The year 2004 marks the 225th anniversary of Revolutionary
War events that played out in New York in 1779. Many commemorative events
are planned for some of the sites listed below. A calendar of events
is at The Northern Campaign.
State and federal agencies, local historic sites and
interested individuals are working towards recognizing the unique historic
resources that exist in upstate New York. Here are some that we wholehearedly
The Three Valleys to Freedom
Coaltion actively promoting historic tourism and events in NY state.
Valley Heritage Corridor Commision has developed an historic toursim
Our friends at The
New World Dutch Barn Survey 2000 are also working on identifying
and preserving important agricultural structures in the Mohawk region.
This page also recognizes and promotes these sites, and serves as a
virtual tour guide to notable places.
Oswego to Albany
Oswego has a long history as the end of the waterway that leads from Manhattan
to Lake Ontario. From the 1600's on through at least 1812,Oswego was the
prize for French, British, and American forces. The first post was built
here in 1727 under the direction of Governor Burnet. Eventually,three
forts were built along the river during the French and Indian war; all
were destroyed during a raid by the Marquis de Montcalm. Fort Ontario,
on the east side, was rebuilt and regarrisoned after Montcalm's visit.
The post was used as a staging site for the campaigns against Fort Frontenac
(modern Kingston) and Fort Niagara. Sir William Johnson negotiated the
end of "Pontiac's Rebellion" here in 1763. During the Revolution,
the fort was the launching point for St. Leger's expedition and many other
raids on the Mohawk Valley. Washington's last purported command was to
Marinus Willett, ordering him to attack Oswego.
Executed in the dead of winter, the surprise attack was a failure; Oswego
remained in British hands until 1796. The War of 1812 brought renewed
conflict as the British beseiged and captured the fort. The current Fort
Ontario was built in the 1840's, and features an 1870's U.S. Army reenactor
unit (the Fort Ontario Guard) during tourist season. Several buildings
from the post's early twentieth century life can also be seen.
Directions: From Syracuse, take Route 481 North to Oswego. Turn right
at East Bridge St.(second light), then turn left onto East Seventh St.
and follow the loop road around the ball fields to the Fort parking lot.
Phone: (315) 343-4711
The Fort at Oswego Falls (Fulton)
The falls of the Oswego made a portage necessary; this spot was fortified
during the French and Indian War to guard the portage. It's design and
layout were nearly identical to Fort Brewerton, also of the same vintage.
The probable site of the fort was within the Sealright factory complex
on the east shore of the river in modern Fulton, NY. Expansion of the
factory over time has obliterated any obvious remains of this earthwork.
There has been some discussion of recreating the fort, but not on it's
A post was built here at the west end of Oneida Lake as part of the overall
defenses of the water route during the French and Indian war. By the time
of the revolution, the fort had fallen into disuse. Today, the outlines
of the original earthworks and the reconstructed postwar Oliver Stevens
blockhouse may be seen. The Fort Brewerton
Historical Society has plans to reconstruct the fort; contact Tom
Miles if you are interested in contributing to this worthy effort.
Sir John Johnson led a raid on the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys in the
fall of 1780, to counter Sullivan's attack on the Iroquois villages in
1779. The raiders started in Lachine, Quebec, crossed the lake to Oswego,
and crossed Oneida Lake to the mouth of Chittenango Creek. They left a
detachment there to guard their supplies. This rear guard was captured
by a militia party under Captain Walter Vrooman on October 23. Vrooman's
party was then captured by a returning group of Butler's Rangers; four
of the militia men were tortured to death by the Indians.
"Fort" Canaseraga may have originally been a Tuscarora Indian
fortification. Sir William Johnson ordered a blockhouse built on the site
in 1756. It was described as "a handsome village (and the) capital of the Tuscarora Tribe" in 1779. Allegedly, nine veterans from Vrooman's force returned in 1790
to start a settlement, but they mistakenly built on Oneida owned land.
