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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 51: The Mohawk Valley from 1760 to 1774.

[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 630-659 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Contents | Biographies | Illustrations | Maps | Portraits

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History of Sir William Johnson and the Mohawk Valley from the close of the French and Indian war in 1760 to the beginning of the Revolution in 1775 — Sir William a great colonial leader — The Valley's greatest period of building and development — The Tory-Whig party divisions — Sir William Johnson a strong loyalist — 1755-9, Settlement of Johnstown — 1760, First settlement at Rome — Building of the churches of St. George's, Schenectady, 1762; Caughnawaga, Fonda, 1763; Fort Herkimer, 1767; Indian Castle, 1769; Palatine, 1770; St. John's, Johnstown, 1771; Schoharie, 1772-1761, Indian troubles menace the frontier — Johnson's Detroit trip produces temporary calm — Mohawks angered by land frauds — 1762, Building of Johnson Hall; Sir William Johnson moves from Fort Johnson to Johnstown — 1763, Oswegatchie Indian village — 1763, Pontiac's War — 1764, Johnson holds great Indian council at Niagara — Settlement of New Petersburg, (East Schuyler) — Building of General Herkimer home — 1765, Schenectady made a borough — 1766, Kirkland a missionary at Oneida castle — 1766, Johnson holds council with Pontiac at Oswego, ending Pontiac's War — Formation of St. Patrick's Lodge, No. 4, F. and A. M., at Johnson Hall — Building of Guy Park — 1768, Great treaty of Fort Stanwix with Six Nations, settling Iroquois boundary line — 1772, Formation of Tryon County — Building of Johnstown court house and jail — 1773, First settlement of Utica — First settlement of Ephratah — 1774, Death of Sir William Johnson — 1774, Formation of St. John's Lodge, F. and A. M., No. 6, at Schenectady — 1774, August 27, formation of Palatine District Committee of Safety.

The story of the Mohawk Valley, from 1760 to 1775, covers the relatively greatest period of development in our three hundred years of growth as a civilized region.

The population of Albany County, in 1756, was 14,805 whites and 2,656 blacks, a total of 17,424. Figuring the Mohawk Valley's population as one-third that of Albany County would give a total of about 5,500 in our Valley in 1756. The population of the Province of New York was then 96,765, with Albany County having the largest population of any of the ten counties of the Province. This population of the Mohawk Valley (5,500 in 1756) had been greatly depleted at the end of the Seven Years war in 1760.

In 1771, the population of Albany County had increased to 42,706, or two-and-one-half times that of 1756. The population of the Mohawk Valley probably formed one-third of that of Albany County and may have been about 14,000 in 1771. The population of the Province of New York was 168,007 in 1771.

The rapid increase of population continued up to 1775 in Albany County and the Mohawk Valley, which had been set off from Albany County and formed part of Tryon County in 1772. It is probable that, by the year 1775, the population of the Mohawk Valley had grown to over 20,000 people, of whom over 1,000 were negro slaves. This estimate does not include the Indian population which was probably not much more than 2,000, as the Mohawks were then depleted in numbers, and only a few Oneidas lived within the limits of the Mohawk watershed, while the number of the Schoharies was then lessening. The Mohawks probably numbered only 500 or 600 people in 1775. Frothingham estimated the population of Tryon County to be 10,000 at its formation in 1772, which is probably low. Including present Schenectady County and the Mohawk River outlet section, the Mohawk Valley white population must have numbered 20,000 or more at the outbreak of the Revolution, while that of the Province of New York must have been close to 200,000.

People who had fled from their homes, on the exposed frontier of the Mohawk Valley returned to them at the end of the French war. Newcomers came in and cleared land for themselves. Most of the new settlers were Americans of Holland Dutch descent from the Hudson River and New Jersey, with a number of New Englanders and Germans and a considerable proportion of Scotch and Irish and a few people of French descent. Some of the settlers of this period also came directly into the Mohawk Valley from Great Britain, Holland and Germany.

In 1770, Sir William added to the Scotch population by locating Scotch Highland families of 400 people on his baronial estate about and to the north of Johnstown. They became the chief Tory element in the Mohawk Valley and the greater part of them moved to Canada at the beginning of the Revolution.

Only the western section of the Mohawk Valley comprised in German Flats, suffered from the devastation of the Seven Years war, but that region had been frightfully ravaged and desolated. The two French-Indian raids of 1757 and 1758 had completely destroyed the Palatine settlements in the Upper Mohawk Valley region, now comprised in the Mohawk River section of Herkimer County.

Following the erection of Fort Stanwix in 1758, the surviving settlers again began to erect houses, barns and mills on the German Flats but it was well on toward the early years of the Revolution before the ravages of the French and Indian war had been repaired in this fertile and picturesque Mohawk River section.

In these fruitful years, preceding the War of Independence, there was general building activity, land clearing and a general bustle and active, robust life in all the settled regions of the Mohawk Valley. Five important Valley churches, now standing, were erected during the last years of the Colonial period — 1760-1774. With the dates of their erection, they are — St. George's Protestant Episcopal Church of Schenectady, stone, 1762; Caughnawaga (Fonda) Reformed Dutch, 1763; Fort Herkimer Reformed Dutch Church, stone, 1767; Indian Castle Mohawk Mission Chapel, 1769; Palatine Lutheran Church, 1770; Schoharie Reformed Dutch Church, 1772. Besides these, a number of Valley houses were built, which were considered large mansions for that period. The chief of these were — Johnson Hall, frame, Johnstown, 1762; General Herkimer Home, brick, Danube, Herkimer County, 1764; Guy Park, stone, Amsterdam, 1766; Jelles Fonda house, brick, Schenck's Hollow, Montgomery County (burned in the Revolution). The majority of the houses, which were erected during this and former periods in the Mohawk Valley west of the present Schenectady County line, were burned by enemy raiding parties during the Revolution.

The time, from 1760 to 1775, was one of the greatest development periods the Mohawk Valley has ever witnessed. Churches, school houses, mills, taverns, stores, shops, houses and barns were erected in great numbers. River traffic was brisk and the highways were developed and improved. The Revolution was later to eliminate practically all of this great material progress, leaving the few survivors practically to recreate civilization along the Mohawk at the end of this terrible scourge of diabolical devastation.

This pre-Revolutionary time was one not only of material growth, but also one in which the two forces which caused the Revolution developed in acute opposition to each other. As elsewhere in the English Colonies, the people of the Mohawk Valley were violently stirred by the principles and events which brought on the war. Although our Valley was a great patriot, or Whig, stronghold, still there was much Loyalist, or Tory, sentiment. Families were divided and much bitter feeling prevailed along the Mohawk and Schoharie long before the first gun of the Revolution was fired.

