Schoharie County New York State
1828 - 1959
In Observance of New York State's Year of History
Compiled and in part written by Catharine D. Lawyer, Town Historian
Cover by Ruth McGiver
the children and youth of today,
who will be the citizens of tomorrow.
May they appreciate and respect their heritage;
strive to their utmost to preserve and defend
the land of the free and the home of the brave.
in memory of Miss Katherine Murphy, granddaughter of Timothy Murphy, with whose friendship are associated some of the fondest memories of my youth. When asked why she had never married, Miss Murphy replied that she had never found a man with a name for which she would trade the one of Murphy.
The above dedication was written by Mrs. Catharine D. Lawyer, Historian of the Town of Fulton. Mrs. Lawyer has been Historian for over ten years and her dream of a town celebration has become a reality today. It is because of her interest, determination, research, encouragement and especially her love for the Town of Fulton that this booklet and program are possible. We can't dedicate a book which she has compiled to her, but we can and do give her our thanks and gratitude for her time, talent and inspiration.
AUGUST 1, 1959
Printed by The Richmondville Phoenix
On March 30, 1726, Vrooman obtained a new Indian title to these river flats, bounded north by a point of the Line Kill (present boundary between the towns of Fulton and Middleburgh) and the Onistagrawa (Mountain of the corn fields); on the south by the white pine swamp (near Samuel Lawyer residence, now occupied by Mrs. Margaret Brown) and a brook running from it; the western boundary was the hills and the eastern boundary was the Schoharie River. The Wilder Hook, site of the Indians' strongest castle, was not included.
The Palentines, who had settled across the river at Weiser's Dorf (Middleburgh) two years previously, envied Vrooman's fertile acres. They pulled down his house, trampled his crops, for which Conrad Weiser was arrested, but later released.
Peter Vrooman, son of the patentee of Vrooman's Land, commenced improvements soon after the purchase and settled there. During the first summer he employed several hands, planted corn, fenced some of the land and in the fall returned to Schenectady to spend the winter, leaving a hired man, Truax, and two colored persons, Morter and his wife, Mary, to care for his property. Not long after Vrooman's departure, Truax was murdered in his room. Morter and Mary were tried and convicted of the crime although Mary persistently declared her innocence. They were burned at the stake in Albany. After several years a man named Moore, who lived in Weiser's Dorf at the time of the murder, later moved to Pennsylvania, on his death bed, confessed that he and Morter were the murderers, Mary being ignorant of the whole affair. The house in which this, the first murder in Schoharie County, occurred was located between the present residence of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Lawyer and the Schoharie River. The second season after the murder, Peter Vrooman returned and established a permanent residence. Several other Dutch families settled in the area about the same time.
With the exception of minor differences the German and Dutch settlers finally resided peacefully in the valley, but remained distinct for a long time with few intermarriages between them. The Dutch were generally wealthier than the more hardy and laborious Germans. Gradully the barrier became obliterated and hereditary distinctions in society disappeared.
At the beginning of the Revolution, from the Line Kill to Breakabeen was cleared, dotted with large barns, houses and luxuriant growth of grain. One family, who started housekeeping, left a huge maple stump in their log cabin, smoothed it with an ax, hewed out the center as a butter bowl and used it for a table. They made smaller wooden bowls from which each member of the family ate his food.
Blankets, trinkets and rum were traded to the Indians for land, furs and roots.
Slaves were introduced by the Dutch. They were always well treated, entrusted to deliver crops to market and comfortable homes were provided.
When the story period of the Revolution commenced a few of the settlers sided with the British, but the majority were ardent patriots.