The story states that the settlers were forcibly evicted, and their homes
were burned down by the Montgomery County sheriff. Several Oneida chiefs
were on hand during the burning, and perhaps recalling their own suffering
during the revolution, offered new land to the veterans. They started
new homesteads near Chittenango.
Stories such as the one above are a mix of facts and lore. Dan
Weiskotten, historian and archaelogist, has debunked much of the above
tale. Read Dan's interpretation of the
settlement of Canaseraga and judge for yourself.
Directions: approximately one mile south of where Black Creek joins Chittenango
Creek, on a hill about 100 feet away from Chittenango Creek. Note that
this is private land-stay in your car, please!
There is an historic marker on Route 5 east of Chittenango that supposedly
marks the "squatters" settlement of Canaseraga. Mr. Weiskotten
notes that this marker is misplaced, and that there was a Tuscarora Indian
settlement here from 1740 to 1810.
Built during the French and Indian War, Stanwix guarded the portage between
Oneida Lake and the Mohawk River. The patriot forces recognized the importance
of the Carry, and began rebuilding the post in 1776. In 1777, Barry St.
Leger's force arrived at what they assumed was a trivial barrier. St.Leger's
siege did not go as planned - Gansevoort, Willett, and the 3rd New York
held their ground, forcing St. Leger to abort his mission and retreat
to Oswego. Legend also holds that one of the first versions of the Stars
and Stripes flew over Fort Stanwix during the siege. Urban renewal did
at least one good thing in Rome: it allowed archaeologists to uncover
Stanwix's lines, and made space for the NPS to build a superb reconstruction.
A new Gateway visitor center for the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor
will be constructed in Rome in the near future. It will be named in honor
of the defender of Fort Stanwix, Marinus Willett.
Directions: from the east-exit at Route 365,follow to Rome. Fort Stanwix
is located at the Junction of Rtes. 365, 46,and 49 (locally known as the
Fort Stanwix National Monument
112 East Park Street
Rome, New York 13440
Phone: (315) 336-2090
Fort Van Dyke (Oneida)
The Marquis de Lafayette recommended that a post be constructed
to defend the Oneidas from their estranged members of the Iroquois Confederacy.
The stockade was completed by February 1779 and garrisoned by soldiers
from the 1st NY (whose Lt. Col, Cornelius Van Dyke, lent his name to the
outpost). Despite it's supposed protection, the fort did not stop a mixed
Loyalist and native party from descending upon Oneida and coercing the
Oneidas to relocate to Fort Niagara. Some Oneidas fled to the comparative
safety of Fort Stanwix. Eventually, General Philip Schuyler ordered barracks
constructed at Schenectady to house these refugees. By December 1780,
reports seem to indicate that Fort Van Dyke was abandoned.
A tip of the tricorn to historian/archaelogist Dan
Weiskotten for sharing his research notes on Fort Van Dyke.
von Steuben Memorial (Remsen)
This site has a replica of Steuben's cabin and the gravesite of "the
drillmaster of the American Revolution". Various activitites scheduled
at the site throughout the season are coordinated by the Friends
of Baron Steuben. Located north of Utica in Remsen, NY.
Directions: from the Utica Thruway exit, proceed north on rtes. 12 and
Turn onto Starr Hill rd, 2.5 miles west of 12 and 28.
Steuben Memorial State Historic Site
Starr Hill rd
Remsen, NY 13438
Phone: (315) 831-3737
Oriskany Battlefield (Utica/Rome)
While St. Leger was laying siege to Fort Stanwix, runners slipped out
and called out the local militia. The Tryon County militia, under the
leadership of General Nicholas Herkimer, were supposed to relieve the
Fort on hearing a pre-arranged cannon signal. Herkimer's officers called
him a coward, and basically badgered him into rushing blindly ahead to
Fort Stanwix. The militia ran into a mixed force of Regulars, Loyalists,
and Indians that were lying in ambush in a swampy area near the Oneida
village of Oriska. Both sides suffered heavy losses; although the
British force supposedly quit the field first, the American relief force
was so severely mauled it was unable to complete the advance to Fort Stanwix.
