Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The History of Montgomery Classis, R.C.A.
by W.N.P. Dailey,
Recorder Press, Amsterdam, NY 1916
To which is added sketches of Mohawk Valley men and events of early days, the Iroquois, Palatines, Indian Missions, Tryon County, committee of Safety, Sir Wm. Johnson, Joseph Brant, Arendt Van Curler, Gen. Herkimer, Reformed Church in America, Doctrine and Progress, Revolutionary Residences, Etc.

Walter Butler

Walter Butler was the son of Colonel John Butler, a justice of the King's Court of Tryon. Both father and son held commissions in the English army and were with St. Leger at Oriskany. The Butler estate (old house still standing) included lands in the present site of Fonda, upon which land the old Caughnawaga church was built, which fact saved it from destruction in the October, 1780, raid. Robert Chambers has given us in his "Cardigan" a graphic account of the part played by Butler in the valley, whose name is the most odious in all the history of the Mohawk and Schoharie country. He outsavaged the savage in his diabolical treatment of all who were not English. In his youthful scalping expeditions Sir. William Johnson in correspondence compliments him. After Oriskany he visited German Flatts with fourteen Tories and tried to get the settlers there to ally with the King. He was arrested, condemned to death as a spy, imprisoned at Albany, and escaped later thro influence, and reached Canada where he joined his father's regiment of "Butler's Rangers." To Colonel Willett fell the privilege of ridding earth of this incarnate fiend. On October 24, 1781, Willet set out from Fort Rensselaer (near Fort Plain) for Fort Hunter, twenty miles distant, in pursuit of the British force of 600 under Major Ross, and to fight later the Battle of Johnstown. October 25, 1781. The enemy were soon in flight, Willet pursuing them, Tories and Indians (500), across West Canada Creek, north of Herkimer, where the stream leaves Oneida county. Here Capt. Butler dismounted, and while in the act of drinking, oblivious to the nearness of the American forces, was shot by Anthony, a Mohawk. As the demon fell, the Indian crossed the stream and fell upon his quarry, who plead for quarter. Anthony, it is said, appealed to Col. Willet who signified that the prisoner belonged to the Mohawk, who at once scalped Butler with the promise of "Cherry Valley Quarter," and left the body to be food for the wild beasts. Col. Willet, whose force rid the valley of its scourge, lived to be ninety years old, and died on the anniversary of the Battle of Johnstown, August 22, 1830. The body was encased in a coffin made of woods which the Colonel had gathered from Revolutionary battlefields.

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