The Raids of 1780

Maps of Sir John Johnson's 1780 Raids of the Mohawk Valley

Map 1 - Some of the family names on land map: Endors, Martin, Newkirk, Putnam, Cline, Young, Van Horn Schrembling, Marlett, Mabie, Hand, Holt, Gordon, Wilcox, Frederick
Map 2 - Some of the family names on land map: Van Epps, Gardiner, Quackenbush, Fonda, Frey, Van Alstine, Wood, Lewis, Wemple, Vedder, Printup, Hansen, Putnam, Visscher, Smith

In May of 1780 British living in Canada heard that American authorities were organizing all Loyalists into a ranger corps and any refusing to join where imprisoned in irons. Sir John Johnson decided to go to their rescue. The first houses were not burned as Johnson tried to keep their presence a secret but soon homes of the patriots were set on fire and inhabitants were killed. Attacks on Oneida Castle, Fort Plain and Johnstown devastated the south side of the Mohawk Valley. There were still habitations outside the forts to the west of Schoharie Creek but they certainly were now frightened. Johnson got to Johnson Hall where he recovered two barrels of his family silver and gathered loyalists to go to Canada. Sir John Johnson, wanting to finish the frontier, gathered a force of 800 men at Montreal and crossed Lake Ontario to Oswego.

Johnson and Butler's Rangers met Joseph Brant and his Indians and they continued through Oneonta and into the Schoharie Valley arriving October 16th. Sir John Johnson wrote a long report to Haldimand about the events.

The intention was to get to three of the forts in the early morning hours. Their movement was discovered at the Upper Fort of Schoharie (Fultonham) and a warning cannon was fired from the fort and answered by the other two forts which alerted the area. After travelling three miles and setting fire to everything along the way they reached the middle fort (Middleburgh) and finally the third Fort (today known as the Old Stone Fort Museum). The army spread out and patriots' homes and barns were burnt. Grain intended to feed families and Washington's armies went up in flames. But the cannon warned the local inhabitants and many managed to flee to the area forts. Early on the morning on October 18th the army moved north from Sloansville to Fort Hunter destroying everything in their path and the valley west of the Schoharie Creek was desolated.

The news of the invasion of the Schoharie reached Albany and General Robert Van Rensselaer gathered militia from Albany and Schenectady reaching Fort Hunter and Colonel Vrooman and the Schoharie troops. Johnson's army had run into Colonel Brown who commanded the garrison at Fort Paris and the Colonel and thirty of his men were killed, leaving Johnson to devastate the Stone Arabia area. Van Rensselaer now took his army, which was double the size of Johnson's, up the Mohawk to meet Sir John's army at Fort Klock and St. Johnsville. Sir John and his troops made their escape across the river leaving the remainder of the British army surrounded by Americans on three sides with the river on the fourth side. Those who survived fled to Canada.

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