Written and submitted: Donna Bennett 2005
Ephraim Bronk b.11 Dec 1836 Lassellsville, d.17 Mar 1896 Lassellsville. He married Helen A. Lassell in 1858--date seen in Ephraim's will that was probated 17 Apr 1896. The will (on file in the Fulton County Building, Johnstown) was dated 10 Apr 1890.The witnesses were Adam Walrath and Dewitt C.Leek. Adam Walrath was a doctor who came to Lassellsville in 1879. (Adam Walrath b.1854 St.Johnsville, married Carrie Thumb in 1876.) Helen and son, Daniel, were executors of will. (This is a long hand-written will. Some details of the will are seen later in this bio.)
Obit in card index Johnstown Library: "Bronk, Ephraim, age 59 died Tues. at home in Lassellsville of consumption. Son of John Bronk of Johnstown." (Fulton County Republican, Thursday 19 May 1896). Ephraim was 59 years, 3 mo, 6 da.
Helen A.Lassell b.11 Apr 1830 Lassellsville, d.12 Apr 1926. She was the daughter of Daniel Lassell and Emeline Juliet Burnham of Lassellsville. Ephraim and Helen A.Lassell Bronk, Daniel and Emeline Juliet Burnham Lassell are buried Lassell Cemetery, Lassellsville. There is no death date for Helen on head stone.
Ephraim was the son of John Bronk (b.5 Feb 1814 Coxsackie, d.17 Sept 1906 Johnstown) and Rachel Fredrick/Frederick (b.7 June 1815, d.9 Apr 1842 Lassellsville). John married 2. Hester Bell (b.27 Sept 1827, d.17 Jan 1865) on 24 Nov 1842 First Presbyterian Church, Johnstown. John, Rachel, and Hester are buried Johnstown Cemetery-section k, lot 99. (Johnstown Cemetery records)
John Bronk also married Annice Bissel (History of Fulton County by Frothingham) and Emma Scott of Cateraugas County. (some records give wife's name as Anna and others say Emma. Not certain if one person or two people). Family history says John was married 4 times and all wives buried next to him in the Johnstown Cemetery. (I could only find Rachel and Hester in the cemetery records and names on cemetery marker)
Ephraim had 2 sisters: Mary Jane Bronk and Catharine Bronk
Mary Jane Bronk b. Nov 1839, married 1.Alexander McLaughlin and 2. Richard Vedder. Mary Jane d.1901, buried in the Fical Cemetery, Lassellsville.
"Alexander McLaughlin age 62 of Lassellsville died Tues. of Bright's Disease. He was foreman of Lumber Company." (Newspaper dated Thurs. 28 Mar 1895, Johnstown Library card index) McLaughlin was an Assessor for the Town of Ephratah in the 1880 census. His family came from Scotland. He was buried in Fical Cemetery (Fical Cemetery records: Alexander McLaughlin 1832-1895; Jane Bronk, his wife 1839-1901) Alexander and Mary Jane had 2 children: Richard and Jesse.
Ephratah marriage records: Mary Jane Bronk age 60 married Richard Vedder age 57 on 21 Jan 1900. Vedder's parent: John Vedder and Catherine Cuyler. Mary Jane's parents: John Bronk and Rachel Frederick. Richard Vedder was a farmer in Oppenheim, Fulton County. (Evelyn Frasier-Town of Ephratah Historian)
Catharine Bronk born 21 Jan 1841, married Gilbert Haggart. Catharine died 25 Sept 1885 age 44yr, 9 mo, 4 da., buried Johnstown Cemetery. Gilbert Haggart d.12 Nov 1913 age 64, buried Johnstown Cemetery. (Section B, lot 563 Johnstown Cemetery Records). Catharine and Gilbert had 3 children: Elmer E., Jennie, and Lydia.
