of the

Mohawk Valley


Roscoe L. Whitman


The following family history from the "Kline and Young Families of the Mohawk Valley", written 60 years ago, was kindly contributed by Jack May. Jack advised us that the excerpt below consists of only the Kline portion (minus family tree outline) but the original can be seen at the Amsterdam Public Library. HTML coding done by and maps supplied by Jack May.

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William Kline, the emigrant forebear of one branch of the Kline family of the Mohawk Valley in the State of New York, was (a) born January 4, 1731, in (b) Swabia, German, and arrived in America (b) on August 30, 1767. He became a frontiersman of the upper Mohawk Valley in its primitive period, rendering service in the cause of the American colonies and the Revolutionary War. He died (a) April 19, 1814, at his farm homestead close to Fort Johnson in the town of Amsterdam, Montgomery County, N.Y.

He was married on February 17, 1769, less than two years from his arrival and when thirty-two years of age, to Maria O'Reagan, who was born in Ireland, 1749-50, and died at the family homestead on June 4, 1827. Eleven children blessed this union.

Swabia (c), a duchy of the German Empire during its earlier period, was subsequently one of its ten great circles or divisions. The circle was bounded on the north by the Palatinate of the Rhine and Francomia, east by Bavaria, south by Switzerland, and west by France, the Rhine flowing on the borders of the two later. It has an area of 13,000 square miles, and was conterminous with the present division of Wurtemberg, the south part of Baden, and the district of Swabia and Neuburg in Bavaria.

It is one of the most beautiful and fertile tracts in Germany, and is traversed by the Danube from the southwest to northwest, and diversified by the mountain scenery of the Black Forest on the west and the Alps on the south. It was originally called Alemanni, and received the name of Swabia (from the Suevi, who inhabited parts of it) when the Alemanni were conquered by Clovis in 496. St. Columbanus introduced Christianity in the 7th century. Toward the end of the 11th century it was in a very flourishing condition, and in 1080, Emperor Henry IV made the duchy of Swabia hereditary in the family of Frederick of Hohenstaugen. It subsequently became one of the most powerful and most civilized countries of Germany.

In the Italian wars the reigning house of Swabia stood at the head of the Ghibeline party, and when Conradin was executed at Naples in 1268, the Hohenstaufen line became extinct. The various cities, prelates and counts then made themselves independent, and since that time Swabia has not formed a separate state. Various confederacies however, were formed at different periods, known in history under the name of Swabian leagues. The principal of these was the great Swabian league of 1488. The Swabian circle was definitely organized in 1653.

From this beautiful Swabia to a region in America in the pre-Revolutionary War period of the 18th century, then little more than a dense wilderness inhabited chiefly by the savage aborigines of the Mohawk Valley and adjacent territory, was a travel-choice to defy understanding and is almost increditable in the light of the remnants of history handed down to present-day generations.

From the Palatinate, a neighbor of the Swabians, came the unhappy and unfortunate German and Dutch people to Neuberg (now Newburg) in the lower Hudson Valley in 1709-10-11, but they were not to immediately hear the musket-fire of the British and the war-whoops of their blood-thirsty tory and Indian allies.

It is of interest here if for no other reason than to help clarify the identity of those who bore the family surname in the Mohawk Valley, to refer to an article written by Mrs. Rachel Pettingill Devendorf (b-1835) which appears in the "History of

(a) Headstone record

(b) Stone Araba (N.Y.) Luthern Church records, p. 379.

(c) American Cyclopaedia.

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Montgomery County" (N.Y., 1892, p. 37), by Washington Frothingham; also a research made of the family of Martinus Cleyn, from whom mayor James R. Cline of Amsterdam, descends. In this research, statement is made that the William Kline of this history was probably a brother of Martinus Cleyn. This statement is probably incorrect, as will be seen later.

The parents of Martinus Clyne were probably Johannes and Mary Christina (---) Clyne "of Mohawk" (south side of the Mohawk River). This seems to be borne out by the will of Johannes Clyne, dated August 20, 1787, probated October 25, 1790, in which he mentions his Maria Catherine (not Mary Christina) and sons Jacob and Martinus. Another son, William, is not named in the will. The following is said to be from an old church record at Fort Hunter, recording the baptism of the children of Johannes Clyne:

Anna Eva, bapt. Jan. 1, 1738.

Mary, bapt. May 24, 1740.

William, bapt. Jan. 27, 1944-5. (See following.)

John, bapt. Oct. 25, 1741

Martinus, bapt. Mar. 4, 1742-3; (m-Nellie Van Horne.)

Elizabeth, died Mar. 9, 1790; (m-capt. Samuel Pettingill, who were grand-parents of Rachel Pettingill Devendorf, already mentioned.)

Margarita; (m-May 10, 1775, John McGraw.)

The deduction might be made that William Kline (of this history) was born in 1731, came to the Mohawk Valley as a youth and was baptized (as above) in 1744-5, but the record in the church at Stone Arabia definitely records his coming on August 30, 1767, so it appears probable that he was not a son of Johannes Clyne. He was possibly a younger brother of Johannes.

Furthermore, the William Clyne, baptized January 27, 1744-5, was probably he who with wife Mary, May 2, 1803, sold for 2,250 pounds to Jacob Van Dorn of Johnstown, "land in the town of Charlestown on the west side of the Schoharie Creek, near Fort Hunter; also land on west side of same creek about two miles above Fort Hunter, together with grist mill, etc." (Rec. at Fonda.)

"From Germany, Holland and the British Isles they came so long ago; what tidings from the New World reached them in that far-off land, I know little", Mrs. Devendorf wrote in her article, "and that little I remember when over fifty years ago (about 1840), as we all set around the big fire-place, of a long, stormy, winter evening, some one would say, 'Granny, tell us a story about the old country.'"

