A Road Trip to Old Andrustown in 1919
Town of Warren
Herkimer County, NY
WARREN, HISTORIC TOWN
PILGRIMAGE TO THE SITE OF THE EARLY SETTLEMENT OF ANDRUSTOWN
Seven Sites Visited in Pilgrimage Arranged by Mrs. Teddy Robinson -
Old Times Brought Back by Timely Talks -
Mrs. M. M. Hatch, Mrs. T. D. Robinson and Miss Mary Lepper Give
Valuable Facts Regarding Early Settlers of the Town of Warren.
To Warren's fairest daughter, and most accomplished lady, Miss Erma Crim, the Citizen is indebted for the following interesting report of a pilgrimage made to historic spots in the town of Warren, where in the days of more than a hundred years ago lived the settlers who founded the town. Miss Crim writes:
"In spite of the cold and the threatening rain, seventeen motors whose occupants represented Jordanville, Henderson, Herkimer and Richfield Springs, made the pilgrimage of rediscovery and exploration to the site of the early settlement of Andrustown Wednesday last. It was a "pious" pilgrimage in the sense of the word as used in classical literature, meaning reverence for one's father and respect for the traditions of the past, - but in no other sense was it a pious crowd. Indeed, it was a jolly, enthusiastic, eager assemblage, among whom were direct descendants of the Bells, Crims, Hoyers and Leppers, - four, at least, of the original families.
Mrs. Marshall Hatch was the guest of honor of the day, and to her all were indebted for facts of history and for family tradition, which she has carefully collected, and which she related in such vivid terms that, as we stood on barren hillside or traversed unfrequented lane, the stirring events of the past thrilled us with romance and adventure.
Proceeding east from Jordanville, the procession headed by Mrs. Theodore Robinson, and with her Mrs. Hatch, viewed in passing the site of the home of the Tory Powers, marked in the memory of the older generation by a black flag. At Crain's Corners, the way went over the hill, on whose summit the first stop was made to note the site of the Lepper home on the southerly slope.
At this point Miss Mary Lepper related the Indian attack on that eventful July 18th. The Lepper home was the first to be menaced. All were killed blutl two sons and the mother and an infant daughter who were taken prisoner to Canada by the Indians.
On the opposite side of the road and on the northern slope of the hill is the old burial grounds of the Crims and the Bells. It is interesting to note that direct descendants of this Crim and this Bell occupy now three homes in Jordanville situated on almost directly opposite sides of the street.
The writer has heard it said that her grandfather, Daniel Crim, was wont to say, "Let the dead rest." Some such idea seems to have taken possession of the entire family. Thanks, however, to the efforts of the Bells and of the C rims then in possession of the surrounding homestead some years ago the encircling stone wall and the stone steps leading over this burial plot were put into a splendid state of repair. But in the past years, shrubbery and burdocks have overgrown mound and stone. But over they went, Freeman Bell, Ira Crim, Dr. E. C. Swift, James Youngs to discover the stone said to indicate the final resting place of their progenitor, Paul Grimm, and known to be marked "P. G. 1813." The others peered over the walls and cheered as they tramped down the thick elder bushes and lifted fallen slab of rough stone to examine what inscription might be thereon. A worn, broken stone was found roughly inscribed "A N O 1802." Then nearer what is known to be the location of the grave was found a thin worn fragment of stone upon which keen eyesight and some imagination with all did trace a crude "P." Not a few of us pondered that the monument to this pioneer and patriarch are the hills and fields to which he led his followers, the deeds he wrought, the sturdy men and women of succeeding generations. Though he left the fertile, well tilled upper Rhine valley and comfortable home to come to these forested hillsides, and endure Indian massacre, while his kinsman remaining in the homeland wrote fairy tales, perhaps such monument suits his fancy better than one raised by the hand of man. Indeed, we can well believe that, had he risen from the grave to see the line of automobiles making its way over those hills, greater would have been his astonishment than on the morn when the forests resounded with the yell of savage massacre.
