Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Ellwoods of Fort Klock

From one of our visitors: Ft. Klock is NOT Ft. Klock, and it was not BUILT by a Klock. It was built by my ancestor Richard Ellwood. His children, among them, his son, my ancestor, Richard Ellwood, Jr. were born in and lived in that house. Richard Ellwood, Sr. was commissioned, with one other man, by Sir William Johnson, to BUILD that place, and after Richard Ellwood's death in 1754, it ended up in the hands of the Klocks, who added an addition to it. The place was known, far more properly, for many years, as the ELLWOOD/Klock Stone house. It is NOT the Ft. Klock of history, as your site properly points out. That my ancestor who actually built the place, is no longer EVEN MENTIONED, is a great injustice, keenly felt by his descendants. I am in possession of several clear photographs, showing that the stones over a niche that once held the carved initial E for ELLWOOD, have either been reversed or replaced so that the E for ELLWOOD no longer is visible, and dark repointing mortar has been plastered over the original inscription of the TRUE BUILDER OF THIS STONE HOME RICHARD ELLWOOD, and false initials scraped into this modern and obviously fake surface. Elwood descendants are aware of this deception, and are very distressed that the contribution of our ancestor Richard Ellwood, and his place in history has been willfully and wrongfully erased. My ancestor Richard Elwood, the son of Richard Ellwood was BORN in that house now called "Ft. Klock". The Klocks did not come into possession of that place until after Richard Ellwood's death in 1754, and added only a small addition, to which the Klock initials were added. I would like an explanation of the actions of the "restorers" of "The Ellwood-Klock Stone Home" in destroying historical TRUTH by deliberately defacing and effacing Richard Ellwood's initial and signature. Sharilyn Whitaker

(Note from Webmaster: Please check the Deed, 1742, between Johannes Klock and John Wendell. Johannes Klock was the owner of the land from 1742. Deed and Harrison Patent Land Map. Check the photo titled, Klock Family Photo 1902. You can see carving over the door. The weather has since worn the carving so it is no longer visible. I don't know of any other carving in the present day. Some old maps show the Ellwood land near Fort Klock, but not at Fort Klock.)

The Ellwoods have continued to insist that Fort Klock be called Fort Ellwood. First the east-west part was built and later an addition was put on the north side of the house. It was common in those days, to have the builder and his family occupy one room of a home while the building was going on, often for several years. It perhaps was during this time period that the Ellwoods lived at Fort Klock. There were three fortified Klock homes in the area during the Revolutionary War. George Klock's home, Col. Jacob Klock's home and Johannes Klock's home.

Most local sites pick up their names from the locals and from times past. For many decades and several hundred years, this has been known as Fort Klock. George Klock's home was called Fort House for a time, in that case the locals named it after the builder to distinguish that house from the other Klock homes. Col. Jacob Klock's home was torn down some time ago and another home built in it's place. We don't know what she means by "not the Fort Klock" of history. The name was not invented. Many homes from that period were fortified and had the word "fort" tacked on to the name. Just about 1/2 mile west another home was fortified, Fort Nellis; and about a mile east was located Fort Wagner. With the loopholes in the walls for the guns, Fort Klock was an ideal "safe house" during the war.

The peak in the house which Sharilyn refers to is unknown. When the Fort Klock organization took over the building, it was falling into the river and in terrible shape. For many years, it had been unoccupied, vandalized, uncared for, and totally undesirable. It had no windows or doors. Always, it was referred to as Fort Klock by the locals. The part below the peak was repaired with concrete and "1750" put in the concrete long before the Tryon County Muzzel Loaders took it over. There was no defacing of the house, we don't know to what the visitor is referring. When Fort Klock Historic Restoration group took over the site, the front (facing the river) south east window was intact, but the front south west window had fallen out. No one knows what carving was over that window, the pieces were missing.

The fireplace hearthstones in the Fort Klock kitchen came from an old house. A Dutch barn was moved to the site because the larger Dutch barn on the Klock property had burned in the 1930's. The site is being restored in keeping with the period it represents. We are known as the Fort Klock Historic Restoration. We do our best to present a picture of life from the late 1700's and early 1800's. Some of the writing on the limestone in various places has been worn away by time. If you check the Klock family reunion photos, you can see some of the carving in the limestone which was visible at the turn of the century.

