Sunday, July 27, 2014

Where did they come from: Canajoharie, Montgomery, New York

Here is another edition of Where did the come from.  This week is Canajoharie, Montgomery, New York where the Countryman family made a home after West Camp, New York.

The village of Canajoharie is at the north border of the Town of Canajoharie with the Erie Canal passing along the north side of the village. Canajoharie was originally a village of the Mohawk nation in the Mohawk Valley. The village was then settled by Palatine German settlers, refugees from wars in Europe, established a community in the 1730s which they originally called "Roofville" after early inhabitant Johannes Rueff. The village was incorporated in 1829. During the middle of the 19th century, three fires almost obliterated the village. It was renamed Canajoharie. The Mohawk had as their territory most of the central area of present-day New York from the Hudson River west to where Oneida territory started. They also used the St. Lawrence River valley as hunting grounds after 1600. They dominated the fur trade with the French in central Quebec and English in eastern New York after the Seven Years' War.  

Canajoharie was a rebel stronghold (from the British viewpoint) during the Revolutionary War.   Many families of the Mohawk Valley became divided during this time, family members decided whether they would be loyal to Britain or join with the Revolutionaries. Neighbours became enemies as they were forced to declare their allegiance. 

A caricature of resident Conrad Countryman appeared in Ripley’s “Believe it or Not”. Conrad was described as The Daddy of the Revolution with 26 sons and grandsons supplied to General Washington’s army.  For unknown reasons, one son, Jacob remained as a Loyalist to the British side. It is this son that is my wife's 6th great grandfather.

During the time of the revolution there were Committees of Safety that would confiscate land owned by Loyalists. Nearby Tyron, New York was a British stronghold. The British were able to get the local tribes to join them to fight the Americans. In the book, Mohawk Valley in the Revolution, there is a document that links one of the Countryman clan to the “Enemy” side of the confrontation. At a public hearing of the Committee of Safety before Major Robert Cochran at Burnets Field on Oct 23rd 1776.
 In the 1925 Countryman Genealogy book, Alvin Countryman writes: 
“In the destruction of the Dutchtown settlements by the Indians and Tories, October 20, 1780, to the
surprise of everyone, the house of George Countryman remained unharmed, since it was well-known that there was not a more staunch Whig in the neighbourhood. This circumstance remained a mystery,however, until the close of the war. George had a brother who had followed the Johnsons and Butlers to Canada, who was with the horde of invaders on the occasion named. He was a masked man and supposing his wife was at the time at the home of his brother, his entreaties to have it spared prevailed, and it stood a seeming monument to savage mercy. After the war his brother sent word from Canada to George, informing him why his house was not burned and spared the incendiary torch–assuring him also that had he known at the time that his own wife was not in it, he would have seen that smoke with the rest.

George was so angered by this message that he at once wrote his brother to never darken his
door again, since he added, you have not only been a traitor to your country but a traitor to your king.
He never returned to the home of his childhood, but sent for his wife, who joined him in Canada,
where they remained. Some years ago, I heard it was his brother, Jacob, that turned Tory: that he
thought the British would be victorious and that he would be one of those to get a farm by
confiscation. Think it was my grandfather, George, who told it.”

The baby food producer, Beech-Nut, founded in Canajoharie in 1891 and served as the largest employer in the town for more than a century. The Beech-Nut factory moved out of Canajoharie in March 2011 and relocated to a new factory in the nearby town of Florida, near Amsterdam.  The white walls of Beech-Nut loom over downtown Canajoahrie, dominating the view from Palatine Bridge. Years ago, the factory churned out smoke and baby food, employing almost 350 area residents. Now the factory lies dormant. The main thoroughfare through downtown Canajoharie has several storefronts closed.  The area still suffers from the loss of taxes and jobs.

Notable residents
Susan B. Anthony, women's rights pioneer, taught school here
Frank Barbour, was an American football player, coach, and businessman.
Joseph Brant (1743–1807), Mohawk chief
Molly Brant (1736–1796), Mohawk leader
Samuel Clyde (1732–1790), patriot leader for Tryon County during the American Revolution; he served as lieutenant colonel of the Canajoharie Militia Regiment, and fought at the Battle of Oriskany
Alfred Conkling, lawyer, statesman, and jurist
Frederick Conkling, son of Alfred Conkling and brother of Roscoe Conkling; he became a congressman for the state of New York
Josiah Failing, 4th mayor of Portland, Oregon; he gained much of his wealth as an entrepreneur through general merchandise
Bernhard Gillam, political cartoonist; died of typhoid in Canajoharie
Myron Grimshaw, major league baseball player; right fielder for the Boston Red Sox for three seasons, 1905-1907
Jacob Klock, colonel of the 2nd regiment of the Tryon County militia during the Revolutionary War
Mary Anne Krupsak, is an American lawyer and politician from New York. She was Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1975 to 1978
Charles McVean, congressman for the state of New York; while in Canajoharie, he was the editor of the town's newspaper
Ots-Toch 17th century Mohawk woman from Canajoharie who married Dutch trader Cornelius Anthonisse Van Slyck founding the Van Slyck family in New Netherland
Edwin M. Randall, Chief Justice for the state of Florida
Thomas James, a former slave of Asa Kimball who became a minister in upstate New York
Hendrick Theyanoguin (1692–1755), Mohawk leader
Benjamin Van Alstyne, head coach of Michigan State University basketball team from 1927–1949
Rebecca Winters, Mormon pioneer
Sean MacFarland, Major General, United States Army, Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, Texas.
This looks like a good piece of information for research:

1905 village map

Canajoharie Genealogy links,_New_York

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Play Ahnentafel Roulette

Here's another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from:

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) What year was one of your great-grandfathers born? Divide this number by 80 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel" - your software will create this - use the "Ahnentafel List" option, or similar). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) NOTE: If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then "spin" the wheel again - pick a great-grandmother, a grandfather, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children! Or pick an ancestor!

