includes the Town of Ephratah and
Bradtville, Dempster Corners, Fical Corners, Garoga, Lassellsville and Rockwood
Around the Town:
- Ephratah Business & Residents, 1869
- Hamilton News, November 23, 1894
- 1917 Glen Telephone Directory - for many area towns
- 1939 Fulton & Montgomery Counties Farmer's Directory
- Ephratah Reformed Dutch Church, Baptisms 1844-1889
- Deaths of Ephratah Reformed Church, Recorded 1841-1857
- Deaths of Ephratah Reformed Church, Recorded 1886-1889
- Ephratah Dutch Reformed Church, Members 1824
- Ephratah Dutch Reformed Church, Members 1834 - 1837
- Ephratah Dutch Reformed Church, Church Roll 1842
- Ephratah Dutch Reformed Church, Church Roll 1844 - 1876
- Ephratah Dutch Reformed Church Marriages, 1842-1857
- Ephratah Dutch Reformed Church Marriages, 1886-1895
- Benedict Family Letter, 1848, Ephratah
- Oppenheim/Ephratah Schools - listings of schools, students teachers, etc.
- Ephratah Death Records, 1902-1903
- Ephratah Marriage Records, 1889
- Ephratah Births, 1847-1849
- Ephratah Marriages, 1847-1849
- Ephratah Deaths, 1847-1849
Ms. Evelyn Frasier
135 Church Street
St. Johnsville, NY 13452
Where to request records
Ephratah Town Clerk
3782 State Highway 10
Saint Johnsville, NY 13452
Please contact the town clerk to make arrangements.
Hours are pretty limited.
Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 works.
Vital records prior to about 1860 were destroyed, apparently in a fire.
The History of Ephratah
On the 27th of March 1827, by legislative enactment, the town of Palatine was divided into two parts, forming from its northern portion a new and independent town, the naming of which was submitted by Anthony BECK, and old resident, who gave it the appellation of Ephratah, a Bible name, meaning abundance bearing fruit. Mr. BECK was believed, by some of his acquaintances, to possess the power of foreseeing events. He used to assert that he once saw, at mid-day, from "Spook hill" an eminence about a mile east of Ephratah village as distinctly as though real, a large an opulent city, teaming with busy life; and, although many years prior to the invention of locomotives or the application of steam-power, he also claimed to have seen and used to describe something resembling modern railroads, and "smoking wagons" rushing headlong through the city. Ephratah village now occupies the site of this visionary metropolis, and there are those still living who have heard him prophesy great things concerning this locality, and verily believe they will yet prove true.
The same legislative act which made two towns of Palatine, also provided that the officers elected just previous to the division should continue to serve in the same capacity for the portion to which they belonged. Thus it occurred that Ephratah had, at the time of its formation, Thos. R. BENEDICT for supervisor Edward BURDICK for clerk, and Chauncey HUTCHINSON, Joseph GETMAN, Peter SMITH and Edward BURDICK for justices of the peace. On the last Tuesday of April, 1827, a special town meeting was held at the house of Philip EMPIE, at which the organization was fully completed by the election of the following officers to fill vacancies: Joseph GETMAN, Henry SOULS and David C. EVEREST, assessors; John F. EMPIE, sr., and Caleb JOHNSON, overseers of the poor; Geo. BECK, collector; Jas. CALDWELL and Chauncy ORTON, commissioners of highway; Peter W. SALTSMAN and John McLaughlin, commissioners of schools; Samuel R. DUDLEY, inspector of schools; Michael DORN, jr., Joseph DENNIS and Philip YOUNG, pound masters and damage appraisers, and thirty overseers of highway. A part of this town was re-annexed to Palatine April 18th, 1838, the time of the formation of Fulton county.
