Grace Greylock Niles.

The Hoosac Valley, its legends and its history online

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to follow him as he dashed out of Fort Neilson. He leaped
upon his bay charger, put the spurs to his steed, and was soon
among the American patriots.

Once upon the field of action, Arnold forgot that he was no
longer a commanding general as did the soldiers. At that
moment Fraser's brigade rushed forward to relieve the Hes-
sians, and Morgan rallied his sharpshooters forward to rescue
Arnold's men. Fraser, mounted on his noble gray charger,
was soon observed urging his men forward, when both
Arnold and Morgan decided that he must fall. Morgan,



Surrender of British at Old Saratoga 36 [

addressing the sharpshooter, Timothy Murphy, and pointing
out General Fraser, said: "It is necessary for our cause that
he should die. Take your station in that cluster of trees
and do your duty."

General Fraser was mortally wounded and was borne
from the field of action to the John Taylor House three miles
east, near the bank of the Hudson, and General Burgoyne
took command of his brigade. At that critical moment
General Ten Broeck of Albany arrived upon the battle-field
with three thousand fresh troops, including Col. Johannes
Knickerbacker's 14th New York Regiment from Dutch
Hoosac. They shouted exultantly at the Britons and Ger-
mans, who, struck with panic, fled to their redoubts.

General Arnold, beholding the enemy fleeing to their
earthworks, galloped the whole length of the American line,
and urged the Patriots forward to attack Burgoyne's
troopers before they had time to gain vantage ground. In
the attack Arnold's horse fell beneath him and he was
wounded in his injured ankle. He was soon rescued by
Major Armstrong, however, and removed to Fort Neilson
to face General Gates's frowning visage. Colonel Specht of
Balcarres's regiment endeavored to recover Colonel Brey-
man's lost position. He was headed as he believed by a
Loyalist, but he and four officers and fifty men were made
prisoners by the traitor. Owing to the approach of dark-
ness fighting ceased. Had it not. General Burgoyne's whole
army would have been chased from their earth burrows, and
General Ten Broeck's Albany Regiment would have won
a greater fame than that of merely shouting after the Ameri-
cans' victory had already been won.

The loss of the Americans was one hundred and fifty,
including killed and wounded. Arnold was the only
wounded officer. The British lost seven hundred killed and
wounded. Generals Fraser and Francis Clarke and Colonel



362 The Hoosac Valley

Breyman were mortally wounded ; and Colonel Specht, Majors
Williams and Ackland were captured. The latter was pain-
fully wounded in both legs, while General Burgoyne, unlike
General Gates, fought with his men through the hottest
battles at the point of the bayonet but escaped without a
scratch.

General Fraser died the following morning and his burial
took place at sunset on the summit of the Great Redoubt.
Burgoyne abandoned his four hundred wounded soldiers in
their rude hospital to the mercy of the Americans at nine
o'clock in the evening, and began his retreat, during a pouring
rain, to Dovegat House. General Gates, during the early
morning, posted General Fellows and thirteen hundred men
on the Heights of Saratoga to guard against the retreat of
the British to Lake George and Canada. The mad General
Burgoyne proved to be too weak in character, according to
the Brunswick Journal of England, "to resist his orgies"
and make his escape northward. On October 9th, in spite
of General Riedesel's advice, he halted at Schuyler's Mansion
and celebrated his defeat with a feast over sparkling glasses,
while his soldiers were forced to sleep under trees in the
pouring rain, protected only by their oilcloth blankets. This
resulted in the British army being entrapped on the Heights
of Saratoga until Burgoyne was starved into surrender.

The Americans' plan of surrounding the British camp
placed Morgan's Virginian sharpshooters, Leamed's bri-
gade, and the Pennsylvania troops west of the present site of
the Battle Monument; the New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
and Connecticut regiments east of the Hudson; the New
York, New Jersey, and other New England regiments south
of Fish Creek. General Stark's New Hampshire, Berkshire,
and Bennington veterans, during the evening of October
1 2th, encamped in the Fort Edward Pass on the west bank
of the Hudson, north of the Heights of Saratoga, and closed



Surrender of British at Old Saratoga 363

the trail during the critical hour Burgoyne had made his
final plans to escape to Canada.

