From the History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, N.Y., by F.W. Beers & Co., 1878


Harmanus Van Slyck obtained from King George I. a title to two thousand acres of land, Sept. 1st, 1716. This was the first patent granted by the English government to lands in this town, and is called the Van Slyck patent. It lay along the north bank of the Mohawk, extended from the Nose, near the east line of the town, up the river a mile or more above Palatine Bridge, and included the "Frey place." This tract was surveyed and laid out into sixteen lots, by Nicholas Schuyler, in September, 1723, when it was found to contain within it original boundaries nearly 6,000 acres. On July 9th, 1728, Van Slyck deeded eight of the lots to Col. Abraham De Peyster. Mr. Van Slyck settled on a portion of this land, and resided here for many years.

The Harrison patent embraced all the land in the town north of the Van Slyck patent, between the river and the Stone Arabia patent. This tract was purchased from the Indians, in the King's name, March 8th, 1722, by Francis Harrison, Lewis Morris, jr., John Spratt, John Schuyler, Abraham Wendell and John Hascall. It contains 12,000 acres, and includes nearly all of the present town of St. Johnsville.

The Stone Arabia patent is located principally in this town, embracing all that part east of Harrison's, and north of Van Slyck's. This patent was granted October 9th, 1723, to John Christian Garlock, Elias Garlock, Andreas and Christian Fink, William Coppernoll, Jacob, John Yost and Johannes Schell, Heinrick Frey and eighteen others, nearly all of home became actual settlers on different portions of the grant.


The earliest settlement in this town, and probably the first west of Schenectady, on the north side of the Mohawk, was made by Heinrich Frey, a native of Zurich, Switzerland, who, in 1688, left that city for America, bringing with him an open letter from the mayor, addressed "To whom it may concern." Upon his arrival in New York, in 1689, he received from Gov. Dongan a "location ticket" for 100 acres of land on the Schoharie creek, but the Mohawk valley having more attractions for him, he soon removed thither, and settled just west of the present village of Palatine Bridge, where he erected a log cabin on a knoll, near a fine spring. Here he laid claim to a tract of 300 acres of land, his only title to it, aside from that of possession, being probably obtained from the Indians. This land was subsequently included in the patent issued to Van Slyck, from whom Frey procured a permanent title. The old homestead has always remained in the possession of the family, being now occupied by S. L. Frey, Esq., who represents the sixth generation. The first house was occupied until 1739, when a substantial stone dwelling was erected, which is still standing, in a good state of preservation. It has a row of port holes on all sides, and was stockaded and occupied by several companies of troops during the French war.

Heinrich Frey, jr., the oldest son of Heinrich Frey, was undoubtedly the first white child born in the Mohawk valley, west of Schenectady. He was one of the original proprietors of the Stone Arabia patent, and made the survey of the entire tract and divided it into lots. By frequent purchases the landed estate of this family came to be one of the vast proportions.

At the commencement of Revolutionary troubles, Hendrick and John Frey, sons of Heinrich, jr., were individuals of considerable prominence, having held positions of trust and responsibility under the colonial government. Col. Hendrick Frey, being the oldest son, had inherited all the real estate of his father. He had been educated at the school of Rev. Mr. Dunlap, of Cherry Valley, and had married a daughter of Gen. Herkimer. He had been a colonel of colonial troops, under Sir William Johnson, in the war with the French, and, with Col. Guy Johnson, had been the first to represent the county of Tryon in the General Assembly which convened Jan. 11th, 1773. He was also commissioned jointly with Sir Wm. Johnson, to administer the oath to all appointees to office in Tryon county. When war was finally declared between Great Britain and the colonies, Col. Frey at first attempted to maintain a neutral position, but at length openly avowed his loyalty to the Crown, and was afterward engaged to some extent on the side of the British.

