Charles B Knox Gelatine Co. Inc.
Edition of
The Old Mohawk-Turnpike Book

South Shore Mohawk Turnpike Through Frankfort.



(Herkimer County)

(Over N.Y.C.R.R., N.Y., 227 m.; Buff., 212 m. 1920 Pop., 4,198. Sea elevation, 383 ft.)

Turnpike Mileage Distances.

East: Ilion 2 m., Mohawk 4 m., Fort Herkimer Church 6 m., Herkimer 5 m., Little Falls 12 m., Fink's Bridge (Fall Hill) 13 m., (by detour) Gen. Herkimer Home 14 m., St. Johnsville 22 m., Palatine Church 25 m., Fort Plain-Nelliston 28 m., (by Detour) Stone Arabia Churches 32 m., Canajoharie-Palatine Bridge 31 m., Yosts (the Noses) 37 m., Fonda-Fultonville 43 m., (by detour) Johnstown 47 m., Gloversville 51 m., (by detour e. from Fultonville) Auriesville 48 m., Tribes Hill-Fort Hunter 49 m., Fort Johnson 51 m., Amsterdam 54 m., Schenectady 70 m., Albany 85 m., New York 234 m.

West: Utica 10 m., Whitesboro 14 m., Oriskany 17 m., Oriskany Battlefield Monument 19 m., Rome 25 m., Syracuse 60 m., Buffalo 214 m.


The most important point eastward is Ilion 2 m., westward, Utica, 10.m.

Frankfort was incorporated as a village in 1863. Frankfort is situated 9 1/2 miles east of Utica on the Mohawk River, the Barge canal and the West Shore and the New York Central railroads. Interurban trolleys connect with Ilion, Little Falls and Utica. The principal industries are the manufacture of hoes and forks, chucks, castings and road building machinery. A considerable number of local workmen are employed in the factories of Ilion. The village is a shipping point for hay, straw and dairy products. Frankfort has a sewer system, electric lighting service and municipal water works. In 1912 Frankfort had 8 factories, with 473 operatives. The New York Central station here is North Frankfort and is connected with Frankfort, by bridge.


Barge Canal Land Cut.

There is a Barge canal retaining dam at Frankfort, to the west of which the canal generally follows a land line, westward to Rome, 25 miles. A Barge canal terminal dock is at Frankfort.

Frankfort lies on the broad river flats, here over a mile wide, which penetrate the lower valley of Moyer creek, which enters the Mohawk river on the west side of the town. Frankfort is the western village of the four-town community of Herkimer-Mohawk-Ilion-Frankfort (1920 population, 27,739) and of the south side tri-village community of Mohawk-Ilion-Frankfort (1920 population, 17,286).

Frankfort's situation gives it unusual availability as a site for manufacturing, on account of the large amount of open flatland here close to the Valley main transportation routes. People interested are referred to the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce.

The surface rock outcrop here is Frankfort shale and sandstone.


Frankfort Gulph - Route to the Most Northerly Headwaters Source
of the Susquehanna.

Moyer creek here enters the river. It rises seven miles airline distance, west from its outlet, at the foot of Frankfort Hill (1,379 ft.). Three miles southwest, the Gulph hill rises to 1,500 ft. Two miles east Dutch Hill rises to 1,060 feet elevation. Moyer creek follows a deep ravine, south of Frankfort, known as the Gulph. The Gulph begins about two miles southwest of Frankfort and extends three miles to Gulph. It is a picturesque ravine similar to Ilion Gulph, only not so deep, and a road follows the creek through its entire distance. At their highest point, its bordering cliffs rise to a height of 400 feet above the creek. Moyer creek's headwaters flow within a half mile of the source of the Unadilla (Cedar Lake creek) at Dayville, 7 miles airline distance southwest of Frankfort. This is the most northerly headwater source of the Susquehanna and the closest to the Mohawk.

Frankfort shale and sandstone are here exposed in Frankfort Gulph.

On the north river shore Oak Hill rises above North Frankfort to a sea elevation of 963 feet above the Mohawk.


Frankfort, Historical, 1723-1922.

Frankfort township contains a considerable portion of Cosby's Manor patent, 1 1/4 of a tier of great lots in Bayard's patent, 1 1/2 lots in Frank's patent, 4 1/2 lots in Staley's patent, part of Colden's patent and 4 lots (covering part of Frankfort village) in the Burnetsfield patent of 1725.


Folts Homestead, 1796.
Home of Mr. and Mrs. F. D. Callan, East Frankfort on the South
 Shore Mohawk Turnpike.  Built by Major Warner Folts, in
1796, on the original farm settled in 1723 by Melchor Folts,
one of the original Burnetsfield patentees.


Folts Homestead, 1796.

This house was built by Major Warner Folts in 1796 on Lot No. 3 of the Burnettsfield Patent, which was granted in 1723 to Melchor Folts, the founder of the Folts family in America. He came to this state in 1710 and was the first to settle in the town of Frankfort. Melchior Folts was one of the volunteers in the Montreal expedition (1711) and the names of his two sons are inscribed on the monument at Oriskany and the family has been fully identified with every struggle for liberty and independence. The house has suffered some changes, although the hand-hewn beams still support its floors and the large corner posts are exposed to view in every room. The original corner cupboard is in the parlor and the quaint fan-light over the door is firmly held by the old hand-made casing. The house has been continuously occupied by the family. Two generations have celebrated their golden wedding neath its roof and, at present, three generations are occupying it.