"'Dear child', Granny would say, 'I never lived in the old country, but I did live with my grandfather, Martinus Cline. I went there when I was about fifteen years old. They told me what they heard in that far-off land that freedom, peace and great wealth could be their's, if they could brave all dangers of that then mysterious great width of waters; and then there was something said which they could hardly believe -- that much money could be gathered from many bushes, not knowing how to translate the English into German, which was that much money could be realized from bushels, not bushes.'"

"'Martinus Cline was the son of a well-to-do farmer in High Germany. When quite young the father went from Germany to Holland to seek his fortune. There he married the adopted daughter of a wealthy lady. Martinus was about ten years

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old when they left their home in Holland; it was thirteen months before they found a home in America, and it was nearly winter when they dug a place and covered it with boughs, where they lived the first winter, and they afterwards chose that place as a burial lot.'"

"'My grandmother Pettengill's mother was a daughter of Martinus Cline. She married John McGraw. The first work McGraw's father did when he came to this country, was to mix mortar for the old stone fort at Fort Hunter (1712). Christine McGraw married a son of Dr. Samuel Pettingill.'"

The name Kline is derived from the German and Dutch surname Klein, meaning "little". The original bearers were small of stature or "klein", and thus their name became Klein. It is spelled more than fifteen ways in the old records of this country, but today the name is usually spelled Kline, or Cline. In Germany, they were mostly of the landed classes.

Those of the earliest record in the Hudson and Mohawk valleys were Elderick Kleyin who settled in Beverwyck (Albany) about 1657, and Johannes Kleyn of Schenectady before 1684. Those who came with the Palatines in 1709-10-11 were Michael Klein, Peter Klein, John Klein and his son, John Jacob Kline, Philip Klein, a blacksmith, with two sons; William Klein, a carpenter, Adam Klein, a wheelwright, Moritz Klein, a tailor; all men between 25 and 45 years of age. There was a Nicholas Klein before 1767 in which year he married Elizabeth Coughter or Couglar, and had sons George, Nicholas and David. Joseph Clyne was in Albany in 1783.

On Gov. Hunter's ration lists of 1710 to 1714, Hyeronimus, Johannes, Johann Jacob, Johan Herman, Henrich and Adam Klein are named. John and Martin Klein served in Col. Fisher's 3rd Tryon County militia regiment in the Revolution. This regiment was made up of settlers in the Caughnawaga section of the old Mohawk district. They were probably sons of Johannes and Mary Christina Clyne (see p.2).

First Information of William Kline in America.

The first record found of William Kline of this history, after he arrived in America, is May 9, 1769 (Book of Names, p.13, by Lou D. MacWethy), when his name appears as a private on the muster-roll of "Captain Marx Petry Compaynie" at "Bornets Field" (Burnettsfield Patent), German Flats, north side of the Mohawk River and closeby to the west of the present village of Herkimer. It may be assumed from this that upon his arrival, he soon made his way to the frontier in the upper Mohawk Valley, where he took his place in the militia protecting the settlers from the savages.

Previous to this record in Capt. Petry's company, he on February 17, 1769, was married to Maria O'Reagan. Her Irish blood perhaps completed the fighting combination which was destined to go on and win. A record in the Bible (e) of his son and namesake, William, Jr., states that this son was born at Fort Stanwix (now Rome, N.Y.) on October 21, 1775. This was in the Fall following the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. This son was the fourth child, three daughters, Caty and Martha and another unnamed, having been previously born. The place of birth of the daughters is not known, but was undoubtedly either at Fort Stanwix or German Flatts.

(e) The Bible of William Kline, Jr., was in possession, 1941, of his granddaughter, Susan Kline Whitman.

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MohawkTo find this intrepid emigrant at what was then far-away Indian trading posts, a period when war clouds were rapidly casting their shadows over the valley, tends to minimize all wonderment as to the reason for leaving his ancestors, to make abode in the young, promising country. He sought greater opportunity and possessed the vigorous health and venturesome spirit to help him find it.

Two months after the son William was born, he was baptized (f) January 4, 1776, in the church at German Flats. This suggests that the family had come down from Fort Stanwix to the more thickly populated section, where Forts Herkimer and Dayton were better but not too well garrisoned.

There is no complete roster of the members of the militia who marched from German Flats with Gen. Herkimer to engage the British and their Indian and tory allies in that bloody battle at Oriskany on August 6, 1777, which turned the invaders back from their plan to march to the Hudson Valley and there join Gen. Gates and his troops which were decisively defeated at Bemis Heights (Saratoga), September 19, 1777.

William Kline, Sr., may then have been living in German Flats. He previously and later served in the militia, was forty-six years of age, and it seems reasonable to believe he was with Gen. Herkimer's men at Oriskany. However, there is a statement by one of his descendants that he and his family were living at Fort Stanwix at the time of the Oriskany battle.

The second son, John was born at German Flats on March 8, 1778.

On the following September 17, 1778, Fort Dayton was attacked by the enemy, with loss of life and much destruction of property of the settlers. Something of the terrible condition which prevailed at German Flats at the time may be 1778, by Col. Peter Bellinger, who succeeded Gen. Herkimer in command of the regiment when the latter died from his wounds received at Oriskany. William Kline was then a private in Capt. Frederick Frank's company of this regiment. The report in full:

German Flats, Sept. 19, 1778.

