Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Enterprise and News, June 11, 1930.

Guy R. Beardslee completes a Two Year Study on the Sector Embracing East Creek and Adajent Land Patents.

A tantalizing problem confronting surveyors and historians is the so-called Van Driesen Patent, especially the older one, the Petrus Van Driesen Patent which lies across the mouth of East Creek on the north side of the Mohawk. Mr. Guy R. Beardslee was among those intrigued by the problem. About two years ago he began a serious study of the problem and his work led him into various archives with varying success. To begin with a series of fires had destroyed the records. The Herkimer court house, the fire in the state capitol in 1911 and the destruction of the Beardslee home in 1919 or thereabouts. John Beardslee, the first of the Beardslees to come to the Mohawk Valley and grandfather of Guy R. Beardslee, came to the Mohawk Valley to build the East Creek bridge. He came in 1794 and purchased land for the timber. He erected a mill and gradually acquired other land until he had a sizable estate. He built the first covered bridge in 1812 and on his land a considerable settlement grew up. His papers were all destroyed. Guy R. Beardslee searched the records in Albany and Herkimer and Montgomery counties. He also made use of the map found with the Lawrence Timmerman papers, showing the Snell-Timmerman patent. From various maps and fragments of maps all of them drawn to different scales by the several surveyors he has constructed a composite map drawn to a scale of 20 chains to the inch or four inches to the mile and laid in all the information available. It is a praiseworthy object and one that will be appreciated by future surveyors. Some idea of the work may be measured when we consider the fact that the present map embraces data from the earliest Van Driesen patent 1772, the Harrison patent, 1722, and the Snell-Timmerman map 1755 down to the New York Power and Light Corporation map of a few years ago.

Among the interesting features of the map are:

The map shows the Mohawk river opposite General Herkimer Home to below Caroga creek on the north side of the river.

It locates definitely the Petrus Van Driesen patent of 1732. It also locates the land about the mouth of East Creek on the north side and wherever possible the original owners.

Also shown on the map is the old Post Road or Kings' Highway as laid down on the Francis Harrison Patent of 1722. This is the present Route 5, but in some places the old Post Road followed higher ground than that of the present, especially at East Creek where it crosses the creek at a point one half mile above the present highway crossing at the steel bridge.

A portion of the Harrison Patent is shown which lies on the north side of the river and the Klock-Nellis Patent which lies north of the Harrison Patent.

An interesting feature is the exact location of the old pine tree standing on the west bank of East Creek at a point a few rods below the present power house. This is a historic surveyor's monument and is mentioned in the Snell-Timmerman Patent and other deeds as the pine tree bearing the insignia of the three clans of the Mohawk, the Wolf, Turtle, and Bear. This monument is at the intersection of the Snell-Timmerman Patent, the Van Driesen Patent and the John Beardslee purchase. Mr. Beardslee intends to erect a monument at this spot for the guidance of future surveyors which is a very worthy endeavor on his part.

Another interesting feature of the map is the location of land swilled by Sir William Johnson to his natural children by Molly Brant, one lot of which was later the Bracken's of 280 acres and the other lot 19 of the Harrison Patent. It also shows the subsequent owners of the original Van Driesen Patent. Among them was Christian Groff, Patrick Kennedy, John Beardslee, Melchoir Pauter, Luther Pardee, Andrew Gray. Also gives the owners of several lots in the Harrison Patent between east Creek and Caroga as follows:

Lot 18, Timmerman and Veeling.

Lot 17, Adam Walrath and George Klock.

Lot 16, J. G. Klock.

Lots 15-14, Present site of St. Johnsville (Timmerman and Veeling.)

Lot 13, George G. Klock and Jacob Klock.

Lot 12, Christian Nellis.

Lot 11, Johannes Klock (Fort Klock.)

Lot 10, Philip Nellis and John Hess.

Lot 9, Johannes Hess and Frederick Bellinger (Mother Creek.)

Lot 8, L. Helmer and H. W. Nellis.

Lot 7, Philip and George Fox. (Caroga Creek)

The Enterprise and News is under obligation to Mr. Beardslee for this valuable work and the map will be placed in the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library for public use with thanks to Mr. Beardslee. (The library is unable to locate this map at this time 2002.)

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