Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883

Volume II, Page 532, A Race for Fort Herkimer. -- In the fall, as believed, of 1781, a scout of seven men was sent from this post, for observation, down the river, to discover, if possible, the foot prints of an enemy. Only one name of the party has been preserved, and that was Zenas Barker. The scout proceeded nearly seven miles and met with nothing unusual; but before trturning, they visited the apple orchard (upon Fall Hill) of George Henry Bell's desolated homestead; and had just seated themselves under a tree to enjoy the luxury of its ripe fruit, when they heard, near by, a shrill Indian whoop. Springing to their feet, they discovered a party of Indians, whose number exceeded their own, about to enter the orchard near them. Their only chance for life was in instant flight, which they fortunately made in the direction of their fort.

Leaping a fence into the road, they were fired upon, but escaped unharmed; and then commenced a race for life. For some distance they all kept out of the way of their pursuers; but at length Barker, the youngest of the scouts, began to lag and would, if unassisted, soon be overtaken. Two comrades lent him helping hands, and he was saved. To increase their speed the scouts unwisely cast aside their guns, and when a single shot would have told, they could not make it. After a race of an hour or more, for seven miles was calculted to try the mettle of friend of foe, they were all nearing the fort, and all but one of the enemy had slackened pace; but the leader was so intent on killing one or more of the three who will still behind, that the seemed reckless of his position. Several rifles at the fort were brought to bear upon him, and the instant his exposure came they fired,a nd his death followed the report. His temerity had cost him his life. The rest of the party escaped on the back track. Reuben Barker, a nephew of Zenas Barker.

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