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.



Before attempting to portray with reasonable accuracy the genealogy of a family, where few family records have been preserved, a vast amount of research is necessary. Fortunately, a variety of records are available in the New York State Library at Albany. Unfortunately, many valuable records have been destroyed by fire, through wanton destruction by the Indians and Tories in Revolutionary days, and also through just plain carelessness. Such a study, to say the least,- proves to be fascinating and becomes an excellent hobby for a person of leisure.

Some historical retrospect should precede a tracing of the genealogy of any of the early Mohawk and Schoharie Valley families, which will show their origin, nationality and something of their outstanding characteristics. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Holland-Dutch were in New York City, as is well known, and also in some parts of the lower Hudson Valley; in Albany and in Schenectady; and perhaps there may have been a few small settlements in the lower Mohawk Valley. West of this was a wilderness inhabited largely by Red Men.

In 1710 a large body of immigrants of German stock arrived in New York from the Palatinate on the Rhine and were settled temporarily at East and West Camps on the Hudson River, in what are now Columbia, Greene and Ulster counties. From this stock came the families under consideration here, and many others in Schoharie, Montgomery, Herkimer and neighboring counties, descendants of which reside in those localities today.

The historical detail concerning the persecution and extreme hardship borne by these Palatines, their flight from the homeland and the difficulties experienced in finally settling in peace in the New World is a most interesting story. Rev. Sanford H. Cobb's "Palatine Immigration", Dr. Walter A. Knittle's "Early Eighteenth Century Emigration," and other writers tell the story after exhaustive study and research. It is not the purpose of this article to repeat these details which are already in print, but to briefly outline the thread of the story to show the background of the families in question.

Cobb says:

"The story of their coming hither, with the bitterness of their antecedent suffering and endurance, and the sturdiness of their unconquerable faith and determination to wrest fortune and happiness out of the very talons of despair is one that should be better known to the students of the American history.

"Judge Benton's history of Herkimer County says:

"The particulars of the immigration of the Palatines are worthy of extended notice. The events which produced the movement in the heart of an old and polished European nation to seek a refuge and home on the Western Continent, are quite- as legitimate a subject of American history as the oft-repeated relation of the experiences of the Pilgrim Fathers."

The Palatinate from whence these people came was located in the western part of Germany, on the Rhine, and its capital was Heidelberg. The name has said by some writers to have originated from Count Palatine of France, a cousin of Queen Anne of England. From 1689 to 1707 this section had been overrun time after time by the* French soldiery who were at war with Germany and was familiarly known as "the cockpit of Europe." Historians generally agree that this epoch was characterized to a large extent by religious wars as a result of the Protestant Reformation, which had its origin in that locality. Louis XIV of France ordered the French military commander to give the Palatines three days to leave their homes in the dead of a most severe winter. Many died of cold and hunger and everything was utterly destroyed except the soil, and Macauley says "Enough survived to fill the streets of all the countries of Europe with lean and squalid beggars who had once been thriving farmers and storekeepers. Every city on the Rhine was taken and sacked." With these events softened by the mist of centuries and viewed through dim perception of that country and people so remote, it is difficult for us, in a land of religious liberty, to imagine such fierce and inhuman treatment of an industrious and peace-loving folk. And yet, today, the treatment of the Jews of Europe during recent years is not unlike the brutality visited upon the "Poor Palatines" by the French in the early 1700's. Yes, man's inhumanity to man still persists.

In the proceedings of the New York State Historical Society, Brink says 'Ever since the dawn of civilization in Europe the valley of the Rhine has been the battle ground of the nations. Language fails in describing the devastation of the region (Palatinate), and history has no such tale of the horrors of merciless war, except that of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans or the trek of Alva through the Netherlands. Providence was directing these homeless ones to other lands to be builders of new states and founders of a new and better civilization. To the banks of another mighty stream (Hudson River) they found their way across the mighty and uncharted deep. It is a wondrous tale."

