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mer, one of the original patentees of Burnetsfield, was also the grantee of lots Nos. 13, 21 and 38 in the patent or grant made in 1739, called Glen's purchase. John Adam Helmer, with Capt. Demuth and another man, was sent forward, on the day previous to the Oriskany battle, to. Fort Schuyler, by Gen. Herkimer, to apprise Col . Gansevoort of his approach. This duty was executed, although some delays took place in reaching the fort, occasioned no doubt by the extreme caution necessary to be observed to avoid a watchful and numerous enemy. Helmer was also one of the messengers sent by the committee of the Kingsland and German Flats district to Albany, with an account of the disastrous result of the battle. Capt. Frederick Helmer, of Col. Peter Bellinger's regiment of militia, was killed at Oriskany.
John Helmer was the only survivor of four men, sent in August or September, 1778, to watch Brant's movements at the Unadilla, who was then collecting his tory and Indian forces for a descent upon the German Flats, which he, at that time, so successfully accomplished. Helmer's three companions were killed at the Edmeston settlement; but he made his escape, and returned in time to notify the inhabitants of the impending danger, and they saved themselves from slaughter and captivity by fleeing for protection to Forts Herkimer and Dayton. I have no means of deciding whether this was the same man sent to Fort Schuyler, by Gen. Herkimer, but suppose it was.
The historians of the revolutionary period mention a man by the name of Helmer, who was arrested, tried by a court' martial, condemned and executed as a spy, at Johnstown, in April, 1779. This man, it seems, belonged to the expedition which came from Canada, in the fall of 1778, for the purpose of recovering Sir John Johnson's iron chest. He became disabled, so that he could not pursue his journey back to Canada, and secreted himself in his father's house until spring, when he was arrested. He had left the county with Sir John, and had attached himself to the baronet's fortunes. This man could not have been one of our family of Helmers, as his father, it appears,' was settled at or near Johnstown, and the tide of German emigration, before the revolution, flowed westward.
This family, or these Burnetsfield patentees, the Helmers, were Palatine immigrants, but whether they came over in 1710 or 1722 is not certain. They probably composed a part of the second body of immigrants.
The Erghemar (or Herkimer) Family.
Jurgh, Johan Jost, Madalana and Catharina Erghemar, were each, as appears, patentees named in the Burnetsfield grant. One hundred acres, on the south side of the Mohawk river were allotted to each of them. This name is not found in the list of Palatine immigrants who were sent to Livingston's manor, by Gov. Hunter, or of those who remained in the city of New York. We have no reliable information in regard to Jurgh, or George, Herkimer. There is a tradition among the descendants of this family, that two brothers emigrated from Germany, and after being here some years, they were informed that a considerable estate had fallen to them in fatherland, when they concluded they would return to Germany and look after it; but on going to New York, and seeing only a small portion of the broad expanse of water they would have to cross, their resolution failed, and they returned to their then quiet homes on the Mohawk.
This family early exhibited evidence of wealth and thrift far ahead of any of the other Palatine settlers, in the erection, of costly stone edifices, and the possession of many broad acres, purchased after Gov. Burnet's grant. This grant professed to set apart one hundred acres to each man, woman and child of the families who had petitioned to be removed to the upper section of the valley, and it may well be assumed this privilege was claimed and acceded to in every instance.
Was the Catharina named in the patent, and who drew lot No. 5, on or near which the former county poorhouse was erected, the wife of Johan Jost? If Jurgh and Johan" Jost were not brothers, and this idea seems to be very much strengthened by the subsequent ownership and occupancy of the lands granted, unless Jurgh died without issue, and left his estate to his brother, the conclusion seems to be that Johan Jost, subsequently known as Hanyost Herkimer the elder, was the son of Jurgh. If Johan Jost was married in 1725, the date of the patent, he probably had no children to whom lands could be granted according to its terms. The fact is well known that lands were granted to children whose fathers and mothers are named as patentees. Madalana and Catharina are not described as married women, and may have been sisters of Hanyost the elder; if this be the true solution of this matter, they probably died unmarried, or sold their interest in the lands allotted to them, for we find some of the same lands in the possession of Hanyost the elder, in April, 1771. This Hanyost left a grandson, born in October, 1751, who was the issue of his second son, Henry.
