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SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 29: Mohawk Valley and Schenectady — 1701-1713.

[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 430-450 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. Some images have been relocated to the area in the text where they are discussed. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Contents | Biographies | Illustrations | Maps | Portraits

Go back to: Chapter 28 | ahead to: Chapter 30

Queen Anne's War — Building of the Second Reformed Dutch Church of Schenectady, 1703 — Building of Queen Anne's Fort at Schenectady, 1704 — Five Mohawk chiefs accompany Colonel Peter Schuyler to London — Colonel Nicholson's expedition against Canada stopped by failure of the British-American naval expedition, 1711 — Building of Fort Hunter, 1711 — Schenectady ceases to be the frontier outpost of the province of New York — Palatines settle along the Schoharie, 1712.

The best interests of the Province of New York suffered a severe blow in the death of Lord Bellomont in March, 1701. He had proved one of the best of our Colonial executives. When Bellomont died, Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan was in the Barbadoes, and the vacancy and the question as to who should be Acting-Governor started the old quarrel anew between the aristocratic and the democratic parties, represented by the Leislerians and the anti-Leislerians, in reality the Whig and Tory divisions of a later day. Nanfan returned to New York in May and there was a lull in this political quarrel, which, in reality, extended from Leisler's accession in 1689, to the beginning of the Revolutionary war in 1775, a period of 86 years during which there were but few lulls in this age-old conflict between liberty and privilege.

On July 10, 1701, a most important council was held at Albany between the Iroquois and Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan. The Five Nations claimed a great tract of land on the north and south shores of Lakes Ontario and Erie, by right of conquest from the Hurons. Nanfan describes this tract as 800 miles long and 400 miles broad. Its transfer was designed to forestall French claims but, of course, New France looked with derision upon such pretensions and transactions, particularly as they affected Canadian territory. England gave $4,000 for presents for the Indians and $12,500 for strengthening the Albany and Schenectady forts and for the fort in the Onondaga country, which the jealousy of the Albany merchants prevented building.

In 1701, the Schenectady Reformed Dutch Church society petitioned Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan for permission to circulate a subscription paper in the Province, in order to secure funds for building a new church. The subscription was granted and the appeal met with a ready response.

Robert Livingston, in 1701, petitioned the Board of Trade for a removal of the restrictions on the Indian trade which confined it to the City of Albany. Livingston wished such transactions to be thrown open to all people and all communities. Such action would have boomed business at Schenectady which was a natural Indian trading place, being at the foot of Mohawk River navigation. Schenectady was greatly hampered and its growth retarded by the narrow Provincial policy which gave a virtual monopoly of the Indian trade to the Albany merchants and which imposed severe penalties for trading with the Indians at Schenectady, where nevertheless it was carried on clandestinely. Livingston had been secretary of the City of Albany but, as he was a notoriously selfish and self-seeking person, his petition was not actuated by any broad or liberal policy but probably because he was not then one of the trading ring at Albany. The trade restrictions thus favoring Albany over Schenectady continued until 1727, when a suit in court ended this favoritism and the people of the town on the Mohawk then could trade openly rather than covertly.

August 4, 1701, a great peace council was held in Montreal between the Iroquois, the French and the western Indians, where the Iroquois pledged neutrality between the French and the English. The Confederates, including the Mohawks, continued neutral during the greater part of the war between England and France which began in 1702. Their position in this regard helped to keep the Province free from invasion during the War of the Spanish Succession, known in America as Queen Anne's war. However, several futile blows were directed against New France through New York, during the long war which now ensued.

Louis XIV had acknowledged William as king of England by the treaty of Ryswick, in 1689. When James II died in France in 1701, Louis proclaimed James, a son of the late king, as the rightful monarch of England. The English Parliament had settled the Crown on Queen Anne, a daughter of James, as King William was without heirs. The English nation also objected to the act of Louis in placing his grandson, Philip of Aragon, on the Spanish throne. The death of William III, in March, 1702, marked the passing of one of England's greatest rulers, as well as the beginning of war, once more between England and France. Queen Anne ascended the throne and the triple alliance between England, Holland and the German Empire, against France, was now renewed. As usual the conflict extended to the English and French colonies in America. New York, because of Iroquois neutrality, suffered but little, while New England was severely ravaged by the French and their Indian allies.

From the ending of King William's war in 1698, to the beginning of the Old French war, in 1744, the Province of New York, had a half-century of fruitful peace from which it greatly profited. This was particularly true of the Albany-Schenectady district which had always been the first to suffer in war, because of its exposed position on the frontier between New France and New York. This period was of great value in thus building up a strong border section which was subsequently a great and deciding factor in the French wars as well as in the Revolution.