On October 13th, the Americans were thus enabled to
make a circuit of the British encampment. Their batteries
kept up a constant fire upon the quarters of Burgoyne 's
officers, and were hoarsely answered by the heavy British
artillery during the siege. On the morning of October 13th
Burgoyne held a council of war with his officers and deliber-
ated upon capitulation. At that critical moment an Ameri-
can cannon ball rolled across the table at which Burgoyne
sat, and this speedily brought him to a decision. A truce
was sent to General Gates, requesting him to receive a field-
officer on matters of high moment to both armies. Gates
appointed ten o'clock on the following morning for the
interview.

News of General Clinton's advance forty miles below
Albany led Gates to sign Burgoyne 's own terms of surrender
before he was assured of Clinton's reinforcements. The
articles of capitulation were signed by representatives of the
British and American commanders at eight o'clock in the
evening, October 15th, at a tent south of the site of the Old
Horicon Mill at Schuylerville. On the morning of October
1 6th, Clinton's scout made his way through the American
lines by way of the Tory outpost at Fort Schaghticoke, and
delivered a dispatch at the British encampment. As a
result, Burgoyne delayed signing the treaty until Gates's
officers drew up the American troops in battle order early
October 17th, and invited Burgoyne to sign it before sunrise
or face them in battle. He then marched down the Indian
trail, now Burgoyne Avenue in Schuylerville, and signed
the Articles of Convention'^ beneath an elm tree. The famous
Treaty Elm remained standing until about 1890, when it
was burned down.

'Rev. J. H. Brandow, Story of Old Saratoga, pp. 152-155, 1900.



364 The Hoosac Valley

The British and German prisoners later stacked their
arms in the field between the Treaty Elm and the Hudson
River, in the presence of Colonel Wilkinson and Morgan
Lewis. Many of the soldiers bade farewell to their muskets
with tears; others threw them down with oaths; and the
drummers stamped in their drum-heads.

The final scene of the formal surrender of General Bur-
goyne was observed by a small lad named John P. Becker,
who subsequently described the historical event under the
name of ' ' Sexagenary." By a prearranged signal the British
prisoners halted near Gates's tent; Burgoyne drew his sword
and presented it to Gates in full view of both the American
and British armies. The American soldiers were Hned up
on either side of the Hudson River Road, between which
marched the conquered Britons and Germans.

General Gates received General Burgoyne' s surrendered
sword with due ceremony and soon returned it to him again.
This act was followed by an American escort unfurhng the
flag' of the Stars and Stripes of the United States, to which
bowed England's battle-torn flag. It was saluted by the
drum corps playing the tune of Yankee Doodle. The
lyrical poem, set to this tune, described the motley regiments
of New Englanders, during the French and Indian War,
known as the Macedonian Conquerors. It was composed by
Dr. Shackburg, near Fort Crailo's well, in Greenbush, N. Y.,
during June, 1758, while General Abercrombie awaited the
arrival of the bands of Yankee volunteers before marching
against Montcalm's French and Indians on Lake Champlain.

The number of British and German soldiers surrendered
by Burgoyne on October 17, 1777, amounted to 5791, includ-

' The design of the American Flag was adopted by the Continental Congress
June 14, 1777. The wives of the American officers at Albany and Saratoga
took their red, white, and blue linsey petticoats and hastily made the Flag of
the United States unfurled at Old Saratoga on October 17, 1777.



Surrender of British at Old Saratoga 365

ing four members of Parliament, besides 1856 prisoners and
wounded. The burial mounds on Bemis Heights contained
1200 dead, and fifty Hessians and innumerable Canadians
and Indian volunteers deserted Burgoyne's ranks even before
his surrender.

