Fort Klock Historic Restoration
& Indian Castle Church

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.


The fact that this historic community was the birthplace of the writer, at least affords a reason to inform the reader of its location, its people and its place in Mohawk Valley history. Freysbush, according to some historians, derived its name from Col. Hendrick Frey, grandson of the original Hendrick Frey (Fri), who located about 1690 in what became Palatine Bridge. Colonel Frey was a Justice of Sessions of Tryon county and a postmaster. He owned a tract of land in what was then about the center of Freysbush and he was a Loyalist during the Revolution. His brother. Major John Frey, who also resided here, was an ardent Patriot and Chairman of the Committee of Safety of Tryon county at the beginning of or just preceding the Revolution, and some writers claim that Freysbush was named for him.

Freysbush (originally spelled as in the heading) might be roughly bounded as follows: On the north by Fort Plain, Dutchtown and Valley Brook (Otsquago Creek) ; on the east by Happy Hollow and Seeber's Lane; on the south by Hessville and the "Hemlock City" district; and on the west by Brookman's Corners and Hallsville. It is situated in the town of Minden-which was Canajoharie, (Montgomery county, N. Y.) until March 2, 1798, when it became the present township, Minden.

<- "Old Brick House," Freysbush. Home of Rev. John Daniel Gros. Built about 1795.

Up to about 1900 there were a hotel, post-office and cheese factory in what was considered Freysbush proper, located about two miles south of Fort Plain, on the. Fort Plain-Cherry Valley highway. Route 163. This highway was originally a forest trail, and later a twelve mile plank road, which, in turn was reconstructed into a dirt and stone road. In the succeeding years it became extremely rough, particularly in wet weather, largely because of the stone, and many efforts were made to improve it by the use of slate, gravel, etc. The advent of the automobile was the means of changing it into an excellent hard-surface thoroughfare.

The hotel, cheese factory and post-office previously mentioned went out of existence as such about 1900 and since that time mail has been received through the rural delivery service. The "Old Brick House", built by Rev. John Daniel Gros about 1795 is in the immediate vicinity and is occupied. Fort Clyde was located about one-halt mile north, on the Nellis Farm, just off the Fort Plain highway. An historical marker has been placed at the roadside near the site. History records that General George Washington visited this fort in 1782 enroute to Cherry Valley and Otsego Lake. The highway from Fort Plain was at that time what was known, in later years, as the "Old Road", and extended from the tollgate just south of Fort Clyde, terminating in the Mohawk Valley east of Prospect Hill at Fort Plain.

Probably no section of the country was ever more eventful than this area, known in the early days as the Mohawks Country or Canajoharietown. These sturdy settlers of Freysbush, with their women and children, bore their share of the atrocities inflicted by Tories and Indians during the Revolution. Details will be omitted here, but the community was raided August 2, 1780; several were killed and others critically injured, while a considerable number were taken prisoners to Canada. Among the latter might be mentioned the following: John Peter Dunckel, John Casler, Nancy (Yerdon) Pletts (wife of George Pletts), Mrs. Dyoniscius Miller and Maria Strobeck. It was from the hills and valleys of old Frey's Bush and similar communities that these pioneers shouldered arms and went forth to avenge their wrongs, as through bloody sacrifice they had learned that the road to Oriskany was the key to liberty and peace.

An interesting item which might be worthy of mention here is the tact that as there was no jail in the township at this early period, a whipping post was maintained in Freysbush, and Beers "History of Montgomery county" states that the last person to expiate his crime by this method was Jacob Cramer, who received 39 lashes for stealing a wash. The punishment was inflicted by a constable named John Rice.

<-Methodist Church, Freysbush.

Early and contemporary history afford evidence of the essentially religious character of the inhabitants of this community. Since the early 1800's two churches have been maintained in Freysbush-the Methodist Church, located about three miles from Fort Plain and just off Route 163, and the Lutheran Church in upper Freysbush on that main highway to Cherry Valley, about two miles southward from the Methodist Church.

Rev. Edward J. Cummings, pastor of the Methodist church at its one hundredth anniversary in 1912, had this to say:

"The fathers and mothers of old Frey's Bush are gone. Their places are filled by others. They came to this section when it was a wilderness and they left it one of the most desirable farming communities in the State. They reared large families and few of them were ever touched by the breath of scandal. They were diligent, economy was esteemed by them a cardinal virtue. Their social life was a pattern of purity and fidelity. To fully appreciate those days we should have to put the Diefendorfs, Dunckels, Timmermans, Hackneys, Failings, Roofs, Walraths, Banders, Wendells, Geeslers, Hesses, Alpaughs, Lamberts, Van Deusens, Nestles, Walts, Youngs, and Nellis families back in their old homes, attend a prayer meeting at Uncle George Diefendorfs, and hear that saintly hazel-eyed grandmother pray, as she always did in those days in "Dutch", and attend a camp meeting at Ford's Bush to hear an itinerant preacher tell the old, old gospel story. But these settlers are now gone; they rest here (Freysbush Cemetery) or in the beautiful cemetery three miles away. Their farms have largely gone into the hands of strangers, and about the only thing left to speak for them is this church, the church of their love."

