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

General Spinner

Statue of General Francis E. Spinner,
showing his famous signature
which appeared on the Civil War



(Herkimer County)

(Over N. Y. C., N.Y., 223 m.; Buff., 216 m.;
1920 Pop., 10,453 ; 1910 Pop., 7,520 ; sea elevation, 383 ft.)

Turnpike Mileage Distances.

Eastward: : (By detour south from Mohawk) Fort Herkimer Church 3 m. Over the Mohawk Turnpike, Little Falls, 7 m., Fink's Bridge (Fall Hill) 8 m., (by detour to south side at Fink's Bridge) Gen. Herkimer Home 9 m., East Creek 14 m., St. Johnsville 17 m., Palatine Church 20 m., Fort Plain-Nelliston 23 m., (by detour) Stone Arabia churches 27 m., Canajoharie-Palatine Bridge 26 m., Sprakers 29 m., Yosts (the Noses) 32 m., Fonda-Fultonville 38 m., (by detour north from Fonda) Johnstown 42 m., Gloversville 46 m., (by detour to south side from Fultonville) Auriesville 42 m., Tribes Hill-Fort Hunter 44 m., Fort Johnson 46 m., Amsterdam 49 m., Hoffman's Ferry 56 m., Schenectady 65 m., Albany 80 m., Troy 8- m., New York 229 m.

West: Mohawk 1 1/2 m., Ilion 3 m., frankfort 5 m., Utica 15 m., Whitesboro 19 m., Oriskany 22 m., Oriskany Battlefield Monument 24 m., rome 30 m., Syracuse 65 m., Rochester 162 m., Buffalo 219 m.

The next important point west is Mohawk, 1m.; east, Little Falls, 7 m.

Herkimer is the southern terminus of the old Mohawk & Malone railroad, built in 1885 and now the Adirondack division of the New York Central railroad, with its main southern terminus at Utica.

Herkimer is the northern terminus of an electric railroad running southward, through Mohawk to Richfield Springs, Canadarago (Schuyler) lake, Cooperstown, Otsego lake with its southern terminus at Oneonta on the Susquehanna river. This electric railroad (built 1902), like its paralleling highway, forms a gateway into the headwaters of the great Susquehanna valley.

Herkimer lies in the belt of Hudson river shale surface rock, which covers most of the upper Mohawk valley. There are available quarry outcrops of building stone here.

At the northern village limits, on the west side of the West Canada lies pretty little Mirror lake, the only lakelet lying near the Mohawk Turnpike with the exception of Sanders lake at Scotia and the little ponds of the Noses.


Trenton Falls,
West Canada Creek

About 20 miles northwest of Herkimer.
One of the most beautiful falls and 
gorges in the Eastern United States.


Road to Fort Herkimer Church.

Fort Herkimer church (1767) lies on the south shore about two miles southeast of the center of Herkimer and is generally reached (1924) by automobile by crossing south bridge. This is one of the most important historical structures in the state and the tourist should visit it and its picturesque locality. It is the only remaining portion of a Colonial and Revolutionary army post standing on the north and south shore Mohawk Turnpikes. Fort Herkimer Church can also be reached over the south shore highway from Mohawk and Little Falls.


Herkimer, Industrial.

Herkimer is the county seat of Herkimer county, incorporated as a village in 1807. In 1910 about 25 per cent of the population was of foreign birth, Poles, Italians and Slovaks predominating. Herkimer is situated on the Mohawk river and the Erie canal, 14 miles from Utica. It is on the main line and is the terminus of the Adirondack division of the New York Central railroad; the West Shore railroad is three-fourths of a mile distant in the village of Mohawk. Interurban trolleys connect with Little Falls, Rome, Utica, Oneonta. A number of residents of Herkimer are employed at Ilion, three miles distant. The adjacent farming section is devoted to general agriculture, to stock raising and to dairying. Herkimer has a hospital, sewers and municipally owned water and electric lighting systems. In 1912 in Herkimer there were 21 factories, with 1,613 operatives.

Herkimer has the largest desk factory in the United States.  In 1912 the only industry employing over 1,000 hands was desk making, with 1,049 operatives.

