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Sketches Illustrating the Early Settlement and History of Glengarry in Canada
Chapter 3

Formation of the King's Royal Regiment of New York under Sir John Johnson.—It is placed on the Establishment.— A Second Battalion Authorized.—List of Glengarry Gentlemen to whom Commissions were Granted in that and other Loyalist Corps. — Arrest of Wives and Families of the Highland Loyalists.—Retribution.—The Valley of the Mohawk Rendered a scene of "Widespread, Heart Sickening and Universal Desolation."—Battle of Oriskany.—Dr. Moses Younglove's Alleged "Brutalities." -- Highlanders Rescue their Families.— Capture of Exeter amd Fort Wintermoot by Butler's Rangers.— Americans Abandon Fort Wyoming.— Highlanders make Another Incursion into the Scoharie Settlement.

The arrival of Sir John Johnson and his Highland followers, in Canada was communicated by the Governor General, Sir Guy Carleton, to Lord George Germaine, then Secretary of State for American and Colonial Affairs, as follows :—

"Chamblie, 8 July, 1776.

"My Lord,

"The day after His Majesty's Troops took possession of Montreal, and the communication with the Upper Country thereby became open, Sir John Johnson and about two hundred followers arrived there from the Province of New York. He represents to me that there are -considerable numbers of people in the part of the country he comes from who remain steadily attached to His Majesty's Government, and who would take up arms in its defence had they sufficient encouragement on which account, in the meantime, they suffer ill the miseries that the persecuting spirit of the Rebels is able to inflict upon them.

In consequence of this representation, and taking it for granted that the King's pleasure is not only to furnish all his good and loyal subjects with the means of defending themselves against rapine and violence, but further to grant them all possible assistance, I have therefore given Sir John Johnson a-Commission to raise on that Frontier of this Province a Battalion of men (to be called the King's Royal Regiment of New York) of equal numbers with other of His Majesty's marching Regiments serving in America, and I have appointed him Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant thereof.

"I am, with all due respect, " My Lord,

"Your Lordship's Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant,

Guy Carleton.

"Lord George Germaine."

The Deputy Adjutant-General in his letter to Sir John Johnson authorizing the formation of the Regiment, instructed him that the officers of the new Corps were to be divided so as to assist those distressed by the Rebellion, and in order to provide against an abuse then common in the service, but which it was considered undesirable to transplant, it was intimated "that there were to be no pluralities of officers in the Corps." It was soon placed on an efficient footing, as on the 13th January, 1777, Sir Guy wrote to General Phillips, applauding the spirit of the Royal Regiment of New York, M suggesting arrangements for the care of refugees with the Corps, many of the Loyalists having placed themselves under its protection, of whom in December, 1776, a large contingent had arrived from New York under the Messieurs Jessup, doubtless the same body of men subsequently embodied under Major Jessup, and known as the Loyal Rangers, who, on being disbanded on the close if the war, I settled in the vicinity of what is now Brockville. On the 24th March, 1777, Lord George Germaine wrote from Whitehall, London, to Sir Guy Carleton that he had received notice of Sir John Johnson's arrival in Montreal, that the distress and loyalty of the people in that part of the country from which he came justified the raising of a Battalion there, and that the King approved of it and of Sir John Johnson having teen platted in command. In July, 1780, authority was given to Sir John to raise a second Battalion, which was done with expedition, as on the 28th November General Haldimand wrote Lord George Germaine, highly commending the conduct of Sir John Johnson, and stating that the second Battalion was in a forward state. In the following year, Lord George Germaine announced that the Regiment had been placed on the Establishment of the British Army, and referred in complimentary terms to the conduct of Sir John Johnson. It had previously been settled, and Sir Henry Clinton informed, that officers of Provincial Corps were to take rank with British officers of the Regular Army, to receive gratuities for wounds, and to hold permanent rank in America.

This Regiment is commonly referred to by the American writers Sparks, Stone, Sebine and others as well as by Dr. Canniff, as "The Royal Greens," possibly because their facings may have been of that colour. Sir John Johnson, its Colonel Commandant, was appointed by General Order of 1st October, 1782, Brigadier-General of the King's Provincial Troops, with Captain Scott, 53rd Regiment, as his Major of Brigade, a just tribute to himself, and a mark of distinction to the Regiment which he commanded. Many interesting particulars relating to this Regiment will be found in Judge Pringle's most valuable book, "Lunenburg, or the Old Eastern District," pp. 172-83. Many of his relatives, as well as those of his wife, served in the Royal Regiment of New York with honour to themselves and advantage to the Loyal cause.

