HISTORY of PERTH, NY
FROM HISTORY OF FULTON COUNTY
REVISED AND EDITED BY:
WASHINGTON FROTHINGHAM
PUBLISHED BY
D. MASON & CO. PUBLISHERS, SYRACUSE, NY 1892





THIS is the southeastern corner town of tile county. It is bounded by Mayfield and Broadalbin on the north; by Saratoga county on the east; by Montgomery county on the south, and by Johnstown on the west. Its surface is gently rolling and was originally covered with a vigorous growth of pine. Limestone is found in several places throughout the town, but ledges of slate are much more extensive. The soil is mostly a yellow sandy loam, and the town contains some very excellent farms, the average condition of the land being equal, if not superior to that in any other section of the county. The farmers of Perth have devoted themselves largely to the raising of stock and the growing of some of the coarser cereals. The houses, barns and agricultural equipments of the town are noticeable for their size, beauty and generally well kept condition, and on every side are to be seen signs of progress and thrift. Chuctenunda creek is the principal stream, flowing in an irregular southern direction through the east end of the town. Two smaller streams, known as the Fly creek and the Rees creek, flow in a southerly direction in the southwestern part.

Perth was formed from the town of Amsterdam, and became a separate town in Fulton county, April 18, 1838, tile same date that this county was erected. Parts of Mayfieid and Broadalbin were annexed to the northern part of Perth, February 17, 1842, since which time its boundaries have remained unchanged. The town contains 15,878 acres, with an assessed valuation of $373,939, and the aggregate tax levy for 1891 was $2,411.40.

Early Settlers.—The earliest settlements within the present limits of the town of Perth were made prior to the revolution, on the road leading from Tribes Hill to Sacaridaga. The pioneers were mostly from the Highlands of Scotland, and came hither about the year 1772 or 1773. Among the number were Daniel and Duncan McIntyre, David Walker, a Mr. McGlashan, Duncan McCarty, James McLaren, Charles Mereness and Marcus Reese. The McIntyre brothers, Daniel and Duncan, settled near the site of Perth Centre, and David Walker and James McLaren took up their residence in close vicinity. The experience of these early settlers was much the same as that of other pioneers who settled in desolate and far removed sections of this part of the state, and during the raids instigated by Sir John Johnson, and carried out by the tories and savages, they found their primitive homes so insecure that several of the families moved to Albany. Among them were Daniel McIntyre, David Walker, and, probably, a number of others, but when the danger was past most of them returned and occupied nearly the same ground.

What is now the eastern and northern portion of the town, and tile vicinity of West Gaiway, was settled about the year 1774, by the arrival of ten families from Gallowayshire, Scotland, among them James Ford and a family of McMartins. No other families are known to have settled there until after the war, when the population increased quite rapidly. Among those who located in different parts of the present town subsequent to the revolution were John McIntosh and Daniel Creighton, who came from Perthsh ire, Scotland, in 1783, and settled at what is now Perth Centre; William and Peter Robb, from the same place, and settling directly west of them; Alexander McFarlan and Archibald McQueen, both from Perthshire, the former coming in 1790, and the latter in 1793 ; Ira Benedict also came in 1790, followed in 1795 by James Canary, all of whom settled in the vicinity of Perth Centre. Henry Van Der Bogart, coming in 1793, located a short distance west of the Centre. Descendants of nearly all of these early settlers are still living in the community, many of whom have been, and are to day, prominently connected with the civil affairs of the town. Among others who may be mentioned as having located in the present town at an early date were Lawrence E. Van Allen, Conrad and Francis Winne, Derby Newman and Peter Vosburgh. Also Michael Swobe, a native of Germany, who came to this country in 1766, locating in Perth in 1776. He was followed in 1796 by his son, Michael Swobe, jr., who settled on the farm adjoining the one afterwards occupied by his grandson, J. H. Swobe. James Kennedy, who was afterward a colonel in the war of 1812, came to Perth in 1792, from Saratoga county with his parents, when only two years old. He was a resident of the town until the time of his death.

