Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 65: 1778 — Mohawk Valley Raids., continued ...

During Col. Dubois' command in the Schoharie Valley, in 1777 and 1778, several blockhouses were built along the Schoharie River for the protection of this exposed frontier.

One was at Hartman's dorf, about midway between Middleburgh and the Lower Fort.

One was at Kneiskerndorf, near the outlet of the Cobleskill into the Schoharie.

A blockhouse was also built at present Central Bridge.

In 1781 a fort was erected near present Cobleskill called Fort Dubois, which is mentioned under the chapter covering that year of the Revolution.

The Middle Schoharie Fort consisted of a palisade surrounding the stone house of Johannes Becker, on the farm owned in 1912 by William J. Pindar.

The usual huts for use by the settlers were built within the enclosure.

The Middle Fort was the headquarters of the Schoharie military district.

It was built in the fall of 1777 and was somewhat larger than the Lower Fort.

The Middle Fort had blockhouses on the northeast and southwest corners, where cannon were mounted.

The Upper Schoharie Fort consisted of a palisade and earthwork around the John Feeck house with blockhouses in two corners.

It was generally commanded by Captain Jacob Hager, a noted Revolutionary fighter.

It was near Fultonham.

Near the original Feeck family burial plot stood the house of Johannes or John Feeck.

It was begun in the fall of 1777 and finished in the following summer.

The Upper Fort stood at the upper end of Vrooman's land.

One side of enclosure was palisaded and, on the other three sides, a breastwork was thrown up consisting of logs and earth, which was ten feet high.

This earthwork was wide enough to draw a wagon on its top.

A ditch surrounded the earthwork.

Military barracks and small log huts were erected inside for both the garrison and for the settlers.

Blockhouses and sentry boxes were built in the northwest and southeast corners, each mounting a small cannon to guard its sides.

The Feeck house and farm were later owned by the celebrated Revolutionary fighter, Tim Murphy.

The Revolutionary forts of the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys were not built for defensive purposes only.

Toward the close of the struggle many of the surviving farmers and their families came into the forts and lived inside the palisades or in huts erected in the immediate vicinity of the posts.

From here the farmers went forth and cultivated the fields and, in spite of the constant raids, managed to produce a considerable quantity of supplies.

Drawings have been made supposed to represent the Schoharie forts which represent them as vast enclosures.

These pictures are very misleading.

Revolutionary Mohawk Valley and Schoharie forts generally averaged from 150 to 300 feet on each side of the square.

Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 65: 1778 — Mohawk Valley Raids., concluded ...

In July, 1778, Colonel William Butler, commanding the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment and three companies of Morgan's Riflemen, was placed in command of the Middle Schoharie Fort.

Among them were some of the most distinguished marksmen of the war, including Lieut. Thomas Boyd, Sergt. John Wilbur, Joseph Evans, Timothy Murphy, David Elerson, William Leck, William Boyd, Philip Hoever, Elijah Hendricks, John Caraway, Derrick Hagadorn.

Early in October, 1778, Col. Butler proceeded with the troops under his command to Unadilla and Oquago, Indian towns on the Susquehanna, which he destroyed together with large quantities of provisions.

The troops suffered greatly on this expedition, being obliged to carry their provisions on their backs, to ford creeks and cross rivers and, at night, to lie down to sleep without blankets or the means of keeping their arms dry.

The expedition was out sixteen days.

Col. Butler had a well deserved reputation as a valiant, aggressive and capable fighter.

Upon news of the Cherry Valley massacre he marched to the relief of that fort.

Being over thirty-five miles away, he could not reach the place before the enemy had decamped.

A messenger from Fort Alden met him on his way, telling that the enemy had fled and Col. Butler returned to the Middle Fort. Col.

Butler and his command took part in Gen. Clinton's campaign in 1779.

Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 66: Nov. 10, 1778 — Cherry Valley Massacre.

