Genealogy and History
First Permanent Settlers
Among the earliest permanent settlers in this locality were the
De Ridders. They settled on the east side of the river, just
across from Schuylerville. We include them here because that was
part of Old Saratoga, and because they figured largely in the
early history of this place.
first of this family, whose name appears, is that of Garett De
Ridder. His name is found in connection with Philip Schuyler
(uncle of the General) and Cornelius Van Beuren, as a road
commissioner for the district between
and Half Moon, in 1729. Again, in 1750, Garett De Ridder,
Killian De Ridder and Waldron Clute are appointed to the same
says that five brothers De Ridder came over from
. Their names were Walter, Simon, Hendrick, Killian and Evert.
Though there is no direct authority for it, still it would-be
fair to presume that they were the sons of Garett De Ridder, who
appears in history 21 years before the others. Killian was a
bachelor, and appears to have been the largest land—holder
among the brothers, at least in this locality. Walter De
Ridder’s house stood on the east bank of the
, just north of the road as it turns east from the river going
. This house was ruined by the ice in a freshet. Some of the
timbers in this old house are in the one now called the Elder
Rogers’ house. This latter house was built by General Simon De
Ridder, for his son, Walter. Walter was the father of Mrs. C. W.
Mayhew and Miss Katherine De Ridder. General Simon's house stood
on the site of the house now owned by Robert and William Funson.
The original house was of brick, burned on the farm, and was
twice as large as the present structure. The present kitchen is
a relic of the original mansion, which was burned in 1837.
De Ridders are now the oldest family that have lived
continuously in this locality.
Marshall came from
, leased a farm of Philip Schuyler about 1763, and situated
perhaps a mile south of Victory village. This farm is still
owned by his grandson, William H. Marshall. He and his family
suffered all the hardships incident to the Revolution. Many of
his descendants are still residents in this vicinity. Besides
the above, we recall Mr. John Marshall, a prominent citizen on
Bacon Hill; Mrs. William B. Marshall, still the owner of the
house made historic by the experiences and writings of the
Baroness Riedesel, and also Mr. Frank Marshall, of Victory, a
Jordan came here before the Revolution. He was then a young man.
He served in that war as a bateauman. After the war he married a
daughter of Abraham Marshall, settled upon and cleared the farm
now occupied by Mr. Frank Marshall.
Cramer (Kremer), a German, came about 1763, and settled on the
farm now owned by John Hicks Smith. He married Margaret Brisbin,
by whom he had five children. His descendants are numerous, but
are now scattered far and wide. A grandson, Hiram, and
great-grandson, Charles, still cling to the old haunts.
Woeman was living near Coveville in 1765. William Green also
settled here about the same time. His sons were Samuel, John and
Smith moved from Dutchess county about 1770, and settled on the
place still owned by his great-grandson, Stephen Smith, on the
hill about four miles west of Schuylerville.
1770, John Strover bought the farm now owned by the Cornings. He
was an active patriot during the Revolution, and did valuable
service as a scout. He held the rank of orderly sergeant. His
son, George, bought the Old Schuyler mansion about 1838, which
is still owned by two of his daughters.
Dunham was also one of those sturdy pioneers who was not only
strong to clear the forests, but was equally efficient in
clearing his country of tyrants. He was a captain of a militia
company, and was one of the most prominent patriots in these
parts. He was leader of the captors of the notorious Tory,
Lovelass. He settled on the farm now owned and occupied by Hiram
I. Brisbin made his clearing on the farm now owned by Michael
Varley, previously owned by Oliver Brisbin.
Davis settled the farm still called the
farm. The stone quarry known as the Ruckatuc is on that place.
The following story is told as an illustration of pioneer
honesty, which measures up pretty close to the ideal: On one
occasion James I. Brisbin and George Davis swapped horses. But
on reaching home and looking his horse over very carefully,
Brisbin concluded that he had the best of the bargain, and that
he ought to pay over about five dollars to even the thing up.
had also been going through the same judicial process with his
conscience and had arrived at Brisbin’s conclusion, precisely.
Both concluded to go over at once and straighten the thing up
while in the mood. They met each other about half way, but just
how they settled it the tradition saith not. It would perhaps be
hazardous to assert that
horse fanciers have ever since invariably followed this model in
Brisbin settled, before the Revolution, on the farm until
recently owned by his great—grandson, James Caruth Brisbin,
but now by Hiram Cramer.
