The  Catskill Mountains
and the
Region Around

Chapter 1

By Rev. Charles Rockwell


Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin


Hendrick Hudson.—His vessel.—Newark Bay.—Attack by the Indians.—Man killed.—Colman’s Point—Two Indians seized.—Traffic with Indians.—Yonkers.—West Point.—Escape of the Indians.—Catskill Indians.—Hudson.—Schodac.—Castleton.—Visit to an Indian Chief.—Dog-meat.—Albany.—Trade with Indians.—Return to Catskill and New York.—Voyages of Hudson.—Hudson’s Bay and Strait.—Mutiny.—His fate and that of his crew.—Humorous Sketch of Hudson by Irving.—Robert Juet.—Names of the River.—Indians near it.—Fight near Catskill.—Number of Indians there in1701.—Indians in Schoharie.—Catskill Tories.—Routed by Captain Long.—Murphy and Elerson.—General Morgan.—His Riflemen.—A member of Congress.—Adventures of Murphy and Elerson.—Boyd and Parker.—Their Fate.—Murphy’s Escape.—His Courtship and Marriage.—Scouting Party.—Invasion of Johnson and Brant.—Flag of Truce.—Major Woolsey.—Indians killed by Murphy.—He shot General Fraser.—Sawyer’s Escape form Indians.—Harper and Brant.—Massacre of Indians.—Fate of Harper and his Party.—David Elerson.

WITH a view to give greater fullness and clearness to this work, by casting the light of early events on those of later times, a brief sketch will here be given of the first discovery of the Hudson River, and the country along its banks, by the brave and enterprising old navigator whose name it bears. From the history of the cruise of Hendrick Hudson, in his vessel or yacht, the Half Moon, we learn that on September 7, 1609, while one of his boats was returning to his vessel, then lying in Newark Bay, one of his men, and Englishman, named John Colman, was killed, the boat having been attacked by two canoes full of Indians. He was shot in the throat by an arrow; and as he had been a companion of Hudson’s in his Polar adventures, having buried him on the beach, he named Sandy Hook, "Colman’s Point," in honor of him.

September 11.—Several canoes full of Indian warriors having come off to his vessel, he seized two of the Indians as hostages, and, putting red coats on them, carried them with him up the river. Having passed the Narrows, Indians came on board, "making shows of love." The next morning, September 12, twenty-eight canoes, made of hollowed trees, and crowded with men, women, and children, came off to the yacht. They were not permitted to come on board, but their oysters and beans were purchased.

September 13.—The vessel was anchored just above Yonkers.

September 15.—As the morning was misty, they anchored near West Point, by the Matteawan Mountains, the Indian name for the Highlands. When the Half Moon was getting under way from there, the two Indians captives leaped from the portholes, and scornfully deriding the crew, swarm ashore. Running sixty miles up the river, Hudson arrived, near evening, opposite the "mountains which lie from the river’s side," and anchored near Catskill Landing, where he found a "very loving people, and very old men." This latter fact showing the healthful influence of the mountain air.

September 16.—Friendly natives flocked on board, with ears of Indian corn, pumpkins, and tobacco, which were readily bought for trifles. In the afternoon, they went six miles higher up, and anchored near the marshes in the river, opposite where Hudson now is.

September 18.—They anchored between Schodac and Castleton, eighteen miles above the Hudson, where Hudson went ashore in a canoe, with an old Indian, who was the chief of a tribe of forty men and seventeen women. There was a house, well constructed of oak bark, circular in shape, with an arched roof. The Indians had a great quantity of corn and beans. Two mats were spread, and food was brought in red, wooden bowls. Two men were sent to the woods with bows and arrows, for game, who brought back a pair of pigeons. A fat dog was also killed, and skinned in great haste with shells taken from the water. Before Hudson left for his ship, at night, the Indians, thinking that the reason why he would not remain with them until morning was, that he was afraid of their weapons, took their arrows, and, breaking them in pieces before him, threw them into the fire.

September 19.—Hudson sailed two leagues farther up, and anchored near where Albany now is. There the Indians came flocking on board, bringing grapes, pumpkins and beaver and otter skins, which they exchanged for beads, knives, and hatchets. There they remained several days. While Hudson, on his return, was anchored near where the city of Hudson now is, two canoes, full of Indians, came up from Catskill, and two old men, one of whom gave him "Stropes of beads," and showed him all the country thereabouts.

