Thursday, January 17, 2013

In 1977 The Town of Berne Bicentennial Commission published "Our Heritage," a  160 page book on the History of Berne. It has been out of print for 10 years or more. The Town of Berne  has given permission to publish a second Printing through the auspices of the The Town of Berne Historian. The cost will be approximately $19.95 +$2.50 for shipping and handling. I am trying to get an idea of how many should be ordered for the first printing. All profit will be dedicated to copying the files of the Town of Berne Historian and posting them on-line. To reserve a copy please comment on this posting with your email address.If you have already done so on the Helderberg Hilltowns Facebook page, no need to comment again. Thank you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 8 meeting of Helderberg Hilltowns Association

The minutes for the latest meeting of HHA has been posted on the main page of AlbanyHilltowns.com.


The next meeting place for HHA on Monday night 7pm will be the former Red Baron on Lake Road off County Route 1 on the north end of Lake Onderdonk in Westerlo.

Our reason for visiting this location is that it has been offered as a site for a community cannery. Owners Rich and Vickie Bylsma have some other ideas that could work with ours as well – such as a permanent farmers’ market with cool cellar for self-serve items, and a couple of ideas that could allow us to earn a little income to support our activities.

Also on the agenda will be a discussion of the so-called Dark Skies initiative, updates on the website, and, of course, reports and plans for the Farmers and Artisans Tour (known to the cognoscenti as FAT) which is galloping along due to the efforts of Jane and her crew.

I’m hoping you can make it. If you know you are coming please respond back to me, so Vickie will know about how many tables to set up. Thanks. Zenie Gladieux

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hungerford Burial Grounds posted on Bernehistory.org


HUNGERFORD CEMETERIES CLEANED UP AND TRANSCRIBED
Daniel Hungerford Family Burial Ground. Photo May 2011 by Gary Ovitt
Two Hungerford Cemeteries have been recently added on the BerneHistory.org site and one new one added. The Stephen Hungerford Burial Ground and the Hungerford Farm Burial Ground have been updated with new burials and photos, and the Danial Hungerford Burial Ground has been added. This is due to the work of Gary Ovitt, a Hungerford researcher. He and a small group of helpers cleaned up the Stephen Hungerford Family BG and the Daniel Hungerford Family BG and documented with photos the burials in both plus the Hungerford Farm BG.
Cleaning up the Daniel Hungerford FBG. Photo by Gary Ovitt, May 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

RECENT ADDITIONS OF HISTORIC SITES

A large number of new pages have been recently added to the Helderberg Hilltowns web pages on the sites of historic and scenic interest in the Town of Berne.
The most historic site in the town of Berne is on the north side of Fox Creek below the bridge in the center of the hamlet of Berne. This is where the mills and factories were located that caused the hamlet to be located where it is. And yet the town turns its back on the mill site. It is as if it never existed. This would be a great area for an historic park, perhaps created as an expansion of the existing Fox Creek Park on the south side of the creek.
Fox Creek Park is located along the old road to Knox on the above map made in 1975 by Robert Lambert for an article in Our Heritage
  • Fox Creek Park is below the Berne Falls in the Berne hamlet. It is reached by a short access road on the west side of Helderberg Trail just south of the bridge across Fox Creek in the hamlet of Berne. In 1977 one could still see on the Fox Creek Park side of the creek evidence of fastenings for a log dam. Perhaps they are still visible.
  • Weidman's Mills - About 1752 Jacob Weidman built a log dam at the top of the Berne falls on Fox Creek to create a mill pond to power the first sawmill. By 1781 his son Peter had built a grist mill below the sawmill.
  • Simmons Axe Factory was started about 1825. This mill had its own dam, a log structure with stone wing walls.
  • Berne Grist Mill - The Berne Grist Mill was the successor to Weidman's grist mill built by Jacob Weidman after 1750. Weidman's mill had burned shortly prior to 1832, the year in which it was rebuilt by Malachi Whipple. Whipple also built, along with Ball and Dwight, aa carding and fulling mill adjacent to the Weidman property in the 1830's. The use of these lands and their water power source was more or less esablished by the pond above the bridge.
Waterfall on Fox Creek
Nov. 2009, Charles Sloger

