 

The next case in the criminal annals of the county, was 
that of John Allen, who was arraigned on an indictment for 
murder, before Philo Gridley, justice of the supreme court, 
of the fifth district, Ezra Graves, county judge, David 
Humphrey ville and Morgan S. Churchill, justices of the ses- 
sions, on the 5th of September, 1849. George B. Judd, 
district attorney, conducted the prosecution, and Messrs. V. 
Owen and B. Earl, the defense. Thirty-nine witnesses 
were called and examined by the prosecution. The jury 
empanneled to make "true deliverance" found the prisoner 
not guilty^ under the direction of the court. This is the sub- 
B&nce of the entry in the proceedings of the court, and 
those familiar with the expressions used, will conclude that 
the prosecution failed to make out a case of probable cause 
of guilt, against the prisoner. The murder was charged in 
the indictment, to have been committed in the town of 
Schuyler, in the winter of 1848-9. The lifeless body of a 
man was found, bearing strong marks of violence having 
been inflicted upon it, and sufficient to produce death. It 
was identified to be that of a foot pedler, traveling about 
the country, with goods of some value. It was also believed 
he had a small amount of money with him. The circum- 
stances connected with this sad affair, produced a strong im- 
pression on the public mind, that the man had been murdered, 
in order to obtain possession of his goods and money, or that he 
was killed in defending himself against a violent robbery. 
The popular excitement in our community ran to a pretty 
high pitch, and a just indignation at the commission of so 
foul a deed, was loudly expressed. The officers of justice 
were soon on the alert, and the district attorney ably and 
resolutely performed his duty, and if he failed to convict 


tiie man indicted and arraigned^ that failure can not joatly 
be charged to a want of indnstry or energy, on the part of 
the proaecntion. 

This ends my catalogue of capital offenses against life, 
for a period of nearly sixty-fonr years, since the erection of 
the county. In all that time there have been two convictions 
for mnrder, but no pnblic execution by the hangman. 
May the good Providence of God, and a just regard of our 
population to their duty and obedience to the laws, continue 
to avert from us all cause for such an exhibition of punish*- 

We can not and do not claim to be exempt from the com- 
mission of crime in the lower grade of oftenses, but the calen- 
dar has not been large, nor have the instances been grave 
or serious. The petty larceny fraternity have not yet 
quite left us, or abandoned their business, and there have 
been those who indulged in acts of felonious appropriation 
upon a larger scale, so as to come under the definition^f 
grand larceny. 

Bands of counterfeiters and persons engaged in passing 
counterfeit paper money, and spurious coin, have heretofore 
infested the county, the rigor with which these law-breakers 
were prosecuted, and the vigilance of the public officers in 
detecting and ferreting out these depredators upon the 
public, has long since cleared the county of this class of 
offenders. I do not mean to say we have not had instances 
of offenses of this sort committed in the county within twenty 
years, but the cases have been rare within that time com- 
pared with the period between 1820 and 1830. 

Upon a careful review of the statistics of crime committed 
in this county the present century, and comparing them with 
other counties in the state, and other communities, we find 
much to encourage a hope that the future in our progress 
will present more gratifying results than the past, and that 
the moral sentiment of the population of the county in this 
respect, as in every other duty of life, may be found the 
highest and best of any in the state. 


BiogwpliicaL Sketches of Stephen Ajree, Alexander H. Bnell, Robert Bmch, 
Stephen W. Brown, Benjamin Bowen, Dan Chapman, Atwater Cook, William 
H. Cook, Rufus Crain, Henry Ellison, John Frank, Simeon Ford, David V. 
W. Golden, Gaylord Oriswold, Joab Qiiswold, Slihn Griswold, John Graves, 
David Holt, Michael Hofiman, Stephen Hallett, PhUo M. Haokley, Heniy 
Hopkins, Sanders Lansing, John Mahon, Thomaa BCanlj, Jacob Markell, 
John Mills, Michael Myers, William Petry, George Rosecrants, Nathan 
Smith, Bphraim Snow, Henry Tlllinghast, Stephen Todd, Abijah Tombling, 
Bdmnnd Vamey, Richard Van Home, Evans Wharxy, George Widrig, 
Westel Willonghby, Channcey Woodmff, Sherman Wooster, Samuel 


The writer has indulged in some personal gratification in 
collecting and writing out the biographical sketches pre- 
sented to the reader's attention in this chapter. That grati- 
fication would have been greatly increased, if the means of 
doing more ample justice to the subject had been within his 


reach, and he could have included every name found in the 
official list printed in the appendix. He was familiarly 
acquainted with very many of the individuals of whom he 
has written, and take them as a class, or individually, with 
one exception, for purity of character, elevated and patriotic 
purpose in action through life, they should not have a second 
place on the scroll of fame. Their sphere of action was 
limited, but they bore the same relation to the people of the 
county, that others filling higher and more elevated posi- 
tions held in respect to the communities they represented. 
There have been and always will be, I suppose, grades of 
excellence in official men; some may have no excellence at 
all, but this can not be said of those whose biographies are 

found in the succeeding pages of this chapter. 




Stephen Aybes 

Was a native of Massachasetts, and born at Braintree, 
February ISih, 1770. He came into this state with his 
father, Jabez Ayres, in the year 1792, who settled in the 
town of Salisbury, where he made his clearing, raised his 
family, and went to his final rest, leaving the subject of this 
notice to inherit a good farm and a large share of his energy 
of character. Mr. Stephen Ayres purchased a lot of land in 
the then town of Norway, now Fairfield, in the fall of 1792, 
which he brought undef cultivation and on which he lived 
until his death. He was a practical surveyor, an occupation 
he occasionally pursued until age incapacitated him from 
service in the field. In the course of a long and active life 
he had traced many of the lines of lots on the patents on the 
north side of the river, and could designate the boundaries 
of lots, ^d describe and locate the comer trees from memory, 
many years after he had quit the active pursuits of his pro- 
fession, and indeed many years after he had made his survey. 
His son, Hiram Ayres, was called on, not many years before 
his father's death, to trace the lines of a lot at a distant 
point on the Royal grant, from the family residence, and 
when told the number and location of the lot, Mr. Ayres 
described to his son with particular exactness, the corner 
of the lot where the survey commenced, and lest these land- 
marks might have been removed or destroyed, he also 
described a peculiar witness tree, and its course and distance 
from the true corner, when surveyed about twenty years 
before and not since visited by him. 

In 1836, Mr. Ayres represented this county in the Asem- 
bly, with Frederick Bellinger and Thomas Hawkes. He 
was not ambitious of political preferment, although he 
deservedly enjoyed the confidence and esteem of his fellow 
citizens. In stature he was full six feet, and '^ well propor- 
tioned." He was of that class and school of men who 
reasoned well and endeavored to act wisely. He chose to 
be governed by the results of his own reflections, and the 



I . , ■■.:■■:■■• 

lr:.-i>-' . 


dictates of a sound judgment, rather than hazard a novel 
experiment directed and controlled by a sudden excitement. 
It required no " sober second thought " to bring himself to 
a position he deemed it his duty as a citizen to occupy, under 
any and all circumstances. I may have placed a false esti- 
mate upon the character of Mr. Ayres, but I think not. He 
lived in the easterly part of the town of Fairfield, where he 
also pursued the occupation of husbandry through a long 
and well spent life, and having by industry and frugality 
gathered and enjoyed a competence of this world's goods, 
he closed his earthly pilgrimage on the 17th of September, 
1850, in the 81st year of his age, respected by all who knew 

Alexandeb H. Buell 

Was a native of Fairfield, in this county. His father, 
BoBwell Buell, a native of Killingworth, Connecticut, came 
into the county at an early day, and seated himself on the 
spot now known as Fairfield village. In 1795, he married 
Sarah Griswold, daughter of Daniel Griswold, also a 
native of Killingworth, who settled in Fairfield about the 
year 1790, and has now numerous descendants residing in 
that town. 

About the year 1800, Mr. Roswell Buell opened a store in 
Fairfield, and was some time engaged in the mercantile 
business. He was distinguished for his enterprise and 
benevolence. He donated an acre of land to the trustees 
of Fairfield academy, in 1802, on which the first academic 
edifice was erected. In the midst of an active and useful 
life, he fell a victim to the epidemic which prevailed in the 
winter of 1813-13, aged 40 years. His affairs were some- 
what involved by this sudden event, and after the settle- 
ment of his estate was effected, only a small patrimony 
remained to the surviving members of his family. His 
widow still lives, and at the close of 1855, has attained the 
venerable age of 86 years. 

Alexander Hamilton Buell, the subject of this notice, was 


born July 14th, 1801. The loss eo early in life of the coun- 
sel and sustaining aid of a father, when both were so much 
needed, was no doubt viewed by young Buell as a severe 
calamity. He soon seemed to appreciate the circumstances 
which surrounded him, and was fully impressed with the 
idea that he must be the artificer of his own fame and 
fortune ; that success could only be looked for through his 
own exertions. The position in which he was placed had 
great influence in moulding his character and developing 
those traits which led to his subsequent success in life as a 
merchant. His opportunities for an accomplished academic 
education were somewhat limited by his engagements as a 
clerk in the store of Mr. Stephen Hallett, then oiie of the 
principal business men at Fairfield. His time at school was 
however well employed, and he sought to make up by dili- 
gence and studious application during his leisure hours, what 
he lost while engaged in the store of his employer. 

A marked feature of young BuelPs character is developed 
in the following facts : During the first thre6 years of his 
employment with Mr. Hallett, and he commenced at the 
age of 14, he was diligent and attentive as a clerk in the 
store, supporting himself by his own exertions, and at the 
same time superintending the affairs of his widowed mother 
with all the efficiency of a man of mature years, and with 
a kindness and solicitude that carried with it a sweet and 
soothing solace. Nor was this all; his sisters, orphaned 
like himself, were not unfrequent recipients of presents 
from the surplus of his earnings. He had become so 
accomplished in business, several years before he reached 
his majority, that he was repeatedly sent by his employer to 
the city of New York to purchase goods to replenish his 

Mr. Buell, at the age of 21, became a partner in business 
with his former employer, and at Mr. Hallett's death, 
assumed the sole proprietorship of the business at Fairfield. 
He subsequently, in connection with different individuals, 
extended his mercantile business into the neighboring towns 


and villages in th^ county ; afterwards, gi^ng scope to a 
clear and comprehensive mind, and the exertion of an 
excellent business talent, his commercial operations were 
extended to counties in this state remote from his native 
home 3 and he did not finally stop until he reached the 
distant shores of the Pacific ocean ; even California was 
not neglected by the accomplished and successful Fairfield 
merchant. I am not aware thsNt Mr. Bi^ell ever thought of 
removing to New York, where fortunes are so rapidly made 
and marred in commercial pursuits. He was several times 
gratified and honored by the confidence of his townsmen, 
in electing him to local offices of trust and confidence. Hje 
was a member of the assembly from this county in 1845. 
This, I believe was his first appearance at Albany as a legis- 
lator. He was placed at the head of the important com- 
mittee on banks and insurance companies, in a house in no 
respect destitute of men of talents. Although it is not 
usual to select the chairmen of the leading committees from 
new members, the appointment in this instance was judi- 
cious, and the compliment well deserved. In this new and 
untried position, Mr. Buell sustained himself in every 
respect to the satisfaction of the house 'and his friends. 
An ardent politiciau of the Herkimer school, a.nd I use this 
term because our neighbors in other counties charge us 
with being *' of the strictest sect," it was his duty and his 
pleasure to square his official conduct to ,suit the feelinga 
and opinions of his constituents. 

Mr. Buell was chosen member of the 32d congress from 
the 17th congressional district, composed of Herkimer and 
Montgomery counties, at the November ejection, 1850. His 
competitor was a personal friend, and then the member 
from the district, Henry P. Alexander. The canvass was 
briskly conducted and adroitly managed by the contestants 
.and their friends. The district was one in which there 
could not be much doubt when the whole vote was polled 
and party lines strictly drawn as '^ in olden time." He was 
married to Miss Harriet E. Gruman, of Clinton, Oneida 




coanty, November 9, 1840. Before taking his seat in the 
congress, to which he had been elected, Mr. Buell closed his 
connection with most of the mercantile establishments in 
which he had been interested, over which he conld not well 
exercise a personal supervision. He won and enjoyed the 
confidence and regard, not only of the business community, 
but of his political friends and associates. By his industry, 
application and unwearied exertions, he accumulated a 
fortune, enough to satisfy the reasonable desires of an 
ambitious man a little removed from the commercial and 
financial emporiums of our state, where few men are counted 
rich who are rated under a million of dollars, where com- 
parisons serve only to stimulate to hazardous experiments, 
and even wild and imaginary speculations. He must, of 
course, have been punctual in all his pecuniary engagements, 
and prompt in all his other business relations. His surviv- 
ing townsmen have cause to remember him for his public 
spirit, and the worthy recipients of charity never solicited 
his aid in vain. 

Mr. Buell died at Washington city on the 31st January, 
1853, after a brief and painful illness, in the 52d year of his 
age. The house of representatives passed the usual resolu- 
tion of condolence; and while a monument in the congres- 
sional burying ground commemorates his official connection 
with that eminent body of American statesmen and his 
death, his mortal remains, distinguished by a suitable memo- 
rial, have found a final resting place in the grounds of 
Trinity church, Fairfield, by the side of which repose the 
remains of a father, brother and an infant daughter. His 
wife, two sons and a daughter, survived him. 

Robert Bubch 

Was bom in Killingsly, Connecticut, December 3d, 1761, 
emigrated from Berkshire county, Massachusetts, into this 
state, seated himself in the present town of Schuyler in 1799, 
and died on the farm he had opened and reduced from a 


wildemesB state, on the 36th of June, 1830, in the 69th year 
of his age. 

Devoted to agricultural pursuits, Mr. Burch bore the even 
tenor of his way through life unobtrusively, and left several 
sons, who are among our prominent and active business 

He was one of the members of the assembly from this 
county at the sessions of 1811 and 1812, at a period when 
national and state politics very much engrossed public atten- 
tion. He possessed a quick apprehension and a soimd and 
discriminating judgment^ He was diligent and attentive to 
his public duties, and was careful in those times of high 
party strife to be prepared to vote promptly when the ques- 
tion was propounded by the speaker. I have heard an 
anecdote repeated of him to this effect. His seat in the 
house was near that of Mr. Brayton, a member from Oneida, 
with whom he was on terms of friendly, social intercourse, 
although they differed on political subjects. Mr. Burch was 
always in his seat and prompt to respond in a pretty audible 
tone of voice when the roll was called on a division. Mr. 
Brajrton may have been, and probably was, classed among 
the leading men of his party. Now for the anecdote. On 
one occasion, after a pretty stormy debate and close vote on 
a division, Mr. Brayton accosted his political adversary and 
said to him, ^^ Burch, how does it happen that you are always 
so prompt and ready to vote, your party friends following 
your lead to a man, and you seem to give yourself but little 
trouble in regard to matters before the house ?" Mr. Burch 
coolly remarked, "I'll tell you, sir, how it is; your name 
being called next before mine, I am careful to notice how 
you answer, and, always on questions of this sort, 'vote 
against you, and feel assured I am quite right." The ques- 
tion may have been prompted by some momentary feeling 
of irritation under defeat; the answer shows that the 
respondent was fully satisfied he had done his duty. 

A few years after Mr. Burch settled in Schuyler, some of 
his former neighbors " at the east" sent him some branches 


of a dwarf evergreen, too frequently fonnd in the soil of 
New England, not only to remind him of his former home, 
but as they said, ** to keep him from being homesick." A 
pretty good antidote that for any such ailment in one then 
rieposing in the luxuriant valley of the Mohawk* 

Stephen W. Brown 

Was a native of Williainstown, Mass. He was several 
years engaged in mercantile business, in the town of Salis- 
bury, in this county, which resulted favorably. He removed 
to Little Falls in the year 1830, with a view to a more ex- 
tended field of business operations, and to give a wider 
scope to a mind fertile in expedients. He was liberal and 
public spirited, if not to a fault, so far as regarded his pecu- 
niary resources, it may well be said, he indulged his generous 
feeling to the extremest limit of prudence. He was active, 
ardent and almost incessantly ei^ged in business. Always 
among the fii^pt, and with the foremost, in any local business 
enterprilse that required associated capital, and combined 
personal exertion, to carry it forward to a successful result; 
or in founding and rearing some public institution, perma- 
nently beneficial to the locality where it was to be established. 
After his removal to Little Falls, he was several years engaged 
in trade at that place, which he finally relinquished, and 
devoted his whole time and attention to the afiSetirs of a 
manufacturing establishment, which had been brought into 
existence mainly through his personal exertions. He closed 
his mercantile business in 1843. 

He was chosen sheriff of the county at the November 
election, 1837, and held the office one term. He was a 
popular officer; kind and agreeable in manners, and cheerful 
in disposition, he had many friends, and very few, if any, 
enemies. With an almost inexhaustible flow of kindly good 
feelings, and hopeful in the extreme, antici^ted results 
were sometimes counted as accomplished, when in fact 
actual realization was not within the measure of a fair pro- 



bability. His character^ its a man, wa8 irreproachable, or 
if not 80, the tongae of blame has not blazoned his faults to 
the world. He was a reformer in almost every thing relating 
to politics and civil government, and exerted his influence, 
effectually at times, to correct some of the flagrant abuses 
of the bad men of the legal profession, which were oppress- 
ive. I say bad men, for I know that only a few of that 
honorable class, would descend so low as to commit the 
faults which, through his agency, were immediately and 
successfully remedied by legislative interference. He was 
suddenly and violently attacked, when absent from home on 
business, with a fatal malady, from which he did not recover. 
He survived but a few days, after his return to his family 
at Little Falls. 

The monument erected to his memory, by those who 
knew him well, and appreciated his worth, bears this incrip- 
tion : 


Died May 30th, 1S46, 

Aged, 49 jean. 

This stone is erected bj hb 

neighbotm to erinoe their 

•high eBtixDtttion of his ohftiaoter. 

Benjamin Bowen 

Was a native of Rhode Island. He came from Newport, in 
that state, to Fairfield, in 1787, where he purchased a farm 
and settled. He remained at Fairfield until 1792, when he 
removed to Newport, and commenced the erection of mills 
at that place, and laid the foundation of the prosperity of 
that pleasant and thrifty village. He was a man of great 
activity and enterprise. He was a member of the legislature 
in 1798, elected on the same ticket with Gaylord Griswold, 
Henry McNeil, Nathan Smith, Mathew Brown, Jr., Lodo- 
wick Campbell and Isaac Foot. This was the only time 
that I find he was chosen a member of either branch of the 
legislature. He was appointed one of the judges of the 


comity courts October 30th, 1800, and held the office nearly 
five years, and probably as long as his political friends had 
the bestowment of patronage. He died at a somewhat 
advanced age, leaving no male descendants in this county. 
His only son emigrated to Alabama with his family in 1819, 
and died there. I believe Judge Bo wen also died in Ala- 
bama, but I am not certain of this fact. Thus the name 
of one -of the earliest and most enterprising pioneers of 
the northern part of the county has become extinct, but a 
memorial of his active and zealous efforts to make the 
*^ desert blossom as the rose " still remains. 

Dan Chapman 

Was a native of the state of Connecticut. He came into 
the county at an early period after its erection, and settled 
on the Stone ridge, Herkimer village, where he engaged in 
mercantile pursuits, but the ledger balances showing a 
deficit, he abandoned the weights and measures of merchan* 
dising, and betook himself to those of the legal profession. 
He must have been admitted to the bar previous to May, 
1804 ; his name does not appear on the roll of attorneys 
commencing at that date. He was appointed surrogate of 
the county March 23d, 1803, superseded in 1807 by an 
adverse council of appointment, reappointed in 1808, and 
held the office until November, 1816. He seems to have 
escaped some of the political vicissitudes of the times 
during his last period, that appear to have been visited upon 
the sheriff and county clerk. The federal party held the 
appointing power of the state in 1810 and 1813, and if 
political confprmity preserved to him the seals of probate 
and administration, Mr. Chapman must have been exceed- 
ingly adroit and fiexible. He quit the profession about the 
year 1820, and removed to Oneida coimty. He again 
returned to this county, and after remaining here a short 
time removed to Montgomery county, where he died a few 
years since at a very advanced age. He was a subaltern 


officer in the revolntionarj army, and enjoyed the gratuity 
of his country in his old age, which softened and assuaged 
the '' ills that life is heir to." He was not successful in 
accumulating wealth, although his life was morally and 
religiously irreproachable. 

Atwateb Cook 


Was born in the town of Salisbury, in this county, Decem- 
ber 17, 1796, of parents in moderate circumstances in life, 
who were of English or Anglo-Saxon extraction. His father 
lived to attain a pretty advanced old age. 

Like most young men of that day, Mr. Cook's education 
was limited to the course of instruction taught in the country 
schools of that time, but he was endowed with a strong and 
vigorous mind, a sound and discriminating judgment, and 
much practical good sense. He experienced some of the 
vicissitudes of life and the ^' charms of its varieties " were 
not unknown to him at the commencement of his career of 
manhood. He resolved, by just and laudable efforts, to 
overcome all obstacles to the attainment of a reasonable 
competence and the enjoyment of the confidence and good 
will of his fellow citizens. He early turned his attention 
to the dairy, and was among the first of our farmers who 
abandoned grain-growing and resorted to grazing. His 
exclusive attention was not given to agriculture. At differ- 
ent periods of his life he was engaged in mechanical and 
mercantile pursuits. 

Mr. Cook was many years one of the justices of the peace 
of his town ; the duties of the office he discharged with 
ability and satisfaction to the people. He also held other 
town offices of confidence and trust, and exerted, when he 
chose, noinconsiderable influence among his fellow citizens. 
When in the prime of life, he bestowed considerable atten- 
tion, by reading and study, to the cultivation of a sound 
and vigorous understanding. At the general election in 


1830, he was chosen one of the members of assembly for 
the county* Nicholas Lawyer, of Danube, and Olmsted 
Hough, of Schuyler, were his colleagues. l(r. Cook was 
an attentive uid industrious men^ber of the house during 
the session of 1831, and was active and efficient in his exer- 
tions to promote the interests of his constituents in regard 
to local legislation, and especially in removing the alien 
dead weight which had many years pressed so heavily upon 
the village of Little Falls. 

Although not trained to public debating, he q)oke several 
times during the session on important subjects before the 
house, and was listened to with great attention. He was 
much respected, and his familiar acquaintance with the 
internal local affairs of towns and countie*s, made him a 
useful member. In 1839, Mr. Cook and Benjamin Carver, 
represented the county in the assembly. This time his 
party was in a political minority in the house. 

It may truly be said of Mr. Cook, he possessed a mind of 
considerable conservative tendencies, still he was a man of 
progress. He Uved in a progressive age, and belonged to a 
progressive race, and he failed not to meet the exigencies 
of the day and the hour when action was called for. He 
was among the first in the town of Salisbury to initiate the 
temperance movement, and he continued, through life, to 
give the cause his warmest advocacy and most hearty support 
He was equally active, prompt and devoted to every move- 
ment which would tend to ameliorate the condition of his 
race, or promote the welfare and best interests of the com- 
munity where he lived. 

Mr. Cook's health was quite infirm during the latter years 
of his life, and he sufiered much and acutely, from severe 
sickness; neverthelesss, his death was sudden, and unex- 
pected to his friends at a distance. He died at his family 
residence, in Salisbury, February 14th, 1853. He was then 
the oldest male inhabitant, born in the town. By industry, 
strict application to business, and a watchful providence of 

HIStOBT 09 HBBKHCEB Cd0Vtt. 306 

his yearly g^ins, he had accumulated a competence of Wealth, 
for all human purposes, which he left to be enjoyed by his 

William H. Cook 

Was a native of this state, and came into Norway, in the 
fall of 1792, from Dutchess county. He settled a short 
distance westerly of Norway village, where he devoted him- 
self to farming and merchandising, pretty extensively, and 
if I have not been misinformed, made some effort at the 
milling business, which did not in the end amount to much, 
in the way of increasing his we 1th He was appointed 
sheriff of the county, March 17th, 1802, and was annually 
thereafter appointed, until 1806 ; when he was left out of 
^commission but was again appointed sheriff, in 1807, mid 
held the office one year longer. This ended his official 
career in this county, and it might have been well for him 
if he had never tasted office. 

Mr. Cook was in the battle of Tippecanoe, fought on the 
night of the 6th of November, 1811, between a small Ameri- 
can force, under Gen. Harrison, and a numerous body of 
north-western Indians. He died at Yincennes, Indiana. 
Jabes Fox, a native of Connecticut, came into this county 
about the year 1810, married a daughter of Mr. Cook. H6 
was admitted as an attorney, at the Herkimer county common 
pleas, in January, 1813. Mr. Fox pursued his profession a 
few years at Herkimer, and then removed to Little Falls, in 
1818, or about that period. He was elected county clerk, 
under the then new constitution, at the general election, in 
1822, to hold for the term of three years, from the 1st day 
of January following. He died at Herkimer, in January 
1825, at the age of 35 years. 

Doctor Rupus Cbain 

Was a native of Western, Worcester county, Massachu- 
setts, and the second son in a family of ten children. His 


father, Isaac Grain, was bom in Coventry, Connecticut, and 
his mother, whose maiden name was Putnam, and a near rela- 
tion of Gren. Israel Putnam, was also a native of Western. His 
early education was entirely sufficient to enable him to study 
and practice the medical profession with much success. 
He studied under the direction of Dr. Ross, of Colerain, 
Mass., who is spoken of as an eminent and successful prac- 
titioner, and after completing his course, formed a connec- 
tion in business with his late tutor, which terminated when 
he came to this state in 1790. 

His first object was to fix himself at Cooperstown, Otsego 
county, but passing through Warren on the route to his place 
of destination, being pleased with the country and the 
inhabitants, and finding many of them from New England, he 
changed his determination and seated himself in Warren, 
which at that time was destitute of a physician. Here he 
devoted himself to his profession with the characteristic zeal 
and assiduity of a young New Englander, and in a few years 
found himself enjoying the rich fruition of an extended and 
lucrative business. His position in a country town containing 
as good landft as any in the county, enabled him to engage 
in agricultural pursuits, which he prosecuted with success 
in connection with his professional business, which received 
his chief attention, to nearly the close of his life. Doctor 
Crain came into the state early in life and formed a connec- 
tion by marriage with an influential family of the town in 
which he died. He was one of the early patrons of the 
Medical college at Fairfield, and devoted himself earnestly 
and efficiently to its success.' He, like hundreds of others 
who left the then over populated and not very prolific soil 
of New England, near the close of the last century, had 
determined to try his fortune in Western New York, as then 
called, and he came, as he once told me when we were riding 
together from Herkimer to Little Falls, resolved on success. 
*' Yes, sir,*' said he, in reply to a remark of mine, " a young 
man with a good profession and a fair share of t^ilents, need 
not fail, he can not fail in a new country, if he is prudent, 


industrions and attentive to buBiness. He can, if he wills to 
do it, establiBh a reputation and accumulate a competence." 
With a mind so constituted, success in life could only have 
been prevented by a series of disastrous events, beyond the 
control of the individual whose fate is affected by them, 
and against which human foresight could erect no guards. 

Although uniform and decided in his political principles. 
Doctor Grain did not usually take an active part in the 
contests which agitated the country, and especially his 
adopted state, during many years of his life, in reference 
to public measures. He preferred to devote himself to the 
more peaceful and congenial pursuits of his profession, and 
these were not often affected by the success or defeat of his 
party friends. 

In the course of a long and useful life. Doctor Grain was 
often called upon by the confidence and partiality of his 
townsmen to perform the duties of various local offices in 
his town. He was appointed one of the judges of the court 
of common pleas of the county on the 24th of February, 
1817, and superseded in March, 1820, for political causes. 
He was again reappointed in March, 1821, February, 1823, 
and April, 1828, and held the office until 1833, when he was 
left out of the commission at his own request. The doctor 
was enough of a politician to be struck down whenever his 
opponents could reach him. 

In the presidential contest in 1828, between President 
Adams and General Jackson, Doctor Grain was the demo- 
cratic candidate for elector in this congressional district, 
and was chosen to that office. The presidential electors 
were then chosen by districts. When I say he was the demo- 
craiic candidate, I suppose the fact that he favored Jackson's 
election is sufficiently indicated. If it is not, then I will 
say he was one of the twenty electors of this state who voted 
for the general in December, 1828. The selection of Dr. 
Grain to perform the great and important trust of declaring 
the will of a constituency in the choice of the highest elec- 
tive office in tlie world, was alike due to his social position 


308 HI8T0RT OF HBEitmnii ooinmr. 

and political standing. De Tocqueville thinks we have 
adopted a most happy expedient in our mode of electing a 
chief magistrate, combining, as it does, the ^^ respect due to 
the popular voice Vrith the utmost celerity of execution, and 
those precautions which the peace of the country demands." 
The last part of the sentence might have been omitted, for 
the American people have not yet seen the time when they 
would go seriously to work cutting each other's throats for 
the sake of any candidate for the presidency, and probably 
never wilL 

Doctor Crain possessed a large fund of anecdote, and was 
very social and hospitable. He died in the town of Warrep, 
September 18th, 1846, having arrived at the mature age of 
three score years and over, leaving a handsome estate to 
the inheritance of two descendants, a son and a daughter. 

Henbt Ellison 

Was, I believe, a native of one of the New England states. 
He came to this county, and settled in the town of Herkimer, 
at an early period of its history, on the West Canada creek, 
several miles north of Herkimer village, where he was many 
years successfdlly engaged in farming and tcmning. He 
was a sagacious, intelligent man, although, like most of his 
compeers in age and occupation, his early school education 
was limited. A sound judgment, industry and frugality, 
make ample am^ids for the absence of mental adornments, 
in the industrial pursuits of life, where the latter can have 
but little application. 

Mr. Ellison was chosen an elector of president and vice 
president, in 1836, and gave his vote in the state college of 
electors for Martin Van Buren, as the successor of Gen. 
Jackson. To him a most grateful office, the remembrance 
of which he long cherished. This selection was due* to hia 
charactfT, as a man, and his political standing with his 
party. He was a strict economist, in public affiiirs, as well 
as in his domestic relations. He accumulated an ample 


estate^ which he left to his posterity. Mr. Ellison died 
about six years ago, at his residence in Herkimer, at a pretty 
advanced age. 

John Frank 

Was the son of Conrad Frank, a palatine emigrant, and 
one of the patentees of the grant commonly called Staley's 
3d tract John was appointed a justice of the peace for 
Montgomery county, March 27th, 1790, and afterwards 
commissioned as one of the justices of Herkimer county, 
February 17th, 1791, and appointed one of the judges of the 
county courts, March 27th, 1794, and held that o£5ce until 
1799 or 1800. From my recollection of him, he was small 
in stature, and when young, must have been a remarkably 
energetic man. He was in the prime of life and vigor of man- 
hood, during the dark and calamitous period of the revolu- 
tion, and one of the committee of safety, in the German 
Flats and Kingsland districts. The name is spelled Frink, 
by Campbell and Stone, when giving a list of the members 
of the committee, from different districts of Tryon county. 

When the news of the destruction of Andrustown, by 
Brant and his dusky servitors, on the 18th of July, 1778, 
reached Fort Herkimer, Judge Frank was atnong the fore^ 
most and most zealous of the resolute patriots, who volun- 
teered to repel and punish the marauders. Brant, having the 
advantage in time, was too wary and niinble-footed for his 
pursuers. He had accomplished his objects, and had no 
wish to encounter, in a hand-to-hand fight, an exasperated 
and resolute foe, although not his equal in numbers. 

Brant's escape being fuUy ascertained when his pursuers 
reached the Little lakes, their mortification and disappoint- 
ment was distinctly manifested in plundering and burning 
the habitations of Young and Collyer, two decided tories 
who had given *' aid and comfort" to the enemy, on his way 
to Andrustown, and who had not been molested or injured 
by Brant and his followers. This application of the /aarfa/tonit 



would be considered rather severe at this day, when not 
provoked by some active participation in aggression, on the 
part of the sufferers. But let it be remembered, that the 
tory inhabitants of the country, although they might, from 
policy, refrain from being seen with arms in their hands, 
making war upon their liberty-loving neighbors, were at all 
times active and diligent in conveying intelligence to their 
hurt ; and ever ready to supply the king's adherents with 
provisions, and shelter them from pursuit, when required or 
needful, and whose humanity was never known to give a 
sympathetic tear of sorrow or regret, at the manifold and 
unspeakable sufferings inflicted upon their nearest neighbors, 
and former fellow subjects; and we can not, and should not 
condemn them for any acts of retaliatory severity, short of 
taking life. I crave indulgence, for justifying by argument, 
what some may from tenderness set down in the catalogue 
of wrongs. 

There is not, in my judgment, any grounds for supposing 
Judge Frank disapproved of the conduct of his companions, 
in their dealings with Young and Collyer. What had he 
seen within a few hours? A small, secluded hamlet of seven 
families, remote from the track of war, invaded for the mere 
object of plunder, everything valuable that could be removed 
carried away, five of the inhabitants killed, the remainder 
driven into captivity, and every house and other building in 
the settlement, reduced to ashes by the invader's torch., . 

Judge Frank closed a long and eventful life, in the town 
of German Flats, about 15 years ago. When the infirmities 
of age had bowed his venerable head, so that he could no 
longer stand or walk erect, he retained to the last, and in a 
remarkable manner, the full possession of a sound, vigorous 
and intelligent mind. His residence was near the south 
bank of the Mohawk river, nearly opposite to Herkimer 
village, and a few rods west of the site of old Fort Herkimer. 
He had seen the infant Oerman settlements,^ on the north 
side of the river, twice destroyed. Once, by the French 
and Indians, in 1767, and again, by the Indians and tones. 


in 1778; he had also seen the settlements on the sotith side 
of the river, devastated by the French and Indians, in 1758, 
and again by Brant and his followers, in 1778. He lived to 
see his country again involved in the war of 1812; the patri- 
otic alacrity of his countrymen, as they marched to the 
frontiers for her defense, and he saw that struggle closed 
by an honorable peace. And, he lived to see what cheered 
the ardor of his noble heart, and soothed the anxieties of 
his declining years, his country free, prosperous and happy. 

Simeon Fobd. 

In 1816, when I came into the county, this gentleman 
was a prominent and leading member of the bar, a position 
he had held several years. He came into the county 
previous to 1797, and after his admission to the bar, was 
associated in the profession with Mr. Gaylord Griswold, until 
the death of the latter. Being the junior member of the firm 
his partner, as was then the fashion, stood first on the list, as the 
recipient of political favors and promotion. Mr. Ford was ap- 
pointed district attorney of the county, early in the year 1819, 
and held the office until May, 1823, the duties of which he per* 
formed with ability, and most untiring fidelity. He was a 
sound, well read, criminal lawyer, and a good advocate, 
»nd in saying this, I must not be understood as intimating 
he was not in other respects eminent in his profession. He 
always conducted his prosecutions as if he believed, and 
felt, the prisoner was guilty, and it was his duty to convict. 
The rogues often stood appalled, when the grand-jury came 
into court with true bills against them. Mr. Ford again 
held the office pf district attorney a short time in 1836. He 
had, previous to 1820, been several times a candidate for 
popular suffrage, more with a view, as I suppose, of gratify- 
ing his political friends, than with a confident expectation 
of -success. Not because the candidate was unpopular with 
his party, or was in any respect unfit for the place. The reader 
familiar with the history of Herkimer county politics, in former 


times, can well understand, why Mr. Ford should be defeated 
in a popular election, at the times referred to. 

No man i^ the county had stronger hold upon the feelings 
of party friends, or stood higher in their estimation, than 
Mr Ford, and they were ever ready to place him as a can- 
didcHte before the people, when a chance of success should 
occur. At the annual elections, in the spring of 1820 and 
1821, he was chosen member of assembly. His legislative 
career was limited to the two sessions of 1821 and 1822, 
during which, if he was not the party leader, he was an 
influential and prominent member of the house. He was 
attentive, watchful and industrious, and Governor Clinton 
could not have had a more ardent and devoted supporter 
of his policy, than Mr. Ford wasi Old associations, and limg 
tried attachments, clustered around him, and he could not 
bear to see them dissipated, without making an effort to 
prevent it. He bad always been the advocate of the canal 
policy, enunciated by Mr. Clinton, which was strongly 
assailed by many of the governor's opponents. He was, 
moreover, deeply imbued with a conservative feeling, ia 
regard to the existing judiciary. It was th^se views and 
opinions, commendable in any mi^n, which brought Mr. Ford 
into the position, a false one, as respected the public feeling, 
of attempting to stem or turn aside a popular torrent, whiph. 
eventually swept him and his friends from power* for a 
time. If we claim to justify our own conduct, in public 
affairs, pn the basis of an honest conviction, that what we 
advocQrte is right, we must allow the same immunity to an 
oppoi^ent. What the majority may say, in respect to ihe^ 
merits of the question debated, is quite an other matter. 
Thus much has, been said, because many worthy citiz^ens of 
the. county believe Mr. Ford was entirely conscientious in 
the course he pursued, and they could not but admire his. 
courage, an4. devotion. 

Mr. Ford became pecuniarily embarrassed by the purchase 
of some lands in the Hassenclever patent. Perhaps, other 
real estate purchase^, oear Herkimer^ were, connected with 

■■-^^ ■ ■■». ■ 


it. At liny rate, if he had held the landd in the pabtit, a few 
years longer, the result would have been quite different. 
Instead of suffering a loss, he would have realized a handsome 
profit by the rise in prices. 

In the year 1825, he was appointed by Governor Clinton 
to an office at the salt springs, Syracuse. He remained there 
several years. He resigned his post at Syracuse, and remo- 
ved to Bochester, where he remained five years and then he 
returned to Herkimer, and resumed his profession in 1832, 
with all the ardor and buoyancy of a vigorous young man. 
But his professional business had been broken up, and his 
former clients had been compelled, in his absence, to seek 
professional aid and advice in other quarters and among his 
successors. He remained, however, at Herkimer until about 
the year 1836, when he removed to Cleveland, Ohio, where 
he pursued his profession successfully several years, giving 
much of his attention to the office of prosecuting attorney, 
which he received when he went to Cleveland, and held at 
the time of his death, which took place in the year 183d, 
at the ag^ of 62 years. He was a native of Berkshire, 
Massachusetts, and removed from Berkshire county into 
this state. He was high-minded, honorable and generous, 
almost to a fault. His office was the chief resott of students 
in the legal profession in this part of the state for nearly 
twenty years. Few men in the legal profession have been 
ihore highly respected in the dircle of tlfieir acquaintanbd 
than Mr. Ford, and few have better deserved it 

David V. W. Golden 

Was a native of Beekmantown, Dutcheis^ county, fn 
1798 he removed to Niskayuna, in this state, where he was 
several years engaged in the mercantile busiiieiaAs. In 1798 
he came into this county, and established himself in the 
present town of Columbia, where he carried on his mercan- 
tile business until his death, which took place on the 11th 
of February, 1814, aged 41 years. Mr. Golden openeld the 

314 HUTOBT OP mcRgfinni ooramr. 

first store in the town, and is repnted to haTe been quite 
sacceflsfol in Ira8ine8& 

He was appointed one of the judges of the comity conrts 
in March, 1810, and commissioned first judge of die county, 
March 2l8t, 1811, and held the office until his death. The 
records of the courts show that Judge Grolden was attentive 
to the duties of his office. He was a man of considerable 
note in the county, and was regarded for his honorable 
conduct and fair dealing. 

6aytx)bd Gbibwold 

Was a native of Windsor, in the state of Connecticut. 
He settled in the county soon after it was erected, if not 
before. He is said to have been a man of rare endowments 
and great energy of character. Thomas B. Crold came into 
the then western country about the same time, and Mr. Oris- 
wold and Mr. Gold made an arrangement that one of them 
would stop at Herkimer, and the other at Whitestown ; the 
courts in the county then being held alternately at these 
two places. Mr. Gold, it seems, took the most expanded 
field of operations, though he was not Mr. Griswold's 
superior in legal talents. The reader may recollect, that in 
the chapter devoted to that object, reference has been made 
to the supposed political feeling of the population of the 
county at its first organization. Mr. Griswold was one of 
the strong and vigorous men who aided largely in holding 
the popular vote subservient to the views of his own party. 
We find him, in 1797 and 1798, a member of the assembly 
from the county, having for colleagues men, some of whom 
afterwards jacted with the political party which he opposed. 
Party lines may not then have been so strictly drawn as 
they were two or three years afterwards. 
. We next find Mr. Griswold elected a representative in 
congress, about the year 1802, from the 16th congressional 
district, composed of the counties of Herkimer, Oneida 
and St Lawrence. It appears, from the recorded events of 


the times, that Mr. Griswold lived and was in public life at 
a period when one of those political ebullitions, which not 
unfrequently visit our state, was about making its appear- 
ance, in a contest between Aaron Burr and Morgan Lewis, 
as candidates for governor. Mr. Hammond, in his Political 
History, states that " Gaylord Griswold, then a member of 
congress from Herkimer county, wrote a letter, which was 
published, in which he urged his friends to support Mr. 
Burr, as the only means of breaking down the democratic 
party, and charged the opposition of Gen. Hamilton to 
personal resentment against Burr.^^ 

We must not inflict an injury on the memory of Mr. Gris- 
wold, by allowing it to be supposed that this was other than 
a private letter, written to a political friend, and that its 
publication was a breach of confidence. However well 
disposed he may have been to embrace the ordinary or 
extraordinary means often resorted to by political partisans 
to break down their opponents, he could not have willingly 
sought an opportunity of openly charging Gen. Hamilton 
with being governed by private hatred in his opposition to 
CoL Burr. Small men will often be guilty of mean and 
dirty acts, but Mr. Griswold was not of that clan. He was 
ardent, it is true, high-minded and generous, and knew too 
well what belonged to his position and character to commit 
such an act of indiscretion. 

Since writing the above, a friend has put into my hands a 
handbill containing the letter referred to by Mr. Hammond. 
The letter was written at Washington, in February, 1804, 
and was not made public until April 23d, 1807, three years 
after the contest between Lewis and Burr, and when the 
latter was being proceeded against for treason and high 
misdemeanor, in attempting, as was charged, to subvert the 
government and setting on foot a hostile expedition against 
a power with whom we were at peace. This letter does not 
show that Mr. Griswold upheld Col. Burr's conduct which 
led to his arrest as an offender against the laws of the United 
States, nor does Mr. Griswold charge the opposition of Gen. 


Hamilton **to personal resentment against Bvrr.*' The 
letter contains this expression, in reference to Hamilton, 
and nothing more : ^' It is a matter of surprise among our 
federal friends here, how Hamilton can take so important a 
part. Report says, Hamilton made a long speech in'.favor 
of Lansing, and against Burr. I fwr his personal resent- 
ment to Burr, and not policy, governs his conduct." The 
object of the publication at the time was not to inflict a^ 
personal injury upon Mr. Griswold, but to damage the lead- 
ing federalists in the public estimation. Having placed Mr. 
Griswold redes in curiaj on this point, I leave the subject. 
He was connected b^ marriage with the Hooker family, in 
Connecticut, several of whom emigrated into the state, and 
were largely engaged in mercantile business. He died at 
Herkimer March 1st, 1809, aged 41 years, 2 months, and 11 
days, leaving a handsome estate, and a family to enjoy it 

JoAB Griswold 

Was bom at Goshen, Connecticut, June 29th, 1769, and 
died at Herkimer, August 20th, 1814, aged 46 years. He 
came into the county at an early peiod after its erection, 
and settled at Herkimer. Joab, Elihu and Gaylord Gris- 
wold, although natives of the same state, emigrating about 
the same period, and seating themselves in the same locality 
in another state, did not claim any relationship or affinity. 
The subject of this brief notice was also one of the active 
and influential men who exerted themselves so successfully 
and efficiently in upholding the federal party in the county 
the first ten years of its organization. 

