SHORT BIOGRAPHIES OF MOHAWK VALLEY LOYALISTS
Source: "Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution with an Historical Essay" by Lorenzo Sabine, Vol. I & II. Boston, 1864
CLAUS, DANIEL. He married a daughter of Sir William Johnson, and served for a considerable time in the Indian Department of Canada, under his brother-in-law, Colonel Guy Johnson. Brant, the celebrated Mohawk chief, entertained towards him sentiments of decided personal hostility. His wife died in Canada in 1801. William Claus, Deputy Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs, was his son; and Brant, in the name of the Five Nations, made a speech of condolence on the death of Mrs. Claus, on the 24th of February of that year. William, deeply affected at the loss of his mother, was not able to reply, although he met the chiefs in council; but he afterwards transmitted a written answer.
DOXSTADER, JOHN. A Tory leader. On an incursion to Currietown, he and his Indian associates took nine prisoners, who in an affair at a place called Ourlagh, New York, the day succeeding their capture, were bound to standing trees, tomahawked, and scalped. The bodies of these unfortunate men were hastily buried by friends. But one of them, Jacob Diefendorff, was alive, and was afterwards found on the outside of his own grave; he recovered and lived to relate the story. In 1780, on one of his incursions in New York, Doxstader carried away a horse belonging to a Whig; but coming to the same region, from Canada, after the war, he was arrested by the owner, and compelled to pay the value of the animal.
FREY, HENDRICK. Of New York. He served the Crown during the war, and was a major. After the peace he returned to his native State. In 1797 he and Brant met at Canajoharie, where, at a tavern, "they had a merry time of it during the livelong night. Many of their adventures were recounted, among which was a duel that had been fought by Frey, to whom Brant acted as a second." The meeting of the Chief and the Major is described as "like that of two brothers."
FREY, PHILIP R. Of Tryon (now Montgomery) County, New York. He entered the military service of the King, and was an ensign in the Eighth Regiment. He was engaged in the battle of Wyoming. He died at Palestine (sic), Montgomery (formerly Tryon) County, in 1823. His son, Samuel C. Frey, settled in Upper Canada, and communicated particulars of the sanguinary scenes at Wyoming, for Colonel Stone's use, in writing his "Life of Brant." The testimony of the Freys is, that Brant was not present with Butler at Wyoming, and this, according to the son, the father steadily maintained through life.
HELMER, ___. Of Tryon (now Montgomery) County, New York. He accompanied Sir John Johnson to Canada, when the Baronet violated his parole and fled; and was one of the party who, in 1778, returned to Johnstown for the purpose of securing some of Sir John's valuable effects. While bearing off the iron-chest, he injured his ankle, and was compelled to go to his father's house, where he remained concealed. But in the spring of 1779 he was arrested as a spy, tried, and sentenced to death, chiefly on his own admissions to the Court.
HERKIMER, COLONEL HANJOST, or JOHN JOOST. Of New York. He was a son of Johan Jost Herkimer, one of the Palatines of the German Flats, New York; and a brother of the Whig General, Nicholas Herkimer. He served in various county offices until the Revolution. His property was confiscated. He went to Canada, and died there before 1787.
McDONALD, DONALD. Of Johnstown, New York. In 1781, at the head of a band of Indians and Tories, he made an attack upon the house of John Christian Shell, at a place called Shell's Bush, near Herkimer, New York. During the affray he attempted to force the door with a crowbar, when Shell, "quick as lightning," opened the door and drew him within his dwelling a prisoner. McDonald, to save his life, gave up his ammunition to be fired against his own party without, Shell's being nearly exhausted. The Loyalists soon after attempted to carry the house by an assault, and rushing up to the its walls, five of them thrust their muskets through its loopholes; but Shell's wife ruined every musket by bending the barrels with an axe. The assailants finally retired, but Shell and his family repaired to Fort Dayton, leaving McDonald, who had been wounded in the leg, alone in the house. He was removed the next day, and suffered amputation of the injured limb, but the blood could not be stanched, and he died a few hours after the operation. He wore a silver mounted tomahawk, on which Shell, who took it from him, counted thirty scalp notches - showing the number of persons he had scalped - honorable trophies, indeed!
McDONALD, ____ . Of Tryon, now Montgomery, County, New York. He was a Lieutenant in the service of the Crown, and engaged in the border affrays with Butler and other New York Loyalists. During the battle of Oriskany, in 1777, he fought hand to hand with a Whig officer named Gardenier, who, though wounded, seized a barbed spear and thrust it into his side. McDonald dropped dead.
McDONELL, ALLAN. Of Tryon, (now Montgomery,) County, New York. When in 1776, General Schuyler was dispatched to that county to reduce and secure the Loyalists, he and Sir John Johnson entered into a joint negotiation for terms, and his name appears with that of the Baronet, in the communications to the General. Sir John had previously sent him on a secret embassy to Governor Tryon; and it is probable that the severe treatment which the Baronet received at the hands of the Whigs, was owing to the knowledge which reached Congress, through some of their agents, of this mission to Tryon. He died at Three Rivers, Canada, in 1822, quite aged. His daughter Helen, widow of James McKenzie, died at the same place, in 1840, at the age of eighty.