The American army under Gates consisted of 9,093 Con-
tinentals and 16,000 volunteer yeomanry, making a total of
over 25,000 men, besides camp-followers and civilians from
all parts of the thirteen United States, The British and
American armies combined thus consisted of over 35,000 men,
posted between Fish Creek and the junction of the Hoosac
and Mohawk with the Hudson.

The British prisoners destined for Boston, marched down
to Wilbur Basin and encamped for the night. On the
following morning the Germans were separated from the
English. The latter desired to march up the Old Cambridge
Road to Bennington Centre, and they crossed the Americans'
floating bridge opposite Bemis Tavern. They were joined by
the Hessian prisoners at Bennington, captured by General
Stark on August i6th, and marched over the Pownal Centre
Road to Williamstown, and joined Burgoyne's staff at
Henderson's storehouse, which is still standing in Old Stock-
bridge, Mass,

Many of the homesick Germans died of heart failure.
The survivors crossed the Van Denburg Ferry to the east
bank of the Hudson and encamped at Fort Schaghticoke.
On October 19th, they marched up the Tomhannac Road to
Claverack, and turned eastward over the Old Military Road
and joined the British and Burgoyne's staff at Henderson's
storehouse, in Old Stockbridge, Mass. Many Hessians as
well as Britons escaped from the home-ranks on their march
through Hoosac Valley. Among them may be mentioned
the Welshman, George Rex Davis of Dutch Hoosac, N. Y. ;
the Englishmen, Rich and Beverly; and the Hessians, John



366 The Hoosac Valley

Blake and Johann Hintersass, known later as John Hender-
son in Williamstown, Mass. The Beverly family resided
in White Oaks and Henderson on Henderson Road over Oak
Hill in Williamstown. The latter's son, George, died in
i860, leaving many descendants, even to-day bearing the
distinct Hessian type.

Meanwhile, on October i8th, Burgoyne's staff first visited
Albany. As the cavalcade reached Broadway, a witty son
of Limerick, elbowing and shouting, came upon the scene:

Now, shure and ye '11 shtand back an' giv' Gineral Ber-
gine plenthy av ilbow room right here in Albany ! I say, ye
darthy ribels, fall back an' giv' th' great Gineral room to come
along here in Albany! Och, fer hiven's sake, ye cowardly
shpalpeens, do ye shtand aside to th' right and lift and make
more ilbow room fer Gineral Bergine or, by Saint Patrick,
I '11 murther iv'ry mother's son av ye!! »

The British officers were royally entertained at Gen.
Philip Schuyler's Mansion. Philip J. the nine-year-old son
of General Schuyler, mischievously opened the door of
General Burgoyne's chamber on the morning of October
19th and burst out laughing upon beholding his guards
slumbering upon mattresses placed on the floor. He closed
the door significantly, exclaiming, "Now you are all my
prisoners!" Thus was the British Commander captured
twice. This little incident, recorded Marquis De Chastellux,
served only to remind Burgoyne of his misfortunes, and
although humorous to a degree, it greatly depressed him.

It was not known in 1777 why General Howe failed to
make a juncture with General Burgoyne at Albany. Lord
Edmund FitzMaurice recently unearthed Lord Shelburne's
memorandum, proving that Lord George Germaine, during
1777, hastily called at the Colonial Secretary's Office on his

' Simm's Frontiersmen of New York, II, p. 132.



Surrender of British at Old Saratoga 367

way to attend a fox hunt in Kent; he signed several orders
but, upon glancing at Howe's Despatch, he refused to sign it
on the ground that it was not "fair copied." The order thus
got "pigeon-holed," Providentially for the American Cause;
and Lord Germaine thought of it no more.

Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy said of the Victory of Old
Saratoga : ' ' Nor can any military event be said to have exer-
cised more important influence on the future fortunes of
mankind than the complete defeat of Burgoyne's expedi-
tion," on October 17, 1777.

The corner-stone of Saratoga Battle Monument was laid
at the Centennial celebration on October 17, 1877.