Gen. Hand warns Col. Alden of Brant's intended attack — Col. Alden scoffs at danger — Settlers beg for shelter in fort — Attack and massacre, on Nov. 11, by Tory and Indian raiders under Brant and Butler — 48 killed and 40 made prisoners — Hideous savagery of Tories and Indians — Fort Alden attacked Nov. 11 and 12, when enemy withdraws — Valley relief force arrives too late — Capt. Warren's diary of the massacre.

A few days prior to the Cherry Valley massacre of November 11, General Hand, then in command of the Army of the North at Albany, visited Fort Alden and held a council with Colonel Alden and his officers.

Alden was informed that Brant was on the march against Cherry Valley.

Outside of sending out a scouting party, Alden seemed to ignore the menace of attack.

He seemed one of that vain type of man who ridicules actual dangers, with the Godlike presumption that no men exist who would dare to harm him.

Warfare and history abound in such defective intellects, the fools who make the tragedies of history.

The conceited Yankee colonel, however, paid the price for his stupid vanity with his life.

The inhabitants begged to be allowed to seek safety in the fort, which request Alden refused.

Brant, with a force of 700 Indians and Tories, made his descent upon Cherry Valley, under the cover of a rainy, misty November morning — November 11, 1778.

The following is from "Sawyer's History of Cherry Valley" [i.e., History of Cherry Valley from 1740 to 1898]:

"Soon after daylight, a horseman from Beaverdam rode in hot haste into the village saying that he had been fired upon by Indians."

"Too late Colonel Alden repented of his over-confidence."

"His scouts and outposts had shared in his confidence of safety and, in their consequent carelessness, had been captured by the approaching forces."

"Hard upon the heels of the rider came Butler and Brant [with a savage force of] twice the number of all the men, women and children in the neighborhood."

"On they came that cold, drizzly, November morning, bringing mutilation and death, or a yet more to be dreaded captivity, to the peaceful, innocent inhabitants of the little valley."

"There was not time either for citizens or soldiers to reach the fort."

"Col. Alden, who was at the house of Mr. Wells and whose over-confidence was the cause of the massacre, hastened toward his command."

"He was hotly pursued by an Indian, who called upon him to stop."

"The order not being obeyed, the savage threw his tomahawk which hit the colonel in the head and this put him in the power of his dusky pursuer."

"He was killed and scalped."

Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 66: Nov. 10, 1778 — Cherry Valley Massacre., continued ...

"Meanwhile the bloody work had commenced in all parts of the little settlement."

"Many of the soldiers were either quartered among the citizens or were making them friendly visits."

"Sixteen of them fell beneath the murderous tomahawk and fourteen were taken prisoners."

"Men, women and children were killed indiscriminately or were taken prisoners, according to the mood of the Indians or the yet more barbarous Tories."

"The Indian war whoop was heard in every direction, mingled with the screams of the affrighted and the cries and shrieks of the wounded and dying."

"Here a husband and father was killed while endeavoring to protect his wife and children."

"There a mother was tomahawked while striving to guard her helpless offspring."

"Children's brains were knocked out before the eyes of agonized parents."

"Wives were killed while their husbands stood bound in the hands of the captors."

"A few reached the fort; some fled to the woods, preferring the chances of death by cold and starvation rather than certain destruction or capture at the hands of their barbarous enemies."

"In a few hours the work of destruction and desolation was complete."

"What was at sunrise a fair and flourishing settlement, with comfortable houses, well filled barns and lowing herds was at sunset a homeless waste, with only here and there a house, while amid the smouldering embers of the burned buildings were found the charred bones of the victims of the unholy massacre."

"The house of Mr. Wells was among the first attacked, the village having been entered at that point."

"The family were engaged in their morning devotions when the Indians entered the house."

"Mr. Wells was tomahawked while offering supplications at the throne of Grace."

"The entire family consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Wells, a brother and sister, three children and three domestics, were killed."

"One daughter, especially beloved for her kindness of heart and many Christian graces, having escaped from the house, was pursued by an Indian who, as he approached her, raised his tomahawk."

"She begged him, in Indian language to spare her life."