In 1702 Queen Anne appointed her uncle, Sir Edward Hyde, to be Governor of New York. The Leisler party then controlled the Province but, with Hyde's accession, the anti-Leislerians or the aristocratic party came into power. Hyde was a son of Lord Clarenden and was called Lord Cornbury by courtesy. He was as worthless as Bellomont was good. "He was a libertine and knave who cursed the Province with his presence and misrule about seven years. He was a bigot and persecuted all denominations of Christians outside of the Church of England. He embezzled the public money and, on all occasions, was the persistent enemy of popular freedom and common justice." — (Lossing). It was such misrule by the many incompetent English colonial officials, — often petty political favorites like the despised Cornbury — which prepared the minds of the people of New York for the eventual idea of complete national independence.

In 1702, the Reformed churches of Kings County attempted to gain the consent of Governor Cornbury to the transfer of Dominie Freeman from Schenectady to Long Island. Evidently the worthy Schenectady dominie had allied himself with the people's party because Cornbury wrote, in reply to this request, that "Mr. Bar. ffreeman has misbehaved himself, by promoting and encouraging the unhappy division among the people of this province." Cornbury evidently wanted such a sturdy opponent of misgovernment kept as far away as possible and so had him retained at the frontier post of Schenectady, greatly to the advantage of its people and district. In 1703, the elders and deacons of Schenectady petitioned Governor Cornbury that "Midwout (Flatbush), the Bay, New Utreght and Brockland (Brooklyn)" be prevented from taking Dominie Freeman from Schenectady. This petition was signed by Claes Wirbessen (Lawrense Vander Volgen), elder; Daniel Jansen (Van Antwerpen) deacon; Johannes Glen, deacon; Isack Swits, elder; Jan Vrooman, elder; Claes Van Patten, deacon. The petition was "rejected" in council.

The first church of 1684 had been burned in the massacre of 1690. After that, when the town was rebuilt, such church services as were held in Schenectady, were conducted in the blockhouse at the corner of Church and State streets, which is referred to, in a deed of 1692, as "'t blok huys (te weten de kerche)," the translation, from the Dutch, being "the blockhouse designed for a church." This place was too small and unfit for use as a church according to the petition of the church officials for permission to raise funds for a new church building, which had been granted by Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan in 1701. The coming of Dominie Freeman had doubtless stimulated the building of this second church which was completed about 1703.

The second Schenectady Reformed Dutch Church was erected upon the site of the first one, at the junction of Church, Water and State streets. It measured 56 feet north and south, and 46 feet, east and west. The Church burial ground adjoined the building on the west and was 15 by 56 feet. Rev. Thomas Barclay speaks of the church as "convenient and well built."

In the summer of 1705, Rev. Barnhardus Freeman accepted the call of the Kings County churches and left Schenectady, much to the sorrow of his flock and of the Mohawks, to both of whom he had much endeared himself.

In the ten years, from 1705 until 1715, the Schenectady church was without a regular minister, being supplied by the dominies of Albany and other towns. Pearson says "Between the years 1705 and 1715, Dominies Johannes Lydius and Petrus Van Driesen of Albany, Petrus Vas of Kingston, and Gualterus Du Bois of New York, made 24 visits to Schenectady, baptizing 152 children, of whom 19 were Indians. In all this time, the records show but one new member added to the church." Rev. Thomas Barclay, chaplain of the fort at Albany, also preached occasionally at Schenectady, in the Dutch Church, where he had the Dutch families, the few English and the soldiers of the garrison as a congregation.

In 1703, the population of Albany County (including Schenectady township) was 2,273. It had been 2,016 in 1689 and had fallen to 1,459 in 1697, at the end of the disastrous King William's war. Most of this population was gathered in a region within thirty miles of Albany. This district had taken but five years to repair the damage of the first terrible conflict between New France and the American Colonies, in which the massacre of Schenectady in 1690 had been one of the most dreadful features.

One of the earliest patents of land in the Mohawk Valley west of Schenectady township was that issued to Geraldus Cambefort, (also spelled Camfort and Comfort) in 1703. Cambefort lived in Schenectady prior to 1690. He bought land from the Mohawks "boven Kaquarrione" (Kinquariones) and in 1703, was granted a patent for the same. This farmland lay between Kinquariones and Cranesville. In 1707 Cambefort sold the land to Karel Hansen Toll, who conveyed it to his son-in-law, Johannes Van Eps. The famous Van Eps River and Turnpike tavern was built on this land, just west of the rocky point of Kinquariones. In 1924, this with other land was known as the Van Epps-Patterson farm. The Van Epps homestead was then still in the possession of the family after an ownership of over two centuries. In 1706, another patent for land in the present town of Amsterdam, Montgomery County, was granted to Ebenezer Wilson and John Abeel.

