Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883

Volume I, Page 285.

The First Schoharie Churches.--The first church organized in Schoharie was Lutheran, and in 1742, its first pastor, Rev. Peter Nicholas Sommer, was ordained at Hamburgh, in German. He came over early in 1743, in which year a parsonage was erected for him near the famous spring, which gave rise to the name of the settlement--Brunnen dorf. Religious services were held in this dwelling until a small church--as stone edifice--was erected in 1750, and dedicated in 1751, eight or ten rods to the northward of the parsonage, and in what is now the Lutheran cemetery.

Domnie Sommer became blind in 1768, and for many years was led to the church to officiate by Andrew Loucks (with whom, at the age of 91, we conversed), and on awaking one morning his sight was restored, and continued to him until the day of his death, in Sharon, about the year 1795. On Sunday afternoon, November 25, 1860, his remains having been removed

<-Lutheran parsonage erected in 1743.

This old structure was rejuvenated a few years ago, and is yet in good condition. It Is the oldest building in the county, and although built of wood, with proper care it will stand;another century.

thither, were interred with befitting services from the Lutheran church in Schoharie, Rev. Dr. G. A. Lintner and Rev. Mr. Belfour officiating. The latter delivered a proper discourse from Prov. 10, 7: "The memory of the just is blessed." The elders of the church acted as pall-bearers. The remains were interred in the cemetery near where he had so long preached, and a monument now marks his grave. The remains of his wife were interred with his.

Explanation.-The following is the reading on the map of Fountains Town: "DEVISION of Fountains Towne, Devided by consent of the owners, which were all plact at the Devisions; what lays within the green line (the second line below the dwellings) represents the hay land, whereof Dedrick Ryckert: Hendrick Conradt and Incold have one-third, Jacob Frederick Lawyer one-sixth, Hendrick Hayns one-sixth and one-third of a third part, Johannes Lawyer, Jun., two-thirds of one-third part of the whole. And the lotts whereon there houses stands into five equal shares, excepting where the Scheffel's live, or which was not divided. The above is a true Draught of the said Division, which was performed in May, 1753, by one John Rutse Bleecker, Surveyor." The little church seen on the left of the map was a square building with a quadrangular roof; a small steeple at the apex was adorned with a weathercock. The edifice much resembled Queen Anne's chapel at Fort Hunter. Johannes Lawyer, Jr., who was the first merchant in this primitive Schoharie settlement, dwelt at the northern allotment, where, in a stone dwelling, he kept a store. It was probably in the lower building figured on his lot. The spring alluded to issues from the rocks only a couple of rods from the southeast corner of the parsonage, a path from which is seen leading to it. It still has a good flow of water, but at an early period it was much greater; and tradition says that this first tradesman erected a grist-mill, a few rods north of his dwelling, with an overshot wheel, which was driven by water from this spring. It was one of the first mills in the valley, and did a good business. Lawyer must have commenced trading, say as early as 1730.

A Reformed Dutch Church, was organized in Schoharie nearly as early as was the Lutheran, but its records having been destroyed by fire, its first establishment cannot be satisfactorily shown. A Reformed Dutch church was. also established at Middleburgh, nearly as early as at Schoharie. Said Jacob Becker, the first Reformed Dutch church in Schoharie--a structure of wood-stood a little distance northeast of the stone church edifice still standing, and now called the Old Fort. It was square, after the model of the Albany Dutch church, with a steeple over its centre, and was provided with a small bell, the rope of which came down in the centre of the building. This bell is said to have been injured by lightning. The edifice was demolished on the erection of the stone edifice, by Boss Bartholomew, in 1772. The Clergyman, Rev. Crutzeus, who officiated in the first Schoharie church, was a Low Dutchman, who also officiated in the first church at Middleburgh, which was similar in form, also of wood, and was burned by the enemy under Sir John Johnson, October 17, 1780. He preached at Schoharie in German, and at Middleburgh in Low Dutch. Rev. Mr. Schuyler, long a pastor of this church, died during the Revolution. A blank call for a pastor to take charge of those churches, written in German, shows that he was to receive for every person baptised, a fee of one shilling ; for every couple married, eight shillings ; that his salary was to be paid half in cash and half in wheat ; that his fire-wood was to be scot free; and that he was to have four Sabbaths in a year to himself.

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