Jeptha Root Simms.

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He planted fruit trees there, and two antiquated apple
trees of a dozen or more are still standing. The stone
of which the cellar and well were made, were brought
from Fish House in a boat, and as stone were scarce
on the sandy lands contiguous, early settlers with
sacrilegious propensity have carried off and converted
them to other uses. The plow^ has removed all traces
of the well, which was on the verge of the knoll south


of the house, and has nearly filled the cellar, a small
cavity only remaining. A log house and well were
built on the south side of the point toward the west-
ern end just after the revolution, but the dwelling is
now gone, and most of the stone which were used in
that cellar. The nearest house now to the point, is
that known as the Brown place, where Samuel
Brown, an old pensioner, lived and died.

I have said that the Kennyetto coursed through the
vlaie. It enters a narrow strip of it south-west of
the point, and runs along the latter upon its southerly
side, where it is some two rods wide, and usually
three or four feet deep. The Mayfield creek, a mill-
stream about two-thirds as large as the Kennyetto,
runs through that part of the marsh in Mayfield, and
sweeping its north margin, unites with the latter
stream at the extremity of the point. The Brown
farm lies betweeg the two strips of the marsh named,
and near where they approximate. Besides those
named, several other streams enter the marsh. On
the north side at Cranberry point, a mile from Sum-
mer-house point, Cranberry creek runs in, and nearly
loses itself before reaching Vlaie creek, as the stream
is called after it receives Mayfield creek. On the
south side two mill streams run in, in Broadalbin,
one nearly opposite Cranberry creek, called formerly
Frenchman's creek, and the other a mile below called
Han's creek; and yet so great is the natural process
of absorption and evaporation constantly going on


here, that the creek, where it issues from the vlaie and
enters the Sacondaga at Fish House, discharges but
little if any more water than passes Summer-house
point, in the Kennyetto; indeed, it is said by some
of the observing citizens near its mouth, that less
water issues from the marsh than did formerly.

Frenchman's creek is so called, because a French-
man named Joseph DeGolier located at an early day
upon its shores about two miles from its mouth. It
has since been called McMartin's creek, after Duncan
McMartin, Esq., who established himself and erected
mills upon it many years ago. McMartin was a sur-
veyor and laid out most of the roads in and around
Broadalbin. He was a man of wealth and respect-
ability, and was appointed a judge of the common
pleas in 1818 — was a master in chancery, &c., &c.;
and as an evidence of his enterprise, erected a sub-
stantial brick edifice upon his farm, some few years
before his death. This same stream has also been
called Factory creek, from the fact that a woolen
manufactory was established upon it near the resi-
dence of Mr. McMartin, as early as 1812 or 1814.
It is still in operation. Han's creek got its name
from the following circumstance: Some few years
before his death, Sir William Johnson and John
Conyne were fishing for trout in the mouth of this
stream, when as Conyne was standing up, an unex-
pected lurch of the boat sent him out floundering in
the water. He shipped a sea or two, as the sailor


would say, before he was rescued by the helping
hand of his companion from a watery grave. My
informant heard the Baronet relate the circumstance
at Johnson Hall to a large circle o^ friends soon after,
with his usual gusto for such adventures. He not
not only had a hearty laugh over it then, but often
afterwards when telling how Conyne 'plunged into the
water to seek for trout. Hans being the Dutch of
John, and the familiar name by which Sir William
called his companion in relating the incident; hence
the name for the stream.

There is now along the sides and lower end of
Summer house point, a stunted growth of alder and
swamp willow, but when occupied by Sir William
Johnson, the bushes were all cut off, and the margin
of the stream kept clean. He had a beautiful boat
there, in which he used to go down to the Fish House,
four miles distant, sometimes with company, for he
entertained numerous distinguished guests, and at
other times attended only by a few servants, or possi-
bly by his faithful Pontioch, who rowed the boat
while he sat in the stern and steered it. His greatest
time for hunting and fishing was in the spring and fall.
When the marsh was flooded, a boat would pass over
it any where, the water rising at Summer-house point,
from six to eight feet above low water mark. At
such times the prospect was grand from the prome-
nade of his cottage, access to which was gained by
an outside stairway, near the hall door. Thousands


upon thousands of ducks and wild geese were then
floating upon the waters, at which time his double-
barreled gun was in almost constant requisition.
Some Twenty five years ago, ducks used to breed about
the vlaie. They are sometimes caught in nets there,
and taken to market.

