includes the Town of Oppenheim,
Brockett's Bridge, Chelsey, Crum Creek, Dolgeville, Doxtater Corners, Ingham Mills, Kringsbush, Lottville, Middle Sprite, Phipps Corners, and Rasbach Corner


Around the Town:

   

Businesses:

 

Churches

  

People

  

Schools:

  

Vital Records:

 


  

Historian

Mr. Hector Allen
Oppenheim Historian
6845 St. Hwy 29
Dolgeville, NY 13329

Where to request records

Town Clerk Oppenheim
7528 St. Hwy 29
Dolgeville, NY 13329

 

The History of Oppenheim

The town of Oppenheim was set off from Palatine, Montgomery County, March 18, 1808, and its organization completed at a town meeting held at the house of Jacob ZIMMERMAN, April 5th, 1808, by the election of its first officers, as follows: Supervisor, Andrew ZABRISKIE; town clerk John C. NELLIS; assessors, Peter I. NELLIS, Jacob I. FAILING, and Richard HEWETT; commissioners of highway, Rufus BALLARD, Jacob G. KLOCK, and Daniel GUILE; overseers of the poor, John L. BELLINGER and John I. KLOCK; collector, John TINGUE; constables, Samuel FRAME, Joseph B. GROVER, Cornelius WARTWOUT, David LYON and Joel DANIELS; pound masters, Thomas T. BALLARD and Christopher FOX; viewers of fences, Conrad HELLINGAS and Jacob FREY.  The above election of officers is certified to by Henry BEEKMAN and Jacob G. KLOCK, justices of the peace. St. Johnsville, Montgomery County, which bounds Oppenheim on the south, formed a part of it until April 18 th,1838, when it was taken off.

Oppenheim is situated in the southwest corner of Fulton County, lying south of Stratford and west of Ephratah. East Canada creek flows in a southerly direction along its western border.  It is well supplied with mill seats, and abundantly watered by several considerable streams and their numerous tributaries.  Fish creek flows across the northwest corner . The Little Sprite runs from east to west across the northern part. The Fox, Crum, Klock and Zimmerman creeks all flow in a southwesterly direction toward the Mohawk.  The surface is moderately uneven, gradually ascending to the north and east.   In the northern part some of the hills rise to a height of twelve to fifteen hundred feet above the Mohawk.  The soil is principally a strong clay loam, light sand and gravel in the east and north, and clay in the southwest.  In some parts boulders are scattered over the surface in profusion; primary rocks appear in the north, and limestone in the southwest; the latter was at one time extensively quarried.  The soil is well adapted to the rising of course grains and to grazing.  But very little wheat is raised in the town, and that on the southern border.  The town has an area of 32,050 acres, nearly two-thirds of which is under cultivation.

