The Spafford's 1824 Gazetteer typing project is one of the first of several valuable group projects we have planned for 1998. In 1824 the boundaries of the counties of Herkimer and Montgomery were quite different than they are today. Familiarizing yourself with some of the place names mentioned in the old township profiles can help you better pinpoint the whereabouts of your earliest area ancestors. Some of the 1824 townships are now in neighboring counties. The section below, prepared by Olga Sprague, covers the Montgomery County profile, the Town of Amsterdam, the geographic feature known as Anthony's Nose, and a short piece on the origins of the name Caughnawaga.

From the 1824 Gazetteer of the State of New York, by Horatio Gates Spafford

MONTGOMERY COUNTY embraces both sides of the Mohawk River, and is situated about 45 miles NW. of Albany. It is bounded N. by Hamilton, E. by Saratoga, S. by Schenectady, Schoharie and Otsego Counties, and W. by Herkimer County: greatest length N. and S., 36 miles, width 32, and its area about 1000 square miles, or 640000 acres; situated between 42 deg 47 sec and 43 deg 18 sec N. lat., 04 sec and 46 sec W. long. from New-York. Since the first edition of this Work was published, the Towns of Manheim and Salisbury, and about half that of Minden, (now town of Danube,) have been attached to Herkimer County, and the County of Hamilton has been provisionally erected from the N. part of Montgomery.

TownPost. Off.Pop.Imp. LandVillages, Post Offices, &c.
AmsterdamP.T.317116539Amsterdam V., Mills, 45 h., 30 miles from Albany
BroadalbinP.T.242812962Fonda's Bush, or Rawsonsville, 10 m. E. of Johnstown
CanajoharieP.T.1467724958Bowman's Creek P.O.; The Nose; Mitchill's Cave
CharlestonP.T.2536536311Corrytown P.O., VoorhiesVille P.O.; Mohawk Flats
FloridaP.T.274320436Yankee-street V., 35 m. f. A.; Ft. Hunter; Mohawk town
JohnstownP.T.1652735776Johnstown V., 40 m. f. A; Caughnawaga V. & P.O.; Nose
MayfieldP.T. 120259691Cranberry Creek P.O.; Mayfield mountain
MindenP.T.1195412440Ft. Plain P.O.; The Geisenberg; Dorf, or Dutch Town
NorthamptonP.T.12917480Fish House; Great Vlaic; Sacandaga River
OppenheimP.T. 1304513005St. Johnsville P.O., on the Mohawk turnpike
PalatineP.T. 2393621270Palatine bridge P.O.; Stone Arabia; Lasselsville P.O.
407137415 miles NW. of Johnstown; E. Canada Creek

The general surface of this County is but moderately undulated. A ridge of considerable elevation extends from the Sacandaga in a SW. direction, through the towns of Mayfield, Johnstown and Palatine, terminating at the Mohawk in what is called the Nose. In Mayfield, this ridge is dignifed with the name of Mayfield Mountain, but is every where else called tbe Klipse. - This, with the river hills, are all that deserve notice. Along the Mohawk, the alluvial lands are abundantly fertile, and the adjacent uplands have a strong soil of argillaceous loam, rather heavy, but very productive. There is, of course a variety of soil, corresponding to the extent and diversity of surface, but the present County, (exclusive of Hamilton,) has very little waste land. On each side of the Mohawk, it has turnpikes, leading from Albany westward, and it has the navigation of that river, and of the Erie Canal quite across this County. The mill-streams are good and plenty. There enter the Mohawk, from the S., the Schoharie, Canajoharie, Nowadaga and Otsquaga creeks; and from the N., the Chuctenunda, Cayadutta, and Garoga creeks, besides E. Canada Creek on the W. boundary, and many other small streams spread over the country. The northern part sends some small streams to the Sacandaga, which runs across Northampton, and a small corner of Mayfield. The agriculture, domestic or household manufactures, and the whole rural economy of this County, are rapidly improving, for the evidence of which see Statistics, below. The Agricultural Society of this County, established in 1819, has done a great deal toward advancing the farming interest, as well in field agriculture and domestic stock, as in gardening and manufactures.