Proposals

  • The park should be expanded to include land on the opposite Fox Creek Park where the historic mills and factories stood: Weidman's Mills, Berne Carding and Fulling Mills,Simmons Axe Factory, and others. Their historic sites should be marked. There should be a trail along the north side of the creek connection the mill sites.
  • A King Post Truss Bridge for pedestrians might connect the two parks. Both sides could be still called Fox Creek Park; it would just be doubled in size to include the historic mill sites on the north bank of the creek.
  • Perhaps the land on the south side of the Foxenkill between Fox Creek Park and Berne Town Park could be bought to expand the park. The land has not much value to its present absentee owner because of it's inaccessibility from the main Yarmchuk farm which is on the opposite bank. On the other hand, it is very accessible from the hamlet side, especially the school, and would be a valuable addition to Fox Creek Park. If the land can not be bought cheaply, perhaps a right-of-way for a trail could be purchased of would be given to the town. The trail would extend from Fox Creek Park to the Berne Town Park with access to the school.

Photo Gallery


Other Historic Sites in Berne - Using as a basis An Inventory of Historic and Scenic Resourses In the Town of Berne compiled by Thomas Conklin for the Berne Conservation Advisory Council, 1979

Saturday, January 29, 2011

FOX CREEK PARK

Fox Creek Park

From Albany Hilltowns



Waterfall on Fox Creek
Nov. 2009, Charles Sloger

Contents

[show]

Location

Fox Creek Park is below the Berne Falls in the Berne hamlet. It is reached by a short access road on the west side of Helderberg Trail just south of the bridge across Fox Creek in the hamlet of Berne.

History

 

Weidman's Mills - About 1752 Jacob Weidman built a log dam at the top of the Berne falls on Fox Creek to create a mill pond to power the first sawmill. By 1781 his son Peter had built a grist mill below the sawmill.
Berne Carding and Fulling Mills - By 1797 Miner Walden Carding and Fulling Mills had been below the older Weidman's Mills. It later produced wooden shoe pegs.
Simmons Axe Factory was started about 1825. This mill had its own dam, a log structure with stone wing walls.
In 1977 one could still see on the Fox Creek Park side of the creek of evidence of fastenings for yet another log dam. Perhaps they are still visible. There are probably a number of foundations of mills and factories along the north side of the creek.

Visitor facilites

  • There are picnic tables under a small pavilion, basketball hoop, and open meadow to play in.
  • There is a convenience store and restaurant at the entrance to the park where you can buy something for a picnic in the park.
  • A short path provides access to the creek and view of the falls.

Proposals

  • The park should be expanded to include land on the opposite Fox Creek Park where the historic mills and factories stood: Weidman's Mills, Berne Carding and Fulling Mills, Simmons Axe Factory, and others. Their historic sites should be marked. There should be a trail along the north side of the creek connection the mill sites.
  • A King Post Truss Bridge for pedestrians might connect the two parks. Both sides could be still called Fox Creek Park; it would just be doubled in size to include the historic mill sites on the north bank of the creek.
  • Perhaps the land on the south side of the Foxenkill between Fox Creek Park and Berne Town Park could be bought to expand the park. The land has not much value to its present absentee owner because of it's inaccessibility from the main Yarmchuk farm which is on the opposite bank. On the other hand, it is very accessible from the hamlet side, especially the school, and would be a valuable addition to Fox Creek Park. If the land can not be bought cheaply, perhaps a right-of-way for a trail could be purchased of would be given to the town. The trail would extend from Fox Creek Park to the Berne Town Park with access to the school.

Photo Gallery

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Country Holiday Gift Bazaar

Country Holiday Gift Bazaar - Thacher Nature Center of Saturday, Dec. 4, 10 am – 4 pm. and Sunday, Dec. 5, 11 am – 3 pm.  Meet friends for a day of shopping and beautiful scenery, enjoy baked goods and refreshments, take home beautiful and original items hand made by local artists, crafters and artisans.  Jewelry, jams and jellies and maple products, homespun wool products and knitted items, original artwork, pine needle baskets, stained glass, breads and spices, home made soaps and organic beauty products, wildlife and nature photography, Native American style dream catchers and decorative art, rustic holiday ornaments, carved wooden bowls, rustic wooden bears and outdoor wooden items and more!  Call 872-1237 for additional information.

Friday, October 1, 2010

LOT 461, EAST BERNE ON JOSLIN ROAD AND BROOKHAVEN DRIVE

LOT 461, East Berne
The south half of Lot 461 in East Berne was settled in 1791 by Elisha Hungerford. The north end was settled about 1800 by Caleb Barton. Thanks to Betty Fink for a recent picture of the house built by Caleb Barton.
The Caleb Barton House is now lived in by Mavis Schanz.