In 1704, the blockhouses of the Schenectady stockade were abandoned and a new fort was erected at the east angle of the palisade. This was called "Queen's New Fort," from Queen Anne, then reigning in England. Later it became the "Old Fort," to the people of Schenectady and many traditions and legends of early Schenectady cluster about this old-time fortification. It is generally referred to today as "Queen's Fort." A statue of an Indian warrior marks the site of this third fortification built at Schenectady.

[Photo: Indian Statue. (commonly known in Schenectady as Lawrence the Indian)]

As first built, Queen's New Fort was a double or triple stockade, 100 feet square, with bastions or blockhouses at the angles. The fort was reconstructed in a more substantial manner in 1735, then being rebuilt on a stone foundation.

At the time of the construction of Queen's Fort, in 1704, the western stockade of Schenectady was removed to the banks of the Binnekill, so that the land lying between present Washington Street and the shores of this channel of the Mohawk, was brought within the new palisaded limits of the town.

At the time Queen's Fort was built in Schenectady, a new fort was built at Canastagioene (Niskayuna) by Maas Rykse Van Vranken, for which he presented a bill for 12 pounds. The lower Mohawk in 1704 was defended by three forts, at Schenectady, Niskayuna and Half Moon (Waterford), with a garrison of twenty men at each fort.

At some time, during Queen Anne's war, the log farmhouse of Hendrick Frey at present Palatine Bridge was palisaded, fortified and strengthened and occupied by an English garrison. "Frey's" was the most western settlement along the Mohawk and Fort Frey now became the most western outpost during this long war of twelve years which, however, did not seriously affect our Valley.

New York was relieved of the malodorous Cornbury, when John, Lord Lovelace, was appointed governor in 1708. He found the Province strongly democratic in its political sympathies, the "vices of the late governor had disciplined them to the exercise of resistance to oppression and to aspire to self-government, and secured to them the exercise of rights which might have been postponed for many years." (Lossing.) In the political alignment of the time, Schenectady seems to have been generally democratic or Whig in its attitude, while Albany influences frequently placed that city in the camp of the aristocrats or Tory party. When it came to the final lineup, at the beginning of the Revolution, the majority of the people of both towns sided with the patriots. The Dutch heritage of liberty of the people of Albany and Schenectady made this section one of the leaders of liberty in the Colonies.

What Holland Dutch settlement was to the lower Mohawk Valley, in the latter half of the Seventeenth Century, Palatine German settlement of the Schoharie and middle and western Mohawk Valleys was in the first quarter of the Eighteenth Century. The Palatines were rendered homeless and destitute by the many wars caused by the ambition and vanity of Louis XIV. Their country was the Palatinate of the Rhine and it shares with Belgium the distinction of being "the cockpit of Europe." Driven from their Rhineland homes by a devastating warfare which mercilessly killed and burned, the Palatines moved down the Rhine and found refuge in Holland, the one safe haven then for the persecuted and oppressed in all Europe. From the Netherlands, many of these German refugees gradually emigrated to England. This migration continued in increasing numbers until the English found these destitute immigrants becoming a considerable burden, as they had to be provided for. Plans were accordingly made for settling these Palatine Protestants in the Province of New York, and permanent settlements were eventually made by them on the Hudson and in the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys. From these places, many Palatines found their way to Pennsylvania, where they became the "Pennsylvania Dutch." The first Palatine settlement in the American Colonies was made at Newburgh on the Hudson, in the year 1708. This was also the first German settlement in New York State. Fifty-five Palatines, under the leadership of the Rev. Joshua Kockerthal, located on the Quassaick Creek where they remained until 1747, when the majority of them moved away. The city of Newburgh probably takes its name from the fact that the rulers of the Lower Palatinate of the Rhine were then of the house of Neuberg. The main population elements of the Eighteenth Century Colonial Mohawk Valley (including the Schoharie) were Holland Dutch and Palatine German and the details of their coming to America are of the greatest importance to our story. While the language of our Valley Palatines was German their characteristics were not generally typical of the German people of today and their racial stock was undoubtedly somewhat mixed, due to their location on the ancient borderland between Gaul and Germany.

In 1709, the influence of the governors of New York and Pennsylvania had already induced many of the Five Nations to abandon their attitude of neutrality and ally themselves with the English. English forts were planned at Lake George and Crown Point and posts were built on Wood Creek, which formed the water connection between the head of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. An invasion of Canada by land and sea was planned in this year, in which the people of New York engaged with enthusiasm. The Assembly appointed commissioners to procure the necessary war materials and issued bills of credit to cover the expenditures. These bills were New York's first paper money. Colonel Schuyler had secured the friendship of most of the Five Nations, who were engaged to make canoes for this invasion. A number of batteaux and over 100 canoes were built. It is said that 600 Iroquois were employed in this work and that the Albany officials supported 1,000 of their wives and children at that place during this period. An army of 1,600 men was raised by the provinces of New York and New Jersey which mobilized at Albany. Colonel Francis Nicholson, who was New York's lieutenant-governor under Andros, was commander-in-chief of this army, which was the largest yet raised in the American Colonies for the conquest of France. Nicholson led his men from Albany in June and reached the head of Lake Champlain early in August, where the force halted to await tidings of the fleet which was to be sent from England to cooperate with the army in the assault on Montreal and Quebec. The expedition was doomed to the failure which attended all attempts to conquer Canada, through New York, up to the final successful expedition under Amherst, which passed through the Mohawk Valley in 1760.

