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address delivered by the late Governeur Morris, before the New York Historical Society: "Let me recall, gentlemen, to your recollection, that bloody field in which Herkimer fell. There was found the Indian and the white man, born on the banks of the Mohawk, their left hands clenched in each others' hair, the right grasping, in a gripe of death, the knife plunged in each others' bosom; thus they lay frowning." Some authors have stated that Gen. Herkimer was sixty years old when he died. He was not born until after April, 1725, and it is highly probable, when we take into consideration the facts before stated, his father was not then married. He might have been about fifty years of age at his death, but some collateral members of the family say, he was not over forty-seven or forty-eight when that event happened.
The following letter being pertinent to the subject in hand, on account of the facts stated in it, should have a place in this publication:
German Flats, Committee Chamber, August 9th, 1777. Gentlemen: Just arrived Capt. Demuth and John Adam Helmer, the bearer hereof, with an account that they arrived with some difficulty at Fort Schuyler, the-6th of the month, being sent there by order of Gen. Herkimer. Before he set out for the field of battle, he requested some assistance from the fort, in order to make an effort to facilitate our march to the fort. Two hundred and six men were granted. They made a sally, encountered the enemy, killed many, destroyed the tents of the enemy, and came off victorious to the fort. The commander (of the fort) desired them to acquaint us, and his superiors, that he is wanting assistance, and thinks to stand out so long that timely assistance could come to his relief. • Concerning the battle: On our side, all accounts agreed, that a number of the enemy is killed; the flower of our militia, either killed or wounded, except 150, who stood the field and forced the enemy to retreat; the wounded were brought off by those brave men; the dead they left on the field for want of proper support. We will not take upon us to tell of the behavior of the rear. So far we know, they took to flight the first firing. Gen. Herkimer is wounded; Col. Cox seemingly killed, and a great many officers are among the slain. We are surrounded by tories, a party of 100 of whom are now on their march through the woods. We refer you for further information to the bearer. " Major . Watts of the enemy is killed. Joseph Brant, William Johnson, several known tories and a number of Indians.
Gentlemen, we pray you will send us succor. By the death of most part of our committee members, the field officers, and General being wounded, every thing is out of order; the people entirely dispirited; our county at Esopus unrepresented, that we can not hope to stand it any longer without your aid; we will not mention the shocking aspect our fields do show. Faithful to our country, we remain, Your sorrowful brethren,
The few members of this committee, attested Peter J. Dygert, Chairman.
To the Chairman of the Committee of Albany.
The reader will detect the mistakes in the above letter, although of little consequence now. Neither Brant or Johnson were killed or hurt in the least, except in feeling, although in the subsequent years of the war there were many in the valley who would have much rejoiced had a quietus been placed on Brant at Oriskany.
Gen. Herkimer's will appears to have been used as an exhibit in a suit in chancery, and is now deposited in the office of the clerk of the court of appeals. It bears date February 7th, 1777. He is described in it as a resident of Canajoharie, Tryon county. His first wife, was a sister of Peter S. Tygert, and his second wife, Maria, the daughter of the same person, was well provided for in the will. Some time after the General's death, she married again, and removed to Canada. This Mr. Tygert lived near Gen. Herkimer, and survived the revolutionary war several years. He made eight devises of real estate, comprising nineteen hundred acres of land. There are besides, twenty-seven pecuniary legatees named in it, to whom various sums of money were given and directed to be paid by his residuary legatee. He gave to his younger brother, George, his " homeplace," containing five hundred acres of land, and constituted him the residuary legatee. George, who was with his brother at Oriskany, died in 1786, leaving seven children, all of whom were living in 1820.
The executors named in this will, were, Hanyost Shoemaker, John Eisenlord, John Tygert and the testator's wife. The will is signed, Nicholas Herckheimer. It was proved October 4th, 1783, before Christopher P. Yates, surrogate of Tryon county, and George Herkimer admitted the administrator with the will annexed.
Was the son of George Herkimer before mentioned, the nephew, and not the grandson of the General. On the death of his father he inherited with his brother and sisters, the estate devised by his uncle, and he occupied the family mansion until about the year 1814.
In the prime of life he was an active politician and occupied a somewhat prominent place in the public regard. While a resident of Montgomery he represented that county in the assembly of this state, and was one of the judges of the court of common pleas. After the town of Danube in which he lived in 1817 was annexed to Herkimer, he was appointed one of the county judges and held the office some years. He was commissioned a major in the regiment of New York Volunteers, commanded by Col. John Mills, by Governor Daniel D. Tompkins on the 30th day of March, 1813, and served with his regiment at Sackett's Harbor in the late war with Great Britain, and was in the action when Col. Mills was killed.
In the early political divisions of the country he acted with the republican party, and when the split in that party took place under Governor De Witt Clinton, or in the year 1819, he became one of the leading opponents in the county to the views and pretensions of that gentleman.
At the first general election after the adoption of the new constitution of 1821, his political friends contemplated placing his name before the public as a candidate for the state senate. This nomination would have been equivalent to an election in a district where his party could safely count upon a large and certain majority. The county then being a congressional district, could not be so safely relied upon to return an Anti-Clintonian member unless the heavy adverse vote in the town of Danube, where Major Herkimer lived, could in some way be overcome.
Preferring a seat in the United States house of representatives to one in the senate of this state, he told his leading political associates if he could have the congressional nomination he would see to it that the vote of Danube should not defeat him; and it did not. He was put in nomination and chosen at the general election in November, 1822. The period of President Monroe's last term was drawing to a close, and numerous aspirants were early in the field as candidates for the succession. Messrs. Adams, Crawford, Calhoun and Clay, the three former members of Mr. Monroe's cabinet, and the latter a member of congress, and speaker of the U. S. house of representatives, had been attached to the old republican party, and were men of eminent and distinguished talents. The qualifications of these gentlemen were presented to the country and their claims actively canvassed by their respective friends. General Andrew Jackson was also in the field, but his pretensions, at first, seem not to have been favored by all the leading republicans of that day. It had been usual for members of congress to designate the candidate for the presidency, in caucus, and such a meeting was to be held during Judge Herkimer's term. He early declared his preference for Mr. Adams, and as nearly all the members, except those who favored Mr. Crawford, had avowed their intention not to attend the caucus or be bound by its proceedings, it was for a time doubtful what course Judge Herkimer would pursue. It was believed that a very large majority of his republican constituents were in favor of Mr. Crawford, and conforming to their request he attended the caucus, composed of a minority of the republican members, which presented Mr. Crawford's name as a candidate, then voted for Mr. Adams, and declared his intentions to support him in the approaching canvass. We do not design to go into any discussion of political questions, except so far as it may be necessary to give a sensible relation of the incidents that have taken place, which may be proper to notice. The electoral colleges failed to, choose a president, but Messrs. Jackson, Adams and Crawford, having the highest number of votes on the list, the election of one of the three devolved on the House of Representatives. Judge Herkimer favored the election of Mr. Adams, in the house. This event took place in February 1825. He died at his residence in the town of Danube, some years ago, aged 73 years, without leaving any male descendants. After leaving Congress, he was a number of years engaged in the ardous pursuits of private life, and had become enfeebled by too much exposure in an unhealthful climate. We have not noticed the part Judge Herkimer took in the canvass of 1824-25, with any design of arraigning his conduct before the public, or of imputing any wrong to him. Many distinguished republicans of that day acted with him, and if they misjudged the sentiments and wishes of their constituents, numerous occurrences of that sort have happened before and since.