History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883
Volume II, Page 585.
Events of 1782.
Although the preceding year had closed with a cessation of hostilities, predatory border enterprises were continued during the spring and summer of 1782.
Arrest of Joseph Bettys and his Companions.-Among the most daring and successful of the tory refugees on the frontiers of New York, was Jo. Bettys-as familiarly called-of the Saratoga settlements. At the commencement of difficulties he espoused the American cause, and discovered great energy and activity in the Canadian expedition under Gen. Montgomery, and his surviving officers. In the northern field he was made a prisoner, and while with the enemy in Canada, he was seduced from his patriotic position, accepted a subaltern's commission, and became a ranger and a spy-and as such, a terror among his former neighbors. He was captured in the spring of 1779, but in what manner cannot be shown. In Washington's orderly book for that year, in a portion of it copied in the December number of the Historical Record for 1873, edited by Lossing, it is stated under date of July 4th, that at a general court-martial held in April under Col. Nixon ; Isaac Depue and John King were tried and sentenced to be hung, and in the same connection-" Likewise Joseph Bettys was tried for having been a spy for Gen. Burgoyne in the service of the enemy, by coming within the American lines in the State of New York, in a secret manner, and returning again to the enemies of the United States-and for having forged a certificate to facilitate the execution thereof -found guilty and unanimously sentenced to suffer death, by being hung by the neck until he shall be dead.
" The Commander-in-chief confirms the foregoing sentences.
" This day being the anniversary of our glorious independence, will be celebrated by the firing of 13 cannon from West Point at one o'clock P. M. The Commander-in-chief thinks proper to grant a general pardon to all prisoners in his army under sentence of death. They are to be released from confinement accordingly."
It is surprising that so long a time intervened between the trial of these men, and the approval of their condemnation, but it is well known that Washington was importuned by the parents of Bettys to spare him, and with promises for his future good conduct, it is probable that he was set at liberty under the general pardon of July 4, 1779.
The Second Capture of Bettys, took place in the spring of 1782 instead of 1781, as stated in my History of Schoharie, etc. In the present town of Clifton Park resided one Fillmore, a lieutenant of militia, who possessed a fearless spirit. He was engaged, in the proper season, in making maple-sugar, and usually boiled all night, returning home in the morning to be relieved by a daughter, until he had foddered his cattle and taken breakfast. On going to the woods she was instructed, in case she saw any suspicious looking persons, to give no signs of fear, but communicate the discovery to her father as soon after as prudence allowed. One very foggy morning, when Miss Fillmore was in attendance at the sugar bush, an individual passed it, without seeing her, going in the direction of a retired dwelling occupied by a widow lady. As soon as the strange figure was out of sight, she ran home to appraise her father of the discovery. She described the man to be, a suspicious looking person, having a gun and a hairy pack.
Lieut. Fillmore, rightly suspecting the visitant to be the notorious Jo. Bettys, got two of his neighbors, named Perkins and Corey, to accompany him, and all well armed proceeded unobserved to the widow's house, one of the three going upon the back side of it, to prevent his egress. The other two burst open the door, and disclosed the object of search at the breakfast table. He had imprudently seated himself with his back toward the door, and his rifle lying across the table. The instant an entrance was forced, the lieutenant seized the villain by the collar and drew him from the table, as he was reaching for his trusty piece. He was soon overpowered by the three militiamen, and tightly bound. Before he started for Albany, he desired to smoke, and was partially loosened to afford him an opportunity. He went to the fire-place to light his pipe, and was noticed to cast something in the fire. One of his captors snatched it from the live embers, and found it to be a silver bullet which screwed together : inside of which was a message to Sir Henry Clinton from an officer in Canada, written in figures. On other testimony, and that contained within the bullet, Bettys was tried, convicted and hung, at Albany. Considering his desperate character, the enterprise of Lieut. Fillmore and his companions in arresting him, was one of the most daring performed in the whole war.
When the arrest of Bettys became known to Maj. Mitchell in the Ballston settlement, he enjoined secrecy of the affair, rightly conjecturing that he had not traversed the northern forests of New York, alone. A widow Camp living in the neighborhood, had a son in the British service, who it was thought, might possibly have accompanied Bettys. The arrest of the latter having been kept close during the day ; Kenathy Gordon, a sergeant, was entrusted by Maj. Mitchell with the search to be made the same night. Attended by John Sweatman and several other fearless neighbors, young Gordon gained access to the house of Mrs. Camp after bed-time, and enquired for her son. She declared her ignorance of his whereabouts, pretended to be highly incensed at having armed men enter her dwelling and disturb the family at midnight, and still more on being suspected of harboring an enemy.
This woman talked very patriotic, but her warmth satisfied the sergeant, who was a resolute fellow, that her son was in the house, and he went to the fireplace, seized a blazing brand and started up stairs. Young Camp and Jonathan Miller had accompanied Bettys to the neighborhood,-and were then in an upper room. Hearing the noise below, they sprang out of bed, seized their guns and leveled them. At the click of their locks, Gordon jumped down stairs, and swore if they did not descend and surrender themselves prisoners in less than five minutes, he would smoke them out. Believing he would burn the house, they concealed some money under a rafter, and then came down and submitted to Gordon's authority, who conducted them to the dwelling of Maj. Mitchell, where they were secured until morning. The prisoners had not the least suspicion that Bettys had been arrested, until after they were. On his way to the major's dwelling. Miller was heard to say he would rather be shot than to enter it. Obadiah Miller, a brother living in the vicinity, was sent for in the morning, and unexpectedly ushered into the presence of his Tory kinsman, whose visit to the neighborhood was unknown to him. His surprise was evident, and he trembled like a leaf. It leaked out in the sequel, that the two Millers were together in the woods when the attempt was made the fall before to capture the major, which he possibly suspected. The two prisoners were taken to Albany, from whence they were liberated or effected an escape.-Charles Mitchell.
Murder of the Dietz Family.-In the spring of this year, a party of 15 Indians proceeded by a circuitous route through the Schoharie settlements, without committing any hostile act to Beaver dam, Albany county, where was a small settlement, a grist-mill, etc. The settlers were mostly tories in this vicinity, except the Dietzes and Weidmans. To destroy the family of Johannes Dietz, an old gentleman who lived between the mill and a Scotch settlement at Rensselaerville, was the especial object of the invaders in making their tedious journey. The family consisted of the old gentleman and his wife, his son, Capt. William Dietz and wife, four children of the latter, a servant girl, and a lad named John Bryce, whose parents lived at Rensselaerville.
The enemy arrived at Dietz's just before night, and surprised and killed all the family, except Capt. Dietz and young Bryce, then 12 or 14 years old. Robert Bryce, a brother of John, 11 years old, had been sent on horseback that day to the mill at Beaver dam with a grist, in company with several other lads on the same errand. Their grain was ground, but as it was nearly sundown they all concluded to tarry with the miller over night, except Bryce, who was resolved to return as far as Dietz's, three miles toward his home, and stay with his brother. He arrived just at twilight near the house, when an Indian sprang from a covert by the road side, and seized his bridle reins. A short time before his arrival, the family had been led out of the house to be murdered, agreeable to a savage custom, perhaps that their mangled remains may terrify surviving friends ; and as the horse, with Robert still on him, was led near the house, the lad discovered the disfigured bodies of all the family, except Capt. Dietz and his own brother, who were tied to a tree near by.
The enemy, after plundering the dwelling of such articles as they desired, set it on fire, and, with the outbuildings, it was soon reduced to ashes. Securing the scalps of the eight bleeding victims, or $64 worth of American blood in an English market-after placing their plunder on a number of horses belonging to the Dietzes, and that of young Bryce, on which his grist was retained for food-they started forward on their tedious journey to Canada. They traveled about two miles and encamped for the night, distant from the paternal house of the Bryce boys about a mile. Little did their parents dream of the fate and future prospects of their sons. By dawn of day next morning, the journey was resumed. The Indians desired to take the southern route to Niagara, and hoped to gain the sources of the Schoharie without molestation. Tidings of the untimely fate of this family were next day communicated to the Schoharie forts, and a body of troops was dispatched by Col. Vrooman in pursuit.
Lieut. John Jost Dietz, a relative of the family, who was sent from the Lower fort with a party to bury the dead, met them in a wagon owned by a neighbor. The bodies had been mutilated by hogs, and presented a most revolting appearance. They were all deposited in one grave, in a yard attached to a small Reformed Dutch church, then standing not far distant from the place of massacre.
Suspecting the route the invaders would take, the Americans proceeded up the river, and towards night, on the second day after the massacre, fell in with and fired upon them near the head waters of the Schoharie. Several of the Indians were wounded, but they all effected their escape with their prisoners. They however abandoned their horses and plunder at the onset, which were restored to the surviving friends of the family. The Indian who claimed ownership to the person of Robert Bryce, was badly wounded in one leg by the fire of the Schoharie troops, and being unable to keep up with the party, journeyed with his prisoner and two of his partizans at a much slower pace. On arriving at the Indian settlements in western New York, Robert was initiated into the cruel mysteries of gantlet-running : receiving a lesson in which school, on one occasion, nearly cost him his life. He was taken to Nine Mile Landing on Lake Ontario ; sold to a Scotchman, the captain of a sloop, for fifteen dollars ; was removed to Detroit, from whence he was liberated and returned home, after the proclamation of peace, in company with his brother and several hundred prisoners liberated at the same time.
The treatment of Capt. Dietz and the elder Bryce was more severe than that of Robert. Their party were greatly straightened for food on their way, and for several days lived on winter-green, birch-bark, and, possibly, a few esculent roots and wild berries. On the Susquehanna river, near the mouth of the Unadilla, a deer was shot, which providentially saved them from starving. Their progress at this period was very slow, as they were compelled daily to spend much of their time in hunting food. They journeyed through the Chemung and Genesee valleys, and at villages, the prisoners were compelled to endure the running ordeal. Added to the stripes of his foes and the gnawings of hunger, Capt. Dietz suffered the most severe mental agony. He was not only doomed to see the blood-stained scalps of his honored parents, his bosom companion and four lovely children stretched in hoops to tan in the sun, as was the custom, but often to have them slapped in his face by the Indian who bore them, in the most insulting manner.
George Warner, who was captured the same season, informed the writer that he saw Capt. Dietz in his confinement at Niagara, and conversed with him. The latter appeared heart-stricken and in a decline, under which he sunk to the grave not long after. He told Capt. Warner (the latter was a military captain after the war) where a certain amount of money had been concealed near their dwelling. Capt. Warner afterwards understood the treasure had been recovered.-Priests narative and Col. Wm. Dietz of Schoharie, corroborated by others.
Another Victim.-Early on the morning of July 4th, Adam Vrooman (a namesake and cousin of "Pull Foot Vrooman," and son of Isaac Vrooman, who was killed the preceding fall), went from the Upper Schoharie fort,accompanied by Pr?? (bad print here. ajb) Feeck, (the man who discovered the rear of the British army on the morning of Johnson's invasion,) to drive cattle to a pasture near the dwelling of the late Cornelius Vrooman. Feek was driving the cattle as his companion went forward to open the gate ; and as the latter was in the act of so doing, he received several bullets from a party of seven Indians and tories concealed in ambush, and fell dead. Feeck fled, and although fired at by the enemy, he reached the fort, nearly a mile distant, in safety. On the same morning, Joseph Brown, who had left the Upper fort on the same errand as had Vrooman and Feeck, was captured by the same party and hurried off to Canada. A band of rangers left the fort on the return of Feeck, and soon struck the trail of the enemy ; but the latter having stolen a number of horses in the neighborhood, effected their escape.-Mrs. Van Slyck and Josias E. Vrooman.
An Invasion of Adam Crysler.-On the morning of July 26, 1782, the tory Captain, Adam Crysler, accompanied by his brother William, another Tory named Peter Erkert, and 22 Indians, appeared in Foxescreek valley. They had tarried the preceding night, as was believed, at the dwelling of a Tory in the vicinity, whose family and property were left unmolested. Early in the morning the destructives approached the house of Jacob Zimmer, which was one of the first stone dwellings erected in Schoharie county.*
Jacob Zimmer, Sr., was absent when the enemy arrived at his house, as was also his son Peter; the latter, however, had not left the neighborhood. Crysler was sadly disappointed in not finding the elder Zimmer at home. His namesake was tomahawked and scalped in the presence of his wife and mother-two who could feel most keenly his loss. The women were not captured, and the enemy, after plundering the house, set it on fire, as also they did the barn, and then proceeded down the creek. The former was extinguished by the women,
* This house, situated a little distance from the hamlet called Gallupville, which dwelling was for many years owned and occupied by Theobald Hllts, unfortunately took fire on the 9th day of March, 1843, and with most of its contents soon became a heap of ruins. Mr. Zimmer was a patriot, a man of influence, and well known in the country, having been associated as patentee with John Lawyer and others in the purchase and sale of extensive tracts of land in Albany county. To secure such a prisoner (possibly one of the Schoharie council of safety at the time) was an object not to be overlooked by the Tory chief; he accordingly led his destructives to Zlmmer's house. Mr. Zimmer had two sons, Jacob and Peter, living with him, who were young men grown-the former of whom had a wife also at his father's.
after the barn-burners had left, but the barn was reduced to ashes. Proceeding a little distance from the house, the party met Peter Zimmer and took him prisoner. Peter enquired of his captors if they had seen his brother Jacob, and was answered that they had left him at home with the women, but did not tell him that the trophy already secured for a British market, was the scalp of his near relative. A Hessian, who had entered New York as a soldier under Burgoyne, and who had chosen to desert and remain in the country, was at work for the Zimmers at the time of Crysler's invasion, and was also murdered, as his scalp would command eight dollars in Canada. Blood was said to have been visible on a stone beside the road where this poor Hessian was slain, for a great length of time afterwards.
