Friday, November 14, 2008

Schoharie County is Born

Chapter 4 talks about the time during which Schoharie County was formed. It also talks about the Schoharie Creek, it’s towns, it’s courthouses, war, and a bunch of other things.

On April 6th, 1795 Schoharie County was formed out of parts of Albany and Otsego. Appropriately it’s name was derived from the Schoharie Creek. In Indian, “Schoharie” means flood wood. Thanks to the formation of the county, the name “Schoharie” was set, compared to spelling such as Schorie, Shore, Scorie, and Schoharry. In 1801, the county’s boundaries were defined. Also, in 1836 a portion of Greene County was annexed to the county.

The Schoharie Creek is rare and unique in the fact that it flows northward. Although the Creek and it’s tributaries have flooded many times, the first recorded event of such was in 1784. In fact, the flood was so bad that residents of the county petitioned the legislature for tax exemption.

When the county was formed it consisted of six towns: Schoharie, Middletown, Cobleskill, Bristol, Blenheim, and Sharon. In 1801 Middletown was changed to Middleburgh, and Bristol was changed to Broome. There are sixteen towns in our county. The first town formed in our county was, of course, Schoharie, and the last was Richmondville, formed from Seward and Cobleskill.

Our first courthouse was built in 1800. After it was burned in 1845, by a prisoner trying to escape, a second was built. After this one was burned, our current stone building was built in 1870. In 1830, a farm was purchased, and the structure that stood on the property was used as a “Poor House”. When the text was written, a building built in 1838 served as the Poor House and the poor who lived there were called Sloughters, hum.

Upon the outbreak of the War of 1812, the people of Schoharie County heavily bore hatred against the British for their heinous acts during the Revolution. Many of these people joined in the fight against the British. People from Cobleskill and Sharon assisted in the destruction of British stores in Canada and the repulsion of British troops at Ogdensburgh. Some, but only a few, died in battle and by disease.

The state of New York created a constitution for the state in 1777. This constitution proved defective, and a new one was created at the “Second Constitutional Convention”, held in 1821. Three delegates from the county were sent. A topic discussed at the convention was an ct to disenfranchise Tories. Originally, an act was created in 1784, but it was repealed in 1787.

In 1842, the only governor from Schoharie County was elected. Governor William Bouck’s first message to the state was very lengthy, during which he spoke of key issues, including, slavery, federal vs. state government, popular sovereignty, railroads, and the Eire Canal.

From 1840 to 1845, land owned in the southern part of the count, by the Livingstons, was not payed for. The Livingstons refused to pay rent to the County Sheriff. Things got hectic as a anti-rent war loomed and one sheriff was even killed. John S. Brown, a sheriff, asked the state, and got, over a hundred men to enforce the law. In March of 1845, he marched through Middleburgh, Fulton, Blenheim, and Broome. This showed that the state was not fooling around, and peace was restored.

The Schoharie County Railroad was built in 1867, and was vital to small town economic survival. The railroad cost $100,000 to build, and connected Schoharie with the Central Bridge station. While the railroad was being built, Howe’s Caverns were discovered. This became a huge tourist attraction, the most popular in the county.

A natural feature of the county is it’s mineral springs. These springs, most famous at Sharon, are said to have “curative” properties, said to exist because of sulfur in the water. This same sulfur gives Sharon it’s, well, distinctive smell.

Although the county was constantly at work, education was not forgotten. As the county increased in size, and when neighborhoods were settled, schools were built and improved upon. Also not forgotten was religion. As population increased, so did churches, and, when the text was written, there were 75 churches in the county.

The first newspaper in the county was the “American Herald”, which was published in 1809. Other newspapers include: The Schoharie Herald, The Schoharie Budget, The True American, and the Cobleskill Herald, which later became the Times Journal. Most of these papers were political, but after state and national papers arose, many small-town papers died out. Also discussed in the chapter were crimes including: counterfeiting, murder, theft, and trespassing. The chapter also states a lot of statistics, including population.

196 years ago was when the first paper of the county was published. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what the headline was?

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