Then let yon granite shaft of grace

Forever be a rallying place

For liberty and honor, till the day

The stone is dust, the river dried away.'

' C. H. CrandaU.



CHAPTER XIX

ETHAN ALLEN AND THE ALLEN FAMILY

Of the Green Mountains one might probably say: they are more generally admired
than visited. . . . Poets sing ivithout seeing them. . . . That they stimulate
the virtues of the patriot is one of those axioms which one meets over and over again
in the pages of writers who have never felt their rugged breezes. — Paraphrase from
De Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws.

The Allen Family — Ethan Allen — Education, Religion, Marriage — Captivity
in England — Oracles of Reason — Anecdotes- — Ira Allen— Death of Seth
Warner — Death of Ethan Allen — Death of Ira Allen — Heroic Monuments.

LOVE of liberty was Ethan Allen's' sincere passion as it
' was of his youngest brother, Ira Allen. The Allen
family of New England descended from Matthew, Samuel,
Thomas, and John Allen, sons of Samuel Allen, Esq., of
Chelmsford, Essex County, who was a descendant of Sir
Thomas Allen, Bart., of Thaxsted Grange, Braintree, Eng-
land. They claimied kinship with the ancient crusader, Allain,
commander of the rear guard under William the Conqueror,
during the decisive Battle of Hastings, in 1066. The Allen
crest represents a demi-lion azure, holding in his two paws
the rudder of a vessel bearing the motto, Fortiter gerit
Crucem.

"Fighting Parson" Thomas Allen, first minister of Pitts-
field, Mass., descended from Matthew Allen; and Col. Ethan
Allen descended from Samuel Allen, the grandson of the
original Samuel Allen, who located at Old Deerfield, Mass.
His son Joseph, born in 1708, moved to Old Litchfield, Conn.,
and it is recorded that Joseph and his widowed mother,

' See illustration, Chapter xv.

368



Ethan Allen and the Allen Family 369

Mercy Allen, resided in Litchfield in 1728. On March 11,
1736, Joseph Allen, at the age of twenty-eight, married
Mary Baker of Woodbury, Conn., sister of EHsha Baker,
who settled near Baker Bridge in Williamstown, Mass., and




The Joseph Allen House, Old Litchfield Hill, ConnecHcut. The birthplace

of Ethan Allen, the Hero of Ticonderoga, who was horn in the room

on the left side of the front door, January lo, 1737.

of Remember Baker, the father of Capt. Remember Baker,

who located in the Walloomsac Valley in 1765.

At Joseph Allen's homestead in Litchfield, "Ethan Allen,

I'Ye son of Joseph and Mary his wife, was born on January

jYe loth 1737." The house remains unchanged and is

I'owned by the Aylward family. The "Daughters of the

Revolution" have erected a tablet on the house, marking the

birthplace of the "Hero of Ticonderoga." About 1740,

Joseph Allen moved to Cornwall, Conn., where he died in

1755. He left six sons and two daughters, Ethan, Heman,

Heber, Levi, Zimri, Ira, Lydia, and Lucy.
(,24 _ _ ^



370 The Hoosac Valley

The educational opportunities of Ethan Allen consisted (^f
three months' instruction under Parson Lee of Salisbur\-,
Conn. In 1840 the venerable Jehial Johns of Huntingttni,
Conn., at the age of eighty-five years, informed historian
Zadoc Thompson of Wrmont, that young Ethan Allen
boarded at a Mrs. Wadham's about 1759 while preparing for
college. At that time, he was greatly influenced by Dr.
Thomas Young of the Oblong in Dutchess County, N. Y.,
who lectured against Jonathan Edward's System of Divine
Revelation. Dr. Young was prosecuted, convicted, and
punished for blasphemy. Between 1760 and 1766, bolhj
Dr. Young and Ethan Allen began a theological work entitled
The Oracle of Reason, contending against the necessity of
Divine Revelation. They agreed that whichever one of
them outlived the other should publish the work. 1

