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DUMOND FAMILY AT PAKATAKAN

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     Having learned the truth a few years ago about what really happened on August 26, 1778,  the slander of the good name of my third great-grandfather, Harmonus Dumond, grew deeper and deeper into my heart, until it forced me to act to make the truth known. So, welcome to a web site dedicated to presenting as accurate an account of the death of Harmonus Dumond as may be possible at this time!
 
      I recently received words of encouragement from the author of the book about Major Thomas Posey who commander of the troops that killed Harmonus: "There is no doubt in my mind that Harmonus Dumond was everything you portray him to be, and that is why I feel so strongly that your mission of vindication would best be served by publishing a full account of his life, focusing particularly on his role as a patriot whose contribution to the cause was to live in a dangerous area among citizens apparently leaning to the Crown, and providing the Revolutionary authorities with information about the Tories and Indians operating in that area. The activities of such patriotic informers have not been widely reported by historians, and your research provides you with a uique opportunity to help fill that void in our country's history. I would be most interested in reading the final product of your work." (John Thornton Posey, author of GENERAL THOMAS POSEY, SON OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION)

It will be seen, on the MURDER OF HARMONUS DUMOND page of this site, that although Mr. Posey and I may not agree in our interpretation of the facts in this case, we do agree that the other side of the story should be told.

Most published accounts of the killing of Harmonus Dumond are incomplete, inaccurate, or both, telling only one side, or only a portion of the story. Some, I believe, have deliberately distorted the facts for their own purposes, which are usually, intended to glorify their particular "hero" in this event, or, at least, not to cast doubt on his heroics.

One of the recent accounts, in WAR IN SCHOHARY, by Edward A. Hagan (Middleburgh, 1980) gives the account this way: "The 26th of August, returning from a hunting trip, Hermanus Dumond was killed and John Barrow wounded on the flats near present day Arkvile (sic) in Delaware County. They mistook a patrol of Schoharie Militia for men belonging to the Tory Walter Butler. Refusing an order to halt, they were shot in an attempt to escape." (p. 14)

The statement by Mr. Hagan that Dumond and Barrow mistook the "Schoharie Militia for men belonging to the Tory Walter Butler" is accurate, as far as it goes.  But it excludes the fact that the Militia group was under the leadership of a Ranger commander,  Thomas Posey.  And it appears that this organization deliberately presented themselves as Walter Butler's Tories. Hagan is wrong in stating that "John Barrow [was] wounded," and that they were shot, upon "refusing an order to halt."  Dumond and Barrow did "halt" when commanded to do so, it was only after they had been questioned, and threatened, that they would be taken to "Butler," whom they suspected was the Tory Walter Butler, that they tried to escapt.  It is doubtful that Dumond and Barrow had any knowledge of William Butler, who had recently taken command of the troops of which the Posey Rangers and Schoharie Mititia were a part.  Hagan's use of distorted "facts' is only one of the many such interpretations in the years since that fateful day in 1778.

In 1991 Doris Yaple-Geist published THE YAPLE FAMILY OF AMERICA.  Many Yaple family members descend from lines of two daughters of Harmonus Dumond.  Anna and Nellie Dumond, married Yaple brothers, and moved to what was to become Ithaca, New York after the Revolutionary War, to become founding mothers and fathers of that community. This book, like most, gets the story of the death of Harmonus wrong in at least two respects when it reports: "It was on an occasion like this [disturbances on the frontier] that Harmonus Dumond [in a footnote it records: 'The father of Anna and Nellie Dumond, future wives of Christian and Philip Yaple.'] was shot August 26, 1778. He had returned from Hurley with John Burrow to secure a piece of grain. Having accomplished their purpose, they set out again to return to Hurley, and when about a mile from Dumond's former residence, they fell in with the Schoharie Guard. These mistaking Dumond and his companion for Tories called upon them to halt, which they refused to do. The Guard then fired upon them, and mortally wounded Dumond. His companion escaped unhurt. The soldiers were filled with sorrow when they learned their fatal mistake, but it was too late. Dumond died three days later, the 29th of August 1778, in Simon Van Waggoner's Hotel and was buried nearby in the clothes in which he had been shot." (page 25)

Although the errors in this account may seem small, and insignificant, they will probably lead to the repetition in nearly every genealogical report of the descendants, and will be propounded indefinitely, if they are not corrected.

