NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people and the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
Heinrich or Henry Witherstine was born in Germany in 1727, and died in Herkimer, New York, Aug. 5, 1811, and was buried in the old Fort Herkimer chuchyard in German Flats. The proper spelling of the German surname appears to be Wiederstein, but it has been Americanized or Witherstine in this country.
He settled early in the Mohawk Valley. He married Barbara _____.
While out in the fields one day at work alone, she was surprised by hostile Indians, scalped, and left for dead, but revived and was restored to health.
Heinrich was a soldier in the revolution. His name is spelled Wilderstein and Witterstein on the revolutionary rolls. He was in Captain Herter's company. Colonel Bellinger's regiemtn, New York militia in the revolution. His name appears on a pay roll dated at Fort Dayton, Jan. 24, 1781, for service in July, August and September, 1779. His name appears also on the rolls of Captain Frederick Frank's company, same regiment, for service in 1780. It is known that he took part in several battles, and late in life received a pension. His widow Barbara received the pension after his death for many years.
John, mentioned below.
Nicholas (?), was of New York City in 1790.
(II) John, son of Heinrich Witherstine, was born at Herkimer, New York, July 12, 1762, and died June 19, 1835. He married Margaret Casler, and resided in Shell's Bush, Herkimer county. She died June 16, 1848, aged seventy-five years, four months, nine days.
"He was one of the sturdy farmers who came to this town to make a home for himself and family. He was used to the frontier life, and like many others of the farmers of that day, when he went to cultivate his fields, he went with a hoe in one hand and a gun in the other, not knowing whether he would return alive again. After the declaration of war against England, and while quite young, he entered the American army and served with honor until the close of the war. He was in the Third Regiment Continental Line, and was at Valley Forge with Washington, and was more fortunate in the supply of clothing than many others of his comrades. His mother made him a buckskin suit throughout, which he wore and which protected him from the cold and storms of that terrible winter. This suit was brought home by him and kept for some time, and finally made up in gloves and mittens. Where his gun is we do not know, but the bayonet to it is now in the possession of Dr. H.H. Witerstine, a grandson, of Rochester, Minnesota. It was used for many years for the purpose of shelling corn. Another relic in the shape of a little leather trunk, probably two hundred years old, and which came from Germany, is now in the possession of Mrs. George W. Nellis, a granddaughter."
"In excavating for the foundation of the chapel of the Reformed church of this village, the remains of many of the old members of the church were taken out and removed to Oak Hill and other cemeteries, and among those who joined the old church in the eighteenth century, and probably among the founders of the same, were John Witherstine, John Adam Hartman, and John Schell, soldiers and patriots of the revolution, who fought not only for the independence of their country, but also to protect their homes from the savage red men who then infested this part of the country. The remains of John Adam Hartman were taken by Mrs. Broonhall, of Mohawk, a granddaughter, and buried in the cemetery at Mohawk. The remains of John Schell were taken and buried in the old cemetery back of the Methodist church in this village, by Jacob Schell, a grandson. The remains of John Witherstine and Margaret Casler, his wife, and David Witherstine and Margaret Schell, his first wife, and Henry Witherstine and Abram D. Witherstine, sons of David Witherstine, were taken up and buried in Oak Hill cemetery by William Witherstine and Peter Witherstine, sons of David Witherstine."
Children of John Witherstine:
1. John, settled in Steuben, Oneida county, N.Y.; married Catherine Harter; twelve children.
3. Melchert; had children.
4. David, mentioned below.
5. Abram, always lived in Herkimer; married Eliza Folts; children: Frank, Mary, Lucy, Matilda and Lucinda.
6. Catherine, joined the church in 1803; married George Fulmer of Columbia.
7. Margaret, joined the church in 1809; married Frederick Folts of Alder Creek.
8. Anna, joined the church in 1807; married Harvey Colvin.
9. Elizabeth, married James Stevens, of Little Falls.
10. Mary, married Abner Reed, of Watertown.
(III) David, son of John Witherstine, was born in Herkimer, Dec. 16, 1803. He was a farmer by occupation. He and his wife joined the church in 1823, and he was a member to the time of his death, April 8, 1864. He was elected one of the deacons in 1849 and an elder in 1852. In 1834, when the present church was built, he was one of many who drew brick from Utica for the church, and helped largely with his time and means to build the same. On Feb. 5, 1835, at the first sale of pews, he purchased one, and it was occupied by him and his family down to 1875, when the pews were taken out and the inside of the church remodeled and new ones put in.
