Odds and Ends: Herkimer/Montgomery Bulletin Board - Part 1

When our visitors come across an interesting item that may be helpful to others they often send them in. If you've enjoyed a book or article you'd like to talk about, have a hot research tip, found a reference or document that doesn't fit into your family that someone else could use, or would like to share some odd (and small) items that don't fit in anywhere else on our site - send them in! Put "Odds and Ends" in your subject line and we'll give it a look.

***Odds & Ends is also the place to ask questions about the counties, or research techniques in the counties, that aren't  related to specific families and surnames.*** We'll post your question and other visitors can respond to you directly. This is your place to show off your own knowledge...or admit you need a little help or advice.

Scroll to bottom for 9/11/2000 update to Zieley posting!

6/26/99 Fri 8 Jan 1999
From: Wauneata Waller

Hi - I lived in Herkimer until I was 8 and remember visiting a place that was called Flat Rock. I believe it was part of the Canada Creek that had a lot of flat rocks (naturally). People used to drive their cars on it and wash them. I went back a few years ago and could not find it nor could I find anyone who knew where it was. One woman remembered (at the Herkimer Diamond Mines) but could not remember how to get there. I believe that the area may all be privately owned and no longer accessible, but just would like to be assured that it actually did exist. If you know of it, please contact me. Thank you, Wauneata Waller

From Sue: "She wrote about a place called Flat Rock and seemed to think it was on Canada Creek. I think she is wrong. I think the Flat Rock she is talking about is in the town of St.Johnsville, Montgomery county. I have lived here all my life and went swimming there in the summer. Everyone did wash their cars there too. It is located on Timmerman Creek on Mill Road. I now live about a quarter of a mile from there. I was just surprised to see something about it on the web. Its a small world after all. I hope she sees this and emails me back."Sue

Fri 8 Jan 1999
From: Velskope

Recently I came across an old rifle that has stamped on its barrel the following H. M. Quackenbush, 2804 Herkimer, NY, USA, Pat. Sept. 20 Oct. 4, 1887. It would appear as if this rifle was manufactured there. Is anyone out there familiar with this name or know anything about a gun company being located in Herkimer Co.? I would be interested in learning more about this person or company.

Wed 16 Sep 1998
From: Andy Gregory

I was looking at some antique furniture recently and came across a desk that was manufactured by Standard Furniture Company from Herkimer NY. I am curious about this company and when it alive and well. Any help out there? Thanks, Andy Gregory

Fri 24 Jul 1998
From: Sandra Casteel

I recently found an old rug in a resale shop that has "S. Sanford and Sons, Amsterdam, N.Y." stamped on the back. Do you have any information that might help me determine the age of the rug?

Tues 16 Dec 1997
From: George Woliver

I am interested in finding some maps of Early Herkimer county (before Madison broke off). Do you know of a site that has any? Do you know of any available in books that may be loaned over inter-library loan (non reference books)?

I am particularly interested in the WOHLEBEN family (1709 Palatine family) in the present day Sullivan/Lenox town areas. My research is pre 1805 so I need to cover Herkimer as well (since that land was part of your county until 1798).

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that land (south east corner of Lake Oneida) went from Albany/Tryon (1683) -Montgomery (1772) - Herkimer (1791) - Chenango (1798) - Madison (1806).

Any help, or direction, you can give will be greatly appreciated. Please respond to george.woliver@snet.net or gwoliver@stanadyne.com or gwoliver3@aol.com Thanks again. George.

Sun 23 Nov 1997
From: Dawn Amos

According to the"Daniel Shed Genealogy", my gggg-grandfather, Simeon SHEDD stopped in Herkimer Co. for a while (long enough to marry and have ggg-Grandfather Hiram in 1810). In the book, it was said he lived in Genesee, Herkimer Co, and that was where Hiram was born. I have not seen any reference to Genesee on your pages, nor can I find it in the NYS Gazeteer. I did see a Shedd Corner in Salisbury on your pages. Can you help me find the area? Thanks, Dawn Amos

My response: To my knowledge there never was any place in Herkimer County called Genesee and I have seen more early names than I have had time to put in our place names files. Genesee is an Indian name associated with Onondaga County and others, such as Monroe County to the west - a common name in upstate New York with many businesses being named Genesee this and Genesee that. This appears to be an all too frequent case of someone way back combining two places where he lived, the source/researcher being unfamiliar with the disparity in locations. Have you checked the actual 1810 census for Shed(d)s, not just the index? I would assume if the Herkimer provenience is correct that he lived in Salisbury at that time and then moved on for the next census. "Corners" were generally named after the first settlers who lived in an area and in most cases these place names were not changed after the original settlers moved on.