Ephratah is bounded on the north by Stratford and Garoga, east by Johnstown, south by Palatine (Montgomery Co.) and west by Oppenheim. The surface is a hilly upland from four hundred to fifteen hundred feet above the Mohawk. The soil in the central and southwestern portions is a sandy loam, mixing with clay in the southeast, and light sand in the northwest, with rocky hills in the northeast. It is abundantly watered by Garoga, Klock, Timmerman, North, Sprite and Sponable creeks, and their numerous tributaries. Garoga creek is the principal stream, flowing very rapidly in a southwesterly course across the town, in a deep valley bordered by hills rising from 300 to 800 feet above its bed.
Lumbering was formerly carried on to quite an extent in connection with farming, but this branch of industry has ceased to be remunerative, and the inhabitants in the agricultural districts are now principally engaged in the dairy business, the soil being better adapted to grazing than the raising of cereals.
This town has an area of 21,286 acres, a large portion of which is improved, except in the northeast. It is divided into 41 road districts for highway purposes, and 12 school districts for educational purposes, with 12 school-houses within its borders, and 777 scholars between the ages of 5 and 21 years. The population in 1875 was 2,102. The number of taxable inhabitants in 1876 was 423. The assessed valuation of real estate was $207,569; of personal property $41,010.
The first land grant in this town was the Stone Arabia patent, which included nearly all the land south of Garoga and Sponable creeks. Settlements were begun in the southern part of the present town about 1720, by Frederick GETMAN, Johannes BEARMAN, Frederick EMPIE, John SHOEMAKER, Johannes SCHELL and Honnas REED, who came from Germany. Among those who followed them and settled in other parts of the town previous to the Revolutionary war were Jacob FREY, Gerrit MARCELLUS, Michael STRAYER, Christian BLOPPER, Nicholas RECTOR, Lodowick HERRING, John HERDICK, Philip KREITZER, William COOL, Henry HART, Zechariah TRIPP, John CASSELMAN, Peter SCHUTT, Nicholas and Henry SMITH, John SPONABLE, Richard YOUNG, Richard COPPERNOLL and William DUESLER.
Frederick GETMAN (at that time written KITTMAN) and Johannes BEARMAN together bought, in 1743, from Hendrick SIC, lots 92, 94, 96 and 98 of the Stone Arabia patent. Mr. GETMAN subsequently purchased BEARMANs interest in the property. He had four sons born here Frederick, jr., George, John and Christian, all of whom participated in the French war previous to 1757. Christian GETMAN was also captain of a company of Rangers in the Revolutionary war. George GETMAN succeeded his father, Frederick, in possession of the homestead. He raised five sons, all of whom served the patriot cause during the Revolution. One of them, George, jr., held a lieutenants commission and was under Col. WILLETT. He inherited the old farm. His five sons were all soldiers in the war of 1812. One of them, Frederick, is now living on the homestead, where he was born eighty-six years ago, and is still active and vigorous in body and mind. He is the father of ex-sheriff Oliver GETMAN, of Ephratah village. There is yet growing on the old farm a noble maple tree, shown in the engraving of the place, from which Frederick GETMAN made sugar 160 years ago, and which has since yielded its sweets to the successive generations of the family. It is eighteen feet in circumference, and produced sixty-seven gallons of sap in the spring of 1877.
Frederick EMPIE settled in 1743 on lots 86 and 88 of the Stone Arabia patent. This farm has passed from father to son, having been always owned by a member of the EMPIE family. It is now in the possession of John F. EMPIE, who was born here in 1821. His grandfather, John EMPIE, was a soldier in the Revolution. Philip EMPIE was taken prisoner by the Indians, who started with him for Canada. At night he was bound with a rope and made to lie down with a row of the savages, those on either side of him lying on the ends of the rope. Notwithstanding their precautions he succeeded in loosening his cords without awaking his captives and made his escape.
Nicholas RECTOR settled just north of Garoga village, on the farm now owned by Sanford SNELL. He was a captain of militia during the Revolution. He and his family were at one time attacked by Indians, and a man named EBERLY was shot and scalped. A son, who had been at work in the sugar bush, ignorant of the presence of the savages, returned to the house and was also killed. Mr. RECTOR received a gun-shot wound in the wrist, but escaped without further injury. His wife, after being wounded in the leg, got away and walked to the fort near Stone Arabia. On her way thither she found the body of a man whom the same party had killed and scalped, and taking off his shoes, wore them to the fort. Mr. EBERLY, before his death, succeeded in killing one of the Indians, who was afterwards buried under a spruce tree opposite the house.