The morning being unusually foggy, the light of Zimmer's house was not discovered by the citizens below, and as they had refrained from firing, their proximity was unsuspected.
At this period, Johannes Becker, one of the earliest German settlers on Foxescreek, was still living about two miles below Zimmer, and with or near him five sons, Joseph, Major of militia ; * George, John, Jacob, and William, and one daughter named Maria. The three brothers, John, Jacob, and William Becker, went on the morning of Crysler's invasion, to work in a cornfield on the north side of the creek. Arriving at the field, they found they had but two hoes, and John, the eldest, sent William, the youngest of the three, then twenty-two years old, to the house for another hoe. He soon returned with a report that the women were hoeing a patch of cabbage, and did not like to part with it. As previously stated, many of the farmers concealed their hay and grain in the woods during the war, to avoid the enemy's fire-brand. The day before this invasion, the brothers had been cutting brush to make room for several hay stacks, and to open a road to the place, some distance from the house.
When William returned without the hoe, John told him he could go and finish the road in the woods, make bars, etc.
* Joseph Becker had two sons, George three, John one, and Jacob four; nearly all of whom were residents of Schoharie county in 1845. Johannes Becker died soon after the war was over, and Major Becker, his oldest son, died Aug. 21st, 1806, the latter in the 68th year of his age.
William started, but was called back by John, who told him to stay and hoe with Jacob, saying that he would go and finish the other work himself, as then he would be sure of its being done to suit him ! John was afterwards found dead, lying upon the brush he had been cutting, and appeared not to have moved after he received the blow of a tomahawk. The brim and lower part of his hat crown were cut open, and the weapon had penetrated the brain. It was supposed that an Indian had stolen up behind him unobserved, and felled him to the earth, where he scalped and left him. As the enemy went directly from Zimmer's to the field where the Becker brothers had been at work the day before, it was supposed that their place of labor had been communicated by some tory in the settlement. Soon after John had left his brothers hoeing, William discovered the enemy in the upper side of the field, approaching them, and directed Jacob's attention that way. Both at the same instant let fall their hoes and ran towards home. Rightly conjecturing that their foes would, if possible, cut off their retreat to the house, they ran directly to the bank of the creek not far above the house, and opposite a small island that has since disappeared. At this place the stream was deep, and they had to diverge from the shore to the island. They dashed down the bank with an impetus that carried them both into the water, and Jacob fell down, but regaining his feet he reached the log, crossed, and ran up on the south side of the island, hotly pursued by a single Indian, who had to make the same circuit to cross or else swim the stream-the others having gone below to bead them, supposing they would run to the house.
Jacob, who was closely followed by the warrior with uplifted tomahawk, on arriving at a place on the southern shore of the island, which terminated boldly, sprang down the bank and remained quiet. William ran but a few rods beyond his brother, and also secreted himself beneath the bank. The pursuing Indian ran to within a few feet of where Jacob lay, halted, and looked up the stream in vain, to catch another glimpse of the fugitives-little suspecting that one of them was almost within reach of him-near where he had last seen him, and who doubtless was still visible had he looked down. He gave up the chase, crossed the island, passing very near the concealment of William, gained the north bank 'of the creek, and hastened to join his companions below. The Indians did not fire on the young men, as they hoped to surprise Maj. Becker and some others near by. The brothers remained concealed until the firing began at the house, and then crossed the creek and went into the woods, east of their corn-field. When the enemy left the valley, they passed so near the concealed brothers, that the latter distinctly heard them talk.
Maj. Becker, at that period, owned and occupied a substantial stone dwelling, the residence of his son Henry-in 1845-late judge of the county ; and near it stood a grist-mill owned by him, which was one of the earliest mills in Schoharie county. The dwelling is pleasantly situated upon a knoll on the south side of the creek, at a little distance from the Albany road, and had at that period a gambrel roof. A hall passed through it from north to south, with a door at each end. The house contained five front and five rear windows ; and at that time two chamber windows in the east gable end, since altered. The upper part of the house was unfinished and all in one room ; and the windows were barricaded nearly to the top with oak plank. The front door was closed up with plank, and the back door, then the only entrance to the house, strengthened by a false door also of oak, to arrest the bullets of an enemy. Just before Crysler and his murderers arrived at Maj. Becker's, Henry, his son, then nine years old, Jacob Zimmer, Jr. (nephew of the one murdered), and several other boys about the same age, had been a little distance southeast of the house to drive hogs to a pasture. On their return, and when within 10 or 15 rods of the house, one of the boys said to the rest : "See the rifle-men over there ; they are painted like the Indians ! " The Schoharie rangers, when on a scout, were often clad much like Indians ; but young Becker instantly recognized the party to be a band of savages. A few rods above the house was a small island of perhaps an acre, separated from the bank southeast of the dwelling, by a deep pool of stagnant water, over which was the trunk of a tree. The enemy being upon the island, had to make quite a circuit or cross the log, which could only be done in single file. This gave the boys a little start and they ran to the house shouting : "Indians! Indians!" They could easily have been shot, as they were but a few rods distant from the enemy, but the latter still hoped, to surprise a militia major, which would doubtless have been done, had not the boys discovered their approach.
Maj. Becker chanced to be engaged back of the house, caught the alarm, and running in seized his gun, entered the southwest room, thrust it through a loop-hole above one of the windows, and fired on the invaders, breaking an Indian's arm. As the boys ran into the hall door, they encountered several children within ; and all tumbled in a heap. Maj. Backer's wife, who was a woman of the times, sprang to the plank door which fastened with a ring and bolt, drew it too, and held it ajar with the bolt in her hand. John Hutt, as the enemy approached, was at the western end of the house making a whiffletree. Mrs. Becker continued to hold the door open for Hutt, who took the alarm from the furious barking of three large dogs belonging to the inmates of the house, which had met and were giving battle to the invaders, who halted to shoot them. As Hutt neared the door, a large Indian sprang to seize him, but the former raising the missile which he had retained in his hand, the latter recoiled and he sprang into the door, which was quickly bolted by the Major's Spartan wife. Had not Mrs. Becker possessed great presence of mind, and the dogs met the enemy, Hutt must have either been slain or captured. The shot of Maj. Becker may also have damped the ardor of the assailants, George Shell, another Schoharie soldier, was fortunately in the house at the time, and assisted in its defense.
The inmates of the dwelling consisting of the three men named, Mrs. Becker, Mrs. Adam Zimmer, possibly one or two other women, and some eight or ten children, went up stairs. The Major took his station at the southwest corner window, which commanded the enemy's approach to his barn, assigned to Hutt the eastern gable windows, and to Shell the northwest window opposite his own, which commanded their approach to the mill, which stood a few rods twin the house upon ground occupied by the race-way of the present mill. The lower sash of the upper windows was also secured by plank. The enemy immediately ran round the eastern end of the house and there gained temporary shelter, some under the creek bank, some behind a fence, and others behind a small log building standing at a little distance southeast of the house, used as a store-room. The enemy fired numerous balls in at the windows, 28 entering the window Hutt was stationed at. He was a bold, vigilant fellow, and often incurred the censure of Maj. Becker for exposing his person so much about the window, telling him that the force of the enemy was unknown, but their own was three men, the loss of one being one-third of their strength. Hutt, however, could not be restrained by the prudent counsels of the Major, and kept constantly returning the shots of the enemy. Discovering through a cranny of the log building the hat of one of his foes, Hutt sent a bullet through the brim of it close to the crown. This hat, it was afterwards ascertained, was on the head of Capt. Crysler. The balls of the enemy cut the air around the head of Hutt, but fortunately without injury.
While a part of the invaders were firing in at the windows, one of their number was discovered by Shell crawling along the bank of the creek, which was then steeper than at present, with a brand of fire, intent on burning the mill. Shell was an eccentric fellow, and had acquired the habit of thinking out loud. Aiming his rifle at the foe, he was heard by several in the room to think much as follows : "Ah! that's what you're at, is it ? you go a little further and you'll catch it. Now, look out ; I'll give it to you. When you get there, you get it ; there, there, that will do!" In the midst of his soliloquy, his bead in motion, crack went his line ; and he continued : "There, he has it, he's down, one less, you won't come again ; now burn the mill will you, you infernal Indian !"
After continuing the attack for sometime, the enemy" attempted to fire the building. They placed a wheel-narrow under the water conductor leading from the gutter at the northeast corner of the house, to within three or four feet of the ground, and piling on combustibles, set fire to them, which quickly communicated with the wooden spoilt, and threatened the destruction of the building. It was impossible for the inmates of the house to fire on their foes while applying the incendiary torch, without exposing themselves to almost certain death, a some of the Indians were constantly on the look-out for such an exposure. As the flame began to ascend the gutter toward the roof, Maj. Becker, who had no inclination to be burned alive, set about forcing off the corner of it with a piece of scantling, which fortune placed in the chamber, while his wife went into the cellar to procure water. On entering the cellar, she found an outside cellar door upon the north side of the building, standing wide open, where the enemy might have entered without danger, had they gone round the building. Fastening the door, and procuring a pail of water, she returned to the chamber.
<-Major Becker's house invaded by the enemy.
For a time the roof, which was nailed on with heavy wrought nails as was the ancient custom, baffled all the major's effort, but it at length yielded, and he sand down exhausted. As the shingles fell to the ground, the Indians gathered them up, exclaiming: "Yok-wah!" Thank you! And added in their dialect, "we can kindle it now." a hole being made, water was thrown down and the spout was extinguished. The enemy soon had it blazing again with additional combustibles, and then remarked, also in their own tongue: "Chock-wot de wink-wock!" It now burns like tobacco! It was again put out, and again enkindled and put out, until the spout had burned off above their reach, when they abandoned further attempts to set the house on fire. Supposing their firing would be heard at the Lower fort, some three miles distant, the assailants took French leave of the premises about nine o'clock, A. M., and entered the forest ; having been about the Becker house for several hours.
The father and mother of the Becker brothers, with a child of Shell (who was in the stone bouse), who lived just below Maj. Becker, and where Robert Coats resided in 1845, taking the alarm on the enemy's approach, fled towards the fort along the southern bank of the creek. They were discovered, and fired on by the invaders, and several balls struck a fence near them, before they were out of danger ; but the enemy being so intent on the capture of Maj. Becker, and plunder of his house, did not pursue them and they escaped. Adam Zimmer and John Enders, who fled on the approach of the enemy from the vicinity of Maj. Becker's, carried news of the invasion to the Lower fort, then commanded by Capt. Brown ; when a party of Americans under Lieut. Snyder sallied forth, and arrived just after Crysler and his followers had left. The state of the atmosphere was such, that, the firing at Becker's was heard at the Middle fort, six or seven miles distant and not heard at the Lower fort, less than half as remote.
After the enemy retired from Becker's, the supposed Indian whom Shell had shot, was found to have fallen partly in the water and was not dead. He was taken into the house, and doctor Werth called to examine his wound, who pronounced it mortal ; the ball having passed diagonally through the body at the shoulders. The man was now discovered to be a painted tory instead of an Indian, and was shortly after recognized to be Erkert, a Scotch cooper, who had made flour barrels for Maj. Becker before the war. The Major, on making the recognition, accused the tory of ingratitude. Said he : " When you came to me for work, I employed you, and always paid you well, and now you come with a band of savages to murder me and my family ; plunder and burn my buildings." The man appeared very penitent as certain death was before him, expressed his sorrow for the course he had taken, and said " he did not then care which succeeded, King or Congress." He was scalped in the afternoon by a friendly Indian named Yan (a son of David, who was killed by the cavalry under Col. Harper, in 1777), and on the following morning he was summoned to the bar of his Maker, to render an account " for the deeds done in the body." The victims of Crysler's invasion at Foxescreek, were buried in rough boxes with their clothes on. After this attack on Maj. Becker's dwelling, it was palisaded.-Jacob and William Becker, who escaped by flight; Judge Becker and Jacob Zimmer, Jr., two of the boys who discovered the enemy near the house, and the manuscript of Judge Hager.
