Canajoharie is a town in Montgomery County, New York, United States. The population was 3,730 at the 2010 census. Canajoharie is located south of the Mohawk River on the south border of the county. The Erie Canal passes along the north town line. There is also a village of Canajoharie in the town. Both are east of Utica and west of Amsterdam.
These were settled as European-American jurisdictions, named for the historic Mohawk village of the same name, which was also known as the Mohawk Upper Castle.
The town is near the former site of Canajoharie, an important village of the Mohawk nation that also became known as the Upper Castle. The Mohawk had as their territory most of the central area of present-day New York from the Hudson River west to where Oneida territory started. They also used the St. Lawrence River valley as hunting grounds after 1600. They dominated the fur trade with the French based in central Quebec, and with Dutch and later English in eastern New York. French, Dutch and later English trappers and traders came to this Mohawk village to trade. Both the French and Dutch married or had unions with Mohawk women, increasing their ties with the people. Their mixed-race children married into the Dutch and later English communities. Many of their sons also became interpreters or traders.
Anglo-Europeans began settling in the area around 1730 and the Mohawk gradually adopted certain English customs in their village. Because the Mohawk and three other Iroquois nations were allied with the British during the Revolutionary War, they were forced to cede most of their lands in New York after the United States victory. The state sold millions of acres of land to speculators and private owners.
The modern town was formed in 1788, but was reduced to form the towns of Minden (1798) and Root (in part, 1823). While the Mohawk Valley developed with the completion of the Erie Canal, the project also enabled considerable migration from New York to the Midwest. The population of the town in 1865 was 4,248.
Beech-Nut, the baby food producer, was founded in Canajoharie in 1891 during the period of early industrialization in the river valley. It served as the largest employer in the town for more than a century. In March 2011, the Beech-Nut factory moved out of Canajoharie, relocating to a new factory in the nearby town of Florida, near Amsterdam on the north side of the river, still in Montgomery County.