In 1919 Herkimer had 34 factories with 1,472 workers; 3,546 horsepower; $4,133,000 capital; annual manufactures values at $3,933,000 (U.S. Census Report). In 1924 Herkimer's manufactures were desks, knit goods, furniture, air rifles, nut picks, nut crackers, bookcases, paper fibre, gloves, etc. The large amount of flat land here, both for residential building and for industrial plants close to railroads and waterway, gives Herkimer many advantages for manufactures. Address Chamber of Commerce, Herkimer, N.Y., for information desired along these lines.

A Barge canal terminal dock is located at Herkimer and a dam is here situated in the river.


Shoemaker Hill, 1,200 Ft. - The Hasenclever Hills, 1,420 Ft.

Shoemaker Hill, opposite Herkimer, and east of Mohawk, rises to a commanding height of 1,200 ft. sea elevation, and 817 ft. above the Mohawk. It is a westward extension of Mt. Okwari, 1,380 ft. sea elevation.

The Hasenclever Hills border Herkimer on the north and west. Hasenclever Hill (about 6 miles n. w. of Herkimer) has an elevation of 1,420 ft. or 1,033 ft. above the Mohawk. This range runs north about 8 miles and then turns west and forms Bell Hill, 1,582 ft.; Smith Hill, 1,207 ft.; Marcy Hill, 1,260 ft., al of which are north and northeast of Utica. Oak Hill (980 ft. sea elevation and 600 feet above the Mohawk) is the southern summit rising steeply directly from the Mohawk to the west of Herkimer and opposite Ilion and Frankfort.


Herkimer and Herkimer County.

Herkimer is the county seat of Herkimer county, which takes its name from the American brigadier-general, Nicholas Herkimer, who was mortally wounded at the battle of Oriskany [see Oriskany] August 6, 1777. The county, outside of the manufacturing towns, is principally devoted to dairying. The upper part extends far into the western Adirondack region and includes many of its lakes and summer resorts. The northern part is in the Black river watershed, the central in the Mohawk watershed and the extreme south in the Susquehanna watershed. 1910 population Herkimer county, 56,356; 1915, 64,109; 1920, 64, 962; area, 934,000 acres.

(See Hardin's "History of Herkimer County" and Benton's "History of Herkimer County and the Upper Mohawk Valley.")


The Herkimer-Mohawk-Ilion-Frankfort Village Community.

Herkimer, Mohawk, Ilion and Frankfort, forming an important manufacturing community running for five miles along the Mohawk, contain many large industries and have a 1920 population of 27,739. It is a rapidly growing group of towns. The history of Mohawk, Ilion and Frankfort is largely that of their sister town of Herkimer, which is the oldest village and is here so written for this entire community, which is a direct outgrowth from the Palatine German settlements, here along the Mohawk, under the Indian purchase of 1722 and the Burnetsfield Patent of 1725.


Statue of General Herkimer.

In 1907, Herkimer held the centennial of its village charter, the most prominent feature of which was the unveiling, in Myers park, of the spirited statue of General Nicholas Herkimer. The sculptor was Burr Miller, a native of Herkimer, and the statue was presented to the village by the sculptor's father, Hon. Warner Miller, a distinguished citizen of Herkimer and a former U.S. Senator from New York.


Statue of General Spinner.

In Myers park also stands a statue of Gen. Francis E. Spinner, Treasurer of the United States under Lincoln, whose famous signature adorns the pedestal as it did the Civil war greenbacks. This statue was the gift of the women employes of the Treasury department under Spinner. Gen. Francis E. spinner was the son of Rev. John F. Spinner (the famous local dominie of the early nineteenth century) and was born in Mohawk in 1802; died 1890. Gen. Spinner was a resident of Mohawk where his old home stands (1921). He was a prominent local political and financial figure and a major-general of New York State Militia. Gen. Spinner was the first one to employ women in U.S. government positions.


Herkimer County Historical Society.

The Herkimer County Historical Society (organized 1896) has here an important historical collection, open free to the public, which the visitor should see. The society is located on the top floor of Herkimer Library, formerly the residence of Judge Robert Earl. It is open free to the public. Here is General Herkimer's sword and the Bible from which he read on his death bed. Here also is the flag of the 34th New York Volunteers (the Herkimer county Civil War Regiment) and one of the first (1874) commercial typewriters produced by the Remington Typewriter Company.

On the lawn in front of the Court House is a marker commemorating the site of Fort Dayton (1776-1783) and also one showing the Civil war records of the 34th New York Volunteers.