After promising New York the support of a royal fleet for the reduction of Quebec, the English government, as usual, failed to support her overseas dominions, although the conquest of New France was the most important matter confronting the English people. New England raised an army for the assault of Quebec which waited at Boston all summer. Instead of striking a vital blow at France in her American stronghold, England's rulers sent her fleet to Portugal. When the American and British troops at Lake Champlain (including the militia of Albany and Schenectady) received the disheartening news they reluctantly gave up their plan of conquest and returned to Albany and thence to their respective stations. An expedition which promised much had again fizzled, due to the stupidity of the English government and the people of New York were again embittered against their overseas rulers. At almost any time, since the English conquest of New York in 1664, the English government could have conquered Canada, by a well-directed land and sea campaign. A jealous attitude toward the growing strength and importance of the American Colonies probably influenced the English rulers to withhold the decisive blows which would have won for them a new empire. England's military and naval bungling, combined with the greed and incompetence of many of her governors, and their stupid disregard for the rights of the people — all of these factors added to the later policy of "taxation without representation" influenced the minds of the American people, through the long years of Colonial government and misgovernment, to gradually turn to independence as the only solution of their troubles. The Stamp Act and other obnoxious pre-Revolutionary legislation were the final causes of the break with England but the beginning of the break dated far back and was accentuated by a multitude of contributory causes, among which the bungling of such expeditions as that of 1709 were factors of vital influence. These futile expeditions gave the Colonists experience in the raising and handling of troops without which the Revolution would have been impossible.

The Five Nations, as previously mentioned had made a treaty with the French in 1701, by which they pledged neutrality between the French and the English, which policy they maintained up to the latter years of Queen Anne's war. Their attitude toward the English cause had become somewhat lukewarm on account of this policy of aloofness, for which the neglect of the English government was also largely responsible. The Provincial government now decided to renew the old close alliance between the Five Nations and the English by the unusual method of taking some of the leading Iroquois chieftains on a trip to England, hoping to so impress them with the might and glory of old England that they would once more hold fast to the chain of friendship with their ancient allies. It is a curious fact that the Five Nations and especially the Mohawks, seem to have always had more sympathy and understanding with Americans of Hollander stock than with those of English birth and ancestry. A study of the psychology of the three peoples mentioned would give a key to the situation, but it is a subject too extended for consideration here. Likewise, the Mohawks seem to have accepted the Reformed Dutch religion of the Holland Dutch settlers much more readily than any other. There was a mutual understanding between our Mohawks and the Holland Dutch of Schenectady and Albany, which is one of the most curious facts of American history and one of the most decisive factors in deciding the destinies of America. Sir William Johnson inherited the good will existing between the Mohawks and the English which had been generated by Van Curler, Schuyler and a number of lesser people of Albany and Schenectady. Governor Lovelace selected Colonel Peter Schuyler of Albany to conduct the Iroquois chiefs to London, because of the friendship and respect in which Schuyler was held by the Mohawks and other tribes of the Five Nations. They called him "Broeder Quider" (Brother Peter), as "Quider" was as near as the Indians could come to the pronunciation of Peter. The Iroquois said of Schuyler that "he never told a lie and he always thought before he spoke."

While Nicholson's ill-fated Canadian expedition was in preparation, an invitation was extended to the chiefs of the Five Nations to make the trip to London. It was accepted only by the Mohawks whose closeness to Albany and Schenectady had kept them more in alliance with the English than was the case with the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas. The more remote position of these four Confederate tribes laid them open to the crafty diplomacy of New France, which was always at work among them, through French agents, traders and priests. This Canadian diplomacy, however, was constantly combated by the agents the English sent out from Albany.

The five Mohawk chiefs selected by our Valley Iroquois consisted of King Hendrick, Brant and three others. Brant was the father of the famous Joseph Brant, Mohawk war chief of the Revolution. The five chiefs agreed to make the trip on the condition that Colonel Schuyler accompany them. Schuyler and his Mohawks sailed for London in December, 1709. The British government paid the expenses of this savage embassy, which was a great success from every point of view, with the exception of the death of one of the Mohawks on the voyage to England. Queen Anne presented the Mohawk chieftains with resplendent court costumes and received the party several times at court. She offered knighthood to Schuyler, but, with the spirit of true American democracy, he courteously declined the honor. Hendrick had his portrait painted in his court costume, and his likeness is one of the most interesting features of this historically important mission.

