Our Heritage

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"Our Heritage", published in 1977, is a 144 page book on the history of the Town of Berne. It was edited by Euretha Wolford Stapleton, Historian, Town of Berne. The second page of the book says it was copyrighted by the Berne Historical Society. That is an error; an errata inserted inside the front cover says that there was a publication error and that the book was produced by the Town of Berne Bicentennial Commission, and: The copyright should read The Town of Berne not the Berne Historical Society.

The book includes many early photographs and biographical sketches on the some of the families of the early settlers. It was printed both in paperback and in hardback.

The first chapter, The Coming, starts: As nearly as can be determined from records of births, deaths, and deeds it was 1750 when Jacob Weidman led a small band of settlers along an old Indian trail through the Helderbergs. Weidman, Ball, Bassler, Deitz, Hochstrasser, Knieskern, and Zeh - where or how did they meet? Probably we shall never know.

In fact a study of baptism records of these "first" settlers show that the story of Weidman leading a group in 1850 is not true. The Dietz and Ball families had already lived in Beaver Dam for ten years. The Bassler family was in Philadelphia in 1765. The Hochstrasser's were still in Knox in 1787 according to the 1787 survey map, The Knieskern and Zeh families had settled first in Schoharie Valley in 1712. Only the Jacob Weidman family arrived about 1750, and that was because the brothers of his wife, Elisabetha Dietz, were already in Beaver Dam. This article, originally published in the Altamont Enterprise has more information on the early settlers of Berne.

Although much new information has been discovered in recent years on these families, there is still much of value in this very interesting book. Unfortunately it is now out of print.


Facsimile Edition of Our Heritage?

I (Harold Miller) asked the Town of Berne for permission to publish a facsimile edition of Our Heritage. They agreed I could do so. My brother Ralph, who is the town Historian, and now President of the Berne Historical Society, will write a short forward to it.

At the same time I will publish a new book on the early of history of Berne through 1787 to be published under the auspices of the Town. It will include a CD version in back that will have clickable links to other chapters within the book as well as to exterior sites, and a genealogy of all of the early families mentioned in the book. (Ed's idea.) This will be done by a "Print-on-Demand" publisher such as Lulu using perhaps a pdf copy of the current book. Profits be used for the making digital images of records, documents, and photographs in the files of the Town of Berne, the Berne Historian, and the Berne Historical Society that would be of interest to historians and genealogists. My plan is to post these images here on AlbanyHilltowns.com. This would be the first book in a series by Helderberg Hilltowns. The book on Hilltowns men in the Civil War would be the second book.

If you would be interested in buying these two books, please register, sign in, and then go to the edit tab of this page and add your name below.

  • Hal Miller
  • Carol Clemens
  • Judy Shipherd
  • Michael Hait
  • Arlene Clark
  • Barbara Thompson
  • Karen (Van Zandt) Clayton
  • Pam Molle
  • Ron Wilday
  • Nancy Fetterly
  • Robert James Fetterley
  • Gerry Stelman
  • Carolyn Miller Wright
  • Cheryl Midkiff Northrup