He married (first) Margaret, daughter of John and Anna (Casler) Schell. The immigrant ancestor was Christian Schell, who probably came in 1722 with the Palatines from Germany, and was a distinguished pioneer and Indian fighter.
His first wife died May 25, 1844, aged thirty-seven years, six months, twenty days. He married (second) Dec. 23, 1847, Margaret Petrie, a granddaughter of Dr. William Petrie, one of the founders of the church. She was born in Herkimer, March 7, 1819, and died Oct. 18, 1898, the youngest daughter of Frederic and Catharine (Thumb) Petrie, of Herkimer, who were married Jan. 1, 1803. Her father died Feb. 10, 1851; her mother July 21, 1846.
David died Apri 8, 1864, and was buried in Oak Hill cemetery at Herkimer.
Children of first wife:
1. John; married Nancy Harter, and has Henry and Mary, who married George W. Mack.
2. Peter married Cynthia Small and had Eugene, Margaret and Fred; he was a wagonmaker.
3. David, married Clorinda Christman, and had Fannie, and Homer, who married Nettie Hall.
4. Albram, married Lucinda Nellis, and they had Hattie, Edward and Adam; he was a soldier in the civil war; and died from illness contracted there, Aug. 22, 1862.
5. Henry, died Aug. 22, 1846, aged nineteen years.
6. Elizabeth, married Marlcolm Christman, and had Walter, Herman, Webster, Helen, Mary and Ada Christman.
7. Mary, married Jacob Nellis, deacon of the church; children: Charles, Harvey and Martha Nellis.
8. Nancy, married Adam Small, and had Bryon, Mary and Edward.
9. Melinda, married George W. Nellis (q.v.).
10. Anna, married Jacob Christman, and had Cora Christman.
Children of second wife:
11. Charles, born Nov. 12, 1848; died Jan. 14, 1879.
12. Horace, born April 14, 1850; went west in 1872 on account of lung trouble, and located at Rochester, Minnesota; taught school and studied medicine, graduating from Rush Medical College, Chicago, and practiced at Rochester, of which he was mayor several terms, and state senator; married Amelia Hatfield, and had William, Vernon, Glen and Dorothy.
13. William, mentioned below.
14. Margaret, born Aug. 27, 1855; married Jacob Small, son of John J. Small; children: Ruby, May, Nancy, James, Charles and Dorothy.
15. Martha, born at Herkimer, Aug. 23, 1858; married David C. Wood; children: Leland, Raymond and Walter.
(IV) William, son of David Witherstine, was born at Herkimer, Sept. 25, 1853. He attended the public schools of his native town and Fairfield Seminary, from which he was graduated in June, 1878. He taught school for a number of years. He began the study of law in the office of Hon. John D. Henderson, of Herkimer, and continued as a clerk in the office of Smith & Steele. He was admitted to the bar Oct. 10, 1884, and began to practice in his native town. He was soon recognized as an able and safe counselor, and has taken a leading place in the profession. He was elected justice of the peace of the town for several years, and served the town faithfully on the town board. In 1892 he was elected president of the village, and his administration was characterized by wisdom and economy. He served several terms in this important office. In 1893 he was elected supervisor of Herkimer. He has filled many other offices of trust and responsibility in the community. He is interested in teh subject of education, and has served several terms on the board of education. He is president of the Emergency Hospital corporation, and since 1900 has been a trustee of Oak Hill cemetery. He is a member of the Bar Association of Herkimer county, and of the Herkimer County Historical Society.
In religion he is an active and useful member of the Reformed church of Herkimer, of which he has been a deacon many years and for several years an elder.
His interest in local history was especially manifested at the Old Home Week and Centennial Celebration held at Herkimer on Aug. 7, 1907, during which time he was president of the village, and took an active interest in making the occasion a success.
He married, Dec. 25, 1878, Mary H. Western, of Norway, N.Y., born Dec. 13, 1836, daughter of Jason L. and Malida (Comstock) Western. She is a graduate of Fairfield Seminary. She and Mr. Witherstine joined the Reformed church in 1882.
1. Charles J., born in Herkimer, March 5, 1881; attended the Herkimer high school, from which he was graduated in June, 1899; studied electrical engineering at the Clarkson School of Technology, Potsdam, New York, and is now electrical engineer in the employ of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, Syracuse, N.Y.
2. Emma, born at Herkimer, Jan. 22, 1887; graduate of Herkimer high school, and Syracuse University; member of the Reformed church of Herkimer.
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