In company wi-h Dr. William Chambers, Marcellus
Weston, Esq., my patriotic old friend Jacob Shew,
Col. John I. Shew his son, and little Haydn Shew, I
visited Summer-house point on the 29th day of Au-
gust, 1849, and well was I compensated forthe jour-
ney. It is a most delightful place, divested of all
historic associations, but clothed with them, it is one
of the most interesting spots imaginable Recreating
in fancy the white cottage with green facings, I could
almost hear the notes of Billy's old fiddle, as his
greatest skill was taxed to please the ear of some
fastidious city guest; and at some witticism of the
happy host, I seemed to hear peal after peal of merry
laughter, and now and then an Indian whoop, as in
former days they rang out upon the gentle breeze.
The fairy craft of some forest son seemed once more
to be gliding along the grass-hidden stream with its
blanket-clad navigator standing erect as of yore, and
bound for Sacondaga. Imagination pictured Pontioch
caressing his favorite steeds, and calling on Nicholas
to aid a black driver in rubbing them dry; and as I
passed the entrance to Flora's department, to look at
the noble animals, I seemed to see upon one side of


it scores of pigeons and wild ducks, with the saddle
of a deer; and on the other a large heap of golden
trout, to supply the cottage larder and feed its guests.
But I find 1 am growing visionary, and will dismiss
this subject, with ray grateful thanks to the gentle-
men who conducted me to Summer-house point,
where I trust I may again light tip " the council fires"
of imagination — again be surrounded by intelligent
friends — again see some little Haydn hooking perch
or sun fish — again see the happy hay makers near
the upper stacking-ridge — and again seek for some
relic of the point's first occupancy, if only to be re-
warded by the limb of an old apple tree.


Sa-con-da-ga is an aboriginal word, which signifies,
as the Indians assured Godfrey Shew, much water y
Capt. Gill, an Indian hunter, said it meant sunken or
drowned lands. It no doubt has particular reference
to the flooding of the vlaie. The Sacondaga shoot-
ing out from the mountains in Northampton, enters
the semi-amphitheatre in a south-eastern course, and
continues that direction in what seems a great basin,
until it gets to Fish House, where, receiving the Vlaie
creek, and striking spurs of the Maxon mountain, its
course is changed to a north-eastern one, thus making
two equal sides of a triangle some twenty miles in
circuit. The vlaie is about as low as the bed of the
river, and when the latter rises suddenly, it sets back
up the creek with a heavy current, so as not unfre-
quently to carry bridges up stream^ that were over
the streams in the marsh. The Sacondaga continues a
north-easterly course, until it enters the Hudson some
thirty miles from the Fish House. A small steam boat
has been plying for two seasons between Fish House
and Barber's Dam, a distance of about twenty miles.
This dam is situated at the head of what is usually
denominated the Horse race, or rapid water, which
extends from thence to the Hudson. Conklinville, a


small hamlet, with several mills and a leather manu-
factory, has recently grown up at the dam.

Daly's creek, a stream running into the Sacondaga
on the east side, and near Barber's dam, got its name
from the following circumstance. Dr. Daly, the
family physician of Sir William Johnson, was at the
mouth of this stream with the latter on a nshing: ex-
cursion, as in days gone by it was a great place for
trout. A little eddy in the water had caught up a
bed of leaves, and the top ones were so curled and
dry, as to lead the doctor to suppose they were quietly
reposing on the top of a small sand bar. It is not
unlikely that Sir William, to please himself or guests
that may have been with them, humored the joke, if
he did not set it on foot. Catching the painter, the
doctor sprang out to draw the boat upon the bar —
when lo! he went plum up to his arms in the water^
This incident not only added a yarn to the Baronet's
long budget, which he often spun at the doctor's ex-
pense, but served to originate a name for the stream.
Some few years after the above incident transpired,
Godfrey Shew, his sons John and Jacob, and Edmund
Pangburn, were fishing at the mouth of Daly's creek,
when a similar little eddy of crisped leaves attracted
the notice of young Jacob, and to get the wrinkles
out of his legs, he concluded to step out of the boat
on the bar. He did so, and down went the leaves,
and still deeper down the boy to get a handsome
ducking, and be laughed at by his comrades when in


the boat. Query: Should not this stream be called
Shew's creek, some part of the time?