, built what is now known as the
house in 1773, for a farm house, but who occupied it is not
Patterson was the first settler on the place now bounded by
Spring street and Broadway, and owned by Patrick McNamara. That
was before the Revolution.
Mr. Webster, one Daniel Guiles, and a Mr. Cross, lived here
before the Revolution. Mr. Cross’ place was near the present
one of Mr. Orville C. Shearer. Mr. Guiles lived where Victory
village now is.
brothers by the name of Denny came to this town as early as
1770, and built three log houses on what is now the John McBride
place, near Dean’s Corners.
Cornelius Van Veghten was among the first settlers at Coveville.
He had three boys, Herman, Cornelius and Walter, and was a very
prominent Whig in the Revolution. He was a friend of General
Schuyler, and was most cordially hated by the Tories. The story
of his narrow escape from assassination at the hands of one of
them is told elsewhere. The old Van Veghten homestead is now
owned and occupied by Mr. Charles Searles.
historic Dovegat house is supposed to have been built by Jacobus
Swart; at least, according to an old field book in possession of
Mrs. Charles Searlcs, he owned it soon after the Revolution. At
the time of Burgoyne’s excursion down through here, another
man, by the name of Swart, lived just south of Coveville, near
Searles ferry. Burgoyne’s trip down through here also devel—
ops the fact that a man by the name of Sword lived two or more
miles below Coveville, where the Britons camped the 18th of
September, 1777. It is now owned by Robert Searles. A short
distance below Sword’s, lived Ezekiel Ensign, on a place still
owned by a descendant, George Ensign.
little further south was the house of John Taylor in which
General Fraser died. The first settler on
’s place was John McCarty, who ran away from home, in
, to avoid marrying a red-headed girl whom his parents had
selected for him. In I 765 he leased from Philip Schuyler the
land just north of the Wilbur’s Basin ravine, and on which are
the three hills fortified by Burgoyne, and on one of which
General Fraser was buried. The lease called for one—tenth of
the produce as rental. The original parchment, signed by the
contracting parties is now in the possession of Edwin R. Wilbur,
at Wilbur’s Basin, a great grandson of John McCarty. Evidently
John found a -wife better suited to his tastes in
. F. Patterson’s little barn west of the canal stands on the
site of McCarty’s house. Near him Thomas and Fones Wilbur had
settled before the war. Frederick Patterson now owns the
homestead of Fones Wilbur. Wilbur’s Basin received its name
from these brothers. Below Wilbur’s Basin, on the flats near
the river, were two homes owned by J. Vernor and H. Van Denburg.
Joseph Holmes now occupies the ' Vernor place, and Ephraim Ford
the Van Denburg homestead. It was here that the fugitive
inhabitants stopped over night in 1777, as told by the
Sexagenary. The buildings were burned by the British on the 19th
of September, 1777.
below Van Denburg's was Bemis’ tavern, occupied by Gates as
headquarters for a short time. Fothem Bemis was the first
. (Bemus is the spelling in the original document in the county
.) On the heights back from the river Ephraim Woodworth
purchased a farm and built a house afterward occupied by General
Gates as headquarters. We are already familiar with the historic
home of John Neilson, also with Isaac Freeman’s cottage and
farm,_ the site of the great battle. A number of other clearings
had been made and log cottages put up in that immediate
vicinity. According to Neilson one Asa Chatfield owned the one
just south of the middle ravine, from the top of whose house
Colonel Wilkinson reconnoitered the British as they deployed
into line of battle just before the second day’s fight. Simeon
Barbour and George Coulter owned the clearings and cottages
where the second day’s battle opened, and one S. McBride had
his homestead to the north of them, apparently where the farm
buildings of the late Mrs. Ebenezer Leggett stand.
Leggett and Isaac Leggett were settled near the borders of
when Burgoyne came down to make good Englishmen Of them. They
were prominent Friends, and we presume therefore that neither
they nor their co-religionists shouldered a musket to stop his
Shepherd’s pioneer home has also become hereditary in his
family; it now being owned by his grandson, David Shepherd. John
Walker also settled in the southern part of the town of
. His descendants now own part of the battlefield. It is
interesting to note, in this connection, that E. R. Wilbur, a
grandson of Fones Wilbur, married Phoebe Freeman, a
granddaughter of Isaac Freeman, and that they now own that part
of the camp ground of the British army whereon Burgoyne had his
the above there were doubtless many others settled in this town
whose names have thus far escaped the searching eye of the
Story of Old
and History of Schuylerville, John Henry Brandow, 1901
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