DEPOSITION OF HENRY H. PICKARD, GEORGE VAN SLYKE'S
PENSION APPLICATION, S10016, N.Y., NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WASHINGTON, D.C.
VAN SLYKE served in the FIRST BATTALION OF TRYON COUNTY MILITIA and in LIEUTENANT-COLONEL MARINUS WILLETT'S REGIMENT OF NEW YORK STATE LEVIES. PICKARD'S deposition not only relates to the service of GEORGE but relates an incident that pertains to FORT WINDECKER and the capture of men from SIR JOHN JOHNSON'S OCTOBER 1780. The men were captured after the BATTLE OF KLOCKSFIELD which was fought in the afternoon of OCTOBER 19, 1780.
State of New York
SS: Henry H. Pickard of the Town of Ellery in the County of Chautauqua & State of New York being duly sworn according to law doth depose & say that he was born & brought up in the same neighborhood with George Van Slyke (who now resides in the Town of Pendleton in the County of Niagara & State of New York applicant for a Revolutionary pension) and has known & been intimately acquainted with him from this deponents earliest recollections and that during the Revolutionary War this deponent resided in the Town of Canajoharie in the then County of Tryon & State of New York & that for two or three years during the said war this deponent & his fathers family(1) lived in Fort Windecker(2) which was a small fort about seven miles above Fort Plain in Canajoharie(3) on the south side of the Mohawk, and this deponent distinctly remembers seeing the said George Van Slyke frequently at Fort Windecker during the Revolutionary War on military duty with other soldiers, and once this deponent remembers that Col. Willett with his Regiment or a part of it, came from Fort Plain as he supposed, & halted a short time at Fort Windecker, and after the Regiment had rested a while they marched on up the River & this deponent remembers seeing the said George Van Slyke marched with his gun in the rear of his platoon & this deponent understood that the said George Van Slyke was an officer but does not remember what grade -(4) And this deponent further says that which he so lived in Fort Windecker as aforesaid there was some fighting opposite the Fort on the north side of the River(5) & the evening & night after, the Enemy crossed over to the south side of the River and passed by the Fort & encamped a short distance from the Fort, and one of the Enemy who said he was Sir John Johnson's waiter was taken prisoner(6) at the Fort by the guard and on the same night a Canadian Indian who was lurking near the Fort fired upon the guard and was discovered & shot by said guard this said George Van Slyke was one of the said guard at the same time -
On the next morning the said George Van Slyke & this deponents father & three others making in all five turned out in pursuit of the Enemy & took & brought into the Fort several horses & a number of prisoners, this deponent does not recollect the precise number of horses or prisoners(7), but thinks they brought in four or five horses and fifteen or eighteen prisoners in all -
And this deponant further says he is several years younger than the said George Van Slyke & cannot recollect the years when any of the above transactions took place -
And this deponent further says that he recollects of hearing at the time that the said Geeorge Van Slyke went with a party of men during the Revolutionary War on a tour of service to Saratoga & Lake George & that he froze his feet(8) while he was gone, but what year he went this deponent does not recollect -
And this deponent further says that he verily believes that the said George Van Slyke was in the service of the United States in War of the Revolution & further says not -
Subscribed & Sworn his
before me the 2d day Henry H. X Pickard of August 1833 - mark George Rogers Justice of the Peace
1) Henry was the son of John Pickerd and Maria Margaret Garlock.
2) Fort Windecker was a picketed enclosure around the home of John Windecker. It contained a blockhouse inside the pickets which housed a cannon. There were about six families living living here. Those that are known beside the Windeckers were: Pickard, Young and Van Slyke. John Windecker served as a First Lieutenant in Captain Jost Dygert's Company in the First Regiment of Tryon County Militia. Fort Windecker stood about 8 miles from Fort Plain and two miles from Fort Willett.
3) Fort Plain was renamed Fort Rensselaer in 1780 and stood in what was called the Canajoharie District of Tryon County. The site is now in the Village of Fort Plain, Montgomery County.
4) George, in his pension application claims to have served as a sergeant in 1781 in Captain Lawrance Gros' Company in Colonel Marinus Willett's Regiment. The muster roll for said company list him only as a private. The muster roll can be found on Reel 78, Series M246, Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, National Archives, Washington, D.C..
5) Henry is referring to the Battle of Klocksfield which was fought in the afternoon of October 19, 1780.
6) The following was extracted from the Pension Application of Jacob A. Young, No. R11960. Jacob was serving as a private in Captain Jost Dygert's Company.
"That while this deponent was at fort Windecker and after the burning of Stone Arabia by the Enemy and when they were on their retreat, this Deponent, and those in the fort with him, took during one night thirteen prisoners that among them was a man who was the waiter of Sir John Johnson, as he alleged and he had with him fine shirts, silk handerchiefs, watches, pistols and other things as evidences of what he said that they also took twenty seven horses and killed one Indian. That deponent recollects that the waiter had one thumb cut off that deponent got the horse he rode and the musket which he carried, that Deponent used the same musket at the battle of Turlough (now Sharon, Schoharie County), and that it is now in the family of this Deponent."
7) Of the many prisoners taken by the garrison of Fort Windecker, only two names are known; Peter Cass and Philip Cook. Both men were serving as privates in the First Battalion of the King's Royal Regiment of New York.
8) George Van Slyke served as a private in Captain Nicholas Veeder's Company of Artifiers in 1779. He was employed in building bateaus for the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign and building barracks for Fort George at Lake George. He also served in Captain Jost Dygert's Company in 1780 and then in Willett's in 1781. On the muster roll of Gros' Company which is dated November 17, 1781, George is listed on furlough at Fort Windecker.
Contributed by James F. Morrison