May it please your Excellence, I humbly beg to lay our distresses open to your Excellency. On Thursday the 17th instant about six in the morning the enemy attacked Fort Dayton on the north side of the German Flatts and burned and destroyed all the houses, barns and grain and drove a great number of horses and horned cattle away with them. The church, fort, together with two houses, is all that is left on that side and they had two men killed and one wounded. The enemy tried to take Fort Dayton but they kept them off. On the south side of the (Mohawk) river they began about six miles above Fort Herkimer and burned all the houses, barns and grain quite down to the church at Fort Herkimer. They tried to set fire to the barn (probably belonging to the church) but we sallied out with what men we could spare and kept them from destroying any more homes. We have built in our district four garrisons and have none but my regiment to guard them and a few rangers. I sent out a scout of the rangers, nine men, three days before this happened. They met the enemy at Major Edmonston's place at the head of the branch of the Unadilla River (now Edmonston,

(f) "The Book of Names", pp. 115-6.

(g) "The Book of Names", pp. 115-6.

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Otsego County), the enemy attacked them and drove them into the river. They have killed two of the rangers and scattered the rest. One of them came in the night before the Flatts was attacked. And immediately I wrote per express to Col. Klock and another to be signed by him, to be sent to the nearest place for assistance as the enemy was within nine miles of us when the rangers saw them last. In my letter to Col. Klock I begged him for God's sake to assist us with men and if he had marched his men on directly, he might have been at the Flatts before we was attacked and if he had sent 200 men we might in all probability have saved a great many houses and a great deal of grain and creatures. But alas we could get no assistance. Several times this summer we have intelligence that they intended to destroy this place and I have wrote to General Stark in Albany for assistance but could get none and once I wrote to your Excellency but I imagine you did not receive it. Our case is really very hard as the enemy threatens us yet. Therefore I am obliged to be thus troublesome to Your Excellency to desire the favor of reinforcement, otherwise I cannot pretend to keep the inhabitants here any longer. I have given orders to the A.D.C. of issues at Fort Dayton to supply those who have lost their effects with provisions as they was crying to me for bread. But if your Excellency does not approve of it I hope you will send me orders how I must behave in the said affair. After the enemy had finished the destruction at the Flatts they went off about noon. In the afternoon I sent an express again to Col. Klock desiring him to send to Col. Alden at Cherry Valley that if he would turn out with about 400 men and strike across the creek at Unadilla where I was certain they would come up with the enemy they might have recovered most part the plunder again but as far as I can learn they did not mind it. I had a great deal of trouble I can assure your Excellency to keep the inhabitants from moving off on the account of having no assistance. I was obliged to threaten them that I would take their effects away from them. But as the place is mostly destroyed I have prevailed on them to wait till I have orders from your Excellency how to behave in our distressed circumstances. But if there is no reinforcement comes up I shall not be able to hinder them from moving off. I here send your Excellency an account of the damage done by the enemy on both sides of the river. They burned 63 dwelling houses 57 barns with grain and fodder, 3 grist mills, 1 saw mill and they have taken away with them 235 horses, 229 horned cattle, 269 sheep and they killed and destroyed a great number of hogs and they have burned a great many houses.

I hope your excellency will take our circumstances into consideration and great us reinforcement sufficient to hinder the enemy from utterly ruining us. So relying entirely on your Excellency I beg leave to subscribe myself your Excellencies most obedient servant.

The report was signed "Peter Bellinger, Colonel," and addressed "To His Excellency, George Clinton, Esqr."

On the list of settlers who lost their homes and other effects in this raid, appears the name of William Kline. He is mentioned with two in his family over sixteen years of age (himself and wife) and five children under sixteen years of age (Martha, Caty, William and John and the daughter, unnamed, b-1771, who is supposed to have died young.) Those older than sixteen years were allowed one pound of bread and one pound of beef per day; those under sixteen were allowed half rations.

In the summer of 1780, two years following positive information of William Kline and his family living at German Flats, there is record of a Maria, Elizabeth and Margaret Clyne (sic) being prisoners of war. Whether this Maria was

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the wife of William Kline, or any of the three women were related to him or the other Klines then in the valley, is not positively known. (There was an Elizabeth and Margaret, daughters of Johannes and Christina Clyne; se p. 3.)

However, no children were born in the William Kline family between March, 1778, and December, 1781, and this might indicate that William's wife, Maria, was the prisoner of war in 1780. The names of Elizabeth and Margaret do not appear on the list of sufferers at the Flats in 1778.

Col. Peter Bellinger's regiment was the 4th Tryon County militia. Capt. Conradt Frank, in whose company William Kline was a private, with his wife and four children were among the sufferers. It is recorded that Capt. Frank was at the battle of Oriskany and it is probable Kline was with him in his company. Frank's company comprised settlers living on the south side of the river at German Flats. The regiment was recruited from the settlers at German Flats and the Fairfield district. In its ranks were many veterans of the French wars of 1757.

This history of Bellinger's regiment, its locale, its officers and its service in protecting the real frontier of the Mohawk Valley, reflects the condition under which the emigrant Kline passed the earliest years in his adopted country. The politicians at Albany were more concerned in protecting themselves from Gen. Burgoyne's soldiers coming down from the north (only to meet defeat at Bemis Heights) and gave the hard-pressed but heroic settlers in the Mohawk Valley very little consideration.

"Both men and women mounted guard twice daily (h), walked post in Fort Herkimer and Fort Dayton, and held the frontier through the perilous years of 1777 to 1783. What could the politicians do to Col. Bellinger in consequence of his prompt action? The colonel evidently agreed in the thought accompanying the query."

The situation at German Flats in the summer of 1781, is further indicated by a letter of July 6th of that year which Col. Willett wrote to Gen. Washington saying that "out of 2,500 men at the beginning of the war, not 1,200 remain liable for military duty and those fit will hardly succeed 800."

Kline Settles in Amsterdam.

Kline FarmWilliam Kline was then fifty years of age and the lack of adequate safety for his family, probably persuaded him to move further down the valley, where probably, his brother, John, was living.