Herkimer Reformed church was erected in 1835 and is surrounded by its ancient burial ground. It celebrated the 200th anniversary of its organization as a church society in 1923, this important occasion also commemorating the 200th anniversary of Palatine settlement in this section.


Herkimer Reformed Church.
Built 1835 on site occupied by this organization
since about 1725.  In 1923 this church celebrated
the 200th anniversary of its organization and 
settlement of Palatines in Herkimer and its


First American Wood Pulp Paper Made at Herkimer, 1866.

One of the valley's first water power developments was made at Herkimer in 1833, when the Herkimer Manufacturing and Hydraulic Co. was formed (with a capital of $100,000) to erect a dam and power canal here on West Canada creek.

The first wood pulp paper made in America was manufactured here in Herkimer in 1866 by Warner Miller, later United States Senator from New York State (1881-1887). Previous to this time newspaper was made of rags or of rye straw and this was the beginning of a tremendous development of the paper industry.


World's Largest Desk Factory.

Herkimer is the seat of the largest desk making industry in the world, which began with the making of typewriter cabinets (for the Remington typewriter works in Ilion) in 1886.


Herkimer, Historical, 1722-1922.

The following is a condensed historical sketch of the region known in the Revolution and Burnetsfield or "German Flatts," comprised within the limits of the Burnet patent of 1725. It covers present Herkimer-Fort Herkimer-Mohawk-Ilion Frankfort section of the Mohawk river and the Old Mohawk Turnpike.


Palatine German Settlement, 1720-1725.

The Palatine German settlements of Stone Arabia (about 1711) and of German Flats (about 1720-1725) form the two most important German settlements on the Mohawk, that of Stone Arabia being the first along our river and the German Flats settlement being the first white locations in the upper Mohawk valley. It is probable that the Palatines settled on and opposite the West Canada creek as early as 1720, as they are known to have come here and made individual purchases of land from the Mohawks as early as 1720.

The first Palatine German settlement in the United States was made at Quassaick (Newburg) on the Hudson in 1709. The government districts known as the Palatines (upper and lower) of the Rhine were frightfully devastated in the Thirty Years war. Many of the inhabitants fled to Holland and England. The English government assisted them and gave 3,000 of them passage to New York in 1710. They were located on the Hudson and set to logging, etc. Being mostly farmers they were dissatisfied and many went to Pennsylvania where they became the first "Pennsylvania Dutch." A third important arrival of Palatines at New York occurred in 1722.

The Palatines on the Hudson claimed that they had been promised lands on the Schoharie and a number if them located on that branch of the Mohawk in 1712. Tradition says that some of these moved over to the Mohawk river and settled at Stone Arabia in the same year.

The Palatine settlement at German Flats is of great historical importance because for over sixty years (1722-1783) it formed the outpost of the old New York frontier and in that period it suffered terribly from fourteen years of warfare in the French-Indian war (1754-1760) and in the Revolutionary war (1775-1784). In fact, as he said, Gov. Burnet settled these Palatine pioneers here as an outpost to meet the first hostile French blow from Canada, by way of the Black River or Oswego.


Burnetsfield Patent, 1725.

On July 9, 1722, Governor William Burnet purchased of the Mohawks the lands lying westward along the river from Little Falls to Utica, which constituted the Burnetsfield patent of April 30, 1725.

The grants of lands, under this historic patent of Burnetsfield, were made to 94 persons representing 38 families and covered 9,400 acres, as each patentee received 100 acres. Wives and widows received grants as well as males of full age. The family names of the patentees were:

Beerman, Bowman, Dacksteder, Edich, Edigh, Editch, Erghemar, Feller, Felmore, Fols, For, Heger, Helmer, Herter, Hess, Hoss, Keslaer, Kast, Koons, Korsing, Koues, Lant, Mayor, Miller, Orendros, Orendorf, Pears, Pell, Pellinger, Petri, Poenradt, Reele, Rickert, Shoemaker, Smith, Spels, Spoon, Staring, Temouth, Veldelent, Wever, Welleven.

Many valley families will here recognize the spelling or misspelling of their names. Erghemar represented the name of Herkimer, Johan Jost Herkimer, and his father, Jurgh Herkimer, being patentees. Johan Jost Herkimer was the father of General Nicholas Herkimer (see Fort Herkimer Church).