The question of the Ellwood's of Fort Klock is perhaps one of those historical mysteries which cannot be solved from this place in time because of inadequate documentation.

The site is not funded by any governmental organization but maintained by the hard work of volunteers as a private site. During the summer paid caretakers occupy the premises. Fund raisers are put on during the year to raise money. That is it folks. We are just a group of concerned locals who care about our heritage.

Recently some material has been handed to us regarding the Ellwood Family.

Ellwood Family (from an old unidentified newspaper)
Pioneers and Patriots. Ellwoods Figure in Every Phase of National Development. Various Branches of the Family Traced.

Herkimer, N. Y. Sept. 5, 1927, Editor of the St. Johnsville Enterprise:

I have read with interest and pleasure your many articles on the lives of the early settlers of the Mohawk Valley. I was especially interested in your account of old Fort Klock.

In one of my peregrinations through the genealogy of the Ellwood family I read that one Richard Ellwood came to the Mohawk Valley and with his own hands built a stone house near the present village of St. Johnsville. He built this stronghold it is said in the year 1750, and this date with his name, or at least his initials, he chiseled in a capstone over one of the front windows. Four years later Mr. Ellwood died and the stone house passed out of the possession of the Ellwood family. Possibly the deed was never recorded. It is said that in 1755 the year subsequent to Mr. Ellwood's death a family by the name of Klock built an addition of the Ellwood stone house and and placed the date of 1775 (this must be a typo and probably should have been 1755) over the main door of this addition. Klock Family Photo 1902. HNK 1759 AMRGK (carving over the door in 1902 photo of the Klock reunion.) This enlarged building it is said became known as Fort Klock. I am informed that the Ellwoods have always understood that the older part of what is now called Fort Klock was the home of their colonial ancestor Richard Ellwood.

The Ellwoods were among the staunch patriots of the Mohawk valley and their descendants have lived true to type. This family harks back to Thomas Ellwood, a famous Quaker of the 17th century, and tradition says he was educated by the poet Milton. Whether this be true of not the Ellwoods have transmitted to their following descendants an inborn loyalty to simple Christian living and love of country.

The Richard Ellwood who settled in the present St. Johnsville and who is known as Richard Ellwood of 1748 had six children, four of them sons, all of whom served in the Revolutionary war. It is said the records of Tryon county troops, Dievendorf's company, (This was in the Town of Minden, south side of the river, NOT on the north side of the river. ajb) Clyde's (Fort Clyde was near Fort Plain. ajb) regiment show that Richard, Jr. was an ensign, Isaac was a corporal and was wounded in battle of Oriskany and that Benjamin and Peter were in the same regiment and company. I have also read that on the Ellwood farm in Springfield is Richard Ellwood's tombstone, born in Minden 1750, died 1825. A story has come down to us that the mother-in-law of Richard Ellwood, a Mrs. Bell was captured by the Indians in 1751, tomahawked, scalped and nose cut off, yet she managed to escape and crowded into Fort Herkimer where she recovered. Three months after this occurrence she gave birth to a girl who became the wife of Richard Ellwood, Jr. Isaac Ellwood lived near Fort Plain and was a surveyor. It is said that his daughter Catherine married Peter Snell of Manheim and that their family filled two pews in the Manheim church.

