Cornell University Library
E275.M97 S57 1912
Life and advertures, otJ,im<«h^^ <
3 1924 032 614 335
The original of tiiis book is in
tine Cornell University Library.
There are no known copyright restrictions in
the United States on the use of the text.
PRICE FIFTY CENTS
LIFE AND ADVENTURES
Benefactor of Schoharie
His History from the Commencement of the Revo-
lution — Rencontres with the Indians — The Siege
of the Threp Forts, and the Preservation, by
His Unparalleled Courage, of all their
Inmates — His Courtship and Marriage,
and Anecdotes of His Adventures
with the Indians, &c.
LIFE AND ADVENTURES
BENEFACTOR OF SCHOHARIE
History from the Commencement of the Revolution — His
Rencontres with the Indians — The Siege of the three
Forts, and the preservation, by his unparalleled
courage, of all their inmates — His Courtship
and Marriage, and Anecdotes of his
Adventures with the Indians, &c.
Light care had he for life and less for fame. — Byron.
THE MIDDLEBURGH GAZETTE
Paul B. Mattice, Editor,
August 1, 1912. , J,.,, , , ,
C(gjjtf(v!l I I,
. Yii7\'/1 . I '
After repeated solicitations we have been prevailed upon to
reprint the history of him who shared so largely in the toils and
dangers that wrought our countrie's liberty, and to whom the
inhabitants of Schoharie county, in the times " that tried men's
souls," are so greatly indebted. The first edition of the " Life
and Adventures of Timothy Murphy " was written by a Mr.
Sigsby, a law clerk in the office of Hamilton & Goodyear, at
Schoharie, N. Y., and was printed in 1839 by William H. Gallup,
then editor and proprietor of the Schoharie Republican. In 1863
a second edition was printed by Editor A. B. F. Pond of the
The many inquiries for those pamphlet editions, and the fre-
quent expressed wish that some one would reprint it, especially
since the unve;iling of the Murphy monument in the Middleburgh
cemetery October 17, 1910, has induced the publisher of The
Middleburgh Gazette to once more give the public an oppor-
tunity to possess a memorial of one of the bravest men of the
^^^^H^pf/- i 'V^ "^!1^ .^ '
^^^^^HBk . ^^ ' ' ' li'is
Rt :*, Xi I*-
' .■ 1
' r-*4 '^
a " ""
w to > t3
II ° rtl
> ^ .5
„ u M ■» Si
^ « " § «
«' •" a S -
■♦J o o
oj 0) V a ^
a lo CO S o
^ ^ — 3 m
o bjo-a-o -,
LIFE OF MURPHY.
After a country has emerged from a state of degradation and
vassalage to the highest degree of prosperity and happiness, its
citizens too often forget the individuals by whose patriotism
those blessings were acquired and preserved. Rome forgot her
Brutus — Greece her Epa'minondas — ■ Syracuse her Archimedes
— and England her Alfred; and if such great and good men are
not properly remembered and cherished,, how .much sooner will
those who acted in an humbler sphere be forgotten ! The old
adage that " Republics are ungrateful," has gone to the world.
It is too true that we are' prone toforget those who purchased
Liberty with suffering, privation and even life. Every man who
lent his aid in that cause which emphatically tried " men's souls,"
was a link in the great chain which led to our civil and political
liberty. In that momentous and eventful struggle to which we
allude, although some names sounded louder in the annals of
fame, yet all were moved by the same general principles — all
had the same objects in view,' viz., the'-acquisition of ck'il, political
and religious Liberty. The lives of ■ all were equally dear — yet
if an officer perished, his kindred, his friends, aye, the nation
would lament his fate, and the bright halo of glory would illu-
mine hig memory; but if the common' soldier who faced the
glittering bayonets of his country's foes, perished in the conflict
he was frequently unhonored and unmourned.
Our motives in publishing this biography is to pluck those
relics from the past history of our country, which are rapidly
hastening to oblivion, and present them for the perusal of our
patriotic and high-minded ' countrymen' — to arouse anew that
spirit of devotion to our- country that -burned in the veins of our
ancestors, and which we trust in God has been transmitted to
their posterity; and requires only the breath of reason to fan
again into a conflagration, — to make us equally tenacious of our
rights, and jealous of the 'sacred privileges that were secured
with as pure blood as ever thrilled a mortal frame, — to collect
some of the multitudinous exploits of him who was " the bravest
of the brave," and who combined within himself the valor of a
De Kalb with the dexterity of a Marion.
6 Life and Adventures of
The Birth of Murphy.
Timothy Murphy, the hero of this narrative, was born in the
town of Minisink, in the county of Sussex and State of New
Jersey, in the year 1751. His parents emigrated to this country
from Ireland and settled in New Jersey some years previous to
the commencement of the French and Indian war, where they
remained until 1757; they then removed to the State of Penn-
sylvania. Of his history previous to the Revolution we know
but little, and have not been able to collect anything that will
in the least interest the reader. He had very little or no educa-
•tion, except such as was obtained from the pure study of nature.
He Enlists in the U. S. Service in 1776.
In the year 1776, when at the age of twenty-four, he enlisted
in the United States service under Col. Morgan, the well known
" old wagoner," as the British used to term him. In the year
1778 he was engaged in the battle of Monmouth in New Jersey,
and escaped unhurt. After the battle of Monmouth, two com-
panies, detachments from Morgan's riflemen, were sent to the
northward under the command of Captain Long, to which
Murphy, was attached. After the battle of Saratoga and capture
of Burgoyne they were ordered to old Schoharie, where the
Indians and Tories were murdering and carrying off in concert
captives to Canada.
He Kills a Tory on the Charlotte.
The first service on which Murphy was sent, was in connec-
tion with a small body of riflemen under command of Captain
» Long, to take dead or alive a person strongly suspected of tory-
ism, living on the Charlotte river, by the name of Service, who
was not only torified in principle, but was an active agent of
the British in aiding, victualing and secreting the enemies of
the revolution. When they arrived at his dwelling, they silently
surrounded it, gathering closer and closer, till at length two
or three made bold to enter the room in which he was, before
they were discovered. Service instantly stepped out of the door
with them, when he was informed that they had orders to take
him to the forts of Schoharie. He appeared at first somewhat
alarmed, and strenuously objected to the proposal, pleading inno-
cence, and rendering many other excuses, but in the meanwhile
was evidently working his way along from the door to a heap
Timothy Murphy. 7
of chips lying between Murphy and one Ellison, a companion
of his. The reason of his approaching the chips so cautiously
now appeared obvious, for on coming to the spot, he seized
instantly a broad-axe and made a most desperate stroke at
Murphy, which, however, by his keen vigilance, was eluded, and
the fruitless attempt rolled back in vengeance upon its author.
Murphy stepped back, drew his faithful rifle to his face — a flash,
a groan, and he lay weltering in his own blood with the axe in
his hand, a victim of that retributive justice which watched over
the fortunes of the revolution. They returned not a little elated
with the scalp of the notorious Service to the forts at Schoharie,
where Murphy and his company remained during the winter,
engaged at times in small parties of scouts, and at others sta-
tioned at the forts.
The Indians Dread Him.
