Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Young (Jung) Families of the Mohawk Valley
Compiled by Clifford M. Young & Published by
The Fort Plain Standard, Fort Plain, NY 1947
Donated by Bruce Hargrove.


As Sally Diefendorf, daughter of Captain George Diefendorf, and the wife of Daniel Young of Freysbush, was the grandmother of the author, this chapter will deal with the history and genealogy of her branch of this unusually large family in this country. Like the Lashers, the Diefendorfs were a prolific lot and the descendants have scattered "to all lands and climes."

Different writers who have looked up the available records of this family agree that between 1720 and 1725 Henry, Johannes and George Diefendorf came to this country from Switzerland. It will be noted that this was ten or fifteen years after the great Palatine immigration of 1710. The lists of those Germans on arrival do not contain the name of "Diefendorf", and there is no record of them at the Camps or at Schoharie in those early days.

Tradition has it that Johannes and Henry were brothers, and that the third (George) was a cousin. However, it does not appear that the latter settled with the others in the Mohawk Valley. They are no doubt the first settlers in America bearing the name Diefendorf (all spellings included). The family has certainly made an outstanding contribution to its adopted country, as the generations which followed have produced leading agriculturists, ministers, physicians, lawyers, merchants soldiers, etc.

As Johannes and John Jacob were the progenitors of the line in question here, the Henry and Jacob line will not be traced except to note that the latter settled at Currytown, near Canajoharie, and his descendants still possess the original estate. That community was devastated by the Indians, British and Tories during the Revolution and the family suffered its share of the brutality incident to those terrible times. An historical roadside marker has been erected at Currytown to commemorate the event.

Johannis (1700-1791) settled just out of the Mohawk Valley on land above Sand Hill about two miles from what is now Fort Plain, in the town of Minden, Montgomery county, N. Y. He married Elizabeth Keller in 1725. Her birth date was not found but she died March 11, 1788. Their children were: (Second Generation)

1. George J. Diefendorf, born January 2, 1730, died August 11, 1816, married Catherine Hendree.

2. Elisabeth, born 1733, died March 18, 1817, married Nicliolas Spoon.

3. Jacob, born May 1, 1740, died November 17, 1818, married Cliristina Windecker.

4. Johannes, born May 10, 1742, died July 26, 1834, married Catherine Hess.

5. Catherine, born July 1744, died May 18, 1810, married Johannes Windecker.

6. John Jacob, born May 12, 1747, died March 27, 1839, married Kathrine Windecker. She was born April 15, 1755 and died January 13, 1826.

According to wills left by these early ancestors, there were four daughters not mentioned by name and no other record has been found. While the Windecker records are not complete, the Windecker and Diefendorf families were neighbors in those sparsely settled areas at that early date, and it is fair to assume that the three mentioned in the foregoing were brother and sisters, probably children of Johannes Windecker, who was one of the sons of Hartman Windecker, captain of Palatines in the immigration of 1710. Hartman enlisted with Col. Nicholson in a Canadian expedition against the French in 1711, which was of short duration; Hartman was one to "spy out the land" of Schoharie in 1711 and in 1712 led that band of Palatine wanderers to the promised land of Schoharie. An historical marker has been placed to his memory at what was called Hartmanns Dorf between Schoharie and Middleburg. It bears the following inscription:

Founded 1713 by
As a Home for Palatines

Roadside Marker near Middleburg, N. Y. Hartman Windecker was grandfather of Kathrine (Windecker) Diefendorf

He was granted a two-thousand acre patent near Fords Bush, Montgomery county, which it is claimed he never occupied, but went to Pennsylvania where he is buried, in the vicinity of Tulpahocken. Hartmann Windecker and Johann Conrad Weiser were apparently the outstanding leaders of that period among the Palatines.

John Jacob Diefendorf (1747-1839) was born in the town of Minden then Canajoharie. He was a justice and was familiarly known as "Esquire Diefendorf." He was a Revolutionary soldier, having enlisted in Col. Klock's Tryon County Regiment in 1775. He was in the battles of Oriskany, Springfield, Herkimer, German Flatts, Cherry Valley and Johnstown. John Jacob and wife Kathrine (so spelled on grave stone) are buried on a private plot on his farm in Frey's Bush, which was later known as the "Eli Casler Farm," about 2 1/2 miles south of Fort Plain on the Cherry Valley Highway. The farm is now (1944) the property of George Weeks.