John Snyder, known after the war as " Schoharie John," and Peter Mann, of Foxescreek, were captured in the morning by Crysler and party, as the former were returning from Beaverdam ; Mann was, however, liberated in Kneiskern's dorf. The enemy proceeded from the estuary of Cobelskill and Schoharie, up the former stream.
On the following day, in the present town of Cobelskill, George Warner, Jr., who was engaged in shifting horses from one field to another, was captured by Crysler and his destructives, who directed their course from thence to the Susquehanna. Warner instantly recognized as one of the master spirits among his captors, the Schoharie chief, Seth's Henry, who still carried upon his arm the indelible evidence of -Sawyer's ' strike for liberty,' when a captive in his hands. The second day after leaving Cobelskill, the whole party were obliged to subsist on horse flesh without bread or seasoning of any kind. Warner, who communicated these facts to the author, said he ate on the way to Niagara, of a deer, a wolf, a rattlesnake, and a hen hawk, but without bread or salt. The two captives, Zimmer and Warner, were tightly bound, and generally fared alike while on their journey. They had, for some days, contemplated making their escape, and complaining that they could not travel on account of their cords, they were a little loosened, which favored their plan. They concluded they ought, in justice, to communicate their intention to their fellow prisoner, although he was not bound, and give him a chance to escape with them, if he chose to embrace it. But a short time after their intention was communicated to a third person, the conspirators for liberty were more firmly bound than ever, and were afterwards continually watched until they arrived at Niagara. Nights they were pinioned so tight that they could not get their hands together ; and were secured by a rope tied to a tree or pole, upon which rope an Indian always laid down.
On their way, the party passed several rattle snakes, which the Indians avoided disturbing ; and at the narrows on the Chemung, which were barely wide enough for a road, they, with no little difficulty, made a circuit to pass one. The New York Indians had a superstitious notion, that to harm a rattlesnake was ominous of evil, and they never did it, unless to use the reptile for medicinal purposes, or prevent starvation. While on their journey, Snyder, from some cause, had angry words with one of the savages, and the latter several times twirled a tomahawk over his head, and drew a scalping knife round the crown threateningly ; but they made up friends and renewed their march. The Schoharie prisoners also passed on their way, another party of Indians, who were killing a prisoner in a singular manner. His captors had tied his wrists together and drawn them over his knees, after which a stick was passed under his knees and over the wrists, and a rope tied to it between them, and thrown over the limb of a tree. His tormentors then drew him up a distance and let him fall by slacking the rope ; continuing their hellish sport until the concussion extinguished the vital spark.
Soon after the party passed the outlet of Seneca lake, Capt. Crysler told the prisoners, tauntingly, how soon the King would conquer the rebels. Warner listened with impatience for a time, and being unable to retain his feelings, replied : " I do not believe the King will ever conquer the colonies ; in the French war Great Britain and America united were hardly able to compete with France ; and now, since France and America are united, I do not believe it possible for England to conquer them." This conversation took place in the evening, and Warner observed, while speaking, that a frown rested upon the brows of the dusky warriors and their lawless Captain. Warner soon after heard the tory give orders in the Indian tongue, which he understood, to have his bands tightened. In the morning, he expostulated with Crysler for so doing, who was very angry and declared, that " for those cursed words he should hang at noon." Accordingly a noose was made in a rope, and the rest of it coiled and placed around his neck, which he was compelled to wear; As may be supposed, he traveled the forest with a heavy heart, still he looked upon the gallows with no little indifference, as it would end his bodily torments, and relieve him from the treatment of an unfeeling royalist. About 10 o'clock, A. M., the party halted, as Warner supposed, to anticipate the time of his execution, but, contrary to his expectation, the rope was taken off without any explanation.
Warner and Zimmer, on arriving at the Indian villages in Western New York, were subjected to the cruelties their customs indicted on captives. The first treatment of the kind they received was from a gad in the hands of Molly Brant, who embraced every opportunity during the war to insult and injure captive Americans. Soon after Molly had vented her spleen upon the two bound captives, they arrived at the Indian castle, where they had to run the gantlet. When the lines were formed, an Indian chief called Abraham, who recognized Warner, stepped up to him and asked him, in German, where he was from. He replied, Schoharie. " Do you know George Warner of Cobelskill?" continued the Indian. "He is my father," replied young Warner. This Indian, as Warner after-wards learned, had often partaken of his father's hospitality before the war. Said the Indian : " When you run, the boys will get before you, but you must run over them or push them one side ; they will not hurt you any the more for it, and when you get through, run to a wigwam and you will not again be hurt." Their fellow prisoner was not compelled to run, and as it happened, Zimmer started first. As the Indian had anticipated, the boys ran before him and he was receiving a severe castigation, when Warner, forcing his way past him, ran down several of the living obstacles, and was near the end of the lines almost untouched ; where stood a large boy, who, as he bounded along, dealt him a blow upon his head, which felled him senseless to the ground, Zimmer, who had not heard the conversation between Warner and the Indian, and feared to harm the boys, followed his companion closely in the path he had opened, and arrived at the goal of delivery, without serious injury.
On arriving within half a mile of Niagara, Peter Ball, who had removed at the beginning of the war to Canada, from the vicinity of Schoharie, saw and recognized Warner, and led him away from the squaws and young Indians, who were besetting him at every step with some missile. Zimmer saw on the journey, his brother's scalp, -with those of the other similar trophies of Crysler's invasion, stretched upon hoops to dry ; and on arriving at Niagara, saw them deposited, with bushels of similar British merchandise, made up of the crown scalps of both sexes and all ages. There were about 200 prisoners confined at Niagara when Warmer and Zimmer were there, many of whom fared hard, and several of whom died for want of food and proper treatment. Among the prisoners confined at Niagara there were nearly 100 Virginia riflemen, some of whom, to say the least, feared nothing in this world.
Warner, for a considerable time, worked for a man living near Niagara, as did also Christian Price, a spirited Virginian. In the latter part of the war, several Indians were found dead at different times, early in the morning, but the author of those midnight mysteries, although the prisoners were often accused of them, were never discovered, notwithstanding numbers were sometimes in the secret. Among the victims who were thus sacrificed in revenge of the cruelties and indignities meted to the American prisoners, was a young Indian, sixteen or seventeen years old, known about the fort as William Johnson. He was a half-breed, said to have been a son of Sir Wm. Johnson, after whom he was called, by a squaw. This namesake of the Baronet, was one morning discovered in a barrel of rain -water, under the conductor of a house, into which he had unaccountably fallen head first and drowned. Several prisoners were suspected of being accessory to the death of this Indian, but free masonry was then at its zenith. The tories on one occasion gave a stump to the prisoners to wrestle. Price, who was a muscular, athletic fellow, accepted the challenge and walked into the ring to wrestle with the acknowledged bully. The prisoner, with ease, threw the braggadocio in a very feeling manner, and the sport was soon ended. Warner was retained a prisoner until peace was proclaimed, and with twenty-three others ran away from Niagara one Sunday night. They halted at Oswego, purchased provisions of the British soldiers, and made the best of their way home through the forest. Zimmer returned home a short time before Warner, on parole. Snyder, on arriving in Canada, enlisted into the British service, as his friends have stated, to afford him an opportunity to desert and return home.
If the American prisoners at Niagara usually fared hard, they occasionally had an hour of merriment, as the following anecdote will show :
A Tory Wedding.-Among the Tories who removed from Schoharie county to Niagara, in the beginning of the war, was a man named Cockle, who had a pretty daughter called Peggy. On a certain occasion an Irishman named Patrick Tuffts, who worked much in Col. Butler's garden, and who was a dissipated simple fellow, was made the butt of no little pleasantry. The farce was set on foot by a British officer, and the matter principally conducted by him. Tuffts was induced to make love to the charming Peggy, who, agreeably to, previous arrangements, reciprocated the sentiment, and at an appointed time, agreed to marry him. Christian Price, previously mentioned, who in features somewhat resembled the fair toryess, was in the secret, and on the evening appointed, changed dresses with her, so that, to use the words of a guest, " Peggy was Price and Price was Peggy." At the hour appointed, the guests, who were numerous, for many of the prisoners were invited, assembled at the house of an influential Tory Stephen Secutt, a sergeant, a shrewd fellow, acted the ministerial part. The couple stood up before Secutt, who, with no little sang-froid, performed the marriage ceremony ; at the close of which he received from the happified son of Erin a silver dollar-a rarity in those days-to compensate for his official services.
Ample provision had been made by the officers and soldiers, and when the knot was pronounced tied, wine sparkled in many a cup. After the party had been drinking for sometime, and the groom and bride had received many happy salutations, the tones of a violin greeted the ear, and the party prepared for a dance. The bride, who had been sitting awhile in the lap of Tuffts, who was " half seas over," arose to dance with a guest as partner. In the midst of the dance Mistress Tuffts allowed her partner certain liberties, which the groom, being told by a guest was very improper, arose to resent. Bounding into the figure with a rash oath, he changed it into a reel by knocking down his wife. Mistress Tuffts sprang from the floor and ran out of the room to doff the petticoat and gown, and soon after returned as Christian Price, to bathe a black eye with a glass of wine; Tuffts, poor fellow, was soon to be seen staggering amid the delighted company, inquiring for his wife. At length he inquired of Warner if he had seen her. " You have no wife," was the answer. " Yes I have-eh," said Tuffts, " I'm lawfully married-eh. Did I not pay a silver dollar to be married-eh ?" " Yes, you are married," said Warner, "to Christian Price." This was a poser, and he could not at first credit the story, but after being ridiculed by the whole party, and jeered until nearly sober, he withdrew from the scene of merriment made at his expense, to mourn over the result of his precipitate marriage, which had wedded him to a man, and taken from him his only dollar. Had he ever seen the Latin line so often quoted, he would no doubt have exclaimed, on counting over his beads and retiring to rest, O Temporal! O Mores ! !- George Warner.
The Second Captivity of George Cough.-The patriotism of some men on the frontiers of New York, was severely tested in the Revolution. They were not only subjected to privations, constant calls to supply garrisons, poor families and often those whose male members were in the ranks of the foe, but they were subjected to repeated invasions of the enemy, sometimes reducing them in an hour from comfortable circumstances to beggary or captivity-if, in fact, their very names were not to be stricken from life by the sharpened hatchet. And yet, like Job, they could meet those crushing- calamities with unbending integrity, without faltering in their course, or bowing down to the iron calf royalty would set up. Of this class was George Cough, of Philadelphia Bush, who had removed thither from Philadelphia about nine years before the war began, and when the country around him was a forest. When the national difficulties began all the families in that settlement were comfortably situated.
The farm on which Cough resided in the war, has long been known as the Peter McKinlay farm, in the present town of Mayfield, on the road leading from Johnstown to Fondasbush. Six-mile-tree, on Sir William Johnson's road from Johnstown to Summer House Point, stood a little distance from Cough's dwelling ; about half a mile east of which, the road swept off more northerly to the Point, eight miles farther. A road at this period ran from Philadelphia Bush to the river at Tribe's Hill, and the pioneer settlers at Fish House, in going to Schenectada, had to make the circuit of Summer House Point, there being no wagon road before the war, from Fish House to Fondasbush. Several years prior to the war, a log school house was erected at Philadelphia Bush, and its first teacher was a German named Brydaberg, who taught in German, but left the school at the beginning of difficulties. Early in the war, an Englishman became its teacher, but at the end of a few weeks, he became superstitiously alarmed and left it. He remained to write after school, and left the house to go home about sun down, when his attention was arrested and his fears peculiarly excited by the unusual appearance of the sky. He went hastily to Mr. Cough's, and much agitated, called out the family to look at the heavens ; which he said seemed as an army with banners marching to battle, and forewarning him to quit the school, which he unceremoniously did. The appearance of a fading sun light on a moving vapor, was indeed a magnificent display of ethereal chemistry, well calculated to awaken the romantic imaginings of a timid mind. Nor was this by any means an isolated case. Superstitious fears were constantly awakened in the war, and few were the communities not disturbed by significant signs-originating in some seeming unaccountable phenomena in nature.
The school house mentioned, if not used in the war for the purpose designed, was not unoccupied. After hostilities began, Capt. Winne, with part of a company of soldiers, used it for a time as a temporary fort, after which it was occupied as a dwelling, first by John Bracken, who removed to Canada, next by one Cadman, a patriot. He had two son-in-laws of his political faith. Samuel Loss and Jacobus De La Martin. The last occupant in the war was Andrew Bowman, after his captivity of 1778.
