1906 Farm Descriptions

Town of Columbia
Herkimer County, NY

Transcribed and Contributed by Kathy Zawko-Huxtable

"These pages describing some Town of Columbia farms were purchased on ebay. Sadly, they were obviously a part of a large book. They appear to go in some way with the 1906 Atlas of Herkimer County; the same farm names are also seen on the Town of Columbia Map in that Atlas. Most likely the farm owners wrote their own descriptions and paid a price to be included in the book. The information given provides some sense of their life in 1906. Some of the authors were wise enough to include a little family history. Descendants of these farmers who have difficulty locating the farms may contact Kathy for help, but other than that she has no further information."

1906 Farm Descriptions
Town of Columbia

A Record of Some of the Most Valuable
and Productive Farms of Herkimer County, New York


Spinnerville Dairy Farm embraces 135 acres and is owned by Wm. Brennan, P.O. Mohawk, R.F.D. It is located on lot 33, 4 miles from Mohawk, its market. Dairying is the principal industry, its herd being mostly graded Holsteins. Its plough is used only in the interest of the dairy, most of its products being used for feed. About 50 acres are in meadow and grazing lands, 10 in hickory timber, and there is an apple orchard of 2 acres, chiefly grafted fruit. The water supply is most abundant, and with its creeks, springs and wells, few farms fare better in this respect. All buildings are in good repair, and include residence, a large basement barn, etc. Mr. Brennan was born in Perryville, Madison Co., May 13, 1875.


Maple Haven is the property of Chas. H. Beebe and consists of 111 acres. It is located on lots 19, 20, 29, and 30. Its nearest market is Ilion, 6 miles distant. Only enough grain and vegetables are raised for the use of the stock. Dairying is the principal industry, consisting of mostly graded stock. Considerable attention is given to fruit culture. There is an apple orchard of three acres, and considerable grafted fruit; 40 acres comprise its meadow and pasture lands, and there are 20 acres of hardwood timber. Spring water is conducted to the barns for stock, while wells supply the residence. The farm was given its name by Mr. Beebe. All buildings are in good condition and comprise a residence, general barn, stock barn, dairy house, and carriage barn. The farm's surface is mostly level. Esick SANDERS was the first settler, date not obtainable. It was known for a long time as the "Esick Sanders' Farm". Mr. Beebe was born in the town of Columbia, August 1, 1847, and was married January 17, 1883. He is the present Supervisor.


Fair Holme. This farm embraces 197 acres, owned by L.D. Brown, P.O. Ilion. Its location is lot 19, 4 1/2 miles from Ilion. Hay, grain and potatoes are its chief soil products; 77 acres are under cultivation annually. It has a fine dairy of graded Holsteins, which adds to the farm's revenue. It requires 80 acres of meadow and pasture to support its dairy. It also has a fine timber lot of 40 acres. A somewhat noted well has supplied pure water for 50 years and still supplies all buildings and stock. A fine residence stands on the premises, a large general barn, stock barn, carriage house, and several out buildings comprise the group of building improvements. The Brown family settled on this property in 1830.


Cedar Brook is owned by James Burke, P.O. Cedarville, and consists of 192 acres, located on both sides of the public highway, Ilion, being 8 miles distant, being its principal market. Its name is derived from the never-failing brooklet lined with cedars. The farm's resources consist of soil products, such as are common to this section, an excellent dairy, 8 head of horses, apples and small fruit. In 1904 its oat crop yielded 72 1/2 bu. per acre; 115 acres are usually set aside for meadow and pasture, 15 for oats, 5 for potatoes and 10 for corn. There are about 47 acres of timber, principally hardwood, a per cent being cedar. The farm's water supply is abundant, the north side being watered by a never-failing creek, and a branch of the Unadilla River furnishes water for the south side of the farm. The improvements consist of a commodious residence, which is modern and in excellent condition, a general barn, new granary, a corn crib 50x18, and a tenant house. Descriptively the farm forms nearly a square, its buildings in the center. A maple grove borders the highway. The surface is more or less rolling, and its soil a sandy loam. This record goes back to GOULD Bros, who sold it to Barton CARVER in 1803, from the latter to Theodore ELMER, November 20, 1849, and COLE Brothers, March 1, 1852; Jacob SECKNER, April 1, 1873, and to the present incumbent, April 1, 1904. Mr. Burke was born in Danube in 1862. Farming and dairying have always been his occupation.