The burial plot was enclosed by a substantial iron fence, but like most such burying grounds, had been allowed to become a thicket infested with woodchucks. In 1939-40 the writer became interested in bringing this burial place of a Revolutionary soldier and his wife out of obscurity. With financial aid rendered by John E. Diefendorf of Mt. Vernon and Rev. Leigh Diefendorf of Troy (John Jacob and Kathrine are the great-great-grandparents of these two Diefendorfs as well as the writer) he directed the rejuvenation of the plot. He also planned the placing by the State Historian of a historical marker by the roadside, near the last resting place of this soldier and his good wife and mother of his twelve children. The roadside marker bears the following inscription:

Site of Home and Grave of
Sergeant John Jacob
Born 1747 - Died 1839
Served in Revolution
Was in Battle of Oriskany

Roadside Marker, Freysbush: Sgt. John Jacob Diefendorf

The two grave stones are in good condition and bear the following data:

"In memory of John J. Diefendorf who departed this life March 27, 1839, aged 91 years, 10 months and 15 days."

"Sacred to the memory of Kathrine, wife of John J. Diefendorf who was born on the 5th day of April, 1755 and departed this life the 30th day of January, 1826 aged 70 yrs. 9 mo. and 25 days."

The children of John Jacob Diefendorf and Kathrine Windecker Diefendorf were as follows: (Third Generation)

Graves of John Jacob Diefendorf and wife Kathrine Windecker.

1. Elisabeth, born Sept. 33, 1772. She married John Fox (1st) and Honest Klock (2nd). She was the mother of ten children: Nancy Fox, Betsey Klock, Polly Wagner, Catharine Walrath, Dolly Snyder, Margaret Mover, John, Charles, Benjamin and Alexander.

2. John, born Sept. 16, 1774, died Dec. 16, 1860, married Mariah Failing, daughter of Henry J. Failing, Oct. 20, 1793. They had twelve children, the sons being Warner, Dr. Abraham, Rev. Benjamin I. and Peter.

3. Nancy, born May 21, 1776, died Feb. 9, 1850, married J. S. Timmerman, and had fourteen children.

4. George, born July 3. 1779, died March 7, 1865, married July 13, 1801, Catharine Bell, daughter of Frederick Bell.* She was born March 28, 1781 and died June 3. 1849. They had ten children.

5. Catherine, born June 27, 1781. (No further record).

6. Margaret, born April 1, 1783, married John Jenkins. They had seven children.

7. Rev. William, born May 26, 1785, died Sept. 19, 1838, married Catherine Failing. They had twelve children.

8. Maria, born February, 1787, married John Dunckel. No issue.

9. Magdalenah -(Lany - Lenah), born April 24, 1789 died 1838, married Adam Young March 3, 1811. They had five children: Charles, Elijah & Catherine Young and Eliza Swartout and Maria Wintersteen.

10. Rev. Jonas, born April 8, 1791, died Feb. 12, 1862, married Nancy Dunckel. They had twelve children. Some were John of Brooklyn, Jonas of Canajoharie, and Wilbur, a lawyer in Geneva.

11. Daniel, born Dec. 17, 1792, married Miss Countryman.

* Frederick Bell married Magdalena Seeber, daughter of William Seeber. Frederick Bell was a Tory and was mortally wounded in the Battle of Johnstown. It is an interesting fact that his daughter Catharine married George Diefendorf whose father, John Jacob engaged in the battle of Johnstown on the Patriot side.

12. Rev. Benjamin, born April 3, 1797, died Feb. 7, 1871, married Betsey Hawn Feb. 4, 1816. She was a daughter of Conrad Hawn, Jr. and Catharine Young, daughter of Jacob Young, Jr., and was born Oct. 17,h1797. They had twelve children.

Capt. George Diefendorf

George Diefendorf (son of John Jacob) 1779-1865, lived on a farm in Frey's Bush, just west of the cemetery and Methodist Church. He built the house and barn on that place, the frame of the latter of massive hardwood hewn timbers. It burned in 1941. He was one of the organizers of the Methodist Society in Frey's Bush and before the church was erected, the society held prayer meetings in the barn mentioned. The house is still in good state of preservation. George willed the farm to his son William G. Diefendorf, who afterward traded farms with Daniel Young and Sally Diefendorf Young (Sister of William G.) The Young farm was in the Reuben Walts neighborhood, part of it adjoining the Diefendorf farm, and was sold by William G. to John Kinery. The trade brought Daniel Young (grandfather of the writer) into possession of the old Diefendorf farm, and it was here that the writer of this story was reared, although born in "The Old Yellow House" on the hill, later remodeled by Charles W. Bowers. At the

Early Home of George Diefendorf, where Clifford M. Young was reared, Freysbush.