Murphy's skill in the desultory war which the Indians carried
on gave him so high a reputation that, though not nominally the
commander, he usually directed all the movements of the scouts
that were sent out, and on many important occasions, as the reader
in the course of this work will perceive, the commanding officers
found it dangerous to neglect his advice. His double-barrelled
rifle, his skill as a marksman, and his fleetness either in retreat
or pursuit, made him an object both of dread and of vengeance
to the Indians. He fought them in their own way and with
their own weapons. Sometimes habited in the dress of the Indian,
with his face painted, he would pass among them, making
important discoveries as to their strength and designs without
detection. He early learned to speak the Indian language, which,
of course, was of great service to him.
He Goes to the Mohawk.
During the succeeding winter, the Indians were continually
on the alert. They generally formed themselves into small par-
ties, and a particular portion of country was assigned to a cer-
tain party of Indians for their destruction. At this time the
German flats, or that portion of country lying on either side of
the Mohawk between Utica and Schenectady, was their more
. immediate sphere of action. Murphy, together with a small
party of riflemen, were ordered to that part of the country to
watch, and to prevent, if possible, the destruction of human life
and devastation of property, then so rapidly being made by the
8 Life and Adventures of
A Narrow Escape.
It was on tliis occasion that Murphy and two other individuals
had strayed from the main party to which they were attached,
and were rambHng about among the woods and brush studying
the plans and watching the movements of the Indians. They
had not been long separated from the main party when they
discovered a number of Indians skulking about among the weeds
and brush, apparently watching the movements of Murphy and
his companions. They had proceeded but a short distance
further when they saw two .Indians sitting upon the trunk of a
masterly looking oak, with their backs towards them ; they imme-
diately fired, each brought his man, and then ran back to join
the main party. The report of the guns, and the death of their
fellows, roused the revengeful blood of the savages, and they
were almost instantly surrounded by a large body of them. They
fought like heroes, but were overpowered in numbers by the
blood-thirsty demons, who, as it seemed, had at that moment risen
from the very bowels of the earth. At length Murphy saw his
.associates fall one after another till there were but a few left;
at this period Murphy made a rush to pass the Indians, and him-
self and six others succeeded. Murphy ran with all possible
speed, but the weeds and brush through which he had to pass
prevented in a measure his progress; however, by jumping up
and over the weeds, and being very expert in running, he easily
outstripped all the Indians, except one, who he turned to shoot
several times, but believing his gun unloaded he determined to
reserve his fire for the last exigency. Murphy succeeded in
eluding the vigilance of the Indian, and secreted himself in a
\ery dense collection of weeds, and there lay until the Indians
came up and stood some distance from him. The Indian that
first pursued him now bent forward, and pointing in the direc-
tion in which he lay exclaimed to his companions, " kong gwa,"
which in English means "that way." .Murphy jumped up and
ran as fast as his limbs would carry him ; the Indians fired sev-
eral times at him, but with no effect. He finally succeeded in
getting entirely out of their view, and being from fatigue unable
to proceed further, he secreted himself behind a large log. The
Indians came up to very near him, but supposing him to have
passed on, they turned and went back. There was one circum-
stance that happened during the heat of the afifray at which,
though surrounded by the dead and dying, and not much hope
Timothy Murphy. 9
of a better fate, Murphy, as he himself states, could not refrain
from laughing. It appears that there was among the Indians
a negro, and an Irishman on the other side. The Paddy was
chasing the poor negro with a long butcher knife, and every now
and then making a desperate thrust at the most sensitive part
of the poor fellow's seat of honor. Murphy afterwards inquired
of the Paddy why he wished to kill the unarmed black.
" Becase," he said, " the davlish naggar had no buasness to run
The March to Otsego Lake and the Chemung River, Where He
Shoots an Indian.
The next spring. Long's riflemen,, to which Murphy was still
attached, had orders to rnove under Cplonel Butler, in connection
with other troops, in all amounting to seven hundred, to Spring-
field, at the head of Otsego lake, wh^re they were to await the
arrival of Gen. George Clinton, and the troops expected with him,
all of whom when there concentrated were to pass down the
Susquehanna, and form a junction with General Sullivan at
Tioga Point. The object of this arrangement was the destruc-
tion of the Indian tribes on the Chemung and Genesee rivers,
who had so often been employed in' small parties by the policy
of the British government, to distress in a predatory manner the
inhabitants of the frontiers, the leader of whom was Brant, so
renowned for his warlike achievements in this part of our coun-
try, and who was alike notorious for his humane treatment to
many of his prisoners, as well as his barbarity,' and savage dis-
cipline, in inflicting the most cruel tortures on them, in their
expiring agonies. While encamped at some place unknown
near the Chemung river, and previous to their joining the rriain
army. Murphy obtained leave for himself and three others, by
name Follok, Tufts and Joe Evans, to go out on a scout, to the
Chemung. They started in the morning of a fine July day; they
traveled until four in the afternoon, at which time they arrived
upon the lofty banks that overlook the Chemung river. Making
no discoveries, and finding nothing to interest them dttring their
travel, and being some what fatigued, they determined to encamp
for the night, and accordingly preparations were made. The
scene was passing fair. A little in advance and directly in front
of them rolled the Chemung river in all the pride and loveliness
of nature ; a little to the left and still beyond the river, was a
lo Life and Adventures of
vacant field, on which were scattered a number of cattle feeding
upon the wild luxuriance of nature, which at some day had been
the object of cultivation by beings equally as rude as nature her-
self. They had not been long upon this proud eminence ere they
espied three Indians towing a canoe up the rapids, one standing
in the canoe steering it, one on the shore tugging away at a rope,
and the other using a pole to keep the boat off the shore. No
sooner were they observed than Murphy turned to his com-
panions and said : " I'm a notion to try the one standing in the
canoe," and suiting the action to the word he drew up and fired,
— the distance being somewhat great, he had no expectation of
doing effect, but to their utter astonishment he reeled and fell
backwards into the river. The other two Indians let loose the
rope, dropped the pole and fled to the woods, not even looking
behind to see from whence proceeded the bullet that proved so
fatal to their companion.
Murphy Is Chagrined at Being Duped By a Boy.
In the morning they proceeded up the river for some miles,
but finding few traces of Indians and discovering none, they
crossed over the river, wheeled about, and commenced their
march for the encampment, then about thirty miles distant.
They had proceeded on their backward course until they arrived
opposite the place where the scene just related was enacted the
day before, where they discovered at a distance a boy, apparently
fifteen or sixteen years of age, in pursuit of cattle. They hailed
him, but he fled. Murphy at the same time pursuing; he very
easily overtook, and secured him prisoner; they then proceeded
several miles into the woods, lit a fitre and prepared for thle
night's repose ; the boy whose hands were tied behind, was placed
between Murphy and Tufts. Sometime in the night Murphy
awoke, and on raising up he discovered the boy, his rifle and
moccasins among the missing. He instantly sprang upon his
feet, and gave the Indian war whoop, which by the way he
mimicked to perfection, to arouse his companions. Murphy,
not a little aggravated at the loss of his rifle, moccasins and
prisoner, and feeling himself chagrined at being duped by a boy
of but fifteen years of age, immediately proposed that they should
proceed in search of him ; but his companions knowing the result
if he persisted in so rash an undertaking persuaded him to aban-
don it. What was to be done ! Murphy was without shoes or
Timothy Murphy. ii
moccasins wherewith to cover his already tender feet, made so
by his continual travel. But that benign Providence who never
fails to provide for emergencies had upon this all important occa-
sion more than blessed Follok- with a pair of leather breeches
which, as soon as discovered, were sacrificed to the unmerciful
treatment of Murphy's jack-knife. His moccasins completed,
they commenced in the morning their homeward course. When
they arrived at the encampment Murphy was thus accosted by
an officer: "Murphy, where the devil is your rifle?" He made
no reply — the rebuke was too much for his naturally proud
spirit to withstand, and he again determined to solicit for him-
self and companions the privilege of going in search of the
lost rifle, which being granted, they commenced their pursuit.
