By Joanne Murray with years of extensive research by William Kerr
Photos from Elaine Scantlebury
A note about the surname:
The immigrant ancestor, Frederick, often spelled the name REYMONDA. Family legend says that at sometime there was a dispute about a horse between members of the second generation and Theodore changed the spelling of his name to REMONDA. Frederick (2nd) and the girls retained the spelling with a "Y", while Albert spelled his name RAYMONDA. The spelling of many surnames is not consistent in most censuses, especially the early ones, and the same is true of the Reymonda family. However, on most official documents, the spelling each son 'adopted' was retained through the present generation.
Even with it's variant spellings, this is a very uncommon surname in this country. A historiography prepared for Rollin Remonda in 1974 reported that in the year "1973, there were less than fifty households in the U.S. with the old and distinguished Remonda name." Most of these were descendants of Frederick. I have only found one other family in this country with the Remonda name; that of William Peter and Isabel Agnes (Rogers) Remonda, located in San Joaquin County, California. Although William was also born in Switzerland, he came to America at a much later date than did Fredrick. According to a population distribution map derived from the 1920 U.S. census, there were between 6 and 9 families with the Remonda surname living in New York, 3 to 5 in California, and 0 living in all other states.
According to the historiography "prepared individually for the Remonda surname on November 8, 1974 at the request of Mr. Rollin L. Remonda", the Remonda Coat of Arms "based upon information about the Remonda surname and its association with heraldry" are described as follows:
"Quartered: 1st, or; the letter "R" sa.; 2nd and 3rd, vert.; a tower embattled arg.; 4th, or; two faces sa. Charged with a small inner shield az."
The Remonda Arms is translated:
"Divided into quarters:
1st quarter, gold background; a black initial "R"; 2nd and 3rd quarters, green background; a silver tower with battlements; 4th quarter, gold background; two black horizontal bands. A small blue inner shield placed over all."
"A tower symbolized grandeur, safety and defense...The Remonda Coat of Arms incorporated blue ...which represents loyalty and or splendor." There is a note at the bottom of this historiography that says, "This report does not represent individual lineage of the Remonda family tree and no genealogical representation is intended or implied."
Much has been written about how the town founder, Andrew K. Morehouse, tricked people into purchasing land in Morehouseville; who, once there, were forced by poverty to remain. While that may be true for some of the settlers, I don't believe it applies to the Reymonda family. The immigrant ancestor, Fredrick, settled in Morehouseville by 1840 and began raising a family who would remain connected to the town for more than 160 years. It wasn't poverty that gave them that connection or kept them there. It was a genuine love and respect for the wilderness that was their home. It was the closeness of a small community and way of life most of us will never have the opportunity to enjoy.
(Click on Elias or Charles Remonda photos to enlarge)
Family obligations, employment opportunities, and service to their country are a few of the things that pulled members of the Reymonda family away from their small mountain community. But many returned when and if they could, to the place they called "home".
3 generations of military service
Theodore Charles Remonda (1842 - 1915) Civil War; Co. E, 97th Inf. Reg. NY Elias Ellsworth Remonda (1892 - 1965) WW I; Marines Charles Russel Remonda (1897 - 1922) WW I; NY Pvt Hq Co., 107 Inf James Fenimore Remonda (1898 - 1967) WW I; PFC NY Co. A, 107th Inf. Leonard Everett Remonda (1907 - 1995) WW II; Army Coast Artillery from 1941-1945, serving 2 years in Greenland. Burial with full military rights conducted by the American Legion Post 37. George Frederick Remonda (1922 - 1943) WW II; Pvt Signal Corps, served Jan. to Sept. 1943. Killed in action near Racife, Brazil, South America. Ruth Cora Remonda (1922 - 1995) WW II; Nurse serving in the Army Air Corps
Descendents of Fredrick William Reymonda
Fredrick William Reymonda was born 1812 in Switzerland and died 2 January 1873 in Morehouseville, Hamilton County, New York. He married, about 1841, Sophia Marache, daughter of Theodore and Eleanore (Waflard) Marache. She was born 1824 in Paris, France and died after 1898.