Friday, September 24, 2010

October Fundraising Dinners in Berne

October 2nd:  Annual Roast Pork Supper - Served family style from 3:30-6:30pm at the Berne Reformed Church: roast pork, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, gravy. green beans, homemade applesauce, rolls, homemade pie and beverage.

October 17th: Annual Roast Beef Dinner - Berne Volunteer Fire Company will have their annual Roast Beef Dinner serving at noon at the fire house. Cost is $10 at the door and $11 for for take out (prices may change closer to the day of the event. The menu will include: roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, cabbage salad, homemade pickles, vegetables, homemade applesauce, rolls, coffee, tea, milk and homemade pies!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SENICA SNYDER BALL

Letter from Senica Snyder Ball in Delano, Minn. to his brother Charles E. Ball in Knox, NY --written May 1, 1899
Delano May 1 99
Brother Charley How are you? Anyway, i was Just thinking it is 23 years ago today that I was married. How time goes by here. I am giting to be a old man and I do hate to git old and rinkley. But we have to take our medicine as it comes to us. I have not had very good health for some time. But I am to blame myself. I lived little too fast when I was younger and I am now reaping Evil Doings. My Ray is in ND. He has been gone over a year. He is 17 years old. So you See I am Back Whare I was 25 years ago only Better fixed. I have a nice House of furnished in good Shape. But it is no Home for me Since my wife died. A young man can stand those things Whare a old man can't.
Well Charley Who gites the old farm whare we was all Raised? I hope you will git it. Have you made a Settlement yet? What will you give me for my interest in cash?
I must close. Give my Love to your wife. Tell her to write me and I will answer. It is awful hard work for me to write. I am so nervous i can't read this after I write.
Senica Snyder Ball

Saturday, September 11, 2010

West Mountain



WEST MOUNTAIN
Thanks to Katie Jean Bensen the history of West Mountain has been substantially updated.
West Mountain was first settled starting about 1790.
By the 1930s many farms had already been abandoned due to repeated cropping with buckwheat, barley and rye. Soil erosion was commonplace. Most of the farms on West Mountain were bought by the Resettlement Administration in the 1930s. 
Lewis Sherman House, Lot 400; taken say 1937. No longer standing.
From collection of Nicole Pelepzuck Cross
Much of the land, up to 80% had been deforested for farming. Federal money was used to purchase the unproductive farmland for just 2 to 4 dollars per acre. The government helped to move many of the farm families to other areas. However, several farms remained in the possession of the farmers. A few of these included the William D. Wood farm, the Crosby farm, Peasley farm, and the Sherbin farm. Katie Wood, wife of William D. was approached by the Resettlement Administration during the 1930's and asked to sell her farm, to which as history tells, she answered with a solid 'No".
In the early 1940's, the Federal government granted the NYS Conservation Department a 99 year lease for what is now much of the Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area. The sum of $1.00 was the price for the lease, with three purposes stated for the land, forestry, wildlife and recreation. Over the next 20 years the total land accumulation through the Dept. of the Interior and the Division of Lands and Forests brought the total acreage to 5,478.

BERNE SCHOOL NO. 3

Location

Berne School No. 3 was a half mile north of the Rensselaerville town line on Lot 401 on West Mountain.
Interior of the Berne schoolhouse 3 along with the teacher, John Pelepzuck, Jr. and Josie.
Picture from the collection of Nichole Pelepzuck Cross

