History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883
Volume II, Page 10
The Tryon County Committee.--Among its members, honored as its chairman, was Samuel Clyde of Cherry Valley, afterwards known as Colonel Clyde, as is shown by the follwoing paper:
COUNTY COMMITTEE CHAMBER , April7, 2d, 1777.
SIR.-You are hereby requested to meet and appear on Saturday next, at ten o'clock, at the house of Phillip W. Fox, with your rangers, in order to sign and swear to the new association, then and there to be laid before them.
" By order,
"SAM'L CLYDE, Chairman.
CAPT. CHRISTIAN GETTMAN."
Designs of the Foe.-The enemy having matured his plans during the winter, began to move early in the summer of 1777, and expected to make an easy conquest of the whole colony of New York. Gen. Burgoyne left Crown Point with such an army as he had vauntingly declared in the British Parliament, he could lead from Maine to Georgia, and with it one of the best trains of artillery ever yet seen in America. He was to push his way to Albany along the Hudson. Col. St. Leger, with a large body of British, tories and Indians, left Oswego at the same time, intending to pillage the beautiful valley of the Mohawk, and rest himself after his work of destruction, at Albany. Sir Henry Clinton, whose well fed troops had been basking in some of the smiles and some of the frowns of the New York fair, after doing what mischief he pleased along the romantic shores of the Hudson, was to offer his services and compliments in person to the citixens of Albany. And lastly, Capt. McDonald, a noted tory leader-a Scotchman who had been living for a time on Charlotte river, with a body of royalists and Indians, was making his way down through the Schoharie settlements, intending to meet the trio already named, and revel with them in " the beauty and booty " of Albany.
This was a most trying time for New York. To meet and repel the several attacks, appeared to some of tlie most patriotic a matter of impossibility-but with a firm reliance on the God of battles for success, they buckled on their armor, and resolved to try. Most of the published accounts erroneously make the irruption of McDonald and his legions at a latter date.
The Schoharie Settlements.-Let us look at the condition of things at tliat period in those settlements, then mostly situated in Albany enmity. Some of the Schoharie militia were called into service on several occasions in the latter part of the year 1770, and early part of 1777. Mattice Ball said he was under Capt. Hager in the enterprise which Judge Swart alludes to, as having taken place in the spring of 1777. The party were volunteers, and proceeded to Loonenburg, now Athens, to arrest Col. James Huetson, who was marshaling tories. They were in search of him for thirteen days, a part of which time they levied a tax upon his poultry yard, and ate up his chickens. After securing him and some twenty genial spirits, they delivered them to the military department at Albany for safe keeping. Huetson was afterwards hung.
At the suggestion of the State committee, Col. Harper, accompanied by a white man and an Indian, February 17, 1777, visited Oquago to look after Indian affairs. The object of his mission was, to keep the Indians in a neutral condition in the coming contest. March 10, from Cherry Valley, he reported his success to that committee. He distributed some presents, purchased an ox to feast them on ; incurring altogether an expense of £29.01.6, which bill was ordered canceled.*
Brant and Tice Wanted by State Committee.-The State Committee of Safety, looked upon the Indian, Joseph Brant, acting in the interest of the loyalists of Central New York, as being a dangerous man, owing to the influence he was exerting upon the Orange Indians ; and on February 9, 1777, that body passed the following resolution.+
" Resolved, That it is the opinion of the Committee, that it will be of great service to the American cause, to apprehend the said Joseph Brant, and also one Gilbert Fice ("ice)++ who this committee are informed, accompanies him-that no cost or labor should be spared to obtain that end-and that Mr. John Harper, of the county of Tryon, be recommended to Gen. Schuyler, as a proper person to be immediately supplied with a sufficient party, if necessary, for that service, he being according to good information, well acquainted at the Oncoghquage castle, and strongly attached to the American cause."
In the next day's proceedings of the State committee, is the following entry:
"The committee appointed to confer with
* Prov. Jour., vol. I, p. 880.
+ Journal of New York Committee of Safety, p. 800.
++ Gilbert Tice, was it former prominent citizen of Johnstown, and waa a witness to the will of Sir William Johnson. He left that place and went to Canada with the Johnson family.
Mr. John Harper, messenger from the chiefs of the Oncoghquaga Indians, on the subject of the message from those Indians to convention, reported," by an address, which assured them they should not be defrauded of their lands by Croghan or any one else, and with the following resolution, which shows that they also demanded gun-powder :
Resolved, That 100 weight of gun-powder be presented to the Indians residing at Oncoghquaga and its neighborhood, in the county of Tryon, and that Mr. John R. Livingston be required to deliver that quantity to Mr. John Harper, out of the powder at his works belonging to the State." *
Brant and Tice were not arrested, but it is quite probable the Indians got the powder and used it in the interest of the enemy. Thus we see every pains were taken to keep the Indians from espousing the British interest, but without avail.
I have remarked briefly, that members of families in Schoharie were found entertaining different opinions respecting the beligerent attitude of England and her colonies, and consequently in hostile array. Capt. Jacob Ball, mentioned as the brother of Johannes Ball, raised a company of 63 royalists at the Beaverdam and in Duanesburg, and went to Canada, accompanied by several relatives. George Mann, another captain of militia to whom we have alluded, on being ordered out with his company to oppose the enemy, openly declared himself friendly to the royal power. Adam Crysler and his brother, with several other individuals of influence, residing in the south part of the Schoharie settlement, also sided with royalty. The example of several respectable officers and other individuals of reputation, augured no good for the welfare of the community, as the prudent knew full well that a " house divided against itself," like Franklin's empty bag, " could not stand alone."
Indians Visit Boston.-In March 1777, a deputation of six Oneidas with
Rev. Samuel Kirkland, a missionary to their nation-who was, no doubt, mainly
instrumental to their remaining in the interest of the colonies-visited the
New England Slates, going as far as Boston ; on their return they also visited
Uyn. Washington at his camp, after which five of the Indians went on to their
homea. "Kayendalongwea, one of the principal
* Journal of New York Committee, p. 803.
chiefs, and Mr. Kirkland stopping at Kingston, N. Y., where the Provincial Convention was in session. This enterprise was originated, to have those men see and carry back to their people, some evidence of the relative strength of the young republic and its preparation for war ; the greater part of the Six Nations having already been made to believe that the Americans could be subdued very easily. They went east with a passport from Gen. Schuyler, Douw and Edwards, three of the commissioners for Indian affairs, and returned home with a passport from Gen. Washington. Gen. Tenbroeck, then president of the convention, addressed the sachem through Mr. Kirkland, as interpreter, and here is a part of his address:
"Brother, we commend the wisdom of your nation in deputing you to repair to our Chief Warrior, and see the situation of affairs. We hope you will now be enabled to contradict those false reports concerning the enemy's strength and our weakness, which their wicked emissaries have artfully attempted to diffuse through the Indian nations.
" Brother, we wish you a good journey. Assure our brothers, the Oneidas, and the rest of the Six Nations, of our friendship, and accept this acknowledgment of the regard we have for you and our brethren of your company." The convention had given them $100 to defray their expenses.
An Indian Speech.-Cayendalongwea, replied in a pretty speech of some length. Indian speeches are usually in short paragraphs. After rounding several sentences, in one of which he said : " We are all well pleased with what we have seen, particularly the Chief Warrior (Washington), whom we look on as our brother." He closed as follows:
" Brothers, In all our travels the voice of my party has been, that the King of Great Britain has spread lies through the Six Nations. Your people, or the superintendent of Albany, have not told us one lie. They told us he had possessed the whole sea cost. We find it not true. We are well pleased with what we have seen. We have not seen one spot on which he has set his foot. We have seen many places you have taken from him. Our country is in a different situation. There is an enemy tothe westward ; it is therefore necessary for me to return home without delay, and inform the Six Nations of what we have seen and know.
" Brothers, you have given us assistance to travel on the road ; we thank you, brethren, for your kindness. We must inform you that we have, in our journey, been everywhere well treated. We have lived in plenty, and been frequently carried above ground, which is not so common to us warriors. We shall faithfully represent to the Six Nations, the state of affairs as we liave seen and heard them."
Joseph Brant was not only not arrested, but continued to exert all his energies to keep the Schoharie, Susquehanna and other Indians, clans of the Mohawks, in the British interest, and as appears by an affidavit of William Johnston, Jr., made July 16, 1777, which I find on the journal of the New York council of safety, he had, as early as June 2d, with some 80 warriors, commenced marauding on the settlements at Unadilla, by appropriating their cattle, sheep and swine to his own benefit.
Gen. Herkimer goes to Unadilla.-To obtain satisfaction for those cattle, and, if possible, get the Indians to remain neutral in the approaching contest, in the latter part of June, 1777, Gen. Herkimer, with a body of the Tryon county militia, proceeded to Unadilla, an Indian settlement on the Susquehanna, to hold an interview with Brant. That celebrated chief, then at Oquago, was sent for by Gen. Herkimer, and arrived on the 7th, after the Americans had been there about eight days in waiting.
On the same day that Johnaton made his affidavit, two letters were received by the council from Tryon county, one from the committee at Harpersfield, one of the extreme S. W. settlements of Tryon, dated the 4th instant, and the other from Wm. Harper, Esq., dated four days after, informing that body of their apprehensions of the Indians and praying for protection.
Colonel John Harper, who attended Gen. Herkimer at this time, also made an affidavit on the 16th of July following the interview, showing the principal grievances of which the Indians complained, as also the fact that they were in covenant with the king, wfiose belts were yet lodged among them, and whose service they intended to enter. The instrument farther testified, that Brant, instead of returning to Oswego, as he informed Gen. Herkimer was his intention ; had remained in the neighborhood, on the withdrawal of the American militia, and was preparing to destroy the frontier settlement.
Statement.-As this sworn statement of Col. Harper gives the most circumstantial
account of this attempt, one of the last of our State authorities, to wean
the Indians from the British interest into a state of neutrality ; it may
be well here to give a synopsis of it, as Gen. Herkimer was mortally wounded
only 21 days after Harper's account of this meeting was given in. Said Col.
Harper, the interview between Herkimer and Brant took place in his presence
June 27, 1777. Gen. Herkimer had with him about 380 militiamen of the county,
and met Joseph Brant at a place called Unadilla, on the Susquehanna, to demand
the reason why he had taken cattle from the people of that place-of course
surreptitiously. Brant had several chief warriors with him. Herkimer delivered
his speech tending to peace with all the Indian nations. Brant replied he
was thankful the General was peaceably disposed, but as they were hungry they
could not speak until they had eaten. He and his chiefs then went away to
refresh themselves, and returned with about 137 warriors. He thought by the
numbers attending Herkimer, he was disposed for war, and if so, he was ready
for him--said there were some things which kept the Six Nations uneasy.
Fac Simile of his Autograph.
Brant's reasons assigned for this, were--first, that the Mohawks were confined, and had not the liberty of passing back and forth as formerly; second, their minister, Mr. Stewart, had not liberty to pass and repass, as formerly, to carry on their religious worship: third, that forts were built in Indian territory and on their lands; that these were the only matters of consequence which made the minds of the Six Nations uneasy, and appeared as if designed against them, and that if these were rectified it would give their minds ease. These were -flimsy reasons, for they had placed themselves in the category tomplained of, by leaving the Mohawk valley with the loyal Johnson party. If Mr. Stewart had gone to the Canajoharie Castle to preach, there were few Indians remaining there to hear him.
The statement continued: Gen. Herkimer asked if they would be peaceable, and do nothing against the country, if these things were rectified? Brant threw off his disguise, and replied: That the Indians were already in covenant with the King, as their fathers had been; that the King's belts were lodged among them, that they could not be such great scoundrels as to falsify their pledges of trust; that the General and his party had joined the Boston people against the King, and that although the Boston people were resolute, the King would humble them; that Gen. Schuyler had been very smart on the Indians at the treaty at the German Flats, and threatened them if they should join the King's party, and, at the same time, could not put linen shirts on their backs; that the Indians were not to be scared by Mr. Schuyler's threats; that the Indians had formerly made war with the white people, when both the King and country were together, and since they were opposed to each other, the Indians were not to be frightened.
After Brant had declared they would adhere faithfully to the King, Col. Cox said if that was their resolution, there need be no further inquiry, as the matter was settled. Brant then turned and spoke to his warriors, and they shouted and ran to their camp for their arms; that in their camp, a mile away, they fired a number of guns, and gave the war whoop; that Gen. Herkimer told Brant he did not come there to fight, and he must keep his warriors at their camp; that Brant's speaker arose, and, in a threatening posture told Herkimer they were ready to come to action; that he proposed Mr. Stewart should have leave to go to the Upper Mohawk Castle, that the people of Unadilla should be permitted to remain at home as subjects of the King ; that they had been obliged to take an oath of allegiance to the States, contrary to their consciences; that Gen. Herkimer told him his party came after tories and deserers, and required Brant to give up those under his protection; that he refused to give up either, and insisted they should remain in possession of their places, and subject only to their King ; that Gen. Herkimer agreed to his proposals; that Brant then said his warriors would go away, and he must go to Oswego to meet Col. Butler; that Brant next day put the tories in possession of their places; that Herkimer and his party then came away. He further stated that he had since been informed by an Indian that Brant was still recruiting at Oquago, and was joined daily by recruits from different nations-intending to fall unexpectedly upon the white people. Thus will the reader observe that this mission, with a humane and Christian motive, was nearly an abortive one, but the object was worth its trial.