Statistics. - Montgomery, with Hamilton, (the latter not yet organized,) elects 4 Members of Assembly; and 1 Representative to Congress, forming the 16th Congressional District: 12 Townships; 20 Post-0ffices; whole population, 37569 of which number 349 are slaves, and 571 are free blacks; electors under the new Constitution, 5709; taxable property, real, $4,645,983, personal, $410,362; total, $5,076,345: acres of improved land, occupied, 216106; neat cattle, 34990; horses,13121; sheep, 53314: yards of fulled cloth made in 1821, 71225, - of flannel, &c. 99064, - linen. &c. 131306; total, 301595 yards: there are 72 grist mills, 169 saw mills, 11 oil mills, 34 fulling mills, 25 carding machines, 1 cotton and woollen factory, 2 iron works, 6 trip hammers, 6 distilleries, and 32 asheries. Of the employments, 7276 persons are employed in agriculture, 125 in commerce, and 1683 in manufactures; and there are 99 foreigners not naturalized. There are 186 school disricts and school-houses, in which schools are kept an average of 8 months in 12; public monies received in the last year, $5354.21; No. of children between 5 and 15 years of age, 11333; No. that received instruction during the year, 9389 :* ratio of increase in population, yearly, 2 per cent.

The 1824 profile of Montgomery was typed by Olga Sprague, who has the fortune of living in the area and seeing it's beauty first-hand. Olga has also typed several of the specialized township sections from the gazetteer, some of which appear below.

"My husband Tage and I have purchased a tumble down farm/homestead on Sanders Rd. Town of Minden. It is our hope to restore the home and convert the clusters of barns to photography and sculpting studios, (of course a token horse or cow maybe even a pig will grace the seven acres.) The property is south of Rte. 5s on the same side of the airport; in fact one can see the rooftops through the hedgerow when turning off of 5s. Our soon to be neighbors claim the spring-fed pond on the property was a watering hole for the native tribes of Fort Plain and the original section of the house is suspiciously similar to a one room school house... needless to say I would be thrilled and very grateful to receive any information regarding this homestead and Sanders Rd. In 1902 the farm owner was Burton Moyer. - olga sprague"

AMSTERDAM, a Post Township of Montgomery County, on the N. shore of the Mohawk; bounded N. by Mayfield and Broadalbin, E. by Saratoga and Schenectady Counties, S. by Mohawk River or the Town of Florida, W. by Johnstown. It extends about 12 miles along the Mohawk, and 6 miles back from that river. The soil is of various qualities, though generally rich and fertile. The alluvial lands along the Mohawk are proverbially rich, and the uplands are principally a rich tenacious mold or loam. Chuctenunda Creek, a fine mill-stream from Saratoga County, enters at the NE. angle of Amsterdam, and runs SW. to the Mohawk. This stream falls 120 feet, within 100 rods from its mouth, where it supplies abundance of the best sites for mills. There are now in operation within this distance, a scythe manufactory, a clothier's works, an excellent grist mill and a saw mill. The Village of Amsterdam, is on the Mohawk Turnpike, on the banks of this Creek, a busy little place. Here are the above noticed hydraulic works, the Post-Office, (15 miles W. of Schenectady,) 45 dwelling-houses, 6 stores, a printing office, school-house, and a Presbyterian Church. The Village is rapidly increasing in population and business. A bridge has been commenced over the Mohawk, and it will probably be completed this year. - Fort Johnson was in this Town. - There are now some rude paintings of human figures, on the rocks forming the bank of the Mohawk, in this Town, which tradition asserts were there on the first settlement by Europeans.- Population, 3171; taxable property $318831; electors, 552; 16539 acres of improved land, 2457 cattle, 765 horses; 4613 sheep: 22527 yards of cloth made in the household way: 5 grist mills, 17 saw mill, 2 fulling mills, 2 carding machines, 3 trip hammers, 2 distilleries, and 4 asheries.

