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SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 104: Mohawk Valley Agriculture.

[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 1505-1525 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Farm statistics of the six Mohawk Valley counties of Schenectady, Schoharie, Montgomery, Fulton, Herkimer and Oneida in 1919 and 1909 — Development of the dairying industry — Topographical, agricultural and climatic details of the six Valley counties.

In 1920 there were 193,195 farms in New York State as against 215,597 in 1910. The land in farms had declined from 22,030,367 acres in 1910 to 20,632,803 acres in 1920. In 1910 there were 14,844,039 acres of improved farm land in the state and in 1920 this had declined to 13,158,781 acres. The farm woodland covered 4,436,145 acres in 1910 and 4,160,567 acres in 1920. The average farm acreage increased from 102.2 acres in 1910 to 106.8 acres in 1920. The average value of farms increased from $6,732 in 1910 to $9,879 in 1920. The total value of all farm property in the State of New York increased from $1,451,481,495 in 1910 to $1,908,483,201 in 1920. (All the foregoing and the following are from the United States Census of 1920.)

The value of all New York State farm crops was $417,046,864 in 1919 against $190,002,693 in 1909.

The total number of farms in the six Mohawk Valley counties in 1919 was 16,644, as against 18,454 in 1909. There were 16,644 Mohawk Valley farmers in 1919, of whom 645 were women.

The number of 1919 farms in the six Mohawk Valley counties follows: Schenectady, 983; Schoharie, 2,791; Montgomery, 2,015; Fulton, 1,773; Herkimer, 2,849; Oneida, 6,233.

The total farm acreage of the Mohawk Valley in 1919 was 1,816,589 acres, divided among the Mohawk Valley counties as follows: Schenectady, 102,542; Schoharie, 344,841; Montgomery, 227,035; Fulton, 196,260; Herkimer, 334,277; Oneida, 611,634.

In 1919 the total value of all farm property in the six Mohawk Valley counties was $133,158,641, divided as follows: Schenectady, $8,652,919; Schoharie, $19,141,641; Montgomery, $19,067,537; Fulton, $8,169,173; Herkimer, $26,965,939; Oneida, $51,160,432.

In 1919 the total value of all crops in the six Mohawk Valley counties was $28,987,644, divided as follows: Schenectady, $1,682,247; Schoharie, $4,995,796; Montgomery, $4,712,742; Fulton, $2,003,265; Herkimer, $5,073,254; Oneida, $10,520,340. Oneida County stood twelfth, among the sixty-two counties of the state, in the value of its farm products.

In 1919, there was a total of 2,081,074 dairy cattle in the State of New York, with an average production of milk, per cow, of 502 gallons.

In 1919, there were 216,412 dairy cows in the six Mohawk Valley counties, as follows: Oneida, 82,505; Herkimer, 48,830; Montgomery, 28,089; Fulton, 12,842; Schenectady, 7,014; Schoharie, 37,132.

In 1919, there were 675,923,730 gallons of milk produced in New York State, of which 573,161,952 gallons of milk were sold for $174,155,050.

In 1919, in the six Mohawk Valley counties, there was a total production of milk of 74,211,047 gallons, considerably more than ten per cent. of that produced in the state. The Mohawk Valley production of milk, by counties, was: Oneida, 27,520,640; Herkimer, 16,774,069; Montgomery, 11,280,014; Fulton, 3,467,821; Schenectady, 2,430,097; Schoharie, 12,738,406.

The total amount of milk sold in the six Mohawk Valley counties, in 1919, was 55,794,681 gallons, divided as follows, by counties: Oneida, 26,310,446; Herkimer, 15,186,537; Montgomery, 9,912,741; Fulton, 2,229,328; Schenectady, 1,493,499; Schoharie, 10,662,130.

The total value of dairy products of the six Mohawk Valley counties amounted to $19,847,243, as compared with a New York State production of $179,695,810. The Mohawk Valley milk output was thus more than one-tenth that of the state. Dairy products value by counties: Oneida, $7,521,230; Herkimer, $4,534,102; Montgomery, $2,782,897; Fulton, $826,658; Schenectady, $570,704; Schoharie, $3,611,652.

[Map showing the ten climatic divisions of the State of New York]

The 1919 Mohawk Valley hay crop was 915,981 tons, compared with a 1919 State crop of 9,728,317 tons. By Valley counties, in tons: Oneida, 371,922; Herkimer, 107,699; Montgomery, 176,428; Fulton, 60,898; Schenectady, 43,427; Schoharie, 155,587.

The 1919 oats crop in the Mohawk Valley was 1,932,326 bushels, as compared with a State crop of 21,595,461, and divided, by counties, as follows: Oneida, 526,456; Herkimer, 307,774; Montgomery, 403,406; Fulton, 179,640; Schenectady, 163,743; Schoharie, 351,307.

The total 1919 crop of buckwheat, in the six Mohawk Valley counties, amounted to 433,482 bushels, compared with a State production of 3,901,481 bushels. By Valley counties: Oneida, 30,593; Herkimer, 22,279; Montgomery, 95,871; Fulton, 32,326; Schenectady, 66,353; Schoharie, 186,060.