Major John Frey was born about 1740; he was reared and always lived in the Mohawk valley. He was also educated at Cherry Valley, and afterward married a niece of Gen. Herkimer. In 1756, when the English and French were disputing for the supremacy in the Canadas, Maj. Frey, then a mere boy, yet animated with a patriotic zeal for his king and his country, shouldered his musket and joined the expedition under Bradstreet to take Fort Niagara, then in the possession of the French. He occupied the position of lieutenant, and, boy as he was, did his country service under the walls of that fortress. He was a justice upon the bench of the first Court of General Quarter Sessions for Tryon county, held in Johnstown, September 8th, 1772. He was a member of the Tryon county Committee of Safety, both before and during the Revolution, and in the spring of 1776 was elected its chairman. He was also the first sheriff of the county elected by the people. In the memorable battle of Oriskany, Maj. Frey bore a conspicuous part, acting as brigade major, fighting by the side of Gen. Herkimer, and barely escaping with his life. He was wounded in one arm, taken prisoner and carried to Canada, where he was kept for nearly two years. Subsequently to the Revolution, the New York Provincial Congress conferred upon him the honorable appointment of brigade major. He was also elected a member of the convention that ratified the federal Constitution, and, at a still later period, held the office of senator in the Legislature of the State. He died in April, 1833, aged about 93 years. His remains now repose in the family burying ground at Palatine Bridge. At the centennial anniversary of American independence, his grave was beautifully decorated with flowers by his worthy descendants and grateful countrymen, in commemoration of his distinguished civil and military services.

Aside from Heinrich Frey, there is no record or tradition of the settlement of any person in this town until about the year 1711, at which time a large number of Palatines settled along the Schoharie flats and in the Mohawk valley, some of whom, it is reasonable to suppose, were located within the present limits of Palatine.

Elias Garlock, accompanied by several of his neighbors, removed from the Palatine settlements of the Schoharie and located in this town about 1717. He was afterward one of the proprietors of the Stone Arabia patent, and subsequently settled on lot No. 29.

Peter Wagner, probably from Schoharie, settled about the year 1722 on the farm now occupied by J. Harvey Smith, situated a mile south of Palatine Church. His son, Peter, jr., then but two years old, resided here at the breaking out of the Revolution. He was a member of the committee of safety, and became lieutenant-colonel of the 2d battalion of Tryon county militia, participating in the bloody battle of Oriskany. His house, the stone foundation to which is still standing, was fortified during the war and called Fort Wagner. He was born near Fort Wagner in August, 1795. In 1839 and 1840, he was a representative in Congress from this district. George Wagner, a son of Col. Wagner and grandfather of Hon. Webster Wagner, was living in Revolutionary times where Chauncey Wagner now resides. He was also in the Oriskany battle.

William Fox immigrated with Peter Wagner, and located just south of Palatine Church. Several of his descendants took an active part in the Revolutionary struggle, some of whom were men of rank. Captains William Fox, jr., Christopher P. Fox and Christopher W. Fox commanded the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd companies, respectively, of the 2d (Palatine) battalion at the battle of Oriskany, where Capt. Christopher P. Fox lost his life. At the close of the war, Capt. C. W. Fox purchased from the Committee of Sequestration the farm, near Palatine Church, formerly owned by one of the Nellises, a loyalist, whose property had been confiscated. Some of the descendants of Capt. Fox still reside on this place. H. Clay Fox now has in his possession the sword wielded by Capt. Christopher W. Fox at the Oriskany battle.

Jacob P. Fox, who now resides near Palatine Church, was born here in 1797. He is a son of Peter Fox, who was in the battle of Oriskany, where he succeeded in dispatching at least one Indian, who at that moment was sighting his gun upon a white man. Peter Fox was also in the battle at Klock's Field, near his son's residence.

Casper Koch (now Cook) was born Aug. 5th, 1700, in Switzerland, where he was married, October 27th, 1722. About the year 1725 he came to this country, and settled in Palatine, a mile south of Stone Arabia, where he resided until his death, January 14th, 1789. His son John, who was born and reared on this place, and who also died here, was wounded in the jaw at the battle of Oriskany, but succeeded in making his escape and was soon after found, and brought home on a horse, by a man in his employ, named Dolan. His buildings were all destroyed on the day of the battle of Stone Arabia, the family having fled to Fort Paris for safety. Casper J., a son of John Cook, was also born here in 1791, where he resided nearly his entire life, dying in 1856. His son, Jacob C., a great-grandson of the original settler, now owns and occupies the farm, having lived here since his birth, in 1822.