He was rewarded for his devotion and services with the 
office of county clerk, conferred upon him by his political 
friends, on the 19th March, 1796, which he held six years, 
when he was visited by the adverse turn in political affii^irs. 
The office building in which the county records and papers 
were kept, was burned down with all ihe contents, the night 
before he was to deliver possession to his successor. This 


was a siBgiilar and probably nnayoidable occtirrence. Mr 
Griswold was a lawyer by profession, engaged in agricultural 
pursuits while he lived at Herkimer, and these constituted 
his chief engagements, aside from his official employment. 
He left a family ; some of them were reudents of Herkimer 
village until recently, if they are not at this time. 


ELmu Griswold 

Was a native of Windsor, Oonneeticut, and he also came 
into the county and settled at Herkimer at an early period. 
He was educated in the medical profession, and was there- 
fore called Dr. Griswold, by way of distinction, although he 
did not pursue his profession after he settled in Herkimer. 
When he first came into the county, and for some years 
afterwards, he, like Gaylord and Joab, was attached to the 
federal party ; but as man is not bound always to adhere to 
one side in politics, even though he may have been nurtured 
in a particular school, and at this present writing, floods of 
people seem to be looking out for new political homes, the 
doctor placed himself in antagonism to his former political 
friends, about the year 1801, and made gallant fight with his 
republican compeers to bring about a political revolution in 
the county. 

Mr. Griswold was appointed county clerk, April 6th, 1804, 
by Governor Morgan Lewis, or rather by the council of 
appointment, about the time Governor Lewis was elected. 
He held the office six years, when he was superseded in 
1810 ; was again reappointed in 1811, and continued to hold 
it until his death in 1812,' when he was succeeded by his 
son-in-law, Aaron Hackley, Jr., Esq. He was bom August 
I7th, 1766,*and died at Herkimer, January I2th, 1812, aged 
65 years. . He was educated and accomplished ; a man of 
considerable energy of character, courteous, generous and 
social. It is worthy of notice that all three of these Gris- 
wolds died in the prime of life and vigor of manhood. 
Among Doctor Griswold's descendants were several dangh- 


ters, all of whom were respectably connected by marrii^ 
to prominent and influential citizens of the county. I depart 
a little from my rule to say one of them married a Mr. 
Townsend, a merchant in the village of Herkimer, who 
meeting with reverses in business, made up his mind to seek 
a home in the far west, and lay the foundation anew of a 
fortune for his family, by devoting himself to farming. 

About the year 1817, Mr. Townsend, with his resolute and 
devoted wife and several small children, lefb a home where 
ease, refinement and elegance had surrounded them, bade a 
sorrowing adieu to relatives and friends, and started on 
their journey to the interior of Illinois, over land to Olean 
point in this state, thence down the AUeghany and Ohio 
rivers in a flat boat, and from Shawneetown, or some point 
on the banks of the father of waters, to their haven of hope 
and rest amid the broad, smiling prairies of the embryo 
state. An intimate friend of the writer, who visited the 
family in the spring of 1820, said he found them seated 
about thirty miles northeast of Edwardsville, on a beautiful 
prairie, containing several hundred acres, not far from a 
considerable stream of water, near which is usually found 
an adequate supply of woodland. Mr. Townsend had erected 
his log dwelling, farm buildings and yards to secure his 
farm stock during night, from such pestilent poachers as 
bears, foxes and prairie wolves, and sometimes two-legged 
animals called thievea The visiter, after a brisk ride of 
forty miles over broad prairie fields, redolent with the wild 
flowers of spring, encountering often^ herds of deer, with 
nostrils distended and antlers erc^, not.-unfrequently fol« 
lowed in fidl chase by a brown, cowardly prairie wolf, 
whose voracious gaze was fixed upon a fawn ; then the 
sharp rattle of the usually dull snake, 'giving timely notice 
of its dangerous proximity, ever and anoa enUveoed by the 
brisk flight of the prairie hen, and the awkward but rapid 
stride of the wild turkey, arrived near nightfall at Mr. 
Townsend's place, just as ho, with his farm aiders, had 
returned from the field of labor and were housing the cat- 

I »^ '- ■ ~r:r^^^^i^^^^i^^^^^^^^BB^^^i^j^^^^BCT^^'^w^^^^^^ '- ^ ^ y ^i^^^s.^-.^ »»^»^^ ^^^^^ — — ^v^p^Bv^ 


tie and stock. Although his acquaintance with Mrs. Town- 
send before she left the state had been slight, he approached 
the door of the cabin and met a lady on whose countenance 
he had never seen a more happy and gladsome expression. 
** ! Mr. S.," said she, extending her hand to him, " I can 
not express how much satisfaction I feel in meeting one 
from Herkimer, the dear, dear home of my youth, where 
still live many cherished relations and friends, and where 
too is found the revered ^resting place of an honored and 
loved father and mother." But turning to her husband and 
laying her hand upon his arm, she said in a subdued and 
firm tone, ^^I am happy with you and my children, and 
happy in this house. I have resolved to be contented and 

My friend was fed and lodged as sumptuously as could 
be hoped for or expected by one who had become fully 
acquainted with the ways of a frontier life and new begin* 
ners. The short evening soon passed away in social chat, 
in which many questions were asked of friends and acquaint- 
ances, and many responses given. Just before retiring, Mrs. 
T. said to her visiter, ** we sometimes have nightly doings 
here which the eastern people, generally, are not accustomed 
to, and you will not, I hope, be frightened at any unusual 
noises. Our log walls are a perfect protection. Indeed, the 
music of. our midnight serenaders will not, I dare say, con- 
vince 'yonW ?aU discdrd Ms .harmony not rightly under- 
stood.' " In the course of the night my friend said he was 
awoke by sounds more resembling what he would imagine 
to be the dismal and frantic yell of infemals, than living 
animals. ** Do you hear the music," asked Mrs. T. of her 
guest, "and what do you think of it ?" " Think of itr he 
replied, " you must be more than a Roman matron, if you 
bear these tormenting wolf yells." The concert was soon 
ended by the crack of a rifle, and the prowling serenaders 
fled from the habitation of man. After overhauling his 
defensive weapons, and breaking his fast, my friend left this 

Sao HiBTOBY OP HmKnnni cfouimr. 

family, bappy in the enjoyment of the present and hopeful 
of the fnture, and tnmed his face towards St. Lonis. 

John Graybs 

Was a native of Dntchess connty in this state and 
removed into the town of Rnssia in 1795, where he se- 
lected and purchased by contract a lot in the ''wild 
woods" which he designed to convert into a farm, and make 
it his abiding place and home. At the age of 19 years he 
had paid the contract price for the land, when calling for 
his deed the seller conld not make him a title, and he was 
compelled to find the true owner and again bargain and pay 
for the lot, which he did. This was a hard and discourag- 
ing beginning in life to be encountered by one so young and 
in a new and wilderness county, but he no doubt believed it 
better for him to combat the adversities which had over* 
taken him, where he then was, than to try any new locaKty 
or other expedient. The sequel of life with him proved he 
acted wisely and prudently. 

He was elected member of assembly in this county in 
1812, on a ticket with Rudolph I. Shoemaker and Hosea 
Nelson. His majority, although he had- the largest vote of 
any candidate on his ticket, was only 40 ; and the average 
majority of the successful candidates was fifby^hree. This 
waa at the eve of the eventful period of the war with 
Oreat Britain when political party lines were stringently 
drawn. Mr. Graves supported the war policy of the then 
national government. He was ^ain chosen member of 
assembly at the November election in 1823, with Christo- 
pher P. Bellinger and Caleb Budlong, and was consequently 
a member of the house during the stormy session in the win- 
ter of 1824, and at the extra session in the following Novem- 
ber. The subjects which engrossed public attention at this 
time are noticed in another portion of this work. He 
favored the claims of William H. Crawford to the presidency 



and acted tkronghotit with the republican party of this 
state in the fruitless effort of securing his election. 

Having been chosen sheriff of the county, he entered upon 
the duties of the office on the 1st day of January, 1829, 
which he discharged with great fidelity and satisfaction to 
the public. At the end of his official term he retired from 
public life to the enjoyments of a domestic home, sur- 
. rounded by competence and the society of friends who 
knew and appreciated his worth. He died at Gravesville 
in the town of Bussia on the 16th of February, 1865, aged 
76 years, leaving a widow and two sons, one of whom is 
the Hon. Ezra Graves of Herkimer. 

The obituary notice of his death disclosed the fact that 
he died of consumption after a protracted and painful sick^ 
ness. Mr. Goraves was among the first of the hardy and 
resolute pioneers who penetrated the* wilderness to the 
northwesterly portion of the Boyal grant, where for sixty 
years he marked the times and seasons as* they came- and 
went, and noticed the exit of his compeers as they passed 
life's threshold to their long rest and silent home. But few 
remain of those, who, before the year 1800, enugrated into 
the county f^rthe purpose of settlement, and the sod of the 
TaUay shall soon mark the place where* that/ few must re^t. 


David Holt. 

I can give only an outline of the official character of Mr. 
Holt, for although nearly half a century a resident of the 
county, where he raised a pretty numerous family in our 
midst, he is now gone, and they have emigrated to that 
great field of eastern enterprise, the far west. He was a 
practical printer, came into the county in 1805, from the 
city of Hudson, and commenced the publication of a repub- 
lican newspaper, which he continued a few years and then 
was compelled to abandon it for want of patronage. He 
was a short time engaged in editing a republican paper at 
Herkimer, not far from the year 1811. He held the office 

322 msTOBT OF hbbkhobb gountt. 

of post master at Herkimer many years, and collector of the 
internal revenue under the general government. He also 
acted as a justice of the peace, an office conferred hj the 
state government, and was esteemed an excellent magistrate. 

He was appointed one of the judges of the county court 
on the 24th of February, 1817, and first judge of the county 
in February, 1821, and held the latter office until March, 
1826. He adhered to the fortunes of Governor De Witt 
Clinton, as he had, I believe, to those of George Clinton, and 
was stricken down in the political revulsions which over- 
took the former. This was a dark period in Judge Holt's 
life, but like a true man and one resolved to do his whole 
duty, he resumed his mechanical trade, and again managed 
bank and handled quoins although he was poor. 

Judge Holt was engaged for a brief period in printing 
the ReptMican Farmer^s Free Press at Herkimer; he then 
removed .to Little Falls, and printed the Motunwk Courier 
while that paper was published by C. S. Benton & Co. He 
may have remained a short time in the office after Mr. Noo- 
nan bought the establishment, but I think he did not. He 
then removed to Albany where he was engaged in type 
setting more than ten years, and from thence he went to 
Wisconsin where some of his sons had settled. Now he no 
longer ^* moves the lever that moves the world." 

** Alike to him is time or tide, 
December's 8now or July's pride ; 
Alike to him is tide or time, 
Moonless midnight or matin prime.'' 

He met the reverses of life with resignation and fortitude. 
He many years, as the reader must conclude, from a perusal 
of this brief notice, enjoyed a large share of the public con- 
fidence, worthily bestowed, and exerted an influence in 
political affairs not yet forgotten. 


Michael Hoffhak. 

In attempting a brief sketch of the life and public career 
of Mr. Hoffman, I feel some embarrassment at the outset. 
Oar personal and political relations for many long, long 
years had ripenecl into a deep seated and almost fraternal 
regard, but in the evening of his, and I might say of my 
own days, it was our fortune to differ on some questions of 
domestic policy, that in no respect to my knowledge dis- 
turbed in the least our personal relations, and that circum« 
stances can in no respect induce me to do the least inten* 
tional wrong to his character or fame. I know I am 
touching a delicate subject to speak of myself in this con- 
nection, and only do it to enter a broad and unqualified 
disclaimer at the threshold to meet all imgenerous cavilings 
and unkind surmises in regard to the motives and objects 
that induced me to perform a labor which should have been 
undertaken by abler hands. 

Mr. Hoffman was born on the 11th of Oct., 1787, at Half 
Moon, Saratoga co., in this state. His father was a native 
of Germany, and his mother though born in this country 
was of Protestant Irish descent. Her parents emigrated 
directly from the Green isle, and by this means the pure 
blood of the Teuton and the Celt mingled in his veins. He 
commenced the study of medicine in 1807, and obtained the 
diploma of M. D. in 1810. For some cause, and what I am 
unable to state, he abandoned the pursuit of this profession, 
commenced the study of law in 1811, and was admitted as 
an attorney in 1813. This must have been the date of his 
admission in the supreme court, or at the common pleas of 
some other county than Herkimer. His name is found on 
the rolls in this county entered December 14th, 1815. My 
acquaintance with him commenced soon after the month of 
March, 1816 ; he was then in an office with Aaron Hackley, 
Esq., at Herkimer, and probably as a partner. It was about 
this time^ and also afterwards, that papers came to the 
office in which I was a student at law endorsed '^ Haokley A 

324 mSTOBT OF hkritmto oouvtt. 

Hofifman, Attjs./' Mr. HacUey had established himself at 
Herkimer in 1807, and at the time I now speak of was 
cotmty clerk. As Mr. Hackkry was chosen member cf 
assembly in the spring of 1817, and left the clerk's office at 
the commencement of that year, the partnership I speak of 
may not have commenced until that period. 

By his assidnous attention to his profession, the force of 
a strong native talent, very much improved and cultivated 
in after years, aided by the desire of his partner to promote 
his welfare, Mr. Hoffman had reached the front rank in his 
profession in the county when about thirty years old. He 
had lost four years in his medical pursuits. 

He was an earnest and zealous advocate, and conducted 
the trial of his causes, from the opening to the close, with 
unabated ardor and confidence, and although beaten by the 
ruling of the court, or the finding of the jnry, he would 
never admit he was conquered. He seldom failed to bring 
forward all the points of fac|^and law applicable to his case, 
and to present the strongest in such a form as to attract 
the attention of the court and jury. He was prone to 
adhere to the technicalities and precision of legal prece- 
dents, and in urging them he might waive points that 
involved, to some extent, the substantial merits of the case. 
At any rate,. he seldom, if ever, failed to do full justice to 
his cause and his client to the extent of his duty as counsel. 

Mr. Hoffman's constitution was neither robust nor firm, 
and the labor of a long and intricate trial at the circuit 
would sometimes nearly exhaust him ; but he always bore 
up under these infirmities with an almost unconquerable 
resolution^ He was afflicted many years with an internal 
chronic affection, which eventually proved fatal. 

I am not aware that Mr. Hoffinan had participated, to any 
great extent, in the political contests of the day previous to 
1819; in the spring' of that year, he attended a political 
meeting held at the Court House in Herkimer, and offered 
a series of resolutions disapproving the course of Governor 
De Witt Clinton, and urged their adoption by the meeting 


in an able and eloquent appeal The resolutions were 
adopted, and the disruption of the republican party in the 
county into Glintonians atid bucktails took place at that 
time. After the nomination of a federal assembly ticket, 
the disjointed sections attempted to coalesce, but were 
defeated at the election. 

About this time, Mr. Hoffman removed to Waterloo, 
Seneca county, which had recently been established as a 
county seat, and opened an office in connection with Mr. 
Bartow, a young gentleman who had studied with him, and 
who, I believe, was a relative ; but owing to the impaired 
state of his health, and some severe domestic afflictions, he 
returned again to Herkimer, and resumed the practice of 
his profession, after an absence of a few years. He was 
appointed district attorney of the county, by the county 
court, at the May term, 1823, and held the office until the 
December term, 1826. He was again reappointed in March, 
1836, and resigned the following September. 

I have elsewhere noticed Mr. Hoffman's election to con- 
gress in 1824 This was his first appearance before the 
people of the county as a candidate for popular favor. He 
sustained himself nobly through an excited and stormy 
canvass, and was vigorously and efficiently supported by as 
resolute and active body of friends as ever, in this or any 
other state, was brought out to support a candidate. He 
was known to be a man of the first grade as to talents. His 
character was beyond and above reproach of any sort ; he 
was moreover a sound democratic republican. If he at any 
after period of his life thought differently on the subject 
of national politics, it matters not ; he was then a firm 
national democrat. He came out of the contest a victor, 
beating his competitor by only 246 votes, while every other 
democratic candidate running on the same ticket, or voted 
for at that election in the county, were beaten by majorities 
ranging from 43 to 138. There were then sixteen towns in 
the county ; he obtained small majorities in ten of them, 



and his opponent in six. The peculiar circnmstances which 
attended this election, and the marked public favor with 
which Mr. Hoflfman's name was received, could not and did 
not fail to place him in the front rank of the democratic 
party in the county, and among the prominent men of the 
state, which position he maintained seemingly without any 
effort, while he livedL He was again chosen member of 
congress in 1826, 1828 and 1830. In 1828, he was elected 
without opposition. His course during eight years' service 
in the house of representatives was marked by an able and 
assiduous attention to his public duties, and the places 
assigned to him on the different committees of that body 
showed the distinguished appreciation in which he was held 
by the presiding officers of the house and his colleagues 
from this state. I do not propose to notice the particulars 
of his congressional career. This may be the proper place 
for an extended review of that subject, but my limits will 
not allow it. It must suffice to say, he favored the election 
of General Jackson to the presidency in 1828, and his ante- 
cedent political action was directed to that object. He was 
a decided advocate for free trade, and opposed to protect- 
ive tariffs ; against the reincorporation of the United States 
bank, and sustained the Maysville veto message of the pre- 
sident. Although a state rights republican in the strictest 
sense of that term, when applied to a northern politician, 
he strenuously upheld President Jackson's administration, 
even to an approval of the celebrated nullification message, 
sent to congress in January, 1833, calling on the two houses 
to pass the necessary laws to enable the government to 
collect the national revenue in the state of South Carolina. 
While in congress, he occupied prominent places on 
important standing committees of the house of representa- 
tives, and during his last term he was chairman of the com- 
mittee on naval affairs, a position which brought him into 
confidential communication with the executive departments 
of the government. It has been usual in the practice of 
our government, and especially when the speaker of the 


hoQse accorded in political sentiment with the president, to 
consult the heads of the executive departments in respect 
to the constitntion of the five executive or strictly depart- 
mental committees. This course enables the government at 
all times to designate the individual member with whom, as 
the organ of the house, it would be thrown into confidential 
communication on delicate and important national questions, 
when the public interests require that the intentions and 
objects of the government shall not be promulgated to the 
world, and that the popular representative branch of the 
government shall sustain the executive department. 

Mr. Hoffinan was very averse to being placed at the head 
of the committee on naval affairs. The subject was spoken 
of at the time, but his friends were not able to find out any 
satisfactory reasons for his objections. The administration 
at this time possessed his unlimited confidence, and the 
president, General Jackson, could not fail to consider Mr. 
Hoffman an able and efficient supporter upon the floor of 
the house. His objections must have been purely personal, 
as he finally consented to accept the post. 

The political struggle was very active, acrimonious and 
bitter during the whole eight years of General Jackson's 
administration, but I am not aware that Mr. Hoffman, in 
public debate, indulged in personal allusions to his political 
opponents, or denounced the individual conduct of his 
antagonists. He assailed the policy and measures of the 
opposition with so much zeal as to provoke the ire of George 
Poindexter, a senator from the state of Mississippi, who 
called on Mr. Hoffman for an explanation or retraction of 
words spoken or written by him. This being declined, Poin- 
dexter challenged him to single combat with mortal weapons. 
There were two reasons, and pretty strong ones, why he 
could not fight, even if he had been the aggressor ; the laws 
of his state were extremely severe against duelling, and a 
deep seated religious conviction forbade his m^ng an 
effort to take the life of a fellow being by single combat, or 
to expose his own by being shot at, without an attempt to 

328 HiBTOBT OP mBwmmt oamnr. 

cripple ids opponent. His personal fnends at Washington 
insisted, however, that Poindexter was not jnntified by the 
oode of honor in calling him ont, and that he might decline 
the challenge without violating the dnello. The whole 
matter was referred to sonthem gentlemen, who, without 
any hesitation, decided that under the circumstanoea of the 
case, Mr. Hoffman could with honor decline to meet the 
challenger. There were not ten electors in his district at 
tins time who did not approve of his conduct, as well in 
regard to this duel, as Ins course in other respects, as their 
representative, which was emphatically declared at a county 
convention of his political friends not long after the affiur 
happened ; yet when an Section for member next came 
round, he did not command voices sufficient for a renomina- 
tion, and his name was not presented as a candidate, nor 
did he, by any means known to me, seek a renomination. 
The known hostility of the president to-a renewal of the 
United States bank charter, Mr. Yan Buren's rejection, ae 
minister to Great Britain, by the senate, and the pretty 
evident indications of General Jackson's preferences in 
respect to his successor, had produced an almost unexam- 
pled excitement at Washington, and in the public mind 
throughout the country, on the subject of politics, and the 
^gressive action of intemperate partisans appeared to find 
no restraint in the courtesies of civilized life. In giving 
Mr. Hoffinan's statement of this affair, which the reader will 
find below, I am not aware that I violate any confidence or 
do any act disrespectful to his memory. It is a brief and 
terse summary of the transaction, and placed him on high, 
honorable grounda. 

** WiBBJsmo^ OwT, Fob'y 36, 1632. 

" Dear Sir : The public {wpen advise yoa of the maimer ia 
which I have been hunted and abused. Illness, which stiU 
confines me, has prevented my early expose to you of this 

^' My first letter was a full and satia&ctory anawer : 1st, that 

I had not procured the pMieatUm. 2d, that ^e (Xmdusiyns 
of the editors, sometimes called in the correspondence, 
ifmpukitwMj were not made on any requ/ed or suggestion .oi 
mine. 3d, a brief statement of what Clement had said to me. 
4th, that I bad spoken of these in conversation with my 
coUeagnes, who had informed me that he had made similar 
sMemenis to them ; and 6thly, that for the truth of his state^ 
ments I had. at no time vouched; 

** Davis^ note objects that the 2d paragraph of that letter 
was irrelevant and exceptionable. I know that what is relevant 
can not be exceptionable or offensive. In my first note on the 
4th point, I had not been as explicit as I might be. To 
obviate his objection to irrelevancy, and to render that part 
of my former note too explicit for cavil, I stated that it was 
relevant^ and added in express terms, as I had before said in 
substance, that I had repeated th^se statements made by 
Clement to me, in casual conversations. After this no objec- 
tion is made on the ground o{ irrelevance. 

*^ Indeed, it had been made and waived m Davis' first note, 
because in that note, after making that objection, he 
expressly narrowed down the controversy to the single 
point of agency in procuring publication. Asking an answer 
to this alone was a waiver of all other matters either of 
exception or inquiry. 

** llie concluding paragraph of my second note, repeats 
by ex|»ress reference the denial in my first. I contend then, 
that by this reply, P. was cowchded in his only inquiry and 
excluded from all other inquiry whiltever. 

*' But it is right that you should understand all this mis- 
erable quibbling. The printed card, as well as the violent 
and intemperate ^call" on me and others, was a design to 
muzzle the press, cut out the^ tongue and prevent the utter- 
ance of what Clement had stated. Meantime he was almost 
daily employed in making denials in the Telegraph on the 
subject, not only of the truth of what he had stated, but also 
that he had made any such statementa After these denials, 
however clearly it may be proved that he made these state- 


nxentSy he can not, I think, be successfully employed afl a 
witness to prove that his statements to us were true. 

'^ In this view of the subject you will duly appreciate the 
reason why the second paragraph of my first letter was 
deemed exceptionable ; why it was not published in the 
Telegraph, and why I was challenged because I would not 
make my answers in subskmce and /arm as my ^^ inquisitors" 
in their holy office thought proper to order. 

'^ My concluding note sums up the matter as it then stood. 
But these tumarable men, after they were told the corres* 
pondence must close, push in a reply. To understand, 
answer and refute its sophistry and falsehood, it is only 
necessary to underscore the- words " statements," which 
always mean the relations of Clemenijaxid ^^impidations** 
which throughout the correspondence, and in the very nature 
of things here, means the ^^ condtmons" of the editors from 
those statements. 

" Davis had required me to say that * you do not vouch or 
believe the truth of the imputations cast on Governor Poin- 
dexter,' &c. I declined this as unnecessary. He did nol 
ask me either in relation to the statements. I did not decline 
doing either as to the statements. 

^^But in his supplemental letter he argues while he states 
that I was required to vouch or believe as to the imputatiomy 
and refused to do either, it left it to be inferred that I 
believed the statements of Clement, and for that dngle cause I 
was challenged. But I had in my very first note said I had 
at no time vouched for the truth of his statements* 

'^So much for the sophistry of that supplement on its 

'^ Suppose I had said I believed every word that Clement 
stated to me ; ought I to be shot for yielding a belief to a 
man whom Mr. P. had introduced to the senate as the wit' 
ness of truth against Mr. Van Buren 1 According to Clement's 
letter the senator had sought him out, and in his character 
of senator asked in a letter for the precious information ; 
and this man, who admits he raised the corpse of Hicks, 


reluctantly yields to the solicitations of the senator and 
makes the disclosures. Yet the senator reads that letter, 
and I was to be shot for merely hearing the same witness 

*^ I am sick and too fatigued to write more, and must lie 
down. Tours, Mighabl Hoffkan. 

N. S. Bbntok. 

Mr. Hoffman was very urgent that Mr. Sandford should 
be reelected to the senate of the United States, in 1831, 
and wrote several letters to the members of the legislature 
on the subject ; but a strong belief that he was interested in 
the United States bank, coupled with a desire to bring out 
a man who would be available as a candidate for governor, 
induced the republican members to select with great unan- 
imity another individual Another fact had strong influence 
upon the democratic members of the legislature, to induce 
them to bestow the office upon William L. Marcy. He was 
known to be the confidential friend of Martin Van Buren, 
and the war waged against that gentleman by the combined 
opposition, gigantic in intellect and power, did not fail to 
draw around him at that time, the deep sympathies of the 
friends of Andrew Jackson, in this state as well as elsewhere, 
and they were therefore prepared to throw around him as 
strong a bulwark as could be erected. 

On Mr. Hoffman's retirement from congress, he was 
appointed one of the canal commissioners of this state, in 
the year .1835 ; he held the office but a short time. He suf- 
fered a heavy pecuniary loss by having been a surety for a 
young man, a distant family connection, I believe, and he 
surrendered all, or nearly all, his property in arranging the 
unhappy affair, and procuring a final discharge from his 
liability. This occurrence reduced him from comparative 
ease and comfort in pecuniary matters, to the necessity of 
again resorting to the labors of his profession, which con- 
tinued to engross his attention until the year 1836, when he 
was appointed by the president and senate, register of the 


land-office, for the Saganaw diBtrict, in Michigan, where he 
remained until after the general financial explosion, in 1837. 
I have to say, that Mr. Hoffman was appointed first judge 
of the county, in June, 1830, and held the office until April, 
1833; and that he again held the office of district attorney 
of the county, a short time, in 1836. 

He represented the county in the assembly, with Arphaxad 
Loomis, in 1841 and 1842, and with Peter H. Warren, in 1844 
His party was in a minority in the house, in 1841, but, it 
had regained the ascendency in both branches, in 1842, when 
democratic state officers were elected, and a series of finan- 
cial measures were initiated and carried through the 
legislature, for the avowed purpose of reviving the credit 
of the state, which had suffered pretty severely from causes 
not necessary here to discuss, and concerning which the 
two political parties of the day did not agree, A dii^ct 
tax was levied to aid the fimds, appropriated for the Erie 
canal enlargement, and the construction of the lateral canals* 
Mr. Hoffinan was at the head of the committee of ways and 
means, and labored assiduously to perfect and carry throng 
his favorite measures* He was willing to levy a tax, to 
resuscitate the oredit of the state, and keep its faith unim- 
paired with its creditors, in regard to existing obligations 
and indebtedness, but he was not disposed to go one step 
beyond that. The financial officer of the state, A. 0* Flagg, 
then recently elected comptroller, favored this policy. The 
consequence was, thet the further progress of the public 
works on the canals was snq>ended, for the tin^e being, 
and the state stocks, and the state credit, soon regained 
their former healthful position. These measures were 
approved by William H. Seward, then governor of the state, 
an ardent and^enthusiastic advocate for the speedy comple- 
tion of the canals. It was repeatedly stated during the 
discussion of these measures, that the people would not wil* 
lingly be taxed to support or aid the construction of the 
canals, or even to bring the finance and credit of the state 
into a healthful condition. Mr. Hoffman and his friends, it 

HIBTOBY 09 HUBininm COUKTT. 333 

seems, did not misjudge the public feeling on this subject* 
(}ovemor Seward convened an extra session of the legisla- 
ture, in the summer of 1842| to provide the means for carrying 
on the public works, but the majority was intractable, and 
adjourned without doing anything, but to take the per diem 
and mileage allowed by law. 

The session of 1844 was not prolific of any great or inter* 
esting questions of legislation, and although a majority of 
the democrats elected to the assembly was friendly to what 
was called the *^ canal policy," and elected a speaker who 
was known to differ from Mr. Hoffman in regard to the 
'^ stop and pay law," there are few, if any, instances in the 
history of the legislation of this state, when a single mem- 
ber exerted such powerful influence as did Mr. Hoffman 
during this session. He did not trouble himself to advocate 
many of the measures brought before the house, but he took 
unwearied pains to oppose and defeat every project he con- 
sidered unsound, impolitic or mischievous, and he seldom 

The election of Mr. Polk, in 1844, brought into the execu- 
tive chair of the United States an individual with whom 
Mr. Hoffman had served in congress ; and this intimacy, it 
is said, was the reason why the president nominated Mr. 
Hoffman to the senate as naval officer in the city of New 
York, against the remonstrances of a member of his cabinet 
from this state. During the progress of the controversy on 
the tariff question, and with South Carolina, he felt, and 
often expressed, a deep anxiety in regard to the issue of 
events and the fate of the country. His mind not unfre- 
quently forboded an appeal to force, which he deprecated 
in the strongest terms, and urged the adoption of conciliatory 
measures so far as these could be tendered, by a modification 
of the tariff, in order that confidence might be fully re- 
stored between the antagonistic sections of the country. 
Happily his fears and sombre anticipations were not real- 
ized, nor could they well be under the wise and energetic 
administration of Andrew Jackson. The man who, by one 


eentence from his pen, could compel the rider of thirty-four 
millions of people, and one of the first continental powers 
of Europe to fulfill the obligations of a solemn treaty, whose 
conditions had been violated, was not to be ^* frightened 
from his propriety " by any threats of domestic treason. 
His advice to his countrymen to '^ ask for nothing but what 
was right, and submit to nothing which was wrong," and his 
known patriotic devotion to the best interests of his country, 
had seated him too firmly in the hearts and affections of the 
American people, to be disturbed by the denunciations or 
threats of sectional politicians. But it is not my purpose to 
eulogize General Jackson in this place, or speak of him out- 
side of the nullification controversy. 

Mr. Hoffman's appointment to the lucrative post assigned 
him by the partiality of the president, and in my judgment 
it was not undeserved under the circumstances of its be- 
stowal, placed him in a condition where, by the application 
of the prudential regulations which had governed him 
through life, he soon retrieved his fortunes, and he was 
enabled to leave his family, on his demise, possessed of an 
ample competence. His former connections with the finan- 
cial policy of the state, as settled by the legislation of 1842, 
no doubt produced his election in Herkimer county, in 1846, 
to revise the constitution of 1821, although he was then a 
resident of the city of New York. The convention met at 
the Capitol, in the city of Albany, on the 1st day of June, 
1846, and it is probably needless for me to state, that Mr. 
Hoffman participated largely in the initiatory proceedings of 
that body, or that his course in the convention in any respect 
disappointed the public expectation, founded upon the ante- 
cedents of his public career. 

Although every portion of the fundamental law, when 
under revision, presents questions of the most grave consi- 
deration, there are no doubt some points of more engrossing 
importance than others. Mr. Hofiman was named chairman 
of the committee to which was referred that part of the 
constitution relating to 



^3. Oanals,, internal improyementSy public revenue and 
property ; public debt, and the powers and duties of the 
legislature in reference thereto ; and the restrictions, if 
any, proper to be imposed upon the action of the legislature 
in making donations from the public funds ; and in making 
loans of the moneys or credit of the state." 

Broad and comprehensiye inquiries, imposing great 
labor to analyze and digest, and much power in debate to 
illustrate and defend the details of a constitutional article 
iuTolying such yaried and deeply interesting subjects. Mr. 
Hofi&nan, from this committee, reported two articles, each 
comprising several sections, on the 30th July, 1846. They 
were the outlines of the existing 7th or financial article of 
the present constitution. The debate was opened by him 
on the 11th of September, by an able and elaborate argu- 
ment, showing the condition of the finances and debt of the 
state, its inability, except from taxation, to meet any in- 
creased liabilities, and urged upon the convention the 
necessity and expediency of placing some restraint upon 
legislative discretion over the subject, which, he insisted, 
was not to be depended on. He occupied the whole of one 
day in elaborating his views on this occasion. I can not 
even attempt a synopsis of his argument. The debate which 
followed was highly interesting, and exhibited much talent 
in the members who participated therein, and was finally 
closed on the 7th of October, when, having been considera- 
bly modified while under discussion, the two originally 
reported articles were incorporated into one, and was 
adopted by a vote of 77 to 9. Some of the most important 
modifications to the original reports were moved by Mr. 
Loomis, but whether with Mr. Hoffman's assent, I do not 
know. If he felt it incumbent on him to carry through this 
favorite proposition, he did not confine his whole attention 
to this one subject He participated largely in the doings 
of the convention generally, and evinced great ability, 
research and experience. He voted for the restricted right 
of suffrage imposed by the constitution upon the colored 

336 HOSioBT Of HBBxmE coxmt* 

popnlatioii ; and voted for the separate snbmiinoii of the 
articles conferring free Bnffrage on this class of citisens. 
There was no incongmity in these votes. 

Mr. Hoffman's legislative career closed with the a(!yoitn^ 
xnent of the convention. It had been an nxmsnaBy long and 
varied one, twelve of the twenty-one years since his firal 
•lection to congress ; aakl it may with truth be said, he ocen- 
piedy daring this period, a distinguished and promisent 
position on the political stage. He was nearly twenty years 
the recipient of official favors of some kind, and enjoyed the 
popular confidence of the citizens of this county in a some- 
what remarkable degree. His health, which had been rather 
infirm some time previous to 1847, gave way more rapidly 
under the accumulated difficulties of deep seated chronic 
disease, about that period, and he closed his earthfy pij^ 
grimage at Brookljm, ELings county, on the 5i7th day e( 
September, 1848, aged 61 years. 

He held the post of naval officer when he died, and his 
remains were brought to Herkimer for interment. He was 
a man of generoua impulses, strong personal attacfamenta 
and unwavering political principles. In private Ufe^ his 
character was wholly blameless; ae a public man his 
reputation waa unsullied by any acts of peculation upon 
the public, or any efbrtsto further the prospects or promote 
the interests of his political friends or his party, by a pros- 
titution of patronage, or the partial appropriation or appli* 
cation of the public treasure to promote similar objects. 
While in congres?, he represented a district which called for 
no appropriation for local objects, and that was the condition 
of his county when he was in the legislature. I do not mean 
to say he was more pure than any other man living in his 
day ; but he was not assailable on points that some men 
have been. 

Stephen Hallett 

Was a native of the town of Salisbury in this county, and 
was bom there in the year 1787. He was the son of Major 

BBVOBT OF HlMmiTO 009X77. 337 

Jonathan Hallett, an officer of the revolutionary army. 
What bnsinesB he was engaged in antecedent to the year 
1820» I am not informed of; he that year removed to Fair* 
field village, where he engaged in merchandise and also 
earned on the same hnsiness in the town of Norway. Mr. 
Halfett was appointed by the conncil of appointment, sheriff 
of the connty in 182L The designation of the candidate 
was made by a county convention, and the recommendation 
of that body was approved by the connciL He was reap- 
pointed in the winter of 1822, and at the November election 
of that year was chosen sheriff of the county under the pro* 
vision of the constitution of 1821. His term of office expired 
on the 1st of January, 1826. He was a prompt and efficient 
public officer, and possessed a pretty full share of the ^^ irre- 
pressible energies " of a Herkimer politician of the domi* 
nant party. He was intelligent, public spirited and humane* 
He died at Fairfield, November 19tii, 1827^ aged 40 years, 
leaving a fSBimily to mingle tears for their bereavment, with 
the regrets of friends and neighbors for their loss. 

If he liad firaltB I know not of th«m, 
And If I did, why Bhoold I note ttiant 

Philo M. Haceley 

Was bom at WaUingford, New Haven county, Connecti* 
eut, in October, 1776, and died at Allegan in the state of 
liichigSA, the 24th of October, 1849, aged 73 years. Aaron 
HacUey, his lather, removed into this state with his family 
and settled in the town of Salisbury, in 1796. Within a few 
years of this event, Philo AL, the son, removed to the village 
of Herkimer, • and established himself in the mercantile 
business, which he pursued with varied success, nearly 
twenty years. He had been well educated, was gentlemanly 
in his deportment, and a high-minded and honorable man* 
He was a federalist in politics, and not adhamed to avow it 
on all proper occasions ; was one of that talented and infiu* 


ential body of men, who early established themselves at the 
connty seat, who during several years exerted a potent 
political influence in the county. He was well informed on 
most subjects, and active and zealous in promoting the suc- 
cess of his party. His political friends were not unmindfiil 
of this, but sought out several occasions to show their grate- 
ful attachment to a true and worthy adherent of a cause 
which they no doubt believed was worthy of their best 
efforts to sustain. He was appointed surrogate of the county 
in 1807, but a political revolution displaced him the follow- 
ing year. He was appointed sheriff in 1810, another change 
in the appointing power transferred the office to a political 

The succeeding ten years found him enjoying the com- 
forts of private life, although a period of very considerable 
political excitement, and during which the country had 
passed through a foreign war, and its institutions had been 
subjected to the severest tests. At the spring election in 
1819, he was chosen member of the assembly on a ticket 
with James Orton and Jacob MarkelL The election of three 
old fashioned, although highly respected federalists, was an 
unusual occurrence in the county. The causes which pro- 
duced this change in the ascendency of parties in the county 
at the above and two succeeding elections, are explained in 
another chapter. He did not after this hold any prominent 
office. He lived several ^ars at Little Falls, and removed 
from thence with his family to Auburn, in this state, about 
the year 1839, where he remained five years and then went 
to Michigan. He met the vicissitudes of life with the 
characteristic resignation of a Christian. He left several 
children at his death, who had settled in different parts of 
the country, none of whom, however, were residents of this 
county. The American people, and especially the descend- 
ants of the old Puritan stock, are, I believe, the greatest 
antigregarians of any in the world. 



Henbt Hopeiks 

Emigrated into the county at an early day and set- 
tled in the village of Herkimer, where he engaged in 
merchandizing, and carried it on for some 'time. He 
received the appointment of sheriff of the county in 1813, 
and had the good fortune to hold the office two years 
against John Mahon, the perpetual successor of federal 
sheriffs in those days. He was intelligent, gentlemanly, 
kind and social, and personally very prepossessing in 
appearance. Full six feet high and very ''well propor- 
tioned.'' He was quite popular as a public officer, and 
being highly regarded by his fellow citizens of all classes, he 
did not fail to attract the special attention of his political 

He was put in nomination for the assembly in the spring 
of 1815 by his party, with Thomas Manley and Mathew 
Myers, and was elected. One of the republican candidates, 
George Paddock, died only five or six days previous to the 
election, and there was not time in those days of bad roads 
and tardy movements to assemble the county convention 
and present another candidate previous to the election, and 
the voting went on as usuaL Mr. Hopkins led his ticket by 
a few votes, and beat his dead competitor by 19 majority. 
The canvass shows that 1368 votes were cast for Hopkins 
and 1349 for Paddock. The election was a very close one, 
and each party appears to have placed their most prominent 
and popular men before the people. The average majoril^ 
of the two highest on the republican ticket was only 2^ over 
their two highest opponents. I notice a fact which presents 
the remarkable uniformity of the freehold vote of that day. 
There were two senators to be chosen in the western 


district that year, and the federal and republican parties 
each presented two candidates. There were then eleyen 
towns in the county, and each federal nominee received an 
equal number of votes in every town except two, and so it 


was with the republican candidates. The losses and gains 
among the candidates running on the same ticket were in 
Herkimer and Schuyler, and those losses an4 gains between 
the candidates running on opposing tickets were equaL 
The difference being only four in about nine hundred cast 
by each party. A greater uniformity prevailed in 1809, 
when there were six candidates, three supported by each 
party, and a yariation of only two votes between the highest 
and lowest of each set Mr. Hopkins was a candidate for 
reelection the next year, 1816, but failed of an election by 
133 votes, although the highest on his ticket He died at 
Herkimer in November, 1827. I have not found any memo- 
rial of his final resting place, except in the fond recollection 
of those who knew him^ nor am I aware that he left any 

Sanders Lansinq 

Was bom at Albany June 17th, 1766. He was the young- 
est of four brothers : John, formerly chief justice of the 
supreme court, chancellor, and delegate to the convention 
of 1787, which formed the constitution of the United States ; 
Abraham G« and Garret G., late of Oriskany. He had one 
sister, Mrs. Barent Bleecker of Albany. On the 10th of 
December, 1789, he married Catharine, the eldest daughter 
of Abraham Ten Eyck of that city. He was educated to the 
legal profession, and was appointed register in chancery on 
the promotion of his brother to the chancellorship. He was 
of the ancient Dutch lineage, who came from Holland in the 
glorious days of Petrus ]i|inuit, Wouter Van Twiller, Wil-^ 
lem Keift or Petrus Stuyvesant, representatives of their 
high mightinesses, the states general It matters not, how- 
ever, when they came or where they were from, their 
descendants were here on the day of our nation's birth, and 
claimed the right to be numbered among her children. 

Mr. Lansing removed into the county with his family, in 
1820, and settled at Little Falls, where he was several years 


engaged in closing up some extensive land agencies, in which 
t)ie collateral branches of his family were interested. He 
wae chosen delegfeite to the convention, in 1821, with Sher* 
man WoQste^ . and Richard Van Home, called to revise the 
constitution of 1777, although quite a stranger to the great 
mass of the electors. The name was no doubt familiar to a 
considerable portion of the population, but he was known 
individually to only a few of them. His course in the con- 
vention was marked by that cool deliberation, and sound 
judgment, which great experience and a practical knowledge 
of the working of our system would very naturally lead him 
to adopt. He was not a visionary theorist; nor was he 
opposed to a change in the fundamental rules of government, 
when that change was required to coixform them to present 
exigencies, and advance the best interests of the state. He 
did not often engage in protracted forensic debate; and this 
was probably owing to his withdrawal from practice in the 
courts, soon after he came to the bar. A majority of his 
constituents in the county approved of his official acts, and 
he lived many, years after this event, to mark the upward 
and onward progress of his native state, endeared to him by 
grateful recollections of the past, and hop&ful prospects for 
the future. 