There is also a tiny hamlet called Sheds and another nearby one called Sheds Corners (one "d") in the Town of DeRuyter, Madison County. DeRuyter Twp. is right by the corner where present-day Onondaga, Cortland, Chenango and Madison Counties all meet. Do those counties sound familiar to you in your research? Genesee Co. is much further west and was once a much larger "mother county" taking up what is now Genesee, Orleans and other counties - but distinct from Herkimer.

***To everyone who will be doing extensive New York State research - I can't recommend enough the large format, finely-detailed paperback "New York State Atlas & Gazetteer", put out by DeLorme Mapping, and available to purchase or order through most large book store chains throughout the U.S. DeLorme has also published map atlases of other states. The New York State edition shows the tiniest of existing hamlets, creeks, dirt roads, townships, topography, etc., and is used by many genealogists on a daily basis. Put this one on your holiday want list.

Thurs 30 Oct 1997

Maryly Penrose in "Mohawk Valley Families" cites this reference in the collections of the New York Historical Society (New York City) which may be useful to researchers:

Some other useful references in the collections of the Montgomery County Dept. of History and Archives at Fonda, NY:
  • Rev. James Dempster Records, ed. by Robert Hartley; reprinted by the Sleeper Company 1995 (go to Washington County GenWeb for info on Sleeper Co.)
  • Records of the Presbyterian Church of Bowman's Creek, Town of Canojoharie (unpub ms)
  • Records of Deaths in the 1st Prebyterian Church & Congregation, Cherry Valley (unpub ms)
  • Records of the United Presbyterian Scotch Church, Town of Florida (unpub ms)
  • Ames Rural Cemetery, Canojoharie, by John Kling 1977
  • Gravestone Inscriptions from Johnstown Cemetery (unpub ms)
  • List of Cherry Valley Residents who were removed to Cherry Valley Cemetery around 1864, from private or the "old" cemeteries (unpub ms)

Tues 14 Oct 1997
Re: Feb 22, 1997 item about packet boats which immediately follows
From: The Anonymous Angel

"I condensed the following rate info from Spafford's 1824 Pocket Guide for Tourist & Traveler."

Erie Canal Packet Boats

Fare, including board, lodging & every expense: 4/mi
Way passengers: 3/mi [exclusive of board, etc] and dinner - 37; breakfast or supper - 25; lodging - 12.

"These packets are drawn by 3 horses, having relays every 8,10, to 12 miles, and travel day and night, making about 80 miles every 24 hours. They...have accommodations for about 30 passengers, furnish good tables, and a wholesome and rich fare..."

Martha Fri 21 Feb 1997

In an email to James D. Rubins I wrote: "I recently read that later immigrants came up that way via something called "packet boats," traveling up to Albany and then west along the canal. Have you run into any definition of exactly what they were? "

James D. Rubins Sat 22 Feb 1997
They were the barges that plyed the Erie Canal. Most often they loaded near Albany but some did come up from New York City. They were pretty low slung affairs that had to meet certain specific dimentions in order to fit under canal bridges and to pass through locks. They had "passenger" living areas at the back of the cargo holds and when the weather permitted people would sit on the broad top deck. I remember seeing a reconstruction of one during a "Canal Days" celebration when I was a teenager. I believe it was in Canajoharie passing through a lock.

Here's a picture of the wheat barges. The packet barges were similar but had the expanded living area for passengers. Here's a picture of a wheat carrier in the Erie Canal museum in Syracuse.

James always comes through. Then I wrote back:
"I got them all, James. I'll check them out tomorrow afternoon. Always been curious about how people got around. And since you know so much about this sort of thing, any ideas how the early settlers of Michigan (and other points west around the Great Lakes) would have gotten to MI from NY State?"

James's response:
"By my paternal Great Great Grandfather's ship! He was a Swedish sea captain who started in 1830 to run wheat from Lake Michigan ports to Buffalo and then immigrants on the return trip. I haven't spent the time figuring out his routes but they were pretty common. A cousin of mine is typing up his ship's logs from 1830 to 1865. "

10/15 "By the way here is some more on the packet boats."  A description of how our ancestors occasionally traveled in "style": The Erie Canal Home Page, recently updated.

Fri 3 Oct 1997
From: Roberta Riedle Martin
Greetings, I would like to ask if anyone would know what Catholic churches were in the area of Florida Twp. in 1835-50. My gggrandfather was married and had several children during that time period and it would had to have been in a Catholic church. If you know of the church, would you also know if there are any records available? Thank you.