Mardan Dillenbagh (now Dillenbeck), also one of the Stone Arabia patentees, settled as early as 1725 on lot No. 10 of that patent, where John A. Dillenback, a descendant, now resides. His eldest son, Andrew, occupied these premises at the commencement of the Revolution. He became a captain of militia, and lost his life at the battle of Oriskany, where he defended himself against the attack of three of Johnson's Greens, who attempted to take him prisoner. Stone, in his "Life of Joseph Brant," says:

"This officer had declared he would not be taken alive, and he was not. One of his assailants seized his gun, but he suddenly wrenched it from him and felled him with the butt. He shot the second one dead, and thrust the third through with the bayonet; but in the moment of his triumph, a ball laid him lost in the dust." His widow, whose maiden name was Catherine Fink - a sister of Major Fink - afterward married Capt. John Zeilley, who lived, in Revolutionary times, where Jerome Van Wie resides, near Spraker's Station. Capt. Dillenbeck had one son, Andrew, jr., born here in 1772, who was orderly sergeant under Capt. John I. Cook in the war of 1812. He was for nearly three months stationed at Sackett's Harbor. Andrew A. Dillenbeck, a son of Andrew, jr., was born at the old homestead, Sept. 18th, 1800, and has ever since resided in this town. John Dillenbeck, a brother of Capt. Dillenbeck, located as early as 1750 where his grandson, Joseph Dillenbeck, now lives. Lysander and Josiah Dillenbeck are also his grandsons.

Johannes Schell (now Snell), also a patentee, and original proprietor of lots 3 and 36 in the Stone Arabia patent, was probably the first of that name to settle in the town. He was a native of Bavaria. On coming to the country, he first settled in Schoharie, but in 1726 removed to Palatine, and located where Jacob Snell now resides. He had several sons, all of whom were killed at the battle of Oriskany. He died at Stone Arabia, Sept. 12, 1787, leaving numerous descendants. He had two or three brothers, who located, in 1726, at Snell's Bush, on the east line of Herkimer county.

Jacob I. Snell, the grandfather of David Snell, was with Col. Brown at the battle of Stone Arabia. After that officer fell, Snell attempted to escape, but was pursued by Indians, wounded in the shoulder, scalped and left to die. He soon revived, however, sufficiently to regain Fort Paris, and eventually recovered from his wounds. His oldest brother was killed in the same battle.

Johannes Krembs (now Gramps), another proprietor of the Stone Arabia patent, settled, as early as 1726, and perhaps before, on lot 25, where Reuben Gramps, a descendant, now lives.

Andreas Feink (now Fink), also a grantee in the Stone Arabia patent, and first owner of lots Nos. 13 and 38, located on the farm now occupied by Andrew Nellis, just south of the Stone Arabia churches.

William Coppernoll, another patentee, and proprietor of lots 20 and 34 of the same patent, settled about 1730 near Stone Arabia. He was born near Schenectady, in 1688. In 1779 he gave lot No. 20 of the above patent for church purposes, on which the two churches of the place now stand. He was one of the leading citizens of the town in his lifetime, and died December 24th, 1787, aged 99 years and 7 months.

Andrew Nellis, a Palatine, from whom most of the families of that name in this vicinity have descended, settled in 1722 on the farm now owned and occupied by Martin L. Nellis. It is not definitely known whether he came here immediately after his arrival from Europe, or first located in Schoharie. The latter, however, is very probable, as there were one or more of that name who came over with the first Palatine immigrants in 1710.