Henry HERRING located where Benjamin SNELL lives. Philip KREITZER and William COOL settled about two miles northwest, and Henry HART about two miles northeast of Ephratah village. Nicholas SMITH settled where Wallace MCLAUGHLIN lives, and Henry, his brother, where Daniel SMITH resides. Both were soldiers of the Revolution. John SPONABLE located where A. FICAL now lives. He was in the Revolutionary war, and for a time a prisoner in Canada. Richard YOUNG settled on the farm now occupied by Hiram LIGHTHALL, and Richard COPPERNOLL where Stephen GRAY lives. They both participated in the Revolution.
Francis LIGHTHALL, grandfather of Hiram LIGHTHALL, was in the battle of Oriskany. He was captured by the Indians, taken to Canada, and remained a prisoner for three years. Richard PUTNAM, the grandfather of John P. PUTNAM, was first lieutenant under Captain DAVIS. He stood by the side of that officer when he was killed at the battle of Oriskany, and avenged his death by killing the Indian who fired the fatal shot. Henry SALTSMAN, grandfather of Benjamin SALTSMAN, and James KEITH, grandfather of George KEITH, both served in the war of the Revolution.
Sir William JOHNSON owned a large tract of land lying south of Garoga and Sprite creeks, and as early as 1770 built a stone grist-mill at what is now Ephratah village, on the site occupied by Wades tannery. During the Revolution this mill was attacked by Indians and Tories and burned. William COOL, who was at the mill at the time, was killed and scalped. The miller, Ozias KREP, was taken prisoner and carried to Canada. Previous to his capture, he concealed a quantity of specie in the stone wall of the mill. After the war he returned, and in company with George GETMAN, repaired to the ruins and recovered his hidden treasure, an amount sufficient to support him the remainder of his life, which he spent in this neighborhood.
Johannes WINKLE settled on the farm now owned by James YAUNEY. He erected a grist-mill prior to the Revolution on the present site of Yauneys woolen mills. This grist-mill was burned during the war, afterwards rebuilt by a Mr. SHULL, and subsequently purchased by Henry YAUNEY.
William DUESLER was a carpenter by trade. A barn built by him previous to the Revolution is still standing on the farm of James YAUNEY.
Isaac EVEREST, a native of Connecticut, settled in 1794 about two and a half miles south of Garoga, on the farm now owned by Andrew CHRISMAN. His son, David C. EVEREST, who came with him, remained on this place till 1856. A man by the name of FLANDER made the first settlement at what is now Lassellsville, sometime before the Revolution. He was subsequently followed by Daniel and Henry PHYE.
John ARGERSINGER, a farmer of Ephratah, was about seventeen years of age at the time of the Revolution, in which he took a part. He was engaged in the fight near Johnson Hall with ROSS and BUTLER, and was slightly wounded in the hand by a sliver struck from the fence by a bullet. He died about 1830.
The first survey for a road was made with a pocket compass, by Christian GETMAN, under the direction of Sir William JOHNSON. The road ran from near Johnson Hall, westward through the central part of the town to Lassellsville.
The first store in the town was kept by Johannes WINKLE, at what is now Ephratah village. An inventory of his effects, taken after his death, is now in the possession of Oliver GETMAN, and bears the date 1789. John EMPIE kept the first tavern, where his son, John F. EMPIE, now resides. The old, unique sign which then allured the weary traveler to this place of entertainment is still in existence, and a date on it shows it to have been executed in 1809. The first post route established in the town was from Canajoharie, Montgomery County, to Ephratah village, Christopher GETMAN being the first postmaster. The first German school in the town was taught by Honnas MOOT, about a mile south o Ephratah village. A man by the name of MCLEAN kept the first English school.
