Cemetery notes and/or description:
Note: This cemetery is also known as Goat Hill Cemetery.
This cemetery is located "in Hallsville, New York in the Town of Minden. It is on the right hand-side of the road while traveling east on Sanders Road off of New York State Route 80 or just to the west of the intersection of Sanders Road and Pickle Hill Road." Reference: Ken D. Johnson, Fort Plank Historian.
Mr. Ken Johnson, Fort Plank Historian, also offered the following history for the cemetery and area:
In April of 1914, Royden Vosburgh of the New York Genealogical & Biographical record noted the presence of approximately 30 standing gravestones of which only 3 remain intact in July of 2012.
The first record of the congregation is found in the Journal of Reverend Nicholas Sommers of Schohaire. Sommers notes that on Trinity Sunday, July 5, 1748 [Old Style], he traveled to Cani-Schoharie and Johann Empie, Jost Haus [Joseph House], and Jacob ____ Elders of the congregation. And in August of 1766 he notes that he preached to the congregation in the barn of Frederick Blanck [on Lot Two the Hartman Windecker Patent].
"The Geisenberg Settlement was not destroyed by British forces commanded by Joseph Brant on August 2, 1780. The attack is best described in the Revolutionary War Pension Application of Robert H. Wendell of Schenectady, RWPA #R11321:
". . . In the fore part of August of the same year 1780. Another alarm was given at Albany that the celebrated Joseph Brant the Indian Chief was making a descent on the Inhabitants of the Mohawk Valley with a party of Indians. A detachment of the City of Albany Militia of which Colonel Abraham Cuyler was commander and Captain [Jacob] Roseboom or Abraham Yates he forgets which commanded the Company in which this declarant served marched to Schenectady where we met the Schenectady Militia under Colonel Wemp or Wemple as he is sometimes called and proceeded thence up the Mohawk River in company —we found that the Enemy had just burned Canajoharie, Fort Plain, and the adjoining places arrived at Fort Plain while the church was burning which was surrounded by 7 or 8 Indians who fled at our approach. Found a girl woman there lying on the ground who was scalped but yet living. She said she had been knocked down with a stone by one Hans Richter a Tory and that and Indian had scalped her, we took care of her a number of houses were then burning among them John Abeels.
"From thence we proceeded to Fort Plank a short distance further several houses on the road were consumed at one of the houses we found a boy scalped and his feet in the fire we took him out but he was dead on arriving at Fort Plank we collected 9 children and an old woman who had all been murdered by the enemy and we buried them in one grave.
We were stationed at Fort Plank and engaged in scouting parties for five weeks about 4 miles from Fort Plank while the declarant was engaged with a party of scouts we found a woman with 4 children who had been murdered her womb ripped open and unborn infant torn there from. We buried them all in one grave.
"We also found two boys sons of a Mr. Diefendorf who had just been scalped but were alive — brought them to Fort Plain and had them taken care of and they recovered as this declarant has been informed. We retired to Albany after being engaged in this tour six weeks and this declarant resumed his former station in the guards there and continued to serve therein until he was called out again in the fall of the year 1781 here after mentioned . . ."
"Amongst the dead were George Haus of the adjoining Lot 5 of the Jacob Lansing Patent, and Godfrey Creamer of Lot 6 of the Jacob Lansing Patent, both direct ancestors of this author.
"On September 1, 1780 the Reverend Henry Melchior Muhlenberg of Easton, Pennsylvania noted in his personal journal that the Reverend Charles Solomon Friderici, a Hessian Army deserter, who had been administering to the inhabitants of Canajoharie, Stone Arabia, and "the Falls" since 1777, had arrived in Easton, Pennsylvania after having been driven out by the British. Muhlenburg also reports that on the 16th of September 1780, he received word of the destruction of the German settlement at "Canotchiochery" and its church.
The first wooden church was erected sometime after the May 9, 1767 deeding of 20 acres of land in the southwest corner of Lot Three of the Peter Wagoner [Senior] and others Patent of June 20, 1723, by Peter Wagoner [Junior]; George Ressner and his wife Maria Catherine [nee Wagoner]; Frederick Blank and his wife Otillia [nee Wagoner, widow of Johann Jost Haus], to the elders of the congregation. It was replaced by a brick church in 1806.
"The earliest records of the congregation were kept in Reverend Sommer's Schoharie Lutheran Church, subsequent records extending until sometime after the Revolutionary War are missing. A transcript of the records in the hand of George A. Lintner, who was for thirty years, pastor of the Lutheran Church at Schoharie is found in the Special Collections Unit of the New York Historical Association Library in Cooperstown, New York. It was the aforesaid transcript that Royden Vosburgh prepared his transcription.
This church was still standing in 1849, but all that remains today is the cemetery and some brick of the structure.
"Legend has it that the name "Geisenberg" came from stray goats from Fort Plain which were found in the locality. It seems more likely that the name had its origin in "Geisenberg Mount and Castle", near Heidelberg, a romantic spot which was doubtless well known to these early Germans who came from that locality."
On August 6, 1966, Maynard Lonis personally visited the cemetery and shares this report with us:
"A visit to the Geisenberg Farm, a half mile northwest of Hallsville, N.Y., (few miles south of Ft. Plain) revealed that it is now owned by Mr. Harold Cronkhite. He has a few relics of the old "Geisenberg" German Lutheran Church, such as the door casing, and door key.
"The ruins of the later brick church are no longer in evidence in the cow pasture. Nearby the site, however, are numerous headstones, approximately two dozen still above ground. A large group of stones, close by the old church site, belong to the Lintner (Litner) family. Others nearer the present highway leading to St. Johnsville, include: Joseph House, John Kane, Peter Reasner, Enoch Ward, Jacob Waggoner."
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