HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF BLENHEIM.
BLENHEIM is one of the first towns formed in the County, and originally comprised the territory of Jefferson and a portion of Gilboa. The lands were first purchased of the government by John Weatherhead and John Butler, in 1769 and 1771, although small tracts had been obtained from the Indians previous to that time, which Sir William Johnson declared to be void. But a small part of the territory was settled before the Revolution, only that bordering on Breakabeen, as farther up the stream the flats were not broad enough to suit the Germans; besides, the Indians located above after disposing of their lands at and below Schoharie. Upon the close of the Revolution the territory was soon populated, and the town has made progress in the ratio of others, considering the withering feature of lease lands and quit-rents that were early sprung upon the people. Had it not been for the unflinching obstinacy of the first German settlers of Schoharie and Middleburgh in opposing the schemes of landed autocrats and oppressive officials, a goodly share of the County to-day would have been chained down by yearly rents, and in a continual litigation. We will refer particularly to the rent troubles of this town after dwelling upon the early history of it and the patriotic settlers.
Captain Hager settled upon the farm now occupied by Adelbert West, and was the son of Henry Hager who located upon the present Daniel Zeh farm in the town of Fulton.
The father and son, Jacob, no doubt were the first families that settled south of the present village of Breakabeen. Jacob Schaeffer, of Weiser's dorf, and a Kneiskern family, of Beaverdam, and the Beacraft family soon followed them, and made a quiet settlement until the commencement of the war. Henry Hager came from Germany when a lad with an uncle Jacob Frederick Hager, a preacher, who settled at the Camps. Three brothers of Henry also came at the same time. one settling in Hagerstown, Maryland, one in New Hampshire, and one upon the Mohawk. Henry sought the German flats, and in course of time married a sister of Mrs. General Herkimer, and then removed to this town, and at the commencement of the revolution was surrounded by all the comforts and conveniences enjoyed by the farmer at that day. His family consisted of five sons and one daughter, namely, Joseph, Peter, John, Jacob, David, and Mrs. Judge John M. Brown. The father was in service through the French war and near its cose, Jacob arrived at the required age to do military duty, and entered as a Lieutenant under Colonel Sternbergh.
Owing to their connection with the "upper fort," it being their especial field of patriotic labor, we refer to his career more particularly in the chapter upon that town. Upon the invasion by Crysler, Brant, and Seths Henry, of Vromansland in August, 1780, Captain Hager was upon his farm gathering his harvest, and was apprised of the affair by his brother, John, who mounted a horse upon the arrival of Leek at the fort with the sad news. Captain Hager was unloading hay when his brother came and quickly throwing it off his waton, the few inhabitants of that vicinity were taken into it, driven into the woods, and concealed near Keyser's Kill. Henry Hager started with the wagon, when a favorite dog, that began to bark, was caught by him, and faring it would betray the fugitives, he cut its throat with his pocketknife.
After proceeding some distance from his house, having forgotten some articles he intended to have taken with him, he returned and found it already occupied by the enemy, who made him prisoner.He was seventy-seven years old, and, as he was known to the enemy to be a firm Whig, his sons (one a captain), and several of his grandsons all being in the rebel army, he was treated with marked severity. They burned all of the Hager buildings and proceeded on their march to the Susquehanna, and encamped for the night a short distance southwest of North Blenheim, or Patchin Hollow. "The wagon which carried them from their homes," says Author Simms, "was left in one place, the horses in another, and the women and children were sheltered beneath a shelving rock, in a ravine of the mountain stream before named." "After the women and children were disposed of, Captain Hager, taking with him his brother and Lawrence Bouck, Jacob Thomas and several others who composed the guard mentioned, proceeded from Keyser's Kill with due caution, to ascertain if the "upper fort" had been captured. It was nearly noon when Brant left the vicinity of the fort, and nearly night when its commandant and his men reached it." "On the following day the women and children were removed to the fort."
Once while upon the journey to Niagara he received kind attention from an Indian. Being old and barefoot it was impossible for Hager to keep up with the party, and often he was found some distance in the rear, for which he was threatened with death each time, and upon the occasion referred to, he saw one of the savages coming on the backward track for the purpose he supposed, of carrying their threats into execution. Approaching him he spoke kindly and gave him something to eat, and after a friendly conversation upon a log by the roadside they continued the march. Hagar was gone eleven months, when he was exchanged and returned to his desolated home.
Beacraft, the notorious Tory, who fled to Canada in 1777, and returned several times to different sections for murder and plunder, was a resident of this town. His uncalled for murders and taunting jeers of prisoners taken from their homes by Indian parties, made his name and presence the most distasteful to the patriots.1 After peace was proclaimed he had the audacity to return to his old neighborhood, among those he had injured all he possibly could, to settle down again. Scarcely had the fact of his returning become known among the patriots than a squad of ten surrounded the house in which he was staying one night, and took the fiend to a grove of hickories a short distance below the Blenheim bridge, where they stripped off his clothing, undoubtedly without etiquette, and bound him to a fallen tree. Procuring ten withe hickory whips they surrounded him and gave him fifty lashes upon his bare back. At the conclusion of each ten, they reminded him of his infamous acts. The first was for being a Tory; second, for the murder of "that helpless boy, the son of Vroman, (see Fulton), whom you scalped and hung upon the fence;" third,"for tants, jeers and insults when certain persons well-known to you were captives among a savage enemy;"fifth,"for coming again to the bosom of that country upon which you have spit the venom of hate, and thus added insult to injury never to be forgotten." After thus punishing the villain they unbound and ordered him to "flee the country and never return."
It has been said he expressed his gratitude, after the fiftieth lash had been given, that he had been so gently dealt with, but there was not life enough lift in him to say anything about it. He was buried a short distance from the whipping grounds, rather privately, where his ashes lie to-day. The reader would naturally ask who it was that meted justice to the murderer? If General Patchin, and brother, Isaac, Captain Hager, Lewalt Bartholomew and Casper Martin had been asked who the remaining five were, they would not have told, as the facts were to be kept a secret.
No actual engagements occurred in this town during the war, but several of the settlers were made prisoners, and forced to endure untold hardships. We will give space to General Freegift Patchin's narrative of his captive life, as published by him over sixty years ago. We will here state that his experience was that of nearly all others, but few, too few, of less torture and endurance, and who were constitutionally able to survive their hardships. In 1798, General Patchin settled where Joseph Fink now resides, and built a mill. He appointed a General of the Militia, and represented the County in the Assembly in 1804, 1805, 1820, 1821 and 1822, being in six sessions, and was elected supervisor several terms. He was a very intelligent man considering his limited opportunities, and died August 30, 1831, at the age of seventy-three years, not having entirely recovered from the shock his consititution received while a captive. His children were: Mrs. George Martin, Mrs. Samuel Burns, afterwards Mrs. Nicholas Richtmyer, Lewis, Mrs. Frederick Hager, Charles, and Mrs. Joseph Johnson. Mrs. Martin is the only one living, being ninety years of age.