Mr. Lansing was appointed one of the judges of the county 
courts, in March, 1821; reappointed, in 1823^ by the gov* 
emor and senate under the new constitution, and held the 
office until 1828. I can venture to say, that he never 
neglected attendance at court a single term, during this 
whole period, unless prevented by sickness. His rule was, 
thai no man ought to accept 9k public office and neglect to 
perform its duties, whatever they might be. 

Judge Lansing also held the office of master in chancery, 
and commissioner to perform certain duties of a justice of 
the jsupreme * court at chambers. The latter appointment 
was conferred after, he left the common pleas bench. He 
was a gentleman of great purity of character, and held in 

23 , 


strict obeervance those rules of conduct that divine revela- 
tion enjoins, as he believed, on all who would isecure a 
happy future. He left only two sons. My attention was 
always attracted to the uniform exactness, and methodical 
precision, in which he transacted all his business, whenever 
I made professional calls upon him. This I attributed to 
early training. Some would say this was a national charac- 
teristic. Well, if this be so, the peculiarity is the child of 
education, and is called ^^ national," when applied to the 
people of Holland, because they uniformly observe the 
thorough rules of instruction, and an exact method of train- 
ing as far as they go. I can not regard Dutchmen, native 
or a descendant, as the only people of all the Caucasian races 
who are constitutionally or by nature endowed with the 
particular mental faculty of attaining method and exactness 
in the transactions of life. 

Mr. Ijansing resided in the town of Manheim, several years 
preceding his death, and died there, September 19th^ 1850, 
aged 84 years, 3 months, and 2 days; his beloved and re- 
spected consort died on the 23d; a grandson, on the SOth, 
and a giranddaughter on the 24th of the same month- Within 
the period of a week, four members of a family were placed 
in the silent grave. This occurrence was somewhat remark- 
able, in I'egard to the rapid succession in which the events 
happened, as there was not at the time any epidemic dis- 
eases that touched three of the cases. 

John Mahon 

Was born in Ireland, and came to this country when quite 
young. After remaining here a few years he went back to 
Ireland and again returned to this country. He cros9ed the 
Atlantic three times before he was sixteen years old. He 
lived several years with " blind John Smith," who c«if ried 
on merchandising in a small way at or jiear Utica. He was 
in this county some years before 1800, and acquired all his 
education after he left Ireland. His £rst wife was a daugh- 


ter of Judge John Frank, of German Flats, in which town 
he resided,, some years acting as constable and deputy sheriff. 
Being connected by marriage with a German family, he 
acquired and spoke the provincial dialect with all the fluency 
of a native German of the Mohawk. He was a man of much 
energy of character and great native talent. I knew him 
well more than thirty years, and in all that time never heard 
him speak in any other terms than of strong dislike and 
execration of the government and institutions of his native 
country. My curiosity was sometimes so strongly excited 
as almost to tempt me to inquire of him the particulars of 
his parentage, but he was not a man to gratify other people's 
curiosity only when it suited himself. I always imagined 
his ancestors had suffered some* deep wrong, or what he 
believed to be so, from the British government in Ireland. 

He said he was indented out to service for a limited time 
to pay the expenses of his first passage. I am not aware 
that this practice continued after the revolution. He was 
appointed sheriff of the county in 1808, and held the office 
two years. He was again appointed in 1811, and held the 
place till 1813; and in 1815 he was again reappointed 
and held two years more. He seems to have come into 
office and gone out on every political change in the council 
of appointment. He was an active and efficient public 
officer, and a very ardent politician, as the reader will pro- 
bably conclude by this time. He never asked any favors 
from his political antagonists, and was very careful not to 
be too liberal in granting them. From 1817 to 1821, he 
was engaged to some extent in private pursuits, and upon 
the restoration of the republican party to political power in 
the state, in the latter year, he was appointed clerk of the 
county, and held the office until January, 1823. In 1819, he 
was actively engaged in organizing an opposition in this 
county against Governor De Witt Clinton. He was the 
prime mover and leading spirit in that movement, and did 
not fadl to extend his exertions to the close of the election 



in 1820, when Clinton and Tompkins were rival candidates 
for the gabematorial chair. 

On his exit from the clerk's office he was appointed one 
of the connty judges in February, 1823, and held that office 
until 1833. This was the close of his active political career. 
Judge Mahon died at Herkimer in October, 1851, aged 78 
years. He left one descendant, a son, Patrick Mahon. I am 
not aware he had any attachments for the predominant 
religious faith of his native country. I do not think he had 
any; and it is this circumstance which seems to throw 
obscurity over his origin and early life. This is one of 
many cases often presenting themselves to our view, which 
exhibits in bold relief some of the striking peculiarities of 
American institutions. An alien orphan, destitute alike of 
money and education, immigrates to our country, and by 
application and industry acquires both. But this is not alL 
He does not loiter at the foot of the official ladder. He 
secures the confidence and good will of the people whom 
he can rightfully call his fellow citizens, and enjoys for 
nearly forty years high and important official trusts, and 
only leaves them when about to go to a last and final rest- 
ing place. Judge Mahon possessed some very marked 
peculiarities. I never heard that the vigor of his intellect 
had been in the least impaired from the time he quit public 
life to his death. But this is no place for questions not 
relating to public life and character. The grave throws a 
mantle over our foibles, and let that be the end. 

Thomas Manlet 

Was a native of Dorset, Bennington county, Vermont 
He came into the present town of Norway, in the spring of 
1789, opened a small clearing, and erected his log cabin, and 
brought his family into the town the next year, 1790. It 
will probably be noticed, that Norway was first organized in 
1792, but its territory has been subsequently very much 


circamacribed. Mr. Manley being among the first settlers 
on the northern part of the Boyal grant, and a man of energy 
and force of character, was a prominent man in his town. 
He held the office of supervisor fifteen years, and was twice 
commissioned by Oovemor John Jay superintendent of 
highways in the county of Herkimer. These commissions 
respectively bear date April 4th, 1798, and March 8th, 1800. 
One of his sons, Dr. Manley, of Bichfield, Otsego county, 
told me his father, the first year he came on to the grant, 
put up a bark hut as a sleeping place for himself and his 
hired man, and a store room for such few things as they 
had, requiring protection from the weather. They used a 
blanket to cover the entrance of their primitive lodge. The 
needful cooking was done at the fire outside. As they were 
then quite destitute of such substantials, in the way of food, 
as beef, pork, mutton and lamb, the forest was resorted to, to 
supply deficiencies, and the white rabbit being numerous, 
were taken whenever occasion required. Not having the 
fear of cholera before their eyes, and being intent in felling 
the forest and opening their clearing for a small crop, they 
did not stop to enquire into the origin and causes of diseases, 
but threw their culinary offal down near the door of the 
hut, where a considerable quantity of rabbit bones had of 
course been accumulating. Mr. Manley .and his companion 
were one night disturbed by an unusual noise outside, but 
near their hut : listening a moment, they concluded, from 
the cracking of the rabbit bones, that some strong mouthed 
native of the forest was making a night meal of them. 
Maxdy took his gun, and moving the blanket door gently 
aside, fired in the direction of the heap of rabbit bones ; a 
terrific growl vras the only response, except the echo of the 
discharge in the surrounding dense forest. The night was 
dark, and having struck up a light with steel and flint,- and 
recharging their gun, they cautiously examined the ground 
about the hut, but found nothing except some traces of 
blood. The animal, although wounded, was not disabled 
from making its escape. Early the next morning, Mr. Man- 


ley and his companion took the blood trail into the forest, 
and in about an hour found a good sized bear, weary and 
faint from the effects of his late night feast, and the unkind 
treatment he had received. The bear was killed, in the 
hope that the meat would give the captors a savory change 
in animal food. But it was poor, and the meat was coarse, 
dark and tough. 

Mr. Mauley was an agriculturist, and was highly respect- 
ed in his town and in the county. He was elected a member 
of the assembly in this state in 1799, on the ticket with 
John Mills and John Myer ; again in 1809, with Rudolph 
Devendorff and Christopher P. Bellinger; and again in 
1820, with Simeon Ford and Daniel Van Home. He was 
uniform and adhered with unwavering tenacity to his poli- 
tical principles and party in this county more than sixty 
years. It is no slight evidence of the good feelings of his 
friends, or of his standing in the county, that his name was 
often presented by them as a candidate for member of as- 
sembly, as well when there was a fair prospect of success, 
as when this chance was quite doubtful He died in Norway, 
where he lived 63 years, on the 21st of January, 1852, aged 
88 years and six months. He was born in August, 1763. 
In closing this notice, I need hardly add, that such a man 
as Mr. Manley must have been highly esteemed while living, 
and died regretted by all who knew him. 

Jacob Markell 

Was bom in the county of Schenectady, on the 8th of 
May, 1770, about two miles west of the city. His parents 
were Germans, or of German descent. He received his 
English common school education, while quite young, at 
Schenectady. This name is found in the list of Palatine 
immigrants, who came over in 1710, but his ancestors were 
not among the Burnetsfield patentees. Judge Maikell's 
father came to Stone Arabia, in the present town of Palatine, 
Montgomery county, at an early period, but whether before 


or at the close of . the revolution, I have not been able to 
ascertain. Young Markell's health was not robust, and he 
was placed in Haley's store, in Albany, where he served 
out a clerkship. He married, when twenty years old, at 
Palatine, .and removed to Manheim, and commenced farm- 
ing, which he carried on during the remainder of his life, 
until he became too infirm, in consequence of age, to attend 
to the laborious.duties of that, occupation. When he first 
came to Manheim, he opened a small country store, and 
manufactured pot-ashes, a business that yielded a good re- 
turn while the country was new, and timber plenty. He 
was an acting justice of the peace, almost time out of mind, 
and held the office of supervisor in the town of Manheim 
twenty-^evm y^ars. When that town remained attached to 
Montgomery county, he held the office of judge of the court 
of common pleas, and was elected to congress for one term, 
during Mr. Madison's administration, and in the war of 1812. 
He was elected one of the members of assembly from Her- 
kimer county, in 1819, on the same ticket with James Orton 
and Philo M. Hackley, and closed a long and well spent life 
at the residence of his son, John Markell, Esq., in Manheim, 
with whom he had lived the two preceding years, on the 
26th of November, 1852, aged 82 years, 6 months and 18 
days, after a very brief illness. His wife survived only 
seventeen days. She was about five months younger than 
her husband. They had lived together after marrriage 
aboui.aixty-two years, and raised a family of children. She 
was as well, apparently, as she had been for many years 
previous, wheji her husband died, but immediately after his 
funeral she sank under her afflictions, and yielded her life to 
the messenger that never calls but once. 

Judge Markell was very methodical in all his business 
affairs, and with other qualities possessed a shrewd and 
intelligent mind, which, from long practice, had become 
considerably imbued with legal principles, and especially 
those in reference^to domestic relations. Hence, when his 
fiBu^ulties were unimpaired, he wrote most of the wills made 


in his town, was nsnally called npon to 'adjnst, settle and 
arrange important and difficult questions 'or matters of bni^i- 
ness between neighbors, was often entrusted with the ad- 
ministration of estates, and the guardianship of infants. In 
view of the facts already stated, I need hardly say, he pos- 
sessed, in an eminent degree, the confidence and good will 
of his townsmen. 

In the prime of life, he wa» capable of exerting a political 
iiifluence, which was usually felt by his opponents. 

John Mills 

Was born in the town of Chatham, Columbia county. New 
York. He came into the town of Columbia dbout the year 
1790, and was by occupation a farmer. In stature he was 
just what one would wish, being, '' six feet high, and well 
proportioned," and in all respects a fine looking man. He 
was truly one of nature's noblemen ; his conversational 
powers were good, was fond of company, pleasant and 
agreeable in his manners ; few men possessed the art of 
pleasing to so great an extent. He seldom said a foolish 
thing, and never did a mean act. He had t^e faculty of 
accommodating himself to the company he was in, and of 
going with his whole mind into the subjects wMch were 
the topics of conversation ; and whether light and fnvo- 
louB, or sound, substantial aind grave, it made no difference 
to him, he was at home in either, and whatever he sakh was 
listened to with attention. His countenance and manner, 
in fact, the whole man, changed to suit the company, the 
subject matter and the occasion. He could look pleasant or 
serious and grave, or frown with great severity. He wfis 
honest and fair in his dealings, and was^dese^edly popular. 
Had many friends, and few, if any, enemies. , He was a kind 
hearted, good neighbor, never had lawsuits or difficulty him- 
self, and did much, by example and otherwise, to preserve 
friendship and good morals in society. • Hd was several 
times supervisor of the town, and usually held some town 

BfflTOBT 09 HBRKTiriE COUHTT. 348 

office, although the political majority was against him. He 
was elected to the assembly of this state, in 1799, and was 
frequently a candidate and lost his election, not for want of 
fitness or popularity, but because he belonged to, and acted 
with, the federal party, which was in the minority. 

He died in 1836, at the age of 76, haying always resided 
on the farm on which he first located, and helped clear with 
his own hands. 

A highly respectable correspondent says : 

**I lived within three-fourths of a mile of Capt. Mills 
some thirty years, and was in almost all sorts of company 
with* him. I knew him welL His education was limited. 
I think him the best specimen of a man I ever knew. I was 
also acquainted with his father ; he was a real Yankee. His 
mother was low Dutch." 

Michael Mtebs 

Was born at Auville, New Jersey, February Ist, 1753. 
Although of German descent, he was not from the original 
Palatine stock of the upper Mohawk valley. The name is 
not found in the list of Palatine immigrants who came to 
the colony in 1709 and 1710. His ancestors may have been 
among those who composed the third emigration in 1722. 
With a view of giving as much of the early history of the 
prominent public men who labored in organizing the county, 
as well as to aid in establishing the liberties of the country, 
Us might be any way interesting, I have endeavored to reach 
that object in respect to the subject of this notice, and have 
failed. Mr. Myers was with the American forces at the 
battle of Johnstown in 1781, where he was severely wounded 
in the leg, and from the effects of which he never recovered. 
He was then about twenty-eight years old. The American 
forces in this action were composed of levies and militia; 
it'may therefore be presumed that he had come into Tryon 
county before or during the war. Upon the organization 
of the county courts, he appears to have been appointed one 


of the judges and a justice of the peace, February ITtli, 
1791. He was several times reappointed, but was left out 
of the civil commission ia 1805. 

He was elected the first member of assembly after the 
erection of the county and reelected the following year, and 
was in attendance at the winter sessions of 1792 and 1793. 
Judge Myers had been a resident of that part of Tryon or 
Montgomery county now embraced in Herkimer, several 
years before 1790. He was elected to the senate in the 
spring of 1796, took his seat at the following session and 
served his full term of four years. After this he does not 
seem to have occupied any prominent oflScial station. His 
successor in the senate from litis county was John Meyer, 
who was several years one of the county judges, and in 1800 
appointed the first judge. He served but one year of his 
senatorial term, and left the county about the year 1802. 
John and Michael were not relatives. The former retained 
the German usage in writing the family name; I think the 
latter did not. 

Judge Michael Myers was many years a prominent and 
influential politician in this county, but he attached himself 
to that political party which found but few adherents amppg 
the Germans in this quarter, when the people ranged them- 
selves as federalists and republicans. He was appointed by 
President John Adams, commissioner of stamps for this 
county,, but stamped paper, bearing the impress of the 
American eagle even, fared no better in the upper Mohawk 
valley in 1797-8, than that showing the lion and the unicorn 
and a jeweled crown, encircled with England's loved motto, 
" HoNi SoiT Qui Mal y Pense," did among the Bostoni- 
ans, in 1765. '^Dunderand Blixum,'' muttered the German 
in his provincial dialect, ^^ what ^for gant I gif mine node 
any more to bay for der horse or der gow I puy, mitout I 
bay dwenty-fife zents for der baper mit der stamb." " Why, 
neighbor Hanyost," responded the Yankee follower of Shays, 
'' I guess all them tarnel Britishers have kum back to Filla- 
delfa agin, and ar ony putin on the tax to show who's who ; 


dam tbe old tones, I won't stand it, that's sartin." The 
stamps came to a bad market, and the commissioner's period- 
ical returns showed a good supply on hand of those first 

Judge Myers possessed a good share of energy, and his 
position gave him opportunities of laying the foundation of 
one of the most splendid fortunes in the state, and it was 
believed by many of his townsmen that he had accumulated 
great wealth in the purchase and sale of wild lands, at an 
early period after the close of the war. Although at his 
death his fortune was ample, it was by no means so extended 
as it might have been, if he had retained the interest in the 
lands purchased in his name, connected with others. He 
seems to have had a good many transactions with the late 
John L Morgan, in those speculations, and when we com- 
pare the reputed wealth of these two gentlemen at their 
respective demises, it will not be supposed the judge's actual 
share in these original purchases, retained by him, was 
nearly as large or beneficial as the public records seem to 
indicate. He may not have been as confident in respect to 
prospective value of real estate as his partners were, and 
alienated at the prices p^id, three shillings and three pence 
per acre, with a small advance. This must have been a 
moderate price for lands in the 20 townships, even in 1791. 
Lands in the Royal grant were sold in 1785, at $2'50 per 

Judge Myers died at Herkimer, February 17, 1814, aged 
61 years and 16 days. He left numerous descendants, sons 
and daughters, those who yet survive have sought homes in 
other parts of our broad country. I believe there is not at 
this time a single male descendant of this stock now in the 
county, but there are several in difierent parts of this state, 
and in other states of the union. 

Peter M. Myers who was appointed county clerk in 1810, 
was a son of Judge Myers. He held the office one year, 
under this appointment, when by a political revolution in 
the counsel of appointment he was removed, and i^in by 


another change in politics in 1813, he was reappointed and 
held the office two jears. Mr. Myers has been dead manj 
years. He left descendants, several of whom remain in this 


Doctor William Pbtey. 


I now introduce to the reader a native of Germany, who 
did good service for the country during the revolution in 
the capacity of physician and surgeon, as well as in other 
respects. He was bom near Oppenheim, December 7th, 
1733, came to this country in 1763, and married Salome 
Wolf, the daughter of Mr. John Wolf of Gosby's manor, 
December 22, 1766. Dr. Petry was a Bavarian, no connec- 
tion of the Petrie family from the Palatinate, and before he 
came to America, he served as a surgeon in the Prussian 
army. Having obtained a professional diploma in Gtermany, 
he of course must have previously received a classical and 
professional education. He was interested in a store or 
employed in selling goods before the revolution, at the 
present village of Herkimer; the out-break of the war put a 
stop to that business for a time, although he seems to have 
reengaged in it in 1784. He did not feel a very strong sym- 
pathy for the royal cause, for we find him on the 2d of June, 
1776, attending a meeting of Tryon county committee of 
safety as a member from the German Flats and Eingsland 
district He continued a Qiember of that committee several 
years and probably until the state government was organ- 
ized. I also perceive he acted as a justice of the peace 
during the war. He was employed as a surgeon at Fort 
Dayton in 1776 and 1779. He was General Herkimer's 
medical adviser, and did not concur in the treatment of the 
young French surgeon who amputated the General's leg 
below the knee several days after it was shattered. I also 
notice an account for medicine and attendance, by direction 
of the commissioners of Indian affairs, on some Indian child- 
ren, and on ^' Scanando's daughter when beaten with a stone 

HX8T0BT OP meigTMKB coxnmT. 868 

by an Indian*'' Ab a memorial of the past I transcribe the 
following : 

^ At a council of appointment held at Ponghkeepsie, April 
27, 1781 : Present : — His Excellency Governor Clinton, 
President. The Honorable Abraham Ten Broeck, Ste- 
phen Ward, Arthnr Parks, Esqrs., Members. 
^^Retoheiy That William Petry be Surgeon of the Begiment 
raised for the immediate defence of this state, whereof 
Harinus Willet, Esquire, is Lieutenant Colonel Commandant. 
State of New York, ss : 

*' The aforegoing is truly extracted from the minutes of 
the council of appointment. Robert Harper, Clerk.'' 

In April, 1782, Doctor Petry was appointed by the coun- 
cil of appointment surgeon of the regiment of state levies 
commanded by Colonel Willett He was present at the Oris- 
kany battle and wounded in the leg, from which he suffered 
a good deal of inconvemeuce. He dressed General Herki- 
mer's wound on the battle field. It is understood that at 
this time there was not as much cordiality between the 
general and the doctor as had previously existed. As the 
latter was then one of the county committee of safety, he 
may with the other members of the committee have disap- 
proved of the general's policy in regard to an immediate 
march to the relief of Fort Stanwix. It is reported of the 
doctor that he was not strictly a noncombatant at Oriskany, 
that after the first assault by the enemy he was very active 
in encouraging the militia, and forming them so as to pre- 
sent a combined resistance to the enemy. His former 
experience in the Prussian service enabled him to afford 
essential aid on that occasion. He was with his regiment 
under Col. Willett in October 1781, when that brave and 
active officer pursued Ross and Butler's party on their retreat 
across the country to reach their boats at the Oneida lake, and 
when the latter was killed after crossing the West Canada 
creek. He also accompanied his regiment under Willett in 
February, 1783, on the expedition to capture by surprise the 


Brituh fortrefls at Oswego, which filled of sacoMB, not how- 
ever by any fault of the American commander. 

Doct Petry was actively engaged in his pFofession, nearly 
the whole length of the Mohawk valley, daring the reyolntion, 
and before and after, he being the principal physician and 
surgeon in the connty, nntil nearly the close of his life. He 
always went armed during the war, in going the roond of 
his visits. He was somewhat bmsk in manners, and firm in 
his resolves. Many anecdotes are told of him, some of them 
quite amusing and characteristic of the man. Not being 
within call at the moment when an operation was required 
upon one of the men of his regiment, several of the young 
American surgeons were called in, and while they were con- 
sulting what to do, he returned, and coming into the room 
where the disabled man and the doctors were, asked the 
Yankee surgeons to retire a few minutes, as he wished to 
confer with the wounded man. While they were absent 
he amputated and dressed the limb, and then sent for them 
to return, and remarked that they might now consult as 
long as they pleased. After the peace he again engaged in 
mercantile business at Herkimer, which he continued till 
near the close of life. He died at that place, August 6th, 
1806, i^ed nearly 73 years. He left several sons and daugh- 
ters, and of the latter is the mother of the Messrs. Earls. 
His memory has been, and still is, highly cherished by the 
old German inhabitants of the county, who knew him. His 
descendants still retain the paternal estate, for which they 
entertain a high regard. 

When the doctor had made up his mind, on almost any 
subject, all further debate with him was not of much use. 
His family residence was a little distance from the Court 
house, and the compact part of the village, where he often 
resorted to hear and talk over the news of the day, with his 
neighbors and old revolutionary compeers, who were never at 
fault for fruitful themes of discussion, when modern affairs 
did not present them. He had become very deeply interested 
in regard to the stamp act, passed under Mr. Adams's admin- 


istration, and stontlj denied the justice and propriety of 
compelling the American people to buy stamped paper for 
their ordinary business, as they had just got through with 
a long war to get rid of it He became very much excited 
on the subject, when, one day, he was in the village where 
the stamps had been long and warmly discussed, and argu* 
ments, pro and con, wholly exhausted, the old gentleman 
returned home greatly vexed and annoyed, the din of 
stamps, and stamp acts ringing in his ears, when the peculiar 
voice of a flock of guinea hens, on his premises, arrested his 
attention ; the innocent cry of the poor hens soupded to him 
very like stamp act, and he could not endure it. He ordered 
his boys to kill them at once, for he would not, he said, 
have any d— 4 stamps about him. The innocent hens were 
beheaded for the treasonable cry of stamps. I can not better 
close this brief notice of the doctor, than by giving in this 
place a of his diploma, translated from the German. 

We, ordained by Grace an Electoral-Palatine Medical 
Assembly; appointed Privy Counsellor, and First private 
Physician, Director and Assessors, Court Physicians and 
City Physicians, Ac, 

Do hereby testify and make known that the proprietor 
of this, named William Petry, bom in JWui^n, in the 
Eledoral-Palatifne Bailiwick of Oppenheim, came to us with a 
dutiful petition to be examined in the artof Acfj^eiy, accord- 
ing to the graceAil Electoral Royal Medical Order. Therefore, 
after producing his authentic indentures, showing that he 
had regularly studied surgery for three years vrith Jolm 
George Heuser^ the City Surgeon of the Electoral Palatine 
Bailiwick of Oppenheim ; then studied with Schrndt, the 
City Surgeon here in Manheim, one year and a half, and 
attended the Jtnatomical School in Berlin; after that served 
one year in the Boyal Prussian Hospital, in Dresden and 
Torgau, also served as company surgeon during four years 
in the Estimable Sthenckendorf^e Infaantry Regiments and in 
like manner served two years among the English Grenadien; 
and that during all the time he practiced the surgical and 

366 BiBioinr ov hkskoder comnnr. 

anatomical art We had no hesitatioa to complj viih 
WiLLUic Pbtby's petition to give him the cnstomaiy exam- 
ination. In which examination, as to all questions about 
woonds in general, amiunonsy twrnorty fractum^ haaHmUj ana* 
tomical and sorgical operations, he having answered to onr 
perfect satisfaction ; and in onr presence, also to onr satis- 
faction, attended to several practical cases in surgery. We 
all i^ree that he is a skillful and well instructed surgeon, 
which we hereby attest to him by virtue of our usual seal 
and with our own hands. Manheim, 8th Febr., 1763. 
Consilium >f edicum Electorale Palatinum 
[l. a.] P. J. Walck, Jc. Schbott, Medico. 

Fbakcisco Helm, Actuariua. 


George Bosecbants 

Was the son of the Bev. Abraham Rosecrants, who for 
many years presided over the German congregations, in the 
Mohawk valley. George was bom on the Idth of March, 
1764, on Fall hill, in the present town of Littie Falls. His 
mother was a sister of QejL Nicholas Herkimer. He died 
December 21st, 1838, at the place of his birth, aged 74 years, 
9 months and 6 days. He had four brothers, Henry, Abra- 
ham, Joseph and Nicholas, and three sisters. He left one 
son, Abraham G., now living, and five daughters. Although 
of German descent, he did not belong to the original Pala- 
tine stock, and therefore the sketch of his life and family 
belongs to a different chapter of biographies. 

Mr. Rosecrants was called pretty early into public life. 
At the age of thirty-five, he was elected to the state con- 
vention with Evans Wharry and Matthias B. Tallmadge, 
from this county, which was called in 1801, to act upon 
certain propositions in respect to the power of the members 
of the council of appointment, and limiting the number of 
members of assembly. In 1805 he was appointed one of 
the judges of the court of common pleas, which office he 


held until March, 1821. In 1812, he was appointed by the 
legislature one of the electors of president and vice-president 
of the United States, and voted with the other electors of 
this state for De Witt Clinton, in preference to James 
Madison. He was one of the members of assembly from 
the county, in 1817 and 1818, and was chosen a state sena- 
tor at the spring election in 1818, and held that oflSce the 
full term of four years. This closed his official career. He 
was a member of the council of appointment in 1819, and 
warmly attached to Governor De Witt Clinton while that 
distinguished statesman occupied a prominent position in 
the councils of the state. 

It must be evident to any one familiar with the history of 
political parties in the county, that Judge Bosecrants was 
of the old republican school of politicians. In voting for 
Mr. Clinton, in 1812, for president, if he erred at all, he 
erred in common with a majority of his political friends in 
the legislature, who had nominated Mr. Clinton in opposi- 
tion to Mr. Madison. 

Judge Rosecrants possessed good sound sense, and a dis- 
criminating judgment. He was industrious, diligent and 
attentive to his public duties, and highly esteemed for his 
many amiable qualities as a private citizen. He was a warm 
admirer of General Andrew Jackson, and much elated at 
the general's election to the presidency. When not engaged 
in public life. Judge Rosecrants devoted himself to agricul- 
tural pursuits on one of the most delightful farms in the 
county,' situated on Fall hill.* 

Nathan Smith 

Was a native of Massachusetts, came into this county in 
1790, and opened a country retail store, in company with 
Naham Daniels, a few miles from the present villag^e of 
Fairfield, on the farm recently occupied by Robert Alexan- 
der, and now by his descendants. They, at the same time, 




carried on the manufacture of pot-ashes. Mr. Daniels 
removed to Newport two or three years afterwards. Mr. 
Smith then removed to Fairfield village, where he continued 
the mercantile business for some time in connection with 
his brothers William and Samuel. He was many years a 
prominent politician in this county, and his first appearance 
in the legislative halls of the state appears to have been in 
1798, associated with Gaylord Griswold and five others. 
This was the year that Oneida was erected. I state the fact 
that one at least of Mr. Smith's colleagues, Mr. Griswold, 
was, in after life, a leading and influential politician of the 
federal school, and more than fifteen years after his first 
election, Mr. Smith was associated with the republican party. 
He was again chosen member of assembly, and was in his 
place at the sessions of 1801 and 1802. These successive 
elections, at a period when the political opinions of candi- 
dates were drawn out and freely expressed, lead to the 
conclusion I have formed in regard to his early political 

He was appointed a judge of the county courts and jus- 
tice of the peace, in March, 1805, but it does not appear he 
was again commissioned in 1808 and 1811, and no other 
person seems to have been appointed at either of those 
periods to fiU his place on the common pleas bench. Judge 
Smith was chosen a senator from the western district at the 
election in 1805, and held the office two full terms by a 
reelection in 1809. In February, 1808, he was chosen by 
the assembly one of the council of appointment. This great 
political machine had the previous year been in active ope- 
ration under the direction of Gov. Lewis, who had been 
elevated to the executive chair by the combined votes of the 
federal and a section of the republican parties ; but a large 
portion of the latter were very much opposed to the 
governor, and were arranging themselves in formidable 
masses to defeat his reelection. The governor and his 
council of 1806, sought to strengthen themselves by the 
removal from office of every unfriendly republican ; but as 


usual on such occasions the official patronage was princi- 
pally bestowed upon Lewisite republicans, or quids, as then 
called* The federalists, although they had supported 
Lewis's election, were not permitted to taste the ^^ loaves 
and fishes " of office, and one of those not uncommon occur- 
rences in New York politics had happened, in which the 
whole patronage and emoluments of place were bestowed 
upon a section of the republican party, and that section in 
this instance was the least numerous and influential of the 
two in the several counties of the state. The rivalries and 
jealousies of the potent and wealthy families existing in this 
colony at the out-break of the revolution, and who embraced 
the popular cause, was often exhibited at the elections, and 
for nearly forty years after the peace of 1783, this great 
political star chamber, the council of appointment, rewarded 
the faithful and punished the insubordinates with unerring 
precision. Woe to the official who failed to support the 
regular nominations of the party ; from that moment he was 
a doomed man. The election of Mr. Tompkins to the ex- 
ecutive chair, and the return of more than two to one mem- ' 
bers of assembly friendly to the new governor, with a 
majority in the senate, gave note of preparation for one of 
those periodical removals and appointments which often 
visited the state before and since the time now being con- 

The council of which Judge Smith was a member pro- 
ceeded in the work of ^^ crushing out insubordination " with 
a zeal and dispatch that in a very few months produced a 
change of individuals in nearly all the civil offices in the 

The application for the charter of the Bank of America 
with a capital of $6,000,000, was made at the session of 
1812, and Judge Smith was still a member of the senate. 
This * application was generally opposed by the republican 
members and favored by the federalists. Governor Tomp- 
kins was by no means friendly, and on the 27th of March, pro- 
rogued the legislature until the21st of May following, assign- 

360 hutobt of ebbkhieb gouktt. 

ing as a reason for this act that the applicants had used or 
attempted to use corrupt means to procure the charter. The 
bill had passed the assembly by a vote of fifty-eight to thirty- 
nine, and was sent to the senate, when on a motion to reject, . 
the vote was thirteen to fifteen and failed. The prorogation 
took place soon after and caused great excitement and some 
violence and outrage. This was a strong executive measure, 
but if, as was then and still is believed, a bill was about to 
be forced through the legislature by corrupt appliances, any 
legal and constitutional measure might be adopted to defeat 
it. The governor was sustained by the public judgment 
and this showed pretty conclusively the popular belief in 
the charges of corruption. 

When the legislature met, on the 21st of May, the senate 
immediately proceeded to consider the bill to incorporate 
th(f stockholders of the Bank of America. As may be weU 
supposed under the circumstances, the opposition to its pas- 
sage was long and ably conducted, but the bill fincdly passed 
the senate by a vote of seventeen to thirteen. Judge Smith 
* voting for it. The early history of the bank legidation of 
this state, exhibits scenes of the most revolting character, 
highly discreditable to the state. The public mind was not 
only satisfied, but had a surfeit of such matters, ind for 
many years after chartering the Bank of America, but few 
applications for laws of this sort were presented to the le- 
gislature. The last attempt to procure bank charters by 
bribery of members was made in 1825. The effort was 
exposed and severely punished, as all such acts should be, 
if the purity of legislation is to be preserved. This 
remarkable £act is shown in the history of the passage of 
the Bank of America charter. The vote in favor of the bill 
was considerably increased in the assembly, after the 
exposure of the corrupt conduct of the agents of applicants ; 
and why the senate should have entertained the bill &t all, 
after these acts were known, must surpass the comprehen- 
sion of modern legislators. During the bank legislation of 
1829, 1830 and 1831, very serious doubts were entertained 


in relation to reincorporating any of these tainted charters. 
One of them was rejected in the senate, and on winding up 
its concerns exhibited a beggarly account of insolvent 
. assets. 

I have alluded to this subject in this place only because 
Judge Smith was an actor in chartering the Bank of 
America, and that was an event of his public life, in which 
he participated. ' It is due to his character and fame that I 
fihould say in this connection, I am not aware that he was 
in any respect damaged by the vote he gave, and certainly 
in the publi^ed history of those times, which I have seen, 
his name no otherwise appears than in the affirmative on 
the passage of the bilL After the close of his last senatorial 
term, Judge Smith was appointed the first judge of the 
county courts, in Apa*il 1814, and held the office till Feb- 
ruary, 1821, when he resigned the place. He died at Fair- 
field in this county, October 7th, 1836, at the mature age of 
67 years ; ripe in honoris and in the enjoyment of competent 
wealth, the fruits of a long life devoted to business pursuits. 
He left a family. 

While devoted to the cause And responsibilities of legis- 
lation, he was not unmindful of local affairs near home. He 
aided in the founding and building up the first academy 
established in the county, and exerted his b^st efforts, in 
conjunction with others, in behalf of the medical institution 
located at Fairfield, some notice of which will be found in 
another place. 

EpHBAiM Snow 

Was a native of the state of Connectioui, and removed 
from Eollingworth into this county, some time before 1800. 
He was appointed sheriff of the county, in 1806, and held 
the office only one year. The appointment being an annual 
one, owing to a political revolution in the appointing power, 
he of course was not continued or reappointed in 1807. He 
lived and died at Herkimer village. I place Mr. Snow's 


nonreappointment to political causes, becanse, I notice his 
predecessor, Mr. Cook, whose place he took, was his successor 
in 1807. 

Hekbt Tillinghast 

Was a native of East Greenwich, Kent county, Rhode 
Island ; the son of Benjamin Tillinghast, one of an extensive 
circle of family connections, known in former times to have 
exerted a pretty potent influence in that state, and not the 
least influential of the numerous and wide spread family, 
was the father of the subject of this notice ; and the son 
emulated the fame of a worthy sire. Henry served an 
apprenticeship to the tanning business, with Charles Dyer, 
Bennington county, Vermont- He went to Vermont, in 
1789, and in 1792 took up his residence in the town of Nor- 
way, when about twenty years of age. In the following 
year he returned to Vermont, married Miss Sarah Dyer, who 
.at this present writing is his respected surviving widow ; 
and seated himself permanently in the almost unbroken 
wilds of the Royal grant. 

He was an active, thorough, business man; early gave his 
attention to the business of tanning, an occupation not 
only usefol, in a new country, but very remunerative when 
the home demand exceeded the supply, as is most usually 
the case where the population is rapidly increasing, and 
there is almost a total nonintercourse with the general mar- 
ket, owing to bad roads, and the want of facilities for 

But Mr. Tillinghast did not confine himself to this mechan- 
ical pursuit alone. Farming early engaged his attention, 
and the hitherto untouched forest was subdued, and fertile 
acres were made to yield their annual crops for the suste- 
nance of man. These employments, however, did not 
content the active energies of this son of the land of Roger 
Williams. I do not think he was aspiring and ambitious of 
political distinction, merely for the sake of office, and the 
emoluments of place. A conscientious conviction that his own 



cberished political views were the cardinal maxims of good 
government, prompted Mr. Tillinghast, at an early day, to 
take the field as a champion of republicanism, against one 
of the most formidable opponents [of that party in the county, 
Thomas Manly, who had seated himself in Norway, a short 
time before Mr. Tillinghast. 

While I wish to place Mr. Tillinghast's actions on the 
basis of a love of country, I must not be understood as 
questioning in any way the motives and objects of Mr. Manly. 
The contest was long, and attended with varied success. 
The majority of votes polled by either political party, for 
several years, was.very small, seldom exceeding ten or twelve, 
often a less number, and one year, each of the assembly 
candidates received 105 votes in the town. Mr. Manly was 
then one of the candidates. There was not any personal 
antagonism indulged by either party, during this long con- 
test for political supremacy. Mr. Tillinghast held various 
town o£Sices in his town, and performed the duties of them 
to the general satisfaction of his fellow citizens. In what I 
have said about Mr. Manly and Mr. Tillinghast, it should not 
be inferred that there were not other prominent and leading 
men in the town, of both parties, who participated in the 
strife for the political mastery, and who exerted a proper 
share of influence whenever the parties were rallied to the 

At the legislative session of 1823, the first convened under 
the constitution of 1821, Mr. Tillinghast was one the mem- 
bers of assembly from this county. He was elected on the 
ticket with JohnDygert and AbijahBeckwith. The sessioD 
was an important and interesting one. He was again a 
member of the assembly in 1836. He was a cautious and 
prudent legislator, and attentive to his public duties. His 
practical good sense, sound judgment and clear perception 
of things, seldom failed him on any emergency. 

He held the important office of supervisor of his town 
nearly thirty years in succession, and that of a magistrate 
several terms. His devotion to his country, its safety and 


honor, lay deeper and broader than mere wordy pretensionB. 
He was ready and willing to act in a post of danger, should 
occasion require it, and with that view organized during 
the war of 1812, a company of volunteer exempts, of which 
he was designated the captain, who held themselves ready 
to serve th^ir country in the field against the common 
enemy. He was somewhat of a military tactician, and would 
often, after the weary labors of the day were ended, call his 
little sons around him and teach them the ^^ manual exer- 

Mr. Tillinghast was bom on the 22d of May, 1772, and 
died suddenly in the harvest field on the 29th of July, 1841, 
in the full fruition of a well spent life. He left a numerous 
family the inheritors not only of his justly earned fame, but 
of an estate, the accumulation of fifty years of frugal indus- 
try. I have spoken of Mr. Tillinghast's political opinions 
as I knew them. He was a republican of the Jefiersonian 
school, and although ardent in feelings and actions, these 
were always tempered and controlled by a just regard to the 
conservative principles of the constitution of his country. 

Stephen Todd 

Was bom in Wallingford, Connecticut, December 23d, 
1773. His father removed to Salisbury, Herkimer county, 
in 1792, with his family, and commenced the laborious work 
of converting a wilderness of forest into fmitful fields. Mr. 
Todd, the younger, worked with his father on the new farm 
a few years, when he commenced the study of medicine, 
obtained a license and commenced practice in Salisbury 
previous to 1800. Doct. Todd attained a very considerable 
eminence in his profession, and was justly esteemed for his 
active, humane and zealous efforts to alleviate the ^^ ills that 
life is heir to," and highly respected for a sound and vigor- 
ous understanding. He continued his professional pursuits 
in Salisbury till near the close of life. He combined, to 
dome extent, agricultural with his professional pursuits, luid 


I heard him remark that he was one of the first in the county 
to adopt the change from grain-growing fo grazing, and 
that he felt it to be a duty to encourage and promote this 
change as the best and only means of reviving the fanning 
interests of the county. He said it was unwise to continue 
the competition with the western part of this state, Ohio 
and Michigan, in raising wheat, under almost any circum- 
stances; but it was especially so while the fly and weevil 
were catting off the wheat, and the cold seasons so inauspi- 
cious to Indian com* These remarks were strongly impressed 
upon my mind at the time in consequence of the question, 
what are the farmers to do, being much discussed, . and 
made the subject of anxious inquiry. 

Doct. Todd was the captain of a company of militia light 
infantry, in the war of 18 12 with Great Britain. Now, although 
neither the active nor passive sympathies of the doctor 
were with the general or state administrations of that day, 
at all times and on all occasions, he obeyed the call of his 
country with patriotic alacrity. I am enabled to give the 
following incident in the life of Doct. Todd, the facts having 
been elicited in the course of a semi-judicial investigation 
had in my hearing. In 1814, Captain Todd, as I will now 
call him, and a few members of his company had been 
detached to join the American forces at Plattsburgh in this 
state, at the time of the invasion by the British under Sir 
Oeorge Provost Within a few days of the first call, orders 
were received from Governor Tompkins for the militia of 
Montgomery and Herkimer counties, ennutue, to march 
immediately to Sackets Harbor to defend that post. Gapt. 
Todd felt himself called upon to perform an extra duty, 
which does not often fall to the lot of an officer, and, when 
it does, is not always performed with the same anxious soli- 
citude for the welfare of others. He directed the detached 
men of his company to repair to the rendezvous at Johns- 
town and report themselves to the commanding officer, and 
then started with his company en route to Sackets Harbor. 
After proceeding one or two days' march with the company, 


and seeing that his men were furnished with all needful 
equipage and provisions, and leaving them under the charge 
of his lieutenant, Abraham Marsh, to march to the Harbor, 
he retraced his steps home to Salisbury, and then made hot 
pursuit to overtake his command before it reached Platts- 

The mention of Sir George and the invasion; brings to 
recollection an anecdote connected with that event, related 
by Sir A. N. McN., who was then an ensign in the British 
army. This, I know, is not exactly the place for such things, 
but it is too good to keep, and therefore it must come out 
somewhere, and may as well appear in company with Gapt. 
Todd, at Plattsburgh, as any other officer. Sir A. tells the 
story with much good feeling and very spiritedly, and I only 
wish it could be here repeated with the same amusing action 
he gives when relating it. After the British army had 
crossed the line on its march to Plattsburgh, Sir A. and two 
or three other young officers obtained leave one morning 
to forage for a breakfast at some of the American farm- 
houses near the line of march. They looked around and 
selected a house some distance from the road, where from 
outside appearances they would be the most likely to obtain 
what they very much required, a good warm breakfast. 
The young gentlemen were not slow in reaching the goal of 
their desires, as they wished not only to be first to occupy 
the ground, but very much inclined to have the smell and 
taste of a savory meal. They were kindly received at the 
house, civiUy told in reply to their inquiry, that breakfast 
would be prepared for them as soon as it possibly could. 
In due time they were seated round the table and api>ea8ing 
hunger as fast as they could, momentarily expecting a call 
to duty. My informant says a bright, active and healthful 
young woman waited upon them, and brought from an 
adjoining room the hot cakes prepared for them. 

