Beaverdam Reformed Church

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY
Revision as of 10:03, May 15, 2022 by WikiVisor (talk | contribs) (1 revision imported)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Beaverdam Reformed Church is the name given to the original Berne and Beaverdam Reformed Church. The church stood in the area called the Beverdam because of a large beaver dam nearby that gave the area its name.

In 1763 Dominie Johannes Schuyler, the minister of the Reformed Dutch Church in Schoharie, performed four baptisms for children born at the Beaver Dam. Then in 1765 Schuyler organized a Reformed Church, and perhaps that same year had constructed a log church near the beaver dam. Since churches generally included the name of the com-munity in the name, it was called the Dutch (actually Deutch, meaning German) Reformed Church of the Beaverdam.

Because there was no hamlet at the time, it can be assumed that the church building was constructed near the center of the then settled area. Although church legend says that the building was constructed on the brow of the hill where the Berne and Beaverdam Cemetery is now located, a mile west of the hamlet of Berne, a 1787 Van Rensselaer survey map shows it on the bank of the Foxenkill. It was just west of what would have been a wooden bridge on the wagon trail which is now Switzkill Road. This would have been at the intersection of the old Indian trail to Schoharie along the north side of Fox Creek.

This small log church was replaced by a frame structure in 1786. It was built on the knoll in the center of what is now the Berne and Beaverdam Cemetery. The frame structure was used until 1830, when the congregation split, one section going to Mechanicsville (now West Berne) and the other section going to Beverdam (now Berne). The building was dismantled and the materials divided between the two congregations.

In 1791 the 143 ac. site of the original log church was given to church by the patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer III. This became the church farm. A house for the minister was constructed about 1825. After a new parsonage was purchased in the hamlet of Berne in 1857 the farm was rented out. It was sold in 1930 and is now owned by the Hunsicker family.