With the possible exception of: boots, certain articles of furniture, metal tools and implements, cooking utensils, tea, coffee, spices, earthen dishes and glass, each Colonial household was self sufficient. A few examples of their ingenuity: from their own flax and wool they spun yarn from which linen and woolen materials were woven, which furnished clothing, towels, sheets, pillow cases and blankets. Dyes were made from sumac bobs, which produced a different color each month of the year. Sugar was obtained by processing the sap from the sugar maple. (The writer has a wooden chest: 21 inches wide, 22 inches high, four feet long, handed down from her great grandparents, which was filled annually for the year's supply of maple sugar). Corn meal, buckwheat and wheat flour were ground at a local grist mill. Before the advent of kerosene lamps, lights were furnished by tallow candles, stored in the traditional candle boxes. Fruits, berries and vegetables were dried in large, shallow, splint baskets, oftentimes made by slaves during the winter. Shingles, timbers and lumber for the buildings were first hand hewn, then sawed by the upright saws, forerunner of the circular ones. Both hard and soft soaps made from lye (obtained by leeching wood ashes) and refuse grease, solved the laundry problem. A bunch of bullrushes firmly tied, was the forerunner of modern scouring devices.
It now contains: a grange hall, Union Church with kitchen, Sunday School room and recreational room, general store and post office.
In early times the name Breakabeen applied to the territory from Vroomans Land to Charlotteville. The name Brakabeen was given by the Germans owing to the broad flats being covered by brakes, a species of fern. At the beginning of the Revolution but three houses were found in this place, the Keyser residence stood near the home now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Howard D. Mann. There were three sons, Abram, Barent and John, who removed to the Upper Fort due to the treachery of the Indians: Barent taken prisoner and died in captivity in Canada; John taken prisoner by the Indians, while sent from the fort to get the cows, was hurried off to Canada from where he returned after the war; Abram, father of Abram Keyser, once county sheriff and State treasurer from 1826-1838. There had been other settlers but when Sir William Johnson searched the land titles in 1759 declaring null all obtained from the Indians without a purchase by the government; a few living here removed elsewhere. In the Atlas of 1866, Breakabeen contained: Reformed church, Lutheran church, two blacksmith shops, two hotels, a hardware store, three general stores, a carpenter shop, a cooper shop, a cabinet shop, a grist mill, a tannery and a foundry.
It now contains: a general store, a Presbyterian church, a grange hall, an archery club, a hotel.
Watsonville, Hard Scrabble, was named for Charles Watson who came here at the beginning of the nineteenth century from Albany and conducted a store and an inn. According to the Atlas of 1866, Watsonville contained: a carpenter shop, Watson's store, a shoe shop, wagon shop, blacksmith shop, doctor, manufacturer of wagons and sleighs; in 1872-3 it acquired a glove manufacturing shop giving employment to about ten hands (Thomas Foster).
It now contains: a general store.
West Fulton (Byrneville), with its luxurious growth of timber was the center for the manufacture of shingles, lumber, staves and burning charcoal. According to the Atlas of 1866, West fulton contained a doctor, hotel, three stores, Methodist church, blacksmith shop, shoe shop, grist and saw mill.
It now contains: a Methodist church, a post office, a general store, a fire department, a plumber, a ceramic manufacturing studio.
Other hamlets were settled at: Pleasant Valley, Patria (Greenbush), Rossman Hill, Vintonton, Fulton Hill (Fairland), Dibble Hollow, Huson Corners, Armlin Hill, Bouck's Falls (Cooper Street).
Additional industries and professions were: farming, apiarian, cabinet making, tailoring, tinsmith, school teaching, singing teacher, broom manufacturing, carriage making, masonry, carpet weaving, civil engineering, horse dealing, peddling, dressmaking, millinery, undertaker, sash and blind factory, painters, machinists and moulders, manufacturing of platform churn powers, harness makers.
The upper fort was built in the fall of 1777, upon a farm then owned by John Feeck, (now on the farm owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. J. Roger Barber and the farm owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. John C. Bouck and son Dale), on the west side of the Schoharie River. One side of the enclosure was picketed in, while the other three were breastworks thrown up of timers and earth, eight or ten feet high, the top of which was wide enough to admit drawing a wagon, with short pickets set in the outside timbers of the breastwork. A ditch surrounded the breastworks, with military barracks and small log huts inside the enclosure to accommodate the soliders and citizens. Block houses and sentry boxes were built in the northwest and southeast corners, each containing a small cannon for protection.
This fort guarded the possible entrance on the southwest from Summit Lake; as one of the principal Indian trails led from Middleburgh, up the Schoharie River, to the Kenhuragara (Panther) Creek, thence to Summit Lake, crossed to the Charlotte River, down which it passed to the Susquehanna River.