September 27.—He ran down the river eighteen miles, sailing past the wigwams of the "loving people" at Catskill, who were "very sorrowful" for his departure, and anchored near Red Hook, where some of the crew went ashore to fish.

***It may be well here briefly to notice the adventures and the tragic end of the brave and enterprising navigator, Henry, or, as it is in Dutch, Hendrick, Hudson. He was a native of Great Britain; but nothing is known of his birth, education, or early history. May 1, 1607, he sailed from Gravesend, England, in search of a northern passage to India, with a small vessel, manned by ten men and a boy; explored the eastern coast of Greenland, as far north as latitude 80; discovered the Island of Spitsbergen, and, being stopped by the ice, returned September 15, of the same year. April 22, 1608, he sought a northwest passage between Spitsbergen and Nova Zembla, failed to find one, and returned in four months. He then went to Holland, entered the service of the Dutch East India Company, and April 6, 1609, sailed in the yacht Half Moon for the northeastern coast of Asia, but driven back by the extreme cold, and turning towards America, reached the coast near Portland, Maine, July 28; remained there six days; his men abused and had trouble with the Indians; reached Cape Cod August 3d; the entrance of Chesapeake Bay, the 28th; discovered Delaware Bay, and from thence went to Sandy Hook, Coney Island, Newark Bay and Strait in June and July, wintered there, after which his crew mutinied, and put him and nine men, who were mostly sick and lame, in an open boat, in Hudson’s Strait, abandoned them, and they were never heard of more. The leaders in this mutiny were killed soon after by the Indians on the coast. Robert Juet, the companion and journalist of Hudson in former voyages, died of hunger on shipboard; and a small remnant of the crew reached Ireland in a condition of extreme weakness and exhaustion, from hunger and exposure on the sea.

The humorous account which follows, of the discoveries of Hendrick Hudson, and of the hardy old navigator himself, is from "Knickerbocker’s History of New York," by Washington Irving, Book II, Chapter I.

"In the ever-memorable year of our Lord 1609, on a Saturday morning, the five and twentieth day of March, Old Style, did Master Henry Hudson set sail from Holland, in a stout vessel called the Half Moon, being employed by the Dutch East India Company to seek a northwest passage to China. Henry, or, as the Dutch historians call him, Hendrick, Hudson was a seafaring man of renown, who had learned to smoke tobacco under Sir Walter Raleigh, and is said to have been the first to introduce it into Holland, which gained him much popularity in that country. He was a short, square, brawny old gentleman, with a double chin, a mastiff mouth, and a broad copper nose. Which was supposed to have acquired its fiery hue from the constant neighborhood of his tobacco-pipe. He wore a true Andrea Ferrara (a sword so called), tucked in a leathern belt, and a commodores’ cocked hat on the side of his head. He was remarkable for always jerking up his breeches when he gave out his orders; and his voice sounded not unlike the brattling of a tin trumpet, owing to the number of hard northwesters he had swallowed in the course of his sea-faring life.

"As chief and mate and favorite companion, the Commodore chose Master Robert Juet, of Limehouse, England. By some his name has been spelled Chewit, and ascribed to the circumstance that he was the first man that ever chewed tobacco. He was an old comrade and early schoolmate of Hudson, with whom he had often played truant, and sailed chip-boats in a neighboring pond, when they were boys; from whence, it is said, the Commodore first derived his bias towards a sea-faring life. Juet wrote a history of the voyage, at the request of the Commodore, who had an unconquerable aversion to writing himself, from having received so many floggings about it when at school.

"Hudson had laid in an abundance of gin and sour-crout; and every man was allowed to sleep quietly at his post, unless the wind blew. He acted moreover in direct contradiction of that ancient and sage rule of the Dutch navigators, who always took in sail at night, put the helm aport, and turned in; by which precaution they had a good night’s rest, were sure of knowing where they were the next morning, and stood but little chance of running down a continent in the dark. He likewise prohibited the seamen from wearing more than five jackets, and six pairs of breeches, under pretence of rendering them more alert; and no man was permitted to go aloft, and hand in sails, with a pipe in his mouth, as is the invariable Dutch custom at present day. They ate hugely, drank profusely, and slept immeasurably; and, being under the especial guidance of Providence, the ship was safely conducted to the coast of America, where, on the fourth day of September, she entered that majestic bay which, at this day, expands it sample bosom before the city of New York. When Hudson first saw this enchanting island, he is said to have turned to Master Juet, and uttered these remarkable words, while he pointed towards this paradise of the new world—‘See! There!’—and thereupon he did puff out such clouds of dense tobacco-smoke, that in one minute the vessel was out of sight of land, and Master Juet was fain to wait until the winds dispersed the  impenetrable fog.