At this point Mrs. Hatch read a part of the Crim and the Bell genealogy. From where she stood upon the stone steps of the burial plot, she pointed to a pile of stone in a pasture on the opposite slope across the road, the location of the home of the Bells. Frederick Bell, whose wife was Dorothy Crim, an elder daughter of Paul Crim (Grimm) was killed by the Indians. One son was taken to Canada by the Indians; another son, Adam, is the ancestor of the Bell family of this vicinity.
In the field opposite the site of the Bell home can be seen the remains of the cellar of the home of Henry Crim, son of Paul. This Henry Crim is the ancestor of Dr. Frank Crim of Utica, and of William and Adam Crim, who lived and died on nearby farms.
The home of Paul Crim himself is known to have been at the corner where the road coming from over the hill joins the road coming from Jordanville to Henderson via Hoyer Hill. Some of us were quite sure we could see protruding from a mound a timber, once part of this ancient domicile. In imagination, we located the uprooted tree and surrounding underbrush amid which Paul, his wife, his son Jacob's wife and two children secluded themselves, while the Indians pillaged and burned and passed on. How weary and perilous the journey then to the fort in the valley, from which refuge they returned the following spring!
Until a few years ago, when this land was still in the possession of the family of the above mentioned Crims, there was standing a few rods to the east, the old frame house built by Paul Crim after he returned from Fort Herkimer. Nearby is thought to have been the home of the Franks. Upon the slope on the opposite side of the road was the home of the Starrings. Further up the hill neath the slope of Hoyer hill was the home of the Hoyers, of whom the descendants are the Bronners, of whom Oscar Bronner is now in possession of the old home.
Great was the delight of the exploring party to be allowed to enter the old frame house, to touch the rough hews beams, and to peer through the small window. This is said to be the oldest and the largest pioneer frame house of Andrustown. It is fairly well preserved and may abe standing for years, it is hope.
A little to the north, a private road leads to the site of the home of the Osterhouts. This farm is now known as the old James Shoemaker place and belongs to Charles Crim. Nearby the old cellar and well, Mr. Ira Crim pointed out also the location of the Osterhout burying ground. Here also was the home of the Bulsons, who joined the seven original settlers some time before 1778.
From here returning the pilgrimage went over Hoyer Hill, past the beautiful little cemetery where "rests" the original Hoyer, beside whom his descendants have been gathered on into the present day. At the foot of Hoyer Hill is the old home of Adam Crim, son of Paul, father of Jacob A., the grandfather of Dr. Edgar Swift, Charles W. Crim, Ira Crim, the latter now in possession of the farm. Here is a well-kept burial plot of this branch of the Crims.
When the motors reached the state road at this corner, their occupants were cold and hungry and glad to be taken at once to the hospitable home of Mrs. Theodore Robinson, who as Regent of the Henderson chapter D. A. R. had planned this trip over the hills and fields of Andrustown, that those to whom local and family history was little known, might see the locations of the homes of their fathers and learn from Mrs. Marshall Hatch what she from reading and from inquiry of those who are here no more, knows of deed and doers of days gone by.
Mrs. Robinson served a delicious, bountiful supper. Some one said: "What would the town of Warren be without Mrs. Teddy Robinson." To which she graciously responded, "What would Mrs. Teddy Robinson be without the town of Warren." To Mrs. Robinson the community is more than debtor for many good things. To Mrs. Hatch we are all grateful for her being able to tell authentically what we wish more and more to learn.
This trip is preparatory to the placing of a marker by the descendants of the seven original families to commemorate the settlement of Andrustown and the Indian massacre. Mrs. C. W. Crim, who organized the Henderson chapter of the D. A. R., proposed this undertaking which is now going forward under the direction of Mrs. T. D. Robinson.
Source: The Ilion Citizen, Thursday, September 11, 1919, page 4