Statement of Joseph Wagner.-The following account of the interview between Gen. Herkimer and Brant, which I first published in 1845, I obtained several years before of the old patriot Joseph Wagner, of Fort Plain. He stated to me that at the rirst meeting of Gen. Herkimer with Brant, the latter was attended by three other chiefs; William Johnson, a reputed son of Sir William Johnson, who is mentioned in his will as a Canajoharie Indian, and who was killed at the battle of Oriskany the same year; Pool, a smart-looking fellow with curly hair, supposed part Indian and part Negro, and a short dark-skinned Indian, the four encircled by a body-guard of some twenty noble-looking warriors.
When in his presence, Brant rather haughtily asked Gen. Herkimer, the object of his visit, which was readily made known ; but seeing many attendants, the chief suspected the interview was sought for another purpose. Said Brant to Herkimer, I have five hundred warriors at my command, and can in an instant destroy you and your party; but we are old neighbors and friends, and I will not do it. Col. Cox, a smart officer who accompanied Gen. Herkimer, exchanged several sarcastic expressions with Brant, which served not a little to irritate him and his followers. The two had had a quarrel a few years previous, about lands around the Upper Indian castle. Provoked to anger. Brant asked Cox if he was not the son-in-law of old George Klock? Yes ! replied Cox in a tone of malignity, and what is that to you, you d-d Indian? At the close of this dialogue Brant's guard ran off to their camp, firing several guns, and making the hills echo back their savage yells. Gen. Herkimer then assured Brant that he intended his visit for one of a pacific nature, and urged him to prevent their moving to hostilities. A word from that chief hushed the tempest of human passion, which but an instant before had threatened to deluge the valley with blood; the parties, however, were too heated to proceed with the business which convened them.
Said Brant, addressing Gen. Herkimer, is it needless to multiply words at this time, I will meet you here at precisely 9 o'clock tomorrow morning. The parties then separated to occupy their former position in camp.
of Gen. Herkimer. - From what had transpired, I presume Gen. Herkimer
did not feel wholly secure in his person ; for early on the following morning
he called on Mr. Wagner, then an active youug soldier of hia party and taking
him aside, asked him if he could keep a secret, When assured in the affirmative,
he informed Wagner that he wished him to select three other persons, who,
with himself should be in readiness at a given signal, to shoot Brant and
the other three chiefs, if the interview about to take place did not end
amicably. In case of the least hostile movement on their part, the chiefs
were to be sacrificed. Wagner selected Abraham and Geo. Herkimer, nephews
of Gen. Herkimer, and a third person name now forgotten. Col. Stone, speaking
of this transaction in the Life of Brant, not aware of its having been caused
by the circumstances as an arrangement of caution; reflecting credibly on
the prudence of Gen. Herkimer, thus comments on it: " There is something
so revolting-so rank and foul-in this project of meditated treachery, that
it is difficult to reconcile it with the known character of Gen. Herkimer."
In another place he adds, " A betrayal of his (Herkimer's) confidence,
under those circumstances, would have brought a stain upon the character of
the provincials, which all the waters of the Mohawk could not have washed
away." Difficult indeed would it be if necessary, to reconcile this affair
with the honorable life of the brave IIerkimer, but such is not the case,
and I have presented this whole matter solely to correct an impression conveyed
in the life of Brant, which reflects ignobly on the character of that officer.
The whole proceeding was only one of precaution, and had it been otherwise
would have been executed, as ample opportunity was afforded Wagner and his
accomplices, to assassinate the chiefs. Col. Stone quotes the manuscript of
my informant as authority for what he states, but there is some mistake in
the matter, as Wagner assured the writer he never had furnished a manuscript
account of the affair to any one.*
* This account of the second interview between Gen Herkimer and Brant, was corroborated by the late Gen. Chas. Gray, of Herkimer village, who had the story from his father, a soldier there under Gen. Herkimer.
With the arrangement of Gen. Herkimer, as stated above, the parties held their interview on the 28th of June. Brant was the first to speak : said he-" Gen. Herkimer, I now fully com- prehend the object of your visit, but you are too late, I am al- ready engaged to serve the king. We are old friends and can do no less than let you return home unmolested, although you are entirely within my power." After a little more conversation, in which the parties agreed to separate amicably, the conference ended, at which time Gen. Herkimer presented to Brant seven or eight fat cattle that had but just arrived, owing to obstructions on the outlet of Otsego Lake, down which stream they were driven. For three days previous to the arrival of the cattle, the Americans were on very short allowance.
Whether Brant had 500 men at his command is doubted; Col. Harper has given their number as about 137-possibly there were foes in concealment unknown to that officer. The Americans retraced their steps to the Mohawk valley, and scarcely had they set out, when the Indians began to repeat their depredations on the patriotic citizens in the neighborhood. Brant soon after fell back to Oquago, to strengthen his numbers, and prepare to act in concert with St. Leger.
After the war Brant visited the Mohawk valley, at which time Mr. Wagner conversed with him about the treaty at Unadilla. On being assured by the latter that he was in readiness at the second interview to shoot him down, that chief expressed much surprise that Gen. Herkimer had taken such precaution. Important paper of Chairman Ball: "Schoharie, July 7th, 1777, in Committee Chamber first Resolved, that all the persons between the ages of sixteen and fifty years, from the dwelling house of Christian Shaffer and to northward in Schoharie, are to bring their arms and accoutrements when they come to the meeting at either of the two churches in Fountain Town and Foxes Town,* on Sunday or any other day when kept; and if any of them shall neglect in bringing their arms and accoutrements to either of the churches, shall forfeit and pay the sum of three shillings, New York currency, into the hands of Mr.
* The former a Lutheran church then standing on the present site of the Lutheran cemetery, a lltle distance east of the Court House, and the latter the stone edifice erected by the Dutch church, and still standing one mile north of tlie Court House, now familiarly known as the Old Fort. It was for a time used as an Arsenal. The State has since given it to the town of Schoharie for preservation.
Johannes Ball, for the use of paying the costs for the district of Schoharie; or if any person shall not pay-the said sum as aforesaid, it shall be lawful for Mr. Johannes Ball to give a warrant directed to a sergeant or corporal, and levy the same on the offender's goods and chattels, and also the costs thereof.
"And the persons inhabiting from the dwelling of Baltus Krysler to the said Christian Shaffer, are to bring their arms, &c., to the church in Weiser's Town [now Middleburgh], as they are ordered to [in] Foxes town; and, if neglected, to pay the same to Mr. Johannes Becker, and be put in execution by him as ordered by Mr. Ball aforesaid.
"And persona southward from Baltus Krysler's are to be armed when [they] come to any meeting that may be kept in Brakabeen, and, if neglected, to pay the fines to Mr. William Zimmer, and to be put by him in execution as before mentioned, and for the use as aforesaid.
" N. B. Their resolve in Fountain Town Church is to be paid to Mr. Johannes Lawyer, and to be put by him in execution as within mentioned, and for the use as aforesaid; and George Warner is appointed to see [that] the inhabitants of Cobelskill bring their arms when [they] come to meeting there, and put this resolve in execution as within mentioned, and for the use aforesaid.
"Secondly, Resolved, That four watches are to be kept in Schoharie every night from this time constant: the first is to be kept at the dwelling house of Capt. George Mann, and under his command, and in his absence the next in command; the inhabitants from Christian Shaffer's dwelling house and to northward, are to be under Capt. Mann's command for the watch to consist of eight men. The second is to be kept at the dwelling house of Mr. Hendrick P. Becker, and under command of Capt. George Richtmyer, and in his absence the next officer in command: the inhabitants from Hendrick Tansen's house and so northward to Christian Shaffer's, are under the command of the second watch, and to consist of six men. The third is to be kept at the dwelling house of Mr. Johannes Feak, and under the command of Lieut. Martynus Van Slyck, and in his absence the next officer in command; the inhabitants from Baltus Krysler's dwelling house* and so northward to Hendrick Tanse's are under
* This was situated where now stands the residence of the late Samuel Lawyer, in the town of Fulton.
the command of this third watch, and to consist of six men. And the fourth is to be at the dwelling house of Mr. Kendrick Hager and under the command of Capt. Jacob Hager, in his ab- sence the next officer in command ; and this watch is to consist of six men. Every person or persons neglecting to serve on each or either of such watches aforementioned, shall for every neglect pay and forfeit the sum of twelve shillings for the use of the district of Schoharie."
Harpersfield.-At an early stage of difficulties, the little settlement at Harpersfield, which was greatly exposed to savage inroads, organized a committee of vigilance, of which Isaac Patchin was chairman. This settlement was within the limits of Tryon county. In view of the enemy's proximity, Mr. Patchin wrote to the State Council of Safety, on the 4th of July, 1777, as follows:
" GENTLEMEN-The late irruptions and hostilities committed at Tunadilla, by Joseph Brandt, with a party of Indians and tories, have so alarmed the well-affected inhabitants of this and the neighboring settlements, who are now the entire frontier of this State, that except your honors doth afford us immediate protection, we shall be obliged to leave our settlements to save our lives and families; especially as there is not a man on the outside of us, but such as have taken protection of Brant, and many of them have threatened our destruction in a short time, the particular circumstances of which Col. Harper, (who will wait on your honors,) can give you a full account of, by whom we hope for your protection, in what manner to conduct ourselves."
Earliest prisoners.-In a letter from Col. Guy Johnson to Lord Geo. Germain, dated at New York, July 7, 1777, he says, that Joseph (meaning Brant) had stated to him, that his friends had already cut off a sergeant and twelve men near Fort Stanwix. This, which seems an unrecorded event in our annals, was no doubt one of the earliest movements of the enemy in the capture of American prisoners; which, as we may suppose, were taken to Canada.
On the 8th July, William Harper wrote the Albany council from Cherry Valley, also within Tryon county, stating the exposed
* Brod. Papers, vol. 8, page 713.
condition of that place, and the rumor of the enemy's nearness under Brant. The committee to which was referred the correspondence of Isaac Patohin and Wm. Harper, introduced: several resolutions to the council of safety on the 17th of July; in which they recommended raising two companies of rangers, to serve on the frontiers of Tryon, Ulster, and Albany counties, under the command of John Harper and James Clyle, as captains, ahd Alexander Harper and John Campbell as lieutenants. Lt. Harper, as soon as twenty-five men were enlisted by Col. John Harper, a recruiting officer, was to take charge of them and repair to a post of danger.
In the correspondence of the Provincial Congress of New York, I find the following:
"SCHOHARIE COMMITTEE CHAMBER, Juy 17, 1777.
" GENTLEMEN-The late advantage gained over us by the enemy, has such effect upon numbers here, that many we thought steady friends to the State seem to draw back; our state therefore, is deplorable; all our frontiers (frontier settlers) except those that are to take protection from the enemy, are gone, so that we are entirely open to the Indians and tories, which we expect every hour to come to this setllement: part of our militia is at Fort Edward; the few that are here many of them, are unwilling to take up arms to defend themselves, as they are not able to stand against so great a number of declared enemies, who speak openly without any reserve. Therefore, if your honors do not grant us immediate relief, of about 500 men to help defend us, we must either fall a prey to the enemy, or take protection also. For further particulars we refer you to the bearer, Col. Willet, in whom we confide to give you a true account of our state and situation, and of the back settlements, as he is well acquainted with them. We beg that your honors will be pleased to send us an answer by the bearer. We remain,
"Your honors' most obed't humble servant'.
" Signed by order of the committee,
"JOHANNES BALL, Chairman"
The above letter was read in council, at their afternoon session, on Saturday, July 19th, and after some discussion it was referred to Messrs. J. Platt, and R. R. Livingston. On the 22d, the council wrote as follows:
To the Chairman of the Committee of Schoharie:
"KINGSTON, July 22, 1777.
"GENTLEMEN-It greatly astonishes this council that the settlement of Schoharie, which has always been considered as firmly and spiritedly attached to the American cause, should be panic struck upon the least appearance of danger. Can you conceive that our liberties can possibly be redeemed from that vassalage which our implacable foes are, with unrelenting cruelty, framing for us, without some danger and some vigorous efforts on our part? To expect that Providence, however righteous our cause, will, without a vigorous use of those means which it has put in our power, interpose in our behalf, is truly to expect that God will work miracles for us, when those means, Well improved, will afford sufficient security to our inestimable rights. It is your bounden duty, if you wish for the smiles of heaven in favor of the public cause in which you are so deeply interested, to acquit yourselves like men. A few worthless Indians, and a set of villains, who have basely deserted their country, are all the enemies you have to fear.