High Ground Creamery Farm, Marcus Grant, proprietor. It number 250 acres on lots 77 and 83, 8 miles from Mohawk and 9 from Herkimer, which comprise its principal markets. Hay, corn and dairying make up the farm's chief revenues, although there is an excellent apple orchard of grafted fruits. Its dairy is comprised of graded stock; 125 acres are usually in meadow and pasture, 40 in soil products and 40 more in hardwood timber. An abundance of water is furnished by springs and wells, conveniently located. This farm has an enviable reputation as a dairy farm. Its buildings are commodious and kept in the best of repair. They comprise a residence, basement barn, carriage and horse barn. The Unadilla River heads on Mr. Grant's farm. Some of the Grant family settled on this tract during the Revolution. It was cleared by them, cultivated by them, brought up to its present fertile condition by the same family. The present owner was born in this town September, 1867, was married December 20, 1899, and is considered one of the progressive farmers of Columbia.


Gage Brothers' farm is located on lots 30 and 35, 6 miles distant from Ilion and Herkimer, respectively. These, together with Herkimer, are markets for the farm products. The owners are G. A. and D. A. Gage, P.O. Ilion, N.Y., R.F.D. 2. It embraces 50 acres. Grain, hay, potatoes, a small dairy of Holstein cows, and an excellent apple orchard of grafted fruit make up its principal resources or revenues. There are 35 acres devoted to meadow and grazing, 5 to soil products and about 4 acres are covered with hardwood timber. Its water supply is received mostly from never-failing springs, and its buildings are always in the best of repair. They embrace a residence, general barn and stock barn. The farm surface is rolling, sloping to the south.


Gorsline Homestead is located 1/2 mile north of Columbia Centre, on the Mohawk Road, numbers 200 acres and is owned by Wm. D. Gorsline; address, Millers Mills, N.Y. Mohawk, Ilion and Herkimer are its shipping points. This farm's resources embrace nearly all features to be found on a standard farm. It has a productive soil with a clay loam subsoil. Summarized, the farm obtains its revenues from hay, corn and vegetables, its fine dairy of Holstein cows and its excellent apple orchard, which produces nearly all of the varieties cultivated in this section of the State. In addition to the above there are 30 acres of timber, including a maple sugar grove. The farm's water supply is received from springs and wells, which are never-failing. The Gorsline Homestead was settled in 1789 by John Gorsline. Its surface is mostly level. In fact, it is one of the best farms in the town of Columbia. Its residence and outbuildings are always in the best of repair. A feature of its buildings is a large general barn, 104x64 on a 10 ft. basement of stone. The title passed from the first settler, John Gorsline, to John Gorsline second, in 1880, thence to the present owner. The farm is at present under the management of Thomas KINNEY. Wm. D. Gorsline was born on the homestead in 1832. He was married to Elizabeth FREEMAN in 1856. They have one son, W. D., second. Has served his town as Supervisor, and county as Member of Assembly, and at present is Justice of the Peace. He organized and was captain of Company A, Thirty-eight Regiment, N. Y. State Militia, and was commissioned captain by Governor Seymour.


