James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 14 of 190)
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right to intei fere in the matter; and the board conceiving the said Capt.
Kennedy disaffected to the present government, and his residence at his
present place of abode dangerous to the State:

" Ordered, That lie remove within eight days of the date hereof into
tile County of Sussex, und there remain within one mile of the court-
house at Newtown till the further order of the board respecting him."


The Minisink country, which had suffered severely
from Indian hostilities during the French war, was
not less exposed during the war of the Revolution to
the merciless sway of the tomahawk- and scalping-
knife. The same savage foes lurked upon the fron-
tiers, familiar with all the old war-paths from the
Niagara to the Delaware, and ever ready to renew
their bloody work at the instigation of their British

In 1777 a party of savages slaughtered two or three
families north of the Neversink and then crossed into
Montague, where they tomahawked a family named
Jobs, and next attacked the dwelling of Capt. Abra-
ham Shinier, who, with the assistance of three or four
negro servants and by his own indomitable resistance,



compelled them to retire. In a few days they re-
turned and captured a Mr. Patterson and his two
small hoys; the narrative of the father's Bufferings
and of the fate of his sons i- thus given in the " New
Jersey Historical < lollections :"

"Mr. Patterson, being carelessly guarded while a
prisoner, had several opportunities of escaping; but,
as he hoped to save his -mi-, he continued with the
Indians until within one day's journey ofthe Niagara
frontier, where he was confident a cruel death awaited
him. In the night, while- the Indians were asleep, he
took two horses which thej had stolen from him, and
escaped, The second day, being without food, he
killed one of them. The other, alarmed ;it the scent
of blood, broke loose, and Mr. Patterson, going in
pursuit, not only lost him, but was unable to find the
Bpot where his slaughtered companion lay. In the
course of this day he heard the Indians yelling in
pursuit. He, however, eluded them, and traveled on
by the sun five days without any food except buds
ami roots and a snake and a toad which he killed,
when he arrived at the liead-waters of the Susque-
hanna. There he crooked a pin for a hook, and, at-
taching it, with a worm, to the end of a lipe made of
tlic bark of slippery-elm, caught five lish and ate
ih, in raw. This appeased his hunger and gave him
Btrength to construct a rude raft, on which he Boated
down to the Wyoming settlements, and from thence
returned 1 le. The sons were adopted by the In-
dians, became 'I esticated among them and thor-
oughly savage in their habits. Elias, the younger,
when a man, returned to Montague and married, still
retaining many of hi- Indian customs. Here here-
sided until 1838, when be and his wife left for the
Tuscarora reservation."

These acts made it necessarj to call out the Susses

militia and t an again the block-houses in the

"three river townships," stretching from the Water
Gap to Carpenter's Point. This region was for two
years the scene of active military operations, and was
bo well defended by the Susses militia as to confini
the atrocities ofthe savages almost exclusively to the
adjacent territory of New York and Pennsylvania.

\ ng the officers wl manded in this region

were Cols. Hankinson ami Seward, Majs. Meeker ami
Westbrook, ami Capts. Cortright, Marker. Shafer,
Beckwith, Rosenkrans, Bockorcr, Hover, ami Winter.
These men not only had charge of the garrisons, but
commanded scouting-parties, which were kepi con-
stantly active along the frontier, sometimes penetrat-
ing into New York ami Pennsylvania.

In the autumn of 1 7 7 s , Brant, the famous Mohan k
chief, made a ihsce nt from the borders of Canada into

the Minisink valley, at the head of al.oiil a hundred

Indians and Tories. "Thej confined their atrocities
chiefly to the settlements north of the Jersej bound-
ary." Thej first fell upon the family of Mr. Westfall,
ami killed one man. Then they attacked the house

of Mr. SwartwOUt, who was at home with his -hi-.

the women having been removed to the fort. They
all endeavored to escape, but on,- of the sons was -hot

down between tin- house ami ham. Another ran to
the river, half a mile off, swam it, ami was -hot on
the Opposite Shore. The father, an old man. and two

of his sons, assisting him, ran on together; but, find-
ing they would soon I -.- rtaken, tie- father told his