Caughnawaga was in the old Kayaderosseras tract purchased from the Indians in 1703 and the patent therein of the same name but smaller in territory, granted Nov. 2, 1708, to thirteen settlers by Queen Anne. When the town of Amsterdam was formed it contained 236 freeholders and William Kline is recorded as then being one of the three largest taxpayers, being assessed for 320 pounds in 1794.

It is believed that Kline settled here between the birth of his son Joseph in 1781 and that of his son George in 1783. This is indicated by the recollection of his son, William, Jr., as mentioned in the notice of the latter's death

(h) "The Book of Names", by Lou D. MacWethy.

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in 1861, 'that he (the son) "though but a child then, distinctly remembered seeing Gen. Washington, who dined one day with his father at the Fort; he also saw the troops of the company that crossed the river nearly opposite the Fort and passed over Tribes Hill the day previous to the battle of Stone Arabia. (This probably does not refer to the battle of Oct. 19, 1780, but the lesser encounter in 1783 in which year Gen. Washington was in the Mohawk Valley".)

Kline evidently closed his military service as a private in the Levies under Col. John Harper, who was his neighbor east of him on the old confiscated estate of Col. Daniel Claus, whose wife, Nancy, was a daughter of Sir William Johnson and a brother of Sir John Johnson, who had turned a tory.

It is a record that among the first to follow Adelbert (or Aaron) Vedder to Vedder's Mills (where he established a grist mill), later called Veddersburg, and last as now, Amsterdam, was E. E. DeGraff, Nicholas Wilcox and William Kline. Vedder came in the late years of the Revolution; probably in or soon after 1781.

In the first Federal census of 1790, Kline was enumerated as "of Caughnawaga", from which district the town of Amsterdam was set off March 12, 1793. In his family at that time were "3 males over 16 years of age, including head of family", "five males under 16 years of age" and "five females, including head of family." The "three makes over 16" would have been William, Sr., and two others who are not accounted for in his old Dutch Bible. They might have been farm-hands, perhaps relatives. The five "under 16 years' would have been William, Jr., aged 15; John 12, Joseph 9, George & and Adam 3. James was not yet born. The "five females" would have been Maria, wife of William, Sr., and their four daughters: Martha 21, Caty 17, Mary 5 and Hannah, born in July of that year.

According to his will, dated December 23, 1813, the home of William Kline was located shortly West of the old William Johnson stone house at Fort Johnson, or closer to the river from where in 1941, the house stands on what is locally known as "the Pepper farm".

The Kline land of several hundred acres extended from along the north shore of the Mohawk River, including a "large" and a "small" island in the river, north for something like a mile. At that time, it included many acres of the original forest. It embraced all the property of the present Antlers Country Club, and some distance to the east and west of it to beyond what is now the Tribes Hill locality.

In Frothingham's "History of Montgomery County", already referred to, it is stated on page 78 that "John Kline came hither (Amsterdam) from Holland and located in this town, and held a grant from George III for a square mile of land on the north side of the Mohawk River." On page 265 of the same history, is stated that "John Kline was a son of William Kline, who with two brothers, came to this country from Holland when this territory was a wilderness and settled on a square mile of land on the north side of the Mohawk." This John Kline was a son of William, Sr., but did not come from Holland. He was born at German Flats. As to the grant of land from George III, information to that conclusion is not available at this writing, but it is believed this John Kline was a brother of William Kline, Sr., and possibly the Johannes Kline mentioned on page 2 of this history and the one who was witness to a deed of William Kline, grantee, in 1795.

Kline acquired this land, or at least a part of it, according to an old deed

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on file at the Montgomery County Court House (Bk. B, pp. 4, 65), on Febr. 2, 1792 from Jeremiah Van Renselaer, one of the masters of Chancery for the State of New York, "agreeable to the sale thereof made by the late Commissioners of Forfiture of the Western District. This transaction embraced "two parcels of land", for which Kline paid 150 pounds.

Three years later, or Jan. 29, 1795, he purchased from Gilbert R. Berry for 167 pounds, "one hundred acres adjoining farm now belonging to the said William Kline on the north west side thereof." To this deed, a John Kline was one of the witnesses.

The authorities at Albany, in conveying land in the Mohawk Valley west of Schenectady, often referred to the locality as the "Western District".

In his will, Kline mentions lots he bought from Rogers and Scites.

First "Improved" Road in the Valley

The old Kingsroad followed the north shore of the Mohawk River from Schenectady, past the Kline homestead, and on to the west. The settlers so determinedly agitated for an improved turnpike or highway to follow the route of Kingsroad, that they finally won the attention of the State legislature. Chapter 105 of the Laws of the State of New York resulted, it being enacted "to incorporate the Mohawk Turnpike and Bridge Company". It became a law April 4, 1800. In part it read:

"Be it enacted by the People of the State of New York, that * * and all such persons as shall associate for the purpose of erecting a substantial bridge across the Mohawk River opposite the most compact part of the city of Schenectady and making a good and sufficient road from said bridge, to or near the house of William Klyne in the town of Amsterdam, and from there to Palatine bridge, thence through the village of the little falls (Little Falls) to the court house of the county of Herkimer and thence to the village of Utica, shall be and hereby are created and made a corporation and body politic in fact and in name, by the name of 'The President, Directors and Company of the Mohawk Turnpike and Bridge Company.'"

It was further enacted in this bill that toll-gates might be erected and tolls collected "at a distance of not less than ten miles from each other". A schedule of tolls was fixed, covering man and best and every type of vehicle.

Naming "the house of William Klyne in the town of Amsterdam" as a terminal of the first section of the turnpike, suggests that Kline in that year, 1800, lived in the old Sir William Johnson stone house, as it is not probable that the lawmakers would have passed that old landmark for a house of far less pretentious proportions located only a few rods further west. Kline, it is believed, settled in the historic stone house when he moved down the valley from German Flats and remained there until an early year of the 19th century.