My response in re: researching Catholic families:

I personally am unfamiliar with all the many area churches. There is a possibility that whatever Catholic Church was in existence then might have been incorporated into a larger church. At early dates services were often held in people's homes until a church was built. Priests traveled around to small places to give services and there was a dispensation from having to go to mass every Sunday as it was impossible. Also, a family might have traveled to the nearest actual church for a formal baptism. This might be in another township.

Also, copies of historical records such as you're looking for are often kept at the diocesan level. The Diocese that encompassed the town of Florida might be in any number of places now but I'm not up on the Church structure. A local parish near you may have info about where the NY State dioceses now are. There should be a bishopry for Albany but I don't know if Florida would have come under it's umbrella. I am sure there are records available for you but it's going to take some hunting. Start with finding out what diocese Florida is or was in and you should be well on your way.

Wed 20 Aug 1997
From:Carolyn Grace
I am looking for a Northampton in Montgomery Co, New York. Have you ever heard of it? This person was born in 1816, in Northampton, Montgomery Co, NY, per his mother's declaration in a Civil War pension application. Thanks for your assistance. Carolyn Grace

Thu 7 Aug 1997
From:L. Newstrum
My sister-in-law is researching her family history, and has come up with a difficult to read reference to "Avell, Mont. Co" which was probably in New York. I've been unable to find such a place on the modern maps, but it may be an unincorporated area or have been absorbed by a larger town. Do you know of such a place? Many thanks. Len Newstrum (Seattle, WA)

Wed 16 Jul 1997
From: Robert Fiedler
To: Your coordinator

Here is something to repay you for all of the data and hard work:

Genealogist's Nightmare

I started out calmly, tracing my tree,
To find if I could find the makings of me,
and all that I had was Great Grandfather's name,
Not knowing his wife or from where he came.

I chased him across a long line of states,
And came up with pages of dates.
When all put together, it made me forlorn,
Proved poor Great Grandfather had never been born.

One day I was sure the truth I had found,
Determined to turn this whole thing upside down.
I looked up the record on one Uncle John,
But then found the old man to be younger than his son.

Then when my hopes were fast growing dim,
I came across records that must have been him.
The facts I collected made me quite sad,
Dear Old Great Grandpa was never a Dad.

I think someone is pulling my leg,
I'm not at all sure I wasn't hatched from an egg.
After hundreds of dollars I've spent on my tree,
I can't help wonder if I'm really me.

(Author unknown)

Date: Sat 5 Jul 97
From: Paul Horvat
To: Charles W. Rose

Charles, might you be able to give me a bit of information on the background of the Conover who started the Conover Piano Company. I have one, and would be very interested in knowing a little background on them and the family, e.g. origins in Holland, mfr's line of ascent. Thanks in advance.

Paul, I have no information regarding the Conover Piano Company but would enjoy hearing what you know. There was a Conover Furniture Company in Amsterdam, Montgomery County, NY. Could there be a connection?

I do have a report from the New York Public Library entitled "The Van Couwenhoven Family in the Netherlands and New Netherlands 1440 - 1660" compiled by Louis Piers De Boer, New York, 1912. From that source I will quote: "The original seat of the Van Couwenhoven family was the Castle of Couwenhoven or Coudenhove, situated on the banks of a little stream called Dommel, near the near the the village of Tongerle in Brabant. Tongerle was once the capital of the old Germanic tribe of the Tongeren, the sons of Tonger or Donar, the God of Thunder..." Further, "The first Couwenhoven we find in the Province of Utrecht was: Jan van Couwenhoven, born about the year 1440, who in 1472 belonged to the court of the Bishop of Utrecht..."

There is a lot of information on the VanCouwenhoven (Conover) lineage that follows that which I have quoted and the report is 16 pages long which would take me hours to type. It has some pretty detailed information about individuals in the lineage and is therefore interesting reading if you happen to be linked to this family. Chuck.

Date: Tue 1 July 1997
From: Your coordinator

James Rubins has done it again and tipped us off to this SEARCHABLE database of a New York newspaper 1788-1817. The people mentioned are not limited to New York City residents.

The New York Weekly Museum, also known as the Impartial Gazetter and Saturday Evening Post, and Ladies' Weekly Museum, was printed in New York from 1788 to 1817. It contained foreign and domestic news, a "Poet's Corner", occasional short stories, and a "Moralist" section. This index is a compilation of the Marriages and Deaths recorded in the journal and contains about 20,000 entries. Information concerning cause of death, next of kin, place of marriage, and occupation are also listed. Try it! http://www.itsnet.com/~pauld/newyork/

C. & D. Severson Thurs 1 May 1997
The Central Library in Milwaukee, WI and the State Historical Society Library in Madison, WI also have copies of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record and some indexes. It has been a while so I am not sure exactly which indexes they have. The books were a lot of help.