-on .lame-, a ivn active, Strong man, to run and save

himself, which he did. The Indians pursued him half

a mile over feme- and across lol-. w hen In- gain
fort and thej gave Up the chase. The father and the
other -on were soon overtaken and dispatched. No
attempt was made by Brant to take the fort. Alter
murdering a t\\\ families he left the valley anil re-
turned northward. In July. 1779, he reappeared with
a larger force, ami effected the destruction of the
Neversink settlement, at what i- now Port Jervis, in
Orange Co., N. Y. The Bcene of massacre en
lure beggars description. One writer Bays. "While
the inhabitants were attending tie- funeral of a de-
ceased neighbor at the church, and when the proces-
sion was leaving tor the burying-grouud, the Indians
came down upon their settlement, and before they had
time to reach their homes the flames of the church

gave signs of their narrow escape, and the smoke of

their mill-, ham-, ami bouses foreshadowed tie- d n

of Neversink. Some of the whites — the number is

unknown -were massacred in the most merciless

manner; others -and among them mother- with their
children in their arms Or l>y theirsidl lied to thicket-,

Bwamps, andstandinggrass for concealment and safety.

.Mr-. Vim Atlken lay concealed all night in a ditch
Overgrown with L'ra - and flags, while the mountains
and valhy- eel,,,,,! t,, each other the savage war-
whoop, and tortured her with fear that her family

was cut oil bj the barbarous foe. < >n their approach

lo the heart of the village the Indian- found the ris-
ing hope ofthe colony in the -chool- hoii-e. under the

tuition of Jeremiah Van Auken. The teacher soon

fell a victim t,> their fury, ami was dragged, a corpse,

from tin- School-house, and also sot f hi- little

pupils. Meanwhile, tlu- rest ofthe hoys fled to the
woods lor safety, while their Bisters -t I trembling

and weeping bv tin- hi. -. - rein tin- of th- ir t -. -ichor
At tin- instant a savage whoop was heard that rever-

berated through the forest ami seemed like the signal

I- ri in wed deeds of cruelty. But even in the ho-, mi
of an Indian there -till glowed one -park of sympathy

that kindled at the -cene. A brawn} form sprang

fr tin- woods, where he had witnessed the tragical

event, and with utmost speed approached the little

group, with his horn by hi- aide and his brush in his

hand, and, dashing his paint-brush acvMa their aprons,

Little girls, hold up that mark when you see

an Indian, and you are -ale.' and, uttering a terrible

yell, he plunged into the forest ami disappeared. It

was Brant The lite-mark was upon the little irirls.

The ruthless savage, when hesaw it. smiled and passed

by. The will of the chief w a- law : the int enl ones



were safe. But their brothers, — must they he cleft
by the tomahawk ? The thought was more than their
tender hearts could endure ; yet what could they do
to save them ? Benevolence is ever prompt to devise
and ready to execute. The dispersed flock was soon
collected, and each one took her brother under her
garments; and all were safely protected by the apron
with the mark of the paint-brush held up whenever
an Indian was seen." The writer who penned the
above account in 1844 says, " One eye-witness still
survives to tell the story, — Mr. Van Inwegen."

Rev. Mr. Kanouse mentions a Sacks family who
were killed, with the exception of an elderly maiden
lady, a sister of Gen. Bevier. This lady saved herself
from the stroke of the tomahawk by holding up a
large Bible like a shield over her head, and into this
the blow was struck that must have cleft her skull.
The Bible with the gash of the tomahawk has been
preserved in the Bevier family of Ulster County.

The incident of the humanity of Brant reminds us
of his education at Dartmouth College, and of the
fact that he was a Mason and always respected his
obligation with friend or foe. It is said that in the
engagement at Minisink, which followed soon after
the events above described, Brant saved a soldier by
the name of Wood, whom he had engaged in a des-
perate hand-to-hand encounter. Just as Brant was
about to strike him down Wood gave the fiery war-
rior the Masonic grand hailing-cry of distress, where-
upon Brant, true to his obligation, seized AVood by
the hand, led him beyond the line of fire, and bade
him put his trust in God and seek safety by flight.
These incidents are worth remembering in the lives
of savage men, showing that they are not wholly bad.