October 26th, 1760, George III came to the throne of England. His ministers soon undertook to enforce obnoxious and repressive trade laws which dated from the Navigation Act of 1651, the main object of which was to force the American Colonists to buy and sell only among themselves or in England. These laws had been allowed to lapse, by force of American public opinion. Upon opposition to them by the people of Boston, so-called "writs of assistance" were issued, which were virtually blanket search warrants enabling customs officers to go over a citizen's premises in a search for smuggled goods. An English army was then sent to America, with the avowed object of its protection from attack but, in reality, to enforce the hated laws. The Colonists were informed that taxes would be levied on them for the support of its unwanted and detested foreign army. This brought out the cry of "No taxation without representation." The Mohawk Valley people were soon divided into Whigs and Tories. The uncompromising struggle between the despotic stupidity of George the Third and his arrogant ministry and the spirit of American liberty was soon on in full force. In this violent turmoil and conflict of ideas and opinions, Sir William Johnson remained a firm bulwark of the English Crown and the Loyalist cause. His letters of the period absolutely contradict the modern supposition that he might have sided with the Colonies had he lived until the actual beginning of warfare.

Great rejoicing filled the Colonies at the final conquest of New France in 1760. This was particularly marked in the Mohawk Valley, which, for many years of the preceding century, had been open to attack from the French and Indians of Canada. In the hundred years prior to the fall of Montreal, there had been twenty-eight years of actual warfare with New France and many other years when scalping parties committed depredations, although the rival powers had been nominally at peace. The red Mohawks and the white militiamen of the Valley had borne their full share of conflict and our long, narrow mountain pass had enabled Amherst to execute his successful expedition against Montreal. Indeed, it is a historical fact that Canada was conquered through the Mohawk Valley.

No man in all America emerged from this dreadful conflict with higher honors than Sir William Johnson. His keen intellect, boundless energy, and masterful diplomacy had held the Six Nations in the covenant chain of friendship, through the first five years of almost constant English disaster, while the same qualities enabled him to take full advantage of the turn of the tide and the last two years of English success.

Amherst, Wolfe, Johnson and Washington are outstanding figures of the great French war. It is the writer's opinion that, aside from the two British commanders, Johnson is the greatest figure of the closing years of the conflict and the succeeding interval lasting until the beginning of the Revolution. Johnson's services in holding the Iroquois in allegiance or neutrality, through the seven years of warfare was one of the main causes of final English success. Sir William certainly was one of the most powerful influences in the eventual making of North America into an English-speaking continent.

Sir William Johnson's life subsequent to the French and Indian war, was of great value and beneficial effect on Mohawk Valley life and progress. His greatest works of this period were first, his final settlement and treaty, made with Pontiac in 1766, after the latter's western warfare; second, his founding of Johnstown in 1759-62; third, his creation of Tryon County, which was set off entirely through his influence. Through all this time, Johnson may properly be considered New York's first citizen, in spite of the general neglect by most historians of the potency and value of the life and works of Sir William. Many chroniclers pay far more attention to Johnson's real or fictitious amours and the fact that he was not legally married to Molly Brant than they do to his epoch-making deeds, with their world-wide influence. His fame has suffered at the hands of certain Valley historians from the fact that his son, Sir John Johnson, conducted several bloody raids through the Mohawk Valley during the Revolution. The name of Johnson became despised hereabouts on that account and, among the ignorant, the deeds of the son are often credited to the illustrious father.

During this constructive period of Mohawk Valley history, the life and widespread activities of Sir William Johnson are considered in connection with the general annals of the Valley. More detailed mention of Sir William's new baronial seat of Johnson Hall and his founding of Johnstown, together with mention of his children, John, Anna, and Mary, their marriages and homes, enter into a separate chapter covering these subjects.

In 1760, Johannes Roof made the first settlement within the borders of present Oneida County, locating at Fort Stanwix, on the present site of Rome, where he cleared land and built a farm house and barns, as well as working as a carter on the Fort Stanwix portage. There had been a military post there, garrisoned by British and American soldiers, from a period as far back as 1728, but Roof made the first settlement as a farmer. He was compelled to leave his home on the approach of St. Leger's army in 1777, when his buildings were burned. He then went to Canajoharie and bought Schremling's tavern. In 1760, Gose Van Alstine built the first mill on Canajoharie Creek. Sir William Johnson, in 1760, built a fishing lodge at Northampton on the Sacandaga, which he called Fish House.

Far from retiring to a quiet and peaceful life at the end of his strenuous exertions during the French and Indian war, Sir William Johnson's duties as Colonial Indian Commissioner now kept him in the saddle a great part of the time. The frontiersmen had expected an end to the menace of Indian forays at the close of the war with Canada, but a new danger now confronted the Colonies. Prior to the victory over New France, the Canadian Indians, the Six Nations and the Indians of the Northwest occupied a commanding position in every military situation. The English and French then had made strenuous efforts to gain or retain their friendship. Now the Indians of Northeastern America began to realize their inevitable fate. They were generally embittered at the white man. It only needed leadership to make them rise against the frontiersmen throughout the Colonies. Again the borders were in danger and this was particularly true of the Mohawk Valley. The Indians, with the exception of the Six Nations, generally were inimical to the English. Even the Mohawks were embittered by the land frauds from which they had suffered. Practically all their Mohawk Valley domain had been taken away from them. The Indian towns were also full of rapacious white traders and rum sellers, many of whom were hated by the red men.

A plot of the Senecas to unite all the Indians against the English was revealed to Sir William Johnson early in 1761. At that time the Cherokees had already started war on the Georgia and Carolina frontiers. Johnson decided to make a journey to Detroit to placate the Indians and investigate the fortifications and trade of the Great Lakes.

On July 1, 1761, he met the Mohawks at Fort Johnson and, on July 5th, he started for Detroit with 182 medals given him by General Amherst which were to be presented to the red men who had accompanied the British-American army to Montreal in 1760. On this journey, Johnson met and conferred with the Oneidas, Chippewas, Wyandots, Senecas, Ottawas and other Indians, besides visiting over ten forts and posts. At Detroit, Johnson made a treaty of peace in a great council with the Indians. Sir William Johnson considered the results of the journey satisfactory, but it only postponed the Indian trouble which broke out as Pontiac's war, in 1763.

The Colonial troubles and the oppression of the Colonies by England now started in motion the forces which eventually caused the American Revolution. Massachusetts was on fire with anger against the "writs of assistance" which were considered a violation of the rights of citizens and the sanctity of their homes and property. The people of New York were enraged also at the appointment of Benjamin Pratt of Massachusetts to the seat in the Governor's council made vacant by the death of Governor De Lancey. Cadwallader Colden now became Lieutenant-Governor and Major General Monckton, Governor. The course of events gradually tended toward the complete break between England and America, which came in 1776.

From February 1st to 8th, 1762, Sir William Johnson held a council with sachems of the Onondagas, Oneidas, Tuscaroras and Mohawks. The first Indian council, at the new baronial seat of Johnson Hall, was one held there with the Six Nations which lasted from April 21st to 28th, 1762. In this year, George Klock was arraigned for land frauds which he had perpetrated on the Mohawks. He was brought to justice through the efforts of Sir William. The Mohawks, at this time, had but few lands left in the Valley, having given them away or sold them for comparatively trifling sums during the century of the white man's occupancy of the Mohawk Valley, since the settlement of Schenectady in 1661.

