History From America's Most Famous Valleys
From Newsletter "Stone Arabia Battle Chapter, Sons of The American Revolution": March 1995 issue. (Used with permission)
John Brown was born in Sandisfield, Berkshire Co, MA on 19 Oct 1744. He graduated at Yale College in 1771 and studied law at Providence RI with Oliver Arnold, a cousin of Benedict. He commenced to practice at Caughnawaga NY and was appointed a Kings Attorney. He soon went to Pittsfield MA. He was elected to Congress in 1775 but before Congress met, he had joined with Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold in the expedition against Ft. Ticonderoga.
Later Major Brown, as he then was, met General Montgomery on 19 Sept along the Richelieu river. They encamped in the vicinity of Ft Chambly and the General held a Council of War. There was a reluctance to proceed and while Montgomery was forced to delay, Colonel Ethan Allen attempted to capture Montreal. He did not succeed. Montgomery then sent Major Brown, Colonel Bedell of New Hampshire and Major Livingston of New York to capture Ft. Chambly. They succeeded and their success enabled Montgomery to capture St. John and that opened the way to Montreal. Among the trophies from the capture of Ft. Chambly were the colors of the 7th Regt of British regulars, now in the trophy room at West Point. They also captured 1 major, 3 captains and 3 lieutenants, a commissary, a surgeon and 83 privates.
Major Brown was at the storming of Quebec and stayed with the army after the retreat. In the following year, when Burgoyne was marching toward Saratoga, Brown had been promoted to Lt Col. At this point Brown became very much concerned about Benedict Arnold and published a handbill at Albany. He denounced Arnold as having such a great regard for money that "to get enough of it, he would sacrifice his country."
"Arnold was greatly excited when told of it, called Brown a scoundrel and declared that he would kick him whensoever and wheresoever they might meet. This declaration was communicated to Brown. The next day, Brown, by invitation, went to a dinner where he would meet Arnold. The latter was standing with his back to the fire when the former entered the door and he and Brown thus met each other face to face. Brown walked boldly up to Arnold, and, looking him openly in the face, said, 'I understand, sir, that you have laid you would kick me. I now present myself to give you an opportunity to put your threat into execution.' Arnold made no reply. Brown then said, 'Sir you are a dirty scoundrel.' Arnold was still silent, and Brown left the room, after apologizing to the gentlemen present for his intrusion."*
Very soon after this, Brown resigned his commission. Brown served after that with the Massachusetts militia. My ancestor, Nathaniel French served under Col Brown in the Berkshire Co. militia in Capt Job Woodbridge's Co for 14 days beginning 8 Jul 1777 in connection with the evacuation of Ticonderoga. He served again in the fall from 20 Sep to 14 Oct when Col. Brown was engaged at Diamond Island on Lake George. In that engagement. Brown and his troops captured a large quantity of provisions and stores that were destined for the army of Burgoyne. He also released 100 American prisoners among whom was very probably my ancestor Caleb Munson who had been captured on 8 July 1777 at the Battle of Hubbardton after
* Lossing, B J, Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution 1:280-1 note .
the evacuation of Ft Ticonderoge. During this period of service, Nathaniel French was also on the fringes, at least, of the Saratoga Battle on 7 Oct 1777. He was discharged on Oct 14 from Capt Ebenezer Cook's Co of the same regiment.
In the fall of 1780, Col Brown took the regiment on a campaign to Caughnawaga, in the Mohawk Valley, where he had commenced to practice law ten years before. Under the command of General Van Rensselaer, they attempted to stop a raid being conducted by Sir John Johnson against the settlers around Schoharie. They arrived at Caughnawaga on the 18th while it was sdll in flames. On the next day. Col Brown attacked the enemy at Stone Arabia, near the ruins of Ft. Keyser, and was killed. It was his 36th birthday. In 1836, a monument was raised in the town of Palatine near the place where he fell with the following inscription:
memory of Colonel John Brown
who was killed on the 19th day of October 1780
at Palatine, in the county of Montgomery
George Heath, whose daughter Louisa married Nathaniel French, Jr and who is thereby also an ancestor of mine, was in Col Brown's Regiment at the Battle of Stone Arabia, having enlisted on 8 Jul 1780. He was discharged on the 23rd of Oct. During the Saratoga campaign Heath had served in Col Ashley's Regiment from 19 Sep until the 18th of Oct.
Benjamin Griswold, the direct Revolutionary ancestor of my wife, Esther Griswold French, served under Major Brown from 27 May 1775 until May 1776 after the retreat from Quebec.
L French, RR 1 Box 139, Chatham NY 12037-9724 23 Jan 1995
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