The signal or caH to join corps and regiments was heard 
while the young woman was out of the room ; the officers 
had quit their seats at the table and were about to leave the 

J" ■ ■ ^"^^^^^i? 


house, when she came in with another plate full of cakes, 
and seeing they were ready to start, said to them, ^' (Gentle* 
men, don't be in a hurry, I have more warm cakes for you, 
and you had better take them now/' The young oflScers in 
reply, said they would call for them on their return from 
Plattsburgh. She rejoined, ^^ Perhaps you may then be in 
too much haste to stop." Sir A. says they were much more 
light of foot in returning to, than in coming from Canada; 
and that, on his way back with a party of flankers, he passed 
near the house where they had breakfasted, and hearing 
some one call, looked up and saw the same young woman 
standing in the door, who said to him with a roguish smile, 
" Halloo, mister, won't you call and get your cakes ?" 

Doctor Todd's campaign to Plattsburgh closed, I believe, 
his active military service during the war. I think he was 
on the frontier in one or both of the previous years of the 
war, but of this I am not certain* 

At the November election, 1821, he was nominated by his 
political friends as a candidate for the assembly, on a ticket 
with Sftneon Ford and Robert Shoemaker, and received a 
majority of the popular vote over his competitor, but failed 
to obtain a certificate of election from the county clerk. 
Dr. Todd's whole vote in the county was 1941 ; his highest 
competitor. Gen. Bellinger, had 1644. The returns of two 
towns, Russia and Winfield, were rejected, whereby he lost 
98 majority ; but he yet had 199 more votes than either of 
his opponents. The returns from Danube were assumed to 
show 207 votes given for Robert Shoemaker, 211 for Simeon 
Ford, and 202 for Stephen Tood. I say assumed, for that 
was the construction of the canvasser oa examining the 
certificate of the town inspectors, sent to the county clerk's 
oflSce. It was, at the time, supposed to be a remarkable 
fact, that two of the three candidates running on the same 
ticket should receive so large a vote, and the third none at 
all, when the printed ballots used at the election throughout 
the county were alike. The mistake in the certificate made 
by the town inspectors, if there was one, must have occurred 


m writing out the names of the candidates and the top of 
the first d in Todd so much depressed as to look like an o. 
At any rate, the rejection of the Danube Totes from Todd's 
column, and placing them to Stephen Tood, after the other 
rejections above noticed, elected Oen. Bellinger by three 
majority, and he consequently obtained the c^lificate. The 
committee on privileges and elections in the house corrected 
this matter as soon as it came before them, and the assembly, 
without hesitation, awarded the coaitested seat to the right- 
ful occupant. The political parties in the house were so 
nearly balanced, that it was not clearly known, until the 
legislature met, whether the democratic majority would be 
one, or the numbers 64 to 64. Casualties might prevent a 
full attendance at the opening of the session, but these 
chances were equally balanced. The political opponents of 
the county clerk complained of his conduct, in not notifying 
the Danube inspectors of the mistake in their certificate, 
and whispered pretty audibly that he was looking to the 
election of speaker and the council of appointment. A 
democratic majority of one in the house, after Dr. Todd was 
admitted, rendered any such precautions needless. 

Dr. Todd died at Salisbury in the month and same day of 
the month of his birth, in the year 1827, aged 64 years. He 
left a family of several daughters, but I do not know whether 
any sons survived him to bear his name to posterity. He 
.cLnnlated a ^ry considerable fortnne, by active «id 
judicious application to business ; and had attained a stand- 
ing in his profession which many aspire to, but few achieve. 

Abijah Tombjjng 

Was not a native of this county. He came into the town 
of Norway near the close of the last century or at the com- 
mencement of the present, where he pursued his profession 
as a physician and surgeon with considerable success. He 
was cotemporary with Dr. Willoughby. I am not able to 
fix the date of his removal to Herkimer village. He sue- 


ceeded David Holt as United States collector of internal 
reTenne, and held the office nntil the repeal of the laws 
imposing those duties. Dr. Tombling was appointed surro* 
gate of the county in Noyember, 1&16) and held the place 
until April, 1821. He was amiable, unassuming and bene- 
volent. In quitting or rather neglecting his profession, and 
giving his attention to politics, he was not fortunate. He 
died at Herkimer, more than twenty years ago, regretted by 
a large circle of friends, and leaving a family to mourn 
his loss. * 

EnwAiuo Vabney 

Was bom in Armenia, Dutchess county. New York, June 
6th, 1778. His father, John Vamey, was one of the patri- 
otic men of the revolution. He served his country through 
a protracted war of seven years, enduring its privations, 
fatigues and. sacrifices, with heroic fortitude. His time and 
substance were devoted to the service of his country, leaving 
him little of either for the education of his family. The 
subject of this notice having, by untiring industry and 
perseverance, accumulated a small patrimony, emigrated 
with his family, in 1809, to the then wilds pf Herkimer 
county. He became at once a proprietor and tiller of the 

In 1812, he was appointed a justice of the peace, an office 
which, by repeated appointments and elections, he filled 
with honor during twenty-five successive years. During 
the same period, he was for many years clerk of the town, 
and for five years one of the judges of the county court. 
His first appointment as county judge was made in Febru- 
ary, 1823. He also filled the office of supervisor five years, 
was master in chancery, commissioner of schools, &c. In 
1825, he was elected member of assembly. In 1841, he was 
elected senator of this ^te in the fourth senate district 

In all stations in which he was called to act, he showed 
himself capable, faithful and honest Elevated in principle 
and urbane in manners, he secured the respect and confi- 

370 SDDnoBT OF HKMnmEB ooran. 

dence of his aasociatea. He was bold as he was frank, 
honest and nndisgoiaed. In all his acts, whether priyate or 
public, he yielded to the voice of rectitude and conscience, 
.regardless of consequences. Edmund Yamey was a repub- 
lican of the Jeffersonian schooL 

An ardent admirer and lover of his country, and believing 
the welfare of that country could only be secured by the 
supremacy of the democratic party, Judge Yamey, during 
his long life, seldom failed to attend the poll% and to deposit 
his vote. He has often remarked to the writer, that ^ the 
right of suffrage was sacred, and should be preserved invio- 
late." A few days previous to his death, speaking of the 
present' political aspects of our country, he expressed a 
decided opinion against the institution of domestic slavery, 
the ^^ peculiar institution " of the south, and hoped its limits 
would, under no circumstances, be extended. 

He sustained a long and painful illness, from chronic 
bronchitis, with Christian resignation and fortitude, believ- 
ing and hoping, with firm assurance, in the immortality of 
the soul, and that he had the promise of a happy life in the 
world to come. He calmly expired at his residence in 
Russia, December 2, 1847. 

I find the above obituary notice published in one of. the 
county papers about the period of Judge Yamey's death ; 
and after making a few slight alterations in tiie original 
article, cheerfully incorporate it with the biographies of the 
public men of the county. A long and somewhat intimate 
acquaintance with Judge Yarney, enables me to say, tiie 
writer has placed a just estimate upon his character, and 
has done no injustice to the subject. 

Richard Yan Hobne 

Was a native of Sussex county. New Jersey, and was bom 
the 15th of November, 1770. He was a son of Abraham 
Yan Home, a narrative of whom will be found under the 
town of Stark. 


Mr. Van Home removed from Port Plain in 1791, with 
his father and other members of the family, to the head of 
the Otsquaga creek, now known as Van Homesville, and 
commenced the mercantile bnsiness in connection with his 
brother DanieL As the country opened and became more 
populated, they increased and extended their bnsiness nntil 
they became pretty largely engaged in the purchase of wheat 


and the manufacture of flour for the Albany market. There 
being neither turnpikes, plank roads, canals nor rail roads in 
those days, the waters of the Mohawk were used as the 
medium of transport from the point of shipment at Fort 
Plain to Schenectady, and from thence the communication 
was by teams to Albany. 

Mr. Van Home was elected to the legislature of this state 
from Montgomery county in 1809, 1810, and again in 1812. 
His official connection with the people of this county, after 
the annexation of a portion of Montgomery county to Her- 
kimer in 1817, brings this case within the scope of biogra- 
phical notices to be embraced in this work. 

At the election on the 19th, 20th and 21st June, 1821, Mr. 
Van Home was put in nomination as a delegate to the conven- 
tion to revise the constitution of the state with Simeon Ford 
and Nathan Smith. Sherman Wooster and Sanders Lansing 
were the opposing candidates to Mel^srs. Ford and Smith. 
I have noticed the reasons in another place why the demo- 
cratic party adopted Mr. Yan Home, or rather did not 
nominate a candidate against him, and will not again repeat 
them. That election presented a somewhat curious result. 
Van Home's aggregate vote in the county was 3410 ; Wooster 
and Lansing's average was 1935 and Ford and Smith's, 1553; 
showing Van Home's vote to be nearly 80 less than the other 
successful candidates, and the democratic majority was 382 
only. When the constitution was submitted for ratifica- 
tion, the vote in Danube, Mr. Van Home's town, was For it. 
Yes, 68; Against it. No, 363; majority. No, 295; and 
the majority in the county for the constitution was only 


329. Speculation upon matters of this sort maj not be very 
entertaining but may prove usefuL 

The vote in Danube on the election of delegates was 
nearly divided, or rather the majority against the demo- 
cratic candidates was only fifty-five. The avowed opinions 
of those gentlemen in favor of the prominent features of 
amendment or change, were fully known to the electors, and 
hence there must have been a change of sentiment, or there 
was an influence exerted on the vote for ratification that 
was quiescent at the delegate election. Mr. Van Home did 
not approve of the constitution of 1821, but this objection 
may not have been founded on the modified extension of the 
right of suffrage and the abolition of the councils of appoint- 
ment and revision, the points on which he was understood 
to be in accord with the democratic party at the time of the 

The provision in that instrument which ousted the justices 
of the then supreme court from office, which gave rise to 
much elaborate discussion in the convention, and on which 
the political majority in that body did not agree, encountered 
his opposition at every step, and in every stage of its pro- 
gress. He would not be likely to sanction an instrument 
containing unobjectionable provisions, which carried with 
them what he judged an unjust act of proscription against 
his friends. 

Although several of the members of the convention, with 
whom he had usually acted, and who sympathized with him 
on political questions, finally yielded their assent, his mind 
seems to have been unalterably fixed on the subject, and he 
gave one of the eight votes against the constitution, when 
the final question was taken. The posterity of the men of 
that day, have passed judgment upon the instrument, and 
repudiated most of its provisions, but they have not made a 
very rapid stride towards Mr. Yan Home's notions, of a 
sound and safe constitution. 

Mr. Richard Van Home died at Yan Homeville, in the 


town of Stark, March 12th, 1823, aged 72 years, 4 months 
and 27 days. He left a widow and seven children; the 
former was living at the writing of this brief notice. I 
hardly need remind the reader, that Mr. Van H. was of 
Dutch, and not Qerman descent. His ancestors emigrated 
from Holland. In the prime of life he was actively engaged 
in business pursuits, appertaining to merchandise and manu- 
facturing, and when the ^^ sere and yellow leaf of old age 
overtook him, he reposed on the comforts of a good farm, 
and the accumulations of an industrious and well-spent life. 
It is not strange that such a man should win the regards of 
l^is neighbors and fellow citizens, and bear their regrets to 
his final resting place. 


Evans Whabry 

Filled a prominent space in the early history of the county, 
at the close of the war in 1783. He was of Irish descent, 
and bom at or near Wallkill, Orange county, in 1749. Left 
an orphan at the early age of sixteen years, by the death of 
both his parents, being thrown, by this sad event, upon his 
own resources, he devoted himself to study, and particularly 
to mathematics, in order to acquire the theory of navigation ; 
having made up his mind to adopt and pursue a seafaring 
life. He made several voyages to the West Indies, as super- 
cargo of some of the small vessels then engaged in that trade, 
but he found a nautical life unsuited to his health and inclin- 
ations, abandoned it, and gave his attenticm to surveying. 

The advent of the American revolution found him in the 
prime of life and vigor of manhood, and probably with no 
sympathies for the royal cause. If a thought of adhesion to 
the crown ever crossed his mind, it ^^must soon have passed 
away as the idle wind," for we find him in command of a com- 
pany in Canada, when the American army under Gen. Mont* 
gomery approached and assaulted Quebec. Being stationed at 
or near Montreal, he was ordered to join the provincial forces 



below, bat afterwards hearing of the fall of Monf^mery and 
the defeat of the Americans, he consulted with Dr. Franklin in 
regard to the expediency of marching to the city^nnder the 
altered circumstances. The American sage said to him *^ it is 
a good officer that obeys the command of his superiors,'' and 
Wharry immediately commenced a forward movement with 
his men. After a short progress, however, he was directed 
to return, and he left Canada with the evacuating army. 

Mr. Wharry served his country well and faithfully, during 
the whole of the eventful struggle for provincial emanci- 
pation. The theater of his service was mostly in the north- 
em department, under (General Schuyler. The routine of 


duty was that usually performed by a subaltern staff. I am 
not aware that he performed i>ermanent service in the Une 
of the army after the expedition into Canada. His country 
acknowledged those services, by the bestowment of the 
usual gratuity or pension upon him to the close of his life, 
and after that upon his venerable relict, who survived him 
nearly twenty years. 

He came into this county in 1785-6, purchased a tract of 
land, and commenced farming. The home place where he 
died, near the Little Falls, was a part of that purchase. 
Being a good practical surveyor, and possessing no small 
share of energy in mind and body, he was much engaged in 
the business of surveying, the first fifteen or twenty years 
of his residence in the county, and was often employed on 
behalf of the state in making surveys of the public lands* 
He was appointed one of the judges of the common pleas, 
and a justice of the peace, August 27, 1798, and held those 
offices until March 18th, 1805, when he was commissioned 
as first judge, on the resignation of John Meyer. Judge 
Wharry continued to hold the office and discharge the 
duties of his last appointment, until he was sixty years 
old, the constitutional limit. We have made the important 
discovery, since 1777, that three score years does not uner- 
ringly produce mental incapacity, amounting to disqualifi- 
cation to hold judicial office. So long, however, as the 


incumbent held by the tenure of good behavior, it may 
have been well to fix some limit when even that qualifica- 
tion should no longer serve him ; and if it was found that 
mental incapacitation commenced at sixty years, with the 
average of educated men, that was probably a safe period 
of limitation. It must, however, be acknowledged, that 
new lights in the science of government have been pouring 
in upon us the last fifty years with astonishing rapidity and 
unexampled exuberance. If we can not discover the 
origin and cause of the Asiatic cholera, nor detect the 
peculiar miasma which invigorates this most appalling of 
modern plagues, who will venture to doubt the capacity of 
man at this time to originate and perfect such municipal 
rules of government, as, acting upon the mind, and giving 
it a direction, must inevitably produce a terrestrial mil- 

Judge Wharry was chosen one of the delegates from this 
county, in 1801, to the convention called under the authority 
of an act of the state legislature. He had been elected in 
the spring of 1800 to the assembly, with George Widrig and 
Nathan Smith, and was consequently a member of that 
house when the act authorizing the call was passed. He 
was again chosen member of assembly in the county, at the 
spring elections of 1803 and 1804, with Samuel Wright and 
Qeorge Widrig, and the legislative session of 1806 ended 
his career as a representative of the people of the county. 
Judge Wharry's position during the revolutionary war 
enabled him to form a personal acquaintance with Washing- 
ton, Eoiox, Hamilton, Burr, George Clinton and other dis- 
tinguished leaders in that mighty effort in the conquest of 
freedom and assertion of right. He was an active and 
zealous politician, and the reader may have noticed his 
intimate connection and association with Matthias B. Tall- 
madge. They both came from the same part of the state 
into the county, although not in the same year. 

The upper section of the Mohawk valley was growing 
into importance ; it had been partially occupied along the 

376 HIBTOBY OP bbbbhibb oousty. 

borders of the river, by an indomitable race of men, since 
1724, whose opportunities and facilities for schooling had 
been extremely limited, owing to their insulated frontier 
situation, and whose theoretical and practical education 
were circumscribed to their farming pursuits. This was 
true of the German population generally, at the opening of 
the last decade of the eighteenth century, but there were 
exceptions, and even at that early day, a few educated and 
well-informed men were fouinl among them. The country, 
outside of the limits occupied by the German population, 
north and south, was fast filling tip with the Anglo-Saxon 
race and the descendants of the pilgrims, and the crash of 
the mighty forests, prostrated by the sturdy blows of the 
New England axman, was echoed from, hill to hill, and 
rumbled through every valley. Here there was opening a 
wide and fruitful field for the operation of politicians. I 
have in another place stated, somewhat at large, the reasons 
which induced me to suppose that the leading men of the 
anti-federal or republican party in this state took a deep 
interest in the political affairs of this frontier. 

Governor George Clinton was well acquainted with Judge 
Wharry in Orange county, during the war, and after its 
close ; and he was avare that the judge's occupation as a 
surveyor would n0ces8arily require him to be much abroad 
among the inhabitants, running and marking boundary lines 
in a new country. This, I think, must have led the governor 
to direct Wharry's attention to this quarter as a desirable 
field of operations^ professionally and politically. 

It wiU be remarked that Judge Wharry was brought into 
public life 0oon after he became an inhabitant of the county; 
and let it be remembered, that he continued an active and 
prominent politician until after the close of Gk>vemor George 
Clinton's career in this state. I have left unnoticed several of 
the minor incidents of the judge's life, which would interest 
the reader, but my purpose is to deal with the public act*s 
of individuals, which are connected with this oounty. The 
subject of this notice died at his residence, in the town of 


Little Falls, in the month of April, 1831, aged 82 years. 
His wife, the daughter of Joseph Belknap, of Newburgh, 
Orange county, whom he married near the close of the war, 
survived him several years, and died a few years since, at a 
very advanced age. She was, in many respects, a very 
remarkable woman. He left several daughters. He had 
one or two sons, who left the county many years ago. He 
died on the spot he had converted to a fruitful field from a 
dense forest, where he had lived to see his country free, 
prosperous and happy. 

George Winmc 

Descended from (German parents, but was, I believe, bom 
in this country. I have but little information in respect to 
the incidents of his life and character, and therefore my 
sketch must be limited. On the development of political 
parties at the accession of Mr. Jefferson, he appears to have 
ranged himself with the republicans. He was seven years 
in succession chosen a member of assembly in this county, 
and every year with politicians of his own party, with 
perhaps one or two exceptions. He was first elected in the 
spring of 1800. His colleagues, during this long period of 
service, were Nathan Smith, who served two terms, Evans 
Wharry, three, Samuel Wright, five, Samuel Merray, Jr., 
Stephen Miller, Eldad Corbit and John Kennedy, each one 
term. But few public men in this county have enjoyed the 
confidence and retained the regards of his fellow citizens 
to such an extent. He resided many years, if not all his 
life, within the present limits of the town of Prankfort, 
near the western borders of the county, after Oneida was 
erected, where he closed a long and well spent life. Being 
a major-general of militia during the war of 1812, he was 
desirous that his division should be called into service to 
defend his coxmtry ; but failing in this effort, yet resolved 
to mingle with her patriotic defenders, and there being no 


other place where he conld serve, in conBeqnence of his 
military rank, he joined the wagon train one campaign, and 
senred as a teamster. 

DocTOB Wbssel Willouohbt, 

Who for a time filled a large space in the public regard, 
was a native of Connecticut, and lived in that state and in 
Massachusetts nntil he came into this state, when a young 
man, and settled upon the highlands in the town of Norway,- 
about the period of the first settlement of the Royal grant 
by New England emigrants, and commenced the practice of 
medicine, which he pursued several years, traversing the 
by-paths of the then dense wilderness on foot, with his sad- 
dlebags on his arm. At this time the old town of Norway 
embraced a portion of the present town of Fairfield, the 
whole of Newport, and other parts of the northerly part of 
the county. He subsequently removed to the valley of the 
West Canada creek, near the present village of Newport, 
where he established himself, selecting a beautiful spot of 
ground on the eastern shore of the creek, on which he 
erected a beautiful mansion for those times, improved his 
grounds surrounding it, and spent the remainder of his life, 
to within a few years of his death, in the practice of his 
profession. Doctor Willoughby was about twenty years 
professor of midwifery and of the diseases of women and 
children, in the college of physicians and surgeons in the 
western district of New York, established at Fairfield, and 
during a considerable portion of that time was president of 
the institution. He was highly distinguished in his profes- 
sion, and a remarkably public spirited and benevolent man. 
His position and influence while in the prime and vigor of 
manhood, contributed largely to the support of the college, 
and he was among the first who exerted themselves to 
establish that once highly flourishing and useful institution. 

Doctor Willoughby was twice chosen member of the assem- 
bly with John M. Petrie and Aaron Budlong, at two succes- 


! .: i 
rive elections in 1807 and 1806. Being elected at the April 

elections of those years, he did not take his seat nntil the 

sessions held the following winter. Although a man of 

much learning in his profession, I am not aware that he was 

accustomed to speak often or to any extent in a legislative 

body. This was at the first election of (Governor Tompkins 

in 1807. At the election in 1808, the federalists obtained a 

majority in the assembly, but Doctor Willoughby was not 

one of that majority. 

He was appointed one of the judges of the court of com- 
mon pleas of the county in March, 1805, and was continued 
in that commission until March, 1821. Doctor Willoughby 
belonged to the medical staff of the militia of the county 
during the war of 1812, and was at Sackets Harbor and on 
the frontier, whenever his country required his services in 
that direction. He was elected to congress from the district 
composed of the counties of Madison and Herkimer in 1814, 
and must have taken his seat the year followiug, as his con- 
gressional term did not commence till the 4th of March, 
1815. My information of his public course as a legislator, 
is too limited to permit me to speak of it with any particu- 
larity. From his connection with the dominant political 
party in the county and state, I suppose he belonged to the 
republican party of the times. In the division of that party 
into bucktail and Glintonian sections, he adhered to the 

Dr. Willoughby died at Newport, in this county, in the 
year 1844, aged seventy-five yeara 

Chauncby Woodbupp 


Was a resident of Herkimer village, where he was several 
years engaged in mercantile business. After the erection 
of Oneida county, Mr. Woodruff was appointed sheriff of 
this county in the place of William Colbreath, who retained 
that office in Oneida. 

Mr. Woodruff was first appointed March 19th, 1798, and 


held the ofiSce by reappointment annually till March 17th, 
1803. He died at Herkimer, May lOth, 1810, aged 41 years. 

Sherman Woostbb, 

In several respects, possessed peculiarities of character 
which are worthy of extended notice. Although cut down 
at a mature age, he had already achieved, without the 
adventitious aids of fortune or family connections, or a 
popular profession, and laboring under all the disadvantages 
of a very limited early education, the highest offices in the gift 
of the people of this county. He had accomplished this, by 
force of a strong native intellect, cultivated and improved 
by application and study, in hours of relaxation from work 
at his trade. He was emphatic€Llly a self-made man. His 
mind was not cast in the mold which gave forth scintil- 
lations of wit and fancy, and if it had been, the want of an 
early polish did not afford any opportunity of bringing 
them out. His mind was more like that of Roger Sherman, 
the Oonnecticut shoemaker, as shadowed forth in the Madi- 
son paperS) in the debates on the federal constitution, than 
that of any other public man within my knowledge. 

He was a native of Danbury, Connecticut; born the 
17th February, 1779, and died suddenly at Newport, in this 
county, May 2lBt, 1833, aged 64 years, 3 months and 4 days. 
He came to Ballston Spa, in 1787, where he was apprenticed 
to a hatter. In 1801, he removed to Utica, where he 
remained working at his trade, until 1804; when he finally 
settled permanently in Newport, in this county. He was 
married a short time before this removal, and his wife sur- 
vived him, and is still living. • He carried on his mechanical 
business a few years after he came to the county, but finally 
devoted his whole time and attention to the discharge of the 
duties of various public offices and trusts, principally of a local 
character, at the early stages of his official career. Besides 
other town offices, he held those of supervisor and justice of 
the peace, many years. The former being a town elective 

mSfOBT 09 HTTOKTMriB OOUmY. 381 

office, it was.seldoniy if ever, a candidate cotdd be broaght 
oat against him, who conld cairy a majority of the electors. 
He was a faithful and diligent magistrate, and his official 
conduct generally received the public approval. He was 
appointed, by the governor and senate, one of the judges of 
the court of common pleas of the county, in April, 1828, 
and held the place one term only. He declined a reappoint- 

Mr. Wooster's name was first presented to the people of 
the county, for an elective office, in 1821. He was that 
year chosen a delegate to the convention called to revise 
the constitution, of 1777. He was known to the people of 
the county to be firm, but moderate in his political notions, 
and the use of his name, at that time, aided materially in 
securing the election of the republican delegates, in the 
county, which had very recently cast a small majority 
against the call of the convention. 

A particular reference to Mr. Wooster's votes, on the 
various important and interesting propositions brought 
before the convention, in settling the principles of the con- 
stitution of 1821, do not seem to me to be called for, at this 
time. He must be ranked with the movement party, in the 
convention, of which the principal leaders were. Gen. Boot, 
Gov. Tompkins and GoL Young, although he did not always 
vote with them, on several of the propositions which they 
advocated. He was in several instances found arrayed 
against Mr. Van Buren, on votes where that distinguished 
member of the convention had made able and zealous efforts 
to carry a majority of the convention with him. On the 
whole, Mr. Wooster's course in the convention was highly 
satisfactory to his political friends in the county, and placed 
him in a prominent position as a public man. He approved 
of, and voted for the constitution, as framed and submitted 
to the people, and I make the above qualification because 
a large minority of the electors in the county voted against 
that instrument. Mr. Wooster was neither an ambitious nor 
a turbulent politician. He was cool, deliberative and con- 


scientiaiifly and sddomgave any pfoMic uiomuio his lyrovml 
amply on the groond of public eipediency. 

At the November dection in 1822, he was choaoi one of 
the four state senators dected in the fifth senate district, 
nnder the constitution recraitly adopted. On taking his seat 
he drew the long term of foor years. Althon^ he was 
elected in an ahnost political calm, nearly the whole term of 
his service in the senate, from January 1st, 1823, to Jamiaiy, 
1827, was one of the most stormy and exciting periods in 
the political history of this state that has occurred ; and we 
have not, before or since, been unfrequently visited by 
political tornadoes, which not only baffle all description, 
but set at defiance the ingenuity of man to discover or detect 
the true causes of their origin. Such is the opinion enter- 
tained of us in other statea Even an attempted elucidation 
of problems of this sort would be unsuited to our purpose. 

The political agitations preceding the election of Mr. 
Monroe's successor, did not commence until after Mr. 
Wooster's election, and he was consequently not subjected 
to any personal pledges in regard to that subject. He was 
left free to ascertain the opinions and wishes of his constitu- 
ents in the best way he could, and act accordingly. In 
regard to the celebrated electoral law, which has been neces- 
sarily mentioned in the preceding pages of this work, he 
voted for its postponement to a future day, which was 
beyond the succeeding annual election, and this was there- 
fore considered a virtual rejection of the bill by its friends, 
and it was so, in fact, in reference to the pending election. 
Hence bis name, associated with others, as one of the famous 
SEVENTEEN SENATORS, was pasted up in black letter in 
public barrooms, and had a conspicuous place in most of the 
newspapers which advocated the passage of the law. Neither 
Mr. Wooster nor his friends considered him materially 
damaged by a proceeding of this sort. At any rate, there 
never was a body of men so resolutely sustained by their 
friends in subsequent political conflicts, as were these same 
seventeen senators, and the names of Bronson, Dudley, 


EarU^ Liyingeton, Snydamy and Wright, have not been 
nnfamiliar names at the polls of election for more than 
twenty years. But Mr. Wooster was friendly to Mr. Craw- 
ford's elevation to the presidency, and if he supposed the 
best interests of the country would be promoted by his 
election, as he no doubt did, was he not fully justifiable in 
adopting every legitimate expedient to efiect his object and 
defeat the measures of his opponents? I will not repeat 
what has been elsewhere stated in regard to the choice of 
electors by the people, but it is impossible to avoid the con- 
elusion which forces itself upon all familiar with the politics 
of this state for the last half century, that if the contest in 
1824 had been confined to two candidates, the selection of 
the two great political parties, the controversy about the 
electoral law would have ended where it began, within the 
walls of the two houses. This was a contest for political 
power by the adherents of numerous presidential aspirants, 
Zd involved no principle of govermnent acting upon the 
masses of the community beyond one single election, and so 
long as the legislature so exercised the powers conferred by 
law as to be the true exponents of the will of the majority 
of the electors, the political party or politicians, acting in 
conformity to this idea, risked but little with friends, when 
their *^ sober second thoughts " were appealed to. When the 
parties come to reflect upon what had been done, and the 
whole ground had been surveyed, the voters in this county 
by a majority of about six hundred, at the election in Novem- 
ber, 1826, reversed the decision of the preceding year, by 
returning those members of the assembly who had heartily 
concurred in Mr. Wooster's course on the electoral law 
question, and thereby directly sanctioned his previous poli- 
tical course in the senate. 

He was elected to the assembly of this state in the fall 
of 1832, with Dudley Burwell and Joseph M. Prendergast, 
and was consequently a member of the house of assembly 
when he died. His votes in the house during the session 
of 1833, on all the important questions which came up for 

dhscn^^oog were m accordance with his preexistiiig and 
erprefiif^A opinions. He itm opposed to aD projects of 
iDtemal impror e iae n U, snch a« the Chenango eaiial, whose 
erentaalhies were the eotaflment of a certain debt npon 
the iftate, witboot the dightest ptospect of reimbursement 
from tneome, eren to the extent of the ordinary expenses 
of repairs. He wm one of those statesmen who did not 
effteem it pmdent to contract a debt to derelc^ the 
resoorcea of a section of coontrj, whose trade and bn^iness 
was not sofficient to maintain and soperintend the work 
eonstmcted ; and on this question he agreed in opinion, not 
onl J with a large majority of the people of the county, but 
with many distinguished men in the state. This, it is true, 
in a subject which has afforded, and always will, a wide 
range of discussion, and even fair-minded men might possi* 
bly entertain antagonistic views in regard to particular 
projects, and even the general proposition as above stated; 
but thai generation on whom ihe burthen of canceling the 
debt might be caat, would not be likely to disagree in r^ard 
to the wisdom or prudence of measures that submerged 
their country in debt. It is difficult to limit the powers of 
commerce, or even to define the extent of taxation or bar« 
then a highly commercial people can Bear, without materially 
affecting the healthful action of trade. Our own experience 
as a nation shows the paralysing effects and the ruinous 
consequences of an overshadowing and crushing public 
and private indebtedness ; and it shows, too, that an ani- 
mated but steady application to industrial pursuits, aided 
by extensive commercial relations, how soon a people can 
wipe out and even forget financial embarrassments. We 
have only to look at a kindred nation, whose annual reve- 
nues exceed our own five fold, and whose public debt, set 
down in figures, would seem ponderous enough " to crush 
out " seventeen millions of people ; yet we see that nation 
adding millions to the annual burthens of its subjects, and 
fitting out naval armaments sufficiently extensive to block- 
ade the approaches by sea of a power whose boundaries 

HIBT0B7 OP HKBimiTO comriT. 385 

circtunscribe a large portioii of two continents, and some 
portion of a third, and whose ambition reaches to grasp at 
a fourth, and this mighty effort is sustained by the power 
of commerce and trade, domestic and foreign, without 
seeming to disturb in the least the general prosperity of the 
country. But here we must pause. The people of the most 
powerful nations on the continent of Europe, with the 
exception of Fnuace, and she is sustained by internal and 
external trade, are literally groaning under the burthen of 
taxation, much of it being required to pay the interest on 
public debt ; and so Uttle credit have many of their govern- 
ments with the money kings of the day, that they can not 
negotiate a loan except at a ruinous discount of fifteen or 
twenty per cent The credit of an impoverished country, 
or whose subjects are ripe for rebellion, will not commimd 
a premium with modem money lenders 

Samubl Wright. 

There are but few men in the walks of civil life, and 
especially those whose minds have been embellished with 
nothing more than a common school education, who burst 
forth like meteors, blaze for a moment, attract universal 
attention, and then become as suddenly extinguished and 
forgotten. This, however, was the brief course of Mr. 
Wright in this county. He came from Vermont, and settled 
within the limits of the present town of Russia, about the 
year 1793, where he engaged in the business of farming, 
which, in a new country, consists, for the first few years, in 
opening roads, clearing up lands, and erecting such bmldings 
as may be required for family purposes. 

So soon as the country around him had become pretty 
well filled up with population, he opened a country store, 
and traded in " West India and dry goods," not neglecting 
the '^ cod fish," a very needful article to a full assortment 
for the country trade in those days. Having made success- 
ful progress in farming and merchandising, Mr. Wright 


next turned his attention to politics, in which he prospered 
remarkably well for a time. He was elected member of 
assembly in 1802, and the four following years. He appears 
to have been the standing candidate of his party, with 
General Widrig, for a long time, bnt his popularity cotdd 
not always last. Dr. Westel Willonghby, Jr., was a towns- 
man of Mr. Wright, all the northern part of the county 
then being embraced in Norway, a rising man, and competed 
vigorously with him for popular favor. Notwithstanding 
his extraordinary native talents and indomitable Yankee 
perseverance, Mr. Wright was compelled to yield the palm 
of victory to his rival At the election, in 1806, his vote 
was the lowest of three members who obtained certificates 
of election, and even then was defeated by the popular 
votes. Willoughby's oflSicial canvass was only 43 below 
Wright's, and this after 63 votes, intended for the former, 
had been rejected for informality. 

In the winter of 1805, the Merchant's Bank, of the city 
of New York, was chartered, after being strongly opposed, 
but not without strong suspicions and direct charges of 
bribery and corruption; and Ebenezer Purdy, a senator, 
'^ who introduced in the senate the bill to incorporate the 
company, finally was compelled to resign his seat, to avoid 
expulsion for bribery." On the 16th of March, 1805, Luke 
Metcalf, a member of assembly, made a statement under 
oath, which was laid before the house, to the efiect that 
Mr. Wright told him, there were fifteen shares of the stock 
for each member who would favor or vote for the bill incor- 
porating the bank, which would be worth twenty-five per 
cent on the nominal price of the stock. That Wright after- 
wards asked Metcalf if he remained opposed to the bank, 
and being answered in the affirmative, Wright then said, 
the same provision would be made for those members who 
would absent themselves, when the vote was taken on the 
bill, as for those who should be present and vote for it. 

Wr. Wright was twice elected to the assembly after his 
vote on the bank bill, and after this expose ; it was not. 


however, generally known to his constituents, in April, 
1806, that he was suspected of improper practices in regard 
to the incorporation of ihis bank. His two colleagues in 
the assembly also voted for the bill, but were not charged 
with foul conduct, in procuring its passage. The republican 
party at this time was hostile to the granting of bank char- 
ters, the leading men of the party fearing the influence their 
managers, who were generally federalists, would be able to 
exert at the elections, by the influence they would give. 
Governor Lewis, however, favored the incorporation of this 
bank; and gave an approving vote for it in the council of 
revision, when it was objected to by Ambrose Spencer, a 
judge of the supreme court, on the ground that the passage 
of the bill was procured in both houses by bribery of the 


This chapter has been arranged into nineteen sections, 
that being the number of towns in the county. I have 
endeavored to make the annexed table useful as a reference. 
The reader will remark a loss of population, in eleven of 
the towns, in a time of prosperity as great and healthful as 
any during the present century. These losses have not 
arisen from a depression in any branch of husbandry. The 
increase of population in the river towns and villages, along 
the canal and rail road, and in the towns having wild lands 
to settle, overbalances these losses, and gives a small addition 
in the aggregate, for the last ten years ; but not equal to the 
percentage of births over deaths, in the same period. 

For the amusement of the curious, I will remark that, four 
of the towns in the county, commemorate the names of 
revolutionary generals ; the names of three, are derived from 
Oermany ; four, from New England ; one, is called after a 
state in the union, and another, after a county in this state ; 
one, bears the name of an empire, and another, a kingdom 
in Europe ; three, are descriptive of the localities which are 
embraced within their limits, and one, seems an emanation 
of fancy. 

The county is now divided into the following towns, which 
are given, with the dates of organization, and the population 
of each town, in 1846, and 1856: 


ConUina that part of the county bonnded ewtsrij by ft line beg(liiiilng Kt ft 
u^ile tree, wMob BtaiuU ft bumUI dlstftnoe awterlj {tout the direlUug Ikjom 
heretofore or Ute ot Abnhftm Lightbftll, tt the BoatlieftstMlj oomer of yonng*! 
pfttent, and numing thenoe nortb tirentj-eigbt itagrem eut, until it Btrikei 
the south line of the town of Oennan PUIb, at the dlatuioe of one hundred 
ehalna, easterlj of the northweslerlf comer of Headenraa'a pttemt, on the, 
noith line thereof ; northerly, bj Qemun Plate, aontberij, bj the boonda of 
the county, and ireaterly, by Litchfield and WinflaM. 

Thia town coctaina the whole of 318167*8 second tract, 
except one tier and a half of lots on the westerly bounds, 
it also contains a small triangnl&r piece, &om the northwest 
corner of Henderson's patent, and the whole of the patent, 
to Gdnerad Frank and others, except seven lots on the 
eastern bounds thereof. 

Columbia was settled before the revolution, by several 
German families from the Mohawk river. The heads of th6 


families, who niade one of the settlements, were, Conrad 
OrendorflF, Conrad Frank, Conrad Fulmer, Frederick Christ- 
man, Timothy Frank, Nicholas Lighthall, Joseph Moyer and 
Henry Frink. The place Where these families were seated 
was known as '^ Coonrodstown," before Columbia was organ- 
ized, in 1812, and is to this day. A few Cermans had also 
seated themselves at a place then and since called Elizabeth- 
town, to commemorate the name of one or more German 
matrons among the settlers. 

When the new town was about to be set off, and the inhabit- 
ants were casting about for a name, some of them desired 
to have it called Conrad. This was rejected, on account of 
the Coonish sound it had received, by a mispronunciation. 
Conrad is quite as evphonwus as Columbia, and a more 
ancient name, by several hundred years, than Columbus^ 
from which the town derived its name. There may have 
been some influential inhabitants in the territory, who had 
emigrated from Columbia county, and exerted an influence on 
this occasion; and, although feeling inclined to honor their 
native county, they would not hope the new town should be 
a political copyist of its then prominent namesake. Co- 
lumbia is purely an agricultural town. The north line of it 
is about four miles from the canal; without villages, except 

AsAHBL Alfred settied in this town in 1791. He was a natiye of Connec- 
ticnt, a farmer and an honest man, of steady, industrious habits and good 
morals. He died in June, 1853, aged 93 years, having always resided on the 
farm on which he first located, and which was occupied by his son Cyras in 
the old age of the father. 

He was a soldier of the revolution, having entered the service of his coun- 
try in his fifteenth year. He served more than three years. He was in the 
battle of Monmouth ; taken prisoner at the Cedars, in Canada, after a smart 
conflict between the Americans and a party of the enemy, consisting of whites 
and Indians, and as usual in such cases, both parties took their oovers of 
stumps and trees. Alfred was fired at by an Indian, but not hit. A second 
shot was made at him, and the ball struck the stump behind which he stood. 
Mr. Alfred discovered the Indian's head exposed while loading the third time, 
took deliberate aim at him, fired, and was not again molested from that quar- 
ter. The Americans were outnumbered and made prisoners, and as soon as 
they surrendered, the Indians stripped them of aU their olothing except their 

■ njiii iyi»^ji^^^^^^^^i^»BMPw^—«pj^w^B^^^|Pway^i^^^— ^gs 


Cedarville, a portion of which extends into it ; it is some- 
what elevated; well supplied with water, but the surface^ 
oaxx not be called broken. It is slowly losing its population ; 
a strong indication that cheese making engrosses the farmers' 
attention, although hop and grain growing is not neglected. 
In former times, one hundred acre farm lots seemed to con- 
tent our people; now, that extent of domain is quite too 
limited. Nor does a small diminution of population in our 
agricultural towns indicate, in the least, a lack of prosperity, 
or a want of wealth among those who remain. There are 
often those, who may wish to seek new homes for increasing 
families, and they soon find neighbors ready and willing to 
purchase their farms. 

§ 2. Danube 

GontainB that part of tho oountj bounded northerly hj the Mohawk river, 
eMterlj by the bounds of the county, southerly by a line commencing at a 
point in the east bounds of the county, equidistant from the Mohawk river 
and the south bounds of the county, thenco westerly parallel with the south 
bounds of the county to a line drawn from the easternmost lock of the old 
canal, on the north side of the Mohawk river, at the Little FaUs, to the head 
waters of Lake Otsego, and westerly by the said last mentioned line. 

Small portions of the Fall Hill, Vaughns and L'Homme- 
dieu patents, nearly the whole of Lindsey's, and parts of 

shirts and pantaloons. They took his hat, coat, vest, neokkerchief ai^ silver 
knee and shoe buckles. When on the march to the British post, one of Mr. 
Alfred's fellow prisoners being feeble, and not able to keep up with the rest, 
fell behind, and Alfred remained with him to help him along. While making 
their way as well as they could, an Indian came up, and, putting the muzzle 
of his gun close to the sick prisoner's head, blew out his brains. Mr. Alfred 
was not slow to overtake his fellow prisoners. He was at the capture of 
Buxgoyne and the British army. 

My informant, who is a most exceUent Judge of such matters, says he was 
a good marksman, and a dead shot at fair rifle distance. He would often 
relate many Interesting incidents that happened to the scouting parties he was 
engaged in. This service suited him much better than the camp. He was 
very fond of hunting, and while living on his farm, it was not uncommon for 
him, after game became scarce in his neighborhood, to leave home in the fall 
of the year, and be absent from it weeks, on hunting excursions. 

a C>aUe Church. 


J.Vroman's, 0. Colden'a, Tan Home'B and LaDBing*B patents 
are within the above boundaries. 

This town, although of recent terri- 
torial organization, was no doubt one 
of the earliest settled bj Europeana of 
any in the county, except thoee por- 
tions of it embracing Burnetsfield, or 
what was formerly known ae the Ger- 
man Flats. The date of Lindsey's 
and Van Home's patents, one in 1730 
and the other in 1731, indicate this. 
It has been elsewhere stated in this 
work, that the Ganajobarie mentioned 
in the early colonial history of the 
state, extended as far weBt as the foot 
of the Little Falls, in 1772, and proba- 
bly farther before the German Flats district was set off. 
The casual readw of disjointed documents and isolated 
statements might infer that the Ganajobarie mentioned in 
connection with the Mohawk tribe of Indians, was circom- 
Bcribed in its limits to the town of that name in Montgomery 
connty. This is clearly not the fact The site of the upper 
Mohawk's castle is in this town, and near the present Indian 
castle church, now so called, and it has borne that name 
within the memory of the oldest inhabitants now living, and 
a aniform and unvarying tradition speaks to the same effect. 
The French Itinerary, found in vol. I of the Documentary 
History of the State, fixes Fort Can-nat-ho-cary at the side 
of the Mohawk river, on the right bank, and four le^nes 
from Fort Kouari (Herkimer). The writer was no doubt a 
French spy, aent out from Canada, in 1757, to make a topo- 
graphical survey of the country, ifrom Oswego to Schenec- 
tady and Albany, along the wat^r communications from 
Lake Ontario to Hudson river. He describes the road on 
the south side of the river, from Fort Herkimer to the 
Indian castle ; and he dayg, in his description of the road on 
the north side of the river, that this fort is opposite to the 
mouth of the Canada creek. 