Fredrick came to America and settled in Morehouseville by 1840 when he is found on the first federal census of that place. He was occupied in manufacturing and trades. It was probably the following year, when at age 29, he married Sophia. Her family had come from France and had settled in Morehouseville about seven years earlier. In 1845 the population of Morehouseville was 211 and Fredrick and Sophia lived in Road District #1 with their two children. On the 1st of December 1846 an indenture was made between Joseph and Sophia Hart of New York City and Frederick Remonda of Morehouse. It was recorded in the Hamilton County deed book in December 1853. Frederick bought 75 acres of land for $1.00. The property had been conveyed to Joseph Hart from Andrew K. Morehouse. By 1850, two more children had been born to them and Fredrick was listed as one of five Swiss-born residents. He claimed farming as his occupation. Fredrick and Sophia remained in Morehouseville and had three more children while Fredrick continued to farm. On 14 May 1867 Frederick entered an agreement with Charles and Rosine Marker of Paris, Oneida Co., NY to purchase 30 acres in the Northwest corner of lot 18 of the Maxwell Tract for $350.00. This purchase was recorded in October of the following year.
In December of 1872, Frederick became ill and two days before Christmas, wrote his will. A week later, on January 2nd, 1873, Frederick died, just 10 years after the birth of their youngest child. Henry Lamker and Francis M. French witnessed the signing of the will. Two executors were named, Frederick's son, Theodore, and Adolphe Raux. Theodore took over the duties as executor, and Adolphe did not object. They would battle for the next several years however, in the courts, to settle Frederick's accounts. From the Hamilton County Press newspaper, dated 4 August 1877: "Notice to creditors listed Theodore C. Remonda of Morehouse executor of the last Will and Testament of Frederick W. Remonda, late of the town of Morehouse, deceased."
After Fredrick's death, Sophia married Henry Lamker, one of the witnesses to her late husband's will. Henry and Theodore Lamker were German-born brothers who settled in Morehouse and began the first Tannery in town in 1854. They lived together and remained bachelors. By September 1874, Henry and Sophia were married and the 1880 census shows them as well as Henry's brother, living together. When Theodore Lamker died on 15 April 1894, at the age of 69, the tannery was closed. Henry, the older brother by three years, then became a baker until his death on 28 January 1898. We know that Sophia was still living in 1898 as she is mentioned in her daughter's obituary as living in Morehouseville. It is interesting to note that in November 1873, in his deposition to the court, Henry Lamker states that he was present when Frederick signed the will, but that he thought it was Frederick's wish that the youngest daughter, Emma, have a part of the property and that Sophia be named executor.
Frederick's estate inventory estimate & appraisal of personal property was dated 29 September 1874. The appraisers appointed by Justice of the Peace, F. Hoffmeister, were Henry M. Forster and Frederick Becraft.
Fredrick William and Sophia (Marache) Reymonda had 7 children:
1. Theodore Charles Remonda, b. 18 September 1842
2. Caroline H. Reymonda, b. about 1844
3. Frederick Eugene Reymonda, b. June 1846
4. Mary Ann Lydia Reymonda, b. 4 November 1848
5. Albert M. Raymonda, b. 1852
6. Alice A. Reymonda, b. April 1854
7. Emma Reymonda, b. 1863
1. Theodore Charles Remonda was born 18 September 1842 in Morehouse, Hamilton County, New York to Fredrick William and Sophia (Marache) Reymonda and died 11 June 1915 in Morehouse. He married 1st, 14 September 1865 in Coldbrook, Herkimer County, New York Margaret Jennet Cumming, daughter of John and Mary Cumming. She was born 22 May 1834 in New York and died 26 September 1876 in Morehouse. He married 2nd, 6 March 1877 in Morehouse, Idora Becraft, daughter of Frederick and Mathilda (Rickard) Becraft. She was born 27 April 1859 in Morehouse and died 6 June 1926.
Theodore was the first child born to Fredrick and Sophia Reymonda and was raised in Morehouse. On 12 October 1861, at the age of 19, he enlisted for service in the Civil War at Morehouseville, Hamilton County, NY. He was mustered as private, Co. E., into the 97th NYS Volunteer Infantry (also known as Conkling's Rifles) under Alex A. McDonald. Theodore's description at enlistment is as follows: 5 feet 8 inches tall, fair complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. His occupation at that time was as a laborer. Theodore's regiment was well known for fighting bravely and was involved in many of the famous battles of the war. In some of these, Theodore performed the dangerous duty of Color Guard. Almost immediately after arriving in Washington, D.C., Theodore's unit was participating in the 2nd Battle of Bull Run. Following this, he was admitted to the hospital on 6 September 1862, a diagnosis was not given. In December, he was fighting at the Battle of Fredericksburg. In May 1863 they fought at Chancellorsville and in July at Gettysburg. On 4 January 1864, Theodore re-enlisted at Cedar Mountain and was promoted to Full Corporal. For the next year and a half, this regiment would face battles and death almost every day. By the beginning of May they were fighting the Battle of the Wilderness, VA. From there, they went to Spotsylvania Courthouse and Laurel Hill. Then they went on to North Anna River. In June, they took part in the battles at Cold Harbor, Old Church, Bethesda Church, and White Oak Swamp, VA. From mid June to Mid August 1864, they battled at Petersburg; and from August to October at Weldon Railroad, VA. On 1 December 1864 Theodore was promoted to 2nd Sergeant of his Company. In February 1865, the regiment was engaged at Hatcher's Run, VA and Wilmington, NC; in March, at White Oak Ridge. In April, they fought at Five Forks and Petersburg, VA. From 13 to 23 May 1865, Theodore was admitted to hospital in Arlington Heights, VA with remittent fever. Two months later, on 18 July 1865, he was mustered out with his company, as Full Sergeant, at Camp in the Field, VA. He was discharged at Syracuse, NY.
