John B. Koetteritz.

The history of William Feeter, a soldier in the war of American independence, and of his father, Lucas Vetter, the ancestor of the Feeter-Feder-Feader-Fader families in the United States and Canada, with genealogy of the family online

. (page 1 of 7)
Online LibraryJohn B. KoetteritzThe history of William Feeter, a soldier in the war of American independence, and of his father, Lucas Vetter, the ancestor of the Feeter-Feder-Feader-Fader families in the United States and Canada, with genealogy of the family → online text (page 1 of 7)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

;#*■:■ ?C -:»:■ si ■:»:■ K -:i

4 o

■^J. ,->■'







o, • , . . • .0

c • I -

H .f -,


■ ■


' - :.




•*<i^ -



• ^^. 'Xc x . -'

. 'w ■>



( i .

f;,. ^,-^ ^.>-ir>^- ' ..

r . S ■

' . ■'

^.'•■\ ->-^ •

\ ''Sh^ - V''


'^. 'I ■•^:".' ^'

■ ' ^ ■■<■ . ..v' r,_ •-■-,



'■t:. .■:^-


-r*^ -» . .




V n'*










r >__





* -'



















A Soldier in the War of American Independence,
A.1D or nit) rATHUu


Iht anctitor oj the I-'ceUr-Fcder-Feader-Fadtr /amilies
In the United States and Canada,

Willi (cDfuloK7 ut ttiv family, compiled kt Ibc rvtiucat



JoBjt U. KoiTTCiim,
miiHa MuauMii oovutt mmtoxkai warr'.

UTTLE falls, N. Y.:

Paoa or iiraBBiKa S Buunnr,



T*o Coctto Rfcceive'j

SEP. 20 1901

CLASS <*■ XXii. Nj
CUPr Li.

Copyrigbt by





This little work is ofTerni to the public as a con-
tribution to the history of the Mohawk Valley and it« early
settlers and to the descendants of Lucas Vetter aa a token
of kinship.

Little Falls, A. i., December 2Ath, 1900.



While preparing the material for a paper read in 1898
before the Herkimer County Historical Society, I gathered
from many records genealogical data relating to the family
of William Feeter. The search was extended to Germany
and Canada and the notes thus collected formed the nucleus
of the appended genealogy.

The coat of arms was obtained from Mr. Lucas Vetter,
of Musberg, Germany, and verified by coiTespondence with
members of other German branches of that family. It can
also be found in Siebmachers German Heraldrj'. In south-
ern Germany many families of the yeomanry and free
peasantry have coats of arms and use them to this day,
without making any claim of belonging to the nobility.

It is not claimed that the family genealogy is complete,
and I would request that corrections and additions be sent
to me for future use.

I take this occasion to express my thanks for assistance
to many members of the family with whom I have corre-
sponded, especially to Jacob W. Feeter, Esq., of New York,
Abram E. Bellinger, Esq., of Little Falls, Mrs. James
Weatherwax, of Manheim, and Mrs. Elizabeth Staring, of
Little Falls, and to acknowledge with gratitude that Messrs.
G. Herbert Carman Feader, of Fleming, Assa., Canada, and
Mr. Howard C. Fader of Hainsville, Ontario, Canada, have
done all the work relating to the Canadian branches of the

Liitle Falls, N. F., 1900. J. B. K.


The Vkttkr Famii.t — A Paper read before the Herkimer

County Ili.storical Society.
The First Mail Carrier West of Albany— From the Fonda

Obituary Notice of Adam Fleeter — From a newHpaper

The Death of John Ff»'t«r— From a newspaper clipping.
Sketch of the Life of the Hon. .lames Feeter.
Notice of Death of William Small Feeter.
Notice of Death of George A. Feeter.
Notice of Death of Frank A. Feeter.
Sketch of the Life of tli»^ Hon. James D. F*'<'ter — From the

Utica Morning Herald.
Genealogy of the Descendanta of Lucas Vetter.
Index to the Genealogy.


A Paper Read Before the Herkimer County Historical Society, at
Herkimer, N, Y.. October 8th, 1898.

