The Spafford's 1824 Gazetteer typing project is one of the first of several valuable group projects we have planned for 1998. 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 can help you better pinpoint the whereabouts of your earliest area ancestors. The section below, prepared by Sally Edwards, covers the Herkimer County townships of German Flatts and Herkimer.


From the 1824 Gazetteer of the State of New York, by Horatio Gates Spafford

GERMAN FLATS, a Post-Township on the S. shore of the Mohawk, in Herkimer County, 5 miles SE of Herkimer, and 75 miles from Albany; bounded N. by the Mohawk, or by Herkimer, E. by Danube, S. by Warren and Columbia, W. by Frankfort. The extensive alluvial flats in this Town, as well as those in Herkimer, were settled at any early period by German families, and have now been known as the German Flats, about 100 years, from which the town has its name. The soil of these flats is remarkably rich, nor is its fertility hardly diminished by German husbandry, through such a long series of years. The uplands are rich and productive, and the whole is under cultivation. A canal has been cut around the Wolf Rift in the Mohawk, which is 5 miles above the Little Falls. This canal is 1 1/2 mile in length, and affords sites for water-works, and there are 2 small mill streams. There are 7 grain mills, 10 saw mills, 2 carding machines, 2 fulling mills, 1 oil mill, and 1 ashery. There is one meetinghouse, which has been built about 75 years, and 13 school- houses. The inhabitants, in common with those of the adjoining towns, suffered much in the early wars and in that of the Revolution; and here was Fort Herkimer. In 1756, after the surrender of Oswego, the French over-ran this country; and in 1757, after the surrender of Fort William Henry, the settlements at the German Flats were laid desolate by fire and sword. The Post-Office is on the Turnpike, the river road, 1 1/2 mile from Herkimer V., where there is a hamlet of houses, on the site of Fort Herkimer. Population, 2665; taxable property, $464626; 468 electors; 11737 acres of improved land; 2327 cattle, 803 horses, 4334 sheep: 19921 yards of cloth made in families in 1821; school districts, 13; schools, kept 9 months in 12; public monies received in 1821, $373.27; 864 children between 5 and 15; 707 attended school that year. The Erie Canal runs a short distance in the old Canal, noticed above, and there are a number of Locks in this Town, which has the Grand Canal along the Mohawk through its whole extent.

HERKIMER, a Post-Township, the capital of Herkimer County, is situated on the N. shore of the Mohawk, 79 miles WNW of Albany, and 14 SE. Of Utica; bounded N. by Newport and Fairfield, E. by Manheim, S. by the Mohawk, or German Flats, W. by Schuyler. It extends along the Mohawk near 15 miles, and the N. line is indented by Fairfield, which approaches within about 3 miles of the river. The alluvial flats along the river are extensive, and were originally called German Flats, like those in that Town on the opposite shore of the Mohawk. The land is of a superior quality, with considerable diversity of soil and surface. W. Canada creek comes from the N. and enters the Mohawk in this town, near the village of Herkimer. This is a fine rapid stream, and abounds with rapids and falls, and has at all times abundance of water for mills. And there are some other mill-streams; at the Little Falls are also great advantages for water-works. This town has been long settled, and is principally under some kind of improvement. The E. part, near the Little Falls, is broken, rugged, and comparatively wild. There are 2 Post-Boroughs, in this township, [or incorporated Villages, each with a Post-Office, of the name of the Village,] in each of which is a printing-office, and a weekly newspaper. The Post-Borough of Herkimer, is pleasantly situated on the W. side of W. Canada creek, about a half mile from that stream, and the same distance from the Mohawk. ---- Here are about 100 houses, stores, &c., the county buildings, and a handsome church, with a steeple and spire of 140 feet in height. The site is a fine gravelly plain, and the buildings, principally of wood, are handsomely arranged on several streets. On the W. Canada creek, near this Borough, a large grist mill, a saw mill and distillery, have lately been erected, supplied with water by a dam of a curious construction, quite across the creek, and which forms a beautiful cascade, a few rods above the turnpike bridge. The dam is composed of stone and brushwood, gravelled, and was erected at an expense far less that that of dams of any other construction. On the E. side of the creek, a few miles above this Borough, bog iron-ore has lately been discovered, from which considerable expectations are formed. The Post-Borough of Little Falls, is situated at the Little Falls of the Mohawk, 7 miles E. of the court-house, and 71 WNW. of Albany, on the turnpike, and on the Canal. Here are about 100 houses, stores, shops, offices, &c. and a church and school-house. At this place is a Canal, and 8 Locks, erected many years since by the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, now sold to the State, with all the interest of that Company, as its chartered rights would interfere with the public interest in the construction of the Erie and Champlain Canals. The Erie Canal, which is on the opposite side of the river, is here connected with this old Canal, by a cut of about 300 feet in length, extending from a Basin of a half acre in the heart of the Village, to an elegant Aqueduct over the Mohawk. The Aqueduct has 3 arches, an elliptical one of 70 feet, embracing the whole stream in an ordinary state of its waters, with one on each side of 50 feet span, elevating the surface of the canal 30 feet above that of the river, a foaming torrent, dashing over the bare rocks in a fearful and sublime style. The admirers of the wildness and very savageness of natural scenery, will here find scenes in a fine style of poetic romance, connected with works of art of no ordinary interest. It is worthy of remark that the proprietor of the lands about here, by a laudable liberality, has done much towards securing the benefits of these works to the Village of the Little Falls, and providing for its future prosperity. The scenery about here is very interesting. A mountain or hill of granite seems once to have extended across the present course of the Mohawk at this place, the summits of which, on both sides of the river, are now elevated above its bed 500 feet, the vale between which, formed by the river, is little more than a half mile in width. Here seems to have been the barrier which once formed a Lake, extending far over the regions of the West. A dam of 50 feet, at this spot, it is now ascertained, would flow all the country to the Oneida Lake; and there remains the most indubitable evidence that the water was once, and for a long period of time, 50 feet above the present bed of the river. The whole valley, indeed, from hill to hill, has been traversed by the water, the rocks being worn into many curious pots and cavities by its action, well worthy the attention of travellers. --- The ridge, or mountain, that forms these Falls, is said to be from a half mile to a mile in width, but I could never see reason for the remark. --- Limestone and granite are seen in a strange state of commixture. The tourist, with some geology in his brain, may find many things here quite as true to Nature, as the geology of the books; and every lover of her wild sports, and her grand, but gradual operations, will find much to gratify and instruct inquisitiveness. Population, 3055; of which number 420 are farmers, 222 mechanics, and 15 traders or store-keepers, 'engaged in commerce:' 4 foreigners not naturalized: 7 slaves; 31 free blacks: electors, 640; 9798 acres of improved land; 2464 head of cattle, 766 horses, 3853 sheep: 18516 yards of cloth made in families in 1821: 3 grist mills, 4 saw mills, 3 fulling mills, 3 carding machines, 4 distilleries, and 2 asheries. School districts, 13; public monies received in 1821, $445.83; schools kept 11 months in 12; No. of children between 5 and 15, 946; No. taught that year, 875: taxable property, $754692. The whole number of families, 403.