William Nellis, a brother of Andrew, was living in the town in 1744, and undoubtedly settled several years prior to that date. He remained here until about 1775 - being then far advanced in life, and living with his descendants - when, on account of Revolutionary troubles, he removed, with most of his posterity, to Canada. Some of his sons or grandsons were with Sir John Johnson on his march of devastation up the Mohawk valley in October, 1780, and were the means of saving Palatine Church from destruction.

Philip Nellis, the grandfather of the present James and Andrew Nellis, was wounded in the shoulder at the battle of Oriskany. His buildings were all burned by Sir John's troops on October 19th, 1780. The Nellis family are now quite numerous; many of them are wealthy and influential citizens.

William Brower, from Schenectady, became a resident of this town about 1735. The deed to his land bears the date 1738. This deed has never been placed on record, neither has the land been re-deeded, but it has been conveyed by will from father to son down to the fifth generation, being at present owned and occupied by Harmon Brower, a great-great-grandson of William.

Malachi and Michael Bauder, whose father was one of the early Palatines, and settled in Root, about a mile south of Yatesville, located in Palatine as early as 1745; the former, where Conrad P. Snell now resides, about a mile and a half northwest of Stone Arabia, and the latter a mile north, on the farm now owned by the heirs of Josiah Walrath. Malachi had six sons, named, respectively, John, Michael, Malachi, jr., Leonard, George and Ulrich, all of whom were born here previous to the Revolution, in which he and his eldest sons participated. Malachi Bauder, sen., was for a time stationed at Fort Paris, where, for better protection, he also kept his family. Going, one Sunday morning in August, to visit his home and farm, he was followed by two of his sons, Malachi and Leonard, then lads of about ten and twelve years respectively. After examining his buildings and premises, he lay down in his orchard and fell asleep, the boys, meantime, amusing themselves about the house. While thus unconscious of the surroundings, a small party of Indians stealthily approached the house, seeing which, the boys fled to the barn. After pillaging the house, the savages proceeded to the barn, where the boys were soon discovered and taken captives. On awakening and searching for his sons, the father soon found unmistakable evidence of the late visit of the enemy, and at once divined the fate of his offspring. They were carried to Canada, where, after remaining a short time with their captors, they were purchased, for a few trinkets, and a little "fire-water," by a white man, who took them to Montreal, where, in the course of time, they were exchanged, and, with others, shipped for home by way of Lake Champlain. On their way down the lake the boat made a landing, and passengers encamped on the shore. Malachi, straying off alone in search of wild plums, found on his return that the boat had left without him. He, however, kept the camp-fire burning, by which means he at length succeeded in attracting the attention of another boat, which took him to New England, where he was adopted into the family of a resident. At the end of a year or more, his father, getting trace of his long lost son, started on horseback to recover him. After no little trouble, he succeeded in convincing the New England people of his identity, his boy was restored to him and returned to his early home.

Michael Bauder, the second son of Malachi, located previous to the Revolution on the farm now owned by Casper Getman. His son, George M. Bauder, familiarly known among his acquaintances as "Honyerry," was born here Aug. 28th, 1785. On arriving at his majority, in 1806, he purchased and settled on a farm adjoining his birth-place, about two miles east of Stone Arabia, formerly owned and improved by Gerret Lasher, some time prior to the Revolution. He was a member of the State militia from the age of 18 until 45, and a soldier in the war of 1812, under Capt. John I. Cook, Major Frederick Getman and Col. Geo. Nellis. He was sent with his regiment to Sackett's Harbor, where he remained nearly three months, doing military duty, and has for several years drawn a pension for services rendered at that time. Mr. Bauder still lives where he located 72 years ago, the house then standing on the place forming a part of the present abode. Although in his 93rd year, he is able to walk about his farm, recollects distinctly the scenes and incidents of his early days, and relates intelligibly and with interest the stories told him by his ancestors.

Conrad Kilts was born previous to 1743, and reared on the place now occupied by his grand-son, Albert Kilts. He participated in the battles of Oriskany, Johnstown and Stone Arabia, and stood by the side of Col. Brown when he fell. Peter and Johannes Kilts were also residents of this town previous to 1750.

