Morrison's Pensions


PENSION APPLICATION OF WILLIAM VAN SLYKE

FOOTNOTES BY JAMES F. MORRISON

Excerpted from the PENSION APPLICATION OF WILLIAM VAN SLYKE, NO. W2461, are his remembrances of the BATTLE OF ORISKANY which was fought on AUGUST 6,1777, BATTLES OF STONE ARABIA AND KLOCKSFIELD which were fought on OCTOBER 19, 1780, THE BATTLE OF NEW DORLACH [SHARON SPRINGS] which was fought on JULY 10, 1781 and THE BATTLE OF JOHNSTOWN which was fought on OCTOBER 25, 1781.

ORISKANY

"That this Declarant about the first of August in the year last aforesaid [1777] Marched with Captain Bigbratts Company(1) together with the Regiment of Canajoharie Militia under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Waggoner(2) and Major Van Slyck(3) to which said Company belonged (it being Colonel Klock's Regiment) to the Little Falls where they met with the Malitia under General Herkimer(4) and encamped for the night. they Marched the next day under General Herkimer to Old Fort Schuyler (Utica) and again encamped for the night on the next Morning the Army Continued their March towards Fort Stanwick(5) -. When within a few miles of the Fort the Army fell into an Ambushcade in the woods and were attacked and nearly surrounded by a Party of Indians and Tories who were afterwards reinforced by a Party of Johnson's Greens(6) - This was the battle of Oriskany Colonel Cox's Regiment(7) was marching in front and the Regiment to which this Declarant belonged March next after Colonel Cox's Regiment when the Attack commenced. This Declarant followed the example of the rest of his Regiment and fought from behind a tree - The Malitia suffered very severely General Herkimer was wounded and died a few days after the Battle Colonel Cox and Major Van Slyck were killed and it was reported that Major Isaac Paris(8) was killed and that Doctor Younglove(9) was taken prisoner Captain Bigbratt was also wounded(10) and the remainder of the Malitia retired to a place called Oneida where they remained for the night.

This Declarant returned home with the Company then under the Command of Lieutenant John Zeily(11) and arrived the second day afterwards and was discharged having been absent on duty and served not less than six days."

FOOTNOTES

1. John Breadbake, Captain of the Fifth Company in Colonel Jacob Klock's Regiment of Tryon County Militia [Second Regiment]. Breadbake's name is spelled variously as Bedhig, Bradbuck but he signed his name as Bradpick.

2. Peter Waggoner, Lieut.-Col. in Colonel Klock's Regiment. His home still stands about a mile west of Nelliston on Route 5.

3. Hermanus Van Slyke, First Major in Colonel Klock's Regiment.

4. Nicholas Herkimer, Colonel of the First Regiment of Tryon County Militia. Appointed Brigadier General of the Tryon County Militia Brigade on October 5, 1776.

5. Fort Stanwix was built in 1758 and was renamed in 1776 in honor of General Philip Schuyler.

6. Van Slyke refers to the KING'S ROYAL REGIMENT OF NEW YORK, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Johnson, formerly of Johnstown. This is the first pensioner ever to refer to them as "Johnson's Greens" out of over a thousand that I have read.

7. Ebenezer Cox, appointed Colonel of the First Regiment of Tryon County Militia when Herkimer was promoted.

8. Isaac Paris, Senator, representing Tryon County. Isaac was possibly serving as Second Major in Colonel Klock's Regiment. Christopher P. Yates was appointed to this position on April 16, 1776 but resigned on December 16, 1776 due to conflicts in the command structure. Yates' letter to the Tryon County Committee of Safety is printed in full on pp 101-102 in MOHAWK VALLEY IN THE REVOLUTION, [Committee of Safety Papers and Genealogical Compendium], Liberty Bell Associates, N.J., 1978.

9. Moses Younglove, Tryon County Militia Brigade Surgeon. Moses was wounded and taken prisoner at Oriskany. He was exchanged in December 1777. His PENSION APPLICATION NO. W4410 [N.Y.] is in the National Archives, Washington, D.C..