 PIONEERS OF OPPENHEIM

The early history of this town is so interwoven with that of Palatine – which until 1808 included all the territory embraced within the present limits of Oppenheim, Ephratah and St. Johnsville – that it is difficult to separate and localize it.  The first settlers of Oppenheim were Germans, who sometime previous to the Revolution located in the southern part of the town.  Rodolph YONKER is said to have been the first settler, and to have been followed in time by John SHAFFER, Jacob GORAM, Daniel DIKEMAN, Henry BURKDORFF, Frederick BELLINGER and Simeon SCHUYLER. David DAVIS settled during the Revolution in the southeastern part of the town, where Benjamin CROUSE now lives.  The population had increased considerably up to the time of the breaking out of the Revolution, but was confined principally to the southern portion of the town.  After the close of the war, settlements began to be made in other parts of the town.  In 1791 Jacob BAUM located in the eastern part, where Jacob T. BAUM now lives, having purchased one hundred acres of the Klock and Nellis patent, at $1.25 per acre. Harvey NELLIS located near him in 1792. Daniel INGERSOLL, from Saratoga County, settled in the southwestern part of the town in1794, where Charles INGERSOLL lives.   Moses JOHNSON, from New Hampshire, moved into the town January 21st, 1794, with his family, and settled about two miles west of the center, on the farm owned at present by E. Johnson. He bought 219 acres at $2.50 per acre, and had been on the previous summer and erected a log house, covering it with bark and slabs split from trees. He brought two horses with him from New Hampshire, but was obliged to sell one of them to purchase provisions for the first summer.  In 1796 Peter MOSHER settled a little south of the center of the town, where Leonard MOSHER now lives, and Marcus DUSLER located in the southeastern part, where David DUSLER resides.  James JOHNSON, Jacob LADIEW, William BEAN, Richard HEWITT and Randell HEWITT, from New England, settled in the western part in 1796 and 1797.  John SWARTWOUT and Peter CLINE came into the town in 1797. SWARTWOUT located about one and a half miles east of the center and CLINE about three-fourths of a mile east, where his son Knapthalee still resides.  Benjamin BERRY also came in that year and settled about one and a half miles east of the center of the town. In 1798 Daniel GUILE settled on the farm owned at present by Peter YOST. Mr. GUILE was a Revolutionary soldier from Saratoga County.  Andrew CLAUS and Jacob RARICH came the same year, the former locating where Jacob A. CLAUS now lives, and the latter where H. TURNER resides.  The closing year of the eighteenth century brought with it several new settlers, among them Christian HOUSE, a soldier of the Revolution, who settled where Charles SCHUYLER lives, and his son John C. HOUSE, who located in the southern part of the town; Jacob CLAUS, who settled about one mile south of the center; Gordon TURNER, who found a home farther north, and Henry H. HAYES, who located where Elias HAYES still lives. Peter CLAUS, from Rensselaer county, settled on the farm now owned by Mr. HOFFMAN, in 1801. He purchased one hundred acres of Waggoner at $2.20 per acre. Joseph HEWETT was born here in 1796, and still lives where his father, Richard HEWETT, first settled.  Knapthalee and John P. CLINE, sons of Peter CLINE, were born here in 1797 and 1800 respectively. Knapthalee lives on the old homestead and John P. about half a mile west. 

REVOLUTIONARY HEROES AND SUFFERERS

The inhabitants of Oppenheim suffered proportionately with those of other towns of this region from the ravages of the Indians and Tories during the Revolution. The following persons who participated to a greater or less extent in the struggle for freedom were citizens of Oppenheim at the time, or have lineal descendants now living in the town:

Amos BROCKETT was among those detailed to guard the forts along the coast of Long Island Sound.

James PLANT was a ship builder by trade; he was taken prisoner by the British while at work in the shipyard at New Haven, CT.

Martin NESTLE lost one of his eyes during the war.

Henry HAYES taught school at one of the forts along the Mohawk at the time of the Revolution.

Henry HOSE and Henry BURKDROFF came to America as British soldiers with Gen. Burgoyne. Neither of them returned to their mother country.

Frederick BAUM was employed as a mail carrier. His trip was usually made in the night, that he might the more safely pass the ambuscades of the Indians.

Andrew DUSLER was captured by the Indians, and kept by them as a prisoner till the close of the war.

Marcus DUSLER enlisted when only sixteen years old, and participated in the battle of Sharon Springs.

John FLANDER lost his life in the Revolution.

Peter S. BIDLEMAN was stationed at Fort Plain.

Jacob VEDDER was a teamster. On one occasion he was suddenly attacked by a small party of Indians, who sprang out of the thicket upon him with up lifted tomahawks. He defended himself with a spade and succeeded in making his escape.

Jacob YONKER was captured at the battle of Oriskany and taken to Canada, where he enlisted in the British army, with which he afterwards returned to near Little Falls, where he, together with a few others, made their escape, and concealing themselves among the rocks till the army left the place, succeeded in reaching their friends.

NOTE: PLEASE SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE in REGARDS TO JACOB YONKER!

John SPONABLE was captured by the Indians. While held by them as a prisoner, a young squaw became enamored with him, and upon his refusing to marry her, he was struck in the head with a club and left for dead. He soon recovered his senses and found his way to the British lines, where he was sold to a Frenchman.

John H. BROAT fought in the battle of Stone Arabia, and his son John H. BROAT, jr., then a mere lad, was teamster during the war.

Jason PHIPPS served as a regular soldier during the war.

Capt. Elijah CLOYES was mortally wounded in a skirmish while under Gen. Sullivan’s command.