The immijrrants from Germany commonly known as the
Palatines, and their early sui-ressors were of the same im-
portance to New York state as the Pnritans, Pilgrims and
Huguenots to other American colonies. Driven from home
by religions jierMeciition or liy the disastnnis consequences of
religious wars, they all became the pioneers of civilization on
this continent. The very outpost of white men in the country
of the fiercest of the al)origines, the Iroquois confedenition,
were those pious and thrifty Germans, who, coming from the
valleys of the Rhine and the Danube, from the Vosges and
the Black Forest, from the Palatine, Baden, Wuertemberg
and the Alsace, ent€re<i the wilderness, braved its dangers
and settled right amongst the most warlike tribe of all, the

Is it not strange that many of the best works on Amer-
ican hi-itory hardly mention the early German immigration <
The influence of the German pioneers as a factor in the civili-
zation of parts of this great country, and especially of the
beautiful Mohawk Valley, is passed over, and the present
generation knows little of their early struggles, of the hard-
ships and privations they had to sutler, and of the many
patriotic services which they rendered.

It is our aim to reclaim from oblivion the early history
of this advance-guard of white man's supremacy and to col-
lect all such data and traditions which can still be ascertained.
Time has effaced too many ()f them !


Some time last winter a member of the Feeter family
asked me about the correct German spelling of the family-
name. Making some investigations and corresponding with
some members of the family, I became interested in the his-
tory of it, pursued it as far as I could, and I present to you
now what I have been able to ascertain by diligent research.
The name of the family was originally "Vetter," and I shall
use that name in this paper until the actual change of the
name occurs.

The Vetter family can be traced to one Lucas Vetter,
whose death occurred in the year 1483 near Derdingen, in the
present Kingdom of Wuertemberg, in the southwestern part
of Germany. He evidently was the father of many children,
nearly all of whom had descendants, and the name Vetter,
(meaning cousin) appears not only frequently in his native
land, but can be found in many parts of the present German
empire. Many men of note and more than local fame trace
their origin to this Lucas Vetter. The late prime minister of
Wuertemberg, von Vetter, several well known artists, and
the general of that name, famous during the Hungarian rev-
olution of 1848, belong to the same family. The original
Lucas Vetter was a blacksmith and freeholder. It was the
custom in families to name the eldest son after the father,
and he would generally follow the trade of his father. So
we find that one Lucas Vetter, blacksmith, would succeed the
other. Starting with the Roman Catholic church records, in
which we find the first one of that name, we have to continue
our searches after the end of the sixteenth century in the
Lutheran church books. Numerous Vetters appear as
"births" upon those ledgers of our existence, and again
they disappear as "deaths," but through all this tangle of
records runs steadily the name of the eldest son of the oldest
branch, the Lucas Vetter, blacksmith and freeholder. Count-



ing the Lucas Vetter who died in 1483 as the Hrst, we find that
Lucas Vetter the eighth was born in the year 1696, on
November '2'M, and was niarri^'l in 1722 to Katharina
Leniiinger name is indistinct in the- original re<'ord. ) It is
prol)al)le that lie removed from his home in or nearDerdingen
to Schoenaich, because we fiml the subsequent entries relating
to this branch of the family in the records of the Lutheran
church at Schoenaich, Kingdom of Wuertemberg. His
eldest son was Lucas Vetter, the emigrant. It is certain that
he had at least one brother. John, and jtossibly another, John
Jost, or Ilanjost.

Lucas Vetter the eighth had one brother, William, who
served all during the wars of that period umler that great
chieftain, Princn Eugene of Savoy. A prominent branch of
this Vett+'r family in (Tt-rmany descends from him, and I am
to that branch indebtetl foryreat assistance in my research.

Lucas Wtter the eighth dieil jjrior to 17.')3. In the
Lutheran chuich register of Schoenaich, we find under date
of November 8, ll't'.i, the following entry: "Married. Lucas
\'etter, blacksmith, son of the late Lucas Vetter, freeholder
and blacksmith, and Agnes, daughter of the late freeholder
and farmer, .lacob Wacker. Text of my sermon. Psalms
ISHi-O-fi: 'The Lord shall ble^is thee out of Zion : and thou
shall see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea,
thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon
Israel.' "

There is something prophetic in those verses as If the new
groom then contemplated the long trip to America. During
the summer of 17o4 he and his young bride left their native
land and sailed on the good ship Neptune for the new world.
On board of ship, as shown by the following certificate, a
daughter was born: " September 19, 1754. was born on the
high seas, in ship Neptune, of Christian and honorable



parents, Anna Catharina; her father was Lucas Vetter, her
mother Agnes (born) Waoker, from Schoenaich in the County
of Wuertemberg. The witnesses to her baptism were Michael
Nestel, blacksmith, and his wife Dorothea. May the Lord
grant that this child may remain faithful to her God and its
baptismal covenants. — Extract from Church Register, S. W.
Best, Chaplain of the Vessel."