The next day, about the same hour, and upon nearly the same
spot of ground, they saw the identical boy driving cattle as
before. They followed on in the rear until they observed him
to enter an obscure hut in a remote part of the wilderness. They
immediately entered the hut, where were some old women, and
more than all, the wished-for rifle. They took the boy once more
and proceeded on their way back; when about five miles on their
return they met a man on horseback, whom, after some close
quizzing, they likewisie took prisoner. While crossing the river
he threw himself intentionally into it ; but on Murphy's drawing
his rifle to his face, and threatening to shoot him through, he
was glad to make for the shore.
He Recovers His Rifle. Returns to Schoharie.
They finally arrive safe at the encampment with their prisoners
and lost rifle, when in a few days they joined the main army of
Sullivan, which numbered in all about five thousand, and then
proceeded west, burning and laying waste all the Indian settle-
ments that lay in their reach. After an absence of six months,
and enduring many hardships and privations. Murphy and his
company returned to the forts at Schoharie.
A Peril Wherein Our Hero Must Fight or Die. '^
There is one circumstance that transpired during his campaign
to the west which we cannot omit to mention. When near what
is now called Canandaigua lake. Murphy with a company of some
twenty other robust fellows was despatched round the upper
end of the lake to destroy a small Indian village which was
12 Life and Adventures of
rapidly increasing. After destroying the village and on their
return to the main army, they found themselves almost instan-
taneously surrounded by a body of Indians, more than double
their number, and led by the celebrated Bi^ant. What was to
be done? Murphy knowing Brant and judging what must be
their inevitable fate if they fell into his hands, said to his com-
panions " we must fight or die." The war whoop was given and
the savages rushed forward making the woods ring with their
yells, as if the very lightnings from heaven had burst their
bounds, and were spreading their deathlike gleams upon our little
band. They returned every attack with spirit and coolness and
with as much effect as their situation would admit. Murphy
saw his companions fall one after the other until there were but
five left ; the contest not diminishing in the least in fury. At one
rnoment all hopes of escape seemed shut out, at the next pros-
pects would brighten for an instant. Their courage never for
a. moment forsook them ; they struggled with desperation ; death
and the diabolical infliction of savage torture stared them in the
face and they determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible.
At this juncture four of the party made a rush to pass the
Indians ; the savages immediately ran before them to prevent
their escape, which left a vacancy behind, in which direction
Murphy ran with the fleetness of a deer; he gained rapidly on
them until nearly exhausted, when coming to a brush fence that
stood at the top of a bank which descended to a fosse he jumped
over and secreted himself directly under the fence ; the Indians
came up and one of them stood upon the fence directly above
him gazing around (Murphy watching his eyes through the
brush of which the fence was composed), for some minutes, when
the Indian went back. As soon as sufficiently rested he pro-
ceeded on his course to the army, which he reached after en-
camping one night without fire or a particle of food. His com-
panions doubtless were all sacrificed to the bloody tomahawk,
as Murphy never heard anything of them to the day of his death.
Everybody Has Confidence in His Skill.
Soon after, he returned to Schoharie, where he was greeted
with joy and exultation by every patriot of his county. The
women felt themselves secure under his protection. The men,
knowing his superiority and skill in tracing and ferreting out
the Indians on all occasions, submitted to his judgment and
THE OLD DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH, MIDDLEBURGH, N. Y.
The Reformed Dutch Church, Middleburgh, N. Y. The former structure,
standing on Upper Main street, was burned on the morning of Col.
Timothy Murphy. 13
command; and finally when there seemed to be a ^general panic
previous to his return, there was a sudden change as if by magic
at beholding the noble and fearless countenance of Tim Murphy.
Nor were the Indians -less surprised at finding their daring
opposer often crossing their trails, and frustrating their plans.
They fled at his approach, trembled lest his bullet should find
from a secret covert a hiding place in their breasts, and feared,
perhaps, that his spirit would haunt them in an evil hour.
The Great Indian Killer at Last Falls in Love.
Soon after our hero, came to Schoharie with a detachment of
Morgan's riflemen, he obtained permission to go on a scout
through the delightful vale of Fulton. It was in the spring, and
all nature was , waking from the icy lethargy of winter. The
Onistagrawa was shaded with various hues as the sun was
dancing oujits brow. The snow had melted on the plain below,
yet small banks might be seen along the hedges and in the forest
around. A few rude houses and barns were to be seen at inter-
vals, which he eyed with apparent suspicion. Now he gazed on
the adjacent mountain, now on the vale around, as he passed
leisurely along. He advanced until he arrived where his sons
Jacob and Peter now reside, when his attention was arrested by
" A rose complexioned lass,
Nimbly tripping througH the grass.'' i,
with a milk pail on her arm. He stood perfectly still and saw
her pass towards a barn where cattle were feeding. She stepped
off with all the poetry of motion imaginable. How unlike the
mincing step of coquettry! Like Milton's Eve,
" Grace was in her step and in her action
Her dress was exceedingly plain, in accordance with the fashion
which then prevailed, and which was admirably calculated for
the exhibition of exquisitely chiselled form to the best advantage.
A handkerchief white as her lily hand was tied loosely over her
head. Her hair did not hang in ringlets — ^by no means — but
was carefully and neatly done up. Neither was her waist girted
small as a city belle's, but was of a proper size, or to be more
specific, an armful! Her eyes were not diamonds, nor were her
teeth pearl; yet we defy all Christendom to produce a brighter
14 Life and Adventures of
pair of eyes or a finer set of teeth than were possessed by Miss
Peggy Feeck. In short, she was not such a girl as would make
fifty lovers commit suicide, and after all die an old maid. But
was one whom you would love for her artless innocence and real
beauty. As Walcott justly observes :
" The dullest eye can beauty see,
'Tis lightning on the sight;
Indeed it is a general bait,
And man, the fish will bite."
As Murphy approached he thought almost audibly, " J s,
what a swate crature ! " and slowly advancing, he bade hef
" Gude marning," and they were soon in familiar talk. Reader,
what do you think they talked about? Not about the weather
— nor about such a one's courting such another — nor about
each other's appearance — nor about love — or any such trash.
But they conversed like persons of common sense on subjects of
some importance. Her conversation pleased him extremely and
time passed with unusual velocity, until she arose to return,
when she very politely invited him to walk along and take break-
fast, which request he as politely accepted. A hearty breakfast
was prepared in the true Dutch style, and after indulging some
chat with the " old folks " (which was somewhat difficult, as
they had but a partial knowledge of English, and he less of
Dutch) he departed, not, however, without a request to " call
" True Love Never Did Run Smooth."