The Captivity and Sufferings of General Freegift Paatchin.--In the year 1780, myself as well as the whole population about the region of old Schoharie, were held in readiness by Colonel Peter Vroman as minute-men, to be ready at a moment's warning, as the Tories and Indians were a watchful and cruel enemy. Around the region of the head of the Delaware it was suspected there were persons who favored the cause of the British; a small company of men therefore were sent out as spies upon them, and also if possible to make a quantity of maple sugar, as an abundance of maple grew there. Of this little company Captain Alexander Harper had the command. Fourteen persons were all that were sent out, among whom were myself, Isaac Patchin, my brother, Ezra Thorp, Lieutenant Henry Thorp, and Major Henry. It was early in the month of April - the second day of the month - when we came to the place of rendezvous, a distance from the forts of Schoharie of about thirty miles. A heavy snow-storm came on, during which about three feet of snow fell, in addition to that which was on the ground before. We were not in the least apprehensive of danger as the nearest fort of the enemy was at Niagara; knowing also that Sullivan the year before had scoured the Chemung and Genesee countries, killed or driven the Indians to Canada; also as it was winter, and the snow very deep, we supposed were circumstances of sufficient magnitude to prevent marauding parties effectually from approaching from that quarter at that particular time. We had tapped, as the sugar making phrase is, a great number of trees, finding the proper utensils at hand, as they had been before occupied in the same way by the inhabitants who had fled to other places for safety. A few hundred pounds of maple sugar would have been a great acquisition, as the inmates of the forts were in want of all things, having been compelled to flee from their homes to Schoharie and other places of safety. We had proceeded in our enterprise as merrily as the fatiguing nature of the business would permit, a few days, when on the 7th of April 1780, at about two o'clock in the afternoon, we were suddenly beset and surrounded by forty-three Indians and seven Tories. The names of the Tories I forbear to mention, except two or three, of whom the reader will hear in the course of the narrative, the rest I have thought proper not to name, as their descendants are not chargeable with the misguided acts of their father, and it is not my wish at this time of day to cast reflections and grieve the innocent. So silent had been the approach of the enemy that three of our number lay weltering in their blood before I or any of the rest knew they were among us, as we were scattered here and there busy with our work. I was not far from our captain when I saw the Indians first, who were accosted by Brant, their leader, as follows: - "Harper, I am sorry to find you here." "Why," said Harper, "Captain Brant, are you sorry?" "Because," he replied, "I must kill you, though we were schoolmates in youth." Then he lifted and flourished his tomahawk over his head ready to execute the deed, but suddenly, as if paralyzed by a stroke of magic, stopped this act of murder, as if some new and important thought had crossed his mind - when he gazed at Harper with an eye as keen and deadly as a serpent, saying, "Are there any troops at the forts at Schoharie?" Harper perceived in a moment, that the answer to this question would either save their lives or procure their instant death; for if ye should say no, which would have been the truth, the Indians would have killed them all and then proceeded to old Schoharie, massacreing as they went, and cut off the whole inhabitants before help could have been had from any quarter, and the enemy, as a wolf, when the morning appears, flees with the shades of night. Accordingly, he answered, "There are three hundred Continental troops now at the forts, who arrived there about three days since.: But the whole of this statement was untrue; yet who will condemn the captain, and say the act would need much repentance ere it should have obtained forgiveness. On hearing this, the countenance of Brant fell, when he waved with his hand a signal to the chief, stopped the massacre, and called a council of war; all of which, from the time Brant had brandished his hatchet over the head of Harper, had been but the work of a moment.
The eleven survivors were seized, pinioned, and turned all together in a hog-pen, where they were kept till the morning. A guard of Tories, with one Beacraft by name at their head, was set over them in the pen - a bloody villain, as will appear in the course of this account.
All night Brant and his warriors, with the Tories, were in fierce consultation whether the prisoners should be put to death, or taken alive to Niagara. The chiefs appeared swayed by Brant,whose influence prevailed over the whold opposition of the murderous crew; there was a reason for this, as will appear by-and-by. While this question was pending, we could see plainly their every act through the chinks of the pen, as a monstrous fire was in their midst, and hear every word, though none of us understood their language but our captain, whose countenance we could perceive, by the light of the fire, from time to time changing with the alternate passions of hope and fear, while the sweat ran down his face from the mere labor of his mind, although it was a cold night. And added to this, the sentry, Beacraft, who was set as a guard, would every now and then cry out to us, "You will all be in hell before morning." But there we were, tied neck and heels, or we would have beat the pen about his head. Our captain whispered to us that his word was doubted by the Indians and Tories, who were for killing us, and proceeding without delay to Schoharie. At length the morning came, when Brant and his associate chiefs, five in number, ordered that Harper be bought befgore them. Here the question was renewed by Brant, who said, "We are suspicious that you have lied to us;" at the same time he sternly looked Harper in the face, to see if a muscle moved with fear or prevarication. To which our captain answered with a smile, expressive of confidence and scorn, and at the same time descriptive of the most sincere and unvarying honesty, that every word which he had spoken, respecting the arrival of troops at Schoharie, was wholly true. His answer was believed, at which moment not only their own lives were saved, but also those of hunmdreds of men, with helpless women and children, who have not known to this day, except the few to whom the story has been told, that so great a Providence stepped in between them and servitude, torture and death.
It was extremely mortifying to Brant to be compelled to relinquish, at the very moment when he was ready to grasp the utmost of his wish, in the glory and riches he would have acquired in the completion of his enterprise. He had fed the hopes of his associate chiefs, warriors and Tories with the same prospects; having calculated, from information long before received, that Schoharie was in a defenseless state, and dreaded no evil, which rendered it extremely difficult to restrain them from killing the prisoners out of mere fury at the disappointment. A few moments of consultation ensued, when the rest were ordered out of the pen. Brant now disclosed the whole plan of the expedition in English, expressing his regret at its failure, stating that he and the other chiefs had, with difficulty, saved them from being scalped, and that he did not wish to kill them in cold blood now, they had been together a day and a night, and if they chose to go with him to Niagara as captives of war, they might, but if they failed on the way through fatigue or want of food, they must not expect to live, as their scalps were as good as their bodies.
They had no provisions with them, neithere had they eat anything as yet while we had been their prisoners, except what they had found in our sap-bush, which they had at first devoured with the rapacity of cannibals. We now took up our line of march, with our arms strongly pinioned, our shoulders sorely pressed with enormous packs, our hearts bleeding at the dreadful journey before us, and the servitude we were exposed to undergo among the Indians, or if bought to the British, imprisoned by land and sea, was our certain fate, at least till the end of the war, if we even survived the journey.