The total production of corn in the six Mohawk Valley counties in 1919, was 747,324 bushels out of a total State production of 55,434,453 bushels. Corn production by Valley counties: Oneida, 179,999; Herkimer, 96,917; Montgomery, 189,064; Fulton, 72,012; Schenectady, 64,241; Schoharie, 145,091. Montgomery County was the leader in corn raising among the Valley counties.

The total number of horses, in the six Mohawk Valley counties, in 1919, was 43,732, compared with a State horse population of 536,171. By counties: Oneida, 15,113; Herkimer, 7,905; Montgomery, 6,940; Fulton, 3,640; Schenectady, 2,820; Schoharie, 7,314.

In 1919, the number of swine in the Mohawk Valley was 47,187, compared with 600,560 in the State. Swine by counties: Oneida, 19,055; Herkimer, 7,407; Montgomery, 6,766; Fulton, 3,808; Schenectady, 2,659; Schoharie, 7,542.

In 1919, the Mohawk Valley counties had 15,284 sheep, compared with 578,726 in the State. By counties: Oneida, 3,808; Herkimer, 1,460; Montgomery, 1,624; Fulton, 825; Schenectady, 1,746; Schoharie, 5,821.

In 1919, chickens numbered 790,049 in the Mohawk Valley counties, as compared with 10,414,600 in the State. Chickens by counties: Oneida, 263,983; Herkimer, 125,989; Montgomery, 117,895; Fulton, 60,191; Schenectady, 54,183; Schoharie, 167,908.

Hives of bees, in 1919, numbered 15,031 in the six Mohawk Valley counties, as compared with 127,858 in the State. Hives of bees by counties: Oneida, 1,559; Herkimer, 651; Montgomery, 3,286; Fulton, 2,107; Schenectady, 919; Schoharie, 6,509.

The 1919 crop of orchard fruits in the six Mohawk Valley counties amounted to 372,536 bushels, as compared with a State crop of 17,887,006. Orchard fruits by counties: Oneida, 131,685 bushels; Herkimer, 34,154; Montgomery, 26,721; Fulton, 4,316; Schenectady, 21,998; Schoharie, 153,662.

The Mohawk Valley 1919 apple crop was 341,661 bushels, as compared with a State crop of 14,350,317. The 1919 Valley apple crop by counties: Oneida, 126,528 bushels; Herkimer, 32,130; Montgomery, 21,851; Fulton, 4,158; Schenectady, 15,759; Schoharie, 141,235.

The 1919 Mohawk Valley production of honey was 446,185 pounds, as compared with a State output of 3,223,329, showing that the Valley was an important bee-raising section. Valley honey, pounds production by counties: Oneida, 24,678; Herkimer, 59,532; Montgomery, 146,388; Fulton, 11,657; Schenectady, 29,782; Schoharie, 173,148. In total pounds production, Schoharie leads, while Montgomery is the greatest honey producing county considering its area.

In 1919 the Mohawk Valley counties produced 33,472 pounds of maple sugar, compared with a State output of 2,012,932 pounds. Valley maple sugar pounds production by counties: Oneida, 3,712; Herkimer, 2,950; Montgomery, 56; Fulton, 1,669; Schenectady, none; Schoharie, 25,085.

The 1919 maple syrup production in the Mohawk Valley was 49,081 gallons, as compared with 1,080,505 gallons produced in the State. Maple syrup gallons production by Valley counties: Oneida, 14,940; Herkimer, 8,432; Montgomery, 1,786; Fulton, 5,410; Schenectady, 223; Schoharie, 18,290.

The wool clip of the Mohawk Valley in 1919 amounted to 87,245 pounds, as compared with a State clip of 3,004,650 pounds, valued at $1,781,252. The 1919 Valley wool clip by pounds by counties: Oneida, 25,020; Herkimer, 7,812; Montgomery, 9,208; Fulton, 3,872; Schenectady, 11,047; Schoharie, 33,286.

Recapitulation by Mohawk Valley counties:

Oneida: Farms, 6,233; farm acreage, 611,634; value farm property, $51,160,432; total value all crops, $10,520,340; dairy cows, 82,505; gallons milk produced, 27,520,640; gallons milk sold, 26,310,446; value dairy products, $1,396,022; hay crop, 371,922 tons; oats, 526,456 bu.; buckwheat, 30,593 bu.; corn, 179,999 bu.; horses, 15,113; sheep, 3,808; chickens, 263,983; hives bees, 1,559; orchard fruits, 131,685 bu.; apples, 126,528 bu.; honey, 24,678 pounds; maple sugar, 3,712 pounds; maple syrup, 14,940 gal.; wool clip, 25,020 pounds.

