THE TOWN OF BERNE.
The town of Berne lies upon the Helderberg Mountains on the western border of the county, and is the central one of the three western towns. Along the northern part is a ridge that rises abruptly from the Foxenkill in three spurs which bear the local names of Grippy, Irish Hill, and Uhai ; the first of these names has an unknown origin ; the second is from the number of Scotch-Irish settlers in that vicinity, and the third signifies high garden, from the Indian language. The south- ern and western parts of the town are hilly, with rocky ravines among the highlands, in the beds of which flow small streams. The principal streams are the Foxenkill and the Switzkill ; the first rises in the eastern part of the town and flows westerly, partly underground, to- wards Warner's Lake, and thence into Schoharie Creek. The Switzkill rises in Westerlo, flows northward and empties into the Foxenkill. On these streams have been built extensive saw mills and grist mills necessary for the community. Along the banks of the creeks the soil is very fertile; on the hillsides is found excellent grain land, while among the mountains it is in many places light and suitable only for meagre pasturage.
The Beaverdam, so called, divided into the upper and lower, extends from the East Berne to the West Berne hamlet. The dam itself was on the Foxenkill, at a point near the residence of George Schell, and early gave its name to the Dutch church in that vicinity and to the villages along the valley.
Warner's Lake covers about one hundred acres and is situated a mile north of the hamlet of East Berne; it took its name from Johannes and Christopher Warner, who early settled on its banks and the descendants of whom still live in the vicinity. Thompson's Lake, which received its name from John and William Thompson, is about one hundred acres in extent and lies in the extreme northeast part of the town, extending over into the town of Knox. This lake has in recent years become quite a popular resort.
Mineral springs of considerable importance exist in Berne, two of which are mentioned in an early geological report. These are on land owned in recent years by Jacob Hochstrasser. The water is strongly sulphurous. Other springs of similar character are in the valley of the Switzkill and there is also one on the farm of Thomas J. Wood. At Riedsville is a spring.impregnated with carbonate of iron and sulphureted hydrogen.
The town of Berne was apportioned from Rensselaerville March 17, 1795, and included the territory of the town of Knox, which was set off from Berne February 28, 1822. The territory of Berne was a part of the Van Rensselaer Manor and now contains 38,942 acres of land.
In the strife between the Tories and Indians and the patriotic colonists, at least two stockades were built within the limits of what is now Berne; one of these was near the Petrus Weidman house in Berne village, and another on the Adam I. Deitz farm in the Switzkill valley. This town was the scene of a bloody deed during the Revolutionary war that distinguishes it in that respect from all the other towns of Albany county. Johannes Deitz, the pioneer, was an ardent patriot in the cause of independence ; his family were his wife, his son and his son's wife, with four young children, and with them was a man servant and a boy named John Brice. This family were massacred by Indians and tories in 1780. The grist mill of Jacob Weidman was then the only one at all near and was about five miles from the scene of the massacre. The Brice family, then living at Rensselaerville, sent their young son Robert to this mill with a grist; with him were several other lads on a similar errand. Evening approached before the grinding was finished and all the boys excepting young Brice decided to remain with the miller all night. The farm of Johannes Deitz was situated midway between the mill and the Brice home, and when the lad reached that point he concluded to remain all night and enjoy the company of his brother John. As the boy reached the gate of the lane leading to the Deitz house an Indian sprang out of his concealment, seized the horse's bridle and led the animal directly towards the house. As they passed the barn the lad began to realize wliat had taken place, for he saw the dead body of Mr. Deitz prostrate and covered with blood, while between the barn and the house lay the bodies of Mrs Deitz. the son's wife, four children and a servant girl. About fifteen Indians were busy in their work of plundering the house. Capt. William Deitz, son of Johannes, and the boy John Brice, were tied to a near-by apple tree.
Finishing their terrible work, the Indians set fire to the building and then started with their prisoners and horses along the path towards Rensselaerville. The first night they camped within a mile of the Brice residence, and on the morning of the second day continued on to Potter's Hollow, Oak Hill, Middleburgh, Breakabeen, Harpersfield, through the Susquehanna valley, and eventually reached Canada. When news of the massacre reached the Schoharie garrison, scouting parties were at once sent out and in the pursuit, when near Middle- burgh, the Indians were so closely pressed that several were wounded by the scouts and their horses and plunder were abandoned. The sufferings of the prisoners on their long journey were almost indescribable. To his physical torture was added the mental horror to Captain Deitz of seeing the scalps of his family dangling before his eyes. The trials of this journey and his losses and sorrow so broke him down that he died at Niagara while in confinement. The two Brice boys returned home after an absence of three years. The bodies of the massacred family were buried in one grave by Lieut. Johan Jost Deitz, a relative, sent from the lower fort for the purpose, on the eastern side of the line wall of the Pine Grove cemetery.