"A Tory, who had been a servant in her father's family, and who knew her amiable qualities stepped between her and the savage, and asked him to spare her life, claiming she was his sister."

"The Indian pushed him roughly aside and buried his hatchet in the head of the innocent and pure hearted girl."

"One representative of the family was left, a boy who was at school in Schenectady."

"He ultimately became a prominent lawyer in New York City."

"One of his descendants was present at the unveiling of the monument, erected to the memory of the victims at the centennial of the massacre in 1878."

Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 66: Nov. 10, 1778 — Cherry Valley Massacre., continued ...

"The home of Rev. Mr. Dunlop, the venerable and beloved minister of the settlement, was attacked."

"His life was spared through the influence of Little Aaron, an Indian chief, who had attended Dr. Wheelock's school in Lebanon."

"Mrs. Dunlop was killed and mutilated in his presence."

"He was taken prisoner, but was not retained."

"With a daughter he went to New Jersey, where he died the following year, never having recovered from the effects of the awful scenes through which he passed at the massacre."

"The home of Mr. Mitchell was the scene of great barbarity."

"He was himself not in the house when the attack was made, though in sight of it."

"Seeing the impossibility of aiding his family, and hoping that his wife and children would be spared, he concealed himself until the party left the house."

"He returned immediately upon their leaving but it was to find Mrs. Mitchell and three children dead and bathed in their own blood."

"A fourth child was not quite dead, a little girl ten or twelve years of age."

"Taking her up tenderly he was endeavoring to restore her to consciousness when he saw another party approaching the house."

"He again concealed himself and from his place of concealment he saw a white man, Newberry by name, cleave with his hatchet the head of his little daughter."

"Newberry was hung [as a spy by General Clinton] at Canajoharie the following summer, Mr. Mitchell's testimony having much to do with his conviction."

"The Dicksons lived on a knoll about two miles below the fort."

"Hearing the Indians approach, Mrs. Dickson and her children climbed the precipitous hill back of their house and concealed themselves in the woods."

"Some time after the Indians had apparently all gone by, Mrs. Dickson, cautioning her children to remain in concealment, returned to the house in search of food."

"She was at once seized and killed by a party of Indians who had remained behind as an ambuscade."

"The children lay in hiding all that day and the following night."

"The next morning the eldest child crept to the brink of the hill and found the Indians encamped a little below their home."

"One of the first sights she saw was a tall pole stuck in the ground, on which were hung a large number of human scalps and conspicuous over the rest was one of long fiery red hair which she knew at once had belonged to her mother."

"Later in the day a scouting party brought the motherless children into the fort."

Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 66: Nov. 10, 1778 — Cherry Valley Massacre., continued ...

"The first person killed in the massacre was James Gault, one of the original settlers."

"His house was half a mile north of the Dicksons and was, with that exception, the first house in the settlement in that direction."

"They had no notice of the approach of the Indians and the entire family was captured."

"Mr. Gault was at once slain."

"The other members of the family were only retained in captivity a day or two."

"Col. Samuel Campbell was from home at the time of the attack."

"On his return he found neither mother, wife nor children."

"Later he learned that Mrs. Campbell and four children had been taken prisoners."

"When the house was attacked it had been vigorously defended by her father, Mr. Cannon."

"He was finally wounded and the family captured, with the exception of one child, who was concealed by the negro nurse."

"Among those who escaped captivity was the family of Col. Clyde."

"The colonel was not at home."

"Mrs. Clyde, having learned of the attack, fled with her seven children and a negro lad, from the house before the arrival of the Indians and Tories."

"With the aid of the lad she succeeded in keeping the children quiet in their concealment, although the savages passed within a few feet of their hiding place."

"She was taken into the fort the following morning, as was also a daughter, ten years of age, who was separated from her when they fled from the house."

"A story is related of the escape of a family living in the fulling mill in Livingston's Glen, which has in it a touch of humor, the only break in the record of the sad and awful horrors of the massacre."