At the time of this fearful massacre Brant bore the
commission of a British colonel. His headquarters
were in Canada, whither he had gone with Sir John
Johnson and the Mohawk tribe at the outbreak of the
Revolution. He was not in the massacre of Wyo-
ming, as some suppose ; that revolting slaughter was
led on by Col. Butler, a noted British Tory, who also
lived in Canada and was sent upon that expedition
by the military authorities at Fort Niagara. The
following affidavit, made before a justice of the peace
of this county, will throw some light upon the opera-
tions of Col. Butler :

" July 8th, 1778, Wallpaclc, Sussex County. — Personally appealed before
me Tiinotliy Synimes, one of the Judges of the Court of Common pleas
for tills County, one James Green, one of the inhabitants of Wyoming,
who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God.de-
poseth and saitb, that he was one oi the men destined to defend a fort in
Kingston, and that the enemy commanded by Col. Butler and one of the
English Lieut.-Colonels and the King Owugo, an Indian Commander,
with pari of the six tribes of Indians, 800; who fought well without
taking to trees, but lay flat on their bellies to flro and to loud. Said
Green says that thesu men, to the amount of twelve hundred, as ho
heard, came within three or four miles of the fort, with offer of good
quarters upon their surrender, and threatening men, women and chil-
dren with Immediate death if one gun was fired against them : he says
lie thinks no answer was returned by this Hag; about two or three hours
after the Bame Hug came ill again. lie says lie knew the man well. He
w;is Daniel Engereon, whom they took prisoner at the first fort. He

brought much the same proposals he brought before, which were still re-
jected: to a challenge they sent in to our people to fight Col. Butler, re-
turned for answer that lie would meet their officer at a particular place
at a set time to hold a conference. He further saitli that Cols. Butler,
Denins and Durrene, witli all the men they had, which were three or
four hundred, marched to the place appointed at the appointed time, and
not finding the enemy there, they waited about an hour, and then lliey
marched up the river until they met the enemy, when a battle begun on
the right wing, which extended to the left in about one minute, aDd con-
tinued very smart on both sides; but our people were partly surrounded
on the left wing in the space of ten minutes, when the left wing of
our people fled to the amount of about twenty men; the others of our
people fought about an hour, when they were surrounded by superior
numbers, and some killed and some drove into the river, where many
perished; some got to an Island in the river, where they found Indians
plenty to murder them. Ho says lie has since seen one Bill Hammon,
who was takeu on the island with six or seven more, who were made to
sit down when the Indians tomahawked them, one after the other; but
before it came to his turn, lie said he jumped up and ran and made his
escape by swiining oil the lower end of the island. Said Green says that
the night after the battle he saw the fires and heard tliB nuise of a Grand
Cautacoy amongst the Indiaus, who, the said Green judges, were burning
their prisoners alive; lie says it was the judgment of others besides luni-
selt ; for the flag, who were the next day in the foi t, told them tliat lie did
not kuow that there was a prisoner alive among them, and that he bad
seen an hundred and ninety-four scalps in one heap. He further Baith
that the fort was surrendered or evacuated the next day after the battle,
when the people fled towards the Delaware River, and in the night sent
back George Cooper and James Stiles, who went to the top of the moun-
tain and saw the houses from the lower part of Wyoming, about half
way to the upper end, in Hames, and it was supposed they went to burn
the whole settlement.

"Signed by James Green.
"Sworn before me,

"Timothy Symmf.s."

The following is an affidavit of Capt. Joseph Har-
ker of Sussex County :

" July 22, 1779, at the mouth of the LacUawack, a battlo was fought by
a party of militia from the County of Sussex, aforesaid, and the County
of Orange, commanded by Col. John Hatlioru, of the Stale of New York,
and a party ol Indians and toiies under the command of one Joseph

The New Jersey Gazette of May 3, 1780, speaks of a
party of Indians which were discovered at Minisink
commanded by " one Daily, a white man, formerly of
Somerset County." " Some of the Jersey militia
passed the Delaware and engaged them ; a very se-
vere conflict ensued, which ended in the defeat of the
Indians." Daily was left dead on the field, and Capt.
Westbrook, a lieutenant, and one private were killed.
The same paper of June 7, 1780, publishes a letter
from a gentleman in Sussex County which describes
another skirmish west of the Delaware.


Sussex County should be proud of the fact that she
furnished Congress with cannon-balls and steel during
the latter part of the struggle for independence, — at
least, with the means for manufacturing them. Her
mines of ore and furnaces had been famous l'or a long
period before the war, particularly the old iron- works
at Andover. These works had been erected by an
English company, who continued to operate them not
only till the breaking out of the war, but down to the
beginning of 1778, being protected by the British
army which occupied Philadelphia. Congress had its
eye upon these works, and instructed the Board of



