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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 37: Settlement of Cherry Valley — 1740.

[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 530-533 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. Some images have been relocated to the area in the text where they are discussed. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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1740, Settlement of Cherry Valley by John Lindsay and family — A Scotch-Irish frontier village on the Susquehanna — Mohawk divide — Rev. Samuel Dunlop's Cherry Valley school — Settlement of Springfield, Mud or Summit Lake, Little Lakes, and the headwaters of the Susquehanna — The old England district.

The settlement of Cherry Valley in 1740 marked an important step in the progress of civilization in the Mohawk Valley. Its outlet trails and roads led to the settlements on the Mohawk or the Schoharie rivers and it is thus not only associated in a historical sense but in a topographical and commercial way, with the watershed of the Mohawk River.

John Lindsay "a Scotch gentleman of substance," in 1736, secured a patent for 3,000 acres in the present town of Danube, Herkimer County, in partnership with Philip Livingston. He also had land interests elsewhere.

[Map of the Lindsay and Livingston Patent in the Town of Danube.]

In August, 1738, Lindsay secured a patent for 1,965 acres of land and Jacob Roseboom, Leonard Gansevoort and Sybrant Van Schaick, on the same day, secured another patent of 1,750 acres alongside that of Lindsay. These lands were mainly situated in the present town of Cherry Valley, Otsego County. When consolidated these tracts became known as the Cherry Valley patent, which with that of Schenectady of 1684, Stone Arabia of 1723, and Burnetsfield (German Flats) of 1725, are the most important in the history of the Mohawk Valley because they represent the location of considerable bodies of settlers in our River's watershed or on its southern border.

On May 24, 1739, John Lindsay obtained a patent for 500 acres on the Cherry Valley Creek, not included in the previous grants. Simms says:

"The headwaters of the Cherry Valley Creek — one of the sources of the Susquehanna — ran through these lands. The Canajoharie Creek also rises near the former creek and flows in an opposite direction to the Mohawk. On the latter stream, only two or three miles from Cherry Valley, is a gorge in which is a waterfall, called on the De Witt map of 1790, by the Indian name of Tu-ay-on-na-ron-wa Fall. But a short distance from this little cascade, Lieut. Matthew Wormuth was killed in 1778, as will be shown. In modern times, this little cascade has been called Te-ka-har-o-wa, but on what authority I cannot say."

Campbell's "Annals of Tryon County," [i.e., William W. Campbell, Annals of Tryon County; or, The Border Warfare of New York, During the Revolution] is a basis for these facts, as it is indeed for most of the subsequent history of Cherry Valley, which was the home of Judge Campbell, the author. The following condensation of Campbell's account is taken fron Simms' "Frontiersmen of New York":

"Thinking a life among the wild cherries would be romantic and pleasant, in 1739, Mr. Lindsay obtained an assignment from his three partners to the largest Cherry Valley tract for himself and Governor Clarke, who, as governor, had first granted it — and they had it surveyed and laid out in lots. In the spring of 1740, Mr. Lindsay removed his family from New York City upon one of the best farms in his Cherry Valley purchase, and the locality became known as Lindsay's Bush. There may have been here and there a settler within a few miles of him; but if any such there were nearer than those contiguous to the Mohawk Valley, a dozen miles distant, it is now unknown. On going into their country and upon their hunting grounds, Mr. Lindsay — as did all similar adventurers — found it necessary to cultivate the friendship of the Indians.

"A family from refined life, isolating itself in the woods among Indians and wild beasts, could reasonably have expected to find only a life of very severe romance, and such an one proved that of the Lindsay family the first season; for in the winter following its arrival, not having made ample provision for its wants, it became straitened for food; and there being a great depth of snow on the ground, its necessities were only to be relieved by the kindness of an Indian, who, upon snow-shoes, went to the Mohawk River settlements and returned with a supply of necessities upon his back. Thus were the whites often befriended in successful homes and colonies by the natives, whose lands and country they were slowly but surely robbing them of.

"In the spring of 1741, Mr. Lindsay made the Rev. Samuel Dunlop, of New York, the gift of a good farm to settle upon his tract, which he accepted, and used his influence to induce others to go with him, among whom were David Ramsey, William Callt, James Campbell and William Dickson — known at the time as Scotch-Irish — in all about thirty souls. Mr. Dunlop, who was from the Emerald Isle, returned thither after a short residence at Cherry Valley, to fulfill a marriage contract, and returning with his wife, he became a permanent settler, and the first minister of that place. He was a liberally educated man, and taught the first grammar school, as believed, to the westward of Albany; and among his pupils were not a few from the Mohawk Valley settlements, some of whom were representative men in the Revolution. Among the settlers making accessions within a few years to the Cherry Valley settlement — so named, because of its numerous wild cherry trees — was John Wells, of New York, an Irishman, who later in life became a justice of the peace, and a very useful citizen. Mr. Lindsay, knowing little about farming, and his family, no doubt, tiring of a forest life, at the end of a few years abandoned his sylvan enterprise and returned to New York. For the credit of the Cherry Valley colonists, I may observe that hardly were they comfortably established ere they erected a school house and a church — both of the pioneer's building material, unhewn logs.

"The Cherry Valley colony increased, though not rapidly, in numbers for the next thirty years, in the latter part of which period, other small settlements were made in its neighborhood. One of them, in the present town of Middlefield, was known at the beginning of the Revolution as Newtown Martin, so called after Peter Martin, an owner of land there. The late Mrs. Matthias Becker, the mother of Mrs. William Haslet, of Fort Plain, and the late Jeremiah Martin, of Glen, were the children of this Martin, who was a Montreal tradesman at the beginning of hostilities, when this settlement was broken up. In 1762, five families settled in Springfield, being those of John Kelley, Richard Ferguson, and James Young, in the eastern part of the town, and those of Gustavus Klumph and Jacob Tygart (Dygert) at the head of the lake. Dygert had two sons, John and Jacob, captured at the destruction of Cherry Valley. The last two were, no doubt, Germans from the Mohawk Valley. A Spalsbury family, and that of Capt. Thomas Davy, are also known to have become residents of the town before the Revolution, and the latter, with others from Springfield, was in the sanguinary field of Oriskany, where he was killed, leaving three sons, James, Jeremiah, and Harvey. Other families are known to have located near Mud Lake, and in other parts of the town, at the period named. Several families are said to have pushed out as far westward as the Little Lakes — now in Warren, though then called Springfield — and it is not improbable that the family of George Knouts was of the number.

"Settlements were also successfully planted several years before the Revolution in Unadilla, Otego, Laurens, Butternuts, Harpersfield, and in what are now several other townships. On the organization of Tryon County, all the settlements named to the west and southwest of Cherry Valley, except Harpersfield, became known as the Old England District; hence we may infer that a majority of those pioneers spoke the English language. Cherry Valley and Harpersfield were embraced in the Canajoharie district."

The history of Cherry Valley in the Revolution is largely covered in that of the Mohawk Valley in subsequent chapters.

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