Peter GETMAN served during the war. When only sixteen years of age, he went with a company of militia in search of a band of Indians and Tories who had been committing depredations in the neighborhood.  Just previous to this the Indians had called at the home of the RECTOR family and asked for something to eat. They were told to help themselves, which they proceeded to do in such a lawless and extravagant way that Mr. RECTOR remonstrated in no very gentle terms.  At this they became angry, and as they were moving away, they turned upon the house and fired a volley of musketry through the half open door, which stood open.  Mrs. RECTOR seeing them raise their guns to fire, held up her frying pan to protect her husband, who was standing in the door. One bullet passed through the frying pan and shattered the arm of Mr. RECTOR; but the Indians, seeing no one fall, were not satisfied, and returning to the house, knocked Mrs. RECTOR down with a tomahawk, scalped her, and left her for dead. During this time and old grandfather escaped to the woods with two of the children, but one little boy, six years old, who was eating bread and milk outside the door, when the Indians came up, was killed, and his body thrown into the creek near by. When found he still grasped the spoon with which he had been eating.  Mrs. RECTOR soon recovered consciousness, dressed her own wounds, and walked to Stone Arabia, where she remained in the fort till she entirely recovered.

Peter DAVIS was killed by Indians while at work in the field. His wife escaped, but his daughter was taken prisoner, with a man named PRING. They were carried to Canada, and after suffering imprisonment for some time, escaped and were married.

Wm. FOX participated as captain in the battle of Oriskany, and in the last battle with Burgoyne.

John KEAM, Isaac KEGG, George COOK, Wm. ROWLAND, Frederick BAUM, Jacob DUSLER, David BARKER and John PIER were all more or less identified with the scenes, incidents and battles of the Revolution.

 VILLAGES OF THE TOWN

OPPENHEIM, situated on Crum creek, near the center of town, is the principal village.  It contains a church, hotel, two stores, one saw-mill and about a dozen houses. Peter CLINE opened the first hotel in 1805, being urged to do so by the citizens of the town, who procured hi first license and presented it to him. He also built a tannery about the same time, which for several years was the largest establishment of its kind in the county.  This was run by him and his son Knapthalee till about the year 1835, when the stream upon which it was located failed, the business was abandoned and the building went into decay. Henry CLINE, a brother of Peter, built a saw-mill in 1806, and Henry MILLER erected a grist-mill two years later, which was kept in operation for twenty years or more, when it was allowed to run down and at length abandoned. Scarcely a trace of it remains. Henry I. OSTROM erected the first store about 1810.  He also built a distillery soon after, but this proved an unfortunate investment, and after a few years the building was converted to other uses.

The first church (union) built here was erected in 1820.  It was occupied occasionally for several years, but was never fully completed and was sold and removed. The present union church was built in 1834. It is of wood, about 30x40 feet in size.  The Methodist Episcopal society hold meetings here regularly once in two weeks.  Meetings were held at an early day in a wagon house which is still standing in the village.  The Rev. Jacob TRISBAND held the first religious services in the town, about 1800.  There are three other churches in the town – one union and one Methodist Episcopal church at Crum Creek and a Dutch Reformed church in the southeast part.

The first post office in the town was established in 1812, but it was not located at the village of Oppenheim till 1842

BROCKETT’S BRIDGE, on East Canada Creek, lies mostly in Herkimer county. It contains a large cheese box factory on the Oppenheim side of the creek.

MIDDLE SPRITE, in the northeast part of the town, contains a store, a saw-mill, a butter tub factory and about a dozen dwellings.

LOTTVILLE, in the northern part, and CRUM CREEK, in the southern part of the town, are mere hamlets with post offices.

