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Col. "Willett's party when W. N. Butler was killed, on the West Canada creek. Capt. Ellsworth, Lieut. Bloodgood and Ensign Show, were the officers of his company. He knew Gen. Herkimer, and says he was a thick-set, stout man, not quite six feet high. The general's dwelling, at Danube, was built before his recollection. He recollected his grandfather Johannes, the patentee. His father, Jacob, and his uncle, John Casler, who died about the year 1816, at an advanced age, were both in the Oriskany fight. Johan Marks Petri, who was also there, killed an Indian, and told Jacob Casler he might have the Indian's gun, and all he had about him, and be welcome, if he would go and get them, which Jacob took and brought away. A small grist-mill was built on the Casler creek, before the war, which, being stockaded, protected it from being destroyed by the enemy. The Petri and Casler families were connected by marriage. Johan Marks Petri owned lot No. 12, at Little Falls, before the revolution, and built a small grist-mill in the first place on Furnace creek. The mill that was burned by the enemy, a relation of which has been given in another place, was on the river, and supplied by water from it. Jacob Casler, probably a distant relation of my informant, and commonly called Black Jacob, by reason of his having black eyes, a very unusual circumstance among the Germans, at an early day in the settlement of the country, had a severe fight with a bear. The contest was for dear life, and whether black Bruin or black Jacob should live to see another day. Casler had gone out, towards nightfall, in pursuit of cattle strayed into the woods, armed with a common bayonet fixed on a heavy stick several feet long, and when passing up a woody ravine some distance from the clearings, the black tenant of the forest saluted Jacob with a hostile growl, which brought him to a halt. The belligerents did not look at each other with much fraternal feeling. One of them prepared himself for an embrace entirely too bearish to suit his antagonist, and when Master Bruin opened his arms to give the unfriendly hug, Jacob thrust his bayonet into the bear's side as far as he could drive it. This only enraged the wounded beast. It did not disable him entirely, nor cause him to retire from the contest. The bear wrenched the bayonet from his side with his fore paws, and endeavored to disarm his foe; but Casler held fast to his stick and in the scuffle the bayonet became detached from it. Jacob pounded his antagonist on the head and back with his club, and the bear tore Casler's clothes and lacerated his limbs and body with his claws; but Black Jacob knew he must conquer or die, and made up his mind to fight as long as he could strike a blow with his faithful club. The issue of the combat was some time doubtful. Casler bled profusely from his wounds, and was nearly exhausted by his exertions. The bear bled some from his first bayonet wound, and exhibited signs of being confused by the repeated heavy knocks bestowed upon his head, when a happy blow over the eye laid Master Bruin on his back. Casler, no doubt, counted his own life among "the spoils of victory " on this occasion, and would have freely given the bear's hide and bruised carcass to be rid of the ungentle scratches he had received. Jacob long enjoyed the reputation, and justly, of a bold and resolute man.
Frederick Casler, a descendant from one of the patentees, died October 19th, 1849, about seventy years of age, and his father, Jacob Casler, died April 1, 1822, aged sixty-nine years. John Jacob Casler, the grandfather of Frederick, died in January, 1811, aged 88 years. This carries his nativity back to 1723, renders it probable that he may himself have been the patentee, Johannis, and overturns the supposition previously advanced, that the two patentees were brothers. The family tradition respecting the purchase of one of the two patented lots from strangers by the sons of John Jacob, may induce a belief that he was a son of Nicholas, and that the lot having been parted with by the father or his other children, had been brought back into the family by purchase. Jacob and George Kesslair, were, it seems, two of the seventeen patentees of Staley's first and second tracts, granted in 1755, chiefly to the Palatines of the upper valley.
Richard Casler, referred to in this notice, died on the 18th of September, 1855. The newspaper obituary notice states his age at ninety-five years. He told me when I saw him, he was then eighty-nine years old. One of his sons was present and confirmed this statement, by saying that was his reputed age in the family. His health was not firm during the latter part of his life, but he was never known to neglect joining his fellow citizens in celebrating the anniversary of American freedom.