The settlers of the present Town of Fulton, who had proven their patriotism by their assistance of the Mother Country during the French and Indian Wars gave generously of their provisions and man power for support of the Colonial forces during the Revolution. Their sufferings and losses were great, almost to the point of annihilation in the year 1780.
August 10, 1777, Captain McDonald with 28 men joined Adam Chrysler with 25 Indians and 70 Tories, who had spent the night at Chrysler's farm, after scouting to the lower end of Vrooman's Land. The Colonists advanced upon them (battle of the Flockie) and lost Lieutenant David Wirt with two patriots wounded, one by the name of Rose died three days later. The losses of the enemy are not known, but they proceeded toward Oswego; while the weary Colonial forces returned to the Upper Fort. David Wirt was the first man, who fell in Schoharie County, defending the principles of free government.
August 9, 1790, a scouting party of three was sent by Captain Hager to the western part of the Town of Fulton. They were instructed to return immediately to the Upper Fort without firing, if they saw any enemies. In West Fulton they sat upon a fallen tree to eat their breakfast, while they were eating a white man dressed as an Indian appeared. One of the scouts could not resist firing at such a good target, which he did and killed him. He proved to be a surgeon in Brant's employ. His body was left to decay beside the stream, which ever since has been known as Dead Man's Creek.
That same month a band of Indians and Tories invaded the central part of Vrooman's Land killing five men, women and children, among whom were Captain Tunis Vrooman and wife. Many settlers were taken captive, their crops, homes, cattle and swine were destroyed. The enemy proceeded up the valley and after taking wheat flour it contained, set the grist mill of Adam Chrysler, the Tory, on fire that it might not serve the rebels. The burial of the dead took place the next day on the John Feeck farm, near the Upper Fort.
In October of the same year Colonel John Johnson and Joseph Brant at the head of nearly one thousand British Regulars, Tories and Indians entered the valley bent on its despoilation. They encamped above the Upper Fort, whose garrison of about one hundred citizens, soldiers, militia and regulars was in command of Captain Jacob Hager. Johnson, supposing it to be well strengthened, passed on to the Middle Fort with his men.
The enemy, in small numbers, stealthily appeared in the neighborhood from time to time; but little was to be gained, as the few remaining inhabitants either stayed at the fort or removed to more populous sections until the war closed.
On one of his excursions, fate steered Timothy Murphy's footsteps toward the Upper Fort, where he met Margaret (Peggy) Feeck, one of the prettiest girls in the valley, the only child of Johannes and his wife, Bertha Aemelia Feeck, Dutch farmers, and in prospective wealth the richest girl in the Schoharie Valley. It was love at first sight for the young couple and when Murphy's comrades remarked upon the frequency with which he found it necessary to pass by the Upper Fort, Murphy told them with a twinkle in his eye, that the scenery was the most beautiful in that direction. Peggy's parents did not view Murphy as a favorable suitor for their daughter, as they considered him desperately poor. Murphy was informed by his sweetheart's parents, that his visits were no longer welcome; but the lovers continued to meet and determined to be united in marriage. They agreed to meet upon a certain evening, which they did and after embracing rode away on horseback to the lower fort.
They were married at Duanesburg, October 1, 1780. A reconciliation with her parents was soon made, the marriage prospered and they lived for many years in Watsonville, in the Feeck home (near residence now owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. John (Jack) W. Bouck). After the war Murphy became a prosperous farmer, erected and operated the Murphy Mill, located at the Mill Dam, on the Schoharie River, near the spot from which they had eloped. They became the parents of five sons and four daughters. Mrs. Murphy passed away September 7, 1807, and on April 22, 1810, he married Mrs. Mary Robertson, a widow, removed to Otsego County. They had four sons. In later life he was engaged as a real estate agent.
Timothy Murphy expired June 27, 1818, at the age of 67, and was buried in the Feeck family plot, later called the Murphy burying ground on the farm now owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. John C. Bouck and son Dale, which was within the palisades of the Upper Fort. In 1872 his remains were removed to the Middleburgh cemetery, where a bronze plaque was erected. It seems rather ironic that his body was removed from its normal, final, resting place beside that of his faithful wife, Peggy, which still remains in the now neglected Murphy burial plot. The writer doubts, that Tim would have desired it thus.