<- Lutheran Church, Freysbush.

Much the same might be said of the Lutheran Church (organized June 28, 1834). This and the Fords Bush Lutheran Church superseded the old Geisenberg German Lutheran church located near Hallsville and founded about 1760. Because of its rather secluded location out of the Valley proper, the last mentioned church was not destroyed by the enemy during the Revolution, and its available records are exceedingly valuable to genealogists and others of the present day. This church was of German origin, founded about 1750 as a society, the early pastors being Rev. Peter Nicholas Sommer, Rev. John Christopher Wieting and Rev. John Fredericks Reis. The first wooden church was erected in about 1767 and was replaced by one of brick in 1806, This church was still standing in 1849, but all that remains today is the cemetery and some brick of the structure. Legend has it that the name "Geisenberg" came from some stray goats from Fort Plain which were found in the locality. It seems more likely to this writer that the name had its origin in "Geisenberg Mt. and Castle" near Heidelberg, a romantic spot which was doubtless well known to these early Germans who came from that locality.


<- Rev. John Daniel Gros, 1737-1812. (Picture by courtesy of Mrs. Andrew G. Dunn.)

Rev. John Daniel Gros was an outstanding personality in Freysbush and Fort Plain. His niece, Margaret Schunk, married John Christian Young. It is the belief of the writer that David Young (his great-grandfather) and his brother Frederick Young both named their sons Daniel for Reverend Gros, who lived about midway between the residences of these two Young families in Freysbush. Certainly "Daniel" was not a Young family name in this line.

Because of the facts just stated, it seems fitting that space should be here devoted to the memory of this leading citizen and minister of his time. Rev. John Daniel Gros was pastor of the Dutch Reformed or "High German Reformed" church of Sand Hill (Fort Plain) before the Revolution, and was its minister at the time the church was burned in Brant's raid on August 2, 1780; he was also chaplain of two regiments, appointed by Lieut. Col. Marinus Willett. After the war, from 1784 to 1795, he was Professor of Moral Philosophy in Columbia University, during which period he wrote a textbook on that subject, a copy of which is on file in the New York State Library.

In Dr. Francis' "Old New York" and Drake's "Cyclopedia," also "Art in Milledoler" in "Spragues Annals" we find the following:

"He was born in Bavaria Palatinate at Webenheim near Zweibrucken, in 1737, son of Lorenz (Lawrence) and Mary Magdalena Gros; Professor in Columbia University 1784-1795. He attended the University of Marburg and Heidelberg; landed at Philadelphia Dec. 4, 1764; had many pastorales in Pennsylvania, Kingston, N. Y. and at Sand Hill during the Revolutionary war; was chaplain and took part in the battles of Oriskany, Sharon and Johnstown." Dr. Francis says (In 1858) "John Daniel Gros, a preacher of the Dutch Reformed Church Nassau Street (Where General North erected a beautiful mural tablet to Baron Steuben), having discoursed both in German and English tongues, retired from the field of his labors, leaving the city and settling at Canajoharie (Frey's Bush) where lie died May 25, 1812. His praises were on every lip and here and there is still living a graduate of Columbia College who will tell you how once under those buttonwood trees he drilled his collegiate class on Moral Philosophy." Reverend Gros left a will dated December 16, 1811, giving his family history as follows:

"Born in Webenheim, in Cidevant Dutchy ot Deuxponts in 1737. Father Lorenz Gros, mother Mary Magdalena, eldest daughter of Philip Bombach. Both buried at Mimbach about two years before I migrated to this country, having left the place of my nativity 7-14-1764 and arrived at Philadelphia 12-1-1764. Left two sisters, Elisabeth who married Peter Moschel of Mimbach, and Margareth who married Daniel Schank (Shunk) of Webenheim; two brothers Lawrence and John Nichols remained at that time, but Lawrence followed me to America. From him, Jacob Moschel, Elisabeth Moschel, John Nicholas Schunk, Magdalena Schunk (all children of my two sisters having followed me). I learn that my brother John Nicholas has resided in Amsterdam, Holland, and in 1786 when I officiated at New York as a minister of the gospel and professor of Columbia College, I received a letter from him informing that he had at that time made 11 voyages to the East Indies. A letter sent later to an address he gave was returned with the comment that it came too late as my brother had started for the Cape of Good Hope, and he was never heard of again."