Sue Thompson Fri 18 Apr 97
So, nice of you to reply to my sign-in. Old Yellow Church is just off Little Falls-Fairfield Rd near Manheim. In 1821 it was known as the German Evangelical Society of Manheim. By 1868 it was strictly Lutheran. I don't believe it's in use today, but the church and burial grounds are still there. ...I've just come into a large genealogy collection from a researcher who after 30 years of work died. Mostly on my BOYER family. Hundreds of papers of research and group sheets. I've been working for months trying to get it in some order. I'm just trying to fill in some of the holes she hadn't worked on.

Date: Wed 16 Apr 1997
From: Your coordinator

While reading through the book "Norway Tidings" I noticed frequent reference to an area of the Town of Norway called the "Hurricane", and asked Jane Dieffenbacher, Fairfield Town Historian, what that meant. Her reply to me:

It seems that when the New England settlers started to come into this area around 1785, they found a blowdown in Norway. Swaths of trees were down due to some sort of storm in the not too distant past. So they took advantage of this happening. It was great not to have too much virgin forest to cut down before you started building. It was called the Hurricane District and still is. In Schuyler there is a road called Windfall Road, possibly because of the same storm or another one. We don't get what you call hurricanes here, just the tail ends of them. But once in a while there is a tornado or a very short, very strong wind that does lots of damage.

Date: Thurs 10 Apr 1997
From: Your Coordinator

Thinking about a summer trip to Herkimer County? I sure am. Today I received in the mail a treasure trove from the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce. A large envelope containing: a huge detailed map of the county, showing townships and street maps for Herkimer and the larger villages/cities; an informative guide to vacationing in the Central Adirondacks; two other Herkimer County travel guides; and attractive pamphlets about the Herkimer Home State Historic Site in Little Falls and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in Old Forge. You can write to the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce at 28 West Main Street, P.O. Box 129, Mohawk, NY 13407.

Ever wonder what to give the person who has everything? Or give to the person who means everything? Jill's thoughtful husband wanted to give her a nice surprise!

Jill Fairall Wed 02 Apr 97

To whom it may concern:
Thank you so much for writing the nice article about Lt. James Albert Guinal, one of my ancestors. My husband had contacted you and arranged for you to add this man to the Military Roll of Honor, and he surprised me with a print-out of it just the other day. I was greatly pleased, as are many of my family. I appreciate your effort, and I plan to put the hard copy on my wall.
Jill Robison Fairall

CBlood4407@aol.com Tue 1 Apr 1997
I usually research at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum in Springfield, MA. They have a lot of information over there including the census records for MA. They also have Conn. records, ships' passengers lists and a lot of reference books for New England. It costs $4 to get in if you're not a member. Note: they have copies of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. If you know any other libraries around the country who have this important journal please email the coordinator so we can post it on this page.

Date: Mon 21 Mar 1997

Eagle-eyed Jerry Reed at Otsego County has found another great resource! If you go to this directory you'll see pages of historical markers for almost every county in New York State. This is an on-going project so more counties will eventually be available. The inscriptions are from the metal markers found by places of historical note, including the locations of the markers. Those listed below are direct links to our own two counties.

Historical Markers of Herkimer County
Historical Markers of Montgomery County

Date: Mon 18 Mar 1997

As an example of an early deed, such as discussed in the note below, Jane Dieffenbacher sent in a transcription of a 1790 indenture between George Washington and George Clinton, New York State's first governor, and Elias Hopkins of Whitestown (old Montgomery County).

Date: Wed 05 Mar 1997
From: Jane Dieffenbacher, Fairfield Town Historian
Subject: Oneida County Records

Yes, Martha, I think most of that is true. I know that I have gone to Oneida County and found early deeds of Herkimer County there. There are deeds there involving George Washington so you can see the time frame. Also, in the Oneida County Clerk's archives there were other Herkimer County records, such as cemetery inventories done by the DAR, not all of Herkimer County, but a few of them. In the Herkimer County Clerk's office, there are deeds that are older than 1804. I don't know how they were saved but some of them were copied and are in Book 1. There was a devastating fire in 1804. I think there may be some early deeds for what is now Herkimer County in the Montgomery County archives, as part of Herkimer County was at one time in Montgomery County. Confusing, no? If I am looking for some very early info, I would look in Oneida and Montgomery archives if it wasn't found in Herkimer.