Settlement was begun in this town by eight families named Weidman, Zeh, Ball, Deitz, Knieskern, Shultes, Bassler, and Hochstrasser. Jacob Weidman is believed to have been the pioneer of party ; he came from Berne, Switzerland (from which fact the town received its name), with his wife and four sons and settled here as early as 1750. The party were guided to their destination along the trail leading towards Schoharie by an Indian. They finally reached the site of Knox village, where a difference of opinion arose as to who should be recognized as the leader; from this incident came the name " Fechtberg," or fighting hill, applied to that locality. There is good authority for believing that this dispute led to a division of the party, some going on to Schoharie and the remainder settling in Berne. This presumption does not conflict with the common belief "that this town was settled from Schoharie, as it is known that some of the families who located in that county returned to Berne.
Jacob Weidman took up lands on the banks of the Foxenkill, on the site of Berne village, a tract of several hundred acres. He was a practical miller and selected his location with a view to establishing saw and grist mills, which he did as soon as practicable. Weidman's Mills were known as early as 1787, and were a great convenience to the pioneers. The mill property consisted of thirty acres of land and was leased to Mr. Weidman, in 1790, for sixteen years at a rental of £^ ; at the end of that term it was again leased for ten years at a rental of i;'30. Mr. Weidman was a prominent citizen and one of the founders of the Reformed church.
Frederick Bassler, the pioneer, was from Basle, Switzerland, and was one of the Palatinates who left his country to escape religious intolerance. The family in this country continued to represent the high char- acter and influence that distinguished them across the ocean.
Of the other pioneers, the Deitz family settled for the most part in the valley of the Switzkill and they and their descendants were reputable in the community. Hendrick Ball, the head of the family of that name, settled on the farm occupied in recent years by Stephen Ball. Hendrick Knieskern settled where Jacob Knieskern lived. The Zeh family located mostly along the Foxenkill from what is known as the Boarding House to the village of East Berne.
Matthias Shultes, the head of that line in this region, took up over 400 acres of land along the northeast side of the West Mountain on the road passing the John and Allen Shultes farm.
Jacob Hochstrasser was a man of superior intellect and energy and exercised a strong influence on the community in early days. He was the first supervisor and the first justice of the peace of his town, and owned a large tract of land where the White Sulphur Springs House stands.
Following these pioneers, whose coming heralded civilization and the peace and prosperity of later days, came other elements of citizen- ship. In 1 790 three Sooth- Irish families named Hay,^ Young and Curran
settled a large tract of land on Irish Hill, the beginning of a useful part of the community. The Filkins and Conger families came a little later, the latter occupying land in and near Reidsville.
After the close of the Revolutionary war the New England element came into the town with the advent of the Gallup, Whipple, Crary, Brown, and Williams families. Samuel Gallup came from Groton, Conn., in 1786 and purchased a large farm near the Whipple Cemetery in what is now the town of Knox. His son Nathaniel became one of the most conspicuous citizens of the town ; was town clerk fourteen years, a justice nineteen years, and the ancestor of numerous descend- ants who have been prominent in the community.
Malachi Whipple came from Stonington, Conn., about 1793, and passed a useful life on what was long known as the Whipple farm. This was long considered the model farm of Albany county and took several premiums at fairs. In 1825 Mr. Whipple removed to Berne village, where he purchased the grist mill property and other real estate, and together with William H. Ball and Lyman Dwight built a carding and fulling mill. Mr. Whipple held many positions of trust.
Miner Walden came from Vermont in 1797 and became a useful citizen of Berne. He established what was probably the first carding machine, and also carried on a mercantile business. He was many years a justice of the peace and was universally respected.