Near the mouth of Han's creek, and about half-
way from Summer-house point to Fish House, dwelt
before the Revolution the family of Henry Worm-
wood. He had three daughters and two sons. The
oldest daughter, whose name is now forgotten, mar-
ried and went to Schoharie; the other two, Susannah
and Elizabeth, lived at home Susannah, the eldest
of the two, was a beautiful girl, of middling stature,
charmingly formed, with a complexion fair as a water
lily — contrasting wnth which she had a melting dark
eye and raven hair. Elizabeth much resembled her
sister, but was not quite as fair. An Irishman named
Robert or Alexander Dunbar, a good looking fellow,
paid his addresses to Susannah, and soon after mar-
ried her. The match was in some manner brought
about by the Baronet — was an unhappy one, and they
soon after parted. She however, retained as her stock
in trade a young Dunbar. What became of Dunbar
is unknown.

Sir William was on very intimate terms with both
the Wormwood girls, but the most so with Susannah
after she became a grass-widow — at which time she
was about twenty years old. Those girls were often
at the cottage on the point, and not unfrequently at
the Fish-house. As the latter place was not furnished,
when Sir William went down there intending to stay
over night, he took down a bed from the point,



which, " as the evening shades prevailed," was
made up on the floor. In passing Wormwood's
dwelling, some half a mile distant from his boat at
the nearest point, if he desired an agreeable compan-
ion for the night, he discharged his double-barreled
gun, and the two shots in quick succession, was a
signal that never failed to bring him a temporary
housekeeper. Susannah was his favorite, and so
pleased was she with his attentions, that she often
arrived on foot at the fish house before he did,
especially if he lingered to fish by the way.

Wormwood and his wife sometimes accompaaied
one of their daughters to the fish-house, where they
occasionally remained over night. The old man had
the misfortune to break an arm, and by imprudence
he kept it lame for a long time. Early one morning
he called in atShew's dwelling, situated over a knoll
and perhaps one-fourth of a mile from the fish-house.
Rubbing his arm he began to give a sorry picture of
its lameness, in which he was suddenly interrupted
by Mrs Shew. " Poh!" said she, "you have made
it lame by sleeping on the floor again at the fish-

" No I haven't," said he, " I slept on a good bed; for
Sir William brought down from the point a very nice
wide one, which was plenty large enough for four" —

" Four?'^ quickly interrogated Mrs. Shew, greatly
surprised at the reply of Wormwood, " pray how did
you manage to sleep ybwr in a bed?"


*' 0, casv enough. Susannah made it up very
nicely on the floor, and then Sir William told us how
to lay. He first directed the women to get in the
middle, and now, said he to me, you get on that side
and take care of your old woman next to you, and
I'll get in on this side and try to take care of Susan-
nah. No, 1 didn't make my arm lame by sleeping
on the floor last nighV^ It is unnecessary to add,
Mrs. S. did not question her neighbor any farther.

To dispose of this family in a few words, which
catered for years to pamper the baser passions of an
influential man, liberally endowed with Solomondic
lust; the two sons went to Canada with Sir John
Johnson; Elizabeth married somebody and moved to
— so)neivhere ; and Susannah, with an heir to the
Sacondaga vlaie — sex unknown — remained about
Johnstown wnth her parents until the Revolution was
over and then went to Canada. Old Wormwood
was seen at Amsterdam after the war by a former
neighbor, who enquired where he lived? "Any
where," he replied, " w^here I can find a house."
Poor weak man, he has beyond a doubt parted with
his " mortal coil" long since; but his old bones, we
hazard a conjecture, more than once felt the need
of Sir William's ' wide bed,' or some other, before
that solemn event.

About the fish-house. Sir William Johnson re-
served one hundred acres of land, which was confis-


cated with his son's estate in the Revolution. When
sold by the sequestrating committee, it was purchased
by Major Nicholas Fish (he was adjutant-general of
n ilitia after the war), for one hundred pounds. Maj.
Fish sold it at the close of the war to Asahel Parkes,
of Shaftsbury, Vermont, who resided several years
upon it. He built a dwelling upon the low ground a
few rods from the mouth of Vlaie creek, and the fol-
lowing spring he was driven out of it by some four
feet of water. Traces of this building are still to be
seen west of the road, just above the river bridge.
Parkes sold the Fish-house farm to Alexander St.
John. The village has since been built upon it.