^\iJii~ .^^r^s--:^,,^^ ^^ _>!^nv«K^=^vi^^!V9«^Ba^>vi 

DAKUBE. 393 

The fort, bo called, was one hundred paces on each side, 
had four bastions of upright pickets, fifteen feet high, about 
a foot square, Q,nd joined together with lintels. It was not 
surrounded by a ditch, but was constructed with port holes 
at regular distances, with a platform or stage all around, to 
fire from. There were some small pieces of cannon at each 
of the bastions, and a house at each curtain to serve as 
storehouses and barracks. There were several Indian fami- 
lies at this time living near this fort. 

Sir Wm, Johnson, in Oct., 1772, speaks of having built a 
church, at his own expense, at the Canajoharees, and laments, 
that it is in a great measure useless, in consequence of not 
being ab^e to secure the services of a missionary. I have 
not been able to fix the period, previous to the revolution, 
when the first church at the Indian Castle was builL The 
bell however, was highly regarded by the Indians, and they 
made an efibrt, during the war, to carry it off. They took 
it away in the night and secreted it. This, of course, caused 
excitement among the Grerman population in the neighbor* 
hood, when it became known that the church bell had 
disappeared. How it was carried off, and what had become 
of it, engrossed the attention of aU, and an immediate and 
careful search was made for the missing bell, in every 
direction ; but the purloiners knew too well how to cover 
up and secure their trophy, to prevent a discovery. The 
search was fruitless, and the inhabitants had nearly given 
up all hope of its recovery when, one dark night, the sound 
of the bell was heard in the distance, and the population of 
the neighborhood were soon in hot pursuit, armed with gans, 
pitchforks and axes. The bell was recovered. The Indians, 
after they supposed the search was over, returned, and slung 
the bell upon a pole, and started with it, but did not secure 
that unruly member, the tongue or clapper ; and the bell and 
clapper having an unequal momentum in the swing, when 
carried over uneven ground on a bending pole, came in 
contact, and by the ding dong sounds led to the discovery. 

This town attracts considerable attention, in consequence 

394 mSTOBY OF hebkimer countt. 

of its containing the residence of Gen. Nicholas Herkimer; 
and, if it was not the birth place of the too celebrated Joseph 
Brant, a considerable number of the early years of his life 
were spent at the Indian Castle, with the members of his 
tribe, where an intimate acquaintance was cultivated between 
him and Gen. Herkimer, when they were young men. This 
fort must have been built in 1755 ; early in that year. Sir 
William Johnson speaks about constructing forts, at the 
two Indian castles, and notified Governor De Lancy of his 
having concluded a contract for their erection. These 
defenses were made to gratify the Mohawk Indians, who 
were exposed to the hostile incursions of the French and 
their Indian allies from Canada. I do not find any account 
of this fort twenty years afterwards, and if it had not 
entirely gone to decay before the revolution, it was probably 
used only as a temporary refuge of the inhabitants, to shield 
them against the hostile attacks of those for whose protection 
it was first erected. 

In 1722, Governor Burnet, on the petition of the Rev. 
Fetrus Van Driesen of Albany, granted a license authorieing 
Mr. Van Driesen to build a meeting house in the Mohawk 
country, for the use of the Indians, on any lands belonging 
to them. In 1737, a patent for 1000 acres of land was issugd 
to the same gentleman, and it will be noticed that this grant 
covers lands at the mouth of the East Canada creek, and 
nearly opposite to the Indian Castle ohurch. The mission 
at Fort Hunter had been established as early as 1712, and 
probably before that time, so that Mr. Van Driesen's license 
had no reference to that station. 

X do not find any well founded data to change my conclu* 
sions that the church at German Flats was the first erection 
for religious worship in the county. 

Fort Hendrick is marked on Sauthier^s map of the pro- 
vince of New York, published in 1779, as being on the south 
side of the Mohawk river, opposite the mouth of East 
Canada creek. The Cannatjoharies are also marked as being 
located at this point. This establishes the fact that the site 

DANUBE. 395 

of the upper Mohawk castle was at the place above desig- 
nated. And the name of the fort was a compliment to old 
King Hendrik, whose principal residence during the latter 
period of his life was at this place. 

It should be observed that the grant of 4000 acres to 
Isaac Yrooman, and of 4000 acres to Ezra L'Hommedieu and 
Nathaniel Piatt, in 1786, out of unpatented lands, by the 
crown, lying in this town and Stark, shows there must have 
previously existed very strong reasons for not granting 
these lands, long before the revolutionary war. These 
reasons are found in the fact, that they were Indian reserva- 
tions, or rather, that being in the neighborhood of one of the 
principal seats of the tribe, the Indians would not consent 
to part with them upon any terms. 

The Mohawk Indians having left the country at the com- 
mencement of the war, and not returning as did the Senecas, 
Gayugas and Onondagas and sue for peace, were treated by 
the state as having abandoned all their rights as original 
possessors of the soil, and all the vacant lands within the 
limits formerly claimed by this tribe, were sold by the state 
without regarding the Indian title. 

The only locality in this town called a village, is Newville, 
about four miles south from the river, on the Nowadaga 
creek, and at the foot of Ostrander's hill, from the top of 
which, at an elevation of 800 feet above the river, is a broad 
and extended view to the east and southeast, including the 
lower valley, of nearly thirty miles. 

§ 3. FAmFIELD 

Gontainfl that jwrt of the ooanijr beginning on the middle line in Olen's 
pnrohMe, in the west honndflof MftnhBim, and ronning thence wwteAj along 
the said middle line of Glen's porchase to the southwest corner of lot number 
seven ; thence northerly to the northeast comer of lot number five in said 
purchase ; thence westerly along the line between lots number five and six, 
and the same continued to the West Canada creek ; thence up and along the 
said oreek, to the town of Newport ; then along the bounds of Newport to the 


Bontliweflt comer of Konraj ; then along the aoath bonn^ of Nonragr, east to 
the west bonnds of Salisbury ; and then south along the same, to the place <tf 

These bonnds have been changed* See subdivision 7, 
Little Palls, erected in 1829. 

This town contains within its limits nearly the whole of 
Glen's purchase lying north of the base or middle line of 
said purchase, and a portion of the first allotment of the 
Boyal grant. 

There was a German settlement in this town before the 
revolution, upon what has been called in modem times the 
Top notch, near the Manheim town line, and about four 
miles north of Little Falls. Among these German families 
were the Kellers, Windeckers, Pickerts and others, not of 
the Bumetsfield patentees, but who came up from the lower 
Mohawk valley, and seated themselves in Glen's purchase, 
under the patronage of some of its owners. Mr. Cornelius 
Chatfield arrived within the territory of the present town 
of Fairfield, with his family, March 24th, 1785, and settled 
near or at the spot where the village now is. He is supposed 
to have been the first New Englander who came into the 
county after the war, for the purpose of settling on the 
Boyal grant. Mr. Abijah Mann, the father of the Hon. 
Abijah Mann, Jr., arrived in May following, and located a 
little west of Fairfield village. There was a small Indian 
orchard upon or near the lands taken up by Mr. Mann, and 
the Lidians, many years after the revolution, would annu- 
ally cluster around it, as a loved and venerated spot. A 
visit, perhaps, to the resting place of some distinguished 
brave, or some relative of the visitants. This duty was 
performed so long as the Great Spirit required it. 

About the year 1770, three families, Maltanner, Good- 
bread or Goodbrodt, and Shaver or Shafier, located about 
half a mile northeast of Fairfield village, in one neighbor- 
hood. This place is now called Maltanner's creek or spring. 
These people were sent there by Sir William Johnson, to 


make an opening npon his Boyal grant. They had never 
been snspected by the Americans of being friendly to their 
cause ; nor could they be charged with disloyalty to the 
king. In 1779, a party of Indians came to this little settle- 
ment, but one of their number being sick, they kept shy, as 
an Indian can, about ten days, to allow their comrade to 
recover, when, with a yell and a whoop, and brandishing 
their tomahawks, they fell upon Sir John Johnson^s tenants, 
captured two of the Maltanners, father and son, killed a 
little girl, 16 years old, of the Shaver family, and then 
burned up all Sir John's houses and buildings in the settle- 
ment. The Gk)odbrodt and Shaver families and some of the 
Maltanners escaped to tell the sad story of their bereave- 
ments and losses to their rebel neighbors. The Maltanners 
were taken to St. Begis by the Indians, where they remained 
three years, and returned in 1782. His majesty's officials 
in Canada might well suppose the two captives, if allowed 
to return, would not be very hearty and zealous in the royal 
cause, after such treatment ; and therefore concluded to 
detain them. The elder Maltanner, when he came back, 
said he met Sir John in Canada, and told him what had 
happened, whereat the gallant knight was exceedingly 
wrathfol, and fulminated big words and strong language 
against the d — d savages, for their conduct in killing, taking 
captive and dispersing his tenants, and burning his houses. 
He had other tenants on the grant, loyal and true, who 
might be treated in the same way. Sir John no doubt felt 
hurt, not because any tender feeling towards his fellow man 
had been touched, or any law of humanity outn^ed ; but 
because the same rule of warfare he had applied to others, 
had been, and might again be, visited upon himself. This 
was not the first nor the last instance, in that unnatural 
struggle, in which the Indians made no discrimination in 
their warfare ; and friend and foe alike were made to sink 
under the hatchet's stunning blow, and feel the knife's keen 
edge. Kindness and humanity, in conducting that war, 
might have achieved what hate and cruelty did not. The 


aDcient Roman apothegm, ^^Qunan Bern mJt ferderty pritu 
demenUdf" was so strikingly verified in word and sentiment, 
as to induce one to think, almost, it was a prophetic ennn* 
ciation of an actual event, already determined in the conn- 
cils of heaven. 

The first New England settlers who came into this town 
at the close of the war, took up lands southwesterly of 
Fairfield village, except those before noticed, with one or 
two exceptions. Josiah, David and Lester Johnson came 
into the town from Connecticut, in 1786 ; John Bucklin and 
Benjamin Bowen, from Rhode Island ; John Eaton, Nathaniel 
and William Brown, from Massachusetts ; and Samuel Low, 
in 1787 : David Benseley, from Rhode Island ; and Elisha, 
Wyman and Comfort Eaton, from Massachusetts, in 17§8 : 
Jeremiah Ballard, from Massachusetts, in 1789 : Wm. Buck- 
lin, the Arnold families, Daniel Yenner, Nathan Smith, 
Nahum Daniels and Amos and James Haile, most of them 
from Massachusetts, in 1790 : the Neelys came in 1792, 
and Peter and Bela Ward, from Connecticut, in 1791. The 
Eatons, Browns, Hailes, Arnolds, Bucklins and Wards seated 
themselves at and near the present village of EatonsviUe. 
Some of these people changed their residences after a short 
sojourn in this town. Jeremiah Ballard located about two 
miles northeast of Fairfield village. He left his family the 
first winter after he came into the town, and returned to 
Massachusetts, where he remained until spring. 

My informant says this family had nothing to subsist on 
during a long and dreary winter but Indian com and white 
rabbits, when any could be caught. There being no miUs 
then in the country, and if there had been they could not be 
reached except by the use of snow-shoes and carrying the 
grist on one's back ; the Ballard family resorted to what at 
this day would be considered a novel method of reducing their 
com into a state suitable to be converted into rabbit soup. 
Having no hand nor other mill to crack or break their com 
in, a mortar was the only thing they could resort to, and 
even this they were destitute of; but when did necessity 


f ever fail to suggest some remedy for sarmoimtable incon- 

j: veniences. The -family procured a large hard-wood log, 

•J and having no tools suitable to the object, they burned a 

- hole in it, by concentrating the fire to one spot, sufficiently 
deep to answer their purpose. In this way, my informant 
says, this great achievment was accomplished. It was an 

- easy task, after this, to make a pestle out of some hard wood, 
y and crack com to their stomach's content. 

^^ By these means the resolved and noble hearted mother 

,/ carried her family through the winter, while the father was 

^ absent, and it should be hoped was detained by sickness at 

.^ his former home in Massachusetts. 

^ There were but a few English or New England families, 

^ north of the Mohawk, and between the East and West Canada 

creek, in 1786; not more than four or five, if as many. 
Fairfield village, the ancient seat of learning of the county, 
. is located very nearly in the center of the town, about 800 

J feet above the level of the Mohawk river. A notice of the 

; Medical college and the Academy will be found in another 

chapter. Middleville, a small village situated partly in this 
town and partly in Newport, on the West Canada creek, is 
^ at the junction of the plank roads leading from Herkimer 

and Little Falls to Newport. The census marshal of this 
town did not, at the late enumeration, designate the popula- 
tion within these villages. This is probably the best grazing 
town in the county, and has for a series of years produced 
and sent to market, annually, more of the Herkimer county 
staple, cheese, than any other town within the limits of the 

We must not draw any conclusions unfavorable to this 
town — that its soil is not good — or that its population is 
wanting in energy and enterprise, or is destitute of wealth, 
because we find a moderate and steady decrease in the total 
number of inhabitants. To the successful progress of agri- 
culture and the accumulation of wealth, and to no other 
cause, is to be attributed this gradual loss of population. 

400 mstobt op herkdobb countt. 

§ 4. Frankfobt 

Contains that ptiiof the oonnfy, b^gfaming at the Kmth iide of the Mohawk 
riTer, in the middle of the mouth of a small stveam which enten the said 
river a few rods east of the house now or late of Willism Djgert, which stream 
is known as Djgert's mill creek, and nmning from thence south thirty d^;rees 
west, until it meets the southern line of a tract of land granted to Coenrad 
Frank and othen ; then westeii j along the said southern line to the south- 
west corner of said grant ; then westerlj with a stralj^t line to the west 
bounds of the conoty ; then northed^ along the same to the Mohawk xiver ; 
and then along the riysr to the place of beginning. 

A considerable portion of Goeby's manor, and about one 
and one quarter of a tier of great lots in Bayard's patent, 
four lots in Bumetsfield, about half a lot in Frank's patent, 
four and a half lots in Staley's, a part of Golden's patent, are 
in this town. 

There were some German settlements along the river in 
this town before the revolution. It appears there was a 
grist mill at the creek next east of Frankfort village, which 
was burned by the French and Indians in 1757. A sawmill 
on the next creek below was also burnt by the same party. 
The ante-revolutionary settlements in this town were con- 
fined to Bumetsfield and Golden and Willet's patents. 

Frankfort villi^, at the east end of the long level on the 
Erie canal, and of easy access to the New York central rail 
road, contains a population, by the last census, of 1150 souls, 
and is an active, prosperous business place, where may be 
found the usual mechanical establishments of country vil- 

The NewGraefenbergh hydropathic establishment, erected 
by Dr. Holland, and opened for the reception of patients in 
October, 1847, is located in the extreme southwest oomer 
of this town, four and a half miles from the city of Utica, on 
a stage and post route from that city, through Litchfield 
and Golumbia to Richfield Springs. This establishment has 
been in operation during the last eight years, and more than 
one thousand patients in that time have been treated there 
with satisfactory success. The scenery of this locality is 


varied and beantifBl, and will vie with the most deliglitfol 
in the state. 

The inetttatioQ will accommodate sixty patients; the 
rooms are. pleasant and comfortably famished. There is a 
gynmasiam and bowling-alley attached to the house for the 
amusement and exercise of the patients. 

^ 6. Gbbhas F1.1.TS 

Nowooiitalaithatpttitof tlMooniitjlioiuided westorljI^Fruikforl'iiiartli- 
OTI7, b; the Uohawfc riYei ; ttstetlj, bj Dantibe and Stark ; and sontherlj 
if a line beginnii^ at the uortheMt oomaT of Litofaiteld, aad nnnlng thenoa 
taateriy, along the Kiithmi Jim of th«tiaat of land granted to Cooerad Frank, 
and othen, antn it meete the soathirect ooroer of a tract of land granted to 
Gnj Johnson ; and then eielerlj, along the sonthem booudE thereof, to the 
town of Stark. 

The eastern and southern bounds of this town, as aboT« 
stated, have been chai^d. See snb. 7, Little Falla 

This town comprises a very considerable portion of Bnr- 
netsfietd patent j nearly all of Staley's first tract; the whole 
of Frank's patent, and a part of Qoy Johnson's tract. 

This town when erect- 
ed, in 1788, comprised 
all that part of Mont- 
gomery county, south 
of the Mohawk river, 
bounded easterly by 
Cuiajoharie, the west- 
erly bounds of that 
town being the Susque- 
hanna river, Otsegolake 
and aline from the head 
waters of the lake to 
the Little Falls ; south, 
by the north line of the 

„ „, , town of Otsego, run- 

German Plata Church. . . , , , 

mng irom the head 

waters of Otsego lake, in the patent granted to George 


Croghau and others, along the northerly bonnds of that 
patent, to the northwest corner of it, and extending west- 
erly to the river, then called Tienaderha, and along the 
northerly line of the Edminston patent, and westerly, by the 
west line of the town of Herkimer, continued south to the 
town of Otsego, or in other words, very nearly by the present 
eastern bounds of Oneida county. These limits not only 
embrace the present towns of Columbia, Frankfort, Litch- 
field, Warren and Winfield, a part of Little Falls, but extend 
considerably into Otsego coimty. 

The town when erected comprehended only that part of 
the German Flats district of colonial organization, south of 
the Mohawk, east of the present west line of the county, and 
north of Otsego, as before noticed. That district extended 
much farther south and west, until the erection of the Old 
England district, a short time before the revolution, which 
seems not to have been regarded as a municipal territorial 
division during the war. 

After the peace of 1783, however, it was recognized, and 
local officers appointed for the district. 

The church in this town, was the first erected in the 
county for the accommodation of European worshipers, 
and their descendants. An Indian mission church, at the 
place long known as the Indian Castle, in Danube, may 
have been built at an earlier date. It is said, the former 
was erected under the auspices of Sir William Johnson; this 
is very doubtful, although there may be no question what- 
ever, that the Mission church was built under his agency, 
if it was erected subsequent to the church at German Flats. 
In the first place. Sir William was not in the country at the 
date of either of the deeds, mentioned belo}^, and he.was not 
appointed general superintendent of Indian affairs, by the 
crown, until 1757. He had, however, acted as Indian agent 
under a colonial appointment, from August, 1749; and in 
the second place, I am not aware that the colonial government 
were accustomed to build churches, disconnected from the 


Indian misaionB, when the people were able to bear that 
expense themselves. 

On the 24th of September, 1730, Nicholas Wolever made 
a deed of trast, of a part of lot number 30, in Bumetsfield, 
to several persons, to hold the same as a church and school 
lot ; and on the 26th of April, 1733, the trustees conveyed 
the same lot to the church corporation, which had at that 
time been organized. Nicholas Wolever was one of the ori- 
ginal grantees of the patent, and the above lot was awarded 
to him. I am not aware that there are now in existence, 
any records showing when the church was erected, on the 
spot dedicated to that use. Within the church yard, near 
the south side, there is a head stone with this inscription: 


Independent Comp«ny Proyincials, 

Died September 26, 1755, 

aged 30 yean. 

The church had been erected, and formed a part of the 
stockaded defense, since called Fort Herkimer, put up by 
Sir William Johnson, or by his directions, in 1756. At this 
time, the population of the Grerman Flats, embracing the 
settlements on both sides of the river, had more than quad- 
rupled in thirty-five years, and were quite wealthy. The 
inhabitants did not need, and probably did not require 
government aid to build a church. At any rate, the proba- 
bilities are against any such assumption. 

The first regularly settled minister, called by the congre- 
gation, was a Mr. Eosecrants, a German protestant, and pro- 
bably a Lutheran. The time of his arrival and death are 
beyond the memory of any one now living, and there are no 
records or monuments now extant which show these dates. 

One of those cold-blooded and not unusual murders 
occurred in this town during the revolution, at a farm-house 
near the site of Rankin's lock on the canal. The heart 
sickens at the recital of such deeds of horror and the pen 
becomes wearied in recording them. 


Mr. John Eysaman, with his wife, aged people, his son 
and his wife and an infant child, were living togther in one 
house on the south side of the river, about two miles directly 
east of Fort Herkimer, on the Mohawk river. 

An alarm gun had been fired at the fort to notify the 
inhabitants who were at their farms or out on business, that 
danger was apprehended, or a lurking enemy had been dis- 
covered; the family packed up their portable goods, and 
loaded them into a cart, and were about ready to start for 
shelter and protection at the fort, when the house was sur- 
rounded by a party of Indians and tories. Old Mr. Eysaman 
and his wife were killed ; the wife of the younger Mr. Eysa- 
man, whose name was Stephen, was also killed. Some one 
of the assailants wrenched the infant from its mother's arms, 
and holding it by the feet, dashed its head against a tree, 
and its little limbs quivered in the agonies of death after it 
was rudely and barbarously thrown upon the ground and 

The Bey. Absahax Robecbants sncoeeded his brother. The year of his 
arriyal from Germany can not now be fixed with certainty. His own reoords 
of marriages, births and deaths show that he was here in 1762. We haT» 
ooneorring traditional accounts of him as early as 1754, and that he was the 
German minister who was in a manner forced by the friendly Indians to cross 
to Fort Herkimer, when the settlements on the the north side of the river 
were destroyed by the French and Indians nnder M . de BeUetre InNoTember, 
1757. The field of his clerical labors was coextensiYe with the German settle- 
ments along the whole length and breadth of the Mohawk vaUey. Being a 
graduate of a German university, he was, of course, a finished scholar in all 
those branches of learning relating to his profession. I have stated in another 
place that Mr. Rosecrants was connected with the Herkimer ftmily by mairiage. 
This connection, and fais position as the spiritual adviser of a people proveribial 
for their strong attachments and great respect for the ministerial office, afibrded 
an opportunity for the exertion of a malign influence against the cause of the 
colonies during the revolution. To what extent any such influence was used 
is not now very material to inquire, since it Ib quite evident he committed no 
overt act of treason or aggression, as he remained unmolested during the whole 
war, by the provincial authorities, in discharge of his clerical duties, and left 
his estates to the inheritance of his children. 

Mr. Rosecrants died at his residence on Fall hill, in the present town of 
Little Falls, at the close of the last centnty, and was interred by the side of 
his brother, the former minister, within the walls of the ohureh, nearly under 
the polpit. 


scalped. The mother was compelled to witness this horrid 
scene ; and Stephen, who was doomed to captivity, being 
pinioned and driven a short distance heard the screams of 
his wife, struck down by a war club. 

The enemy having taken four scalps, were content to spare 
the wearer of the fifth to grace their trinmph on their return 
to Canada. This event took place on the 9th day of June, 
and as Mr. Eysaman returned from captivity at the close of 
the war, after an absence of three years and nine months, 
1779 may be fixed as the year. He said on his return, the 
Indians and tories, among other of his stock driven away, 
took three horses, one of them a fine stud, often rode on 
parade by a British officer, who noticed that Eysaman had 
always regarded the horse when he was mounted, asked him 
if he had ever seen the horse before. Eysaman said he had, 
and that the horse was his. The reply was, ^^ Be ofiT, yon 
d — d rebel, you never owned a horse,** and this was all he 
ever had for him. 

Mr. Eysaman married again after his return from cap- 
tivity, and raised a family of children, one of whom, Mr. 
Joseph Eysaman, now lives on the farm he inherited from 
his father, the spot where the murders were committed. 
Stephen Eysaman died at the age of ninety-four years. A 
remarkable case of longevity is presented by this family. 
Stephen had one brother and four sisters, one of whom lived 
to the age of 97 years ; none of them died under the age of 
85 years. The aggregate of the liv^s of these six persons, 
all of one family, was five hundred and forty-one years. 

The destruction of the German settlements, on the south 
side of the river, in sight of Fort Herkimer, in July, 1782, 
by a party of about 600 Indians and tories, has not been 
heretofore noticed by any of the writers upon our border 
wars, or if it has, my attention has not reached it. 

The enemy were first discovered by Peter Wolever, who, 
with Augustinus Hess, lived about fifty rods from the fort. 
Both families were aroused, and finally succeeded in reach- 



ing the fort without any casualty, except the death of Hess, 
who was killed just as he was entering the picket gate. 
There were at this time only a few troops stationed at the 
fort. The Americans were not strong enough to act 
offensively. Valentine Starring was taken prisoner in a 
field, not far from the stockade, and was put to torture with 
a view of drawing the provincials to his rescue, when they 
heard, at the fort, his cries for help and lamentations under 
his tortures ; not succeeding in this, poor Starring was toma- 
hawked and scalped. There was a good deal of desultory 
firing between the assailants and assailed. 

The provincials lost four men, two soldiers and two of the 
inhabitants, killed. It was supposed the enemy's loss in 
killed and wounded was much greater, as they could not 
approach the stockade within musket shot, uncovered. All 
the buildings in the settlement, except Greorge Herkimer's 
house, were burned by the invaders, and the cattle driven 
away. This relation was given by Nicholas Wolever, now 
living, who was at Fort Herkimer at the time, who also says 
it was reported that Capt. Brant was not in this action. I 
will here notice, not an isolated case of human endurance 
and the tenacity of life, although not of frequent occurrence 
during the revolution. The wife of Mr. Henry Wetherstone, 
who had incautiously gone into the field for some domestic 
object, was set upon by a party of Indians, tomahawked, 
scalped and, as supposed, her dead body left to be looked 
after and cared for by her friends. She recovered, and lived 
many years after her long tress of hair had been exhibited 
as a trophy of Indian courage and inhuman butchery. 

The flourishing villages of Mohawk and Ilion are located 
in this town, about two miles apart, on the canaL Mr. 
Remington's extensive rifle factory and armory, where 
thousands and tens of thousands of death-dealing weapons 
have been fabricated, was first established where lUon now 
is. This establishment was the nucleus around which this 
village took its start, and being favorably located in respect 
to proximity to the canal and the central rail road ; and 



having roads of easy grade to the southwestern part of this 
county, and the northwestern portion of Otsego, and the 
southeastern parts of Madison counties, the village has 
become the center of a very considerable business and active 

§6. Hereiher 

Contains all that part of the county bounded sontheriy by the Mohawk 
river, westerly by Schuyler, northerly by Newport and Fairfield, and easterly 
by Manheim. 

The easterly bounds have been changed, see sub. 7, Little 

The whole of Winners and portions of Burnetsfield, 
Hasenclever's, Colden^s and Willett's patents, and some lots 
of the Royal grant and Glen's purchase, lay in this town. 

Thb Rbv. Jomr SpoarBB emigrated to the United States, from Gernumy, 
in 1801, and landed at the city of New York, on the 12th of May, after 
a long passage of 63 days. He was bom at Warback, a market town in 
the Electorate of Ments, January 18th, 1768; was early in life dedicated 
by his parents to the clerical oflloe, and when only 11 years old, entered 
the gyumasiun at Bishopsheim, where he remained three years, and 
was then transferred to the uniyersity of Mentz; remained in that cele- 
brated institution of learning until 1788. In the term of his six years ooUe- 
gi*te probation, he passed through^a thorough course of studies, in philosophy, 
mathematics, history, languages, ancient and modem, divinity, jurisprudence, 
medicine. He was then admitted to a Romish clerical seminary, and in 1789 
was consecrated to holy orders, in the Roman Catholic church. He assisted 
in celebrating the funeral obsequies of two German emperors, in accordance 
with the grand and imposing rites of the Romish communion. The emperor, 
Joseph U, died Febniary 20th, 1790, and Leopold II, March 1st, 1792. He 
oficiated eleven years as priest, confessor, &c., and about the year 1800, he 
embraced the Protestant faith and form of worship. On the 18th January, 
1801, he married Mary Magdal^Fedelis Bmmante, a native of Loire on the 
Maine. She accompanied her husband to this country, and is yet Uving, at the 
residence long occupied by the venerable and deceased subject of this notice. 

Mr. Spinner, soon after he landed at New York, was called to the spiritual 
charge of the German congregations at Herkimer and German Flats, and com-f 
menced his pastoral functions in September, 1801 , and his connection with 
these churches continued about 40 years. He was engaged about 18 months 
of this period, however, as a teacher in the High school, at Utica. He con- 
formed to the dioipUne of the Datoh Reformed church, but the first settlers of 


The town of Herkiiner, when organized in 1788, contained 
all that part of the county of Montgomery, bounded north- 
erly by the north bounds of the state, easterly by Palatine, 
then extending to the west bounds of the present town of 
Manheim, southerly by the Mohawk river, and westerly by 
a north and south line running across the Mohawk river, at 
the fording place, near the house of William Cunningham, 
leaving the same house to the west of said line. This fixed 
the west line of the to^vn on the present western limits of the 
county, north of the Mohawk, and covered the area now em- 
braced in the towns of Fairfield, Little Falls, Newport, Nor- 
way, Ohio, Russia, Schuyler and Wilmont, besides a respecta- 
ble portion of the northern parts of the state, outside thep 

the yalle J, and the anoeston of the people, who oompoaed the prinaipal p«t 
of hiB congregatioiis, were Qerman Lutheians. 

His aenrices, during the long period of hia miniatrjr, were not confined to 
the two chnrohea, under his apeciil charge ; in that time, he preached to oon- 
gregatlona in Columhia, Waiven, at the Indian Castle, Ssquawk, Blanheini 
and Schuyler, in Herkimer county, Deetfield, Oneida oonnty, ManUna, Onon- 
daga county, and Le Bay, Jelliefaon county, in aome of which pUoea, Gennan 
emigranta had settled, when they first came into the country, and in others, 
were found the descendants of those Palatines, who had made their first rest- 
ing place in the Mohawk Talley. He was the third minister in pennanent 
succession called to BoppLj these two chnrohes, after their first organisation in 
the German Flats. 

His predecessor, Mr. Roseerants, died a few years before 1801. The interim 
was probably supplied with the temporary services of clergymen of other 
congregations, or by those who were engaged only for short periods. He was 
tall in stature, dignified in deportment, and polished in his manners, aoeom- 
plishments, not rarely found among the priesthood of the Romish church. 
He possessed a capacious and Yigorous mind, which had been embellished by 
a thorough and systematio education in German schools, under the instruction 
of learned and experienced masters. With t|^ ancient, and most of the modem 
European continental languages, and especially the French, Spanish and Italian , 
he was quite as familiar as with his own native German, but from the slow 
progress he made in acquiring 'an accurate and easy pronunciation of the 
English tongue, in the course of twenty-five years, he must have been unfa- 
miliar with it when he came into the county. The younger members of his 
charge, were in a rapid staie of transition. The Gennan schoolmaster, abandoned 
his desk and ferule to the English teacher, whose language was spoken by a 
minority of the people, and in which the business of the courts was transacted. 


sent county line. These limits also comprehended all that 
portion of the German Flats and Kingsland districts, organ- 
ized under the colonial governments, north of the Mohawk, 
and east of the now westerly bounds of the county. 

These territorial divisions of Tryon county into districts 
were made by acts of the colonial legislature, and stood in 
the place of towns, or townships. It will be observed, they 
were very extensive, and covered territory now embraced 
in several counties. The Oanajoharie district, as an instance, 
extended from the Mohawk to the south line of the state, 
including the settlements at Springfield, Cherry Yalley and 
the Harper settlement. There were, however, subdivisions 
of them into precincts, when required. 


It waa apparent this change rniut take place, and it was expedient not to delay it. 
Mr. Spinner applied himself with aU the ardor of a yonng and ambitions man, 
to keep pace with the times ; and preached alternately, in the Qerman and 
English to snit the elder and younger members of the congregations. From 
long nse and by diligent study, aided by a profound knowledge of Latin, he 
had mastered the English langaage in aU its signifloanoe, bat, he oonld not pro- 
nounce the words of it accurately, and with facility. His English sermons 
were often able productions, and sometimes eloquent The words were weU 
chosen and appropriately applied. I have alluded to this matter, which to 
strangers may not seem pertinent to the subject in hand, because it was a 
cause of some disquiet, but not of repining to him while liying. Mr. Spinner 
died at his residence in Herkimer, on the 27th of May, 1S48, aged 80 yean 
4 months and 9 days. He was kind and affectionate as a husband and a 
parent, and actiye and lealous in the discharge of his pastoral duties. He 
exerted a happy influence over the German population of his charge, by 
whom his memory is cherished with devotion and respect. Within three 
weeks of his own death, six members of his former charge went to their final 
rest, the aggregate of whose ages was more than 480 years. An arerage of 80 
years to seven persons dying within the space of 21 days, is an event of no 
oommon occurrence. 

The Rev. James Murphy was inducted, as associate minister of these two 
venerable congregations, by many years the oldest in the county, before fbs 
Rev. Mr. Spinner's connection was dissolved. Dr. Murphy, I understand, 
has no longer any ministerial charge of them. 

JoRir AnAM Habtkait. — ^WeU, what of him, it may be asked T What oi&ce 
did he hold, under the oolonial or state governments, which entitles his name 
to be placed in this chapter of notables t Reader, I never knew, nor does 


At the election for town officers, in March, 1789, the first 
held after the town was organized, the following persons 
were chosen : For supervisor, Henry Staring ; town clerk 
Melger Fols ; assessors, Melger Fols, George Smith, Melger 
Thnm; collector, George Fols; constables, George Fols, 
Adam Baoman ; commissioners of highways, Peter F. Bel- 
linger, John Demuth, Jacob N. Weber ; overseers of the 
poor, Henry Staring, George Weber, Jr., Michael Myers; 
overseers of highways, Marx Demnth, Philip Helmer, Adam 
Hartman, Hannes Demuth, Peter Weber, J'hilip Herter, 
Hannes Hilts, Jr., Hannes Eiseman ; pound masters, George 
Weber, Jr., Peter Barky, Hannes Demuth, Nicholas Hilts, 
Hannes Schell. 

local tndition tell xne, hfi ever held any other than a Tolnntaiy, aelf-eleeted 
place of conildeiice and trust, among the people of the upper Mohawk yalley. 
Perhaps he was not nataralized, and therefore was ineligible to office under 
the crown, before the revolution, for he was not bom a British subject. But 
if seven years immersion in the toils and blood of that war, could have made 
any man a native American, in 1783 he was one, although bom in Edenko- 
ben, Qermanj, in September, 1743. Bom and educated a peasant in father- 
land, he was accustomed to the severe exiKMures of a roaming woodman's 
life, and the luxury of wealth had in no degree enervated a frame of great 
muscular power, and almost gigantic proportions, nor touched, with its allur- 
ing fascinations, a mind and a will as firm and unyielding, as he believed the 
cause he was engaged in, was Just and good. He required no commissariat 
waggon to attend him on his excursions, to supply him with rations, while in 
pursuit of or watching the stealthy movements of the enemy. Mothers were 
gladdened when they knew Hans Adam was on the lookout, in the bush near 
by, and the confident prattle of children might be heard in the door yard ; 
and the husbandman too could visit his fields, and attend to his caUle and 
crops, being assured, if danger approached, a signal from Hartman's weU- 
tried musket would announce the fact Such a man could not fail to find a 
cheerful welcome and abundant fare at every log cabin in the land, nor were 
his goings forth on his perilous service unattended by sincere and hopeful 
aspirations to heaven for his safety and success. The detail of the traditional 
accounts which have come to us, of his services, encounters and escapes 
during the perilous period of the seven years frontier confiict, familiar to the 
reader, would extend this notice beyond any reasonable limit. There is, 
however, one marked event of his life, yet familiar to the descendants of the 
revolutionary inhabitants of the county, which may well have place on sous 
fnore permanent record, than the fading memory of man. 


Henry Staring got two offices ; Melger Pols, two ; George 
Fols, two; George Weber, Jr., two, and Hannes Demuth, 
two. A complete Native American High Dutch organiza- 
tion, and nearly every man of them a descendant of the 
Palatine pilgrims. The voters seem to have excluded every 
other nationality from their ticket Did they mean any 
thing by this ? In these times such an act might be thought 
of peculiar significance. 

The town records appear to be perfect since the first 

Soon after the peace of 1783, which gave safe conduct, not only to the 
fonner white inhabitants of the vallej, who confided in the promises of 
princes, but to the late hostile red man of the forest, to return and look after 
whatever might interest or concern them, Hartman fell in company with an 
Indian near the present western limits of the town of Herkimer, at a oountiy 
tavern, and one of them at least, if not both of them, being strongly inclined 
to cheer the inner-man with the enlivening influences of flre-water, the Indian 
soon became exhilarated and loquacious. He boasted, as he then supposed he 
might, with impunity, of his valorous deeds during the war, spoke of the 
number of rebels he had killed and scalped, and the captives he had taken ; 
mentioned the places he had visited in the state, and the exploits of his tribe. 
His inebriate mind could shadow nothing but that he was .the most distin- 
guished brave of his nation. Hartman heard aU this vain boasting with 
apparent good nature, and believed it would not be prudent, as he was un- 
armed, to provoke a quarrel with his boon companion ; but when the Indian 
exhibited his tobacco pouch, made of the slcin taken from a white child's ann, 
and tanned or dressed with the nails of the fingers and thumb still hanging 
to it, and boasted of his trophy, he came to a resolution, and probably soon 
after executed it, that, drunk or sober, the Indian should no more boast of 
his deeds of blood, or exhibit his savage inhumanity. He inquired the way 
the Indian was going, and being told, said he was traveling the same direc- 
tion. They left the house together, and took a x>ath leading towards Schuy- 
ler, through a swamp. The Indian, in addition to his rifle and other weapons, 
carried a heavy -pack. Hartman was unarmed, and being light, told the 
Indian, on their, way, he would carry his rifle, and it was given to him. The 
Indian was never seen or heard of alive after he and Hartman entered the 
swamp. About a year afterwards a human body was found buried in the 
swamp muck, by the side of a log laying across the path, and a pack near it, 
stamped into the wet bog. A rifle was also found in a hollow tree not far 
distant, and other articles, showing pretty clearly that the owner when alive 
was not a Buropean. Hartman, when asked where the Indian was, or had 
gone, said ** he saw him standing on a log a few rods in advance, and he fell 
from it as though he had been hurt." Hartman was not always dear and 
distinct in his admission that he had shot the Indian ; no one at the time, 


organization, and judging from the known characters of the 
principal officers elected, there must have been some very 
hard political contests in the town between the federalists 
and republicans in olden times. Success depended very 
much upon the vigilance of the parties, and it was alike 
important to both to carry the county town. The history 
of the county from 1725 to the close of the revolution, com- 
prises but few incidents which did not take place in this, or 
the present town of German Flats. When these two towns 

however, or sinoe, doujbted the fact, although there might not hare been legal 
evidence to oonviot of mnrder. He was arreeted and tried for that offense at 
Johnstown, bat acquitted. Whoever killed the Indian was not instigated 
thereto for the sake of plunder. In all Hartman's after conversation in regard 
to this afl)ur, he distinctly and minutely described the tobacco pouch made of 
human skin, and the nails attached to the finger's end. He survived the 
close of the revolutionary war more than fifty-three years. He may have 
lived so far secluded from refined society as not to have seen a glove, and he 
may have been so ignorant as not to know what constituted a covering for 
delicate and genteel hands ; and if he was at fault in this respect, he was not 
so great a dunce as not to know the skin of the human ann and hand, nor 
so blind that he could not see a finger naU. Besides, who that is familiar 
with Indian customs and habiliments, can believe that an Indian would use 
a common hand glove for a pouch ? How and where would he secure it T 
He could not fasten it to his belt, and in those days these primitive people 
did not wear pockets in their garments ; their pouches served that purpose, 
and were made sufildently long to be secured by winding two or three times 
round the outside waist belt. The assertion, in Stone's Life of Brant, that 
this pouch " was probably a leather glove, which the Indian had found," 
seems to be wholly unsupported by fact or the appearance of truth. I have 
no desire to make any apology for Hartman, or that he should appear dif- 
ferent from what he actually was, a plain, unlettered, unpretending man. 
He was not '' very ignorant," unless the term is strictly applied to his school 
acquirements. He probably never attended school a single day in his life, 
other and more imperative calls upon his time and service were in store for 
him, after he landed upon our western shores. "A very ignorant man, and 
thought it no harm to kill an Indian at any time." Is this statement bonie 
out by the facts of the relation as here given ? If. Hartman killed the Indian, 
and was so ** very ignorant " as to think it no harm to kill one at any time, 
why did he not do it in the face of witnesses ? Why did he seek and wait 
for an opx>ortunity to do the deed when he and his late open enemy were 
alone? Why, if so "very ignorant," as to be only a lump of stultified hu- 
manity, did not the slayer appropriate the goods of his victim, of considera- 
ble value, to his own use ? Col. Stone was either misinformed in respect to 


were erected, Herkimer had been known by no other name 
for sixty-^three yeara than the German Flats, and it was not 
intended to make any change, but to give the name of Her- 
kimer to the territory on the south side of the river, where 
the Herkimer family were first seated, where most of those 
who remained in the country then lived, and where the general 
himself was bom. The committee, having the matter in 
charge, not knowing the localities, inquired of some person 
who did, whether the German Flats lay on the right or l^ 
bank of the river, expecting to be answered according to 
the known rule of designation, which is to start at the source 
of the stream and pass down, noting the objects and places 
on the right hand bank and on the left hand bank. Being 
told the German Flats was on the right bank, the . answer 
misled the committee, and hence arose the mist-ake and 
change. The committee acted upon a settled rule of defini- 
tion, which their informant did not understand. 

this case, or his memory verj indistmct when he wrote the history of it I 
hope his partiality for the hero of his work did not produce an onfavorable 
bias on his mind towards those who had been America's most ardent and 
eflectiye, thongh humble, defenders. Unless more than one Indian was 
found prowling through the valley soon after the revolution, exhibiting the 
skin of a human arm and hand for a tobacco pouch, and boasting of the 
achievement, the truth of history has been falsified in another quarter. 

Hartman from some exposure and by personal conflicts with the Indiaoa 
had become disabled for life so that he could not labor. He was placed on 
the invalid pension roll, but, shame to my country, the gratuity bestowed was 
not enough to^ sustain the shattered remnant of a frame which had been 
hacked, lacerated and wounded in the service of his adopted country, with- 
out additional assistance from the local overseer of the poor. *He died at 
Herkimer and the head stone at the spot where rests his remains, erected in 
grateful remembrance of his services, is seen in the burial ground surround- 
ing the Brick church at Herkimer, and in fuU view from the Court house 
steps, with the inscription cut upon it : 


Bom at 

Edenkoben in 0«rmany, 

A"great Patriot in our War for Independence, 

Died April 5Ui, 1836, 

Aged 92 years and 7 months. 