" We have good reason to believe that the greatest and most deserving part of the Six Nations are well disposed towards us. This council is exerting itself to secure you against danger, and only wish you would second their efforts. Tryon county is a frontier to your settlement; in that county Fort Schuyler is a respectable fortress, properly garrisoned. Maj.-Gen. Schuyler has sent up a part of a regiment as a further reinforcement. We have authorized Col. Harper to raise and embody 200 men for covering and protecting the inhabitants, and have formed such a disposition of the militia of the county of Tryon for alternate relieves as we hope will tend effectually to secure you.
" If any proclamations or protections should be offered you by the enemy, by all means reject them. From the woful experience of those who have fallen within their influence in other parts of the country we have the highest reason to believe that your acceptance of those tenders of friendship, should they be made, will render your misery and slavery unavoidable.
"In further attention to the cause of your settlement and Tryon county, we have this morning sent Mr. Robert Livingston to Gen. Washington. He is authorized to concert with his Excellency the moat effectual measures for putting the western frontiers of this State in all possible security.
" In the meantime we expect much from your public virtue; that it will induce you to apprehend and send to us the disaffected among you; that it will lead you to the most effectual means of securing your property from the depredations of a weak but insidious foe; and that it will teach you the impropriety of deserting your habitations, and keep yon in continual readiness to repel the assaults of the enemies of the liberty of your country. We write to the general committee of the county of Albany, to give you all the countenance, assistance and support in their power."
The following is part of a letter from the same body, under the same date, to the Albany committee.
" Gentlemen--The great depression of spirits of the inhabitants of Tryon county, and settlers of Schoharie, give this council much uneasiness, as it exposes them to the depredations of an enemy whom they might otherwise despise.
" We hope that your committee will not be wanting to support the drooping spirits of the western inhabitants in general, and particularly of those within your county. We have great reason to fear the breaking up of the settlement of Schoharie, unless our exertions be seconded by your efforts. You well know that such an event on the frontiers will not only be attended with infinite mischief to the inhabitants, but will furnish cause for discouragement to the country in general. Every means should therefore be tried to prevent it.
"This Council are earnestly solicitous to put the western frontiers of this State in a situation as respectable as possible; and though they conceive the enemy's strength to consist principally in those exaggerations which result from the threats of our internal foes, and the fears of our friends, yet as those may be productive of real mischief, they would endeavor by every means in their power to prevent the evil. Your known exertions in the public cause will not permit them to doubt of your straining every nerve to second their endeavors, etc., etc."
The Above Correspondence Shows a false Estimate of Danger.-The reader will observe that in the letter to the Schoharie committee, the State council, in speaking of the foe to which the Scholiarie settlement was exposed, consisted only of a few worthless Indians and tories; and that they believed the Six Nations, as a whole, were well affected towards the republicans. This, however, as the result showed, was not the fact as the principal warriors of four of the Six Nations had already taken up the British hatchet, and were led on by a formidable number of royalists. They also spoke of Tryon county as the frontier of Schoharie-the whole being well protected by the garrison of Fort Schuyler, better known as Fort Stanwix. This part of the letter discovers the ignorance of the council of the true geography of the frontier settlements; as that fort was situated at least 100 miles northwest of Schoharie, while the enemies of the latter were expected from a southwest direction, from whence they usually approached. In that direction were tlie settlments of Unadilla, Harpersfield and Wyoming, either of which could be avoided; but the two former were early broken up and their well disposed inhabitants driven in upon less exposed communities-while the fate of the latter is well known. The truth is, that, as an old soldier, James Williamson of Fort Schuyler, once observed to the writer, that fortress did not answer the purposes for which it was intended in the Revolution, after the year 1777, as the enemy could, and did pass round it in every direction to the frontier settlements-the unbroken forest concealing their approach, until, as if by magic, they appeared at the very dwellings of the pioneers. Indeed, those entering the lower part of the valley, often came by the Sacondaga route and Johnstown settlements, making their appearance over 50 miles below Fort Stanwix. Williamson said that when he was at that post, and the enemy made raids upon communities so distant from them, the soldiers often wished themselves within striking distance, so as to punish their cruel audacity.
On the 22d of July, the chairman of the Albany committee wrote to Gen. Schuyler as follows :
"HON. SIR-Colo. Vrooman and two other gentlemen from Schoharie, are now with us, and represent the distress their part of the country is driven to.
" Threats, they hourly receive; their persons and property are exposed to imminent danger; nearly one half of the people heretofore well disposed, have laid down their arms, and propose to side with the enemy. All which change has taken its oorigin from the desertion of Ticonderoga, the unprecedented loss of which, we are afraid, will be followed by a revolt of more than one half of the northern part of this county. We therefore beg leave to suggest whether it would not be advisable to detain one or two companies of continental troops, which are expected here, to be sent that way for a few days, which we suppose might bring the greater part again to a sense of their duty."
On the 24th of July, the chairman of the Albany committee wrote to the Council of Safety as follows:
GENTLEMEN-Yours of the 22d instant is now before us, recommending us to use our utmost influence to revive the drooping spirits of the inhabitants of this and Tryon county. A duty so essential as this, has long since been our principal object, by following the example you have recommended to us; but upon the whole, gentlemen, they are only words upon which we have long played, and we earnestly hope they may be realized in such a manner as that the usual confidence the people of this and Tryon county have in our board, may not depreciate in the eyes of the public, on which head we beg leave to remark, that your sanguine expectations of Col. Harper's rangers will by no means answer the purpose. The gentleman undoubtedly has abilities, and will exert himself; but when this matter is held up in a more clear view, it will appear that every man, almost, in this and Tryon county, adapted for the ranging service, is engaged in the continental, occasioned by the amazing bounty that has been given; and on the other hand, the necessary men employed in various branches attending an army, together with the constant drain of militia, though but few in number, occasioned by the above circuinstance, are still necessitated to discharge their duty to their country, all which point out to you the impracticability of the plan. After considering these particulars, which we believe have not been sufficiently suggested by the honorable the council, we conceive it will be impossible to collect any more men on the proposed plan, by reason that their pay and encouragement is not adequate to the times. If the foregoing difficulties have any weight, you may judge that no essential service can be expected from the rangers, nor can have any weight, with the people to the westward.
" We enclose you a copy of a letter by us sent to Gen. Schuyler, from which you will perceive the distressed situation the people of Schoharie are in."
The reader will see by the tone of the above letter, that it was easier to talk about Col. Harper's troops for covering Schoharie, than to raise them.
On the 25th of July, Mr. Livingston returned from his conference with the Commander-in-chief, and reported, that his Excellency had already ordered Gen. Glover's division of the army to march to the relief of Tryon county; and a letter was immediately dispatched to the committee of that county, informing them that Glover's brigade had marched to Albany, there to receive directions from Gen. Schuyler, then in command of the northern army. The latter officer, in a letter to the Albany committee, dated Moses Creek, four miles below Fort Edward, July 24th, after speaking of the gloomy aspect of military affairs in that quarter, the desertion of New England troops, etc., thus adds:
"Happy I should be, in some degree, if I could close the melancholly tale here ; but every letter I receive from the county of Tryon, advises me that the inhabitants of it will lay down their arms, unless I support them with continental troops. From what I have said you will see the impossibility of my complying with their request. The district of Schoharie has also pointedly intimated, that unless continental troops are sent there, they will also submit to the enemy. Should it be asked what line of conduct I mean to hold amidst this variety of difficulties and distress, I would answer, to dispute every inch of ground with Gen. Burgoyne, and retard his descent into the country as long as possible, without the least hopes of being able to prevent his ultimately reaching Albany, unless I am reinforced from Gen. Washington, or by a respectable body of militia. The former I am advised I am not to have, and whence to procure the latter I know not. I must therefore look up to you; but though I am under the fullest conviction that you will afford me every aid in your power, yet I fear it cannot be much.
"In this situation you will be pleased to permit me to observe, that I think the Council of Safety ought to press Gen. Washington for an immediate reinforcement of at least fifteen hundred good continental troops. Those of our own. State, if possible, if not from any of the southern colonies; one thousand to reinforce me, the remainder to be sent to Tryon county."
In the same letter Gen. Schuyler expressed his fears that should Burgoyne be able to penetrate to Albany, the force approaching the Mohawk under Col. St. Ledger would be able to meet him there; in which case if Gen. Howe pressed up the river; Gen. Washington would either be put between two fires, or compelled to file off into New England. He however trusted such a result might not be realized, and hoped the freedom of his sentiments would not be thought to rise from a principle which would disgrace a soldier. He added: " I assure you they do not; and I hope my countrymen will never have occasion to blush for me, whatever may be the event of this campaign."
A further misconception of Frontier Danger.-The Council of Safety, in reply to the Albany committee's letter of the 24th, responded on the 27th of July as follows :
" GENTLEMEN-Your letter of the 24th inst, has just been received and laid before the council. It was not by words alone that the council expects the drooping spirits of the inhabitants of Tryon county should be revived, nor do they know any other way of realizing those expectations than by vigorous exertions.
" It is highly unreasonable to expect that the militia of other states or additional detachments from the continental army should be sent to Tryon county or Schoharie, when their own exertions, with the aid already afforded, would secure them. Harper's rangers are not the only measures taken for their support ; a third part of the militia is ordered to be embodied, and the council will provide for their pay. But if when their all is at stake, they should think the wages too little, and from such degenerate, mercenary principles refuse to march, they will merit the distinction to which their want of courage and public spirit will expose them.
" It is by example, not speeches, that the council wish they may be encouraged. They expect the county of Albany will exert itself; that their leading men on other occasions, will not be backward now; that they will march with the militia, and animate the body of the people by their perseverance, spirit and patriotism. If the salvation of such a cause be not sufficient lo induce us to such actions, future generations may, with propriety, say that we did not deserve to be free. If malcontents among you are fomenting divisions or encouraging a revolt, they onght to be immediately apprehended, and it is presumed you have sufficient strength at least for the purpose of internal government. If a few dispirited people are permitted to lay down their arms, and with impunity, not only to disobey orders, but to say they will side with the enemy, government has become base and feeble indeed. Your powers are equal to all these exigences, and the council hope you will exert them. That large drafts, of men haoe been made from the militia is a fact not to be denied; but it is equally true that their number is still very respectable, and if they please, very formidable. In short, there is reason to fear that the panic and irresolution which seems to prevail in the western district will, by being introduced into the history of the present glorious contest, injure the reputation which this State has justly acquired by its strenuous and noble exertions in the common cause of America.
" P. S. We have the best assurances that Gen. Glover, with his brigade, is sent up to reinforce the northern department; and we flatter ourselves that Maj.-Gen. Schuyler will, as he finds. himself reinforced, cause troops to file off for the defense of the western frontiers. To facilitate this, we have written pressingly to the Governor of Connecticut for aid."
Girls Shot near Fort Stanwix.-The following extract of a letter from Col. Ganaevoort to Col. Van Schaick, dated Fort Schuyler, old Fort Stanwix, July 28, will show one of the earliest of those tragedies which crimsoned the frontier forest of New York.
" DEAR SIR-Yesterday, at three o'clock in the afternoon, our garrison was alarmed with the firing of four guns. A party of men were instantly dispatched to the place where the guns were fired, which was in the edge of the woods, about five hundred yards from the fort, but they were too late. The villains were fled, after having shot three girls who were out picking raspberries, two of whom were lying scalped and tomahawked; one dead and the other expiring, who died in about half an hour after she was brought home. The third had two balls through the shoulder, but made out to make her escape. Her wounds are not thought dangerous: by the best discoveries we have made, there were four Indians who perpetrated these murders.
"I had four men with arms just pass that place, but these mercenaries of Britain came not to fight, but to lie in wait to murder; and it is equally the same to them, if they can get a scalp, whether it is from a soldier or an innocent babe." *
Instead of Gen. Schuyler's affording the western settlements any relief after having been reinforced by Glover's brigade, we find him, under date of August 1st, writing from Saratoga to the New York council as follows:
" I have desired Col. Van Schaick to apply for all the militia of Schoharie, Duanesburg, Schenectada and Tryon county, that can be collected; but I forsee that nothing will be effected, unless a committee of your body is deputed to repair to Albany." [Those militia were intended to reinforce the northern army].