In thin Regiment, Butler's Rangers—which also was largely competed of Loyalists from the Mohawk Valley, and was commanded by Colonel John Butler, who greatly distinguished himself during the War—and the Eighty-Fourth or Royal Highland Emigrant Regiment also both raised, the Highland gentlemen who had emigrated from Glengarry in 1773, and settled, as we have seen, in Tryon County, received commissions and the men enlisted. On the termination of the War and the reduction of these Regiments, returns were made of the officers of these Corps and other Regiments, copies of which are now amongst the Archives at Ottawa, and from them I take the following list of the Scottish officers who had come from Glengarry in Scotland. I think it will be admitted that it is a tolerably fair one. It shows more gentlemen of one name than of all the names of those well known and distinguished families in the early settlement and history of the Province, who afterwards comprised the Family Compact, combined. Should anyone feel disposed to dispute this statement of a historic fact the lists are there to speak for themselves. Many of them eventually settled in Glengarry in Canada and gave the name to the County; several of them afterwards representing it when Parliamentary institutions were accorded to the Province. The number of the private soldiers of the same name was in proportion to the officers, as a glance at Lord Dorchester's list will show. The following is a list of Officers, with rank, name, place of nativity, length of service, and remarks, as follows:—

In giving the prominence that I do to the above gentlemen of this name, I am far from wishing it to be understood that they and those of their name were the only Highland United Empire Loyalists who settled in the Mohawk Valley and other parts of the United Statę, and, having fought through the war, on its termination took tip their abode in what is now1 Glengarry, Far from it. The names of those Men mentioned are conspicious and easily distinguished and identified by reason of the fact of their having held commissions, and on that account of more prominence than others of equal merit, and who made equal sacrifices, but who .served either as- noncommissioned officers or in the ranks, and what names are not, therefore, now distinguishable one from another.

The figures given hereafter will show that while other Scottish Clans were represented among these most deserving men, there were so many more from Glengarry in Scotland than from any other part of it, that it cannot be matter of surprise that among them were many men whose position and other qualifications entitled them to commissions in the Regiments raised. The fact is that white from other parts there had been individuals who had Emigrated before the breaking out of the War, from Glengarry there had been a very considerable portion of the Clan, all at one time, settling in the same place, of the same name and religious and political faith, and at their head many persons of station and education, and all, without a solitary exception, taking up arms in defence of a principle binding upon their consciences, and in defence of which they were bound, if necessary, to die. large, indeed, was the proportion of the Glengarry people in comparison with others that to that fact is due undoubtedly, the name given to the County. And that alone, if no other reason existed, would constitute a sufficient one for the mention of there names. I would however, gone most carefully over Lord Rochester's list and other sources of information, and the only other names of Commissioned Officers that I can find who settled in Glengarry are those of Major Gray, Lieutenants Sutherland and McMartin, of the King's Royal Regiment of New York; the Rev. Mr. Bethune, Chaplain of the Eighty-Fourth Regiment, and Captain Wilkinson, of the Indian Branch of the Service. There were, of course, many commissioned officers of other Scottish names, but they did not settle in Glengarry. Of the Frasers, for instance, there were four, but all of them settled in the neighborhood of what is now 8rockville.

It is also to be understood that of those mentioned above, several settled in Stormont and Dundas, and one in the County of Prince Edward, though the majority of them were identified with Glengarry, and, as I think the sequel will shew, served it and its people with sufficient fidelity and distinction to warrant the tribute paid to their memory by the mention of their name.

Such of the Scotch Loyalists as yet remained in Tryon County shortly afterwards left, Mr. Stone stating that early in the month of May, 1777:

"The residue of the Roman Catholic Scotch settlers in the neighborhood of Johnstown ran off to Canada, together with some of the Loyalist Germans, all headed by two men named McDonell, who had been permitted by General Schuyler to visit their families. The. fact that the wives and families of the absconding Loyalists were holding communication with them and administering to their subsistence on the outskirts of the settlements, had suggested their arrest and removal to a place of safety, to the number of four hundred—a measure that was approved by General Herkimer and his officers."

Such treatment of women and children, howler, was scarcely calculated to placate the Loyalists.

