Vilages of the Town of Root
Montgomery County, NY
This church is still in existence, located at Randall along route 5S, and is now called Randall Community Church.
VILLAGES OF THE TOWN
CURRYTOWN, named from the patentee of Corry's patent, on which it stood, is the oldest center of population within the limits of Root. The sufferings of this unfortunate community during the Revolution, have been elsewhere referred to, especially the remarkable caes of the Dievendorff boys, who survived being scalped and, as was supposed, killed at the time of Doxtader's murderous raid upon the settlement in 1781. Other sufferers by the same attack were the Kellers, Myerses, Bellingers, Tanners and Lewises, who, with the Dievendorffs, were the first settlers in the town. Beside the girl Mary Miller and the boy Jacob Dievendorff, a negro, also named Jacob, two lads named Bellinger, Jacob Myers and his son, and two others were among the prisoners taken by the savages, and upon whom the tomahawk fell when the retreat of the marauders began. The Indians burned all the buildings but the fort (which was a stockade enclosing the residence of Henry Lewis), a log school-house, and the house of a tory named David Lewis, where Henry Voorhees has since lived - about a dozen in all. The oldest son of Rudolf Keller, who lived too far from the fort to think of gaining it, found safety with his family in the woods, though from their retreat they saw the destruction of their home. Peter Bellinger escaped by riding away toward the Mohawk on one of the horses with which he was plowing. A party of savages sharply pursued him and, though they did not overtake the horseman, killed and scalped Jacob Moyer and his father who were cutting timber in the woods. Jacob Dievendorff, father of the boys who showed such wonderful vitality, escaped by throwing himself behind and partly under a log, over which his pursuers passed without seeing him. Of the younger Jacob Dievendorff, who so long survived the loss of his scalp, Mr. Lossing thus speaks in his Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution, published in 1851:
The venerable man here spoken of died Oct. 8, 1854, at the age of 84, the most wealthy resident of the town. His remains lie in the family burial place with those of his parents, on the homestead farm, which he bequeathed to his grandson, Jacob Dievendorff.
The first post office in this region was at Currytown, and was supplied by a post rider. The first postmaster was Daniel Cuck, the second Walter Conkling, and the third John Bowdish, who received his appointment from President Jackson, in 1832 (when the post office was moved to Rural Grove), and has held the position ever since - an extraordinary tenure of office, singularly at variance with the principles of the President who made the appointment, and speaking well for the merits of the official who received it.
A "Dutch" Reformed church was organized at Currytown about 1790, and a house of worship built in 1809, being dedicated on the 3d of September in that year. The interior of the building was materially changed in 1849, according to the taste of the day, and the spire, which was decaying, was replaced by one of more modern style. A large number of clergymen have officiated in the desk. The present pastor is Rev. E. G. Ackeron, a graduate both of Rutgers College and Theological Institute, New Brunswick, N.J.
At an early period a store was established by John McKernan in the building now owned by Miss Keller, on the corner opposite the residence of the late Dr. Snow. Retiring from mercantile pursuits, Mr. McKernan engaged, about 1820, in the enterprise of building a bridge across the Mohawk at the point now known as Randall. A few months after its completion a flood floated the structure from its foundations, which are still to be seen in the river when the water is low.
The resident physician at Currytown more than half a century ago, was Daniel Cuck, who owned and occupied the present home of J. D. Snow, and was a popular practitioner of the old school, when the resources of the profession were the lancet and mercury. He was the owner of the first one-horse wagon in this vicinity, which at the time was a great novelty. Dr. Cuck was also engaged in mercantile business in company with C. C. Hubbard. They were also manufacturers of potash from house ashes. Their store was thought to be an extensive institution, though a small affair compared with many mercantile houses of the present. Walter Conkling was for a long period at the head of a country store, doing a flourishing business in the western part of the hamlet.
James Lewis kept a hotel on the site of the residence of the late Dr. S. Snow, fronting the highway leading to Yatesville.
John Hoff for many years carried on the business of manufacturing leather, boots and shoes; John Hicks made farming mills and cabinet ware; F. B. Brumbley was a wagon-maker, and blacksmith shops were equal to the wants of the people.
Jon G. Ecker officiated as "knight of the goose and shears", cutting wardrobes that vested the farmers in homespun attire from cloth made by the good wives and daughters of sixty years ago.