In the first place, it was not "grain" that Harmonus Dumond was transporting back to Hurley, it was household goods. In the second place, the soldiers that met Harmonus and John did not mistake them for Tories and call upon them to halt. The soldiers may have suspected that they were Tories, because they were conditioned to suspect anyone they met to be British sympathizers, but the suspition was equal on both sides, and as John Burrow (Barrow) stated in his affidavit, he and Harmonus were certain that the soldiers were Tories. Further, the soldiers did not call upon these two men to "halt" -- which they refused to do, and therefore were shot at. As stated previously, Harmonus and John did halt as they were confronted by the soldiers.  They were questioned, and taken into custody. As was also stated above, it was only after the soldiers threatened to take their captives to "Butler," that they tried to escape, and Harmonus was shot, and John successfully escaped, to tell their side of the story. The soldiers, with the exception of two, later identified as Markle (Merkel) brothers, who had lived in Pakatakan, and knew Harmonus, were not "filled with sorrow." In fact the soldiers, and especially their officers, tried to justify the killing, and one of them -- and I suspect it was the commanding officer, Major Thomas Posey, returned to the Van Waggonen (Van Waggoner) house, threatened the dying Harmonus with a tomahawk, questioned him (apparently to gain, or "plant" verbal evidence to justify the action of his troops), and stole Harmonus' shoes, hat, and buckles from his clothes.

The second, and most recent account, published one year after the Yaple book, GENERAL THOMAS POSEY, SON OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, by John Thornton Posey (who, incidentally, is the third great-grandson of Thomas Posey, as I, Robert A. Rowe, am the third great-grandson of Harmonus Dumond) is a biography of the commander of the troops which entered Pakatakan on August 26, and killed Harmonus Dumond.  I am grateful to John Thornton Posey for bringing to my attention, through this book, the fact that the account of this incident is included in Papers of George Washington in the Library of Congress.  Previous to reading this book I was aware of the account only in the Papers of Governor George Clinton, in the published format.  The great benefit of the George Washington Papers is that they contain photocopies of the original hand-written letters, and are available on the internet, where they can be viewed and printed.  There are a few, slight, differences between the "original" hand-written records and the published version in the Clinton papers, but it appears that one or the other were the original and the other set was copied.

On this first page of this web site you will be able to read the various accounts in "History" books concerning this incident. On the page entitled THE MURDER OF HARMONUS DUMOND you will be able to read the documents, from Governor George Clinton's Papers, as well as view the actual documents in the Papers of General George Washington, concerning this event in American history; an example of the form of terrorism that occurred during the American Revolution.

There were actually two settlements in what was known as Pakatakan. Since the East Branch of the Delaware River has changed its course several times over the years it is difficult to pinpoint the settlement between Margaretville and Arkville where some of the early settlers lived.  The settlement made by Harmonus Dumond can be more accurately placed, at the intersection of what in now called Fair Street and Southside Road.  Below is a link to a transcription of the original deed to the property settled by Harmonus Dumond.

The surveyor of this tract was John Cantine, who also plays a part in the story of the death of Harmonus Dumond in 1778. Cantine started his military career as a Sargeant in the Kingston militia. During the Revolutionary War he was promoted to Major, then a Colonel and finally a General. At the time of the death of Harmonus Dumond he was a Colonel in the Kingston Militia, with the responsibility for patrolling the East Branch of the Delaware River, in what was then Ulster, now Delaware, County.  It was he who first communicated with Governor Clinton about what had happened in Pakatakan, just two days after Harmonus was shot. He reported: The guard [militia] from Shandakan having fetch Down the inhapitants of Pakatakan with Some of their Effects Returned on the Evening of the 26th Instant....

IN THE BEGINNING

"So vague and uncertain are the traditions of the French settlers that we will be led by this topic back only to the spring of 1763. During the fall and winter previous a party was formed in Hurley, Ulster county, N. Y. to explore the Delaware valley, and, if expedient , to make arrangements for emigrating thither with their families.

Four families made the experiment, and bought four farms on great lot No. 7, on the Middletown flats in 1763. The deeds are dated April 9th of that year, and the purchase price was twenty shillings per acre. Harmonus Dumond bought the farm across the river from Margaretville, and his brother, Peter Dumond, took a farm up the river, near the present residence of Elijah A. Olmsted. Johannes Von Woggoner settled part of the Cockburn farm. The farm is so called from William Cockburn, a surveyor, who was in the employ of the Livingstons in 1774, and received this fine farm of six hundred acres for a part of his compensation. He also in 1797 made the survey and map locating the line between Delaware and Ulster counties. This line was resurveyed officially in 1874 and the marked trees were them standing, on some of which the date was still legible."

