SCHUYLER was formed from Herkimer, April 10, 1792. Trenton was taken off in 1797, Deerfield, Oneida County, in
1798, and a part of Newport in 1806. A part was annexed from Herkimer in 1808, and re-annexed to Herkimer in 1811.
It lies on the west border of the County, north of the Mohawk. Its surface is hilly. The Hasenclever Mountains
extend through the center, rising to the hight of from 1,000 to 1,200 feet above tide. A broad intervale extends
along the Mohawk, which forms the south boundary. Its streams are tributaries of the Mohawk and generally flow
through narrow ravines. These flats are annually overflowed. The soil upon the hills is slaty and gravelly. Farmers
are engaged largely in dairying.
East Schuyler, (p. v.) in the south-east part, contains about twenty houses.
West Sckuyler, (p. v.) in the south-west part of the town, contains two churches and about twenty dwellings.
There are five churches in the town. Several places in the town are locally known as The Bush, The Short Lots and
This town embraces Kast’s Patent and parts of Cosby’s Manor and Hasenclever’s and Walton’s Patents. The first settlement
was made by a small number of Germans brought from the Kingdom of Wirtembergh, by Peter Hasenclever, about 1765.
It is said that they worked three years to pay the expense of their passage. They settled at what is now known
as East Schuyler and named the place Hew Petersburgh, in honor of their patron. In 1769 Hasenclever and eighteen
others obtained a grant of 18,000 acres between the Mohawk River and West Canada Creek. As early as 1766 there
was a store on Cosby’s Manor. Among the early settlers were John Wolff, who resided on the Manor, and families
named Kast, Staring, Widrig, Rymour, Lintz, Bridenbecker, Bargy, Clemens, Finster and Oyer. Hasenclever had a store
near where Daniel I. Bridenbecker now lives, and erected an ashery on land now owned by Luther Staring. This ashery
was probably the first frame building in the town, and was afterwards used as a place of public worship. Johan
Kast was an early settler, and tradition says that the land embraced in his patent was obtained of the Indians
for a keg of rum, and the title confirmed by the King. This Patent, lying within the bounds of Cosby’s Manor, made
some of the lots in the Manor much shorter than the remainder, and they were therefore called “Short Lots.”
In common with other towns along the Mohawk valley, Schuyler suffered from the ravages of Tories and Indians. Their
houses were burned, their crops destroyed, some of the inhabitants killed and others taken prisoners. To protect
themselves against these incursions the settlers inclosed a piece of land with pickets ten or twelve feet high,
which they called the Fort. Several log houses were built inside of this for the accommodation of families. This
was erected where Luther Staring now resides.
The first framed building for a school house was erected on the site of the school house in district No. 4,
and was paid for by voluntary contributions. It was constructed with a pulpit and used as a place of worship by
the Lutherans, who constituted the prin cipal part of the population. John Finster built the first saw mill. He
died in 1855 at the age of 96, upon the farm which he first purchased. His sons, Peter and Philip, aged respectively
78 and 76 years, still own and occupy the same farm. Thomas Wood was one of the early settlers at West Schuyler,
and died at an advanced age. A Mr. Brown built a grist mill and a tavern there at an early day. Thomas Burch, another
early settler, erected a tannery and became wealthy. He left a large family at his death. Several families from
the New England States settled on the Short Lots about the year 1800. Among them were families named Budlong, Ladd,
Richardson and Rose. Mr. Rose was from Connecticut and started with an ox-sled, but owing to a thaw was compelled
to finish his journey on wheels made by sawing the end from a large log. Haywood Minott and Richard Jones were
among the first settlers of the Bush. As early as 1757 there was a good carriage road on the north bank of the
river, from the crossing, where Utica now stands, to the Palatine village, German Flats. It was upon this road
that the French and Indians, under M. de Belletre, passed while on their expedition, burning all the buildings
from Kast’s Patent to the Palatine village.
Judge Henri Staring lived for many years in this town and died here. He was a true patriot and a bold defender
of the rights of the colonies. Upon the organization of the County he was appointed First Judge of the Court of
Common Pleas. He was an honest man and administered justice according to his ideas of right with but little regard
to law as expounded by the advocates at the Bar.
The story of the Yankee Pass, which has had so wide a circulation throughout the country, is related as follows
by Judge Benton in his History of Herkimer County: “One Sunday morning the Judge saw a man on horseback coming
along the highway from the west, and presuming that no one would venture openly to violate the laws of the State,
unless justified by the exception named in the statute, he asked the man to stop, and seeing he was a stranger,
inquired of him the reasons why he was thus disregarding his duty and the requirements of the law. The stranger,
who is reported to have been a New England Yankee, did not excuse his conduct to the Judge’s satisfaction, and
declining to stop over until the next day, the latter exacted the payment of the fine of six York shillings imposed
by the statute for the infringement of this branch of it. After paying his fine, the traveler asked the Judge to
give him a certificate to that effect, urging the necessity of it to protect him against being again called to
account by some other magistrate. The Judge had no doubt heard of dispensations and indulgences from the lips of
his parents. He thought, the request reasonable, and told the traveler to write one and he would sign it. This
was done and the stranger proceeded on his journey eastward. Some few months after this occurrence, the Judge having
occasion to visit the Messrs. Kanes, merchants at Canajoharie, on matters of business, was requested by them to
pay an order of twenty-five dollars which he had several months before drawn on them, as appeared from the date.
It is said he was much surprised by this demand made upon his purse, and at first denied having given the order,
but finding the signature to be his own hand-writing, and making particular inquiries in respect to the presentation
of the order and the individual who brought it to the store, he came to the conclusion that the paper presented
to him for payment was no other than the one he had signed allowing the traveler to continue his journey on Sunday
after paying his fine. It was then called the Yankee Pass, from a supposition that no one but a native of New England
had the cunning and audacity to practice so keen and so grave a joke.”
A little daughter of Judge Staring, about ten years old, was taken prisoner by the Indians and carried away during
the war, but was recovered at its close.
The population of the town in 1865 was 1,589; its area is 24,990 acres.