PAULDING, JOHN. (1758–1818). A captor of John André. New York. Paulding claimed to have served the Patriot cause throughout the Revolution, being taken prisoner by the British three times and escaping heroically in each instance. However, there is no evidence for his claims and many contemporaries and scholars have charged that he was a highwayman rather than a patriot soldier. What is known is that Paulding, Isaac Van Wart, and David Williams volunteered for the militia in 1780, shortly after New York passed a law allowing those who seized Loyalists or enemy agents to keep any property they found on the prisoner. This motivation accounted for André's capture, as the three men rifled his pockets looking for valuables. Congress rewarded Paulding, Van Wart, and Williams with a silver medal and a $200 pension; in addition a county in Ohio was named for each of the three men. Paulding's seventh child, Hiram Paulding (1797–1878), later became a naval hero.
SEE ALSO Arnold's Treason.
revised by Michael Bellesiles