Among the early marriages, if not the first in this town, was that of Christian GETMAN to Anna TIMMERMAN, a widow lady, who, previous to her marriage with GETMAN, had been shot and scalped by the Indians during the French war, but survived her wounds and raised a family of four athletic sons. The first lumber mills were built by John SNELL and Geo. GETMAN on Krum Kil Creek.
VILLAGES OF THE TOWN
In 1803, Henry YAUNEY, who then owned and was operating a grist-mill on Garoga creek, purchased one hundred acres of land adjoining, and had a portion of it platted into small lots, thus laying the foundation for the present village of EPHRATAH. In 1808 he built a saw-mill here, and in 1832, having previously removed his grist-mill, he erected a woolen-mill on the same site. He was a captain in the war of 1812, and had command of the "Tillaborough Company" of about eighty men. He was afterwards major of New York State militia.
In 1810 Thos. A. BENEDICT built a store here and began the mercantile business. In 1812 Geo. GETMAN and Stephen COGSWELL erected a distillery and also opened a store. Peter SCHRAM built the first inn at the village, in 1815. The first tannery in the town was built here, at an early date, by Nicholas GRAY. John GRAY built the first blacksmith shop. This village now contains two churches Methodist and Reformed a hotel, a woolen-mill, a saw-mill, four stores, a tannery, a cheese factory, and about four hundred inhabitants.
The woolen-mill of L. & D. YAUNEY is a large stone structure, 40 by 80 feet and 4 stories high, with a dye-house attached, 38 by 40 feet. It was erected in 1865 by the present proprietors, who commenced the manufacture of woolen goods the following year. The building is conveniently arranged, the first floor being used as a finishing department, the second for warping and weaving, the third for carding, and the fourth for spinning . It is furnished with three sets of cards, 920 spindles, and all other machinery in due proportion. It is run by water power and heated by steam.
The Ephratah Cheese Factory, located on the east border of the village, was erected in 1870 by a stock company, and was operated by them for about three years, when it became the individual property of Darius GETMAN. In 1876 it was purchased by the present proprietor, Ralph SEXTON, who, during the season of 1877, manufactured over 130,000 lbs. of cheese, using the milk from an average of 420 cows, producing one pound of cheese for every ten pounds of milk, and receiving an average of about $12 per cwt. for his product. The building is 30 by 70 feet, two stories high and covered with a tin roof. It contains two vats of the ONeil patent, and twenty screw-power presses, with a capacity of making twenty cheeses, of 65 pounds each, per day.
ROCKWOOD, situated on Garoga creek, near the east line of the town, has a population of about 300, and contains two churches Methodist and union; three stores, the principal one being owned by A. L. BENJAMIN, who is also deputy-postmaster; an unusually large and commodious hotel, kept by A. P. LOOMER; the paper mill of Stahl & Young, who manufacture strawboard exclusively; two saw-mills, a peg factory, a tannery and a glove factory. This place was formerly called Pleasant Valley, but upon the establishment of a post office here in 1850, the name changed to Rockwood.
The first settlers in this immediate vicinity were families named PETIT, HERRINGTON, GARFIELD and NICLOY, who located as early as 1800. Among those who came in soon after were persons of the name of ORTON, SIMMONS, HALSTED, POTTER, PHILLIPS, DYE, DURFEE and DENNIS.
Mr. HALSTED built the first saw-mill at this village, about 1805. Abram DURFEE and Ira SIMMONS erected the first carding mill, in 1815. Joseph DENNIS built the first grist-mill, in 1816. Azel HOUGH opened the first store about 1826, and Thomas SIMMONS built and kept the first hotel in 1831. Dr. WHITNEY was the first physician in this part of the town, having settled a mile or more southwest of Pleasant Valley in 1807.
LASSELLSVILLE is situated near the west line of the town, and contains three stores, two churches Methodist and union a hotel, a cheese factory and about two hundred inhabitants.
