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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 50: Schenectady in Colonial Wars.

[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 626-629 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. Some images have been relocated to the area in the text where they are discussed. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Contents | Biographies | Illustrations | Maps | Portraits

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Part of an interesting chapter on the military part played in America's colonial wars by the township of Schenectady, from 1700 to 1762 — from History of Schenectady County, by Hon. Austin A. Yates.

From Yates' History of Schenectady County:

All through the eighteenth century the names of the Schenectady burghers are proportionately more numerous than any of the then military divisions of the Province. The Mohawker was born in the midst of war's alarms, baptized to the music of the twang of the bowstring and crack of musketry. Often and often the hands that sprinkled his forehead, or made the sign of the cross above it, had become familiar with the stain of blood, as priest or parson performed the last duty to the dying. Among the old names, all the blood is soldier's blood. Beginning with the year 1700 the roll of fighters is long and heroic. Some of the names are still well known and prominent, some have died out. It is surprising to know of so many whose ancestors, two centuries ago, fought and suffered, and died for God and King, whose record is among the easily attained archives of New York, and yet who know nothing about that recorded story of ancient valor that may well be the pride of their children's children.

From as exhaustive an examination of Colonial Mss., as their immense volume will permit, we give here the companies and regiments from Schenectady, then part of Albany County, which did duty in the protection of home and in the service of William and Mary, Anne and the three Georges of England. By examination of the genealogical records that follow, it will be possible for thousands of her people to learn just the fighting stock from which they came.

The first roll is that of a company of foot. The official record is John Sanders Glen, Captain, Adam Vrooman, Lieutenant and Harman Van Slyck Ensign, in the years 1700-14. [Given in Chapter 29 of this work.]

In 1717 there were two companies in existence in the city.

Glen, Capt., Gerrit Symonse, Lieut., and John Wemple, Ensign, of the one; Harman Van Slyck, Capt., Hendrick Vrooman, Lieut., Jacob Glen, Ensign, of the other. Niskayuna furnished a company of foot, Jacob Van Schoonhoven was Capt., Hans Hansen, Ensign and John Wendell, Lieut.

In 1733 there were three companies of infantry in Schenectady, officered as follows:

The First Company. Wilhemus Veeder, Capt., in the room of Jacob Glen, Lieut. John Vedder, Lieut. Abraham Truax, Ensign, Jan Baptiste Van Eps.

The Second Company. Capt. Abraham Glen, Lieut. Andries A. Bradt, Lieut. Jan B. Wemple, Ensign Hendrick Wemple.

The Third Company. Jacob Van Slyck, Capt., William Teller, Lieut., Myndert Mynderse, Lieut., John A. Bradt, Ensign.

In the meanwhile Daniel Campbell in 1754 came here and settled in Rotterdam to enter the service of the king. Very soon after his coming, John Duncan came the year following, to not only serve under the king, but to remain in it all through the Revolution, and to take command of a company under Sir John Johnson and attack the settlements on the Mohawk River.

Joseph Yates had emigrated from Albany and had settled at the Aalplaus, where is now the property of Mr. Pierre Hoag, and must have prospered as he owned a large plantation, cultivated by slaves, which extended from the Aalplaus Creek, along the north bank of the river to what is now Freeman's Bridge. He had two sons, Christopher (Stoeffle) and Jelis, the Dutch for Giles. These men were fort officers in the service of the king. The soldiers of that militia did as much duty as either, in fact had seen more brave fighting in many instances than either of the others. They certainly had in the Mohawk Valley. The militiaman did not, as did his successors long years afterward, enlist for his personal beauty, his gaudy trappings, the pomp and circumstances of holiday parade, but to be ready at a moment's call to guard his and his neighbor's home. And in the early latter half of the century, the system of keeping the rolls and records was established which enables us to find out just who were those who did soldierly duty for their king, as long as such duties were consistent with patriotism.

One of the best known old soldiers of Colonial days was Jellis Fonda, father of the heroic Major Jellis of the Revolution. He was a lieutenant in Mathews Company in 1755. He was major under Sir William Johnson of the Third Regiment of Albany. He was the close companion, comrade and friend of Sir William Johnson.