Benjamin Ellwood was a farmer living near Fort Plain. The fourth son Peter was born in 1754 in Minden and tradition says he died in a blizzard of 1831. It is also said that Colonel Henry Ellwood of Danube was a son of Peter and Senator Ellwood of Wisconsin a grandson. Another son of Peter was David Ellwood who settled in the town of Stark about 1813 where he took a prominent part in the political and social affairs of the time. This David had four sons: Daniel of Mohawk, Henry of Amsterdam whose grandson I believe is Walter Ellwood, one time teacher in the Philippines, author of Gurmo, and some time district superintendent of school. Two other sons, David and Moses settled in Stark where they married Springer girls. They occupied nearby farms which are at present occupied by descendants of these men. John Ellwood of Stark lives on David's farm and Lewis lives on his grandfather Moses old homestead. This Moses had a family of four sons and four daughters. His son Isaac was a graduate of the University of Michigan and prominent preacher in the Detroit M. E. conference. Another son Charles lived and died in Dolgeville where his descendants still live. A daughter Elizabeth married James Baird, a principal of schools in Schenectady. His daughter Hattie married Dr. N. A. Darling a prominent preacher in the northern New York M. E. Conference. Moses, son of Philip became one of the great bee men of New York state, being at one time president of the New York state bee keepers association and also of the North American Beekeepers Association. This Philip, son of Moses married Alice Dolan by whom he had five children, one son Lewis after his father's death in 1922 took charge of the large Ellwood apiary and also of the old homestead. The other four children all college graduates are engaged in educational work far from the scenes of their birth place in Stark. S.C. KIMM.

Someone wrote a note at the bottom: "Map 1756 of land owners shows James Ellwood had a place opposite Fort Johnson."

(Excerpts from newspapers found in a scrapbook of Mrs. Carrie Blanch Allen.)

"The funeral of Henry D. Elwood was held near Mindenville yesterday. Mr. Elwood was born near Starkville and was 80 years of age. He was the son of David Elwood and his wife, Nancy Baum, well known and respected citizens of Stark. Richard Elwood, the founder of the family, came to American in 1748 from England. He located on a farm now owned by Amos Klock, two miles east of St. Johnsville. In 1750 he built the stone house still standing there and which was used in the seven years' war and the revolutionary war as a fort. Peter Elwood, a son of Richard, died in `83` at the age of 77 years, losing his way and becoming bewildered one winter night and perishing from the inclemency of the weather. His son, David, who died at Starkville in July 1859, was the father of Henry D. Milton. Members of the family are living in various parts of the country. Henry D. Elwood formerly resided in the Freysbush neighborhood, Minden, but in 1863 he removed from Indian Castle to the vicinity of Amsterdam, where he has since resided. He was the last of the six children of David Elwood, and was a consistent member of the M. E. Church. He is survived by his wife, born Anna Klock, a sister of Hiram of the Town of St. Johnsville, and one son, Emory Ellwood."

From still another article: "With the passing of Martha, widow of David B. Elwood, at her residence two miles south of Starkville, the immediate families of Jacob L. Springer and David Elwood became extinct. Deceased was born in the town of Warren (the locality now being included in Stark) in March, 1836, daughter of Jacob L. Springer and his wife, born Mary Dater (strike over and I can't be certain of the letters ajberry) Martha married David more than 57 years. The Elwood family was one of the first English families to settle in the valley, locating south of the river east of St. Johnsville in 1748. His name was Richard, and the family claim descent from the poet Milton's Quaker friend, Thomas Elwood, who is said after reading "Paradise Lost", to have said to the blind poet, "John, thou has written many fine things about paradise lost, canst tell us nothing about paradise regained?" Richard Elwood's son, Peter (born 1754, died 1831), located near Hallsville, Minden, and is said at that advanced age to have lost his way and perished in a snow storm, leaving nine children. Peter inherited the farm, while David, born 1794, removed to the vicinity of Starkville, where he died in July, 1859. His first wife and the mother of his children was Nancy Baum, his second, who survived until June 1900, was Mrs. Polly Springer, second daughter of Loadwick Springer. David B. Elwood, youngest child of David Elwood, took charge of the farm in the spring of 1853. His wife, Sarah, daughter of John Smith of Hallsville, Minden, died in October, 1855, leaving him widowed and childless, and only son having preceded Mr. Elwood, and about two years later followed his marriage to her who has just passed away.

"David B. Elwood died in February, 1888, when supposed to be recovering from an indisposition, and for 27 years. Mrs. Elwood met the trials of life incident to her position as mother of the family and much of the time united with the Lutheran Church of Starkville in the spring of 1865 and deceased with her son, John S. Elwood, were active in the rejuvenation of the church in 1906. Mrs. Elwood's health has been passably good until comparatively recently, but her advanced age was a powerful auxiliary to the disease when it fastened itself upon her. Mr. and Mrs. Elwood were the parents of seven children. Philip Elwood of the town of Stark is a nephew of the deceased."