The snow was then more than three feet deep, and being soft rendered it impossible for us prisoners to travel, as we had no snow-shoes, but the Indians had; a part, therefore, of them went before us and a part behind, all in Indian file, so by keeping their tracks we were enabled to go on, but if we happened to fall down, the Indians would cry out, "Waugh Bostona." We had traveled about ten or twelve miles,when we came to a grist-mill, situated on the Delaware, the owner of which welcomed this band of infernals, and gave them such refreshments as were in his power, but to us, poor prisoners, he gave nothing, while we were made to sit apart on a log beside the road. I shall never forget the cruelty of three or four daughters of this man, whose name I forbear to mention out of pity to his descendants. These girls insisted that they had better kill us there, for if by any means we should ever get back, their own lives would be taken by the Whigs; their father also observed to Brant that he had better had taken more scalps and less prisoners. When we were ready to proceed again, the miller gave Brant about three bushels of shelled corn, which was divided into eleven different parts and put upon our backs, already too heavily burdened. This corn was all the whole body of Indians and ourselves had to subsist upon from there to Niagara, except that which accidentally fell in our way, a distance of more than three hundred miles, entirely a wilderness. From this mill we traveled directly down the river; we had not, however, gone many miles, when we met a man who was a Tory, well-known to Brant, by name Samuel Clockstone, who seeing us, the prisoners, was surprised, as he knew us; when Brant related to him his adventure, and how he had been defeated by the account Captain Harper had given of the troops lately arrived at Schoharie. "Troops," said Clockstone, "there are no troops at that place, you may rely upon it, Captain Brant, I have heard of none." In a moment the snake eyes of Brant flashed murder and running to Harper, he said, in a voice of unrestrained fury, his hatchet vibrating about his head like the tongue of a viper, "How come you to lie to me so?" When Harper, turning to the Tory, said, "You know, Mr. Clockstone, I have been there but four days since; you know since our party was stationed at the head of the river, at the sap-bush, that I have been once to the forts alone, and there were troops, as I have stated, and if Captain Brant disbelieves it, he does it at his peril." That Harper had been there happened to be true, which the Tory happened to know, when he replied, "Yes, I know it." All the while Brand had glared intensely on the countenance of Harper, if possible to discover some misgivings there, but all was firm and fair; when he again believed him, and resumed his march.
There was a very aged man by the name of Brown, who had not gone off with the rest of the families who had fled the country. This miserable old man, with two grandsons, mere lads, were taken by Brant's party, and compelled to go prisoners with us. The day after our meeting with the Tory, as above described, this old man, who was entirely bald from age, became to weary to keep up with the rest, and requested that he might be permitted to return and alleged as a reason, that he was too old to take part in the war, and therefore, could do the King's cause no harm. At this request, instead of answering him, a halt was made, and the old man's pack taken from him, when he spoke in a low voice to his grandsons, saying that he should see them no more, for they were going to kill him; this he knew, being acquainted with the manners of the Indians. He was now taken to the rear of the party, and left in the care of an Indian, whose face was painted entirely black, as a token of his office, which was to kill and scalp any of the prisoners who might give out on the way. In a short time the Indian came on again, with the bald scalp of the old man dangling at the end of his gun, hitched in between the ramrod and muzzle, thie he often flapped in the boys'faces on the journey. The place at which this was done was just on the point of a mountain, not far from opposite where Judge Foot used to live, on the Delaware, below Delhi. There he was left and doubtless devoured by wild animals. Human bones were afterwards found on that part of the mountain.
We pursued our way down the Delaware till we came to the Cook House, suffering very much, night and day, from the tightness of the cords with which our arms were bound. From this place we crossed through the wilderness, over hills and mountains, the mostdifficult to be conceived of, till we came to a place called Ochquago, on the Susquehanna river, which had been an Indian settlement before the war. Here they constructed several rafts out of old logs, which they fastened together with withes and poles passing crosswise, on which, after untying us, we were placed, themselves managing to steer. These soon floated us down as far as the mouth of the Chemung river, where we disembarked and were again tied, taking up our line of march for the Genesee country. The Indians, we found, were more capable of sustaining fatigue than we were and easily out-traveled us, which would have led to the loss of our lived had not a singular Providence interfered to save us! This was the indisposition of Brant, who every other day for a considerable time fell sick, so that the party were compelled to wait for him, this gave an opportunity for us to rest ourselves. Brant's sickness was an attack of the fever and ague, which he checked by the use of a preparation from the rattlesnake. The rattlesnake he caught on the side of a hill facing to the south, on which the sun shone, and had melted away the snow from the mouth of the den of those serpents, where it appears one had crawled out, being invited by the warmth.
The reader will also observe that about a fortnight had now elapsed from the time of our captivity, so that the season was farther advanced, and added to this, the snow is sooner melted on the Chemung, in Pennsylvania, being farther south by about three degrees than the head of the Delaware, yet in places even there, there was snow on the ground, and in the woods it was still deep. Of this snake he make a soup, which operated as a cure to the attack of the ague. The reader will remember the three bushels of corn given at the mill; this they fairly and equally divided among us all, which amounted to two handsful a day, and that none should have more or less than another while it lasted, the corn was counted as we received them; in this respect Brant was just and kind. This corn we were allowed to boil in their kettles when the Indians had finished theirs; we generally contrived to pound it before we boiled it, as we had found a mortar at a deserted wigwam left by the Indians the year before, who had been driven away by General Sullivan. While in the neighborhood of what is now called Tioga Point, we but narrowly escaped every man of us being butchered on the spot; a miracle, as it were, saved us. The cause was a follows: At this place, when Brant was on his way down the Chemung on this same expedition, but a fews days before, he had detached eleven Indians from his company to pass through the woods from Tioga Point to a place called Minisink. It was known to Brant that at this place were a few families, where it was supposed several prisoners might be made or scalps taken, which at Niagara would fetch them eight dollars a piece. This was the great stimulus by which the Indians in the Revolution were incited by Butler, the British agent, to perpetrate so many horrid murders upon women, children, and helpless old age in this region of country.