Fort Dayton was a small stockaded fort, erected in the 
northerly part of the present village of Herkimer, by Coi. 
Dayton, of the continental service, in the year 1776, for the 
protection of the inhabitants on the north side of the river ; 
Fort Herkimer, on the south side, being too far off, and too 
difficult to reach to secare that object as effectively as was 
desired. A small force of continental troops or state levies, 
was retained at this post during the war, and it afforded 
safe protection to the surrounding inhabitants who sought 
safety within its pickets, against the marauding parties of 
the enemy. This spot was for many years before and after 
the revolution the most populous of any in this part of the 
country; the public buildings of the county have always 
remained at the village, and for several years it enjoyed a 
commercial prosperity unrivaled by any locality in the 
county ; but the opening of the Erie canal damaged its pros* 

Jacob Small. — ^T^ds zealous partisaii of American independence deBenres 
more than the passing notice I can give to his memory. He was a natiye of 
Germany, and came to this country when quite young. He was appointed by 
the goyemor and council captain in the regiment of Tryon county militia, 
under the command of Col. Peter Bellinger, on the 25th of June, 1778. He 
had previously served as subaltern in the militia and was a brave, active and 
energetic partisan officer. At whatever point between the Little Falls and 
Forts Herkimer and Dayton an alarm might be given, Capt. Small with such 
members of his company as could be ooUected at the moment were afoot and 
hastening to repel the attack of the enemy and rescue the stockaded 'poet from 
assault. The beat of his company was on the north side of the Mohawk 
river and east of the West Canada creek. His duties as a militia officer 
were so incessant and required him to be absent from his family so much, that 
he placed them in Fort Herkimer for protection iu the fall of 1777, where 
they remained until the war closed. His son Jacob, who at that time was 
about six years old, still survives, and retains a distinct recollection of this 
fiKst. The successful stratagem practiced by John Christian Shell, in 1781, 
when his home was assaulted by Donald McDonald at the head of a party of 
Indians and tories, shows that Capt. Small's name must have been familiar to 
the assailants, and that they did not like to await his approach within gun shot. 

When Capt. SmaU removed the wounded refugee to Fort Dayton to have 
his wounds dressed, he performed the act with all the care and humanity he 
was capable of exerting on that occasion. The welfare of Shell's two little 
sons carried into captivity by the enemy may have influenced the Americana 



perity a good deaL The old church, a wooden structure and 
a venerable relic of the past, was consumed by fire in Janu- 
ary, 1834, when the Court house was burnt. It was soon 
after replaced by a handsome edifice of brick, which stands 
on the main street of the village, near the Court house. 

Herkimer village is pleasantly situated on a plain near the 
junction of the Mohawk and West Canada creek, the sur- 
rounding Country, except in the river and creek valleys, is a 
little elevated, presenting rich, varied and delightful pro- 
spects, not surpassed in the whole Mohawk valley. The 
large and pretty extended alluvial flat or bottom lands in 
this town, containing hundreds of acres, have been under 
cultivation more than 130 years, and still yield abundant 
crops in requital of the husbandman's toil, and seem to be 
inexhaustible. The extensive water power of the West 
Canada creek, which had been long unimproved, was brought 
into use about the year 1835, by a company of enterprising 
citizens of the town, and although the results of this experi- 
ment may not have fully met the expectation of some of its 
most sanguine projectors, there can be no doubt of the very 
beneficial efiects to the village, by the construction and 
operation of mills and machinery and the use of the water 
power brought out by the company. That the project has 
not been more remunerative to the proprietors may right- 
in their treatment of the disabled foe ; bnt no matter what the motive may 
have been, the humane conduct of Capt. 8maU and his party contrasts favora- 
bly with that of their relentless and savage enemies. 

Although there was but little active warfare on this frontier during the sum- 
mer and autumn of 1782, and although Capt. Small had more than five suo- 
oesslve years taken his life in his hand and gone forth with his men to beat 
off and chastise the skulking and savage enemy, and escaped unharmed, lie 
was shot in the apple orchard where he and one or two of his neighbors had 
gone to gather apples, in the fall of 1783, three days after the definitive 
articles of peace were signed at Paris between the United States and Great 
Britain. The formal agreement for the cessation of hostilities between the 
two powers was not signed until January 20th, 1783, but there had been a 
virtual cessation after the surrender of Comwallis, except as to the petty war- 
fare carried on by the Indians, who seemed to have but little respect for a 
power that would acknowledge itself beaten by its rebellious subjeots. 


fnlly be attributed to a Donnse of the property, and not to 
other causes. Why do not the capitalietB in the vicinity 
devote their means to the erection of mannfacturing estab- 
lishments? They have wealth enough for that purpose. 
Why do the manufacturing towns in the Eastern states 
spring up as if by magic ? By using capital. No greater 
facilities of transport can be required than they now have. 

!j7. LiTTLB Palls 

ConUJna all that part ot the coimtj set off from the towns of HeTkiiB«r, 
Fairlleld and Qermin Flatx, contprehended within the following honudariM, 
tU: b^bmingon thsmlddleorhaMllneof Olen'spnrohase, it apointwben 
the line between lots nmntwr Ave andaiz in aald pnrcbue nnltes with lald haaa 
or middle line, and miming thsnce sonth along taid line toilasODthem tonni- 
uation; tli«Dce on the same coarse continued to the BonOiboDndaofthelawnof 
German Flats ; thence along the south bounds of said town to the sontheaat 
comer thereof i and thence along the eastem boonds of the towns of German 
Flata and Betktaner, to the Boatbeut comer of the town of Fairlleld ; and ft«m 
thence bj a iti^ht line to the place of beginnii^. 

The town covers parts of Glen's purchase, Staley'a first 
tract, Gny Johnson's tract, Vaughn's and Fall hill patent, 
six lots in Bumetsfield, and small triangnlar pieces of L* 
Hommedien's and Lindsey's patents. 

Scene at Little Falls. 

I have in the general history of the county brought out 

some facta peculiarly applicable to this town, and the village 

which bears the same name, and I now refer to them in this 


couDection. There were German inhabitants iu nearly every 
direction around the present village before the revolation, 
but onl; one habitable dwelling and a gristmill within the 
present corporation limits. The present remarks should 
therefore be taken as a history of the village locality rather 
than that of the town. The gristmill destroyed during the 
revolution was located on the river near the bed of the old 
canal, and was fed by Furnace creek and the river. The 
dwelling house referred to was occupied by the miller and 
his aBsiRtants, and probably by persons employed at the 
carrying place. . The road or path used for taking boats and 
their cargoes by the river falls, was located very nearly on 
the site of the old canal. The red gristmill, to supply the 
one destroyed, was erected in 1789, and the old yellow bonse 
west of Furnace creek, and near the north bank of the old 
canal, was built a short time before that period. Mr. John 
Porteous came to this place in 1790, and established himself 
in mercantile business. Se occupied the yellow house, then 
the only dwelling within the present village limits. Its 

Octagon Chnroh, Uttle FaUs. Brectad 1796. 

venerable walls are yet standing, the spared monuments of 
a destructive age. And the old Octagon, too, that so often 


attracted the admiring gaze of the traveler bj stage, canal 
and rail road, was erected and enclosed abont the year 1796, 
though not finished so as to be occupied at all seasons of the 
year as a house of religions worship, until nearly a quarter 
of a century afterwards, which is shown by the following 
memorial deposited in the ball of the steeple : 

" Thin hooM WM erected In the jet of onr Lord one thouead eeren 
hundred and ninety-eix, under the direction of John Porteone, Abraham 
Neely, Nicholae Thumb and Henry J. Klock, Esqn., and completed in the 
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen, under the super- 
intendence of 

Doct. Jamss EBinrsDT, } 

WauAM GiBTAv and > Buildiqg Committee. 

JoBH Dtoert, Esqn., ) 

'^Jl^Z,^,]'^ ^^^"- 


Dax Dalb, 
Jambs Dobr, 
BxirjAiinr Cabb, 
Bahdvobd Pbabcb, 
Jambs Bandebs, 
Mabtib Bastbbbbooks, 

ROBBBT WhABBT, ) a«^«^„«^^ 

WiLUAM HADDoci, } Apprentices. 


Pastor of the Chnrcth and Congregation, 

LitUo Falls, 23d April 1818. 

In hand writing of Josiah Pabsors.'* 

But where is that old pile of antique device and rustic 
architecture 1 Its lofty pulpit, its pews and singing gallery, 
where are they? Alas! alas! Gone, swept away by the 
hand of modern improvement. And the venerable Concord 
society, not always harmonious as its name imported, the 
trustees of which were seized of the temporalities for the 
term of their lives, one of which is not yet extinct, what has 
become of it 1 Dead by a nonuser of its corporate franchises, 
and no longer held in remembrance. I am strongly inclined 
to perpetrate rhyme, or quote a couplet of poetry, but I 
repress the feeling. History is much too grave a subject to 
be mixed up with fabulous tales and poetic fictions. 



And the long tin horn used by master Case^ to summon 
the playful and unruly school children to their daily tasks ; 
and on more grave occasions, when God's word was to be 
dispensed at the village school house, by some itinerant 
missionary of the cross, then were its notes heard through 
the confined valley, and echo after echo, in the still sabbath 
morning, notified the hour of meeting, on the day of rest, 
for prayer and praise : that, too, has been nearly forgotten, 
and few now remain to repeat from memory, the amusing 
story of the tin horn, which schoolmaster Case used to blow 
with great dexterity and varied note. This horn or trumpet 

WnxiAK Albxahdeb, was a natiye of the dtj of Sohenectady, and oame 
to the viUage with or soon after Mr. Porteons, with whom he was seyeral jean 
connected in business. He was ao active, inteUigent merchanti and exerted 
himself to promote the prosperity of the place. He died Jannarj 3d, 1813, 
aged 37 jears, of an epidemic fever, which prevailed prettj extensively in 
the county, and carried off a great many of the adult inhabitants. His loss 
was long regretted by the people of the vUlage, who survived him. 

Ebek and WASHnroroir Bbitton were brothers, and natives of Westmore- 
land, New Hampshire. Bben settled in the viUage in 1792, carried on the 
tanning business many years, and died August 28th, 1832, aged sixty years. 
He survived his brother more than twenty years. 

While strolling through the cemeteiy, north of the village, taldng notes 
from the memorials of the dead, my attention was arrested by a broad head- 
stone of white marble, tall and erect, and I transcribed the affectionate testi- 
monial of the wife, who had consigned to the grave the loved and cherished 
companion of her long and varied life. These are the words spoken by the 
widowed and stricken heart. 

*< Died, on the 29th of October, 1842, in the 83d year of his age, 


His widow erected this humble 

stone, to commemorate his private worth, 

but his nobler monuments are the battle 

fields of the American revolution, in 

letters of blood. These shall perpetuate his 

public virtues when this tribute of a wife's 

affection shall have crumbled into dust, 

and no human hand can point out the 

spot where the hero sleeps." 


was abont four feet long, and there were but few who could 
blow it 

The old Octagon church was always regarded as one of 
the curiosities of the place, and was noticed by the Rev. 
John Taylor, when on a missionary tonr throng the Mo- 
hawk and Black river countries, in 18Q2. He made a rough 
sketch of it, which is preserved in the Documentary Histo- 
ry of the state. He says, '* this parish (Little FaUs) con- 
tains six or seven hundred inhabitants," and ^* in this place 
may be found men of various religious sects. They have a 
new and beautiful meeting house, standing about forty rods 

Ym, renenble and affliotod matron, I wfll aid thee to kaep in nmemlxanoe 
tlio Snal raating place of one who lerred his oonntiy with unyielding fidelitj, 
and remarkable brarerj, through the whole eventftil strogi^e of the reroln- 
tion. He entered the annj when only serenteen yeara old, in one of the 
New England continental regimenta of the line, after aome desoltory aervioe 
in detached oorpa of militia, and remained till the eioae of the war. He waa 
preaent when Waahington asanmed the command of the Amerioan forces, al 
Cambridge, and witneesed his departure from New York in December, 1783. 
He waa in nearly all the battles on the aeaboard, from Bunker'a Hill to Yoric- 
town. He waa actlTo when In the prime of life, and well formed. His con- 
stttntion waa Tigorons, and until nearly the close of life, he enjoyed exoelleni 
health. Let me perform my promise. He was interred in one of the west 
tiers of burial lots, in the cemetery at the little Falls— on ground consecrated 
by the ralor of himself and his compeers to the repoee of i^nsemen. 

WiLUAX Fbbtbs. — Col. Feeter waa a natire of the territory now embraced 
in Fulton county. His name, before it became Anglicized, was written Veeder 
or Vedder ; and in 1786, when he was commissioned an ensign in the militia, 
it waa written Father. In 1791, he was appointed a Justice of the peace in 
•this county, under the name of William Veeder. Although the name he 
bore at an early day indicated a low Dutch origin, this was not the fiict. His 
father was a natire of Wittenberg, Germany, and at the commencement of 
the revolution, the family was settled in the neighborhood of Johnstown, and 
was so much under the influence of the Johnsons, that all of them, except 
William, then quite a young man, followed the fortunes of Sir John, and 
went with him to Canada. 

The colonel, in his youthful ardor, felt more inclined to give young Amer- 
ica a trial, than to follow the cross of Bt. George into the wilds of Canada; 
and on all occasions when the invaders came into the Mohawk valley, for the 
purposes of plunder and slaughter, he was ever among the first and foremost 
to volunteer his services to drive them away. On one occasion, in 1781, 


back on the hill, built in the form of an octagon.'^ His 
observationB, however, convinced him it was not improved. 
But I will go back a few years. One of the two lots 12 and 
13 Bumetsfieldy embracing all the water power on the north 
side of the river, was owned, before the revolution, by one 
of the Petrie family, who erected the first grist mill on 
Furnace creek, and was engaged in the carrying business. 
The following are the names of some of the persons who 
settled at this place between 1790 and 1800, and who re- 
mained here permanently until death : John Porteous, Wil- 
liam Alexander, Richard Philips, Thomas Smith, Joel Lank- 
ton, Richard Winsor, William Garr, William Moralee, 
Washington Britton, Alpheus Parkhui-st, John Drummond, 
Eben Britton, Josiah Skinner. 

The construction of the old canal and locks, by the 
Western inland lock navigation company, gave an impetus 

when A pftrtj of Indians and tones made a descent npon a settlement in the 
Palatine district, for the purpose of plunder and murder, the subject of this 
notice took an active part in punishing the lawless intruders. It appeared 
that the object of the enemj was to plunder and murder a familj related to 
one of the tory iuTadera, which was not quite agreeable to him ; he therefore 
gare himself up, and disclosed the nefarious intentions of the enemy, who, 
finding themselTes betrayed, made a rapid flight to the^woods. Col. WHlett 
did not feel disposed to let them off without a seyere chastisement ; he there- 
fore ordered Lieutenant Sammons, with twenty-five volunteers, among whom 
was William Feeter, to go in pursuit, and they moved so rapidly, that they 
came upon the enemy's burning camp fires early the next morning. Feeter 
and six other men were directed to keep the trail, and after a rapid pursuit of 
two miles in the woods, a party of Indians was discovered lying flat on the 
ground. The latter, when they savr Feeter approach, instantly arose and 
fired ; but one of the enemy being grievously wounded by the return fire of 
the Americans, the whole gang of Indians and tories fied precipitately, leaving 
their knapsacks, provisions and some of their arms. The result of this aflkir 
was, that three of the enemy were wounded in the running fight kept up by 
Feeter and his party, and died on their way to Canada ; one surrendered 
himself a prisoner, and the wounded Indian was summarily dispatched by his 
former tory comrade, who had joined in the pursuit. 

Ck>lonel Feeter seated himself upon Glen's purchase, within the prseent 
limits of Little Falls, soon after the close of the revolution, and opened alMge 



to the growth and prosperity of the place, which brought it 
into notice at an early period ; but the paralyzing policy of 
the proprietor, who was an alien, in limiting his alienations 
to leasee in fee rendering an annual rent, and refusing to 
make only a few grants of that description, to which he 
affixed the most stringent conditions and restrictions in the 
exercise of trade and the improvement of the water power, 
kept the place nearly stationary, until 1831, excepting that 
part of the present village on the south side of the river, 
not subject to the dead weight of nonalienation. Upon the 
opening of the Erie canal, in 1826, the only erections in 
that part of the village were a bridge and toll house, at the 
south end of the bridge^; the Bellinger grist mill and a 
small dwelling, for the miller's residence, and the Yroomaa 

In 1816, there were only two streets, or thoroughfares, in 
the village. The turnpike, now known as Main street, and 

fium, whioh he ooltiTfttod with sncoen more than tttf jetan. He niaed m 
fimilj of fire soiu and seren danghtera, some of whom still BoiriTe, and 
others have gone with him to their final reat. AU of his children, with two 
exoeptiona, I helieve, settled in thia county. Colonel Feeter adhered through 
life to doctrine and mode of worship of the Qerman Lutheran choroh, whioih 
must lead one to beUere he had been early and thoroughly educated in the 
tenets of the great reformer. He died at little FaUs, ICay 5, 1844, aged 88 

His fiftfher, Luous Feeter, stood high in the confidence of Sir William 
Johnson and the whole famUy, and heoanae his rebellious boy would not 
consent to abandon his natire oountry and follow the fortunes of Sir John, 
he waa driven from the paternal roof, and oompeUed to seek a shelter and m 
home where he could. The surrounding neighbors being mostly adherents 
of the Johnson fiunily, and friendly to the royal cause, the taak of finding m 
kind and sympathising friend, and one who would advise and counsel him 
for the best, may hare been a difficult matter for young Feeter to surmount. 
He succeeded, however, in securing a temporary home in the fiunily of Mr. 
Tauney, a near neighbor of his father. At a proper time, Mr. Yauney pre- 
sented a musket to his young protege, and told him he would have to rely 
upon that for defense and protection, until his country's fnedoia waa ao- 
knowledged by the British king. The colonel used that musket throu§^ the 
whole war, and it is now preserved as an heir-loom in the fiunily of hia 
youngest son. Col. Feeter was bom at Stone Arabia, Febmazy 2d, 1766. 

*->4.'ii ■ 


the Eajstem and Western avenues, which thenextended on 
the present line no farther than to cross Furnace creek, where 
it turned down east of the yellow house, thence over the 
old canal, and along between the old canal and river, to the 
head of the falls. The Western avenue was not then opened. 
The other road was what is now called German, Bridge, Ann 
and Church streets, crossing the river from the south, and 
leading to Eatonville and Top-notch. There were not over 
forty dwelling houses in the place at that time. Before 
Main street was extended west from Ann, the traveled road 
was down Ann street, across the old canal, and thence along 
Mill street. At this time, there was one church, the octa- 
gon, not finished, the stone school house, two taverns, two 
blacksmith shops, five or six stores and groceries, and one 
grist and one saw mill on the north side of the river. This 
was nearly the state of thingb until 1828, except the few 
erections and improvements that had been made on Main 
and Ann streets, and two or three dwelling houses on Gar- 
den street. Ann street, north of Garden, was a pasture. 
All that part of the village east of Second and south of the 
lots fronting on Main street, extending to the river, as well 
as that portion east of the old Salisbury road, was a drear 
wilderness, thickly covered with white cedar undergrowth. 

I nowielftte the foUowinginddent, which shows thecool oounge and resolute 
deteiminatioxi of the man, or I should saj, perhaps, of him and his compan- 
ion. On one occasion, he and Mr. Ghray, the father of the Hon. Charles Qtaj, 
of Herkimer, had, during the war, )3een on an expedition up the river, and 
were returning in a small canoe ; when thej reached the Little Falls, instead 
of taking their light craft over the oairying place, or sending it orer the fiills 
empty, thej pushed into the stream, and safelj navigated their frail vessel 
amid boiling, surging waters, over the rapids. He performed a like feat at 
another time during the war, when a comrade in another canoe was stranded 
on the rocks, and barely escaped drowning. 

The reader, who knows the locality as it now appears, may think this 
wCher an improbable story. The fact is not only well attested, but we must 
reflect, that the stream was not then hedged in and conilned by dams, arches 
and artificial structures, and that the flow of water, at an ordinary flood, w»> 
much greater than It is at present. 


The vilh^ charter, granted March SOth, 1811, was 
amended in 1827, and the corporation authorized to open 
streets, which had been dedicated to public nse, as laid 
down on a map made by the proprietor, in 1811. The 
power given was exerted in the first instance, by opening 
Albany, Garden and Second streets, at the expense of the 
owners of the adjoining lots. This touched the proprietor's 
pnrse, and he consented to sell in fee the lots on those 
streets. This, however, did not reach the water power, 
which was not improved, neither wonld the proprietors on 
either side of the river consent to sell lots and water rights, 
but the aUen owner adopted the plan of making short 
leases, by which he anticipated a rich harvest on the falling 
in of the revisions. The people of the village were not 
slow to perceive the fatal effects of this policy, and applied 
to the legislature for the pdssage of an act to prohibit the 
alien proprietor from making any grants or leases, except 
in fee. These were the conditions on which he was author- 
ized to take, hold and convey lands in this state. The act 
passed the senate at the session of 1831, and was sent to the 
assembly for concurrence. The agents offered to sell the 
whole proprietary interest in the village for (50,000, and 
active negotiations were set on foot by several parties to 
make the purchase. The act made slow progress in the 
assembly. The leading citizens of the village were ap- 
pealed to, and advised to form a company, and make the 
purchase. The bill was finally acted upon in the house, 
and rejected. Almost simultaneous with that rejection, the 
sale was effected to several members of that body and other 
parties, and the purchasers in a short time realized a net 
(60,000 on their purchase, or very nearly that sum. Whe- 
ther there was any connection between the defeat of the 
bill, which I had some agency in carrying through the 
senate, and the sale, I never sought to know. The sale 
accomplished all that we of the village desired, because we 
believed the purchasers had bought with the intention of 
elling out, as fast as they could ; but the proprietor, Mr. 




Ellice, had a large interest at stake ; he was the owner of 
other considerable tracts of land, not only in this county, 
but in different parts of the state ; it was important to him, 
therefore, to get rid of the restrictive provisions of the bill, 
in respect to his other lands. His agents in this country 
were well satisfied that the applicants for coercive but just 
measures would not rest quietly under one defeat, and that 
his interests would be damaged in proportion to the duration 
of the controversy. 

The new proprietors made immediate arrangements to 
bring the property into market, and effected large sales by 
auction and private sale, in the year 1831, and in the course 
of a few years, what remained of the original purchase, with 
other lands of Mr. Ellice on the north side of the river, came 
into the hands of Bichard B. Ward and James Munroe 
Esquires, of the city of New York, not however as joint 
owners. No sale of the water power, in separate lots or 
privileges, were made before Mr. Ward became the sole 
owner of all that portion of the original purchase from Mr. 
Ellice. When these were brought into market. Gen. Bellin- 
ger, the principal owner of the water power, on the south 
side of the river, supposing a prior appropriation might not 
tally with his private interests, also came into market, and 
mills, factories, foundries and other machinery, were soon 
in operation, giving life, vigor and animation, to this circum- 
scribed spot. 

After the opening of the canal in 1825, the little patch of 
habitable earth in its vicinity, was soon improved, and what 
had hitherto been a wild, broken cedar thicket, was converted 
into a habitable spot and active business place, by the art of 
man. In 1830, the whole population of the town was, 2,539, 
and about 1,700 of that number, were within the village 

It appears by the recent census that the population of the 
town on the 1st day of June, 1855, was 4,930, and that within 
the corporation limits, which embraces a small portion of 
Manheim, the whole population was, 3,972. The progress 


FMtei's Block. 

of the village in popolatioD and industrial pursTiit^ has been 
bIovt, bat quite as rapid as any of its sister villages in the 
valley between Utica and Schenectady. It now ranks the 
first in population and commercial and manufactnring impor- 

This village contains two large and commodious brick 
schoolhouses, with a capacity of seating 600 pupils, which 
cost about (10,000; two stone, one brick, and two wood 
framed churches. These structures have all been erected 
within the last 25 years, and evince a commendable feeling 
of public spirit and liberality in the population of the village. 

It is a singular, and perhaps a remarkable fact, that 


although the inhabitants of the village have increased 2272, 
in the last quarter of a century, there are not now over 300 
residents, who were such in 1830; and not over 30 of the 
inhabitants who were here in 1816, can now be found within 
the corporation limits. This place, and the country around 
it, is as healthful, and the climate is as solubrions, as any in 
the state* It would now be difficult to visit any considerable 
town or place of business at the west, even in Missouri and 
Iowa, without meeting some one who had formerly Uved at 
Little Falls. 

The PresbyUrian Church. This society had its ecclesiastical 
organization on the 29th of June, 1812. I think this society 
had not, for many years a statute or lay organization sepa* 
rate from the Concord society, and until the erection of the 
brick church at the junction of Ann and Albany streets, in 
1831, or about that time. 

" The First Presbyterian society of the village of Little 
Falls in the town of Little Falls in the county of Herkimer," 
was incorporated April 16, 1831, under the statut-e passed 
April 6, 1813, and Robert Stewart, David Petrie, Charles 
Smith, Daniel Mcintosh, Hozea Hamilton, John Scullen and 
William Hammell were elected the first lay trustees, and at 
the first meting of the trustees after their election, Elisha S. 
Capron was appointed clerk, William J. Pardee, treasurer, 
and John Dygert, collector. 

This organization has been regularly continued to the 
present time, the church regularly supplied with a settled 
clergjonan, and is and ever has been one of the most fiour* 
ishing Protestant denominations in the town in respect to 
numbers, and the respectability and wealth of its members. 

Mr. Daniel Talcott, an aged member of this church, who 
died several years, ago, made a pecuniary bequest by his 
will which enures to the benefit of this society. 

This corporation own a handsome brick parsonage, situate 
on Ann street, purchased by the generous Liberality of its 

■^ — — ^ — T|~^ I la -"T 


members at the expense of about twenty-two hundred dol- 

The Episcopal Ckurch. The vestry of Emmanuel church, 
at the village of Little Falls in the town of Herkimer, was 
duly incorporated February 22d, 1823. 

Nathaniel S. Benton and George H. Feeter, church ward- 
ens ; Oran G. Otis, Lester Green, Solomon Lockwood, Abner 
Graves, Andrew A. Barton, William G. Borland, Thomas 
Gould and Daniel EL Eastman, vestrymen. 

The Rev. Phineas L. Whipple of Trinity church, Fairfield, 
was on the third day of January, 1824, called to officiate as 
rector, according to the rites of the Protestant episcopal 
church in the United States, one-half the time for the period 
of one year, at a salary of two hundred dollars. 

The present church was consecrated by Bishop Onderdonk 
in October, 1836. Trinity church. New York, made a liberal 
donation of (1500, to aid in building the church edifice. 

This organization has been regularly continued to this 
time, and since 1836 rectors have been inducted and settled, 
and the services of the church administered with but short 
intermissions. The corporation own a convenient brick 
rectory, lately built by the corporation, situate at the comer 
of Albany and William streets, near the church edifice. 

The Baptid Society ^ Little FaUs. At a meeting of the per- 
sons usually attending worship with the Baptist church in 
the village of Little Falls, held pursuant to notice at the 
stone school house, the usual place of worship of said 
church, on the 2l8t day of December, 1830, for the purpose 
of organizing and forming an incorporated society within 
the provisions of the statute, Alanson Ingham and Calvin 
G. Carpenter were appointed to preside at the election of 

After unanimously agreeing to organize a society to be 
known by the name and style of the Baptist society of Little 
Falls, a ballot was taken and Daniel Rogers, Alanson Lsgham, 


Parley Eaton, Henry Haman and Stephen W. Brown were 
elected trustees. 

It was thereupon resolved that the aforesaid trustees, and 
their successors in office, shall forever hereafter be called 
and known by the name and title of the Trustees of the 
baptist society of Little Falls. 

To all which we, the returning officers do certify ; in wit- 
ness whereof we have set our hands and seals this 22d day 
of December, 1830. Alakson Ikoham, 

In presence of Oalvin 6. Gabpenteb. 

Pablby Eaton. 

Recorded in the clerk's office, Herkimer county, December 
22d, 1830. 

In 1832 this society erected a handsome stone church on 
the south side of Albany street at the comer of Mary street, 
and have kept up their legal organization under the statute 
to the present time. Its standing, as a religious body, has 
always been respectable in numbers and the character of its 

The Methodist Society. — ^At a meeting of the male members 
of the Methodist episcopal society in the village of Little 
Falls, called according to law at the school house in said 
village on the 19th day of November, 1832, for the purpose 
of organizing a corporation under the statute, Henry Heath 
was chosen chairman and Ebenezer S. Edgerton appointed 

Resalvedy That this society be called The Methodist 
episcopal church of the village of Little Falls. 

Resolvedy That this meeting do elect five members of the 
society to serve as trustees of the corporation and take 
charge of the temporalities of the church. 

The meeting then - proceeded to the election of trustees, 
Henry Heath and E. S. Edgerton being chosen tellers of the 
poll, and on ballot the following person were duly elected, 
viz : 

First class, Edmond L. Shephard, Gilbert Bobinson. 


Second class, George Warcup, Ebenezer S. EdgertoiL 

Third class, Henry Heath. 

Besdvedy That the board of trustees be requested to pro* 
cure a suitable site for building a church as soon as may be 

At a subsequent meeting of the board of trustees, Henry 
Heath was chosen chairman of the board, and E. S. Edgerton 

The society immediately set about raising the funds to 
purchase a lot and build a church. A subscription was 
opened in October, 1836, the last installment of which was 
payable in January, 1838. After encountering delays and 
embarrassments incident to a first effort and infant organ- 
ization, the society completed the church in 1839, which 
was dedicated that year and opened for public worship. 

The church edifice has since been enlarged and beautified 
to accommodate the wants and meet the tastes of an 
increasing congregation. This society is now in a flourish- 
ing condition and its members have set on foot a project of 
purchasing a parsonage house or glebe. 

The Unwersalid Society. — ^This society was incorporated on 
the 3d day of May, A. D. 1851, by the name of the First 
universalist society of Little Falls, Herkimer county. New 
York, by filing a certificate in the usual form under the 
statute, in the clerk's office of the county. The certificate 
was recorded on the sixth day of May, A. D. 1851. 

The trustees elected by the male members of the congre- 
gation at this organization were Messrs. Wm. B. Houghton, 
M. M. Bansom, 0. Benedict, A. ZoUer, L. 0. Gay, J. K. Chap- 
man, L. W. Gray, A. Fuller and 0. Angel. 

This society has still a corporate existence and hold divine 
service according to the rites of the Universalist church at 
Temperance hall, in the village of Little Falls. 

The society has now a settled minister whose minis- 
trations are well and regularly attended by a respectable 
congregation. If I may speculate upon such a subject, it is 
not improbable the members of this congregation will before 
long erect a church for their accommodation* 

432 HISTORY OF HieitimraTi COUNTY. 

The Roman Catholic — ^The state censas returns show that 
the Roman catholics have a church and 600 members in this 
town. I am not aware that there is any lay organization 
attached to this chnrch, or that the temporalties are held or 
sapervised by any corporate body known to the laws of this 
state. The church or chapel on John street was erected in 
18479 under the charge of the Rev. John McMinamia and 
enlarged I think in 1853. It is a wooden building. A very 
neat and apparently commodious brick house, adjoining the 
church, was built in 1854 and finished in 1855, for the use of 
the priest having charge of the church. There is also a school 
house attached to the church, built in 1852, in which a 
school has been kept a portion of the time since it was 
erected. I speak from personal recollection, I have no other 
means of information, when I state a Catholic priest has 
resided here continually more than ten years past in charge 
of this church. The census marshals must have made a 
mistake when they returned the whole number of aliens in 
the town at 623. There are more than 23 and even more 
than 100 Protestant aliens in the town, and there are not ten, 
if there is one, native in the town attached to the Soman 
Catholic church, or should be numbered as such. 

The Protestant Methodists. — ^A society attached to this 
denomination was organized in Pain's Hollow in this town 
in 1833, under the provisions of the statute relating to reli- 
gious incorporations. In 1840, the society built a church, 
sufficiently capacious for the accommodation of the inhabit- 
ants of the vicinage, and have called and settled a pastor 
who administers the services of religion regularly every 
sabbath, according to the established rites of this church. A 
flourishing Sunday school has been organized and is kept 
up, and the society have a library of more than one hund« 
red volumes. 


§8. Litchfield 


Containfl thAt part of the oonntj, bonnded northerly, by Frankfort ; west- 
erly, by the bounds of the oonnty ; southerly, by Winfleld ; and easterly, by a 
line beginning at the southeast oomer of Frankfort, and running thence south 
thirty degrees west, to the northeast comer of Winfleld. 

A part of Bayard's patent, and small portions of Staley's 
second tract, and Conrad Frank's patent, lay in this town. 

This town was visited by the New Englanders, soon after 
the close of the revolutionary war, as were most of the other 
towns in the connty, back from the river. None of the 
Grerman population had filed themselves within its limits, 
previous to that period. Elijah Snow, a native of Westbiiry, 
Massachusetts, seated on what is now called Whelock's hill, 
in 1786. This place was formerly known as Snowsbush. 
William Brewer, of Worcester, Mass., Ezekiel Goodale of 
Mass., John Andrews, Christopher Rider, from Connecticut, 
Ebenezer Drewry and John Everett, from New Hampshire, 
and John and Eleazer Crosby, from Connecticut, came into 
the town about the year 1787; Mr. Brewer is still living, and 
is the oldest inhabitant. A son of John Andrews, named 
after John C. Lake of New York, was the first child bom in 
the town. Samuel Miller, from Connecticut, came into the 
town in 1788, and James Gage and Nathaniel Ball, from 
New Hampshire, arrived about the same period. Selah Hoi- 
comb, from Simsbury, Connecticut, settled in this town, in 
February, 1791. He died June 18th, 1854, aged 86 years. 
I have not been able to obtain any of the particulars relating 
to the lives of these pioneers, who opened the forests of 
Bayard's patent, except in respect of Capt. Holcomb. He 
was a farmer, sustained a good character, and exerted a 
good deal of influence among his townsmen. By a long life 
of persevering industry and economy, he accumulated con- 
siderable wealth. He was frequently elected to the local 
town oiBces. He exhibited all the traits of an excellent New 
England farmer. Litchfield may properly be called an agri- 
cultural town. The iron foundry, formerly established in 


tiiifl town several years ago, carried on for some time a 
pretty large business, in the mannfactnre of hollow ware, 
which in times of monetary pressure, was naed in the barter 
trade of the country, and notes payable in iron ware of the 
Litchfield furnace were not nnfreqnent There is now no 
necessity of resorting to this mode of traffic. 

GedarviUe, which is partly located in Columbia, and 
partly in this town, is the only village of which Litchfield 
can boast Wealth and thrift surrounds the population of 
this town, in an equal degree with our other towns, where 
the pursuits of the farmer have been directed to grazing 
and dairying. 

§ 9. Manhedc 

* Contaiiu that put of the ooimty bounded euteri j by the east boonds of 
the ooostj ; eontberlj, hy the Mohawk lirer ; and westeiij, and northevly, by a 
line beginning at the east end of the eastemmoatlock of the old canal, on the 
north aide of the Mohawk liTer, at the little Falls, and ronning thence noith 
aa the needle pointed in 1772, nntil an east line strikes the northwest comer 
of a large lot, number fourteen, in a tract of land called Olen's purchase ; then 
easterly to the east oomer of Glen's purchase ; and then east to the bounds of 
the county. 

Six of the large lots in Glen's purchase, a part of the 
fourth allotment of the Royal grant; the whole of John Van 
Driesen's and Snell and Timmerman's patent, and part of Rev. 
Peter Van Dreisen's; a part of Yrooman's patent, and some 
other small grants made by the state, are situated in this town. 

The grant of 3,600 acres made in 1755, to Jacob Timmer- 
man and Johan Jost Schnell, commonly known as Snell and 
Timmerman's patent, is near the central part of the town on 
an east and west line, and south of the Royal grant. Manheim 
was settled by German emigrants before the revolution, -and 
the date of this patent may be assumed as pretty near the 
period when that event took place. The Snells and Timmer- 
mans, descendants of these patentees, are still quite numer- 
ous in the town, owners of the soil through a long line of 
inheritance, granted to their own persecuted and always 
patient and toiling ancestors. 


Snffrenns, Peter, Joseph and Jacob Snell, four sons of one 
of the patentees, made a donation of seven acres of land for 
a church lot and twelve acres for school purposes. But this 
was not alL They and their neighbors met upon the lands 
every Saturday afternoon, and worked at the sturdy forest 
until the lands were cleared and rendered fit for cultivation. 

A church was erected on the lot designed for that purpose, 
and that ancient edifice was replaced by a new one in 1850-1« 
The school house in the district stands on the donated lot. 
Eleven and a half acres of the school lot were transferred 
by an act of the legislature to the church. How could this 
be done without the conseffb of the parties interested ? 

There were nine men of this Snell family, and among 
them were Peter, Joseph and Jacob, who went under Oen. 
Herkimer into the Oriskany battle, and only two of them 
returned, of whom Peter was one ; the other seven were 
killed. An aged and respectable member of this family, 
now living, states that these three men were very active and 

JoHir BsASDflLBB WM bom in Sharon, Conneeticat, in Nor^mber, 1759, and 
died in Matiheim, October 3d, 1825, where he had resided more than thiitj 
jeais. His father, John Beardslee, Senior, was a native of Nonrallc, Conn., 
bom about the year 1725, and married Deborah Knickerbaoker, in 1748, 
who numbered among her fiEunilj connections the Hoflhians and Rosevelts of 
Datchees county and New York city. The subject of this notice manried 
Lavinia Pardee, of Sharon, Conn., in 1795, who survired her husband a 
quarter of a century, and died in Manheim, I^l 1854, aged 85 years. Miss 
Pardee was connected with the Brewsters, Goulds, Waldos, Bipleys and Brad- 
fords, of Connecticut and Massachusetts. 

Mr. Beardslee left his father's residence in Connecticut, in 1781, not liko 
Ocalebs in search of a wife, but a young New Bnglander iu search of a for- 
tune, which he aimed to accomplish. He was a practical mechanic, architect 
and civil engineer. He stopped at ShefBleld, Mass., worked one year on a 
fum, and then went to Vermont, conmienced working at his trade, and 
bought and paid for a small fum, but soon lost it by a defect in the title. 
Soon after he went to Vermont, he spent a iiall and winter on Lakes Geoige 
and Champlain, fishing and hunting, in company with Jonathan Wright, who 
afterwards came into the north part of this county, and was known as old 
Jack Wright, the trapper. Mr. Beardslee then turned his lace westward, 
built a bridge at Schaticoke, and a meeting house in Schoharie. In 1787, he 
went to Whitestown, then being settled by eastern emigrants, and engaged 

436 mSTOBT OP '"BM"ingn COUHTT. 

sealona in arging (SeiL Herkimer to a forward moYement 
on the 6th of Angnst, 1777. They had reaolyed to fi^it the 
enemy, and how fatal was the consequence ! 

Henry Bemensneider, or Bhemensnyder, and Johannes 
Boyer were the first settlers on Glen's purchase, a few miles 
north of the Little Falls. They came on to the tract several 
years before the commencement of the revolutionary war. 
John Boyer was bom near New York ; his father emigrated 
from Elsos in Germany. John was in the Oriskany battle 
and lost his team of horses and wagon in that bloody affray. 
He was the immediate ancestor of the Boyer families, once 
so numerous in this town. Hi^ youngest son, Henry, now 
75 years old, is still living, and several of his descendants 
are found in the county, although emigration has some- 
what diminished their numbers^ Among other German 
settlers who had seated themselves in this town before the 
revolution, were the Eeysers, Van Slykes, Newmans, Sha- 

with White k Whitmore to baQd miUs on sharai. He afterwards sold his 
half at a good adTanoe. He remained at Whitestown till 1792, haying been 
employed by the atate to build a aet of milla for the Oneida Indiana. He 
completed hia oontnust without returning to the white aetiJementa, after he 
had commenced it. By humoring the Indians, joining in their sports of 
hunting and Ashing, and exciting their curioeitj to see the results of his 
labors, they cheerfully assisted him in his enterprise, which contributed to 
make the job quite profitable. 

At this time there resided in the neighborhood of the Indians, two well 
educated, gentlemanly Frenchmen, but perfect rednses, the relic of French 
colonists, and of that splendid colonial French empire, already struck from 
the French crown, and which had cost so much of blood and treasure to 
establish and uphold. Between 1790 and 1796, he built the first bridge 
across the Mohawk ri^er, at Little Falls, the old red grist mill at that place, 
the first bridge orer the gulf, east of the academy, mills for Richard Van 
Home, at Van Homeeyille. and for Col. Freye, at Canajoharie, a bridge orer 
the West Canada creek, and the court house and jail, which were burned np 
in 1833 or 1834, a bridge across the Mohawk river, at Fort Plain, and a bridge 
orer the East Canada creek, a grist and saw mill and fulling works, about 
half a mile north of the present Mohawk turnpike bridge. 

The building of this bridge led to his seating himself at Manheimpennanent- 
ly in this wise. The bridge was erected at the expense of Montgomery coun- 
ty, or paid for by it. In order to obtain the necessaxy timber, he purchased a 


vers, Elacksy Adles and Qarters, all of whom drank deeply 
of the bitter cup of the revolutionary struggle. 

Palatine, Oppenheim and Manheim, are names significant 
of the origin of the people who were the first settlers in 
these towns. Manheim constituted a part of the Palatine 
district in Tryon county, and the town of that name until 
1797, when it was organized into a separate town. The 
town remains as it was when annexed to the county in the 
year 1817. The East Canada creek affords a large supply 
of water at most seasons of the year, and being intersected 
with many falls has been used to some extent for manufac- 
turing and mechanical pui^oses. This water power has 
been brought into use at a villi^ called Ingham's MiUs, 
where there is a tannery, recently erected, and mills and 
other machinery in operation. The most important village 
in the town has the post office designation of Brackett's 
Bridge, and is sometimes known as Wintonville. Mr. D. B. 
Winton erected a tannery at this place previous to 1840. 

one handled acre lot weet of the cnek^ and adjoining the site of tlie bridge, 
for whioh he paid £300, New York ouzrenoj, in March, 1794. After the 
hridge was oompleted, he erected the mills, which were finished and in ope- 
ration in 1795. This was at the flood tide of emigration to the Boyal grant 
and Western New Tork ; the mills attracted attention, and population ga- 
thered to his place : bj the year 1800, quite a litUe Tillage, dignified by the 
name of the City, had sprang up, counting two stores, two tayeins, a black- 
amith shop, nail factory, a cooperage and a brewery, afterwards came the 
lawyers, doctors, school masters, and the distillery. 

It could also boast haying one man drink himself to death on a bet, and 
the presence of a state prison graduate, frequent performances of Punch and 
the Babes in the Woods, by Sickles, and daily amusements in the way of turkey 
shooting, pitched battles with fists, clubs and teeth, and launching batteauz, 
for the Mohawk riyer seryice. At this time there was more business done at 
Beardsley's Mills, than at Little Falls. In 1801 and 1802, the Mohawk torn- 
pike was completed, and being located south half a mile of the little yillage, 
by diyertlng the tr^yel on this then great thoroughfare, completely used up 
Hie City, to the serious loss of the founder. With the Tiew of making good 
hia losses, and fixing himself on the line of trayel, where business could be 
done, he purchased, in 1810, 350 acres of land, laying on both sides of the 
oreek, and between his first purchase and the riyer, for which he paid $11,500, 



This estafolishment was afterwards purchased by an eminent 
house in the city of New York, engaged in the leather busi- 
ness, by whom it was enlarged and improved, and is now 
the most extensive manufactory of the kind in the county 
or in this part of the country. The village is unincorporated. 
It contains two churches, two stores, several mechanics' 
shops, also a saw and grist mill, and a stave and barrel manu- 
factory. There are five houses for religious worship in the 
town, but I am not able to classify the denominations to 
which they belong. 