"The river which emptied into the bay, it is said, was known to the Indians by the name of the Shatemuck; though we are assured in an excellent little history, published in 1674, by John Josselyn, Gent, that it was called the Mohegan, and Master Richard Bloome, who wrote some time afterwards asserts the same. The river is also laid down in Ogilvy’s Map as Manhattan, Noodrt Montaigne, and Mauritius River."

***It is claimed that the name "Hudson" was first given to the river by the English, at an early date, in honor of their countryman, who first discovered it; though Irving speaks of it as first given by the Dutch.

The Indians who, at an early date, were on the Hudson River, in the present counties of Ulster and Greene, were the Mingua clans of Minnisinks, Nanticokes, Mincees, and Delawares. They came from the upper valley of the Delaware, which the Dutch called, "The Land of Baca," and, following the Neversink River and the Great Esopus Creek, reached the North River. They were called, by the Dutch, Esopus Indians, from Seepus, a river. It is said that the Dutch early built a rondout, or fort, near the creek; and hence came the name of "Rondout," given to the region around the fort. Wiltwyck, which means, "Indian village," was near. The word "Minnisink," as applied to these Indians extended through Ulster and Greene counties, along the river to Kuxakee, or Coxsackie, which means "place of cut banks," the river there having cut or washed away the banks by a strong flow or current towards the west. The Indians on the east side of the river were called Mohiccans, or, but the Dutch, Mohikanders.

Beyond the Minnisinks and other Esopus Indians on the west side of the river, from Castle Island up, were the fierce Maguaas, or Mohawks, northward to the lake of the Iroquois, or Champlain, west, through the valley of the Mohawk, and south, to the sources of the Susquehanna.

***DeVries, in sailing up the Hudson, April 27, 1640, came to "the Esoopus" where a creek emptied, and the Indians had some cleared cornland. In the evening they reached "the Catskill," where there was some open land, on which to Indians were planting corn. Up to this place the river-banks were "all stony and hilly, and were thought" unfit for dwellings.

Brown, in his "History of Schoharie, relates as a matter of tradition that the Mohawks and the River Indians being bitter enemies, a battle was fought between the Mohegans, living east of the river, and the Mohawks, on Wanton Island, near Catskill, with a view to decide which tribe should have the honor of naming or choosing a king from their own number. Having fought a whole day, and the Mohegans getting the advantage of the Mohawks, the latter tribe retired to another island, where they made fires and hung their blankets on the bushes, so as to give the appearance of men. The Mohegans attacked the blankets in the night, and being plainly seen by the Mohawks by light of their fires, they rushed upon and defeated them. A treaty was then made by which the Mohawks were to have the king, and the Mohegans were to reverence them and call them Uncle, as a title of honor.

In a petition of the Catskill Indians to Hon. John Nanfan, "Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of New Yorke, in America, and Vice-Admiral of the same," under date of July 18, 1701, they say, "We are now two hundred fighting-men, belonging to this County of Albany, from Katskill to Skachkook, and hope to increase, in a year’s time, to three hundred." They say also that it was then ninety years since Christians (whites) came among then, and speak of the peace there had ever been between the two races there. Thus, too, it continued to be. It is said the Schoharie was first settled by a French Indian, who had been taken prisoner by the Mohawks, and had married a wife from that tribe; his father-in-law having sent him to Schoharie, fearing that he might be killed by the Mohawks, when drunk, as they hated the French Indians. Others from the Mohawks, Mohegans, Tuscaroras, Delawares, and Oneidas came to him, until they were three hundred strong, and had chiefs who pretended to own the whole region around, and sold and gave deeds of it.

The tories among the Catskill Mountains in Saugerties, Catskill, Hunter, Cairo, and elsewhere, during the Revolutionary War, were leaders and guides to the Indians in their expeditions for plundering, burning, taking captives, and murdering in that region, and had supplies of provisions concealed in the forest and among the rocks, on as far as the Delaware, Susquehanna, Chemung, and Genesee rivers, on the pathway of Indians and their captives to Canada.

