Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Notes from the Fort Klock Papers, contributed by Peg Davis.
The full set of Fort Klock Papers in a bound book was loaned by Mrs. Davis, however, I have had quite enough of the endless papers, and I believe the same can be said of the typing volunteers. In the back of the bound book these notes appear which might clarify some points about the area.

1) John Cuyler was a trader, with headquarters in Albany.

2) Bagge. Is probably meant for baggage, occasionally found abbreviated in early letters.

3) Canajohary, as mentioned in this letter of 1783, shows that the Klock house on the north side of the river, later known as Palatine was in the area generally called Canajohary. Note the address "Canajohary, Mohawk River."

4) Royal Blockhouse. Located at the head of Oneida where Wood Creek empties into it. The blockhouse guarded the line of transportation from the Mohawk Valley to Oswego, It was built during the late years of the French War. (1755-1763.)

5) Fort Brewerton. Located at the outlet of Oneida Lake. This fort also guarded the transportation line to Oswego. When Montcalm captured the Oswego forts in 1756 he had a definite objective; the capture of Johnstown and Sir William Johnson, the destruction of valley forts and settlements and the destruction of Albany. Col. Webb, commander of the military forces in the valley, panic stricken by the reports of Montcalm's success, burned Forts William and Craven near present Rome, NY and retreated own the valley to Albany. The High Command decided to fortify the frontier against invasion, Fort Stanwix was built, followed by the Royal Blockhouse and Fort Brewerton. The outlines of this star shaped fort are still plainly visible and it now is a state reservation.

5a) This is interesting. At the division of Harrison Patent into lots August 8, 1738 Lot No. 11 fell to Abraham Wendell. On Nov. 10, 1742 the son and heir at law of Abraham Wendell, viz., John Wendell of Boston sold said lot No. 11 for one hundred pounds -- 690 acres including springs, rivulets and rivers of water privilege but no specific mention of the island. A small stream washes the west wall of the stone house which Johannes Klock built in 1750 and tumbles abruptly over the rocks to the river surface so that as a trader Johannes Klock could bring bateaux into the mouth of this stream under cover of the high bank and to his very door. A spring in the basement made sure of fresh drinking water without exposure to Indians or other enemy and just off the shore of this four acre island of cleared fertile land provided an ideal plot of ground for cultivation for an abundant supply of food in a particularly isolated and protected spot.

But at a council held at Fort George in new York City June 15, 1753 with a committee appointed to examine into complaints of the Mohawk Indians of encroachments made of their lands by the white people and of persons patenting and taking up a greater quantity of land than they have sold them Hendrick (Indian Chief) among other complaints said, "Honnes Clock possesses and claims the island opposite to Hans Hesses Land (Johannes Hess was on lot No. 10) below the Indian Castle at Canajoharie which they never sold to any person and desire they may have it again. (Colonial Documents Vol. VI, page 785-7. Now in 1760, 7 years later Johannes Klock is paying to John Duncan of Schenectady twenty pound more of this four acre island than he paid for the entire 690 acres (supposedly including the island) in 1742. The Wendells also traded in Schenectady. Did they connive with the Indians and John Duncan to make Johannes Klock pay double for his title? Was it through rum sold the Indians?

In contrast Hendrick on the following day at the same place said: "We desire that Jerry Klock here present may have license to purchase the Documents Vol. VI page 785-7.) Now action in this having been deferred Hendrick bitterly declared the "chain broken" and concluded and "as to Jerry Klock there are people who want to do him some harm but we will not agree to it."--M.N.

6) Klocks' Island. Appears on the deed as in the Canajoharie district, located on the north side of the Mohawk river below St. Johnsville and near Fort Klock.

7) Butlors Burry. Butlerbury was the home of Capt. John Butler, a Deputy Indian Commissioner under Sir. William Johnson and the organizer of Butler's Rangers, a Tory Regiment which made a record for bloodthirsty actions during the Revolution. It is located about a mile northeast of Fond, the home is still standing and was built in 1742.

8) Christian Nellis

9) Fort Hendrick, named for the Mohawk War Chief who was killed at the Battle of Lake George. Located on the south bank of the river nearly opposite the mouth of the East Canada Creek.

10) Brook Dekayuhasonwe. East Canada Creek.

11) Isaac Paris. Merchant and trader at Stone Arabia, prominent patriot, member of the Tryon Safety Committee and a volunteer at Oriskany where he was taken prisoner and after torture killed. He had been named a member of the first State Senate in 1777 but never served owing to his death. His older son, Peter was also killed at Oriskany, the younger son Isaac, married a sister of Washington Irving. At one time he had a store in the Bleecker House at Fort Plain. During a famine at Paris Hill in Oneida county he aided the settlers by sending food to them. After death his body was taken to Paris Hill for burial and a memorial service was held there and a monument erected. Isaac Paris' store stood on the present Gramps farm in Stone Arabia. He was a delegate to the 2-3-4 Provincial congress, besides holding the positions already mentioned.

