Timeline of Berne History

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Contributors: Chelsie, Ralph and Harold Miller

Corrections and additions are welcome!

  • 1629 Killean Van Rensselaer granted a patroonship for essentially all of the land in what is now Albany and Rensselaer Counties
  • 1690 Catholic rules the Palatine area of what is now Germany
  • 1709 Record cold in Europe. Palatines flee to Holland. Palatine refugees were taken to England
  • 1710 3300 Palatines refugees sent to New York by the English in 11 small ships
  • 1711 Governor Hunter sets Palatines to work in camps on the Hudson making tar and pitch for the British navy. The ration is 1/3 loaf of bread and a quart of low alcohol beer per adult.
  • 1712 Tar project fails and 150 families move to Schoharie
  • 1740 First Settlers: Deitz, Ball, Shafer, and others squat on Van Rensselaer land near a beaver dam just west of what is now the hamlet of Berne
  • 1750 Weidman, Warner, Kniskern, Zeh, Shultes are living in "Beaverdam." Jacob Weidman builds a sawmill
  • 1765 Peter Nicholas Sommer from the Schoharie Lutheran Church preached at Beaverdam in the home of Johannes Zeh
  • 1765 Zeh and Warner build a sawmill between what are now the hamlets of Berne and East Berne.

1765 Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of the Beaverdam was formed. Log church erected near the beaver dam, site of the present Beaverdam Cemetery.

  • 1776 Revolutionary War splits community and families. A large number of Tories leave for Canada
  • 1781 September - Dietz massacre: eight killed and scalped. Additional article.
  • 1787 survey map of Berne. Squatters are forced to sign leases or leave.
  • 1790 The first Lutheran Church was incorporated. Called German Lutheran Congregation of Rensselaerville, since Beaverdam was in the Town of Rensselaerville
  • 1795 March 17 Beaverdam separated from Rensselaerville and named Berne. Town meeting held at the home of Johannes Fischer.
  • 1796 Lutheran church constructs simple frame building at the site of the Pine Grove Cemetery (now Pine Grove Lutheran Cemetery)
  • 1797 Influx of settlers from Conn., Mass., RI and downstate.
  • 1797 Miner Walden Carding and Fulling mill built below Weidman's mills thus creating nucleus for hamlet of Bernville
  • 1800 Census shows 30 slaves in the Town of Berne owned by 15 families.
  • 1801 John Butterfield born in Berne. Founder of the Butterfield Overland Express, later to became the American Express.
  • 1803 Dr. Almerin Hubbel, son-in-law of Peter Weidman, opens store in his new house adjoining Weidman's mills
  • 1813 March 14 - Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. Bradley born in Berne on Cole Hill in the The Philo Bradley House. In 1886 casts deciding vote to elect Rutherford B Hayes as president rather than James Tilden
  • 1822 The Town of Knox is separated from the Town of Berne.
  • 1825 An Ax Factory, the first in the U.S. to make axes of cast steel, is established by Daniel Simmons
  • 1826 Second Berne Reformed Church organized and built at Thompsons Lake
  • 1827 Slavery outlawed in State of New York freeing numerous slaves in Berne
  • 1830 Berne Reformed Church constructs two new churches in hamlet of Bernville. (hamlet of Berne) and Mechanicsville, (West Berne) without the aid of rum or spiritous liquors of any kind.
  • 1831 Adam H. Bogardus, who was to become a champion trap shooter, was born in Berne
  • 1835 St. Paul's Lutheran Church constructs brick building in Bernville
  • 1839 Stephen Van Rensselaer III the "Good Patroon" dies leaving his lands to two sons.. Stephen IV inherits the West Manor ( Albany County) and orders all outstanding rent to be paid at once. Anti-renters meet at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Berne. His son William receives the land east of the Hudson river.
  • 1839 Anti-Rent War movement begins in Berne.
  • 1845 Anti-Rent party was formed. Many families leave including Zimmer, Saddlemire, Shultes
  • 1846 NY constitutional convention - feudal leases can no longer be issued.
  • 1853 Stephen VR IV sells uncollected leases to Walter Church
  • 1857 John Butterfield, born in Berne in 1801, organized the Butterfield Overland Express, (the pony express), forerunner of Wells Fargo
  • 1858 Five story Lobdell grist mill built in East Berne. Largest mill in Albany County.
  • 1860 Walter S. Church has Peter Ball family evicted during a snow storm
  • 1862 Civil War begins. At least 77 Berne men join. Over a quarter were killed and wounded. Carpenter Wright letter.
  • 1862 Berne resident George H. Warner records daily life in his 1862 journal, enlists in the Army.
  • 1863 George H. Warner continues recording his daily life while in the Army in his 1863 diary. Returns to Berne sick and dies shortly thereafter.
  • 1866 Beers map of Berne shows all residents and churches in Berne.
  • 1868 Berne Masonic Lodge organized
  • 1870 Business directory list 2 hotels in Berne, 2 in East Berne, 1 West Berne, and 1 Reidsville.
  • 1878 John Wood built a cheese factory which became an important outlet for local milk producers.
  • 1880 John Frederick shoots Sheriffs Deputy Leonard Chamerlain; last skirmish of the Anti-Rent War
  • 1880 White Sulphur Springs Hotel opens
  • 1889 Fire in hamlet of Berne destroys five buildings, including blacksmith shop, Hallenbeck Hall
  • 1896 Plans made for an electric railway from Albany to Schoharie through Berne. There were 7 stores in hamlet of Bern
  • 1897 Woodlawn Cemetery Association organize
  • 1902 Fire again destroys rebuilt Hallenbeck Hall and blacksmith shop in Berne hamlet.
  • 1914 Berne Fire in Berne hamlet destroys hotel and two houses
  • 1920 Prohibition enacted. Several bars in Berne closed
  • 1923 Corporal Harold C. Mattice, of Berne, becomes first State Trooper killed in line of duty.
  • 1927 Uhia Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star was organized
  • 1928 Berne Volunteer Fire Company organized
  • 1929 The Great Depression begins
  • 1932 Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School built in hamlet of Berne to replace one-room schools throughout district
  • 1932 Berne Conservation Gun Club organized
  • 1943 Foxenkill Grange organized
  • 1963 East Berne Volunteer Fire Company organized
  • 1971 Berne Historical Society organized and museum created