Moses Patten was from Londonderry, N. H., and came to this town in 1820. He was a graduate of Union College and had studied law. He served as town clerk, justice of the peace, supervisor, school com- missioner, and vv^as for many years a merchant at Berne village. Being elected surrogate of the county Mr. Patten moved to Albany, where he died in 1867, after a busy life. James Patten, brother of Moses, was a graduate of Bowdoin College, studied law, and settled in Berne in 1829. He held various town offices, and with his brother formed the mercantile firm that was so long successful. Later in life he gave his attention to the management of a fine farm. He died at his home in Berne in 1886.
Col. Jesse Wood was the first of this family to settle near Berne village. He was from Long Island and very early in the century settled in the eastern part of this town, where he afterwards became a prominent citizen. He rose to the ranl< of colonel in the war of 1812, and lield the offices of supervisor and member of assembly. In 1837 he sold his homestead and moved to a farm near the village of Berne. John M. Wood was his nephew and was adopted by him. The latter was father of Thomas J. Wood, one of the leading citizens of the town.
Jacob Settle was engaged in mercantile business in Berne from 18 12 to 1864, in which he was uncommonly successful. He was prominent in public affairs, held the offices of justice, supervisor, member of assembly, and was for thirty five years postmaster. It was largely through his influence that the plank road was constructed through this town from Schoharie, and connected with the Albany road. He was in every way a public spirited and valuable citizen.
These pioneers and their associates laid well the foundations of the later prosperity of the town, established its industries and founded its simple government. Of the dwellings built in the early years, succeeding the first log houses, there are some still remaining that are worthy of mention. The house in which Thomas J. Wood now resides bears the date of 1795, with initials, P. F. The dwelling once occupied by Frederick Zeh was erected about the same time, and so was that of Nathaniel Gallup. The house formerly owned by the Widow Fairlee and now owned by the Mattice brothers, in the village of Berne, was built as a tavern in 1809, and was used as a recruiting station in the war of 18 1 2. The largest and finest of the early residences stood on the site of the Jacob P. Warner dwelling, and was built about 1800 by Petrus Weidman ; it contained ten fire places, five rooms in the cellar and large halls.
Of the business industries of the town tlie store of Johannes Fischer was probably the first, and was conducted in the building occupied in recent years by Thomas J. Wood. Stephen Willes, one of the Connecticut pioneers, established a store in town as early as 1800; he is remembered as a shrewd and successful merchant, and his place of business was on the site of the Hiram Warner residence, a mile from the village of East Berne, where he built a large dwelling in the New England style ; his business increased rapidly and he soon erected a store across the road. Near by was an ashery and a tannery. On the north side of the creek he established a whisky distillery, a very necessary institution in those times, and saddle, harness and shoe shops. In 1825 he opened a second store in the village of East Berne, to compete with Albert and Benjamin Gallup. Major Willes held several town offices and was member of the assembly.
In 1803 Dr. Almeric Hubbell, who was son in law of Petrus Weidman, began conducting a store on the site of the Edward Settle residence. Miner Walden, who has been mentioned, began his mercantile life in the basement of a house tiiat is now a part of the E. V. Filkins estate, johan Deitz kept a store on the site of the Peter Bassler residence in 1812, and in 1816 took Jacob Settle into partnership ; they did a large business, and it is said that fourteen barrels of potash sold by them that year in New York netted over $600.
The first mill in town, that of Jacob Weidman, was situated near the site of the later grist mill of Francis Becker. Mr. Weidman also had a saw mill near by. Another mill was built soon after the first by Johannes and Christopher Warner, near the site of the East Berne school house, being built probably as early as 1765. About 1790 Jacob Post, one of the pioneers, erected a mill near the site of West Berne village, and Asa Culver (or Culvard) had a cloth mill at about the same time at what is now South Berne. Other factories for the carding of wool and manufacture of cloth in early days were those of Miner Walden and William H. Ball. Around these various early industries sprang up the hamlets and villages which became the centers of such trade as was required by the people.
Francis Becker's mill, before mentioned, is still in operation in Berne village, having been built by Malachi Whipple in 1832, and does a large grinding business. The mill of Moses A. Gallup, at East Berne, is the largest in the county outside of Albany. It was planned and built by Clark, Decker & Gardner in 1858, for Truman Lobdell ; it is five stories high, has four run of stones, an immense overshot wheel and all the appurtenances of a modern grist mill. Mr. Gallup has also a saw mill and a shingle mill.