12) John Eisenlord. Came to Tryon County in 1765. He was a secretary to the Safety Committee and a Major in the Tryon County Militia, instead of dealing through third parties and was killed at Oriskany.

13) Jelles Fonda. Born 1727, died 1791. Was one of the best known traders in the valley, sending his men as far as Niagara to trade for furs and shipping them direct to London. He was a captain in the Provincial forces during the French and Indian War and a Major of the Tryon County Militia during the revolution. He was at the Battle of Oriskany and was unharmed. His first trading post was on the present Montgomery County Fair grounds. Later he built a mill and home on the present Montgomery County Home site. This was destroyed in the raid of 1780. He then built a dwelling in Fonda village which is still standing. He was also a member of the Safety Committee.

14) Cornelius Cuyler was a merchant and Indian trader with headquarters in Schenectady. He was connected with the Cuylers of Albany.

15) Jacob Klock Col. was the Colonel of the Palatine Regiment of the Tryon County Militia, a very sufficient and active officer throughout the Revolution. He commanded the regiment at Oriskany. He was also a member of the Safety Committee.

16) Christopher P. Yates. Born March 29, 1750, died Jan 20, 1815. One of the most prominent men in the Mohawk Valley. He was a captain in the 1st New York Line and Commissary of the Tryon County Militia and volunteered for the Quebec Expedition of General Montgomery in 1775. Member of the Safety Committee, delegate to 1 and 3 Provincial Congress, Member of Assembly 1774, 1785, 1788, 1800, 1801, 1802, first County Clerk of Montgomery County, 1777, Surrogate 1778 to 1787. He was a member of the committee that ratified the Federal Constitution and was a Regent of the university of the State of New York and a member of the first board. He was buried on his farm about a mile south of Canajoharie, lately the remains have been moved to the Canajoharie Falls cemetery.

17) John Daniel Gros was an early minister in the valley. His homestead is still standing in the town of Minden. He served as a chaplain at various times during the Revolution.

18) George Johnson was a son of Sir William by Molly Brant. He is mentioned in Sir William's will.

19) The Royal Grant. Located north of the Mohawk River between the east and West Canada Creeks and contained 100,000 acres. The endorsement on the grant reads, "This Grant is in consideration of the faithful services rendered unto us by the said William Johnson, the grantees yielding and paying two beaver skins to be delivered at our estate of Windsor on the first day of January every year."

Petition dated 1761, King George, personally affixed the Royal Seal, from which is derived the name "The Royal Grant."

19a) John Beardslee was born in Sharon, Conn, in November, 1759 and died in Manheim, Oct. 3, 1825 where he had resided more than thirty years. His father, John Beardslee, Senior was a native of Norwalk, Conn., born about the year 1725 and married Deborah Knickerbocker, in 1748, who numbered among her family connections the Hoffmans and Roosevelts of Dutchess County and New York City. The subject of this notice married Lavina Pardee, of Sharon, Conn., in 1895 who survived her husband a quarter of a century, and died in Manheim in 1854, aged 85 years. Miss Pardee was connected with the Brewsters, Goulds, Waldos, Ripleys and Bradforts of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Mr. Beardslee left in 1781. he was a practical mechanic, architect and civil engineer. He worked one year on a farm and then went to Vermont. Soon after he went to Vermont he spent a fall and winter on Lake George and Lake Champlain, fishing and hunting in company with Jonathan Wright who afterwards came in to northern New York and was known as old Jack Wright, the trapper. Mr. Beardslee then turned his face westward, built a bridge at Schaghticoke and a meeting house in Schoharie. In 1787 he went to Whitestown and engaged with White and Whitemore to build mills on shares. He afterwards sold his half at a good advance. He remained at Whitestown till 1792, having been employed by the state to build a set of mills for the Oneida Indians. He completed his contract by humoring the Indians, joining in their sports of hunting and fishing, and exciting their curiosity to see the results of his labors. They cheerfully assisted him in his enterprise,which contributed to make the job quite profitable.

Between 1790 and 1796 he built the first bridge across the Mohawk River at Little Falls, the old red grist mill at that place, the first bridge over the gulf east of the academy, mills for Richard Van Horne, at Van Hornesville and for col. Freye at Canajoharie, a bridge over West Canada Creek and the court house and jail which were burned in 1833 or 1834, a bridge across the Mohawk River at Fort Plain and a bridge over the East Canada Creek, a grist and saw mill and fulling works, about half a mile north of the present Mohawk turnpike bridge at East Creek.