Recapture of George Cough.-Mr. Cough was surprised a second time, on his farm, on the first Friday (3d) of May, 1782, at which time he was in his 6d year. The family consisted of himself and wife, sons George and Christopher, 13 and 11 years, etc., and three daughters, Christina, Catharine and Mary, all older than the boys. The surprise took place about 1 P. M., at which time Mr. Cough was plowing in peas in a field. In clearing land at that period, it was a common occurrence to girdle some of the largest trees, and leave them standing for the wind to throw down afterwards. A large maple had thus fallen in the meadow, not far from the pea-field, and the boys were gathering the branches around the trunk so as to be less in the way while cutting hay, and preparatory to burning after harvest. Andrew Bowman was at work for Mr. Cough that day, and was engaged in taking potatoes from a hole, where hurried in the fall, not far from where Mr. Cough was at work.
While all were thus engaged, the lads discovered a party of Indians emerging from the adjoining woods. George attempted to escape by flight, but at the end of a few rods he was headed, and with his father and brother became a prisoner. The enemy consisted of 13 young athletic St. Regis Indians, and having left their blankets in the woods so as not to be cumbered by them in running, they were entirely naked except in a breech-clout about the loins, and moccasins: being hideously painted and terribly armed, they presented in their approach a most appalling spectacle to the captors. They were all armed with guns, hatchets and knives except one, who having no gun, was armed with a long spear. In scaling a log fence which skirted the field, it fell under their weight with a crash-hearing which Bowman ran out of the potato hole to learn the cause of the noise, just in time to become a prisoner. In leaping the fence, said my informant,* they appeared to come upon us like flying angels ! Had the old worthy said, like telegraphed devils, methinks the trope would have been truer to life.
The four prisoners were hurried into the woods by about half the Indians, to where they had left their clothing, and the rest ran to plunder the dwellings, out of sight of the laborers. Mrs. Bowman and her children were at the Cough dwelling, and soon her own was rifled of its most valuable contents and set on fire. As the enemy approached the Cough dwelling, all its inmates except Mrs. Cough and her daughter Catharine, fled from it and secreted themselves in the forest unharmed. No injury or gross indignity was offered to either of the two ladies in the house, which was quickly sacked, and the Indians joined their companions. For some reason the house was not fired,
* George Cough, Jr., one of the captives named, and now (1851) an intelligent and conscientious citizen of Fulton county. The facts in this connection were noted from his lips June 4, 1850; and on the 6th of February preceding, he was 81 years old.
but the burning school house communicated fire to a fence, which would have done the work for the dwelling, had not the flames been extinguished by the women.
Among the pillage at Cough's was a piece of linen cloth cut from the loom, some 30 ells (20 yds.) in length, which Christina was weaving for Michael Swobe, living toward Johnstown. One of the horses, used by Mr. Cough, was taken by the enemy, and its fellow left before the plow. The stolen horse slipped its bridle fastening at the first halt the enemy made-returned home and was secured the next day.
After the Indians had disappeared, Mrs. Cough started for the field to learn the fate of her husband, at which time Catharine fled to a neighbor's, where she staid all night. Mrs. Cough, not finding her husband or sons, became delirious. The horse yet in the furrow she set at liberty, and obtaining the sheet from which her husband had sown his grain, she wound it about her person, and in a state of frenzy wandered about the field till dark, when spreading the sheet on a stone heap she laid upon it all night. Her daughters Christina and Mary, with Mrs. Bowman and her children, came from the woods at night fall and slept under a barrack, fearing to go to the house. The next morning the members of the Cough family got together and went to the Lodowick Putman place, half way to Johnstown.
The enemy and prisoners started directly for Canada, proceeding over the mountain north of Mayfield. They forded the Sacondaga some ten miles above Northville, the captives all taking hold of a long pole, to enable them to stem the current, except the lad Christopher, who was borne on the back of a stout Indian. Fearing pursuit the journey was continued all night, the prisoners being led by the hand. There still remained some snow on the ground in the woods ; and as the captives were clad in summer garments, unused to exposure to night air, and compelled to ford streams, they suffered from the cold ; observing which their captives twice essayed to halt. The first time they stopped and sat down beside a fallen hemlock, when with some design unknown they armed the prisoners. They evidently did not consider the place well chosen for a halt, for after a few minutes they again set forward with increased speed, over great inequalities of footing-following a path that would have seemed formidable with daylight.
At the end of a mile or two more the party halted around a dry treetop, which the enemy ignited so quickly as to astonish the prisoners. The crackling limbs soon shed a ray of comfort, and the light to cheer the solitude, when the report of a musket echoed among the mountains, evidently fired not far off. In an instant the Indians were on their feet, and a suppressed murmur of consultation followed. If the prisoners were amazed at the brevity of time in which the fire was kindled, they were equally astonished to see it extinguished and the march resumed. By whom the gun was fired was never known to the prisoners. It may have been a signal of distress from a returning captive ; or, what is quite probable, it was discharged by some party on a similar expedition to that of the one alarmed. Apprehensive of pursuit and loss of the profits of the expedition, the captors chose to advance in ignorance of the signal. The party without halting to rest and scarcely to drink, continued their march until near sunset the next day, having traveled, as Bowman told his companions, a distance of 70 miles from home. Possibly it may have been 50. Feeling secure from pursuit, the forward Indian cast down his pack and his companions threw theirs upon it, when a signal was given the prisoners to sit down-a welcome token. Preparations were made for a night's rest, a fire kindled and hemlock boughs cut to sleep on.
While preparations were making for the night, supper included, Bowman told Mr. Cough he meant there to take French leave of his captors, and unobserved by them he took occasion to obtain three handkerchiefs, from a pack of plunder made at his house, two of which he tied about his neck, placing the third in his shirt-bosom. They were the property of his wife. The Indians are guided so much by looks and gestures, that they often divine the workings of the mind, and this enabled them to suspect Bowman's intention. Accordingly, before occupying their hemlock bed, his foes tied his hands behind him, fastening the cord to another one, the end of which was tied to Mr. Cough's coat, while upon the other end several of the party laid down. Being greatly fatigued, the party all slept soundly except Bowman, who had a furlough from Morpheus for another night. At peep of day it was found he had freed himself and gone. Two armed Indians were soon upon his trail, but as he had had a start of nearly all night, at the end of a few hours they returned. He had a constitution like an Indian's, ran much of the way back, and before dark reached the settlement.
While the two Indians were looking for Bowman, the rest of the party took breakfast. For some days they all lived upon provisions obtained at the plundered dwellings, and several loaves of bread were thrust through and carried on the spear of the one thus armed. On the second morning Mr. Cough was compelled to bear a small pack, and young George was given a gun found at Bowman's to carry, but as he stumbled with it he was soon relieved of its care. The party now proceeded leisurely, halting at streams to drink, crossing at the larger ones in the manner before described. When water was not conveniently obtained, a warrior would tap a birch tree with his hatchet, insert a piece of bark, and from it all would slake their thirst. If either of the prisoners chanced to lean upon his elbow, his master would quickly inquire : "You sick? If you sick me kill you !" proving sorry comforters to the jaded boys.
At the end of three days and a half from the settlement, the Indians made known to their captives by motions and broken English, that in three days more they would go in canoes. Soon after their stock of provisions was gone, they came to part of a moose the enemy had concealed in going down, and not long after to the carcass of a bear they had slain, from both of which they replenished their larder. Arriving at a body of water, the party crossed in two canoes they had left, one of bark and the other made by straining the skin of a moose over a frame of wood, the pelt was cut loose and taken along. In the afternoon of the third day as forewarned, the party struck a marsh with a mountain upon one side of it. The water was nearly a foot deep in a part of the marsh and very cold, but as it was in their route they traveled it for several hours arriving just at night upon the shore of a lake.
The Indians now began a terrific whooping and firing. They would load their guns with the greatest possible dispatch, compel the prisoners to fire them of, and at each discharge they would indulge a joyous shout that made the forest resound. In a little while two canoes were seen approaching, each managed by a squaw. All entered the canoes, and in the fading twilight were ferried to an island nearly half a mile distant, where the returning warriors were greeted by one man and half a dozen squaws-several of them cumbered with papooses. There were three huts on the island and the prisoners were taken to separate ones.
The Indians, after giving their friends a narrative of their enterprise, prepared for a feast, and for that purpose killed a dog, the repast for an Indian. The captors were allowed to sleep while the delicacy was preparing, but were called up to partake of it. The boys who did not know what the dainty flesh was, partook of it with gusto, but their father having seen the dog slain and its hair burned off preparatory to cooking could not eat. Previous to their going on the war path, the Indians had been engaged in trapping and had secured considerable fur. They remained on the island three days, in which time they constructed five additional bark canoes, each capable to carry seven or eight persons, yet so light as to be transported at carrying places by two men. With traps, furs, border plunder and " Poughkeepsie baggage" in the canoes, they broke up the island encampment and glided from the lake down its outlet.
They kept to the westward of Lakes George and Champlain, probably passing from Hamilton county into St. Lawrence, transporting their canoes and luggage around rapids and from one water course to another, until they came to Racket river, passing down that to the village of the St. Regis Indians, situated on the south shore of the St. Lawrence, about 70 miles above Montreal, where the prisoners arrived three weeks after their surprise. They were not compelled to run the gantlet, there being a British officer there to see that prisoners were not abused. Soon after their arrival, they were treated to liquor by a French trader, who manifested sympathy for their condition. The officer at St. Regis asked Mr. Cough if he had not been there before ? Answering that he had been, four years before, he further enquired if he had been abused which caused him then to leave ? He replied that he did not wish to live among the Indians. " If your fare is not good," said the officer, " report to me." He did so report, and received an assurance that he should be sent to Montreal within ten days. He and his son Christopher, who had been separated, were sent thither at the time specified, making the journey by water- in one day
Preparatory to taking their prisoners to Montreal, the Indians painted their heads with grease and Spanish brown, and to set off the lad Christopher to advantage, they shaved the most of his head, tying a tuft of feathers in a remaining lock of hair. He cried at being metamorphosed into an Indian, and to reconcile him he received several presents-all of which were taken from him at Montreal, except a brooch. George did not go down with his father, but went in a canoe containing two Indians and two squaws. At several little taverns along the river, the party landed to get rum, and about two miles from the city the liquor began to operate, one of the Indians fiercely quarreled with his squaw, when the canoe ran ashore and he drew her from it by the hair of her head, inflicting numerous blows upon her-when the other Indian separated them. This was just at dusk, and the captive afraid to tarry with his drunken masters, ran to a dwelling not far off to claim protection. He was not suffered to remain in the house, but was permitted to sleep in a barn. At day-light he hastened to the shore, where he found the Indians awake, much sobered,, and just ready to discuss the merits of the bottle of discord ; and his return so pleased them, that they treated him for his integrity. The squaws had taken the canoe in the night and gone on to Montreal, and soon after the prisoner joined them, the Indians proceeded thither on foot.
The prisoners were delivered to Col. Campbell, and for their capture the Indians received from the government a half-joe-$4 each-and some presents to make a further compensation for the enterprise. As the captives needed clothing. Col. C. furnished each with a cloth coat, two pair of pants and a pair of shirts, one each of cotton and linen, and sent them to a prison-house, where they found about a dozen prisoners, some of whom had been retained in Canada several years, suffering great hardships. Mr. Cough's son Henry, who was captured with him in 1778, was confined on Prison island, where he died the next spring. While the Coughs were retained at Montreal, the prisoners obtained bread at a bakers, but meat was dealt out to them in the prison by a woman.
The mother of John Parker, whose arrest and execution I have elsewhere shown as occurring in the spring of 1782, was at Montreal when Mr. Cough was, and having been a neighbor before the war she went to the prison to see him. She inquired of him, if the rebels had hung her John ? Mr. Cough told her he had been tried and sentenced, but had not been executed to his knowledge. A few days after, she was seen approaching the prison accompanied by her only daughter, Nancy, bemoaning terribly. She sought out Mr. Cough, and said to him with great earnestness : " The rebels have hung my John! I have five sons more,* and they shall all go with the Indians to kill the d- rebels ! Yes, and I'll go with them and eat my belly full of their flesh, and drink my belly full of their blood ! Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo ! " She left the prison bewailing her severe loss through the street, threatening vengeance on the friends of liberty. A Lieutenant,-who had charge of the prisoners, and had been present at the interview of Mrs. Parker and Cough, inquired of the latter if he knew that woman ? And on being assured that he did, the officer added : " Well, she's certainly a very rugged woman." The whole union was rife with affliction when the heel of war was upon it, and few were the domestic altars not bruised by it.
The Parker boys were daily in the habit of saluting the prisoners of their acquaintance whom they chanced to meet in the street, with the harsh epithet of d- rebels ! for which low revenge they were often censured by British soldiers, and not unfrequently by other tories.
