The Johannes Fisher House
From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY
Address: 28 Stranahan Lane
- 1787 survey map shows ...
- 1789 or earlier may have been when the current house was built by Johannes Fisher on Lot 614. His father, Piter Fischer, probably homesteaded this farm about 1740. About 1750 he married Dorothea Ball, whose father, Peter Ball b. 1699, may have had the next farm to the west. They were among the earliest settlers in Beaver Dam (now Berne), and settled on choice valley land.
- 1790 it was the site of the first official meeting of the new Town of Rensselaerville which then included what is now the Towns of Knox and Berne. Fisher was an innkeeper and he had a store. Farmers bringing their grain to Weidman's Gristmill would buy supplies and spend the night before making the long journey home.
- 1790 census for Rensselaerville lists Fisher as one of the few local families to own slaves. It was generally the earliest settlers, who had settled on the best valley land, who were prosperous enough to afford them.
- 1811 Fisher died.
- At some time a large, one-room brick building was built behind the house to house slaves. Conveniently located behind it is an outdoor brick beehive oven. There are slaves buried in back of the Wood Cemetery.
- 1826 slavery was outlawed in New York State. The slave quarters and oven still exist. Retha Stapleton, former Town Historian, said it was a stop on the Underground Rail Road that helped run-away slaves reach their freedom farther north or in Canada.
- 1854 map of Berne of Berne shows J. Wood living in the Johannes Fisher House and also a J. Wood in the Jacob Fisher house across the road, built in 1829 by the son of Johannes. Perhaps John M. Wood, of Dutchess County, owned them both. Col. Wood moved to Berne before his marriage in 1832. Although the 1855 census indicates he was not a property owner, Berne Historical Society records say that his young son, Thomas, inherited a portion of Col. Wood's farm in the 1840’s.
- 1866 Beers map of Berne shows P. J. Wood in both houses. This was actually Thomas J. Wood, son of John. *Thru the 1950's the road which goes past the driveway to the farm went up the hill toward Knox and Altamont and it was still known locally as Tom Wood's hill. The Wood Family Burying Ground is located on the main road toward Berne and is mowed by town highway crews.
- 20th Century the house went to a niece of Wood---Shultz?
- Then Stranahan,
- Current owners: John and Linda Clemmer.