I could not attempt, within the limits I have laid down for my narrative, to enter at any length into the various events of the Revolutionary War, or to narrate at all circumstantially, even, those relating to the engagements in which Sir John Johnson and his Regiment—which, on its disbandment, principally contributed from among its officers and men the first settlers of our County, and has therefore for us the most interest—were engaged. This Regiment, with Butler's Rangers, and the Indians under Brant, harassed time and time again the northern part of New York, from that part of the State west of Albany, especially the Mohawk Valley, as well as Pennsylvania. They were evidently bound to have it out with their former neighbours, whom they regarded not only as traitors to the Sovereign, but doubtless also as the immediate cause of all the misfortunes which had fallen to their lot-—the loss of home, severance for years from kindred, imprisonment of friends, and death of others, personal indignities, with hardships, persecution and suffering unspeakable. Mr. Stone declares that:—

"No other section or district of country in the United States of the like extent, suffered in any comparable degree as much from the War of the Revolution as did the Mohawk; for mouth after month, for seven long years, were its towns and villages, its humbler settlements and isolated habitations, fallen upon by an untiring and relentless enemy, until, at the close of the Contest, the appearance of the whole district was that of widespread, heart-sickening and universal desolation. In no other section of the Confederacy were so many campaigns performed, so many battles fought, so many dwellings burnt, or so many murders committed. Those who were left at the return of peace were literally a people 'scattered and peeled.' So was the computation, two years before the close of the War, that one-third of the population had gone over to the enemy; that one-third had been driven from the country or slain in battle and by private assassinations, and yet among the inhabitants of the other remaining third, in June, 1783, it was stated at a public meeting held at Fort Plain, that there were three hundred widows and two thousand orphan children."

It was the Loyalist soldiers of these Regiments principally who under Colonel St. Leger, fought and won the Battle of Oriskany, on the 6th July, 1777, which was one of the severest, and, for the numbers' engaged. one of the most bloody Battles of the Revolution. In his despatch to General Bourgoyne, Colonel St. Leger stated that four hundred of the Americans were killed, amongst whom were almost all the principal leaders of Rebellion in that part of the country, including; their Commanded General Herkimer, who was a brave and distinguished Officer, with Colonels Cox, SeSber, Paris and others, while upwards of two hundred of them were taken prisoners. The British loss was also severe, falling principally on Sir John Johnson's and Butler's corps. St. Leger did not state the number of his own killed and wounded. Mr. Stone claims that their loss was as serious as that of the Ameriquts, but the statement does not appear to be borne out by the facts. One of the many Macdonells, a Captain in the Royal Regiment of New York, was killed and two of his brother officers desperately wounded, and Captains Wilson and Hare, of Butler's Rangers, killed. The Americans allege that the "Indians and Tories" behaved on this occasion with great cruelty to their prisoners, but to show the character of the evidence upon which there was so grave a charge, its only necessary to give a specimen and to bear in mind that the maker of the affidavit was vouched for by their historians as being "a respectable man, incapable of any designed misstatements of facts:—

"Moses Younglove, Surgeon of General Herkimer's Brigade of Militia, deposeth and saith: That being in the Battle of said Militia above Oriskany on the 6th of August last, towards the close of said Battle he surrendered himself prisoner to a savage, who immediately gave him up to a Sergeant of Sir John Johnson's Regiment; soon after which, a Lieutenant in the Indian Department came up, in company with several other Tories, when said Mr. Grinnis by name, drew his tomahawk at this deponent, and with a deal of persuasion was hardly prevailed on to spare his life. He then plundered him of his watch, buckles, spurs, &c. ; and other Tories, following his example, stripped him almost naked with a great many threats, while they were stripping and massacring prisoners on every side. That this deponent, on being brought before Mr Butler, Sr., who demanded of him what he was fighting for, to which this deponent answered, he fought for the liberty that God and nature gave him, and to defend himself and dearest connections from the massacre of savages.' To which Butler replied, 'You are a damned impudent rebel,' and so saying, immediately turned to the savages, encouraging them to kill him, and if they did not, the deponent and the other prisoners should be hanged on a gallows then preparing. That several prisoners were then taken forward toward the enemy's headquarters, with frequent scenes of horror and massacre, in which Tories were active as well as savages; and, in particular, one Davis, formerly known in Tryon County on the Mohawk River; that Lieutenant Singleton, of Sir John Johnson's Regiment, being wounded, entreated the savages to kill the prisoners, which they accordingly did, as nigh as this deponent can judge, six or seven."