A man named Frazier, who had been an officer of some rank, then residing several miles from Montreal, though in sight, made an arrangement to have the three Coughs work for him, which they did until fall. They often saw while there some of their former neighbors, among whom were Susannah Wormwood Dunbar, mother, as believed, of two of Sir William Johnson's children ; Molly, wife of John Brocken, who removed from the Philadelphia Bush school house early in the war-Susannah was living with Mrs. Brocken ; Mrs. John Howell, and John Cough, whose flight to Canada the fall before, is elsewhere shown. They also saw Michael Reid, who was captured when Henry Stoner was killed, as elsewhere stated.
* William, James, Thomas, Isaac and Robert. All that were old enough were in the service of the enemy.
Return of Prisoners.-In the fall of 1782, the prisoners in and around Montreal-200 or 300-were exchanged for their foes held captive in the State, at which time Mr. Cough received $20 from his late employer. They were liberated the day before their departure, and such as had friends in the city shared their hospitality. Mr. Cough and sons partook the hospitality of the Howell family over night; a family that had gone from their own neighborhood. The liberated captives spent the night in feasting, dancing and merriment. In the morning they crossed the river and found carts ready to carry their baggage to St. Johns, on the River Sorel, where they remained over night. From thence they embarked on two sloops, 12 boats accompanying them up the lake filled with canoes for the southerly end of the journey. The captives were landed at Skenesborough-now White Hall-and being there supplied with provisions, they were left to foot it home in snow six inches deep, as best they could. A German family from Kentucky, consisting of a man, wife and four children, came with the Coughs, parting company near the Gen. Schuyler place at Stillwater. Mr. Cough and sons were welcomed by their friends at home about the first of December, three weeks after leaving Montreal, and about seven months from their captivity. He was agreeably surprised on reaching his home, to find that the good management of his wife and daughter had secured the family from want. They planted corn and potatoes, and assisted by Michael Swobe and Henry Frank-the latter entered the State under Burgoyne-they cut and secured some hay. But what those women did, thousands of others did in that war for liberty ; they toiled in-doors and out, sending their daily prayers to Heaven for the protection and success of their captive or war-clad kinsmen-without which coadjutors, the chains of tyranny could not have been riven. The Senr. Cough died in 1802, and his son, my informant, died March 11, 1852.
The Death of Henry Stoner.-In my Trappers of New York, I gave in detail the murder of this brave citizen of the Johnstown settlements, as narrated by his son Nicholas Stoner, which should find mention here. After a service in the American army of nearly four years, Henry Stoner went upon the Dr. Quilhot farm in the present town of Amsterdam, in the spring of 1782. Early in June, as believed, a party of seven Indians arrived at the house of Andrew Bowman, east of Johnstown. This Bowman is mentioned as having escaped from the Indians a couple of months before, while a captive with George Cough and sons. At his house this war party learned the exposure of Stoner to their designs, and proceeded thither with Bowman, as believed, a willing prisoner. On their way they captured one Palmatier. Early that morning Stoner, accompanied by Michael Reed, a nephew in his teens, went to a field to hoe corn, the first hoeing and probably about the first of June. Mrs. Stoner had prepared breakfast and blew a horn to call her friends from the field. At the moment of leaving their work, Reed discovered two Indians armed with hatchets approaching them. Mr. Stoner had a loaded gun in his house, and hoped by flight to obtain it, but his foes ran across a field of flax and headed him, and soon had scalped him.
Some of the Indians now ran to the dwelling, which was goon plundered and set on fire. As they approached the house, Mrs. Stoner discovered them near the door, and threw a frock from a back window then open. The enemy staid to see the house effectually on fire, and withdrew offering no indignity to Mrs. Stoner. Obtaining the dress, the only article saved, she went to the house of John Harman, a neighbor, supposing her husband and Reed were prisoners. Bowman aided the prisoners in carrying their plunder to a hiding place near the Sacondaga, where they had concealed food, etc. Palmatier effected his escape the first night and returned to the joy of his friends, and Bowman, the pretended prisoner, was allowed to return home the night following. From their place of secretion near Northville, the party with their prisoner Reed proceeded to Canada by a northern route, where he became a drummer in Butler's rangers, to the end of the war. Stoner was
<-Maj. Nicholas Stoner, as seen hunting in the forest.
was found alive by neighbors, but unable to speak. By signs he made known his desire for water, and some was brought him in a hat, but on drinking it he expired. He was buried under a hemlock tree near where he had fallen. When Palmatier made it known that Bowman was a willing prisoner, he was arrested and taken to Johnstown, but a confession could not be extorted from him, and with future warnings he was finally set at liberty.
I here give the reader a brief notice of Nicholas Stoner, whose father's death is noticed above, and whose life is given at length in my Trappers of New York. He was the oldest of two sons of Henry Stoner and his wife Catharine Barnes, who was a pioneer settler, and the first to locate at Fondasbush, Fulton county, some few years before the Revolution. As the father who came from Germany, espoused his adopted country's cause, and enlisted into the company of Capt. Robersham for three years, his son Nicholas, then about 15 years old enlisted as a fifer under Capt. Timothy Hughes ; and his brother John, a year younger enlisted under Capt. Wright, who a few years before had been a British drum-major. Pleased with his boy recruit, Capt. Wright undertook to perfect him in flammadiddles. These companies all belonged to Col. James Livingston's regiment of State troops, so that the parent could daily see and look after his boys. In August, 1777, Livingston's regiment was with the army of Gen. Arnold, on its way up the Mohawk valley to succor Col. Gansevoort at Fort Stanwix. Nicholas Stoner corroborated the statement of Sergeant Williamson, that Arnold's troops could not pass over the Oriskany battle ground, to bury the dead, on account of the dreadful stench, but had to detour and leave the fallen heroes-"alone in their glory" unburied. After accomplishing his mission, Arnold returned to the army of Gates at Saratoga, and in the action of October 7th, Nicholas Stoner was wounded in a novel manner. A cannon ball demolished the head of a soldier of the company near him named Tyrroll, sending its fragments into the young fifer's face, which was covered with brains and fragments of skull. He was found senseless, but was cared for and recovered.
Our hero witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne as also that of Cornwallis, was present at the execution of Maj. Andre, was with the troops which took possession of New York city on its evacuation, and to use his own words, he was one of the band which " played Washington off," when he bade his troops farewell, at Whitehall. He rendered other important service which is elsewhere mentioned. Here is an anecdote of his integrity, which should be mentioned in this connection. At Yorktown he was in Col. Cortlandt's regiment, which took charge on its return march, of 500 prisoners destined for Fredericksburg. While the troops were crossing a river at a ferry, Stoner saw a French officer drop his purse, and at once restored it to the owner. The officer, grateful for its recovery, rewarded him with a half doubloon (*8), numerous bows and not a few expressions of his gratitude such as, " You pe a grand poy !' you PE von honest American '. you PE a ver fine soldier, be gar '." The reception of this money from a stranger for his integrity, afforded the young musician, as he assured the writer, more pleasure than could possibly the whole amount the purse contained had he dishonestly kept it. Let every young man on an occasion, imitate this good example. Stoner had many friends while the money lasted, for "come easy, go easy," was then the soldier's motto.
In the war of 1812, he was a fife-major in the regiment of Col. Melancthon Smith, of which John E. Wool was Major. His brother John in this war was also a drum-major, and died at Sackets Harbor. In 1814, Nicholas Stoner was at Plattsburg, when, in the absence of his senior officers, Major (afterwards General), Wool was in command of the regiment. He was under him with a musket, when on the 6th of September, with 280 men he met and checked the advance of 4,000 British troops advancing on the Beekmantown road to Plattsburg, having a long street tight with the enemy; and with the assistance of other troops keeping him on the north side of the Saranac river. In one of these engagements the gallant young Maj. Wool had a horse shot under him. With the close of this war again ended and finally, the military services of Maj. Stoner, whose bravery at the trying moment was never questioned.
At the end of the Revolution, he married Anna Mason, then the widow of William Scarborough, a young soldier, who, at the Johnstown battle, was made a prisoner and was soon after murdered in cold blood by order of Capt. Mc Donald, a villainous officer under Maj. Ross. Stoner resided not far from Johnson Hall for many years. Between the wars and subsequent to them, Maj. Stoner became a celebrated hunter and trapper in the wilderness north of Johnstown ; sometimes alone but more frequently with a partner to guard against accident or sickness. Forest hunters were very tenacious of their rights, a priority of occupancy along the water courses giving them an exclusive privilege, as they believed, to secure the game and fur in such territory. Hence they did not scruple to punish intruders-especially if they appropriated game in their traps, even with death. And on two occasions Indian hunters who had plundered his traps, or fur in them, met with sudden death -the trappers' motto being, " Might makes right"-while on several other occasions serious collisions took place.
Indian hunters not unfrequently came down through the forest and around its crystal lakes to Johnstown, where they disposed of their peltries to John Grant, an early merchant there, and where too, they remained, to spend most of their earnings in drunken carousels. On one occasion when Stoner was deputy sheriff, he entered the bar-room of De Fonclaiere's inn, where bad previously arrived a party of seven Indian hunters. If they were in a condition to quarrel, Stoner was not entirely free from the maddening influence of reason's foe (everyone then used liquor), and having had some difficulty with and worsted several of the party, he entered the barroom just as a half drunken Indian before the bar, was boasting of his Revolutionary exploits. He had, no doubt, heard the name of Stoner uttered, for he had drawn his scalping knife to boast to by-standers of the deeds of blood recorded upon its handle. Nine notches indicated the number of American scalps he had secured in the war ; and pointing to one cut deeper than the rest to indicate a soldier, " that," said he, " was the scalp of Old Stoner." As the Indian was cutting the air with the oft bloody blade, Stoner sprang to the fire-place, seized a hot andiron and hurled it at the head of his father's murderer, with the exclamation : " You never'll scalp another one." The hottest part of the iron struck the object of its aim with an indellible brand upon his neck, the register of death falling upon the floor beside its owner.
At this stage of the quarrel, the friends of Maj. Stoner got him out of the house. The Indians were boisterous in threats of revenge, but were advised at once to leave town, and did so, hiring Samuel Copeland, a German, to take them in a wagon to Sacondaga, where they had left their squaws, rifles and canoes.
It was the opinion of a physician and others, that the burned Indian could not survive, but it was never known in Johnstown whether he lived to reach Canada or not. Fearing this party might return and revenge their injuries upon the settlement if the affair was unnoticed ; on the complaint of the landlord, Stoner was arrested and lodged in jail. Only a day or two after, when it became known along the Mohawk valley that he was in jail, the men of the period assembled at Johnstown jail and demanded the enlargement of the prisoner. The jailer was unwilling to liberate him without a legal process, and the mob, with a piece of scantling, stove in the door and brought him out. At his period, one Throop, kept a tavern near the centre of the village, where Sheriff Littel was boarding. To this inn the party conducted the liberated hero, where a jollification took place ; after which, his liberators compelled the prisoner to go home to his family. He did so, and thus terminated one of the remarkable scenes in this old hero's life ; many a young papoos in Canada being taught in consequence of it, to lisp with dread the name of Nicholas Stoner. He died November 24, 1853, and was buried at Kingsborough, N. Y.
Gen. Washington Visits Schenectada.-Gen. Washington, while at Albany in the summer of 1782, was invited by the citizens to visit Schenectada. He accepted the invitation, and in company with Gen. Schuyler, rode there in a carriage from Albany on the 30th of June, where he was received with no little formality by the civil and military authorities, and escorted some distance by a numerous procession, in which he walked with his hat under his arm. Abraham Clinch, who came to America as drum-major under Gen. Braddock, then kept a tavern in Schenectada, and at his house a public dinner was given. Having previously heard of his sufferings, one of the first persons Washington enquired after, was Col. Frederick Visscher, who was then residing in the place. He expressed surprise that the Colonel had not been invited to meet him, and agreeable to his request a messenger was sent for him. He was a man of real merit, but modest and retiring in his habits. On this occasion, he was found at work in his barn, which, under the circumstances, he left with reluctance, but was kindly greeted by the illustrious guest, who paid him marked attention.
At the dinner table were assembled a respectable number of gentlemen, among whom were Gen. Schuyler, Colonels Abram Wemple and Frederick Visscher, Majors Abram Switz, Myndert Wemple, and Jelles Fonda, Captains Peter Truax, then the oldest man in the place. Washington assigned the seat next his own to Col. Visscher.-Isaac De Graff and John, J. Schermerhorn. Maj. Daniel, a son of Col. Visscher, assured the writer that he, then a lad, witnessed the Schenectada ovation to Washington. He saw him walk in the long procession, with his hat under his arm.