On July 7, 1762, Johnson attended the Provincial Council and, on July 31, he ordered troops to Fort Herkimer at German Flats.

[Photo: St. George's Church, Schenectady, 1762.]

The building of St. George's Church at Schenectady, and of the Fort Herkimer Reformed Church had been suspended because of the French and Indian, or Seven Years' war. The construction of these historically important churches was now resumed. St. George's Protestant Episcopal Church of Schenectady was organized as a society in 1735 and met for a period in the Dutch Church, through the courtesy of that organization. The foundation of the present church edifice was laid in 1759 by the Rev. Henry Barclay, rector. Sir William Johnson was a liberal contributor toward its erection and had a pew with a canopy for his particular use. Services began in 1762. It is the next oldest Episcopal Church now standing in New York State, being antedated only by the Fishkill (Beacon) Episcopal Church, built in 1761. Although St. George's date of completion is given as 1762, it was reported to "be finishing" in 1769. St. George's is the fourth oldest church structure in New York State and the oldest church in the Mohawk Valley. The Sleepy Hollow (Tarrytown) Reformed Church (built before 1699), the Fishkill Reformed (1760), Fishkill Episcopal (1761) and St. George's (1762) rank in the order named, in point of age. The first resident pastor was Rev. William Andrews, who preached his first sermon here January 6th, 1771. During the Revolution its rector, the Rev. Mr. Stuart was a Royalist and was sent within the British lines. The building was used for a period as a barracks by the Continental troops.

The church has been enlarged to about four times the size of the original structure, which, however, has been left unchanged. St. George's is an attractive example of Colonial architecture, and with its old graveyard, is one of Schenectady's most picturesque Colonial features.

There is a constant and unsettled controversy between the people of St. George's Church of Schenectady and those of the Fort Herkimer Reformed Church as to which one of the two churches was first completed and ready for services, and which one is, therefore, the oldest church in the Mohawk Valley.

In 1763 the famous old Caughnawaga stone Reformed Church was erected in the present Caughnawaga section of Fonda village. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1868, after over a century of service. A marker, erected by the Caughnawaga Chapter of the D. A. R., now marks the site.

On April 11, 1763, the principal officers of the township of Schenectady petitioned the Governor and Council for a city or borough charter. The appeal was signed by John Fisher, John Glen Jr., Isaac Vrooman, Justices; B. Vrooman, Minister of the Gospel; Jacobus Van Slyk, Collector; and Joseph R. Yates, Town Mayor. The officials and people of Albany immediately attempted to prevent the granting of such a charter to Schenectady, thinking that it would hurt the interests of Albany.

An unusual addition to the population of the Mohawk Valley was that of 400 Oswegatchie Indians in 1763.

A village of 3,000 Catholic Oswegatchie Indians was located at La Presentation (Ogdensburg) in 1748, controlled by Father Picquet. In 1763, all but 400 died of smallpox, a disease most fatal to Indians. Sir William Johnson settled the survivors of the Oswegatchie tribe, probably where the section of Palatine called McKinley is now located. The neighborhood has since been locally called Swe-gau-chy. This locality is 1 1/4 miles north of the Turnpike, opposite Sprakers. Following the turmoil of the Revolution (1775-1783) the remnant of the once powerful Oswegatchie tribe was settled at the St. Regis reservation on the St. Lawrence.

In the days of the Oswegatchie (McKinley) village (1763-1775), the Mohawks and Oswegatchies held a great feast under the Big Nose. A great mass of rocks became dislodged and fell upon the savage band of merrymakers, killing many.

An Indian conspiracy to destroy the English settlements now took form in Pontiac's war, which broke out in June, 1763. Nine British frontier posts were taken and many settlers were slain by the Indian forces under the remarkable Indian leader, Pontiac. The whole western frontier was threatened. Fort Detroit was besieged for a year, but finally relieved. Colonel Bouquet saved Fort Pitt and Fort Niagara was not attacked. Sir William Johnson's friendship with the Mohawks saved the Mohawk Valley frontier from attack, while his diplomacy and energy kept all the Six Nations, except the Senecas, from going over to the enemy. For four years, Johnson was active in combating the Indian alliance under Pontiac and the war was ended by his final treaty with the Indian leader at Oswego in 1765.

On April 4th, 1763, Johnson sought, through the Lords of Trade, a patent to Indian lands in the district of Canajoharie. At this time he was considering Indian complaints against alleged frauds which had deprived them of their lands. Johnson also opposed the entrance of Connecticut settlers into the Wyoming Valley, the occupation of which had strong opposition from the Indians. May 26-27, Sir William held a conference with the Six Nations and, on June 15th, he held an Indian Council at German Flats. On May 21st, he was visited at Johnson Hall by 139 Indian sachems and warriors.

On January 20, 1764, Johnson advised the abolition of Jesuit missions. On February 9, he sent a war party against Canisteo, and, on April 3rd, he framed a preliminary treaty with the Senecas, who had at first joined Pontiac's forces. April 28th, Johnson sent an Indian party to cooperate with Colonel Bradstreet.

From July 8th to August 6th, 1764, Sir,William Johnson was at Fort Niagara where he held a great council with over 2,000 Indians who covered the entire cleared plain south of the fortress. In its effects, this was one of the most important Indian councils ever held in America. Sir William Johnson here made peace treaties with the Senecas and Hurons and renewed the covenant chain of friendship with all the other nations present, chief among which were the Ottawas, Chippewas, Nipissings, Menominees and Chenussios. This great treaty won over some of Pontiac's chief supporters and broke up the Indian insurrection.

Of this Niagara council and Johnson's journey home, Stone writes:

"The Baronet set out on his return the sixth of August. The passage down Wood Creek from Oneida Lake was attended with much difficulty. The creek was so low that staunch boats were unable to come up, and the Baronet's thigh not allowing him to ride, he was forced to make the rest of his journey in a leaky boat, with no covering, and exposed to a pelting rain during the whole trip. He, however, reached Johnson Hall on the nineteenth of August, and immediately inserted in the public prints, for the benefit of their relatives, a description of all the prisoners who had been rescued by him from captivity. The peace thus made with the Indians, diffused general joy throughout the province; and Lieutenant-Governor Colden, in his opening message on the fourth of September, failed not to congratulate the assembly upon the peace lately concluded at Niagara, 'through the ability, experience, and zealous efforts of Sir William Johnson'."

In 1764, Nicholas Herkimer built a fine brick house on 500 acres of land given to him in 1760 by his father, Johan Jost Herkimer. It was situated in the present town of Danube, Herkimer County, and the land was part of the Fall Hill patent of 2,324 acres, granted to Johan Jost Herkimer and his son Hendrick in 1752. About 1754 Nicholas Herkimer moved to Fall Hill and probably built a log house in which he lived until he completed his brick house in 1764. This is considered one of the finest Colonial mansions along the Mohawk River, rivaling Fort Johnson and Johnson Hall. Barns and slave quarters were built to the rear or south of the Herkimer house, as the later General employed a score of slaves.

