by Nancy Cioch

Historic Yellow Church Cemetery Association has a 100th Anniversary
by Nancy Cioch and Sarah Israel

<- Water color of Yellow Church by Maggie Smith Timmerman, (Nancy and Sarah's mohter. 2001.

This past August 5, 2001 was a scene of "yesterday gone by" at the Manheim Lutheran Church Cemetery commonly called "Old Yellow Church" cemetery. The Cemetery Association was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the origination of the cemetery association. The "Old Yellow" church was demolished in the 1960's but the enthusiasm is still living in the descendants of family members buried there. This area of Manheim Township was called "Rheimensnyder's Bush". It was one of the earliest parts of Manheim that was settled by the Palatines in the 1700's. The celebration of the 100th year anniversary was a picnic supper held on the grounds at the front gate. There was a genealogical display of old photos, family genealogy, posters and a 1921-survey map. Jacqueline Gehring gave a short memorial to late treasurer Bessie Glover who died this past summer. Bessie had devoted her time and energy in keeping the association going these past 40 years. President Jim Dieffenbacker took charge of the barbecue and there were salads and an anniversary cake, which completed the supper. About 30 people attended this anniversary, (the first in many years), and came from various states: New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and throughout New York State.

Throughout the years Rheimensnyder's Bush was a very active community, which played a great influence on the surrounding area, especially Little Falls. Here the cheese factories were developed making Little Falls the king of the cheese commodity market. Herkimer County Cheese made its way to the tables all over the world including the Kings and Queens of Europe. For the inauguration of Andrew Jackson a large 1400-pound cheese came from Herkimer County (possibly from Rheimensnyder's Bush ) and found its way to the lobby of the White House in Washington D C.

Fairfield Academy, an institution for higher learning, became an important part of the community during the 1800's and produced many doctors, lawyers, and businessmen that reached throughout the world. Fairfield Academy became an important institution of higher learning. Young scholars from the Yellow Church attended that Academy

During the Revolutionary War, Rheimensndyder's Bush residents were quick to take up arms to defend themselves against the British tyranny. They marched to the Battle of Oriskany with the militia and many lost their lives in that terrible battle. There are 50 Revolutionary Soldiers buried in this cemetery. Many fought and died at the Battle of Oriskany. The families went on farming after the war and when the War of 1812 came they again were ready to fight for the new nation and again sent their men off to war. There are some graves of the patriots who fought in the War of 1812. When the Civil War began, they again sent their boys (Men) off to fight and again there are graves in this cemetery of our heroes of that war.

There was a monument placed in the cemetery and also at the Battle of Oriskany field listing the names of the patriots who fought for us to make this county the greatest in the world. We honor these fine patriots. In the coming year of 2002 we will celebrate the 225th anniversary of that famous battle and the trouble the patriots faced living in the Mohawk Valley during the Revolutionary War. There are many events planned for the 225th commemoration of the War years of Central New York and during August the anniversity of the Battle of Oriskany. The many skirmishes with the Indians and British during the Revolutionary War left the communities with their crops burned, homes destroyed and shortages of food.

The names of the following 46 patriots are listed on the monument at the Cemetery which was erected in September 1926 by their descendants.

Colonel William Feeter, Captain John Keyser Jr., Captain Henry Ritter, Lieutenant Peter Loucks, Lieutenant Adam Bellinger, Ensign Adam Staring, John Keller, Paul Nelson, Bartholomew Pickert, John Boyer, Jacob Hoover, John Hoover, Henry Keller, Jacob Keller, Peter Keller, John M. Petrie, Nicholas Keller, Jacobus Van Slyke, John Casseleman, John Visger, Garret Van Slyke, Aaron Kingsley, Adam Bidleman, Ludwick Moyer, Anthony Kaughman, Henry Staring, J. Henry Davis, Philip Nellis, Jacob Ritter, Daniel Davis, Nicholas Petrie, Corp. Michael Keyser, Bernard Keyser, Henry Keyser, Peter Kilts, John Windecker, Frederick Windecker, Nicholas Windecker, Hendrich Klock, Henry Broat, Joseph Neumann, Stephen Neumann, John Van Slyke, Jacob Staring, ______ Dygert, John Garter Jr.

The Yellow Church Cemetery Association will be putting up a plaque that will enable visitors to the cemetery to locate the various graves of our patriots who fought in the Battle of Oriskany. This plaque will be a permanent map of the cemetery marking the gravesites of everyone buried in the cemetery. The cemetery association felt that it was important to place such a plaque there as when visitors come, there is no one to ask for help in locating various gravesites. The members feel that it is very important to preserve this historic cemetery.

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