The will mentions niece Margaret Schunk (wife of John Christian Young), brother Lawrence's children-Daniel, Lawrence, Nicholas and Henry; deceased wife's sister Maria; Jacob Moschel; Nicholas Schunk; Elisabeth Moshel (wife of Reingoldt Fangott). Rev. Gros willed land in Edinburgh, Saratoga county, and in Lysander, Cicero, Manlius and Brutus, Cayuga county. Executors: George H. Nellis, John Diefendorf, Jr., nephews Lawrence and Nicholas Gros. Witnesses Francis Dunckel, George G. Dunckel and Jacob Empey.

The wife of Rev. John Daniel Gros was Eleanor Philippina Holstein, daughter of Baron Karl von Holstein. She died in Freysbush October 13, 1811, aged 77. She was born in the city of Heidelberg, Germany, and on February 3, 1763, married the doctor and minister. Rev. John Daniel Gros. She was buried by her house in Frey's Bush (Old Brick House) on October 15, 1811, aged 77 years. (See Book 56, Page S84, Genealogical and Biographical Record).

Reverend Gros and wife were buried in the yard beside the "Mansion" in Freysbush and later the remains were transferred to the Dunn * lot in the beautiful Fort Plain cemetery. Beside these graves are those of Lawrence Gros, who died Aug. 10, 1844, aged 69 years and 6 months; and Maria, his wife, who died January 30, 1833, aged 77 years and 10 months. There is also the grave of Elisabeth Gros, born Dec. 15, 1778, died Dec. 15, 1796.


In 1897, and the years immediately following, Freysbush was at its zenith-with its literary and debating societies and thriving churches. The automobile had not yet come into its own, the roads were dusty and muddy or stormed in, and the many diversions which later attracted young people from the farms had not yet materialized.

* In 1855 Andrew Dunn, Sr. married Louise, daughter of Nicholas Gros of Palatine, who was a son of Capt. Lawrence Gros, nephew of Rev. John Daniel Gros.

At this time, the writer, who had taken up the cornet as his favorite instrument, and was a member of the Sprout Brook Band, conceived the idea that such a musical ensemble should be organized a old Freysbush. After talking the matter over with the young men of the community, he called a meeting at his home on Tuesday, August 31, 1897, which was well attended. The proposed undertaking net with enthusiastic response on the part of the boys and had thereafter the support of the community at large.

The band was organized, a few of the members already having instruments; others had to be purchased and assigned to the best advantage: inside of four months the band was holding rehearsals and doing well, under the leadership of the writer. It is fair to state that Rev. L. B. Dutcher, pastor of the Lutheran Church, rendered some valuable service in an advisory capacity in the formation of the band. The name adopted was FREYS BUSH CORNET BAND, and within a comparatively short period the boys had uniforms and were being occasionally engaged to furnish music at Sunday School picnics, fairs, political meetings and church festivals. For several years the band was the life of the community.

As these were the horse and buggy days, with slow transportation, the band boys were certainly entitled to credit for the required extra effort on their part. After a hard week's work of long hours it was necessary for them to come from far and near to Moyer Hall for Saturday night rehearsals, and sometimes an extra night a week. Some tame a distance of four miles and others had to walk two miles either way. It was the vigor of youth together with their deep interest and determination to succeed that made the undertaking possible of accomplishment.

The regular membership of the band was as follows:
Edward Clark ...Tuba
Leon H. Cross ..Bass Drum
Percy Failing ...Alto
Perry Graves ....Cornet
Peter Keller ...Trombone.
Seward Keesler ..Solo Alto
John Kiniry .....Snare Drum
Andy Kiniry ....Cymbals
John D. Kiniry ..Alto
Charles Lewis ...Cornet
William Lewis ...Alto
Edward Mowers..Trombone
John Moyer .....Cornet
Orley H. Roof ..Baritone
Charles Smith.....Clarinet
Howard Smith....Cornet
Will Smith.....Clarinet
Samuel L. Young...Trombone
Clifford M. Young....Cornet


Rear: Edward Mowers, Charles Smith, Samuel L. Young, Seward Geesler, Peter Keller, William Lewis, Orley Roof.

Front: Wm. Smith, Andy Kiniry, Edward Clark, Howard Smith, Clifford M. Young, Director, J. J. Kiniry, Leon Cross, John Moyer, John Kiniry, Chas. Lewis, Perry Graves.

Other names should be added of boys who were originally associated with the band but who resigned because of remote location or moved elsewhere, as follows: Jay Alter, Piccolo; Luke Davin, clarinet; William Lewis, bass drum; Arthur Manning, cornet; and John Hoffman, baritone.

The writer, who has been the director of the band since its organization, moved to Fort Plain and became a member of the Old Fort Plain Band, a fine concert organization, but he continued to direct the Freysbush Band. In 1903 he entered the service of the State and, of course, was obliged to leave the community. Immediately thereafter several others secured positions elsewhere and as a result the Freysbush Cornet Band passed into history.

Besides affording wholesome recreation for its members, the band was a benefit to the town during those years, as it "kept the boys on the farm", which has since been a problem in this and other rural communities.

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