Settlement of Herkimer, 1722-1725 -
Great Flat, German Flatts, Stone Ridge, Burnetsfield, Palatine Village.

Under the Burnetsfield patent, most of the 100 acre farms had a narrow frontage on the river and ran back to or up the hills, thus giving all a share in the fertile river flats. On the Great Flat of Herkimer, the land was here divided into 30 acre plots and certain settlers were given a 30 acre flat lot and a 70 acre wood lot elsewhere. This brought a considerable population (for the time and place) within a narrow space and gave the place the name Palatine Village. Governor Burnet desired to have the settlement called Burnetsfield, in his honor, and it was so called officially. The stone outcrop, on the present village site, gave the place the name of Stone Ridge and it was also referred to as German Flats, a name then applied both to the whole 24 miles of Palatine Mohawk river settlement or to any of its parts. Herkimer is frequently referred to before the Revolution, by any one of these five names. It was generally called German Flats or Fort Dayton during the Revolution.

Those patented lands under the Burnetsfield patent on the site of present Herkimer were Palatine families by the names of Bowman, Dacksteder, Feller, Fols, Helmer, Kast, Koons, Lant, Mayor, Pellinger, Petri, Reele, Rickert, Smith, Staring, Temouth, Veldelent, Weaver.

From the Palatine settlement to the beginning of the French war, the population of German Flats grew rapidly and at the beginning of hostilities in 1754, this was one of the most thickly settled sections along the Mohawk.

The Fort Herkimer Reformed Dutch church of logs was built about 1723. In present Herkimer a church of logs was first built, followed by a Reformed Dutch frame church of octagon shape and here a grist mill was located on West Canada creek. The farm crops were great, the cattle thrived, the settlers grew rich, the population increased and the settlements extended yearly in every direction. There were probably a thousand or more people living and working along the river on the German Flatts at the beginning of the French war of 1754. A ford at Herkimer connected the north and south shore settlements and the two Colonial neighborhood centers of Palatine Village (Herkimer), on the north bank, and that of Herkimer's (Fort Herkimer) on the south bank.


Herkimer Massacre, Nov. 12, 1757.

The great French and Indian war (1754-1760) vitally affected the Mohawk valley part of the old New York frontier. Its men were enrolled in the Schenectady battalion of the Albany County Militia and served in the valley forts or were called out on the military expeditions under General (Sir William) Johnson. Fort Herkimer was built and garrisoned with 250 men in 1756. In 1756 the English forts at the Wood creek portage of the Mohawk (present Rome) were captured and burned by the French.

The settlers had erected five blockhouses to guard the settlement of sixty houses on the north side of the river. On the 11th of November, 1757, an Oneida Indian brought news of a French-Indian raiding party but was laughed at by the German settlers, who had the same attitude in the face of impending danger as the Schenectady Dutchmen when rumors reached them of approaching Indians prior to the Schenectady massacre.

A party of 300 French marines, Canadians and Indians, commanded by M. DeBelletre, marched down the Black river trail to destroy the German Flats frontier settlement. They encamped about opposite Utica on Nov. 11, 1757, ad the next day the raiders moved on the first blockhouse, which surrendered after brisk firing on both sides. The other four blockhouses surrendered. Many of the people fled to the ford to Fort Herkimer across which 100 escaped. Forty men, women and children were killed or murdered and 150 were carried captive to Canada. The greater part of the German Flats farm buildings were burned in this raid and the farm stock killed or driven off. Following this bloody foray, Burnetsfield was deserted by a great part of its population, which moved down the river.

This region was again ravaged by Canadian French and Indian raiders April 30, 1758, when a large war party attacked the south side, murdered 30 settlers and almost completed the previous year's destruction. Captain (later General) Nicholas Herkimer was in command of Fort Herkimer and sent out a company of the garrison which defeated and drove off the enemy after a sharp battle in which fifteen of the enemy were killed and one of the garrison command was wounded.

In 1758 Fort Stanwix was built at present Rome, Palatine Germans of the German Flats being engaged in its construction.

Following the terrible devastation of the great French war (1754-1760) a period of reconstruction ensued here, which was still in process at the outbreak of the Revolution (1775).


Tryon County, 1772.