Peter Suits settled previous to 1743 on the farm now occupied by Jerry Saltsman. Another Suits, probably a brother, was living at an early date where John Christman resides.

Jacob Christman was undoubtedly the first of that name who became a resident of Palatine. He settled at an early date on the farm now owned and occupied by Hannibal Gray, Esq. He was born, probably in Germany, in 1706, was married in 1738, and died at Stone Arabia, April 29th, 1789. Jacob, jr., his son, participated somewhat in the Revolution. He lived at that time where James Christman, his grand-son, now resides. Passing Mr. Gramps's sugar bush one evening on his way from Fort Paris to his house, he discovered several tory scouts bivouacked there, and, without being observed by them, returned to the fort with the information. A detachment was immediately sent out, which soon returned with the tories as prisoners. It is said that while at the fort they were tortured to some extent, for the purpose of making them confess to their being tories, and the nature of their visit in the vicinity, but to no purpose.

George Spraker, a native of Prussia, located in 1755 at what is now Spraker's Station, on the farm now owned and occupied by his grand-son, Joseph Spraker, whose house is the building so long famous among early travelers as the Spraker tavern. He and his four sons participated in the Revolutionary struggle. His eldest two sons, John and George, were with Col. Brown at the battle of Stone Arabia.

John Eisenlord emigrated from Germany on account of the cruelty of his step-father, about 1765, and became a resident of Palatine, afterward marrying a daughter or grand-daughter of Johnannes Krembs (now Gramps). He was a young man of considerable wealth, a fine scholar - understanding the English language perfectly - and an excellent penman. He early espoused the cause of freedom, and sacrificed his life at the battle of Oriskany, leaving two sons.

Adam Loux (now Loucks), whose house, about three-fourths of a mile north of Stone Arabia, on the farm now occupied by J. Ervin Graff, was a meeting place of the Tryon county Committee of Safety, was born in Schoharie, N. Y., Dec. 15th, 1715; was married Oct. 16th, 1739, and died Feb. 14th, 1789. His son, Peter Loucks, was first lieutenant of the 3d company of the Palatine battalion, under Capt. Christopher W. Fox, at the battle of Oriskany.

John Wohlgemuth was a soldier of the Revolution, and for a time was stationed at Fort Plain. His grandson, Leonard Wohlgemuth, who was born here in 1818, and is still a resident, has in his possession some receipts, orders, etc., given in those days to his grandfather, including the following:

"Fort Plank, Dec. 1st, 1778.
"Recvd of John Wohlgemuth one barrel of Powder, one box of musket balls, and one box of Cartridges.
"(Signed) JAMES MOORE."

"Fort Plank, 19th Jan., 1780.
"Sir: Please pay to Capt. Han-Yost Dygert the sum of seven hundred and twenty pounds, N. Y. Circulating Bills of Continental Credit. In so doing you will oblige, sir,
"Your Humble Servant,
"To Mr. John Wohlgemuth,
Canajoharie District."

Lawrence Marcellus was born in Schenectady in 1795, and became a resident of this town in 1816. He is a justice of the peace, in which capacity he has served the town of Palatine for over 40 years. He has also held the office of superintendent of the poor, and justice of the sessions, and in 1812 was a member of the Assembly. His father, John N. Marcellus, was a minuteman of the Revolution, and was at one time on duty at Fort Paris.

John Floyd, a native of Litchborough, England, came to America in the spring of 1849, and settled in this town July 9th, following. He is the proprietor of the "Garoga Valley Apiary," which he established Nov. 1st, 1851. He was for 14 years a partner of Moses Quimby, of St. Johnsville. He has at present 101 colonies of bees.

These excerpts from the "History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, N.Y. " were graciously contributed by Barb Gese. Barb's direct-line surnames from Montgomery County are: CASE, GREEN, HERRICK, JEFFERS, KRING, NEHER/NEAHR, PETTINGELL, SERVISS/SERVOSS, SOUTHWICK, and SPRAGUE.

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