Here an old lady remarked, with a knowing twist of the head,
that Murphy frequently passed in that direction as he went on
a scout. Whether he went to see the romantic scenery in that
region, or in pursuit of Indians or to see
" That lovely being gently formed and moulded,
A rose with all its sweetness just unfolded;"
we leave for the prolific imagination of the reader to determine.
At length her parents considering his visits rather too frequent,
directed her to inform him peremptorily that they were not
acceptable. But little were they aware that their afifections had
already been pledged, and less were they aware of the moral
courage and determination of a girl in the vigor of youth who
has fixed her love'. Byron tells the truth when he says:
Timothy Murphy. 15
" The tree
Rent from its forest root of years, the river
Dammed from its fountain; tlie cliild from the knee
And breast maternal, weaned at once forever,
Would wither less than these two torn apart —
Alas, there is no instinct like the heart."
What could she do? Should he be sacrificed to the avarice and
cupidity of parents ? No !
" Sooner let earth, sea, air to chaos fall ;
Men, monkeys, lapdogs, parrots, perish all."
She informed him, with alternate sobs and tears, of her parents'
resolution. Murphy was thunderstruck — not a word was
spoken for some moments, when after making a single request
that they should meet again at a time and place specified, he
hastily departed. As he was returning towards the forts he re-
flected, why this unkind prohibition? At length the thought
struck him — it was because he was poor.
Time passed with a heavy step. Murphy endeavored to calm
his feelings by continued action, and engaged in numerous skir-
mishes with invariable success, yet his downcast eyes in the
midst of triumph indicated that something was wrong. Alas,
how true the exclamation of the poet :
" For mighty hearts are held in slender chains."
At last the night of their meeting arrived, and seating himself
beneath a spacious oak he patiently waited to perceive the object
of his pursuit. A faint light was glimmering through a window
— moments then seemed hours, as he sat reclining against the
oak. He waited half an hour longer, when the window was
softly raised and his " lady love " peeped through, and on recog-
nizing him, beckoned for him to approach. After a serious con-
sultation they came to the determination of being united by
" That silken tie that binds two willing hearts."
They agreed to meet at the same place a few weeks afterwards.
Murphy returned to the fort with a weight of lead from his heart.
He consulted confidentially with one of the officers, who applauded
his ^aMantry and afterwards gave him permission to " any dis-
i6 Life and Adventures of
tance," in pursuit of a Dominie. He accordingly went on the
appointed evening in pursuit of his bride, and after a short time
she escaped through the window in her best petticoat and short
gown, and after she was seated behind him they departed as
rapidly as convenient for the fort, where they arrived about day-
break. They were received by the garrison with three cheers
which made the welkin ring. Murphy walked into the fort,
escorting his prize, with as much pride as he would half a dozen
Indians. The girls all kissed sweet Peggy — the women ad-
mired her courage — and the men all declared she would make
a good soldier! But time was not to be lost; for already they
might be pursued by the avaricious father. They soon departed
in company with a Wm. Bouck and a lady, in pursuit of a min-
ister. They arrived at Duanesburgh in the afternoon, where
Dominie Johnson finished
" That consummation so devoutly to be wished."
They then returned to thp fort, when they were again cheered
by the soldiers.
The Father " a Day After the Fair."
The next day' her father came to the fort and with a long face
enquired for his daughter, but finding he was " a day after the
fair," he adopted, like a man of sense, the old motto that " dis-
cretion is the better part of valor," and surrendered this best
prize ever captured by man ! Making true what Virgil sang
two thousand years ago : Omnia vincit amor, et nos cedamus amori.
Or as Dryden freely translates it:
In hell, and earth, and sea, and heaven above,
Love conquers all, and all must, yield to love.
The Schoharie Forts Attacked by Sir John Johnson.
In the fall of 1780, the enemy, about 800 strong, under Sir John
Johnson, made preparations for destroying the valleys of Scho-
harie and Mohawk. The forces consisted of British regulars,
loyalists, tories and Indians, assembled on the Tioga, and
marched thence up along the eastern branch of the Susquehanna
and crossed thence to Schoharie. On the i6th of October they
encamped about four miles above the upper fort. It was their
THE TIMOTHY MURPHY MONUMENT IN THE MIDDLEBURGH
This Tablet was unveiled with impressive ceremonies Oct. 17, 1910,
the 130th anniversary of his heroic services at the Middle Fort.
Timothy Murphy. * 17
intention to pass the upper fort* at daybreak ; as it was expected
that the upper fort would be the first object of attack, they hoped
to surprise the middle fort by this unexpected movement. Sir
John had ordered his troops to be put in motion at four in the
morning, but from some mistake it was five before they began
their march ; consequently the rear guard was discovered by the
sentinels of the upper fort and the alarm gun was fired, which
was quickly answered from the other forts, and twenty riflemen
under the supervision of Murphy were sent out from the middle
fort to watch the motions of the enemy ; they soon fell in with
an advanced party, and retreated back. The firing of the alarm
gun disappointing the enemy, became the signal for them to
commence the destruction of the settlement; houses, barns and
stacks of hay were burned, and cattle, sheep and horses were
killed or driven away.
The Indians Approach.
The Indians, being in advance of the regular forces, were the
first to approach the fort. Murphy, whose eye was ever watch-
ing the enemy, had stationed himself in a ditch a few rods south
of the fort that he might, unperceived, the better view the move-
ments of the enemy. The Indians approached to within about
eighty yards of the fort when Murphy fired upon them, and as
he arose the second tirne to fire a bullet struck within a few
inches of his face and glanced over his head, throwing the dirt
in his eyes. He then ran into the fort, not, however, without
bringing to the ground another Indian.
The Attack. Inclination to Surrender.
About eight o'clock the enemy commenced a regular attack on
the fort, which was returned with effect from the garrison. The
regular troops fired a few cannon shot and threw a number of
shells, one of which burst in the air above the fort, doing no
* The remains of this Fort are still to be seen standing on the farm of
William J. Pindar, in the town of Middleburgh. The Upper Fort was about
five miles above and the Lower Fort about five miles below. The Lower ^
Fort was built for a church, and is at present used as such. It stands about
a mile north of the Court House.
The Lower Fort is now (1863) the property of the State of New York,
it having been transferred to the State by the Dutch Reformed Congrega-
tion who worshipped there until the year 1844.
i8 Life and Adventures of
injury; another entered and burst in the upper loft of the fort,
doing no other mischief than destroying a quantity of bedding
and nea^rly frightening to death a little Frenchman who had fled
to the chamber for protection, and came running down stairs,
at the same time exclaiming, " de diable be among de fedders."
The interior of the fort was several times on fire, but was as
often extinguished by the exertions of the women. The Indians
retreated behind a row of willow trees, and kept up a constant
fire, but at too great a distance to do effect. In the fort all was
gloom and despondency; the garrison only amounted to 150
regular troops and about 100 militia. The ammunition was
nearly exhausted — to attempt to defend the fort appeared to be
madness ; to surrender was to deliver up themselves, their wives
and children to immediate death, or at least to a long captivity.