The mill of Jacob Miner Hochstrasser is on the site originally occupied by a building erected previous to the beginning of the century, in which was first a carding machine, then a shoe peg factory, and later a plant for grinding and finishing axes; still later it was a furniture factory and at last about fifteen years ago was transformed into a grist mill, which was operated by both steam and horse power. It was burned down but soon rebuilt and passed from the ownership of Truman Lawton to Leslie Allen, and from him to Mr. Hochstrasser.
A mill was built at South Berne in 1855 and rebuilt by Elias Zeh in 1884; it was burned in 1895. The foundry conducted in former years by Henry Engle was afterwards used for a tannery in which John Rossiter, Jacob D. Settle and Oscar Tyler carried on business. It was next used as a furniture factory and finally as a saw mill, and is now owned by Watson Chesebro. It is located at Heme village.
In the history of the town of Watervliet and Cohoes is found an ac- count of the axe facory of Daniel Simmons after it was removed from Berne. Mr. Simmons settled in Berne as a blacksmith in 1831, coming from Bethlehem. He began business in the shop of Henry Engle, but soon turned his attention to the making of axes on his anvil, ham- mering them out by hand. He made them so superior to others then obtainable that he soon acquired an extended reputation. He gained the confidence of responsible men, among whom were Jacob Settle, Malachi Whipple, Jacob Weidman, Moses Patten, Johan Jost Deitz and William Schnell, who supplied him with capital to establish a large concern. A large building was erected in 1825 on the north side of the creek, a trip hammer put in and a prosperous business started. A second build- ing for a tempering shop extended across the stream, and a third, which ultimately became the lower grist mill, was the place where the grinding and polishing was done. A fourth structure, one hundred feet long was erected in 1830, which contained a triphammer, forges, etc. Twenty- one forges were at one time in operation, and two hundred men were employed. Large quantities of charcoal were used, giving employment and a source of income to many of the inhabitants. In the height of his business here Mr. Simmons purchased the Fischer farm and occupied it, with his brothers, Baltus and Jonas. He also erected the build- ing once used by E. M. Shultes as a tavern. The Simmons axes found ready sale over a wide extent of territory, some of them being shipped as far away as Africa and Asia. But the transportation problem was a serious one, and the larger the business grew, the more onerous was the burden ; the firm became heavily involved and in 1833 made an assignment to Moses Patten, and Simmons soon moved to Cohoes, where he died in 1881. Many of the best men of the village were left almost penniless by the failure. The firm of Coates & Smith, merchants, abandoned their store after the failure.
The character of agriculture in this town has not materially changed from early times. Mixed farming is the rule. About twenty years ago there was some effort made to establish dairying and especially cheese- making, on a more extensive basis. A cheese factory was built in 1878 on the farm of Thomas J. Wood, near Berne village. The business was promoted by James W. Hart, who had followed it in Madison county. This factory was successful and is still in operation. A second factory was built at East Berne in 1884, for the manufacture of both cheese and butter and was for some time in charge of Mr. Hart ; but it was abandoned.
The village of Berne is situated on the old Weidman mill property, which consisted of thirty acres in the northern part of the town, and was known as Beaverdam for some years after the first settlement. In 18 17 Henry Engle opened a tavern here west of tlie site of the Walter Whipple residence. This house was called Corporation Inn and was long a popular resort. The village was also known for a time as Corporation. The name Berne was given when the post-office was established in 1825 Jacob Settle established a store here in 18 17, and the business descended to Theodore Settle, who still conducts it. Charles E. Deitz's store was started by Moses Patten in 1828, and for many years was conducted by Moses and James Patten and came into the hands of the present owner in 1859. The store of Shultes & Adams was built for a hotel by Daniel Simmons in 1824, and was kept in recent years by E. M. Shultes, who took it in 1859; the property is owned by Mrs. Ira Fairlee. The store now occupied by J. W. Hart & Son was built for a grocery by Oscar Tyler in 1840. He was succeed ed by Samuel H. Davis, who continued in trade until his death in 1874. The property was soon leased to Rhinehart & Hochstrasser, who were followed by the present proprietors On the site occupied by a fur hat factory in early years, conducted by Conrad Truax, a tailor shop was later established with which a mercantile business was afterwards connected. William Ball carried on the business in recent years, but it was finally closed up. Rhinehart & Shultes's store was erected in 1872 by Joseph Wilsey, who had a saloon there and was succeeded by N. H. Dayton and Edwin Wilsey in the grocery trade. The present proprietors bought the property and in 1878 began trade in boots and shoes, clothing, and watches and jewelry. The store of George Hallenbeck was built by Daniel Wright in 1838, who had a furniture store and did undertaking. Isaac Hallenbeck continued the business from 1852 to 1872; the building was burned down but rebuilt by the present pro- prietor. Ira Witter is the sole hotel keeper of Berne. There is another hotel, which is now empty, that was built by Z. A. Dyer, whose son, James B , was its last proprietor, running it down to 1895.
