Article on the history of Berne from the Knowersville Enterprise, 1884

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From the Knowersville Enterprise, forerunner to the Altamont Enterprise, Saturday, Sept. 20th, 1884.



Berne was formed from Rensselaerville, March 17th, 1795. Knox was broken off in 1822. The village lies near the centre of the west border of the County. The Helderburgh Mountains rise to the height of one thousand two hundred feet above the tide. Grippy and Irish Hill occupy the center. They are broad mountains with steep declivities and rolling summits from 900 to 1000 feet above the tide. The south and west parts are hilly and the north rolling.

The principal streams are the Foxen Kill and the Switz Kill, passing though the town from the south past to the north west and forming a junction near the south-west corner. They flow through narrow valleys, bordered by steep hillsides.

Thompson's Lake in the north-east corner partially in the town, and Warner's Lake near East Berne, are small bodies of water. These waters, and especially Thompson's Lake, attract many people to the place, and in order to accommodate the people through the hot sultry weather of summer, two large and commodious boarding houses have been built, one by Mr. Hart and the other by Mr. Livingston.

Although they can accommodate about 80 to 100 persons, there are many who have to get accommodations among the farmers.

The town comprises five small villages the names of which are Berneville, Peoria, (West Berne) South Berne, Reidsville and East Berne.

Berneville in 1777 was called Bever Dam. It was fortified during the war and sentinels were posted at night to prevent surprise by the Indians. The place at one time was a rendezvous for Tories.

The family of Johannes Deitz consisting of eight persons were murdered by the Indians.[1] Cornelius Schermerhorn kept a Tory rendezvous and at one time an absconding paymaster from Burgoyne's army, is said to have been murdered at his house.

Berneville for the past few years has made no great improvement, yet it can be called a lively little town. It contains about four hundred inhabitants, a post office, three churches, (Methodist, Reformed and Lutheran) two hotels, six stores, two grist- mills, saw mill, furniture and undertaker's store and several other shops and about seventy dwelling houses.

Near the place there are three mineral springs situated on the lands of Jacob Hochstrosser, and said to be valuable for their medical qualities. Mr. Hochstrosser has built a large and commodious building in which he can accommodate at least eighty people, and during the summer months his house is well filled with guests from Brooklyn New York and Albany.

Other places of importance might be mentioned, but for the want of space we will have to pass them by until some future time, when we hope to give a more explicit view of the business as it is now.