Allen Burton of Gallupville is the possessor of an over-under, double barreled rifle, octagon shaped barrels, made by Worly of Pennsylvania (possibly Lancaster) which his research has proven almost conclusively was the one used by Timothy Murphy. He is working diligently to prove its authenticity beyond a doubt. Mr. Burton acquired the rifle from a doctor, a collector of guns, in Pennsylvania, who obtained it from a gun dealer in Oneonta, before which its owners are unknown. Mr. Burton has in his files this quotation from J.R. Simms: "Much has been said about Murphy's double barreled gun and more than it merited; at least, so a son of Murphy assured the writer, he had often heard his father say. He had such a gun, while at Schoharie, but it was so heavy he seldom used it, except on garrison duty."
The Town of Fulton embraces the whole or a part of the following patents: Vrooman's Land, granted to Adam Vrooman, August 26, 1714; William Bouck's, 1250 acres, east of the creek, granted May 8, 1755 and another, about the same size, west of the creek; Hendrick Hager's, 900 acres, granted July 13, 1770; Isaac Levy's, 4333 acres, surveyed July 1770; Michael Byrne's, 1800 acres, granted December 14, 1867; John Butler's 8000 acres; Edward Clark's 100 acres; part of John Butler's 100 acres; Also: Eckerson, in part; DePuyster-Clark; Lawyer, Bouck, Lawyer;Vrooman; Becker, Mathias; Strasburgh; Great Retail Lot; Bouck;Vrooman and Nicholas York, 1723 (Chrysler's Hook).
There are 42 cemeteries and private burial plots in the town, the complete vital statistic reports from which are on record with the town historian.
The business of summer boarders, which flourished from the beginning of the present century until the early 1930s, which brought many visitors to several parts of our historic town and which was a financial benefit has declined noticeably.
At the present time (1959) the miles of road in the Town of Fulton are:
Towns roads - 69.25 County roads - 24.14 State roads (Rte. 30) - 8.76
Breakabeen: Union--1815; Reformed--in the early twenties of 1800; Lutheran--January 30, 1844. They were combined in 1909 to form the present Presbyterian church.
Fultonham: Union, incorporated, February 18, 1850; the church was built previously.
West Fulton: Methodist--1825; Baptist--1884
Peter Smith, a lover of the Lord purchased a portion of the Michael Byrne patent and in 1831 he built a church in the hollow for the people with the steeple upon the hill. At that time the highway ran between the two and from the steeple projected a board over the road upon which he caused to be written in large letters: Time and Eternity, Consider. Desiring only the orthodox to enjoy the privilege of worshipping within his church, he caused a board to be placed against the wall in front of the audience, bearing the following inscription: Reputable ministers of the Gospel of all denominations of Christians are invited to officiate in this house, dedicated to the service of Almighty God, until its exclusive use shall be given over to a Dutch Reformed, Presbyterian or Congregational congregation. The Methodists first used the church; later the Baptists purchased the edifice, moved it to its present site, repaired it and conducted services there until early in the twentieth century. It is now the summer home of John McGiver, an actor of stage, screen and TV, his wife and family.
The oddity of this church, separted from its steeple by the highway, made Ripley's: Believe It or Not column. As far as is known, but one other similar example existed in the U.S.A. and that in one of the southern states.
Pleasant Valley: Methodist--1876
Fulton Hill (Fairland): Baptist and Methodist (one building)
Patria (Petersburgh): Methodist
Rossman Hill: Methodist
West Middleburgh: St. Paul's Episcopal, the former Vrooman's Land schoolhouse, was organized in the spring of 1934 as a mission under the Diocese of Albany, it now has a resident pastor, the Reverend William West.
Remaining in service: Breakabeen Presbyterian, Fultonham Union, West Fulton Methodist and St. Paul's Episcopal, West Middleburgh.
Armlin Hill, Breakabeen, Cooper Street (Bouck's Falls), Dibble Hollow, Fultonham, Fulton Hill (Fairland), Hamm District (Dearstine), Huson Corners, Jones District, Macedonia, Patria (Petersburgh), Pleasant Valley, Rossman Hill, Shafer District (Swart-Morey District), Vintonton, Vrooman's Land, West Fulton, Yankee Street.
