Tryon County Safety Committee

Many communities in the 1760's in the Colonies found the need to unify and meet to discuss the concerns of the era. A Committee of Safety usually involved every male adult member of the community and was the political arm of the community. From these groups representatives were sent to attend meetings in larger groupings of communities to represent the interests of the respective communities. The militia, consisting of able bodied men, was subordinate to the Committee and would respond on demand.

New York State's first Committee met in New York City in May of 1774. By May of 1775 the New York Provincial Congress ordered all counties to name committees to execute the orders of the Continental Congress by 1776 every county in New York, except possibly Kings had its committees and subcommittees. (From The American Revolution in New York)

The Tryon County Committee of Safety met from August 27, 1774 through April 21, 1778. The settled areas of Tryon were divided into districts: Canajoharie, Germanflats, Kingsland, Mohawk and Palatine.

The minutes of the Tryon County Committee of Safety have been published, most recently in Mohawk Valley in the Revolution: Committee of Safety Papers & Genealogical Compendium by Maryly Penrose, published by the Liberty Bell Associates in Franklin Park, New Jersey.

The first declarative document is dated August 24, 1774. On May 19th 1775 Christopher Yates was appointed chairman of the Palatine Committee.

May 21, 1775 - Meeting of the Palatine Commitee at the house of Philip W. Fox

May 24, 1775 - United Committees meeting of Palatine, Conajohary (sic- hereafter spelled Canajoharie) King'sland and Germanflatts districts at the house of William Seeber in Canajoharie District

May 29, 1775* - Meeting of the Palatine Committee at at the house of William Seeber in Conajohary District. Adam Fonda, Volkert Veeder, Sampson Simmons, John Marlatt, Abraham Yates and Frederick Visgor were appointed to the Committee of the Mohawk District

On June 2, 1775* - the first meeting of the entire Tryon County Committee was held at the house of Warner Tygert of Canajoharie district.

43 delegates were present

Members present from:


Isaac Paris
Christopher P. Yates
John Frey
Andrew Finck, Jr.
Andrew Reber
Peter Waggoner
Daniel McDougal
Jacob Clock
George Ecker, Jr.
Harmanus Van Slyck
Christopher W. Fox
Anthony Van Vechten


John Marlatt
John Bliven
Abraham Van Horn
Adam Fonda
Frederick Visscher
Sampson Sammons
William Schuyler
Volkert Vedder
James McMaster
Daniel Lane


Nicholas Herchimer
Ebenezer Cox
William Seeber
John Moore
Samuel Campbell
Samuel Clyde
Thomas Henry
John Pickert


Edward Wall
William Petry
John Petry
Marcus Petry
Duncan McDougal
Frederick Helmer


George Wentz
John Franck
Frederick Fox
Augustinus Hess
Michael Ittig
Frederick Ahrendorf
George Herkimer

June 11, 1775* - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

this residence still stands - photograph by Nancy Knechtel

"This Committee having great Confidence in the Integrity and Abilities of Christopher P. Yates, and John Marlatt Do Resolve that the said Christopher P. Yates and John Marlatt be appointed and are accordingly appointed to be Deputies, to attend the Provincial Congress without Delay and to act in Conjunction with the Members of that Body upon the very alarming & calamitous Situation of British America ---"

June 15, 1775 - Meeting of the Canajoharie District at the house of William Seeber
Nicholas Herkimer as chairman

"This meeting was, to have a Review of the associated Freeholders and Inhabitants of this District who, after been formed into Companies of Militia, have chosen their officers, agreeable to Regulations of our Provincial Congress."

June 16, 1775 - Meeting of Palatine Committee at the house of Jacob Clock (this residence stands and is open as the historic site Fort Klock)

June 17, 1775 - Meeting of Germanflatts and King'sland Districts at the house of Frederick Fox

June 19, 1775 - Meeting at the house of Frederick Bellinger in Germanflatts

Meeting included the Sachem and Warriors of the Oneyda and Tuscarora Indians.