War to make an examination of tbem with reference
to tlicir availability for making steel and cannon-balls
tor the use of the army. This they did, and also
found, by consultation with Col. Fowler, that they
might be procured of th<- proprietor!) and turned over
to the use of the government, The Board of War

made their report Jan. 1">, 177*, whereupon ( 'oiijrrcss

j.assiW the following resolutions:

if, Thai Hi. Board ..r War In authorised to direct Co). Flown

l contiBct with Mr. Whitehead Humphreys, on the terms of the

former agreement, or such others na Co] Flowei iholl deem equitable,

for making ..f Btcel, for the supjily of the Coutlnentnl aitlflcera, and

works with thai necessar) article; and as the Iron made at Audovei

nly will with certainty anawer the purpose of making steel, that

Col, Flower he <li led t.. apply tu the government «■! New Jersey t.,

put a proper peraon in possession "i Ihcae woi ks Ihe nme helongfng to

Ihoae \ri". adhere t.> the euemlei of the Suites , npoa sui li tei m- ... the

Dl ni ill.- st;it.- of New -I - I - -> may think proper; and tliiit Col.

Rower act with said poraou foi such quantity of Iron a

think tin- service rcqtilrea.
■'/;.... l,.-,i, Tlnit a letter bo written hy the Board of Wai to the Gov-

•rnoi .m.i . ..nn. 1 1 "i tin i St it N.« Jersey, setting forth the peculiarity

..i Hi.- demand for these works, Mug the only proper means of procuring

Iron for steel, an article with which tbo service must Irreparably suf-

l.-r; mill tlnii the said Bovoi and council be desired tu take such

means as they shall think mual proper foi putting the -iii.i works In
blast, and ohtalniug a Bnpply of irou without delay."

Nt m Jersey promptly answerctl this call, March 18,
1778, by the following resolution adopted by the Leg-
islature :

" The , ..urn il have taken Into consideration the resolution of Congress

Of the 16th of January last, and Uie letter fi the Board of War ac-

companylni the Bald resol a, i nmi tiding II to the G ivct out of

Hi.- st,.t.. to cause tin' A M.i.v.-i [rou-Worka, In the count)' of Sussex, to

be put In blast fur the purpoeool i luring iron to be made Into steel ;

it being represented that the Iron made at ti"- ?tu<\ works is the -t

my in America foi thai purpose; aud having also taken into

i 'i tin- appllcatl I Col. Iii'iijiiiiiin Flower, commanding

general ol military stores, agreeing t" ti"- said res live, who, il

oimended Ool. John Patton as a propel person i" nun nu the

■aid works , and considering that it Is not yet as ertalned that ti state

in laid andover Iron-Works Is confiscable t.. the it the publl .

win tin -r the owners thereof have committed an] actof forfeiture; and

at the same time 1*-ihk desirous that il". public service dioj be i luted

by tin- 1 t said works;

-./, Tlnit it be ni- mended t.- Cul. Patton toag with the

present owners of the said works to take tho same, to wit: Ihi

-"I lease, hereb] i urln him ill n ... i ... tl t itcshnll

i. I. .iu adjudged to be furleltcd, oi otherwise come undci the partial*

lii din > ' this governmout, such agreemeul shall be cuiifl

tin- said Col. Patton, or to such pers uoi persons as tin Legislature shall
kpprove, for an) porlod not exceeding three yeara from the date hereof.

But il the -ui.i .•« nors shall reluse to lei the -..i.l «..ik- i..r the u the

pui.li. . ill- Legislature will then take the n. ir) steps for putting

il ' 'I"' possession of n pi. .p. i person In ordei to hare them cu I

«,n for ill- purpose above nienll I

. ■■(, Tlnii .Mr. Hoops wuil mi il.- ll.n Aaacmbl) with Uie

foregoing resolutlou and desire the ttirrunco thorclu.

'• Which message belug reud I considered ;

■■'. Thai Hi- li. ..I,-. i i | u the reaolutloncoi i In the

■aid message."

I nder these authorizations the old Andover Iron-
Works changed owners. Passing from the control of
those who had no interest in the American cause, and
who hail probably used them in aid of the enemies of
the country, they came into the bands of men » hose
fervid patriotism was fitlj symbolized in the glow of
their rekindled lircs. "A1 once mine, furnace, and

forge seemed to catch the patriotic spirit of their new

occupiers ; the fir. - glowed with an in tenser heat, and
the anvils rang louder and clearer, as if conscious that
they were forging arm- with which brave men were
to defend their homes and tln-ir country. .Miners and
forge-men, wood-choppers and colliers, urged on by
citizen soldiers anil patriotic officers, were all i a
in procuring iron and steel lor the use of the Conti-
nental army ; while through the valleys and the
gorges came the echo of the sound of tlie hammers,
as, BWUng by stalwart arms, they rang upon the anvils

and kept time to the -ool' of the forge. This music
fell like a death-dirge upon the car- of British loyal-
ists and their Tory allies."