I should not do justice to the subject in hand, if I omitted 
all reference to the name of Major Andrew Fink, who settled 
in this town soon after the close of the war. He was of 
German descent, and a native of the lower Mohawk valley. 
He was well educated, and at the commencement of the 
revolution, although then a young man, had acquired a very 
considerable knowledge of military science, unusual for a 
mere provincial of that day. 

ft high price, it would seem, at that daj. The prospects of hasiness on the 
turnpike Justified this purchase. But our increasing commercial diiBcnlties 
with great Britain and France, followed by the war of 1812, caused him to 
postpone carrying out his intentions, when this new purchase was made. 

When the peace was proclaimed, in 1815, the project of the Erie canal on 
the south side of the river was brought forward, and finally consummated. 
The immediate local effect of opening the canal, was a great depreciation of 
agricultural lands in the Mohawk yaUey, the almost certain destruction of 
such small business places as the East Creek, Palatine and Caughnawaga, on 
the north side of the river, and the building up of villages on the line of the 
canal. A greater change than that effected by the canal in the Mohawk val- 
ley, has seldom been witnessed in any country. Nearly the whole business 
was transferred from the north to the south side of the river. The turnpike 
became almost a soUtnde, and the villages through which it run, as a desert 
waste of waters. 

It has been claimed, and with much apparent reason, that Mr. Beardslee 
was seriously injured in comequma of the construction, by the state, of the 
Minden dam across the Mohawk, at St. JohnsviUe. The ordinary flow of the 
river is from three to five miles an hour. This dam was made and used as 
an auxiliary to the canal, and the top line was so high as to overcome all the 
natural descent between it and the mouth of the East creek, about three and 
a half miles, and hence the river surface was nearly a level the whole dis- 


Mr. Fink was appointed first lieutenant of Capt. Christo- 
pher P. Yates's company, raised for special service. The 
warrants bear date July 15th, 1775. This was the com- 
mencement of a military career to which he was attached 
during the whole revolutionary contest. His constitution 
was firm, resolution indomitable, and courage undoubted. 
Major Fink died at a pretty advanced age, and the stone 
that marks his final resting place may be seen upon a rising 
ground a little north of the Mohawk turnpike, in full view 
of the spot where rest the remains of the brave 'and patriotic 
Herkimer. I should take great pleasure in noting down the 
particulars of Major Fink's services in the great struggle 
for colonial rights and Anglo-Saxon freedom, but on inquir- 
ing of the surviving members of his family whether'he had 
left any papers, I was told he once had many letters and 
papers relating to revolutionary transactions, but they were 
now all gone. The family say, sometimes one person and 
then another would desire to look them over to ascertain 

tenoe, presenting, as was claimed, an effectnal obstniotion to the free flow and 
discharge of the ice from the creek and riyer above, daring the winter and 
spring floods. 

Mr. Beardslee, bj strict attention to bosiness, hard hand work and the ap- 
pUoation of a sonnd, inyentive mind, twenty-seren years, had aooomuUted a 
handsome estate, and which, but for the adversitiee and losses he met with, 
in no respect attributable to misconduct or want of sound, discriminating 
Judgment, would hiiye been almost princely in this country and in his day. 

He was a tall man, free from obesity, with large black eyes, which he inher- 
ited from his father, and a fine figure, bestowed on him by his low Dutch 
mother. Natund and easy in his address, pleasant and companionable in his 
intercourse with others, generous and hospitable. He used to say, with much 
satisfaction, that in all the heavy and diflicult structures he had raised, or 
superintended the construction of, not a man in his employment, or of the 
motley crowds of people collected on such occasions, as was the custom of 
that early day, was killed or injured in the least. In the decline of life, he 
indulged himself a good deal in reading, a gratification he did not enjoy in 
his youthful days. He died of a scirrhous stomach, from which he had suf- 
fered many years. This sketch has been considerably elaborated, because it 
shows, not only how much a young man of indomitable persererance and 
firm resolution can achieve, single handed and alone, but what young Ameri- 
cans have heretofore been in the habit of performing. 


some fact or indnlge an idle cnriositj, and in the end all the 
papers of any consequence were gone before they were fnlly 
aware of it. 

All that portion of the town lying between the south end 
of lots number 17, 18 and 19, Glen's purchase, and the south- 
erly bounds of the first allotment, Boyal g^rant, and the river, 
except the Snell and Timmerman and a small point of the 
Peter Van Driesen patents, was ungranted by the crown at 
the revolution. The state sold small parcels of this tract 
to Isaac YroOman, John Van Driesen and others, soon after 
the close of the war* So late as 1777, Gapt Joseph Brant, 
the Mohawk chief, claimed the lands more recently known as 
the Ghristy plat^, long occupied by Nathan Ghristy, Esq., and 
the lands adjacent, which lay nearly opposite to the Indian 
castle church, on the south side of the river. The Ghristy 
place was an improved farm before the revolution, and 
Brant rented it to a German for one hundred dcdlars a year. 
It is not an idle speculation to assume that these lands had 
never been sold by the Indians, but were held appurtenant 
to the upper Mohawk castle. 

§ 10. Nbwpobt 

Contains that ptrt of tbe county Ijing witliin tho following boondi tIi. ; 
beginning ai the aoatliMai oomer of great lot number eighteen, in Haamir 
olerer's patent, and running thenoe on the line of said lot, a northe^ oonise 
to the Steuben roed ; then on a dlieot oowee to the centre of lot numbar 
thirteen, in Walton'a patent ; then throngh the centre of lot nnmber aizteoa, 
in Walton's patenti to the west bonnde of the county ; then on a direct line 
to the aouthwest comer of lot number twenty-eight, in the third allotment of 
the Royal grant ; then easterly, along the line of lots to the northeast comer 
of lot nnmber twenty-three, in said allotment ; then south, along the line of 
lots to the southeast comer of lot nnmber forty-two, in the second allotment 
of said grant; then on a southerly course to the Canada creek, at the bridge, near 
the house heretofore or late of Obadiah Kniffln ; then west, to the middle of 
the creek ; then down the middle of the same, until a west couxse will meet 
the place of beginning ; and then west to the place of beginning. 

As will be noticed in the above boundaries, a part of 
Hasenclever's and Walton's patents, and portions of the 
second and third allotments of the Royal grant, are in this 

' • 


No part of the territory of this town was settled before 
the revolution, and probably not before 1790. I will panse 
a moment to record again the Indian'name of this creek, as 
laid down on an outline map of the Mohawk river and 
Wood creek, showing the relative position^ of Fort Ball| 
Fort Williams and German Flats. This is the name, Teugh^ 
tagkrarow. It is marked on Southier's map of the province 
of New York, published in 1779, Canada river ; and it is so 
called on a map made by Guy Johnson, in 1771. This 

GHBI8T0PBBB Hawxhts, wss the first pemumedt settler of tliis town and Its 
first supervisor ftfter its sreotion. In April, 1834, Mr. Hawkins had prepared 
a sketch of his JUTonile adventares, and at his death he left the nuonisoript 
with his funilj. The yolune has been recently placed in my hands, and 
from it I propose to make condensed ahstracts of its contents. This I deem 
no departure from my general plan. I should willingly give all the space 
reqnired for a literal copy of the narratiye touching the escape of Mr. Hawkins 
ftom the Jersey prison ship, and his sufiMngs before he reached home, if I 
had it. 

Referring to the manuscript, young Hawkins, then in the thirteenth year 
of his age, and an indented apprentice to Aaron Mason of ProTidence, R. I., 
in May, 1777, went to New Bedford, Mass., and Bhi}>ped on board the priva- 
teer schooner Ragle, mounting twelve small carriage gnus, commanded by 
Capt Moury Potter. This small craft was bound on a cruise for such British 
vessels as could be captured. The Ragle made her oifing and as the ofllcers 
alleged or supposed, omised in the track of vessels sailing between New York 
and Rngland. She crossed the broad Atlantic, however, without seeing or 
speaking with a single vessel. In due time the jxrivatecr made the Rnglish 
coast, where she remained a short time when the captain and crew concluded 
to *^ bout ship " and return home in no pleasant mood, as they had promised 
themselves on the start, as many prises as they could man, on the outward 
cruise. On the return passage, the Ragle spoke an unarmed schooner which 
proved to be a French yessel from the West Indies bound to Halifax, when 
some dispute arose between the offioers and crew of the Ragle in regard to the 
national character of the schooner, the latter insisting that she was Rnglish, 
and could be made a lawfid prise. To settle this point the first lieutenant of 
the privateer, John Paine, boarded the French vessel and examined her papers, 
who returned and reported her a French vessel loaded with flour. John 
Ward, the boatswain, and a large majority of the crew were dissatisfied with 
this report, but their grumblings did not avail any thing ; the ofilcen of the 
Ragle did not deem it xnrudent to superadd piracy to the crime of rebelUon. 

The next vessel overhauled by the Ragle was an Rnglish merchant brig 
dee|dy laden, bound to New York, and heie, according to Hawkins's relation, 


Btream, at Newport, is quite as mnch entitled to the respect- 
able appellation of river as the Mohawk is, at any point above 
the junction of the two streams. 

William, Ephraim and Benjamin Bowen, of Newport, Rhode 
Island, purchficsed the lands where Newport village is now 
located, of Daniel Campbell of the city of New York, in 
1788-9. Mr. Campbell obtained his title from the commis- 
sioners of forfeitures, in July, 1786. Christopher Hawkins, 
Benjamin Bowen and Joseph Benseley, came from Rhode 

Jolm Boll completely outwitted and ont-manceuTred brother Josatliin, and 
this was owing to the inefficiency of Capt. Potter, of the privateer. It was 
quite dark when the Ea^^e came up with the brig, which kept on her course 
without apparently paying any attention to the little craft hoyerlng around 
her. A broadside from the schooner soon produced an inquiry from the 
brig, " What in God's name do you want of us ?" The reply was,V* Shorten 
aaal, come under my lee and send your boat on board me." The Englishman 
now began to excuse himself, said his boat was lashed under his booms and 
he could not get her out ; that if he could have permission to He by until 
morning he would then send his boat on board. This was agreed to, but in 
fhe morning there was no brig in sight; she being a pretty good sailer had 
spread her canyas and departed on her course. It was then determined to 
stand on the course for Sandy Hook, in the hope of oyertaking the brig, but a 
severe gale from the northeast sprung up, which lasted two or three days, 
the sea making a clear breach oyer the schooner's deck, her crew had to 
exert their utmost skill and energies to keep her from foimdering. They 
had then no time to think of making lawful prise of British vessels. 

Before the storm had entirely abated, the privateer was captured by the 
British sloop of war Sphynx, of twenty guns ; the schooner was sunk, and 
fhe crew taken as prisoners of war to New York, when a new era in the life 
of Hawkins was opened to him, and new scenes presented to his juvenile 
contemplation. After reaching New York, Hawkins and most of his com- 
panions were placed on board the prison ship Asia, an old transport, then 
anchored in the East river. At the expiration of three weeks, Hawkins was 
taken on board the British frigate Maidstone, of twenty-eight guns, to serve 
as a waiter to one of the under officers of that ship. He was held in the 
British service about eighteen months, and being a mere boy, and an officer's 
waiter, found but little difficulty in getting on quite comfortably in all respects, 
save the yearning wish to see his mother. Having quieted the apprehensions 
of his officer in respect to his desire to leave him, by saying he had become 
satisfied with the service, and did not wish to go home ; he often had per- 
mission, when his ship was in port, to go ashore in the dty of New York. 
Hawkins was not long in improving an opportunity to make his escape, and 


Island to Fairfield, about the year 1788. In 1790, a Mr. 
Lauton made a small clearing in the town, and put up a log 
cabin which he abandoned. In the fall of 1791, Mr. Hawk- 
ins removed into the town, from Fairfield, with a view to a 
permanent settlement; and in the spring of the following 
year, he erected a small house for the Bowens on their pro- 
perty, and Benjamin Bowen seated himself there the same 
year. In 1793, Mr. Bowen built a sawmill, and the next year, 

ratnm to North Providenooi which he reaohed late in Novemher, 1778, prettj 
weU flatiflfled, as he then thought, witha aeafaiing life. He remained in the 
senrice of Obadiah Olnej, of Smithfield, hetween two and three yean, when 
a fit of n>amlng again oame oyer him, and he went to Providence and shipped 
on board a privateer brig, of sixteen carriage gans, commanded by Christo- 
pher Whipple, Esq. The vessel soon put to sea, and was captured bj two 
British cmisers, on the fifth day after leaving Newport. Hawkins's prospects 
were again Masted, and his anticipations of enjoying large receipts of prize 
moneys were changed to a prospect of a long and gloomy imprisonment. The 
crew of the privateer brig were taken to New York by the captors, and placed 
on board the Jersey prison-ship. I can not give in detail the contents of the 
journal before me. The horrors of ** that floating hell,'' as it has often been 
called, and the craelties inflicted by the British oflicers upon the American 
prisoners, are too familiar to our countrymen, to require repetition now. 
There can be no doubt that the American prisoners ofiSmded against the police 
regulations of the ship. Starvation, sickness and extreme privations drove 
them to madness and desperation. These ofienses were punished with savage 
severity. ^ 

In the latter part of September, or the beginning of October, 1781, Haw- 
kins and a shipmate, William Waterman, conceived the hioardous project of 
making their escape from the prison ship, by swimming to Long Island, a 
distance, as they calculated, of two and a half to three miles, outside of the 
sentinels posted along the shore. To get clear of the ship was the main diifi- 
oulty to overcome. It was impossible to leave the upper deck without being 
discovered. The prisoners were confined, during the night, to the lower 
deck, where there were no guards, the gun ports of which were secured by 
iron bars, strongly fsstened to the timbers of the ship. Having secured an 
old ax and crowbar, they went to work during a heavy thunder storm, and 
removed the bars from one of the port holes of the lower deck, and after 
replacing them temporarily, to prevent detection, they stowed their wearing 
apparel, what little money they had, with some other articles, into their 
knapsacks, which they faistened to their backs, by passing the lashings under 
their arms, and across the breast. From the description given of the contents 
of the knapsacks, they must have been very heavy when saturated with 


a gristmill, at this place. Joseph Benseley removed from 
Fairfield to Newport, in 1796 ; between this time and 1798, 
William Wakely, Mr. Burton, Stephen Hawkins, George 
Cook, Nahnm Daniels, Edward Coffin, John Nelson, John G. 
Green, John Churchill, (George Fenner and William Whipple, 
made permanent locations in the town. These families were 
from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Mr. 
Wakely kept the first tavern, and George Cook opened the 

water, and greatly impeded the pro g r em of Bwimming. Watennaa and 
Hawkiiis, thus equipped, left the ship, being let down into the water wi£h the 
aid of their fellow prisoners, by means of an old seiTioe rope, which they 
had obtained. 

After reaching the water, Hawkins passed along the side of the ship to the 
stem, and then stniok oat for land, being goided by the lights of the Tonel 
and beacon light on shore, one of the extreme points of the line of the 
enemy's sentinels. Hawkins did not again see Waterman after he left the 
Jersey, bnt has no donbt Waterman snooeeded in reaching land. After gaining 
a point ont of gan shot distance from the shore, Hawkins was goided by the 
half hour call of *' all's well," by the sentinels on shore, and directed his 
course to the one on his right, who gave the last calL This he judged would 
carry Mm, when he reached the land, to a point of safety. About half an 
hour before he gained the shore, his knapsack broke loose. He was unwill- 
ing to part with it, and endearored to retain it, by taking it under one arm 
and then the other ; but he lost his course by adopting this expedient, an^ 
made slow progress in reaching land. He was finally compelled to abandoa 
his knapsack and the contents, and was left destitute of all ooTering when 
he landed, except an old hat After being nearly three hours in the water, 
and swimming about three miles, according to his own statement, he reached 
land cold, stiffened and nearly exhausted. With considerable difflculty he 
was able to walk, and eoncluded he would go to the bam that he and Water- 
man had agreed on as a place of meeting, before they left their prison. 

In reaching the bam, he met with seyeral mishaps, tumbled oyer a pile of 
stones, and in his nude state he was exposed to and received several severe 
bruises and scratches, which excited his anger. This he found restored some 
degree of animal heat, and by the time he had reached the hay in the bam 
loft, he felt a strong inclination to sleep, although his blankets were not of 
the finest texture. 

Hawkins left his hiding place as soon as it was dark, and wandered all 
night, he knew not whither, naked and hungry, in a hard storm of rain, and 
made another bam his refuge and hiding place the next morning. Here he 
remained until the next day at noon, when he thought it beet to issue from 
his hiding place, and take an observation, with a view of finding out where, 


— TTI^^ T" ■■T.-T"-- Mb I f"^^iT ^J fcti ■! ^r^J- .jM ^^-. --T ---^— ------- -.^ 


first store in the town. Mr. Hawkins deriyed his title from 
the commissioners of forfeitures, through Joh's T. Yisscher. 
Ooffin, Oreen, Nelson, Churchill and others, purchaaed 
lands on the west side of the creek, in Walton's patent. It 
will be noticed that this tract of 12,000 acres, was granted 
by the crown, in 1768, to five brothers by the name of Walton, 
and seven other persons, who it may be assumed conveyed 
their interests to the Waltons as soon as the patent was 
issued, for no one out of that family ever claimed any 

he WW. This ptrt of Long blaad wm then infested with toiies, and stng- 
gling bands of Hessians were prowling about the country. He supposed, bjr 
pursuing an easterly course, that he increased the distance between himself 
and New York. Nothing Tory material occuned, hunger pressed him rery 
hard, and he went into a potato field to obtain a few potatoes, which he 
designed to roast when he could find an opportunity, and here he was dis- 
oorered hy a young woman, who had come with a basket to procure some of 
the Tegetable for family use, at a house near by, and seeing a human being 
with no covering but an old hat, she dropped her basket, and ran screaming 
towards the house, while Hawkins was quite as nimble footed in reaching a 
piece of woods in an opposite direction. Here he armed himself with a large 
club, and directed his course towards a bay or core in sight, to avoid the tory 
hounds, which he feared might be put upon his track. He was not, however, 
molested, and took up his lodging that night in a bam, upon unrotted flax. 
The next morning, Hawkins arose with the sun, and pursued his journey 
through the fields, having the road on his right and the bay on his left, 


observing the farmers at work in the fields, and avoiding them. 

IVo and a half days of exposure, without food, began to tell pretty severely 
upon young Hawkins. He saw two young men at work in a garden near a 
farm-house, and made up his mind that he would speak to them. He ax>- 
preached in a direction so as not to be seen by the people who were at work 
in the adjoining fields and told them he wanted some old clothes and some- 
thing to eat. After some explanations one of the young men directed him to 
sit down where he was and he would go and speak to his mother and see 
what she had to say about the matter. Hawkins then felt assured that if his 
case was to be disposed of by a mother , he was safe ; and so it proved. The 
young man soon returned to him with a decent jMdr of trowsers and some 
food. Hawkins made no unnecessary delay in covering his nakedness and 
satisfying his hunger. He was then taken to the old lady in an out-house, 
who asked him various questions, and among others, if he had a father and 
mother. Hawkins told her he had a mother at Providence, and that his 
fiither was then in the American army. She replied, with tears streaming 
from her eyes, " I wish you were at home." It was arranged between this 


interest in these lands, except through the Waltons. At the 
date of the grant, and even at the outbreak of the revolution, 
some of the Walton patentees were known to be oflScers in 
the army and navy of Great Britain ; and all of them living 
at the commencement of the war, retired to England, except 
Gerard Walton, who remained in the city of New York 
during the whole period of its occupation by the Britidi« 
Now, there is not any question about the Walton title. It 
is, so far as I know, perfectly good ; but how it was preserved 
and protected from forfeiture and escheat might interest 
the curious, and elucidate an event connected with our early 

The first town meeting after this town was erected, took 
place in 1807; Doct-Westel Willoughby was the moderator; 
Christopher Hawkins was chosen supervisor and Phineas 
Sherman, town clerk. Newport village, containing about 

kind matron and Hawkins that he should take a shirt and pair of trowsers, 
then hanging on the fence, and if he was taken up and anj question should 
be asked about them, he was to say he stole them. This kind and patriotic 
dame then directed young Hawkins where he could find a canoe and oar to 
take himself across a small bay which lay in his route to Sag Harbor, gave 
him more food, and sent him on his way home to his mother. 

The husband of this lady, and the father of the two young men to whom 
Hawkins had first addressed himself, had three years anterior to the time now 
mentioned, been arrested by the British and confined in the Jersey prison- 
ship, and had died on board that pestilent old hulk, only two or three weeks 
before Hawkins came to the house. This explains why this kind hearted 
woman was so cautious and timid. I can not foUow the details of the journal 
any further for want of room. 

The only incident worthy of notice in this connection, which occurred to 
Hawkins on his way to Sag Harbor, happened at Oyster Bay. He was there 
arrested by a gang of refugees, detained some time, and finally sent on his way 
back to New York to be again incarcerated in the prison.ship. He met with 
friendly treatment from one of the citizens at Oyster Bay, after his arrest, who 
furnished him with clothes and money, and who told him that a boy of his re- 
sources and energy could not long be detained in the prison-ship, if his captors 
succeeded in getting him there. Young Hawkins did not allow himself to be 
taken back. He escaped from the guard which had him in custody, and 
finally reached home in safety, pretty well cured of his seafaring propensities. 
Mr. Hawkins was quite a young man when he came into the county. 

' aw" 

NOBVAT. 447 

700 inhabitants, is a pleasant and healthy location* A 
gentleman, distinguished by his position; of enlarged and 
liberal views and accurate observation, and who had several 
times passed through Newport to Trenton Falls, before the 
era of rail roads had diverted the travel, told me, he had 
never seen in this country or in Europe, anything that 
exceeded in beauty and variety of scenery the valley of the 
Canada creek, and the route then traveled from the Mohawk 
to Trenton. He had visited the highlands and lowlands of 
Scotland, traversed the Alps and the Appenines, navigated 
the Rhine, and passed through Germany; but had seen 
nothing that pleased him so much, as the route above men- 
tioned. This village is connected by plank roads, with the 
canal and Central rail road, at Mohawk and Herkitner, and 
at Little Falls. 

§11. Norway 

Contains that part of the oonntj beginning at the northeast corner of lot 
number thirfy-seven, in the second allotment of the Rojal grant, and nmning 
thence east along the tier of lots to the west bounds of Salisbury; then along 
the same, north, to the south bounds of West Brunswick ( now Ohio) ; then 
along the same, westerly, to the town of Russia; and then south, along the 
towns of Russia and Newport, to the place of beginning. 

This town contains portions of the second and third allot- 
ments of the Royal grant, and not any other original patents 
or grants from the crown or state. 

Fisher Potter, and his father, Jeremiah Potter, with their 
families, came into the county from Rhode Island, in 1788, 
and settled about eight miles north of Fairfield village. 
They opened a small clearing, and built a log hut to shelter 
them from the snows and frosts of winter. Their whole 
store of provisions, to carry them through their first long 
northern winter, was a crop of potatoes, with some salt, 
and forest game had to supply the residue of a meager 
subsi stence. A gun and suitable ammunition, were indispen* 
sable to a frontier forest life, and they were of course 
provided. A severe tempest had prostrated several acres of 


the fbrest, near the place where this family had made their 
clearing, and this spot in those days was called a kmru 
cane, and here were fonnd the white forest rabbit in 
abundance. The winter set in, and the snow fell in heiq>6| 
to the depth of fonr or five feet, bankmg np the ontside 
walls of the log hnt and rendering it quite comfortable 
inside, during the whole winter. The men were employed 
in procuring fuel and hunting game ; one cold frosty mor* 
ning Fisher and his father strapped on their snow-shoes, 
took their guns and went into the hurricane after rabbits. 
They had a small dog with them, only useful to start up the 
small game. While earnestly intent on obtaining something 
which would render their potatoes and salt a little more 
savory and palatable, and somewhat more nourishing, they 
discovered a hole in the snow " nearly as large as a quart 
cup," extending down to the ground some four or five feet 
deep. The sides of this hole in the snow were hard, and 
covered with white frost flakes, showing that there was 
some heat below, the exhalations from which escaped 
through this aperture, and kept it open. 

Whatever it might be, our pioneers were not backward in 
finding it out, and Fisher Potter converting his snow-shoes 
into a shovel, with right good will dug away the snow down 
to the ground, until he reached a mass of hemlock boughs ; 
and after removing a portion of them, a considerable cavity ' 
was observed in the earth below, but nothing more. A 
question of some importance now presented itself, and that 
was, whether they should proceed further to uncover the 
cavity, in order to ascertain its contents, or to resort to 
other means to find out whether any living animal was still 
there; finally, the services of the little dog were put in 
requisition; he was brought to the hole, and after taking 
two or three scents, barked valorously, but keeping himself 
ready to make a safe retreat, if needfiil. This unusual 
disturbance roused the habitant below from his torpidity, 
and he gave evident tokens of disquiet In the mean time, 
Fisher, believing he had uncovered an animal th&t would 

^»«w I 

VOBWAT. 449 

require aometluiig heavier than rabbit shot to quiet him, had 
stepped back a few paces from the hole, charged his gun 
with a ball, and both were ready f(»r the encounter. 

Bruin, not intimidated by the noise, and resolyed to 
punish the intruders upon his dominions with a few heavy 
squeezes, if he could catch them, presented his comely vis- 
age at the hole of his den, when Fisher placing the muzzle 
of his gun within a few feet of hiis bearship's head, gave him 
the whole charge. The bear was killed, and being large 
and fat, and the meat tender, he was worth more than his 
weight in white rabbits, to the famishing family. My inform- 
ant^ Mr. A. R of F., now seventy-four years old, and who 
possesses a remarkably clear and accurate' recollection of 
the incidents attending the first immigration of the New 
Englanders into the county, says, he saw old Mr. Potter and 
his son Fisher, when they first came out of the woods, the 
spring after the incidents above related. He says Fisher 
was a tall man, but lean and gaunt when he came out first; 
his complexion was sallow, and he appeared very much as 
though he had been nearly starved* Old Mr. Potter said, that 
killing the bear was a very lucky thing for the family, and 
probably saved them from starvation, as their other provi- 
sions, potatoes and rabbits, when they could kill any, were 
getting quite short Mr. Potter lived to a good old age, 
and died in 1813. Between 1788 and 1790, John, Andrew, 
and Amos Goe and Capt. Hinman, came into the town from 
Connecticut; John and David Corp, N. Faning, Thomas 
Manly and David Underbill, from Vermont ; five families by 
the name of Brayton, from Bensselaer county. The first 
effort at clearing up farms in this town, was made in 1786, 
by a Mr. Whipple and Christopher Hawkins, from Bhode 
Island. They did not prosecute their enterprise. The first , 
grist mill in this town was built by Carpenter Cole, on Du 
Bois brook ; the first saw mill by Capt. David Hinman, north- 
west of Norway village. 

Dr8.Willoughby and L. Dewey, and the father of Colonel 
D. C. Henderson, the latter from Vermont, settled in the 


town in 1792. Some ducrepancy as to dates may exist, 
growing ont of this state of fact& It was oft«i the case, 
that settlers woold come into the town^ make a small clear- 
ingy pot np a log hoose, and make all the prqiarations they 
conld in one season, return home in the &11 of the year, and 
bring on their families the next spring. There is no proba- 
bility that any portion of the Boyal grant receiyed any 
accession of population, after the revolution, nntil the Bale 
of it was perfected by the commission of forfeitures, and 
they only sold five of the nnall lots in the first allotment 
late in the year 1784. 

Norway village lays on the old state road, is located near 
the centre of the town, and contains about thirty-tiiree 
dwelling houses and 150 inhabitants^ This town must 
divide t^e honors with Ohio, in respect to the paternity of 
(Sraysville, a small but thriving village on the north bounds 
of it, and which has grown into importance by the lumber 
and tanning business. Like all the lands on the Boyal grant, 
those in this town are w^U adapted to grazing, and butter 
and cheese constitute its principal agricultural products^ 

In the year 1842, some members of Mr. Fisk^s family, in 
Norway, in chopping down a maple tree, discovered, near 
the heart of it, indications of cuts made in the wood with a 
sharp instrument The tree being a large one, curiosity 
was excited, they then chipped o£f the exterior wood, when 
they found the plain marks of a blaze, three hacks and a 
small piece of the edge of an iron or steel hatchet These 
wounds appearing to have been made in the tree when it 
was a small sapling, the parties were induced to make a 
careful count of the grains of wood that had grown outside 
of the blaze and hacks, and found three hundred full circu- 
lar grains of wood formed around the tree. The small piece 
of the hatchet and a block of wood from the tree were pre- 

A healthy tree makes one new grain or layer of wood a 
year ; these cuts and hacks must, therefore, have been made 
in 1542, if there was no mistake in counting, and it is said 

KOBWAY. 461 

there was none whatever. The inquiry is made, whence 
came and who bore this instrument, denoting European 
civilization, more than fifty years before Henry Hudson 
made his appearance in the bay of New York. Was it 
obtained from the Spaniards, under Cortes, who first landed 
in Mexico, in 1609? No permanent settlements were made 
on the Atlantic coasts of the United States till after the 
beginning of the seventeenth century, and it is quite certain 
the hatchet did not come from that qu€ui;er. Was it ob- 
tained from the French in Canada? No colony was founded 
there until 1608, by that nation. Whence, then, did it 
come? It may have been obtained on the sea coast, from 
the people attached to an European vessel, who had made 
a temporary landing at some point. But were native 
Indians accustomed to blaze and notch or hack the forest 
trees, under any circumstances? Certainly not when on 
the war path. They never left any such permanent evi- 
dences of their whereabouts. The existence of the blaze 
and hacks inclosed inside of three hundred grains or layers 
of sound wood, either cast a doubt on what has hitherto 
been viewed as certain, so far as regards our American 
forests, or presents an interesting question for antiquarian 

The extracts given in another chapter, from the journals 
of two missionaries, sent from Massachusetts, in the early 
part of the present century, to spy out the nakedness of the 
land, supply destitute places, and look after the scattered 
members of their own denomination, descendants of the 
Pilgrims, will attract some attention to this town. Norway, 
in 1866, is not what it was in 1801-2. Since then it has 
been shorn of territory equal to some German principalities, 
although not quite as productive and populous. 

The statistical returns of the late census show there 
are two Baptist churches in this town, one Episcopal, one 
Methodist episcopal, and one Presbyterian. I have been 
kindly furnished with a history of the organization of one 
of these Baptist churches, to which I cheerfully give a 

4fii HROBT OF Hill MM COtJITl. 

I^ace, preDusng it with aa ezpraaioii of the deqi regret 
end dieepfNMiitaieiit I here felt, while penmng these ehaele, 
in not being eUe to do the like with ererj duuch oigani- 
setion in the comity: 

On the 25th of December, 1838, the members <^ the 
regolar Baptist church, of the town of Newport, then resi- 
dents of the town of Norway, met at the hoose of Mr. 
IhkSkj Smith, and organized by appointing Mr. Osee Bron- 
son, moderator, and Jefferson Tillinghast, d^ k, after the 
nsoal religions exercises. 

This meeting resolved to petition the " moUier church " 
to be constitnted into a chnrch in the town of Norway. 
The petition was granted May 24th, 1830, and on the 14th 
of June following the Norway members, 8 males and 15 
females, 23 in all, were convened as a c<mference, a prelimi- 
nary step to chnrch oif;aniaation. On the 28th of September, 
1830, a council of delegates from the nmgfaboring churches 
was convened at the Presbyterian meeting house, to consider 
the subject of organizing a Baptist church in this town. Of 
this council Samuel Dexter, of Frankfort, was chosen mode* 
rater, and the Bev. WiUard Judd, of Salisbury, iqypointed 


The council resolved to fellowship the members of the 

conference as a church of Jesus Christ. The Bev. Elon 

Galusha, of Whitesboro, preached on this occasion, and the 

Bev. William Hogeson, of Stratford, gave Uie hand of 


The first pastor of this church was the Bev. B. T. Smith, 

who commenced his services in January, 1831. He was 

succeeded by the Bev. W. B. Curtis, C. E. Brown, L. O. 

Lovel, N. Furgoson, E. D. Towner, Francis Prescott, Mr. 

S. A. Douglass, a licentiate, and again by the Bev. C. E. 

Brown, in March, 1853, who is the present pastor of this 

church. Since its organization, the chuich has had 294 

members connected with it, 170 of whom were added by 

baptism. The number reported to the association in 1854, 

was 90. Four members of this church have become minis- 

OHIO. 453 

tors of the gospel ; and one, a lady, went on a foreign mis- 
sion to Assam, where she died soon after her arrival This 
church has a lay organization, under the statute, which 
holds the temporalities, the church building and parsonage. 
The Bev. Mr. Brown promptly furnished the foregoing 
information. I thank him for it, and have followed his 
suggestion in another matter. 

§ 12. Omo 

Has bean leoenUy inooiponied or erected. The tenitoiy of which this 
town now comprises a part, was set off from Norway in 1823, and erected into 
a new town hy the name of West Bronswick, since changed to Ohio, in 1836. 
In 1823, Norway extended to the north bonnds of the ooonty, and so did the 
town of Russia. 

Ohio is now bounded on the south by the north bounds 
of the Royal grant, east by the west bounds of Salisbury, 
north by the north bounds of Jerseyfield patent, and the same 

' course continued to the east line of Russia, and west by the 
east bounds of Russia. This town covers a part of Jersey- 
field patent, and contains a small triangular part of Remsen- 
burgh patent, lying northwesterly of the West Canada creek, 
the north bounds of Ohio, and the west bounds of Russia. 

Although this town is too recent in its origin to afford 
any historical events under its present ncime, worthy of 
special notice, yet when its present territory formed a part 
of the Eingsland district during the revolution, it was the 
theater of one of those cold-blooded and inhuman murders 

' and burnings so often reiterated between 1776 and 1783, as 
to sicken humanity by the recital of them. Complainings 
now avail nothii^ ; these astounding crimes were long since 
perpetrated, and would before this time have been nearly 
forgottea, but for historical repetition, and the uncertain 
agency of oral tradition in the localities where the events 
happened. Does it console us that retributive justice has 
long since adjudged the case, passed its sentence, and for 



many years has been and now is executing its drea^ decree ? 
If it does, let us fold our arms complacently, and await the 
final execution of the exterminating judgment ; but never 
forget, no, never, the probable cause nor the occasion of 
these providential visitations, that we may shape our course 
so as to avoid a similar punishment. 

The Sufferer's name. Mount, is not found among the ninety- 
four persons to whom Jerseyfield patent was granted. He 
planted himself on a handsome plain a few miles north of 
the south line of the patent, and a little northerly of the 
usual route taken by the enemy in traversing the wilderness 
between the Black river and lower Mohawk valley. He 
probably went there under the patronage of some of the 
proprietors, and might reasonably expect to end his days in 
the seclusion that miles of forest afforded him, with nothing 
^^ to molest or make him afraid,'' save the wild beasts of the 
wilderness. After leaving Black creek on the confines of 
Norway, passing over a deep clayish soil, some rather stony 
ground, gently unudulating, and proceeding north a few 
miles, the traveler will reach the plain where Mr. Mount 
had seated himself, and if it be in the spring season or at 
midsummer, he will stop and gaze with admiration at the 
beautiful prospect before and around him. This is the spot 
chosen by Mount for his home. Ohio must then be placed 
in the list of towns in the county settled by whites before 
the revolution. The West Canada creek crosses the north- 
west comer of the town. 

Ohio City, so called, contains a small collection of houses 
near the central part of the town, on the road from Utica to 
Wilmurt and Hamilton county. Graysville, on the south 
branch of the Black creek, is a small but thriving village, 
and is situated in the towns of Norway and Ohio. The 
creek is here the dividing line between the two towns. A 
triweekly stage noyr runs from Graysville to Little Palls, 
and returns the same day. Ohio has increased in population 
the last five years nearly one-third. The lumbering business 
is carried on to a considerable extent in this town. Its 



OHIO. 465 

agricnitural statistics do not range as high as some other 
parts of the county. 

A rehearsal of the murder of the two sons of Mr. Mount in 
Jerseyfield, would be but little more than the naked state- 
ment of the fact that the father and mother having gone to 
the Little Falls with grain to be ground, returned home and 
found their sons dead in the barn, their scalps taken, and 
the little negro boy alive anxiously awaiting his master's 
return. Mr. Mount came from New Jersey. He must have 
been in Jerseyfield some years when his sons were killed, 
for he had made considerable improvements, built a house 
and barn, planted an apple orchard, and gathered around 
him farm stock and utensils. His secluded position rendered 
it quite certain, being about twenty miles from the German 
settlements on the river, that neither he nor his sons parti- 
cipated in the conflict going on between the crown and the 
colonies, by any aggressive acts against the former, and if 
he had at any time previously been visited by any of the 
strolling actors in the bloody drama then being performed, 
he did not indulge in offensive language, as he seems not to 
have then been molested. 

Mr. Mount's buildings were not at this time destroyed, 
but they were afterwards burned by some one. A mill on 
Mill creek, a few miles north of Graysville, was burned when 
the young Mounts were killed. No one can now fix a time 
when this affair happened, but some of the men with Col. 
Willett, stated they dug potatoes at Mount's place when 
they returned from pursuing Ross in 1782. Mr. Mount, it 
is said, made all haste to reach a place of safety, and never 
again returned to Jerseyfield. 

Another version has been given me of this Indian mur- 
der, by a gentleman who W6W employed as a surveyor on 
the tract in 1808, and had gathered his information from 
persons then living near the Mount farm. From this rela- 
tion the family consisted of Mr. Mount, his wife, daughter, 
two sons and a negro boy. Two Indians had been lurking 
about the place several days, but had not made any hostile 


demonstrations, as the yonng men had taken their loaded 
rifles with them when they left the house, but on the day they 
were killed and scalped in the bam, they had neglected this 
precaution. When the report of firearms was heard in the 
house, the rest of the family fled to the woods and made 
their way to Little Falls as fast as they could. Mr. Mount 
did not see his wife and daughter, after leaving his house, 
until they met at Little Falls. The Indians, my informant 
says, burned Mount's buildings when they found the family 
had left the place. 

According to this stateiQient the family must have been 
prodigiously frightened. It is not improbable, nay, it is quit^e 
certain, that there were other white families settled in the 
town near the place called Ohio City, before the revolution. 

Mr. David Thorp moved on to the Mount farm soon after 
the war and lived there many years. His son, David Thorp, 
was a member of the assembly from the county in 1833. 

§ 13. Russia 

Contains that part of the comity beginning at the sonthweet comer of lot 
nnmber twenty-eighty in the third allotment of the Royal grant, and mnning 
thence east along the line of lots to the southeast comer of lot number thirty; 
then north along the line of lots, and the same line continued to the south 
bounds of the town of T^lmurt ; then westerly along the same to the west 
bounds of the county; and then along fhe said west bounds to the place of 

This town contains a part of the third allotment of the 
Royal grant, portions of Jerseyfield, Remsenburgh and 
Matchin's patents, and the whole of Lush's, Marvin's and 
Jacobs's patents. 

Russia can not boast of anterevolutionary habitoMy except 
the wild beasts of the forest, and the roaming Indian in 
pursuit of game, or on the war path to reach some point of 
attack, or circumvent a foe. Indeed, no white settlements 
were made in the town, until after the year 1790. The stat^ 
road enters the town near the southeast corner of it, runs 
diagonally across the third allotment, and reaches Boon's 

BUB8U. 457 

Bridge, on the West creek, a short distance from the north* 
west comer of the Boyal grant. The town is irrigated by 
several small strjeams, and among them is Black creek, all 
of them tributaries of the West Canada, and a£fording water 
power for mills and machinery of different descriptions and 
capacities, cmd a needful supply for grazing stock. Trenton 
Falls, the center of the creek, being the boundary line 
between the two counties at this point, lay partly in this 
town, and the crossing place where W. N. Butler was 
killed is pointed out about two miles above the junction of 
the Black creek with the Canada, so that this town and Ohio 
must diq>ute the palm for this locality. 

The industrial pursuits of the population are chiefly 
directed to grazing and cheese and butter making. Utica 
is the nearest market town of note, and the Utica and Black 
river rail road now opens the most feasible route to the 
eastern market, whether by canal or railway, for the pro- 
ducts of this town, diverting nearly the whole of its com- 
mercial trade to Utica. 

Stodard Squires, from Coimecticut, was the first settler ; 
he came into the town in the year 1792. The Millington 
family, from Vermont, and the Smith family, came into the 
town, and took up lands, within a few years after Squires. 
Farley Fuller, George Taylor and Boscum Slocum moved 
into the town about the year 1795, and between that time 
and 1800 this town settled very fast. John G. Squires, a 
son of Stodard, was seven years old when his father moved 
on to the grant. He is now living, and occupies the same 
farm on which the family located when they came into the 
town. Mr. Squires is very particular and quite certain as 
to the locality of the Butler crossing, and his designation 
of the spot is supported by the declarations of an aged 
revolutionary veteran, Mr. Williams, who W6W with the 
American troops under Willett, and which I have derived 
from Jeremiah Cory, Esq., late sheriff of the county. Mr. 
Williams must have visited the spot, giving credence to his 
own declarations some fifteen or twenty years ago ; and Mr. 


Squires asserts, that a bayonet and other warlike instm- 
ments were found near the place he points out. I have felt 
very anxious to fix the place of Walter N. Butler's death 
with reasonable certainty. 

It may be assumed then, I think, that the two parties, the 
pursued and the pursuers, crossed the Canada creek about 
two miles above the junction of the Black creek with the 
West Canada, and in the neighborhood of the twin rocks. 
This place is about twenty-seven miles north of Herkimer 
village. There is no doubt but the hostile parties crossed 
the Black creek, and that the American advance and the 
British rear guards had a pretty smart encounter at that 
point. I have noticed but one fact in the course of my 
researches which seems to contradict the position now as- 
sumed. The Mount place, at which Willett's party encamped 
on their return from pursuing the enemy, is several miles 
nearly due east from this crossing place, and it may not seem 
probable that Willett, whose object it was to reach the (Jer- 
man Flats as soon as possible, with his hungry troops, would 
have taken that route to reach a point nearly south from 
this crossing place. But he no doubt had good reasons for 
retracing his steps upon his recent trail, and this slight 
deviation from a direct course to Port Dayton, should not 
be allowed to overbalance the traditional relations we now 
have. Boss and Butler, whose object was to reach the Black 
river, knew the most direct course to reach that point, and 
they were on it. The destruction of Port Schuyler ** by fire 
and flood," in May, 1781, and the withdrawal of the troops 
stationed there to Ports Herkimer and Dayton, render it 
quite improbable that any of Willett's troops went to the 
former post in October, 1782. The spot where Butler fell 
deserves a monument, to point out to unborn Americans 
where a severe chastisement was inflicted, and where the 
scourger feU. The moxmd on the west bank of the creek, 
formerly pointed out as Butler's grave, has been entirely 
washed away, and his remains have been scattered over the 
valleys once desolated by his revengeful arm. 

-av^HBSBi^^^HD^^^^Wii HUB ju « kai 

8ALI8BUBY. 459 

§ 14 Salisbuby f 

Contaixis all that part of the ootmty, bounded soath bj Manhdim ; nortberlj 
and easterly, bj the bounds of the ooontj ; and westerly, by the west bounds 
of Manheim, 'oontinaed north to the southerly bounds of a traot called Jeisy- 
fleld, and then northerly, to the bounds of the county ; along a straight line 
run to the southerly extremity of the division line, between the tracts called 
Nobleborough and Aithurborough. 