"Several speeches were mutually passed, and with agreeable assurances they said Nations renewed and confirmed Peace and true Friendship with as, as Brothers, and also promised their zealous Endeavor to unite their Brothers of the Six Nations in alike Manner --

July 3, 1775 - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

July 10, 1775 - Meeting at the house of Jacob Clock

at the request of the Sachems and Warriors of the Indians.

July 13, 1775 - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

"Mr. Ebenezer Cox informed this Board, that Mr. Peter S. Tygert told this informant, that he was informed by a person, who we have reason to think, has it from good authority that Col. Johnson was ready with 800 or 900 Indians to make an invasion of this Country, that the same Indians were to be under the command of Joseph Brand (sic) and Walter Butler"

Scouts were sent to locate the Rout of the Indians and the major concern of insufficient ammunition and manpower against that force.

"This is the more alarming to us as we shall be obliged in a few days to begin with our harvest."

July 14, 1775 - Meeting at the house of William Seeber

"Ordered that Direction be given to the Member of the Committee, who reside in Cherry Valley and places adjacent ---- concerning this Indian alarm."

July 15, 1775 - Meeting at the house of Werner Tygert

150 lb of powder received from Albany, 300 lbs of lead from Schenectady.

August 12, 1775 - Meeting of Palatine and Canajoharie Districts at the house of William Seeber

August 25-27, 1775 - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie
The General Organization of the Tryon County Militia took place on August 26, 1775 Persons nominated as Field Officers

Canajoharie 1st Battalion
1st Colonel Nicholas Herkimer
Lieut. Coll. Ebenezer Cox
Major - Robert Wells
Adjut. - Samuel Clyde
Palatine 2 nd Battalion
Coll. Jacob Clock
Lieut. Coll. Peter Waggoner
Major - Harms. V. Syck
Adjutt. Anthony V. Fetchen
Mohawk's 3d Battalion
Coll. Frederick Fisher
Lieut. Col. Adam Fonda
Major -- John Bliven
Adjut. Robert Yates
King'sland & G. Flatts
Col, Hanyoost Herkheimer
Lieut. Col. Peter Bellinger
Major Hanyoost Shoemaker
Adjt. -- John Demooth

September 7-8, 1775 - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

After troubles with a Sheriff White, who had British interests the Committee appointed John Frey as High Sheriff of the County of Tryon.
Signed by
Peter P (his mark) Waggoner
Harmanus V. Slyck
Sampson Simons
John Clock
Cunrad (his mark) Pickert
David Cox
George Herkimer
Wm (his mark) Fox junr.
Duncan MacDougall
John Jacob Weber
Frederick Fisher
Samuel Clyde
Wm Schuyler
James McMaster
Volkert Vedder
Christian Nelles
George Ekert jr
Adam Fonda
Anthony V. Veghten
Augustinus Hess
Henrich Harter
Abrm Van Horne
Isaac Paris
John Frey
John Eisenlord
Danl. McDougall
Nicholas Herkimer
John Marlatt
Fredk. Hellmer
Fredk. (his mark) Arendorf
William Seeber
Andreas Reber
John Frank
John Bliven
Ebenezer Cox
George Wents
Jacob Clock

new members sworn that day:
John Frank
George Herkheimer
Cunrad Pickert
Fredk. Hellmer

Wednesday the 13th September 1775 at the house of Gose V. Alstyne

Upon express Request of our late Delegate John Marlatt*, Esqr.

"The Sachem Abraham of the Mohawks at Fort Hunter and with him two Warriors of the same Castle appeared before this Board and maketh a long Speech interpreted by Quackinbush to this Committee, wherein he endeavoreth to convince us if the Ignorance and non Consent of the Sachems and most all the Warriors of their Castle in guiding Lewis Clement and Peter Bown with the Sheriff White, as Suspicioned Enemies to Canada.".....

"John Marlett, Esq, moved that Capt. Stevenson on his Journey to Canada shall be stopped, and sent back to Albany under a Guard ---- Resolved by the Majority of Votes, that said Stevenson shall be sent back to the Committee of Schenectady without a guard upon his word of honor, to return with his Boat ---- Ordered the Same, and willingly performed immediately by said Capt. Stevenson The whole committee now present, being 36 members, was sworn, according to a Resolve passed in the Provincial Congress the 1st September.