This party made their way to the Minisink, where, lying concealed in the woods, they managed to get into their possession, one after another, five lusty men, and had brought them as far as to the east side of the Susquehanna opposite Tioga Point. Here they encamped for the night, intending in the morning to construct a raft in order to float themselves over the river, as they had done on their way towards the Minisink a few days before, and so pursue their way up the Chemung which course was the great thoroughfare of the Indians from the Susquehanna country to that of the Genesee. Meanwhile the eleven Indians lay fast asleep being greatly fatigued and apprehending no danger, as the prisoners were securely bound and sleeping soundly, as the Indians supposed, before they laid themselves down; but as the soul of one man, the prisoners were ever watching some opportunity to escape. But this was not possible even if they could have made their escape, unless they should first have effected the death of the whole of the party of Indians. This object therefore was their constant aim. This night, by some means unknown, one of the prisoners got loose, doubtless either by knawing off his cord or by chafing it in two as he lay upon it, or during the day had managed to hitch it as often as he could against the snags of the trees till it had become fretted and weak in some place, so that at last he got it in two. When this was effected, he silently cut the cords of his fellows, when each man took a hatchet, and in a moment nine of them received their blades to their handles in their brains; but the sound of the blows in cutting through the bones of their heads awakened the other two, who sprung upon their feet as quick as thought, when one of them, as he fled, received the blade of a hatchet between his shoulders, which, however, did not kill him nor prevent his escape, yet he was terribly wounded.
These men who had so heroically made their escape, returned, as was supposed, to their homes to relate to their families and posterity the perils of that dreadful night. After they had gone, the two Indians returned to the spot where lay their ruthless but unfortunate companions, fast-locked, not only in the sleep of the night, but that of death, never more to torment the ear of civilized life with the death yell of their sepulchral throats.
They took from the feet of their slaughtered friends their mocassins, nine pair in number, and then constructed a raft on which they crossed the river, and had proceeded little way up the Chemung where they had built a hut, and the well Indian was endeavoring to cure his wounded companion.
When the whooping of the party of Indians to whom we were prisoners struck their ear, he gave the death yell, which hung on the dull air as the scream of a demon reverberating in doleful echoes up and down the stream; at which the whole body made a halt and stood in mute astonishment, not knowing what this could mean; when directly the two Indians made their appearance, exhibiting the nine pair of mocassins, and relating in the Indian tongue, which Harper understood, the death of their companions. In a moment as if transformed to devils, they threw themselves into a great circle around us, exhibiting the most horrid gestures, gnashing their teeth like a gang of wolves ready to devour, brandishing their tomahawks over us, as so many arrows of death. But here let it be spoken, to the praise of Divine Providence, at the moment when we had given ourselves up as lost, the very Indian, who was a chief, and had been the only one of the eleven who had escaped unhurt, threw himself into the midst of the ring, and with a shake of his hand gave the signal of silence, when he plead our cause by simply saying, "These are not the men who killed our friends, and to take the life of the innocent in cold blood, cannot be right." As it happened, this Indian knew us all, for he had lived about Schoharie before the war, and was known as an inoffensive and kind-hearted native, but when the war came on, had seen fit to join the British Indians; his words had the desired effect, arrested the mind of Brant, and soothed to composure the terrific storm that a moment before had threatened to destroy us.
Again we resumed our course, bearing with considerable more patience and fortitude the anguish of our sufferings, than it is likely we should have done had our lives not been preserved from a greater calamity just described. We soon came to Newtown, where we were nearly at the point of starvation, Indians and all, as we had nothing to eat except a handful or two of corn a day; and what the end would have been is not hard to forsee, had not the amazing number of wolf tracks remaining, directed us to the carcass of a dead horse. The poor brute had been left to take care of itself the summer before by Sullivan, in his march to the Indian country, being unfit for further service as a pack-horse. Here, on the commons of nature, which during the summer and fall, it is likely, produced an abundance of pasturage, but when winter came on and rendered it impossible for the poor worn-out animal to take care of itself, death came to its relief. That it had lived to the winter had become severe, was evident from its not being in the least degree putrescent, but was completely frozen, it having been buried in the snow during the winter.
The wolves had torn and gnawed the upper side quite away, but not being able to turn the carcass over it was sound and entire on the under side. This we seized upon, rejoicing as at the finding of a hidden treasure! It was instantly cut to pieces, bones, head and hoofs, and equally divided among the whole. Fires were built, at which we roasted and eat, without salt, each his own share, with the highest degree of satisfaction.
Near this place we found the Painted Post, which is now known over the whole continent, to those conversant with the early history of our country; the origin of which was as follows: Whether it was in the Revolution or in the Dunmore battles with the Indians, which commenced in Virginia, or in the French war, I do not know, an Indian chief on this spot had been victorious in battle, killed and taken prisoners to the number of sixty. This event he celebrated by causing a tree to be taken from the forest and hewed four square, painted red, and the number he killed, which was twenty-eight, represented across the post in black paint, without any heads, but those he took prisoners, which were thirty, were represented with heads on, in black paint, as the others. This post he erected and thus handed down to posterity an account that here a battle was fought, but by whom, and who the sufferers were is covered in darkness, except that it was between the whites and Indians.
The post will probably continue as long as the country shall remain inhabited, as the citizens heretofore have uniformly replaced it with a new one exactly like the original, whenever it has become decayed. Nothing more of note happened to us till we came to the Genesee river, except a continued state of suffering. We passed along between the Chemung and the head of the lakes Cayuga and Seneca, leaving the route of Sullivan, and went over the mountains farther north. These mountains. as they were very steep and high, covered with brush, and our bodies being weak and emaciated, were almost insurmountable, but at length we reached the top of the last and highest, which overlooks immeasurable wilds, the ancient abode of men and nations unknown, whose history is written only in the dust. Here we halted to rest, when the Tory Beacraft took it in his head to boast of what we had done in the way of murder since the war began. He said that he and others had killed some of the inhabitants of Schoharie, and that among them was the family of one Vroman. These he said they soon dispatched, except a boy of about fourteen years of age, who fled across the flat toward the Schoharie river. "I took after the lad," said the Tory, "and although he ran like a spirit, I soon overtook him, and putting my hand under his chin laid him back on my thigh, though he struggled hard, cut his throat, scalped him, and hung the body across the fence." This made my blood run cold; vengeance boiled through every vein, but we dare not say a word to provoke our enemies, as it would be useless. This man, however, got his due, in a measure, after the war was over, which will be related at the end of this account.
Another of them, by the name of Barney Cane, boasted that he had killed one, Major Hopkins, on Dimon Island, in Lake George. "A party of pleasure," as he stated, "had gone to this Island on a sailing excursion, and having spent more time than they were aware of before they were ready to return, concluded to encamp and remain all night, as it would be impossible for them to return to the fort. From the shore where we lay hid, it was east to watch their motions; and perceiving their defenseless situation, as soon as it was dark, we set off for the Island, where we found them asleep by their fire, and discharging our guns among them, several were killed, among them was one woman who had a suckling child, which was not hurt. This we put to the breast of its dead mother, and so we left it.