The town is now a part of the Cobleskill, Richmondville and Middleburgh Central School Districts.
In 1882 Dr. William W. Burgett settled at Fultonham, where he practiced medicine until his death. Dr. Charles Rosen practiced for a few years before World War II in Fultonham.
Doctors who resided in Breakabeen were: Dr. Baxter, Dr. Schaeffer, Dr. Fosburgh, Dr. Mathews, Dr. Squires, Dr. Weckell and Dr. Albertson.
At West Fulton, Dr. Havens settled in 1838, previously Dr. James had settled on Rossman Hill, later removing to West Fulton. Also Dr. John D. Wheeler, Dr. Allen, Dr. Rossman, Dr. Akeley, Dr. John Wilber, Dr. H.S. Gale, Dr. J.S. Akeley and finally Dr. Tibbitts.
There are no resident physicians in the town at present.
SUPERVISORS OF THE TOWN OF FULTON 1829 Charles Watson 1895 William Chapman 1830 John F. Mattice 1896 Garret W. Mattice 1831 Jonas Krum 1897 Garret W. Mattice 1832 Eben G. Foster 1898 Garret W. Mattice 1833 Homer Whitely 1899 L. Akeley 1834 Philip Bergh, Jr. 1900 Lorenzo Akeley 1835 Harmon Vroman 1901 Frank Akeley 1836 Robert W. Lamont 1902 Frank Akeley 1837 Philip Bergh, Jr. 1903 Jay Hilts 1838 Moses Lawyer 1904 Jay Hilts 1839 John Spickerman 1905 Jay Hilts 1840 Joseph Becker 1906 Jay Hilts 1841 Charles Watson 1907 Jay Hilts 1842 John Spickerman 1908 Jay Hilts 1843 Gideon D. Hilts 1909 John R. Haynes 1844 Ephriam Vroman 1910 John R. Haynes 1845 Alston F. Mattice 1911 John R. Haynes 1846 Philip Bergh, Jr. 1912 John R. Haynes 1847 Peter A. Borst 1913 John R. Haynes 1848 David Gorse 1914 John R. Haynes 1849 Washington Bergh 1915 John R. Haynes 1850 Peter Murphy 1916 Harry J. Nelson 1851 John Spickerman 1917 Harry J. Nelson 1852 Joseph Becker 1918 Harry J. Nelson 1853 William Best 1919 Harry J. Nelson 1854 John Spickerman 1920 Harry J. Nelson 1855 Jonas Krum 1921 Harry J. Nelson 1856 Roswell Driggs 1922 Arkel Spickerman 1857 David Gorse 1923 Arkel Spickerman 1858 Gideon D. Hilts 1924 Mott Keyser 1859 Charles Bouck 1925 Mott Keyser 1860 Riley Adams 1926 Charles H. Holiday 1861 Washington Bergh 1927 Charles H. Holiday 1862 David J. Vroman 1928 George E. Hanes 1863 John D. Wheeler 1929 George E. Hanes 1864 William H. Freemire 1930 Brewster Bouck 1865 Charles Bouck 1931 Brewster Bouck 1866 John Spickerman 1932 Leslie Van Wie 1867 William H. Freemire 1933 Leslie Van Wie 1868 Abram Haines, Jr. 1934 Layman Burgett 1869 George Spickerman 1935 Layman Burgett 1870 Washington Bergh 1936 Layman Burgett 1871 David J. Vroman 1937 Layman Burgett 1872 Orson Spickerman 1938 Layman Burgett 1873 Washington Bergh 1939 Layman Burgett 1874 Washington Bergh 1940 Layman Burgett 1875 Washington Bergh 1941 Layman Burgett 1876 John H. Mann 1942 Leslie Van Wie 1877 John H. Mann 1943 Leslie Van Wie 1878 Orson Spickerman 1944 Leslie Van Wie 1879 Orson Spickerman 1945 Leslie Van Wie 1880 Orson Spickerman 1946 Leslie Van Wie 1881 Marcus Zeh 1947 Leslie Van Wie 1882 Marcus Zeh 1948 Chester Hotaling 1883 George Vroman 1949 Chester Hotaling 1884 George Vroman 1950 Chester Hotaling 1885 Orson Spickerman 1951 Chester Hotaling 1886 Orson Spickerman John H. Durie, Jr. 1887 Orson Spickerman 1952 Albert Lawyer 1888 Orson Spickerman 1953 Albert Lawyer 1889 Orson Spickerman 1954 Albert Lawyer 1890 Orson Spickerman 1955 Albert Lawyer 1891 Orson Spickerman 1956 Albert Lawyer 1892 William Chapman 1957 Albert Lawyer 1893 Stephen E. Wiltsie 1958 Albert Lawyer 1894 William Chapman 1959 Albert Lawyer