The Palatines have been referred to by some as hewers of wood and drawers of water. This statement might be true of many of them when they settled in the wildernesses of New York, as such tasks were necessary for shelter and existence. But the official records of their occupations in the Palatinate indicate that a cross section would show an average such as might have been gathered from any similar community. They were listed as husbandmen, vinedressers, herdsmen, schoolmasters, weavers, carpenters, bakers, masons, coopers, brewers, joiners, shoemakers, tailors, butchers, tanners, miners, brickmakers, bricklayers, hatters, silversmiths, etc.

The history of the colonizing of these people is told at length in the State papers of New York. The Historical Society report continues: "This Palatine stock has given Governors to the State of New York and Pennsylvania; has sent senators to Congress; has produced historians, poets and scholars; has given to the world celebrated divines and theologians; has sent men to fight for liberty and independence, who laid down their lives on the field of battle; has given men to public service who made glorious records for integrity and scrupulous honor."

It appears that in about 1705 small groups of Palatines found their way to New Jersey and North Carolina, but the beginning of the real exodus can be traced to 1708 when some 41 settled in the vicinity of Newburgh, N. Y., in charge of Rev. Joshua Kocherthal, evangelical minister, who had petitioned the "Good Queen Anne" of England to be sent to America. In 1709 Kocherthal returned to Europe and negotiated the large emigration of these Germans to New York in 1710. It is an historical fact that some 13,000 or more Palatines came down the Rhine to Rotterdam, Holland, and at least 9,000 succeeded in crossing to England while the others were turned back. They began arriving in London in May, 1709, and taxed the ingenuity of the British to provide for their pressing needs until their future destination could be worked out. Several thousand were provided with tents on the "Black Heath" near London and others were accommodated in warehouses, etc. It is claimed that about 4,000 were sent to Ireland and some 700 to the Carolinas, in North America, in 1709. In the spring of 1710 ships were secured at reduced rates and some 3,000 were herded on a fleet of ten sailing vessels bound for New York. The records indicate that from the time of boarding the vessels until this large group of emigrants arrived at Nuttens Island, New York, nearly six months had lapsed, partly because of delays in actually clearing the London harbor, but largely because of adverse winds and violent storms. Some 470 died at sea because of terrible conditions on board, contagion and undernourishment. *

Those who survived were in a sickly condition and were held for several months on the island where an additional number died. It was not until the late fall of 1710 that most of the survivors were moved up the Hudson River to the Camps by Governor Hunter to engage in the production of naval stores (tar, pitch and turpentine, and mast heads) for the British, an untried experiment with northern pine, the tar making being doomed to failure. Hardships continued because of improper shelter and lack of sufficient wholesome food for men, women and children.

It seems fitting that here a word of tribute should be recorded to the memory of Rev. Joshua Kocherthal, the "Joshua who led the Palatines to the promised Land":

Born in Landau, Bavaria, Germany, in 1669, Joshua von Kocherthal received his education and training at the feet of those who had espoused the cause of Martin Luther, and became a minister in the German Lutheran Church in the Rhineland. He witnessed the untold hardships and brutal treatment of his fellow countrymen in the Palatinate, which unfortunately was located in a part of Germany directly in the path of hostile military hordes.

Rev. Kocherthal demonstrated his personality and marked ability in gaining audience with British royalty in this critical period and negotiating the transfer of these oppressed people to the New World, whereby they escaped further horrors in the homeland and faced the prospect of rehabilitation in a land of , promise. He was willing to share with them the. rigors and privations of pioneer life and during these trying years stood by them, looking after their material and spiritual well being His untimely death at West Camp December 27, 1719 was a severe loss to his friends for whose welfare he had labored so faithfully. The record he left of these early pioneers is

* Prof. I. Daniel Rupp, in his "30,000 names" states that the Palatines sails Dec. 25, 1709 and arrived in New York June 14, 1710.

invaluable to their descendants as well as to all searchers for genealogical information concerning the Palatines.