"Hearing the Indian outcries, the mother hurried her children up the bank on the side of glen."

"Telling them to conceal themselves in the bushes and cautioning them under no circumstances to answer any calls, no matter by whom given, she sought another hiding place and eventually reached the fort without her children."

"The following morning a scouting party tried to find the children, but no answer was returned to their calls and shouts and finally discouraged they sent a party after the mother."

"She had no better success."

"In vain she called them again and again."

"There was no response."

"Heart-broken in the belief that the Indians had captured them she was about to return to the fort when one of the soldiers discovered them huddled together, in fear and trembling, in a dense thicket of brush, cold and hungry, but unharmed."

Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 66: Nov. 10, 1778 — Cherry Valley Massacre., continued ...

"As morning drew on, the prisoners assembled together and commenced their weary march down the valley, in a pitiless November storm."

"They encamped about two miles from the village and, after a sleepless night, upon the dismal morning of the twelfth again started on their doleful way."

"Mrs. Cannon, on account of her age and otherwise enfeebled condition not being able to keep up with the party, was killed and left by the roadside."

"A sad day's march and another sorrowful night, and then came the joyful announcement that the women and children were to be sent back with the exception of the families of John Moore and Samuel Campbell, whose prominence was such that their families were carried into a long and severe captivity."

"An exchange was not made until near the close of the war."

"Among the captives was the late James Campbell, then a boy of five or six years, who died about 1870."

"The fort was attacked upon the 11th, but the assailants were repulsed."

"An attack was again made on the 12th, but wisely heeding the remonstrance of the cannon of the garrison the attacking party soon retired and soon after departed down the valley."

"Two hours after they had gone a company of Continental troops under command of Col. James Gordon, accompanied by a regiment of the Mohawk Militia under Col. Klock, arrived at the fort, having been notified by some of the fugitives of the attack on the settlement."

"They were too late to do more than help in collecting the fugitives hidden in the woods and assist in burying the dead."

"The charred and mutilated remains of those who had perished were collected and consigned to a common grave in the village cemetery."

"It was decided to abandon the settlement in which nothing was left except the fort, the church, and here and there a house."

"The cattle had been killed or driven away; the grain burned, and the vegetables destroyed by fire or frost."

"Most of those who survived the massacre wended their way to the Valley of the Mohawk, where they remained until the close of the war."

"The fort was occupied until the following summer, when the regiment was ordered to join Clinton in the Sullivan expedition."

"The number of Indians and Tories engaged in the massacre at Cherry Valley has been variously estimated at from seven to eight hundred."

"Campbell in his 'Annals' [i.e., William W. Campbell, Annals of Tryon County; or, The Border Warfare of New York, During the Revolution] places the number at seven hundred, composed of five hundred Indians and two hundred [Tory] rangers."

"Another authority states that the force was about equally divided between Indians and Tories, while still another states that there were four hundred Tories engaged in the attack."

"As none of the authorities place the number at more than eight, or less than seven hundred, it may safely be assumed that the force numbered somewhat over seven hundred."

Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 66: Nov. 10, 1778 — Cherry Valley Massacre., continued ...

"The circumstances leading to the attack, as given in the Annals, were as follows: Capt. Walter Butler was taken prisoner while on a visit to Tryon County, in the summer of 1775, and confined in the Albany gaol."

"Pretending sickness, he was transferred to a private house from which he effected his escape and joined his father at Niagara."

"Here he procured command of a part of the regiment known as 'Butler's Rangers,' together with permission to employ the Indian forces under Brant."

"Burning with a desire for vengeance, he at once started for Cherry Valley."

"On his way he met Brant, who was returning to winter quarters at Niagara."

"The latter reluctantly consented to accompany him, Campbell states, at displeasure of being placed under the command of Butler."

"Others took the more charitable view that, knowing the vindictive spirit with which Butler was animated, he [Brant] was fearful that the outrages which would be committed would sully his reputation for humanity, of which he was very tenacious."