This was indeed a proud day for " Old Dorp." Some person publicly addressed the visitor on the occasion, and before returning to Albany, he wrote the following reply, which was first published in History of Schoharie County, etc., and was then in possession of Mr. C. V. Van Patten :
"To the Magistrates and -Military Officers of the town of Schenectada:
" GENTLEMEN-I request you to accept my warmest thanks for your affectionate address.
"In a cause so just and righteous as ours, we have every reason to hope the Divine Providence will still continue to crown our arms with success, and finally compel our enemies to grant us that peace upon equitable terms, which we so ardently desire.
May you, and the good people of this town, in the mean time, be protected
from every insidious and open foe, and may the complicated blessings of peace
soon reward your arduous struggles for the establishment of the freedom and
independence of our common country.
" GO. WASHINGTON.
" SCHENECTADA, June 30th, 1782."
The following anecdote originated at Schenectada during the visit of Gen. Washington. He was walking a public street in company with Brower Banker, a respectable citizen, and blacksmith by trade, when an old negro passing took off his hat and bowed to him ; the great commander immediately returned the compliment. Banker expressed surprise that his companion thus noticed this descendant of Ismael, observing it was not the custom of the country thus to notice slaves. "I cannot be less civil than a poor Negro," was his manly reply, as they proceeded onward.-Rynier Gardinier.
From Newburg, July 9, 1782, Washington thus wrote to the " President of Congress:"
"SIR-Having found a moment's leisure to examine, myself, into the situation of affairs on the frontiers of this State, I have lately made a journey up the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, as far as Saratoga and Schenectada. Just before my arrival there a party of 300 or 400 of the enemy, consisting of British refugees and savages, had made an incursion down the Mohawk, attacked and captured (after a gallant defense) a small guard of Continental troops, who were stationed at the only remaining mill in the upper settlements, which they also destroyed." This was the Little Falls grist-mill. In the same letter he also said, " By a deserter from this party we are informed that the enemy are taking post at Oswego, and are either rebuilding the old, or erecting new fortifications there. Whatever the design of the enemy may be by thus occupying a new post, and extending themselves on the frontier, I consider it my duty to inform Congress thereof, and for that purpose have taken the liberty to forward this by the earliest safe conveyance since my return from the northward."-Spark's Washington, Vol. 8, 316.
Washington speaks of going to Saratoga : before leaving the north he visited her mineral springs to test their properties. He went from the springs to Schenectada, and as was his custom on an unknown route, he took especial pains to inquire his way. Making inquiries of an honest countryman, so particular was he to get all his turns and courses correctly noted, that the woodsman got a little out of patience, and after possibly repeating some suggestion for his observance he said: "And after you pass such a point, any d-d fool could find the way." Shortly after, the informant met a neighbor and told him what a send off he had just given a man who was afraid of taking the wrong path, for roads were then only unfenced paths. Do you know who thus particularly inquired of you ? asked the neighbor. " No, said he "do you know who it was ?" " Yes," was the reply, " it was Gen. George Washington !" As the reader may suppose, he felt that sense of shame which has often mounted the cheek of him who has given a distinguished stranger a rude answer. Young reader always be sure to answer civilly and keep your temper.-James Scott, father of Judge George G. Scott, of Ballston.
Prisoners Made in Cobelskill, 1782.-The reader will remember that when Brant desolated the upper part of Cobelskill in 1778, the log house of the elder George Warner was spared from conflagration, as was then supposed, to afford an opportunity to capture committee man. Feeling too poor to erect a frame dwelling upon the ashes of his former one, he took up his winter residence in his old log dwelling. Seth's Henry, and six other Indians, who had traversed the forest from Niagara to Cobelskill, at that inclement season-a distance, by their route, of at least 300 miles-for the sole purpose of capturing Warner, who was known to be an influential whig, arrived in the vicinity of his dwelling on Sunday, the 11th day of December, 1782. On the same day, Nicholas Warner, his oldest son, went from one of the Schoharie forts to the paternal dwelling in a sleigh, accompanied by Joseph Earner, to get a lumber sleigh owned by the former, for the winter's use of which the latter had agreed to pay him one dollar-a dollar being as valuable then as a dozen would be at the present day. When Warner and Earner were fastening one sled to the other, one of their horses broke loose and ran into the woods, and while they were recovering the animal the enemy arrived. On surprising old Mr. Warner, one or two shots were fired to intimidate him, which, as it snowed very fast, were unheard by his son or companion.
Catching the stray horse, they returned and fastened the team to the sleds. As they drove past the house they discovered the Indians, three of whom attempted to take them. In making a little circuit to avoid the enemy, the horses were driven partly into the top of a fallen tree, when the friends attempted to cut loose the back sleigh. At this time two of the Indians fired upon them, the third reserving his fire. The horses ran partly over a log concealed in the snow, and the hindmost sleigh, not running true, struck a sapling and drew the box off, and Warner under it. Earner, having the reins, was drawn over the box, and remained upon the sleigh bottom. When Warner regained his feet, he observed that the Indian who had reserved his fire, had advanced to within some 20 paces of him, with a steady aim upon his person-and conscious of the danger he must encounter to gain the sleigh, he abandoned the attempt, and told his comrade, holding his restive steeds, to go, and leave him to his fate. He then drove off, and Warner became a prisoner. Soon after, one of the Indians, who knew him, enquired if he could shoot as good as he once could ? His reply was, " I can, on a proper occasion."
Mrs. Warner and a daughter who chanced to be at home, were left unharmed. After plundering the house of what they desired, and securing a quantity of meat and flour to afford them subsistence for several days, the Indians, with their prisoners, sometime in the afternoon, set off up the creek, pursuing the direct route to the Susquehanna. The snow was then nearly knee deep, and receiving copious accession ; the party, therefore, could not travel rapidly. They proceeded about six miles and encamped, when they boiled a portion of their meat in a stolen teakettle, for their supper. When cooked, an Indian cut it as nearly as possible into nine equal parts ; then a second Indian turned his back, and a third gave owners to each mess ; as fishermen and hunters often do, by " touching it off", which is done by pointing at a portion, unobserved by another individual, with the familiar demand, who shall have that-whose reply gives it a lawful owner.
When captured, the younger Warner had on " Dutch shoes"-brogans. Observing that the Indian who claimed him as prisoner (who could speak Low Dutch, which he partially understood), he asked him if he would trade a pair of moccasins with him for his shoes-taking them off, and making known by signs what he could not fully communicate in Dutch. Said he to the Indian : " I am your prisoner, and if I freeze my feet and cannot keep up with you, you will kill me; I now look to you for protection as to a father, and will try to love you as such." The Indian comprehended enough of what his prisoner had said to arrive at his meaning, and made the exchange. Warner then put on the moccasins, which were made with leggings, and and buttoned his breeches over them, when the Indians, to use his own words, " looked wild at one another." He thought they exchanged very significant looks, and fearing they suspected his intentions, already conceived, of making his escape, he moved about a little and rubbed his legs, as if the better to adjust his new disguise, and then seated himself before the fire, with his hands clenched upon his knees. Instead of allaying, his last movement had a tendency to increase the suspicion and vigilance of his dusky captors ; observing which, he took off the moccasins, folded them up with care and put them into the bosom of his shirt; which lulled all suspicion.
Said Nicholas Warner, at our interview in 1837 : "To relate what took place on the night I was a prisoner with the Indians, now makes the cold chills run over me." The party laid down early to sleep, but the younger Warner, intent upon escaping, did not close his eyes ; and about midnight, thinking all were slumbering, he arose and ran off, directing his footsteps homeward. He had hardly started, as his father afterwards informed him, when his escape was discovered, and four of the enemy were in pursuit ; but as it was still snowing fast, and dark as the rotunda of Gebhard's cavern, they could not catch a glimpse of, much less follow him. He took a circuitous route in his flight, conjecturing that if pursued it would be on the back track, which was in fact the case. The Indians ran but a short distance and abandoned pursuit, fearing they might be troubled to retrace their steps to their own camp. Warner ran several miles with one hand before him, to prevent striking the trees. He crossed the creek six times in his night, and arrived at Fort Duboise, nine miles from his captor's encampment, just at day-light. There was an old body of snow on the ground which was stiff, and the falling snow being damp readily packed upon it, otherwise he must have worn out his stockings and frozen his feet.
The elder Warner did not attempt to escape, but was watched with vigilance night and day. He must have suffered much from cold, but little from hunger, as one of the party was an expert hunter, and usually supplied plenty of food of somekind. Nimrod was, however, ill a few days, and the party did not fare as well, but when others brought in game, the former took good care to fill his meat basket, and soon recovered. An Englishman prefers going into battle upon a full stomach, and an Indian of being sick upon the same allowance. It was considered an honorable affair to capture an influential whig, besides entitling to a very liberal reward ; and as Warner was one of the most noted in the Schoharie settlements, his captors were anxious to deliver him in Canada, and he was treated with greater forbearance and kindness on his way, than was any other captive who went from the Schoharie settlements during the war. The flour taken from Warner's was boiled in the tea-kettle, and usually eaten by the Indians, who gave the prisoner meat; reversing the usual treatment of captives in their anxiety to deliver him safely in Canada. After the escape of his son, five of the Indians usually kept watch over Warner in the early part of the night and two in the latter part. One of the Indians treated the captive committee man with the kindness of a brother all the way to Niagara. On arriving at the Indian settlements in western New York, this Indian took him by the hand and led him unhurt outside the lines which had been formed for his reception, to the displeasure of those, who had from infancy been taught to delight in tortures and cruelty. A prisoner being led by his captor outside the gantlet lines, was an evidence of protection and exemption from abuse seldom ever violated.
While Mr. Warner was a captive he frequently sung a hymn in German. The young Indians almost invariably would begin to mock him, but if the name of the Deity was introduced, they usually understood it, and if so it never failed to produce their silence ; such reverence had those unlettered sons of the forest for the Great Spirit of the universe. Indeed, the Indians of the Six Nations had no words in their dialect by which they could profane the name of Jehovah, and if they did so, it was in the language of their white neighbors.* Soon after his arrival in Canada, Mr. Warner was sent to Rebel island near Montreal, where he was given parole liberty.
After an absence of about eleven months, Mr. Warner was exchanged, and being sworn to secrecy, returned home by the northern route, coming through Hartford, Connecticut; and what was unusual, was better clad on his return than at the time of his capture. Had all the captive Americans been treated with the kindness and forbearance of George Warner, Sr., the horrors of our border wars had been greatly mitigated, and the suffering, which, in the aggregate, was most astounding, rendered comparatively trifling.-Facts from Nicholas Warner, in the fall of 1837. He then had a cancer on his mouth, which terminated his life July 27, 1838, in his 92d year.
A fact communicated by Joseph Brant, to Isaac H Tiffany In 1806. Here is further
testimony on this point:
Do Indians Swear ?-Mr. Schoolcraft, the great Indian linguist, says in reply to this often put question: "Many things the Indians may be accused of, but of the practice of swearing they cannot. I have made many inquiries into the state of their vocabulary, and do not, as yet, find any word which is more bitter or reproachful than matchiannemoash, which indicates simply, bad dog. Many of their nouns have, however, adjective inflections, by which they are rendered derogative. They have terms to indicate cheat, liar, thief, murderer, coward, fool, lazy man, drunkard, babbler. But I have never heard of an imprecation or oath. The genius of the language does not seem to favor the formation of terms to be used in oaths, or for purposes of profanity. It Is the result of the observation of others, as well as my own, to say, that an Indian cannot curse "
High Price of Certain Articles. - I may here remark that some of the necessaries of life rose excessively high during the revolution, besides being extremely difficult to obtain. Individuals went from the westward of Albany to Boston to procure salt. In a letter written by Cornelius Cuyler, of Albany, to Robert Snell, Esq., of Tryon county, dated, "Albany, March 5, 1779,"! find the following sentence: "Could you not get wheat from the farmers in exchange for salt, to be delivered at Schenectada on your order ? If so, let the farmers deliver the wheat at your mills, and give them a certificate on my brother, John Cuyler, for the quantity they may deliver, and they shall receive salt in proportion of six skipples of wheat for one of salt. Cheese was sold from seventeen to twenty cents a pound, and nails used in the Highlands, fifty cents per pound.
Anecdote of Murphy.-Some time in the latter part of the Revolution, Timothy Murphy had charge of a small scout which went to reconnoitre in the vicinity of Oquago. While there they took three prisoners, one of whom was a Scotch lad of suspicious character, and soon after started on their return to Schoharie. In the night, the boy escaped, taking along Murphy's rifle-an act not very pleasing to the fearless ranger. Some months after, the boy was retaken by another scout, and with him the stolen fire-lock. When Murphy learned that the boy was taken, and was approaching as a prisoner, his worst passions were aroused, and he declared his intention to kill him, and armed himself with a tomahawk for that purpose. Elerson, and one or two of his companions in arms, reasoned the matter with him. They told him to imagine himself in the boy's situation, and asked him if he, similarly situated, would have acted differently from what the boy had? His anger was in a measure appeased ; resentment yielded to the force of sober reasoning ; and the boy was brought into his presence without receiving any injury. He was afterwards taken to Albany, and sold into servitude for the time being. Murphy, speaking of this affair, after the war, expressed his gratitude that he was prevented by his friends from injuring the lad who had stolen his gun.-Elerson, Nicholas Warner, Jacob Becker, and Mrs. Van Slyck.