GAROGA is a small village located in the eastern part of the town, on Garoga creek, from which it took its name. It contains three small stores, a hotel, a first class grist-mill, owned byI. M. EVEREST, a saw-mill, a cheese factory and about a dozen dwellings.
In the spring of 1875, Francis O. DORN purchased a large building which had been occupied as a hotel, converted it into a cheese factory, and commenced the manufacture of cheese. He made the first year but 42,000 pounds; in 1876 the product reached 61,000 pounds, and for the season of 1877 the amount produced was over 90,000 pounds, requiring the milk from an average number of 246 cows. In 1876, 10.15 pounds of milk made on an average one pound of cheese, and dairymen patronizing this factory realized a trifle over $1 for each 100 pounds of milk.
About a mile southwest of Garoga, on the same creek, in a romantic spot called Jenks Hollow, stands the paper-mill of Alonzo D. TRUMBULL. Mr. JENKS first built a paper-mill here in 1857, which was purchased by Mr. TRUMBULL in 1871, who, in 1873, erected a new mill and is now extensively engaged in the manufacture of strawboard paper, producing on an average 100 tons annually. Mr. TRUMBULL also owns and operates a saw-mill at this place.
THE TILLABOROUGH CHURCH LOT
About two miles north of Ephratah village lies a lot of one hundred acres, known as the "Tillaborough church lot." This name is a corruption of "Dillenburgh," a place in Germany from whence most of the early settlers are said to have come. This lot (No. 13 of Magins purchase) was given by "Rev. John OGILVIE, clerk, and Isaac LOWE, merchant, both of the City of New York," by deed in trust, to Johannes WINKLE, Jury FREY, Hendrick HERRING and Philip COOL, for church and school purposes, Sept. 1st, 1757, on condition that "a church edifice be erected thereon within seventy years, for the worship of God according to the usage of any of the reformed Protestant denominations in Europe or these provinces;" otherwise the land was to revert to the heirs of the donors.
On April 7th, 1823, a meeting was held at a school-house which had previously been erected on this lot, at which a religious society was formed, under the title of "The United Reformed Dutch and Lutheran Church of Tillaborough, in the Town of Palatine." Nicholas SMITH, Philip COOL, Jacob COOL, Jacob DUESLER and Peter SMITH were elected trustees. In 1827 a small church was built on the lot, which, through neglect, is now in ruins. For the first few years this society was supplied by the Lutheran and Reformed ministers of Stone Arabia. From about 1830 to 1840 Rev. John J. WACK preached to them and had the rentals of the land, but at the end of that time he was ejected, and for years the church was used little, and the rents amounts to nothing. Trustees, however, were elected every year by the people of the neighborhood. On Feb. 1st, 1866 the original society having become inactive a new united Lutheran and Reformed Church was organized, which attempted to take control of these lands from the former elected trustees. This produced a lawsuit, which resulted in the trustees holding the lot, and the new church soon after died out as an organization. On March 13th, 1876, the trustees obtained a permit from the Supreme Court of this State to sell the lands, invest the proceeds, and expend the interest there from for religious services in the school-houses in the districts number 4 and 11 of the town of Ephratah. The lot is not yet sold, but the income from rents is used to support preaching in the above named school-houses. Trustees continued to be elected annually, on the second Tuesday of April. The present board consists of Benj. and Edward DUESLER, Henry CRETSER, Philip COOL and Wallace MCLAUGHLIN. Treasurer, Solomon GRAY; clerk, Nathaniel CHRISMAN.
