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Fulton Town

Fulton Town Hall is located on Bear Ladder Road, West Fulton NY 12194; phone: 518-827-6365.

Beginnings [1]

Native Indians (Mohawks, Mohegans, Stockbridges, Tuscaroras, Delawares, and Oneidas) farm the flats, fished the waters, built castles at Wilder Hook and Breakabeen, and established seasonal settlements in sheltered areas along the Schoharie Creek.

In the early 1700s, European immigrants settled in what was to later become the Town of Fulton. Among the earliest was Adam Vrooman, an Indian trader from Schenectady, who purchased two tracts of river flatland from the Indians. These parcels were purchased in 1711 and 1714, totaling approximately 1,200 acres and became know as Vrooman's Land. Another 18,000 acres of the town, known as the Byrnes Patent, was a land grant received by Michael Byrnes in 1767. The remainder of the town was made up of land owned by John Butler (8,000 acres), William Bouck (1,250 acres), Edward Clark (100 acres), William Wood (2,000 acres), Hendrick Hagers (900 acres), Isaac Levy (2,000 acres), and Philip Bergh.

Early settlements in the town included 1) Rabbit Bush (Fultonham); 2) Breakabeen, which was developed on Philip Bergh's patent and was named for the brakes, a species of ferns which grew there; 3) Hardscrabble (Watsonville), 4) Byrneville (West Fulton); Other smaller settlements, which grew up around these four major settled areas, include Pleasant Valley, Patria, Rossman Hill, Vintonton, Fulton Hill (Fairland), Dibble Hollow, Hudson Corners, Armlin Hill, and Bouck's Falls (Cooper Street).

Due to its abundance of rich farmland, the area which was to become the Town of Fulton became a large producer of corn, apples, and wheat. The quantity of wheat produced in the area was so large that the Schoharie Valley became known as the breadbasket of the Revolutionary War. In the last quarter of the 19th century, the major crop of the town became hops. The heyday of hop growing ended rather abruptly in the 20th century due to both plant disease and prohibition.

The Town of Fulton was formed on April 15, 1828, with the first town supervisor being Charles Watson who resided in what is now Watsonville. Other well-known people from Fulton included William C. Bouck and Timothy Murphy. William C. Bouck was elected Governor of the State of New York in 1842, was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1846, and, after serving as assistant Treasurer of New York City, retired to the old family mansion on Bouck's Island, which is presently owned by Eunice Shaul, wife of the late Max Shaul.

The Revolutionary War brought Timothy Murphy, the legendary hero of the area, to Schoharie County. Murphy is credited with having felled General Fraser, a feat which has been declared one of the turning points of the Revolution. After the war ended, Timothy Murphy and his wife, the former Peggy Feeck, made their home at Watsonville. A bronze plaque signifies Timothy Murphy's burial place in the Middleburgh cemetery.

The upper fort, one of three forts along the Schoharie Creek during the Revolutionary War, was built on land of John Feeck in 1777. The farms of Roger Barber and Dale C. Bouck presently occupy this land.

Prepared by Hazel Newkirk — date unknown; perhaps the late 1970s.

  1. Town of Fulton Planning Board, Town of Fulton Land Use Plan. 1990,, accessed June 2009.
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