Lot 476

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The Johannes Dietz Farm; Address: 1417 Switzkill Road


For the location of this lot click on 1787 map of Berne.


  • 1787 – Wm. Cockburn survey map shows this as a ___ ac. lot[1]


  • 1752 Johannes Dietz, born in Germany, moved to the Beaver Dam (now Berne) from Greene County about the same time as his sister Elizabeth Dietz and her husband Jacob Weidman. Their brothers had moved from Greene County to the Beaver Dam more than a decade earlier. Johannes squatted on land in the Switzkill Valley.
  • 1776 William Deitz, son of Johannes, became Captain of the local militia during the Revolutionary War and his family lived with his wife and young children on his parent's farm.
  • Sept. 1, 1781 families of Johannes and Capt. Deitz were massacred 1781, and their log cabin and barns were burned, and Capt. Dietz was taken prisoner. He died in captivity at Fort Niagara a short time later. [2]
  • The land passed to Johannes' son Jacob who lived there for almost two decades before moving to Otsego County before 1800.
  • 1796 Jacobus Dietz leased this lot.[3]
  • ~ 1800 the present house was built, buy by whom is not known at this time.
  • 1823 Robert Bullock leased the lot.[3]
  • 1847 Sylvanus Barton was leasing the lot.[3]
  • 1854 map of Berne shows R. Hayes. Robert Hayes was living on the Dietz Homestead; he was still there in 1866.
  • 1866 Beers map of Berne shows R. Hayes even though it was the farm of James S. Hayes who had apparently inherited when his father died a decade earlier.
  • < 1925 Earl Alger
  • 1950 Peter Polukort bought the Johannes Dietz Homestead from Earl Alger.
  • Current owners: John and Christine Valachovic. Christine is the daughter of Peter Polukort

Additional Media


  1. 1787 map of Berne
  2. The Deitz Massacre
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Van Rensselaer lease records summary compiled by Bertha Mattuck from Van Rensselaer Manor records at the NYS Archives