Directions: Rte.69 east from Rome, or west from Utica.
Phone: (315) 768-7224
Fort Dayton (Herkimer)
Fort Dayton was a sizable post, and part of the American chain of defenses
in the Mohawk Valley. It was built under the direction of Col. Elias Dayton
of the 3rd New Jersey regt. in 1776. Nicholas Herkimer gathered his militia
here on August 4, 1777, and ran into the Oriskany ambush on his way to
relieve Fort Stanwix.
In the fall of 1778, Joseph Brant and Captain William Caldwell led a mixed
force of 450 Loyalists and Mohawks on a raid into the German Flats area.
A scouting party was sent out to find the raiders, and ran into an ambush.
Only Adam Helmer survived; he led the Indians on a twenty mile chase (dramatized
in the print and film versions of Drums Along The Mohawk), finally
beating them and delivering a warning to Fort Herkimer (two miles east
of Fort Dayton). The settlers were safe in their forts as the raiders
left a ten mile strip of scorched earth between today's Frankfort and
Directions: The fort covered the area now bounded by Main, Court, Washington,
and German Streets in Herkimer, NY. The remains of the fort's well exist
on private property. The Herkimer County Historical Society is built on
the site of Fort Dayton.
Herkimer County Historical Society
400 North Main Street,Herkimer, NY 13350.
Phone: (315) 866-6413
The Flats were raided in 1779, and again by Johnson's force in 1780. The
area is roughly equivalent to the modern town of German Flats on the south
side of the Mohawk.
Attacked by Loyalists and Indians on August 6, 1780.
Location not determined at this point.
Indian Castle Church (Indian Castle)
This church was erected in 1769, and remains marvelously well preserved
(though the interior and some exterior features were remodeled in the
nineteenth century). It is opposite the state marker for Fort Hendrick,
which stood near the Mohawk Castle from 1754 to 1760. Also near the marker
for Fort Hendrick is Joseph Brant's barn, an example of Dutch Barn architecture
located on private property. This land was owned by Molly Brant and her
family; archaelogical excavations have revealed a cellar hole that was
likely Molly's home. For the best efforts at locating the site of
Fort Hendrick and other landmarks of the immediate vicinity, read Phil
Forts and Castles: Rediscovering King Hendrick's Village".
Indian Castle Church is located off of route 5S on CR213, also known as
Dillenbeck rd. For visiting hours, see the Fort
Klock Historic Restoration site.
Fort Frey (Palatine Bridge)
A stone house built in 1739 by Heinrich Frey,jr. Heinrich had three sons:
Henry (Heinrich III),Bernard, and John. Henry was a loyalist; he was jailed
and his property seized. Bernard also supported the Crown, and eventually
became a Captain in Butler's Rangers. John was a friend of Col. John Butler,
but chose the patriot side, and was a Major in the Tryon County militia.
John Frey was taken prisoner during the battle of Oriskany; when he was
released from captivity, Col. Butler loaned him some money to help John
Fort Frey is a private residence on Route 5, one mile west of the Route
10 intersection in Palatine Bridge.
Home (Little Falls)
Nicholas Herkimer was a prominent merchant, trader, friend of Joseph Brant,
and commander of the Tryon County Militia. Herkimer, against his better
judgment, led his command into an ambush at Oriskany, "the bloodiest
battle of the Revolution". General Herkimer was wounded in the leg;
a wound that would soon prove fatal. He was carted home in the battle's
aftermath, and shortly after having his leg amputated, died in his bed.
Herkimer Home is administered by New York State and is located in Little
Falls, New York. The site has a terrific visitor's center and a lovely
view of the Mohawk.
Directions: Exit the NYS Thruway at Exit 29A.. Herkimer Home is located
just off the Thruway access road.
Phone: (315) 823-0398
Fort Herkimer (Little Falls)
Nicholas Herkimer's father, Johann Yost Hercheimer (Herkimer), built a
stone house here in 1740. He ran a store and trading post from his home.