"Wilhelm Klein died Tuesday, April 12, 1814, at four o'clock in the morning." according to the record in the Lutheran Church at Stone Arabia. According to his headstone, he died April 19, 1814. He was a baker for many years; whether this refers to his occupation in Germany or America, is not stated in the record. He saw fifty-one grandchildren. It is further recorded that he reached the age of 77 years, four months and eight days and lived in wedlock forty-five years, one month and twenty-three days.

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He was married February 17, 1769 and so if he lived in wedlock as aforesaid, the date of his death is that inscribed on his headstone. The headstone gave his death as April 19, 1814, aged 83 years, which makes the year of his birth 1731, not 1737, as in the Stone Arabia church record. The name of this wife was Maria O'Reagan, who, according to Forthingham's "History of Montgomery County", was born in Ireland in 1740. According to her headstone, she died August 28, 1827, aged 78 years, indicating she was born 1749/50.

His will, dated December 23, 1813, was probated June 4, 1814 and is on file in the Surrogates Court, Fonda (Bk. 2, p.381). His executors were his wife, and sons, John, William and Joseph. Among his many bequests were "my old homestead with all the buildings thereon" and "about seventy acres of land" and "one-half my large island" to his youngest son, James.

He bequeathed "my large Dutch Bible" to his oldest son, William. Mention of his Dutch Bible has caused some of his descendants to believe he was born in Holland, but the record in the church at Stone Arabia seems to make it clear that he was a German from Swabia. The old Bible in 1941, was in the possession of William Kline, born 1926, son of Harold, of Harlan, of Adam W., of William, of the first William. It is printed in German and the writing in it is also German. German, partly in English, the names corresponding with those mentioned in his will. The writing in the front of the Bible was very dim in 1937, but was deciphered as an exhortation to take good care of the book because it is the word of God. At the bottom of the same page a few words are found which appear as if they had just been jotted down "from Graustadt" and the words "Pehen Bayer".

Children of William and Maria (O'Reagan) Kline.

As has already been mentioned, William and Maria (O'Reagan) Kline had eleven children, as follows:

  1. Martha, b-Dec. 27, 1769; m-Francis Rogers. She is called Maria in Bible; identified by name of husband mentioned both in Bible and will.
  2. Daughter, b-Dec. 21, 1771. She was evidently living in the Winter of 1778-9 as she then was counted in the family. However, her name is no where found.
  3. Caty, b-July 1773; m-Douw Hanson. She is called Clarina or Karina in Bible and Caty in her father's will.
  4. William, b-Fort Stanwix (Rome), Oct. 21, 1775. Place and date is recorded in his own Bible. He m(1)-Eve Bradt, probably a descendant of the Bradts of Schenectedy at time of the massacre, 1690; m(2)-Angelica Teller. (See "The Teller Family.)
  5. John, b-German Flats, Mar. 8, 1778. His name is spelled Johanes in Bible. He m-Maria Hanson.
  6. Joseph, b-German Flats, Dec. 18, 1781. Spelling of his name in Bible not clear; might be Zaniast, but Joseph probably intended. He m-Eveline Lingenfelter.
  7. George, b-Caughnawaga, Mar. 23, 1783. Spelled Georg in Bible. He m-Sarah Van Nest.
  8. Mary, b-Caughnawaga, May 20, 1785. Called Maria in Bible, same as her sister, Martha. Identified as Mary by name of her husband, John Lefler.
  9. Adam, b-Caughnawaga, May 14, 1787. Spelled Adem or Idem in Bible. He m(1)-Elizabeth Crysler, d-aft. 1813; m(2)-Elizabeth Pratt. [Note click here for bio of Adam and Elizabeth's son George.
  10. Hannah, b-Caughnawaga, July 26, 1790; m-John Hough. Hannah was called Anna or Ina in Bible; identified by name of her husband.
  11. James, b-Amsterdam twp., May 20, 1793. Spelling in Bible is more like Hemme, Jemme or Semme. He m-Jane Quilhot.

Will of William Kline.

In the name of God, Amen. I, William Kline of the town of Amsterdam in the county of Montgomery and State of New York, being of sound mind and memory, do make, publish and declare this my last will and testament, that is to say, first and principally of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God, nothing doubting but what at the general reserection day I shall receive the same by the mighty pouwer of God who gave it. And as to my body, I recommend it to the earth to be buried in a decent manner at the discretion of my executors. And as to my worldy estate wherewith it has please God to bless me in this life I give and dispose of in the following manner and form, that is to say,

First, it is my will and request that my beloved wife, Maria Kline, if she should survive me, be master of one room in my dwelling house to be at her choice and free use of the kitchen also barn and stable room for her stock that she may keep as is hereinafter mentioned, also three loads of hay to be taken off the Island yearly and every year as she lives, to be delivered to the barn for her use, also ten bushels of corn and peas yearly to be taken out of the produce of the Island for the purpose of feeding her stock, also to have her choice of two milch-cows out of my flock, also six sheep and free pasture for the same and one fat hog yearly to be furnished by my sons James and Adam Kline, also I give her thirty dollars to be paid to her yearly and every year as long as she lives. Also I give her one bed and bedding her choice out of my beds, also all the household furniture, also free use of wagons, horses and sleighs that are on the old Homestead, when she wants to use them. All which property above named after the death of my said wife, which shall be left is to be divided equally among all my daughters, that is all such property as my said wife claims as her own furniture-that furniture that is mine.