But Major Hopkins was only wounded, his thigh-bone being broken; he started from his sleep to a stooping posture, when I struck him," said Bareny Cane, "with the butt of my gun on the side of his head, he fell over, but caught on one hand; I then knocked him the other way, when he caught with the other hand; a third blow I laid him dead. These were all scalped except the infant. In the morning, a party from the fort went and brought away the dead, together with one they found alive, although he was scalped, and the babe, which was hanging and sobbing at the bosom of its llifeless mother."
Having rested ourselves, and our tantalizing companions having finished the stories of their infamy, we descended the mountain towards the Genesee, which we came in sight of the next day about two o'clock. Here we were met by a small party of natives, who had come to the flats of the Genesee for the purpose of corn planting, as soon as the waters of the river should fall sufficiently to drain the ground of its water. These Indians had with them a very beautiful horse which Brant directed to be cut to pieces in a moment, and divided equally without dressing or any such fashionable delay, which was done, no part of the animal whatever being suffered to be lost. There fell to each man of the company but a small piece, which we roasted, using the white ashes of fires as salt, which gave it a delicious relish; this Brant himself showed us how to do. On these flats were found infinite quantities of ground nuts, a root in form and size about equal to a musket ball, which, being roasted, became exceedingly mealy and sweet. These, together with our new acquisition of horse-flesh, formed a delicious repast.
From this place Brant sent a runner to Niagra, a distance of about eighty miles, in order to inform the garrison of his approach, and of the number of prisoners he had, their names and quantity. This was a most humane act of Brant, and by this means he effected the removal of all the Indian warriors in the two camps contiguous to the fort. Brant was in possession of a secret respecting Harper, which he had carefully concealed in his own breast during the whole journey, and, probably, in the very first instance at the time when he discovered that Harper was his prisoner, operated by influencing him, if possible, in saving his life. This secret consisted in a knowledge that there was then in the fort a British officer who had married a niece of Harper, Jane More, whose mother was a sister of Captain Harper. This girl, together with the mother and a sister, had been captured at the massacre of Cherry Valley and taken to Niagra. This information was conveyed by means of the runner to the husband of Jane More, Captain Powell, who, when the girl was first brought by Butler and his Indians, a prisoner to the fort, loved, courted and honorably married. Now if Powell wished to save the life of his wife's uncle he had the opportunity, by doing as Brant had suggested, that was, to send the warriors of both camps down the lake to the nine-mile landing, with the expectation of meeting Brant there, whose prisoners would be given into their hands to be dealt with as the genius of their nature's customs might suggest. Accordingly, Powell told his wife that her uncle was among the prisoners of Brant, who had sent him word, and that the warriors must be sent away; to whom he gave a quantity of rum, as they thought, to aid in the celebration of their infernal pow-wows at the nine-mile landing, having obtained the consent of his superior, Colonel Butler to do so.
Brant had concealed, from both his Indians and Tories, as well as from the prisoners, that Powell, at the fort, was Harper's relative, or that he had made the above arrangement.
The reader may probably wish to know why the warriors in those two camps must be sent away, in order to save the lives of the prisoners. All persons acquainted with Indian customs in time of war, know very well that the unhappy wretch who falls into their hands at such a time, is compelled to run what is called the gauntlet, between two rows of Indians, composed of warriors, old men, women and children, who, as the prisoner flies between them, if possible, to reach a certain point assigned, called a councilhouse, or a fort, receives from every one who can reach him, a blow with the fist, club, hatchet or knife, and even wadding fired into their bodies, so that they generally with their wounds before they reach the appointed place, though they struggle with all the violence of hope and dispair. We had now, on the fourth day after the runner had been sent, arrived within two miles of Niagra, when the Tories began to tell us the danger we were soon to be exposed to, in passing those two Indian encampments, which, till then, we knew nothing of; this difficulty they were careful to describe in the most critical manner, so that every step, although so near our journey's end, when we hoped at least to have our hunger satisfied, was as the steps of the wretch condemned to die. But on the coming to the first encampment what was our surprise and joy at finding nothing there capable of injuring us but a few old women and children, who had indeed formed themselves as before described. However, one old squaw coming up in a very friendly manner saluted me by saying, "Poor shild, poor shild," when she gave me a blow, which, as I was tired, could not be parried, that nearly split my head in two. Directly we came to the second encampment, which was supposed to be more dangerous, as the most bloody warriors were, from choice, situated nearest the fort; but here, through the policy of Powell, a whole regiment of British troops were thrown into two parallel lines, extending through the whole encampment, to protect us, as here were many young lads of the natives quite able, if opportunity was given them, to hack and club us to death before we reached the fort, although it was to be our prisonhouse, was seen through the opening woods. I had come to within about five rods of the gateway, still agonizing under the effects of the old squaw's blow, when a young savage, about twelve years old, came running with a hatchet in his hand directly up to me, and seizing hold of the petunip line, or cord, by which I was tied, twitched me around so that e faced each other, when he gave me a blow between my eyes on the forehead that nearly dropped me dead, as I was weak and faint; the blood spouted out at a fearful rate, when a soldier snatched the little demon's hatchet and flung it into the lake. Whether Brant was awarded over and above the eight dollars, (which was the stipulated price per head), for Harper, or not, I cannot tell; but as was most natural to suppose, there was on the part of himself and niece great joy on so unexpectedly falling in with friends and relatives in the midst of enemies, and on the part of Powell respect and kindness was shown to Harper on account of the lovely Jane More, who had become a talisman of peace between them.
We had scarcely arrived when we were brought to the presence of a number of British officers of the Crown, who blazed in all the glory of military habiliments, and among them as chief, was the bloated, insolent, unprincipled, cruel, infamous Butler, whose name will stink in the recollections of men to the latest page of American history; because it was he who directed, rewarded, and encouraged the operations of the Indians and Tories all along from Canada to the State of Delaware. This man commenced in a very abusive manner to question us respecting American affairs; and addressing me in particular, probably because he was nearer me than any of the rest, whether I did not think that by and by his Indians would compel a general surrender of the Yankees! I replied to him in as modest a manner as possible, not feeling in a mood of repartee, as the blood from the wound in my forehead still continued to trickle down my face, covering my vest and bosom with blood, that I did not wish to say anything about it nor to give offense to anyone. But he would not excuse me; still insisting that I should say whether I did not think so; to which I firmly replied -- feeling what blood and spirit there were yet left in me, to rouse a little -- that if I must answer him, it was to say NO! and that he might as well think to empty the lake of its waters at a bucketful at a time, as to conquer the Yankees in that way. At which he burst out in a violent manner, calling me a dam'd rebel, for giving him such an insolent answer, and ordered me out of his sight; but here, when ready to sink to the floor, (not from anything the huge bulk of flesh had said to me, but from hunger, weariness, and the loss of blood,) a noble-hearted soldier interposed, saying to Butler, "The lad is not to blame, as you have compelled him to answer your question, which no doubt he has done according to the best of his judgment." "Here, poor fellow, take this glass of wine and drink." Thus the matter ended.