On June 23, 1762, Ethan Allen, at the age of twenty-five|
years, married IMary Brownson, a granddaughter of Richard
Bro\ATison of Framingham, Conn. The ceremony was per-
formed by Parson Daniel Brinsmade of the Judea Chureli
of Woodbury, and Allen paid the usual fee of four shillings
for the tying of the knot. The Brownson family never sanc-
tioned their daughter's marriage with Ethan Allen, owing
to his irreligious views. Four years after his marriage in'
1766, he was called to Bennington to defend the Green
Mountain settlers' rights in the Albany- Court of Ejectment.
He left his family with his sister, Lucy Bebee, at Shefhekl,
and before his capture by the British in the autumn of 1775,
both he and Ira Allen built homes on the north bank of thd
Batten Kill in Sunderland, on the New Hampshire Grants.

During the perilous year of 1777, after her son Joseph's
death, Molly Allen, together with her four daughters,
Lorraine, Lucy, Mary Ann, and Parmelia, and accompanied
by her brother, Lieut. Eli Brownson, located at Sunderland.
Ethan Allen remained in an English prison two years and



Ethan Allen and the Allen Family 371

eight months until exchanged for Lieut, -Col. John Campbell,
May 6, 1778. Broken in health but not in spirit he arrived
in New York City and later visited General Washington's
headquarters at Valley Forge. In a letter addressed to the
President of Congress, Washington said of Allen "that
his fortitude and firmness seem to have placed him out of
the reach of misfortune. There is an original something
about him that commands admiration, and his long captivity
and sufferings have only served to increase, if possible, his
enthusiastic zeal."

Dr. Thomas Young died in Philadelphia during the
autumn of 1777, and Ethan Allen visited Mrs. Young in
Dutchess County, N. Y., on his way to Bennington, Vt.,
and procured the manuscript of their theological work. On
May 31, 1778, as the long shadows of Mount Anthony fell
aslant the Walloomsac, the "Hero of Ticonderoga" arrived
at the "Catamount Tavern" on Bennington Hill, Col.
Samuel Herrick's Continental Regiment fired three cannon
at sunset to announce Allen's return to the Bennington
and Berkshire Boys.

At sunrise on the following morning a large crowd assem-
bled on the Parade, and Colonel Herrick fired off fourteen
guns — thirteen for the original United States and the four-
teenth for the State of Vermont. Dr. Lemuel Hopkins
read a poem of welcome for the returned captive, Ethan
Allen, and it was a day famous in Vermont's history.

See him on green hills north afar,
Glow like some self-enkindled star.

Behold him move, ye staunch divines,
His tall brow bristHng through the pines,
Like some old sachem from his den
He treads once more the haunts of men.^

* Dr. Smith, Collection of American Poetry, Litchfield, Ct., 1794.



372 The Hoosac Valley

Congress later conferred the rank and emolument of
lieutenant-colonel upon Allen. He represented the town
of Arlington for three years, and during July, 1782, he com-
pleted the revisions of Dr. Thomas Young's and his own
manuscript on theology, entitled : Reason, the Only Oracle of
Man, or A Compendious System of Natural Religion. It
was published by Anthony Haswell and Nathaniel Russell,
editor and printer of the Vermont Gazette, in the Haswell
Building, located on the site of the present Battle Monu-
ment.

Most of the first edition remained in proof-sheets when
the building burned. Editor Haswell regarded this as an in-
terposition of Divine Providence to prevent the circulation
of a book advocating irreligion. The book was known to the
Green Mountain Boys as Ethan Allen's Bible, but the author
referred to it as The Oracle of Reason. Both Dr. Young and
Ethan Allen believed in Jehovah, the Supreme Creator and
Governor of the Universe, and in the reward or punishment
during the future state of immortal man. Allen sent a copy
to the Hon. St. John-s of the Academy of Arts and Science
in Paris, by whose sentence he expected to stand or fall.
This work was followed in 1793 by Thomas Paine's Age of
Reason during the French Revolution, which did much to
arouse the Hoosactonians against slavery.