Perth Centre is a small village near the north line of the town, and about midway between the east and west lines. It contains a church, school-house, hotel, store and saw-mill, with the dwellings of the inhabitants, many of whom are prosperous farmers. The Perth Centre hotel was built nearly one hundred years ago, probably by a Mr. Atkins. Among the proprietors of this old tavern during the past half century David L, Demarest holds prominence. He kept it for a number of years, and was followed by Otis Lapham, Jacob Swobe, Alexander Stewart, Hugh Stewart, and George Stewart (three brothers), also by Thomas Knapp, Jonathan Carey, George Seeley, George Robb, William Wishart, Daniel Creighton, William Lamont, Simon Leroy, and the present proprietor, John H. Mosher, who has conducted it since December, 1890. Charles C. Codding, who keeps a general store at Perth Centre, is also the postmaster. The saw-mill at this place is operated by Jacob C. Lair.

West Perth, a hamlet containing a blacksmith shop and the houses of a number of farmers, is located on the Johnstown road, about four miles west of Perth Centre.

West Galway is a small village located in the northeast corner of the town, a number of its houses being in the adjoining county of Saratoga. The place contains three churches, Presbyterian, United Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal, but the congregations of them all are very small, and there is but one settled pastor in the village. E. G. Powers, who keeps a store at this place is the postmaster, and mails are received by stage from Amsterdam.

Churches. —The United Presbyterian church of Broadalbin is located at Perth Centre, the organization of tile society having taken place under the name of “The Associate Reformed Church of Broadalbin,” at a time when this section of Perth was included in Broadalbin. Although the title is now a misnomer, it has never been changed, but the society has under present consideration a plan for changing the name to “The United Presbyterian Church of Perth.” It will be remembered that shortly after the revolution a number of families from Scotland settled both at West Galway and Perth Centre, all of whom were Presbyterians, and attached to the principles and mode of worship of their native church. It is known that the Presbytery of Albany at an early day sent one of its ministers, Rev. John McDonald, to organize those who were attached to the Presbyterian church at Baliston, West Galway, Broadalbin, and Johnstown, into religious societies, and services were conducted at times in these societies by ministers of that Presbytery. Probably during the greater portion of the time there was no supply for this place, and at such times the people were wont to assemble at the house of Daniel McIntyre for social worship. The exercises conducted by him consisted of reading the scriptures, with comments, singing and praying. It is probable that at first these services were conducted in the Gaelic tongue, as many of his neighbors could not speak English, but toward the close of the century they were conducted in the English language. It cannot be definitely stated when the societies of West Galway and Broadalbin were organized, but it must have been about 1790, as the Presbyterian congregation of that p]ace was formed in that year. The society at this place probably erected their first house of worship about 1797 or 1798. It was occupied, however, for several years before the building had been entirely completed. At the beginning of the present century, both this society and that at West Galway were connected with the Presbyterian church and were supplied by a licentiate from Ireland, neither church being able to support a settled pastor. A portion of this society which felt aggrieved at certain changes made in the manner of conducting the singing, withdrew in 1802, and having united with a small congregation at Manny’s Corners, called the Rev. John I. Christie as pastor. By that time a number of families had settled at Perth who were members of the Associate Reformed church at West Chariton, then under the care of Rev. James Mairs. The latter was occasionally invited to preach at this place on week days, and his doctrines and mode of conducting the services pleased the people very much. In 1803, the church was, by request, taken under the care of the Associate Reformed Presbytery of Washington, then embracing all the churches of this denomination in the northern and western portion of the state of New York. That body furnished this congregation with a few supplies, among whom was the Rev. Robert Easton. When the church was formally received under the care of the Presbytery it was intended to retain Mr. Easton permanently as pastor, but as he was compelled to keep previous promises to a church in Montreal, he was unable to remain. A unanimous call was then made for Rev Robert Proudfit, a licentiate from Pennsylvania, who came and was installed as pastor of this congregation April 10, 1804. The church then began to enjoy the advantages of a stated ministry, and not until this took place was the Lord’s supper administered to its communicants.