Two of the most ferocious old fighters of Colonial days were Captains Jonathan Stevens and William McGinnis, both killed beside King Hendrick and Col. Williams, founder of Williams College [at the battle of Lake George in 1755]. They both commanded Schenectady companies. Sir William Johnson reported officially that McGinnis, Stevens and the Schenectady men fought like lions. Stevens was killed at the age of twenty-eight, leaving no lineal descendants.

[In the Yates History of Schenectady County at this point appears the diary of Lieutenant Christopher Yates in the Fort Niagara expedition of 1759. It is given in Chapter 48 of this work.]

Captain Cornelius Van Dyck commanded a company in 1762, mustered at Schenectady. But two Schenectady names appear on the roll of privates, Peter Prunus and John Dauce. Van Dyck was afterwards one of the most heroic officers of the Revolution. As colonel of the First Regiment of the line he participated in Monmouth, Yorktown and almost every battle. His descendants are numerous. Van Dyck was present at the surrender of Colonel Wallace.

Daniel Campbell, Andrew Truax, John Vrooman and Gerrit Lansing were commissioned captains in 1762.

On the roll of Captain Campbell's company appear only the following Schenectady names: Philip Truax, Arent Wemple, Barent Wemple, Isaac Jacob Swits, Daniel DeGraff, Isaac I. Swits, Thomas Little, Simon Samuel, John and Joseph Brougham, Dirck and Philip Van Patten and Robert Shannon, William, James and Matthew Thornton.

Captain Gerrit A. Lansing's company was composed of Schenectady men. The names are spelled with perfect devotion to Dutch pronunciation, but in absolute contempt of correctness, yet the reader will readily distinguish the familiar titles.

Capt. Gerritt A. Lansing's Company. A list of the officers and men in the Second Schenectady Company of Militia, with the dates of officers' commissions, 1767:

Capt. Gerritt A. Lansing, 2d day of November, 1754.

First Lieut. John S. Glen, 23d day of October, 1758.

Second Lieut. Abraham Wemple, 23d day of October, 1759 [afterwards colonel of Second Albany Co. Militia].

Ensign Samuel Van Slyck, 23d day of October, 1759.

Sergt. Harman Hagadorn, Sergt. Mass Van Vranken, Sergt. Hendrick Veeder, Sergt. John Fort. Corporal Peter Steers, Corporal Cornelius Barhydt. Drummer, Abraham N. Leythall [Lighthall].

Privates: Robert Hagadorn, Wm. Beth [Bath], Albert Vedder, Robert Beth, Peter Van Vorst, Phillip Van Vorst, Arent Stevens, Tobias Luypard, John S. Van Eps, Cornelius P. Van Slyck, Cornelius Van Slyck, Jr., Elias Post, Gerrit Tellor, Cornelius Van Guyseling, Jacob Van Guyseling, Elias Van Guyseling, Ryer Schermerhorn, Simon Schermerhorn, John Schermerhorn, Carel Scherfer, John Mercelis, Jakel Mercelis, Nicholas Vedder, Symon Groot, Barent Mynderse, Johannes Jure Kraft, John Dinny, Symon Janson, Peter Veeder, John Steers, Abraham Fonda, Tekeris Van De Bogart, Bartal, Frederick Clute, John Hall, Frederick Luypard, Hendrick Charlo, Abraham Van Vorst, Teron Barhydt, Jacob Farlie, Petrus Van Der Volgen, Jacob S. Vrooman, Johannes Bastianse, Martin Van Benthuisen, Gerrit Wendell, Abraham Groot, Rikert Van Vraken [Van Vranken?], John Meb, Richard James, Samuel Bradt, Samuel S. Bradt, Arent Bradt, Jacob Bradt, Frederick Bradt, Johannes Schoenmaker, John Tellor.

Officers 4, sergeants 4, corporals 2, drummer 1, privates 55. Total 66.

Captain John Duncan's company contains the honored names of Wemple, Wendell and Samuel Fuller, very probably the remainder followed their captain into war. Schenectady was devoted to the King to the day of the Revolution.

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