Herkimer: Farms, 2,849; farm acreage, 334,277; total value farm property, $26,965,939; total value all crops, $5,073,254; dairy cows, 48,830; milk produced, 16,774,069 gals.; milk sold, 15,186,537; total value all dairy products, $4,534,102; hay, 107,699 tons; oats, 307,774 bu.; buckwheat, 22,279 bu.; corn, 96,917 bu.; horses, 7,905; swine, 7,407; sheep, 1,460; chickens, 125,989; hives bees, 651; orchard fruits, 34,154 bu.; apples, 32,130 bu.; honey, 59,532 lbs.; maple sugar, 2,950 lbs.; maple syrup, 8,432 gals.; wool clip, 7,812 lbs.

Montgomery: Farms, 2,015; farm acreage, 227,035; total value farm property, $19,067,537; total value all crops, $4,712,742; dairy cows, 28,089; total milk production, 11,280,014 gals.; total amount milk sold, 9,912,741 gals.; value all dairy products, $2,782,897; hay, 176,428 tons; oats, 403,406 bu.; buckwheat, 95,871 bu.; corn, 189,064 bu.; horses, 6,766; sheep, 1,624; chickens, 117,895; hives of bees, 3,286; crop orchard fruits, 26,721 bu.; apples, 21,851 bu.; honey, 146,388 lbs.; maple sugar, 56 lbs.; maple syrup, 1,786 gals.; wool clip, 9,208 lbs.

Fulton: Farms, 1,773; farm acreage, 196,260; total value farm property, $8,169,173; total value crops, $2,003,265; dairy cows, 12,842; milk produced, 3,467,821 gals.; milk sold, 2,229,328 gals.; total value dairy products, $826,658; hay, 60,898 tons; oats, 179,640 bu.; buckwheat, 32,326 bu.; corn, 72,012 bu.; horses, 3,640; swine, 3,808; sheep, 825; chickens, 60,191; hives bees, 2,107; orchard fruits, 4,316 bu.; apples, 4,158 bu.; honey, 11,657 lbs.; maple sugar, 1,669 lbs.; maple syrup, 5,410 gals.; wool clip, 3,872 lbs.

Schenectady: Farms, 983; farm acreage, 102,542; total value farm property, $8,652,919; total value all farm crops, $2,003,265; dairy cows, 7,014; total milk produced, 2,430,097 gals.; total amount milk sold, 1,493,499; total value dairy products, $570,704; hay, 43,427 tons; oats, 163,743 bu.; buckwheat, 66,353 bu.; corn, 64,241 bu.; horses, 2,820; swine, 2,659; sheep, 1,746; chickens, 54,183; hives bees, 919; orchard fruits, 21,998 bu.; apples, 15,759 bu.; honey, 29,782 lbs; maple sugar, none; maple syrup, 223 gals.; wool clip, 11,047 lbs.

Schoharie: Farms, 2,791; farm acreage, 344,841; total value farm property, $19,141,641; total value all farm crops, $4,995,796; dairy cows, 37,132; total milk produced, 12,738,406 gals.; total milk sold, 10,662,130 gals.; total value dairy products, $3,611,652; hay, 155,587 tons.; oats, 351,307 bu.; buckwheat, 186,060 bu.; corn, 145,091 bu.; horses, 7,314; swine, 7,542; sheep, 5,821; chickens, 167,908; hives bees, 6,509; orchard fruit, 153,662 bu.; apples, 141,235 bu.; honey, 173,148 lbs.; maple sugar, 25,085 lbs.; maple syrup, 18,290 gals.; wool clip, 33,286 lbs.

Mohawk Valley farms and farm buildings make a splendid showing and the region is one of the most fertile, productive and picturesque in New York State, whose farms are noted for all these qualities. The Mohawk River flats form a belt, which is among the most fertile regions in all the earth. The farms of the Mohawk flats and their adjoining slopes are particularly rich and productive and make a fine picture of agricultural prosperity to the thousands speeding daily over the New York Central Railroad and the Old Mohawk Turnpike. These pastoral attractions and the beautiful Mohawk River vistas, visible to the tourist, have done much to spread the name and fame of the Mohawk Valley far and wide. Mohawk Valley farm houses and farm buildings are generally large, well-built and substantial-looking, thus adding to the apparent and real agricultural importance of the region. This is particularly true of a belt, about ten miles wide, extending on and along the Mohawk River from Schenectady to Rome, where a few of the farm houses are of stone and a number of brick and many of the frame structures are large and substantial. Many of these Mohawk River farm houses are from one to two centuries old and a number are of historic interest and have been described in the historical chapters of this work.

In the Mohawk River agricultural belt (running for seventy miles from Schenectady to Frankfort and beyond) previously mentioned, many of these historic farmsteads are still in the hands of the American descendants of the original Holland Dutch, Palatine and British pioneers who located here in Colonial days.

The Mohawk Valley's agricultural importance is as a chief dairy section of New York State, as a producer of hay, oats, buckwheat and corn and a bee-raising and honey making section. The Mohawk Valley is, indeed, "a land flowing with milk and honey." The Hoffman bee frame, now in general use by apiarists all over the country, was invented by Julius Hoffman on his bee farm at Fort Plain, Montgomery County. All in all, the Mohawk Valley is a most important agricultural region of New York State.