McDONNELL, JOHN. Of Tryon County, New York. Made prisoner at Johnstown; permitted, by Washington, May 1776, to go to Reading, Pennsylvania, to join fellow prisoners who were there.
McDONALD, DONALD. Of New York. He served the Crown, under Sir John Johnson, seven years. He died at the Wolfe Islands, near Kingston, Upper Canada, in 1839, aged ninety-seven.
McGILLIS, DONALD. He resided, at the beginning of the Revolution, on the Mohawk River, New York. Embracing the Royal side in the contest, he formed on of "a determined band of young men," who attacked a Whig post, and in the face of a superior force cut down the flag-staff, and tore in strips the stars and stripes attached to it. Subsequently, he joined a grenadier company called the Royal Yorkers, and performed efficient service throughout the war. He settled in Canada at the peace, and entering the British service again in 1812, was commissioned as a Captain in the Colonial corps, by Sir Isaac Brock. He died at River Raisin, Canada, in 1844, aged eighty years.
SCHUYLER, HON-YOST. A most singular being. He was coarse and ignorant, and was regarded as half an idiot, but yet possessed no small share of shrewdness. He partially attached himself to the Royal cause, but, like the "Cow-Boys," cared but little, it is supposed, which party he served or plundered. He was, however, captured by the Whigs, tried for his life, found guilty, and condemned to death. His mother, who, it is said, was a sort of gypsy, came to camp and pleaded with great eloquence and pathos that he might be spared. Denied at first, she became almost frantic with grief and passion. But it was at length agreed that if Hon-Yost would proceed to Fort Schuyler, and so alarm the British commander as to induce him to raise the siege of that post and fly, he - the convict-traitor - should not die. Before Hon-Yost departed, several shots were fired through his clothes, that it might appear how narrow had been his escape from the Rebel forces approaching to relieve their friends. Such was his address, that he fairly deceived the British officer, who fled with the utmost hast - the retreat, indeed, was disorderly to the last degree. Hon-Yost subsequently joined Sir John Johnson, and was known as an out-and-out Tory. After the war he returned to his old home in the valley of the Mohawk, where he continued to live for the remainder of his days. He died about the year 1818. It is said that General Herkimer, a distinguished Whig, was his uncle. Such is one story. In another account the name is Cuyler, and he is said to have been proprietor of a handsome estate.
SCOTT, JAMES. Of Tryon, (now Montgomery, County,) New York. In 1775 he signed a Declaration of loyalty. James Scott, a Loyalist, died at St. John, New Brunswick, 1804, aged fifty-six.
WHITE, ALEXANDER. Sheriff of Tryon, (now Montgomery, County,) New York. He rendered himself particularly obnoxious from the beginning of the controversy. In 1775 a band of Whigs, to the number of about fifty, released by force a Whig whom he had arrested and imprisoned, and proceeded to his dwelling and demanded his surrender. White discharged a pistol from his chamber window, and thus, it is said, fired the first shot in the Revolution west of the Hudson. His fire was instantly returned by the discharge of forty or fifty muskets, but he escaped with a slight wound in the breast. The Whigs demolished the doors of the house, and were at the point of seizing him, when the alarm-gun of Sir John Johnson admonished them that his retainers, a much more numerous body than themselves, would soon muster and overpower them, and they accordingly dispersed. During the difficulties between the Whigs and Tories of that county, in 1775, White was dismissed from his office by the Committee, who acted for the people in their sovereign capacity, but was restored from his office by Governor Tryon. But the Committee would not allow him to perform his official duties after his appointment, and popular indignation against him became at length so strong that he was compelled to fly. He was, however, pursued and taken prisoner, and placed in confinement at Albany. On his release, after a short imprisonment, he left the country. Besides firing the first shot, as mentioned above, it is also said that Sheriff White and a band of Loyalists cut down the first Liberty-pole which was erected in the valley of the Mohawk - that at German Flats. He had been a Captain in the French war. In 1775 he joined Sir John Johnson and others in a Declaration of loyalty.
YOUNG, ___ . Of Little Lakes, (now the town of Warren,) New York. Founded a small colony, which was known as Young's Settlement, of which he continued to be the head man. In 1778, a party of Whigs plundered and burned his habitation, in retaliation for similar deeds of the Tories, at the secluded hamlet of Andrus-town, in the vicinity. This person, possibly, was Frederic Young, who, in 1775, signed a Declaration of loyalty.
These short bios were typed up by regular volunteer Lori Mosher. Thank you again!
Source: "Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution with an Historical Essay" by Lorenzo
Sabine, Vol. I & II. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1864
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