Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

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

Volume I, Page 533

Schoharie Militia.-The 15th Regiment of New York militia, was a small one organized in the Schoharie valley, consisting at first of only three companies; the commissions for which were issued October 20, 1775. Its officers were:

" Peter Vrooman, Colonel; Peter W. Zielie, Lieutenant Colonel; Thomas Eckerson, Jr., 1st Major; Jost Becker, 2d :Major; Lawrence Schoolcraft, Adjutant; Peter Ball, Quartermaster.

"First Company-George Mann, Captain; Christian Stubrach, 1st Lieutenant; John Dominick, 2d Lieutenant; Jacob Snyder, Ensign.

"Second Company-Jacob Hager, Captain; Martynus Van Slyck, 1st Lieutenant; Johannes W. Bouck, 2d Lieutenant; Johannes L. Lawyer, Ensign.

"Third Company-Geoge Rechtmyer, Captain: Johannes I. Lawyer, 1st Lieutenant; Martynus " Zielie, 2d Lieutenant; Johannes Lawyer Bellinger, Ensign."

To the Schoharie regiment was afterwards added a small company organized in CobelskiIl, of which Christian Brown was captain, and Jacob Borst first lieutenant. Another company called, "Associated Exempts," was also organized in the Schoharie valley, composed of men over 50 years of age, and invalids-all of whom were exempt from military duty by law, but who organized to do duty at the military posts, etc. *

In June, 1777, Congress resolved to establish a corps of invalids,

* At the time the Schoharie regiment was formed, vlz.: October 20, 1775, one was also organized In the Halfmoon and Ballston district. Its first field officers were, Col. Jacobus Van Schoonhoven; Lieut.-Col., James Gordon; 1st Major, Ezekiel Taylor; 2d Major, Andrew Mitchell: Adjutant, David Rumsey; Quartermaster, Simon Forte. Its first named six Captains were, Gerardus Cluet, Nanning N. Visscher, Jeremiah Vincent, Joshua Losee, Tyranus Collins, and Stephen White.

consisting of 8 companies, each to have 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 2 ensigns, 5 sergeants, 6 corporals, 2 drums, 2 fifes, and 100 men, to be employed in garrison duty. In accordance with this act the Schoharie company was formed in the fall of 1777, or early in 1778, of which Tunis Vrooman, who had served in the French war, was appointed captain, Peter Snyder and Martinus Vrooman lieutenants, and John L. Lawyer ensign. This company, which was mostly in the vicinity of the Upper Fort, was called the "Associate Exempts."

The Associated Exempts was a military organization of the Revolution, scarcely mentioned by any writer of its history; and yet there was a body of militia of this kind in several counties. In Duchess county there was a company, not a few members of which had previously held commissions, and were exempt from further duty. Others joined who were over 50 years old, the legal period of release, and possibly a few whose infirmities exonerated them. They pledged themselves to hazard their lives with the rest of community and added: " We the subscribers having heretofore held commissions, or being beyond the age of 50 years, or otherwise exempted from serving in the militia, do hereby voluntarily associate and engage, that we will forthwith provide ourselves with arms, accoutrements and ammunition;" adding a pledge that on alarm they would repair to their appointed rendezvous, and when drafts were made on the militia they would contribute their portion of men, to be commanded by their own officers. The State convention approved their action and accepted their services, exempting them from other militia duty. *

Some counties may have had more than one company of this kind. Such a company existed in Tryon county during a part if not all of the Revolutionary period, and was commanded by Capt. John Roof of Canajoharie, who became a pioneer settler of Fort Stanwix in 1760, and had there to abandon his possessions in 1777. His having commanded a corps of exempts, is proven by a receipt in possession of his descendents, which was executed by a Mr. Roorback for 12s, 6d, as his fee for having collected Capt. Roof's pay-roll for the year 1779.

Some of the more enterprising young men of the Schoharie

* Journal of Prov. Cong., page 910.

valley, which was embraced in Albany county, enlisted into companies organized early at Albany; and were under Gen. Schuyler in the northern army, prior to the military organization of that settlement. Such was to a great extent the case in Tryon county; and that indomitable patriot Christopher P. Yates, who raised a company in the Palatine and Canajoharie districts, was in the autumn of 1775, in Gen. Schuyler's army. Indeed, so many men were recruited on the frontiers to fill up the early regiments of State troops, as in the course of the following year, to seriously alarm the pioneer settlers for the safety of their own homes. To illustrate how the frontier had been weakened in this direction, here is a Petition of the inhabitants of Cherry Valley, etc.

"To the Honorable members of the Provincial Congress of New York.

"The Humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Cherry Valley, New Town Martin and Springfield in the County of Tryon, Humbly Sheweth :

"That we the aforesaid inhabitants, from the most authentic intelligence we have received from our Missionaries and Indian friends, learn that we are in imminent danger of being cut off by the savages our enemies, whom we understand are bribed by Sir John Johnson and Col. Butler to execute the same: Know also Honorable Gentlemen, that the spirit of our inhabitants has been such for the American cause, that out of the small and scattered bounds of Cherry Valley and New Town Martin, [now Middlefield,] no less than 33 have turned out for immediate service and good of their country, and thereby left us in a defenseless condition. We therefore your Humble Petitioners, humbly pray you would forthwith take this our deplorable and distressed state and condition under your immediate consideration, and meditate some speedy relief for us, before it be too late; especially as the inhabitants of the Old England District and Unadilla [settlements south west of Cherry Valley] are daily flying to our settlement; so that we shall immediately in all appearance become an open, defenseless and unguarded frontier, and very much exposed to the insults of the enemy, especially scalping parties, and we are at present without either ammunition or men, any way sufficient to defend ourselves; and unless you, Gentlemen, that can help us will help us, by sending ammunition to the inhabitants, and a sufficient number of men, such as you may think proper to guard our frontiers, we must expect to fall victims to the rage and fury of our merciless enemies, and therefore must once more beg you may take these our deplorable circumstances under your consideration, and send us immediate relief; and your petitioners shall ever pray.

"Dated at Cherry Valley, 1st July, 1776.
SAM'L. DUNLAP, A. M. and Y. D. M. [He was their Minister.]
"Signed in the name and by order of the above Inhabitants."

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