Articles written by Branch Members

Adam Young 1717-1790

Johann Adam Jung [Adam Young] was born on 17 May 1717, at Foxtown on the Schoharie river, province of New York, the eldest son of Marry Catherine and Theobald Jung [born 1691], who had immigrated from a small German village near the French border, in the large Palentine migration of 1709. The family migrated from Schoharie into the Mohawk country settling in the vicinity Canajoharie in 1722, and in 1732 purchased land in the Harrison Patent in and near present-day St. Johnsville. In about 1742 Adam Young married Catherine Elizabeth Schmerling at the Reformed Church of Stone Arabia.

Her father Hendrick (Henry) Schmerling owned a large tract of Schmerling Kill at the Canajoharie Creek. Adam Young purchased vast tracts that comprised thousands of acres of land in the Mohawk Valley and its surroundings including Young's patent [1752], comprising 14,000 acres around Young's Lake, near the present-day Warren. Before moving to lot 19 on the south side of Young's Lake, Adam bought a 105 acre lot near Fort Plain where he cleared a farm.

On 17 August 1762 twin sons, Hendrick (Henry) and Abraham, were born to Adam and Catherine Elizabeth Young and baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church at Stone Arabia. The family had been living at "The Kyle" or Youngsfield for about eight or ten years when the twins were born. Adam and his brothers continued with the lucrative business of land acquisition through the formation of syndicates. Their actual land holdings varied from year to year but at the time of the Revolutionary War Adam owned 2,600 acres near the Mohawk River and 1,000 acres on the Susquehanna River. He also farmed, owned a saw mill & potash works, and operated an Indian trading post.

It has been recorded by his grandsons that Adam was a captain at the head of a company at Fort Niagara from the French in 1759. In 1762, he was in Captain Klock’s militia company at Canajoharie, in 1767, was a lieutenant becoming a captain of the German Flats militia in 1768.

In about 1770, Adam moved to take up residence about twelve miles from the Mohawk River where a settlement developed on the south side of Young’s Lake. When the threat of revolution reached the Mohawk Valley, he was quick to condemn the radicalism. With his brother, Frederick (a Justice of the Peace) he wrote a petition reflecting his concerns. On 6 September 1777, the Committee of Safety convicted him of supplying provisions to 56 Loyalists who were fleeing to Niagara to join Butler and sent him to jail in Connecticut at the Norwich Gaol and elsewhere for eleven months.

Not willing to join the revolutionary cause, on 18 July 1778, Joseph Brant, his good friend, and Adam with a party of Indians and Loyalists raided the rebel town of Andrustown. The rebels, in turn, raided Yougsfield, burning all the buildings and stealing the effects of the Young family. Adam and his two youngest sons, Henry and David, barely escaped to join Butler at Oswego. His wife was jailed at Tice’s Tavern in Johnstown. By August 1st, Adam, Henry and David had enlisted in Butler’s Rangers, 6th company.

In 1778, having been released from imprisonment, Mrs. Secord, Catherine Elizabeth Young and Mrs. Bowman arrived at Fort Niagara in a starving condition with thirty-one children.

In 1780, Adam, then 63 years of age, was given a discharge from Butler’s Rangers in order to develop a farm on the west side of the Niagara River, to supply the garrison of Fort Niagara with food. On 25th August 1782, Colonel Butler took the first census of the settlement at Niagara. Altogether there were sixteen families, comprising 83 people living at Niagara, including Adam Young and McGregory Van Every. Thus Adam was one of the first settlers in the Niagara Peninsula, by 1783, at the age of 66, Adam had cleared 18 acres of land and had built a house and barn. He had five acres of corn, four acres of spring wheat, two horses, three cows, two young cattle, two calves and two pigs.

In 1784, Joseph Brant, on behalf of the Six Nations Indians, applied for a tract of land consisting of six miles on each side of the Grand River, called Oswego, from the mouth to its source. It was there that Adam Young and his three sons, John, Henry and Daniel, along with Hendrick Nelles and his five sons-ten men in all-found a refuge and home after the war. Young and Nelles, having been possessed of considerable property along the Mohawk River which had been confiscated, had been reduced to absolute poverty by the war of American Independence. Brant, their old neighbour and friend, by whose side they had fought throughout the war, offered them homes on the reservation. Both the Young and Nelles Tracts were three mile long by three miles wide on each bank of the Grand River lying in the present township of Seneca.

Until 1832 they were almost the only white residents of the Township, and to their industry and patience much of its early improvement may be attributed. Adam Young maintained friendly relationships with the Indians. In the words of Commissioner David Thornburn who investigated the land grant to early settlers on the Grand River, "The consideration to the Indians for grant of these white men was affection, these men having served jointly with Indians during the Revolutionary War and, leaving their native country with them, they were associated in habits and feelings. These white families supported the Chiefs or their people when attending in that vicinity their General Councils. Their homes were the homes of the Indians when passing that way."

A claim for compensation was lodged on 6 September 1787 before the Commissioners at Niagara, when Adam appeared with his son and neighbour, Hendrick Nelles. There he gave details of his holdings in New York in order to receive compensation for his substantial losses. This, unfortunately, was not allowed.

On 22 January 1790, Adam wrote his will and probably died the same year, being buried on the Young tract. His widow, Catherine outlived him by about eight years and spent her final years living with, then totally blind, her son, Daniel, and was buried in Barton Township. She died in 1798 at the age of 78.

Written by Robert Collins McBride UE, dedicated to the memory of his grandmother, Olive Ida King, descendent of Adam Young.