The first church building in this place was originally located on the site of the present one,and was erected (as has been stated) two or three years before the close of the last century. It is described as being, at the time of Rev. Mr. Proudfit’s arrival, “a large barn-like structure,” being merely enclosed with clapboards, without plaster, with a floor made of loose boards. It was destitute of a pulpit, and the pews were constructed of slabs fastened to upright standards. This building was soon removed and taken to a lot directly opposite and on the south side of the road. This change was due to the fact that the trustees did not have a secure title to the land and a removal was necessary. The lot upon which it afterwards was placed was conveyed to the congregation by Daniel McIntyre as a free gift, the deed being dated March 15, 1805. The church was removed without being turned around, which placed the door in the rear end of the building, and in 1805 John Canieron was engaged to finish the interior at a cost of $55o, which he did, still leaving the entrance at the rear.

Tile following persons were elected trustees of the church May 10, 1804, and their election is recorded in the clerk’s office at Johnstown under the date of May 29, of the same year: James Robb, Daniel McIntyre, jr., Peter McGlashan, John Cameron, Peter Robertson, Duncan Stewart. The election of elders was postponed until September 20, 1804, when John Walker, John McBeath and John McIntosh were installed as elders of the congregation.

The repairs to the interior of the edifice must have been completed in 1806, as the sale of pews took place in January of that year, and the total amount realized was $1,179 50 The old church was used until 1831, when the present brick structure was finished and occupied during the summer. In 1861 improvements were made to this building at an expense of $600, and in 1867, $700 were expended in repairing the parsonage, the latter having been built in 1833.

In 1858 a union of the Associate and Associate Reformed churches was effected, forming the body known as the United Presbyterian church, and since that time the congregation at Perth Centre has been known as the “United Presbyterian Church of Broadalbin.”

Rev. Mr. Proudfit remained with’ this church until October 18, when he resigned to take a professorship of Latin and Greek in Union college. He was followed by Rev. James Otterson, who was installed September 12, 1821, and continued as pastor until May 17, 1827. His successor was Rev. Malcolm N. McLaren, who came November 2, 1827, resigning in April, 1833. Rev. David Caw, from Scotland, was the next pastor, and was installed February 12, 1834, and released from the charge May 14, 1845. The congregation was then without a regular minister until the summer of 1847 when Rev. John M. Graham, of Ohio, came and remained with them ten years, resigning in August, 1857. His successor was Rev. J. L. Clark, who came May 10, 1858, and remained until June 10, 1872. Rev. Andrew Henry began his pastorate in July, 1873, and continued in the office for seventeen years. The present pastor, Rev. John M. Adair, came to this congregation in May, 1890, from Stone Valley church in central Pennsylvania, a charge which he had held for thirty years. The present membership of the church is about 100, and the Sunday-school contains about 135 scholars and teachers. The pastor acts as superintendent and is assisted by H. B. Major. The present elders are James Donnan, Joseph Clark, George Clark, William McEwen, Daniel McLaren, Archibald Robertson and W. J. McQueen; the trustees are James H. Van Der Bogart, James W. Robb, Alexander McFarlan, Jay D. Mosher, John A. Chalmer and Daniel Reddish.

Nearly opposite the church is a beautiful cemetery, originally the burying place of the family of Daniel Mcintyre, but laid out as a cemetery by the church trustees in 1807. Since that time it has been greatly enlarged and improved. In March, 1874, it was duly incorporated, and shortly afterwards inclosed with a handsome iron fence and stone wall. It may be proper at this time to make some mention of Daniel McIntyre, whose personal character cannot be more clearly illustrated than by adopting the language of the first pastor of this church, who knew him well: “In his character were combined the most inflexible integrity, unfeigned compassion for the distressed, kindness and affability to all; and sincere though unobtrusive piety manifested by actions rather than by words. His unwearied exertion in the religious instruction of the youth, his care in collecting his neighbors on the Sabbath for private social worship, his well merited influence and impressive example, evidently laid the foundation for the present Christian church in this place. Few men in private station with as little noise and show have contributed more effectually to the cause of morality and religion. His memory is cherished most cordially by those who knew him best.”