"Peter Hendricks located on the farm now owned by Noah Dimmick. Hendrick's wife was a widow Kittle, and her son, Frederick Kittle, has been spoken of as the fifth early settler, but the fact is he came with his step-father at the age of sixteen years. This farm is generally known as the Kittle farm, and in this way: Mr. Hendricks made a will giving his son a musket, and his step-son the farm. It is believed that this family purchased of one of the French Canadians, who had returned after the French and Indian troubles had subsided. THE HISTORY OF DELAWARE COUNTY, 1797-1880, W.W. MUNSELL, 1880, THE TOWN OF MIDDLETOWN, p. 256.

SETTLEMENT AND DEATH OF HARMONUS DUMOND AT PAKATAKAN:

"Between 1763 and 1778 at least forty families from Shandaken, Marbletown and the vicinity of Kingston had settled on the East Branch of the Delaware River in what is now Delaware County. These families came over Pine Hill by the route subsequently adopted for the old Sopus Turnpike. Their houses were scattered along the river southerly down as far as Downsville. The names of the heads of these first families in the vicinity of Margaretville were Harmanus Dumond, Petrus Dumond, Johannes Van Waggenen, Peter Hendricks, Peter Burger, John Burrows, Johannes Deyo, Peter Hynpagh, Frederick Kittle, James Markle, Albertus Sluyter, Simon VanWagenen and William Yaple. The first four came in 1763 and were the first white settlers on the soil of Delaware County. The name applied to the settlement made by them was 'Pakataghkan,' as it was written on Sauthier's map of 1779, or "Paghatakan,' as it was written on subsequent maps. The name of the Indian Village one-half mile below the mouth of the Bushkill, was written by Ebenezer Wooster in 1749 as 'Pawcawtocking.' Cockburn's map of 1765, which shows a road from Marbletown up Esopus Creek, over Pine Hill and down 'The Tweed,' gives the name of the settlement as 'Paughquataughcan,' and on the map of the Public Road of 1791 it is written 'Poughquataughkan.' The Indian village was an Esopus village, and various spellings and meanings have been suggested by the Bureau of Ethnology, the latest being 'Pachgandikan,' a Lenape or Delaware word now said to be confined to 'the flat piece of wood used in beating wash clothes.' Another possible and perhaps preferable derivation is 'Pawinquehikan,' to shell corn. The name is now written Pakatakan." CHAPTERS IN THE HISTORY OF DELAWARE COUNTY, NEW YORK, Delaware Co. Hist. Assn., 1949, by John Monroe.

As Monroe indicates, Harmanus Dumond, and brother Peter moved to Pakatakan from the Kingston area in 1763, Harmanus buying the farm across the river from what is now Margaretville Central School, where the sewage treatment plant is now located. Ethel Bussy, MARGARETVILLE, 1960, calls the Dumond homestead "the James Fairbairn farm," which was bought in 1763 "at twenty shillings per acre." Peter purchased the farm now known as the Howard Davis farm at the other end of the village.

"The little Dutch colony thus planted continues to increase by immigration, and within eight years numbered nine families. Of these, William Philip Henry Yaple came to the Elias Carpenter place in 1771. He evidently came to the settlement on more than one errand, for his fortunes were at once shared by Dumond's daughter Nelly. Other settlers were Simeon Von Waggoner, Slyter, Green, Hinebaugh and Bierch. All the settlers thus far had maintained friendly relations with the Indians, but during the first years of the Revolutionary troubles complications arose, by which the property, the freedom, and in some instances the lives of the colonists were sacrificed.

"The settlers were not all in sympathy with the colonists in their Revolutionary measures, and thus a feeling arose in which the Indians took sides with the tories, and many were the insults which the rebels - as they were called - had to endure. The first open quarrel growing out of these opposing political affiliations is said to have originated between two school boys, who were attending the Dutch school that had been established at Pakatakan quite early in the history of the settlement. One of Peter Dumond's sons, Isaac, was called a rebel by a young man named Markle, and the rising ire of the young Dutchmen culminated in fist blows, in which others of the larger boys took part, The result was the discontinuance of the school."