In 1778, Captain Long, of Schoharie County, met there a company of tories from near Catskill, who had been enlisted by Captain Smith for the British service, under Sir John Johnson, then at Niagara, whither they were marching. Murphy and Elerson, two famous marksmen and Indian-fighters from Virginia, who had belonged to Morgan’s celebrated riflemen, at the South, were with Long. As Smith issued from the woods, in advance of his men, he was shot by Elerson and Long, and his men fled. Smith and his party had intended to spend the night with a prominent tory in Schoharie named Service. Long forthwith led his men there; and Murphy and Elerson, entering his house, made Service a prisoner. When coming out of his house he seized an axe, and aimed a blow at the head of Murphy, who quickly sprung aside, and avoided it, and in a moment Service was killed by the rifle of Elerson.

***Daniel Morgan, to whose celebrated company of riflemen Murphy and Elerson belonged, was a native of New Jersey, born in 1737. When eighteen year of age he went to Virginia; was with Braddock in his expedition in 1755 as a wagoner; retorted and insult of a British officer who then tried to run him through with his sword; whipped the officer; was sentenced to receive five hundred lashes; fainted when he had received four hundred and fifty, and the officer, convinced of his wrong, apologized to him. In 1775 he came to Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his riflemen; in the autumn of that year was with Arnold in his fearful march of forty days through the forests of Maine and Canada to Montreal; aided in putting down the Whiskey Insurrection in Pennsylvania in 1794, was chosen a member of Congress in 1799, and served two years. His riflemen, a part if not all of them, were in Schoharie during part of the Revolutionary War.

David Elerson, the companion-in-arms of Timothy Murphy, was at the head of Otsego Lake in 1779; when ten or twelve Indians came suddenly upon him; seizing his rifle, he ran for his life, they hurling their tomahawks at him, one of which nearly cut off his middle finger. They then pursued him from eleven o’clock until three. An Indian whom he met fired and made a flesh wound in his side. Soon after this, exhausted by the race and by loss of blood, he stopped to drink, when, looking behind him, he saw one of his pursuers rising over the brow of a hill in the rear. Him he shot; and, having loaded his rifle, he hid himself in a hollow tree, where he remained two days, when, crawling out, he found his way to Cobleskill. In his race of four hours in the forest, he ran twenty-five miles.

Murphy had distinguished himself as a marksman in Virginia before he came to Schoharie. He was five feet six inches high, of a dark complexion, well-proportioned, with an iron frame, and an eye that would kindle and flash like lightning when he was excited. He had not a wound nor a scar during all the war. As he had a double-barreled rifle, the Indians wondered how he could shoot twice by loading but once. When pursued by the Indians he shot one of them, with whose gun and his own he killed three others, when the rest of them fled, saying that he could shoot all day without stopping to load his gun.

Lieutenant Boyd, with whom Murphy was when Boyd was taken prisoner, was a native of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, a fine-looking young man, twenty-two years old. Before leaving Schoharie, on Sullivan’s expedition, he secured and betrayed the affections of a young woman there, who, as he was leaving, said to him, that if he left without marrying her, she hoped that he would be cut to pieces by the Indians; and never, surely, was an imprecation more fearfully fulfilled; for he was so awfully maimed and tortured by his savage foes, that I forbear to describe the horrid living butchery. In his scout with twenty-seven or twenty-eight men he was met, as some say, by five hundred men, under Butler, while Brant with an equal number was lying in ambush near by, while others claim that both these forces met them. In the first attempt to break through the ranks of the enemy, one of Boyd’s men was killed, and many of the enemy. In the second and third onsets seventeen Americans were killed. The third time they broke through the enemy’s ranks, and Boyd, seeing Murphy in advance of him, followed him, hoping thus to escape; but he and Parker, who was with him, were soon captured.

Murphy in his flight, having been pursued by two Indians; fell among the high grass, so that they lost sight of him; and he, having loaded his gun, moved onwards until he saw an Indian in front of him; and, both of them sheltering themselves behind trees, each sought to shoot the other. At length Murphy placed his hat on the end of his ramrod, and putting it out so that the Indian could see it he fired, and as it fell rushed forward to scalp his enemy, when Murphy shot him through the breast. Mr. Osterhout, in his letter to me, states that Murphy and his (Osterhout’s) father alone of Boyd’s party reached the American camp. Another account states that Garret Putnam, of Fort Hunter, and a French Canadian escaped with Murphy.