Depot Farm. This is another of Mr. Gorsline's farms, consisting of 116 acres, Millers Mills Depot being located on the farm. Ilion, 10 miles distant, is one of its markets. Its soil is gravel with a clay subsoil. Dairying is the principal feature. It seems to be the chief feature of the Gorsline farms and "Depot Farm" is no exception. Although the soil is well adapted to products common to this section, there are about 20 acres devoted to these annually; 75 are usually set aside for pasture and meadow, and there is a timber grove of about 15 acres, embracing maple, ash, linden, cedar, etc. Its dairy includes mostly graded Holsteins. The farm is named from the fact that the D.L.& W. Railroad depot is located thereon. The buildings are in good condition and are ample for the farm's needs. The soil is productive, and surface rolling, but easily worked. There is also a milk station located on the farm, whence milk is shipped to New York City. The first settlement was in 1791, by a Mr. MILLER, thence to Luther COLE, followed by Andrew FINGER and James MASON, from whom it was purchased by the present incumbent. Mr. Gorsline is also owner of a grist and saw mill and a hydraulic cider press at Millers Mills, where he has resided for 40 years.


Spaulding Farm consists of 170 acres owned by W.D. Gorsline. Its location is on the highway leading from Chapachet to S. Columbia, two miles from the latter village. Richfield Springs, 5 miles distant, and Herkimer, Ilion, and Mohawk are advantageous shipping points for the products. This farm is noted as a dairy farm, and for its fine meadow and pastures. Considerable attention is given to fruit culture; 120 acres are usually devoted to pasture and meadowlands, and there are 40 acres of timber, the varieties being maple, linden, hemlock, cherry, ash and cedar. Its water supply is most abundant, as it is located on the headwaters of the Unadilla River, where numerous springs abound. The farm name is in honor of its first settler, Parley SPAULDING, 1792. The title passed from him to Nathan Spaulding, where it remained until 1870, then to the present owner. The residence, barn and outbuildings are in excellent condition. The farm's surface is somewhat rolling, but no waste land, and the soil is exceedingly productive.


Gage Farm. This is number 4 of the Gorsline group of farms, and embraces 130 acres, located on the highway leading from the Spaulding farm to Columbia Centre. Richfield Spa is its nearest market, although Herkimer, Mohawk, and Ilion, equally about 8 miles distant, are shipping points. The soil is a gravelly loam. This ranks as one of the best dairy farms of Columbia; 75 acres are devoted to meadow and pasture, and the soil is well adapted to the products common to this section. It has a fine grove of sugar maples, linden, ash, cedar, etc. Apple culture receives considerable attention, some of the best varieties being found on this farm. Springs and wells furnish its water supply. Its dairy products are shipped to the milk station, 1 mile distant. The farm's name is given in honor of its first settler, Abner GAGE, 1790. He was followed by David N. Gage and others until 1875, when it came into possession of Mr. Gorsline.


Valley Farm comprises 53 3/4 acres, located on lot 39, near Millers Mills, and is the property of Monroe M. Gay, P.O. Millers Mills. The most valuable market is at Mohawk, 12 miles distant. The general soil products, graded dairy, small but prosperous, and the cultivation of apples, make up the farms revenues; 36 acres are devoted to meadow and pasture and 12 to soil products. An abundance of water is furnished by springs. A residence, barn and shop comprise its building improvements. Mr. Gay was born at Millers Mills, January 5, 1856. His wife was Sally GREEN.


House Farm is located on lot 59, nearest to Columbia Centre, and 8 1/2 miles from Mohawk, which together with Ilion and Herkimer, supply excellent markets. It is owned by Fred J. House, Columbia Centre. It numbers 129 acres. Hay, grain and potatoes seem to be the ruling products of the soil in this section of the county, and the House farm is not an exception. Its soil is productive. A fine dairy of graded cows is not a secondary consideration of this farm: it is, in fact, a feature; 35 acres of grazing and meadow are required for its stock. Aside from its small hardwood grove, there are 3 acres of cedar swamp. The buildings and stock are supplied with running water at all seasons of the year. A residence, large general barn, secondary barn, comprise the building improvements. The farm's surface is mostly level.