Theodore returned to Morehouseville and two months later, married Margaret. The wedding ceremony took place in Coldbrook and was performed by Rev. D. Fulford, four days before Theodore's 23rd birthday. Margaret was 31 years old and the daughter of John Cumming, one of the earliest settlers of Morehouseville. He had built the town's first gristmill in 1843 on Four Mile Creek. Theodore and Margaret's first child, Charles, was born in March 1867, but he died one week later. He was buried in the Mountain Home Road Cemetery in Morehouse. That August they moved to Ilion, Herkimer County, New York, but returned to Morehouse about eight months later, just about the time their second child was born.
In January 1873, Theodore's father died and he took on the responsibility of acting executor of his father's Will. In June of that year, he sold a cow from his father's estate (although the will had not been proved and Theodore had not officially been named executor) for $40.00 to Adolphe Raux. This, it seems, was a huge mistake, which would keep he and Adolphe tied up in court for the next seventeen years. Most of the residents of Morehouseville would be called on to testify before things were finally settled.
In October 1875, John Cumming and his wife gave Margaret a 30-Acre parcel of land on lot #17 of the Maxwell Lot. From 1875 to 1876, Theodore served as Morehouse Town Clerk. Then, in September 1876, after 11 years of marriage, and 21 days after the birth of their third child, Margaret died.
Six months later, on 6 March 1877, Theodore married 18-year-old Idora Becraft. Her parents had also been long time residents of Morehouse, where her father ran a hotel. The wedding took place in Morehouseville with Rev. Charles E. Babcock officiating. Their marriage would last 38 years, until Theodore's death; and they would have 9 children together. A few years later, Theodore applied for an invalid pension. In 1887, he served as one of Morehouse's three Justices.
As his family grew, Theodore continued to farm and guide. About 1881, O.B. Matteson bought "Becraft's Place" from Theodore's father-in-law as well as John French's interest in a previously acquired 3,000-acre tract on Wilmurt Lake. With some partners, Matteson opened his "club house". Theodore was one of the "expert guides" hired "for the convenience and safety of their visitors." But Theodore also guided parties on his own. At one time, he was proprietor of the "Sportsman's Home" on West Canada Creek in Morehouseville. The capacity of this establishment was only 15, and it is likely that he ran it as a 'base camp' for the 'sports' he guided. In 1892, Theodore was one of only four men in the town who claimed 'guide' as his occupation. On the 1905 census, he claimed 'surveyor and farmer'.
On 22 August 1893, the first outbreak of a contagious disease in Morehouse was reported. Someone in Theodore's home had Scarlet Fever. At this time, Theodore and Idora had seven children of their own as well as two daughters from his first marriage. The house was quarantined, but thankfully, the disease passed without fatality.
In 1894, Theodore was the sole trustee of school district #3 and on 10 September of that year, Joel Lane conveyed ½ acre of land to him for the district for $5.00. The same year saw problems with the bridges along the West Canada Creek on the Mountain Home Road. The Remonda Bridge, near Theodore's home was repaired with wooden planking. However, it seems that the work done was not sufficient for the increase in traffic to 'Mountain Home'. In March of 1896, an application was made by the Commissioners of Highways for an iron bridge to replace the wooden structure. The new bridge was completed and approved in June. That year, Theodore was running the village store across from Kreuzer's Hotel.
The turn of the century brought little change to Morehouseville. In 1904, Theodore was still trustee of school district 3. Howard J. Conkling was the teacher. He boarded with Theodore's family and three years later became his son-in-law. Six of the nine students attending the district 3 school in 1904 were Remondas. Five were Theodore's children and the sixth was his grandson.
By this time, Theodore and Idora's daughter, Ida, had married. Her first child had died in infancy and Ida herself died just days after the birth of her son in 1905. Ida's parents took the baby into their home and cared for him until his father re-married. Sadly, the little boy died eleven days before his sixth birthday in April 1911. Tragedy struck once more, when in 1912, Theodore's youngest daughter from his first marriage passed away.