Major Wolsey, who commanded the fort, was inclined to sur-
render on the first appearance of the enemy, but was prevented
by the officers of the militia, who resolved to defend the fort or
die in the contest. Wolsey's presence of mind forsook him in
the hour of danger; he concealed himself at first with the women
and children in the house, and when driven out by the ridicule
of his new associates he crawled around the entrenchments on
his hands and knees, amid the jeers and bravos of the militia,
who felt their courage revive as their laughter was excited by
the cowardice of the major. In times of .extreme danger every-
thing which has a tendency to destroy reflection by exciting
risibility has a good effect.
Our Hero Will Not Consent to a Surrender and Fires qn a Flag
The enemy perceiving that their shot and shells did little or
no execution formed under shelter of a small building near the
fort and prepared to carry the works by assault. While the
preparations were making, a flag was seen to approach the fort ;
all seemed inclined to admit it, when Murphy and Bartholomew
Vroman, who suspected that it was only an artifice to learn the
actual strength of the garrison, and aware that for them at least
there was no safety in capitulation, fired upon the flag. The flag
retired and some soldiers Wereordered to arrest Murphy; but so
great was his popularity among the soldiers that no one dared
to obey. The flag approached a second time and was a second
time driven back by Murphy and his adherents. A white flag
Timothy Murphy. 19
was ordered to be raised in the fort, but Murphy threatened with
instant death any one who should obey. The enemy sent a flag-
a third time, and on Murphy's turning to fire upon it Wqlsey pre-
sented his pistol and threatened to shoot him if he did ; but not
in the least intimidated by the major's threat Murphy very de-
liberately raised his rifle, and pointing it towards him
firmly replied, " I will die before they shall have me prisoner."
Major Wolsey then retired to his room where he remained until
Colonel Vroman was despatched in search of him. He was
found covered up in bed, trembling like a leaf. Colonel Vroman
accosted him, " Was you sent here to sneak away so, when you
are attacked by the Tories and Indians? And do you mean to.
give up the fort to those bloody rascals?" To which Major Wol-
sey made no reply, but consented to yield up the command to
Colonel Vroman. At this change of officers unanimous joy per-
vaded the whole fort. And even the women smiled to behold
the portly figure of Colonel Vroman stalking about the fort —
directing and encouraging the soldiers in his melodious Low
The Enemy Withdravir.
The British officers now held a council of war, and after a short
consultation withdrew, and then proceeded down the Schoharie
creek, burning and destroying everything that lay in their way.
Soon after General Johnson departed towards the lower fort
Murphy followed in his rear and secured prisoner a man by the
name of Benjamin Buttons.
The loss of the garrison in this affair was only one killed and
two wounded, one mortally. It is not known what loss the enemy-
sustained, or why they retreated so hastily. The true and most
probable cause was the determined spirit of resistance manifested
on firing upon the flag, lead them to suppose the defence
would be obstinate. The Tory leaders, satiated with blood, may
have been unwilling to act over the tragedies of Wyoming and
The Indians and Tories Pass the Lower Fort.
A small body of men then left the middle fort under Colonel
Vroman, and by a circuitous route reached the lower fort, just
as the Tories and Indians were passing where the village of
Schoharie now stands. Several buildings which were there
erected were burned to the ground. When they arrived at the
20 Life and Adventures of
lower fort they showed little disposition to attack it, although its
garrison did not amount to loo men. They separated into two
divisions,, the regular troops marching along the bank of the
creek, and the Indians filing oflf a quarter of a mile to the east
of the fort. The regulars fired a few cannon shot without effect,
one lodging in the corner of the church. The Indians and Tories
in preparing a small brass cannon received such a brisk and
deadly fire from the fort, which so frightened them, that, they
sunk their cannon in a morasS- and marched to where the road
now runs, where they were joined by the regulars. They then
fired a few shots with small arms and the Indians approached
near enough to throw their bullets into the tower of the church,
where some marksmen had been stationed. A discharge of grape
drove them back, and passing over the Fox's creek they set fire
to a house and grist mill, after which they proceeded to Fort
The Valley of Schoharie After that Day of Destruction.
The beautiful valley of the Schoharie creek presented a scene
of devastation on the night of the 17th of October not easily de-
scribed. Houses, barns and numerous stacks of hay and grain
were consumed; domestic animals lay dead everywhere over the
fields ; a few buildings belonging to the Tories had been spared,
but Murphy, among others, sallying out, set fire to them in
revenge. After the burning of Schoharie this settlement ceased
to be so much an object of Tory vengeance, and during the years
1781 and 1782, though there were frequent alarms, little damage
was done by the enemy.
The savages appeared once in Cobleskill, burned a few build-
ings, killed one man and ca,rried off five prisoners ; but the body
of the inhabitants had taken refuge in a fort which they had built
on their return from Schoharie in 1771, and were safe.*
Murphy Shoots an Indian and Covers Him With a Fresh Deer
Skin. The Consequence. He Outwits Another Indian and
Kills Him and Skins His Legs to Make a Pair of Breeches.
The Indians Believe Him Leagued With the Wicked Spirit.
Soon after Sir John' Johnson passed through Schoharie,
Murphy and his three friends, Follok, Tufts and Evans, went
*We are indebted to the "Annals of Tryon County," for some parts of
the foregoing description of the attack on the three Forts.
Timothy Murphy. 21
over the hills of Summit. Murphy by some mishap strayed from
the rest and wandered in the woods ; he at length saw an Indian
skinning a deer which he had recently killed. Murphy, being
unperceived, took aim and shot the Indian through the head,
who, reeling, fell beside the deer. He then ran up, took off ^he
Indian's scalp, and laying him over a log placed the deer's skin
over him in such a manner as to make it appear at a short dis-
tance like a large deer. This was scarcely done before he heard
a rustling in the leaves a few rods off; as quick as thought he
crawled among the bushes and thick weeds near, where he could
see distinctly three Indians moving their heads about as if doubt-
ful of what had the appearance of a deer. Finally, one of them
fired at the supposed deer, and rushing up what was their chagrin
at discovering that they had shot one of their fellows ! They
gave several doleful yells to call others and stood, grinding on
their teeth and gesticulating wildly. Murphy, fearing that they
might discover him soon or that others might arrive, concluded
it best to shoot one and hazard a running fight with the other
two. He accordingly fired, brought down his man — and rushed
behind a very large tree. Before they had recovered from their
panic he discharged his other rifle barrel and fnortally wounded
a second. The only remaining Indian fired ; the ball passed
through the bark of one side of the tree within a few inches of
Murphy's face. The Indian then seized a rifle from one who
was rolling and howling over the ground. By this time Murphy
had reloaded his rifle and both of them sprang behind trees some
fifty yards apart. The moment one looked out the rifle of the
other was raised and the head immediately drawn back. At last
Murphy put his hat on the end of his ramrod and pushed it
slowly to the side of the tree. The Indian immediately fired —
his ball passed through the center of his hat. The hat was then
dropped, when the Indian rushed up with a hatchet and scalping
knife. Murphy fired — he staggered a few paces forward and
fell down dead. The Indian was very large and powerful, and
Murphy being exceedingly angry, skinned his legs and drew it
over his long stockings. He then went in pursuit of his com-
panions. He was unable to find them, and about ten o'clock at
night he stopped and kindled a fire on the side of a little rivulet,
where he roasted a small piece of the deer which he had carried
in his pocket. He had also a small biscuit, which he ate with
his meat. After his repast he procured water from the brook,
with which he extinguished the fire. He proceeded on a quarter
22 Life and Adventures of
of a mile farther where he crept in among the limbs of a tree
that apparently had fallen a few days before. In the morning;
he advanced several miles when he was unexpectedly surrounded
by a large body of Indians who had followed in his trail. He
shot down two who were on the side in which he wished to fly.