A Glance at the Doings of the Enemy.-Let us take a hasty glance at the progress of the enemy's campaign in the summer of 1777, when he hoped with one energetic blow, to separate the New England from the Middle States. Col. St. Leger, checked in his progress down the Mohawk, by a bloody battle with the Tryon county militia, at Oriskany, on the morning of August 6th, under the brave old Herkimer, in which some of his men performed prodigies of valor; and a timely sortie from Fort Stanwix by troops under Col. Willet-finding his Indians deserting him-Col. Gansevoort unwilling to surrender-and a body of troops under Gen. Arnold advancing to raise the siege of that fortress-was obliged to make good his retreat to Canada. Gen. Burgoyne, after contesting the ground for some time and meeting with repeated defeats-seeing his Indian allies deserting him from a dislike to Morgan's rifle-men, and his own retreat cut off, surrendered his army to Gen. Gates, who had succeeded Schuyler, as prisoners of war. Sir. Henry Clinton, after ascending the Hudson with a body of troops, as far as Kingston, and reducing that flourishing village to ashes, learning that Gov. Clinton was marching to oppose him, fell back down the river.
* One of the girls killed was Caty Steers, then 20 years old, and a daughter of a pioneer settler. She was living at the time in the family of Johannes Roof, not far from the fort.
It remains for us to follow the footsteps of McDonald. At this unsettled period when no forts had been erected in the Schoharie settlements to which the timid might flee for safety, confusion, for want of union, was manifested among the courageous. *
Under date of August 9th, the Albany committee wrote to the Council of Safety as follows:
" We inclose you a copy of a letter just now received from the committee of Schenectada. You will perceive by its contents, that a reinforcement is called for in that quarter. It gives us pain to inform you that it is out of the power of this county to send them any. The depredations committed by the tories is of the worst consequences, as it effectually prevents the militia from joining the army pursuant to Gen. Ten Broeck's request; each part calls for more help to assist themselves. A Captain Mann, of the militia of Schoharie has collected a number of Indians and tories ; declares himself a friend to King George, and threatens destruction to all who do not lay down their arms or take protection from our enemies. In order to support our friends in that quarter, a force should be sent to them. This is needless to attempt, as a reason is assigned why no force can be had.
"In yours of the 27th ult., you desire that every nerve may be exerted ; this has been done, though without the desired effect. Our army to the northward, we have already informed you, does not appear adequate to repel the force supposed to be coming against them," etc., etc.
The above letter, and one from Gen. Schuyler, dated at Stillwater, August 6th, were received by the State council on the llth; from the latter, I take the following extract:
" General Ten Broeck has ordered out the whole of the militia; but I fear very few will march, and that most of them will behave as the Schoharie and Schenectada militia have done. How that is, you will see by the inclosed, which are copies of letters I have this morning received." [What the conduct alluded to was, does not appear on the journal of the council, but we may suppose they refused to march until some provision was made for the protection of their own families against the common foe.]
On the afternoon
of Monday, the 11th, Benjamin Bartholomew
* In the Annals of Tryon County, the invasion of McDonald is erroneously set down as having occurred in 1778. Campbell also states tliat three forts had been erected in Schoharie the fall before. The forts were erected at the time he states; but not, however, unlil after McDonald's visit.
from Schoharie, was admitted to the council chamber, and informed the council in substance:
" That a certain man at Schoharie was collecting a party in favor of the enemy, which had dispirited the inhabitants; that the few resolutely well affected were escaping from thence privately." [That body then drafted the following letter to Gov. Clinton :] "SIR-The Council have received advice, that one Captain Mann is collecting a force in Schoharie, and has prevailed upon the inhabitants, through fear, to take part with him, and even to take up arms against us. As this must expose the frontiers of Ulster and Albany counties, the flame may possibly extend further, if not instantly checked.
" They would suggest to your Excellency the propriety of sending a party under the command of an active and intelligent officer, by the way of Woodstock or Catskill, who may fall upon the party, arouse the spirits of our friends, and give the Indians such an impression of our activity, as will render them cautious of opposing us. Perhaps about two hundred men might be spared for this purpose from the garrison in the Highlands, and, if necessary, they might again be reinstated by other militia. The council submit this plan to your Excellency, and if it should be approved, doubt not but that it will be carried instantly into execution, since secrecy and expedition will ensure its success."
On the 11th, the Albany committtec, in a letter to tlie council, speaking of their apprehensions for the northern army and the ultimate fate of Albany, and the meritorious conduct of Gen. Herklmer, after he was severely wounded, in refusing for hours to leave the Oriskany battle field, thus observe:
" The people of Schoharie have informed us that they will be obliged to lay down their arms. The militia that could be collected in, this county have been sent to the army: they have been long in service, and seeing no prospect of relief, intend soon to return and remove their families to a place of greater safety."
A Movement in the Right Direction.-Gov. Clinton addressed the president of the council from New Windsor, on the llth of August, as follows:
" SIR-I wrote this morning to Colo. Pawling, advising him of the conduct of Capl. Mann, of the Schoharie militia, mentioned in the letter of the committee of Albany, a copy of which you sent me. I am apprehensive, that unless he and his party are speedily routed they will become formidable and dangerous neighbors to our western frontiers. I therefore proposed to Colo. Pawling, in the letter I addressed to him this morning, the propriety of embodying a party of men out of his regiment, under an active officer, for this purpose, and directed him to call on your Honorable House for their advice and assistance on this occasion, which, should they agree with me in sentiment, they will please to afford him.
" It is certainly my opinion, that it is essential to the public safety to have this busines executed with dispatch and effectually. That fellow, without doubt, acts under the encouragement and by the advice of the enemy; and even though he should not attempt to commit hostilities on the inhabitants of the western frontiers, the very deterring of the militia from marching to the aid of the northern army alone is a capital mischief; besides suffering such an atrocious and open offender to pass with immunity, would, in point of example, be extremely impolitic. It may be necessary to exercise a good deal of prudence with respect to the Indians who are with Capt. Mann, the management of which I must submit to the Council."
The council do not seem at this date to have been aware of the fact, that Capt. McDonald and Lieut. Adam Crysler then had a body of tories and Indians in the upper part of the Schoharie valley, acting in concert with Capt. Mann, a dozen miles below. The next day, his Excellency again addressed the president of the council, as follows:
"NEW WINDSOR, 12th Aug't, 1777.
" DEAR SIR-On the receipt of a letter yesterday morning from General Scott, enclosing a copy of a letter from the committee of Albany, to your honorable board, containing the same intelligence respecting Capt. Mann, mentioned in your letter of the llth inst., just now delivered me, I immediately wrote to Col. Pawling on that subject, pointing out the propriety of destroying Mann and his party by a sudden exertion, with a detachment of the militia under an active officer, and desiring him, if he thought it practicable, to set about it immediately; and in that case to call upon the council for their advice and aid. This morning I addressed a letter to your honorable board on the same subject, by which you will observe my sentiments coincide exactly with the council's on this occasion.
I dare not however, at present, venture to take any of the continental troops from the garrison in the Highlands for the business.
" The designs of the enemy under General Howe, are yet uncertain; the garrison not over strong ; and should any unlucky accident happen in that quarter, in the absence of troops, which might be drawn from thence for this expedition, I would be greatly and perhaps deservedly censured. If the militia are to be employed, they can be much easier and more expeditiously had in the neighborhood of Kingston and Marbletown, than by marching them up from the fort.
" Major Pawling was charged with my letter to council, and left my house this morning for Kingston. I mentioned this scheme to him, and he expressed a strong desire to command the party, to which I consented, provided a party proper for him to command should be ordered out on the occasion. I know him to be possessed of prudence as well as spirit."
Troops Finally sent to Schoharie.-The reader will perceive by the preceding correspondence, that provision had been made, although tardily, to succor Schoharie. Many well disposed citizens in McDonald's descent through the southern settlements, seeing no assistance at hand, anxious for the safety of their families and property, accepted his offered protection of royalty -while not a few joined in the wake of the tory chief, to swell his already formidable numbers. In his approach to the more thickly settled parts of Schoharie, he could have numbered 150 followers-Indians and royalists-armed with various weapons, which number, rumor, with her many tongues, greatly multiplied. It is not surprising that the comparatively small body of militia assembled at the house of John Becker, a part of which house is now standing, felt themselves too weak to oppose their enemies unaided. They, however, began barricading the windows and doors of this stone dwelling; and deputed two of their number, Vrooman and Swart, to go to Albany for assistance.
Information, how Conveyed in the War.-I have elsewhere stated that messages were communicated along the frontiers, by white men and Indians, on foot or on horseback; and often such persons were exposed to great dangers. I may also add that, for long distances, relays of horses were established. Here is a notice of one, found in a letter of Washington to Nathaniel Shaw, a wealthy merchant of New London, Ct. Gen. W. stated that he had posted relays of dragoons at every 15 miles distance, from his head quarters at the Robinson house, near the Hudson river, to New London. He wished Mr. Shaw to extend the line from New London to Tower Hill; posting three relays at every 15 miles, with orders to ride by night or day, whenever dispatches arrived at their quarters. He would be answerable for the charges; the relays to be continued as long as the British fleet and army were off Rhode Island. He also wanted a constant watch kept out upon the Sound, intelligence of any movement to be communicated in the same manner. "Washington's letter was dated 31 July, 1780, and is found in Dawson's His. Magazine for 1866, page 301.
Manuscript of Judge Hager.-Henry Hager, of North Blenheim, late a judge of Schoharie county, very kindly furnished the author with a manuscript of some facts relating to Schoharie. He states that McDonald reached the river above Brakabeen, on Sunday the 10th of August, and "marched up and down the road, stationing guards, etc." As the enemy were overrunning the valley, Henry Hager, grandfather of my informant, then over 70 years old, was anxious to inform the patriot party below of the invader's progress and espionage along the valley. There was no whig near, with whom he could consult; indeed, the Hager family was the only one, for a distance of several miles, that had not already joined the enemy's standard, or accepted of his proffered protection; he therefore started to do the errand himself, a distance of nearly nine miles. Leaving home about sun-down, he had proceeded but a short distance when he was brought to a stand by an emissary of royalty, who demanded where he was going, his business, etc. His good judgment readily prompting a reply, he feigned business with a blacksmith living below. The sprig of his majesty informed him that the man he wished to see was in a house near by. He was permitted to enter and do his errand, which was to order some small job. Vulcan told him he would do his work, and that he might call for it as early as he pleased next morning, Leaving the infected house, Hager again encountered the man endowed with brief authority, who granted him permission to return home.
It was nearly dark when the aged patriot left the tory sentinel. Proceeding a few hundred yards on his way home, until out of sight of the enemy, he went down a bank of the river which he forded, and by a circuitous route, reached the Stone House in safety and communicated the approach of the invaders. Capt. Jacob Hager, his son, was there at the time. He had returned with a party of Schohane militia from the northern army but a few days before, where he had distinguished himself in several hazardous enterprises, transporting cannon to Fort Edward, etc. On Monday morning Col. Vrooman, fearing Swart and his comrade might not reach Albany, in season to obtain assistance, sent Capt. Hager and Henry Becker on the same errand ; with instructions to keep the woods whenever there was danger of meeting with detention.
Col. Harper Starts for Albany.-At this juncture of the proceedings, in the afternoon of the day on which Hager and Becker had left, Col. John Harper, whose duty the reader will remember, required him to look to the protection of Schoharie arrived, to consult with Col. Vrooman and the whigs there assembled, on the best course to be adopted under the circumstances. It was readily agreed that the friends of equal rights assembled, or likely to be in season, were too few to oppose successfully McDonald's progress. No time was to be lost, as it was expected the band of outlaws would reach that vicinity on the following day: in order, therefore, to get aid in season to be of service, it was thought advisable for a messenger to proceed immediately to Albany on horseback. Col. Harper volunteered his services, and although the day was far spent, he mounted and set forward. Knowing that it would be extremely hazardous to pursue his journey in the night, he rode about five miles and put up at a public house then kept by John I. Lawyer, mentioned elsewhere in this work. In the latter part of the war his son, Jacob Lawyer, Jr., was its host. This ancient inn stood near the old Lutheran parsonage. The building in 1855 was yet standing on the premises of Chester Lasell*-Mrs. W. G. Michaels, who was of this Lawyer family.
* It was occupied as a tenant house, when in about 18S7, It took fire and burned down.
On the night Col. Harper staid at Lawyer's there was a gathering of tories and Indians, at the tavern known in those days as, The Brick House at the Rorks of the Road* distant from the former inn about a mile and a quarter. The object of this meeting of genial spirits, was, no doubt, to receive and communicate intelligence from and to the royalist party above, and also to learn tidings from such as kept an eye on the movements at Lawyer's tavern. A whig (George Warner, Jr., of Cobelskill) who was a watchman secreted with others that night, along the fences south of the Brick House, to note the motions of the enemy, assured the author that he saw individuals all night passing and repassing, whom he supposed communicating with the McDonald party.