We were now given over to the care of a woman, Nancy Bundy by name, who had been ordered to prepare us a soup, made of proper materials, who was not slow to relieve our distress as far as she dare, as she also was a prisoner. But in taking off the belt that I had worn around my body, as the manner of the Indians is, to keep the wind out of the stomach, it appeared that I was falling to pieces, so strange was the sensation, that I was ready to disown my own body that I not been convinced by my other senses that there was no mistake.
I will just give the reader a short account of this woman, as I received it from herself. She stated that herself, husband, and two children were captured at the massacre of Wyoming, by Butler's Indians and Tories, and brought to the Genesee country, then entirely inhabited by the natives. There she was parted from her husband, the Indians carrying him she knew not where, but to some other and distant tribe. She had not been long in the possession of the tribe after her husband was taken away, when the Indian who had taken her prisoner, addressed her, and was desirous of making her his wife; but she repulsed him, saying very imprudently she had one husband, and it would be unlawful to have more than one. This seemed to satisfy him, and she saw no more of him for a long time; but after awhile he came back and renewed his suit, alleging that there were no objections to her marrying him as her husband was dead, for, said he, I found where he was and I have killed him. She then told him if he had killed her husband he might kill her also, for she could not marry a murderer. When he saw that she was resolute and that his person was hateful in her sight, he took and tied her, and brought her to this place and sold her for eight dollars.
From this prison, after being sold to the British garrison for eight dollars a head, we were sent across the lake to Carleton Island, from this place down to the Cedars; from the Cedars we were transported from place to place, till at length we were permanently lodged in the prison at Chambly. Here we were put in irons, and remained two years, suffering everything but death, for want of clothes, fire, food, medicine, exercise and pure air. At length from the weight and inconvenience of my irons I became so weak that I could not rise from the floor, when my fellow-suffered Thorp, who was not as badly off as myself, used to help me up.
The physician appointed to have the care of the prisoners, whose name was Pendergrass, paid but little attention to his charge, seldom visiting us, but never examining closely into our situation; consequently a description of my horrid condition would afflict the reader, on which account I forbear it. At length however this physician was removed and another put in his place, of entirely contrary character; he was humane, inquisitive, industrious and skillful.
When he came first to that part of the prison where myself and about twenty others were confined, the captain of the fort came with him, when the doctor proceeded to examine us, one by one, instead of giving us a general look only, as the other had done. The place where I sat was quite in the corner, I had chosen it because it was darkest and served to hide me from observation more than any other part of the room. I had contrived to get into my possession an old rug of some sort which partly hid my naked limbs; this I kept over my lap in the best possible manner.
After a while it became my turn to be examined, when he said: "Well my lad what is the matter with you?" From shame and fear lest he would witness the loathsome predicament which I was in, I said, "Nothing sir," "Well then," said he "get up." "I cannot sir, said I." "He then took the end of his cane and putting it under the blanket that was partly over me, threw it to one side, and a spectacle of human suffering presented itself, such as he had not dreamed of seeing. I had fixed my eyes steadily on his face, to see if aught of pity moved his breast, which I knew I could trace in his countenance, if they appeared. He turned pale; a frown gathered on his brow, the curl of his lip denoted wrath; when he turned round to the captain of the fort, whose name was Steel, and looking steadily at him said, in a voice of thunder, "You infamous villain, in the name of God, are you murdering people alive here! send for your provost sergeant in a moment, and knock off that poor fellow's spare shackles, or I will smash you in a moment!" Oh, this language was balm to my wounds; was oil to my bleeding heart; it was the voice of sympathy, of determined mercy, and immediate relief. I had a soldier's heart, which shrank not; a fountain of tears I had not in the hour of battle; but now they rushed out amain, as if anxious to behold the man who, by his goodness had drawn them from their deep seclusion.
An entire change of situation now took place; our health was recovered, which rendered my imprisonment quite tolerable. From this place after a while we were sent to Rebel Island, or Cutodelack or Cutthroat Island, where we remained a year, when peace was declared.
We were now sent to Quebec and put on board a cartel ship, and sent round to Boston; though before we reached that place we were driven out to sea in a storm and nearly shipwrecked, suffering exceedingly; but al least arrived at the desired haven where I once more set foot on my native land and rejoice that it was a land of liberty and Independence. As fast as possible we made the best of our way to Old Schoharie, which was our home, after an absence of three years, during which I suffered much, as well as my companions, for the love of my country; which under the blessings of Heaven I have enjoyed these many years, feeling that it is a recompense in full measure.
May He, who never lost a battle perpetuate the blessing to those who have it, to the latest era of time.
Supposed Silver Mine. -- Years before the Revolution, the Indians procured an ore at some point in Blenheim that resembled silver, and as soon as peace was proclaimed, efforts were made by the speculative to find the vein that the Indians had kept a secret. After several ineffectual attempts, John and Wilhelmus Bouck procured the services of one Casper Bertram, a German mineralogist, or, as called at that time a "chemister", whose superstition was greater than his ability. After searching for several years he concluded the precious ore lay in large deposits upon the farm of Nicholas Becker.
Accordingly, the Boucks drew up the following: --
"Articles of Agreement made, concluded and signed the seventeenth Day of December in the year of our Lord one Thousand Eight Hundred and Four Between Nicholas Becker and Catherine his wife of the town of Blenheim in the county of Schoharie farmers of the first part and John Bauch -- Wilhelmus Bauch and Casper Bertram of the town of Schoharie and county aforesaid of the other part Witnesseth that whereas it is probable from the situation and appearance that there is ore in the farm of the Party of the first part where he now resides on the east side of the Schoharie creek or river Southerly from his Dwelling house, and whereas the Parties of the second part having an inclination to Dig and work said ore or mine have together with the parties of the first part made the following mutual arrangements:
"Firstly It is agreed between both Parties that the said Parties of the Second Part shall have full power and authority to Dig the said ore or mine and take out the ore of whatever nature, forever, and further that the said Parties of the second part shall have full power and authority in their digging to follow the said ore or ores in such direction as will be the most advisable and best advantageous for both Parties and also that the Parties of the Second part shall have the privilege to go to and return from the said mine with any team or carriage to Carry off their ores, and to carry to the mine what shall be required towards the mine and it is further agreed between both parties, that the party of the first part shall furnish all the wood necessary for the mine if there is any required for the same, and it is further agreed that the second party shall work or dig the mine at their own expense and charges, and that the party of the first part shall have an equal fourth part of all the ore which shall be dug out of said mine, and the party of the second part shall have three equal third parts of the said ore so dug by the parties of the second part out of said mine, and it is further agreed by both parties, that the parties of the second part and their Heirs shall have a lawful right to enjoy the above Preveledges for such term of time as the Parties of the second part shall think Proper to quit the same, or until such time that there is no more ore to be found in said farm or mine. And for the more absolute Performance and confermance of the above articles, and to render the same more effectual in the law, Both Parties Do respectively bind themselves, their Heirs, Executors and Administrators and assignees for the above Permitted times or Period.
