From Albany Hilltowns
Address: 2032 Helderberg Trail
- ~1740 this farm was settled by one of the Dietz brothers, who were among the very earliest settlers. They came from Germany about 1731, and had settled first in or near Greene County before moving to the Beaver Dam (now Berne) about 1740.
- 1787 survey map shows Johan Jost Dietz, son of William Dietz, occupied a grant of almost 170 acres located on both sides of the Foxenkill between the present hamlet of Berne and West Berne. He built his house on Rock Road at the intersection of what is now Helderberg Trail. The actual beaver dam that gave the original name to the area was on the Foxenkill behind the present barns.
- 1835 the bricks to build the St. Paul's Lutheran Church came from a clay bank on this farm. The story-and-a-half right wing of the present house is built over an old brick foundation of a different sized house. The original house probably dated from the same period as the Lutheran Church.
- 1841, when Col. Dietz died, part of the farm went to his son Peter, who sold it to his son Abraham, and part went to Peter’s brother, Jacob Haverly Dietz, whose mother was a Haverly.
- 1842 - On the bank of the creek is the Peter Dietz Family Burying Ground, with the earliest burial in 1842. Perhaps Peter Ives Dietz, son of Col. Johan Jost Dietz, built the original house on this site?
- 1854 Silas and Elmira Brown leased this land from the Van Rensselaers.
- 1854 map of Berne shows....
- 1859 Silas and Elmira Brown sold their rights to Horace K. Willard. He and his wife Sophia (Shultes) sold the farm to John C. Haverly in 1859, who had previously bought 11 acres of adjoining Lot 611 in 1855.
- 1860 is said to be the construction date for the The John C. Haverly House. It appears that the right wing is older.
- 1866, upon the death of John C.Haverly's father, he inherited the William Shultes House and farm in West Berne and moved there.
- 1866 Beers map of Berne (no grid number) shows S. M. on this lot.
- 1867 Haverly sold this farm to Peter Bassler, whose wife was Eve Dietz, daughter of Peter Ives Dietz.
- 1897 upon the death of Peter Bassler, the farm went his son Albert.
- 1924 upon the death of Albert Baseler, the farm went to his son Charles.
- 1950 upon the death of Charles Bassler, the farm went to his son Olin.
- 1975 upon the death of Olin Bassler, the farm went to his siblings.
- 1976 The Bassler heirs sold the approximately 80 acre farm to Kurt Unverhau.
- 1977 Kurt Unverhau sold the house and 15 acres to Rene and Marsha Descartes, and farmed the remaining acres.
- 1979, when Kurt Unverhau retired, he kept five acres and the house on Rock Road and sold his the rest to Glenn Paris, including the Bassler acreage.
- 1991 Glen Paris sold these holdings and Descartes bought an additional 25 acres around their house. Two fields on the north side of Rock Road that were once part of the Bassler Farm were also sold - one to DeMuth and one to another family. The acreage on the south side of Helderberg Trail was sold to Tom Pryszyski (sp.?).
- Current: Rene & Marsha Descartes 1977 till present