Three Rivers
Hudson~Mohawk~Schoharie
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883

Volume I, Page 317--The Organization of Tryon County, etc. -- The influence of Sir William Johnson, exerted through Colonels Philip Schuyler, Hendrick Frey and Guy Johnson, succeeded early in 1772, in partitioning Albany county, the new county taking on the name of the Governor of the colony, who located the county seat at Johnstown. Pending the passage of the bill, Col. Schuyler called on Sir William Johnson to make a division of the territory into townships or districts; and he complied by dividing it into the five following districts, commencing on the easterly side.

"The first, or Mohawk district, to be bounded easterly by the west bounds of the township of Schenectada, north as far as the settlements shall extend, south to the south bounds of the county, and west by a north and south line crossing the Mohawk at Anthony's Nose," This embraced the territory on both sides of the Mohawk, including Amsterdam, Johnstown and other settlements on the north, and the settlements in the now towns of Florida, Glen, Charleston and part of Root, on the south side, extending west to the Nose at Sprakers Basin.

"The second, or Stone Arabia district, to be entirely on the north side of the river, bounded easterly by the west bounds of the late mentioned district, northerly as the former, and westerly by a north and south line to cross the Mohawk river at the Little Falls." This embraced the Palatine, St. Johnsville, Kringsbush and Ephratah settlements. This district soon became known as the Palatine district.

"The third, or Canajoharie district, to be bounded, north by the Mohawk river, south by the bounds of the county, east by the west bounds of the first mentioned district,and west by the aforesaid line to be continued south from the Little Falls." This district extended from the Nose to Fall Hill, embracing part of Root and the towns of Canajoharie, Minden and a portion of Danube; taking in also the settlements of Cherry Valley, New Town Martin, Harpersfield, Springfield, and Warren at the lakes.

"The fourth or Kingsland district, to be bounded southerly by the Mohawk river, easterly by a north line from the Little Falls, northerly and westerly as far as the settlements extend." This embraced the settlements begun at Little Falls, Herkimer, Schuyler, Fairfield, etc.

"The fifth, or German Flats district, to be bounded northerly by the Mohawk River, easterly by the line to be continued south from the Little Falls, southerly as far as the county extends, and westerly by the boundary line settled at a treaty made in 1786." This took in the settlements in the town of German Flats, Ilion, Andreastown, and possibly north part of Warren, and settlements begun at the Keil or Chyle, a German word, said to signify a wedge.

The names of the Kingsland and German Flats districts were early reversed. In the sessions court proceedings of 1784, Caughnawaga district is mentioned; but when the name of a part of Mohawk district was thus designated does not appear, for the Mohawk district is still named in 1786. It is presumed the Mohawk district was divided at the river, Caughnawaga occupying the territory on the north side of the river, and the Mohawk district the south side. The districts of the county, before the introduction of townships, seem all to have been named at a Court of Special Sessions, October 31, 1786, when "Commissioners of Highways" were appointed for all the districts, and as they give the residence of not a few prominent citizens, I will here insert them: "For the district of Caughnawaga, Adam Fonda, James Livingston, Volkert Veeder, Jeremiah De Graff, Zelah Woodworth;" "for the Mohawk district, Charles Van Epps, Cornelius Putman, Lawrens Shooler, Abraham Yates, Jacob Antis," "for the Canajoharie district, John Roof, Peter S. Dygart, Henry Dygart, John M. Brown, Samuel Campbell;" "For the Palatine district, Jesses Fonda, Andrew Finck, Samuel Gray, Jacob G. Klock, John Zielen;" "for the German Flats district, Peter Bellinger, Henry Eckler, George Stale, Hugh White, Frederick Frank;" "for the Kingsland district, Jacob Petrie, Melgert Folts, Adam Staring, John M. Petrie, Peter F. Bellinger;" "for the Old England district, Hugh Johnson, Matthew Cully, Joseph Tunnicliff, Samuel Tubbs, Joseph Mayall;" "For the Harpersfield district, John Harper, Levi Gaylor, Sluman Walters, John Pine, Alexander Leal."