Our appreciation for the above segment goes out to volunteer Sally Edwards, who has done extensive work on the village of Mohawk Cemetery Project. Sally is researching the Herkimer/Montgomery Counties surnames Moyer/Mayer/Meyer - DeBus, Dabush, DuBois - Swartwout:

"I would love to contact anyone related to either Moyer family mentioned below or Swartwout descendants of Johannes Swartwout and Aaltje Bedell. My ancestors from both these families emigrated to Norwich, Oxford Co., Ontario in the late 1820's with many other descendants of early NY settlers... Motts, Tuttle, Nellis, Sitts (Suits), Smith, Anstice, etc. "

Henry John Moyer (1767-1842) and Barbara Debus/Dubois(1771-1853), possibly the daughter of Henrich Debus/Debush/Debois, were married 10 Feb 1795 at the Dutch Reformed Church in German Flatts. Their eldest son Peter Moyer, born 1797, married Nancy Moyer, born 1798. Peter and Nancy Moyer had no children but had two wards - Lorenzo Dow Nellis and Mary Esther Nellis, who were both mentioned in their wills.

Nancy died 1881 in Dereham, Oxford Co., Ontario, leaving bequests to her surviving siblings or their children:

  • Christian Moyer, born 1808, of Dereham, Ont.
  • John Moyer, born 1812 (wife Temperance R. Cole) of Dereham, Ont.
  • Henry Moyer of Herkimer Co.
  • Joseph Moyer of Black Lake, NY
  • Sarah Moyer Younglove of Lawrenceberg, NY
  • Betsey Moyer Hammond Monk of Syracuse, NY
  • Mary Moyer Davis, wife of Christian Davis, of Oneida NY
  • and Peter Moyer, half brother, of Stark, Herkimer Co.

Henry & Barbara Moyer's eldest daughter, Elizabeth Moyer, born 1800, married Abraham Price, of German Flatts, Herkimer Co. Another son, Jacob Moyer, born 1801, married Mary Swartwout, daughter of Abraham Swartwout (1781-1868) and Elizabeth (?) Phelps (1787-1862). Abraham Swartwout, son of Johannes Swartwout (1753-1823) and Aaltje Bedell (1759-1813), was probably living in Oppenheim, Montgomery Co. 1808-1823 near his parents.

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Last Updated: 3/14/98
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