Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY

Vol II, Page 385 Early Adventures.--In February and March, 1862, I had two interviews with Henry Smith, then over 94 years old. He lived to be over 100; and I may add, for the benefit of boys, he never used any tobacco. I found him intelligent, with a very retentive memory. His father, Henry Smith, came into the valley with the Tilleborough adventures, in 1773, and finally made his permanent home on the south side of the Mohawk, a little below St. Johnsville. He was a cooper by trade, and often worked for Henry Markell, an early tavern-keeper at Timmerman's (St. Johnsville). Henry Smith, Jr., was born December 1, 1767, making him six years old when he came to America; and dying without issue, he gave the homestead to Joseph Smith, a nephew, who now occupies it. Agreeable to the statement of Mrs. Fox, a daughter of Captain Rechtor, Henry Smith had a brother, John who settled in Tillebroough. With the adventurers of that place came, in the same ship, the brothers, John and Henry Hees, of whom Smith gave the following particulars: John Hees left his home clandestinely, came to this country, married, lost his wife, went back to Germany, and again came hither with his brother and others. John set tled in Stone Arabia, and some years later, his son, Jacob, located at Palatine Bridge, where we remember him, back to 1826, as a prominent citizen, justice, etc., Henry Hees became a school teacher, and informant, at the age of eight or nine, attended his school in the old R. D. church, below St. Johnsville. Scholars came from quite a distance, and were taught in German. Hees was a severe disciplinarian, and informant remembered getting punished by him 12 different times, for nonattendance at school and other offenses. Said he was whipped on his hands till the blood ran. He said Audolph Walrath got a similar punishment 18 times in the same school. Hees afterwards taught school at Herkimer; there instructing in both English and German. This early pedagogue died, when quite old, at St. Johnsville. Smith first learned English of John Swale; whom he paid by instructing him in German. Swale was taken from a poor house and brought up by George Klock. --Henry Smith.

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