If it were not for certain topographical and geographical features, the Valley would hold an even more prominent position in its standing among the chief agricultural sections of the state. The upper half of Herkimer and Fulton counties lie in the Adirondack region of forests and mountains, while a considerable part of Schoharie is covered by the rugged mountains and woods of the Catskills. In addition to this factor, Schenectady is the second smallest county in the state (outside of Greater New York), being second only to Rockland. Considering its size and arable area, the productivity of the Mohawk Valley is a noteworthy feature of New York State agriculture.

Milk is the greatest of all farm products in the Mohawk Valley.

There were 1,513,120 dairy cows in the state in 1919. The agricultural census is taken in the year previous to the population enumeration, hence the figures 1919 instead of 1920. The Census Bureau estimated a total milk production in New York State of 756,045,942 gals. in 1919 as against 783,479,286 gals. in 1909. Prior to 1890, a large part of the milk produced by New York State farmers went to the making of cheese. The increase of transportation facilities and the consequent development of express milk trains and the great demand occasioned by the enormous growth of the New York City metropolitan district made such a market for raw milk that today the Mohawk Valley farmer sells his milk to a nearby milk distributing company. The development of milk sales and distribution companies, combines and corporations is still in progress and while it is an interesting subject, the whole question still is so unsettled that it cannot find space in these pages.

The raising of blooded Holstein-Frisian cattle is a feature of Mohawk Valley farming and there are several important stock farms.

Local granges and farm bureaus give a solidarity to the Valley farming population and have done much to advance agricultural efficiency and increase social interests on the farms. The farmer is no longer isolated. Radio, telephone and automobile keep him in touch with the whole world.

The early Mohawk Valley farms were mainly devoted to the raising of wheat, with the chief wheat market of the country at Albany. The developments of the intervening years have gradually changed the farm production to one mainly of milk and the Mohawk Valley considering its size, is now one of the great dairy countries of America.

The Mohawk Valley, at one time furnished an enormous amount of butter and cheese for home and abroad. "Herkimer County Cheese" was famous and Little Falls was (1830-1900) the largest cheese market in the United States. In this country "store" or American cheese making for the market originated in Herkimer County near Little Falls, about 1800.

In 1916, the milk of 250,000 cows was used to supply New York City alone, the great majority of them being in New York State. The Mohawk Valley is one of the chief sources of milk supply for the metropolis.

[Photo: Tha-Yen-Dak-Hi-Ke [Cliff]]

[Photo: Threshing Along the Mohawk Turnpike]

As the valley is a great milk producing section and, as bees are largely raised along the Mohawk, the Mohawk Valley is indeed "a land flowing with milk and honey."

Utica supplanted Little Falls as the American cheese market about 1900, but now (1924) Northern New York has become the state's great cheese factory and Watertown since 1910 has supplanted Utica. The present great metropolitan demand for raw milk takes most of the valley supply. The Holstein-Friesian (black-and-white) cow is the favorite valley milch cow.

Although cheese was made north of Little Falls as early as 1800, cheese-making first became an important valley industry after the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Prior to that date the Mohawk Valley had been for years the greatest wheat granary of the nation, with Albany as the country's chief wheat market. The opening of the Erie, gave the wonderfully productive wheat farms of the Genesee Valley an easy route to the east. The Mohawk Valley farmers could not meet this competition in wheat raising and gradually turned to dairying and general farm crops. The Mohawk Valley flats are among the most fertile lands in the world. Their black soil has a depth of from five to fifteen feet. Mohawk Valley farms and homesteads stand high in American modern agriculture. They are generally well kept and equipped and farms, barns and houses make an unusually good and substantial appearance.

The Mohawk Valley farmers, on the southern watershed, raised hops from about 1850 until 1910. The valley hop crop waned long before the introduction of prohibition, due to the competition of the hop regions on the Pacific Coast.

Broom corn was also largely grown on the Mohawk flats in the middle Nineteenth Century. Mid-western competition proved too strong for the valley farmers who ceased growing the crop about 1880-1890. Nearly every town, at that time, had a number of small broom factories. In several cases these developed into large industries. Amsterdam, in 1925, was the largest broom making city in the United States.

At the present time, there is a considerable movement of western farmers into the fertile farmlands of the Mohawk Valley.

A very complete account of the development of the cheesemaking and dairying industry in the Mohawk Valley may be found in the Author's "[The Story of] Old Fort Plain and the Middle Mohawk Valley", pp. 330 to 335.

The principal Mohawk Valley crops are hay, oats, corn, barley and buckwheat in the order named. There is considerable bee culture and fruit raising in the valley.

The following treats of the agricultural, soil and climatic conditions of the six Mohawk Valley counties of Schoharie, Schenectady, Montgomery, Fulton, Herkimer and Oneida. Much of this matter is from the Agricultural Manual of the State of New York (1918) by courtesy of the Agricultural Division of the Department of Farms and Markets.