While many of the immigrants became " white slaves " for
their passage money, Lucas Vetter must have been blessed
with the goods and riches of this world, as we find that
within the first year of his residence in this country he pur-
chased two farms. He settled to the north of Stone Arabia
and probably devoted his time to farming and following his
trade, which, always one of the most useful ones, was of
great importance in a new country. It is stated that he be-
came at an early time well acquainted with Sir William
Johnson. i

By Chapter 1089 of the Colonial Laws, passed on July
3, 1759, he became a naturalized citizen. In 1761 he appears
in records as one of the original applicants for the Royal
Grant, and in 1768 he became one of the three principal
patentees of the Byrne Patent in Schoharie County. (See
Landpapers, office of the Secretary of State, Albany, N. Y.)

From various records it appears that in 176"2 one Johannis
and Johannis Yost Veeder or Vetter lived near Lucas. Tradi-
tion in the family here says that all Feeters descended from
Lucas, the immigrant. It is more than probable that John
came to this country and had descendants, who changed their
name to Veeder or Vedder and mistakenly are considered as
part of the well-known Holland Dutch families of that name.
John Jost or Hanyost came over here, but according to tradi-
tion preserved in the German branch, returned soon to his
native country. John Jost's eldest son, Lucas, born in 1758,



died in 18<io in Germany, and one of his sons died in tlie war
of Napoleon a^inst Russia in 1812, and a grandson died only
last year at Schoenairh. The trade "smith" is still followed
by that bninch of the family, which is now represented by one
single male descendant, Lucas Vetter, living at Musberg,

From the records of the Stone Arabia Lutheran Church
we learn the following about the family of Lucas, the immi-
grant : Wilhelm, his eldest son, was bom January 6, 1756.
Consequfiitly Lucas, the other son, must have been younger
than William. The records do not state when he was born.

As the Canadian bninches of the family claim that Lucas
was the eld-'st siiu. the followin;; ilates are referred to :

Marriage (if Lucas .iiid Agnt-s, November 8, nTui.

Birth of Anna Catharina, Sejitember 19, 17r)4.

Birth of William, .January 6. 17.")B.

This seems to dispose of tliis claim.

If heretofore Lucas was always the name of the eldest
chilli, it must be borne in miml that Wiliiain was named after
Sir William .lohn.son, the i)atroii anil friend of the family.

Agnes Vett«r died prior to 176r). In 1766 Lucas Vetter
married again and his second wife was Maria Kva, the daugh-
ter of Captain IVter and I^ena Serviss. By this intermarriage
with the Serviss family, which was related to the first wife of
Sir William .lohnson, Lucas Vetter became still more closely
attached to the .lohnsons.

In 1767 a daughter, Anna, was born. Tradition says that
the names of the next children were Philip, Elizabeth and
Christine. The youngest child was .lohn Vetter, born in 1779,
who became the ancestor of the Hainsville branch of the fam-
ily, now spelling the name Fader.

The elder Luca.s, Ixtund by many ties to the .Johnson fam-
ily and inlluenced by a Tory wife, followed the fortunes of



Sir John and removed in 17Si) to Montreal, where he died
about 17S5. His son Lucas had grown up at Johnson Hall as
a favorite of the old baronet, and a i>laymate of the younger
members of Sir William's household, and as soon as hostilities
began he enlisted in the Johnson Greens and fought on the
side of the British during the whole of the war. After the
Revolution he settled on bounty lands near Matilda, Canada,
which lands are still in possession of the family. He died in
1842, leaving many descendants living in many parts of Can-
ada and the United States, respected and useful citizens of
their respective communities. This branch of the family
spells the name "Feader."

Wilhelm, the elder son, and the ancestor of all the United
States branch of that family, was brought up on the home
farm and enjoyed such education as the Stone Arabia schools
afforded. The great majority of the citizens of that vicinity
were, like the Vetters, of sturdy German stock and many of
them descendants of Palatine forefathers. They objected to
the feudal manor which Sir William tried to create, they
feared and they detested especially the foppish and arrogant
manners of Sir John and his set. When the storm between
the mother country and the colonies began to rise, there were
no more patriotic and loyal Americans in the colony than the
Germans in Stone Arabia. With them Wilhelm had grown
up, and likely as a boy had listened to their discussions and
complaints. Possibly home life with a Tory step- mother had
separated him early from home intluences and she may have
prejudiced his father against the boy who associated with the
so-called rebels.

