The Schoharie Valley is one of New York’s three great colonial valleys, its history closely connected to, but overshadowed by, the more famed Hudson and Mohawk Valleys. When the Palatines arrived there in 1712, the world they stepped into was a century in the making. Until now, this formative period of the valley’s history has never been fully told, nor has the true impact these rebellious German refugees had on New York’s western frontier. [Read more…] about Schoharie Valley & New York’s Western Frontier, 1687-1702
On October 19, 1780, Loyalists, Native Allies and British soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel Sir John Johnson and Captain Joseph Brant began destroying farms in Stone Arabia, a village about a mile north of Fort Keyser, in what was then Tryon County (today, Palatine Township in Montgomery County).
Colonel John Brown, leading a force of New York and Massachusetts revolutionaries left Fort Paris in Stone Arabia in an attempt to attack what he believed was a smaller, isolated enemy force. [Read more…] about Battles of Stone Arabia, Klock’s Field Archeological Study Complete
The hamlet of Fort Hunter in Montgomery County, NY, while small, has been historically significant even since before the American Revolution. It was home to people of the Mohawk Nation and was known as the Lower Castle being downstream or below Canajoharie on the Mohawk River. Being at the confluence of the Schoharie Creek and river it was always an important trade post for goods, food, and cultures. [Read more…] about Historic Fort Hunter: From Queen Anne’s War to the Erie Canal
The Town of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County, NY celebrated the installation of a historical marker at Quitman House on May 28th.
The building served as the Parsonage for the minister serving St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, better known as the Stone Church, located next door. The parsonage is known today as Quitman House and was built in 1798 to house the minister, Reverend Frederick H. Quitman, D. D.
During the American Revolution, British loyalists frequently raided the farms and homes of their former friends and neighbors in what is now Herkimer County, NY, with the support of their Native allies.
Among the communities raided were Andrustown (July 18, 1778), Rheimensnyders Bush (April 3, 1780, also known as Yellow Church), Shells Bush (August 6, 1781) and Little Falls (June 1782). The Loyalists knew the landscape well, for many of them had lived there for a generation or two. Many were relatives and friends of the recently deceased Sir William Johnson who had been Commissioner of Indian Affairs for North America.
One of these raids resulted in what has become known as the Battle of West Canada Creek, which occurred in September 1781. [Read more…] about Herkimer County Loyalist Raids & The Battle of West Canada Creek
The earliest European settlers in the Mohawk Valley came from what is now southwestern Germany. Under near constant threat of destruction, whether from multiple wars, invasions, or the plague, in the near hundred years leading up to the 18th century, the southwest German population experienced extreme hardship.
In some cases, entire towns and villages were wiped out. Commercial crops in the vineyards either failed or were destroyed. Invading French armies added to the hardship by burdening residents with housing and supporting soldiers, albeit with scant family resources, forcing many German homeowners to flee. [Read more…] about Palatines in the Mohawk Valley: 300 Years of History
The 1609 voyage by Henry Hudson up the river that bears his name caused the Dutch to claim the adjacent land. In 1621 these lands, the home of the Mohawk and Mohican people, were granted to the Dutch West India Company. The company established the Patroon System to attract settlers. A Patroon was given a large tract of land to sponsor settlers to colonize their land.
In 1629 the new Patroon, Killaen Van Rensselaer, was granted land to create the Manor of Rensselaerswyck in exchange for helping settle the land with Europeans. It incorporated most of the area in Albany, Rensselaer, Greene, and Columbia counties. Fort Orange (later the city of Albany), became the center of the Dutch fur trade. [Read more…] about Berne’s West Mountain Methodist Episcopal Church: Some History
The people we call Palatines were displaced during the turmoil of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). More than 13,000 mostly, though exclusively, Protestant Germans from the Middle Rhine region of the Holy Roman Empire first fled to England.
Known then as “Poor Palatines,” opposition to their immigration resulted in nearly 3,000 of them (about a third the size of the population of the city of New York) being sent to the colonial Province of New York in 1710. Many were forced to work off their passages at at work camps on Livingston Manor. In 1712, more than a hundred other families, sought new lives in the Schoharie Valley, then a frontier between the English, French, and Native People. From there, some moved to the Helderberg Escarpment, in what is now Western Albany County. [Read more…] about Palatines In The Helderbergs: The Zeh and Warner Sawmill
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’
During the turmoil of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), many Protestant Germans from the Middle Rhine region of the Holy Roman Empire fled to England, with the largest group of refugees – some 13,000 – arriving there in 1709.
The arrival of these “Poor Palatines” caused a rise in opposition to immigration in England. Most were quickly sent to Ireland, but nearly 3,000 were sent on 10 ships to the colonial Province of New York (a group about a third the size of the population of the city of New York at that time). [Read more…] about The Palatines Along Hoosick Road in Rensselaer County