Other business men of this village were : blacksmiths, Uriah G. Davis, 1865-85; Sylvanus Weidman, 1882-85 ; and Anthony Carey from 1885. John Hochstrasser, stoves and tin ware, 1865-85 ; saddlery and harness, Esli Whipple and his son, Walter, from 1840; ¥..V. Filkins attorney, 1851-55; John D. White, from 1881 ; physicians, Isaac S. Becker, 1857; Wallace E. Deitz, from 1883.
The hamlet of West Berne is situated on the Lower Beaverdam in the northwestern part of the town and near the site of Post's mill It was formerly called Mechanicsville, about 1830-35, from the numerous mechanics residing there. It then took the name of Peoria, given it by Paul Settle, the miller, who owned property in Peoria, 111. When the post office was established it was given the name of West Berne. The oldest residence in the place is that of John D. Haverly, which was built by William Shultes about 1800. Levi Ewings manufactured hats here in 1850, on the site of the present harness shop. The grocery of William Posson was established in 1824 by Peter Settle, and that of the Woolford Brothers by Paul I. Cannaday in 1854. Charles Blade kept a store here for some years. Taverns are kept by Joseph Lee and G. W. Steiner. Albert Becker keeps a grocery and is postmaster.
The village of East Berne is situated on the Foxenkill, a little northeast of the center of the town. It first bore the name of Warner's Mills and took its present name when the post office was opened in 1825. Locally it has been called Philley, a name given it by Elnathan Stafford who kept a tavern in 1820 and sent to Philadelphia for his liquors. Nathaniel, Albert and Benjamin Gallup began a mercantile business here in 1825, and in opposition Stephen Willes began trading on the opposite side of the street. Albert Gallup bought out Willes soon afterward and formed the firm of Seabury & Gallup, who continued trade until 1842, when they were succeeded by Adam J. Warner, who kept a store and hotel together. This business is still followed and has been for many years in the Willsey hotel, kept by E. B. Willsey. The business of Nathaniel and Benjamin Gallup passed through several changes in ownership and finally to Z. A. Dyer in 1857; from him it passed to his son-in-law, Frank Strevell, in 1871. The latter still keeps a store, as also does Justin Dyer, who is postmaster. Z. A. Dyer was in the practice of law here many years from 1854.
South Berne is a small hamlet in the southern part of the town on the site of the old mill property of Asa Culver. These mill buildings were burned a few years ago. This place was called Centreville previous to 1825, and also has the local name of Mud Hollow, from the swampy nature of the soil in that vicinity. John P. Snyder began a grocery business here in 1817, and Daniel Lounsberry carried on a tannery. In 1882 Alexander McKinley, previously a wagon maker, opened a tavern. A little later Zebulon Holdridge opened a blacksmith shop and Ebenezer Denison had a grocery and an ashery. Henry H. Lawson began trade here in 1828 and James ISabcock in the next year. Moses Barber built a carding mill in company with James Parish, in 1830, and manufactured satinet cloth. The store conducted in recent years by Northrop & Ball was built in 1866 by Joseph Deitz for a wheelwright shop. The store conducted by J. Swarthout was built in 1835. There is very little present business here ; George Sellick and Elias Zeli have small stores.
The hamlet of Reidsville is situated in the extreme southeastern part of the town, and took its name from Alexander Reid, who settled there in 1828, and opened the first tavern. About the same time Frederick Ward and James Anderson established a store, the firm afterwards becoming Ward & Conger. Alfred Hungerford kept a store in later years.