A part of Springfield, and territory around Otsego and Schuyler's lakes, were in Old England district. Smith's Gazetteer says that district was west of the Susquehanna. There were settlements begun early at Morris Butternuts, Laurens and several other towns of Otsego county, which were no doubt embraced in this district, the residents of which mostly spoke the English language. The name of Tunnicliff appears among the commissioners for this district, and this name has been in and contiguous to Warren (near the lakes), for many years. John M. Brown and Samuel Campbell are named as commissioners for the Canajoharie district. Brown lived in the present town of Carlisle, and Campbell in Cherry Valley, proving that Old England district was to the westward of those settlements. On the appointment of those commissioners, the county clerk was to notify the different town clerks, of the action of this court. It seems a novelty to call them town clerks, when there was not a town organization so called in the county. But the districts had supervisors, clerks and assessors, corresponding to those in the townships of other counties. Harpersfield district embraced the settlement in the now town of Harpersfield, and several other small colonies in that vicinity. The first organization of Montgomery county, as Tryon was called at the close of the war, into townships, took place March 7, 1788. Then the German Flats district became the town of Herkimer, and the Kingsland district took the name of German Flats. The names were inadvertently transposed in the Legislature, as the wide German Flats originating the name, embraced the village of Herkimer. The mistake was soon discovered, but the matter was not thought of sufficient importance, to alter it. This error should have been corrected. Canajoharie, Palatine, Mohawk, Caughnawaga and Harpersfield districts severally became towns bearing the same name; while Old England district took the name of Otsego. When Old England and Harpersfield districts were a part of Montgomery county, the citizens had to make the long journey to Johnstown by Cherry Valley, from thence entering the Mohawk Valley, at Canajoharie, and in the absence of a bridge, cross the river where and in the manner they best could, by ferry or by ford.

The act dividing Montgomery county into townships was as follows (See High Gaine's State Laws, published in 1789, page 331): Under title of "An act to divide the counties of the State into townships," passed the March, 1788. Montgomery was divided as follows:

Caughnawaga, and all that part of the county of Montgomery, bounded northerly by the north bounds of this State, easterly by the counties of Clinton, Washington and Albany, southerly by the Mohawk river, and westerly by a line running from the hill, called Anthony's Nose, north to the north bounds of the State, shall be and hereby is erected into a town by the name of Caughnawaga.

Palatine, and all that part of the said county of Montgomery, bounded northerly by the north bounds of this State, easterly by Caughnawaga, southerly by the Mohawk river, and westerly by a line running from the Little Falls, in the Mohawk river, north to the north bounds of this State, shall be and are hereby erected into a town by the name of Palatine.

Herkimer, and all that part of the said county of Montgomery, bounded northerly by the north bounds of this State, easterly by Palatine, southerly by the Mohawk river, and westerly by a north and south line running across the Mohawk river at the Fording-place near the house of William Cunningham, leaving the same house to the west of the line, shall be and hereby is erected into a town by the name of Herkimer.

Mohawk, and all that part of the said county of Montgomery, bounded northerly by the Mohawk river, easterly and southerly by the county of Albany, and westerly by a line running from the hill called Anthony's Nose, south until it strikes the county of Albany, shall be and hereby is erected into a town by the name of Mohawk.

Harpersfield, and all that part of the said county of Montgomery, between the Cookquago branch of Delaware river and the branch of the Susquehanna river called Adigitange, beginning at a rock maple tree, marked on four sides with a blaze and three notches, and with the letter and figures A. C., 1768, standing on a high point of land at the south side of a small lake, called by the Indians Utsayantho, from whence the said branch of the Delaware, called by the Indians Cookquago, issues, and running from thence north thirty degrees west to the the said Adigitange, and thence down the same and the Susquehanna to the bounds of Pennsylvania, and east along the same river Delaware, and then up the same river to the place of beginning, shall be and hereby is erected into a town by the name of Harpersfield.

Otsego, and all that part of said county of Montgomery, beginning at the headwater of the Lake Otsego, in the patent commonly called the Otsego patent, granted to George Cochran and others, and running from thence along the northerly bounds of the said patent to the northwest corner thereof, thence extending westerly to the river Tienadderhe, so as to include the patent granted to William and Robert Edminston, thence down the said river to its junction with the Susquehanna river, and then up the said river to the place of beginning, shall be and hereby is erected into a town by the name of Otsego.

Canajoxharie, and all that part of the said county of Montgomery, bounded northerly by the Mohawk river, easterly by the town of Mohawk and the county of Albany, southerly by Harpersfield, and westerly by the river Susquehanna and the Lake Otsego, and a line from the head water thereof to the Little Falls in the Mohawk river,s hall be and hereby is erected into a town by the name of Canajoxharie.--(As spelled in the record.)

German Flats, and all that part of the said county of Montgomery, bounded northerly by the Mohawk river, easterly by Canajoharie, southerly by Otsego, and westerly by the western line of the town of Herkimer, continued south to the said town of Otsego, shall be and hereby is erected into a town by the name of German Flatts.

White's Town, and all the remaining part of said county of Montgomery, shall be and hereby is erected into a town by the name of White's Town.

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