Tuesday, February 17, 2009

History of Schoharie

The Palatines were the first to settle in Schoharie in 1718. Schoharie’s original name was “Fountain Town” because of springs in the town. The Lutheran Church in Schoharie was built in 1750. The preacher in the church preached around the area, and had originally come from Hamburg. He was blind for twenty-one years before getting his sight back. The new church was built in 1796.

The Old Stone Fort was originally built as a church in 1772, although the congregation was formed in 1730. In the church before the Old Stone Fort, one of Joseph Brant’s daughters was baptized. In 1777, the Old Stone Fort was surrounded by pickets and turned into a fort. When a new church was built in 1845, the Old Stone Fort was bought by New York and was turned into an arsenal. Buried at the Old Stone Fort are Peter Vroman and David Williams. Also buried there is Simon Mix, who started several newspapers and fought in the Civil War.

A Schoharie resident, George Mann, was a Tory early in the Revolution, but then joined the patriots before the war ended, and thusly didn’t have his property confiscated. Three hotels in Schoharie County in 1882 were Wood’s Hotel, the Parrott House, and the Taylor House. Amazingly, all the members of the Lawyer family can be traced back to Schoharie County.

In 1811, the “Schoharie and Duanesburgh Turnpike” was built and connected with the Great Western Turnpike. The county’s first mill was near Central Bridge. A wagon factory was built in 1842. When Johnson and Brant invaded the valley, they were about to burn the house of a cripple when a slave lured them away by pies and pastries. Johannes Ingold was the county’s first coroner.

The county lost two courthouses to fire, and decided to build a stone one, which still stands. Schoharie had Protestant Churches, including an “African Methodist Episcopal Church”, organized in 1856. The Schoharie Bridge was built by 1813 for around six hundred dollars.

In the list of those who won public office, names such as Bellinger, Swart, Mann, Dietz, and Lawyer stand out. Schoharie boarders were changed to take out Esperance and Wright.

It’s amazing to look at all that’s changed in 250 years. People die, buildings burn, things change. Yet, through all those years, the Old Stone Fort still stands, seemingly untouched by time. People don’t really appreciate the scarcity of relics like the Fort.

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