Three years later, in June 1915, Theodore died in Morehouse at the age of 73. He was buried in the Morehouse Mountain Home Road Cemetery in the lower section, called the "Remonda Cemetery". The same year, Idora applied for a widow's pension. She remained in Morehouse until her death in 1926 at the age of 67 and was buried with her husband.
Theodore Charles and Margaret Jennet (Cumming) Remonda had 3 children:
1.1 Charles Remonda, b. 7 March 1867
1.2 Nettie Orilla Remonda, b. 11 May 1868
1.3 Mary Ellen Remonda, b. 5 September 1876
Theodore Charles and Idora (Becraft) Remonda had 9 children:
1.4 Esther Matilda Remonda, b. 27 March 1878
1.5 Fredrick Mortimer Remonda, b. 25 April 1880
1.6 Ida Emma Remonda, b. 26 June 1882
1.7 Theodore Warren Remonda, b. 12 December 1885
1.8 Jennie Olivia Remonda, b. 18 October 1887
1.9 Elizabeth Luella Remonda, b. 12 November 1889
1.10 Elias Ellsworth Remonda, b. 12 April 1892
1.11 Priscilla Caroline Remonda, b. 8 February 1895
1.12 Charles Russell Remonda, b. 13 April 1897
1.1 Charles Remonda was born 7 March 1867 in <Morehouse> NY to Theodore Charles and Margaret Jennet (Cumming) Remonda. He died one week later on 14 March 1867 and is buried in the Mountain Home Road Cemetery in Morehouse, Hamilton County, New York.
1.2 Nettie Orilla Remonda was born 11 May 1868 in either Ilion, Herkimer County or Morehouse, Hamilton County, NY to Theodore Charles and Margaret Jennet (Cumming) Remonda. On 28 April 1893, Nettie (age 25) sold her interest in her mother's property to Theodore for $40.00. The deed gives her name as "Nettie O. Baxter of Russia, Herkimer County, NY." It is unknown at this time what her husband's name was.
1.3 Mary Ellen Remonda was born 5 September 1876 in Morehouse, Hamilton County, New York to Theodore Charles and Margaret Jennet (Cumming) Remonda. She died 21 June 1912. An indenture was made 17 November 1891 between Mary Ellen and Idora Remonda. Mary Ellen was selling her interest in the 30 acres, which had belonged to her mother, Margaret for $50.00. The deed was recorded in May of 1892.
Esther Matilda Remonda
1.4 Esther Matilda Remonda was born 27 March 1878 at Morehouse, Hamilton County, New York to Theodore Charles and Idora (Becraft) Remonda and died 13 August 1924.
Esther was the first child born to Theodore and Idora and she was raised in Morehouse. She met George Ludlow and they had a son who carried Esther's last name. Her parents helped in the raising of the child and he grew up in their home as one of their own children. In 1900, Esther and her younger sister, Ida, were working as servants in a hotel in Lake Pleasant, Hamilton County. In 1910, she was living in Whitestown, Oneida County, NY. She worked as a housekeeper for and lived in the home of Rev. L.G. Colson, the widowed pastor of Christ Church. Esther never married. She died two years before her mother, at the age of 46, and was buried in the Morehouse Mountain Home Road Cemetery in the section known as the 'Remonda Cemetery'.
Esther Matilda Remonda had one child:
1.4.a James Fenimore Remonda was born 30 March 1898 in Morehouse, Hamilton County, New York, the son of George Ludlow and Esther Matilda Remonda. He was raised in Morehouse by his grandparents, Theodore and Idora Remonda, who considered him their son. James served in WW I; PFC NY, Co. A, 107th Inf. His name is on the WW I monument in Morehouse. In 1920 he was living in Utica, Oneida County, NY with his Aunt Jennie. On 4 April 1923, he married Helen Kilborne, a hairdresser in Utica. She was born 4 August 1904 in Utica, Oneida County, NY and died in June 1973 in Utica. She was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Utica. James and Helen had one child together. In 1930, James was working as a salesman for a meat-packing house in Utica. Helen was living on Brinkerhoff St. in Utica and was employed as a hairdresser in a beauty salon. Their daughter was living with her 'aunt' Elizabeth. 28 July 1934, James married 2nd, Mildred McGongher. She was born 21 July 1913 and died 9 Aug 1993. During their marriage, James was employed as a contractor. James died 17 February 1967, at the age of 69, in Jamesville, Onondaga county, NY. He was buried in the Mountain Home Road Cemetery in the lower section known as the 'Remonda Cemetery'.