THE "SIX PRINCIPLE BAPTIST" SOCIETY
Probably the first organization of a religious character within the present limits of the town of Ephratah was that of a sect known as the " Six Principle Baptists," whose creed was the six things named in Hebrews vi. 1-2, viz.: Repentance from dead works, faith towards God, the doctrine of baptisms, of repentance, fire and suffering; laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. They originated in Rhode Island about the year 1700. At one time they had thirty-nine churches in this country (five in N. Y.), but in 1867 they reported only eighteen churches, and 3,000 members, and are still more reduced at the present time. A society of this persuasion, composed of thirty-one members, was formed at Pleasant Valley (now Rockwood) May 2d, 1818, as the "Palatine Branch" of a church of like faith at Amsterdam; and for several years was ministered to, at intervals only, by Rev. Ezra ALLEN, Rev. James T. JOSLIN, and Rev. William GROOM. On the 10th of June, 1830 they were re-organized as an independent church, having thirty-nine members, under the title of "The Six Principle Baptist Church of Christ." The Rev. William THOMPSON became their first regular pastor January 29th, 1831.
It appears that soon after this many of the members of this society began to entertain the views of, and grow into sympathy with, the regular Baptist denomination; for upon the formation of the Otsego Baptist Association, on march 20th, 1834, the Six Principle Baptist church of Pleasant Valley almost unanimously (there being but two dissenters) joined that body, changing their name, creed, and articles of faith in conformity therewith. The society has since been known as:
THE BAPTIST CHURCH OF PLEASANT VALLEY
In December, 1835, Erastus MINER was ordained and installed as the first pastor of this new church. The following is a complete list of the different pastors, with the dates of their coming, from Rev. Mr. MINERs time to the present: Rev Daniel ROBINSON, April, 1839; Rev. James S. MCCOLLUM, May 1st, 1842; Rev. E. G. R. JOSLIN (supply), August 5th, 1843; Rev. Jos. K. BARRY, March 3d, 1844; Rev. Homer CLARK, May 1st, 1845; Rev. E. D. TOWNER, August 10th, 1846; Rev. George W. ABRAMS, May 1st, 1861; Rev. Hezekiah WEST, August 1st, 1863; Rev. William BROWN, May 1st, 1867; Rev. Roswell COLLINS, May 1st, 1870; Rev. R. D. PIERCE, April 5th, 1872; Rev. David PECK, July 6th, 1874; Rev. George W. ABRAMS, November 3d, 1877. This society occupied the Union church building, alternating with the Methodist society, until 1842, since which time it has been kept in repair, improved, and occupied exclusively by the Baptists. The present membership is 70.
THE UNION SOCIETY OF PLEASANT VALLEY
This society was organized January 24th, 1834, by the election of Joseph DENNIS, Rouse SIMMONS, Dutee JOSLIN, Robert WEAVER, Chauncey ORTON and Azel HOUGH as a board of trustees, and was soon after incorporated under the above title. The religious denominations represented in this union were the "Six Principle Baptist," Methodist Episcopal, Baptist (regular), and Presbyterian. In 1833 the present Union church of Rockwood was erected by this society, and the records of that date show an amicable allotment of time, whereby the Six Principle Baptists were to have the privilege of occupying the building every Sunday forenoon; the balance of the time (meaning Sunday afternoon) being apportioned as follows: to the M. E. Society, 22 Sundays; to the Baptists, 18; and to the Presbyterians, 12 Sundays in the year. T his arrangement, however, became inoperable years ago, as the Presbyterian society ceased to exist, the Methodists built a church of their own and the Six Principle Baptists merged into the regular Baptists. The title to the churchs property remains unchanged, but the building is at present occupied exclusively by the Baptists, there being no other church organization in the place except the Methodist.
THE M. E. CHURCH OF ROCKWOOD
The history of this church is, to a great extent, identical with that of the M. E. Church of Ephratah village, both having always been under the same charge; in other words, they are but two branches of the same church. At an early day the people throughout the town, adhering to the tenets of this denomination, were accustomed to assemble on the Sabbath in private dwellings for religious worship, and ministers from Johnstown and Gloversville preached to them at irregular intervals until 1833. In that year the Union church at Pleasant Valley was built, after which regular services were held here in connection with the church at Johnstown. Their first pastor was Rev. Stephen PARKS, who also filled appointments at Ephratah village, Kecks Center, Garoga Lake and North Bush.
