Ancestry Family moves to Schoharie Area 1712-1722

Family Settles in Schoharie Valley

In the Fall of 1712, about 50 Palatine families made the three-week 60-mile journey to Schoharie River Valley. In today’s geography, this area is situated west of Schenectady, NY. My ancestry family as listed below made the trip later about 1716. The reason for the later trip is not known.

My Ancestry family that settled in American  and resettled in the Schoharie Valley-1716-1722:

  • Johann Peter Schneider Feg, age 44 (6th great-grandfather)
  • His wife Anna Maria Risch, age 35
  • Anna Catherine, daughter, age 16
  • Anna Eve, daughter, age 16
  • Eva Elisabeth, daughter, age 14

American born family additions:

  • Birth of daughter Anna Margaretha 18 December 1715 at West Camp, today Ulster County, New York.
  • Baptism of Anna Margaretha 22 January 1716 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Ulster County, New York.
  • Birth of Johann Leonhardt 1717 in Schoharie Valley, Province of New York (5th great-grandfather)

Marriages

  • Anna Eve(Feg) (Feck) (Feeck) marries Johann Conrad Weiser, Jr in Weiser’s Dorf (Now Middleburgh. NY) on Nov. 22, 1720. The ceremony was conducted by the reformed clergyman Rev. John Frederick Hager. This information was found in the Feeck family bible page 51.
  • Philip Weiser was born in 1722 at Weiser’s Dorf, Schoharie Valley. First of 14 children born over the next 20 years from the marriage between Anna Eve and Conrad Weiser Jr.

 

Weiser Working With Local Indians and Government for land

A group of Palatines headed by Conrad Weiser, Sr. visited Albany where they made contact with a Schoharie Indian guide. Next, the guide leads the Weiser party to the Schoharie Valley in early Fall of 1712. They recognize the area has beautiful, fertile, and relatively flat land for easier farming.

A local historian Cobb sums up the transaction “The Palatine delegates were most hospitably received by the Schoharies . When they asked for land that they might settle there, the Karighondonies readily granted their request, saying that they had formerly given this land to Queen Anne for them”. The Schoharies and the Karighondonies are part of the Mohawk Indian nation.

With great enthusiasm, Weiser Sr. and his exploratory party headed back to the camps on the Hudson River with a land deal where they can resettle. Without legal counsel, they gambled that Queen Anne was in control of the subject land. Weiser’s group of families included physicians, clergymen, farmers, merchants, however, they lacked lawyers.

Difficult Schoharie Trip

In the late Fall of 1712, about 50 Palatine families made the three-week 60-mile journey to Schoharie River Valley from the West Bank of the Hudson River. Later in the Spring, they were joined by about 100 additional families in the Schoharie Valley.

This trip to the new land for resettlement was far from easy. They encountered snow, forests, no open roads, few Indian paths, and had no animals to carry their meager possessions and young children. Their possessions included blankets, clothing, pots, pans, firearms, axes and tools.

Most likely the two toughest elements of the journey were acquiring food after their initial supplies became depleted. Secondly, a shelter for night sleeping in snow temperatures had to be prepared with the few clothing items and blankets in their possession.  A few historians mention that the Indians along the journey shared food with the German Palatines.

For transportation, the men made rough snow sleds with timber and most likely used strips of animal skin to tie the timbers together. Without any large work animals, they had to pull the sleds themselves.

Weiser’s Dorf Farming Village

Under the leadership of Conrad Weiser, Sr the first of seven dorfs (small German farming villages) were constructed along the Schoharie Valley.  Weiser’s Dorf was founded in 1712 at the southernmost location near the Schoharie Creek. Each Dorf consisted of 40 families with land for small houses and barns.

On their arrival at Weiser’s Dorf, they were met by officials of Governor Hunter stating they were not entitled rights to that land and would be considered squatters. Weiser and other leaders dismissed the claims of the Provincial Governor Hunter of New York. The group had a stronger tie with the Mohawk Indians that were on the land first. Weiser’s party had considerable faith that the Queen of England original land pledge would come to fruition in the Schoharie Valley.