In 1776 the Vetter family lived at Johnstown village and
removed that same year to where now the city of Amsterdam
is. Williams' afhliations did not suit the rest of the family
and he left home. The tradition among his descendants is



that lie alone of the family embraceil the cause of the
Colonies, and that finally he alone remained in the United
States. The Canadian branch believes that several of the
children remained here. I have not been able to verify this

In the latter days of his life Mr. Feeter dictated to one
Georj^e Heller, a school teacher, a short narrative of his ex-
periences dnrinj^ the Revolution, which has since been ar-
ranged by Jacob W. Feeter, Esq., of New York, his grandson,
ami from which I quote freely and partly verbatim : During
the spring of 177t) William enlisted in the company of Captain
Emmanuel DeGraff at Amsterdam, Tryon county, and took
part in scouting exi>e<litions to .lohnstown, Caughnawaga and
the Sacandagti river. In June, 1777, he was drafted into the
militia and joined the company commanded by Captain Abra-
ham Yates, which went iij) to Fort Stanwix. and from there
to the \Voo<l Creek, to obstruct the pa.ssage of that river by
felling trees across. From there he returne<i to Amsterdam.
His jiarents and brothers were enraged at him for takini; up
arms against the king, and he was orderetl to leave liis home
forever, an outcast. He left Amsterdam and went to his
former home at Stone Arabia, staying sometimes at the old
homestead, but more often at the home of the patriotic Gray
family living in his neighborhood. At Stone Arabia he en-
listeci in the company of Captain SufTrenus Cook in Col.
Klock's regiment. Whether or not he took jiart in the battle
of Oriskany is uncertain, but he mentions in his memoirs that
he took part in numerous scouting expeditions of that time.
In the spring of 1778 he was drafted for three months and
and went with Cajitain Samuel Gray's company to L'nadilla
to look for Tories and Indians. When the company reached
Fort Herkimer, William was sent with an Indian prisoner
back to Stone Arabia. After he returned from there the fort



was attacked by Indians and Tories. The company did not
go to Unadilla, but was finally ordered to the Geisenberg, near
Fort Plain, in the present locality known as Dutchtown, and
remained there until the massacre of Cherry Valley, to which
place it marched after that affair with the rest of the regi-
ment. Feeter and another man were sent ahead as scouts to
locate the enemy. The militia buried the dead and returned
to the Geisenberg.

An Indian band had made five prisoners at Stone Arabia
and the company to which Feeter belonged was sent in pur-
suit, but the redskins escaped.

In February, 1779, Feeter enlisted again in Samuel Gray's
company which was to convoy and protect thirty bateaux of
provisions and ammunition from Schenectady to Fort Stan-
wix. The opening of the river did not occur until April and
the company was furloughed. While on furlough Feeter
went with Captain Gray and others in pursuit of some Indians
to Tillaborough. The transports arrived at Fort Stanwix on
April 18, 1779, and Col. Van Schaick of the Continental Army
took his command and the boating party to Fort Brainington
on Oneida Lake, from whence he set out to destroy the
Onondaga Castle, leaving the boatmen as a rear guard. The
whole party returned to Fort Stanwix on April 25, after com-
plete destruction of the Indian villages. The Gray company
returned with the boats and thirty Indian prisoners to Schen-
ectady. Twice more that spring they brought such transports
to Fort Stanwix. In June, 1779, the whole of Captain Gray's
company volunteered to join the division of Gen. James Clin-
ton and took part in Sullivan's famous campaign. History
records the valiant services of the boatmen who moved this
big body of troops from Cooperstown down to Tioga and
Wyoming, and during this campaign carried provisions, am-
munition, prisoners and the wounded. The company finally



reached Eiaston, Pa., and from there marched home to Stone
Arabia, which they reached in November, 1779. During the
battle of Newton, so family tradition says, the two brothers
met, Lucas being tlif-re as a soldier in the Johnson Greens.
Verily, not the only instance during tlie Revolution when
brother met brother face to face as foes.

Again, in January, 1780, Feeter enlisted in Gray's com-
pany, and all summer they were busy navigating the river to
Fort Stanwix, Fort Schuyler, Fort Dayton, Fort Herk-
imer and Fort Plain. On one of their trips they
were warned by friendly Indians that Brant with a
large force laid in ambush for tht^m above Fort Schuy-
ler, and they quickly sent for reinforcements. The com-
pany "being soldiers and sailors too," to quote Kip-
ling, had only a small fighting force. Gen. Van Rt^nsselaer
with some quickly coUecleil militia came to their as.sistance
and convoye<i the party safely to Fort Stanwix. During Oc-
tober, 1780, William spent a furlough at Stone Arabia, and
while there the battle of Stone Araltia took place. He joined
immediately the pursuing party and went with them to Fort
Herkimer. Until ice stopp»^(l navigation he continuwl in the
boating service. Early in 1781 he enlisted in the levies com-
manded by Marinus Willett and took part in many .scouting
parties. In July of that year he helped in the and
jmrsuit of Jacob Klock, a former militia officer who had
turned Tory. Feeter was one of the scouts; they routed
Klock' s party completely, captured arms and one scalp, which
Andrew Gray took with him to Stone Arabia.

