Schohary Kill

One of our friends asked the question: Why didn’t Schohary Kill become a part of Schoharie County? This may be two questions rolled into one. I’ll try to answer the first part of the question by focusing on the 18th century settlement of Schohary Kill. And therein lies one key: the word “settlement.” The other prime key is “boundaries.”

First, let’s stand in front of the Reformed Dutch Church in the middle of today’s Prattsville and look east towards Pratt Rock. That is the town Pratt built. Let’s turn in the other direction, looking west. This is Schohary Kill.

Let’s go all the way back to 1683 when “Prattsville” was not yet Prattsville but a part of the wild American (New York) frontier. In 1683, Schohary Kill/Prattsville was a part of Albany County.

In 1708, Queen Anne granted Johannes Hardenbergh the Hardenbergh Patent consisted of approximately two million acres of land situated in Ulster, Greene, Orange, Sullivan and Delaware.

Here’s the hitch: those counties didn’t exist in 1708! As we said above, Albany County was formed in 1683. New York became a state in 1777. Schoharie became a county in 1795. Delaware County declared itself in 1797, followed by Ulster County in 1798. Windham was taken from Ulster County in 1798. Greene became a county in 1800 with four original towns: Catskill, Coxsackie, Freehold and Windham.

A lot to follow, but if we go back to the earliest published date we can find for Schohary Kill (1767) and imagine ourselves standing like time travelers in front of the Reformed Dutch Church in current day Prattsville, we would be in Albany County in 1683; Schoharie County in 1795; Delaware County in 1797; Ulster County in 1798; Windham, Greene County in 1800, and still be in the settlement of Schohary Kill. Why, because Schohary Kill is not a legal entity like a town or a county, it’s just a name people of the time called the place they lived. No Prattsville, no Grand Gorge, no Roxbury, no Gilboa, no Conesville in 1765 until the end of the 18th century: Just Schohary Kill.

Names change but the land stays the same.

Confusing? Maybe. But map it out for yourself and it will begin to become clear.

Part two of this question, why isn’t Prattsville a part of Schoharie County? That has to do with a political process that I’ll have to look into and report back again soon.

Carolyn Bennett

Prattsville Historian

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