Col. Harper, having secured his horse and taken supper, retired early to an upper room, and locked the door, but did not think it prudent to undress. Some time in the evening, a party from the Brick House arrived at Lawyer's. The object of their visit being made known to the landlord, which was to get Harper to accompany them to their rendezvous, he expostulated with them for intruding upon the rest of his guest, but to no purpose, for see him they would. Knowing that he was near an infected district, Col. Harper had taken the precaution to leave a light burning. Hearing an unusual noise below, he seized his pistols and stepped to the door, and while listening to learn the cause of his disturbance, he overheard the suppressed but earnest voice of the landlord on the stairs, urging the intruders not to ascend. . Said he : "For God's sake, gentlemen, desist! for I tell you he is a soldier, terribly armed, and some of you must die before he will be taken! " Expostulation was in vain, and the landlord was thrust aside by the tory party, which rapped at the door of his guest. With pistol in hand he opened it, threatening death to the first man who should step over its threshold. The intruders then made known to him the object of the visit, and the intrepid Harper, with a pistol in each hand, replied, "I will be there in the morning, but attempt to take me there to-night at your peril!" Seeing him thus
* This house, then a tavern kept by Capt Geo. Mann, stood In the forks of the old Albany and Schenectada roads. It was a two story dwelling at the period of which I am speaking. Mrs. Col, Peter Dietz, subsequently erected a two Btory brick house on or near its site, it having Ion before been cut down to a one story building.
armed, and knowing from the flash of his eye that his threat would be executed, the party quailed before him and withdrew. He again locked his door, and was not afterward disturbed.
Col. Harper Pursued by Indians.-Col Harper started next morning, about eight o'clock, armed as on the night previous, with a sword and brace of pistols. Crossing Foxescreek bridge,without any opposition (some writer has eroneously stated that a tory sentinal was on the bridge), he rode up to Mann's tavern, as I have been credibly informed by an eye-witness,* fastened his horse, and went in. He was in the house but a few minutes, came out, remounted, and started off on the Schenectada road, via. Duanesburgh, for Albany. He rode a small black mare, with a white stripe in the forehead, which started, from the inn upon a pace, and struck a gallop near the top of the hill, and soon bore the rider out of sight. He had disappeared but a few minutes, before five Indians arrived at Mann's, and entered the cellar kitchen, followed by the boys, who were still at play in the street. Within half an hour, two of Capt. Mann's horses, a black and a roan, were brought before the door, and two Indians, Seth's Henry, + a tall, dark Schoharie chief, sometimes familiarly called Set, or Sethen Henry, and David, a small Indian, before noticed, mounted them, and started at a full gallop on the road Col. Harper had taken. The Indians, in pursuit were armed only with knives and tomahawks.
For a distance of sevrral miles, at that period, there was scarcely a house on the old Duanesburgh road. As Col. Harper drew near Righter's place, he discovered that be was pursued. Passing over a knoll which hid him from his followers, he dismounted, drew his sword and stuck the point of it in a dry slump before him, and holding a pistol in each hand, ready cocked, he leaned against his horse, and awaited the approach of the Inilians, the tallest of whom he had already recognized.
* David Warner, a brother of George, of Cobeslkill. At the time alluded to, he stated to the writer, that he was a lad about ten years of age ; that he then boarded with Capt. Mann's father, and went to school near Foxescreek; that several boys, himself with the rest, had assembled alter breakfast near the tavern to go to school. The morning was remarkably pleasant It was not usual, at that period, to see a stranger, with holsters, upon his saddle. Mr. W. also saw Col. Harper return next day with cavalry.
+ The name of this Indian's father was Seth, and his own Henry. he was known in the war by the name in the context.
Riding at a rapid rate, and before they were aware of their proximity, they drew very near the object of their pursuit. The instant they saw him, they reined up, within reach of his pistols. Not choosing to risk a shot, he exclaimed in a voice and manner that carried terror to their savage breasts-" Stop yov villains-face about and be off this instant, or these beliefs shall whistle through your hearts." The Indians, seeing him thus armed, dared not advance, and wheeling, sullenly withdrew. It is said, however, that Seth dogged him, at a distance, a good part of the way to Albany. I have been enabled to be thus circumstantial, from having conversed with several individuals who received from Col. Harper's own mouth the account of his pursuit soon after its occurrence.
Col. Harper in Albany.-Col. Harper's arrival in Albany, on Tuesday, August 12th, is thus noticed in the Journal of the Council of Safety the following day. Christopher Fiero stated to that body that one Du Boise, who left Albany llie evening before, reported " that every road from Schoharie is obstructed and filled up by the tories there ; that Col. John Harper had escaped from thence, and that Col. Vrooman, with about 25 whigs, had fortified themselves in a house there." Under the same date on the Council's Journal, I find the copy of a letter written by that body, to Col. Pawling, on the subject of Gov. Clinton's letters, previously inserted, which reads as follows:
"SIR-We enclose two letters received from the Governor, by which it appears that be is very anxious to have the party detached for Schoharie. We have received information that Col. Vrooman, with a party of whigs, is besieged there by the tories.
" It is necessary that he should be relieved immediately. You will therefore be pleased to issue your orders this night for two hundred drafts to be made from your regiment; after which you will, agreeably to the Governor's directions, repair to this place, and confer with tlie Council about the most practicable means of executing your plan.
" We are extremely sorry that so much precious time has already been lost by the miscarriage of your letter." [The above letter was signed by the president and forwarded by a light-horseman; after which the Council] " Resolved that Gen. Scott, R. R. Livingston, and Maj. Tappan, be a committee to assist Col. Pawling in executing the secret expedition."
Who Commanded Troops Going to Schoharie.-Col. Harper, unadvised of the proceedings of Gov. Clinton and the Council, on his arrival in Albany, applied either to the Albany committee, or Col. Van Schaick, then in command of that military station-or, what is quite likely, to both-for assistance; and a small body of cavalry was granted him. The company consisted in rank and file of 28 stout looking men.* They were well clad, wore caps, and made a fine military appearance. By whom they were commanded, the author has been unable satisfactorily to learn. The old citizens of Schoharie all assert that he was a Frenchman, and spoke imperfect English. The party, conducted by Col. Harper, left Albany in the evening, and riding a good part of the night, arrived in Schoharie early on
* Col Stone, who, in the Life of Brant, adopted Campbell's erroneous date of this transaction, placing it in 1778, gave the name of Capt. Woodbake as the commanding officer ol the party The Schoharie people said that was not the commandant's name. Stone also puts down their number at 200; but six or eight persons living in different parts of the county, who counted them, stated their number to have been only 28. It had been suggested by the Albany committee to send 200.
Wednesday. One of the party had a trumpet, the first, probably, ever heard echoing among the mountains of Schoharie; an occasional blast of which is said to have carried terror to the hearts of the evil doers, and produced an effect equal to that of an army with banners. After I published this statement in 1845, I met David L. Degolier, a son of Joseph Degolier, of Perth, Fulton county, who assured me that his grandfather, James Degolier, was a French captain in the Revolution, who, the family tradition said, accompanied Col. Harper to Schoharie, and I have no doubt he was the man. As subsequently appears the troop belonged to Maj. Wynkoop's corps.
On arriving at the brick house, a halt was ordered. Mine host, hearing the warlike sound of the trumpet a little way off, fled to a barrack* of wheat on his premises, where he snugly ensconsed himself beneath its sheaves ; thinking, that-
"The man who lives to ran away,
May live to fight another day."
The commandant of the little squadron assumed a terrifying aspect, as, half drawing his sword, and rising in his stirrups, he demanded of Mrs. Mann, who had been summoned to the door for the purpose, in imperfect English, the whereabouts of her husband. The good woman, who should not just then have been so frightened, assured the speaker she could not inform him. In fact she did not know. The premises of the tory were then strictly searched for his person, even to the barrack in which he was concealed: and several troopers ran their swords down into the wheat sheaves beneath which he lay, without discovering him.
The Effect of a Few Cavalry in Schoharie.-A small number of men who were found at the brick house, with some exceptions,
* The word ' barrack ' is both German and Dutch. In the Schoharie and Mohawk valleys much hay and grain were formerly deposited In barracks-Indeed, such depositaries are used there at the present day. They are commonly made by erecting four upright posts, so as to form a square, firmly set in the ground, or held at equal distances by timbers framed into them above the ground. The upper part of the posts is perforated with holes, and a roof, made of quadrangular form, terminating in a vertex, rests upon wood or iron pins thrust through those holes. The roof is usually constructed by framing two timbers, crossing at right angles, and secured by side pieces, into which are framed four upright poles, firmly secured at the apex above The roof is sometimes boarded and shingled, but usually thatched. When a barrack is to be filled, the roof is raised to the top of the corner posts, and the hay or grain in the sheaf is stacked beneath it; and as the contents are removed the roof is let down. Some barracks have a floor, and are so constructed as to last many years. Soldiers' huts are, by the French, also called barracks.
submitted to the authority of the American officers, and destroyed their royal protections, with the promise of pardon for accepting them. A few who had been very active among the tories, were however, arrested, among whom was the malicious Indian, David, who had gained notoriety by his attempt on the life of Chairmam Ball-his pursuit of Col. Harper, and the aid he had rendered the British cause in the capacity of messenger -he having just arrived from the camp of McDonald, when arrested. The troop then proceeded to the public house of Snyder, a whig living a little distance east of Mann's to obtain refreshments; in the meantime the news of Col. Harper's arrival from Albany with troops having wonderful music, spread up and down the valleys of Foxescreek and Schoharie, with almost lightning rapidity. Leaving their work unfinished, the friends of liberty began to assemble, and many good citizens who had only been waiting to see a prospect of succor in case they espoused their country's cause, now did so cheerily. Stone's account of there having been a large body of tories, with scarlet patches on their hats assembled at Capt. Mann's, to whom that officer was making a speech on the arrival of Col. Harper and his party, needs authentication.
On the evening of the day on which Col. Harper left the Stone House in Middleburgh, to obtain assistance, McDonald and his followers descended the river to the residence of Swart, as stated in his diary, where they encamped over night; taking possession of the premises, and helping themselves bountifully.
As soon as the cavalry steeds were rested, and the troops refreshed, quite a party of militia variously armed having assembled, preparations were made to advance on the enemy, eight miles distant. The militia, some mounted and others not, were officered by Col. Harper for the occasion, and accompanied the cavalry. David, the Indian captive, was fastened by a cord around his wrist, to a fellow prisoner. The little army now moved up the river, at the inspiring sound of the trumpet, which laughed among the encrinital and trilobital hills-and echoed far in the distance. Those who had been the most boisterous for King George, were, as if by magic, converted into Congress-men; after hearing the voice of the vociferous Frenchman, and that of his musician speaking to his distant auditors with a brazen tongue. No musician ever rendered his country more evident essential service, unless perchance he was rivaled by Anthony Van Corlear, of Knickerbocker memory. At times the militia who were on foot, were obliged to take a dog trot to keep up with the excited commander of cavalry.
First Person Killed in Schoharie.-After proceeding five miles, as the troops were passsing a swamp in Hartman's dorf, the prisoner David, watching an opportunity, slipped the cord from his arm and ran into it. The party were halted, ordered to surround the marsh, and shoot down the captive if he attempted to escape. The mounted militia who knew the ground, led the cavalry round the swamp; and the Indian being observed skulking from tree to tree, and just ready to emerge in the direction of the river, was instantly brought down by a pistol shot in the back, with the exclamation, "Ganno! ganno!" The commanding officer, impatient at the delay, ordered one of the militia men to advance and shoot him. He was then lying partly upon his side, his head was resting upon his hand, and his elbow upon the ground, while his eye calmy surveyed his foes. George Shell, of Foxescreek (who sometime after bravely assisted in the defense of Major Becker's house), advanced from the ranks, presented his old fire-lock and attempted to fire. Click, click, click, said the old rusty lock-while its antiquated cylinder remained silent. "Tam te Meleshee guns!" exclaimed the officer; as, riding forward, he snapped one of his own pistols, which missed fire, and ordered his troopers to shoot him. A pistol snapped by the man next the captain also missed fire, but that in the hand of his follower exploded sending a bullet through the Indian's head. As those pistols were snapped, the Indian turned round to avoid seeing them. He was left in his gore, and the party resumed their march. This Indian was the first person killei in the Schoharie settlements in the Revolution; and I have been thus particular in detailing the circumstances attending his death, because the manner of it as related in the Life of Brant, where he is misnamed Peter Nickus, is so very far from the truth as stated by eye witnesses; Jacob Becker, Jacob Enders and George Warner, militia men present.
David Ogeonda, although a notorious offender, would not have been slain had he not attempted to escape while a prisoner. The story of his having been " inhumanly hacked to pieces " by the cavalry, is not true. It is a well known characteristic of the Indian, that whoever doea an injury to one of his blood, incurs his hatred and revenge. This same Indian had several sons, who, knowing all the circumstances attending their father's death, not only remained friendly to the American cause, but Yon, probably the oldest, rendered the citizens of Schoharie no little service during the war.
On arriving at the Stone House, a ladder was raised against the wing, and the prisoners taken at Mann's were compelled to mount upon the roof, which was not very steep, when the ladder was removed, and they were placed in temporary and somewhat novel confinement. A squaw among them, is said to have rendered the situation of a prisoner, named Weaver, so uncomfortable, that he requested Jacob Enders to remove her.