Ephraim was the grandson of Caspar Bronk (bpt. 22 Aug 1784 Coxsackie Dutch Reformed Church, d.1 Jan 1872 Fulton County) and Catharine Bogardus (aka: Caty and Catharina, bpt. 5 Feb 1792 Coxsackie Dutch Reformed Church, d.4 Apr 1881 Johnstown.) They were married 2 July 1808 in the Coxsackie Dutch Reformed Church. Caspar, Catharine, children and stepson, Richard Bronk, moved to Town of Ephratah in 1823/4. (Ephratah Dutch Reformed Church Records 1824 members list). Caspar married 1.Eliza de la Vergne Greene-mother of Richard Bronk.
"Ephraim received a common school education, together with several terms at the Johnstown Academy and the Fort Plain Academy." "Mr. Bronk was a practical surveyor for thirty years and also teaching a number of years. He was Justice of the Peace thirteen years; is a member of Garoga Lodge, No.300, F&A.M., a Lutheran, and was Justice of Sessions two terms. His parents raised three children, of whom Ephraim is the oldest and only one living." (History of Fulton County, Washington Frothingham, pg.14)
List of Garoga Masonic Lodge #300 F.&A.M. 1892: Ephraim Bronk, Lassellsville. Excerpts from Minutes of Meetings: "Nov.1,1871-Bro.D.M. Durfee, S.M.Weaver, Ephraim Bronk, M.Gage and N.Shaw appointed as a building committee." (Our Todays and Yesterdays in the Town of Ephratah, vol.II)
Children of Ephraim Bronk and Helen A.Lassell: (Children were all born in Lassellsville)
Calvin married Anna Christman
Bernice married Charles H.Mosher
John C.(Jack) married _____? (Does anyone know?)
Daniel L. married Cynthia Butler
Charles D. married 1.Jenny Ercanbrack, 2.Ellen Van Alstyne Snell
Katherine L. (Kittie) married Willis E.Leek
Ida d.before 1880 ? (Does anyone know about her?)
Fay married Florence Cassie Elwood
Ross married 1.Elizabeth (Libbie) Crouse, 2.Martha____, 3.Allie Mae Yeardon, 4.Alberta Miles Duesler
Edward C. (Eddie) married 1.Leaphy Denure/Denner, 2.Ollie Long Tansley Miles
Freddie (twin of Edward) d.10 Apr 1880
1850 census-Town of Ephratah: John Bronk 37 farmer, Hester 41 (wrong age-should be21), Ephraim 13, Mary 11, Catharine 9.
1855 census-Town of Ephratah: John Bronk 42 farmer born Greene County, Hester 46 (wrong age-should be 26), Ephraim 18, Mary 16, Catherine 14.
1860 census-Lassellsville: Ephraim Brunk (sic) age 23 farmer, Hellen (sic) A.age 19, Calvin age 1
1865 census-Lassellsville: Ephraim 28 farmer; Helen 25; Calvin 6; Bernice 4; Carol 2 1/2; infant 4/12; Caspar Bronk, age 77, grandfather, born Greene County, married twice, 9 children
1870 census-Lassellsville: Ephraim Bronk 33 farmer, Helen 30, Calvin 11, Bernice 9. John 8, Daniel 5, Charles 3, Kitty 9/12
1875 census-Lassellsville: Ephraim Bronk 38, Helen 35, Calvin 16, Bernice 14, John C.13, David (sic) 11, Charles 9, Kittie 6
1880 census-Lassellsville: Ephraim Bunk (sic) 43 Justice of the Peace, Helen 49, Calim (sic) 21, John C.17, Bernia (sic) 18, David (sic) 15, Charly 9 (sic) 12, Kittie 10, Eddie 3, Fay 1
1869-1870 Ephratah Resident List: Ephraim Bronk, Lassellsville, surveyor, prop. of saw mill, farmer, 130 acres. Lassellsville-Montgomery & Fulton County Business Directory 1869: "Surveyor, Prop. of Saw Mill and Farmer....Ephraim Bronk."
3 July 1875, Fulton Democrat "Ephraim Bronk has been appointed Justice of the Peace in the Town of Ephratah, to fill vacancy caused by the death of Edward Lassell."