Bouck's Falls, where water dashes down in a twisted descent over 120 feet into a pool it has excavated at its base, are on the Kenhuragara (Panther) Creek approximately a mile from where it empties into the Schoharie River. The cliffs on either side are rugged and shelve inward. On his first visit to this waterfall, October 1837, J.R. Simms, the noted historian, named it after Col. J.W. Bouck, a son of Gov. William C. Bouck, who accompanied Simms to it. There are many Indian and other legends about this cascade and the adjacent area.
Krum Falls, near Huson's Corners, on the Keyser Kill are worthy of note. A more beautiful spot is hard to imagine.
A FEW STATISTICS
Acres of land: Improved - 20,508 1/2 Unimproved - 17,351 Total - 37,859 1/2 Miles of roads in the town (1866) - 104 Population (1865): Males 1,305 Females 1,368 Total 2,673 Number of dwellings: 533 Number of families: 568 Schools: number of districts: 17 Children taught: 875 Live stock (1865) horses and colts: 688 Meat cattle other than cows: 1,140 Cows: 1,327 Swine: 781 Sheep and lambs: 2,641 Bushels of grain (1865): winter: 4,484 1/2 spring: 398,142 1/2 Tons of hay (1865): 3,176 1/2 Bushels of potatoes (1865): 27,888 Bushels of apples (1865): 18,124 Pounds of butter (1864): 153,691 Pounds of wool (1864): 14,159 Yards of domestics manufactured (1864): 8,244 1/2 Pounds of pork (1864): 130,026 Farming was the chief industry in 1904, and the value of the town's products: corn, grain, hops, apples, potatoes, stock raising and dairying ranked fifth or sixth in the county. Flagstone quarries and undeveloped mineral springs also existed.
Charles Watson II was a merchant in Watsonville for many years and the leading business man of the town. He was the first supervisor of the Town of Fulton; served in the State Assembly in 1830; was justice of the peace for many years, which provided the stepping stone to the judicial bench of the Common Pleas Court, which he attained in 1838 and held until the Constitution of 1846 took effect. After his death, January 29, 1872, the Canajoharie Radii said of him: "Where is another man in any county, who has measured calico, weighed tea and counted eggs for more than a half century, that has paid one hundred cents on the dollar and never lost a customer?"
Upon the death of Charles Watson II, Alonzo and Charles Best as Best Brothers succeeded in the business and were followed by Albert G. Rosecrans, Mrs. Mary Muller, Mr. and Mrs. William Brayman and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Larned. The former store property, owned at the time by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Miller, was destroyed by fire in February, 1959. The Watson homestead is now owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lewandowski, Sr.
William C. Bouck was born January 7, 1786, in the old family mansion on Bouck's Island. At the age of nine years he attended an English school in the neighborhood, the first one in the town, commenced in 1795.
His first public position was town clerk, next supervisor of Schoharie, local offices, county sheriff in 1812, the following season he was elected to the State Assembly with reelection in 1815 and 1817. In 1821 and 1822 he was State senator; on March 29, 1821, he was appointed Canal Commissioner which office he held until 1840. In 1842, Mr. Bouck, was elected Governor of the State of New York, to date the only governor Schoharie County has ever produced. He proved one of the most economical governors ever to serve his State.
A few excerpts from Governor Bouck's message to the Legislature of the State of New York--"For the first time since the organization of the government, the chief magistrate has been selected from the agricultural portion of the community.