The town had a number of German settlers prior to the Revolution. In the early pioneer days mills were built on small creeks on Frankfort's eastern limits, which were burned by the savage French-Indian raiders of 1757 in the great French war (see Herkimer).

One of the early settlers was Laurence Frank, from whose fortified house, "Frank's fort," the village and township take their names.


Schuyler and East Schuyler.

In 1764 a settlement of Germans was started by Peter Hasenclever (at present East Schuyler), a mile west of the North Frankfort Central station. About 30 log houses and a blockhouse were there erected and the place called New Peterboro. It was the most western hamlet on the Mohawk at the beginning of the Revolution, during the early years of which it was abandoned until its close. The township opposite Frankfort is called Schuyler, in honor of the Revolutionary American Major-General Schuyler, who held large properties in it. The hamlet of Schuyler lies about a mile west of East Schuyler.

The Frankfort section, like all the German Flats settlements, was ravaged and utterly destroyed during the Revolution, following which there was a considerable influx of New England settlers here as throughout all of Herkimer county and the upper Mohawk valley.

In 1794 John Hollister built a saw mill on Moyer creek. John Myers opened a tavern (1 1/2 m. w.) in 1795. Frankfort township of Herkimer county was created in 1796. In 1807 Joseph Ingham of Schuyler, and Joseph Collins here started the woolen mill, which used its original primitive machinery until 1865. In 1807 there were seven houses in present Frankfort. In 1809 a grist mill was built. In 1810 Jacob Wever here opened a tavern and in 1811 a tannery was built. In 1814 Matthew and Michael Myers opened the first store. Shortly thereafter an ashery, a furnace and a cowbell factory began operations here. The building of the Erie canal (1817-1825) and the construction of the Utica & Schenectady railroad (now the New York Central) in 1836 boomed the little village.

In 1840 Frankfort is described in Haskell and Smith's U.S. Gazeteer as follows: "Frankfort, postoffice, township, Herkimer County, N. Y. The surface is hilly and broken on the south. In the north are fertile flats on the Mohawk. The village is on the south side of the Mohawk, on the Erie canal and contains one Dutch Reformed and one Baptist church, 8 stores, 1 woolen factory, 1 grist mill, 1 sawmill, 1 distillery, 1 tannery, 100 dwellings and about 500 inhabitants." From the foregoing we learn that Frankfort in 1840 was the chief industrial village of the Herkimer-Mohawk- Ilion-Frankfort community, with a population of about 2,400.


Frankfort Match Industry, 1844.

The modern American match is said to have been developed at Frankfort. In 1844 William A. Gates here built a twelve-foot square frame factory in which he began the manufacture of matches (the first practical match having been made in England in 1827).

In 1854 a canal dry dock was built at McGowansville or East Frankfort, midway between Frankfort and Ilion. In 1855 the village had a population of 1,150, when Ilion had 812, and the Herkimer-Mohawk-Ilion-Frankfort village community a population of 4,688.

May 4, 1863, Frankfort was incorporated as a village. In 1872 the south side street railroad was completed from Herkimer to Frankfort.

The building of the West Shore railroad boomed the town, during its construction period from 1879 to 1883. The road here located its railroad shops and foundry in 1883, following the presentation of land by Frankfort citizens, to the value of $75,000. This industry was later (about 1895) removed to Depew. The electric road from Utica to Little Falls was completed in 1902.

Frankfort has (1924) a considerable Italian colony.

The ten-mile run over the Turnpike, westward from Frankfort to Utica, is through an attractive farming and dairying country. The fertile Mohawk flats, west of Frankfort, are largely growing up to forest, along the river.


Dutch Hill, 680 Feet Above Mohawk.

About two miles west of Frankfort Dutch Hill, a small true mountain, rises steeply from the Turnpike to a sea level elevation of 1,060 feet, 680 feet above the Mohawk. Dutch, Frankfort and Forest hills are most westerly of the river highlands on the south shore.

About three miles west of Frankfort, Starling creek enters the river on the north shore. Here a toll gate stood in the old turnpike days.


General Herkimer's Camp, August 4, 1777.

Just west of Starling's creek General Herkimer's American valley militia army camped, along the north shore highway, on the night of August 4, 1777, on the way to the Oriskany battlefield (August 6, 1777). A D. A. R. marker of 1913 locates the camp site.

From this point the valley widens markedly. To the west of Dutch Hill, the river flats spread northward nearly two miles to the foot of the beautiful Deerfield Hills.


Barge Canal Lock No. 19.

West of Frankfort the Barge canal follows a land cut, generally north of the Mohawk river, westward to Rome, 25 miles, while the Mohawk river has its original channel. Near Starling creek is Barge canal Lock No. 19, with a rise of 21 feet from 383 feet (sea elevation) below to 404 feet above the dam. This level extends westward 12 miles to the Whitesboro lock, which is the eastern lock of the summit level.


New York Central River Crossing -
New York to Buffalo Waterway Half Way Point.

The Central bridge across the Barge canal marks the half way waterway distance between New York and Buffalo, 507 miles in all, and 253 1/2 miles to each terminus.

The Schuyler Junction bridge of the New York Central Railroad crosses from the north to the south Mohawk shore along which it runs to Rome.

Utica takes its name form the Roman city capital of the Roman province in Africa, which supplanted Carthage, after the Romans conquered the Carthaginians. It was a magnificent city and was destroyed by the Arabs in the latter part of the seventh century.




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