Herkimer was a close friend of Sir William Johnson and a member of St. Patrick's Lodge, No. 4, F. & A. M. of Johnstown, joining in 1766, the year of its inauguration. Herkimer and Joseph Brant, the Mohawk chief, were also warm friends and neighbors prior to the Revolution. Brant lived at present Indian Castle, about three miles east of Herkimer's home.

"The Home and Name of General Herkimer" has the following concerning the General Herkimer Home:

Around it cluster memories of men like Johnson, Brant and Kirkland, who here conferred with the homestead owner. Joseph Brant was a close friend of Herkimer and Samuel Kirkland, the famous missionary among the Iroquois, about 1770, lived here, with Herkimer, and a son of Kirkland, later president of Harvard College, was born in the General's house. We can imagine the plans that were here laid for valley and Indian civilization and advancement and which were discussed between these two valley leaders of the day — plans that were rudely shattered by the outbreak of war in 1775. The Herkimer house was a center of American patriotism from the time of the first patriotic meeting in Palatine in 1774 until the General's death in 1777. Nicholas Herkimer, as captain of militia, had served at Fort Herkimer in the French war, his detachment driving off an attack of the enemy in 1758. As chairman, for a time, of the Tryon County Committee of Safety and Chief Colonel of the Valley Militia, Nicholas Herkimer made his Danube residence a center and stronghold of American patriotic activity.

The General Herkimer Home is located on the south river shore, about three miles east of the city of Little Falls and in full view of travelers on the New York Central Railroad, the Mohawk Turnpike and the Barge Canal. The West Shore Railroad passes immediately in front of the house. The Herkimer Home, as originally built, now stands in a State park of 160 acres and is managed by a commission of Mohawk Valley citizens appointed by the Governor. It holds important historical collections and is open to the public free of admission. The handsome Colonial brick house and tall monument marking the General's grave, make the General Herkimer Home one of our Valley's most famous landmarks.

In 1764, a settlement of Germans was started by Peter Hasenclever, at present East Schuyler, Herkimer County, a mile west of the present North Frankfort Central station. About 30 log houses and a blockhouse were erected and the place was called New Petersburg. It was the most western hamlet on the Mohawk at the beginning of the Revolution, during the early years of which it was abandoned and its buildings were destroyed by enemy raids. The township opposite Frankfort is called Schuyler, in honor of the Revolutionary American Major General Philip Schuyler, who held large properties in it. The later hamlet of Schuyler lies about a mile west of East Schuyler. The Hasenclever Hills, forming the western lower divide of the West Canada Creek Valley, take their name from Peter Hasenclever, the original settler at the foot of their southern slopes.

In a letter, under date of December 11, 1764, Sir William Johnson denounced the opposition to the taxation of the Colonies. In spite of the Baronet's political differences with the Whigs who were in the majority in the Mohawk Valley, he retained his popularity with them up to the end of his life. His son, Sir John, however, was hated for his attitude of aristocratic superiority over his Valley fellow citizens.

One of the great figures of our Revolutionary history entered the Mohawk Valley in 1765. This was Rev. Samuel Kirkland who was born in Norwich, Conn., in 1744. He learned the Mohawk language in the Indian school of Dr. Wheelock. Kirkland first went through the Mohawk Valley in 1765 on his way to act as a missionary to the Senecas. His life was threatened there and he then journeyed to Oneida Castle, in 1766, and ministered to the Oneidas until his death in 1808. When the Mohawks left our Valley in 1775 and went, with Col. Guy Johnson, to join the British forces, Kirkland kept the Oneidas friendly to the American cause. The Oneida chief, Skenandoa, became the fast friend of Kirkland and this sachem, together with a number of the Oneidas, fought with the American armies in the Mohawk Valley during the Revolution. Kirkland sometimes preached to the Mohawks in the Indian Castle mission church and, as previously stated, resided for a time in the Valley at the home of General Herkimer. After the Revolution, Kirkland founded Hamilton Academy at Clinton in 1793, for the education of the Oneida Indian youths and the white youths of the surrounding country. This school became Hamilton College in 1812, four years after Kirkland's death.

On October 23, 1765, Lieutenant-Governor Cadwallader Colden granted the petition, made in 1763, by the Village of Schenectady, asking for a borough or city charter, by creating Schenectady into a borough. In 1764, Albany attempted to defeat this charter as inimical to its city and trade interests. This borough charter was the general equivalent of a village charter of the present day, although Schenectady township seemed to fall also within its jurisdiction.

On April 29, 1765, Johnson had a council with the Six Nations at German Flats, when the Iroquois offered to give up all their lands east and south of the Ohio to the English for a fair consideration. The Confederates were angered because the whites continued to settle on what they considered part of their conquered empire. Their offer was not accepted until the great council of 1768 at Fort Stanwix. On May 15, 1765, Sir William's Indian deputy, Colonel George Croghan, set out for the Illinois country by order of the baronet.

On May 23, 1766, Sir William Johnson was constituted Worshipful Master of St. Patrick's Lodge, F. & A. M., No. 4 of Johnson Hall, which had been recently organized. Many of the leading men of the Mohawk Valley belonged to the lodge which met in an upper room of Johnson Hall.

[Photo: Guy Park, 1766.]

In this year, Johnson built Guy Park at present Amsterdam for his daughter Mary, or Polly, Johnson. On July 10, 1766, Sir William Johnson recommended to the Lords of Trade the colonization of the Illinois country, to which Johnson had sent his deputy agent, Colonel George Croghan, in the previous year.

Johnson held a great council with Pontiac and other western sachems at Oswego, July 23-31, 1766, where a treaty of peace was signed which marked the conclusion of Pontiac's bloody Indian uprising. Johnson returned to Johnson Hall on August 5, 1766, and wrote, "Everything is settled to my entire satisfaction with Pontiac and the western chiefs, on whose fidelity I think I can safely trust." Pontiac kept his faith with Johnson. In 1769, he was assassinated by an Indian who had been bribed to do the foul act by an English trader.

The British Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765. It was a virtual tax upon the Colonists by means of stamps attached to legal and other documents. This obnoxious measure of King George and his ministry aroused immediate and fierce opposition in the Colonies. A congress of representatives from nine Colonies, comprising some of the ablest Americans of the day, was held in New York to consider means of resistance to this measure. The tempest was temporarily quieted by the repeal of the act in 1766, which caused great rejoicing in the Colonies. The Sons of Liberty appeared on the American political scene in 1765. The opponents of the Royal governors had been called "Sons of Liberty" as early as the famous Zenger "liberty of the press" trial in 1735. They now appeared as the chief active opponents of the Stamp Act. A branch of the Sons of Liberty was formed in Albany in 1766, and its famous flag is now in the collection of the Schenectady [County] Historical Society. It is probable that a number of Mohawk Valley patriots were members of the Albany Sons of Liberty, which Society probably embraced members from all parts of Albany County of which the Mohawk Valley then formed a considerable part.

[Photo: Albany Sons of Liberty Flag.]

In Johnson's correspondence of 1765-1766, he upheld the Stamp Act and the Royal prerogative; sustained the British connection; and censured the so-called excesses of the Whig party. On October 4, 1766, Johnson purchased 40,000 acres of land of the Oneidas.