"Strange as it may seem to the majority of people who are woefully ignorant of the true character of this remarkable man, it was doubtless fortunate for the inhabitants of Cherry Valley that he finally consented to join his forces with those of Butler."

"His whole effort during the massacre seems to have been directed to protecting the women and children so far as he had the power."

"It is known that he endeavored, by taking a short cut, to reach the house of Mr. Wells in advance of the Senecas, the most blood-thirsty of the Indians, and to whom most of the barbarities of the massacre are to be traced, in order that he might protect them."

"Unfortunately he was delayed in crossing a large plowed field and arrived too late to save the lives of this very estimable family."

"Another act, showing his humanity, is related in the Annals: In a house which he entered, he found a woman engaged in her usual business."

"'Are you thus engaged, while all your neighbors are murdered around you?' said Brant."

"'We are King's people,' she replied."

"'That plea will not avail you to-day.'"

"'They have murdered Mr. Wells' family, who are as dear to me as my own.'"

"'There is one Joseph Brant; if he is with the Indians he will save us.'"

"'I am Joseph Brant; but I have not the command, and I know not that I can save you; but I will do what is in my power.'"

"While speaking, several Senecas were observed approaching the house."

"'Get into bed and feign yourself sick,' said Brant hastily."

"When the Senecas came in, he told them there were no persons there, but a sick woman and her children, and besought them to leave the house; which after a short conversation, they accordingly did."

"As soon as they were out of sight, Brant went to the end of the house and gave a long shrill yell; soon after, a small band of Mohawks were seen crossing the adjoining field with great speed."

"As they came up, he addressed them — 'Where is your paint?'"

"'Here, put my mark upon this woman and her children.'"

"As soon as it was done, he added, 'You are now probably safe.'"

"She was not again molested."

"Brant's greatest act of mercy was in securing the return, to their homes, of the women and children captured at the time of the massacre."

"That he did not also secure the release of the Campbell and Moore families was, doubtless, owing to the fact that Walter Butler insisted on retaining them in order to obtain the release of his wife, who was held captive by the authorities of Tryon County, by effecting an exchange."

Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 66: Nov. 10, 1778 — Cherry Valley Massacre., continued ...

"The number killed in the massacre is given at forty-eight, of which sixteen were soldiers of the garrison."

"The captives taken have been variously estimated at from thirty to forty."

"The latter were all released the second day, and returned to their homes, with the exception of Mrs. Samuel Campbell and four children, Mrs. John Moore and three daughters, Mr. Cannon, several officers and men."

"Among the officers captured was Lieut. Col. Stacey, against whom Molly Brant had, for some unknown reason, a deadly hostility."

"In order to bring about his death, she resorted to the Indian method of dreaming."

"She informed Col. Butler that she dreamed she had the Yankee's head, and that she and the Indians were kicking it about the fort."

"Col. Butler ordered a small keg of rum to be painted and given to her."

"This, for a short time, appeased her, but she dreamed the second time that she had the Yankee's head, with his hat on."

"Col. Butler ordered another keg of ruin to be given to her, then told her, decidedly, that Col. Stacey should not be given up to the Indians."

"Col. Stacey was afterwards exchanged."

"The prisoners were taken to Kanedaseago, Mrs. Campbell carrying a child of eighteen months in her arms the entire distance."

"Here the families were separated, the several member being adopted into different Indian families."

"Mrs. Campbell was detained at Kanedaseago about a year and then removed to Niagara."

"Arrangements having been completed for her exchange her children were again gathered together, with the exception of one boy of six or seven years."

"Later, Mrs. Campbell found him awaiting her at Montreal, whither she was sent with her family."

"He had entirely forgotten his native tongue but spoke the Indian language fluently."

"At about the same time, Mrs. Moore and her children were exchanged and returned to Cherry Valley, with the exception of one daughter, Jane, who had, not long after her arrival in Niagara, married a Capt. Powell, an English officer of excellent reputation, with whom she remained in Canada."