"Whatever distrust I may feel in taking upon myself an untried station of so much importance and difficulty, I repose with confidence on the guidance of the Almighty! on the cooperation of every department of the government and on the indulgence of a generous people, who are always ready to overlook unintentional errors.
Were it not for the great excesses previous to 1837 when agriculture was neglected, when extravagance and an inordinate desire for wealth prevailed and the whole nation was deluded by a fictitious prosperity, the people would now be comparatively happy in the full enjoyment of case and plenty.
"There is no nation so highly favored as the people of the United States; and if they properly improve the advantages they possess, time will show that in point of greatness they are, as yet, in their infancy."
The anti-rent wars occurred in part during his term as governor.
In writing a thesis on Governor Bouck, Kirby Baker declared that he had decided him to be one of the only three or four honest men of his time.
In 1846 Mr. Bouck was elected a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and the same year entered the assistant treasurer's office of New York City, which position he held until 1849, when he retired to private life upon the Island. His wife was Catharine Lawyer, to which union eight children were born. He passed away at his Island home in April 1859 and was buried in the family plot on the homestead (later removed to the Middleburgh Cemetery).
In its time broom corn became an important crop in the town. Several broom shops which manufactured house, whisk and barn brooms were established. William D. Lawyer, of West Middleburgh, still owns and operates intermittently such a shop across the highway from his home in the town.
Apples were a principal crop in parts of Our Town at the beginning of the present century. Some farms produced several hundred barrels, each of which held three bushels, packed at the farm and usually shipped by rail from Middleburgh. The apple packers moved from farm to farm often receiving room and board.
Hops were an important crop here during the last quarter of the nineteenth century until near the end of the first quarter of the twentieth century. Prohibition and disease caused the end of hop growing; but one has not really lived, who has not worked during hop picking: in the field very early in the morning, the kissing loops, with a hop dance at the end of the day often lasting until the dawn.
In 1958, under the State administration of Governor Averell Harriman with Sharon J. Mauhs, Cobleskill, Commissioner of Conservation, New York State purchased several acres of land, east of the Kenhuragara Creek, to be developed for a State Picnic Area and Campsite, the only one in the county and to be known as the Toepath Mountain Picnic Area and Campsite. Operations for its development were begun in the summer of that year. On May 28, 1959, with Edward Van Voris, caretaker, the site, with picnic tables, benches, charcoal burners and parking space was opened to the public. Further facilities are planned for the future and to date it has proven its popularity.
During hop picking on the John Feeck farm (Prell farm, now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Max Shaul), Bouck's Island in the summer of 1887, Mrs. Reuben Wayman called to her husband, that their child had died. Mr. Wayman upon hearing the message stated that he would have to go home to put his boots to her for letting the child expire. John Avery, a prominent churchman, who resided on The Lane, where Mr. and Mrs. Seward Lewis now live, was requested to make a prayer for the deceased youngster at the grave (burial plot on the Prell farm), which he did. On the way home Mr. Avery became dizzy, while crossing the Banekill, and fell into the water. Had it not have been for the presence of several neighbors, who accompanied him and who pulled him out of the water, he might have drowned.
Now, that we have entered the atomic age may it be used exclusively for the good of mankind rather than for his destruction.
Frontiersmen of New York, J.S. Simms, 1882 History of Schoharie County, N.Y., William E. Roscoe, 1882 Historical Collection of the State of New York, John W. Barber, Henry Howe, 1841 The Schoharie County Directory, Pierre W. Danforth, 1899 Timothy Murphy, Hero of the American Revolution, Michael J. O'Brien, L.L.D., 1941 Summary of Schoharie County, Solomon Sias Schoharie County Directory, 1872, 1873, Hamilton Child Atlas of Schoharie County, 1866 Russell S. Bergh, Middleburgh, Photographer Alice M. Bouck, Watsonville, Colloquial Town Map Harmon Haines, Fultonham Abram Keyser, Fultonham Albert E. Lawyer, Star Route, Middleburgh Clara Mickle, West Middleburgh Ruth B. Nelson, Breakabeen Myron Vroman, Middleburgh, Curator Old Stone Fort Museum, Schoharie
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