On the 24th of January, 1842, a complete and permanent organization was effected, with a membership of 45. The following persons were, at the same time, elected as trustees: George JEFFERS, Giles D. DAY, Peter SIMMONS and Peter R. SIMMONS. This society was immediately incorporated as "The Methodist Episcopal Church of Pleasant Valley." It at once commenced the erection of a church edifice, which was completed the same year and consecrated by the Rev. S. I. STILLMAN of Albany. The first pastor of the new church was Rev. James CONNER, who was followed successively by Dillon STEVENS, M. TOWNSEND, J. QUINLAN, A. MOSHER, B. ISABELL, O. E. SPICER, Henry WILLIAMS, James TUBBS, C. A. ANDERSON, N. WHITMAN, L. WARNER, J. C. WALKER, A. ROBINS, T. F. HANNAH, E. E. TAYLOR, William J. SANDS, Henry WHITE, Milton TAYLOR, M. D. JUMP, H. HARRIS, Joel HALL, Legrand JONES and D. M. C. SHELL, the present incumbent. This circuit retained the name of "Pleasant Valley" until the erection, in 1861, of the M. E. church edifice at Ephratah village, when it was changed to the "Rockwood and Ephratah Charge."
THE LASSELLSVILLE M. E. CHURCH
The M. E. church at Lassellsville was built in 1839. Services are held here once in two weeks by Rev. Mr. Van Valkenburg, of St. Johnsville, to which circuit this church belongs.
LASSELLSVILLE UNION CHURCH.
The Union church of Lassellsville was erected, in 1839, by the united efforts of the Presbyterian Lutheran, Dutch Reformed, Baptist and Universalist societies, and dedicated January 11th, 1840. It is at present occupied exclusively by the “Christian” denomination.
THE REFORMED CHURCH OF EPHRATAH.
The beginning of this church as the organization of a religious society March 17th, 1823, at the school-house in District No. 9 of the town of Palatine, by the election of the following trustees: Peter G. GETMAN, Thos. DAVIES, James GETMAN, Philip KRING, William LASSELL, Jonathon SELTER, Timothy RIGGS, Chauncey HUTCHINSON and Caleb JOHNSON; clerk, James W. JOHNSON. This society was duly incorporated, one week later, under the name of "The First Presbyterian Church and SOCIETY of the Town of PALATINE." The Rev. Elisha YALE, of Kingsboro, who had been the prime mover in its formation, preached to the congregation occasionally for the first year. Rev. Caleb KNIGHT became their first regular pastor, June 20th, 1824. His first meeting was held in the school-house at Lassellsville. His stipend was fixed at $275 per annum for three-fourths of the time; the highest subscription to which was $10; the lowest, a bushel of rye. He remained two years, preaching in the various school-houses. Upon his removal the society became inactive, and at length the meetings ceased entirely, the last one being held in September, 1827. In 1829 Dr. Solomon CUMMINGS the last clerk and a leading member of the late society, together with a few others, commenced the erection of a church edifice at Ephratah village.