The little church beside the highway at West Camp, N. Y. bears his mortal remains and the inscription on the historical tablet in that church is as follows:

"Know, O traveler, -
under this stone rests beside his Sibylla Charlotta,
a genuine traveler,
of the high Germans in America, .
Their Joshua,
And a pure Lutheran Preacher of the same
in the east and west side
of the Hudson River.
His first arrival was with Lord Lovelace
1707-8, January 1
His second with Col. Hunter
1710, June 14 -
Brought his journey to England to end.
His heavenly journey was
on St. John's Day, 1719.
Do you wish to know more? :
Seek in Melanchton's Fatherland ''
Who was Kocherthal
Who Winchenback
B. Berkenmeyer S. Huertin L. Brevoort

In 1711 several leaders of the Palatines, among whom were Conrad Weiser and Hartman Windecker, started for the much talked of "promised land" of Schoharie, inhabited entirely by Indians, who it was said had promised them land. These people asked for nothing but land in a place where they could be left in peace to make their livelihood. The leaders mentioned reported favorably and in 1712 a large percentage of those at East and West Camp on the Hudson started on the long journey on foot for the El Dorado of their dreams. Some Writers claim they traveled via Albany where they were met by an Indian scout who directed them over the Helderbergs, down Fox Creek, into the Schoharie Valley; others claim they went via Schenectady. They were said to have been kindly received by the Indians who shared with them their limited supply of food and granted them land in the valley-and choice level land it was.

Writers differ as to the origin of the urge to go to the "Promised Land of Schorie." Cobb and others have said that when Peter Schuyler, Mayor of Albany, visited England in 1710 with five Indian chiefs to be observed by royalty, these Indians had been privileged to see the wretched condition of the Palatines while awaiting transportation to America; that the Indians took pity on them and promised them plenty of land if they would come to Schoharie. Dr. Knittle gives proof that this was legendary, as he claims the Palatines were aboard the vessels bound for New York before Schuyler and the Indians arrived in England.

The records do show that the Schoharie, Mohawk and Hudson valleys were under discussion as possible sites for the naval stores experiment and this was known to the Palatines. A large percentage of them were disgusted with their situation on the Hudson Valley site and on leaving for other quarters where they might establish their homes, they would naturally select for their objective the nearest site available, about which they had received favorable reports. The proposed Mohawk Valley site was at German Flats, near Herkimer, a considerable distance farther away from the Hudson Valley Camps, and many of them did go there later for their third settlement, after unsatisfactory treatment in Schoharie. However, Conrad Weiser, who was an outstanding personality among these wanderers, wrote in his diary several years afterwards that the Indians had given land in Schoharie to Queen Anne for the Palatines.

As soon as possible after arrival in the Schoharie Valley, these destitute people erected their crude houses and cleared some of the land for raising crops, but their troubles continued. Soon the "land grabbers" from Schenectady and Albany, claiming previous title to the land, demanded rents or vacation of the property. As a result, some three hundred families were driven out, a considerable number proceeding over to the Susquehanna River and down to a place called Tulpehocken, Pennsylvania, where this group at last received decent treatment. Others went to the Mohawk Valley, some being granted land on a patent at Stone Arabia, others settling in the Canajoharie district and ninety-two went westward through the valley to "The Great Flatts" (German Flats), now in Herkimer county. Some writers claim that a group went directly to the Mohawk Valley on leaving the Camps on the Hudson in 1712. What are now the towns of Palatine and Minden (both German names) were especially attractive to these searchers for land. This exodus from Schoharie to the Mohawk valley is generally conceded to have been in about 1722, and it seemed that at last these unfortunate people had found peace, but in this they and their children were destined to disappointment. In 1757 and 1758 the valley was raided by the French and Indians and many of the people slain or taken prisoners, their buildings and crops destroyed and their livestock killed or stolen.

The survivors returned and constructed new buildings upon the ruins and began life anew. During the next twenty years the families increased, more land was cleared and brought under cultivation, and hamlets dotted the countryside. Then came devastation worse than ever. The Palatine stock generally sided with the Patriot cause in the Revolution and whole companies went to the front where many made the supreme sacrifice while their families were murdered or taken as prisoners to Canada, and their homes destroyed by the British soldiery, Tories and Indians.