The principal occupation of the inhabitants of the town of Oppenheim is farming and stock raising. The manufacture of cheese is carried on to a considerable extent, but the business is done almost exclusively by cheese factories, of which there are seven in town, manufacturing from 50,000 pounds to 150,000 pounds each, aggregating 500,000 lbs.  Annually produced for foreign markets. T he Willow Springs Factory, situated about three-fourths of a mile east of Oppenheim village, was built in 1867 by a stock company and operated by them till the beginning of 1875, when it was leased to James P. BENNETT for one year, at the expiration of which time Mr. BENNETT purchased it and is at present sole proprietor, superintending the business in person.  This factory has two large vats for heating the milk and making the curd, one of them holding six thousand pounds of milk, which is heated by steam.  From the 1st of June to the 1st of September, this factory uses about 7,500 pounds of milk daily, making fourteen cheeses of fifty-five pounds each.  It produces annually over 100,000 pounds.  For the last three years the average quantity of milk required by this factory to produce one pound of cheese has been less than 9.87 pounds . The average price received for cheese in 1876 was $11.15 per cwt.  The Fulton Cheese Factory, situated about three-fourths of a mile west of Oppenheim village, was built in the spring of 1865 by Bean & Gibson. BEAN became sole proprietor in 1867 and sold in 1869 to Mr. WARD, whose widow still owns the factory, leasing it to G. H. BACON, who is the present manager. This factory made 135,420 pounds of cheese in 1875, and 116,452 pounds in 1876.  The average quantity of milk used to make one pound of cheese was 10.155 pounds in 1876, and the average price received for cheese was $10.98 per cwt. During June, July and August, the patrons deliver their milk to the factories night and morning.  After the 1st of September it is only delivered mornings, the previous night’s milk being skimmed before coming to the factory. During the winter months it is delivered only once in two or three days, each milking except the last being skimmed before delivery.  The usual mode of managing this business is to credit each customer with the number of pounds of milk delivered.  It is then manufactured into cheese and sold; the factory price for making is deducted from the amount of sales and the balance distributed pro rata among the patrons. Sale are made as often as once a month. A large portion of the cheese manufactured in this town is shipped to European markets.

The population of Oppenheim in 1875 was 1,870. The number of taxable inhabitants in 1876 was 395. The value of taxable real estate in 1876 was $299,931 and of personal property $9,695; total, $309,626. 

PERSONAL SKETCH

SOLOMON CRAMER was born in Manheim, Herkimer County, N. Y., December 7th, 1804. His father Philip, moved to Fulton County, and settled in the northwest part of Oppenheim in 1808, where he resided at his death.  Solomon remained on the old homestead till 1867, when he removed with his family to the village of Oppenheim and there engaged in the mercantile business, which pursuit he continues to follow.  Mr. CRAMER once held a commission as lieutenant of an independent company of infantry, about the years 1825 and 1826.  His son, John D. CRAMER, enlisted in the 89th regiment of New York volunteers at Elmira,    N. Y., was mustered into service September 5th, 1861, served till the close of the war, and died soon after of disease contracted while in the south.

Source – "History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, N.Y." (New York: F. W. Beers & Co., 1878) pages 237-238.

Contributed January 15, 1999 by Douglas Weaver. He is researching the following names in Fulton,Montgomery & Herkimer Counties: BAUMAN, CLAUS/CLAUSE, FREDERICK, GOODRICH, HILLEGAS/HELLINGAS, MEYER, SMITH, WEAVER, WELLS.

 


02/01/01 The following is an update from Robert Youker on Jacob Yonker mentioned above:

"The Beers book which you quoted for history of Oppenheim is incorrect in where Jacob was captured.  He was taken in an indian raid at old Yellow Church or Reminsniders Bush north west of Dolgeville."

There are several sources for the correct information on Jacobs capture.
1. Burning of the Valleys by Gavin Watt with research by James Morrison (who by the way also has Youker ancestors) Dundurn Press Toronto, 1997 page 341.

"Jacob Yacker (Youker) deserted from British army Oct 26 1780"

On page 242:  "Group captured 3 April 1780 on Indian raid at Rheimensnyder's Bush"

2. King's Royal Regiment of NY  By Cruilkshank Ontario Historical Society;
Toronto, 1931,  page 274.  List of soldiers:  Jacob Yacker enlisted 3 April 1780 in KRR

3. Little Falls Evening Times, Tues, June 8,1970.  Story of April 3 Indian raid on Rheimensnyders Bush from Hardin's History of Herkimer County lists one Youker captured with several others

4. Pension record of Jacob Youker (Youger), 22 Sept 1832.

"March 2 1780 he and George Adle captured three miles from fort (Rheimensnyders Bush) while on a scout and taken to Montreal."  (pension application written 50 years after event.)

  


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