THE PIONEERS OF AMSTERDAM, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, NY
From the classic The History of Montgomery County and Fulton Counties, N.Y., by F.W. Beers & Co., 1878.
THE PIONEERS OF AMSTERDAM
The farm at present owned by D. W. Ecker and I. Collins was first settled by Geo. Shuler, before or during the Revolution. For a long time Mr. Shuler kept the valuables and spare clothing of the family in an iron bound chest, secreted in a large stone pile, to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Indians and Tories.
Peter Van Wormer was among the first to settle in the valley. He located on lot No. 3, Kayaderosseras patent. Cornelius Dodds settled in 1793, on the farm now owned by his grand-son, C. Dodds. He was a soldier in the war of 1812.
The farm upon which Wilson Putnam is now located, was orignally settled by Victor Putnam, some time previous to the Revolution. During the war Mr. P. often took his family across the river to Fort Hunter, for safety. He was at one time stationed there for the purpose of arousing the neighborhood, upon the approach of the enemy, by firing an alarm gun.
James Allen settled in 1792, where C. J. Chalmers resides. His original purchase also included the farm of James Donnan.
In the year 1794, Isaac and Samuel Jones, cousins, from Orange, N. J., purchased the lands in the eastern part of the town. A small settlement had previously been commenced in this portion of Amsterdam, and five families were already located in as many log cabins near each other. Their names were Robison, Ellis, Glass, Allen and Olmsted. Isaac Jones, the same year, moved his family and settled here. In the following year, Samuel Jones came on with his family and located where his grand-son, J. V. Jones, now resides. A year or two later, John Jones, the father of Isaac, moved in and bought out Mr. Robison, and Joseph Baldwin, a relative of the Joneses by marriage, purchased and settled on the farm of Mr. Olmstead. Samuel B. Jones, a native of Massachusetts, settled in 1797, where his grand-son, Samuel Jones, now resides. The first school-house erected in this part of town stood on "Olmstead Hill," near the present residence of A. Van Vrankin, and Samuel Jones was among the first who taught in it.
The farm now occupied by M. W. Clizbe, was originally owned by a Mr. Kennedy, who settled on it some time previous to 1800. He was an enterprising fruit grower and nurseryman, producing several new varieties of fruit, hitherto unknown. "The Kennedy farm" was purchased in 1807, by Joseph Clizbe, grandfather of the present owner.
Joseph Hagaman made the first settlement at Hagaman's Mills, as early as 1777. He came from Dutchess Co., N.Y., and was the son of Henry Hagaman, a native of Holland. He was the first to locate in the northern part of the town, having previously purchased four hundred acres of land, as follows: one hundred acres from Mr. Vischer, of Schagticoke, for $5 per acre, and three hundred acres of White and Palmer, of Saratoga Co., for $2.75 per acre. The country at that time was very sparsely settled. At Vedder's mills there were only the grist and saw mills and a blacksmith shop, with small dwellings for each. The only road north of Manny's Corners, was an opening, cut through the forest, just wide enough to allow the passage of a wagon. Mr. Hagaman at once commenced improvements on his new homestead, the erection of a saw mill being among the first made. It is related that here the name of "Amsterdam" was first adopted for this part of the then large district of Caughnawaga. The scattered settlers had assembled for the purpose of raising the frame of Mr. Hagaman's saw mill, when it was proposed to give a name to this section, whereby it might be known and more definitely distinguished. A vote was taken, and "Amsterdam" was almost unanimously agreed upon, the name being retained at its organization as an independent town.
A relic of those early times, now in the possession of David Cady, Esq., Cashier of the First National Bank of Amsterdam, reminds one of the days when negro slavery existed by constitutional right even in free and independent New York, and the barter and sale of a human being was a legitimate transaction. It is a deed executed Aug. 13th, 1791, by Samuel D. Wenner to David Cady, (grandfather of the present David Cady), which, "in consideration of 50 pounds, current money," conveys the "negro wench named 'Cate' aged 25." The grantor also affirms "said wench to be honest and sober.&qot;
It is reported that in 1802 there were "five mills upon the Chuctenunda," (Amsterdam at that time included West Galway). Eleven years later, it is recorded that, upon the same stream "there are in all 5 grain and 4 saw mills, 2 carding machines, 2 fulling machines, 2 oil mills and a trip hammer," besides "the extensive iron manufactory of S. & A. Waters, where mill-saws, mill-irons and grass scythes are annually manufactured and sold to the amount of 8,000 to 10,000 dollars. This establishment cost $6,000, and its enterprising proprietors have obtained a high reputation for their wares. They sell about 6,000 grass scythes annually."
This article was transcribed by volunteer Tamara Wilkinson, who has been a real friend of Montgomery GenWeb. Tamara's roots go way back in the county, including the early Timmerman/Zimmermans, Getmans, and the Nellis family (see her October 14, 1997 query). According to Tammy:
Last Updated: 12/1/97
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