10. Captain Breadbake was wounded in the right shoulder and returned to the regiment in the following spring.

11. John Zeely, First Lieutenant, Fifth Company in Klock's Regiment. Zeely is also spelled as Zielie, Seely, etc..

STONE ARABIA-KLOCKSFIELD

"About the Midle of July 1780 this Declarant again joined the Company of Captain Van Nevar(1) stationed at Fort Ehle(2) and lay in that Fort at the time the South side of the Mohawk River was ravaged by the Indians and Tories in the early part of August following(3) and until Sir John Johnson came up on the North side of the River which was about the Midle of September(4) the same year General Van Rensalaer(5) followed Sir John up the River but was on the south side - When Sir John arrived near fort Paris(6) Colonel Brown(7) who was stationed there at that time turned out from the Fort with a few men and opposed his March - This Declarant being then in Fort Ehle on the opposite side of the River from Fort Paris and seeing the battle jumped the Pickets of the Fort and accompanied by Adam Etz and Daniel Vander Burrough(8) from Fort Ehle went down to the Rocky bank near the River from which We discovered the Army(9) of General Van Rensalaer Marching up the River on the same side, they halted in a few Moments and this Declarant and his Companions went down to them, but learning that they did not intend to cross the River to join the Battle This Declarant and his Companions Etz and Vander Burrough crossed the River. We found Colonel Browns party retreating and that Colonel Brown was killed with a Number of his Men - The Party of Colonel Brown retreated into Fort Paris - As the troops of Sir John moved on up the River they were followed by a Party from Fort Paris with whom this Declarant went and joined the Army of General Van Rensalaer which had crossed the River near Fox's Mills(10) about ten or eleven Miles above Fort Paris - Towards evening an attack(11) was Made by the Army and the Indians were defeated and put to flight but evening coming on General Van Rensalaer stoped the battle before he had defeated Sir John and fell back from the ground and encamped (as was said). This Declarant remained on the battle ground nearly all night with the Canajoharie Malitia who took some prisoners during the night in the course of the night Sir John's Army retreated -

The day after the battle at Fox's Mills was returned back but not to our homes they were burned and destroyed and our cattle horses and personal property nearly all lost -"

FOOTNOTES

1. Rynier Van Evera, Captain of the Seventh Company in Colonel Samuel Campbell's Regiment of Tryon County Militia [First Regiment]. I should mentioned here that William's name does not appear on Van Evera's Company muster roll or for any other companies from the First Regiment.

However, his name does appear on the muster roll of Captain John Zeely in Colonel Klock's Regiment. In 1778, 1779 and 1780 Captain Breadbake served in other regiments and Zeely acted as Captain of the Fifth Company.

2. This Fort Ehle which was on the south side of the Mohawk River was the fortified home of Sergeant John Ehle of Van Evera's Company.

3. What is now the Village of Fort Plain and part of the Town of Minden was destroyed on August 2, 1780 by a force of Indians and Loyalists under Captain Joseph Brant and Cornplanter.

4. The actual month was October.

5. Robert Van Rensselaer was the Brigadier General of the Albany and Tryon County Militia Brigade.

6. Fort Paris was built in Stone Arabia in 1776 and named after Isaac Paris.

7. Colonel John Brown of Pittsfield, Mass. was sent with his regiment of Massachusetts Levies to reinforce the troops already stationed in the Mohawk Valley.

8. Van Slyke's companions are Adam Etz [Ehts], a private in Van Evera's Company and possibly a Daniel Vandenburg who was serving in Captain Garret Putman's Company in Colonel John Harper's Regiment of New York State Levies in 1780 as a private.

9. Van Rensselaer's Army was made up of men from the Albany County and Tryon County Militias, Harper's and DuBois' Levies and some Oneida Indians.

10. The mills were those of Philip Fox which were about one west of Fort Wagner. Philip also had his home stockaded for protection. The mills were destroyed in this raid.

