Saturday, December 6, 2008

History of Blenheim

Amongst the first to settle in Blenheim was Henry Hager. Henry came from Germany, along with three of his brothers. The Hagers were forced to flee when the Indians and Tories invaded the valley in 1780. Mr. Hager had to cut his own dog’s throat during the escape, so as to not give them away. In the swift escape, Mr. Hager forgot articles he wished to bring with him, and thus he returned home. He arrived to find the enemy occupying his premises, and he was captured and made their prisoner. The Indians and Tories burned all of the Hager’s property, and made Henry march to Canada. Upon the way, Mr. Hager thought he was going to be executed, but was surprised to find kindness in an Indian, who gave him food. After eleven months, Hager was involved in a prisoner exchange, and returned home.

Beacraft, a despised Tory, who, during the Revolution, killed and jeered Americans, returned to the valley. It was a short matter of time before ten men took him from a house, and lashed him on his bare back, for the crimes he had committed. After each group of ten lashes, they told him a different crime that he had committed, and after the punishment, they told him to “flee the country and never return.” But time was not of the essence, and he died before such action could occur.

Freegift Patchin was captured by Brant and his Indians and Tories. Brant and a group of Indians crept and captured Patchin, and the group’s commander, Alexander Harper. Brant flatly asked Harper if there any soldiers in Schoharie. Harper, who was privy to the fact that there none, told Brant that there were three hundred troops stationed there. This lied convinced Brant to turn back. Beacraft, who was amongst the Tories with Brant, wanted to kill the prisoners, but Brant resisted. On the way to Canada, the party met with Tories that aided Brant. An old man, who was completely bald, became too weary to travel on, and was scalped. The patriots tried to escape one night, but were later confronted by Brant. Their lives were narrowly saved, by an Indian who came from Schoharie, who plead for them. In Niagra was Harper’s niece, who had been captured at Cherry Valley. Also in Niagra was Captain Butler, who was the director of Indian attacks. At Niagra, the patriots met a woman who had been sold to the British for eight dollars. Upon the war’s end, the patriots were returned to Boston.

There was a silver mine that was believed to be in Blenheim, and after the Revolution efforts were made to harvest this silver. Sadly, the mine was buried and lost. There were three churches in Blenheim, the Methodist Church of North Blenheim, the Methodist Episcopal Church of Eminence, and the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of North Blenheim. Also mentioned is the Blenheim Bridge, which is summarized in a quick paragraph. Apparently, it was no big deal back then.

The only actual incident of the Anti-Rent problems occurred in Blenheim, where two officers were captured, but they were not tarred-and-feathered after a vote. The tavern of William Fink still stood from revolutionary times. Amongst the supervisors of Blenheim were Chauncey Vroman, Hezekiah Dickerman, who helped build the Blenheim Bridge, and John Hager.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What is the source of these references? I'm especially curious about the Beacroft lashing since the version I have has him hoofing it off to Canada.

I also believe there were two Beacroft tories, Benjamin and William. If both were lashed for returning to their homes, it is possible that this one is William.