For many years the vilage was the central point of town business, where elections and lawsuits were usually held at the leading hotel, kept by Richard Hoff, Boyd Beverly and others. Every branch of business once centering here has been swept away by the ravages of time, and the place is now noted only for its fine farm buildings.
RURAL GROVE is located in the southeasterly part of the town, five miles from the Mohawk, on the Yatesville creek, or "the brook called Wasontha", as it is referred to in an ancient deed. The place was founded by Abram H. Vanderveer, who formed a partnership with Henry Stowits in the year 1828, erecting a dwelling and subsequently a large building for a tannery, which stood on the site of the new residence of Hon. John Bowdish. When the frame of the tannery building was raised, the place was christened by Henry Stowits, who, from the apex of the structure, before throwing the bottle, as then customary on such occasions, named the infant village Unionville. This euphonious title was soon forgotten, and a lady suggested the graceless name of Leatherille, by which the hamlet was known for many years. In the same year a building was erected by Isaac B. Walker, as a hotel, which was kept by him as such for a number of years, and is still a public house, now kept by Henry Van Buren, who has materially improved the buildings.
William A. Covenhoven erected a building for a store, in which John Bowdish and Isaac S. Frost, on the 2d of June, 1829, began the mercantile business. The building is now the property of Mr. Bowdish, who has enlarged it and greatly improved its appearance, and still occupies it as a store with George J. Grove in partnership, the senior partner having held a continuous interest in the business from the beginning, a period of more than forty-eight years.
When the leather manufacture was discontinued, the name which it had given the place was a misnomer. In 1850, a resident began dating his correspondence from Rural Grove, the name being suggested by the grove of elms on the western border of the vilage. The example was generally followed, and in 1872 the name of the post office was changed from Root to Rural Grove. The office has been held for more than forty-five years by Mr. John Bowdish, and its business has increased with the growth of population and intelligence. Newspapers have multiplied from a mere score to hundreds, and thousands of letters pass through the mails where hundreds did.
Rural Grove is the most important business center in the town. It contains upward of seventy buildings, among them two churches, a school-house, a hotel, a general store, a tin factory and hardware store, two boot and shoe stores and shops, three blacksmith, one carriage, one joiner's and one cooper shop; a buggy-gearing factory, a feed mill, a saw mill, and a cheese factory. It is a pleasant village in a beautiful country.
A Methodist church organization early existed in this vicinity, supplied by itinerant preachers, including Rev. W. H. Starks, and the Rev. Mr. Emerson. In 1845 a church edifice was built by the society, the pulpit of which was at first supplied by the Rev. Mr. Mosher, of Canajoharie. A second Methodist church was built in 1860, three miles distant, and services have always been conducted there by the Rural Grove pastor, who also ministers to an M.E. church at Argusville, which was organized by Rev. C.A.S. Heath. Rev. Le Grand Jones is the present pastor, living in a parsonage owned by the society.
The "Christian" church of Rural Grove was organized in March, 1854, with Elias Yates, Thomas J. Vanderveer, Jacob I. Vanderveer, Henry C. Hamilton, John Dopp and Henry Shibley as trustees. The church edifice was built in the summer of 1854, and dedicated Nov. 8 of that year, Rev. Obadiah E. Morrell preaching the sermon. Rev. John Ross was the first pastor, and either he or an assistant supplied the pulpit until Dec. 28, 1865, when the church was reorganized upon the accession of 77 members from Charleston Four Corners, who had been dismissed from the church there at their own request. Revs. John Ross and J.J. Twiller officiated on the occasion. Of the new organization Rev. A.A. Lason was first pastor; Ira J. Carr and H.C. Hamilton, deacons; and George J. Gove, clerk. A parsonage was built in 1866. In the spring of 1874 the church was enlarged and improved, at an expense of about $800, and re-dedicated June 11, the pastor, Rev. J.C. Burgdurf, preaching the sermon. The church has now a membership of 153. The pastor is Rev. R.G. Fenton. A Sabbath-school was organized May 5, 1861, with 65 scholars; present number, 75. Ira J. Carr is superintendent.
SPRAKER'S BASIN - Among the early settlers south of the Mohawk and west of Flat creek was Maj. George Spraker, who acquired a title to the land on which the village stands from his father, Jost Spraker, and built a tavern which, after his retirement, was kept by a succession of landlords, closing with a Mr. Hart, who was in possession when the building was destroyed by fire. Its foundation walls are still to be seen.
