Village Of Barneveld
 History & Maps 
History of Barneveld:

Before white explorers or settlers, central New York was occupied by the nations of the Iroquois Confederation.  United in the sixteenth century by the great orator and statesman, Hiawatha, this league of five (later six) tribes or nations controlled west to the Mississippi and south to the Carolinas at the height of its influence.


The region of present-day Oneida County was land of the Oneida tribe deriving their name from "Onei" (stone) and "Ta" (living) - a sacred endowment of life and intelligence.  The first white men were probably French and the soldier-explorer Champlain fought a battle against the Oneidas in 1615, which influenced the long affiliation of the Iroquois with the British during the French and Indian Wars.


The lands in the English colonies were considered owned by the Crown and were periodically given in grants or patents to favorites, often Royal Governors, one of these being Cosby Manor, 1734, upon which most of Utica was built.  In 1769, 25,000 acres north of Cosby Manor was given to Peter Servis and twenty-four others, thereafter being known as the Servis Patent.  This grant eventually passed to Sir William Johnson and it, with other grants, was seized in 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War and resold by the State of New York.


Between 1763, the date of the Treaty of Paris ending the French and Indian Wars, and the leaving of the British in 1783, the lands in central New York were largely unsettled and unexplored except for small strategic posts such as Fort Stanwix (Rome) and Fort Schuyler (Utica).  The areas north of the Mohawk River were unsettled even by the Iroquois and except for infrequent military excursions, no accounts remain of white men in these areas.  With the end of the Revolutionary War came the end of more than a century of constant hostility and warfare and finally opened the land from the Mohawk to Lake Ontario for settlement.


The state took title to British-owned lands and all unoccupied land and began selling it for a shilling an acre, sometimes less.  Some of the old patents were quickly bought by speculators.  Others were given as gifts to war heroes (the Steuben tract, etc.).  The Servis Patent was purchased by the Holland Land Company in 1792 (the adjoining Holland Patent takes its name not from this company but from Lord Holland).  The Holland Land Company eventually accumulated holdings of 3.6 million acres in central and western New York. 


In 1793, Gerritt Boon, an agent of the Holland Land Company, pitched his tent in a quiet valley at the junction of two streams.  Some say he was attracted by the abundance of maple tree syrup, which he presumed flowed year-round.  He called the new settlement  "Olden Barneveldt" in honor of a seventeenth century Patriot of the Netherlands.  It is now the site of the present Village of Barneveld, Oneida County, New York.  From this date can be traced the rich history of the village whose residents, some internationally and nationally famed, influenced the development of surrounding settlements and left a legacy of distinctive buildings and churches in their own village and in the region.


The company soon built a saw mill, a grist mill, a store and an inn to eliminate the need for frequent journeys to Fort Schuyler (Utica) fourteen miles south.  By 1810, the village was a center of trade in northern Herkimer County and eastern portions of Oneida County.


In 1795 Boon explored new company land to the north and started the settlement now known as Boonville.  In 1798, another Hollander, Colonel Adam G. Mappa succeeded Boon as agent in the settlement.  In the same year, Boon returned to his birthplace, Leyden, Holland, somewhat in disgrace for a financial disaster in the maple syrup business and because of the slow returns from the company's land ventures.


Mappa was joined by a friend and countryman, Francis van der Kemp, who was once called "the most learned man in America" by John Adams.  The two had fled an unsuccessful revolution in Holland in 1786 and easily found comfort among like-minded Americans.  Van der Kemp had been a highly educated and internationally known clergyman in Holland and Mappa had been a military leader.  Mappa and van der Kemp each carried on active correspondence with such notable people as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.  Van der Kemp was employed by Governor Clinton to translate New York's old Dutch records and was appointed as Assistant Justice in the County Court of Oneida.  He is commonly remembered today as Judge van der Kemp.


The population of Olden Barneveldt by 1804 was estimated at between 200 and 300.  An 1802 account mentions a school of fifty children.  In 1850 there were 60 private dwellings and in 1876, the population was approximately 300. 


The United Protestant Religious Society, an interdenominational body, was organized in the village in 1804.  The first church, Unitarian, was erected in 1816, which remains the oldest Unitarian Church west of the Hudson River.  The church remains active today.  Also still active are the Methodist Church, erected in 1848, and the Episcopal Church, established in 1904.  An 1817 description by Jacques Milbert, French Artist, mentions the Unitarian Church:


            "It (the settlement) is surrounded with hills covered with luxuriant and varied

vegetation, and through the valley winds a pretty brook.  A church newly constructed by its whiteness contrasts with the laughing verdure and around it are grouped pretty houses, one of them remarkable for its elegance, the residence of the agent of the Holland Land Company.  On this day the roads from different directions terminating in the village, were covered with a file of wagons and saddle horses from the surrounding country."


Rev. John Sherman, grandson of Roger Sherman, the Connecticut signer of the Declaration of Independence, became pastor at the Unitarian Church in 1806.  He was intrigued by a nearby falls and in 1822 purchased 60 acres surrounding it from the Holland Land Company and built the Rural Resort on its banks.  In 1825 the Rural Resort expanded to accommodate sightseers to the falls, the lowest of which is still called Sherman Falls.


The village was incorporated by the legislature in 1819 as "Oldenbarneveld" (combined into one word).  In 1833, it was again incorporated as the Village of Trenton, with a slight change in boundaries.  Since then the boundaries have changed twice, first in 1864, and again in 1870.  In 1970, village residents voted in favor of eliminating the village charter and operating under New York State Village Law. 


Objections to the name Trenton were due to a considerable amount of mail and freight which was sent to Trenton NJ by mistake.  In 1903 the Federal government granted the request for a change and gave the name of Barneveld to the Post Office and Rail Road Station.  From that time on, the village was blessed with two names, Trenton, its legal name, and Barneveld, the more popular one.  In 1975, the residents voted in favor of changing the legal name of the village from Trenton to Barneveld.


The local fire company was organized in 1834 and the Barneveld Library Association was formed in 1874 and a library built in 1877.  The village first proposed a municipal water system in 1910.  Several propositions were presented to the residents, with the majority against the plan.  In 1934, another proposal was approved and the project finally competed in 1940.  The village originally had three water troughs, which served as a main source of water when private wells and springs went dry.  These tubs also served as public drinking fountains and for watering livestock.  One of these tubs is still in use.


Boon erected the first frame house in the settlement in 1794.  Also in 1794, Thomas Hicks built and occupied a house beside Cincinnati Creek.  The third oldest house, also erected in 1794, was built for Francis Adrian van der Kemp.  In 1809 Mappa constructed the stone Mappa Hall at a cost of $13,000.  All four houses still stand.  Since 1900, only about a dozen new houses have been constructed in the village, giving the village a distinct, well-settled and richly historic atmosphere.


1793 Village Map (PDF - 87.0 KB)
1858 Village Map (PDF - 98.1 KB)
1874 Village Map (PDF - 199.8 KB)
1907 Village Map (PDF - 83.1 KB)