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Welcome to a web site dedicated to presenting an accurate account of the death of Harmonus Dumond!

Most published accounts of the killing of Harmonus Dumond are incomplete, telling only one side of the story, including the most recent account in the 1992 book: THOMAS POSEY, SON OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, by John Thornton Posey.

I would like to thank John Thornton Posey for bringing to my attention, through this book, the inclusion of the Dumond event in Papers of George Washington.

On this first page, of this web site, you will be able to read the various accounts in "History" books concerning this incident. On the page entitled THE MURDER OF HARMONUS DUMOND you will be able to read the documents, from Governor George Clinton's Papers, as well as view the actual documents in the Papers of General George Washington, concerning this event in American history.


THE MURDER OF HARMONUS DUMOND | Harmonus Dumond Family Record in Their Bible | 1772 Map Showing the Location of Pakatakan | Alexander Harper Family of Harpersfield Ohio | Contact Me | The Dumond Family Cemetery in 1949 | Robert Rowe Ahnentafel | New Page Title


"So vague and uncertain are the traditions of the French settlers that we will be led by this topic back only to the spring of 1763. During the fall and winter previous a party was formed in Hurley, Ulster county, N. Y. to explore the Delaware valley, and, if expedient , to make arrangements for emigrating thither with their families.

Four families made the experiment, and bought four farms on great lot No. 7, on the Middletown flats in 1763. The deeds are dated April 9th of that year, and the purchase price was twenty shillings per acre. Harmonus Dumond bought the farm across the river from Margaretville, and his brother, Peter Dumond, took a farm up the river, near the present residence of Elijah A. Olmsted. Johannes Von Woggoner settled part of the Cockburn farm. The farm is so called from William Cockburn, a surveyor, who was in the employ of the Livingstons in 1774, and received this fine farm of six hundred acres for a part of his compensation. He also in 1797 made the survey and map locating the line between Delaware and Ulster counties. This line was resurveyed officially in 1874 and the marked trees were them standing, on some of which the date was still legible."

"Peter Hendricks located on the farm now owned by Noah Dimmick. Hendrick's wife was a widow Kittle, and her son, Frederick Kittle, has been spoken of as the fifth early settler, but the fact is he came with his step-father at the age of sixteen years. This farm is generally known as the Kittle farm, and in this way: Mr. Hendricks made a will giving his son a musket, and his step-son the farm. It is believed that this family purchased of one of the French Canadians, who had returned after the French and Indian troubles had subsided.



"Between 1763 and 1778 at least forty families from Shandaken, Marbletown and the vicinity of Kingston had settled on the East Branch of the Delaware River in what is now Delaware County. These families came over Pine Hill by the route subsequently adopted for the old Sopus Turnpike. Their houses were scattered along the river southerly down as far as Downsville. The names of the heads of these first families in the vicinity of Margaretville were Harmanus Dumond, Petrus Dumond, Johannes Van Waggenen, Peter Hendricks, Peter Burger, John Burrows, Johannes Deyo, Peter Hynpagh, Frederick Kittle, James Markle, Albertus Sluyter, Simon VanWagenen and William Yaple. The first four came in 1763 and were the first white settlers on the soil of Delaware County. The name applied to the settlement made by them was 'Pakataghkan,' as it was written on Sauthier's map of 1779, or "Paghatakan,' as it was written on subsequent maps. The name of the Indian Village one-half mile below the mouth of the Bushkill, was written by Ebenezer Wooster in 1749 as 'Pawcawtocking.' Cockburn's map of 1765, which shows a road from Marbletown up Esopus Creek, over Pine Hill and down 'The Tweed,' gives the name of the settlement as 'Paughquataughcan,' and on the map of the Public Road of 1791 it is written 'Poughquataughkan.' The Indian village was an Esopus village, and various spellings and meanings have been suggested by the Bureau of Ethnology, the latest being 'Pachgandikan,' a Lenape or Delaware word now said to be confined to 'the flat piece of wood used in beating wash clothes.' Another possible and perhaps preferable derivation is 'Pawinquehikan,' to shell corn. The name is now written Pakatakan." CHAPTERS IN THE HISTORY OF DELAWARE COUNTY, NEW YORK, Delaware Co. Hist. Assn., 1949, by John Monroe.

