by James F. Morrison
John enlisted in June of 1778 while living at Fish House as a private in Captain Samuel Rees' Company in Colonel Frederick Visscher's Regiment of Tryon County Militia (Third Regiment).
On June 2nd, Sergeant Solomon Woodworth, while on a scout to the Fish House, found some of the homes that he passed empty and he also discovered the tracks of a large raiding party. Woodworth now headed for the home of Godfrey Shew to warn him of a possible raid on his house.
Early in the morning of June 3rd, Woodworth with Godfrey and John left the house in order to find the enemy's whereabouts. Jacob and Stephen stayed behind to guard the house. After traveling some distance, the scouting party was surprised and taken prisoners by a party of Indians under Lieutenant John Ross of the 34th Regiment. They were taken to the enemy's nearby encampment.
Jacob who had been stationed on a knoll near the house that overlooked the nearby Sacondaga River saw a canoe coming down the river and he ran back home to inform his mother of the presence of the enemy. On reaching the house, Jacob was taken prisoner with his brother Stephen by another party of the enemy that cam from another direction.
The Shew home and barn were set on fire leaving Mrs. Shew with her smaller children homeless. The enemy took Jacob and Stephen back to their encampment. Mrs. Shew with her children started for Johnstown and they reached there on June 4th.
The Shews with the rest of the prisoners were taken to the Caughnawaga Indian Village about nine miles above Montreal. John Shew with two others were kept by the Indians while the rest were given to the British troops as prisoners of war.
John with the others were taken to another Indian Village where they were kept prisoners. After a few weeks John and Joseph Scott, one of the prisoners kept by the Indians, were given muskets to hunt for their adopted Indian families. After about a week of going on hunting excursions, John and Scott decided that the next time they went hunting they would make their escape.
The next day they again went hunting and they made their escape. After several weeks of hardships they arrived at Saratoga. After resting for a few days John and Scott started on their journey to Johnstown and they arrived there after a few days.
In the April of 1779, John enlisted as a private in Captain Robert McKean's Company in Colonel Henry K. Van Rensselaer's Regiment of Levies as a sergeant. He was stationed most of the time at the Sacondaga Blockhouse under Lieutenant Walter J. Vrooman.
In the spring of 178O, John enlisted in Captain John Little's Company in Colonel Visscher's Regiment and he was stationed at Fort Johnstown.
On October 16th, John left Johnstown to go hunting with his friend Isaac Palmatier who lived at Ballston and he arrived there about nightfall. Early in the morning of October 17th, John with Isaac went to a chestnut grove to look for any signs of deer. On reaching the grove, the two men were surprised by a party of seven Indians and they were taken prisoners. The prisoners were taken to a larger encampment nearby. About 2OO Indians and Loyalists under Captain John Munro had attacked the Ballston settlement and had returned with several prisoners. Soon after reaching the encampment, two Indians grabbed John and took him into the nearby woods and killed him. Palmatier* with the rest of the prisoners were taken to Canada.
*Isaac Palmatier was serving as a private in Captain Tyrannus Collins' Company (Fifth Company) in Colonel Jacob Van Schoonhoven's Regiment of Albany County Militia (Twelfth Regiment) and he was released on December 6, 1782.