In 1876 Ephraim was appointed Justice of the Court of Sessions for two years.
The following taken from Ephraim's ledger:
"1875, June 28, I was appointed Justice of the Peace to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Edward Lassell who died June 17, 1875."
Marriage records as seen in Ephraim's ledgers: (transcribed as best I could and with spelling as seen-ledger is very old, faded, and fragile!)
"Married 7th day of April 1884 at my home at Lassellsville in the Town of Ephratah Fulton County NY in the presence of my family, my wife Helen A. Bronk, Daniel Bronk, Charles Bronk, and others. William Miles, Jr. to Alwilda (sp?) Crouse of St. Johnsville. Miles of the Town of Ephratah."
"Married on the 20th day of July in the year of 1886 at the house of George Bellinger at Dillaborn (sic) in the Town of Ephratah Fulton County NY. Harvay (sic) Smith of the Town of Ephratah to Ann Campbell of the Town of St. Johnsville Montgomery County NY in the presence of George Bellinger and his wife Ellen, Daniel Duesler and his wife Catharine, my wife Helen A.Bronk and others."
"Married on the 16th day of Oct 1887 at the Hotel at Lassellsville (can't read_______) by Albert Kimg in the Town of Ephratah Fulton County NY by one E. Empie of Garoga to Cauie (?can't read) Clemond of Garoga in the County of Fulton in the presence of Albert Kimg, his father John N. Kimg, his mother Asseneth Kimg, and his wife Janice A. Kimg, and others." (this is difficult to read-name could be Kring or King?)
"Married on 30th day of Aug 1888 at my home in Lassellsville in the Town of Ephratah Fulton County NY in the presence of my wife Helen A. Bronk, Saris (sp?) Bell of the village of St. Johnsville aged 42 years he said and Euphemia Walters of the village of Little Falls aged 29 years she said."
"Married on the 2nd day of October 1888 at my home in Lassellsville in the town of Ephratah Fulton County NY in the presence of my wife Helen A. Bronk and my daughter Kittie L. Bronk. George B. Gilbert of the Town of Oppenheim Fulton County NY aged 21 he said and Martha Delia Rickmire of the Town of Palatine Montgomery County NY aged 17 years she and he both said."
"Married on the 21st day of February 1877 at the home of Richard Denure in the Town of Ephratah Fulton County NY Colen Denure and Ann Mosher both of said Town of Ephratah and in the presence of Richard Denure and Maria his wife and their family also William Chatterton and Julia Chatterton his wife."
"Married on the 10th day of October 1880 at my home at the village of Lassellville in the Town of Ephratah Fulton County and State of New York Alonzo Cromer aged 21 years as he said and Katie Brinkley aged 15 as she said both of the village and town of St. Johnsville Montgomery County NY in the presence of my wife Helen A. Bronk and our family also Dewitt Clanes (sp?)
"On the 14th day of November 1882 at the home of Smith J. Conedon (sp?) in the Town of Ephratah Fulton County and state of New York Alfred E. Smith and Fanny Bellinger both of Town of Ephratah in the presence of Smith J. Conedon (sp?) and his wife and their son Walter Conedon (sp?) and their daughter Fran E. Howard and her daughter Ellinore (sp?)________, and Daniel Bronk." (difficult to read names)
From the Ledger of Ephraim Bronk, Justice of the Peace: "In account with the estate of Patrick Fritz Patrick deceased."
"I was appointed executor by Patrick Fritz Patrick in his will dated June 1st 1880 and qualified as an executor and received letters of testamentry on the 28th day of March 1881."
Mar 30 to cash from sale of six cows $210
Mar 30 to cash from Ellen Tomney on a mortgage of $200 in favor of the estate and interest $207
Mar 30 to cash from John Tomney $12.00
These several amounts went into the hand of some members of the family. I presume Dennis Fritz Patrick & never came in my possession.