Boyd, after he was taken, having made signs as a free-mason, to Brant, was assured that he would not be injured. Afterwards, however, Brant being absent, as Boyd and Parker would not tell Butler what they knew of Sullivan’s plan and movements, he gave them up to the Indians, to be tortured. After a time, Parker’s head was cut off at a blow; but Boyd was, in the most horrid manner, cut to pieces, and butchered alive, while his head was sent to a distance and placed on a post, with a view to gratify his savage foes. A part of Boyd’s own company afterwards found his headless body, and that of Parker, and buried them under a wild plum-tree, near a stream of water. In 1841, sixty-two years after their death, their remains were taken from the earth, near the junction of two streams now bearing their names, and with imposing ceremonies, in the way of a long procession, an oration and addresses, were removed to Mount Hope Cemetery, in the city of Rochester, and buried there.

After Murphy’s return from Sullivan’s expedition, in the summer of 1780, he engaged to marry Margaret, daughter of Mr. John Feeck, of Middleburg, whom he had known when there two years before. She was about eighteen years of age, which was twelve years younger than Murphy, amiable and virtuous; and as her parents were strongly opposed to the match, and closely watched her, they had Maria Teabout, who was half Indian, to carry messages between them. To avoid suspicion, she left home bare-footed, and plainly clothed, on pretence of looking for and milking a stray cow, waded the Schoharie Creek, and met by agreement, Murphy and his friend, well armed, who took her in triumph on horseback behind him to the middle fort, she having come from the upper fort some five or six miles distant. Her female friends in the fort soon made up an outfit for her use; her father, who came there for her, was not admitted, and with male and female friends, Murphy went with her in a wagon to Schenectady, where he bought her a silk dress, and they were married. A rich feast and a ball awaited them on their return; they were reconciled to her parents about a month afterwards, and Murphy’s sons were recently living on the Feeck estate, and may be so still, Murphy was married October 2, 1780.

A day or two after the marriage feast, Sergeant Lloyd went with Murphy and three others on a scout, and returned the thirteenth day after they left, bringing with them to the fort a tory prisoner from Prattsville. Their return was the evening before the attack on the forts by Sir John Johnson and Brant, which, as some say, took place October 16, and others 17,1780. Late in September, Johnson left Niagara with five hundred British and German troops, and came by Sullivan’s road to the Susquehanna River, where he was joined by Brant, who came from Lachine in Canada, with a force of tories and Indians, so that Johnson had, in all, followers estimated by different writers at from eight hundred to two thousand men. The elder Stone, in his life of Brant, thinks that there were near one thousand five hundred and fifty, while his son, in his biography of Sir William Johnson, places the number at two thousand. It is said that two Oneida Indians, having deserted from Johnson, brought to the forts at Schoharie news of his expedition; and yet it is claimed that his troops were first seen by Philip Graft, while they were kindling a fire at daybreak, one fourth of a mile from the upper fort. Alarm guns having been fired from this fort, Lieutenant Spencer, with forty men, was sent forth from the middle fort to learn the cause of the alarm, when, meeting with Johnson’s men, a fight ensued, and Spencer’s force returned towards the fort, Murphy coming last, and not until the board fence from behind which he fired was badly splintered by the bullets of the enemy. It is said that when Murphy was near the fort he shot an Indian eight yards distant, and rising to fire again a bullet struck within a few yards distant, and rising to fire, throwing dirt in his eyes and glancing over his head, when, having shot another Indian, he entered the fort. Some claim that Murphy and a few others went out to meet Johnson’s men, while Spencer and his forty men, during the battle, rushed out and prevented the burning of a barn and several stacks near the fort by the enemy. Contrary to Johnson’s orders, the Dutch church at Middleburg was burned.

There were some two hundred or three hundred men in the middle fort; and, when near it, Johnson three times sent three men with a flag of truce towards the fort with favorable terms of surrender and the promise of good treatment. Major Woolsey, who commanded the fort was in favor of surrendering, saying that they would all be taken and butchered if they did not surrender, and once he went out of the fort to meet the flag. Each time, however, Murphy fired on those who bore the flag, not, it is said, with a view at first to injure them, but to cause them to turn back, as they did. Woolsey with his pistol threatened to shoot Murphy for disobeying orders, and the soldiers were ordered to arrest him, but refused to do so, and rallied around him. Murphy threatened to use his rifle on Woolsey in self-defense, and Captain Rightmyer, standing by Murphy, ordered him to fire; and when Woolsey threatened him he raised the butt of his rifle, club-fashion, assuring him that he would use it on him if he resorted to violence. Woolsey then retired to the women’s apartments for safety, from whence he was driven out by their taunts and jeers, and, having crawled around the intrenchments on his hands and knees, he afterwards met Colonel Kooman in the cellar, where he had gone for ammunition, to whom he gave up the command of the fort, and who told him that if he had his sword with him he would run him through with it. After the battle Woolsey was found covered up in bed, trembling like a leaf; and he soon left that region.