Linda Schlater Sun Mar 2; received March 6, 1997
Four of my adult ancestors/relatives (all surname HUNGERFORD) died in Frankfort, Herkimer County, in 1837-1839. Does anyone familiar with the history of Herkimer or the Erie Canal know of a cholera or typhoid or other infectious disease outbreak during 1837-1839 that may have wiped out entire families???

Ann Clapper Mon 03 Mar 1997

I want to tell you that there is a Brown Family Cemetery about a half mile north of Oppenheim Center. [Note: now part of Fulton County, near corner of county that meets Herkimer and Montgomery Counties ] I went there last spring and found quite a few of my ancestors. It seems to be maintained privately and there is a board there listing all the grave sites. There must be fifty or more people buried there.

I would like to go back to the Brown Cemetery in Oppenheim in the spring and see if I could record all the stones. So far these are the ones I have recorded:

  • My ggg grandfather - Jonas BROWN b. July 10, 1785 In Temple, NH; d. Nov.1, 1870
  • My gg grandfather - Charles A. Brown b. May 31, 1811 in Temple, NH; d. Apr. 28, 1896
  • his wife - Emeline WESTON b. May 30, 1816, Temple, NH; d. Nov 2, 1893
  • My ggg grandfather - Ezra Weston b. Sept.27,1785, Pittsfield, MA; (Emeline's father)
  • his wife - Huldah CROPS b. Mar 29, 1791 Ashfield, MA; d. June 2, 1861

Ray Greene Sun 2 Mar 1997

Under the Montgomery County listing of Cemeteries, there is a listing for the CRANE Cemetery. The location given is Pattersonville. I would appreciate it, if you know the location of that cemetery, to give me directions to get to it. I know where Pattersonville is on 5S between Rotterdam Junction and Amsterdam. Is this where the cemetery is located ... and not on Crane's Hollow Road, on the north side of the Mohawk? Thank You.

Fred Quaile Mon 10 Feb 97
Hello. Thank you for the fine web site on Montgomery County. I was just browsing it's early history. Is there a map that would show the original Montgomery County superimposed over or under the present counties that it divided into. Was Cortland County a part of Montgomery County? Thanks, Fred Quaile.

Date: Tue, 18 Feb 1997
From: "James D. Rubins"
The book is: [ta da or drum roll or some other appropriate sound byte!]

Thorndale, William and Dollarhide, William "Map guide to the US Federal Censuses 1790-1920" [Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., Baltimore, MD:1987] ISBN 0-8063-1188-6 Lib. of Congress: 87-80143

New York is on pages 236-244 with the last page being a blow up of Long Island.

DATE: Tue 4 Feb 1997
From: Rex Stevenson

In response to an over-whelming demand to know the reason that some tombstones include the fact that the person died but require a calculation to find the date of birth, measured in years, months, and days, I offer the following:

My exhaustive research reveals that in 1779, the TIAF, one of the first labor unions in this new country (Tombstone Inscription Artisans Federation) began lobbying Congress to force the use of larger, more impressive, more elaborate and better documented tombstones. Incidentally, their first bill specified the use of years, months, days, and minutes, with no abbreviations allowed.

In 1781 Congress passed the shortened version of the bill (while many Congressman were on an all expense paid junket to England with their wives or secretaries) to determine how much money we should pay them for winning the war (now known as war reparations).

Ref: Congressional Record, Vol. 34, #9, pages 36621-39576, dated 21 March 1781. LDS Ref: #8471044.

Note: for more about tombstone birth date calculation, check out the birthdate calculator, a converter form that calculates birth date from death date and age of death in year-month-day format.

DATE: Wed 12 Feb 1997
From: martha

While looking through a microfilm for a distant county I found this out-of-the-way Montgomery County reference from the "Seneca Farmer & Waterloo Advertiser" dated Wed June 22, 1831:

Married at Palatine Bridge, on the 6th inst. by the Rev. Mr. Ketchum - Mr. George S. ZIELEY, of Palatine, to Miss Sarah, daughter of Robert RUBY of Albany.

In reference to a posting you made back in 1997: George S. Zieley was my g-g-grand uncle on my mother's side. We had no record that he married, thank you. You might want to take a look at this page of the journal my great-grandfather wrote. http://community-2.webtv.net/West18john/TheZieleyFamilyof/

John Redshaw, West18john@webtv.net

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Last Updated: 9/11/00
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