(The following was written by Florence Zula Shafer Witthoft, 20 March 1968.)
The first mention of Conrad Kilts, our earliest Mohawk Valley ancestor, that anyone has so far been able to find is the document called, Schedule of Titles Produced 1723-1792. This was a final survey in 1792 of the Stone Arabia Tract. The original document is in the St. Johnsville Library. The last item on the page is: "Adam Walrath to Conrad Kilts dated Sept. 23, 1743 for some lots and with the undivided land..."
Let's take a trip to this Kilts-Land! On your New York State road map, find Interstate 90. Exit 29 is at Canajoharie. Cross the Mohawk River to Palatine Bridge. Turn left, west, on Route 5 and then shortly, turn right, north on Route 10. Four miles north on Route 10 is Stone Arabia, the first church on the left is Trinity Lutheran Church and the second is the Reformed Church. It was in this area somewhere that Conrad Kilts bought land Sept. 23, 1743. Three of his sons - Peter, Johan-Nicholas and Adam - also married and settled in this vicinity.
Peter seems to have been the only one who stayed at Stone Arabia. About a mile north of Stone Arabia, still on Route 10, is Kilts Road. Turn left, and a short distance in on the right on this now dead-end road is the house and barns that "Skip" Barsheid is restoring. August 22, 1750, Conrad's son Peter bought land here from the heirs of Philip Livingston. Albert Kilts has the original deeds. There are copies in the Fonda Courthouse, Fonda, NY. "Skip" thinks the house itself dates back only to about 1840. "Skip" has restored the barn back to its original "Deutsch - Dutch" barn condition, a grain barn.
In 1788 Conrad's son, Johan-Nicholas, bought land in what is now Herkimer County. So, then, leaving this Peter Kilts property, go back on Kilts Road to Route 10. Turn right, south, back to Palatine Bridge. Turn right, west, on Route 5 again. Between Nelliston and St. Johnsville you will come to the Palatine Lutheran Church on the right, built in 1770. Here you will find hanging on the wall to the right of the entrance a framed copy of the aforementioned document. Go in and see for yourself your Kilts ancestor's name on the very last line.
Leaving the Palatine Shrine, go on to St. Johnsville and Little Falls. In Little Falls find Route 170 and go north to Yellow Church Road. In the fields to your right stood a fort when Johan Nicholas moved to the area, and the St. Paul's Lutheran Church, a/k/a the Yellow Church, where his descendants worshipped. Many of them are buried in the Church Yard which still remains. Go straight ahead on Route 170 to what for years was called Florian Road, but has now been renamed Kilts Road where John-Nicholas came with probably his 5 youngest children. Here, too, you will find an old house built in 1864, the third erected by the Kiltses. More interesting still, if you can walk farther back into the fields, you will find fascinating traces of older buildings. This property is now back in the possession of a Kilts descendant, Henry Crofoot.
In 1790, Conrad's son Adam sold his pews in the Reformed Church in Stone Arabia and moved with probably seven of his nine children to Sharon in Schoharie County. For this part of the trip to Kilts-Land, go back to Little Falls and Palatine Bridge. Turn right and go south on Route 10 to Sharon Springs on US Route 20. Turn left, east, and go to Sharon. Turn left again, north, and keeping on the road to Argusville, in less than a mile you will find where Adam settled. Tradition says that Adam's original house, built with boards brought with him from Stone Arabia, was first placed beside the willow trees in the valley and later moved to the top of the hill where now you can see a house of log cabin construction built on the site of where the house and barn burned and only the silo still remains. If you are curious about how the early buildings looked, there is a Fritz Vogt picture in Cooperstown's Fenimore House Museum. Otherwise, this, then, is our last stop on the trip that has taken us to the original areas of our earliest Mohawk Valley ancestors, Conrad and Susan Margretha Kilts, and their three sons, Peter, Johan-Nicholas and Adam.
Thanks for motoring with us!
Table of Contents, Kilts
Copyright © 2000. Herman W. Witthoft, Sr. and 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; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit. This is an appendage of the Fort Klock Historic Restoration web site.
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