Sunday, December 27, 2009


 This painting is in the collection of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society museum and is published with their permission. It was painted by James Dietz, a son of the massacred Johannes Dietz, so he would have known what the house and barn looked like.

I have just created a new Facebook group Dietz / Deitz Families of Berne and Schoharie for descendants of the children of Johan Peter Dietz of Germany, all of whom eventually settled in Schoharie and Albany Counties in the first half of the 18th Century. This group will make it easy for us to stay in contact with distant cousins, and allow us to exchange information and ask questions about our common ancestors.

You do not need to be a member of Facebook to look at the site, nor will you be spammed. You would have to join if you want to participate. 

The images on this page are of the Dietz massacre in Sept. 1781, the only intrusion into Berne during the Rev. War.

This engraving of the Dietz massacre is from "Stories of the Revolution,” by Josiah
Priest, 1836. The chapter "The Captive Boys of Rensselaerville - John and Robert Brice" tells how they were captured in the massacre and taken west by the Indians. John lived out the war in an Indian village. Robert was sold to the captain of a boat on lake Erie. The story is the remembrances of Robert.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Fox Creek Falls, Nov. 2009, by Charles Sloger

Years ago NYS stocked trout in Berne; but that stopped because there is no legal public access. Not that it matters, since neither the Foxenkill nor the Switzkill are good habitat (both are too warm, and some pollution in the Foxenkill) to support a healthy population of trout. There is also a bank erosion problem. Planting of trees and shrubs along the banks would help prevent both bank erosion and cooling the waters for trout, as would establishing a cut line. When do you think that will happen? It took ten years of so for the sewer system in Berne to start to be built. Maybe its not too early to push for creekside rehab?

Here are proposals for
  • A trail along the Fox Creek from the Long Path to Berne Town Park.
  • An expansion of Fox Creek Park to include ruins of historic mills and factories on the opposite side of the creek.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Law Office > Select School > Fire House > Post Office > Garage

The photo to the right is of the 1929 Model T Ford called the "Village Queen", still the pride of the Berne Fire Dept.

A small building in Berne served many functions since it was built in the mid 19th Century:

  • Law office of Edward Vincent Filkins, Esq.
  • The Select School in 1882 of his daughter Carrie Filkins.
  • Berne Post Office in the 1920's. The post master from 1915 - 1928 was Clarence Haverly, husband of Carrie Filkins.
  • Berne Volunteer Fire Company was organized in 1929 it became the first fire house.
  • It is now a private garage.

This photo is from about 1977 and was published in Our Heritage.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Newcomb's Farms, East Berne

I have just updated the Berne Farms, Natural History, and Outdoor Recreation page on Albany Hilltowns to include a lot more farms. Here is the current listing:

  • Alpaca Shack Bob Rowe and family, Berne. - High quality, eco-friendly alpaca clothing. Visit the farm and pet the Alpacas.
  • Beaver Dam Farms - Breeding Stock, registered Polled Herefords, feeder cattle, hay. Open year round, hours vary; 2032 Helderberg Trail, tel. (518) 872-0256.
  • Busch Farm - Quality hay. Busch Ln. By appointment (518) 872-1664.
  • Crosier's Sugar Barn - Open year round; Spring 7 days a week, Weekends rest of the year. Offering hay rides, maple tours, custom pig roasting, chicken barbecues, brush hogging and farm drainage work, firewood. 353 Filkins Hill Rd. Tel.(518) 872-2213.
  • Elk Hill Winery - built by the Primiano Family, the only winery in the hill towns, is at 125 Prim Lane, off of Rte. 156 Berne, a couple of miles north of the hamlet of Berne. Call 518-872-2314 for directions.
  • Ever Flowing Springs Farm - Grass fed beef. 73 Francis Rd. Open year round by appointment (518) 872-0426.
  • Helderberg Alpacas 331 Saw Mill Road, East Berne, New York; phone number is (518) 872-9053. - Alpacas for sale, boarding, yarn and fiber for sale, farm visits.
  • Mcauliffe's Mountain Farm - All natural meats and organic veggies. 60 Mountain View Ln., Tel. (518) 872-2041
  • Morning Fog Farm - High Quality Food, Sustainable Farming Methods: Local, Naturally Raised Beef, Pork, and Chicken; Organic Produce; Organic Herbs; Farm Products; Unique Gifts. On-Farm store is open Friday 3 - 6 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM and always by appointment. We'll have: Beef, Pork, Chicken, Honey, Maple Syrup, Milk Soaps. 1207 Switzkill Rd., Berne. Please call us at (518) 872-1772 between 10am and 6pm Monday through Saturday for more information. We accept MasterCard and Visa. Email:
  • Partridge Run Farm and Apiary, 484 Ravine Road, Berne, New York - Open daily for honey and related products (e.g., candles, soaps).
  • Newcomb's Farms 1498 Thacher Park Road. - Farm stand open May-November 9am-8pm. and a Community Supported Agriculture program[1] with fresh produce, fruit, local honey & syrup, flower greenhouse, hanging baskets, annual and perennial bedding plants, herbs and vegetable bedding plants. On Saturdays throughout the season home made pies & bread. A member of Local Harvest. Email
  • Mountain Winds Farm - operated by Randy Grippen, sells all natural farm raised chicken and eggs, maple syrup. Email
  • R6 Livestock Co. - Cattle, hay. 1119 Switzkill Rd., Berne; Tel. (518) 872-0344
  • Shale Hill Farm - Freezer beef, hay straw, fence stakes and firewood. 617 Cole Hill Rd.; Tel. (518) 872-2533
  • Tim Lippert's Grass-fed Beef - Berne, to order Email or call the farm 518 797 3610
  • Windy Hill Farm - Wool blankets, sheep skins. Call for location (518) 872-1386. 

Friday, December 4, 2009


I have done an extensive update on BerneFarms, Natural History, and Outdoor Recreation to add information on where visitors can eat and sleep. I have also listed the historic cemeteries and family burying grounds that are maintained and easily accessible. I will now be working on listing historic buildings to see.

I have done a similar page for Knox Farms, Natural History, and Outdoor Recreation

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


1) The town of Berne is updating its comprehensive plan.  The Comprehensive Plan committee meets on December 2 at the Berne Town Hall. While they already have a full agenda, they do allow time for public comment. Here are proposals for them to consider:
Whereas increasing the number of travelers to the town would be a benefit to the economy of the town:

  • The planning and construction of scenic trails for use by hikers, bikers, horseback riding, fisherman, photographers, cross country runners, etc is encouraged. In the fall they might be used by hunters; in the winter by cross country skiers and snow mobiles.
  • Landowners whose land a trail crosses or who live within 1000 feet of a trail are encouraged to build facilities along such trails to benefit users of the trails and to charge for their use: tent camping sites, toilet facilities, picnic tables, fire pits.
  • In any district of the town a home owner may operate a Guest House. The definition of a Guest House is a home owner who makes extra bedrooms available in their home for occasional guests. The Guest House is not a business but rather a way to earn extra money for the home owner from time to time. 
  • With special permits, landowners in agricultural districts may build up to five cabins to rent by the day or week, and to build facilities for use by up to five recreation vehicle campers.
Someone from the town would need to present the above proposal for discussion.