Philip H. Elwood Was A Man Who Had A Strong Personality.

Dr. Kimm Pays a Splendid Tribute to Well Known Citizen of Stark Who Died a Few Days Ago--Deceased Was A Gentleman of the Old School--Took Up Bee Culture and Became One of the Leading Apiarists in the Country--A Man of Study Characteristics.

(From Little Falls, N. Y. Times, May 18, 1922.)

In this day of hero worship, not far removed from the glamor of war, we are apt to forget that there are great men living their lives in the quiet obscurity of the farm whose influence extends far beyond the confines of the neighborhood in which they were born and reared. Not only thro their personality and by their writings, but by the lives of carefully reared children has their influence become much more than statewide. Such a man was Philip H. Elwood, late of the town of Stark, in Herkimer county. Born of a long line of distinguished ancestors he lived true to the family traditions, of unswerving loyalty to the highest ideals that can influence the actions of men.

Someone has said that the proper way to train a child is to first train his grandparents. Certainly the grandparents of the subject of this sketch were finely cultured people. The first Elwood of whom we have a record was Thomas Elwood, a man greatly honored by the Quakers of England in the early part of the 17th century. The principal part of his education was received from the poet, Milton, and the world is indebted to Thomas Elwood for the inspiration that produced that literary masterpiece, Milton's "Paradise Regained." It was to this Elwood that Milton submitted his poem, "Paradise Lost" for criticism, and it was he who looked after the financial affairs of William Penn in England while the latter was laying the foundation of the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

A descendant of Thomas Elwood, one Richard Elwood, with his family, came to America in 1748 and, like other sturdy pioneers of those day, he set about to establish a home in the wilderness. He lived long enough to build a stone house near the present site of St. Johnsville, and, what is better, to start a family whose descendants have done well their part in molding the character of American institutions. Four of his sons were Richard, Isaac, Benjamin and Peter. The late Senator Arthur Elwood of Richfield was a son of Richard. General Elwood was a son of Isaac. Colonel Henry Elwood of Danube was a son of Peter and Senator Elwood of Wisconsin was a grandson. David Elwood, a descendant of the younger Peter, settled in Stark in 1813 and he took a very prominent part in the social and political affairs of the times. His four sons, Daniel of Mohawk, Henry of Amsterdam, Moses and David of Stark, inherited much of their father's sagacity for community leadership. One of the sons of Moses graduated from the University of Michigan and became prominent in the affairs of the Methodist denomination. Another son, the subject of this sketch, became one of the most widely known beekeepers in these United States. David and Moses married sisters from the Springer family, thus mingling in their children the blood of two of the prominent families from the earliest colonial days.

Thus, in leading up to the life of Mr. Elwood, I have endeavored to show that parents transmit individual characteristics to their children, and that these characteristics continue thro many generations. From the days of Milton to the present the sturdy honesty and simplicity of the English Quakers has been the dominant characteristic of the Elwoods, now scattered throughout the United States, descendants of that Richard who settled in the Mohawk valley in 1748.

Philip H. Elwood, the son of Moses and Christina Springer Elwood, was born on the farm which he owned at his death, in the year 1847. Nearly all his life was spent in his native town. He easily outclassed his schoolmates in the old time district schools and he took high rank in his classes in the early days of the then famous Cazenovia Seminary. To help himself prepare for his chosen profession, the law, he taught several terms in his home and nearby schools. As a teacher he was known as a strict disciplinarian, and yet in a day when it was the rule to thrash big boys for minor offenses he seldom punished a pupil. He believed in through, painstaking study and he gained the reputation of being one of the best district school teachers of those rough and tumble days. Later he went to Michigan and became principal of a school in Grand Blanc. Here he learned at first hand the advantages of a township system for country schools and all the later years of his life he argued and preached the merits of that system. When his own children were prepared to leave the district school he tried in vain to get the village of Starkville to start a graded school, that the larger children of the township might be educated at home, rather than to send them ten miles away to Fort Plain.

