The History of Lot 43 and the Van Slyke House

National Register of Historic Places, Herkimer County, New York

The historical background of Lot 43 and the Van Slyke House is ever unfolding. The latest articles will be posted on this page along with a general timeline of events.

Lot 43 and Van Slyke House Timeline

  • Prior to European Settlement

    Mohawks live throughout northeast New York State

    Kanienʼkehá꞉ka settlements along the Mohawk River

    While the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka (Mohawk) lived in settlements along the Mohawk River, their original homeland included the land in present day northeastern New York and stretched into Canada and Vermont.

  • April 30, 1725

    Lot 43 Patent Granted

    Johannes and Anna Maria Müller

    After a long and arduous journey from the Palatinate in present day Germany, Johannes and Anna Maria became the patentees of Lot 43 in what was known as German Flatts. About their journey, Anna Maria recounts much later that,

    Also, I wish to report that, even though the move to and the start in this country was hard, God blessed us nevertheless. He has given us our own land, bread, cattle and food so we may live, and we cannot be grateful enough to the Lord.”

    April 30, 1725

  • July 10, 1749

    Letter to family in Palatine Germany

    Johannes and Anna Maria Müller wrote,

    “As far as I am concerned, we are, compared to the taxes in Germany, a free country. We pay taxes once a year. These taxes are so minimal that some spend more money for drinks in one evening when going to the pub. What the farmer farms is his own. There are no tithes, no tariffs; hunting and fishing are free, and our soil is fertile and everything grows. I have 100 acres from the crown and bought another 100 acres.”

  • March 28, 1851

    Lot 43 Purchased by the Van Slykes

    Moses and Lucinda Van Slyke

    Lot 43 is purchased by Moses and Lucinda Van Slyke. Genealogical research has uncovered that both Lucinda and Moses were direct descendants, while distant cousins, of Johannes and Anna Maria Müller (Miller). This was not known to historian Nathaniel Benton in 1854 when he wrote that “the last proprietor of the name parted with remnant of a patrimony” which had lasted for 125 years.

    March 28, 1851

  • 1860

    Van Slyke House built

    Moses and Lucinda Van Slyke

    Moses and Lucinda had one child, a young daughter, Ellen born in 1849. While working the farm, they welcomed three more children, Alonzo (b. 1854), Roselle (b. 1857), and Matilda (b. 1860). It was in 1860, that Moses and Lucinda Van Slyke built the simple Greek Revival house on Lot 43.

  • 1866

    Moses Van Slyke dies

    Moses Van Slyke

    Moses Van Slyke had only six years in their new house before he died in 1866 leaving Lucinda with three young children to farm the land and provide for their small family.


  • 1866-1898

    Lucinda Van Slyke as Dairy Farmer

    Lucinda Van Slyke

    Lucinda would farm Lot 43 to become a prominent dairy farmer as noted in prominent cheese broker Harry Burrell’s list of preferred dairy farmers in the mid-to-late 1800s.

  • 1881

    Land needed by the State of New York for railway line

    New westbound railways in need of land

    The Lot 43 landscape saw changes based on the growing needs of the Mohawk Valley. In 1881, almost two acres of land was needed by the New York West Shore and Buffalo Railway Company for a portion of the railroad


  • March 3, 1897

    Lucinda Van Slyke dies

    Lucinda Van Slyke

    Lucinda died on March 3, 1897 leaving Lot 43 and the Van Slyke House to her son, Roselle Van Slyke.

  • 1897

    Roselle Van Slyke takes ownership of Lot 43

    Roselle Van Slyke

    After his mother’s death, Roselle assumed the responsibilities of what he called, “The Old Homestead.” He entertained at the Van Slyke House for years while farming the land. In 1903, Roselle had a “modern horse barn” built.


  • October 14, 1901

    Erie Canal Way

    Roselle is served with certificate for appropriation

    On this date, Roselle was served with a map along with a certificate of appropriation from the State of New York for the expansion of the Erie Canal system.

  • 1924

    Roselle Van Slyke sells Lot 43

    Lot 43 sold to Peter and Pauline Nichols

    In 1924, Roselle sold the old homestead to Peter and Pauline Nichols. Peter was a farmer and produced dairy like Lot 43’s inhabitants before him until at least 1940.


  • 1953

    The Van Slyke House is moved

    Making way for the New York State Thruway and State Route 5s

    The portion of the thruway that would take travelers from Albany to Buffalo was planned to go through the Mohawk Valley. In 1953, this plan meant some big changes for the Nichols family and Lot 43. The new highway was to cut through the middle of the parcel and where the residence was built in 1860. Peter and Pauline decided to save the house and move it to its current location south of State Route 5s.

  • 1956

    Peter Nichols wills Lot 43 to Pauline

    Peter Nichols’ Last Will and Testament

    Peter Nichols passed away in 1956 leaving Lot 43 and the Van Slyke House to his wife, Pauline. At the time, they had four children, three sons and one daughter.


  • 1958

    Pauline Nichols wills Lot 43 to daughter, Helen

    Helen Nichols becomes owner of the Van Slyke House

    Pauline Nichols passed away in 1958 leaving Lot 43 and the Van Slyke House to her daughter, Helen. While living on Lot 43, Helen had large gardens that she shared with her siblings. Collectively, they were known to have substantial yields to feed their households. Potatoes were grown in the gardens and Helen used these to make potato pancakes for the area children. Helen lived in the Van Slyke House until she passed in 1986.

  • 1986

    Lot 43 under new ownership

    A new family moves in

    The Van Slyke House and what remained of Lot 43 had new owners in 1986 with the owner living at the old home for over 30 years before selling the property in 2017.


  • November 8, 2021

    Van Slyke House listed as a historic location

    Van Slyke House history documented

    In 2017, the fifth family moved into the 1860 farmhouse. This was a special house as it remained in families for generations. After much research and work with the New York State Historic Preservation office, the Van Slyke House was listed on this date in the National Register of Historic Places (SG100007104). This website is dedicated to the families and long history of the Van Slyke House and Lot 43.

Historical Writing Series

The Van Slyke House is saved by the Nichols Family

When Pauline and Peter Nichols secured the mortgage for Lot 43, they brought two young children to the homestead with them. Peter and Pauline had two more children raising their family of four at the Van Slyke House.   

A New Home for Moses and Lucinda Van Slyke

On March 28, 1851, the property of Lot 43 was conveyed to Moses and Lucinda Van Slyke. According to genealogical records, Lucinda and Moses Van Slyke were distant cousins and descendants of Johannes Müller.

The Palatine Germans in Search of a Land to Call Home

The earliest European settlers in the Mohawk Valley came from what is now southwest Germany. Under near constant threat of destruction, whether from multiple wars, invasions, or the plague, in the near hundred years leading up to the 18th century, the southwest German population experienced extreme hardship.