Sunday, November 30, 2008

The other day I was searching the Altamont Enterprise digital archives for obituaries. I found the following death notice in the Apr 17 1896 edition.

West Berne - Mr. George Smoke died Tuesday of
last week [April 6, 1896]. Funeral on Friday, Mr.
Smoke was-about 89 years old-and well
known in this section. He had been in
the employ of Mr. J. D. Haverly for

Smoke was one of about four Negroes that lived in the Berne and Knox area in the latter half of the 19th Century. According to census records, George Smoke was single, and worked for John D. Haverly from before 1865. I can not find him in earlier census records.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


From the History of Schoharie County by Roscoe

We will here remark that several of the old families of Middleburgh, Schoharie and Wright were connected by marriage with the Weidmans a very old and substantial family, from a place called Berneswitzer in Germany and who settled in Berne, Albany county and gave the name of their paternal home to the settlement. Many of the families of this town, removed from Beaver Dam, once a very prominent settlement of that town.
Actually Jacob Weidman is commonly believed to be from Berne, Switzerland. There is no Berneswitzer in Germany.

Monday, November 3, 2008


The other day I received an inquiry about the Ostrander Cemetery - which I prefer to call the Ostrander Farm Burying Ground since it was on the old Ostrander farm and was for the burial of members of the Ostrander family. (A cemetery is a burial ground for multiple families and is on ground that is not privately owned by a single family.) Actually there are two primary families buried there: Ostrander and Dutcher; I have not yet found the relationship between the two families.

The Ostrander Family Burying Ground is in the northeast corner of Town of Knox on Bozie Hollow Road. It is on the old Ostrander farm settled before 1800 by Jacob Ostrander (1773 - 1861) and his wife Catherine Kenter Ostrander (1775 - 1855) . The earliest readable inscribed stone is that of their 16-year old son James who died in 1839.

Records of early burial places on the farms in the town of Guilderland, N.Y. and surrounding towns were Compiled by WILLIAM A. BRINKMAN, HISTORIAN
Town of Guilderland, Altamont NY RD1, 1940.

Jacob Ostrander, died August 30, 1861 aged 88 years and 2 months

Catharine, his wife, died February 17, 1855 aged 80 years, 6 months

Michael Shrader, died April 1, 1855 aged 72 years and 9 months

Jemima Ostrander, wife, died September 24, 1860 aged 77 years, 8 months

Charles Ostrander, died 1872 aged 72 years

Elizabeth Schrader, wife, died ------

William Ostrander, born August 5, 1828 died December 22, 1897

Margaret Jane Ostrander, wife, born September 1, 1833 died March 26, 1895

Mary, their daughter, born August 26, 1871 died June 11, 1890

Laura, their daughter, died October 18, 1880 aged 3 years and 6 months

Grant, their son, died September 4, 1871 aged 3 years and 5 months

Peter J. Ostrander, died March 9, 1862 aged 65 years and 6 months

Hannah, wife, died September 2, 1864 aged 65 years, 1 month

James, their son, died November 4, 1839 aged 16 years and 5 months

John Ostrander, died November 18, 1862 aged 63 years

Jacob Dutcher, born 1818 died 1907

Mary Auchampaugh, wife, born 1823 died 1877

Walter Dutcher, their son, born 1865 died October 14, 1871 aged 6 years, and 6 months

Edwin Dutcher, born 1851 died 1891

Mary Brumachim, wife, born 1853 died ----------

Frederick Bradt, born 1853 died 1881

Elizabeth Dutcher, wife, born 1851 died 1899

Jacob Dutcher born ------- died ---------

Emmett Dutcher Dutcher, born -------- died --------

Charles Hyser, born ---------- died January 7, 1897 aged 49 years

He was a soldier in Co. I, 142 New York Volumteers, Civil War.

Some are buried here without stones.

Pictures of some of the stones are posted at