Celebration of Saint John's Reformed Church (1920)
Centennial Notes from
The 150th Anniversary
of the Organization of
St. John's Reformed Church
Saint Johnsville, NY November 7-11, 1920
Thanks to Betty Hoagey, Who Sent this Booklet for Use on the Web Site.
THE OLD INDIAN DEED OF GIFT
Among the relics exhibited at the 150th anniversary of St. John's Reformed Church was a copy of the Indian Deed of Gift furnished in 1894 by the historian Rufus A. Grider of Canajoharie. The original deed is not available, either having been lost or as some maintain was destroyed in the capitol fire at Albany in 1912. The Grider copy reads as follows:
"We find that the Rev. Petrius Van Drissen a minister of the Ref'd Prot't Dutch Congregation of Albany petitioned his Majesty's Council for a license to build a church in the MOHAWK'S country---saying that "he has been desired by the Mohawks to continue in the same services towards them as has his Rev. Predecessors Godfredus Dellius,-----------, and Johannes Lydius had done."
The petition was granted: he was at liberty to build anywhere the Mohawks had land. The date is 13th, October, 1722.
------From N.Y. Documentary History, by Dr. O'Callighan, Vol III, Published 1850.
We find also----That the native Indians in the year 1732 deeded a tract of land lying on the north side of the Mohawk River, next west of the Harrison Patent 1 1/2 miles wide by 2 1/2 miles long----"to and for and in consideration of the love and good will and affection which we have and bear for the Revs. Petrius Van Drissen and Johannes Ehl-----Ministers of the Gospel, and also in consideration of the great Zeal, unwearied pains, Expences and trouble for these 20 years past by the above mentioned Peter Van Dressen and his fatherly care in the instructing of us and our People in the Principles of the Christian Religion and faith, bringing us into the fold of Christ's Church, and partakers of his Sacrament as a good and faithful pastor of Christ's fold ought to do to our great satisfaction and content."
This Indian Deed is signed by 18 Indians, with crude drawings of the tribal insignia the--
As the tract this Deed embraces I think the very land where the old graveyard exists and where the old church stood, it seems as if it was the spot where the old Indian Mission Church was located. RUFUS A. GRIDER, Canajoharie, NY.
June 11, 1894
The historian adds a further explanatory note which says:
"In addition to the foregoing statement relative to St. Johnsville church and in explanation of the Van Drissen and Ehl deed, would further state that it is my opinion that the land deeded as before stated was the land on which the Indian Church was built, and as further evidence would show, because the three tribes of the Mohawks
The Wolf, residing at Fort Hunter---?
The Turtle, residing at Indian Castle.
The Bear residing at Canajoharie, now known as Fort Plain.
These three gave the land---why? Because all of the three tribes had had the benefits of the Missionaries teaching for 20 years without cost to the Indians as they themselves say. RUFUS A. GRIDER, Canajoharie, NY, June 20, 1894.
Note by typist: There is no evidence a church was built at East Creek and this site is not mentioned in any other spot. Perhaps Mr. Grider misspoke and confused the church which was built at the East END of the Village of St. Johnsville. ajb
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