James Fenimore and Helen (Kilborn) Remonda had one child:
1.4.a.1 Shirley Winefred Remonda was born 18 July 1924 and died 28 February 1981. She married 17 October 1944 Hubert (Sarg) Dietch, son of Philip and Hattie (Rinker) Dietch. He was born 20 July 1918 in Fairlawn, New Jersey and died 26 May 1997. Hubert served in the Army during WW II and the Korean War and was a charter member of the Morehouse Volunteer Fire Department. Both Shirley and Hubert were buried in the Morehouse Catholic Cemetery. Heubert and Shirley Winefred (Remonda) Dietch had 3 children.
1.5 Fredrick Mortimer Remonda, son of Theodore Charles and Idora (Becraft) Remonda was born 25 April 1880 in Morehouse, Hamilton County, New York and died 26 February 1953 in Utica, Oneida County, NY. He married 30 November 1904 in Morehouse, Eva Mae Hagadorn. She was born 23 November 1886 in Morehouse to Andrew K. and Tammany Catherine (Lane) Hagadorn and she died 11 January 1956 at Fairfield, NY.
Fredrick grew up in Morehouse spending much of his time in the woods, as his brothers and sisters did, learning to hunt and fish. When he was 24, he married Eva and they quickly began their family. For the first few years of their marriage they lived in the home of Joel Lane, Eva's maternal grandfather. Her mother, who had been a widow for about 15 years, lived in the home as well. In 1909, when the great forest fire threatened the town, Fred was among the 48 residents to help battle the blaze. The following year, on the 1910 Morehouse census, Fred claimed farming as his occupation. At that time he owned, free of mortgage, a farm; and he and Eva had three children. Two years later, on 12 September 1912, Fred made a claim to the town of Morehouse for damages caused by the flow of water from the culvert built by John Schriner. Fred and Eva lived on the State Road in the western part of town where they eventually had and raised 9 children. A neighbor, Mr. Palm, said that Fred "had many abilities and was always ready to help a neighbor." Throughout his life, Fred continued to enjoy his hobbies of hunting and fishing. His occupations at various times included: farmer, logger, iceman, house painter, highway employee and guide. In 1920, he was one of only 2 residents of Morehouse claiming 'guide' as his profession. Fred also held various positions in the town, including Highway Superintendent, Town Assessor, and Town Supervisor. Was elected to last position in 1924 and resigned 14 September 1925. Fred passed away in a hospital in Utica, Oneida County, New York in 1953; the same year the one-room schoolhouses in Morehouse closed for good "after 126 years of continuous sessions." His wife, Eva, died 3 years later. They were both buried in the Morehouse Methodist Church Cemetery on Rt. 8.
Obituary of Fredrick Mortimer Remonda:
"Morehouseville-Frederick M. Remonda, 72, Town of Morehouse highway employee, died Feb. 26, 1953, in a Utica hospital after a long illness. He was born Apr. 25, 1880 in the Town of Morehouse, a son of Theodore and Idora Becraft Remonda. He married the former Eva Hagadorn of Morehouseville on Nov. 30, 1904. A life-long resident of the Town of Morehouse, he had been employed by the town and county highway departments for many years. For two years, he had been town supervisor, and for several years he had served as highway superintendent and town assessor. Mr. Remonda attended the Methodist Church. He leaves his wife, four daughters, ... four sons, ...two sisters, ...four brothers, ...16 grandchildren, two great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Sunday from the Pritchard Funeral Home, Holland Patent, with the Rev. Francis Jones, pastor of Highland Baptist Church, Utica, officiating. Holland Patent receiving vault will be used awaiting Spring burial in Morehouseville Cemetery in the Spring."
Obituary of Eva Mae (Hagadorn) Remonda:
"Eva Hagedorn Remonda of Morehouse. Morehouseville Native Dies in Fairfield. Morehouseville-Mrs. Eva May Remonda, 68, widow of the late Frederick Remonda, died Jan. 11, 1956, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. William Youker, Town of Fairfield following a long illness. She was born Oct. 28, 1886, in the Town of Morehouseville, Hamilton County, daughter of Andrew and Tammany Lane Hagedorn. She was married to Frederick Remonda at Morehouseville Nov. 30, 1904. He died Feb. 1953. She moved Sept. 1954, going to live with her daughter because of ill health. She is survived by four daughters,... four sons,... 19 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The funeral was held in Holland Patent with the Rev. F.A. Wood officiating. Burial was in Morehouseville Cemetery."
Continue on to Part 2
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14-May-2008 13:17:41 PDT
Copyright © 2003: Joanne Murray / William Kerr / Elaine Scantlebury