Several of the Indians fired and, as he afterwards often remarked,
the balls whistled by him. He ran with the utmost velocity, and
after leaving them far behind he managed to reload his rifle as
he ran. But the skin of the Indian having shrunk, began to gall
his legs, whereupon he took his hunting knife and ripped them
off. Yet his legs were so galled that his speed was greatly re-
tarded, and he had not advanced more than two miles more
before a dozen Indians were in view. 'Twas then that his cour-
age began to forsake him ; faint and tired he was ready to sink
upon the ground. The Indians kept getting closer and closer;
when one of them (a Mohawk) called to him in broken English,
" We've got you at last! " and coming up struck him a blow over
the shoulders with the end of his musket: It was that Murphy,
" Stood a foe with all the zeal
That young and fiery converts feel,
Within whose burning bosom throngs
The memory of a thousand wrongs."
and turning indignantly around, he dashed his brains out at a
blow. The others came up yelling like wolves sure of' their prey.
Murphy again plunged with his gun and the Indian's into the
woods ; but finding himself unable to run he stopped abruptly
behind a tree and discharged his own and the Indian's gun.. On
his firing a second time their superstitious fears began to rise,,
but when he fired a third time they were confirmed in their sus-
picions of his being leagued with the Wicked Spirit to destroy
them, and believing that he could shoot all day they immediately
decamped with all speed. He did not stop for a scalp, but slowly
wended his way towards the fort, where he arrived in safety.
Murphy Destroys an Indian Village. He Hides in a Hollow^
Log. A Peculiar Shot from the Rear.
At one time Murphy and a small body of riflemen were-
despatched to destroy an Indian and Tory village near Unadilla.
After a laborious march through marshes and over mountains,.
Timothy Murphy. 23
in which they endured innumerable privations, they arrived in
sight of the village, which lay in a beautiful valley. Tbey
remained on the mountain until midnight, when they advanced
slowly and cautiously. Luckily most of the Indians were absent,
and after a warm contest, in which clubs, fists, feet and toma-
hawks were used by the old Indians, squaws and papooses., and
were resented by the riflemen with fists, feet and the ends of
their guns, the village wasi reduced to ashes. Tbey had not
returned far before they were attacked by the Indians and most
of them destroyed. Murphy, -who was in advance of the rest^
ran some distance and crawled into a large hollow log that lay
near a small stream. He had not remained there long before he
heard the voices of Indians, and as they came nearer, found to
his amazement, they were going to encamp there. They came
up and one of them, perceiving the cavity of the log, stooped
down, but seeing a spider's web hanging over the aperture,
(which luckily Murphy had not displaced), he took no pains to
examine further. They then built a fire beside the log in which
he was. After which they lay down to sleep with their feet
towards the fire. Murphy lay quiet until they began to snore,
when he crawled softly to a stplit in the log, looking through,
observed eight Indians laying with their rifles beside them ;
while one set with his to^mabawk and scalping knife in his belt,
to keep watch. Murphy drew himself back to his former posi-
tion, concluding it most expedient to remain where he was for
the time being. His position was by no means an enviable one,
as ever and anon his olfactoriesi were saluted with a discharge
of light artillery, and the log was so burned that he could see
the Indians through the holes made by the fire. Early in the
morning one of the Indians (who was dressed in English style),
went down to the stream, and bent over to drink, until his coat
flaps fell over his back. Murphy saw him through the end of the
log, and being irritated by the heat, and having the end of his
rifle in that direction, he fired — the Indian fell headlong into the
water. The other Indians fled precipitately, when Murphy
backed out of the log, scalped the Indian, and running as fast
as his feet would carry him, escaped.
How he Captured a British Officer. Battle of Saratoga.
Just before the battle of Saratoga, he went out of the Ameri-
can camp, and having ascertained the British countersign, he
went into one of their camps, and seeing an officer writing alone,
24 Life and Adventures of
he wliispered to him [pointing to his hunting knife], that if he
spoke a word he would make daylight shine through him. The
officer not having sword or pistols near, reluctantly' marched
before him to the American camp.
At the last battle at Saratoga, in which both armies were
engaged, Murphy was, as he states, within five feet of Arnold,
when he passed over the fortifications sword in hand. Murphy
ascribed, to the day of his death, the chief honor of Burgoyne's
defeat to Gen. Arnold, and believed Arnold would never have
betrayed his country, had he received the honors which he so
At Unadilla, be also went into a fort, several years after-
wards, where he made important discoveries of the strength of
Another Shot from the Rear.
On one occasion, when tramping through the woods, Murphy
discovered an Indian in a sitting posture attending to a
peremptory call from nature; such was his haste tO' shoot, that
he fired ramrod, load and all through the body of the Indian.
The Indian fell over backwards, and as Murphy states, his rifle
was responded to, some forty times by the Indian, in his incom-
Murphy and FoUok Kill a Tory.
As Murphy was passing towards Summit in company with
Follok (a half blood), who generally acted as his pilot, he saw-
four Indians headed by a Tory, with scalps hanging on their
bayonets. They crawled through a swail, and as they came
within plain view, they saw on the bayonet of the Tory, what
appeared to be the scalp of a woman. They moved carefully,
but at last one of them stepping on the limb of a tree, which
made a cracking, three of the Indians fired. The balls struck
in some limbs that hung before them. They both aimed at'
the Tory, who fell, when they escaped by running.
They Capture Canadians.
On another occasion as himself, Follok, Tufts and Evans
were passing through the woods, they saw lo or 12 Canadians
marching towards them in Indian file, withi what appeared to
be muskets on their shoulders. The four secreted themselves,
until the Canadians got between them, when what appeared
Timothy Murphy. 25
to be guns, were mere clubs of black birch. They all arose
simultaneously and presenting, ordered them to- surrender.
Being unarmed (except with hunting knives), they complied,
and very demurely marched to the American Camp.
Tories Fire a Building. Murphy Shoots a Tory who had Killed
Soon after Murphy came to Schoharie, he went on a hunt-
ing and scouting excursion, and as he was returning, late in
the evening he saw several men setting fire to an outhouse of
a building near the Schoharie river. When he arrived within
half a mile of the place he saw several tories standing at the
corner of the house and one peeking in the window. After a
short time the inmates W'gre aroused and a man, a negro and
two boys came rushing out of doors to extinguish the fire.
The tories then hid behind the fence, excepting one, more
res:olute than the rest, who fired, most probably at the man
but hit one of the boys, whO' fell, and was carried into the
house by the mother, who had been elicited bj^ his cries. This
aroused the vengeance of Murphy, who stood on his knees
behind a stump, and laying his rifle over the stump, he shot
the toTy to the very heart. The others on seeing him fall, and
bearing the report in an unexpected direction, scampered away.