The bridge just alluded to crosses the river where
it makes its great angle, and only a few rods below
the mouth of Vlaie creek. The Sacondaga at this
place is about two-thirds as large as the Mohawk is
at Fultonville. The cost of this bridge, a covered
one, in Barber & Howe's Historical Collections of
JVew York, is erroneously stated to have been sixty
thousand dollars. It cost about six thousand dollars,
and was built by the state's munificence in 1818, at
which time Jacob Shew was in the legislature and
advocated the measure with success. It was sup-
posed the state would soon realize the funds again,
by the sale of her lands on the north side of the river,
a markt t for w^hich would be more readily found by
improving the way to them How profitable the in-
vestment has proved for the state we are unable to


say, hut the convenience of a free bridge to the
puljlic is invaluable.

Among the unwise measures adopted in the early
part of our struggle for liberty, was that of fortifying
Summe-house point; it being supposed by some that
an enemy from the north, would be likely to approach
the point by water. Part of a regiment of continental
troops under Col. Nicholson was stationed here much
of the summer of 1776. An intrenchment six feet
wide and several feet deep was cut across the eastern
end of the point; while the cottage in green livery,
as we may suppose, assumed a warlike aspect- The
point as a military post was abandoned at the end of
the summer. The summer-house shared the same
fate as the fish-house, in the Revolution; as they
were both burnt about the year 1781. We suppose
that, from the fact that this cottage had been occu-
pied by the Americans as a military post, and that
the repossession of it by Sir John Johnson was now
placed almost beyond a doubt among the impossibili-
ties, he gave instructions to some hostile invaders to
burn that and the fish-house, that they should fall to
the ownership and occupancy of no one else. All
traces of the fortifications on the point have disap-
peared, the ditch having become entirely filled up by
deposits from the marsh.

Just before Summer-house point was garrisoned, a
scout of several men was sent from Johnstown to re-
connoitre in its vicinity. From the point they crossed


the marsh to the bank of the Sacondaga, and not find-
ing any trace of an enemy's approach, they returned
to the point. When ready to retrace their steps to
Johnstown, they found the boat had been left by some
person on the opposite shore of the Kennyetto. In
attempting to cross the stream and get it, one of the
men, named Willie Boiles, a continental soldier, was
drowned. His body w^as recovered and buried on the
northerly end of the point, a few rods southerly from
the fence toward the road, and not far distant from the
Mayfield creek. No stone or stake indicates the spot.

Summer-house point was sold by Jeremiah Van
Rensselaer, one of the committee for sequestrations,
to James Caldwell of Albany. Who now owns this
delightful spot I am unable to say. Formerly, when
it became the rallying spot for hay-makers, cranberry-
pickers and fishermen, temporary bridges were made
across the creeks upon its sides, by throwing over
stringers and covering them with brush and hay. The
timber was drawn upon the point in the winter, to be
restored in the summer.

A settlement was begun in Mayfield, some ten miles
to the northward of Johnson Hall, under the patronage
of Sir William Johnson, about as early as Stoner's
location at Fonda's Bush. The first settlers who ob-
tained a title from the Baronet to one hundred acres
of land each, were two brothers named Solomon and
Seely Woodworth, Simeon Christie, two brothers

named Reynolds, Jacob Dunham, Cadman, Jon a.



Canfield, Capt. Flock, a captain when in New

England; and possibly one or two others. Christie
was a Scotchman ; the rest of the settlers, or nearly all
of them were enterprising Yankees. The Wood-
worths were from Salisbury, Connecticut; Seely set-
tled near the present site of Mayfield Corners, and his
brother about a mile to the westward of him. The
rest of the pioneers were scattered about the wood-
man's neighborhood. Perhaps the only descendant of
this early settlement now" living upon the 'homestead,
is Simon, a son of Simeon Christie.

