Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Photograph by Terrell W. Shoultes
Eddie Shultes and Terry Shoultes, July 2005

The small (two stones) Mathias and Peter Shultes Family Burying Ground is on land that is part of the Partridge Ridge State Wildlife Management Area. Terry Shoultes, on the right in the photo, is an avid researcher of the descendants of his ancestor Mathias Shultes (1740 - 1812), an early Berne settler. Mathias was the son of Elizabeth Dietz and her first husband. In 1743 in Greene County Elizabeth married her second husband Jacob Weidman. Young Mathias came to Beaver Dam (as Berne was then called) about 1751 with his mother and step-father. Weidman has long been credited with leading the first settlers to Berne in 1750. NOT! A study of the baptism records in Schoharie show that his brother's-in-laws already had homesteaded the area more than a decade earlier.

It wouldn't take much effort to restore this cemetery, but who will do it?

The genealogy and history of the Shultes / Sholtes / Shoultes family, by Terry Shoultes, is in the Berne Public Library is located in the Town Hall.

And now to the results of my historical research and genealogy of the past week or so:
  • In recent posts I discussed what was possibly the earliest tavern in the Town, in what is now the home of Ellen Yarmchuk in the hamlet of Berne. The photo of the house published in this 1936 newspaper article on the history of Berne shows a NYS Historic Marker in front. Nancy Yarmchuk Becker tells me the broken sign is in the basement of her mother's house. Perhaps the sign says the tavern was established in 1809 and was used as a recruiting center during the War of 1812. The public will not know until the sign is repaired and reset.
  • In the last post I mentioned Corporation Inn that was in the house now lived in by Andrew Wright across from St. Paul's Lutheran Church. At one time there was also a NYS Historic Marker in front that said.

This sign is also gone but not forgotten. It had been broken, but a few years ago my brother, Ralph, Berne Town Historian, had it repaired. It is now leaning up against the garage of the Wright home, waiting to be reset.
  • The New York State Historic Marker Program, which was managed by the Education Department’s State History office as an active field program from 1926 to 1966, has now become largely an advisory and database management program. It is now up to the Town, the Historic Society, or individuals to maintain the markers. These markers were meant to remind us of our history, but now even the reminders themselves have been forgotten. Who will step up and be the guardians of our heritage?
  • Here is a list of some of the Historic Markers that were at one time in Berne. The 1809 Tavern sign is not listed. How many signs are missing?

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