A map of Van Rensselaer Patroonship leases made in 1787 does not shows anyone living on West Mountian, but white settlers probably started clearing land there within a few years of that date. A few years later there were enough folks to organize the Baptist Church of Christ, just north of the Rensselaerville-Berne town line. A schoolhouse was built next door, jointly operated by both towns. [Read more…] about Albany County’s West Mountain: Some History
Above the Helderberg Escarpment in Albany County, John Fisher (Johannes Fischer) of Berne was recorded in the 1790 Census with one enslaved person, one of the few recorded there. The 1800 Federal Census listed 30 enslaved people in the Town of Berne, among 15 families. There were eight enslaved people listed with Johannes Fischer’s family. [Read more…] about Slavery in the Town of Berne, Albany County, NY
One of the earliest settlers above the Helderberg Escarpment was Piter Fischer who homesteaded on the flats below the current hamlet of Berne, Albany County, in about 1740. He married Dorothea Ball, whose father, Peter Ball probably, owned the next farm to the west.
They were among the earliest settlers in Beaver Dam (now Berne, Albany County) and settled on choice valley land. [Read more…] about Early Helderberg Settlers: The Fischer – Wood House
The British and their Indigenous allies repeatedly attacked the communities in the Schoharie Valley to the west however, despite the presence of a large militia and three forts to protect the people of Schoharie. [Read more…] about When History Is Wrong: The Albany County ‘Dietz Massacre’
From 1630 until the Anti-Rent Movement of the 1840s, most of what is now Albany and Rensselaer Counties, along with parts of Columbia and Greene Counties, was part of the estate of the van Rensselaer family. They leased the land, but did not generally sell it.
Running north-south through Albany County is the Helderberg Escarpment, a vertical limestone cliff hundreds of feet high (Thatcher Park forms a part of this geologic feature) that separates the Hudson Valley lands in the eastern part of the county from the lands to the west, above the cliffs. Because the land above was difficult to reach, and the soils poorer, that area was settled somewhat later by Europeans. [Read more…] about Early Settlement Above The Helderberg Escarpment