The Mohawk valley formed part of Albany county until 1772, when Tryon county was erected, embracing all of the state westward of a north and south line crossing the Mohawk at Kinquariones, west of Hoffmans Ferry. Five county districts were formed. Mohawk, Canajoharie and Palatine districts were east of Fall Hill, while to its west, German Flatts district lay on the south side and Kingsland district on the north side of the Mohawk. Kingsland and German Flatts districts acted as one, civilly and militarily during the Revolution, and the section was strongly "Whig" or patriotic.

At a council held at German Flats, on June 28, 1775, between the Oneida and Tuscarora Indians and the local Committee of Safety and an Albany patriot delegation, a large part of the Indians present pledged their neutrality in the approaching war. Kirkland, the Oneida missionary, largely influenced this action as well as later bringing the majority of the Oneidas to fight on the Continental side.


Fort Dayton, 1776.

Realizing the importance of the defense of their valley frontier against attack from Canada, the American Army of the North (with headquarters at Albany) constructed a number of Mohawk valley forts in 1776, including the construction of Fort Dayton at Herkimer and Fort Herkimer, surrounding the present Fort Herkimer church. Both works were under the supervision of Col. Elias Dayton, in whose honor the Herkimer fort was named.


The Oriskany Campaign, August 2-25, 1777.

The campaign of 1777, ending in the American conquest of Gen. Burgoyne's British army at Saratoga, is closely related to the Mohawk valley and Fort Dayton at present Herkimer. Here the American armies mobilized which defeated and drove off (from before Fort Stanwix) the British expedition under Gen. St. Leger in his attempt to join Gen. Burgoyne at Albany. The defeat of St. Leger was the prime cause of the surrender of Burgoyne, which made American independence eventually possible.

In June and July of 1777 news reached the valley forts of St. Leger's approach by way of Oswego and Oneida lake to the Mohawk at Fort Stanwix (present Rome).

On June 17, 1777, Gen. Herkimer (commanding the valley militia west of Schenectady borough) called out for field service, all the Tryon county men of military age (then between 16 and 60), who were not serving in American armies elsewhere.

Fort Stanwix, located at present Rome, was garrisoned by 500 men under Gen. Gansevoort, who were reinforced by 200 from Fort Dayton (convoying river supply boats) on August 2. As they entered Fort Stanwix is was surrounded by the enemy, 1,600 strong. The reinforcements brought news of the adoption by Congress of a national banner on June 14, 1777. Officers of the fort made a banner following the Congressional design and on August 3, 1777, first hoisted and flew the American flag from Fort Stanwix on the site of present Rome (See Rome). This was the first raising of an American battleflag.

On August 4, 1777, the Tryon County Militia mobilized at Fort Dayton to a strength of about 900 men. A marker in Herkimer shows the site of Fort Dayton and of this mobilization.


The March to Oriskany, August 4-6, 1777.

On August 4, 1777, Gen. Herkimer led his regiment from Fort Dayton and began the fateful march to Oriskany. He followed the north shore road and encamped that night west of Sterling creek. One of the markers, placed along Herkimer's march by the valley D. A. R. in 1912, here marks the camp site.

On August 5 the march was resumed and the American soldiers crossed the ford at Old Fort Schuyler (present Utica) and encamped that night between the Sauquoit and Oriskany creeks (between Whitesboro and Oriskany). This site is located by D. A. R. markers.

As related (under Oriskany Battlefield Monument) General Herkimer was forced to begin battle before his preparations were completed, by the clamor of vain, inexperience, excited officers and impatient men. The ambush of Oriskany resulted. Herkimer was severely wounded, at the first fire, but directed the battle to a successful issue. After a bloody fight the Americans drove the enemy away, with great loss on both sides (See Whitesboro, Oriskany, Oriskany Battlefield Monument and Rome).

On August 17,1777, General Herkimer died of his wound at his home below Little Falls (See General Herkimer Home).

By a heroic feat of scouting, through the woods from Fort Stanwix to Fort Dayton, Col. Willett and Lieut. Stockwell passed through the enemy lines and down the valley and secured aid from General Schuyler, then encamped near the mouth of the Mohawk with the American Army of the North.