After the flag of truce was thus three times driven back, Johnson attacked the fort. He had a small cannon and two mortars; but two men only were killed in the fort, and two shells fell within its inclosure, one of which burst without the house, setting it on fire, but so that a pail of water put it out; while the other went through the roof, into a room where two women were lying sick, and exploded in the midst of a pile of feather-beds, which caused one of the women, who had claimed to be helpless, to make double-quick time to another part of the fort, so covered with feathers as to cause her to look much unlike what a philosopher defined man to be, when he said that he was a two-legged animal without feathers.

Johnson did not trouble to lower fort, but far and wide burned houses, barns, and crops, killed about one hundred of the inhabitants, and took many captives. In one of the Kooman families three were killed, and eleven men, women and children were taken prisoners. Sir John Johnson had less talent and far less influence with the Indians than his father Sir William Johnson, though he was much aided by Joseph and Mary, or Molly Brant, in directing and controlling the redmen. Johnson died in Montreal, January 4, 1830.

After the war, Murphy boasted that he had killed forty Indians with his own hands, more than half of whom he had scalped. It seems now to be fully proved, that General Fraser was shot by Murphy, near Saratoga, though it has been claimed that another man shot him. Several of Morgan’s riflemen having first fired at him without hitting him, Murphy then fired upon him while he was riding at full gallop, and brought him to the ground. The General before his death said that he saw the man who shot him perched in a tree, which was true of Murphy. After the war General Fraser’s remains were removed to England.

During the Revolutionary War, a man named Sawyer was taken prisoner in Schoharie County by seven Indians, who, having marched eight or ten miles into the wildness, laid down to sleep, when Sawyer, having loosed his bonds, carefully drew a hatchet from the girdle of one of the Indians, with which he killed six of them, and the other having fled, Sawyer returned home.

Early in April, 1780, Harpersfield was destroyed, and about the same time Colonel Kooman sent out from Schoharie Captain Alexander Harper with a scouting party of fourteen men, who were also to remain for a time in the woods and make maple-sugar. Brant, on his way from Harpersfield to Schoharie, with forty-three Indians, and seven tories, came upon Harper and his men April 1; the first warning of Brant’s approach being the death of three of Harper’s party, who were shot. When Brant had taken the others prisoners, he said, "Harper, I am sorry to find you here." "Why are you sorry?" said Harper. "Because," replied Brant, "I must kill you. Though were schoolmates," and raising his tomahawk, as he looked him fully and closely in the face, asked him if there were any regular troops in Schoharie; to which Harper replied that three hundred Continental troops had been stationed there two or three days before. This was not true, but Harper wished thus to save the county from pillage and murder. Twice after this Brant repeated the examination in the most searching and threatening manner, but Harper firmly adhered to what he had before said. The Indians wished to kill Harper and his ten companions, but Brant protected them. The prisoners were heavily laden with booty, and when they came to the Susquehanna River, they used floats to carry them. Brant, being sick with the fever and ague, killed a rattlesnake, and, having made a soup of it ate it and was cured.

While on their journey, Brant sent eleven of his warriors to Minnisink for prisoners. They took five strong men, and brought them to Tioga Point, where during the night one of them, having loosed his hands, released the rest, when with the tomahawks of the Indians they killed nine of them in their sleep, and struck the tenth between his shoulders as he was trying to flee from them, so that one only escaped and reached Brant and his party. Harper and his men then fully expected to be put to death, but the chief who had escaped interceded for them and saved their lives, thinking, perhaps that the innocent ought not to suffer for the guilty. Their sufferings on the way to Canada were great, having been forced to eat meat from the carcass of a horse, and other unsavory food. They were saved by Brant from running the gauntlet, regard being in this thing had to Harper, whose niece, Miss Jane Moore, having been taken prisoner at Cherry Valley, and carried to Canada, had married an officer of the Niagara garrison, named Powell. Harper and those with him were sent first to Montreal, then to Chamblee, where they suffered greatly in prison; after that to Quebec and to Halifax, from whence they returned to their friends after peace was made in 1783.

David Elerson, the companion-in-arms of Murphy, seems to have lived in Schoharie long after the Revolutionary War, as Simms, in his history of that county, often quotes him as authority for statements which he makes.


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