Thursday, December 23, 2010

Western Schoharie County History

One can easily derive Summit’s name by looking around the county, for the county has many summits. Mount Wharton stands a little to the west of the town, where the clouds embrace it, given it’s height. Mt. Wharton got it’s name from it’s owner, J. B. Wharton. Upon this mountain presides a “sheet of water”. The book goes out of it’s way to note the beauty of this entity.
Seymour Boughton was a resident of Summit, who moved there from Charlotteville. Boughton was the youngest of nineteen, yes nineteen, children, and, at about the turn of the 18th century, he moved with his father to Charlotteville. In Charlotteville, he built the Van Buren house, which was used as a tavern. Boughton framed and painted his house by himself, to which his neighbors thought that he was “bent on wasting his property”. The tavern was the first framed house in town. Mr. Boughton died on June 11, 1872.
According to legend, the lake in Summit was named Utasayantho. A story that surrounds the lake concerns an unwed Indian squaw. This squaw gave birth to a child upon the bank of the lake. Chiefs of the tribe consulted with each other, then threw the child into the lake. For a long time, the lake was called “Jack’s lake”, but as time progressed, it was given the appropriate name of “Summit Lake”. Interestingly, it is said that Johnson and Brant stopped at the lake in 1780, relaxed, and even did some fishing.
Summit was settled after the Revolution. People who settled here were mainly from the Hudson river counties, and the “eastern States”. A man by the name of Levi Ives owned a distillery in Summit. This establishment was nationally famous, for many people from around the country ordered liquor from Ives.
To the west of Summit is a valley by the name of Charlotte. In the valley flows the Charlotte river. Along the stream there was an ancient Indian path. Along this path, POWs of the Revolution walked, on their way to Canada. Four miles south of the valley lived a man named Service. Although being neutral, in many cases, he was accused of being disloyal to the Whig cause. An order for his arrest was given, and a patriot party went to get him. Upon arriving, they put forth a letter, which they said proved his “disloyalty to the Continental cause”. He refused to go, and threw an ax at the patriots and ran. He was shot whilst he ran. One of the men who killed Service was Tim Murphy.
The book says “nothing of importance occurred in this part” until a school was built in 1850. The school was built for 300 children. In 1852, additions were built, and the school was then able to hold over 500 students. In 1867, the school burned down.
The first church in the valley was the First Baptist Church. The book lists church officials of the First Baptist. Other churches in the area were: the Second Baptist Church, the Reformed Church of Eminence, the Methodist Episcopal Church of Summit, the Free Methodist Church of Charlotteville, the Lutheran Church of Summit, and the Lutheran Church of Beard’s Hollow.
Lying in what is now Richmondville, was Beard’s Hollow. It was founded in 1794 by Killian Ritter. In 1800 there was a business which revolved around the manufacture of grindstones. Another hamlet was Lutheranville, which was called also “Tar Hollow”. During the Anti-rent wars, it is believed, that a deputy sheriff was “treated to a good coat of tar and feathers”. Another little hamlet that existed was “Dutch Hill”, which received it’s name because of the nationality of people who resided there. In 1851, it was renamed Eminence. The first town meeting of Summit was held in March of 1820.
Can you imagine a mountain named after you, like Mr. Wharton’s? Imagine three hundred years from now, a mother points and tells her son with an air of excitement, “Look, there’s Mount Laraway.”

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