Levi G. Dievendorf, son of George

death of Daniel Young, his son Marvin became the owner of the farm in question, who sold it to Lucius Diefendorf, who in turn sold it to Edward Copley. George Diefendorf was a Captain in the war of 1812- 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment of Artillery-George H. Nellis, Lieutenant Colonel.

The children of George Diefendorf and Catharine Bell were:

Fourth Generation

1. Rev. Abram, born Sept. 28, 1802, died January 5, 1881, married Maria Limeback.

2. Magdalena, born May 4, 1804, died June 8, 1838, married David Hackney.

3. Jacob, born August 12, 1806 died Dec. 28, 1882, married Mary Overrocker.

4. Elisabeth, born June 23, 1808, died July 3, 1852, married Philip Alpaugh.

5. David G., born July 22, 1810. died October 22. 1855, married Mary Roof.

6. Daniel, born Dec. 19, 1812, died Oct. 16, 1897, married Eliza Hackney, Nov. 15, 1832.

7. Sally, born January 5, 1816, died March 8, 1887, married Daniel Young, Sept. 26, 1839.

8. William G. born February 16, 1819, died February 8, 1902, married 1st. Sally Elwood; 2nd, Ann Decker.

9. Jonas, born April 1, 1821, died August 30, 1877, married Almira Diefendorf.

10. Levi G. born August 6, 1823, died February 4, 1908, married, first, Margaret Elwood, November, 1844, second, Elizabeth Schaeffer November, 1865.

Sally Diefendorf (7) (1816 - 1887) wife of Daniel Young (1814 - 1881) had the following children:

Fifth Generation

Levi Young
Marvin "
Minerva "
Katharine "
Marietta "
George Ervin "

Marvin Young (1814 - 1916) wife Irene Lasher (1838 - 1928) Had the following children

Sixth Generation

Samuel L.
Clifford M. See Young Genealogy.


Johannes (1), John Jacob (2), George (8), Abram (1).

Rev. Abram Diefendorf, born Sept. 28, 1802, died January 5, 1881; married Mary (Maria) Limeback. Their children were:

Fifth Generation

John Wesley, born May 6, 1826, died April 26, 1910,

Almira, born February 12, 1828, died August 24. 1852.

Ezra, born Nov. 13, 1829, died December 23. 1885.

George, born July 30, 1831, died May 31, 1832.

Kate, born March 25, 1833.

Maria, born Nov. 4, 1834, died August 6, 1902.

Elisabeth, born January 8, 1837.

Lucinda, born May 29, 1839.

Belinda C., born November 25, 1842, died June 10, 1855.

Margaret Ann, born May 31, 1844.

John Wesley Diefendorf married Mrs. Cliristie A. Edwards Rowland, July 22, 1869. She was a daughter of James Edwards and wife Catlierina and was born January 5, 1844. Their children were:

Sixth Generation

Johannes (1), John Jacob (2), George (3), Abram (4), John Wesley (6).

Anna L; born September 26, 1871, married Charles Button of Fort Plain.

John E; born March 11, 1874, married Anna H. Oliphant of Oswego, June 25, 1901. She died June 30, 1945.

Elizabeth E., born December 7, 1876, married Robert Oliphant Apr. 12, 1911.

Charles W., born December 17, 1884, died October 2, 1918, married Charlotte W. Wagner of Fort Plain, daughter of Clark Wagner, June 28, 1911.

They have one daughter, Shirley, born Oct. 5, 1914.

Children of John E. Diefendorf and Anna H. (Oliphant) Diefendorf:

Seventh Generation

Anna O., born September 19, 1903, married Malcom J. Black, Sept. 26, 1928.

Katherine, born Jan. 1, 1907, married Frederick F. Fletcher, June 25, 1937.

Ruth E., born June 10, 1908, married Robert H. Custer, Mt. Vernon, N. Y., September 4 1940.

John E., born October 11, 1910, married Janet M. Jaeger, Mt. Vernon, N. Y., September 11, 1937.

Richard O., born December 30, 1911.

Copyright 1998, -- 2003. Berry Enterprises. All rights reserved. All items on the site are copyrighted. While we welcome you to use the information provided on this web site by copying it, or downloading it; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit.

Contents Introduction Links Home