This name has undergone many changes. In 1752 it was written Herchkeimer, and the same in 1777, by the family. In 1758, Gov. Delancy wrote it Hareniger. In 1756 we find it written Harkemeis. Then, at other periods, Herchamer, Harchamer, Harkeman and Herkermer. In 1775, the family was, in all its branches, somewhat numerous, influential, and esteemed friendly to the popular cause, and all, except the General, residents of the German Flats district; for we find one of them named as colonel and two others as cap- tains in the fourth battalion of the Tryon county militia by the county committee. The name is then written Herkheimer. This colonel, who was one of the general's brothers, afterwards proved recreant, as well as one of the captains, for we find no account of them afterwards. It is not improbable they belonged to the attainted branch of the family.
The patentee, Jurgh or George Herkimer, did not leave any descendants, unless Johan Jost and one or both of the females named were his children, or they left this part of the country before the revolution. We have no tradition or information of any sort, of any persons of that name, except those who trace their descent from Hanyost Herkimer the elder; nor can we find that any of the other Palatine families claim relationship by marriage with the Herkimer family, behind Hanyost the elder's descendants.
General Nicholas Herkimer,
Was the oldest son of Johan Jost Herkimer the elder, who was sometimes called Hanyost, and died in August, 1775, leaving five sons, Nicholas, Henry, Johan Jost, George and John"; and eight daughters, Elizabeth Barbara, Laua, Delia, Catharine, Anna, Gertruyd, Anna Maria and ElizaGen. Herkimer's Dwelling. beth. The father of this numerous family was the Johan Jost Erghemar, one of the patentees of Burnetsfield, and drew lot number 36, and he was also one of the patentees of the Fall Hill tract granted in 1752 to Johan Jost Herchkeimer and Hendrick Herchkeimer.
Although a little out of the order of events, I will here give all the information I have been able to collect in regard to the surviving branches of the General's family. Of the four brothers who remained in the country and attached to the revolutionary cause, Nicholas and John died without issue; George left two sons, John and Joseph, who have been dead a number of years. Joseph left one son only, who until very recently resided at the Little Falls. Henry left five sons, Joseph, Nicholas, Abraham, George and Henry. I have not been able to trace out the descendants of Joseph and Nicholas. Abraham removed to Pennsylvania where his descend
ants are now to be found. George, the General's nephew, left four sons, Henry G., Timothy and George, who in 1854 lived in Otsego county, near Schuyler's lake, and William who had removed to Chautauqua county. The General's nephew, Henry, left Joseph, Henry and Robert H. The first named of these three brothers lived in Springfield, Otsego county, in 1854, and the two latter emigrated to Michigan some years ago. The General's sisters were all married. Elizabeth Barbara, the eldest, married Peter D. Schuyler; she was the mother of Hanyost Schuyler referred to in the former chapter of this work. Lana was three times married; her first husband was Warner Dygert; the second, Nicholas Snell; and the third, John Roorback. Delia was married to Col. Peter Bellinger, Catharine to George Henry Bell, Gertruyd to Rudolph Shoemaker, Anna to Peter Ten Broeck, Anna Maria to the Rev. Abraham Rosecrants, and Elizabeth to Hendrick Frey.
These daughters of the venerable patriarch left numerous descendants, and among them are some of our most respectable citizens. The General was not fortunate in some of his family connections, and he was no doubt to some extent damaged by the adherence of a brother and one or more of the husbands and children of two of his sisters to the interests of the crown, to which may be added the equivocal conduct of his reverend brother-in-law. This was no fault of his, however, so long as he performed his whole duty to his country.
The General was commissioned a lieutenant in Captain William Wormwood's company in the Schenectady battalion of militia, on the 5th of January, 1758, by LieutenantGovernor James De Lancey. The commission, it will be observed, is directed to Han Nicholas Herchkeimer, gentleman. He must have been, at this time, the senior officer of his name, and commanded at Fort Herkimer in 1758, when the expedition of French and Indians attacked the settlements on the south side of the river. This I advance as an inference drawn from the fact of his then holding a militia