As Monroe indicates, Harmanus Dumond, and brother Peter moved to Pakatakan from the Kingston area in 1763, Harmanus buying the farm across the river from what is now Margaretville Central School, where the sewage treatment plant is now located. Ethel Bussy, MARGARETVILLE, 1960, calls the Dumond homestead "the James Fairbairn farm," which was bought in 1763 "at twenty shillings per acre." Peter purchased the farm now known as the Howard Davis farm at the other end of the village.

Dumond Cemetery

"The little Dutch colony thus planted continues to increase by immigration, and within eight years numbered nine families. Of these, William Philip Henry Yaple came to the Elias Carpenter place in 1771. He evidently came to the settlement on more than one errand, for his fortunes were at once shared by Dumond's daughter Nelly. Other settlers were Simeon Von Waggoner, Slyter, Green, Hinebaugh and Bierch. All the settlers thus far had maintained friendly relations with the Indians, but during the first years of the Revolutionary troubles complications arose, by which the property, the freedom, and in some instances the lives of the colonists were sacrificed.

"The settlers were not all in sympathy with the colonists in their Revolutionary measures, and thus a feeling arose in which the Indians took sides with the tories, and many were the insults which the rebels - as they were called - had to endure. The first open quarrel growing out of these opposing political affiliations is said to have originated between two school boys, who were attending the Dutch school that had been established at Pakatakan quite early in the history of the settlement. One of Peter Dumond's sons, Isaac, was called a rebel by a young man named Markle, and the rising ire of the young Dutchmen culminated in fist blows, in which others of the larger boys took part, The result was the discontinuance of the school."

[This incident demonstrates the tension which existed at Pakatakan over the issue of "patriotism." Two of the Markle (Merkel) brothers come into play in the murder of Harmonus Dumond, a few years later, when, as part of the militia party under the command of Alexander Harper, they entered the Vanwaggenen home, where Harmonus Dumond lay dying, to tell him that they were sorry that he had been shot by some of their own company.]

There are a several versions of what took place in the settlements at Pakatakan during the American Revolution. One of the most recent, that was written as a result of local (Margaretville/Arkville - the current villages which share the site of what was generally called Pakatakan at that early date) residents requests for information about local history, is the book written by Ethel Bussy. She writes:

"During the winter of 1777-8, the Indians began a series of depredations upon the property of the settlers along the river as far as Pepacton. A body of Indians and hostile whites laid a plan to burn the homes of the white settlers at Pepacton and Pakatakan.

"By the warning of a kindly Indian, most of the settlers hastily gathered a few belongings that they could carry and retreated over the mountains eastward to the Great Shandaken with a guard who had come from the Great Shandaken to help them escape.

"Harmanus DuMond was one who would not leave with the guard and remained behind to secure certain property. The guard with his convoy had scarcely reached the Great Shandaken, when news came that Harmanus DuMond was shot in a raid by the Tories at Pakataken. He died a few days later on August 29th and was buried at Pakataken.

"Another man who refused to leave at that time was John Burrows, but he was able to escape by taking a pathless course over Dry Brook mountain into Shandaken."

(Margaretville, History and Stories of Margaretville and Surrounding Area, p. 3. Ethel H. Bussy, 1960)

Mrs. Bussy was not a careful historian, and her book was the most recent account (until the release, in 1992, of the biography of THOMAS POSEY) of the death of Harmonus (the spelling of his name from his family Bible) Dumond. She leaves the impression that Harmonus was killed by "Tories" (the English sympathizers in the American Revolution). Indeed, the first report that was carried to the Great Shandaken was that he had been killed, or wounded by tories, but he was really killed by troops from the "American" side (called "rebels" by the tories), and the documentation of the event shows clearly that the mistaken identity of the "military" group that killed Dumond was clarified. In fact, this early identification of the military group as "tories" appears to be deliberate on the part of that outfit, and was crucial in interchanges between Dumond and his killers, or, as I say, his murders. (I'm not alone, or the first to call it "murder." This term is used in the Governor Clinton Papers, as we shall see.) In her book, Mrs. Bussy relied quite heavily on the 1949 book by John D. Monroe, Chapters in the History of DELAWARE COUNTY NEW YORK, but in relating the account of the death of Harmonus Dumond, she must have relied on Jay Gould and W.W. Munsell.