The Editch Family.
This name is also found written and printed Edigh, Edich, Itigh, Ittigh and Ittich. Michael Ittich was one of the volunteers under Nicholson in the expedition against Montreal in 1711. This family were seated for a time on Livingston's manor, and employed, as pretended by the colonial authorities, in making naval stores for the British government. Of the four persons of this name who were patentees, I have no means of ascertaining which was the head of the family, or what relationship they bore to each other. Michael Itigh was one of the patentees of Cornradt Frank's patent; granted in 1765, and Hans Michael Ittig, Jun., and Jacob Ittigh, were patentees of Staley's 1st and 2d tracts, granted in 1755. This name is still extant in the county, although not very numerous. I still recollect a Mr. Edick who figured considerably in our courts some twenty or thirty years ago, especially in ejectment suits brought to settle lines between patents and farm lots, with which he was, very familiar on the south side of the river in the Staley and Frank patents.
The Form (or Forms) Family.
The patentee Jacob took lot three on the south side of the river and a short distance east of Frankfort village, and Melgert, now Melchert, took lots two, high and low land, on the north side.
Their descendants are found in the county in considerable numbers, near the spots where the patentees planted themselves in 1725. The reader will notice that two of the name of Volts were appointed first lieutenants in the fourth battalion of the Tryon county militia in 1775. This was a misspelling of the family name. Melch. Folts's name is found on the roll of volunteers for the expedition against Montreal, in 1711, from Haysbury on Livingston manor.
Warner Folts, who was chosen one of the members of Assembly at the general election in 1824, was a descendant of the patentee Jacob Fols, a farmer and a worthy good man. Ambitious of nothing but to act well his part in this life, and "to make a clean breast of it" with all mankind when he took his final leave of this world. He was a good neighbor and a warm friend. He was elected under circumstances which called forth considerable reprehension, at the time, from former political associates and party friends. Such things, however, are not long remembered. The party which had elected him had also returned a very large majority of members to the house, and when he took his seat and became more intimately acquainted with the political men with whom he was expected to act and associate, he felt embarrassed and unhappy, and finally made up his mind "that come what would" he must go with his old political friends.
Melchert Folts, a son of one of these patentees, was appointed paymaster of the regiment of militia commanded by Col. Henry Starring, in October, 1786; elected the first town clerk of Herkimer, in March, 1789, and held the office several years by reelection. He was also commissioned a justice of the peace soon after the erection of the county. Born May 5, 1746, and died May 2, 1829; his wife Mary died one month later. The combined ages of the two make one hundred and fifty-seven years and three months. Mr. Felts had received a good common-school education, and was an easy and rapid penman. He kept a journal of the principal revolutionary events in the upper Mohawk valley, but, unfortunately, it has been destroyed or mislaid.
The Fox Family.
This name is not yet extinct in the county, and some of the descendants of the patentee, Christopher, reside near, if not upon, the lot taken up by him in the vicinity of the Stone Church, German Flats. Frederick Fox, a son of the patentee, was a first lieutenant of Capt. George Herkheimer's Company, 4th battalion Tryon county militia, as arranged in 1775. Peter Fox was commissioned, in 1786, as ensign in Capt. Peter P. Bellinger's company of militia, in the regiment commanded by Lieut. Col. Henry Starring. I do not place Peter on the list of descendants from the patentee, but it is probable he was
This family is not now, I believe, very numerous in the county, although several of the name, of German descent, are settled in the southern towns. Christopher Fox was one of the volunteers, in 1711, in the expedition against Canada. He then was at Haysbury, on the manor, and was the Palatine list master of that town.
The Helmer Family.
This name is still pretty numerous in this and the adjoining county of Montgomery, but I do not suppose they all claim to be descendants of the Palatine stock, who first came to the upper Mohawk valley. Of the six patentees, in the grant of 1725, two were married women, whose husbands were alive. Philip and Frederick, two of the patentees, were probably children of the other grantees. Lendert Hel