War had made terrible ravages in New Jersey; her
brave sons bad been slain in battle, her towns had
been sacked, and her churches and farmhouses given
to the flames; her State treasury was bankrupt and
her people impoverished; yet her means for tin- de-
feiisc of liberty and country were not wholly ex-
hausted. Her mineral wealth was beyond the reach
of invading armies, and her iron-mines, intrenched
in her rock-hound hills, defied the power of England,
"And now, at the call ol liberty, mi! oi' the deep

caverns of the mountains, as from a mighty arsenal,

| red forth the true metal of war, and old Sussex

in the hour of need furnished both the soldi, r and
his -word."

'Ih. Andover works were held by the government
till the close of the war, and for live year- furnished
iron and steel for tin- Continental army.

ell A PTEB I X.

REVOLUTION (Continued).

Occasional reference- are made to Tories in these

counties durin;.' ami previous to the coniineii.

of the war. For instance, Oct 25, 1775, one was com-
missioned as a captain of militia of Sussex County,
but on July 18, 1777. the same man appears to have

been lined ami imprisoned for speaking -editions
words,i and in the New Jertey Qaectteot .March 11,
1780, we find an advertisement which indicates that

this man had proved a Tory and that his estate was
Confiscated and -old lor the aid of the cause which he
had betrayed. In that [taper, ami in the one of
March 29, 1780, are to In- found advertisements of
confiscated estates in Sussex which indicate that
Toryism was a Bin which Sn — ,-\ patriotism did not
"l.n.k upon with allowance." The published min-
utes of the Council of Safety contain the name- of
penitent Tories from Sussex County, some of whom

• article In \. r.i.,-,, IfcreU, Sept 7, 1-71
i Safely.



were pardoned unconditionally, and others on con-
dition of enlisting in the Continental army. At a
council held at Morristown, Aug. 14, 1777, a procla-
mation had been issued permitting such a pardon on
condition of enlistment in the army or navy. Thus
Toryism was converted into an efficient auxiliary of

Mr. Edsall has called attention to the fact that in
Sussex County the men who were found wanting in
the hour of need had nearly all been eager for a re-
mission of the burdens imposed upon the country by
the British Parliament and had petitioned for relief,
but when they found that redress was to be attained
only by an appeal to the sword a portion of them
lacked the nerve to take up arms. Others, such as
the Friends, had religious scruples, and a third class,
looking upon the colonies as too weak to contend suc-
cessfully against the mother-country, were eager to
place themselves upon the stronger side, and to win
that royal regard which turning their arms against
their own neighbors and brethren they believed would
ultimately secure them. Mistaken men! Charity may
cover the faults of those whom timidity caused to
shrink from danger; we may also forbear to judge
harshly the conduct of men who could not conscien-
tiously fight; but traitors and fratricides, who acted
as spies and robbed and plundered their neighbors,
who plotted with the Indians, piloting them to the
abodes of the white settlers, and who aided and
abetted the massacre and slaughter of their brethren,
are deserving the severest condemnation and execra-
tion of their fellow-men.

There was probably not a Tory leader of any note
belonging to Sussex County during the Revolution.
True, there were some bands of outlaws and robbers
who infested the mountains and availed themselves
of the rocky fastnesses for concealment and security,
and some holding British commissions who sought to
recruit the royal army from the disaffected portion of
the population, but as a general rule they were led by
foreigners. The following statement, taken from Mr.
Edsall's " Centennial Address," will show that a com-
paratively small proportion of the population of the
county adhered to the British cause : " The county of
;Sussex in 1776 contained not far from thirteen thou-
sand inhabitants, of which, according to the usual
ratio, two thousand six hundred were males over the
.age of twenty-one years. Of all this number, ninety-
.six only were attainted for joining the army of the
king and their property confiscated to the State;
while, of those who were not freeholders, there cer-
tainly was not more than an equal number who re-
fused to take the oath abjuring their allegiance to the
Crown of Great Britain. Adding both these classes
together, we have about two hundred disaffected per-
sons in two thousand six hundred, — a proportion of
•only one in fourteen. Probably no county in the
.State can show a greater preponderance of patriot-

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 14 of 190)