Site Admin
Posts: 49456
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:40 p


Post by thelivyjr »

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925

Chapter 66: Nov. 10, 1778 — Cherry Valley Massacre., continued ...

Simms, in his "Frontiersmen," relates the following anecdote, giving Brant himself as the authority:

"Among those captured at Cherry Valley was a man named Vrooman with whom Brant was acquainted."

"Desiring to aid him in escaping, the latter, when the party was a few miles from the settlement, sent Vrooman back about two miles after a few strips of white bark, expecting that he would take advantage of the opportunity and escape to the fort."

"Greatly to Brant's surprise and disgust, in a couple of hours, Vrooman came panting back, bringing with him the bark."

"Col. John Butler, naturally sensitive of the stigma which attached to the memory of his son by reason of the inhumanities practiced at the time of the massacre, claimed that Brant's exhibition of humanity was prompted by a desire to cast discredit on Walter Butler's humanity."

"Brant always strenuously denied this, and pointed to his conduct at other places as evidence that he warred neither on women nor children."

"Although the greater part of the inhabitants of Cherry Valley sought more protected places of residence, immediately after the massacre, a few hardy settlers still clung to their homes, doubtless in the belief that there was so little in the way of plunder left to repay them that the Indians would not make another attack, or perhaps, in their poverty, dreading more the seeking of new homes among a strange people than the chance of an attack from the Indians."

"Only two incidents of especial moment occurred during the early winter [of 1778-1779] following the massacre."

"The first was the killing, by the Indians, of John Thompson, a son of Alexander Thompson, a resident of Cherry Valley, who had fled to the Mohawk at the time of the massacre."

"Young Thompson, who was a promising youth of about twenty, had started to ride up from the Mohawk with a party of young men to visit his former home."

"When at almost the identical spot at which Lieut. Wormuth was slain they were fired upon by a party of Indians and Thompson was instantly killed."

"The remainder of the party escaped."

"The other incident which occasioned considerable talk at the time, was the hanging of Wiggy Willson."

"Willson's sympathies were known to be with the Tories and he was suspected by the settlers of acting as a spy on the settlement."

"At about the time of the killing of young Thompson, and perhaps in consequence of that act, the garrison became suspicious that the Indians contemplated another attack on the settlement."

"It was thought that Wiggy Willson might be able to give information regarding the intentions of the Indians."

"Accordingly a party, composed of settlers and soldiers, visited him and demanded that he should inform them as to the intentions of his red friends."

"Unfortunately for himself he could not give the desired information; doubtless for the reason that he was as ignorant of the matter as his neighbors."

"The latter had, however, little faith in Wiggy's sincerity, and believing that a little 'moral suasion' was needed, produced a rope and in a moment he was swinging from a convenient apple-tree."

"Leaving him thus suspended a sufficient length of time to convince him of their earnestness, and to give him a fair idea of the unpleasantness of that means of ending life, he was let down to the ground."

"The shock had, however, added neither to his knowledge nor imagination and he was again suspended in the air."

"This time he was allowed to hang so long that it was only after much labor that his blood was started in circulation."

"Frightened at their narrow escape from committing murder the settlers took a hasty departure, leaving the rope with Wiggy alike as a warning and a momento."

"The episode created a good deal of unfavorable comment at the time but it completely cured Wiggy of his Tory proclivities."

"Brant, when some time after he heard of a reflection made on his cruelty, by a resident of Cherry Valley, retorted that 'he had never himself made war on women or children, nor hanged a neighbor on suspicion.'"

"John Foster was another resident whose Toryism was more pronounced than that of Wiggy Willson."

"Brant himself visited him in the summer [of 1778] preceding the massacre and there is little doubt but that he was in constant communication with the Indian and Tory leaders."

"It seems somewhat singular but apparently after the war all ill feeling between the patriots and the Tories appears to have been dropped, so far at least as this settlement was concerned."

"Foster continued to live here many years after the close of war and was always well treated."

"In fact 'Old Jacky Foster' became quite popular during his later years."

"Foster and Willson were both illiterate men."

Post Reply