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executed. The instrument was well chosen. He was well known as a loyalist, and the parties to whom he first addressed himself were no unwillng auditors, nor in an unfavorable mood to be deeply impressed and even awed by his ambiguous language and mysterious manner. The native American Indians, like the followers of Mahomet, were ever inspired with a peculiar respect and even reverence for idiots and lunatics. Fraternal regard strongly prompted Hanyost to apply all his energies, and to leave no effort untried to secure the complete success of his mission, and relieve his brother from the fate that was hanging over him. He was completely successful, and having followed the retreating enemy to Wood Creek, he there left them, and returned to Fort Schuyler the same evening, and gave Col. Gansevoort the first intimation of Arnold's approach. It was not until Schuyler's arrival at the fort, that its commandant was able to solve the problem of St. Leger's sudden departure and precipitate flight.
Hanyost returned to the German Flats when his brother was released from confinement, to the great gratification of his mother and relatives, but he was too strongly imbued with sentiments of loyalism, to resist giving a permanent adherence to the interests of the crown, and in the fall of the same year went to Canada and remained there until the close of the war, when he returned to the Mohawk valley, where he died about forty-five years since.
The project of sending Schuyler in advance to announce Gen. Arnold's approach to the besieging forces, has been attributed to that officer. Such an idea however is not characteristic of the man. The forces on the march were not equal to the enemy then before Fort Schuyler, in point of numbers, but they were chiefly composed of continental light troops, enured to service and accustomed to obey, and the patriotic militia of the country had again rallied to the defense of their homes and families, eager for the strife and determined on revenge. Under such circumstances, knowing the strength of the garrison, and being, without doubt, well advised of the position and numbers of the enemy, the American forces all told were a match for their opponents in the neighborhood of the fort, and it was by no means likely St. Leger would again attempt to interrupt the approach of the provincials by offering battle on any other field, and by dividing the strength hazard the safety of his camp in another sortie. Reflections somewhat like these would be presented to the mind of the American commander, who was brave and intemperately rash, and who would delight in scourging the men he had denounced as a "banditti of robbers, murderers and traitors," and therefore would be less likely to suggest a stratagem to avoid a battle than some one possessing a different temperament. The probability is that this project did not originate with Arnold, although on reflection, while impatiently waiting at Fort Dayton for reinforcements and supplies, he acquiesced in the measure, at the same time, perhaps, doubting its success.
Nothing further occurred during the residue of the year 1777, within the present confines of the county, worthy of particular notice. Death had visited almost every dwelling in the upper valley, and mourning and lamentations were heard in every hamlet; but hope cheered the survivors, and the alliance with France, brought to a successful issue by the favorable aspect of American affairs at the close of the year, caused universal rejoicing throughout the whole country.
Unmolested by the enemy in the fall of 1777 and the spring of 1778, the inhabitants had planted their fields, expecting to reap an abundant harvest in due season; but in this they were sorely disappointed. Fort Schuyler, an important post, commanding the western entrance, by water communication, to the Mohawk valley, was thirty miles distant from the principal settlements at the German Flats, and presented no barrier against sudden irruptions of the enemy, who could easily avoid that fortress, and fall upon the inhabitants below, from almost every direction; and during the summer of this year the work of devastation was vigorously prosecuted.
June 25th, 1778.—The following appointments were this day made by the governor and council, to the regiment of local militia in the German Flats and Kingsland districts:
Field officers and Regimental staff.—Peter Bellinger, colonel; Frederick Bellinger, lieutenant-colonel; George Demoth, adjutant; Rudolph Steel, quartermaster.
Michael Ittig, captain; Jacob Baulcom, 1st lieutenant; Frederick Frank, 2d lieutenant; Patrick Campbell, ensign.
Henry Harter, captain; John Demoth, let lieutenant; Peter Ja. Weaver, 2d lieutenant; John F. Bellinger, ensign.
Jacob Small, captain; George F. Helnier, 2d lieutenant; Jacob D. Petrie, ensign.
Henry Staring, captain; Theobald Baker, 1st lieutenant; George Weaver, 2d lieutenant.