A part of Jerseyfield patent, and portionsof the first, second 
and fourth allotments of the Royal grant are in this town. 

This town was peopled before the revolution, with several 
families of tories or persons friendly to the crown, though 
they may not have committed any overt act of treason 
against the colonies. Living on the Royal grant, they were, 
no doubt, the tenants of, or went there imder the protection 
of the Johnson family. They were allowed to remain unmo- 
lested by the Indians and tories, during the whole war ; but 
when the commissioners of forfeitures, in 1784, claimed the 
grant, as the property of the state, they may not have 
esteemed the protection of their royalist landlords as of 
much value, or their titles, if they held any, as securing 
to them '^ an indefeasable estate of inheritance." One of 
these people, named Johnson, lived on lot number 154, in 
the first allotment. Royal grant, on the road between the 
old Salisbury meeting house and the Four comers. Daniel 
Lobdell, another of them, lived in the westerly part of the 
.town, about one mile southerly of the old Salisbury meeting 

These parties were conveniently located, to suit the pur- 
poses and accomplish the objects, of those who planted them 
on the direl^t route from the li^ohawk valley, to the head 
waters of the Black river. Here the disafiected could con- 
gregate in safety, and mature their plans of mischief; and 
from these points, runners could be dispatched to hover 
round the out-settlements, collect information, watch the 
movement of troops in the valley, and even spy out what 
was going on at the block-houses and stockades, and outside 


of the principal forts ; and here, too, straggling parties of the 
enemy received aid and comfort, and were seasonably notified 
of whatever was important for them to know, and within 
the power of these people to give. 

Old Mr. Lobdell had fonr or five sons, who at an early 
period of the war went to Canada with a party of Indians, 
and remained there until after peace was proclaimed. Joe, 
one of them, was waiter to a British officer, and used to boast 
after his return, of his sumptuous living while in Canada. 
He was pensioned by the United States, for revolutionary 
services. In what way he contrived to convert his' menial 
labor for a British officer, into military service for the 
colonies, smd to make satisfactory proof to the commissioner 
of pensions, may be best explained by a resort to the records 
at Washington. 

A few New England families may have located in this 
town, before 1788. Between that time, and 1794, the immi- 
gration was pretty rapid. The Salisbury meeting house, 
since converted into a wagon factory, or an appurtenant 
to one, was erected during the latter year. Mr. Jabez Ayers 
put up the first frame building erected in this town. The 
following names are familiar as being among the eafly 
settlers: Avery, Cook, Hackley, Hallett, Todd, Hopson, 
Burrell and Waterman. The Rev. Caleb Alexander, who 
visited this town in 1801, as a missionary, says it then con- 
tained a population of 1694. 

Salisbury Center, is a small village, situate on Sprucfe 
creek. Here are several sawmills and other mills and 
machinery propelled by watei*, with a large tannery. Salis- 
bury Comers, two or three miles west of the Center, holds 
a resj^ectable place among the business localities of the town ; 
and Devereaux, at the northeast comer of the grant, has 
many years been known as a point from which considerable 
quantities of sawed lumber have been sent to the canal and 
rail road at Little Falls, for the eastern market. The west- 
em section of this town is well adapted to grazing, and the 
dairy business heis been successfully carried on there, for 

II I ■ II.. 11.1 IL ....^S«S9mS9"^H«^Wl^^*^^K^"^:^.rj?^= 


many years* The northern portion is well supplied with 
hemlock, whence the tanners in that section draw large 
quantities of bark. The state road passes through the south- 
west corner of the town. 

§ 16. SCHUTIiEB 

Contaiiifl aU that part of the ooontj heginning at the Mohawk river, on the 
line which dirides the laadfi heretofore or late of Bti Speneer and Benjamin 
Taher in Colden's patent, and running thenoe ii^a straight line to the sonih- 
east comer of the land now or l%te of Joel Harvey, on the Stenhen Boad ; then 
to the southwest comer of the town of Newport ; then southwesterly along 
the west hounds of the county to the Mohawk river ; and then down the 
same to the place of heginning. 

The whole of Kass's patent and parts of CosbT's manor, and 
Hasenclever's and Walton's patents are in this town. 

This being one of the most ancient towns in the county, 
as respects the period of settlement, and the most ancient in 
regard to the crown alienations of title to some of the lands 
within its territory^^ '4n free and common soccage as of thd 
^manor of East Greenwich in the county of Kent," would be 
looked to for a rich supply of historical incident, and 
numerous recitals of amusing anecdotes, and thrilling stories 
of burnings, murders, scalpings, captures and escapes. In 
this we are disappointed. Several German families had set- 
tled within the present limits of the town, before the French 
war, and among them were the Kasts and Starings ; but 
these were looked upon as outlaying appendages and sub- 
urban to the principal Palatine village below. There was a 
good carriage road in 1757 on the left bank of the river 
from the crossing where Utica now stands, through Schuy- 
ler to the Palatine village, German Flats, which was tra- 
versed by M. de Belletre with his French and Indians in 
1767. They burned two houses on the Kast patent and 
every thing in the shape of houses andbuildingf on the way 
to the village. The inhabitants soon returned and resumed 
their occupations, and between this time and 1775 the town 


had received some additions to its population along the 
river. There was a store on Oosby's manor in 1766, and 
John Wolff, DocL Petry's wife's father, then lived on the 
manor. The land in Schuyler is generaUj of good quality, 
and the river alluvial flats are as strong lands and yield as 
luxuriantly as any other in the valley. Along the river and 
about three miles north the surface presents quite a level 

This town, although not the birth place, was many years 
the residence of Judge Henri Starring, with whose name the 
reader has become somewhat familiar ; and here was con- 
cocted the celebrated Yankee pass. There was some addi- 
tions of German population in this town immediately after 
the revolution, but the accessions of immigrants from the 
east and from New England did not take place at an early 
period after that event. There were formerly several low 
swampy pieces of ground along the river in this town, in 
which, if oral tradition speak the truth, more than one un- 
fortunate Indian after the peace of 1783 found an untimely 
grave. There are no villages in the town. Several efforts 
have heretofore been made to use the waters of the Mohawk 
for hydraulic purposes, and considerable sums of money 
have been expended for that object, but these efforts were 
unavailing and the money sunk. 

This may be properly called a farming town, quite as 
much 80 as any in the county ; and although the people, for 
a time, were rather reluctant to change their mode of hus- 
bandry, they have now come into the way of getting rich. 
The loss of population the last five years indicates this result. 

^ 16. Stabk 

Gontains all that part of the ooontjr bounded northeriy by Dannbe ; easterl j 
and sontherly by the boonds of the county ; and westerly by a line drawn 
from the easte^imost lock of the old canal, on the north side of the Mohawk 
river at Little Falls, to the head waters of Lake Otsego. 

Burr's map of the county shows that parts of Henderson's, 

I .1 .■■..JU,^__,^*i^^^.,J^^BHCPW»i^"^5l^^";^"^PP"SBP 

8TABK. 463 

L'Hommedien's, Vaughn's, McNiePs, J. Vroman's, C. Col- 
den's, Livingston's and Lansing's patents are in this town. 

This town, before 1817, constituted a part of Minden, 
Montgomery county. Before the revolution and at the close 
of that war, before the organization of towns in this state, 
this territory lay within the limits of Canajoharie district of 
Tryon county. All the lands in this town, except a portion 
of L'Hommedieu's and J.Yroman's patents, which lay within 
its boundaries, were granted by the colonial government 
before the revolution. As will be seen by a reference to the 
table of titles, several of these grants were made about one 
hundred years ago, and a considerable time before the colo- 
nial difficulties comenced with the mother country. 

There were two small European settlements near the 
southerly line of the town, before 1775; one on the Otsquago 
creek, called the Otsquago settlement, comprising, among 
others, the Shalls, the Bronners and Fetherlys, whose 
descendants are yet found enjoying the fruits won by the 
martyrdom of their ancestors. The other settlement was 
at the Kyle, so called. This may have been within the 
limits of Springfield, and a short distance from the east line 
of the town of Warren. A family by the name of Eckler or 
Ecklar, had seated themselves at this place on Henderson's 
patent, or rather, perhaps, Petrie's purchase. Both of these 
settlements were broken up during the revolution, and the 
inhabitants compelled to fly for refuge and protection to 
Fort Plank, where they remained till the close of the war. 
I visited the Eckler settlement in August, 1854, and foimd 
John, one of the sons of Henry Eckler, who was driven off 
by the Indians and tories, and a younger brother, still on 
the old homestead which had passed from father to sons, 
through three generations, and the title yet held by will. 
No alienations out of the family having taken place, since 
the first grant, by the patentee. This is an OQcurrence so 
unusual, that I have deemed it worthy of particular notice. 
John Ecklar, at the time I saw him, was 71 years old^ he 
had a brother, Henry, living in Sharon, aged 88 years, the 


other brother was 68 years of age, a hale and robust man, 
who evinced a little inquisitiveness about the object of my 
visit, surmising, perhaps, I might be inquiring into titles to 
land. The worthy yeoman should have considered his 
beyond all dispute or impeachment. Emanating from the 
crown, and sealed with ancestral blood in asserting the just 
rights of the colonists, followed by a marked possession of 
an hundred years, who would hazard an inquiry into such a 
man's right to the soil he cultivated 1 

Starkville P. 0. and Van Homeville P. 0., in this town, 
situated on the Otsquago creek, are points of some note. 
A plank road has recently been constructed from Fort Plain 
through these villages into the northerly part of Otsego 

Van Homeville affords a very considerable water power, 
well adapted to manufacturing, milling and mechanical pur- 
poses ; and it has been appropriated to these objects to a 
considerable extent, by the enterprising proprietors. Abra- 
ham Van Home, the father of Bichard and Daniel Van H., 
settled here with his family in 1791, opened the wilderness 
at the head waters of the Otsquago creek, erected houses 
and built mills. I have been informed that two run of 
Esopus mill stones for a grist mill, were drawn through the 
woods by four horses, from the Mohawk river, on a wood- 
sled. Whether the four stones were taken through the 
woods as a load, or only one of them, my informant did not 
state. It was no doubt pretty hard sledding, whatever might 
be the number taken for a load. Mr. Abraham Van Home 
emigrated from New Jersey into this state in 1771, and first 
settled on a farm in the present town of Florida, Montgomery 
county, and removed from thence in 1783 to Fort Plain. 
He was a member of the Tryon county committee of safety 
in June, 1775, from the Mohawk district, and continued a 
member several consecutive years, firmly attached to the 
cause of American freedom. He was appointed sheriff of 
Tryon county, May 22d, 1781, and no man could hold a com- 
mission signed by George Clinton, whose devotion and 

WABBBSr. 465 

patrotism was donbted in the least. Mr. Yan Home died in 
March, 1810, at his home place, now called Yan Horneville, 
aged 72 years. The subject of these brief remarks was not, 
of conrse, the Abraham Yan Home, one of the patentees of 
the grant made in 1731, designated by that name; nor was 
that patentee a member of the Tryon connty committee. I 
have therefore ventured to give Mr. Yan Home the position 
in the revolutionary contest which family tradition seems to 
have marked out for him. 

The soil of this town appears well adapted to the raising 
of hops and grain of various descriptions, and agricultural 
industry seems to have taken that direction to a considerable 
extent, but grazing and cheese making are not neglected. 

According to the census returns, this town contains four 
churches. One regular Baptist, one Baptist and Lutheran, 
one Methodist episcopal, one Union. StarkviUe, in the east- 
erly part of the town, has a population of 110 inhabitants, 
and Yan HomesviUe, near the south bounds, has 228. This 
town appears to have lost 297 in population out of 1775, 
since 1845, and this within a decade of almost unexampled 
success and prosperity with the agricultural classes. 


§17. Warren 

ContiiiiB ftU that part of the oonntj bounded westeilj bj GoltunbU^ tonth- 
erly bj the boundB of the coxintj, eaaterlj bj the bonnda of the eoimtj and 
the west boands of Stark, and northerlj by Qennan Flats and Little Falls. 

It embraces the principal part of Henderson's and Theo- 
bald Young's patents. 

The reader of these pages has no doubt observed that 
there were settlements of whites some distance south of 
the Mohawk river before the revolution. These were prin- 
cipally, if not entirely, composed of Germans from the 
upper valley. Andrustown, so called, and the settlement 
at the Little lakes, were within the present limits of the 
town of Warren. 

In March, 1792, Samuel Oleland, from Colchester, Massa- 


chneetts, came into this town and settled^ with his family. 
This was the first New England family that immigrated 
hither. Mr. Cleland had five sons, Norman, Salmon, Jonas, 
Martin and Moses. Jonas and Moses now survive, the for- 
mer being 75 years old. Norman died in 1831, aged 62 
years, and Salmon went to his final rest at the advanced age 
of 84 years. Martin died when about 20 years old. The 
father, Samuel Cleland, died at Warren, October 10th, 1834, 
aged 90 years, 4 months and 14 days. Danforth Abbot, 
Hugh Panel and Amos Allen, from Massachusetts, settled 
in this town about the same time. Elder Phineas Holcome, 
the first settled minister in that part of the county, came in 
soon after Mr. Samuel Cleland. This town was organized 
in 1796, four years after the immigration from the east set 
in, and must have filled up pretty fast. Jonas Cleland, Esq., 
informed me that when his father first came into the county, 
' he located himself not far from the German settlement of 
Andrustown. That he found the bones of a man unburied 
near the charred ruins of a dwelling, and collected and 
interred them. The tradition of that day designated these 
himian bones as the remains of a Mr. BeUinger, who escaped 
to his house when that hamlet was sacked and burned by 
the tories and Indians, during the revolution, and would not 
quit it when set on fire. He preferred thus to die, rather 
than endure the lingering torments of captivity and death, 
perhaps according to the savage mode of infliction. A man 
must be bold, resolute and determined, who would so resolve 
and act. Let it not be said he exhibited a stolid indifference 
to life. He had seen, perhaps, his wife and children slaugh- 
tered, and might expect the same fate when within reach 
of the tomahawk. His cattle had been collected and driven 
away, the Indian firebrand had been applied to his barn, 
stacks and other property, and looking at death as certain, 
he placed himself on the funeral pyre, and awaited its ap- 

Warren is the southernmost tovni in the county, is nearly 
eight hundred feet above the level of the Mohawk river, 



high ground from which the waters descend northerly, east- 
erly and southerly. The surface of the land is consider- 
ably undulating, and the soil generally appears quite as well 
adapted to hop and grain growing as grazing. There are, 
however, a ntimber of large dairy farms ki the town. Owing 
to the large quantities of manure required to keep the hop 
fields in good yield, the dairy business has been found a 
profitable adjunct in the farming line^ There is to me a 
something so homelike and lifelife in the appearance, at 
midsummer, of large fields of Indian com, grain of yarious 
descriptions and potatoes, I can not resist giving utterance 
to the reflection, that such a people must abound in wealth, 
because they are not dependent. 

The principal local points in this town are Grain's cor- 
ners P. 0., Jordanville P. 0., Page's comers, and the Little 
lakes, Warren P. 0. Andrustown still retains its local name, 
and here are found descendants of the German Palatines, 
who first .opened the forest on Henderson's patent ; the 
Shoemakers, Bells, Grains, Hoyers, and others. The Little 
lakes, whose waters discharge into the Otsego, are in the 
extreme southeast part of the town, three miles east of 
Richfield springs. The great western turnpike passes 
through the village located between these two small bodies 
of water. The white cedar swamp lands in this town are 
nearly as valuable as any other in it. The timber is used 
for hop poles. 

§18. WHiMUBT 

Is the largest town In the oonnty, and pTohablj in the state, and contains 
that part of the conntj commenoing at the southwest comer of the town of 
Morehouse (in Hamilton county), and running westerly on the north line of 
the Jerseyfield patent, until it strikes the West Canada creek ; thence contin- 
uing the same course of said Jeiseyfield line, until it strikes the west line of 
Herkimer county ; thence northerly, on said line, untU it strikes the north 
boundary line ; thence easterly, along the north bounds of said county, until it 
strikes the northwest comer of the town of Morehouse;, thence southerly, on 
said line, to the place of beginning. 

Within those boundaries are all those parts of Remsem- 


burgh and Yroman's patents, Adgate's, Brown's, Noble- 
borough, Moose riyer and Watson's tracts, and Totten and 
Crossfield's purchase, which lie in the county. 

This town has trebled its papulation in five years, to be 
attributed to the increase of the lumber business, under the 
direction of the Messrs. Hinckley and others, who are 
largely engaged in that trade in the north part pf the coun- 
ty. The legislature have heretofore appropriated $5000, to 
remove obstructions from the West Canada creek ; obstruc- 
tions which hindered the floating of logs and unsawed lum- 
ber from the sources of the creek, during the spring floods, 
to an extensive set of mills in operation near Prospect, 
Oneida county, where many millions of feet of boards, plank 
and other sawed lumber are' cut out annually, and sent to 

The machinery of these mills, and all the arrangements 
for booming and securing the logs, bringing them to the 
ways, where they are to l>e taken on to the saw carriages, 
and for removing the plank and boards when sawed, and 
disposing of the refuse stuff, are spoken of as being equal 
to any similar establishment in the country. The mineral 
regions of this town will be approached, if not immediately 
intersected, by the Saratoga and Sackets Harbor rail road. 

In 1792, Alexander Macomb, of New York, purchased of 
the state 1,920,000 acres of land, at nine pence per acre, 
lying in the northern part of the state, and the same year 
John Brown, of Bhode Island, bought of Macomb, or 
obtained the title to, about two hundred thousand acres of 
that purchase, which was afterwards divided into eight 
townships, numbered from one to eight inclusive, and town*- 
ships number one, two, six and seven were also subdivided 
into small lots. This tract does not lay on Moose river 
proper, and only a small triangular point of township num- 
ber eight extends into Hamilton county. The westerly 
parts of towns one, two, three and four are in Lewis 
county. This has been many years called Brown's 
tract. According to Burr's map of the county, a northerly 


branch of the Moose river runs through the southern portion 
of the tract. Mr. Brown visited his lands near the close of 
the last century, made some improvements in the way of 
opening roads, building houses and erecting mills, intending 
and expecting to make sale of them. Mr. Brown died, 
however, before he realized any of his anticipations, and no 
doubt a great many more men will die before that wilder- 
ness will be seen ^^ to blossom as the rose." In 1846, the 
commissioners of the land office were offered fiot cents an 
acre for a considerable portion of townships one and two, 
but they refused to take less than eight cents an acre. 

A son-in-law of Brown, Mr. Charles P. HerreshofiT, went 
on to the tract a few years after the death of Brown, for the 
purpose of making permanent improvements upon it and 
bringing the lands into market. This project was quite as. 
visionary, far more expensive, and in the end, more fatal to 
the projector, than the antecedent one had been to Brown. 
Herreshoff expended a large sum of money in clearing up 
the lands, repairing the former mills built by Brown, and 
erecting new ones, in building houses and opening roads, 
and at one time had gathered around him some thirty or 
forty families. He also erected some iron works in town- 
ship number seven, and actually succeeded, it is reported, in 
making about one ton of iron. But Herreshoff 's outlays 
were large, and it required something more ^* to speed the 
plough '^ than could be raised on the tract^ or from the pro- 
ceeds of the iron ; he therefore resorted to the expedient, 
which he doubtless had often indulged in before, of drawing 
on his friends in Providence for the needful means to con- 
summate a dearly cherished object. The draft was returned 
to him protested ; he felt dishonor keenly, and deliberately 
shot himself through the head with a pistol. He was 
ardent, ambitious, probably visionary, and could not have 
had much practical experience of the business he was 
engaged in ; and if he died ^^ as a fool dieth," it was a choice 



of evils with him. He preferred death, a suicidal exit from 
the world, to the crushing endurance of mortified feelings, 
groping his way through life in poverty, and as he thought^ 
covered with dishonor. 

After HerreshofPs death the people he had brought there 
left the settlement, and iron works, mills, bams and houses, 
with one exception, went rapidly to decay. It is under- 
stood that sometimes one and then another family has been 
found bold and hardy enough to keep watch and ward on 
the tract since Herreshoflf died. A great portion of the 
tract, if not all of it, has been sold for arrears of taxes and 
bid in by the state. 

In 1815, a Mr. Noble, a venerable patriarch, and nephew 
of the patentee of Nobleborough patent, had found his way 
there through the woods, and was enjoying a wilderness 
life as he best could in a green old age. It will be observed 
that this large tract was purchased of the state by Arthur 
Noble in 1787 ; he made some improvement on these lands 
as early as 1790, and then erected a sawmill and had some 
boards sawed out which he took to Ireland. The settle- 
ment broke up and another effort to colonize the tract, in 
1793, was made with the like success. The remains of a 
grist and sawmill were seen at this settlement about the 
year 1811 by Mr. William Bensley of Newport. Mr. Noble 
must have been influenced by a monomania like that of John 
Brown's, when he caused a carriage road to be cut and 
cleared to his lands, over which he passed in his coach. Mr. 
Noble sojourned for a time at Little Falls while his experi- 
ments in the woods were going on, but finally returned to 
Scotland, where he died many years since. There are large 
quantities of excellent timber on the lands in this town, of 
almost every description, except pine, found in our northern 
latitude. Portions of the surfdce are broken and stony, and 
other portions can be brought under cultivation and will 
make fair grazing lands. The iron mines of this region 
are spoken of as rich and inexhaustible. 

mmmmB^mifm'^'^m^^mm^mmm^^BmmB^!S^^^!^^9:sss« i^^ss- 

..^ i^" 


§ 19. WiNPIELD 

Contaliifl all thftt p^ of the county, beginning in the west bounds of the 
county, where the same are intersected by a line run doe east from the north- 
east comer of township number twenty of the Twenty townships, so called, 
and running thence easterly to a bound on the south side of the Utica and 
Minden turnpike at the southeast comer of the town of Litchfield ; and then 
south thirty degrees west to the bounds of the county ; and then along the 
bounds of the county easterly, southerly and westerly to the place of begin- 
ning: comprising within its bounds parts of Bayardls, laspenard's and 
Schuyler's patents. 

This town was settled by whites before 1800, but at what 
period I am not able to state ; probably between that time 
and 1790. A small part of it lay within the limits of the Old 
England district until the municipal organization of the 
counties in this part of the state into townships took place. 
Its area is not large, containing only about fifteen thousand 
acres^ as returned by the assessors. The soil is good and 
highly productive. More attention has been here given to 
wool growing than any other town in the county. The pro- 
ducts of butter and cheese, as given by the census returns, 
show that this branch of industry has not been forgotten. 

Several streams which flow southerly into the Unadilla 
river, have their rise in this town and Litchfield, and afford 
very considerable facilities for milling and mechanical pur- 
suits, which have not been left unimproved. The Great 
Western turnpike passes through the southerly part of the 
town, which, before the days of canals and rail roads, was 
a large thoroughfare thronged with stages, carriages, teams 
and droves of cattle, but now almost a solitude. 

The village of West Winfield, whose population is nearly 
four hundred, is located very near the west bounds of the 
county. It contains an academy incorporated by the 
regents of the university. I refer the reader to another 
chapter for a more particular description of this institution. 
The locality is pleasant and healthy. A bank organized 
under the laws of the state has recently been established in 



this village. The plank road from Ilion on the Mohawk to 
the Great Western turnpike, a short distance east of this 
place, has caused a very considerable poition of the trade 
and travel of the Unadilla country to center at and pass 
through the village northerly to the canal and Central rail 

lAit of Towns in the county and the number of vUers in eack, and 
lid of Villages and Population in eachy in 1856: 


1 Columbia, 




5|German Flats,... 

6 Herkimer, 


8,LitUe Falls, 

9 Manhdm, 


11 Norway, 




15, Schuyler, 
















9 Coldbrook, 
12 Frankfort, 
15 Herkimer,. . . . 
11 Dion, 
12 Little Falls,... 







7711' 8673955 201 

NaniMor^IkgM. ^^^^'^^^"^^ 










, • • • . 

llJordanville, .. 

Middleyille, . . 


Salsbry Center 

7Poland, { 


Brocket's Br.,. 
Inghams Blills, 
2 Russia,.. ..... 


April 6, 1807,. 
Nov»r 3, 1852, 
MarohSO, 1811'3972 
April 16, 1844, 1355 



* ♦^ » » 

No. 1. Referred to at page 42. 

[ODuea MinntM 2III, pago 102.] 

At a Council held in Albany, the 9th daj of September, 1721. Present : 

His Ezoellenoy, William Bnmet, Esq., &c.; Capt. Walter; Mr. Cadwalla- 

der Golden ; Mr. James Alexander. 

The petition of seyeral Palatines, in behalf of themselyes and others, at 
Skohere, praying his Excellency's leave to purchase a Tract of I^nd on the 
Mohaoks Riyer, for their use and settlement, which his Excellency oommn- 
nicated to this Board. 

It is the opinion of the Conncil, that the Palatines have leave to purchase 
a certain Tract of Land, in the name of his Majesty, upon the Mohacks Riyer, 
above the fall, abont forty miles beyond Fort Hnnter, and thai the said pur- 
chase be made within a year alter the date of the Lycense, to be in pursu- 
ance hereof, a Patent will 1)e granted to them, their heirs and assigns, under 
the same Bestiiotions and Reservations as other vacant lands are granted to 
his Majesty's Subjects in this Gk>vemmt, they taking care the said Land be 
not granted. Purchased or Patented to any others from the Qovemmt here- 

IxDiAX Pmn. 

To all christian people or Indians to whom these presents shall come at 
any time, Know ye that we being some of the principal sachems or chiefs of the 
Ave Nations of Indians, belonging to the crown of England, do for ourselves, 
to and with the consent of all other Indians belonging and proprietors of a 
certain tract, parcell or paroells of land lying and being on both sides of the 
Mohawks river, beginning at the first carrying place, being the eastermost 
bounds, called by the natives Astenrogen, running along on both sides of the 
said river westerly unto Garrendagaraew, or the upi>6r end of it,, it being 
about twenty-four English miles long on both sides of the said river. Together 
with all the woodland northerly and southerly of the said meadow land as 
far as the said Paiantinee or High Dutchmen please to take, containing about 
in acres we know not, do of our own free will, and for the respect we have 
for the Qovemment of New York, and likewise we have taken into consider- 


ation of the number of Christiaiia that came firom Bnglaad oaned 
or High Dutch men, which now want land to manure to maintain their fioni- 
lya ; and we having land enough that cannot use, Do for ouraelTefi, our 
heirs, executors and administrators, that is our children and children's 
children for ever, Do give, grant, sell, alien, enfeoflid and conilnn, and by 
these presents Do give and grant, sell, alien, enfeoffe and confirm, all the 
aforementioned premises, unto John Conradt Wiser Jun., Jacob Kop, John 
Jose Petres, Conradt R^gerds, Nicholas Fuller, Heniy Major, Anaorian 
Smith, Rutles Karring, Peter Spice, Peter Waggoner, Peter Conniit Kerne, 
Jacob Waiynoo, &c., with all other High Dutch men or Pallantines in thii 
Gk)yemment, for a settlement, and we have heard that it is his Excellencj'a 
desire, and do grant it for a small consideration of payment, the whole pre- 
mises above mentioned unto the said Pallantines or High Dutch men now 
under the crown of England, and to their heirs, executors, adminiatrators 
and assigns for ever, all and singular the above mentioned premises with the 
appurtenances thereunto belonging ; To have and to hold all the aforesaid 
lands with the woods, underwoods, pasture ground, meadows, lowlands, 
uplands, riven, rivuietts, islands, the grass, the timber, and timber woodi 
and all the appurtenances and privileages in the said bounds belonging or 
in anywise appertaining unto the aforementioned High Dutch men or Pallan- 
tines of this (Government under the crown of Great Britain, and to their 
heirs, executors, admts and assigns for ever, To their sole and only proper 
use and behoofe for ever. In witness whereof, we the native owners and 
proprietors of the aforementioned premises, Do set our marks and take of 
the scale, that our childr««n's children may know from this day, being the 
ninth of July, annoq Domini 1722, and we do likewise impower and authorize 
to sign, seale and set the mark belonging to us the five nations, as they are 
our chief Sachems one, two or three of every nation. Frbbtobis, a Mohawk, 
his hand mark and seal [l. s.]. KAHTAWoAHBonm, being the mark of the 
Undogos, and seal [l. s.] [l. s.]. Kaitbooabah, the Senkes mark and seal 
[ L. s. ] Odosbbctoh, the mark and seal of the Onido [l. s.] [l. s. ]. The mark 
and seal of the Gawyogos [l. s.] [l. s.]. Signed and delivered in the presents 
of us. Interpreter Laurens Clasens, Leo Stevens [l. s.], her mark. Interpreter, 
Josa Sanderse Glen, Justice ; Adam Vrooman, Justice ; Jan Wemp, Justice. 

[OooBdl Sfinntefl XIT, page 81.] 

At a Council held at Fort George, in New York, January ys 17th, 1722-3. 

Presents His Excellency William Burnet, Esq., &ca. ; Collo. Beekmati, 

Mr. Van Dam, Mr. Barberie, Mr. Harrison, Doctor Golden. 

Petition of John Jost Petrie and Gonradt Rickert, in behalf of themselves 

and others, the Palatines, concerned in the Purchasing of Lands of the 

Indians, setting forth, That in pursuance of his Excellency's Lycenoe, the 

9th of September, 1721, they had purchased of the Indians a tract of land 

lying above the fall of the Mohaoks River, which is about forty miles to the 


westward of Fort Hunter, 'aDd praying that the same may be surveyed 
according to the Indian purchase now produced to this Board, in order that 
they may obtain his Maties Letters Patent, was read. 

Ordered, that the said petition, together with the Indian purchase, be 
referred to the Gent, of this Board, or any five of them. 

His Ezcellenoy withdrawing, the Qent. of this Board Resolved into a 

His Excellency returning to the Council Chamber, took his place at the 

Then the Gentlemen of the Committee, to whom was referred the petition 
of John Jost Petri and Conradt Rickert, Palatines, in behalf of themselves 
and others, reported that they had considered of the same, and were of 
opinion that his Excellency may grant to the Petitioner and such other Per- 
sons as are now desirous to settle the Limits of the Tract Petitioned for so 
much of said Land as they shall be willing to take up in the following man- 
ner vizt. That every person, Man, Woman and Child be entitled to one 
hundred acres each, and that before the survey be made, the number and 
names of all the Persons to be concerned be certified to the Surveyor General 
or his Deputy before the Survey be made, which Report was approved of by 
the Board, and this Board does advise and consent that his Excellency may 
Grant the said Land under such quit rent, Reservations and Restrictions as is 
and are directed in his Excellency's Instructions from his Blajesty. 

It id the opinion of this Board, that, considering the number of People for 
whom this Tract is Petitioned ; it will not be contrary to the meaning and 
design of the said Instructions if the whole Tract should extend in its greatest 
length upon the Mohacks River, since the Tract to be allotted to any particu- 
lar Person or Family is not to do so. 

Ordered, that this Opinion of the Board be exprest in the Wairant to the 
Surveyor General. 

JVb. 2. Referred to at page 200. 

In the County of Herkimetf with the date cf the Patent^ number ^ acre$ therein^ 

and name cf Patentee. 

jidgate'$ Patent.— Date, 1798; 43,907 acres; Matthew Adgate, patentee. 

BayardU Po/enf.— Date, 1771; 50,000 acres; Wm, Bayard, Robert Bayard, 
Joshua MuUoch, Thomas Shipboy, Peter Sylvester, Heniy Van Schaack, 
Robert Adams, Richard Cartwright, James Phyn, Wm, Kane, Allen Mc- 
Dougall, George Lindesay, Jacob Brower, John Van Dalsem, Rudolph 
Sickles, William Benson, James A. Stewart, Alexander Stewart, Jun., 
Robert Heniy, Robert McLallan, John Yemor, William Proctor, Adrian 
Renaudet, Garden Proctor, Richard Nassau Stevens, Thomas Edwards, John 

476 hlttoct of hmiiti ccmT 

Yam Akft, fSsRtit Vaa JUn, JIVs^ 9<4kb( 

ft«o, ion., iobn TsjV/r, Joik^ Qritvoid, Bx^lseit 

Wni. BotVv, Ff«:«l«Tkfc W. II««fat, C>mffe Ball, Mm Grq, Wm 

TTi^/mM P^^ttH, R//bi^ Bo«i, Ricfaari Hnari, WiBiiB Dmdker 

Brmm JiJkm't Trwa.'-iM^, 1792, Aif tuci ii pirt «r Oe lJf30,€00 aa« of 
lend ^;isii^!9d to Alexander Xaeomb, bf letten palait dalad J mbmi ? 10, 

^•nMr# FUi Patemt^JHie, 1725; 9400 acrei; Mm Mi FMiia^ olhen 

(t^sttihf! fuaa/BH chap, tii, p. 44). 
C^Um Cadwdkda'i Pmiemi.^-lHU, 1738; 3,000 aena; Gad«allada> CoidcB 

the jooni^, and Coetmdt KjglitiiKfer, patg i iUta 
CMf'f JKHwr/— Uate, 1734; 22,000 aena ; Jo*?ph WorcH, Wafiaai Coriij, 

John Ljn^, Thomaa Fn^man, Pknl Riduvda, John Felton, Cfaariea WHliamaY 

Richard Shockbof)^, Tbnothj Baglej, Mnea Ljne aad Fiedetkk M otna, 

CUtfm AiamHdir't Fstem.— Date, 1761; 4,000 aeraa; Alexander Golden, 

WilUam WilleCt, Stephen DelMneej tad ChristophFr Rnnden, paftenteea. 
I^amk CoemmU*9 FaUtU (commonlj called Stalej's 3d IVact).— Date, 1765, 

5,000 aerea; Coemadt Frank, Frederiek Frank, Geoige Hetchkeinier, 

Michael Stigh and Peter Pfper, patenteea. 
JRiff im Foteirt,— Date, 1752 ; 2324 aerea ; Johan Jooet Herkimer and Hendriek 

Herkfmer, patenteea* 
Trtematmif$ (aee Bayarrf'f) Patent, 
QlmU PmrMam.-^lMe, 1739 ; 1660 aerea ; Jacob Glen. (It appean that the 

tmet of land called OUn^t Pmrduue, in the ooontf <rf Herkimer, wma laid 

ont into thirty-nine lota, and granted to diflSatent persona, aa faXLowt) : 
Patrick McCUm^irj and Andw. McDowell, 1738 ; 3710 aerea; lota 10, 16, 17, 

/. DeLaneey, J. Lindaaj and Abm. Glen, 1738 ; 5426 acres ; lota 3, 5, 7, 11, 

19, 20, 20, 34. 
Lendert Helmer, 1739 ; 1970 acres ; lots 13, 21, 38. 
Jacob Glen, 1739 ; 1660 acres ; lots 15, 25. 
Archibald Kennedj, 1739 : 1950 acres ; lots 12, 22, 30. 
John Schnyler, Jr., 1739 ; 1990 acres ; lots 14, 24, 35. 
Arent Bradt, 1739 ; 1907 acres; lots 6, 23, 27. 
Philip Sohnyler, 1739 ; 1863 acres ; lots 9, 18, 36. 
Samuel Anchmaty, 1761 ; 1090 acres ; lots 31, 32, 33. 
William Mitchell, 1761 ; 1910 acres ; lots 2, 8, 28. 
William Ogilrie, 1761 ; 2000 acres ; lots 1, 4, 39. 

Wm. Alexander and Henry Frey, two of the execnton of John Portens, de- 
ceased, to Alexander Ellioe. Deed dated March 19, 1801, conyeying, 

among others, the following lots of land, tIs : 


Lot No. 27 in Bametsfield, south side of the Mohawk river, and lots Nos. 12 
and 13, in same Tract, north side of the said river, each containing 100 
acres. (Recorded in the Secretary of State's office.) 

IfiucfMiewr'f Potent.— Date, 1769; 18,000 acres; Peter Hasendever, David 
Greame ; Mary Croftes, James Crawford, George Jackson, John Elves, Arthur 
Forest, Richard Willis, John Duval, Thos. Dampier, Wm. Robertson, Wm. 
Berry, Neal Ward, Mary Lncy Sleech, Hutchinson Mure, Catharine Hasen- 
dever, Mary Elisabeth Hasendever and Charies Croftes, patentees. 

Hmdermm^i P<rt«n^.— Date, 1789 ; 0000 acres ; James Henderson, John Kelly 
and James Henderson, younger, jMttentees. 

Hendermm'M or PetrU^t PurvAoM.— Date, 1740 ; 6000 acres ; Philip Livingston, 
John De Peyster and John Jost Petrie. This patent consists of lots 1, 2, 8, 
9, 15 and 16, in the 'tract called Henderson's or PttritU Purehtut. 

Johfuon Oufi Patent, — ^Date, 1765 ; 2000 acres ; Gxiy Johnson, patentee. 

Jene^fidd Patm<.— Date, 1770 ; 94,000 acres ; Henry Glen, Alexr. Campbell, 
John Visscher, Jr., Philip Garlock, Harmanus H. Wendell, Alexander Ellis, 
Cornelius Cuyler, Simon Schermerhom, John McCrea, Christopher Tates, 
Nicholas Brando, Petrus Dederick, Wilhelmus Osterhout, Isaac Vrooman, 
Ryer Wemple, Myndert R. Wemple, Mary Vrooman, John Farril, Jacob S. 
Yrooman, Tunis Van Vleck, Wm. Lyghtall, Hendrick Brower, Jun., John 
Baptist Wendell, Frederick Auker, Segar Van Sandford, Myndert Wemple, 
Yolkert Tedder, Omie Le Grange, Jacob Jacobee, Myndert La Grange, 
James Shuter, Robert Clench, Wm. Peters, Abm. C. Groot, Harmanus 
Wendell, Lucas Van Vechten, Philip Van Vechten, Cornelius Wenddl, 
Jacob H. Wendell, John H. Wenddl, Barent W. Vrooman, Jacob A. 
Vrooman, John Walker, Jacob Lansing, Samuel Van Slyoke, Simon Scher- 
merhom, Jun., Adam Van Slyck, Harmanus Bradt, Nicholas Van Petten, 
Hendrick Brower, Arent Van Petten, John Brown, Caleb Beck, Matthew 
Lyne, John Mynderse, Wm. Hanna, John Duncan, Mary Grant, John 
Abed, Garret Abed, Evert Byvanck, Jun., Gerard Banoker, John Byvanck, 
Benjamin Stymets, Isaac Sloover, Derick BrinokerhofT, John Baptist Van 
Epe, Isaac Truaz, Jacobus Mynderse, Jacobus Van Epe, Peter Truax, Wm. 
Phillips, James Cotter, JohnTyms, James Mordaunt, Alexander McCuUagh, 
John Mclntyre, Alexander Stewart, Edward Laight, John Lamb, John 
Tayl^, Edward NicoU, Charles NicoU, Charles Doughty, Wm. Whitehead, 
Elizabeth Breese, John Van Sice, Volokert P. Douw, James Deas, Samud 
Baj'ard, Sen., Angus McDonald, Samuel Breese, Samuel Doughty and John 
Visscher, patentees. 

Kagt Jokan Jurgh PoteiK.— Date, 1724 ; 1100 acres ; Johan Jurgh Kast, Lodo- 
wick, Sarah, Dorothy, Margaret, Elizabeth, Mary and Anna Mary, children 
of said Johan Jurgh Kast, patentees. 

VBmtmdink^a Potent.— Date, 1786; 4000 acres; Ezra L'Hommedieu and 

Nathanid Piatt, patentees. 
Lindaay*$ Pat«fi/.~Date, 1730 ; 3000 acres ; John Lindsay and Philip Livings- 
ton, patentees. 


Livingttm*$ PaUnt.^JHU, 1762; 20,000 acres; Philip liringrtOB, RndiHiih 
Keller, John Bark, Edward Earl, Samuel Bailey, Wm. Denning, Wm. lir- 
ingston, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer, Peter JhtboUf John Hansen, John Jam^ 
Beekman, Peter Hansen, Roger Townsend, Wm. McCracken, John Cnjler, 
Mjndert Baiger, Michael Hngo Frasier, Wm. Bailey, Geraidns l<an«ingii 
and Philip Lansing, patentees. 

Lamingh^t Pa<«n<.— Date, 1753 ; 6000 acres ; Jacob Lansingh, Abm. Tanaingh 
and Jacob G^len, patentees. 

LUpmard'e Patent.— Daie, 1770 ; 9200 acres ; Leonard Lispenard, Leonaid 
I^spenard, Jr., Anthony Lispenard, David Johnston, Stephen De Lanoey, 
John Fitzpattick, Jordan Ck)ok, Peter Stayvesant, Tunis Somemdyok, Mar- 
tin Shier, Qeo. Stanton, Henry Stanton, Rose Qrahfon and Mary Qfahaon, 

Macomb's PuttrfcoM.— Date, 1792 ; John Brown's Tract oonsists of part of 1,920, - 
000 acres of land, granted to Alexander Macomb, Jan. 10, 1792. 

McNiel'e Patent.— DtAb, 1761; 4000 acres; John MoNeU, Alexander McKqr, 
Alexander Stewart and Oliver Templeton, patentees. 

Madivn's Patent.— Dnid, 1786 ; 1600 acres ; Thomas Machin, patentee. 

Moou River 2Vvk<.— Date, 1847; 13,080 acres; Anson Blake, patentee. Town- 
ship No. 1 not granted, except 2 lots ; township No. 2 not granted ; town- 
ship No. 5 not granted, but one lot. 

Nobiebonmgh Patent.— Date, 1787 ; 40,960 acres; Arthur Noble, patentee. 

Royal Grant (or Kingsland), granted to Sir William Johnson by Letter's Patent 
under the great seal of Enghind. It is not recorded In the seoretaxy of 
state's office, and neither the date of the patent nor the number of acres 
granted are known. It was subdivided into four allotments. 

J{<fnMfi6f»rg^ Patent. — ^Date, 1787; 48,000 acres; Henry Remsen, Geo^ 
Klock, Jacob G. Klock and Dirok Van Ingen, patentees. 

iS^uyler'f Patent.— Date, 1755; 43,000 acres; Abm. Lynaen, David Schuyler, 
Nicholas Packard, Peter D. Schuyler, Gerardus Stnyvesant, James Living- 
ston, John Willett, Leonard Lispenard, Ghialthems Dubois, Peter P. Schuy- 
ler, Nicholas Bayard, Christopher Banoker, Samuel Heath, John Van Cort- 
landt, PhiHp Van Cortlandt, Wm. Kelly, David Vanderheyden, Robert 
Benson, John De Peyster, Jr., John Meyer, Augustine Moore and Coniadt 
Mathyse, patentees. 

SmeU and Timmerman't TVod.— Date, 1755; 3600 acros; Jacob Timberman 
and Johan Joost Schnell, patentees. 

Staley'e Patent, 1st and 2d Tracts.— Date, 1755 ; 34,000 acres ; Rudolph Staley, 
Johan lost HerMeimer, Jun.^ Thomas Schoonmaker, Peter Bellix^r, Jun., 
Frederick Orendorph, Hans Michael Ittig, Jun., Nichs. Woolaver, Hendriok 
Spone, Augustas Hess, Christopher Fox, Rudolph Qchoonmaker, Samuel 
Broughman, Jac