Gould records:

"From the few reliable reminiscences I have been enabled to gather, it appears that at a very early period, a few Low-Dutch families from Marbletown and Hurley, followed up the Esopus or Shandaken creek (the latter being the Indian name signifying swift waters,) and crossing the hills that divide its waters from the east branch of the Delaware, located themselves in a small settlement upon the fertile flats that skirt the latter stream. One of these settlers, a Mr.Van Waggoner settled near the present residence of Colonel Noah Dimmick, to whom the author is indebted for the above information. Another settled a short distance above, by the name of Kittle - this place was afterward familiarly known as the "Kittle Farm." Several other settlers were scattered along at intervals for several miles down the river, among whom were Hermanus Dumond, about a mile below Margar- etville, on the opposite side of the river, who was shot during the Revolution under the following painful circumstances:

"Dumond, in company with John Barrow, a neighbor, who occupied and owned the present residence of Warren Dimmick , Esq., in Middletown, had been - as my informant Colonel Dimmick recollects, and which somewhat differs from a subsequent recital of the same event in this chapter - up the river on a hunting excursion, and when returning and while near Arkville on the flat, they unexpectedly fell in with a company of Schoharie guards, who had been sent by Colonel Vroman, of Schoharie, to scour the head waters of the Delaware, and to arrest certain disaffected persons, and to destroy supposed Indian settlements, and who were now on their return to Schoharie.

"The Guard perceiving them armed ordered them to "halt." Dumond and Barrow, from the best authority I can command were favorable to the cause of the colonies, although from considerations of personal safety they had been prompted to maintain, as much as possible, a neutral position. It is therefore probable, that in their haste they mistook the character of the troops, and supposing them to be Tories and Indians, disregarded the injunction, and immediately attempted to flee. Perceiving their retreat, the commander of the troops ordered his men to fire upon them, when Dumond fell mortally wounded, surviving his fall but a brief period, while Barrow, more fortunate than his companion, escaped unhurt and unmolested, to carry the painful intelligence to the family of the deceased. The guard dismounted, and gathering around the expiring man expressed in heartfelt grief their sympathy at his untimely death; raising him gently upon their locked arms, they conveyed him to a house near by. No physician was at hand to render efficient aid, and indeed none was necessary, for it was apparent to all as they watched the tremulous pallor of his countenance, the glazed and fixed expression of his dark eye, and the cold drops of sweat that gathered upon his icy, but manly forehead revealed in unmistakable language,

"That the golden bowl was broken,"

and that life hung for a time but by a flickering and disserved thread. It was indeed a time for mourning; that little band of brave men had wives and children and hearth-stones of their own, and it was for these, the dearest and tenderest of all human interests, that they had come forth and taken upon themselves the armor of war, to protect and defend them; and when the expiring man with his last accent breathed sweet counsel to his wife and children, who depended upon him for their daily bread, there arose spontaneous in every bosom, the reflected counterpart of their own homes; perhaps at that instant the ruthless savage has raised the fierce war-whoop, and with tomahawk in hand has passed the threshold of his own domicile to drink the heart's blood of his own kindred, or if they escape death, to be carried into a captivity, if possible, worse even than death. A rude and shallow grave is prepared, in which, without coffin or shroud, or monument to mark his resting-place, they placed him with his arms slightly folded, and without removing his clothes.

"The death of Dumond was an unfortunate circumstance for his family. He was the father of a large family of children, most of whom at that time were small. My informant, Cyrus Burr, Esq., knew three of the sons, John, David and Hermanus, all of whom are now dead, and two daughters, both of whom married men by the name of Yaples. One of them, the widow of Philip Yaple, deceased, resides at present in Plattekill, in the town of Middletown."