High View Sheep Farm, owned by John Henry House, P.O. Columbia Centre comprises 286 acres, is located on lots 53, 54, and 43, 1 1/2 miles from Columbia Centre, and 8 1/2 from Mohawk. Its principal market is Ilion. Sheep raising is a feature of this farm. Here will be found a fine flock of thoroughbreds; 200 acres are in meadow and grazing land, 60 in soil products. There is also a timber lot of 15 acres, principally hardwood. Pure water in abundance is supplied to the buildings and stock. The farm name is derived from its location, which gives a picturesque view of the country, also for its flock of thoroughbred sheep. Two residences, two large barns, four smaller but convenient barns make up its group of buildings. The farm's surface is rolling. The present owner purchased of his father, Gaylord House, and has been in possession for 48 years. He was born in the town of Warren January 6, 1857.


Van Deusen Farm, of 100 acres, is owned by Richard Jones, of Ilion, NY, R.F.D.2. Located on lots 29, 36, 30, and 35, 7 miles from the Mohawk River. A graded dairy, mostly Holsteins, general soil products and apples constitute the principal revenue of the farm; 40 acres are in meadow and grazing, 12 in soil products and 15 in timber. Never-failing springs furnish its water supply, and its building improvements consist of a residence, fine basement barn, etc. Its name is given in honor of what was known as "The Old VAN DEUSEN Farm".


Stewart McRorie owns and conducts this farm of 104 acres. P.O. address is Richfield Springs, R.F.D.1. Its location is on lot 57, and principal market is Mohawk, 14 miles distant. The products common to this section are also successfully cultivated by Mr. McRorie. In addition to this feature, there is an excellent dairy of graded Holsteins, which requires about 70 acres in meadow and pasture for its support. Its timber consists mostly of hard wood, and comprises 4 acres. The water supply is furnished entirely from springs. The building improvements are of the best. A residence, general barn and secondary barn make up the group. The farm's surface is level. Mr. McRorie has been in possession of the farm for the last 21 years.


Maplehurst is located on lots 12 and 21, I mile from Cedarville, and 9 from Ilion, the latter being its nearest market. It embraces 130 acres, owned by Howard Miller P.O. Ilion R.F.D. It may be considered, as far as this report is concerned, as a dairy farm, made up exclusively of graded stock. The soil products are mostly grain for the dairy. No little attention is given to fruit culture, which embraces a small apple orchard and small fruit; 50 acres are in meadow and pasture, 10 are in timber, maple, ash, elm, oak and cedar. There are no less than three wells, conveniently located, which with several fine springs, furnish an abundance of water. The farm's name arises from the fact that the residence is surrounded by a maple grove. All the buildings are in the best of repair and modern in architecture, and comprise a residence, large general barn with basement and carriage house. The farm surface is rolling, but not hilly. The property has been in the Miller family for more than 50 years.

Howard Miller was born in Cedarville, July 10th, 1868, and was married September 15th, 1888. He is at present a member of the town board.


Mills Homestead is owned by Loring J. Mills, and is named in honor of the Mills family, in whose name the title has rested for four generations. Mr. Mills' P.O. Address is Ilion R.F.D.2.


Leland J. Miller is the owner of 14 acres, 1 mile from Millers Mills, on lot 40. He conducts a dairy and milk station. This little farm is well watered with springs and wells, and is ornamented with a residence and barn. Its owner is a shipper of milk to New York City.


Pleasant View, located on lot 50 on the Mohawk and Columbia road, 3 1/2 miles from the former. Ilion and Herkimer furnish excellent markets. It comprises 88 acres, owned by Geo. W. Manning, P.O. Mohawk R.F.D.2. It soil products are used mostly for its dairy, which is made up of graded Holsteins. Considerable attention is given to fruit culture. Apples (grafted and natural fruit), plums, pears, etc.; 40 acres are usually devoted to its pasture and meadow lands, 15 are under cultivation and there is a lot of 8 acres, embracing mostly hardwood timber. Running water is supplied to the barn and buildings. The name was selected from the picturesque view obtained from its residence. Its building improvements consist of a residence, general barn and carriage house. The farm surface is slightly rolling, with a western exposure. Mr. Manning settled on this farm in 1867, but it has been in the family name for more than 100 years. He was born in the town of Columbia, April 26th, 1845. He was married January 1, 1866.