Mr. Elwood's health failing, he gave up teaching, as well as his chosen profession of the law, to become an apiarist. His limitless patience and capacity for detail made him not only one of the best known men in the United States, but he became an acknowledged authority on the diseases of bees. He was a prolific writer for beekeeping magazines and his articles carried with them the weight of experience and an exactness born of careful study. No less a man than E. R. Root of Ohio said that "The suggestions of Philip H. Elwood practically revolutionized the manufacturing of bee supplies".

Mr. Elwood was often called upon for expert advice in settling disputes and misunderstandings arising between men engaged in this occupation, and such was the confidence placed in his good judgment that his advice was usually followed.

For some years he was in partnership with Captain J. E. Hetherington of Cherry Valley, but later he withdrew to carry on the business alone. At one time he had over a thousand swarms of bees, at that time making him one of the largest, if not the largest, bee keeper in the United States. It was Mr. Elwood's custom each spring to divide these into small colonies and place them in various parts of the surrounding towns where the bees might feed on the basswood blossoms of the forests and the clover and buckwheat of the meadows. In the fall these colonies would be brought back to the home farm to be cared for during the winter. To give a complete account of the manner in which Mr. Elwood conducted his bee business all the years from 1870 to the present would fill a large volume. The product of his apiary was known for its purity, and his never failing courtesy and honesty with his customers enlarged his business far beyond the confines of his native state. Mr. Elwood was for several years president of the State Bee Keepers' Association. When the latter became divided into the National Bee Keepers' Association and the Canadian Bee Keepers' Association he had the honor of becoming the president and also a director in the former.

It was the writer's good fortune to form the acquaintance of Mr. Elwood in the spring of 1879, when the latter came to Salisbury to visit the teacher of the old red school house in the Tanner, district. That teacher was Miss Alice V. Dolan of Poland, N. Y. Miss Dolan also taught in the Ransom district in the town of Manheim and at Paines Hollow and in the village of Starkville. Mr. Elwood and Miss Dolan were married the following fall. Mr. Elwood is survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters, all now college trained men and women. Yesterday a slight girl teaching a back country school; today the proud mother of five cultured children, while a hundred of her former pupils recall her with gratitude and love. Thus has time flown!

The eldest sons, Everett S. Elwood, was educated at Ann Arbor and Syracuse universities. He was principal at Penn Yan and later secretary of the state hospital commission at Albany. At present he occupies the responsible post of director of the national board of medical examiners, a position which carries him into every state in the union. Lewis J. Elwood is a Cornell man and for some time was expert manager of a large farm near New York. He now has charge of his father's extensive bee farm. Philip H. Elwood, Jr., is also a Cornell man, and a professor of landscape architecture at Ohio State University at Columbus. In the World War he was captain of artillery, and while with the A. E. F. abroad he drew the plans and directed the laying out of the beautiful cemetery of the Argonne. Louise was educated at Albany State Teachers' college and is a successful nurse, while Lucille, trained in both Syracuse and Albany colleges is a high school teacher. Thus does Mr. Elwood still live in the lives of his children, whom he carefully trained to fill well their various positions in life.

The Elwood was a supporter of the church and a staunch defender of whatever he thought would build character and uplift the community. He was a good listener and could easily grasp and retain the main points. These he assimilated, and he had the remarkable power of calling them up years afterward if necessity compelled. While he was a kind father, his word was law, and he expected his children to carry to a complete finish whatever they undertook to do. He never forgot a kindness and no neighbor ever appealed to him in vain. His sense of right and justice impelled him to ferret out petty crime even to personal loss of time and money. He was very methodical in everything he did, slow to anger, but when once aroused it was difficult to swerve him from his purpose. His clean life and conversation were conclusive proof of a pure mind and in the passing of Philip H. Elwood we lose one of the great men of our times. Truly, he has verified the adage that "blood tells," and his family now must "carry on" the Elwood family traditions which their father has given to them unsullied. S. C. Kimm. Herkimer May 16, 1922.

(Silas Kimm was a noted Herkimer County Historian.)

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