The Fort Herkimer Reformed Church of stone was completed in 1767, after thirty years of effort to build a church edifice there. Its original dimensions were 48 by 58 feet and 17 feet high, with a conical Dutch steeple typical of the Reformed Dutch churches of that day. The entrance was then on the north side. Johan Jost Herkimer, father of General Nicholas Herkimer, was the chief spirit in the construction of this historic building, as well as its builder. The church was stockaded in 1776 and became the famous Fort Herkimer of the Revolution.

People all up and down the Valley subscribed to the building of the Fort Herkimer Reformed Church. The pastors of the Fort Herkimer Church, from its organization, about 1723, were: Rev. Johan Peter Ehle, 1725-1733; Rev. Johannes Schuyler, 1733-1746; Rev. George Michael Weiss, 1746-1752; Rev. Abraham Rosenkrantz, 1752-1796. The first two pastors, Ehle and Schuyler, served all the Schoharie River and Mohawk River Reformed Church societies. From 1723 to the end of the pastorate of Rev. John F. Spinner in 1848 (165 years), the present Fort Herkimer and Herkimer churches had a dual pastorate. Dominie Rosenkrantz settled near Fall Hill about 1765 and, after 1769, seems to have served the present Herkimer and Fort Herkimer churches exclusively. Prior to this, like all the Reformed ministers of the Mohawk Valley, he acted as a missionary preacher serving the Mohawk and Schoharie River churches as needed.

On May 10, 1767, Sir William Johnson held a council with the Six Nations at German Flats. On July 26, the Lords of Trade approved the so-called Canajoharie grant, more generally known as the Royal Grant, a tract of 60,000 acres west of East Canada Creek and north of Fall Hill. This is said to have been the land which figured in the celebrated "dream story" contest between Johnson and King Hendrick which has been previously recounted.

The British government spoiled all the good feeling produced by its repeal of the Stamp act in 1766, when Parliament passed the Townshend act of 1767, levying a tariff duty on paper, painter's colors, lead and tea. Two British regiments were sent to Boston to aid in enforcing the collection of these duties, which act aroused the usual storm of popular indignation and opposition throughout the Colonies. All of these unjust measures of the British Crown formed subjects of violent discussion in the Mohawk Valley, as elsewhere in English North America.

In February, 1768, Sir William Johnson was made Brigadier-General of the militia of the Northern District of the Province of New York. The district covered all the territory of the Province north of the Highlands, including Albany County and its Mohawk Valley section.

From March 4th to 12th, 1768, Sir William Johnson held a council with the Six Nations, the Cherokees and Canadian Indians at Johnson Hall. They were incensed at the recent outrages and Indian murders committed by the frontiersmen of the western border, and their settlement on lands claimed by the Six Nations. The Senecas threatened war. An Indian orator said: "When our young men wish to go hunting in our country, they find it covered with fences, so that they are weary crossing them; neither can they get venison to eat or bark to make huts, for the beasts are run away and the trees are cut down" — all of which was considerable of an exaggeration, as the Seneca country was then an almost complete wilderness.

The Six Nations had offered to sell their western lands at the council of 1765 and the English government now determined to fix a boundary between the Indian country of the Six Nations and other tribes, and the English Colonies. The March council terminated satisfactorily, with the distribution of lavish presents and the chiefs departed for home after promising to aid later in the settlement of the boundary. A large number of Indians had been present at this council which was held outdoors in the snow in raw March weather. Johnson was taken violently ill with a severe cold and was confined to his room for several weeks. Late in April he went to the seashore at the advice of his physician. The indications are that this was the beginning of a serious breakdown in Sir William's health.

In August, 1768, Johnson settled the Kayaderosseras land dispute with the Mohawks, which had been pending for some time. In 1768, Johnson had an improved road built from Johnstown to Stone Arabia, a distance of about twelve miles. This was one of the many improvements with which Johnson was constantly occupied in Johnstown, its neighborhood and the Mohawk Valley at large.

In 1703, Samson Shelton Broughton and twelve others obtained from Governor Cornbury a license to purchase a tract of land of the Indians, which was later known as the Kayaderosseras tract or patent. The Mohawks then sold what they considered to be enough land "to make a small farm". In 1708, a patent from the Crown, of land north of the Mohawk and west of the Hudson, to the extent of 700,000 acres, was granted to these thirteen proprietors, the grant being based on the Indian sale. The patent was so evidently fraudulent that the proprietors hesitated to have it surveyed for fear of the opposition of the Mohawks. In 1764, the patentees asserted their claim by settlement. The Mohawks, through Chief Abraham, brother of King Hendrick, then demanded of Johnson that the patent be vacated. Sir William took up their cause and, in spite of great opposition and delay, pressed the matter upon the Governor's attention. Governor Moore then came into the Mohawk Valley and called a council of the Mohawks which broke up in a dispute and without result. On August 5th, at a council, Johnson finally settled the question to the satisfaction of both parties.

The Indian boundary question now pressed upon Johnson, as Indian agent, particularly as he had been authorized by the British government to settle the question. The old Ohio company grant was in dispute and Governor Franklin of New Jersey wished to form a company to settle the present Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee region. Johnson accordingly called a council of the Six Nations, to meet at Fort Stanwix on September 20th, 1768.

"On the nineteenth of September, Sir William, with his three deputies, Colonel Guy Johnson, Colonel Daniel Claus and Colonel George Croghan, accompanied by Governor Franklin of New Jersey, arrived at Fort Stanwix, bringing with them twenty large batteaux, loaded with such presents as were best suited to propitiate the Indians. On their arrival, the party found the Virginia commissioners awaiting them; and, on the following day, Lieutenant-Governor Penn, with the commissioners from Pennsylvania, also arrived." — Stone. The Indians delayed in coming, only 800 being present by October 1st. These were numerous enough to consume nearly all the provisions before the laggards arrived. By the 24th of October, 3,200 Indians had reached Fort Stanwix and one of the largest and most important Indian councils ever held in America was opened that day by Sir William Johnson.

On the 5th of November, 1768, Johnson took deed to all the lands of the Six Nations south of the settled boundary line and paid the Six Nations $10,000 for their interests. The boundary as adjusted ran from the mouth of the Tennessee, followed the Ohio and Allegheny rivers to Kittaniny and from there to the west branch of the Susquehanna to the east branch of the Susquehanna northeastward to the junction, near Oneida Lake, of Canada and Wood creeks, its northern boundary. To the north of this line lay the land of the Six Nations. South of it, they ceded their interests to the Crown. Thus did the Iroquois barter away their birthright.

The boundary line passed through present Oneida County in a generally northerly direction. It is located today by a stone marker on College Hill west of Clinton. This boundary embraced, in the Indian country, lands claimed by New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia. Instead of settling the question, the Fort Stanwix treaty of 1768 and the placing of the territory of the Six Nations in the Quebec provincial lands in 1774, formed one of the causes of that intense feeling and opposition in the Colonies which brought on the Revolution. As the Six Nations disliked British forts in their territory and had protested against them, the gates of Fort Stanwix were closed after the famous council of 1768 and it was not used as a military post until the Americans occupied it in 1776, eight years later. Doubtless, river men, who passed across the portage, used it as a refuge in the intervening years.