In common with other towns in this county the records of early schools are of the most meagre description. It is known, of course, that there were early schools of primitive character taught in various parts of the town, generally in log buildings for a number of years, when the first frame school buildings took their place. One of the old log school houses stood near the site of the old Lutheran church. Another was remembered by old residents as being built of unpeeled hemlock logs with a roof slanting only one way and made of bark. The changes in the character of school ofificers in early years has been described in an earlier chapter. In i8i2 a resolution was adopted in this town that " there shall be five hundred dollars raised in the town of Berne for the use of common schools in said town, to be appropriated to regular men's schools that will bear the inspection of a school committee." This was very liberal and progressive action for that early period. Changes were made as needed in the number of school districts ; but for many years it has remained practically stationary. There were twenty one districts in 1813 and the number was the same in 1860; at the pres- ent time there are twenty with school houses. In 1813 only $300 were appropriated for the town schools, and in 1816, when there were thirty districts, only $494 were appropriated. This amount has gradually increased to about $2,000. The record embraces, of course, Berne and Knox until the latter was erected as a town.
The establishment of the great Simmons axe factory led the inhabitants to look for a bright future for their town, one of the results of which was the founding of an academy in 1833 ; but the failure of the factory led to the abandonment of the plans after the timber for the building was on the ground. A select school was organized in 1882 which was placed under control of the following trustees: E. V. Filkins, president ; Thomas J. Wood, George H. Reinhart, Charles E. Deitz, Peter S. Ball, and Edwin M. Shultes. A room for the school was fitted up over the store of Theodore Settle an J it was placed in successful operation undtr Elmer G. Story, principal.
The first religious organization in this town was the Reformed church of Beaverdam, which was formed in 1763, under the ministry of Rev. Johannes Schuyler, who was then in charge of the Schoharie church. The first consistory were : Adam Deitz, Jacob Ball, Jacob Weidman, and Caspar Stiner, elders; Johannes Deitz, Caspar Stiner, Hendrick Ball, and Roedolph Gasman, deacons. A small log church was built in 1765, on the site of Pine Grove cemetery, which stood until 1786, when it was superseded by a frame structure. This was used until 1830, when it was taken down and the material divided between the two con- gregationsat Berne and Beaverdam. This was wholly missionary ground until 1821. Rev. Mr. Schuyler occupied it for thirteen years until 1779, after whom came Rev. George W. Schneyder, who continued until 1790. Other missionaries followed until 1 82 1, when Rev, Cornelius Bogardus, the first regular pastor, was called. During his ministry the church farm was greatly improved. During the pastorate of Rev. J. H. Van Wagenen, 1 826-1 831, two churches were erected, and not long after- ward the two congregations, Beaverdam and Berne village, were sep- arated and with two consistories held the farm in common. Pastors fol- lowing Rev. Mr. Van Wagenen were Abram H. Myers, R. D. Van Kleek, William Demarest, Edwin Vedder, John C. Van Liew, Edward Miller, during the pastorate of the latter of whom the Beaverdam church was repaired at a cost of over $1,000. On January i, 1857, the parson- age in Berne was purchased, the church there paying $1,200, and that at Beaverdam, $300. The membership of the united churches is 250.
The Lutheran church was organized about ^790, and a house of worship was soon afterward built on a farm midway between East Berne and Berne villages ; this farm was deeded to the congregation by the Patroon in 1797. The original trustees of the church property were Christian Zeh, Frederick Wormer, and Christian Zandt. The services and the records were in German until 1802, when English was adopted. The first missionary pastor was Rev. August Frederick Meier. Other missionaries succeeded until 1828, when this church and one in Guilderland were united and a call was given to Rev. Adam Crounse ; he accepted and served the congregation for nineteen years. Under his ministry the present brick church was built. During the pastorate of Rev. S. Curtis, 1836-1850, the parsonage was purchased. During the ministry of Rev. James Lefler, 1868-1876, a separate house of worship was erected in East Berne and dedicated in 1872. Two other churches have grown from this one — St. John's at P^ast Berne, and the Lutheran church at Gallupville in Schoharie county.
The Second Reformed church at Berne was organized March 15, 1826, by a committee appointed by the Albany Classis. Twenty- three members were then received by certificate from the church at New Salem, and the following officers were ordained : Elders, Jacobus Van Deusen and John Shafer ; deacons, Cornelius Secor and Peter B. Winne. Until 1838 the church was served wholly by missionaries; in that year Rev. Hart E. Waring was called, and under him forty- one were received into fellowship. At a meeting held about this time a resolution was adopted uniting the two churches, the Second Berne and the Onisquethau, and the combined congregations called Rev. Staats Van Santvoord. The connection between the two societies was broken in 1841, and a union formed between the Berne church and the Presbyterian society at Knox. A joint call was then made upon Rev. Joseph Knieskern, who served four years. This society is locally called the Secor church from its having been organized in the dwelling of Daniel Secor, and from the number of families of that name in the vicinity.