The visit of these Iroquois warriors to England produced an immense amount of interest among the English people, particularly in the great city of London. "Multitudes followed the dusky monarchs wherever they went. Their portraits soon appeared in the print-shops. The queen caused them to be covered with scarlet mantles edged with gold. They were feasted at banquets; witnessed military reviews; saw a part of the mighty British navy; in a word, they were shown the glories of the kingdom and were deeply impressed by the evidences of British power. They were conveyed to the palace of St. James to stand before the queen and they gave belts of wampum and signed their totems to documents as pledges of their friendship and fidelity." (Lossing.) [i.e., Benson John Lossing, The Empire State: A Compendious History of the Commonwealth of New York]

Schuyler's mission was crowned with success. The English ministers were aroused from their apathy and listlessness concerning the safety of the American Colonies and the English public was generally interested in America. It was accomplished by the somewhat theatrical procedure of a constant display of the far-famed Mohawks before a public which had generally but little appreciation of the land of their cousins beyond the Atlantic. This novel method of arousing public interest succeeded where more dignified ones would have utterly failed. It was good advertising and stamps Schuyler as a good advertiser. The new British ministry now authorized a campaign for the purpose of conquering Canada. Henry, Lord Bolingbroke, the Secretary of State, planned a naval expedition for 1711, which was to move against Quebec in cooperation with a land force of American militia which as usual, was to move from Albany against Montreal. The naval expedition is said to have been a scheme of the English ministers, Bolingbroke, Moore and Harcourt, to cheat the British treasury out of 20,000 pounds, which was a goodly amount of graft for those days. However, the indications are that this grand military and naval coup was planned and engineered by a lot of incompetents and court favorites in order to compete with Marlborough. The invasion was planned on the same lines as those of 1691 and 1709 and was equally a failure.

The four Mohawk chiefs who returned with Schuyler in 1710, so impressed the Five Nations that the great majority became once again pro-English in their feelings. Queen Anne sent medals to all the Five Nations. French agents threatened the Oneidas and Onondagas with destruction if they sided with the English and those tribes now asked for the building of an English fort in their countries. They also begged for the ending of the liquor traffic among them which, they said, was destroying their people.

The Mohawk Valley continued to be spared the horrors of war and, in general, its people continued their peaceful pursuits and the resettling of lands abandoned during King William's war. By 1710, the Schenectady district had more than regained what it had lost in the distastrous decade from 1689 to 1698. New settlers came into the lower Mohawk Valley and the lands westward to present Amsterdam, sixteen miles west of Schenectady, were occupied and cultivated prior to 1710. At that time, doubtless other pioneers were awaiting the ending of hostilities, in order to move westward into "the Maquas country," there to establish themselves upon fertile flatlands bought of the now weakened tribe. All of the settlements in the lower Mohawk Valley, from the outlet of the river at Waterford to the Willigen below present Amsterdam, were then located on or close to the river flats.

Rev. Thomas Barclay, who was the chaplain for the English fort at Albany, preached occasionally at Schenectady as previously mentioned. Under date of September 26, 1710, he wrote the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts" as follows:

"At Schenectady I preach once a month, where there is a garrison of forty soldiers, besides about sixteen English and about one hundred Dutch families. They are all of them my constant hearers. I have this summer got an English school erected amongst them, and, in a short time, I hope their children will be fit for catechising. Schenectady is a village situated upon a pleasant river, twenty English miles above Albany, and the first castle of the Mohawks is twenty-four miles above Schenectady. In this village there has been no Dutch minister these five years and there is no probability of any being settled among them. There is a convenient and well-built church, which they freely give me the use of. I have taken the pains to show them the agreement of the articles of our church with theirs. I hope in some time to bring them not only to be constant hearers but communicants."

June 14, 1710, marked the arrival of the greatest number of Palatine Germans which reached the shores of the Province of New York. The passage from England was a long and severe one and 470 died on the voyage. The remaining 3,000 who landed formed the largest body of immigrants to reach the shores of America up to that date, and, probably, prior to the Revolution. These Palatines were settled on the east shore of the Hudson near present Germantown, and, on the west shore of that river, near present Saugerties. The Palatines who settled on the Schoharie and at Stone Arabia, in 1712, came from this large immigration. For many years the Palatines observed June 14th as the day on which they arrived in the land of civil and religious freedom. Despite the attitude of contempt, in which they were often held by members of the aristocratic party, the newly-arrived Palatines formed a powerful bulwark of Protestantism and democracy within the Province of New York. With the Palatines came the new Governor of New York, Robert Hunter, a Scotchman.