Sir William Johnson evidently considered that the best solution had been made of a difficult problem by the Fort Stanwix treaty. On January 3, 1769, he was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. On April 12, he was raised to the Sublime Degree of Perfection, Scottish Rite, and soon thereafter was elected Master of Ineffable Lodge, A. A. S. R., of Albany. Johnson's Canajoharie patent was confirmed in June, 1769. On July 12, Sir William held a council with the Six Nations at Onondaga.

On March 20th, 1770, Johnson was elected a trustee of Queens (now Rutgers) College. On March 22nd, he attempted to obtain the release of Indian goods held by the Sons of Liberty. On March 23rd, Sir William suggested a department for forest preservation. On May 8th, Johnson's Charlotte River patent was confirmed. From July 16th to the 23rd, Sir William held a council with the Six Nations, Cherokees and Canadian Indians at German Flats. On December 6, 1770, Sir William Johnson declined re-election as Master of St. Patrick's Lodge of Johnstown and was succeeded by Colonel Guy Johnson.

In 1769 Rev. Abraham Rosenkrantz, who had been pastor since 1752 of the Stone Arabia, Fort Herkimer and other Reformed churches of the Mohawk Valley, removed to Fall Hill and took up the pastorate of the German Flats (Herkimer) and Fort Herkimer Reformed churches, to which he gave his exclusive time. Dominie Rosencrantz served this pastorate until his death in 1796. He married Anna. a sister of General Nicholas Herkimer, but his sympathies were with the Loyalist cause, although he was not actively a Tory.

[Photos: Indian Castle Church.]

Sir William Johnson, in 1769, ordered the erection of a frame mission chapel at the Upper, or Canajoharie, Castle of the Mohawks, at present Indian Castle in the town of Danube, Herkimer County. Samuel Clyde of Cherry Valley had charge of its construction. It was built on land belonging to Joseph Brant, the celebrated Mohawk chief and brother of Molly Brant, housekeeper of Johnson. On June 17th, 1770, Sir William Johnson presented this little church to the Mohawks. The building, now known simply as the Indian Castle Church, is still standing, seemingly as good as the day it was built. The steeple is the only part which has been altered.

[Photo: Palatine Church, 1770.]

The Palatine Evangelical Lutheran Church edifice at Palatine is the oldest church building now standing within the limits of Montgomery and Fulton counties. It also was the first church structure in the Palatine or Canajoharie districts to be fittingly built of a permanent material such as the stone of which it is constructed. Others were mostly of clapboards at that time. It was constructed, in 1770, of Palatine limestone, by the generous donations of a few individuals. Peter Wagner and Andrew Reber contributed 100 pounds each. Johannes Hess and six Nellises, namely, William Jr., Andrew, Johannes, Henry, Christian and David each gave 60 pounds, while the building of the spire, which seems to have been an after consideration, was paid for by the Nellis family exclusively. This church, unlike most others in the Valley, was not destroyed by the British raiders of the Revolution, for the reason, it is supposed, of the Tory proclivities of one or more of the Nellis family. It remained, as originally built, for a century, when it was remodeled and repaired at a cost of $4,000. The old time character of its handsome Colonial interior was then destroyed and the present ugly, barren interior was substituted. The entrance then was changed from the east to the south side of the building. The Palatine stone church is one of the most famous landmarks on the Mohawk Turnpike. Its 100th, 125th and 150th anniversaries have been the occasion of appropriate and important celebrations.

In 1770, an improved road was built from Johnstown to Caughnawaga, present Fonda.

Boston and New York continued to be the hotbeds of opposition to British oppression. The Whig feeling in the Province of New York was rendered doubly acute by the fact that the Whigs and Tories were nearly equal in number. However, the Mohawk Valley was strongly patriotic. There was a wild riot in New York City on January 18, 1770, between citizens and British redcoats. In Boston, on March 5, 1770, a taunting crowd surrounded British soldiers who fired on the people and killed and wounded several of the citizens. This is known as the "Boston Massacre" and it aroused the people of Boston to a fury of resentment, hatred and revenge. It affected the entire country, only in a lesser degree. To prevent actual warfare, the British troops were removed from the city to an island in Boston harbor.

In 1771 St. John's Episcopal Church of stone was built at Johnstown on the site of the present St. John's Church. It took the place of the "small and very ill built church" of 1761, which, stood on the site of the present Colonial cemetery. The church of 1771 was burned in 1836, when the present one was erected. More extended mention is made of this historic church in the chapter relating to the founding of Johnstown. Rev. Richard Mosely was the first pastor, arriving in 1772.

In 1772 the Schoharie Reformed Dutch Church was built near present Schoharie village where the Palatines made a settlement known as Brunadorf in 1712. Shortly after their location here the Palatines built a wooden church on a knoll a short distance to the east of the present Old Stone Fort and near the west bank of the Schoharie River. Rev. Johannes Schuyler officiated in the old and new churches, from 1733 to 1773, one of the longest pastorates on record in the Schoharie Valley. He was also a dominie who preached in the Mohawk River churches at different periods. The stones in the walls of the Old Stone Church are of hard Schoharie limestone and many of them bear the names of the congregation who furnished them to the building as souvenirs of their financial support in its erection. Some of these names are beautifully chiseled. The Schoharie Reformed Church was stockaded and fortified in 1777 and became the Lower Schoharie Fort of the Revolution. It is now known as the Old Stone Fort and is filled with Colonial and Revolutionary relics of the Schoharie Valley. Here are monuments to Schoharie Revolutionary heroes — David Williams, one of the captors of Major Andre; Colonel Peter Vrooman, commander of the Schoharie militia, and many others. The Old Stone Fort is a mecca for automobile visitors, who annually visit it by thousands.

The names inscribed on the Old Stone Church are as follows:

Bartholomeus Vroman, Barthos Swart, Dennes Swart, Peter Schuyler, Peter Schneider, Wilhelm Hammer, Johannes Werth, Henrich Werth, Johannes Lawyer Esq., John Domnick, Willem Brown, Josies Swart, Johan Schuyler, Anna Schuyleren, Johannes Rickert, Johannes Becker, Jacob Zimmer, Christina Lawyer, Archebald Camel, Jacob Enders, Jacob Enders, Jur., Peter Enders, Johannes Enders, Jacob Schneyder, Johannes Dietz, Willem Dietz B. M., Harmenes Sillenieh, Johannes Ball, Philip Schuyler, Nicholas Rickert, Jacob Bartholomew, Maria Elizabeth Werth, George Richtmeyer, Christian Richtmeyer, Wilem Endes, Gertruy Swart, Anna Ziellie, Christina Cambell, Adam Zimmer, George Becker, Johannes Rickert, Catherina Rickert, Marcs Rickert.

Of these forty-three names, eighteen are Holland Dutch in their origin, twenty-three are Palatine German and two are Scotch — which will serve to give a good idea of the racial strains of the Americans living along the Schoharie in 1772.