Mrs. Bussy, unfortunately, relied too heavily on Munsell's history. The account in this source reads:

"The whigs having left the settlement, there remained only those who were in sympathy with the English, and Pakatakan thus became an uncontaminated tory community. No further attempt was made by the settlers to establish themselves here until after the Revolution, but the refugees made frequent visits to their former homes to secure other of their personal effects, or to gather the crops that they left growing. On one of these occasion Mr. A. Yaple was taken prisoner by a band of tories, among whom was Blanch, one of his former neighbors. He was taken to Pepacton, and there detained in custody until the crops he had intended to gather were secured the tories and Indians, when he was released and allowed to return with some few of his goods.

"These outrages had so aroused the attention of the Americans that during the summer a company of militia was sent from Schoharie to scour the upper valleys of the Delaware and to arrest or drive out the disaffected persons, and to destroy certain Indian villages where aid and comfort were being given to the British enemy. While here they came upon John Burrow and Harmonus Dumond, and seeing them armed and refusing to halt, the guard were ordered to fire. Dumond was mortally wounded, and died in Simeon Von Woggoner's hotel three days later, on the 29th of August, 1778; but Burrow made good his escape, by taking a pathless course up Dry brook and over the mountains into Shandaken. It is claimed by the descendants of these men that they were both whigs, but tried to escape supposing the soldiers were enemies of the colonists."


If Bussy had studied the most accurate document to date, John Monroe's account, and examined to documents in Governor George Clinton's papers she would have arrived at a far different conclusion, than that: "he was shot in a raid by the Tories..."

Monroe gives the details of events leading up to Harmonus Dumond's death, but even he does not include a very important document - the actual message that Dumond gave to the "American" military officials, that ended up in Governor Clinton's papers. Governor Clinton utilized the information provided by Dumond, and responded to it on more than one occasion.

This is part of Monroe's account:

"Joseph Brant, the great war chief of the Six Nations, assembled his warriors and appeared at Oquago and Unadilla in May, 1777. General Herkimer met him in conference at Sidney on June 27, 1777, when Brant told Herkimer, 'You are too late. I am already engaged to serve the King.' Despite Brant's proximity and engagement with the King, no particular trouble appears to have occurred on the East Branch of the Delaware until July, 1778. In April, 1778, the Indians wedre active along the Delaware as far down as Cochecton, and Nathaniel Park and Henry Bush had gone off with them. On June 5, 1778, Jacob Klock wrote that Brant was sending out raiding parties from Unadilla, which place he said, 'has always been and still continues to be a common receptacle for all rascally tories and runaway negroes.' James Armitage, coach and chair maker at Acra, on July 6, 1778, stated that armed men were constantly passing his house on the road between Catskill and Batavia (Windham), on their way to 'Paghkatakean.' He said that these persons were tories, some five hundred of whom left Burgoyne"s army before its surrender at Saratoga. Armitage said that he was told that they were gathering at 'Paghkatakean' preparatory to a march of fifteen thousand men under Col. John Butler through the mountains to meet Lord Howe at Catskill. In directing Colonel Cantine to increase his guards, Clinton said: 'This is the most critical and unfavorable period to have the peace of our frontiers disturbed.' But the peace of New York's frontiers was about to be disturbed with a vengeance."

(p.48 - CHAPTERS IN THE HISTORY OF DELAWARE COUNTY NEW YORK, by John D. Monroe, Delaware County Historical Society, Delhi, 1949)

Harmanus Dumond and others from Pakatakan went down the river to pepacton on July 8, 1778. There at the house of John Barnhart they found twenty Indians and an equal number of tories under arms and about to proceed to L"Peter Hendricks located on the farm now owned by Noah Dimmick. Hendrick's wife was a widow Kittle, and her son, Frederick Kittle, has been spoken of as the fifth early settler, but the fact is he came with his step-father at the age of sixteen years. This farm is generally known as the Kittle farm, and in this way: Mr. Hendricks made a will giving his son a musket, and his step-son the farm. It is believed that this family purchased of one of the French Canadians, who had returned after the French and Indian troubles had subsided.

