History From America's Most Famous Valleys
From Forts & Firesides of the Mohawk Country
by John J. Vrooman, 1951
Published by Baronet Litho Co., Inc., Johnstown, NY
THE original settlers of this name in the Mohawk Valley were Johannes and Heinrich, who came to the Canajoharie district about 1725. "1791 John Dievendorf, born 1700 in Der Schweig married Elizabeth Keller, died 23 February buried 25 February, 10 children, 47 grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren."
John's will, filed November 12th, 1791, in Montgomery County, makes his son John Jacob his principal heir, to whom was bequeathed "the whole and entire lot of land where I dwell." This John Jacob was born in 1747 and died in 1839. His life was spent in the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys, where he was known as "Esquire Diefendorf." When the Revolutionary War broke out he joined Colonel Klock's Tryon County Regiment. He survived the war and at its close became a pensioner. His wife was Catherine Windecker, who is buried beside him on the old homestead farm.
In a Tory and Indian raid on July 9th, 1781, the Dievendorf home at Currytown, about ten miles southeast of Canajoharie, was attacked and a lad named Jacob Dievendorf was captured and carried off. In the retreat, when pursued by Col. Willett and his militia, the Indians began to kill their prisoners to be rid of them. Seeing what was taking place young Jacob jumped from his horse and ran into the forest. But he was seen, pursued, struck down with a tomahawk, then scalped and left for dead. The militiamen found him unconscious, and took him to Fort Plain where he was given every care. He survived this awful experience and lived to reach the ripe old age of 85. His wound never completely healed although for five long years he was under constant treatment. He, too, is buried on his home farm.
The other pioneer, Heinrich or Henry, is rather obscure, but there is mention of at least four of his children. The first is Captain Henry of the Fifth Company of Colonel Herkimer's Canajoharie Regiment, Tryon County Militia. While in command of his Company at Oriskany he was mortally wounded by a bullet through his lungs, and died almost as he fell. His name appears on the Oriskany Battlefield Monument with two other Diefendorfs - Johann and John, both of whom were privates.
Captain Henry's will, dated March 24th, 1772, was probated in Albany County, which at that time was the westernmost county, reaching far up the Mohawk. Later this same year Tryon County was created - its boundaries encompassing the western limits of what had been Albany County.
Of the other three children of the first Heinrich but little is known beyond their names, which are given as Jacob, 17401816 (who may well have been the parent of the lad Jacob who was carried off in the Indian raid of 1781), Frederick and Barbara.
The census of 1790 lists six families of this name. There is a Jacob Sr., Jacob Jr. and one Jacob; also two Johns, a John Jacob, and a Rosena.
The old Dievendorf homestead was destroyed, as were all others save that of Lewis the Tory, in the Currytown massacre. The house pictured is one of the oldest in the vicinity, having been built immediately following the war, probably by Conrad Mowers, and later was owned and lived in by Henry I. Dievendorf, a brother of Jacob, the lad who was scalped.
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