[This incident demonstrates the tension which existed at Pakatakan over the issue of "patriotism." Two of the Markle (Merkel) brothers come into play in the murder of Harmonus Dumond, a few years later, when, as part of the militia party under the command of Alexander Harper, they entered the Vanwaggenen home, where Harmonus Dumond lay dying, to tell him that they were sorry that he had been shot by some of their own company.]

There are a several versions of what took place in the settlements at Pakatakan during the American Revolution. One of the most recent, that was written as a result of local (Margaretville/Arkville - the current villages which share the site of what was generally called Pakatakan at that early date) residents requests for information about local history, is the book written by Ethel Bussy. She writes:

"During the winter of 1777-8, the Indians began a series of depredations upon the property of the settlers along the river as far as Pepacton. A body of Indians and hostile whites laid a plan to burn the homes of the white settlers at Pepacton and Pakatakan.

"By the warning of a kindly Indian, most of the settlers hastily gathered a few belongings that they could carry and retreated over the mountains eastward to the Great Shandaken with a guard who had come from the Great Shandaken to help them escape.

"Harmanus DuMond was one who would not leave with the guard and remained behind to secure certain property. The guard with his convoy had scarcely reached the Great Shandaken, when news came that Harmanus DuMond was shot in a raid by the Tories at Pakataken. He died a few days later on August 29th and was buried at Pakataken.

"Another man who refused to leave at that time was John Burrows, but he was able to escape by taking a pathless course over Dry Brook mountain into Shandaken."

(Margaretville, History and Stories of Margaretville and Surrounding Area, p. 3. Ethel H. Bussy, 1960)

Mrs. Bussy was not a careful historian, and her book was the most recent account (until the release, in 1992, of the biography of THOMAS POSEY) of the death of Harmonus (the spelling of his name from his family Bible) Dumond. She leaves the impression that Harmonus was killed by "Tories" (the English sympathizers in the American Revolution). Indeed, the first report that was carried to the Great Shandaken was that he had been killed, or wounded by tories, but he was really killed by troops from the "American" side (called "rebels" by the tories), and the documentation of the event shows clearly that the mistaken identity of the "military" group that killed Dumond was clarified. In fact, this early identification of the military group as "tories" appears to be deliberate on the part of that outfit, and was crucial in interchanges between Dumond and his killers, or, as I say, his murders. (I'm not alone, or the first to call it "murder." This term is used in the Governor Clinton Papers, as we shall see.) In her book, Mrs. Bussy relied quite heavily on the 1949 book by John D. Monroe, Chapters in the History of DELAWARE COUNTY NEW YORK, but in relating the account of the death of Harmonus Dumond, she must have relied on Jay Gould and W.W. Munsell.


Gould writes:

"From the few reliable reminiscences I have been enabled to gather, it appears that at a very early period, a few Low-Dutch families from Marbletown and Hurley, followed up the Esopus or Shandaken creek (the latter being the Indian name signifying swift waters,) and crossing the hills that divide its waters from the east branch of the Delaware, located themselves in a small settlement upon the fertile flats that skirt the latter stream. One of these settlers, a Mr.Van Waggoner settled near the present residence of Colonel Noah Dimmick, to whom the author is indebted for the above information. Another settled a short distance above, by the name of Kittle - this place was afterward familiarly known as the "Kittle Farm." Several other settlers were scattered along at intervals for several miles down the river, among whom were Hermanus Dumond, about a mile below Margar- etville, on the opposite side of the river, who was shot during the Revolution under the following painful circumstances:

"Dumond, in company with John Barrow, a neighbor, who occupied and owned the present residence of Warren Dimmick , Esq., in Middletown, had been - as my informant Colonel Dimmick recollects, and which somewhat differs from a subsequent recital of the same event in this chapter - up the river on a hunting excursion, and when returning and while near Arkville on the flat, they unexpectedly fell in with a company of Schoharie guards, who had been sent by Colonel Vroman, of Schoharie, to scour the head waters of the Delaware, and to arrest certain disaffected persons, and to destroy supposed Indian settlements, and who were now on their return to Schoharie.