Here I insert the actual report of Harmonus Dumond to Governor Clinton, which he dictated to Levi Pawling in Kingston, after his return from Pepacton, the report says:

"Harmanis Dumon, of Poughkatakan, being Duly Sworn Saith that on Wednesday the Eighth Instant he with Johannis Vanwagenen and Several other all Residenters of the Settlement, whent Down the River to Papaconk, at the Request of George Barnard; when they came to Johannis Barnard at Papaconk, they found about twenty Indians all arm'd, and about twenty Tories who were, (as this Deponant Under Stood) to go Down the River to a place called Willdewemaugh [Williwemack] and their to be Joynd, by another party, thence To proceed to Laghawock and So on to Rochester and to Destroy all before them; only Such as Should Joyn them or lay Down their arms; and this Deponent Farther Saith; that he Under Stood That their was a party Under the Command of Brant (the Indian) gon to Schogery, and another Party to Cherry Vally, and also another party Under the Command of Butler to Weomie and another party Commanded by one Crum To Manising; the party who Intends for Rochester is to be Joynd, by forty men Under the Command of Joh's Ostrout, and also another party Under The Command of Samuel Gunsalus.
[Signed] Harmanes Dumond.
Sworn before me this tenth Day of July 1778.
Levi Pawling."


[Harmanus Dumond's deposition is a remarkable summary of the plans of the tories, since nearly every prediction came true. And even more remarkable is the fact that he was able to gather so much information and get it to the authorities in such a short period of time. The Governor, who was in Poughkeepsie had the deposition in his hand on July 11th. He responded:]

"Poughkeepsie the 11th July 1778.

"Sir, I have this Moment received your Letter Dated 2 o'Clock this Morning together with one from Colo. Cantine of yesterday inclosing an Affidavit & a Letter addressed to the Inhabitants of Kingston &c. (said to be wrote by Order of the Anandago Indians) inclosed containing Accounts of the Hostile Designs of the Indians & Tories on our Western Frontiers. By a Letter I received yesterday from Colo. Gaansevoort, at Fort Schuyler, I am informed that a number of Regular Troops from Canada & Indians were assembled at Osewigatje from whence they were directly to Proceed ag't Fort Schuyler. This Account which came to Colo. Gaansevoort so as to obtain his full Credit induces me to put greater Faith in Dumond's Affidavit, for I think it more than probable if the Enemy seriously intend any Thing ag't that Post, they will keep small Parties out on our Frontiers, constantly alarming the Inhabitants to prevent the Militia from marcking to the Relief of that Garrison, which is, I am sorry to say, neither sufficiently strong or well provided to resist a formidable attack.

"This is the most critical & unfavorable Period to have the Peace of our Frontiers disturbed. Genl. Washington's Army not having arrived I dare not withdraw the Militia from the Posts in the Highlands. Harvest being at Hand forbids the ordering & keeping out the whole or indeed a large Proportion of the Militia for and Space of Time. I dont know that any Thing more can be done but keep out those already so stationed as to get the earliest Intelligence of the Enemy's Motions & occasionally to strengthen them, if on the Approach of the Enemy it may appear necessary. I woud apprize you that strong Detachments are out towards Minissink & Peenpack from MvCaghry's & Allison's Regts., between whom & Coll. Cantine a constant Communication shoud be maintained, for the Purposes of gaining Intelligence & Cooperating with each other. I expect Colo. Cantine to whom you will please forward this Letter will increase the Guards on the Frontiers by ordering out a greater part of the Militia if he shall Judge it necessary, without waiting for further Orders. I must submit to you & him whether Gonsalus & Oosterhoudt ought not to be immediately secured. This will depend on their Characters & other Circumstances. I am your most Obed't Serv't [G.C.]
Colo. Levy Pawling & to be forwarded to Colo. Cantine.


