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Cornell University Library 
E275.M97 S57 1912 

Life and advertures, otJ,im<«h^^ < 

3 1924 032 614 335 

Cornell University 

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. 






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. 






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. 


Paul B. Mattice, Editor, 

August 1, 1912. , J,.,, , , , 

C(gjjtf(v!l I I, 

A. y'^1 



. 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 
same paper. 

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 

American Revolution. 


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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 
inhuman savages. 

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 
afore me."' 

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 Reformed Dutch Church, Middleburgh, N. Y. The former structure, 
standing on Upper Main street, was burned on the morning of Col. 
Johnson's raid. 

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. 

The Elopement. 

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 



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 

of Truce. 

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 
Dutch tones. 

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 
Cherry Valley. 

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 
richly merited. 

At Unadilla, be also went into a fort, several years after- 
wards, where he made important discoveries of the strength of 
the enemy. 

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- 
pleted operation. 

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 

a Boy. 

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 
wounds. ~^ 

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 
remarked : 

" You've a very good rifle there." 

" Yes." 

" 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. 

His Appearance. 

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 
war. , 

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 


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 




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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 : 


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 


Timothy Murphy. 

living, feeling the beauty, strength and truth of Longfellow's 
stanza : 

" 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.'' 


Middleburgh Gazette 






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