Murphy then walked up, and was hailed by the habitants with
tears of joy. No sleep was enjoyed by them that night. In the
morning, the tory killed was found to be no less a person than
, who 'had pretended to be a whig. Verily he received
the reward of his treachery ! The next day the family removed
to the fort, where the bioy recovered in a short time from his
An Occurrence at Gallupville.
Shortly after the war, a 4th of July was celebrated, at a tav-
ern near Gallupville, which Murphy attended. In the evening
they commenced drinking healths, and after several patriotic
toasts were offered, a tory gave in ridicule, "A health to George
III." This Murphy determined not to suffer with impunity,
and rising, as the tory walked towards the door, he pitched
him headlong from the stoop. The tory picked himself up
and left for Canada or some other country, as he was never
heard of afterwards.
26 Life and Adventures of
The Sagacity of Our Hero Saves His Own Life and Enables Him
to Kill His Would be Murderer.
The following story has been questioned, and we publish it
as it has been related to us, without vouching for its entire
Just before the conclusion of the war, as Murphy was at labor
in clearing a piece of woodland, he saw a tall Indian approaching
him from the woods with a rifle on his shoulder. As he came
nearer, a belt might be seen around his waist in which were a
tomahawk and scalping knife, that were partially concealed by
a large blanket thrown over his shoulders.
"Which way are you traveling?" asked Murphy.
" Don't know," said the Indian.
"Where do you live?" enquired Murphy.
"There," returned the Indian (pointing towards Canada),
" and where do you live? "
" Down here."
" Do you know old Murphy? " was the next question.
" Well — well — yes ! " was the response.
"Where does he live?"
"Away off — yonder (pointing in a wrong direction) , but
what dO' you want of him? "
" Oh, nothing," said the Indian apparently embarrassed.
" Murphy was a wicked old devil."
"Yes," said the Indian, "he kill my brother — he kill Indian
— r he scalp Indian. They say he witch — he shoot without
loadin' — Indian no hit him — he kill good many Indian — but
he no kill me — I kill him." Murphy's blood began to boil,
but he concealed his excitement as much as possible, and
" You've a very good rifle there."
" Did you ever shoot at a mark?"
" Oh, yes — do you shoot at mark? "
" Well, suppose we try," said Murphy.
The Indian then ran off some distance and putting' up a
mark against a stump, returned.
" You shoot first," said the Indian.
" No," said Murphy, " you shoot first." The Indian then
shot, and to the astonishment of Murphy, pierced the center of
the mark. The rifle was then reloaded, and on Murphy's receiv-
Timothy Murphy. 27
ing it he bounded back, exclaiming, " / am Murphy ! ! " The
savage gave a yell that reverberated through the hills, and draw-
ing his hunting knife, sprang towards Murphy; but ere he
reached him a ball from the rifle entered his breast.
In stature Murphy was about five feet six inches and very
well proportioned, with dark complexion, and an eye that would
kindle and flash like the very lightning, when excited. He was
exceedingly quick in all his motions, and possessed an iron fram^e
that nothing apparently could affect. And what is very remark-
able, his body was never wounded or scarred during the whole
Murphy's Family. His Death. His Hatred of Tories.
He had nine children by his first wife, and was married again
in 1812 or 1813, to Misis Mary Robertson, by whom he had four
children. Soon after this marriage, he removed to Charlotte-
ville, in this county, where he remained until a short time before
his death, when he moved back to Fulton. He had suffered
many years from an obstinate cancer on his neck, which finally
terminated his existence in 1818, in the sixty-seventh year of his
age. He was a good and charitable neighbor, but inveterate to
his enemies. He detested the very name of Tory, and if possible
with more acrimony than that of Indian, and took the greatest
delight in relating the feats and adventures in which he partici-
pated ; saying that he was resolved to kill himself rather than
be taken prisoner, knowing that they would inflict on him the
most inhuman tortures. He repeatedly declined holding civil
office, considering it would infringe on his natural independence ;
he always refused a promotipn during the war, on the ground
that it would confine him to one fort, and frequently prevent his
joining scouting parties. In his pecuniary transactions he was
perfectly honest and generous, and liberal to the indigent. That
he had faults, we are hot disposed to deny, but his greatest
errors were in" furtherance of what he conceived to be the best
interest of his country, rather than from any selfish or sinister
designs. Those who knew him best speak most in his praise.-
And it is to be hoped that it will be long ere the citizens, of
Schoharie will forget the name of Murphy.
" He was a man, take him all in all,
We shall not look upon his like again."
28 Life and Ad,ventures of
THE TIMOTHY MURPHY MEMORIAL.
Unveiling of his Monument in Middleburgh Cemetery — Great
concourse of people honor his memory on Oct. 17, i9io> — the
130th Anniversary of his heroic deeds in repelling the attack of
British and Indians on the Middle Fort.
On Thursday the 13th of October, 1910, Counsellor Dow
Beekman, President of the Fort Defiance Historical Society, was
advised by Mr. Francis O. Winslow, of Boston, Mass., the
executor of the estate of Mr. Thomas G. Foster, that the monu-
ment to the memory of Timothy Murphy, would be completed
and unveiled on the Anniversary Day. There was little time
and much work to be done to make suita~ble arrangements for
the great occasion. This work, in all its variety and detail, Mr.
Beekman performed. ,The people most heartily and joyously
responded to his call. The early morning sun shone on hundreds
of .decorating flags, the places of business were closed, and the
beautiful day was a holiday indeed. At noon, Mr. and Mrs.
Winslow, the sculptress, Miss Evelyn B. Longman, the archi-
tect, Mr. Henry Bacon, and the surviving officers and trustees
of the Fort Defiance Historical Society, Messrs. Dnw Beekman,
W. E. Bassler, J. Edward Young, G. L. Danforth and Daniel D.
Frisbie, partook an elaborate lunch at Hotel Baker. At one
thirty P. M., a great procession formed on Main street, Mr.
Winslow's party, relatives of Timothy Murphy, the officers and
trustees of tbe^ Historical Society, the Board of Trustees of the
Village, the Board of Trustees of the Cemetery Association, the
Trustees and Faculty of Middleburgh High School, more than
200 scholars of the school, each scholar bearing and waving a
flag, citizens of the village and town and of the surrounding
towns, and escorted by the companies of the Middleburgh Fire
Department and the Cornet Band, and directed by Paul B. Mat-
tice as marshal, and Norman J. Vronian as aide, in uniform of
Spanish American War Veterans, took up the march to the
cemetery, a mile away.
To while away the time and to express their enthusiasm and
rivalling the band, the scholars on the way sang:
, " Timothy Murphy's body lies a molding in the grave,
But his soul goes marching on,
Marching on, Marching on, Marching on."
