July 27 – Happy Birthday Albert Vedder

waterfallJuly 27th is the birthday of the gentleman most often credited with being the founder of Amsterdam, NY. Albert Vedder was born in Schenectady, NY on this date in 1730. His father was Johannes Vedder, who as a child was carried away by the French and Indians after their attack on Schenectady in 1690. He was later safely returned to his birthplace where he would marry Maria Van der Vort of Albany, NY in 1705. They had eight children together, the last of which was their son Albert. Maria died when he was just an infant.

According to a column written by Bob Cudmore entitled Early Days of Hagaman, Amsterdam, which appeared in the September 24, 2012 issue of the Schenectady Gazette, Vedder served with the Tryon County Militia during the American Revolution and settled in Fort Johnson after the war. In 1783, he built a sawmill and gristmill further east of the Fort where the North Chuctanunda Creek met the Mohawk River. This early settlement came to be known logically as Vedder’s Mills.

According to Cudmore’s column, a guy named Joseph Hagaman had actually beat Vedder to the same spot and piled a bunch of rocks on the site to claim it. He then headed back to his own home in Dutchess County to pick up his family. Upon his return, Hagaman found Vedder already on his site but instead of fighting him for it…

You can read the rest of my story about this Amsterdam pioneer in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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