Gen. Benedict Arnold (the brave soldier and later traitor) volunteered with 800 men for this service and marched up the valley to Fort Herkimer and Fort Dayton. Here he recruited his army to 1,200 men and marched on Fort Stanwix. The enemy weakened by their Oriskany losses, fled (August 22, 1777) before his approach and the menace to the valley and the aid to the British at Saratoga was eliminated and eventual American independence was assured.

One of the best stories of the Revolution is told, in connection with this final act of the Oriskany campaign, as follows:


Capture of Walter Butler.

Gen. St. Leger's British army was so cut up by the Oriskany battle that he did not dare proceed down the valley, to join Gen. Burgoyne at Saratoga, and leave Fort Stanwix in his rear. He tried to rouse the valley Tories by sending the fiend Walter Butler with a party of spies and scouts down the river. On the night of August 17 fourteen of this enemy party, including Butler, were captured at the Shoemaker house in present Mohawk. Butler was sentenced to death but reprieved and imprisoned at Albany, from which place he escaped the next year and perpetrated the Cherry Valley massacre with Brant.


Hanyost Schuyler's Scare Story.

Among the spies taken here was a valley Tory named Schuyler, who was sentenced to be hung. His mother plead for his life with Gen. Arnold, then at Fort Dayton. The General agreed to spare the spy's life if his brother, Hanyost Schuyler, an eccentric character, would carry a tale to the Indians besieging Fort Stanwix, telling of a vast American army coming up the valley to relieve the fort. Hanyost agreed and a neutral Oneida was sent with him. An American soldier shot several holes through Hanyost's coattails and he was sent on his mission, which he performed so well that the hostile Indians, after hearing his stories of the approaching great army, fled back to Fort Oswego and the British and German Hessians had to follow in great haste, pursued by the Americans (See Rome).

Gen. Arnold's regiment marched back down the valley and added to the strength of the American army which conquered to British at Saratoga and where Arnold played such a glorious part in the American victory.


Brant's Indian Raid of 1778.

On August 1, 1778, a large party of Tories and Indians under Brant raided the upper valley and burned 125 houses, barns and mills and drove off over 500 horses and cattle and 300 sheep. The famous scout, Adam Helmer, came in touch with the enemy south of the Mohawk and rode ten miles to German Flats, warning the settlers, who escaped to Forts Dayton and Herkimer, and so only two pioneers were killed (See Fort Herkimer and Mohawk).


Forts Dayton and Herkimer, Frontier Posts, 1781-1783.

In the Spring of 1781, a disastrous fire damaged Fort Stanwix (at present Rome) to such an extent that the post was abandoned. The troops marched down to garrison Forts Dayton, Herkimer and Fort Plain. From this time until peace was declared in 1783, Forts Dayton and Herkimer were the most advanced posts on the New York frontier.

On July 2, 1781, a party of 50 American rangers, under Capt. Woodworth, left Fort Dayton to scout along West Canada creek. They were ambushed by a large party of Indians at present Kast's Bridge (3 m. n.) and after a fierce fight, 35 were killed, including their commander. The site will doubtless later be marked.

In 1781 60 Indians and Tories attacked the blockhouse of a farmer named Christian Schell, five miles north of Fort Dayton. The old farmer, his wife and six sons successfully defended their home and drove off the enemy after killing 11, wounding 15 and capturing McDonald, the Tory commander.


Battle of West Canada Creek, Oct. 28, 1781.

Following the defeat of Ross and Butler's 700 British-Tory-Indian raiding party at Johnstown, Oct. 25, 1781, the American commander, Col. Willett, pursued the enemy, coming up the valley. Securing reinforcements from Forts Dayton and Herkimer, he left Fort Dayton Oct. 27, with 450 men and started up the West Canada creek, after the enemy who were fleeing to Canada over an upland trail (See Johnstown).


Tory Fiend Butler Killed.

Oct. 28, 1781, Willett's pursuing regiment caught up with the rear guard, near Black creek outlet, near the upper end of the present Hinckley reservoir on the West Canada creek (22 m. airline n. of Herkimer). A sharp skirmish ensued, in which 25 of the enemy and one American were slain. An Oneida Indian company of scouts were with Willett and one of them here shot and killed the notorious Tory villain and murderer, Capt. Walter Butler, who committed such bloody atrocities at Cherry Valley and elsewhere in the Mohawk valley during the Revolution.