Soverenus Cassleman, captain; Henry Huber, 1st lieutenant; Jacob G. Klock, 2d lieutenant.
Frederick Getman, captain; Jacob Meyer, 2d lieutenant; John Meyer, ensign.
Henry Eckler, captain; Conrad Orendorff, 1st lieutenant; Timothy Frank, 2d lieutenant; Adam A. Staring, ensign.
The nine companies organized in August, 1775, were reduced to seven in about eighteen months of active war. The most of this loss was sustained at Oriskany. The names of Herkimer, and Shoemaker have entirely disappeared from the rolls, and the Petries have but one representative left.
The Mohawk chief, Brant, with a small party of Indians, attacked a settlement of seven families, called Andrustown, in the present town of Warren, in the month of July, plundered the inhabitants, burned up all the buildings, killed four persons, among whom was an aged man by the name of Bell, and his two sons. One other man perished in the flames of his own house. The rest of the inhabitants were carried away captives, and all the property that could be removed was taken by the Indians.
This achievement was perpetrated for the purposes of the plunder, as Brant was then collecting a large force at Oghkwaga, or Unadilla, for a more important and far more serious expedition, in its effects, which he led in the following month. Brant wanted provisions, and took this method of replenishing his stock. The Indians made a hasty retreat, and were not overtaken, although pursued by a party of Americans from the German Flats. After reaching the scene of desolation, the provincials interred the dead, and with several friendly Indians followed the marauding party as far as the Little lakes, in the south part of Warren, when finding the object of their pursuit beyond their reach, they gave up the chase. There were a few white families at the lakes, called Young's settlement, and the principal man was Young, the patentee, to whom the lands had been granted by the crown in 1752. This man was a tory in feeling, but was not known to have committed any open acts of violence against the country. His nearest neighbor sympathized with him; and when the Americans found these people had been spared by Brant and his party, they plundered and burned their houses, in retaliation for the destruction of Andrustown. John Frank, then one of the committee of safety of Tryon county, from the German Flats district, and long known in this county as Judge Frank, was one of the party who went in pursuit of Brant.
The Palatine settlements at the German Flats were doomed to suffer again under the scourge of Indian warfare, about the last of August or the first of September of this year. At this period there were two stockadoed defenses called forts, midway these settlements east and west. Fort Herkimer, near the south bank of the Mohawk river, containing the stone church and the stone mansion of the Herkimer family, and some other buildings, was surrounded by a ditch; and Fort Dayton, on a somewhat elevated spot of ground in the westerly part of Herkimer village, a few rods from the site of the present court house. Fort Herkimer, so called, was inclosed with a ditch and stockades during the French war in 1756, and Fort Dayton was constructed a year or two previous to the time now under consideration. These defenses, and others of like construction, erected in the Mohawk valley, were intended to be used as places of refuge for the inhabitants, in cases of sudden incursions by the enemy in their plundering and murdering expeditions, and to store public property when necessary. They were a sufficient defense against the tories and Indians, who were never incumbered with arms heavier than the musket and rifle, and, with few exceptions, their armaments were small, consisting of cannon used in firing signal guns to warn the distant inhabitants of some impending danger. The first liberty pole erected in the valley was raised at Fort Herkimer, in the spring of 1775, and was cut down by White, sheriff of Tryon county, who came from Johnstown with a body of militia for that purpose; and it was probably afterwards burned by this common hangman.
There were then about seventy dwelling houses on both sides of the river in the neighborhood of these forts, besides barns, other out-buildings and mills, with a large population for the number of dwellings. The earth had yielded an abundant harvest and the crops had been mostly secured. Brant's long stay at the Unadilla without striking a blow on some one of the exposed points of the frontier, excited a suspicion among the inhabitants that he might be meditating an attack upon them, and a party of four men were sent to watch his movements, who falling in with the enemy three of them were killed, and the fourth, John Helmer, saved himself by flight, and returning to the Flats about sundown, gave notice that Brant with a large force was approaching and would be down on the settlements in a short time. Ports Dayton and Herkimer now became the asylums for the terror-stricken inhabitants, to which men, women and children fled for safety, taking with them their most valuable effects, such as could be moved; but their crops, cattle and buildings