Solomon Woodworth was killed by the Indians in
the Revolution, as I have elsewhere published. The
circumstances attending his death, as related by an
eye-witness, I design to give the public at some future
day, as also the captivity of several of the settlers at
Fish House and Fonda's Bush, and fate of Eikler and
young Shew. Old Mr. Dunham w^as murdered by the
Indians in the war, as related on page 294 of my His-
tory of Schoharie County, etc., where the name is in-
accurately printed Durham. His wife was not mur-
dered at the time, as there stated. The house was
plundered, but from motives of policy not then burned.
Dunham had a son, a young officer under Capt. Solo-
mon Woodworth, who shared the fate of his brave
commander, as wull be shown hereafter.

After Shew located at Fish House, and before the
Revolution, John Eikler, Lent and Nicholas Lewis,
brothers, Robert Martin, Zebulon Algar, a family of



Ketchums and one of Chadwicks, also settled in that
neighborhood. All of them left at the beginning of
difficulties, except Shew, Martin and Algar. These
pioneers at first had to go to Johnstown for their mill-
ing. To accommodate them and the Mayfield settle
ment, Sir William Johnson erected a small grist mill
at the latter place, in 1773 or '74, and had the avails
of it during the remainder of his life. It was either
burnt in the war, or rendered nearly valueless by
neglect. The mill property having been confiscated,
it was purchased at the close of the war by Abraham
Romeyn, the oldest son of the Rev. Dr. Romeyn, who
had been an artificer in the Revolution. He rebuilt
the mill again, and put it in operation.

Soon after Romeyn got his mill in operation,
Thomas Shankland — who had been a prisoner among
the Indians — erected a grist mill on the Kennyetto,
in the present town of Providence, to which the Fish
House settlers repaired, as it was a mile or two nearer
than the Mayfield mill, with no intervening marsh.
This mill is now owned by Jonathan Haggidorn. The
bolts in those mills to separate the flour from the bran,
were turned by hand. It was the usual practice for
customers to turn the bolt for their owm grist — a task
they were by no means pleased w^ith. After the
country became more settled, and probably as early as
1800, one Van Hoesen erected a mill also in Provi-
dence, situated about half a mile east of Fish House,
on a stream which rises on the Maxon mountain.


Speaking of mills, we are reminded of the follow-
ing anecdote of Sir William Johnson. While he was
livine: at Fort Johnson, he made some alteration in
his grist-mill near by — putting in a new^ pair of mill-
stones. A German named Francis Salts, who was
erecting a mill for Messrs. Philip and Jacob Frederick,
situated on the Schoharie river, some five or six miles
above its mouth, called on the Baronet to purchase
the old grinders. The price was stipulated, and after
some little conversation about the terms of payment,
the quondam owner told his customer to take them
home, get his mill in operation, and if he would sing
a song when the debt was due, that pleased him, he
would exact no other pay.

It was not long ere the buzzing and clitter clatter
evinced the new mill in successful motion. When
pay day for the millstones arrived, Mr. Salts went to
Fort Johnson to cancel the debt. He w^as quite a
song singer, and had possibly prepared himself with
something new, expressly for the fastidious ear of his
creditor. In the presence of several of the Baronet's
friends, who were, no doubt, invited in expressly to
hear them, song after song was sung, to the evident
amusement of all save the one he desired to please;
but his features remained uncommonly rigid. Having
exhausted his catalogue of German songs, without
discovering any expression of delight on the counte-
nance of his creditor, the millwright thrust his hands
into a deep pocket, and drew forth a long pouch of


the ready, singing in no very good humor as he did

^er 5P^ann mill be^at)lt Mn.*

" That will do — now put up your money," said Sir
William, at the end of a burst of laughter.

"And are you paid? " asked Salts, with evident sur-
prise, as he returned the purse to his pocket.

" Yes, yes," said the now delighted lover of fun,
" that will do— that's the best of the w^hole." The
songster went home rejoicing, and left the Baronet
and his guests to discuss the merit of his songs over
a bottle of wine, when he was far away. — Col. Peter
Young and Volkert Voorhees.

If Sir William Johnson enjoyed a joke at the ex-
pense of some friend, they occasionally got the rig
upon him, as the following anecdote will show. Just
after the close of the French war, in which he had
acted so conspicuous a part, and for which he was
placed on the baronial list. Sir William had occasion
to go to Albany. At that period there were only two
or three dwellings in the whole distance between
Albany and Schenectada, and they were little if any
better than squatter's lodges of more modern times.
There were numerous little swamps and marshes along
the road, and the Baronet returning to Schenectada

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