And so it developed that the Palatines who left their vineyards in the old Rhineland, so often laid waste by cruel war, were destined for a still more savage experience in the American wilderness. They became an unconquerable barrier to the progress of British colonization in America, and instead proved to be the advance agents of freedom and democracy. The irony of fate decreed that the Palatines whom England had transplanted to the New World should become a mighty force that would defeat St. Legar at Oriskany-the bloodiest battle of the Revolution; prevent his coalition with Burgoyne and make sure the cause of freedom.

In our research we have been profoundly surprised that many historians, particularly the writers of textbooks for schools, scarcely mention these early Palatine immigrants and the important part they played in the development of their newly adopted homeland, and the heroic struggle of their children to preserve it for posterity, underneath that new banner first unfurled at Fort Stanwix. It is even more surprising that present-day descendants of these people know so little concerning the terrible sacrifice and sorrow suffered by their forbears, and of the patriotic service they rendered during the birth of the Republic. For instance, this author, although he spent his first 23 years in the "Valley", never had heard the story. It is gratifying that in more recent years students of American history, who care, have given some emphasis to these important historical facts.

So it is fair to say that for one hundred years these German-Americans and their descendants found no lasting peace but suffered untold hardships and brutality, which they in no sense deserved.

From this background came such illustrious men as General Nicholas Herkimer, the Wanamakers, Chryslers, Rockefellers and the Hon. Owen D. Young. From the same stock came many of the families in the towns of Palatine, Canajoharie, Minden, German Flats, and others in the Mohawk Valley.

Following is a list of some of these family names:


It is interesting to note that among the first activities of these early settlers were the erection of small churches, and it was necessary for the ministers assigned to travel from place to place, performing marriage ceremonies, baptizing children, bringing the ministrations of religion to the sick and dying, and keeping records. These records are a most valuable asset to genealogists, but unfortunately the frequent destruction of churches and homes by the enemy during the wars has made research previous to the Revolution very difficult.

In Columbia county and neighboring territory, first inhabited by the Palatines and Holland Dutch, where such destruction did not occur, it is gratifying to find records extending back even before the coming of the Palatines in 1710. Some of the Schoharie and Stone Arabia church records, which it is believed were saved by keeping them at the forts, have been preserved. They extend back to about 1740 and afford some connecting links 'between' the early Hudson Valley records and those subsequent to the Revolutionary War period.

These records were usually in German or Holland Dutch (German , Lutheran or Dutch Reformed), and while many of them have been translated into English, the different spelling of names hampers to some extent all seekers of genealogical information. For instance. Young was spelled Jung, Jonk, Junk, Yong, Yongh and Yonge, and to form the feminine "in" was added, so that the name Jungin meant Miss Young or a widow by that name. This was true of many other names, and "Young" is used here simply to illustrate.

While the records were not kept in all respects as one might wish today, yet, when one considers the difficulties encountered by these early itinerant ministers, their work deserves our everlasting gratitude. For instance, what did they use for pen, ink and paper and where did they get them? These materials were of such quality that they have withstood the ravages of time and the records arc legible today; fortunately these ministers could write as legibly as some of our modern clergymen. We might visualize these early ministers, riding on horseback through the forests for fifty miles or more to the next community, and after performing their ministrations, being expected to keep records which would stand modern criticism and requirements.

It is, of course, to be regretted that in many instances these ministers omitted the full name of the wife when a child was baptized, recording only her given name and often using a different form for that on each occasion-such as Catharine, Maria Kathrine, Mary Catharina, Caty and Kate. Genealogists find, for instance, the names Jacob Young and Anna, Jacob Jung and Nancy, Jacob Jongh and Mary or Maria Ann or Nancy Maria, who were as a matter of fact all the same persons. Had the maiden name been inserted, the identity would have been established for certain.

But what are we to expect of those early keepers of the records when we of later generations chisel in marble in our cemeteries "FATHER" and "MOTHER"-useless words to future generations when names are omitted. We also find, for instance, "Jacob Young" on a tombstone, and beside this a stone bearing the name "Catharine Young, his wife", instead of Catharine Hahn, Diefendorf or Hess, as the case may be. It is only during very recent years that we have adopted a more enlightened method of tombstone inscription.

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