A Strange Messenger.-The parly had been at Middleburgh but a short time, when a woman by the name of Staats, known in the valley by the unpoetic cognomen of Rya's Pup-called - also the She Bear, a tall, large, masculine creature, and a rara avis of the valley-was seen approaching tlie Stone House in the direction of the river, nearly half a mile distant. She halted soon after being discovered as if hesitating about advancing, when the officer of cavalry beckoned to her to come forward; upon which she faced about and ran the other way. Two troopers were sent in pursuit, and captured her wliile fording the river; and each seizing a hand they turned their horses and rode back to the house, to the great amusement of its inmates, and discomfiture of the prisoner, who was almost-out of breath. After panting a wliile, she was enabled to answer the interrogatories of the American officers. She said she had just come from the camp of McDonald; that his numbers were very great, and that he was preparing to march down and capture the Stone House and its inmates.-George Warner, Jacob Enders and Miss Sally Hotchkiss, a grand daughter of Col. John Harper.
Battle at the Flockey.-On receiving this information, the troops were sent to collect several fences to aid in throwing up a temporary breastwork around the house, that they might the better repel an attack. After waiting some time, however, for the enemy, it was thought advisable by the Americans, now respectable in numbers, to proceed to meet him. On arriving near Swart's place, two miles distant from the Stone House, it was ascertained that the foes were on the retreat up the valley; and it was only by a rapid movement of the mounted troops that they were overtaken at the Flockey.* At this place Adam Crysler resided before the war-the residence of the late Samuel Lawyer. The house, which is situated at the upper end of Vrooman's land, is pleasantly located upon a bank which slopes to the road. A brook runs at the base of the bank near the road, between which and the river was formerly a small swamp. As the Americans drew near, they found McDonald had made a stand on the lawn in front of the house, prepared to give them a warm reception. A few shots only were exchanged, when the cavalry, at a long and terrifying blast of the trumpet, dashed impetuously among the Indians and tories ; who, panic struck, fled up the river. They were pursued but a short distance as the ground above was unfavorable for cavalry ; besides, it was nearly dark, and the latter were much fatigued, having rode about forty-five miles since the evening before. David Wirt, lieutenant of the cavalry, was killed in this encounter, and two privates wounded, one Rose, mortally-who died three days after. Angelica, a daughter of Col. Vrooman, assured the writer in 1837, that she furnished the winding sheet for Lieut. Wirt, who was the first man that fell in Schoharie defending the principles of a free government. Wirt was shot, as was afterwards learned, by one Shafer, a royalist. What loss the enemy sustained in this brush is unknown; few chose to stay long enough to be killed. The cavalry returned to the Stone House and encamped for the night. As it was then supposed that Madam Staats. had been sent down by McDonald to afford him an opportunity to escape, she was sought for on the return of the Americans, but had " stept out."-Mattice Ball, Jacob Van Dyck and others.
Since the above was published, I have learned the fact that the horse of Lieut. Wirt, after its rider fell, wounded and frightened, ran back half a mile toward Middleburgh, to the well of Isaac Vrooman, drank freely from a watering trough, and died there. This well is now covered up. At an early period the road ran near the centre of the flats, with woods where the road is now situated.
* The name for this spot as known among the old inhabitants, and signified a swamp, or ground near one.
The enemy retreated up the river through Brakabeen, and by way of the Susquehanna laid their course for Niagara. Judge Hager states, that upwards of twenty male citizens went off from Vrooman's land, Brakabeen, and Clyberg (Clay hill), with the enemy; among whom were Adam Crysler, Joseph Brown, several of the Boucks, Beckers, Keysers, Mattices, Freemires, William Zimmer, one of the Schoharie committee, one Shafer and one Kneiskern. He added, that while the enemy remained in Schoharie, they doubtless lived well, as they were in, a land of plenty.
On the return of the light horse, as nothing appeared to criminate the father of Capt. Mann, who was inoffensive and considerably advanced in life, he was suffered to remain at liberty-and as the title to the brick house and valuable farm adjoining, is said to have been vested in him and not his son, it was never confiscated to the republic.
The Concealment of Capt. Mann, who Became a Prisoner.- Not long after the cavalry and militia had proceeded up the valley, Capt. Mann came down from his hiding place, crossed the river below the mouth of Foxescreek, and secreted himself under the Karighondontee mountain, at a place where a small stream of water has cut a ravine. The next day, David Warner, the lad before mentioned, and John Snyder, with a basket of food, went in pursuit of him. They crossed the river and followed up the ravine before named, just above which, seated in a cavity of the rock, they found the object of search, smoking a, pipe and fasting; with an apology for a fire, a few brands smoldering in the recess. Mann had very wisely taken with him from home a tinder box and matches, as the chosen place of secretion was infested by rattle snakes ; and it being usually damp, was a cold place at night even in midsummer. The little nook in which Mann was found by his friends, is a familiar one to geologists, who have been there to obtain strontian, especially if they ever chanced to be there, as the writer once did, in a very heavy shower. The ravine alluded to, affords the geologist some of the most beautiful deposits of fossil moss found in Schoharie county.
When Capt. Mann heard his friends approaching, his fearful apprehension was aroused, but on hearing their familiar voices calling him by name, he readily discovered himself. From his mountain retreat, he shortly after went to Kneiskern's dorf, several miles further down tlie river, where he was concealed by friends until fall; at which time, he surrendered himself to the military authority established in the valley, by which he was transfered to Albany for trial. The following paper will show the time when Capt. Mann became a prisoner.
Dec. 8th, 1777.
GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE;-We have taken it upon us to let George Mann come in, by a sufficient bail-bond, which we thought he could not get ; but since he did, we would not affront the people, and took it ; and if you think it not sufficient, let me know it, for I am ready now to act against the tories to the utmost point which is in my power, if the other committee are willing to join: if not, I will no longer be a committee man.
I beg one favor of you, which is, to give me intelligence in what form we
are to act with the tories now: so no more at present.
" I remain, sirs,
" Your friend and well wisher,
Capt. Mann Becomes a Good Citizen.-Owing to the influence and respectability of his whig relatives and neighbors, Mann's trial was kept off until the war closed-when, a very liberal policy having been adopted toward those who had committed no very flagrant act, he was set at liberty, and returned home to the bosom of his family and the quiet possession of his property. From the fact that he surrendered himself a prisoner, instead of trying to flee to Canada, there can remain no doubt but that his views had undergone a change in regard to what course he should from the beginning have adopted. He had early been warmly solicited by the friends of royalty, and the most flattering inducements, to advance their cause. But a life of repentance showed his error in judgment to have been of the head and not the heart-while his firm and willing support ever after of the newly established order of things fully atoned for his single offense.
From an acquaintance with the descendants and other relatives of Capt. George Mann, I express an opinion without fear of contradiction, that they are as patriotic and consistent supporters of the federal constitution, as an equal number of men in any part of the American union.
The command of Capt. Mann's company, after his disaffection and disappearance, -was given to his lieutenant, Christian Stubrach.
Some individuals in the Sohoharie settlements "who had been persuaded to accept of "kingly protection under McDonald, when the prospects of the colonies looked to them most gloomy, soon after his defeat and hasty flight, found means, in the confusion that ensued, to return home and become the supporters of the federal compact, while others followed his fortunes to Canada to wait the speedy triumph of the British arms, when they expected to return and enjoy not only their own, but the confiscated property of their whig neighbors.
Letters from Colonels Harper and Vrooman, dated August 20, 1777, were received by the Coucil of Safety, as appears by the journal of that body, and transmitted on the 29th to his Excellency, the Governor, recommending him to provide 500 troops-100 of whom to be riflemen-to protect the frontiers of Albany and Tryon counties : and under the date of August 30th, I found entered upon the council's journal, the following letter:
"SCHOHARIE, August 28th, 1777.
we put Capt. McDonald and his army to flight, I proceeded with some volunteers
to Harpersfield, where we met many that had been forced by McDonald, and
some of them much abused. Many others were in the woods, who were volunteers;
and as we could not get hands on those that were active in the matter, I
gave orders to all to make their appearance, when called on, at Schoharie,
in order to give satisfaction to the authority for what they have done;
and if they do not, that they are to be proclaimed traitors to the United
States of America ; which they readily agreed to, and further declare that
they will use their best endeavors to bring in those that have been the
cause of the present disturbance. I would, therefore beg the honorable Council
of Safety, that they would appoint proper persons to try those people, as
there will be many that can witness to the proceedings of our enemy, and
are not in ability to go abroad.
" From your most obedient, humble servant,
" JOHN HARPER, Colo.
"P. S. The people here are so confused that they do not know how to proceed. I therefore would beg the favor of your honorable body to appoint such men as are strangers in these parts.
" To the honorable, the Council of Safety, at Kingston." The above letter was referred to a committee who reported on the same, September 1st, and the council ordered the following letter written to Col. Harper in reply, under that date:
" SIR-Your favor of the 28th of August last, was received and communicated to the council. They congratulate you on the success of our arms in that quarter, which must be doubly grateful to the above inhabitants of Tryon county, whose virtuous exertions have so greatly contributed to it.
" The trial and punishment of those inhuman wretches who have combined with a savage foe to imbrue their hands in the blood of the innocent, demands a speedy attention. But while the council agree with you in the impropriety of removing them to any distance from the witnesses of their guilt, they can not consent, nor indeed are they empowered to institute any new court for the trial of such offences. These wicked parricides, however detestable, are nevertheless, by our free constitution, entitled to the inestimable privilege of a trial by their peers. A court of oyer and terminer will be held in your county (Albany county meant-Col. Harper was then a resident of Tryon county) as soon as the present storm hath a little subsided. In the mean time the public officers of the county will exert themselves to detect, apprehend and secure the rebels.
" You will be pleased to communicate this letter to the committee of Schoharie, and to such other persons as may be concerned in it."
Sequestration.-The following letter directed to "The Commissioners for Sequestrings for Tryon County" and found among the papers of Col. Visscher, one of those commissioners, was from a member of the New York-Council of Safety.
" GENT.-The enclosed resolution was thought necessary, that you may have it in your power to remove the women and children to such place (if even it should be to the enemy) as you, with Gen. Gates, may think proper. Should you want anything farther, you will please to let the House know. I wish you health and spirits in those trying times-which we will all get over; and that it may be soon, is the prayer of,
Gent, your most hum'e serv't.
"ABM. YATES, Jr."
(The resolution above alluded to)-" Resolved, That the commissioners for sequestrating the effects of persons gone over to, or who are with the enemy, be directed immediately to seize the effects of all such of the inhabitants of the counties oof Albany and Tryon, as are gone over unto and joined the enemy, and to dispose thereof, agreeably to the resolutions in that case made and provided. That the said commissioners be empowered to remove the wives and children of such disaffected persons aforesaid from their habitations, to such place or places as they shall conceive best for the security of the State. That the said commissioners, if Gen. Gates shall think it advisable, be empowered to send all or any part of the said women and children to their said husbands."
An Order to Remove Tory Families.-Zepheniah Batchelor, Esq., an acting Justice of the Peace at Johnstown during the greater part of the war ; executed an order for the removal of a large number of the families of royalists in the settlements around that place at one period of the war, the husbands and heads of which families were then in Canada, in the enemy's service. I have one of his orders for such removal, with the number and ages of children in each. The order was commissioned at an inclement season of the year, and at a later period of the contest. It is amusing to read the constable's memoranda of service, accompanying the names, with the reasons some of the wives gave for non-compliance. Many said they were too poor and could not go so far, while others said "they would not stir a step," as their husbands had illy used them. If a man had been in the habit of abusing his wife, it would seem to be a good reason why a decent woman should not go far on his trail. Not a few of those families are still represented there; some of those husbands returning after the war, while others never returned.
The reader is ready to ask, why such a seemingly unfeeling requisition? There had also been a resolve that no intercourse or fellowship should be kept up between whig and tory families; and the consequence was, that where the latter lived in isolated or secluded places, the enemy would come down and there find a place of rest, hold an espionage upon the action of the patriots; not unfrequently, on such occasions, taking back to Canada the scalps of former neighbors. Nor was this all; many such families were poor and had to be fed by the very men the heads of those families were seeking to destroy. Their sympathy was often rewarded like that of the hunter, who took the frozen snake into his hut and warmed it into life only to be bitten by it.
Prisoners from Schoharie.-On the Council's journal under date of September 5th, I find the following entry:
" The committee, to whom was referred the petition of William Camerou and the other six prisoners brought by Maj. Wynkoop's party from Schoharie, delivered in their report, which was read, amended and agreed to, and is in the words following, to wit: ' That it appears from the said petition of William Cameron and the six prisoners brought with him as aforesaid, that they have, contrary to the resolutions of this State, aided and assisted the enemies thereof, by taking up arms against it, and therefore that they be confined in irons in one of the jail rooms at Kingston.'"