Schoharie County is an interior county lying in the east central part of the state just south of the Mohawk Valley centrally distant thirty-five miles from Albany. It has an area of 410,880 acres, or 642 square miles; from north to south its average extent is 30 miles, and from east to west 23 miles. The population is 21,303, Census of 1920. The county seat is Schoharie Village.

Wheat and corn were among the first crops grown in Schoharie County. The production of grain was of great importance until the competition of the large grain-producing sections of the West made it unprofitable.

In the early part of the nineteenth century the growing of hops became one of the leading industries. During the last quarter-century the low prices, competition of the West, and plant diseases, have forced the growers to turn to diversified farming.

Dairying is the most important industry, the chief products being market milk and butter. Alfalfa grows readily, especially in the northern part.

A generation or two ago there was in the towns of Middleburgh and Fulton a highly developed broom-corn industry, which has since been abandoned. Within the last year or two, owing to the high prices of broom-corn, an effort has been made to reestablish the industry.

Climatological records for Schoharie County have been taken at Sharon Springs, at an elevation of 821 feet.

The average dates for the last killing frost in spring and the first in fall are May 7 and October 2, respectively, giving a growing season of 148 days.

The surface is an upland broken by mountains in the south, and by hills in the center and north. A northerly branch of the Catskill Mountains lies along the southern border, the highest summits of which are 3,000 feet above tide. From them irregular spurs extend northward through the greater part of the county. Many of the summits along the east and west borders are about 2,000 feet above tide. The high ridge along the east border and extending to Albany County, is known as the Helderberg Mountains. Limestone caverns are frequent, and the minerals which they afford are of particular interest to mineralogists. In the north the hills are generally rounded and are arable to their summits, but in the center and south the slopes are steep and often precipitous. The extreme northern part of the county is terraced like the limestone region farther west. In many places the hills bordering the streams are 1,000 feet high and sometimes very steep. Schoharie River and its tributaries are the principal streams. Charlotte River, a branch of the Susquehanna, rises in the western part, and Catskill Creek in the southeast. The soil in the north is a productive silty loam and in the center and south it is a silty and sandy loam, the sand predominating on the southern hills. The alluvial flats along Schoharie River are among the most fertile lands in the state.

A belt of limestone crosses the northern part of the county, extending through a large part of the towns of Schoharie, Cobleskill, Seward, Sharon and Carlisle. It is in this particular locality where the alfalfa plant seems especially at home.

Farm lands vary in value according to location and improvements. The highest-priced land in the county is principally in the Schoharie Valley between Middleburg and Central Bridge, where it is valued at from $150 to $225 an acre. In the Cobleskill Valley, especially near the towns, farm land sells at from $75 to $150 an acre, while those in the vicinity of Seward and Sharon Springs sell at from $35 to $60 an acre. In the southern part of the county farm land can be bought for $8 to $20 an acre.

The Sharon Springs temperature records cover the period from 1913 to 1919. Average annual temperature 45.9 degrees; average annual rainfall, 39.18 inches; average annual snowfall, 73.8 inches.

Schenectady County. Schenectady is the county seat of Schenectady County, which, outside of Greater New York City, is next to the smallest county (Rockland) in the state. It has an area of 132,000 acres. Population, 1910, 88,235; 1920, 109,363. Aside from Schenectady, the county is devoted to agriculture and dairying. It lies in the Mohawk and Hudson River watersheds.

Schenectady County's 1920 population, outside of the Schenectady city limits, was 20,640, much of it adjacent to the city.

Albany and Schenectady Counties hold a joint counties fair at Altamont, Albany County, in September.

The earliest records point to the raising of corn. Dairying became a prominent industry in very early times. The valley of the Mohawk was extensively devoted to the cultivation of broom corn for many years, producing in 1870 nearly half of the entire broom corn crop of the state.

The growth of Schenectady City has effected a complete change in the agriculture of the county. In order to supply the demand for milk a large number of farmers have changed from general agriculture to dairying. Even within the last ten years, the town of Niskayuna has developed a profitable garden industry that now supplies, not only Schenectady, but also Albany, Troy, Cohoes, and Watervliet.

The surface consists of a valley and upland generally broken by ridges and isolated hills 200 to 350 feet above the river. The highlands are the northern continuation of the Helderberg and Schoharie Mountains. The greater part of the surface is covered with a thick deposit of drift, consisting principally of clay in the west and sand in the east — the former productive, but the latter of little value for tillage. The Mohawk River and Normans Kill are the principal streams, the valleys being generally bordered by steep slopes rising to a height of about 300 feet. The valleys are best adapted to tillage and the hills to pasturage.

