|Muller Mansion late 1800's before it burned|
Since everyone loves a mystery, and today is Bastille Day… I thought I would write a blog on Georgetown, NY and a man who many believe escaped from France to avoid the “Guillotine” and the powers that ceased the rule of the Bourbons.
Many fugitives from the ”Rein of Terror” actually came to New York State, since Americans welcomed the French who helped them win their independence from England in the Revolutionary War.
Numbers of French royalty and their courtiers moved into upper New York State and one who called himself Louis Muller settled here in our area. It was said that he often stopped in his journeys at the old Sage Tavern in Eaton.
|Sage Tavern was the oldest stick built house |
in Eaton, knocked down last year!
One of the Chenango Twenty Towns, Georgetown was formed from the two adjoining towns of DeRuyter and Cazenovia that were originally named Tromptown and Roadtown. Within its vast forest borders came a mysterious gentleman by the name of Louis Anthe Muller who in 1808 purchased 2,700 acres of land and built his “Muller Mansion.”
Through the years his true identity has lured people and historians who have worked diligently to try and solve the mystery. Muller Mansion was built like a fortress from slabs of cherry wood that were 11 feet high and up to 12 inches in thickness. The structure (house) was massive for its day measuring approximately 30 by 70 feet and had built into it what many described as an escape-way in the basement.
Some believe Muller was Charles X in hiding, others think that he was a much wanted military escapee of the “Reign of Terror” in France and an enemy of Napoleon… whatever the case the truth has never been known without question.
Muller had large numbers of workmen (as many as 150) planting, cultivating and stocking with game and fish the area around his Mansion… and to support his employees, a community was erected nearby called Bronder Hollow. All of his business was paid in gold. Visitors would come and hunt… however all stated that Muller always traveled with two loaded pistols and an armed guard!
Muller returned to France after Napoleon's removal leaving a wife in New York City. He returned only once to his Georgetown estate where he found his mansion in ruin, pillaged by the man he left in charge of it. The remains of the Muller Mansion that brought early tourists to see it in the late 1800's burned in 1912.
Today walking tours of the area are given as it has become part of the Muller Hill State Forest - once a reforestation project of the CCC, and a historic marker lies off Muller Hill Road, a seasonal road. Once you are atop Muller Hill in the quiet of the thick underbrush and forest it is hard to try to envision a palatial habitat fit for a gentleman or a King, but it was there.
At the foot of Muller Hill Road in the Village of Georgetown lies the Georgetown Historical Society Museum where you can see more information on Georgetown, a village once called “Slab city”, and the mystery man Louis Anthe Muller.
Have French blood? HAPPY BASTILLE DAY!