Sunday, April 20, 2008

IN MEMORIUM - Gertrude Ball Deitz

photograph by Allen Deitz

This small, abandoned burying ground for the family of Peter Ives Deitz and his wife Elizabeth Haverly is overgrown with trees and undergrowth. There are several downed stones, and perhaps more buried in the underbrush. Owner stated it was vandalized circa 1974. Burials 1812-1853. We need GPS coordinates.

Peter Deitz was the great great grandfather of Franklin S. Deitz, husband of Gertrude Ball Deitz.


The sympathy of the Berne community and the many friends of Gertrude Ball Deitz is extended to her children Allan, Arlene, and Gerald, to her sister Alberta Ball Wright, and to their families. Since her obituaries are posted on the Berne Historical Project site I will not repeat them here. Instead I will post here a recent Letter to the Editor, which I wrote, and which was printed in the Altamont Enterprise, the weekly newspaper serving the Hill Towns for 123 years.

Dear Editor,

Gertrude Ball Deitz, who died April 16, 2008 at age 91, had VERY deep Berne roots. She was born in Berne, the daughter of Clyde L. Ball and Alta Mae Sholtes.

Peter Ball, her earliest Ball ancestor, was about about ten years old when his father and mother emigrated in 1709 with thousands of other Palatine refugees from the Rhine river area of what is now Germany. Unfortunately, his father Johannes, along with hundreds of others, died in the long ocean voyage or shortly thereafter. When about 150 refugee families settled in the Schoharie Valley in 1712 and 1713, Peter and his widowed mother were not among them; still, they were apparently living somewhere in the greater Albany area when he was naturalized at Albany in 1716. When in 1740 his daughter Dorothea married Peter Fischer, both the Fischer and Ball families were undoubtedly neighbors living on the flats along the Foxenkill below what is now the hamlet of Berne.

Gertrude Ball was not the first Ball to marry into the Deitz / Dietz family. Her third great grandfather, George, son of Peter, married an Elisabetha Dietz in 1763. Elisabetha was the daughter of Johannes Dietz who was massacred in 1781. Also in 1763, George's brother Hendrick married Maria Elizabetha Dietz, a cousin of Elizabetha. George and Hendrick's oldest brother, Johannes married Maria Margaret Dietz in 1747. She was an aunt of Elisabetha and Maria Elizabeth. Based on all of these Dietz / Ball marriages, it is my opinion that by 1747 a number of Dietz siblings were also living along the Foxenkill just to the west of the Peter Ball homestead.

Gertrude Ball's mother was a Sholtes; her earliest Sholtes ancestor to live in Berne was Mathias Shultes, born 1740. He was the son of an unknown Shultes and Elisabeth Dietz, sister to the Maria Margaret Dietz who married Johannes Ball. Mathias Shultes was about 11 years old when his mother and step-father, Jacob Weidman, moved about 1751 to the Beaver Dam, as the area was then called.

In 1937 Gertude married her neighbor and distant cousin, Franklin Deitz, son of Frederick Deitz and Theodora Haverly. Frederick Deitz was also descended from Mathias Shultes. Theodora's earliest Haverly ancestor living in the Berne area was Christian John Haverly, also from the Palatine area of Germany, who before 1759 moved to what is now West Berne.

To summarize: the grandparents of Gertrude Ball and Franklin Deitz's three children, Allen, Arlene, and Gerald, had the surnames Ball, Sholtes, Deitz and Haverly, all early Berne families. It is especially interesting that a 1787 Van Rensselaer survey map of the area that now encompasses most of the Towns of Berne and Knox shows the Ball, Shultes, Dietz and Haverly families as neighbors, in the same vicinity as the families of Gertrude Ball and Franklin Deitz lived a century and a half later. (The current English spelling of the names differ from the original German, and different branches of the families spelled the names differently.)

The Berne Families Genealogy, posted on the Berne Historical Project website at, details the complex relationships of Gertrude and Franklin's ancestors. A 100 page ancestor report for the children of Gertrude and Franklin has 2225 people, including siblings of great-grandparents, going back 15 generations. They were from Germany, France, the Netherlands, and a Mohawk woman from the Turtle clan.

Harold Miller
Oaxaca, Mexico
Berne Historical Project
Blah, bla, blog at

  • History of the first generation of the Dietz Family of Berne and Schoharie.

IN MEMORIUM - Janice Irene LeBuis Bassler


...on Cass Hill Road near Reidsville, is the small, well kept burying ground of the family of David Conger (1791-1878). In 1984 it was said to be well kept with monuments in excellent condition. We need GPS coordinates for this FBG.


Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Janice LeBuis Bassler, eldest daughter of the late Doris and Leo LeBuis and devoted wife of Fred "Pete" Bassler. She is dearly missed by her family and the entire Berne community.

I decided to do a some research on the Lebuis family to add to the Berne Families Genealogy. Janice's paternal grandparents, Arthur and Eugenie (Landriau) LeBuis were French Canadians from Qu├ębec. They immigrated in 1901 and settled in Albany. In 1910 they were living at 839 Broadway in Albany; Arthur was a carpenter and Eugenie was the mother of 7 children of whom 5 were alive and living at home. Janice's father, Leo, (called Leopold in the 1920 census) was born in Albany on 10 Feb. 1912, making him the youngest of 8 children.

On Aug. 19, 1935 Leo LeBuis married Doris Irene Filkins, eldest daughter of Frederick Hazael Filkins Jr. and Nettie F. Skinner, both descended from early Berne area families. Frederick's second great-grandfather, Isaac Filkins, was born 1755 in Pittstown, Rensselaer, NY and settled on what became known as Filkins Hill about 1801. Nettie's second great-grandfather, Josiah Skinner, was born 1754 in Sharon, Litchfield, CT and moved to Rensselaerville in 1787.

Janice's husband, Pete Bassler, has even deeper Berne roots. His fifth great-grandfather, Frederick Bassler Sr., was born in Riehn, Basil Canton, Switzerland in 1712 and immigrated in 1749 to Philadelphia with his first wife, Esther Thommen. The family remained there about 6 years while Frederick likely worked as an indentured servant to pay for the ships passage. During that time his first wife died and he married a widow, Anna Margaret (Leys) Leip / Leib. About 1755 Bassler moved to the Beaver Dam and homesteaded a farm on what is now Hill and Dale Road in the Town of Knox. Shortly thereafter his second wife died and he married Anna Dannerin.

Pete Bassler's mother was Sarah Weidman. His fifth great-grandparents were Jacob Weidman, who immigrated from
Switzerland between 1738-1743, and Elisabetha Dietz, whose family was from the German Palatinate. They moved from Greene County to the Beaver Dam (now Berne) about 1751. Jacob, is said to have led a small band of settlers including the Dietz and Bassler families. Actually, the Bassler family arrived about 1755, and two of Elisabetha's brothers had settled about 1740 on the flats between what are now the hamlets of Berne and West Berne.