"John Marlatt Esqr. having been of our Delegates at the provincial Congress, and now returned therefrom, delivered to this Committee, his Bill of Service, amounting to 87 days a 12/ L. 52.4 -0. and desired the payment in part at present, as he alledges to have taken money upon Interest for his Expences, and the payment of which is already called for. Resolved, that the payment of theis Bill shall be considered in our next Meeting --- Resolved by Majority of Votes, that Mr. John Moore, a Member of the Committee for Conajohary District shall represent our County as Delegate in the provincial Congress at N. York, instead of John Marlatt Esqr, returned --- And it is the Opinion of this Board, that one delegate would suffise, as the Expenses for two would be too burthensome for our small County, which was Recommended to the provincial Congress in our address of the said new chosen Delegate ---"

*John Marlatt was a Deputy to the First Provincial Congress, May to November 1775

October 26, 1775* - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

"Resolved pr, Majority, that the Days Wages of one of our Delegates to the provincial Congress shall be Eight Shillings N. York Currency pr. Day and no more ---- And that their account shall be paid by the first raising Taxes for our County's Expences; and also that Interest shall be paid to our late Delegate, John Marlatt, Esqr., for a part of his account amounting to L. 30 from the 13th of June last untill the said principal be paid. ----"

Absent members are listed and fined.

"Moved and Resolved, unanimously, that three Members of our Committee shall be sent to Sr. John Johnson, to ask him, whether he will aloow, that his Inhabitants of John'stown & King'sborough shall form themselves into Companies according to the Regulations of our Continental Congress to the Defence of our Country's Cause ---- And Whether he would be ready himself to give his personal assistance to the same purpose. And whether he pretends a Prerogative to our County Courthouse and Goal, and would hinder or interrupt the Committee, to make use of the same publick houses to our Want and Service in the Common Cause --

By the Majority of Votes, Mefsrs. Ebenezer Cox, McMaster and John J. Clock are chosen and appointed to go on the purpose abovementd.

October 27, 1775 - - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

"Resolved that each Batallion of Militia shall meet on Saturday the 4th Novembr. next at convenient places respectively, appointed by each Colonel, to chose the Minute Men, and to form them into Companies, and also to procure the Officers chosen by them, according to the Resolves of the provincial Congress, and a Return to be made to the chairman immediately after the proceedings. ---

"The Deputies, Mefsrs. Ebenezer Cox, James McMaster and John Js. Clock, Returned from their Message to Sir John Johnson, and upon our Questions sent to him in a Letter, they brought by Word and Mouth the following answer back to the Committee --- Vizt.

1.) By perusing our Letter Sr. John replied that he thinks our Requests very unreasonable, as he never had denied the Use either if the Courthouse or Goal to any Body, nor would yet dent it, for the USe, where these houses have been built for, but he looks upon, that the Courthouse & Goal be his property, till he is paid L.700. --- which being out of his pocket for the Building of the same.

2.) In Regard of embodying his Tenents into Companies, ne never did forbid them, neither should do it as they may use their pleasure, but we might save ourselves the Trouble, he being sure that they would not ---

3.) Concerning himself, he said that before he would sign any Association, or would lift up his hand against the King, he would rather suffer, that his head shall be cut off. ---"

Continued meeting with some delegates at the House of William Seeber the same day

November 6, 1775* - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

Chairman Herkimer absent for sickness - Chairman voted for this session - Ebenezer Cox

"As the heads of the Mohawk's applied to John Marlatt, Esqr. in the Name of the Committee that we should discharge Peter Bown and Lewis Clement for their Misbehaviour." Message that Butler is returning home.

Tuesday the 7th of November 1775 - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

Col. Jacob Clock relates threatening behavior of Johnson

November 24, 1775* - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

Four suspicious Scots taken prisoner by George Herkimer

Note on sources: Here the minutes end in Frey's book. Documents now from the New York Historical Society Collections

December 27, 1775 - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

Gose Van Alstyne, innkeeper, sworn to secrecy

February 17, 1776 - Meeting at the house of Gose Van Alstyne in Canajoharie

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