Remarks of Domine Gros.-The above refers to prisoners captured by the cavalry which accompanied Col. Harper to Schoharie. In alluding to this transaction, the Rev. John Daniel Gros, in a work on Moral Philosophy, published about the year 1806, thus observes :
"Neither must it be forgotten that Lieut. Wallace, Wm. Wills and John Harper, who at that time of general distress on our western frontiers, when two hundred royalists and Indians had advanced into the heart of Schoharie, where treachery, assisted by the panic with which the inhabitants had been struck, had almost accomplished a total defection among them, with forty men, collected in a strong brick house (stone house), braved the enemy hindered the defection from taking the intended effect; and afforded time for succor, by which the whole design of the enemy was defeated, and a valuable part of the frontier preserved." *
On the 13th of August, the same day on which Col. Harper so opportunely led troops to Schoharie, Lt. Col. Schemerhorn proceeded to Norman's kill with a body of Schenectada militia, and forty Rhode Island troops-in all about one hundred men --to root up a tory gathering at that place. The expedition was very successful; David Springer, a noted royalist, was killed, thirteen of his comrades captured, the remainder dis-persed, and confidence again restored, where all waa doubt and odisaffection, without the loss of a single man on the part of the Americans.-John J. Schemerhorn, son of Col. S. named in the context.
Not to Sell to disaffected.-In the fall of this year the following resolution was made public:
is to give notice to all persons, that the Committee of Schoharie has Resolved
that nobody shall sell any thing to disaffected persons, and especially
to such persons as buy and send it to the Scotch Settlements [on the Charlotte
and Susquehanna rivers;] and if any person does it, we shall seize it.
" By order of the committee,
JOHANNES BALL, Ch'n.
" SCHOHARIE, Nov. -24th, 1777."
the Army.-The citizens of Schoharie were engaged in the fall in transporting
provisions to the army under Gen. Gates, as the following will show:
" HALF MOON, 18th Oct. 1777.
" Received of Jacob Cuyler, Esq., D. C. G. of P., (deputy commissary general of provisions) sixty-six barrels and two tierces of flour, containing 131c. 3qr. 8lb.-tare 1471, in seventeen wagons, which I promise to deliver to Dirk Swart, D. B. of P., at Stillwater, having signed two receipts of the same tenor and date.
* It camot now be known whether Domlne Gros meant to name Lient. Wallace as in command of the cavalry corps or not. Either his Wallace or his Wills, was the man, no doubt, who, on the spot, was called Wirt. Newspapers were few at that time, and names of actors on the frontiers seldom found their way into printed reports.
About twenty of Mr. Ball's neighbors were engaged, with their teams in conveying the flour mentioned, as appears by another certificate in possession of the writer.
A Reward for Good Deeds.-The following anecdote will serve to show the patriotism of the late patroon, Stephen Van Rensselaer. When the troops under Gen. Gates were opposing Burgoyne near Saratoga, Gen. Ten Broeck, who was the guardian of the patroon, then in his minority, visited some of his nephew's tenants near the Helleberg, and requested them to take all the provisions and grain they could spare, reserving a bare competency for their families, to the American army. Several emptied their granaries, pork-barrels, cattle-stalls and pig-styes, and delivered their effects to the commissary department at Saratoga; not expecting any unusual reward for so doing. Some time after, to their surprise, the young patroon invited those tenants to Albany and presented them with valid titles to their lands. Such was one of the many acts of that good man, distinguished through life for his generosity and benevolence.*
Provisions for Fort Dayton.-Here are two receipts for cash for army stores, delivered by Maj, Jelles Fonda, of Caughnawaga-a commissary in the Mohawk valley-at Fort Dayton, about a month before the Oriskany battle. They are in the hand writing of Maj. Fonda. There are many similar ones extant.
1777, June 5th.
" Rec'd of Jelles Fonda the sum of ten pounds, nine shillings, in full for 8c. 2qr. 15lb. flour, and riding the same two miles (at the carrying place around the falls), for public use.
"Rec'd German Flats, 1777, June, 5th day, of Jelles Fonda, the sum of two pounds, twelve shillings, in full for twenty-six schep'l (skipple, a German measure, equaling three pecks) potatoes.
" JOHN JOST HAKCHYMARE.
Bennington.-When news first reached Schoharie that the
* Frederick Vogel, to whom the facts were communicated arter the war, by Frederick Crounse, one of the tenants alluded to in the context.
British had been defeated at Bennington, the tories believed it a falsehood, told to excite their fear.
In the Revolution, that part of Sharon contained in the town of Seward, was called New Dorlach. It was a settlement of twenty-five or thirty families, only four of which, those of Jacob Hynds, William Hynds, Bastian France and William Spurnheyer -were active whigs. An old man named Hoffman, who took no part on either side, was, with his whig neighbors, made an object of savage cupidity. When St. Leger was beseiging Fort Schuyler, about thirty individuals went from this settlement and united with his forces. When the seige was raised, they would gladly have returned to their homes, but were compelled to go to Canada; only two came back at that time, and they deserted in the night.-Henry France, son of Bastian France.
Col. John Harper and his Oquago Prisoners.-Campbell in his Annals, gives a romantic story of Col. Harper's surprising and binding a party of Indians, man for man. The old veteran, Nicholas Warner, at our interview, pronounced the story very emphatically untrue; since, in all his intimacy with him, during and after the war, he had never heard the story until it appeared in that book, which was so related as to make it incredible. In 1847, I learned from the Hotchkiss family of Harpersfield, who were grandchildren of Col. Harper, and of Col.Wm. Harper, then 80 years old, and who was a stepson of Col. John Harper, a true version of this story. The mother of this Wm. Harper was before marriage, Miss Isabel, a daughter of Robert McKnight, of Tyrone, Ireland. Her first husband, was Joseph Harper, a cousin of Col. John, her second, who resided at Cherry Valley before the war, and probably died there. Not only Warner, but other compatriots of his, failed to recognize the narrative as an event of their time. No given number of men could overpower and bind an equal number of strong men in such a manner as was made to appear in Campbell's narrative. I found with the Hotchkiss family, a record of the Harper family, and learned from the two branches of the family, not a few interesting facts. But here is the story.
Not long after the interview between Gen. Herkimer and Brant, at Unadilla, and before the inhabitants had abandoned the settlement, Col. John Harper, in a citizen's dress, left his home on horseback to go to Cherry Valley, then a neighboring village, though many miles distant. At this time a Johnston family, and many others of whig proclivities, were residing at Sidney, at the junction of the Unadilla and Susquehanna rivers. As Harper neared the Schenevas creek, in the present town of Decatur, he saw a party of ten Indians approaching, and as he could not well avoid it, he confidently met them. The printed account states that his regimentals were concealed by an overcoat; but he would hardly be clad in a military suit traveling alone in the wilderness, where he might reasonably look for a foe. He at once recognized the leader of the party, as Peter, an Oquago chieftain. He met them in a friendly manner, calling them brothers, and they, supposing him to be a King's man, were thrown off their guard, and the colonel drew from them the fact, that they were on a secret expedition to destroy the Sidney settlement, and also their intended resting place for the night, a mile or two above the mouth of the Schenevas. Shaking hands with the party, he bade them good-bye.
As soon as he had passed out of their sight, by a detour he hastily returned, secured three men on the Charlotte river, named Bartholomew, and at Harpersfeld, that of his brothers Joseph and Alexander, and other settlers in that neighborhood, until his party was 18 strong. Well armed, and with ropes with which to bind the foemen, they set forward, and before reaching the place sought, the enemy's camp-fire betrayed its locality. They fortunately reached the Indian's camp just before daylight, found them all asleep, secured their arms, and then with eight of their nnmber standing ready with guns at their shoulders to enforce obedience; a man with a rope approached each of the sleepers, and the colonel taking his stand beside the leader, broke the silence of the circle by shouting in his ear: "Peter! it is time for business men to be up!" The party all started to their feet, but finding their own arms had been secured, and so many rifles were ready to shoot down the first one who should attempt to escape, they all submitted to be bound without any struggle, and were soon on their march as prisoners, toward Albany. They were taken to Cherry Valley, and from thence, were delivered by Col. Harper, to the authorities of Albany. Soon after daylight, Peter recognized his captor, and exclaimed: "Ah! Col. Harper, why me notknow you yesterday? " "There is policy in -war, Peter." " O yes, me find em so now."
The account of this affair as published by Mr. Campbell and accredited to the Rev. Mr. fenn, stated the number of the Indians at 15, and their captors at 15, who each bound his man " after a most severe struggle ;" but Col. Wm. Harper, ten years old when the event transpired, gave the number of Indiana aa ten, and Harper's party 18, which makes the story still a good one as -well as plausible and truthful. The Johnston settlement, in the Old England District of Tryon county thus fortunately saved, consisted of a few scotch adventurers, supposed to have been whigs. Outnumbering them as he did, Col. Harper had it in his power to have destroyed every man of this Indian party, but the white man's was not the red man's mode of warfare. Those are believed to have been the first Indian captives made in our Revolutionary contest.
Nicholas Warner Shoots an Indian.-Here is an adventure of Nicholas Warner, of Cobleskill, told the writer in 1847, by Calvin Covel, of Stamford, N. Y., who said he had it from the lips of Mr. Warner. The latter was cutting wheat on his farm with a scythe, in what year is not known, but probably it was early in the war. When he commenced, he left his rifle and canteen of water at a stump, a little distance from which was a log fence. He mowed out some distace from the stump and back to it, and as he did so, his keen eye detected some object between the logs of the fence, which he believed to be the body of an Indian. Raising his canteen to his mouth with his eye still fixed upon the fence, he saw the head of an Indian peer over it and again disappear. As soon as the Indian resumed his former position, Warner lifted his rifle and with his wonted precision, sent a bullet between the logs and crashing through the first object that had arrested his attention. Not knowing but other foes were near by, he made a hasty flight down the valley to a place of security. Going there the next day with a party of friends, the Indian lay behind the fence dead, while his rifle and its ammunition became a lawful prey to the vigilant husbandman.
The Harper Family.-As this was one of the most conspicuous and active in the partisan warfare of western New York in the Revolution, and one of the earliest to locate in Delaware county; as I have it at hand, perhaps I should give its geneology and some of its vicissitudes in a wilderness home; since that will prove a mirror in many respects to other pioneer homes.
James Harper, the paternal ancestor of this family, came to this country from Kerry county, Ireland, and landed at Casco Bay, in New England, in October, 1720. He married Jennett Lewis, in the land of his nativity, by whom he had five chidren, Anne, Joseph, William, Sarah and John; the last named was born in 1705. Anne married James Miller in Ireland; Joseph married Marran Thompson; William died in America, unmarried; Sarah married John Montgomery, and John married Abigail Montgomery. Soon after they arrived at Casco, an Indian war broke out, and the family, except John, removed to Boston; but he remained three years and eight months, to aid in defence of the country. When discharged from military service, he removed to Hopkinton, Mass., where he married Miss Montgomery, as stated. The bridal knot was tied by Rev. Samuel Barrett, Nov. 8, 1728. Mr. Barrett was pastor of the first church gathered in Hopkinton, 30 miles south of Boston, and was ordained in 1724.
Soon after his marriage, John Harper, from which branch of James Harper's family sprang the settlers of Harpersfield, went to reside at Nordell's Island, near Boston, where his son William was born, Sept. 14, 1729, and was baptized by Rev. Mr. Clarke. After a short residence at this place, Mr. Harper removed to Boston, where the following children were born: James, March 26, 1731; Mary, Jan. 23, 1733; John, May 31, 1734; Margaret, a child that died in her second year, time of birth and death unknown; and Margaret, born Feb. 7, 1740. These children were all baptized by Rev. John Morehead. From Boston, John Harper removed to Middletown, Ct., in 1741. At the latter place he had three children: Joseph, born Feb. 1, 1742; Alexander, date of birth-unknown; and Abigail, July -, 1745. All three were baptized by Rev. William Russell. In 1747 this Harper family removed to Windsor, Ct., where Mirriam, a fifth daughter, was born, and was baptized by Rev. Timothy Edwards. In October, 1754, the family removed from Windsor to Cherry Valley, then Albany Co., N. Y. James Harper died of small-pox, at Cherry Valley, March 22, 1760 ; and Abigail, his mother, died of consumption at that place. Dec. 28, 1767, in her 59th year.
