TOWN OF HERKIMER
The Town of Herkimer was settled by Palatines from the lower Rhine in Germany. In 1722, Governor William Burnet purchased the lands westward along the river from Little Falls to Utica from the Mohawk Indians. This constituted the Burnetsfield Patent of April 30, 1725. Ninety-four people representing thirty-eight families were granted parcels consisting of 100 acres.
This was one of the most populated and settled areas along the Mohawk River. A ford at Herkimer connected the north and south shore; the two colonial neighborhood centers of Palatine Village (Herkimer), on the north bank, and that of Herkimer (Fort Herkimer) on the south bank.
The Town of Herkimer was named so through an error
In 1788, following the Revolution, the New York State Legislature met in Poughkeepsie to erect new towns in what was then Montgomery County. The names of German Flatts and Herkimer had been agreed upon to designate the two towns. Dr. William Petry met Honorable Simeon DeWitt, Surveyor-General of the State of New York, who had maps and a survey before him. DeWitt asked the doctor as to the situation of each. Looking up the river, (toward the west), Dr. Petry answered, “Herkimer is on the left and German Flatts is on the right.” DeWitt, assuming the doctor meant the right and left banks of the Mohawk, as the stream flowed, wrote the names on the map in reverse order. The name of Herkimer had been intended for the territory south of the river where the historic Herkimer family first settled and where the Herkimer Home is situated to this day. The error in understanding was enacted into law.
All or parts of 10 present townships in Herkimer County were taken from the Town of Herkimer. Today, the total area of the Town of Herkimer is 32.2 square miles and 2.8 square miles are within the corporate limits of the Village of Herkimer. The town maintains 23.8 miles and the village 29.27 miles of highways, streets and roads for a total of 53.07 miles.
Census figures in 1990 showed 2,456 people residing
in the Town outside the Village and 7,945 within the
village, for a total of 10,401.
The Town of Herkimer is governed by a Town Supervisor
and four members of the Town Council.
Two other positions of major importance to town
government are the Town Clerk and the
Superintendent of Highways.
All these positions are elective and operate within
powers specifically granted to them,
principally in the Town Law.
Mandated services such as the administration
of Justice is handled by two elected Town Justices.
Another mandated service is the collection of
taxes and that is done through the Receiver of Taxes, also an elective position.
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