Sunday, October 11, 2009



In 1984 the old Berne Conservation Board did a very thorough job of locating every cemetery and small family burial ground in the township. Each of these cemeteries were keyed to a section of a USGS topographical quadrangle. This past summer Dennis and Dave Bernhardt updated that survey and used took GPS coordinates for the 50 cemeteries they could find. Some of these were not found in 1984. They are now updating the descriptions and location information on the Berne Historical Project site

I would like to suggest and request that the current Conservation Board consider making a survey of historic sites to locate and document the conditions of the remains of
any historic sawmills and grist mills, bridge and dam sites. They were scattered all over the town. A starting point would be the 1854 and 1866 maps of the town which showed various grist and sawmills. Like abandoned cemeteries, these abandoned ruins will eventually be lost. It would be good to know exactly where they were before it is to late.

I feel sure I could find some volunteers to help in this project. Maybe even do it under the leadership of the Conservation Board.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I just added a number of "Then and Now" images of the hamlet of Berne on the Wiki site. Included is a series on the World War II Honor Roll that was originally at the intersection of Helderberg Trail and Irish Hill Road in the hamlet of Berne. Look at what a sorry sight the old site has become.

Monday, October 5, 2009


  • The Rensselaerville Historical Society has 52 “Genealogy books”, 12 “Cemetery books”, and 7 “Deeds and Leases books” that are available to researchers at the old Grist Mill in Rensselaerviller during the warmer months. At their last monthly meeting I submitted a proposal that they scan these handwritten records and post them on the Albany Hilltowns site. They have agreed to have a Rensselaerville Pilot Scanning Project this winter to see how much time it takes, and how the results look on line. The Society currently has an old desk top PC at the Grist Mill that does not have the capacity to store the scanned files, so they need to buy a new one or upgrade the one they have. They also need a laptop computer. A scanner has already been donated. Please contact me if you can contribute hardware, or hard cash.

photo by Allen Deitz 2005
photo by Allen Deitz 2005
  • Knox is having their monthly meeting Tuesday, October 6
  • The Berne Historical Society annual meeting was held Tuesday, Sept. 28. Ralph Miller, Historian, Town of Berne, was elected President. His wife, Jan Miller, is the new Secretary. At this time I do not have the names of the other officers.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


While doing research for an upcoming book on the Hilltowns particpation in the Civil War, I find that with the start of the war there was tremendous enthusiasm in Albany, and especially in Berne. In the first year Berne contributed from their taxes more than two thirds of the amount raised in Albany County. In the second year they contributed almost half. What was there that caused the folks of Berne to be such strong supporters of the Civil War? Any suggestions?

The photo is of Reuben L. Weidman who was in the 15th Cavalry during the Civil War. He was born in Berne, enlisted in the Town of Wright and was buried in Westerlo. That is what I mean by the Hilltowns are interconnected. We are all family.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I just found that the bridge that was once across the Foxenkill on the old road from Berne to Knox was called a king post truss bridge. Wouldn't a reproduction bridge be a great addition to the Fox Creek Town Park! It would make the ruins of the old mills on the north side accessible to the public. Speaking of access, how about a trail along the south side of the Foxenkill connecting Fox Creek Park with the Town of Berne park on the west side of town. It would give students walking access to BKW School. It could be used by not only school kids, but also strollers, hikers, joggers, fisherman, and bicyclists. It would give access to the beautiful creek whose only access now is below the brige in the center of town. Despite the serene beauty of the creek, it is asset the town has turned its back on. The presence of a trail could increase property values.