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Canajoharie Settlements, New York

Canajoharie Settlements, New York

CANAJOHARIE SETTLEMENTS, NEW YORK. 1-2 August 1780. The principal fortification in this part of the Mohawk Valley was Fort Plank, a three-story blockhouse of heavy timbers surrounded by earthworks and located on a plain overlooking the village that became Fort Plain. On 6 June Colonel Peter Gansevoort occupied Fort Plank with his regiment in preparation for escorting supplies from there to Fort Stanwix (Fort Schuyler). Joseph Brant, whose presence in the area caused patriot authorities to prescribe special precautions, spread rumors that he intended not only to attack the convoy but also to attack Fort Stanwix. As a result, strength was drawn from the settlements and Fort Plank to reinforce Stanwix and protect the westbound convoy. Brant then entered Canajoharie unopposed from the east and destroyed fifty-three dwellings, an equal number of barns, a church, and a mill. His forces killed sixteen inhabitants who had not fled with the rest to Fort Plank, Fort Clyde, and other strong points, and captured fifty. An estimated three hundred head of livestock were killed or carried away. Because his object was pillage and destruction—after the model of John Sullivan's expedition—Brant did not waste his strength in attacking the forts. Canajoharie had been the home of Brant's mother when the Mohawk leader controlled the region. It was also at this site, on June 30 1779, that the Patriots hanged Lieutenant Rolf Hare and Sergeant Gilbert Newbury of Butler's Rangers for their roles in the Cherry Valley massacre.

SEE ALSO Border Warfare in New York; Brant, Joseph; Cherry Valley Massacre, New York; Fort Stanwix, New York; Mohawk Valley, New York; Sullivan's Expedition against the Iroquois.


Stone, William Leete. Border Wars of the American Revolution. 2 vols. New York: Harper, 1895.

                            revised by Michael Bellesiles

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