On July 2d, 1832, a new organization composed largely of members of the former society was effected, under the title of "The Presbyterian and Reformed Dutch Church of Ephratah." John S. LASHER, John Jacob SNELL and Christian SUITS were elected elders; and Peter PUTNAM and Moses SUITS deacons. Rev. Isaac S. KETCHAM, of Stone Arabia, became their first pastor, preaching every Sunday afternoon. He remained till September, 1836, and was followed in 1837 by Rev. B. B. WESTFALL, who officiated one year only. Rev. John ROBB came next, in1841, and continued about eighteen months. In 1844 Rev. Charles JUKES was called to the charge, in conjunction with the Stone Arabia church. He was succeeded in 1850 by Rev. John C. VAN LIEW. In April of that year this society was incorporated as "The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Ephratah." The consistory at that time was composed of James G. VAN VOAST, Peter G. GETMAN, and Peter PUTNAM, elders; and James YAYNEY and James EDWARDS, deacons. Mr. VAN LIEW remained until 1856, and was followed the next year by Rev. John P. WESTERVELT, who continued till 1859, after which the church was without a pastor for five years, but was served occasionally by Revs. George H. HENLINGS, Miles G. MERWIN, and James ABELL. In 1864 the Rev. W. H. SMITH took charge of the congregation, being succeeded in 1868 by Rev. G. M. COMPTON. The present pastor, Rev. W. B. VAN BENSCHOTEN, A. M., entered upon his labors May 1st, 1872. He is a native of Dutchess County, N. Y., and a graduate of Rutgers College. In 1876, under his ministrations, eighty-seven new members were added to the church. T he present membership is 144. The Sabbath-school numbers 97 scholars. Present consistory: W. B. VAN BENSCHOTEN, pastor; James GETMAN, Oliver SUITS, James E. VAN VOAST, and James H. HAGER, elders; Hiram LIGHTHALL, Benjamin F. SNELL, John I. FRALEY, and Daniel YAUNEY, deacons. Board of trustees: John F. EMPIE, Solomon GRAY, Peter DOCKSTADER, John F. PUTNAM, and Philip SPONABLE.
ABRAM DURFEE, born in Rhode Island, July 8th, 1789, settled at Pleasant Valley in 1815, and the same year, in company with Ira SIMMONS, erected the first carding-mill at this place; shortly after, he bought the entire interest in this mill, and continued the business alone until his death, May 10th, 1842. On February 27th, 1817, he married Jane MCBEATH, who was born in Perthshire, Scotland, June 27th, 1795, and died August 17th, 1874. Daniel M. DURFEE, a son of Abram DURFEE, was born in Pleasant Valley, Fulton County, N. Y., February 22d, 1866, he married Mary A., daughter of Judge J. L. HUTCHINSON, of Pleasant Valley. Mr. DURFEE is at present engaged in the manufacture of gloves and mittens.
ELI DENNIS was a son of Joseph DENNIS, who removed with his family from Saratoga County to Pleasant Valley in 1816. The same year he erected the first grist-mill at the place, and soon after built a saw-mill. He remained here, in active business, until his dead in 1846, and was succeeded by his son, Eli DENNIS, who was born in Galway, Saratoga County, N. Y., November 7th, 1815, coming to this place with his father in 1816, where he resided nearly his entire life, an influential and respected citizen. He died March 25th, 1871. When it became necessary, in 1850, to change the name of Pleasant Valley, many of the inhabitants wished to call it "Dennisville" in honor of Eli DENNIS and his father Joseph, but to this Mr. DENNIS modestly objected, and proposed the name of Rockwood, which was afterwards adopted. On 6th of may, 1844, he married Mary A. Kennedy, who was born at Clifton Park, Saratoga county, N. Y., August 10th, 1817. Mrs. DENNIS, with her amiable and accomplished daughter, still resides at the old homestead. A view of her beautiful residence may be seen on another page of this work.
JOHN E. BURDICK, M.D., was born in the town of Johnstown, Fulton County, N. Y., October 29th, 1838. His rudimental education was obtained at the West Bush district school and Johnstown Academy. After teaching a few terms in his native town, he entered his name April 1st, 1858, as a medical student with his uncle, Dr. BURDICK of Johnstown, and graduated from the Albany Medical College May 28th, 1863, when, after eleven months service with his former tutor at Johnstown, he settled at Rockwood in April, 1864, and began in earnest the practice of his profession, where he still remains, the leading physician and surgeon of the place.
Source "History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, N.Y.", New York: F. W. Beers & Co., 1878, pages. 221-224.
Contributed January 18, 1999 by Douglas Weaver who is researching the following names in Fulton, Montgomery & Herkimer Counties: BAUMAN, CLAUS/CLAUSE, FREDERICK, GOODRICH, HILLEGAS/HELLINGAS, MEYER, SMITH, WEAVER, WELLS.
Copyright ©1999,2000 Douglas Weaver
Copyright ©1999 - 2005 Jeanette Shiel
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