The house was fortified by Sir William Johnson during the French and Indian
war; it was leveled in 1825 during Erie Canal construction. The
Fort Herkimer Church was also fortified, and was used as a fort during
the Revolution. Marinus Willett used the Church fort for his headquarters;
Washington visited here in 1783. The church was extensively remodeled
in 1812. Peter Bellinger of the Tryon County militia is buried here; there
is also a substantial marker memoralizing Adam Helmer, who is buried in
the town of Brutus, Cayuga County. The approximate site of Johann
Yost Hercheimer's home is due east of the church; there is an historic
marker for this site at the roadside rest area.
Directions: Route 5S in the Town of Mohawk
Fort Ehle (Palatine Bridge)
Dominie Johannes Jacobus Ehle, a Palatine emigrant, built a house in 1727.
His son Petrus added a two story addition in 1752. The house was surrounded
by a stockade in 1777 or 1778. The house is not known to have ever been
attacked. Rev. Ehle is buried in the Frey cemetery in Palatine Bridge.
Data in the Historic American Buildings Survey indicates that the Ehle
house was in the vicinity of Palatine Bridge, "a quarter mile north
of the Mohawk River near the Old King's Highway."
Fort Plain was established sometime during 1776, and continued to be an important post during the conflict in the valley. It was one of the staging areas for the elements of General James Clinton's brigade that departed from the headwaters of Otsego Lake. In 1781, Col. Marinus Willett chose Fort Plain as his headquarters for his heroic efforts to defend and protect the valley. From this post, defenders were sent out on alarms to fight in the battles of Stone Arabia, Klock's Field, Sharon Springs (New Dorlach/Turloch), and Johnstown. Legend states that the post was originally named in honor of militia General Robert Van Rennselear, but that due to his poor performance in pursuing Sir John Johnson's raiders, the local residents began to omit his name and refer to the post as "Fort Plain". The building housing the museum was built as a residence by David Lipe in 1848.
Our thanks goes to the Fort Plain Museum for sharing the above details.
Directions: Exit 29 on the NYS Thruway. Turn onto Route 5S West, proceed through modern Fort Plain. Museum is approximately 3 miles west of the Thruway exit.
Fort Plain Museum
389 Canal St.
Fort Plain, NY 13339
Van Alystyne house (Canajoharie)
Alstyne house was where the Tryon
County Commitee of Safety authorized Christopher P. Yates and John Marlett
as delegates to the NY Provincial Congress. It was built in 1750 by Martin
VanAlstyne. It currently houses the Fort Rensselaer Club and the
Van Alstyne Homestead Society. The museum contains items from noted
Mohawk Valley artist/historian Rufus Grider including paintings, powder
horns, furniture, household artifacts and farm equipment. Open by appointment.
Directions:Travel west on 5s from Thruway exit 200 meters, turn left
onto Mitchell, straight across Montgomery St. to Moyer St.
P.O. Box 14
Canajoharie, NY 13317
Contact: Mary Plank
Phone: (518) 673-2333
Erected ca. 1750 for the trader George Klock, this complex includes several
outstanding buildings of various vintages. It is also the site of the
battle of Klock's Field, where Sir John Johnson's raiders clashed with
local militia forces. The site (and the Indian Castle Church) are maintained
by the Fort Klock Historic Restoration.
New Dorlach (Sharon Springs)
Willett clashed with a raiding force led by John Doxstader at Cedar Swamp.
The Continentals, though strongly outnumbered, manouvered the raiders
into a trap. Doxstader's force sustained heavy losses and withdrew. Cedar
Swamp is near the Walmart in Sharon Springs. Modern Sharon Springs encompasses
the area of New Dorlach.
Named for it's founder, Sir William Johnson, Johnstown is an amazing slice
of largely intact colonial architecture in central New York. Johnson's
home, Johnson Hall, is a museum operated by the New York State Parks system.
Alleged bayonet marks on the banister left by Continentals intent on plundering
the home can still be seen.
Elsewhere in town is the 1772 Courthouse, where John Johnson and John
Butler served as members of the court. The formercounty jail also dates
from the colonial era, and was fortified by the patriots as Fort Johnstown.