The building of East Creek bridge led to his seating himself at Manheim permanently in this wise. The bridge was erected at the expense of Montgomery county. In order of obtain necessary timber he purchased a one hundred acre lot west of the creek and adjoining the site of the bridge, for which he paid 300 pounds, New York currency, in March 1794. After the bridge was completed he erected the mills, which were finished and in operation in 1795. This was at the flood tide of emigration to the Royal Grant and Western New York; the mills attracted attention and a population gathered to this place. By the year 1800 quite a little village, dignified by the name of the city had sprung up, counting two stores, two taverns, a blacksmith shop, nail factory, a cooperage and a brewery, afterwards came the lawyers, doctors, school masters and the distillery.

It could also boast having one man drink himself to death on a bet and the presence of a state prison graduate, frequent performances of Punch and the Babes in Woods, by Sickles and daily amusements in the way of turkey shooting, pitched battles with fists, clubs and teeth, and launching batteaux, for the Mohawk river service. At this time there was more business at Beardslee's Mills, than in Little Falls. In 1801 and 1802 by an incorporated company of which Mr. Beardslee was a director and being located south half a mile of the little village by diverting the travel on this then great thoroughfare, completely used up the city, to the serious loss of the founder. With the view of making good his losses, and finding himself on the line of travel where business could be done, he purchased in 1810 350 acres of land, lying on both sides of the creek, and between his first purchase and the river for which he paid $11,500, a high price it would seem at that day. The prospects of business on the turnpike justified this purchase. But our increasing commercial difficulties with Great Britain and France followed by the was of 1812, cause him to postpone carrying out his intentions when this new purchase was made.

When peace was proclaimed in 1815 the project of the Erie canal on the south side of the river was brought forward and finally consummated. The immediate local effect of opening The canal. A greater change than the agricultural lands in the Mohawk valley, the almost certain destruction of such small business places as East Creek, Palatine and Caughnawaga, on the north side of the river and the building up of villages on the line of the canal. A greater change than that effected by the canal in the Mohawk Valley has seldom been witnessed in any country. Nearly the whole business was transferred from the north to the south side of the river. The turnpike became almost a solitude and the villages, through which it ran as a desert waste of waters.

Mr. Beardslee, by strict attention to business, hard hand work and the application of a sound, inventive mind in twenty seven years had accumulated a handsome estate, and which but for the adversities and losses he met with in no respect attributable to misconduct or want of sound, discriminating judgment, would have been almost princely in this country and in his day.

He was a tall man, free from obesity, with large black eyes, which he inherited from his father and a fine figure, bestowed on him by his Low Dutch mother. Natural and easy in his address, pleasant and companionable in his intercourse with others, generous and hospitable. He used to say, with much satisfaction that in all the heavy and difficult structures he had raised, or superintended the construction of, not a man in his employment or of the motley crowds of people collected on such occasions, as was the custom of that early day, was injured or killed in the least. In the decline of life he indulged himself a good deal in reading, a gratification he did not enjoy in his youthful days. -- Taken from Benton's History of Herkimer County.

20) The Ebenezer Cox mentioned was the son of Col. Ebenezer Cox of the Canajohaire Regiment of the Tryon County Militia who was killed at Oriskany.

21) Samuel Clyde was a settler in Cherry Valley and a Lieut. Col. of the Canajoharie Regiment of the Tryon county Militia during the Oriskany fight. After Col. Cox was killed, Clyde with Col. Campbell took charge of the force and successfully brought off the surviving troops. He was a member of the Safety Committee and in the late days of the war commanded the forces in the middle Mohawk Valley. He entertained Gen. George Washington at dinner in the Van Alstyne house in Canajoharie on August 1, 1783 when Washington and his staff made their famous inspection tour of the valley.

He was a Member of Assembly 1777 and 1778 and was sheriff from 1785 to 1789. He is buried in the old cemetery at Cherry Valley.

22) Jacob Zimmerman. This member of the family was the founder of St. Johnsville. He operated a grist mill in the now village, although he was not the first miller. There was a mill here as shown on the crown map in 1757. This Jacob was born 1758, died 1835. He was a soldier in the Revolution and was a prisoner in Canada for nearly two years. His farm was the west half of lot 15 of the Harrison Patent and his cousin Henry I. the east half. The dividing line bisects the present village of St. Johnsville. Jacob Zimmerman was the leader in the movement for removing St. John's Reformed Church from Klock's to its present site in 1804. He was pensioned for services in the revolution. He is buried in Prospect View cemetery, St. Johnsville. (Note: ajberry. The church was located on Church Street and in 1880 moved to the present location in the village. See St. John's.)

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