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The Legend of the Schoharie County Seal

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Author: Schoharie County Tourism

When Palatine settlers first arrived in the Schoharie Valley in the early 1700’s, they faced the daunting task of beginning a new life with relatively few resources.  It fell upon the men to work during daylight to clear the fields and grow the grains for food and trade.  The women, however, took on the task of pulling the heavy grain-laden cart over the rough roads to Schenectady, the site of the nearest market.  They completed this trek at nighttime so they could arrive home in the morning for cooking and childcare.

On one of these journeys the women passed a farm, and 16-year-old Elizabeth Borst noticed a horse that was for sale. It was a beautiful strong horse that she knew could pull the weight of the cart, possibly helping to relieve the hardship of their trips.

Hurrying home to tell their husbands and fathers about the horse, the women were not taken seriously by the men.  There were many excuses and several days went by until finally, the men decided to go and see the horse themselves. But they got there too late and the horse had been sold. 

Not to be deterred, Elizabeth and the other women convinced the men to pool their money so they could continue their search for another horse to help.   The winter season was making their trips even more difficult and dire, so their search took on greater urgency.  After nearly giving up hope, they found a horse that no one else wanted - for it was a grey and tired mare.  To appease the women, the men agreed to purchase this horse, laughing at the condition of the mare.  Walking behind her, the men joked that the stumbling mare might have to be carried to her new home in the Valley.

Although the mare tried, she was too weak to go on the treks to the market, but the kind women fed and groomed her, nonetheless.  Their kindness and ingenuity paid off a few weeks later and on a frosty early morning, the Schoharie Valley women entered the barn and discovered the true value of their perseverance.  This tired grey mare foaled during the night and gave birth to the most beautiful, lively new colt that anyone had ever seen!   

And it is this colt that is immortalized on the Schoharie County Seal running fast with joy over the valleys and hills of this beautiful region. 

Schoharie County is the only county in the State of New York that does not have a flag but let it be known, this official seal depicts a lively colt that represents all that is good and kind in this special county.