Montgomery County. Fonda is the county seat of Montgomery County, which takes its name from Gen. Richard Montgomery (1737-1775), the American general who fell in the disastrous American attack upon Quebec. The county was originally set off from Albany in 1772, with Johnstown as the county seat, and named Tryon, after the British governor. It embraced a great part of the state in 1783, when it was renamed Montgomery. In 1836 the county seat was moved to Fonda and in 1838 Fulton County was set off. It lies entirely in the Mohawk watershed. The towns along the Mohawk are principally devoted to manufacturing and the farmlands to dairying. The annual county fair is held on the fair grounds in the Caughnawaga section of Fonda. 1910 population, Montgomery County, 57,567; 1920, 58,399.

Besides dairying, Montgomery County farms principally raise hay, corn, oats and buckwheat, vegetables and fruit, with considerable beekeeping. The county is one of the state's greatest hay counties. Its southern part formerly raised hops to a large extent (prior to 1900). The Mohawk River flats formerly raised large crops of broom corn. The cultivation ceased about 1880 to 1890, because of the competition of mid-western farmers.

There is considerable bee culture in Montgomery County. The Hoffman bee frame now in general use all over the world by apiarists was invented by Julius Hoffman at his bee farm in the village of Fort Plain.

There is a growing amount of fruit culture in Montgomery County. Its apples, like those of all parts of the Mohawk Valley, have a superior flavor, excelled by none, but are not packed or marketed in the attractive manner practised by apple growers on the Pacific Coast.

Agriculture in Montgomery County was first carried on by the Mohawk Indians, who raised corn, beans, squashes, and pumpkins in the neighborhood of their villages along the river. There were also a few Indian apple orchards on the uplands.

Fifty years ago wheat was largely produced in Montgomery County. Later it was gradually replaced by other crops, and hops became an important product. Much of the alluvial land was devoted to the raising of broom corn. All of these crops have nearly disappeared until within the last few years, when wheat has again been grown to some extent. Instead of shipping milk, butter and cheese were generally made; but at present milk and hay are the chief cash crops. Corn, oats, and buckwheat are largely grown and are used in the production of milk. Alfalfa is an important crop.

Several pure-bred herds usually of Holstein stock, may be found in different parts of the county, especially in the townships of Canajoharie and Minden. Sheep raising occupies a less important position than formerly, although the business could be followed to advantage anywhere in the county.

The raising of beans is becoming an important line of farm work. With proper care and management fruit can be grown, some of the orchards being highly productive.

Climatological records for Montgomery County are taken from the Amsterdam station at an elevation of 610 feet.

Average dates for the last killing frost in spring and the first in fall are May 1, and October 5 respectively, giving a growing season of 156 days.

A general system of highlands forming the connecting link between the northern spurs of the Allegany Moutains on the south and the Adirondacks on the north extends through this county. The Mohawk River cuts through the upland and forms a valley a mile or less wide and 200 to 500 feet below the summits of the hills. The valleys of a number of the tributaries of the Mohawk extend several miles into the highland district. The hills bordering on the river generally rise in gradual slopes and from their summits the country spreads out into an undulating upland with a general inclination toward the river into which the entire surface of the county is drained. Oak Ridge, in the southern part, is the highest point, with an elevation of 1,450 feet.

Gneiss is found in some localities, the principal place being at the "Noses" on the Mohawk. Calciferous sandstone appears and limestone furnishes valuable quarries of building stone. Drift and boulders abound in various places. The soil along the river [Mohawk flats] consists of alluvial deposits and a deep, rich vegetable mold. On the uplands it is mostly a highly productive clayey and silty loam, with small areas of gravelly loam interspersed.

In Montgomery County the temperature records, being taken at Amsterdam, may be considered as fairly representative of the eastern river section of the valley.

The average annual temperature over a period, from 1902 to 1918, was 45.1 degrees. Average annual rainfall, 37.61 inches. Average annual snowfall, 63.5 inches.

The highest recorded temperature, over this period was 100 degrees recorded in July, 1911, and the lowest was 30 below zero in December of 1917. On January 28, 1925, temperatures of from 40 to 42 degrees below zero were recorded at Fort Plain and 43 degrees below zero at Freysbush immediately southwest of Fort Plain. This was the lowest recorded temperature ever known in the Middle Mohawk Valley.

Fulton County lies in the eastern part of the state, its south-boundary extending to within a few miles of the Mohawk. It has an area of 330,240 acres. Its extent from north to south is approximately 17 miles, and from east to west 30 miles.

Johnstown is the county seat of Fulton County, formed in 1838, and named after Robert Fulton, the pioneer in steamboat navigation. Fulton County has an area of 516 square miles and a population in 1920 of 44,927. Its southern half largely is devoted to farming and dairying. Its northern section lies in the Adirondack Mountain region and here are lumbering industries. Fulton County has the cities of Gloversville and Johnstown and the villages of Dolgeville (part in Fulton, part in Herkimer County), Ephratah, Northville, Mayfield and Broadalbin.

The northern part of Fulton County, with the exception of portions of the town of Northampton, is largely forest-covered, and agriculture is of very little importance. Lumbering is the principal industry, especially in the towns of Stratford, Garoga, and Bleecker. Recently, however, the state has purchased a large part of the northern portion of Garoga, together with portions of Bleecker, Stratford, and Mayfield. In the town of Northampton along the Sacandaga River, in the vicinity of Northville, is a section where considerable agriculture is carried on. In the southern part of the county dairying and general agriculture are important, the principal products being market milk, hay, potatoes, oats, buckwheat, and corn.