Orendorff Corners Farm is located on lot 82, 7 1/2 miles from Mohawk, which, together with Herkimer, furnish excellent markets. It is owned by Olcott H. Orendorff, and comprises 96 acres. This is another of the Holstein dairy farms of the town. The meadow and grazing lands average about 70 acres. There are 10 acres of soil products and 4 acres of hardwood timber, mostly second growth. Some attention is given to fruit culture, there being a small apple orchard of grafted fruit. The farm is named in honor of Mr. Orendorff's great grandfather, who was the first settler. A frame residence, general barn with basement and also for stock, constitute its building improvements. The farm is mostly level, with a southern exposure. It is claimed that this farm was settled during the Revolution.


Homestead Dairy Farm is located on lot 46, 8 miles from Ilion, which together with Herkimer, are its principal markets. Consists of 105 acres, owned by Ira Stroup, P.O. Ilion, R.F.D.2. Hay, corn, potatoes and dairying are its principal industries. Its dairy is composed of graded Holsteins; 40 acres are usually devoted to its meadow and pasture lands, 8 acres are in soil products, and there are 25 acres of hardwood timber. Its water supply is received from springs and wells, such as are usually found on the farms of this town. All buildings are of the best, and include a residence, large general barn and carriage house. The farm's surface is level. Mr. Stroup has also a residence in the village of Columbia Centre.


Columbia Stock Farm is located on lot 45, 6 miles from Ilion, its nearest market. David Stroup, whose P.O. address is Ilion R.F.D.2, is the owner of this farm, numbering 55 acres. This is comparatively a dairy farm. There are 35 head of Holstein cows to be found in its pastures. Mr. Stroup also deals in stock of a high grade; 75 acres are comprised in its meadow and pasture lands, and 30 are under cultivation. The timber lot consists of 12 acres, mostly hard wood. Pure running water from wells and springs supply all buildings and stock. The buildings are in the best of repair, and include a residence, stock barn and general barn, both with basement. The farm's surface is generally level. Mr. Stroup purchased this farm of his father, Dan Stroup, and has been in possession for the past 6 years. He was born in the town of Columbia, May 30, 1877. He is one of the progressive farmers of the town.


Rural Home is owned by George Van Alstine, and was purchased by his grandfather from Staley's Patent in 1805. He was born on the farm, January 22nd, 1838, and purchased the same of his father, Danforth Van Alstine, who was born on the farm and died there at the age of 90 years. The present owner was married to Maria A. HEWITT, daughter of Joseph and Nancy Hewitt. She is a native of Oppenheim, Fulton County. They were married June 15th, 1881, by Dr. Lord. Mr. Van Alstine has been an active Democrat and served his town as Supervisor in 1874-75-76-77. For 25 years he taught school in the towns of German Flatts and Columbia, was also delegate to the convention which nominated Grover Cleveland for Governor, and has been delegate to other conventions. He was educated in the district school and also Whitesboro Seminary.

Rural Home numbers 72 acres, with Mohawk, Ilion, and Herkimer its nearest markets. Its soil products are hay, grain, potatoes, and it has a small dairy of Holstein and Jersey cows. Its fruit is chiefly of the grafted varieties. There are 40 acres of meadow and pasture, 3 acres of timber, with the remaining under cultivation. The buildings comprise a residence, grain barn, carriage house, shop, etc., always in perfect condition. The farm has been in Van Alstine family name for a century, the first settlement being in 1800, by Geo. Van Alstine.


Warren Homestead is owned by Thomas D. Warren, whose P.O. is Mohawk, R.F.D.2. It comprises 13 acres and is used by Mr. Warren simply as a residence.

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