In 1772, Colonel Hendrick Frey removed from the north side of the Mohawk to the south side and built a house and mill at the outlet of the gorge of Canajoharie Creek near the southern limits of the present village of Canajoharie. John Frey succeeded to the old Frey house (built 1739) and farm in present Palatine Bridge. Hendrick Frey was a Loyalist or Tory and John Frey was a Patriot or Whig. Many Mohawk Valley families were similarly divided in opinion at this period.

In 1772, Sir William Johnson built a carriage road, fourteen miles long, from Johnson Hall to the summer house which he had built on the Sacandaga at the Vlaie or Vly (Dutch for "Swampy Meadow"). This site will be covered by the great lake (thirty-five miles long) which will be formed by the building of the Conklingville dam on the Sacandaga, otherwise known as Sacandaga Lake.

1772 was the great year for Sir William Johnson and the Mohawk Valley. It marked the setting up of the great county of Tryon, which included all of the Mohawk Valley west of the Schenectady township line, near present Hoffmans. On January 29, 1772, Johnson divided the proposed county into the five districts of Mohawk, Stone Arabia (later Palatine), Canajoharie, German Flats and Kingsland. This great event in our Valley history is covered in the next chapter.

On July 14th, Governor William Tryon visited Sir William Johnson at Johnson Hall. He remained until July 30th. This must have been a brilliant period of great military, civic and social importance at the Hall, and we would have an interesting and romantic picture of the times if we could visualize the groups of gold-laced, red-coated officers, silk-gowned, bepowdered ladies, staid valley citizens, and dusky warriors who then gathered within the portals of Johnson Hall and on its spacious lawns and in its beautiful Colonial gardens.

On July 30th, the Provincial Council, presided over by Governor Tryon, met at Johnson Hall. During this visit, Governor Tryon made Sir William Johnson Major-General of militia of the Northern Department. Together, Governor Tryon and Major-General Johnson reviewed Mohawk Valley militia regiments at Johnstown, German Flats (Herkimer), and Burnetsfield (Fort Herkimer). From July 28 to August 1, Governor Tryon and Sir William Johnson held a council with the Canajoharie Castle Mohawks and other Indians at Johnson Hall.

In the year 1772, the Tryon County Court House and Jail were built at Johnstown. The cornerstone of the Court House was laid on June 26, 1772, in the presence of Governor Tryon, Sir William Johnson and a crowd of military and civic leaders, a number of their ladies and a crowd of white settlers and Indians from the surrounding country. To the little town, in this little cultivated wilderness, came Britisher, Hollander, Palatine and the Mohawk warrior. "The presence of Sir William Johnson, with an attendance of British officers and soldiers, gave dignity and brilliancy to the event, while over all the group, asserting the power of the Crown, waved the broad folds of the British flag." The men of the throng here gathered were soon to engage each other in bloody combat and many, in that crowd, felt the impending danger.

Sir William Johnson here presided in the Tryon County court house from 1772 to 1774. Many distinguished American jurists have been called by business to this ancient edifice. It has been honored by the presence of such men as Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr (who killed Hamilton in a duel), Daniel Cady, Abram Van Vechten, Elisha Williams, Joshua Spencer, Nicholas Hill and others.

The Tryon County Court House and Jail were built at a cost of 1,000 pounds ($2,500) in 1772. In the tower of the court house is a bent bar of iron which, for a century and a half has served as a bell. The Court House is built of brick and the Jail of stone and they served the great County of Tryon from 1772 until 1784 when the name of the county was changed to Montgomery. They served Montgomery County from 1784 to 1836, when the county seat was moved to Fonda. In 1838 the County of Fulton was formed and Johnstown became its county seat and these structures became the Fulton County Court House and Jail.

During the Revolution (1776-1783) the Tryon County Jail was stockaded with blockhouse additions and became the strong American fortification of Fort Johnstown as well as a civil and military prison, where many a Tory, a captured enemy or a traitor was confined during those stirring years. The fifty British, Tory and Indian captives taken at the battlefield of Johnstown were confined here following that historic fight on October 25, 1781.

The Johnstown Jail (Fort Johnstown) is one of three portions of Revolutionary American forts remaining in the Mohawk Valley, the others being the Fort Herkimer Church and the Schoharie Church at Schoharie on the Schoharie River.

[Painting: Indian Council, Johnson Hall, 1772.]

About October 20th, 1772, Sir William Johnson held a congress with the Six Nations at Johnson Hall.

On December 8th, 1772, a document was drawn up and signed by sixty-nine of the leading men of Tryon County, in which they professed allegiance both to King George III and the Protestant religion and expressed their absolute rejection of all Stuart claims to the throne of England. This peculiar paper suggests that the Johnson party was employing a subterfuge in an endeavor to unite the warring political elements of Tryon County on a common ground of religious belief. It is given more extended mention in a later chapter.

February 11th, 1773, Sir William Johnson attended a meeting of St. Patrick's Lodge of Johnstown for the last time. From April 7th to April 10th, he held a council with the Six Nations. He spent most of July and August at the seashore, at New London and on Long Island, for the benefit of his health, which was failing. On December 20th, he attended a council between the corporation of Albany and the Mohawks at the Lower Castle at Fort Hunter and on December 21st and 22nd, both parties conferred with Johnson at Johnson Hall.

In 1773, twenty or more German families settled along Garoga Creek in the present town of Ephratah and some at the present site of Kringsbush. These Germans were part of a shipload of immigrants, mostly from the district of Nassau near Frankfort-on-the-Main, which landed at Baltimore in 1773. Many of them settled in the Mohawk Valley. On this voyage very rough weather was encountered on the Atlantic, the masts went by the board and the ship nearly foundered.

The settlement of Ephratah was so called after a place of that name in Germany. Prominent among these settlers was Nicholas Rechtor, whose father, Johannes Rechtor, came from Hesse in Germany and settled at Niskautau, six miles below Albany. These early Ephratah families all built log houses, except Rechtor, who put up a frame house and barn. Simms says this house was still standing (in 1882), "just back of a public house in Garoga, so called after the creek passing through it — the original name still attaching to the settlement." Rechtor was located about three miles west of the stone grist mill which Sir William Johnson had built for the use of that region which was then known as Tilleborough. Within a radius of five or six miles from Nicholas Rechtor's house the following were located: Jacob Appley, Jacob Frey, John Hurtz, Conrad Hart, John Smith, Henry Smith, John Cool, Jacob Deusler, Leonard Kretzer, Henry Hynce, Flander, Phye, John Spankable (now Sponable), John Winkle.

Among the settlers in the Kringsbush section were Matthias Smith, Leonard Helmer, Joseph Davis and his brother-in-law, John Kring, after whom the settlement was named.

[Photo: Account Book of Merchant Jelles Fonda.]

The first settlement within the limits of present Utica was made, in 1773, in present North Utica at Deerfield Corners, by George J. Weaver, Mark Damuth and Christian Reall and their families. These were people of Palatine German ancestry from the German Flats (Herkimer) neighborhood. Reall's Creek takes its name from Christian Reall, whose house stood near it. These first settlers of Utica were all Whigs or patriots. As they did not have, in their front yards, the Tory emblem of a horse's skull on a stake, they had to flee to their old homes on the approach, in 1776, of a Tory and Indian raiding party, which burned their homes, but they relocated on their old sites in 1784.