Another Tory parly attacked early in September the for-
tified house of Jacob Timmerraan in St. Johnsville. A troop
of levies, among which was Feeter, followed the Tories to the
northern part of the Jerseyfield, but they escaped.

It would be too lengthy to enumerate all the different



scouting parties of which Feeter was a member. Willett kept
his soldiers constantly moving and the service was very hard;
long marches, lack of shelter and proper food and many false
alarms proved great hardships to the troops. Feeter was
variously stationed at Fort Plain, Fort Plank and Fort Herk-
imer during the years 1781-82.

In October, 1782, a large force corapos^d of British troops,
Indians and Tories under Biitler and Ross appeared in the
Mohawk valley. Feeter and two other young men started
from Stone Arabia and traveled twelve miles to join Willett at
Anthony's Nose, on the Mohawk river. He moved toward
Caughnawaga along the south side of the river, when he was
informed that the enemy was marching towards Johnstown
by way of Tribes Hill. Willett sent from Caughnawaga Wil-
liam Feeter and William Wallace as scouts to find the enemy,
which they located at Johnstown, near Johnson Hall. Wal-
lace returned and Feeter stayed at the jail with Captain Lid-
die and his guard of six men. When Willett arrived in ad-
vance of his troops, Feeter guided him within sight of the
British, and he and Captain Liddle observed the enemy until
Major Finck arrived with succor. Finck and Feeter were in
advance of the troops who pursued the British until they
were checked by superior numbers and until Finck gave
orders to retreat, which was done. Soon Col. Willett came
up with some militia and drove the enemy from the lield.
Many of Feeter' s friends and neighbors from Stone Arabia
had been wounded and he was ordered to proceed there to
bring help and assistance for the wounded. Without rest or
food he started for that place and returned early next morn-
ing, but, to his regret, too late to join in the pursuit.

Before the end of the war many Tories had returned and
occupied their old homes again. This enraged the loyal party,
and parties similar to the white caps of today would visit



the homes of the Tories at night and flog them %vithin an inch
of their lives. Proceedings were begun against some of the
Whigs and a number were cast into jail, but liberated soon
afterwards by their friends, under the leadership of Wilhelm
Feeter, who opened the jail with bars and sledges. That was
the end of it.

With the ending of the war Feeter returned to peaceful
pursuits. All the lands owned by his father had been confis-
cated under the acts of attainder, and he had no property of
his own. He had to make a liarti fight for the recovery of his
own share. He sold, sotm after the war, all his interests in
Stone Arabia and elsewhere and purchased his homest«iil farm
near Little Falls, northwest of the Revolutionary Fort Uiem-
ensnyder, on Glen's Purchase. It is the farm now in posses-
sion of the Goodell family, j)le;js:intly located and being fine
dairy land. Of course only a small jiart of the laml had been
cultivated before the Revolution, and the young soldier-farmer
had to clear the forest and break the virgin soil.

Early in 1782 he married Kliz-ibeth Bellinger, daughter of
Adam Bellinger and Marie Elizjibeth Petrie, born March 23d,
1766, who for 40 years was his loving wife and helpmeet.
Twelve cliiklren were born to them, five sons and seven daugh-
ters ; Adam, Eva, wife of Jacob Scott, William, Jr., George
Henry, Eli/-ib*-th, wife of Danii'l Timnierman, Mary, wife of
John C. Belliiigf^r, Catharine, (Katy. i wife of Peter Staring,
Nancy, wife of William Himes, Dorothea, (Dolly,) wife of
Abnim Fiysaman, Delia, wife of Jacob Small, Johannes (.loiin)
Feeter and Peter Feeter. Nine of these had many children
and the number of his descendants is large.

His new home was located in a German neighborhood, all
the friends were descendants of the early immigrants and
there, at the Riemensnyderbush, around that old Lutheran
Church, and the old burying ground, existed in those early


1 3 4 5 6 7

Online LibraryJohn B. KoetteritzThe history of William Feeter, a soldier in the war of American independence, and of his father, Lucas Vetter, the ancestor of the Feeter-Feder-Feader-Fader families in the United States and Canada, with genealogy of the family → online text (page 1 of 7)