Secondly, I give and devise to my sone James Kline, his heirs and assigns forever-my old Homestead with all the buildings thereon, as I now hold it, beginning at the butternut tree marked at the river and runs from thence northerly to a large oak tree on the top of the hill marked near the gate that leads in the clearing, thence along the line between the lots I bought of Rogers and Scites to the land of my son John. Then along said John Kline and so down to the river, containing about seventy acres of land - be the same more or less. Also to have so much of my son John Kline's wood lot as he has clearing in the lot of my old Homestead. Also twenty acres of the lot on which my son, William Kline, now lives, to be taken on the west side of said lot adjoining the lands he takes of John Kline's lot, all of which is to be timbered land. I also give and devise to my said son, James Kline, his heirs and assigns, the one equal

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undivided half of my large island and my silver watch, also my household furniture after the death of my wife.


Thirdly, I give and bequeath and devise to my son, Adam Kline, his heirs and assigns, the lot I bought of Scites excepting that part that Joseph Kline and James Kline have. The residue which Adam Kline is to have will be about eighty acres, be the same more or less. Also twenty acres of wood land out of lot no. three, adjoining William Kline and Joseph Kline, so as to comprehend about one hundred acres in all. Also the one equal undivided half of my large island.


Fourthly, I give and devise to my son, William Kline, his heirs and assigns one hundred acres of land where he now lives to be taken out of lots nos. two and three, that is so much out of no. three as James Kline has out of no. two adjoining that part that Adam has out of no. three. I also give and devise to my said son, William Kline, his heirs and assigns one hundred and sixty-two acres and an half of land lying in lot no. thirty-six in the town of Galen, in the county of Cayuga, also my large Dutch Bible.


Fifthly, I give and bequeath to my son, John Kline, his heirs and assigns forever, one hundred acres of land where he now lives - that is, out of the lot on which Jacob Leper lives, which I bought of Mr. Paris, excepting about twelve acres of said lot devised to James Kline of wood-land, to make up said twelve acres. The said John Kline must have twelve acres out of the lot of the old Homestead devised to James Kline, for which the said John Kline has a deed already from me for said twelve acres, which is to be considered as a part of the above devise, also I devise to my said son, John Kline, his heirs and assigns, one hundred and sixty-two acres and a half of land out of lot no. thirty-six in the town of Galen in the county of Cayuga.


Sixthly, I give and bequeath to my son, Joseph Kline, his heirs and assigns one hundred acres of land where he now lives to be taken about sixty acres out of lot no. three adjoining Cuyler's farm, and forty acres of lot no. one and the old Homestead according to the lines of William, Adam and James Kline. I also give and devise to my son, Joseph Kline, his heirs and assigns, one hundred and sixty-two acres and a half of land out of no. thirty-six in the town of Hannibal in the county of Onondaga (viz.) One hundred and twenty-five acres in Galen and thirty-seven and an half in Hannibal.


Seventhly, I give and devise to my son, George Kline, his heirs and assigns the lot on which he now lives, being lot no. two Cayaderoseras twelfth general allotment, containing about one hundred acres of land, be the same more or less. Also one hundred and sixty-two and an half of land out of lot no. eighty-three in the town of Hannibal in the county of Onondaga.

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Eighthly, I give and devise to my daughter, Martha, the wife of Francis Rogers, the sum of seventy dollars in Money and one hundred acres of land out of no. eighty-three in the town of Hannibal in the county of Onondaga.

Caty (Hansen).

Ninthly, I give and devise to my daughter, Caty, the wife of Douw Hanson, the sum of $250. And one hundred acres of land to be taken out of the lot no. eighty-three in the town of Hannibal in the county of Onondaga.

Mary (Lefler).

Tenthly, I give and devise to my daughter, Mary, the wife of John Lefler, the sum of $250 . And 100 acres of land to be taken out of lot no. eighty-three in the town of Hannibal in the county of Onondaga.

Hannah (Hough).

Eleventhly, I give and devise to my daughter, Hannah, the wife of John Hough, the sum of $250. And 100 acres of land out of lot no. eighty-three in the town of Hannibal in the county of Onondaga.

The above legacies are to be paid by James Kline, my son, to my four daughters above named in 8 equal payments proportioned to their respective legacies, the first payment to each to be made 1 year after my death and so on yearly for eight years which will conclude the payment to each.


I give and bequeath to my grand-daughter, Maria Hanson, the sum of $50. 1 cow and 1 hefer and common outset when she marries. All of which is to be paid her by my son, James Kline.

I give and bequeath to my grand-daughter Maria Kline, the daughter of my son William Kline, the sum of $50., one cow and one hefer and a common outset when she marries. All of which is to be paid to her by my son, James Kline, his heirs ans assigns.

I give and bequeath to each of my grandsons named William, the sum of $10. To be paid to them respectively when they arrive to the age of 21 years to be paid by my son, James Kline, his heirs and assigns.

I further give and bequeath to my son, James Kline, his heirs and assigns, all my horned cattle and sheep and hogs, all notes and bonds and accounts due me at the time of my death, all money on hand, that I may die in possession of, and-so-forth, I do hereby bind my said son, James Kline, his heirs and assigns, to pay the above named legacies, to each and every person to whom the same is bequeathed, their heirs and assigns, and to pay the legacy of $30. Yearly early to my widow.

And as to any other personal property not in this will disposed of, I direct to be divided equally among my 2 sons, James and Adam Kline, their heirs and assigns.

I direct that my sons, James Kline, John Kline, Joseph Kline and William

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Kline, shall have free privilege of crossing each other's land to come and go to each one's land, when they cannot get to their lands without crossing each other's land.

I give and devise to my grandson, William Kline, son of Adam Kline, the small island below my barn.

And lastly do I hereby appoint my wife, Maria Kline, and my three sons, John, William and Joseph, executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set may hand and seal the 23rd day of December, in the year of our Lord 1813.

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said William Kline as his last will and testament in presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses the day and year named: William Kline.