Molly Allen, the wife of Ethan Allen, died during July,
1783, and according to the venerable Dr. Ebenezer Hitch-
cock, was buried in the Congregational churchyard of
Arlington, three miles from their Sunderland home. A
little later Lorraine, her eldest daughter, died and was
buried in the Sunderland burial-field, south of the site of
the Allen cottage on the bank of the Batten Kill. She
inherited her father's skepticism and before her death 1
asked him: "Whose faith shall I embrace, yours or that of
my mother?"



Ethan Allen and the Allen Family 373

"Not, not in mine," with choking voice,

The skeptic made reply —
"But in thy mother's holy faith.

My daughter, may'st thou die."^

Allen's daughter, Lucy, married the Hon. S. Hitchcock;
Parmelia married Eleazer W. Keyes, and Mary Ann married
Mr. Forbes, all of Burlington, Vt.

Ethan Allen despised the liar, thief, and hypocrite. He
was sued once upon a promissory note for £60 and he engaged
a lawyer to procure a continuance. The attorney denied
Allen's signature as the quickest method of obtaining a con-
tinuance. Allen pushed his way through the crowd and
confronted his councillor saying : " I did not hire you to come
here to lie. That is my true note; I signed it; I '11 swear to
it; and I '11 pay it. I want no shuffling, but wish time." It
was speedily granted him by the judge.

During 1778, Thomas Chittenden of Arlington was elected
Governor of Vermont; Joseph Marsh, Lieutenant-Governor;
Ira Allen, Treasurer and Surveyor- General, and Ethan Allen,
Major-General of the State Militia. Ira Allen proved to be
the greatest diplomatist of the Revolutionary period and the
most successful business manager of the Allen brothers.
He represented the Onion River Land Company, controlling
the settlement of eleven townships between Ferrisburgh and
the Canadian borders, covering 30,000 acres of Champlain
Valley. Levi Allen was the Tory member of the Allen
brothers, and he was lodged in New London jail and adver-
tised as a dangerous Tory in the Connecticut Courant by his
brother Ethan, he believed. He was set at liberty after six
months and challenged Ethan Allen to fight a duel with pis-
tols. Later he joined the British army in South Carolina
until the close of hostilities in 1783. He resided in Canada

'Anon., "The Infidel and his Daughter," 1783, reprinted in Vermont
Historical Gazetteer.



374 The Hoosac Valley

and England for seven years after the Revolution and was
greatly at odds with the world at large. He returned to
Burlington, Vt., in 1790 and refused to pay taxes. He was
lodged in jail and died in 1802. He was buried in the
prison's potter-field.

Ethan Allen was unconventional to the extreme. On May
27, 1779, he appeared at the Westminster Court-House
attired in military uniform. Noah Smith was closing an
argument in which he cited Blackstone as authority. Col-
onel Allen, believing that Vermont's State attorney mani-
fested too great leniency toward the prisoner, arose and
addressed the jury, stating that in the observations that he
was about to make he should not deal in quibbles. "I
would have that young gentleman to know that from the
eternal fitness of things I can upset his Blackstones, his
whitestones, his gravestones, and his brimstones." Chief
Justice Moses Robinson of Bennington arose at this junc-
ture and informed Allen that it was not allowable for him to
appear in court with his sword by his side. This interrup-
tion nettled Allen. He unslung his weapon and brought it
down on the table with a force that made the house ring,
and exclaimed:

For forms of government let fools contest,
Whate'er is best administered is best.

Observing the judges whispering, he added: "I said that
fools might contest for forms of government — not your
Honors, not your Honors."

During 1780, a letter was handed mysteriously to Ethan
Allen in Arlington, Vt., by the notorious Beverly Robinson,
for treasonable purposes. At that time it was known to the



Online LibraryGrace Greylock NilesThe Hoosac Valley, its legends and its history → online text (page 25 of 41)