The years, between the close of the Seven Years' war and the beginning of the Revolution, witnessed considerable improvement in the highways of the Mohawk Valley. Compared with our present-day Macadam and concrete State roads they were rough and difficult but they were a great advance over the first Indian paths or trails and the cart roads of the first pioneers. They made settlement and communication possible in regions north and south of the Mohawk River, to which stream Valley settlement had been originally confined. There was considerable road improvement at this time, in the Canajoharie and Palatine districts of Tryon County. One of the roads constructed was the Canajoharie-Cherry Valley highway which was built in 1773, at which time the following were road commissioners of the Canajoharie district; Nicholas Herkimer of the Fall Hill-Dutchdorf section; Hendrick Frey of the Canajoharie Creek-Freysbush-Otsquago Creek section; Frederick Young of the Sproutbrook-Turloch (present Sharon Springs) division; Robert Wells of the Cherry Valley-Springfield section.

In March, 1773, the Virginia House of Burgesses appointed a committee of correspondence to communicate with the other Colonies and thus attempt to secure unity of action in opposition to the constant oppressive acts of England which were like so many insults to the Colonists. Virginia's action was the first step toward a real union of the Colonies and Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and South Carolina agreed to the suggested course. They appointed committees of correspondence soon thereafter. This was the beginning of the celebrated Committees of Safety of the Revolution.

In 1773 the British government lifted all tariff duties on goods coming into America with the exception of tea. The ships bringing tea into New York and Philadelphia were warned not to land. On December 16, 1773, the "Mohawks" of Boston held the famous "Boston Tea Party", when a shipload of tea was thrown into Boston Harbor. Both sides of the great American conflict were now aligned in two bitter parties — Whigs and Tories — between whom there could be no compromise and concerning whose problems there were only two solutions — subjection or liberty. Neither side was in a large majority anywhere with the exception of New England, where the Whig sentiment was overwhelming. It is estimated that the two sides were about equally divided in the Province of New York. However, in the Mohawk Valley there were two Whigs to one Tory.

Sir William Johnson made his last will on January 27th, 1774, He must have had a premonition of his approaching end because, on April 17th, he recommended Colonel Guy Johnson to the Earl of Dartmouth as his successor. From April 15th to the 28th, Johnson held a council with the Six Nations at Johnson Hall. In a letter under date of May 27th, Sir William condemned "the refractory Boston people". On June 19th, he was visited by a delegation of Onondagas.

"Johnson died July 11, 1774, aged 59 years. He had long been liable to attacks of dysentery. In combating his disease he had, in 1767, visited and drunk of the spring, now famous as the High Rock of Saratoga. He is believed to have been the first white man to visit this spring, whose medical virtues had been reported to him by the Mohawks, a band of whom accompanied him to the spot, bearing him part of the way through the wilderness on a litter. His cure was only partial but even that becoming known, was the foundation of the popularity of the Saratoga Springs. At the time of Sir William's death, the Indians were exasperated over the outrages committed upon them by the Ohio frontiersmen, including the butchery of the famous Logan's kindred. The Iroquois [Six Nations] had come with an indignant complaint to Johnson Hall. On the day the baronet died, he addressed them for over two hours under a burning sun. Immediately after he was taken with an acute attack of his malady and shortly died. Johnson had prophesied that he would never live to take part in the struggle which all saw was then impending.

"The baronet's funeral took place on the Wednesday following his death and the pallbearers included Governor Franklin of New Jersey and the judges of the New York supreme court. Among the cortege of 2,000 people who followed the remains to their burial, under the chancel of the stone church which Sir William had erected in the village, were the 600 Indians who had gathered at the Hall. These, on the next day, performed their ceremony of condolence before the friends of the deceased, presenting symbolic belts of wampum with an appropriate address." — Frothingham, History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties. [free PDF viewer required]

And so passed Sir William Johnson from the scene of his life's labors in the Mohawk Valley, of which he was the greatest citizen.

One of the chief events in the Mohawk Valley in 1774, was the foundation of St. George's Lodge, No. 6, F. & A. M., of Schenectady.

St. George's Masonic lodge, of Schenectady, received its warrant from Sir John Johnson, the last Provincial Grand Master of the Province of New York, in the year 1774, and its charter from the Grand Lodge of England, constituting the lodge as "St. George's Lodge, Number One, in the Township of Schenectady," is dated September 14, 1774. Under this old English charter the lodge worked until 1822, when it received its first charter from the Grand Lodge of New York, being the last of the "Old Lodges" to surrender its old warrant. It has had a continuous and consecutive existence since 1774.

The lodge met regularly during the Revolution — being one of four lodges active in New York during that war. Its meetings were attended by many of the officers of the Continental army, a number of whom were made Masons in the lodge. Of its own members, seventy-eight out of the 150 carried on its rolls, from 1774 to 1800, served during the Revolution.

The English Parliament determined to outdo itself when it heard of the Boston Tea Party and soon after, in 1774, passed several laws known as the "Intolerable Acts", which formed the last straw to the patience of the Colonists. Active and armed resistance to further oppression was now inevitable.

The "Intolerable Acts" are usually reckoned as four. The first was a disciplinary measure known as the "Boston Port Bill" which forbade shipping commerce in or out of Boston Harbor. This ruined a large number of people. The second was the "Transportation Bill" which provided for the shipment to and trial in England of Americans accused of committing murder while resisting the enforcement of the laws. The third act, called "the Massachusetts Bill", robbed that Colony of its charter and set up a military dictatorship by a Royal Governor. The fourth bill was the "Quebec Act" which took control of the Indian Empire of the Six Nations and other tribes north of the Ohio River and placed it under the jurisdiction of Quebec or Canada, which had no representative government but was ruled by absolute authority of the British Crown. This last oppressive act enraged New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Virginia which had claims to territory in the Indian country. The Quebec Act also brought British oppression close to home with the people of the Mohawk Valley, inasmuch as the affairs of the Six Nations and other tribes had previously been administered from Albany, Fort Johnson and Johnson Hall in the Province of New York, while the Indian boundary line began near and crossed the extreme southwest region of the Mohawk Valley.

One of the first committees of safety formed within the Province of New York was the Palatine District Committee of Tryon County. Its organization marked the beginning of the famous Tryon County Committee of Safety which administered military, civil and judicial affairs in Tryon County during the early years of the Revolution. Revolutionary activity in the Mohawk Valley was probably hastened by the removal by death of the powerful figure of Sir William Johnson from the scene of his earthly activities, on July 11th, 1774. Six weeks later, on August 27th, 1774, the first meeting of the Palatine District Committee of Safety was held at the tavern of Adam Loucks in Stone Arabia. This meeting and the later formation of the Tryon County Committee is covered in a later chapter.

Colonial times in the Mohawk Valley came to an end with the year 1774, and the Revolutionary period began with the year 1775.

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