The Methodist Episcopal church of South Berne was organized about 1812, as the result of camp meeting revivals. Rev. Mr. Stead was the first pastor and supplied this church and one at Rensselaerville. The first house of worship was built a little south of Zeh's grist mill and was in use until IS/O, when a new building was erected, which is the one used at the present time.
There was a Methodist church at Reidsville which was organized in 1830 and had a feeble existence. The Methodist church at Berne village was organized July 11, 1845, and the house of worship erected soon afterward. The first trustees were Thomas Miller, Datus E. Tyler, Oscar Tyler, George Possing, Franklin Smith and Abram Ball. The society was actively promoted in its early years by Dr. H. K.Willard and Abram Ball, who acted alternately as president and secretary of the society until 1862. After that the church was maintained largely through the work of George E Shultes. The society has not been in active existence for some years.
The First Christian church of this town is situated in Reidsville and was organized December 26, 1821, with fifteen members, In 1823 through a revival there were forty- nine members added. After a period of decline the congregation was again enlarged with thirty seven members through a revival in 1832. In the following year the present church was built. About 1840, under the pastorate of Elder James Conkling, jr., another revival added sixty-four to the membership. In 1841 a new confession of faith was signed by 156 members, taking the title, " Christian" as their only name and the Holy Scriptures as their only written rule of faith and practice. The society has ever since main- tained an active existence and now numbers nearly one hundred members.
The Second Christian church was organized September 13, 1836, through the eftbrts of Elder A. L. Taylor. Meetings were held in school houses until the present church edifice was built ; it was dedicated October 15, 1836, and has since been extensively remodeled and improved. The church is situated in the extreme southwest part of the town, owns a parsonage and has more than one hundred members.
The Christian church of South Berne was organized in the Friends meeting house, east of the village, February 16, 1854, with twenty-four members, under the ministry of Elder Calvin Southwick. In the following year the old store north of the James Cornell building was purchased by four of the church members and services were there held until the completion of the present church edifice in 1864. Under the ministry of Elder D. P. Warner, 1856-1869, the society prospered, but in the past ten years it has declined.
The supervisors of this town from its organization to the present time have been as follows :
Jacob Hochstrasser, 1795, 1799; Amos Jones, 1796; Johan Jost Deitz, 1797, 1798, 1801-1807, 1813, 1813, 1818; Benjamin Fowler, 1800; Abel Hinckley, 1808, 1809; Joshua Gallup, 1810, 1811; Malichi Whipple, 1814-1817, 1831, 1831, 1833; Gideon Taber, 1819, 1820; Jesse Wood, 1823, 1833; Stephen Willes, 1834 ; James D. Gard- ner, 1835, 1836, 1835; Chester Willes, 1837; Henry H. Lawson, 1838, 1830; Albert Gallup, 1839; Daniel .Simmons, 1833; Lawrence Van Deusen, 1834; Moses Patten. 1836-1838; John Warner, 1839; Jacob Settle. 1840, 1841; Henry I. Devoe, 1843. 1813, 1860, 1861; Oscar Tyler, 1844, 1845; Samuel H. Davis, 1846, 1847, 1856, 1857; John I. Bogardus, 1848; Daniel G. Fisher, 1849; Henry A. Van Wie, 1850, 1851; Jackson King, 1853, 1853; Silas Wright. 1854, 1855; Z. A. Dyer, 1858, 1859; David Conger, 1863, 1864, 1866; William D. Strevell, 1863; David S. Dyer, 1865; Adam J. Warner, 1867; James A. Reamer, 1868; Alfred Hungeford, 1869, 1870; William Zeh, 1871- 1873; George H. Reinhart, 1874, 1875; Frederick W. Conger, 1877-1881; Thomas J. Wood, 1876, 1882-1887; Isaac White, 1888, 1889; Thomas J. Wood, 1890, 1891, 1892; Calvin S. Dyer. 1893-95; Wallace A. Peasley, 1896-present time.