*Margaret Chrysler, Ephraim Wemple, James Cushney

Registered in the Surrogate's Office of the County of Montgomery in Register of Probates No. 2., page 381, etc. the fourth day of June, 1814.

*First wife of Adam, son of William.

In Witness whereof we have hereunto set out hands the 29th day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen.

Witnesses-Francis Rogers (his mark), Martha Rogers (her mark), George Kline, John Lefler.

At the time the will was drawn, his son, James Kline, to whom he entrusted the major part of the duty in the final settlement of his estate, was some six months short of having attained his majority.

William Kline owned approximately eighteen hundred acres of land at the time of his death - 590 acres and his "islands" in the Amsterdam township, 500 acres in Galen township, Cayuga County, and 700 acres in Hannibal township, Onondaga County.

Preserving the Old Kline Burying Ground

James Kline, the son, sold the old homestead and the seventy acres of land bequeathed to him by his father, to Laurence Shuler, making no reservation for the perpetuation of the family burying ground. When the mother, Maria, died on August 28, 1827, she was laid to rest beside her husband. On the previous May 7, 1827, probably anticipating the early demise of their mother, the five sons, James, Joseph, Adam, William and John, purchased the ground comprising the old family burying ground, from Laurence Shuler, paying $100. For it. The deed (Record of Deeds, Fonda, N. Y., Bk. 27, pp. 387-8), a copy of which follows in full, was not recorded till April 2, 1830. The text is interesting and important because of the evidence it bears of the love the sons bore their parents, their desire and determination to perpetuate their last resting place evermore, and thoroughness of the deed in providing for the future of the burial place. The deed:

This Indenture, made the 7th day of May, 1827, between Laurence Shuler of the town of Florida in the county of Montgomery, of the first part, and James Kline, Joseph Kline, Adam Kline, William Kline and John Kline, all of the town of Amsterdam in the county of the aforesaid, of the second part:

Witnesseth, that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of $100.00 to him in hand paid by the said party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby confessed and acknowledged, have bargained, sold, remised, released and quit claim unto the said parties of the second part in their actual possession now being and to their heirs and assigns forever, all that certain piece or parcel of land situate, lying and being in the town of Amsterdam, county of Montgomery aforesaid, in a lot 63 acres of land heretofore quit-claimed by John Hough and Adam Kline to the party of the first part and known and distinguished by the name of the Kline burying ground on the old homestead or farm which said burying ground is now enclosed by a fence and used as a burying ground, also the privilege of going to and returning from the same either with wagons, carts, carriages, horses, hearse or other conveyances for the purpose of depositing in the said burying ground, any person or person who may die in their or either of their families, provided the said parties of the second part shall from time to time and as often as they or either of them shall condition as when they open or pass through the same, and it is further covenanted and agreed that the said parties of the second part shall from time to time as often as they see fit or occasion may require have the privilege of erecting and repairing a fence around said burying ground together with all and singular the hereditaments and appurtances thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining and reversion remainder and remainders, rents, fines and profits thereof and all the estate right title interest claim or demand whatsoever of the said party of the first part either in law or equity of in and to the above bargained premises mentioned and described premises and every part and parcel thereof to the said parties, their heirs and assigns to the sole and only proper use, benefit and behoof of the said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns forever.

In Witness whereof the said party of the first part has hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written Laurence Shuler ("S"), sealed, and delivered in the presence of D. McIntyre, Montgomery County, State of New York, on 7th day of May, Year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred and twenty-seven, came before me, Jesse Churchill, one of the commissioners in and for said county, Laurence Shuler, within grantor and to me personally known and acknoledged that he had executed the same and I having examined the same and finding no material erasures or interkinations let it be recorded.

Jessee Churchill, Commissioner, &c. Recorded 2nd April, (1830), at 11 A.M. A.J. Connie, Clerk.

The fence referred to in the deed was probably the one erected of rough field stone, which in 1895 had crumbled, leaving only an indication of its original alignment.

According to the inscriptions on the headstones in this old Kline burying ground, all of which were legible previous to 1926, soon after which year the several headstones disappeared, the burials were as follows:

Eve Kline, daughter of William, Jr. died 1808, aged 2 years 21 days.
William Kline, Sr., died 1814, aged 83 years.
Maria O'Reagan Kline, his wife, died 1827, aged 70 years.

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Jane Ann Kline (adopted by William, Jr.) died 1819.
Stephen Kline, son of William, Jr., died 1840, aged 40 years.
Sandy Alexander Kline, son of William, Jr., died 1843, aged 18 years, 2 months.

The copy of the above inscriptions was made many years ago. It is incomplete as it does not include the inscriptions on the headstones of either William Kline, Jr., or his first wife. The writer first visited this old burying ground in 1895 with the late ex-Senator Adam W. Kline of Amsterdam, and recalls distinctly, a headstone for William Kline, who was the father of Senator Kline. After speaking of his father at whose grave he then stood, Mr. Kline said: "We are soon forgotten when we die."

Laurence Shuler, who acquired the old homestead farm, buries his ten-year old son, Laurence, Jr. in this burial plot on Jan. 13, 1830. Mary C. Hazeloe, first wife of Aaron Pepper, who purchased the farm in 1851, was buried here in 1855. Mr. Pepper had decided on creating his own family cemetery adjoining that of the Kline family, but this was abandoned in later years, the remains of Mrs. Pepper being removed.