11. It was near dusk when the Battle of Klocksfield started which put the Albany County Militia in disarray and it was one of the main factors in Van Rensselaer stopping his attack.

NEW DORLACH

"About the first of May 1781 This Declarant again joined Captain Van Nevar's Company at Fort Ehle as a volunteer and lay in said Fort until about the Midle of July following when this Declarant went under the Command of Colonel Willett(1) to Sharon in the County of Schoharie (then Tryon) to meet John Doxtader(2) who was out with about three hundred Indians and Tories. The Party of Colonel Willett Marched in the night and come up with the Camp of the enemy in the Morning Colonel Willett having arranged his Men so as to form an ambush, Conrad Fletcher(3) and another person was sent to pass over a rise of ground in front of the camp of the enemy and then run back. Fletcher and his Companion having gone in sight of the Indians soon came running back the Indians following them until they Met the Party of Colonel Willett who attacked them on both sides at once and defeated them Major McKean(4) of the Rangers was mortally wounded and his son(5) was shot through both cheeks the ball passing through his Mouth."

FOOTNOTES

1. Marinus Willett was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Commandt of the troops of the Mohawk Valley which consisted of the Tryon County Militia and his regiment of New York State Levies.

2. Lieutenant John Dockstader of the Indian Department had attacked the Currytown settlement on July 9, 1781 and were encamped in a cedar swamp in Sharon Springs when they were deceived into the ambush on the 10th by Willett.

3. I did not find a Conrad Fletcher serving in any of the regiments that were stationed in the Mohawk Valley at this time. I did however find a Conrad Fritcher serving as a private in Captain John Ruff's Company in Colonel Campbell's Regiment.

4. There is no proof that Robert McKean was a Major at this time but he did have a commission as a Captain in Willett's Regiment. McKean died on the return march to Fort Rensselaer.

5. Robert's sons' name was Samuel. Samuel was a private in Captain Elihu Marshall's Company in Willett's Regiment. Samuel received a pension [S27161 and S28806, N.Y.] for his services during the American Revolution.

JOHNSTOWN

"After the battle with Doxtader this Declarant returned to Fort Ehle and continued in the service there until about the Midle of August when he went over to Fort Paris with the consent of Captain Van Nevar and was immediately called out under Colonel Willett and in Captain Bigbratts Company then under the command of Lieutenant John Zeily (Captain Bigbratt having been wounded in the battle of Oriskany as is above stated)(1) This Delarant Marched with Colonel Willett from Stone Arabia to Johnstown where they were met by a force under Major Ross(2) and Walter Butler(3) The Party of Colonel Willett at first retreated and lost a field piece(4) but being reinforced by the arrival of some Malitia they rallied and a detachment which Colonel Willett had sent to go around and come in on the rear of the enemy(5) having come up and commenced an attack on the other side Colonel Willett renewed his attack and the enemy were defeated. The next day after the Battle this Declarant followed the enemy in pursuit as far as West Canada Creek where Butler was killed(6). This Declarant then returned home and was discharged having serve in the spring and summer of 1781 for a period of not less than three and a half Months(7).

FOOTNOTES

1. Van Slyke is in error as Breadbake was in command of the company and in the battle and Zeely was taken prisoner at Johnstown.

2. Major John Ross of the Second Battalion of the King's Royal Regiment of New York was in command of this expedition.

3. Captain Walter Butler of Butler's Rangers was second in command of this expedition.

4. The field piece was manned by the Second Continental Artillery Regiment commanded by Captain Andrew Moody which was stationed at Fort Rensselaer.

5. This flanking movement was under the command of Major Aaron Rowley of Colonel Elisha Porter's Regiment of Massachusetts Levies which were also stationed in the Mohawk Valley.

6. Captain Butler was killed at West Canada Creek on October 30, 1781.

7. Van Slyke is again in error as the Battle of Johnstown was fought on October 25, 1781 not in August. Therefore his period of service would have been longer than three months.

Contributed by James F. Morrison

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