Nearby is a building used as schoolhouse for Sir William's many children,
and a wonderful Colonial era cemetery. The Johnstown Historical Society
is also within this two to three block area. Willett and Sir John
Johnson's opposing forces duked it out here during the battle of Johnstown.
Directions to Johnson Hall: follow the numerous(and confusing)signs
off Route 5 to Hall Avenue. Phone: (518) 762-8712
William Johnson built this impressive stone house; when he moved to Johnson
Hall in Johnstown, his son Sir John moved in. John lived here until his
father's death in 1774, at which point he moved into Johnson Hall. The
site is owned and operated by the Montgomery County Historical Society.
Directions: Old Fort Johnson is located at the corner of Routes 5 and
one mile west of Amsterdam, NY
Phone: (518) 843-0300 or (518) 346-0310
This pretty area is known for "the Cherry Valley Massacre";
On November 11, 1778 a raiding party led by Walter Butler and Joseph Brant
swept down on the valley. Word of the pending raid had come months before,
but the commander of Fort Alden, the 7th Massachusetts' Colonel Ichabod
Alden, ignored the warnings and paid for his lackadaisical attitude with
his life. Alden and several other officers were killed as they abandoned
their breakfast and raced for the fort's safety. Butler and Brant apparently
lost control of the Indians, and 32 civilians, including women and children,
were killed. The settlement suffered more losses in another Indian raid
on April 24, 1780. Every building that had survived the previous raid
was burned to the ground by the raiders.
Directions: the site of Fort Alden is within the Cherry Valley Cemetery
near the gates.
Albany and Points North
The Lake George/Lake Champlain water route was the major "highway"
between Canada and the English colonies from Champlain's time through
the War of 1812.
Take a driving tour
of Revolutionary War sites, or simply marvel at
the natural and scenic resources. Also take a look at The
Independence Trail for another guide to New York's Revolutionary
The restored home of New York son and patriot General Phillip Schuyler.
Open for tours Mid-April through October, Wednesday through Saturday
10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Call for winter hours. Also open Memorial
Day, Independence Day and Labor Day
Directions: 32 Catherine Street, Albany.
From North: Northway(I-87)to Exit 1; I-90 East to I-787
South. Exit at Madison Ave./Port of Albany. Left on Green St., right
on Rensselaer(which becomes Morton Ave).
Left onto Clinton, right onto Catherine St.
From South and West: I-90 to exit 23; bear left onto
9W/Southern Blvd. Right on Delaware Ave; right onto Catherine St.
Phone: (518) 434-0834
Van Schaick Mansion
Ancestral home of the Van Schaick family; General Peter Gansevoort and
Katherine Van Schaick were married here. Operated today as an historic
home by the General
Peter Gansevoort Chapter of the DAR. The house is open for visitation
on Thursdays and Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.
Take I-787 North to Cohoes. Watch for the brown historic marker signs.
Turn right on to Bridge Avenue. Go to end of street at the park. Turn
left, then right (1/2 block) on to Van Schaick Avenue.
Phone: (518) 235-2699.
Ten Broeck Mansion
Headquarters of the Albany County
Historical Association and postwar home of General Abraham Ten Broeck
(who was also two time Mayor of Albany).
Operating Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 1-4 PM (May-December)
FROM INTERSTATE 787: Take the Clinton Avenue exit (marked "Downtown
Albany") and proceed west on Clinton Avenue. Just past the Palace
Theater, turn right onto Ten Broeck Street then proceed north toward
Livingston Avenue. Turn left on Ten Broeck Place, and halfway up the
hill turn right for the Mansion parking lot.
FROM INTERSTATE 90: Take Exit 6 (Arbor Hill) and proceed to the traffic
light at Livingston Avenue. Turn left onto Livingston Avenue and proceed
east. Cross the intersection of North Swan Street and turn right halfway
down the hill to the gate for the Ten Broeck Mansion parking lot.
Phone: (518) 436-9826.