The late Hon. E. Watson Gardiner purchased the property on which the Kline cemetery is located, because it adjoins the grounds of the Antlers Country Club and affords a beautiful view for miles about of the Mohawk Valley. Here he built a summer home. Although a clause in his deed to the property reserved the Kline cemetery, Mr. Gardiner needed no restraining document, as he took pride in having the old historical burial place a few yards from where he built his home. He sold the property on November 1, 1922, to Clarence D. and Leonora Steward, who likewise did not disturb the cemetery. The following clause appears in both the Gardiner and Steward deeds:

"The above described parcels of lands being a portion of the premises owned by Aaron Pepper, deceased, at the time of his death. Excepting and reserving however, the Kline burying ground as reserved in a deed to Aaron Pepper from John W. Wilson and his wife, dated the first day of May, 1851."

In the deed of this property by Leonora P. Steward to Christopher J. Heffernan, Esq., June 24, 1926, the foregoing reservation of the Kline burying ground was inserted and made a part thereof, thus holding in perpetual ownership the cemetery since May 7, 1827, and continuing in this year 1941, in the names of the five brothers, James, Joseph, Adam, William and John Kline, "their heirs and assigns forever."

After the Heffernan interests purchased the property, the old burying ground was plowed under - lost to the descendants of the pioneers buried there! In the summers of 1930 and 1931, the writer in company with his grandson, visited the premises, entering from the grounds of the Antlers Country Club, in attempts to locate the cemetery which he had visited some thirty-five years before. Further efforts were made in the two years following, but always without success.

Susan Felthousen Kline Whiteman (Mrs. Roscoe L.), great-granddaughter of the first William Kline and granddaughter of his son, William, having in mind to restore the old resting place of her ancestors, became determined in 1935 to find the cemetery and provide for it for all time. A letter written by Mr. Heffernan July 19, 1935 stated, in part, that "there were a number of old gravestones on our part of the land. It was evident that an old burying ground existed there at one time. * * the old stones * * were decently buried in what

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we supposed was the location of any graves that might be there. They have never been disturbed since."

Thus the unfortunate disappearance of the graves of the pre-Revolutionary pioneers was learned. With the help of persons who were familiar with the old burying ground, its exact location was determined and immediate steps taken to identify it for all future time.

Tablet Erected Marking the Old Burying Ground.

In its issue of November 5, 1936, "The Amsterdam Evening Recorder" said, in part:

"A bronze tablet appropriately inscribed and mounted on a huge boulder, was unveiled this morning at 11 o'clock to the memory of William Kline, a Revolutionary soldier, at the Kline burying ground on the original Kline farm, now the property of Justice Christopher J. Heffernan and use by him as a summer home. Mrs. Susan Kline Whitman of Westfield, N. J., a great-granddaughter of the Revolutionary soldier, recently took steps to mark the cemetery property."

"The ceremony was witnessed by a large group of descendants of William Kline, and by members of the Amsterdam Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. The tablet was unveiled by Mrs. Dorothy Kline Potter of Greenwich, Conn., daughter of Mrs. Whitman."

Mrs. Potter in her dedication said: "Someone has said that 'to live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die'. Our Revolutionary soldier ancestor, who answered the last great roll-call, lives in our hearts, and we are assembled here to honor his spirit, to perpetuate his memory, to commemorate his gallant deeds, to preserve this hallowed ground where he rests. By his side lies his beloved wife who bore him eleven children, his son and namesake, and others whom he loved and cherished. May we and those who follow us, henceforth, act, as Confucious admonished, as if those who are buried here were the ever-present witnesses of our actions, and in unveiling the tablet on this boulder, which I now do with all reverence, may it ever remain the unfailing proof that William Kline, our forebear, does and will continue to live in the hearts he left behind."

Continuing "The Recorder" said: "Remarks were made by Roscoe L. Whitman, and Gardiner Kline made a brief response in behalf of the local descendants. Miss Marion M. Rulison, regent of Amsterdam Chapter, D.A.R., and Mrs. George H. Churchill, chaplain, conducted a patriotic service during which a marker of the D.A.R. was place on the boulder."

The inscription on the tablet is in raised letters within an oak leaf border. It reads:







SON, WILLIAM KLINE, 1775-1862;







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Among the descendants present at the dedication besides Mrs. Whitman and her daughter, Mrs. Potter, were Mrs. Eva Maria Kline Pomeroy of Elizabeth, N.J., Mrs. Alida Kline Harvey, Mrs. Helen Kline Lefavour, Mrs. Edna Kline Kuhn, Mrs. Laura Kline Machold, Gardiner Kline, Walter Kline, Amsterdam: Mrs. Edith Quilhot Collie, Schenectady.


The Dutch Bible of the first William Kline, which he bequeathed in his will to his son and namesake, William, Jr., was in 1941 being carefully preserved and greatly cherished by another namesake of its original owner - William Kline, born 1926, three-times great-grandson of the pioneer William. As the first William made bequests to his grandsons who then were perpetuating his Christian name, it is fitting that 125 years later, his old Bible should still remain in the possession of a descendant named William Kline. Another cherished keepsake handed down from the emigrant, William Kline, is an old Revolutionary powderhorn, which, in 1941, was owned by Mrs. Edith Quilhot Collie of Schenectady.


There is a record, compiled by E. E. Brownell, Philadelphia, for a Brownell genealogy of a Michael Cline coming from his native Germany two years before the arrival of William Kline. Michael Cline owned an acre of land, house, etc., near Johnstown, where he lived in 1782. In this year he went to Canada. On February 2, 1806, appears Hannah Cline, widow of Stephen Brownell and daughter "of Michael Cline of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada," who had her claim approved for a lot in Winchester township.


The membership of M. Mabel Neff (Mrs. Clayton Grinnell), daughter of Joseph Neff, Catherine Kline, Joseph Kline, first William Kline, in the Daughters of the American Revolution (No. 65354, vol. 66, p. 123), is based upon service of William Kline in Col. Bellinger's regiment, Tryon County militia.

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Created: 6/1/00
Updated: 5/30/04 Copyright © 2000 Jack May
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