In September, 1710, a fleet with militia left Boston in connection with an English fleet bearing troops. This expedition sailed for Port Royal, Acadia, which the combined American and British forces captured from the French. The name of Port Royal was changed to Annapolis in honor of Queen Anne, and Acadia became Nova Scotia.

Meanwhile preparations had gone forward for the invasion of Canada in 1711. Admiral Sir Hovenden Walker commanded a fleet of warships, transports and storeships, which bore marines and redcoats or regulars (under General "Jack" Hill, a court favorite) to the port of Boston early in the summer of 1711. On the 10th of August, Walker's fleet left Boston with 7,000 regulars and Colonial American militiamen, bound for Quebec. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut had raised a militia army of 3,400 Americans who mobilized at Albany where they were joined by 600 warriors of the Five Nations. The army of 4,000, under command of Nicholson, marched from Albany for Lake Champlain. Never had an American invasion of Canada been better planned or started with such prospect of success. The combined force was greater than any which ever had been organized in the Colonies and the army which marched forth from Albany to the projected conquest of hated New France, must have seemed a host indeed to the Americans and Iroquois, who had previously gone forth in bands of a few hundreds. The forces under General Hill and Colonel Nicholson were overwhelmingly superior to those of Canada. The expedition was doomed to the usual failure and, as usual, through no fault of the American participants, who, as usual, constituted a majority of the military forces. Another element of friction between the Americans and their English commanders was the utter refusal of the latter to heed the advice of the Americans, who were generally informed as to the physical conditions of these military and naval expeditions. Not only were American officers rated inferior in rank to the British commanders of the same grade, but their advice and experience were studiously ignored. A disaster, similar to the later ones at Forts Duquesne and Ticonderoga on land, was now staged by the incompetent Walker on the sea. "Walker lost eight of his transports and nearly one thousand men among the rocks at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River."

Admiral Walker and General Hill now abandoned their campaign, in the most cowardly fashion, and sailed with the British troops back to England, while the American force sailed for Boston. The Americans on Lake Champlain, received tidings of this disaster, instead of the expected order to advance. Nicholson and his Americans raged at this bitter news. For the third time, the militia of New York had gathered, at great expense and trouble; had suffered hardship and privation with a ready spirit, in order to finally extinguish the French menace at their north and thus give an opportunity for civilized development. These Americans of New York had been aided by their countrymen from other Colonies. Three times they had pushed on to Lake Champlain, ready for the further long and strenuous voyage or march to the St. Lawrence. Three times they had been compelled to turn back without striking a blow, because of the failure of the water expeditions in the St. Lawrence — the first as a result of an American's incompetence and the last two times because of the neglect of England and the stupidity of her commanders. It is small wonder that the American people finally decided to manage their own naval and military, as well as civil affairs.

The Albany County militia, including that from the Schenectady district, was engaged in Nicholson's expedition.

For years the Five Nations had asked for forts in their country to aid them in repelling the attacks of the French and their Indian allies. They had been promised such fortifications many times by the Provincial government, always without material result. At last a beginning was made in a scheme of defense for the Iroquois country by the building of Fort Hunter, in 1711-1712, at the junction of the Mohawk and Schoharie rivers at the site of the lower Mohawk castle of Iconderoga, 21 miles west of Schenectady.

The building of Fort Hunter, as well as the later forts constructed along the Schenectady-Oswego water route, had most important results aside from the military program and the policy of Indian protection involved. The building of Indian forts to protect the Iroquois castles proved more injurious to the national and tribal interests of the confederated Five Nations than the prior Provincial policy of neglect. The trader, the land grabber, the liquor seller came to the fort or its neighborhood, as well as the English redcoats. Following them came the real element of danger to the Indians — the farmer looking for land on which to permanently settle, cut down the forest and change the wilderness into the fruitful farmlands of a civilized community. Left alone to battle with their enemies, the Iroquois were in great danger, but the menace to their existence was far greater, when the protecting soldiers they desired had finally arrived. In fact, the decadence of Iroquois power can be approximately dated from the construction of Fort Hunter in 1711. Prior to this historically important event, the Mohawks were virtually undisturbed in their control of the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys west of the Schenectady district settlements, which extended to about the eastern limits of the present city of Amsterdam. The only permanent settler, in the Valley farther west, was Hendrick Frey at present Palatine Bridge. Following Fort Hunter's building, the westward settlement of the Mohawk Valley progressed rapidly, and the Mohawks were soon despoiled of a great part of their Valley lands. The tribe now was greatly diminished in numbers and power by the long wars in which they had been engaged, and which had been largely instrumental in the protection of the Province of New York from invasion by the French and Canadian Indians. Our Valley Caniengas were no longer a bar to the white settlement of our Valley, as they had been during the seventeenth century.