How Concealed.-A tory named Jacob Salisbury, was concealed in a house in the present town of Bern, Albany county, in the latter part of the war, for several months. A hole had been cut in the floor, and covered with a trap door, and in a small space dug beneath the floor, the Tory concealed himself whenever any of his neighbors, not in the secret of his burrow, were at the house. His object, it is believed, was to act the spy, but having been discovered, he was arrested and imprisoned.-Mrs. Eleanor Feeck.
Not so Easily Caught.-There is a tradition in Schoharie, currently believed by some, that an attempt was made in the latter part of the Revolution, to capture Timothy Murphy by stratagem. It is said that the hero had a cow, on the neck of which he placed a bell, the better to enable him to find her ; and that an Indian, to gain an interview, took the bell from the cow's neck and placed it upon his own, when he singled it about in the woods, where the cow sometimes ran, to afford him and his companions an opportunity either to kill or capture its owner. Murphy knew too well whether a cow or an Indian rattled his bell, and driving her home from another part of the woods, he left the ding-dong warrior to make music for his fellows.-Mrs. Angelica Vrooman.
Character of Murphy.-Timothy Murphy, the brave soldier with whom we must soon part company, (whose daring spirit the reader has no doubt been pleased with,) was never wounded in battle, and, I believe, never a prisoner with the enemy. It was his misfortune, like that of many other master spirits of the Revolution, not to have the advantages of an early education, even such as our common schools now afford. In fact, he possessed not the elements of an education : the art of reading and writing. For this reason, he declined accepting a proffered commission, knowing that he would be subjected to much inconvenience, and be liable to be imposed upon by designing men. Had he been an educated man, he might have made another Wayne or Morgan : but the want of the rudiments of an education compelled him to see others less fitted in other respects, than himself, occupying stations of profit an honor. At the close of the war, he became a cultivator of the soil on the farm of his father-in-law. He was a citizen much respected in the county. As a father, he was generous and indulgent to a fault, having been known to bring home, from Albany, for a daughter, some five or six dresses at one time.
Although Murphy could neither read nor write, yet, when mounted upon a stump or some eminence, he could harrangue a public audience with great effect, and for many years exerted a powerful influence in the political ranks of Schoharie county. He was very active in bringing his young friend and neighbor, the Hon. William. C. Bouck, from retirement into public notice--was zealous in obtaining for him the appointment of sheriff-and indirectly contributed not a little to his subsequent distinction.
On the l5th day of March, 1784 the ice lodged in the river near Middleburgh, overflowed the flats in the neighborhood of Murphy's residence, where they seldom if ever had been similarly inundated. Many cattle and sheep were swept off in the freshet and perished. In an attempt to save the family of John Adam Brown, a near neighbor, Murphy waded into the water amidst the ice, and succeeded in bearing to a place of safety his two sons ; but Brown, and Lana, his only daughter, then about 12 years old, were unfortunately in the lower part of the house and were drowned. Murphy lost his wife, by whom he had nine children, in 1807, and married Mary Robertson five or six years after, by whom he also had several children. He died of a cancer upon his throat June 27th, 1818, the foundation of which disease was supposed to have been laid, while attempting to rescue the Brown family in 1784. The Rev. John Schermerhorn preached the funeral sermon of Murphy and that of two other individuals, George Mattice and a colored woman, on the same day. Murphy, and his first wife, Margaret Feek, were interred at death on the Feek farm, but within a few years they have been removed to the new Middleburgh cemetery. She died at the age of 44, and he at the age 67 years.
Murphy's Skill as a Marksman.-The following anecdote will show the danger as an enemy, of standing before Murphy's rifle. During the winter of 1781 and 1782, Timothy Murphy killed quite a number of deer on the Schoharie mountains, and dressed their pelts very handsomely. In the spring, to break the monotony of a camp life, he made a shooting match at the Upper Fort, testing the skill of his comrades in arms in the sale of his deer-skins. He occasionally took a shot himself, and usually won back his property ; but as some objected to his firing, he desisted, as he had been well paid for it, and whoever could bore off the beautiful buff leather. After the skins were all disposed of, now, said Murphy, let us shoot for a gallon of rum. A large white oak tree was blazed near the ground, a line drawn round in the exposed wood, and in the circle a small piece of white paper was fastened with a brass nail. The distance fired was 100 yards. Several close shots had been made, when it became Murphy's turn to fire. He laid down on the ground at full length resting his gun on his hat as Leek, informant and others had done, who had made some close shots ; and after looking over the barrel, he was heard to say : " Sure, and I believe I can see that nail." Again he sighted his piece-it exploded, and the paper fell. An examination showed a centre shot-the ball had driven the nail entirely in.-Judge Henry Hager.
In the fall of 1799, four Schoharie riflemen of Revolutionary days and deeds met at the residence of Capt. Jacob Hager, in Blenheim, on their return from either a hunt or a shooting match. Before separating, it was proposed to shoot at a mark. A target was made by pinning a small piece of white paper to a board some two feet long, and the parties repaired to a field a few rods south of the house. They paced off 100 yards from their standing point, to which the target was taken by one of the four, who held it between his knees to receive the bullet of a comrade, who, in turn, held it for another ; thus was it alternately held until all had fired. Each of the first three shots cut the edge of the paper, that of William Leek on the right, that of David Elerson on the left, that of a third, name not remembered, on the bottom. Timothy Murphy made the last shot and the paper fell. On examination it was found that his bullet had driven the pin through the board. This trial of skill was witnessed by my informant, Daniel Hager.
He came too Near the Fort.-Sometime in the latter part of the war, possibly when the enemy were in its vicinity, an incident occurred at Fort Duboise, in Cobelskill, which, in its result, was a source of merriment. John King was one night in a sentry box, keeping vigils for the safety of himself and others, when he discovered some object slowly approaching the obtain a sight of the object, but not with sufficient distinctness to identify its character , and supposing it to be a tory or an Indian visitant, he hailed it with the accustomed " Who comes there ? " demanding also the countersign. To the interrogatories of the sentinel no reply was given, but the supposed foe continued to advance, and King, already imagining he saw the uplifted tomahawk of a gigantic Indian, leveled his trusty gun and fired. -The report echoed among the distant hills, and greatly alarmed the little garrison and several families of citizens, clustered in rude huts within the picketed inclosure for safety. The courageous were quickly armed for an expected onset of a desperate foe. King pointed out, in the uncertain light, to the swollen eyes of his officer and comrades the supposed enemy, evidently weltering in his blood, for his temerity in presuming to approach a post, guarded by so trusty a sentinel. The object soon became still, and the silence of midnight was again restored. The inmates of the fort retired to rest, few to sleep again that night, anxiously to await the return of daylight. The light came, and disclosed to the inmates of the fort, whose curiosity was on tiptoe, that the vigilant watchman had actually killed a large-"bull calf." The heedless animal, ignorant of the police of a camp, had strayed from a neighboring field, and was slowly grazing toward the wary guard, when he received a bullet which killed him outright -Marcus Brown.
Birth of a Dauphin of France, How Celebrated.-In a letter to Gen. Greene, said Washington May 22, 1782 : "Within a few days the happy event of a birth of a Dauphin of France, has been formally announced to Congress by the minister of France. Its celebration has been observed in Philadelphia and is directed to be noticed in the army with such demonstrations of joy as are thought proper for the occasion. This will be done here (his headquarters), and I now make the communication to you, that the officers of your army may take an opportunity to participate in the general joy."-Spark's Washington, vol. 8, p. 299.
This celebration took place at West Point, at which festival Capt. Eben Williams was present, and which, from memory, he thus described to the writer : A large bower was erected about 80 or 100 rods from the river, covered with evergreens and beautifully festooned at the ends. Many natural flowers, interwoven with flower-de-lis cut from tissue paper, decorated the sides and ends. Long poles for the bower were brought on the shoulders of the soldiers, who, on casting them down, were sometimes heard, the one to exclaim with earnestness, " God bless the Dauphin ! " while his comrade at the other end, with equal zeal would add, "God d-n the Dauphin ?" An ox roasted whole for the occasion was eaten within the bower, and after his bones had been removed, and a few bumpers of wine drank, Gen. Washington, who appeared in unusually good spirits, said to his officers : " Let us have a dance ! " Selecting a partner among the officers, the great commander led the dance, in a " garder hop,'' or " stag dance," as called in modern times, when no ladies are present, to the favorite old tune, " Soldier's joy," played by a military band. Washington was a very graceful dancer, and presented a fine figure among his officers. The numerous regiments of troops there convened were paraded towards evening along the mountain back of Fort Putman, and upon the high grounds on the east side of the river, to fire a salute. The regiments were under the command of quarter-master sergeants, and the companies commanded by orderly sergeants, not a single commissioned officer holding any command among the thousands thus conspicuously paraded. As may be supposed, the non commissioned commanders were justly proud of the confidence reposed in their integrity. At a given signal, a running fire began at the south end of a line and extended along the west side of the river to the north end, when the fue-de-joie was caught by the troops on the opposite side of the river and carried south. Thus did the rattle of musketry three times make its distant circuit along the Hudson, in honor of an event which gave a prospective heir to the crown of France, then the efficient ally of our republic-after which, the troops, in the twilight of a lovely evening, returned to the Point. On the day of this festival, an extra one day's ration was served to the soldiers, and all seemed equally to enjoy the holiday, which passed off with-out an accident to mar its pleasantry.
The following is one verse of a song believed to have been written either for or on account of the celebration at West Point, for which I am indebted to the memory of my friend, Issac H. Tiffany, Esq.
hark, a fue-de-joie-makes trembling ether ring,
Whilst shouting armies hail, a Prince, a future King,
On whom may Heaven with liberal hand
Her choicest gifts bestow:
May peace and wisdom bless his reign,
And laurels deck his brow:
A Dauphin's born, let cannon loud
Bid echo rend the sky.
CHORUS.-Long life to Gallia's King,
Columbia's great ally."
Dr. Thacher in his Military Journal, he having been there, gives a glowing description of this affair-too lengthy to be given in full, but here is a part of it: "June 1st, yesterday was celebrated the birth of the Dauphin of France, by a magnificent festival. The edifice under which the company assembled and partook of the entertainment, was erected on the plain at West Point. The situation was romantic, and the occasion novel and interesting. Maj. Villefranche, an ingenious French engineer, has been employed with 1,000 men about 10 days in constructing the curious edifice. It is constructed of the simple materials which the common trees in the vicinity afford. It is about 600 feet in length and 30 feet wide, supported by a grand collonade of 118 pillars, made of the trunks of trees. The covering of the roof consists of boughs, or branches of trees curiously interwoven, and the same materials from the walls, leaving the ends entirely open. On the inside every pillar was encircled with muskets and bayonets bound round in a fanciful manner, and the whole interior was decorated with evergreens, with American and French military color?, emblems, devices, etc.
" The whole army was paraded on the contiguous hills on both sides of the river, forming a circle of several miles in open view of the public edifice, and at the given signal of firing three cannon, the regimental officers all left their commands and repaired to the building to partake of the entertainment which had been prepared by order of the Commander-in-chief. At 5 o'clock, dinner being on the table, his Excellency Gen. Washington, and his lady and suite, the principal officers of the army and their ladies, Geo. Clinton and his lady, and a number of respectable characters from the States of New York and New Jersey, moved from Maj.-Gen. McDougall's quarters through the line formed by Col. Grain's regiment of artillery, to the arbor, where more than 500 gentlemen and ladies partook of a magnificent festival." A martial band furnished music ; 13 toasts were drank, each heralded by the discharge of 13 cannon. The feu-de-joie echoed in the mountains like thunder, and it being dark the flashes of fire arms he compared to those of lightning, the whole army at its close giving three rousing cheers for the Dauphin, concluding with fire-works followed by a ball. Mrs. Knox was the first partner of Washington, followed in figure and reel by some 20 other couples.