1. I picked Joann (Gulczewski) Switkowski born in 1899. That comes out to 23.7, I used 24.

2. That gives me Stanislaus Alajko.

3. A. He was born in 1854 in Poland  
    B. He married Wiktoryia A. Woskowski
    C. He had 3 children: Joseph Alajko, Paulina Alajko and Charlotte Alajko

4. I actually wrote about his here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Where Were They 100 Years Ago?

Another late edition of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Go to for the original.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:
1) Determine where your ancestral families were on 19 July 1914 - 100 years ago.
2) List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible). Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?
3) Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

1. A. My father's maternal grandparents are Rose Evans Noice (born 06 JUL 1886) and Perry J. Noice (born January 27, 1885). They lived at 622 King Street, Lancaster Ward 2, Fairfield, Ohio.

         1. Perry's parents Pvt George Washington Noice (born March 4, 1864) and Lucinda Alice Noice formerly McLaughlin (born October 14, 1857) lived in Walnut, Fairfield, Ohio.

                  a. Lucinda's mother was still alive at this time. Her father died in the Civil War. Sarah Ann McLaughlin formerly Emfield lived in Pleasant, Fairfield, Ohio.

     B. My mother's maternal grandparents are Joseph Edward Switkowski (born March 7, 1893) and Joanna K Switkowski formerly Gulczewski (born June 14, 1899). He lived at 312 Lovejoy Buffalo, New York. She lived at 12 Newton, Buffalo, NY. They did not marry until after WWI. I blogged about Joseph

           1. Joseph parents Wladyslaw Switkowski (born 1861) and Louise Szymanska (born 1864) lived in Buffalo, New York.

           2. Joanna's parents Jakob Gulczewski (born July 1853) and Catherine Szafranski (born April 1856) lived in Buffalo, New York.

     C. My mother's paternal grandparents are: Joseph Alajko (born March 10, 1884) Bertha (Glowacki) Alajko (born August 7, 1891) lived in Buffalo, New York. I blogged about Joseph here.

           1. Bertha's parents are Antonia Trzcinski (born January 1861) and Andreas Glowacki (born November 1858). The also lived in Buffalo, New York.

           2. Joseph's parents are Stanislaus (Stanley) Alajko (born 1854) and Wiktoryia A Woskowski (born about 1867). They lived at 71 Rother Avenue, Buffalo, New York.

Where did they come from: Ogdensburg, New York

Here's another Where did they come from post. Last week was Prescott, Ontario, Canada. This week we are going through customs and crossing the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge to Ogdensburg, New York, USA.

Again we are looking at my wife's family, specifically her 6th great grandfather Jacob Countryman's descendants. After he fought against the colonies and his family in the Revolutionary War he packed up his family and joined other loyalists in Canada. Over the years since many in the family have crossed back the the US. This crossing has been popular in the family. There are many that have married across the border. Here is a look a the other side of the crossing.

The first settlement in Ogdensburg of non natives dates back to 1749 when the Sulpician missionary Father Picquet founded his mission on the banks of the St. Lawrence at the mouth of the Oswegatchie River.

His mission: Fort La Presentation was upon an old Indian village named Swa-gatch. The area was the northern terminus of an original Indian trail that ran from the Mohawk Valley to the St. Lawrence. The City developed into an important port of entry and railroad center during the 19th and early 20th centuries, with extensive trade in lumber and grains.

Ogdensburg has historically relied on the nearby rivers and the resources of the North Country. This includes lumbering and paper production, boat building, merchant and custom milling, foundry, and machine work.

The area capitalized on its location at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers, the City became a seaport the early in the 19th century. The completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 connected the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and opened the area to industrial expansion.

Ogdensburg, the only city in St. Lawrence County, one of the largest counties east of the Mississippi River! Fronting the shores of the mighty St. Lawrence River along the U.S.-Canadian border is the Robert C. McEwen Customs House, the oldest federally-owned building in the United States. History buffs will enjoy the walking tour of noted War of 1812 sites or scuba diving among wrecks from military encounters during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The mighty river's view offers spectacular sunsets, passing St. Lawrence Seaway ships, picnicking, concerts in the Greenbelt Park, boating, water skiing, swimming, recreation and much more.

Ogdensburg is home to the Frederic Remington Art Museum. His family tree can be downloaded at the bottom of

From Sackrider Remington (October 4, 1861 – December 26, 1909) was an American painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer who specialized in depictions of the Old American West, specifically concentrating on the last quarter of the 19th-century American West and images of cowboys, American Indians, and the U. S. Cavalry.

Notable people
Jimmy Howard, professional hockey goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings, member of the 2014 USA Olympic ice hockey team
George R. Malby, former US Congressman
Mark Valley, actor and comedian
M. Emmet Walsh, actor,_New_York

Some Wikitree Profiles born in Ogdensburg:
William Secor
George Rabetoy
Helen (Sullivan) Corry
Sarah Harriett (Cook) Countryman
Sylvester Gile Williams
Hattie M (Countryman) Reynolds
Richard James Countryman
Edgar Joseph Countryman
Claire (Walker) Countryman
Stanley Richard Countryman
Lawrence W McDonald
John Jacob Wilson
Alice Jean (Spriggs) Smith
Francis Joseph Countryman
Glen Everett Dodge