The meteorological station of Fulton County is located at Gloversville, 850 feet above sea level.

Average dates for the last killing frost in spring and the first in fall are May 10 and September 26, respectively, giving a growing season of 139 days.

Herkimer County. Herkimer is the county seat of Herkimer county, which takes its name from the American brigadier-general, Nicholas Herkimer, who was mortally wounded at the battle of Oriskany [see Oriskany] August 6, 1777. The county, outside of the manufacturing towns, is principally devoted to dairying. The upper part extends far into the western Adirondack region and includes many of its lakes and summer resorts. The northern part is in the Black River watershed the central in the Mohawk watershed and the extreme south in the Susquehanna watershed. 1910 population Herkimer County, 56,356; 1915, 64,109; 1920, 64,962; area, 934,000 acres. Herkimer County was the first to make cheese dairying a specialty, cheese being made in the county in a small way as early as 1800. In 1812-16 the largest herds, which numbered about forty cows each, were regarded as of extraordinary size. At this time dairy appliances were yet very crude. Later inventions and improvements, however, encouraged the industry and between 1850 and 1860 dairying began to assume great proportions. To David H. Burrell of Little Falls belongs the credit of having developed the machinery that is now the standard for American and Canadian cheese factories.

The State of Wisconsin has become able to produce cheese much more cheaply than it can be made in Herkimer County. For this reason, as well as because of the increased demands of New York City and the improvement in transportation facilities, much of the milk has within the last twenty years been sent to New York. In summer the surplus milk is manufactured into cheese or into condensed milk and butter.

Herkimer County is noted for its pastures of blue grass and white clover, on which its milk production largely depends. A great part of the county is well adapted for the growth of alfalfa. Considerable quantities of potatoes are grown for market. Oats and corn are important crops.

There are several important manufacturing interests, among which, besides the dairy machinery already mentioned, are the following:

The surface of Herkimer County is a hilly upland with a series of ridges extending generally north and south. The Mohawk River flows easterly across the southern end of the county. The valley is broad through the west side of the county to a point near Little Falls, where the stream breaks through a mountain ridge, the naked rocks rising on either side to a height of 500 to 700 feet. From this point to the eastern boundary of the county the river flows through a valley bordered by steep, high hills. East Canada Creek, which flows into the Mohawk, forms part of the eastern boundary. West Canada Creek flows from Hamilton County across Herkimer and forms part of the boundary between Herkimer and Oneida counties. Moose, Black, and Beaver rivers, which flow northward to Lake Ontario, have their sources in the northern part of the county; and, while numerous lakes and ponds are found, many of them are in a region that has been left largely in its primitive state.

That portion of the territory lying north of a line extending east from Hinckley is covered with primary rocks — granite, gneiss, feldspar and hornblende. The same formation outcrops at Little Falls. Limestone, slate, and shales also appear. Iron appears in considerable quantities in the northern part of the county.

The climatological records taken at Salisbury Center cover a period from 1897 to 1918, a period of 21 years. As they were recorded at a sea level elevation of 1,300 feet they should serve rather for the Adirondack foothills than for the lower and thickly populated valley of the Mohawk.

Average dates of the last killing frost in spring and the first in fall are May 22 and September 20, respectively, giving a growing season of 120 days.

The average annual temperature there recorded was 42.6 degrees; average annual rainfall, 47.98 inches; average annual snowfall, 93.4 inches.

Oneida County. Utica is the county seat of Oneida County (formed 1798), which takes its name from the Iroquois tribe of Oneida Indians, who occupied its territory on the Dutch occupation in 1614. The county contains much of the headwaters of the Mohawk River, Black River, Oneida Lake and three small headwaters of streams belonging to the Susquehanna system. Outside of the manufacturing districts of Utica and Rome and some villages, the county is devoted to dairying and general agriculture. 1910 population Oneida County, 154,157; 1920, 182,485; area, 1,215 square miles.

In Oneida County the Oneida Indians cultivated small patches of ground devoted principally to the production of corn and apples. Larger clearings were made by the early settlers, where corn, wheat, and vegetables were grown. Oats also became an important crop. Excellent water power being available, asheries, distilleries, saw mills, woolen mills, and tanneries were important factors in the early development of the county.

About that time the first Merino sheep in the state were imported from Spain and were kept on a farm north of the Mohawk opposite Oriskany.

The dairy industry has been important in Oneida County since the early settlements. Dairying was at first of greater importance north of the Mohawk, although at the present time it is very prominent in all parts of the county. Many pure-bred cattle are kept, a large proportion of which are Holsteins.

With the opening of the railroads dairying developed rapidly, and large quantities of cheese and butter were manufactured.

Hops were first grown in the county at about 1820. This crop steadily increased in importance and for many years Oneida County led in hop production.

