HISTORIC HOMES OF HERKIMER COUNTY
THE GEORGE GORHAM HARTER HOME
Originally Published January 19, 1949
Thank you to Beth A. Brewer, publisher of the Evening Telegram, for permission to reprint historical articles on our site.
Upon the west side of Main Street at 427 is the fine old Georgian-style house, constructed in 1875 by the late George Gorham Harter.
Harter, himself a contractor and builder, constructed the house of lumber sawed from hemlock and pine trees purchased in Bellinger woods, now Brookwood Park. The logs were taken to the Folts Saw Mill, then run by John Folts, a great uncle of Harter, where the Northern Lumber Company now is located, and cut into boards.
The lot where the house is located was bought from John Getley, whose home had burned. Harter built most of the present house which is a two-story, 11 room house, having black walnut woodwork in three first floor rooms. Wide pine plank flooring which was laid when the house was first built was replaced with hard maple flooring several years ago.
Harter, a descendent of two of the first white settlers in the upper Mohawk Valley, was the son of Jeremiah Harter and Mercy Ann Folts. He was active in public affairs and recognized as an ardent and aggressive Democratic leader in the Village and County. He at one time was a village trustee, a member of the Board of Excise, and superintendent of the Herkimer County Division of Erie Canal, being appointed in 1890 by Roswell P. Flower, Democratic governor of New York State at that time, and held the position as long as Flower was in office.
He also constructed water systems, roads, and public buildings in various parts of the state.
On June 5, 1866 he married the former Mary Desmond, daughter of Jeremiah Desmond and Margaret Driscoll, of the town of Fairfield. After their marriage they resided in the old Harter homestead on the west corner of Washington and German Sts., now owned by Arthur Smith, while the present Harter house on Main St., was being constructed.
On Dec. 24, 1875, Mr. and Mrs. Harter moved into the home, and his Christmas gift to her was a deed to the property. The house contains many pieces of period furniture including a tambour desk over 200 years old and a square piano, forerunner of the grand piano, which is 70 years old.
Mr. and Mrs. Harter were parents of seven children. Three daughters died in girlhood and an older son, Gorham H. Harter, a civil engineer in the state highway department, died in 1938. Those surviving are, Floyd C. Harter, former supervisor, Miss Ann Desmond Harter, and Miss Mae C. Harter, all residing in the old homestead.
George Harter died in May of 1900 at the age of 53 and Mrs. Harter on April 19, 1943, at the age of 96, after an illness of eight weeks.
Picture and Article Copyright © 1949 Herkimer Evening Telegram
Copyright © 2001 Betsy Voorhees
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