ANTHONY'S NOSE, or the Nose, as commonly called, in the S.W. corner of Johnstown, merits separate notice. It is on the N. Bank of the Mohawk, the extreme point of the hill or mountain called the Klips, sloping down toward the River from an elevation that I should estimate at about 500 feet, and no bad imitation of a Nose of 3 or 400 feet in length. This mountain one crossed the present channel of the river at this place, in the bed of which may be traced the bare rock, running obliquely from shore to shore. It is a siliceous sand-stone, of great antiquity, close bordering on gneiss, and variously and curiously interspersed with lime. The Klips, or Klipser, signifies a rock, or rocky ledge, in the Dutch and German languages used hereabouts, and is merely the eastern front of a lofty rampart of hills, mountains, or an elevated plain from which hills, and mountains rise, spreading westward beyond the Little Falls, and extending from Otsego County, a spur of the Kaatsbergs, across a part of Montgomery and Herkimer Counties, and far northward. At this spot may be seen indubitable evidences of the great power of water, and that the stream which now flows so gently, has burst through this immense rocky barrier, and worn it down to what it now appears. At Dachsteder's just below, there is an alluvial plain of 1 mile in length, a half mile wide, composed at the upper end of coarse gravel, rounded pebbles much water-worn, growing finer below, and all its sand placed at the 'tail end of the heap', as an old Farmer expressed it. This plain must be about 50 to 60 feet above the present level of the water. It is well worth examining, and has besides, some interesting Indian antiquities. (original long paragraph broken up here)

The other side of the river has its Nose, also, in Canajoharie, with Mitchill's Cave, which see: but the hill on that side is hardly so high and not so steep. As to the bursting of the waters through this range of hills, much might be said and to little purpose. The time has been, in my opinion, when this Valley of the Mohawk was traversed by a stream immensely greater than at the present day, a remark equally applicable to the Hudson also. At some period or other, those hills have formed the eastern barrier of a vast Lake, extending westward far over the summit level of Rome and the region about the Oneida Lake. Possibly this may have been at a time when the surface of Lake Ontario was an hundred or more feet higher than at the present day, and when the Valley of the Hudson, and of the lower part of the Mohawk country was all a vast Lake, from above the Highlands, or Matteawan Mountains. All this may have been before the General Deluge;- but when is no matter:-I firmly believe all this has happened to those countries:- and it has often occurred to me that in the wisdom of Almighty Power, one part of the design of 'The Flood' may have been, so to increase the waters that they might force their barriers, and uncover their vales of alluvion, for the benefit of created beings, that the whole Earth might bring forth its riches in the greater abundance. See Matteawan Mountains. The time has been, indubitably, when both the Mohawk, and the Hudson, were immensely larger streams than at the present day,- when their waters spread from the bases of their opposite ranges of river-hills, tearing mountains asunder by their efforts to seek a discharge. This may, in part, have happened, before the rocky masses of those mountains had acquired their present hardness and ponderosity: for I take it for granted that all solid earth has been formed in, and emerged from the waters, that stones and rocks are petrified earths, and that these changes must have been progressive, the work of time.

*Caughnawaga, it is well known, was once an Indian Village, a principal Town of the Mohawk Indians. The name signifies 'a Coffin,' which it received from the circumstance of there being, in the river opposite that place, a large black stone, [still to be seen,] resembling a coffin, and projecting above the surface at low water. Of this name, as of many others of Indian origin, it may be here remarked, that this orthography, which seems to come the nearest to the pronunciation, according to the ear or fancy of one person, may not do so to the ear of another. There is no such thing as a rule, applicable to cases of this kind, only to simplify the word, and modernise it, so far as may be consistent with a due preservation of etymology. There are few, perhaps no Indian sounds or words, which different persons would represent by the same English letters. The difficulty is also farther increased by the synonyma of rude dialeuts. In that of the Mohawks, the same expression is used for Coffin, Death, Destruction, &c., and they have traditions of many lives being lost on this Rock, now not in the main channel, and only visible at low water. In like manner they use one and the same expression for youth, morning, spring, east, &c.,- To my ear, hearing an old Mohawk speak Cahnawaga, his expression seems to me better represented by these letters, than by adding ug, and I am always rather inclined to shorten words, when I can without detriment. This Tribe was always called the Mohawks, by the other Tribes of the Confederacy of Aganuschioni, or United People; and there is good evidence that between them and the Onondagas, there was for ages a contest for supremacy, as long and as bloody as that between the rival houses of York and Lancaster, in our English Father-land.

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Last Updated: 2/7/98
Revised: 2/23/04
Copyright ©1997 Olga Sprague/ Martha Magill
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