Albany County Historical Association
9 Ten Broeck Place
Albany NY 12210
North of Albany, near to the Hudson River, the major thrust of the 1777
New York campaign came to an end for Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne. Like
Barry St. Leger's move down the Mohawk, Burgoyne ran into unexpected
opposition in the form of John Stark, Horatio Gates, Benedict Arnold,
Dan Morgan, and the
experienced Continentals under their command. The NPS administers a
wonderful site that retains the feel and terrain of two hundred years
ago. The WPI ROTC program has an online
study guide that you should definitely consult before, during, and
after you visit the battlefield.
Directions: From the Northway: exit at Exit 12; follow signs. 648 route
32, Stillwater NY. From Saratoga Springs: take Rt. 29 East to Schuylerville,
then Rt. 4 south to the Park entrance.
Phone: (518) 664-9821
The battle really took place near Walloomsac, New York; Bennington was
the goal of the German/British foraging party. They thought they'd find
loyalist locals flocking to the Union Jack; instead, they ran into a
contingent of "Green Mountain Boys" under Colonel Seth Warner,
and militia led by General John
Stark. Stark virtually wiped out Col. Baum's dragoons, and drove
off Breyman's relief force on August 16,1777.
Directions: Rte. 67, 1 mile east of the intersection with Rte 22.
Mailing Address: RD2 Box 11W, Hoosick Falls, NY 12090
Phone: (518) 279-1155
Further up above the Hudson lies Lake George and Lake Champlain. This
was the major route between French Canada and the British Colonies.
It continued to be an invasion route for both sides during the Revolution.
"The Gibraltar of North America" changed hands several times
during the course of the war; in fact, it was easily seized by Burgoyne's
troops without a pitched battle. Other notable events at "Ti"
include its' capture by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, and Knox' removal
of artillery for the seige of Boston. Fort Ti was reconstructed by the
Pell family in the 1930's, and probably has the largest collection of
18th century artillery anywhere.
Take the Northway (I-87) to Exit 28. Take Route 74 East 18 miles to Ticonderoga (Village of Ticonderoga is to your right via Route 9N). Continue straight on Route 74 for 1.5 miles. Turn left continuing on Route 74. Proceed straight 4/10th mile to the Fort entrance.
phone: (518) 585-2821
Whitehall Urban Cultural Park/Skenesborough Museum
Whitehall was once named Skenesborough, in honor of it's Tory landlord,
Philip Skene. Skene encouraged Burgoyne to cut a road south from his
lands during the 1777 campaign, in order to improve his own fortunes.
Besides Skene, Whitehall is also known as the birthplace of the Continental
Navy - due to Arnold building his fleet in this neighborhood. Exhibits
focus on these topics, and the history of the Champlain Canal. The center
is located along the Champlain Canal.
Directions: Skenesborough Drive off Routes 4 & 22,Whitehall, NY
Phone: (518) 499-0716
Crown Point State Historic Site
The French were the first to fortify the point with Fort St. Frederic,
completed in 1737. This fortification lasted until 1759, when the French
troops blew up the post as they withdrew from Amhert's assault on Fort
Carillon (Ticonderoga). Amherst then ordered a British post to
be built on the point. With the coming of peace in 1763, work on the
fort's construction stopped, although it continued to be garrisoned.
A fire in 1772 destroyed the barracks and forced the detachment there
to take up residence outside the fort's walls. Seth Warner seized Crown
Point for the Americans shortly after the capture of Ticonderoga in
1775. The Americans held Crown Point until July 1776, when the remnants
of the Canadian expedition were transferred to Mount Independance. Burgoyne
used Crown Point as a staging area for his drive down the Champlain
river valley towards the Hudon. British troops continued to occupy the
point until 1784. Both British and French fortifications survive as
stabilized ruins-a very poignant, haunting spot.
Directions: 4 miles east of Rte. 9N/22 at Champlain Bridge.
send any comments to Greg Ketcham
All Material ©2004 Gregory F. Ketcham, except where noted.
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