The United Presbyterian church at West Gaiway was organized in March, 1867, with twenty-six members. The church edifice occupied by them was built the following year. The congregation is quite small and there is no settled pastor.

The Presbyterian church of West Galway was organized on the congregational plan in 1790, by Rev. John Camp, of New Canaan, and the Presbyterian form of government was adopted in 1793. Their first house of worship was erected in 1795 and was the first church edifice built within the present limits of the town. Charles Herbert is the present pastor.

The Methodist Episcopal society have a church edifice in West Galway and a small congregation, which is supplied occasionally with ministers from other places.

Town Officers. —The first town meeting of Perth was held at the house of John Robb, on what is now known as the Calvin McOueen farm, on the Johnstown road, May 1, 1838. The following town officers were at that time elected: Supervisor, William Robb; town clerk, John M. Benedict; justices of the peace, Stephenson T. Bostwick, Arthur Smith, Henry Banta, and Jacob B. H eagle; assessors, Jacob Banta, Arthur Smith, James Robb; commissioners of highway, Godfrey Swobe, George S. Joslyn, and Henry Banta; commissioners of schools, John B. Heagle, John McQueen, jr., Henry G. Van Nest; collector, Abraham Mosher, jr.; overseers of the poor, Abel Dunning and Peter Vosburgh; constables, Abraham Mosher, jr., Francis Snyder, Isaiah McNeil, and Jacob M. Coon.

The supervisors since the organization of the town have been as follows: William Robb, 1838; David L. Demarest, 1839—40; Arthur Smith, 1841—2 ; James Kennedy, 1843 ; George Clark, 1845—5; John Robb, 1846; Arthur Smith; 1847; John McQueen, jr., 1848—9; Patrick McFarlan, 1850; BarentVosburgh, 1851—2; John F. Nox, 1853; William Stewart, 1854—5 ; William J. Robb, 1856; John Moir, 1857—8; Barnard K. Lee, sr., 1859; Walter M. Major, 1860—1 ; George Clark, jr.; 1862 ; Andrew I. Rogers, 1863 ; John McQueen, 1864; James R. Calderwood, 1865—7; Barney Vosburgh, 1868—9; Hugh B. Major, 1870—1 ; Benjamin F. Jeffers, 1872; Ansel D. Joslin, 1873—5 ; George Clark, 1876—7; Seth C. Hathaway, 1878; Orren Hart, 1879; Seth C. Hathaway, 1880; Ansel D. Joslin, 1881—2; William J. McQueen, 1883—4; Orren Hart, 1885—92. Towiz Clerks—John M. Benedict, 1838; Thomas Newman, 1839-41; Lawrence E. Van Allen, 1842; Henry W. Hayes, 1843; John McQueen, jr., 1844; Daniel A. Creighton, 1845—6; James Davis, 1847—8; James Stewart, 1849; Samuel D. Gaylord, 1850; Peter H. Mann, 1851 ; James I. Cameron, 1852 ; Ansel D. Joslin, 1853—4; Barnard K. Lee, jr., 1855 ; Duncan A. McBeth, 1856; Solomon S. Jeffers, 1857—9; Thomas C. Knapp, 1860—2; Cornelius A. Dievendorif, 1863; Ansel D. Joslin, 1864; Solomon S. Jeffers, 1865—6; John Chalmers, 1867; William H. Cameron, 1868—9; Peter A. Kling, 1870; J. D. McIntyre, 1871—2; John Chalmers, 1873—4; Collins A. Kinsley, 1875—6; John D. McIntyre, 1877; Harvey B. Goodemote, 1878; John D. McIntyre, 1879—84; Samuel Shields, 1885—6; William Lamont, 1887; Charles L. Codding, 1888; William H. Cramer, jr., 1889; Simon Leroy, 1890; James H. Van Der Bogart 1891—2.

The present officers of the town are as follows: Supervisor, Orren Hart; town clerk, James H. Van Der Bogart; justices of the peace, John H. Banta, Charles L. Codding, and William J. Stewart; assessors, Joseph Horth, Cornelius Stairs, and Rensselaer Dorman; collector, Spencer S. Cuyler.

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