The contract for the erection of Fort Hunter was signed by Governor Hunter on October 11, 1711. The fortification was 150 feet square with a wall twelve feet high made of logs a foot square and pinned together at the corners. Within this enclosure there was a two-story blockhouse with double loop holes and a chapel twenty-four feet square and one story high. The work was to be completed by the following July for 1,000 pounds. Garret Symonce, Barent Vrooman, Hendrick Vrooman, John Wemp, and Arent Van Petten of Schenectady, took the contract to do the work.

[Photo: Queen Anne's Chapel Parsonage at Fort Hunter.]

The church was built of stone and was called Queen Anne's Chapel, being furnished by the queen shortly after its completion and provided by her with a communion service of silver. Attached to it was a glebe of 300 acres of good farm land on which a two-story stone parsonage was built. The fort, church and parsonage were completed in 1712. Rev. Thomas Barclay, chaplain of the Albany fort, was the first chaplain of Queen Anne's chapel of Fort Hunter.

Fort Hunter was placed under command of Lieut. John Scott, who bought a large tract of land of the Mohawks. He secured a patent for this land, consisting of 1,500 acres, extending west from Aurieskill along the south bank of the Mohawk. Scott's son secured a patent, on June 23, 1725, for 1,100 acres of land lying west of his father's land and extending westward to the site of the present village of Fultonville. Others were then also engaged in securing lands from the Mohawks and the parcelling out of the rich Mohawk flats and the wilderness, which stretched northward and southward from the river's banks now proceeded rapidly.

In 1712, the Palatines made their first settlements along the Mohawk and Schoharie rivers. Peter Vrooman, of Schenectady, was the first Dutch pioneer of the Schoharie Valley, so far as known. He moved from Schenectady thence about 1715 and settled at a point called Vrooman's near present Schoharie village. The Palatines were much displeased with the situation they were in on the Hudson, where they were employed in producing tar and ship stores for the British navy. They were farmers and wanted land to develop. In 1712, a great part of them removed to Albany and from there sent scouts into the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys to buy lands of the Indians if they found the lands desirable. The Palatine scouts returned with favorable reports and the German pilgrims made an exodus from Albany to their promised land. The greater part of these Palatines went into the Schoharie, while a few families moved over into the present Stone Arabia section and made the first Palatine settlement along the Mohawk. The Palatine settlements of the Mohawk and Schoharie valleys were as important historically as the Holland Dutch settlements at Schenectady and along the lower Mohawk River section, and they are, therefore, given a detailed description in the following chapter.

Another step in the westward settlement of the Mohawk Valley was the taking up of a considerable tract of land by two brothers named Hansen in the present town of Mohawk, Montgomery County. The Hansens secured a patent for this land in 1713 and they are the first known settlers of the township of Mohawk. They were of Holland Dutch extraction, as were most of the early settlers of this township.

The construction of Fort Hunter had the important effect of opening a wagon road from Albany clear through to the new fort, a distance of nearly 40 miles. The road extended over 21 miles west of Schenectady and about 45 miles along the south shore of the river, westward from its mouth at Cohoes. Such a beginning gave the south shore highway a start along the Mohawk which made it the main route westward for nearly ninety years.

If Fort Hunter had been built upon the north shore of the Mohawk, doubtless the north side highway would have been the one to take precedence throughout the eighteenth century. The garrison of the fort, together with the people naturally attracted hither, added to the Mohawk population of the lower castle, made Fort Hunter a considerable population center. Schenectady now was no longer the western frontier outpost of New York, after a career as such of half a century. The border had been pushed westward another twenty miles and the course of American empire, halted by twenty years of warfare, again took up its westward way — along the Mohawk River.

In 1713, the Tuscaroras, an Iroquois tribe, joined the confederacy of the Iroquois. After this accession the Five Nations became the Six Nations, although the Tuscaroras occupied a less powerful position than the five other Iroquois tribes. The Tuscaroras had attempted the extermination of the white settlers of North Carolina, but were severely beaten. The remnant of the tribe settled south of the Oneidas who gave them lands. Some of the Tuscaroras together with the greater part of the Oneidas sided with the Americans in the Revolutionary war.

[Photo: Glen-Sanders House, Scotia, 1713.]

[Photo: Glen-Sanders House Dining Hall.]