Mar 30 by paid Alexander McLaughlin on note $10.00
Mar 30 by paid-John FitzPatrick on note $100.00
Mar 30 by paid-John H.Lassell on note $50.35
Mar 30 by paid-Charles Lassell on note $74.26
Mar 30 by paid-Daniel Lassell store account $22.30
According to his field ledgers, he surveyed land in Fulton, Hamilton, and Montgomery Counties. His ledgers show expenses, pay received, locations surveyed. Means of transportation: riding on horseback or in a buggy. Also, ledgers show boarding in different houses, meals, and money spent. Family stories say he was a Conservation Officer for NY State (further research needed). Ledgers show money received from NY State for travel, expenses, wages for surveying.
Some details of Ephraim Bronk's will:
At time of probate 27 April 1896-18 May 1896: Helen, wife, residing in Lassellsville. Eddie C. Bronk, Fay Bronk, Rossie Bronk, and Charles L. Bronk (sons) residing in Lassellsville. Calvin Bronk (son) residing in Frankfort, Bernice Mosher (daughter) of Dolgeville, John C. Bronk (son) of Stone Arabia, Daniel L. Bronk (son) of Lassellsville, and Kittie L. Leek (daughter) of Johnstown.
Eddie, Fay, and Rossie were minors, and Charles Bronk (their brother) was appointed their guardian.
"To my beloved wife Helen A. Bronk who has been my sole companion through life and who has very much added and assisted me in the procurement there of, I give and bequeath all the household furniture, beds and bedding, the family pictures, the new family bible, and all the other books and articles not herein mentioned ........and all the money on hand at the time of my death but not to exceed fifty dollars....not more than 4 cows and two horses........."
"In the next plan I dispose of my real estate the same was acquired by my said wife and myself during my life and chiefly after we were married in the year 1858........" "First, I give and bequeath to my wife Helen A. the farm whereon we now reside situated at Lassellville, in the Town of Ephratah, County of Fulton, N.Y. consisting of about 50 acres of land together with all the buildings and other improvements thereon to be hers during her lifetime.....and after her death to go to the said surviving children........" Will dated and signed 10 April 1890.
1848-New York State allows women to own real estate.
St. Johnsville New York Water Department History (www.stjohnsville.com):
"September 2, 1895, ordered, that this board, by its duly authorized engineer, assistants and servants, make an additional water supply system.......by diverting a certain spring stream of water, having its source on lands owned or occupied by....Ephraim Bronk........"
"November 29,1895 Resolved that the board offer to the parties interested in the lands and streams or springs affected....commonly known as the Lassellsville water extension system of this said village the following sums........Ephraim and Helen Bronk-$100........"
The marriage of Ephraim Bronk and Helen A. Lassell united two large families in Lassellsville--Bronk and Lassell. Ephraim was educated, political office holder, Justice of the Peace, teacher, saw mill owner, surveyor, land owner, and farmer. He died at an early age leaving his widow with minor children/grandchildren living at home, a farm, and large acreage in the rural Lassellsville, Town of Ephratah.
Ephraim is a classic example of a man living in rural upstate NY during the mid to late 1800's. While not famous, he and his family were a vital part of a rural farming community and surrounding counties. These citizens were hard working, prosperous, religious, dedicated to their family, and community oriented. Ephraim's children left the farm for wage work in various communities in NY State in the 1900's. Factories, tanneries, construction/building, and professional work was the new way of life.
His ancestors, like many others of his time, can be trace back to the immigration of free and prosperous citizens to New Netherland/New Amsterdam in the 1600's; founders of communities in NY State along the Hudson/Mohawk Rivers; soldiers in the American Revolution/Civil War; and, finally, settlers in rural upstate NY in the early 1800's.
Look for these other biographies:
Helen A. Lassell
Captain John Henry Lassell
The above information is taken from census/church/cemetery records, Ephraim Bronk's ledgers, internet websites, Johnstown Library card index, books as listed, wills, and information provided by Evelyn Frasier-Town of Ephratah Historian.
Copyright © 2005 Donna Bennett, Lisa Slaski and Jeanette Shiel
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