That Isaac Paris, Esq., was also taken the same road, without receiving from them any remarkable insults, except stripping, until some Tories came up, who kicked and abused him: after which the savages, thinking he was a notable offender, murdered him barbarously; that those prisoners who were delivered up to the Provost Guards, were kept without victuals for many days, and had neither clothes, blankets, shelter nor fire; while the guards were ordered not to use my violence in protecting the prisoners from the savages, who came every day in large companies with knives, feeling the prisoners, to know who were fattest; that they dragged one of the prisoners out of the guard with the most lamentable cries, tortured him for a long time, and this deponent was informed, by both Tories and Indians, that they ate him, as appears they did another on an island in Lake Ontario, by bones found there nearly picked, just after they had crossed the lake with the prisoners; that the prisoners who were next delivered up were murdered in considerable numbers from day to day round the camp, some of them so nigh that their shrieks were heard that Captain Martin, of the batteaux men, was delivered to the Indians at Oswego on the pretence of having kept back some useful intelligence; that this deponent during his imprisonment, and his fellows, were kept almost without provisions, and what they drew were of the worst kind, such as spoilt pork, biscuit full of maggots and mouldy, and no soap allowed, or other method of keeping clean; and were insulted, struck, &c., without mercy by the guards, without any provocations given; that this deponent was informed by several Sergeants, orderly on General St. Leger, that twenty dollars were offered in general orders for every American scalp."

There can be little doubt but that on both sides there was much done that cannot be reconciled with the-methods-of modern warfare, but such apparent falsehoods as those to which the "reputable" Dr. Younglove deposed under oath bear their own reputation on their face. Even as late at the War of 1813, it was a favourite allegation of theirs that our Indians were encouraged to scalp, while it was proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the first scalp of the War vas taken by an American Officer at that—who boasted of it in a letter written to his wife which was found in his pocket when he was killed a day or two later.

Shortly after this, another expedition was despatched from Niagara to the Whig settlements in Pennsylvania under Colonel John Butler, who also had with him, in addition to his Rangers, about five hundred Mohawks under Brant. They entered the Valley of Wyoming through a gap of mountains near its northern extremity, took possession of two forts, Exeter and Lackawanna, also known as Fort Wintermoot, the former of which was burnt; Colonel Butler establishing his headquarters in the latter. He was shortly afterwards attacked by the Provincials under a namesake of his own—Colonel Zebulon Butler, and on the 3rd of July a very desperate battle was fought, which resulted in the total defeat of the Whigs, less than sixty out of four hundred of them escaping, amongst the dead being one Lieutenant-Colonel, one Major, ten Captains, six Lieutenants and two Ensigns. Those who survived, with the women and children of the neighbourhood, took refuge in Fort Wyoming. The following day its surrender was demanded, when Zebulon Butler made good his escape with such regular troops as he had with him, his subordinate, Colonel Dennison, entering into articles of capitulation with the British Commander, it being agreed that the Americans, upon being disarmed, the garrison demolished, public stores given up, and the property of "the people called Tories" made good, should be permitted to return peacefully to their farms, their lives and property being preserved. Colonel Butler, however, was unable to restrain his native allies, and scenes were enacted in the Valley almost equalling the outrages perpetrated shortly afterwards on the Indians in the Seneca country by the American forces under General Sullivan. Much fiction has, however, been written with regard to this affair by American writers, and is admitted to be false by Mr. Stone, such for instance as the account of the marching out of a large body of Americans from one of the Forts to hold a parley by agreement, and then being drawn into an ambuscade and all put to death, also that seventy Continental soldiers were butchered after having surrendered, while equally untrue is pronounced to be the story of the burning of houses, barracks and forts filled with women and children. The Poet Campbell, in his mawkish sentimentality entitled "Gertrude of Wyoming," has had much to say about "the monster Brandt" In connection with these events, but then Edmonstoun Aytoun, in the "Execution of Montrose," terms a Chief of the Campbell Clan, in whom they take great pride, "the monster-fiend Argyle." I suppose if Poets were allowed no license we would have no poetry