Harmanus names Johannis Vanwagenen as one of the Pakatakan residents who who went down river to the meeting in Pepacton. Vanwagenen was one of those earliest settlers in the Margaretville/Arkville area. George Barnhart, who requested the meeting, was born in 1747 and claimed to be a large land-owner (actually he leased the land) in the Pepacton area. He had four sons and two daughters. At least two of the sons were credited with serving with the British -- Jacob, who was born in 1768, and enlisted on 2 Dec 1780; and Nicholas, born in 1771, and joined at the same time as his brother (being only 9 years old, and 4'6'' tall). (Loyalist records) George had been involved with the tories for several months, assisting Col. John Butler, and had been imprisoned for a time. He went on to become a sergeant in the King's Royal Regiment, in which he was officially enlisted on 22 May 1780. He settled in Canada in 1784. Johannis Barnhart, born in 1746 and served with Brant on scouting expeditions, and was with him at the battle of Minisink, July 22, 1779, and in one engagement was wounded. He joined the King's Royal Regiment on 1 February 1780, serving with Munro from 1781-83. He also settled in Ontario, Canada. One of the other men who probably went to Pepacton with Dumond was "the noted villian" John Snow, who had gone with the tories on their raid of Lackawack, was captured when someone (possibly Harmanus Dumond) allerted Lieut. Westbrook of Col. Cantine's regiment that he was at Pakatakan. He was captured there just before July, 30th, as Col. Cantine reported to Gov. Clinton. (vol. III, p. 597)

The tory raiders moved even faster than the communication from Dumond. They attacked Lackawack on July 9th, killing some and taking others prisoner, along with farm animals and other plunder. Two of the prisoners were Jacob Ousterhout and George Anderson. (According to Anderson, he and Ousterhout were taken by three Indian braves and a squaw, to be sold at Niagara. Anderson reported that when they neared their destination he killed his captors, and the two returned to Hunk on the 19th day after their captivity. On November 4, 1778 the state legislature awarded Anderson the sum of one hundred pounds, "as a gratuity for his valor and resolute conduct in effecting the escape of Jacob Oosterhout and himself when captivated by the Indians." The legislature's action is interesting to note in this case, as in some others, where escaping from captivity is rewarded, when we examine the Governors final decision in the Harmanus Dumond case, where the Governor excused the murderers because Dumond "was wrong in attempting to escape out of their Custody," even if he was deceived into believing he was in the custody of the enemy -- which to him was the same tories and Indians who had captured Anderson.)

The "Weomie" (Wyoming), Pennsylvania attack, mentioned in Dumond's deposition, had taken place on July 3rd, resulting in the infamous "Wyoming Massacre," led, as Dumond stated, by Col. John Butler (not as fictional accounts relate, and even a letter to Governor Clinton on July 5 informing him of the attack led by "Butler & Brandt" (vol. III, p. 523), by Brant, who was in the Oquago area at the time. It doesn't appear that Dumond was aware that the attack on Wyoming had already taken place.) On July 18th Dumond's prediction about Cherry Valley became reality when Brant led five hundred tories and Indians, burning Springfield and Andrustown.

"By the middle of August 1778, the purpose of the enemy became so definitely revealed that on August 19th Clinton wrote to Colonel Cantine:

'I am of the opinion that it will be best to remove, if possible, the grain and all kind of provision from the settlements on the Delaware in Ulster County and if it cannot be effected I think it would be better even to destroy it than let it remain there and fall into the hands of the enemy.'

He directed that 400 pounds be sent Colonel Cantine for that purpose.

The next day (20th) twenty Indians and a Tory named Mc Donald attacked the house of a man named Brooks, about two miles from Peenpack (Cuddebackville) and killed Joseph Hubbard, and took five children prisoners. The frontier was in a commotion. The troops at Shandaken marched up the valley of the Esopus to Paghkatakan and brought down all the patriot families and as much of their goods as they could bring, and reached Shandakan on the 26th. Dumond turned about immediately, accompanied by a neighbor named Burrows, and drove right up the valley to secure more of his goods."
(Olde Ulster, Benjamin Brink, 1907, Kingston, NY, Vol.3, pp. 20-21)

Two of the men involved in the shooting of Dumond "were identified as sons of a man who had formerly taught school in Pakatakan."
(Olde Ulster, p.23)

Those to men were the Markle or Merkle brothers.


Click this link to go to the Delaware County Rootsweb Site and Munsell's HISTORY OF DELAWARE COUNTY, Town of Middletown [Please observe that the surname "MARKLE" has been transcribed as "Marble".]

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