The completion of the Erie Canal was properly the birthday of the village. Trade was introduced by Daniel Spraker, who built a store and warehouse in 1822 and 1823, and engaged in trading and forwarding, officiating in the transfer of freight from this place to a point below the Nose while the canal was incomplete at this spot. A second store was established by Joseph Spencer, near by on the canal, where a formidable business was carried on. Mr. Spencer retiring, John L. Bevins became his successor. When the canal was enlarged, he erected a commodious stone building on its southern bank, where he did business for a number of years, when the property passed into the hands of the Messrs. Cohen, whose descendants still carry on business at the old stand. Not to be left high and dry, as it were, by the change in the line of the canal at its enlargement, Mr. Spraker removed his store to match. After a mercantile life of twenty-eight years he retired, and was succeeded by David Quackenbush.
The present village has four stores, two hotels, two blacksmith, one wagon, two shoemakers', and one harness shop; an insurance agency, a telegraph office, a post office and a church. The latter was built in 1858, on a lot given by the late George Spraker. The village was connected by ferry with the railroad at Spraker's Station. A charter for a bridge was granted several years since, but the capital was not forthcoming. Many years ago, the village had a saw-mill, a carding machine and a fulling mill.
SUTPHEN'S HOLLOW is a hamlet at the high falls on Flat creek. The place is reached from the east by a rugged declivity. It was originally called Hamilton's Hollow, from Solomon Hamilton, who carried on an extensive business here. In its best days the place had a flouring-mill, a saw-mill, a carding-mill, works for cloth-dressing, a distillery and a number of dwellings. The business establishments were all carried on by Mr. Hamilton, except the distillery, in which Adam Smith, a merchant of Charleston, was interested. The hamlet passed its prime half a century ago, and its present business enterprise is limited to a saw-mill.
FLAT CREEK derived its name from the stream passing along its border. It was for a long time a point where much of the business of the town centred. Years ago, a store was kept by Hibbard & Wessels. Subsequently, John Burns, jr., was in trade here for a number of years. There were for many years one or two hotels, but there is none at present. A Free Will Baptist church is located here, but has no settled ministry. The place has a post office, a school-house, a blacksmith shop, a tannery, a shoe shop, saw and feed mills, a cheese factory and a grocery store; proprietor James M. Wessels, whose house is open to the public on temperance principles.
STONE RIDGE is a collection of houses so called from an elevation near the east border of the town, where cobble-stones have been deposited in such profusion that large quantities have been shipped by canal to different localities, to be used in paving streets.
LYKER'S CORNERS is the name of a group of buildings where for a number of years Cornelius Lyker kept store. A hotel was also built, and managed by Barney Martin, and by others after him. It is now a private residence, and a portion of the other buildings have been converted into a cheese-factory. Elijah Bundy has for a number of years been doing a mercantile business in the place, where there is also a blacksmith and wagon shop. A steam saw-mill, which for a number of years added materially to the business character of the hamlet, has been removed.
BROWN'S HOLLOW is a little village in the southeast part of the town. Here was early erected, by Henry Lyker, a flouring-mill on Flat creek. John Brown bought the concern, and at large expense increased the water-power by building a tunnel a thousand feet in length through the hill, lining it with stone work, which is still in good preservation. The mill was burned many years ago, and rebuilt by Mr. Brown, with three run of stones. It has since had several owners, and is now doing a small business. Half a century ago this was quite a business centre, the most important establishment being an alcohol distillery carried on by A. Ladieu. There were also a saw-mill, a linseed oil mill, a carding-machine and fulling-mill for dressing fabrics made in private houses, and later a store was kept for years by Ira Hoag and others. Only the grist-mill remains.
YATESVILLE is a hamlet on the Erie Canal, in the northeastern part of the town, important chiefly as a point for the shipment of hay, which is sent in great quantities from this town, as also from Glen. Three thousand tons, made in the neighborhood, were shipped from Yatesville during the past year to eastern markets. The place has a grocery store, a school-house, a blacksmith shop and a post office, which is called Randall. In early times John P. Yates, James G. Van Voast and Job B. Hoag were merchants at this point.
BUNDY'S CORNERS is a cluster of buildings taking its name from Stephen Bundy, an old citizen who early established a store, and opened a hotel where Charles Hovey and Stephen Moulton afterward engaged in trade. Barney Vrooman subsequently opened a small store. The business of the hamlet has passed away.