Weiser’s Dorf 1712

Over the next 10 years, the German Palatines worked long hours to build crude log homes, farm the land initially with broad hoes and made crude furniture out of blocks of wood. They learned from the Indians how to make their clothing from wild animal skins.

Indians helped the new American farmer from Europe with their introduction to new crops such as beans, corn, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, and chilies. Later on, wheat was added to the crop mix.

New family members were added and marriages took place in barns or larger homes during winter months. In my immediate Ancestry family, we had a birth (Johann Leonhardt Feg 1717(5th great-grandfather). The marriage of Anna Eve Feg (aunt 6th generation) to Conrad Weiser Jr. on Nov. 22, 1720. This union united two Palatine families- Weiser and Feg- later to become Fake in 1745.

Schoharie Valley Land Deal Falls Apart

Governor Hunter in 1722 decided my ancestors and other Palantine friends had settled on land without permission. Next, he sold the rights to what my ancestors thought was their land and homestead to rich merchants from Albany and Schenectady, Province of New York. The new owners attempted to get leases or purchases of their homestead land or quite the title ( In plain words-Leave).

During the years in the Schoharie Valley, my ancestry family and others were harassed by officials from Provincial Governor Hunter’s office.  This was not a one-sided standoff. The people of Weiser’s Dorf and other Palantines fought back against the representatives of the Province of New York with angry protests. In some cases the destruction of officials property took place.

On numerous occasions, Albany would send a sheriff out to arrest Weiser Sr. the founder of Weiser’s Dorf.  He escaped with two associates and made a trip to England attempting to correct the land title defect for the German Palatines with the Board of Trade in London. Upon arrival, they discovered that Queen Anne had died and was replaced by King George I. Furthermore the new King had no interest in honoring Queen Anne’s promise of land.

Schoharie Land Grants

Conrad Weiser Sr. trip did result in Governor Hunter being replaced with  Governor William Burnet in 1720. His Majesty’s authority was ordered to grant land to the German Palatines.  Burnet granted permission to several German families to buy land from the Indians in the West Canada Creek area. In 1722 several Schoharie German Settlers were granted patents for land along the Mohawk. Unfortunately, the new land grants came too late for the German Palatines in Weiser’s Dorf.

During the 10 years in Schoharie, my  Palatine ancestry families worked the soil and built crude homes and barns for livestock only to lose almost everything. They were steadfast in the beliefs that the Mohawk Indians gave them the land with Queen Anne’s approval. They had the option to lease, buy or move.  Some stayed but many were upset deciding to seek land and new homes outside of the Province of New York.

Next Post: To Penn’s Woods

In the Spring of 1723, about 33 families including my ancestors accepted an offer of land and freedom from government and religious interferences from Governor Keith in the Province of Pennsylvania. They settled in the Tulpehocken area near present-day Reading, Pennsylvania.

The next post will describe my ancestors journey from Schoharie Valley, Province of New York to the Province of Pennsylvania in 1723. The fourth settlement in America for Johann Peter Schneider Feg and family- 1710 to 1723.

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Copyright © 2019 by Ronald L. Fake. All rights reserved worldwide

Ronald L. Fake

Pennsylvania native from York County. After graduating from Wrightsville High School enlisted in U.S. Navy. While in the Navy working in the field of Aviation Electronics decided to enroll in college. Selected San Diego State University with a focus on urban geography and environmental studies. After graduation in 1968 worked with county and state governments, and private industry on the environmental impacts of transportation projects. After retirement started my ancestry research and today I am writing that history as a blog at https://ancestryeuropetoamerica.com.

One thought to “Ancestry Family moves to Schoharie Area 1712-1722”

  1. This is a wonderful and very interesting story about this family journey! I am looking forward to reading more in the near future.

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