A Severe Castigation.-In the fall of 1782, when independence had been secured, a party of whigs who had felt the influence of certain tories in the war, resolved to chastise them for their evil deeds, and on some occasion the following citizens of Harpersfield and vicinity, to the number of 10, assembled for that purpose, viz.: Alexander and Archibald Harper, brothers ; John Brown, Stephen Judd, Ezra Thorp, William Lamb, Joel Mack and Benjamin Morse. Wilting some beech gads in the fire, the party went to the dwelling of Rose, tied him and gave him nearly 100 lashes, and from thence they proceeded to the house of Mclntosh, and gave him about the same chastisement, assigning as a reason for their proceedings, that those men had harbored and fed the enemy on their way to murder their neighbors. The culprits were both admonished to leave the country and never return. Mclntosh soon left and as believed, went to Canada and remained there. The family of Rose, except a previously married daughter, went to Albany county for a time, but after a while Gov. George Clinton, who was disposed to bury the hatchet of partizan malevolence, allowed Rose to return to his former possessions, and in federal times he was appointed a Judge of the county courts, associated with Judge Foote, a man of worth. On his getting the appointment of Judge, Col. John Harper told Rose, that if ever he was arraigned before him, he would pin him to the wall with an arrow. Indeed, the people were so indignant at this appointment of Rose, that on his entering his judicial seat one day after dinner, he found a paper effigy where he usually hung his hat, a tomahawk and scalping knife also adorning the wall. But with time this asperity of feeling wore off, and the once Tory element was lifted into the favor and final brotherhood of society. This picture of political rancor will prove a mirror for other frontier localities of this State, at the close of the war.-From William Harper, of Harpersfield.
The Captains Huddy and Asgill Affairs.-Capt. Joshua Huddy, an officer who had distinguished himself before for his bravery ; March 20, U82, was in command of a block house at Toms river, N. J , when Lieut. Blanchard with some 120 men landed from whale-boats, and attacked the little fortress just at day light. The fort was an incomplete structure, defended by about 25 American soldiers, and after a gallant defense the works were stormed, and the Captain and his surviving men were made prisoners, taken to New York and incarcerated, the former heavily ironed was placed, at first in the sugar house, and afterward on a guard-ship. From his confinement he was taken April 12, by a party of 16 refugees under Capt. Lippencott, to Gravelly Point, New Jersey, and after a mock trial, in which he was accused of the death of Philip White, a refugee Captain of New Jersey, who was arrested there as a spy, and in attempting to make his escape was killed some days after Huddy was imprisoned. The death of White was made the pretext by the tories for the murder of Capt. Huddy. It is said he was given a mock trial and allowed a few minutes in which to write his will, which was done on a drum head. He was then hung and a paper was pinned upon his breast reading, " Up goes Huddy for Philip White."
A more unprincipled and infamous act was not perpetrated during the war. A prisoner captured in defending a military post, is derisively hung and left hanging until taken down by the Americans, to gratify the revenge of Lippencot and other knaves. When known to Washington, he demanded of Sir Henry Clinton the murderers of Capt. Huddy. This he refused to do, when at this juncture, says one of them present, his Excellency called together at his quarters all of the officers* commanding brigades and regiments, to give their opinion as to what means ought now to be adopted, in consequence of the brutal murder of Huddy. When they were apprised of all the
* Gen. Wm. Heath's Memoirs, published In 1798.
circumstances, the three following questions were propounded: Shall there be retribution for the murder of Capt. Huddy? On whom shall it be inflicted ? How shall the victim be designated ? The officers, forbidden to converse on the questions, were to write and seal their answers addressed to the Commander-in chief. The opinion of the officers was unanimous-That retaliation should take place. That it should be inflicted on an officer of equal rank, a Captain. That he should be designated by lot.
The lot was cast among the 13 Captains of the British army captured at Yorktown the fall before. Nothing, said Capt. Eben Williams, who was with the army of Washington at the time, could have been done more fairly. Thirteen ballots were prepared by Gen. Hazen and placed in a hat, all of which were blank except one, bearing the simple word, unfortunate. The names of the Captains were then placed in another hat and drawn out one at a time, when a ballet was drawn from the other hat to match it. Two small drummers drew out the ballots. When the name of Charles Asgill (the 11th name) was called, the fatal ballot was drawn ; and soon it was bruited among Asgill's friends, that he was selected in consequence of an insult to Washington, which a portion of unwritten history will explain.
At the surrender of the army of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Capt. Eben Williams assured the writer, that he was the officer of the day, whose duty it became with his command, to strike and collect the camp equipage of the vanquished army. In the early part of the day he was engaged at the Hessian encampment, and at a later hour he visited the English camp. On his arrival at the latter camp he inquired what officer was in command. A genteel, though vain young man stepped forward saying:" I have the honor of commanding here ; my name is Asgill. What may be your business, sir ? "
" It has become my duty," said Capt W., " to collect this camp equipage, and if there is anything of a private nature it will be left for the owner, and anything of a public character that will be needed in a day or two, I will also leave."
"By whose authority do you act, sir?" inquired the young Captain.
" I believe, sir," said Capt. W., " those are the orders of Gen. Washington !"
"Indeed," said the sprig of royalty, with a sneer, "I know no Washington ; I go to Count Rochambeau, sir."
" You do, ah ? " said Capt. W., his blood rising to fever heat.
" Here, corporal," said he addressing one of his company," bring a file of men and arrest this man who insults Washington."
And did you really arrest Capt. Asgill ? I inquired of Capt. Williams. " O no," he replied laughing, " the proud officer did not wait to be arrested, the thought of being placed under an American corporal was unpalatable in the extreme, and he fled precipitately down a declivity, to where many of the British officers were encamped. Capt. Williams went on and discharged his duties, and on returning to his own camp in the evening he reported to his Colonel the insult to the Commander-in-chief. There was no little commotion for a time, and the matter was at once complained of to Asgill's superior officer, who promised that on the morrow when the Americans were paraded, the pompous Captain should come before them and make an apology for so needless an insult; but as it was with Cornwallis, he feigned sickness and remained in his own camp. Tills young man, who was about his size, was next to Maj. Andre, called the greatest dandy in the British army. So wide spread was the rumor that Asgill was selected for this silly act, that his friend, Maj. Gordon, a fellow prisoner, was furloughed to go to New York and state the fairness by which his fate had fallen upon him, to Sir Guy Carleton, who had succeeded Clinton. Lippencot was court martialed and acquitted on the plea of executing the commands of his superiors-showing him to be a willing tool to a damning deed. Carleton disbanded the board of loyalists, to prevent any similar occurrence. The matter of this insult, although much talked of at the time it took place, has never before crept into the country's history.
This peculiar fate hung over Asgill for eight months, but he was by Washington shown every reasonable indulgence. Indeed his novel position became the subject of comment in two hemispheres, for the first question asked on the arrival in England or France of a ship from America was : " Has Asgill been hung?" The caustic pen of that great champion of liberty, Thomas Paine, in the Crisis, addressed some scathing questions to Sir Guy Carleton, pressing home this and other dastard acts, to British action and approval. In alluding to the importance of punishing the guilty and saving the innocent victim he said: " The demand, though not complied with, and the melancholy lot (not by selection but by casting lots there is an allusion to the rumor of his selection for insulting the name of Washington), has fallen upon Capt. Asgill, of the guards, who, as I have already mentioned, is on his way from Lancaster (where the lots were cast), to camp, a martyr to the general wickedness of the cause he engaged in, and the ingratitude of those whom he served (who would not surrender Lippencot and save the doomed prisoner)."
Young Asgill was the son of Sir Charles Asgill, an English nobleman, and was but 19 years old, which may, in some measure, account for his indiscretion. The friends of the young Captain on learning his impending fate, appealed to the King of England to save him, and he gave orders for the surrender of Huddy's murderers, but King George was not obeyed. The war was nearing a close-the object for which Asgill was doomed, which was to put an end to similar atrocious proceedings was in a measure accomplished ; and Washington, who could not bring his mind to execute the young man if the necessity could be avoided, was gratified that the turn of events made it a pleasure for him to liberate the prisoner. Lady Asgill, his mother, as a dernier resort to save her son, wrote to the Count de Vergennes, the French minister, whose nation was at war with her own, to intercede in saving her son. This letter of appeal and the one expressing her thanks to the court, are among the printed gems expressive of human feeling, and I take pleasure in giving them to the reader, who will appreciate the mother's delicate position.
Letter from Lady Asgill to Count de Vergennes: "SIR-If the politeness of the French court will permit a stranger to address it, it cannot be doubted but that she who unites in herself all the more delicate sensations with which an individual can be penetrated, will be received favorably by a nobleman, who reflects honor not only on his nation, but on human nature. The object on which I implore your assistance is too heart rending to be dwelt upon ; most probably the public report of it has already reached you, this relieves me from so mournful a duty. My son, my only son, dear to me as he is brave, amiable as he is beloved, only 19 years of age, a prisoner of war, in consequence of the capitulation of Yorktown, is at present confined in America as an object of reprisal. Shall the innocent suffer the fate of the guilty ? Figure to yourself, sir, the situation of a family in these circumstances. Surrounded as I am, with objects of distress, bowed down by fear and grief, words are wanting to express what I feel, and to paint such a scene of misery ; my husband, given over by his physicians some hours before the arrival of this news, not in a situation to be informed of it; my daughter, attacked by fever accompanied by delirium, speaking of her brother in tones of distress, and without an interval of reason unless it be to listen to some circumstance which may console her heart. Let your sensibility, sir, paint to you my profound, my inexpressible misery, and plead in my favor ; a word from you, like a voice from heaven, would liberate us from desolation, from the last degree of misfortune. I know how far Gen. Washington reveres your character. Tell him only that you wish my son restored to liberty, and he will restore him to his desponding family, he will restore him to happiness. The virtue and courage of my son will justify this act of clemency. His honor, sir, led him to America ; he was born in abundance, to independence, and to the happiest prospects. Permit me once more to entreat the interference of your high influence in favor of innocence, and the cause of justice and humanity. Dispatch, sir, a letter from France to Gen. Washington, and favor me with a copy of it that it may be transmitted from hence. I feel the whole weight of the liberty taken in presenting this request. But I feel confident, whether granted or not, that you will pity the distress by which it is suggested ; your humanity will drop a tear upon my fault and blot it out forever.
that heaven which I implore, grant that you may never need the consolation
which you have it in your power to bestow on
woman! Angelic mother! It was to this appeal more than to all other influences
no doubt, that her son escaped the terrible fate which so long hung over him
; while awaiting British justice at the hands of unworthy officials. The count
submitted Lady Asgill's appeal to the King and Queen of France ; who sympathizing
deeply with the mother, instructed the minister to write to Gen. Washington,
if it were possible to set the prisoner free. Washington sent copies of the
French letters with his own to Congress, which body directed him to set Capt.
Asgill at liberty, a duty pleasing to the great commander. He at once transmitted
to the captive a copy of the resolution of Congress, dated November 7, 1782,
with a passport to go to New York, and a letter which closed as follows :
" I cannot take leave of you, sir, without assuring you, that in whatever
light my agency in this unpleasant affair may be viewed, I was never influenced
through the whole of it, by sanguinary motives, but by what I conceive to
be a sense of my duty, which loudly called on me to take measures, however
disagreeable, to prevent a repetition of those enormities which, have been
the subject of discussion. And that this important end is likely to be answered
without the effusion of the blood of an innocent person, is not a greater
relief to you, than it is,
" Sir, to your most obedient, humble servant,
The tribute of a grateful heart is charmingly expressed, of this romantic and very exciting event of the war, in the-
Letter of Lady Asgill to the Count de Vergemies :
"SIR-Exhausted by long suffering, overpowered by an excess of unexpected happiness, confined to my bed with weakness and languor, bent to the earth by what I have undergone, my sensibility alone could supply me with strength sufficient to address you. --
" Condescend, sir, to accept this feeble effort of my gratitude. It has been laid at the feet of the Almighty, and believe me, it has been presented with the same sincerity to you, sir, and to your illustrious sovereigns ; by their august and salutary intervention, as by your own, a son is restored to me, to whom my own life was attached. I have the sweet assurance, that my vows for my protectors are heard in heaven, to whom they are ardently offered : yea, sir, they will produce their effect before the dreadful and last tribunal, where I indulge in the hope, that we shall both appear together; you to receive the recompense of your virtues, myself that of my sufferings. I will raise my voice before that imposing tribunal, I will call for those sacred registers, in which your humanity will be found recorded. I will pray that blessings may be showered on your head, on him who, availing himself of the noblest privilege received from God, a privilege no other than divine, has changed misery into happiness, has withdrawn the sword from the innocent head, and restored the worthiest of sons, to the most tender and unfortunate of mothers.
Condescend, sir, to accept this last tribute of gratitude due to your virtuous
sentiments. Preserve this tribute, and may it go down to posterity as a testimony
of your sublime and exemplary beneficence to a stranger, whose nation was
at war with your own ; but these tender affections have not been destroyed
by war. May this tribute bear testimony to my gratitude long after the hand
that expresses it, with the heart which at this moment only vibrates with
the vivacity of grateful sentiments, shall be reduced to dust ; even to the
last day of my existence, it shall beat but to offer all the respect and all
the gratitude, with which it is penetrated.
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