Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The History of Fulton and West Middleburgh

A portion of Fulton was once owned by the Vromans, called Vromansland, and was purchased for one hundred gallons of rum and a few blankets. Adam Vroman’s father, Hendrick, was killed in the Schenectady massacre of 1690. Adam was born in Holland, in 1649, and had three wives, who begat 13 children. The book lists the children.
The Palatines and Vromans did not trust each other. When the Palatines saw the land that Vroman had bought, they realized that Vroman had cheated the Indians out of almost one thousand acres. The Palatines, Indians, and Vromans argued over the land until Adam Vroman repurchased it in 1726.
In 1753, a “fort” was built in Vromansland. This action was taken in preparation of a conflict with the French, and the order to build the fort was given by Sir William Johnson.
In the Revolution, Peter Vroman fought alongside the patriots as a Colonel. He also represented the Schoharie district at the “Provincial Convention”, which elected delegates to the Continental Congress. He also served as a delegate to the Council of Safety.
The Swart family were decedents of people from Holland. The first Swarts in the country were Frederick and Teunis Cornelius. One Swart became a judge.
The Cryslers settled in our county around the year 1750. When the Revolution erupted, they sided with the Crown, and the book states many times that they are a “stain upon our history”. During the Revolution, Crysler fled to Canada with other Tories.
In 1777, upper, middle, and lower forts were built. The strongest of these was the upper fort, which stood near Fultonham.
The book tells of the Vroman massacre in which many Vromans and servants were either killed or brought to Canada. This rendition includes the story of the Indians sparing the Vroman baby because of it’s laughter. Also, many of those killed had their scalps hung near those captured. These prisoners were traded for other prisoners in Canada and walked home from Saratoga after being gone for a year.
The Bouck family came to Fulton via the Palatine immigration, the first Bouck being William Bouck. In 1780, William was taken prisoner by Indians. He and other servants were rescued by patriots. William C. Bouck was born in 1786, and started school in 1795. Bouck was in the state legislature and was Governor for two years, and is the only Governor from our county. Bouck also attended the state constitutional convention and died in 1859, at 73.
The book gives a list of inhabitants of Fulton in 1788. Among the names are Bouck, Crysler, Vroman, and Swart.
This chapter also states that Tim Murphy was nothing but a kind-hearted person and a patriot. Murphy’s family moved here from Ireland. At 16, Murphy joined the patriots as a rifleman. It was Tim Murphy that killed General Fraser in the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Murphy was dispatched to the Schoharie valley to help turn back expected invasions.
Mr. Murphy had many great feats, including defending the Middle Fort. His first wife was Marganet Feek. Murphy died in 1818 and was buried at his farm.
In the hills of Fulton was Petersburgh. Once having timber covering the land, hemlock took it’s stead when the timber was depleted. The hemlock was used as normal timber would be used.
Breakabeen’s “correct” name is “Brakabeen”, which was named by the Germans. One of the early settlers of Breakabeen was the Keysers. During the Revolution, three houses stood in Breakabeen, one of which was the Keyser residence. A man named Michael Borst came to Fulton in 1815 and built a tannery near the bridge; the tannery was later replaced by a foundry around 1850.
Fultonham was the place of a Palatine dorf and the Upper Fort. One of the first families were the Laraways. The book also mentions a man by the name of Charles Watson, which begs the question, is this who Watsonville is named after?
West Fulton was, for a long time, known as Byrneville, or Sapbush Hollow. The name was changed to West Fulton thanks to the post office. Michael Byrne built a church in the town for the Dutch Reformed.
Polly Hollow, or West Middleburgh, is also talked about. During the Civil War, two soldiers deserted and Union troops came to get them. The Polly Hollow militia fired on the Union force until they retreated.
Under the Supervisors of Fulton, names of interest that came up are Vroman, Watson, and Bouck. Fulton’s boundaries were formed in 1828.
The book tells of Crysler’s despicable actions. One must wonder what was going on in his mind.

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