"The Guard perceiving them armed ordered them to "halt." Dumond and Barrow, from the best authority I can command were favorable to the cause of the colonies, although from considerations of personal safety they had been prompted to maintain, as much as possible, a neutral position. It is therefore probable, that in their haste they mistook the character of the troops, and supposing them to be Tories and Indians, disregarded the injunction, and immediately attempted to flee. Perceiving their retreat, the commander of the troops ordered his men to fire upon them, when Dumond fell mortally wounded, surviving his fall but a brief period, while Barrow, more fortunate than his companion, escaped unhurt and unmolested, to carry the painful intelligence to the family of the deceased. The guard dismounted, and gathering around the expiring man expressed in heartfelt grief their sympathy at his untimely death; raising him gently upon their locked arms, they conveyed him to a house near by. No physician was at hand to render efficient aid, and indeed none was necessary, for it was apparent to all as they watched the tremulous pallor of his countenance, the glazed and fixed expression of his dark eye, and the cold drops of sweat that gathered upon his icy, but manly forehead revealed in unmistakable language,

"That the golden bowl was broken,"

and that life hung for a time but by a flickering and disserved thread. It was indeed a time for mourning; that little band of brave men had wives and children and hearth-stones of their own, and it was for these, the dearest and tenderest of all human interests, that they had come forth and taken upon themselves the armor of war, to protect and defend them; and when the expiring man with his last accent breathed sweet counsel to his wife and children, who depended upon him for their daily bread, there arose spontaneous in every bosom, the reflected counterpart of their own homes; perhaps at that instant the ruthless savage has raised the fierce war-whoop, and with tomahawk in hand has passed the threshold of his own domicile to drink the heart's blood of his own kindred, or if they escape death, to be carried into a captivity, if possible, worse even than death. A rude and shallow grave is prepared, in which, without coffin or shroud, or monument to mark his resting-place, they placed him with his arms slightly folded, and without removing his clothes.

"The death of Dumond was an unfortunate circumstance for his family. He was the father of a large family of children, most of whom at that time were small. My informant, Cyrus Burr, Esq., knew three of the sons, John, David and Hermanus, all of whom are now dead, and two daughters, both of whom married men by the name of Yaples. One of them, the widow of Philip Yaple, deceased, resides at present in Plattekill, in the town of Middletown."

HISTORY OF DELAWARE COUNTY AND BORDER WARS OF NEW YORK, CONTAINING A SKETCH OF THE EARLY SETTLEMENTS IN THE COUNTY AND A HISTORY OF THE LATE ANTI-RENT DIFFICULTIES IN DELAWARE, WITH OTHER HISTORICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS MATTER, NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED, BY JAY GOULD ROXBURY:
KEENY & GOULD, PUBLISHERS 1856.

Mrs. Bussy, unfortunately, relied too heavily on Munsell's history. The account in this source reads:

"The whigs having left the settlement, there remained only those who were in sympathy with the English, and Pakatakan thus became an uncontaminated tory community. No further attempt was made by the settlers to establish themselves here until after the Revolution, but the refugees made frequent visits to their former homes to secure other of their personal effects, or to gather the crops that they left growing. On one of these occasion Mr. A. Yaple was taken prisoner by a band of tories, among whom was Blanch, one of his former neighbors. He was taken to Pepacton, and there detained in custody until the crops he had intended to gather were secured the tories and Indians, when he was released and allowed to return with some few of his goods.

"These outrages had so aroused the attention of the Americans that during the summer a company of militia was sent from Schoharie to scour the upper valleys of the Delaware and to arrest or drive out the disaffected persons, and to destroy certain Indian villages where aid and comfort were being given to the British enemy. While here they came upon John Burrow and Harmonus Dumond, and seeing them armed and refusing to halt, the guard were ordered to fire. Dumond was mortally wounded, and died in Simeon Von Woggoner's hotel three days later, on the 29th of August, 1778; but Burrow made good his escape, by taking a pathless course up Dry brook and over the mountains into Shandaken. It is claimed by the descendants of these men that they were both whigs, but tried to escape supposing the soldiers were enemies of the colonists." THE HISTORY OF DELAWARE COUNTY W.W. MUNSELL 1797-1880, p. 258

If Bussy had studied the most accurate document to date, John Monroe's account, and examined to documents in Governor George Clinton's papers she would have arrived at a far different conclusion, than that: "he was shot in a raid by the Tories..."

Monroe gives the details of events leading up to Harmonus Dumond's death, but even he does not include a very important document - the actual message that Dumond gave to the "American" military officials, that ended up in Governor Clinton's papers. Governor Clinton utilized the information provided by Dumond, and responded to it on more than one occasion.

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