In 1824 the boundaries of the counties of Herkimer and Montgomery were quite different than they are today. Familiarizing yourself with some of the place names mentioned in the old township profiles of Spafford's 1824 Gazetteer can help you better pinpoint the whereabouts of your earliest area ancestors. Some of the 1824 townships are now in neighboring counties. The section below, prepared for us by Jim Orgel, is the profile for Herkimer County in general.
Herkimer County lies between Oneida and Montgomery Counties, embracing the Mohawk River, 79 miles WNW of Albany, and is bounded N by St. Lawrence and Montgomery Counties, S by Otsego, W by Oneida and Lewis. It is rather long and narrow; but it has good width in the S, and the N is of little importance. Salisbury and Manheim, two valuable Townships of Montgomery, were attached to this County in 1817, together with the W half of Minden, now forming the Town of Danube; and a part of Winfield from Otsego Co. in 1816. Greatest length N and S, 85 miles; greatest width, 22, and its area 1290 square miles or 725,600 acres. Situated between 42 deg. 49' and 44 deg. 07' N latitude; 38' W, and 1 deg. 14' W longitude from New York.
The County of Herkimer has the Mohawk River running eastward its whole width, through the heart of its population; the great roads westward from Albany, along that river, are on each side; another one across some of the northern Townships; and more than all these in importance, the great Erie Canal, along the S side of the Mohawk. See Erie Canal. Within the last ten years, this County has been much improved in its form, by the annexations above noticed, and by the rapid advances of industry, business and population. Much good has been done by its Agricultural Society, which receives 200 dollars a year from the State. In the southern Townships, fine models may be seen of Farms, farming, and all the branches of rural economy, the life-giving source of human happiness. These Towns are noted for their stock of clover-seed, sources of no little wealth. This County has a pretty large proportion of hilly land, and as great a diversity of soil as any in the State. The hills that border the Mohawk, aspire with considerable assurance to the name of mountains. The southern part furnishes some small sources of the Susquehanna, a circumstance that indicates a lofty altitude; and the tract of country, called the Royal Grants, which lies N of the Mohawk, is elevated, broken by high hills, and has a mountain temperature. The northern part is more elevated and more level; but extensive swamps and marshes, with the vast forests of evergreens, pine, spruce, hemlock and fir, characterize its mountain temperature, and a cold, sterile soil. But, when I penetrated the northern wilds of this County, while collecting the materials for the Work, I may have judged too hastily, and perhaps unfavorably, though of its mountain character, and influence on the climate, I cannot be mistaken. Herkimer County furnishes some small streams of the Oswegatchie, several considerable branches of the Black River, and the main source also of that river. West Canada Creek rises also in this County, and in Montgomery, runs at first W, then curves about to the SE, after forming part of the western boundary, and holds a southerly course to the Mohawk, near the Village or Borough of Herkimer, the capital of the County. The East Canada Creek forms the Eastern boundary, a fine rapid mill stream. No district of equal area, contains a greater diversity of soil. Much of the hilly ground affords a good soil, some of sandy, argillaceous and loamy, --- free from stone in some parts, in others so stony as almost to exclude soil. The alluvial flats are extensive and very rich along the Mohawk; and there is considerable of alluvion along the creeks. The rocks are granite, limestone, argillite, quartz, and masses of calcareous sandstone or freestone, so intermixed and disposed as to mock all the closet speculations of geological theory. See Little Falls. If Herkimer could cut off its N end, as Montgomery has agreed to do, and annex it to Hamilton, this County would lose nothing, and that, in time, might gain in existence. Without some such acquisition of population, Hamilton may possibly be organized as a County, but will long remain too feeble in numbers to sustain the expenses necessary for self government.
Statistics --- Herkimer forms the 15th Congressional District and elects 1 Representative to Congress, and 3 Members of the House of Assembly: --- Townships, 15; Post-Offices, 17; No. of families, 4642; Population, 31017: whites, 30685; free blacks, 188; slaves, 72: foreigners not naturalized, 253: farmers, 5661; mechanics, 1354; traders and persons 'engaged in commerce,' 70: ratio of increase in population per annum, 2 per cent: amount of public money paid Society for the promotion of Agriculture and Domestic Manufactures, $200 per annum: school districts, 159; schools kept to average 8 months in 12; public monies received in 1821 for the support of common schools, $4349.00; 9230 children between 5 and 15 years of age; whole No. taught in 1821, 9278: electors 5780: acres of improved land, occupied, 147,440: taxable property, real $4,855,076: personal, $328,837; --- total, $5,183,913: head of neat cattle, 33,115; horses, 8998; sheep, 59,880: yards of fulled cloth, 60,785; flannel, 67,133; other thin cloths, 307,913; --- total, of cloths made in the family way in 1821, 435,735 yards. Grist mills, 58; saw mills, 106; oil mills, 3; fulling mills, 41; carding machines, 33; cotton and woolen factories, 2; iron works, 4; trip hammers, 9; distilleries, 22; asheries, 27.
[Note from site coordinator: in reference to abbreviations in the table, I don't know what P.T. means. "Imp. land" means "improved land" - i.e. woodlands and wilderness have been cleared. "No. Fam." means "Number of Families". Notes under "Villages,etc." refer to places and features that are covered in more detail in the 1860 French's Gazetteer, elsewhere posted on the site. Neither Jim nor I have additional information.]
Thank you again to researcher Jim Orgel for typing up the county profile. Our online presentation of the 1824 Gazetteer is now complete! Jim's researching the ORGEL family, who came from France to Herkimer in the 1870s, and the RYAN and RILEY families, who came from Ireland in the 1850s, to Newport, Schuyler and Norway. If you have information to share with Jim on his mid to late 19th century immigrant families, he looks forward to hearing from you.
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Last Updated: 4/15/00
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