The building of one of the most famous houses of the Mohawk Valley marks the ending of this chapter and the interesting period which it covers. This is the Glen-Sanders house, built by Capt. Johannes Sanders Glen at Scotia in 1724. Glen's father, Alexander Lindsay Glen, was, so far as we know, the first white settler in the Mohawk Valley and his first house, built in 1658, was the first house constructed in the Valley by a white man, of which we have any record. The first Glen house was built of stone close to the river's bank and it was a strong defense for the time. In 1724 it had stood for over half a century and would probably be in existence today, had it not been for the fact that the Mohawk had been eating away its northern bank until the first Glen house threatened to tumble into the stream. Captain Glen then built the present large stone house a short distance to the northward of the first one. This Glen-Sanders house is one of the most interesting and important of the historic old stone houses of the Mohawk. In fact, the history of the Glen-Sanders homestead covers the entire story of the white man along the Mohawk, embracing as it does the period from the settlement of Alexander Lindsay Glen in 1658, until the present writing in 1924 — 266 years of occupancy by one family, which is probably equalled by few other American families. Capt. Johannes Sanderse Glen was born in 1648 and was the youngest son of Alexander Lindsay Glen. He married Annatie, daughter of Jan Peek, for his first wife. On her death, after 1691, Captain Glen married Diwer, daughter of Evert Wendel of Albany. Captain Glen had eight children by his first wife, two of them being boys named Jacob and Abraham. Captain Jacob bought his brother's interest in the estate, after the death of his father, Capt. Johannes Sanderse Glen, in 1731. The house and estate passed to Debora, only child of Captain Jacob. She married Johannes Sanderse of Albany, and hence the name, Glen-Sanders house. The house has today great interest aside from its importance as the site of first settlement by a white man in the Mohawk Valley. It is built of much of the older materials of the original stone house of 1658, including a characteristic double Dutch door at the end of the dining hall. An ancient round mahogany table stands in this hall, which was the very one from which French officers ate breakfast, on the morning of February 9, 1690, after their bloody night's work at Schenectady. There is much else of interest connected with this old mansion, which has suffered but little from the devastation of "alterations and improvements." A farm of 900 acres or more was connected with the Glen-Sanders house. Of all the families associated with the first settlement and early development of the Mohawk Valley none bore a more important part than the Glens. After the death of Arent Van Curler in 1677, Alexander Lindsay Glen became the leading citizen of Schenectady and his son, Capt. John Sanderse Glen, succeeded to his father's position. From the Glen settlement at Scotia in 1658, to the death of Capt. Johannes Glen in 1731 — a period of 73 years — the Glens, father and son, were important factors in the making of the history of the Mohawk Valley.

About the only evil which marked the accession of King William to the English throne was the beginning of an active slave trade in the Colonies. In 1709, New York City had its slave market at the foot of Wall Street. The traffic in slaves extended to Albany and Schenectady. Their numbers were small at first but increased until they were numerous along the Mohawk at the outbreak of the Revolution. Although they were generally kindly treated, they were held in absolute bondage and their masters were forbidden by law to set them free. Slavery continued in the Province and the State of New York, until it was abolished in 1827, although many slaveholders had freed their negroes before that date. Nearly all the large plantations along the Mohawk, had slaves, some numbering a score or more. They generally lived in log cabins adjoining their master's home. Mr. C. P. Sanders, owner of the Glen-Sanders house, in 1922, informed the writer that the slave quarters of the Glen-Sanders house consisted of a large stone building attached to the main structure. With the abolition of slavery, this part was removed, so that the house has stood practically as it is today for nearly a century.

The negro slaves of Colonial days along the Mohawk form a picturesque element of our history. They were generally well-behaved and generally well treated. It is a remarkable fact that the old slave population has largely died out along the Mohawk River.

In 1713, the Schenectady Dutch Church received a license from Governor Hunter to call a new minister. The church consistory then communicated with William Bancker, of Amsterdam, Holland (brother of Gerrit Bancker, one of the original Schenectady patentees), and Rev. Matthias Winterwyck of Dalphin, Holland. These negotiations resulted in Dominie Thomas Brouwer coming to Schenectady in 1714. Dominie Brouwer was a native of the province of Overyssell. He received a salary of 90 pounds, "a dwelling free of rent, fire wood at the door, a large garden and free pasture for two cows and a horse." The later history of the church belongs in succeeding chapters.

In 1714, the population of Schenectady township was 591, of whom probably 400 were in the village of Schenectady. It had taken twenty-five years to repair the damage caused by the massacre and burning of the town in 1690. Including the lower Mohawk Valley, the Palatines on the Schoharie and at Stone Arabia and the Holland Dutch in Maquaas' Land, the population of the Mohawk Valley must have been about 1,700 in 1714.

After the failure of the Canadian invasion of 1711, hostilities between the American Colonies and New France were suspended. Peace was finally concluded by the treaty of Utrecht, April 11, 1713. From 1713 to 1744, peace reigned between Canada and the Province of New York. These thirty years formed a fruitful period of settlement, building and civilization along the Mohawk. In this regard it forms one of the most important periods of our Valley history and one in which our Valley can be said to have assumed much of its present character, in a rudimentary way.

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