The hay crop is extensive, Oneida County ranking third in the state.

Gardening is a prominent industry in the vicinity of Rome and Utica. In several towns a relatively large acreage is devoted to raising peas, beans, corn, and pumpkins for canning factory purposes, placing Oneida County at the head in production of these crops among the 62 counties of the state.

Climatological records for Oneida County are taken from the records made at the Rome station at an elevation of 480 feet.

The average dates of the last killing frost in spring and the first in fall are May 10 and September 29, respectively, giving a growing season of 142 days.

A broad valley, nearly level, extends east and west through the center of the county, and from it, both north and south, the surface rises into a broken and hilly region. The highlands, occupying the southern part lie in ridges extending north and south. North of the central valley the surface rises abruptly to a height of 800 to 1,200 feet and spreads out into a nearly level plateau broken by the ravines of the streams.

The lowest part of the county is near Oneida Lake, while the highest points are Tassel Hill, 1,944 feet above sea level, in the southern part of the town of Marshall; and Penn Mountain, 1,806 feet above sea level, in the northern part of the town of Steuben.

The eastern part of the central valley is drained by the Mohawk flowing east and the western part by Wood Creek flowing west. This valley affords a natural road from the Hudson to the great lakes and is the lowest pass through the Appalachian Mountain system. The Mohawk rises on the southern border of Lewis County and flows in a southerly direction to Rome, where it turns to the southeast. Its principal tributaries are Nine Mile Creek and Lansing Kill from the north, and Sauquoit and Oriskany creeks from the south. Black River flows across the northeast corner of the county; East Canada Creek forms a portion of the east boundary; the head branches of the Unadilla and Chenango drain the southern border, and Oneida, Wood, and Fish creeks drain the western part. Oneida Creek extends several miles along the west border. In the extreme northeast corner are several small creeks and ponds.

The soil in the northeast is light and sandy. The central valley, one of the most fertile portions of the state, has a soil of sandy and gravelly loam and alluvium mixed with lime and gypsum. The highland region south of the river has a soil composed of clay and sand and gravelly loam.

The valuation of land varies considerably, not only in different parts of the state, but in different sections of the same county. In Oneida County, for instance, good farms within easy reach of railroads, or on or near state roads are valued at from $75 to $250 an acre; those on county roads at from $50 to $150 an acre, and those more remote from railroads and on dirt roads at from $10 to $75. Sections less favorable for farming, including sand plains, etc., are valued at much less. Land in the southern part of the county, being generally smoother and more productive, sells at a higher price than land in the northern part.

The following figures cover the average monthly and annual temperature (covering a period of 35 years) and rainfall (covering a period of 47 years) at Utica. They are furnished by the Weather Bureau at Washington.

The average monthly temperature records, taken at Utica (covering a period of 35 years) are as follows, in temperature degrees:

January, 24; February, 24; March, 32; April, 44; May, 56; June, 65; July, 69; August, 68; September, 59; October, 47; November, 36; December, 26. Average annual temperature, 46.

The average monthly and yearly rainfall, taken at Utica during a period of 47 years, are given as follows, in inches and their percentages:

January, 3.20; February, 2.95; March, 2.95; April, 2.70; May, 3.60; June, 4.15; July, 4.60; August, 3.65; September, 3.55; October, 3.45; November, 3.90; December, 3.35. Average annual rainfall, 42.05 inches.

The following is from the New York State College of Agriculture and is from reports obtained by Dr. G. F. Warren:

It is estimated that there are about 733,000 persons living on farms in New York compared with 741,000 one year ago, a decline of about 8,000.

The population for each year of the last nine is given below. The 1925 estimates were made from reports received for 4,482 farms:

The decrease of 8,000 during the year is the smallest decrease during any one year since 1917.

During the year ending Feb. 1, 1925, about 29,000 men and boys left farming to enter other lines of work and about 11,000 left other work to take up farming. This is the smallest net movement to cities in three years. A table showing the movement of male workers to and from farms for the last few years follows:

YearOff FarmTo Farm
191924,20015,700
192033,00010,900
192139,80016,200
192216,50013,700
192333,9008,200
192440,50014,200
192529,10010,800

The comparison of these figures for any one year is a pretty good barometer of the prosperity of the New York state farmer compared with the prosperity of the other industries of the state.

At the present time there are only about 26,700 hired men on farms compared with 27,500 a year ago and with 77,000 in 1916. The decrease does not mean that men are not willing to work on farms, but they can obtain more money at other work than the farmer can afford to pay with the present prices of farm products. Farm production has been maintained during these years by the increased use of autos, trucks and other labor saving machinery, by an increase in the work done by the farmer's family and by neglect of farm maintenance and improvements. The production of farm products is receiving first consideration and after the necessary work on these is done, there is little time left for farm improvements, such as under-drainage, new fences, repair of buildings. This accounts for the high general production and the neglected appearance of many New York State farms.

[Photo: Montgomery County Farmers' Picnic]

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