"In witness whereof Both parties to these Presents have hereunto Interchangebly set their Hands and seals the Day and year first above written.
"Signed by Nicholas Becker and Catharine, his wife, John Bouck and Casper Berthram, in the presence of Elias Holladay and M. N. Simmons, Jun."
Before seeking for the ore, Bertram had a written oath or pledge which he took himself and required those who assisted him to do the same, if not, their efforts would prove futile. The cross that follows the jargon is to be understood as the number of times each one was to cross themselves over the heart with the forefinger of the right hand, after walking over the ground with an apple-tree branch, which was supposed to be able to point to the spot, by order of the "Spirit" that answered the charge, which was as follows: -
"I charge you to reveal to me what I ask you in the name of the three holy Kings, Casper, Besler, and Melchior, who found the infant Christ in the East.
The jargon of course, was repeated in German, and according to tradition, was effectual in finding treasures.
The original of the oath was obtained and preserved by john G. Gebbard, Jr., as was the articles of agreement, to whom we are indebted for the privilege of a copy. It was thought copper ore was obtained, but before the mines began to work in earnest, an accident happened to Bertram, that closed his life.
One of the Beckers was anxious to cut a certain piece of grass, and procured several hands to assist - perhaps made a "bee" cut to it - and Bertram was one of the number, and in mowing ahead of one of the laborers, he was cut in the leg by him, and bled to death.
It is said he was buried in one corner of the lot, and with him vanished the silver mines, but not the idea of the treasure being hid in large quantities within the rocks, as we still find those who believe in an inexhaustable mine beneath the giant hills, that will some day enrich the county.
War of 1812 - When the war of 1812 was proclaimed this part of the County was aroused to a sense of patriotism that culminated in twenty-five entering service. The first that went belonged to the regiment of militia and every third one was drawn. Afterwards an enlisting station was made at Schoharie village, under Major Diedrick Van Vetchten. Daniel Hager, grandson of Captain Jacob Hager was a captain in the militia service and was in the engagements at Sackett's harbor and Plattsburgh, as was Captain Philip Bartholomew in the same regiment, two men of firm adherence to country, as were their grandfathers before them.
Bartholomew Family - John Bartholomew and his wife Dorothy, early purchased a tract of land near the Charlotte, in the present county of Otsego, and raised a large family. When the Revolution commenced, they sought safety in the Schoharie valley and proved to be staunch patriots.
There were seventeen children, we are told, by one of the family, (G. W. Bartolomew, now of Austin, Texas) and two of them at least settled in Schoharie County, John and Philip. The children of Philip settled at Fultonham, Gilboa and Middleburgh, while those of John were to be found in this town, as well as those of Middleburgh.
The progenitors of this family came from Holland and settled in Germantown, Penn., about the year 1740, and came from there to Charlotte in 1770.
One of the sons, Tewalt, was with the party taken prisoners near Harpersfield, while making sugar, in the spring of 1780, as stated in General Patchin's manuscript. He returned to Schoharie at the close of the was, and lived for several years near Hagers.
Jacob Sutherland - Among the notable residents of this town was Jacob Sutherland, who was a son-in-law of Chancellor John Lansing, an owner of land lying in town. In 1820, he was appointed one of the delegates to the constitutional convention, and in debate proved a very sound reasoner and intelligent debater. During that time he was District Attorney for the United States District Court, and in 1823 was elected State Senator, but did not take his seat, as he received the appointment of Puisne Justice, in place of Joseph C. Yates, who resigned when elected Governor. Mr. Sutherland removed to Geneva, Ontario county, in the district in which he served. He afterwards removed to Albany and resigned the office of Judge, in January, 1836, and was appointed Clerk of the Court, which position we think he held at the time of his death, which occurred in May, 1845, at the age of fifty-eight. He resided upon the farm now occupied by O.J. Spring, and lived in princely style for those days, and was much respected by his townsmen.
His debates upon the Elective Franchise and Appointing Power, the two subjects that caused the warmest discussion that was held in the constitutional convention, were ingenious and forcible, displaying true Democratic principles, and oratorical reasoning with fearless expression.
He was born in Stanford, Dutchess County, and educated for the bar, for which he was well fitted intellectually, and being connected with the best legal families of the day, and men of political influence, he was pushed along to prominence and usefulness, while yet a young man, through appointments much, as we are told, against his natural retiring disposition.
The Mayham Family - Among the early settlers of the town was Henry Mayham, an emigrant from Ireland, who settled upon Blenheim Hill, when that section was a dense forest. He reared a family of six sons, William, John, Cornelius, Henry, Thomas and Stephen, who settled within the County, with the exception of Henry and Thomas, the former removing to Catskill and the later to Niagra Falls. John changed the spelling of the name by writing it Mayham, while the other members of the family retained the original Maham. The descendants of John adhere to the father's custom and are to be known by the adoption of the y. To this branch of the family belongs Stephen L. Mayham, now of Schoharie village, who has proved to be a representative man, and in whom the qualities of scholar and honest man are to be found. A brother, Isaac F., long since dead, also, through self-culture, attained a prominence as a scholar and medical professional at Carlisle, but passed away many years ago in the bloom of a successful career. Stephen Mayham was the first man to lease a farm of Chancellor Lansing in the town, which he purchased at a nominal price during the anti-rent troubles of the 40's.
The Methodist Church of North Blenheim is the oldest religious organization in town. It was organized by Reverends Heman and Nathan Bangs as early as 1800, and has been a prosperous society through its long existence. The early records are not accessible, or were not at least to us, which we regret exceedingly. Previous to 1828, meetings were held in private houses and the school-house; the preachers being what was called in those days "circuit riders." In that year the present church edifice was erected, which has been remodeled, and compares favorably with the County churches.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Eminence. This class was formed about the year 1830 and after the Reformed Church as built worshipped within it in union with that society. The Methodist class purchased the building, and in 1854 erected the present one. The pastors have been many since the organization, among whom were:
Paul R. Brown Osborn,Hedstone, Bloomer, Carver, Bangs, Mitchell, Stout, Stewart, Lakin, Wright, Couchman, Decker, Taylor, Woodruff, Martin, Cornish, White, Tousley, and the present incumbent.