History

Due to the location of this school so close to the Renssesselaerville - Berne town line, this school was jointly operated by the Towns of Rensselaerville and Berne.
It would be a careful but educated guess to say that the school started sometime between 1795 and the very early 1800's. Being situated on lot 401a it is safe to say the land was donated by John Crosby and John Crosby Jr. who occupied lot 401 in the year 1795 to the mid 1850's. Even though the Town of Berne was set off from Rensselaerville in 1795 it seems this school continued to be referred to as a Berne and Rensselaerville District even into the last years of its operation. Students from both townships attended this school well into the 1930's.
This school had many district numbers and names over many decades it was in operation. In addition to being the Berne school No. 3, it was also the Rensselaerville District School No. 23. (In 1816 this school was known as # 12 Berne.)
The school also bore other names such as Peasley School for the Peasley family living nearby. Blanche H. Peasley was the Enumerator in the early 30's and Wallace A. Peasley the Trustee in 1936. It was also called the Baptist Church School due to it's proximity to the early Baptist Church, and West Mountain Schoolon it's insurance policy.[1]. The label "West Mountain School" as referred to in the History of the Town of Rensselaerville, People made it Happen Here, by way of an insurance policy is believed to be inaccurate and referencing not this school but another that existed close to the town line, District #19.
Mis-numbered on the 1866 Beers map of Berne.
In 1933 this school was District #3 Town of Berne and Rensselaerville, Supervisory District #2. with Blanche Peasley as the Enumerator. This information was taken from the original school census of 1933.
The school was disolved on July 15, 1944. Falling down in 1976, the building is now gone.
From School Census August 30, 1933:
District no. Three Town of Berne and Rensselaerville. Supervisory district no. Two Albany County, J. Edward Smith District Superintendent. Trustee Herman Malin of Rensselaerville. Enumerator Blanche H. Peasley. Rensselaerville. According to this school Census / register all students in the district, from birth to 18 were enumerated. They are as follows: Theodore Apanasowich, Henry Malin, Richard Malin, John Pelepzuck Jr. Josephine Stephanawitz, Elizabeth Salzer, Joseph Salzer, Richard Weidman, George Pelikan Jr.

West Mountain School
Unknown West Mountain School
Can anyone identify this West Mountain School near Rensselaerville? According to the note on the back, at the time it was taken it was abandoned and soon to be torn down for as part of the land project that eventually became Partridge Run State Wildlife Management Area.

Notice to Choose Fence Viewer
Letter concerning a fence dispute. Contributed by Nichole Pelepzuk Cross.
Letter concerning a fence dispute. Contributed by Nichole Pelepzuk Cross.
Notice to Choose Fence Viewer.Town Law section 363 ante P 639To John Pelepzuck Persuant to section 363 of the Town Law you are hereby required to choose within eight days after service of this notice a fence viewer to act with Avery Zimmer a fence viewer I have chosen in determining the dispute which has arisen between us concerning the division fence between our lands; and if you fail to do I shall choose both of said fence viewers as authorized by law.
Dated this 18th day of May 1937
Wallace A Peasley
Sources
  1.  People Made It Happen Here, History of the Town of Rensselaerville ca. 1788-1950, Published 1977

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recent items added to Helderberg Hilltowns site

Barbecue and yard sale
Berne-Knox-Westerlo Sports Boosters will hold a fund-raising barbecue and yard sale Saturday Sept. 18, from 10am to 5pm. at Berne Town Park. The chicken barbecue will begin at 1pm. Each dinner will cost $9, and will include a half chicken, baked potato, coleslaw, and dessert. Members of all 21 teams are participating, from the fall, spring, and winter sports seasons.

History

NEW CEMETERY PAGE
Sept. 2006, Allen Miller
A page has just been created for the two stone Eli Miller Family Burying Ground at the foot of Cole Hill in the Town of Berne.

RECENT BIOGRAPHIES
Wife of Ellery Shufelt and his children
Ellery Shufelt, of West Mountain, was born 1895 one of nine children. He never got beyond the fourth grade and could not read nor write. Ellery was called to service in October of 1918. Ellery married his wife Beatrice in May of 1933. They had four children. The family was one of the last families to live on West Mountain in the 1930s when they were squatters during the time the federal Land Recovery Program were buying up abandoned and marginal farms. (Read the article on Partridge Run State Wildlife Management Area for more information about this period in the history of the Berne.) Both Ellery and his wife were stricken with TB. In the biography of Ellery Shufelt is a very interesting Altamont Enterprise article on his family and their hard scrabble life.
Ellery Shufelt and family
These photos were taken by Arthur Rothstein, the well known photographer for the Farm Security Administration.
TURNER BURIAL GROUND The Turner Burial Ground is located on West Mountain within the boundaries of the Partridge Run NYS Wildlife Management Area on Bradt Hill Rd; in the southwest corner of Lot 468. It is named after George Turner (1783-1833) who emigrated from England and settled on West Mountain in 1832. The earliest known burial was 1812; last was 1937. It seems to have been a community burying ground from the beginning, as there are many different names of early farming families who lived in the immediate vicinity. 100 by 140 feet. This cemetery was restored in 2003 as part of Berne Heritage Days. It is mowed regularly by the Town of Berne. It is surrounded by a stone wall in fair condition. The stone wall was repaired in the summer of 2009 by the Town. The front stone wall was rebuilt in the summer of 2010.
Rebuilt stonewall, 2010