Dec. 8, 1769, John Harper, Sr., with his four sons, John, Joseph, William and Alexander, Joseph Harper, Jr., and James Harper, with Andries Rebar, William Galt, Thomas Henry, John Wells, Robert Campbell, James Scott, John Wells, Jr., John Thompson, Robert Thompson, John Thompson, Jr., James Moore, Robert Wells, Timothy McIlvaine, John Rebar and Johannes Walrad, took a patent for 22,000 acres of land in the present county of Delaware. It comprises the township of Harpersfield, and was originally divided into 220 lots of 1,000 acres each. John, who was perhaps the most enterprising of the Harper brothers, went to Harpersfield-so called after him -in July, 1771, with a party of surveyors, and having determined on a permanent settlement, his wife accompanied him to his wilderness tent, with a child only a few months old. She is said to have been the first white woman who set her foot in Harpersfield. Her maiden name, as stated, was Mirriam Thompson, a daughter of James and Janet Thompson, of East Windsor, Ct. In the absence of her husband she selected a site for a dwelling, and a rain storm coming on to interrupt the labor of the surveyors, she got them to erect a log house. It was a small pioneer wigwam, and was located in what is now an apple orchard, on the west side of the road near a brook, and just below the present burying ground-perhaps half a mile southerly from the village church.
John Harper, Jr., who received a Colonel's commission at the beginning of the Revolution, and whom I shall hereafter call Colonel, had framed and nearly completed a dwelling at the time the hirelings of Britain commenced depredations on the frontiers of New York. It stood upon the site of the house since occupied by Jacob Foote. He also built a small grist-mill on the stream known as Harpersfield creek. In the course of two or three years, several other families located in Colonel Harper's vicinity. His brother Alexander, afterwards a Colonel, married Elizabeth Bartholomew, a daughter of an early settler on Charlotte river, and went into the settlement not long after his brother, erecting a small stone house just back of the church site. Other families kept coming in, so that at the outbreak of hostilities a thriving settlement had begun. Among the earliest adventurers here, were the Thomas, Lamb and Patchin families; all in a circuit of a couple of miles. David S. Patchin, a descendant of the latter family, was residing, in 1847, where his ancestors located; and on this place, at the close of the Revolution, Gen. Freegift Patchin erected a small tannery, the first in the township. Stoddard Stevens, Esq., kept a public house on this Patchin place, in 1847 ; on the turnpike, two miles eastward of " The Centre." The Thomas Henry family settled on what was known subsequently as the Hoaglan place. Not long after Col. Harper settled at Harpersfield, this Henry family removed thither from Cherry Valley. William Harper, who was a man of prominence in the war, married Miss Margaret Williams of Albany, April 13, 1760. Rev. J. Ogilvie performed the ceremony. Joseph Harper, subsequent to the war, married Catharine, a daughter of James Douglas of Harpersfield. He was wounded in the Mohawk valley, and drew a pension after the war. Soon after Col. Harper located in Harpersfield, his father removed thither with the members of his family still remaining with him, and died there April 20, 1786, aged nearly 80 years.
A Providential Sleigh Ride.-The settlers of this isolated place, before Col. Harper erected his mill, had to go to Breakabeen, in the Schoharie valley, for their milling; most of the way by an Indian footpath. The first or second winter of Col. Harper's forest life, the following incident occurred: The snow was deep, the weather piercing cold, and the family were out of provisions. Mrs. Harper had baked the last of her flour, which made but a small loaf; a scanty meal for so many, but it must, as she believed, serve the family for several days. On entering his dwelling, the Colonel found his children crying and his wife in tears. His sensibilities were severely tested, on being told that his children were "crying for bread." The little loaf, agreeably to his orders, was instantly distributed. Said the Colonel to his distressed wife : " Cheer up! for Providence will provide food when this is gone." He had intended, early the next morning, to start for the nearest Schoharie settlement, on snow shoes, and return as soon as possible with food. Reader, judge the surprise of the family, if you can, when, a few hours after the last morsel of food had been consumed, two sleighs reined up at the door.
The weather having been severe for some time, the people of Brakabeen, possibly with a forecast that the Harpers must look for food in that direction, came to the conclusion that the people in the Bush must suffer. Accordingly, on such premises, two sleighs, that they might take turns in breaking a path, were partially laden with provisions and driven into the wilderness. Two neighbors, Hager and Becker, thus opportunely drove to Col. Harper's door. It was too near night to think of recroasing the Jefferson hills until morning, and those "friends in need" were comfortably housed, and the social evening told them how much better it was " to give than to receive." As the reader may well imagine, this timely arrival of food did not lessen the confidence of Col. Harper in Him who feeds the ravens when they cry.
Harpersfield, How Saved From Vandalism.-"Nearly all of the Harpersfield settlers took up arms for their country, and foremost among them were the Harper family, the most conspicuous of which was Col. John Harper.
On the 17th of July, 1777, the New York Council of Safety resolved, as before hinted, to raise two companies of rangers for the counties of Tryon, Ulster and Albany, one oE which was to be commanded by Col. Harper; and among a series of accompanying resolutions was the following: " Resolved, That Col. Harper be cautious of making any attack upon the savages, or pursuing any measure that may bring on an Indian war, unless absolutely necessary for the defense of the inhabitants, and rendered unavoidable by previous hostilities committed on their part." Thus we see, to the very last, the State authorities tried to avoid a collision with the Indians, who were already in alliance with Britain, and had, in fact commenced their predatory warfare.
How the Harpersfield Settlers Escaped Death, or Captivity.- Very soon after Col. Harper captured the party of Oquago Indians on their way to the Johnston settlement; the enemy under Capt. McDonald on its way to the Schoharie settlements, visited Harpersfield, and intended to capture or destroy Col. Harper and his whig neighbors. On account of a severe rain storm, the destructives halted a few miles distant, intending to move forward in the morning. Toward night a friendly Oneida Indian stole away from the enemy's camp, on the plea of hunting, entered the doomed settlement and gave timely warning, by which they all escaped, hastily abandoning their homes and most of their effects to the incendiary torch. Mrs. Harper, and the smallest of her seven children, were placed upon two horses, and the Colonel with his larger children-the oldest son Archibald, 13 years old-on foot leading the horses-with the rest of the settlers, hurried off in the rain and dampness over the Jefferson hills, to find a safe retreat at Middleburgh. Harpersfield was the next morning effectually sacked and destroyed. The enemy killed an ox owned by Col. Harper, burned his mill and set his house on fire at two diagonal corners, which chanced to have cherry posts and the fire of itself went out, and the house was not burned. Several Scotch families in the neighborhood went with McDonald to Canada.
Col. John Harper's wife died in the Mohawk valley, in 1778, and was buried in Cherry Valley: after the war he married the widow of Joseph Harper, a cousin, as stated, and again resided in Harpersfield. His first wife left at her death, three sons, Archibald, James and John, and four daughters. Margaret, who married Roswell Hotchkiss; Rebecca, who married Thomas Montgomery; Ruth, who married Thomas Dunbar, and Mary Ann, who married Benjamin Morse. When married the second time, his wife had seven children, and had two daughters, Abigal and Sally, by this connection. Col. Harper and his last wife, were both buried in Harpersfield; and of his three active brothers, William died in Milford, Otsego county, and Joseph and Alexander, removed to Harpersfield (so called after them), in Ashtabula county, Ohio, in 1798.* About the year 1850, the Hotchkiss family erected a nice monument some 15 feet high, bearing the following inscriptions :
"Col. John Harper born in Boston, Mass., May 31, 1734, died in Harpersfield, Nov. 20, 1811, ae 77 years. Col. Harper was a pioneer settler in the town that now bears his mame, before the Revolutionary war, and the gallant leader of a few patriotic spirits in defending the frontier settlers from their savage foes."
On the opposite side:
" As a memorial of his piety and virtues, as a father and friend and his unfaltering patriotism and bravery in times of
* The little colony at this place suffered Incredible hardships for the want of food the first winter, being at one lime on an allowance of six kernels of parched corn for each person, For detailed account, see Howes' Historical Collections of Ohio.
trial and peril, his descendants have erected this monument.-
' So sleep the brave who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes blest.'"
The same family erected another monument with the following mementoes:
"In memory of Hon. Roswell Hotchkiss, who died Dec. 28, 1845, in his 84th year." He was born in Cheshire, Connecticut.
" Margaret, wife of Hon. Roswell Hotchkiss, died Jany. 22, 1845, in her 80th year."
She was a daughter of Col. Harper by his first wife, and was about 12 years old when her own mother died.*
Col. Harper had much to do in the war, with the handling of the Oneidas, who were in the interest of the States, and they became greatly attached to him, and were often his guests in Harpersfield after the war, where they were very kindly treated. Indeed, so great was his regard for them, after they had followed his leadership for years, that he could never bear to hear them called savages.-Miss Sally Hotchkiss.
The Schoharie Forts.-Three forts were erected in the Schoharie valley in the autumn of 1777, the central being the first one built. It was known during the Revolution as the Middle Fort, and stood on the farm long owned by Ralph Manning, about half a mile east of north from the Middleburgh railroad depot. It was constructed by the citizens and soldiers-the former drawing together suitable timber, and the latter, with their aid, giving it a proper place. The two story stone dwelling, owned and occupied by John Becker-the kitchen, a one story wing of which is still standing-was inclosed within the pickets of the fort.
The Upper Fort, situated five miles west of south from the middle fort, was commenced in the fall of 1777 and completed the summer following. The one story dwelling of John Peek was there palisaded and stood in the upper end of Vrooman's land, not far from Dr. Valentine Lawyer's. The dwelling was of wood, and no trace of its position remains, as the land has long been cultivated where the building stood. The plow at times discloses relics of the war.
*Many of Col. Harper's papers were lost June 13,18?8, when a whirlwind passed over a part of Harperefield, and demolished the dwelling of Judge Hotchklas. A chest of papers In an upper room were blown away, some of them being afterwards picked up in the town of Summit some miles diatant. The hearth-stone in one of the rooms was turned over, and yet the family all escaped with life.-Miss Sally Hotchkiss.
R. D. Church In Schoharie.
This edifice, inclosed by palisades, became known in 1777 as the Lower Schoharie Fort. The bridge seen in the foreground was the one over Foxes creek, which Col. Harper had to cross while on his way to Albany for assistance. Not far from the base of the steeple now stands the monument erected to the memory of David "Williams, one of Maj. Andre's captors.
Old Schoharie Stone Church, Lower Fort, etc.-The Lower fort, situated six miles north of the Middle fort, was begun and completed about the same time as was the Upper fort. The stone church, still standing one mile north of the Court House, was there inclosed within the pickets. The two latter forts were built, as was the former, by the joint labor of citizens and soldiers. The Middle fort was known as " head quarters " during the war, where usually resided the principal commandant of all three, and at which place, the business involving the welfare of the settlement, waa generally transacted. This fort consisted of an inclosure by strong pickets of about half an acre of ground, embracing the church, with block-houses in the southwest and northeast corners mounting small cannon. Along the west side of the inclosure, small huts were erected, of rough boards, for the summer residence of the inhabitants in that part of the valley ; with a board roof sloping from. near the top of the pickets toward the centre of the yard. Each family which claimed the protection of the small garrison at this place, had each a rude dwelling, in which were deposited their most valuable effects. Near the northeast corner, or in that part of the inclosure toward the burying ground, was a temporary tavern kept by Snyder, a former inn-keeper of that vicinity. This old church edifice, shorn of its graceful steeple is still standing. It was abandoned some years ago as a place of worship; after which it became a State arsenal. When that was removed, the State gave it to the county of Schoharie, on condition that it should be kept in good repair, which obligation is strictly observed, and I hope will continue to be, until its second centennial shall be celebrated in it, July 4, 1972, as its first was in 1872, when Hon. S. L. Mayham delivered a very befitting oration in the arsenal room of the old building.
Through the perseverance of Dr. Knower of Schoharie, the remains of David Williams, one of Andre's captors, have been buried near the edifice, shown above, to be known hereafter as the Old Fort-and a befitting monument marks the spot, erected at a cost of $2,000, by the munificence of the State.
The Middle fort inclosed an area of ground rather larger than that picketed in at the Lower fort, with block-houses in the northeast and southwest corners, where cannon were mounted. The principal entrance was on the south side, and on each side of the gate were arranged the soldiers' barracks. The pickets, as at the fort below, were about a foot through, and rose some ten feet from the ground; with loop-holes from which to fire on invaders. A brass nine pound cannon was mounted on the southwest block-house, and an iron one at the diagonal corner, each of which, as the block-houses projected, commanded two sides of the inclosure; while along the eastern and western sides were arranged huts for citizens, similar to those at the Lower fort.
The Upper fort stood on the west side of the river, and as at those on its opposite side, a fair plot of ground was inclosed. One side of this inclosure was picketed in, while on its other sides a breastwork was thrown up of timbers and earth, some eight or ten feet high, and sufficiently thick to admit of drawing a wagon upon its top, with short pickets set in the outside timbers of the breastwork. A ditch surrounded the part thus constructed. Military barracks and small log huts were erected within the inclosure, to accommodate the soldiers and citizens. Block houses and sentry boxes were built in the northwest and southeast corners, each mounting a small cannon to guard its sides. From its construction, this fortress, probably, better merited the name of "fort" than either of the others.
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