Our informant, Mr. J. H. Burrows, to whom we are grateful for many favors, says, "The pastors thus named have officiated, but perhaps are not placed in their order." This society conducted a camp meeting near the Reformed Church in August, 1881, that was quite largely attended, and awoke a deep interest in the religious cause.
The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of North Blenheim - About the year 1830, a Presbyterian church was here formed in connection with that of Jefferson, but their numbers were few and being unable to sustain the organization the elders of that society, P.I. Hager, Frederick Hager and N. Wyckoff, petitioned to the Classis of Schoharie on the 16th of February, 1852, "to be recognized by them as belonging to, and forming a part of their church." The Classis "deeming it expedeient, resolved to comply with the petition," and proceeded to organize it as the "Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of North Blenheim." On the 22nd of May following, "the officers were installed and ordained, whose names had been before the church three successive Sabaths, as no objections having been brought against them."
Elders. Adam H. Hager, Nathan Wyckoff, Frederick Hager, Peter I. Hager. Deacons. Chauncey Vroman, Munson Morehouse. Clerk. Chauncey Vroman. Pastors. 1852 - J. H. VanWoert 1853 - 1859 Wm. G. F. See 1859 - 1867 T. L. Shafer 1867 - 1870 Albertus Vanderwater 1871 - W. L. James 1872 - 1882 E. Miller
Upon the formation of this church, the Breakabeen Church was connected in pastorate, and still remains so. The church edifice was built in 1853, and ordained in November of that year.
Blenheim Bridge - On the 19th of April, 1828, an act was passed to incorporate the "Blenheim Bridge Company." The first charter expired 8th October, 1857, and was extended to thirty years by the Board of Supervisors, as by petition of George W. Martin and William Fink, as directors. It was built by a stock company. Hezekiah Dickerman was a shareholder, and purchased the remaining stock which he presented to his daughter, Mrs. Charles Waite, of Jefferson county, who, in 1871, sold to Mr. Moses Hubert, the present owner. It is the third toll bridge across Schoharie, and, like the Esperance and Middleburgh bridges, has withstood devastating floods, and still stands firm.
Anti-Rent Troubles - As stated in Chapter IV of this work, the only actual collision between Anti-Renters and the sheriff occurred in this town. William Fink kept the hotel still standing , where Sheriff Brown and Bouck were stopping, and the "Anti's" were encamped about four miles to the westward, upon lands owned by the Baldwin family, and known as "Baldwin's Heights." As stated, the officers were seized a short time after dark, and hurried to their encampment, where tar and feathers were in readiness to present to them without ceremony. A witness, without interest, (except curiosity,) informs us that a vote taken by the painted chieftains whether to commit the act or not, which was vociferously carried. After parlaying awhile another vote was taken, but did not receive unanimous affirmative, and after voting several times, each with less vigor, it was decided to "refrain from the act." Just at that moment the horses hoofs struck a bridge near, and the party began to disperse, some hastily, others leisurely, until the captives were left alone, with the exception of the village boys, who had been attracted to the pace to see some fun. The rent troubles soon died away much to the credit of the people, without bloodshed or waste of tar.
Fink's Tavern. The old house still stands as a relic of other days, around which cluster many incidents that memory recalls to the old residents and travelers with fondness, yet not perhaps with pride. When the old house was in its business glory, the people, as a mass, presented a rougher edged morality than now, which perhaps produced more sensational pleasures, yet did but little, if anything, to elevate character, improve society, and advance enterprise. William Fink was a son of John Fink, who was found in the valley with the patriotic Hagers, Martins, and others of 1776, "daring for the right." When the war closed they settled here, and were followed by General Patchin, making a neighborhood of sturdy patriots, whose children with fondness repeat the many incidents that occurred along the valley one hundred years ago.
Robert, John, Casper, and George Martin, were sturdy pioneers, whose ire was easily aroused upon the appearance of a Tory. The three former were engaged in several scouting expeditions, and were officious patriots. The latter was the youngest and married a daughter of General Patchin. Casper was the eldest, and was one of the left-handed men that laid the lash upon the back of Beacraft for his inhuman butcheries. We were told by Miss Catharine Hager that her father, the Judge, saw the body of the Vroman boy that Beacraft killed, together with those that were slain upon that day, as they lay in a wagon to be taken to the fort. They were terribly mutilated and covered with blood, presenting a sickening scene. In taking the scalp from the head an incision was made, usually a little below the crown, and the point of the knife forced into the skull, and by holding it obliquely, was easily guided to cut a circular piece, which varied in size, according to the "taste" of the butcher; usually the whole upper scalp was taken, which will cause that part covering the forehead to fall over the face, making the victim unrecognizable until raised to its position.
The first records of this town were lost or destroyed many years ago, and without doubt interesting matter forever lost.
1848 - Stephen Badgley 1849 - Chauncey Vroman 1850 - Alonzo C. Morehouse 1851 - Hezekiah Dickerman 1852 - Thomas H. Knickerbocker 1853 - John Mayham 1854 - John Badgley 1855 - Almerin M. Martin 1856 - Nathan S. Peaslee 1857 - Mathew Fedder 1858 - Stephen L. Mayham 1859 - Stephen L. Mayham 1860 - Stephen L. Curtis 1861 - George Morehouse 1862 - John Badgley 1863 - Silas Sweet 1864 - Giles S. Champlin 1865 - Silas Sweet 1866 - Silas Sweet 1867 - John Hager 1868 - Silas Sweet 1869 - Silas Sweet 1870 - Silas Sweet 1871 - Edwin Kingsley 1872 - Silas Sweet 1873 - Silas Sweet 1874 - Silas Sweet 1875 - John Hager 1876 - John Hager 1877 - Edwin Kingsley 1878 - George Granby 1879 - Edwin D. Hager 1880 - Edwin D. Hager 1881 - George Granby 1882 - J. Perry Champlin
By a final act passed by the Legislature April 12, 1813, the bounds of the town were defined as follows -
" All that part of said County of Schoharie beginning at a point in the south bounds of Middleburgh where the same is intersected by the east line of Walter Butler's patent, north of the dwelling-house now or late of Christian Schaeffer, thence south along said line of Walter Butler's patent to Smith's patent, thence south along the line of Smith's patent to Edward Clark's patent, thence along the east and south bounds of Edward Clark's patent to the middle of Schoharie creek, thence southerly through the middle of said creek to the south bounds of the County, thence westerly along the same to the town of Jefferson, thence along easterly bounds of the town of Jefferson to the southerly bounds of the town of Middleburgh, thence easterly along the said southerly bounds to the place of the beginning, shall be and continue by the name Blenheim."
Gilboa and a portion of Fulton was taken from the above, making the north of the former and the south of the later, and the south and north lines of Blenheim.