At the close of the War, the Mohawk tribe almost to a man, under Brant's leadership, quit their beautiful Valley and retired to Canada with the other loyalists. Brant was a Christian and a member of the Church of England. In 1786 he built a Church on the Grand River, wherein was placed the first "Church-going bell" that ever tolled in Upper Canada. Shortly before his death he built a commodious dwelling house for himself near Burlington Bay, where he died on the 24th November, 1807, aged sixty-four years and eight months, and after a painful illness borne with true Indian fortitude and Christian patience and resignation. Mr. Stone states that while his manner was reserved, as was customary with his people, nevertheless he was affable though dignified, on all occasions and in all society comporting himself as would be expected in a well-bred gentleman. His great quality was his strong, practical, good sense and deep and ready insight into character. He had a keen sense of humour and was an excellent conversationalist, while in letters he was in advance of some of the Generals against whom he fought and of even still greater military men who have flourished before his day and since. Though not without failings, they were redeemed by high qualities and commanding virtues; in business relations he was a model of promptitude and integrity; the purity of his private morals has never been questioned, and his house was the abode of kindness and hospitality. As a Warrior he was cautious, sagacious and brave, watching with sleepless vigilance for opportunities of action, and allowing neither dangers nor difficulties to divert him from his well-selected purpose. His constitution Was hardy, his capacity of endurance great, his energy untiring, and his firmness indomitable. On the occasion of his visits to Great Britain, he was treated by the Royal Family, the leaders of the Nobility and the Political chiefs with the most distinguished consideration. He had during the Revolutionary War made the personal friendship of several officers of high social station, among others being Earl Moira, afterwards Marquis of Hastings, who had served in America as Lord Rawdon, who presented him with his miniature, set in gold; General Sir Charles Stuart, a younger son of the Earl of Bute, and the Duke of Northumberland, who had as Lord Percy been on terms of intimate friendship with him, and with whom he maintained a correspondence until his death. Many of these letters are given by Mr. Stone in his ' Life of Brant," the Duke, himself by the way a warrior of the Mohawk Tribe by adoption, always addressing Brant as "My dear Joseph" and signing himself, "Your affectionate friend and brother, Northumberland Thorighwigeri," in which Indian title he rejoiced, and which had been conferred upon him by Brant himself. The name signified "The Evergreen Brake," a pretty conceit, indicating that a titled house never dies, like the leaves of this peculiar species of brake, in which, when the old leaf falls, the young is id fresh and full existence. Brant, on his part, fully aware of the customs of the great, always addressed His Grace as "My Lord Duke," signing himself, "Your Grace's faithful friend and brother warrior, Jos. Brant, Thayendanegea." The Earl of Warwick was another of his friends, and for whom he sat for his picture, as he had done for the Duke of Northumberland.

When presented at Court, he declined to kiss the King's hand, but with equal gallantry and address offered to kiss that of the Queen, which the kind-hearted Monarch tooki'n excellent part. He stood equally well in the graces of the Prince Regent, who took great delight in his company, and by whom he was frequently entertained. It was quite the mode to affect him, and the Carlton House set Fox, Sheridan and others, taking in this as in much else their due from "the first gentleman of Europe," lavished attention and civilities on him.

A laughable episode occurred at a fancy dress ball which was given during his stay in London. Brant attended the masquerade, which was got up on a scale of great splendour, and at the suggestion of Lord Moira dressed himself in the costume of his nation, wearing no mask, but painting one-half of his face. His plumes nodded proudly in his cap and his tomahawk glistened at his side, no character in all the brilliant pageant being more picturesque or attracting greater attention. Among others who were present was a Turkish diplomat of high rank, who scrutinized the .Chief very closely, and mistaking his rouge et noir complexion for a painted visor, took him by the nose, intending, probably, to remove the mask and have a look to see who was concealed thereunder! Brant, to carry out the joke, feigned intense indignation, raised his appalling war-whoop, which made the blood of the merry-makers curdle in their veins, flashed his tomahawk around the head of the terrified Turk, who doubtless was a remarkably "sick man" at that particular time, and left the swooning women under the impression that they would be the unwilling witnesses of the scalping of the poor Turk. The joke had been carried far enough, however, and the Mussulman was left in possession of his hair, the matter was explained, and the incident accounted quite the feature of the evening. Mr. Stone states that some of the London papers represented that Brant raised his weapon in serious earnest, having taken the freedom of the Turk for an intentional indignity, but this of course is ridiculous. Readers of Mr. John Gait's work, "The Steamboat,'' will remember another instance in which Printing House Square was imposed upon in connection with another Chief, not unknown to the Clansmen of Glengarry, when at the Coronation of George IV. a lady's hysterics at seeing a Highlander in full dress almost created a panic and the "Times," under the heading of "A Mysterious, Circumstance," absolutely gave the impression that it was a deep-laid Jacobite scheme for the destruction of the Royal Family.

But to resume.

Later in the summer, one of the Macdonells who had formerly lived in Tryon County, and according to Mr. Stone was a Loyalist Officer "distinguished for his activity," made a sudden irruption into the Schoharie settlements at the head of about three hundred Indians and "Tories," burning houses- and killing and making prisoners of such of the male inhabitants as came in their way, the American force in the fortress at Schoharie being afraid to come out.

Colonel Gansevoort, however, with a squadron of Cavalry, arrived to the assistance of his countrymen, and Macdonell and his men, having accomplished the object of their mission, returned to headquarters.


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