Arriving at the gates of the cemetery, the occupants of motor
cars and carriages alighted and the procession, more than a half
• .— I IH
cd v a
ua S u
;& d 01
S <u §
S la u
^ -M «M
a jd 11
1— > "tt
S ra <d
u,=i rt a
■^^ .« -^
O-^ ^ fc*
-w U •«
m a ja
Timothy Murphy. 29
a mile long in double file, wended its way up the wide winding
walks of the cemetery, and disposed of themselves in a semi-
circle to the north of the Murphy monument. To the solemn
and impressive strains of martial music, Mr. Mott V. Lawyer, a
great-great-grandson of the hero, cut the cord which held in
place the great silk flag which veiled the monument, and the
flag falling, the people saw disclosed a beautiful shaft of granite,
eight feet high, three feet wide and ten inches deep, set in
appropriate- base, and on the shaft facing the mausoleum, a
marvelous bas relief in bronze of the great patriot, scout and
warrior. He is represented as of slight but athletic figure,
clothed in familiar suit of buckskin, the jacket belted down at
the waist, the trousers fringed at the side, a coon-skin cap on his
head. In his right hand he holds a musket, the butt of which
rests on the ground. He is looking out in the distance. His
left foot rests on a tomahawk. His hunting knife is in his belt
on which his left hand rests. An arrow is represented as stick-
ing in the earth behind his right leg. The relief is bordered by
a tracing of pine needles and acorns. The following inscription
appears on the tablet at the base :
TO THE MEMORY OF
1751 TIMOTHY MURPHY 1818
PATRIOT, SOLDIER, SCOUT, CITIZEN, WHO SERVED
IN MORGAN'S RIFLE CORPS, FOUGHT AT SARA-
TOGA AND MONMOUTH AND WHOSE
BRAVERY REPELLED THE ATTACK OF
/^" BRITISH AND THEIR INDIAN ALLIES
UPON THE MIDDLE FORT, OC-
TOBER 17, 1780, AND SAVED THE
■ COLONISTS OF THE SCHO-
In the center of the inscription is the head of an Indian of the
Mohawk cast of countenance, with the eyes closed, typifying
the extinction of the race. The entire work shows great artistic
spirit, genius of conception, harmony in its symbolism and is a
triumph for the sculptress. Miss Evelyn Longman. After the
ceremony of unveiling, Hon. Dow Beekman delivered an address
on the subject " Timothy Murphy's Place in History." He
30 Life and Adventures of
traced the origin of the first pubHc movement in 1889 foT the
erection of a monument to Timothy Murphy through the medium
of the Fort Defiance Historical Society; gave the genealogy of
the Murphy family; traced the services of Timothy Murphy
from his enlistment in Gen. Morgjin's Rifle Corps in 1776,
through the Battle of Saratoga, his conduct there, General Fra-
zier's falling under Murphy's fire, the Battle of Monmouth, his
part in Gen. Sullivan's Expedition for the subjugation of the
Indians in the southern part of the State in 1779, his services
in various expeditions in the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys,
analyzed the personal traits and chairacteristics of his subject
as a patriot, soldier and scout, but Mr. Beekman reached the
eloquent crisis, when, while adhering to the historical accuracy,
with imagination and fire undoubtedh' born of the blood of his
own Revolutionary forefathers within his veins, he depicted the
advance of Colonel John Johnson and his force of 1,000 British
and Indians from the defile of the hills above Fultonham at day-
break on Tuesday,. October 17th, 1780, down the valley, the
firing of the alarm guns of the Upper and Middle Forts, the
first skirmish of Murphy and his compatriots with the advance
of the left wing of the enemy, the firing of the dwellings and the
Dutch Reformicd Church in the early morning, the attack on the
Fort from the hills on the east, the answering fire from the
patriot garrison, the attempt of Col. Johnson to obtain a parley
and ascertain the real strength of the Colonial troops, the firing
on the British flag, Murphy's heroism and .keenness in military
strategy at the critical moment, -the final repulse and retreat of
the enemy, rejoicing of the colonists. His closing words were as
follows : " Pause a moment, men, women, young men and
maidens, whose privilege it is on this day to dwell in this peace-
ful valley, here siirrounded by the Mohegouter, the " Mountain
of the Mohegans," in front of you, where early dwelt the
primeval tribe, the towering "-Oucongena " on your right, the
"Corn Mountain" — the Onistagrawa, in the distance; as' you
stand on this beautiful hill, the entire scene clothed in the
romance of the primitive life of your ancestors as they dwelt in
harmony in those early days with the Red Man before he was
beguiled to murderous deeds by British gold and cunning, —
standing here on this holy ground, made sacred by the blood of
your forefathers, shed for liberty, glance out on the valley which
to-day is clothed in the rich verdure of autumnal glory. If all
the graves scattered along yonder winding river and upon the
Timothy Murphy. 31
hillsides and upon the level fields between, could to-day give up
their pioneer, their patriot dead and send them marching toward
this hallowed spot whereon we stand to-day, the voice of every
one would tell of the worth of Timothy Murphy in the trying
times of the war which gave us freedom, and rejoice with us
that honor, however tardy, has been at last paid his memory."
At the conclusion of Mr. Beekman's address, the Hon. Daniel
D. Frisbie, the next speaker, stirred the souls of the great
assembly by an impassioned and eloquent portrayal of the many
lessons in citizenship, patriotism and whole-souled devotion to
duty, as illustrated by the life and deeds of the famous Timothy
Murphy. The address was a splendid plea for a higher citizen-
ship, a more exalted manhood, and a greater reverence for
patriotism and love of American institutionsi. Following the
address of Mr. Frisbie, Mr. Winslow, in a clear, delightful and
masterly address, narrated the provisions of this trust confided
to hifn under the will of Mr. Foster, and explained in detail the
symbolisms of the monument, and also- handed to Mr. Beekman
his check for one hundred dollars to be added to a fuild for
erecting suitable markers on the sites of the Upper and Middle
Forti Mr. Winslow, in closing, also spoke of the artistic genius
of Miss Longman, the sculptress of the monument, and its bas
relief and of the statues of Faith, Hope and Charity which crown
the summit of the Mausoleum, afid requested Miss Longman to
step to the speaker's station sO' that the people could carry her
image in their memories of the day. This she gracefully and
graciously did, and was received and thanked with warm
The exercises were brought to an end to the music of " The
Star Spangled Banner," and' the procession proceeded to the vil-
lage. The weather was in harmony with the occasion, one of
the rarest autumnal days, the air balmy and the sun lighting up
the brilliant colors of the autumn foliage ; a strong contrast to
the weather on Oct. 17th, 1780, for as the president said in his
address " The pen of history tells us that on the morning of
Tuesday, one hundred and thirty years ago, this very day, a
strong northeast wind was: blowirug and that snow in fitful
squalls, swept along the hillsides and down over the glistening
Thus the memorial day closed, and the people, scarcely real-
izing that they bad stood for more, than two hours, intent and
charmed, departed from the city of the dead to the homes of the
living, feeling the beauty, strength and truth of Longfellow's
" Life is real : Life is earnest :
And the grave is not its goal :
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
" Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way :
But to act that each to-morrow
]E<"inds us farther than to-day.''
A DEMOCRATIC, UP-TO-DATE, PROGRESSIVE, WEEKLY NEWSPAPER
MIDDLEBURGH, SCHOHARIE CO., NEW YORK
PAUL B. MATTICE
TERMS: One Dollar per year, if paid strictly in advance
$1.50 per year if not paid in advance.
JOB PRINTING OFFICE
IN CONNECTION WITH TfflS ESTABLISHMENT
WHERE ALL KINDS OF
IS NEATLY EXECUTED
LEGAL POINTING A SPECIALTY
.1* .. i