Col. Willett returned with his command to Fort Dayton Nov. 1, 1781. During his absence news had arrived of the surrender of Cornwallis (Oct. 19, 1781) but the survivors along the Mohawk hailed the news of Butler's death more joyfully than they did that of the final British defeat at Yorktown. The heroic farmer-soldiers and their families prepared a feast at Fort Dayton for Willett and his valley earriors, which was probab,y the most joyful jollification ever held along the Mohawk. During this campaign, from the time Willett left Fort Plain, his men marched over 150 miles in one week, which shows what hardened athletes the revolutionary soldiers of that day were.

In July, 1782, a force of 600 Tories and Indians raided the south shore of German Flats, burning all the buildings erected since the raid of 1778. The attack on the Fort Herkimer was beaten off (See Fort Herkimer).

In July, 1783, Washington toured the Mohawk valley and stopped at Fort Dayton and Fort Herkimer and also at the old Shoemaker house in Mohawk.


Herkimer County Seat, 1791.

In 1791 Herkimer county was set off from Montgomery county and Herkimer was made the county seat. In 1797 Herkimer village had a court house, jail and Reformed Dutch church, 40 dwelling houses and a population of about 250. It was then probably the third town in the valley in size, being next to Schenectady and Johnstown. Herkimer had a slow growth as a county seat and market town until about 1866, when manufacturing began here. Its present rapid development began with the beginning of the manufacture of desks here in 1886.

In 1840 Herkimer is described as follows: "The village is situated on the north shore of the Mohawk river. It contains a brick court house, a stone jail and a fireproof clerk's office, 1 academy, 1 bank, 1 German Reformed and 1 Methodist church, 10 stores, 1 large flouring mill, 1 printing office, 120 dwellings and about 800 inhabitants." In 1840, the Herkimer-Mohawk-Ilion-Frankfort community had a population of about 2,400, with Herkimer the leading town and Frankfort the leading industrial community.


Herkimer, Military, 1861-5, 1917-8.

The principal Civil war organizations largely recruited from Herkimer county were the 34th Infantry, N.Y. Volunteers, five companies of which came from this county; 97th Infantry, N. Y. V., five companies of which were largely Herkimer county men; 121st Infantry, N. Y. V., from Herkimer and Otsego counties; 152nd Infantry, N. Y. V., from Otsego and 360 men from Herkimer; 16th Artillery (over 100 men); 14th Inf.; 26th Inf.; 1st Light Artillery (Batt. A); 2nd Light Artillery (Batt. K); 2nd Rifles; 18th N.Y. Cavalry. The county Civil war camp was at Mohawk. A marker commemorating the 34th Inf., N.Y. Vols., was erected here in 1921.

The flag of of 34th Vols. is in the Herkimer County Historical Society collections in the Library building.

In the World war the men drafted for the U.S. army from Herkimer county were here assembled and sent forward to their respective encampments. Many Herkimer men were enlisted in Co. M., 10th Infantry, N. G. S. N. Y., of Mohawk, and saw service in the World war, 1917-8 (See Mohawk).

Dates of interest in the history of Herkimer, following the Revolution, are as follows: Building of the first West Canada creek bridge in 1793; Mohawk river improvement with canal lock at Wolf's rift, 1797; bridge over the Mohawk 1798; Mohawk turnpike improvement, 1800; cheese making begun in Fairfield, n. e. of Herkimer, in 1800; 1807, Herkimer chartered a village; 1812-14, War of 1812 period, with great Turnpike and river activity; 1817, Herkimer county line moved east from Fall Hill to East Creek; 1817-1825, Erie canal construction; 1824, division of Reformed church because all sermons were still preached in German; 1833, hydraulic power canal completed; 1836, opening of the Albany & Schenectady railroad; 1861-5, Civil war; 1866, first wood pulp paper made here; 1872, knit goods manufacture begun; 1883, West Shore R.R. built; 1885, Mohawk & Malone R.R. completed; 1886, desk industry started; 1895, Utica to Little Falls trolley line completed; 1900, Mohawk and Oneonta (electric railroad) built; 1905, Barge canal work started; 1907, Herkimer village centennial celebration, Gen. Herkimer statue unveiled; 1912, route of Herkimer's march from Gen. Herkimer Home and Fort Dayton to Oriskany marked by valley D. A. R.; 1917-1918, World war period.




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