New York State and the federal government are working towards recognizing
the unique historic resources that exist in upstate New York. The Office of Parks and
Recreation's Mohawk Valley
Heritage Corridor and The
Northern Frontier Project are both working towards developing master plans for
tourism. This page is also an attempt to recognize and promote these sites,
and serves as a virtual tourguide to notable places.
Oswego to Albany
Oswego has a long history as the end of the waterway that leads from Manhattan to Lake
Ontario. From the 1600's on through at least 1812,Oswego was the prize for French,
British, and American forces. The first post was built here in 1727 under the direction of
Governor Burnet. Eventually,three forts were built along the river during the French and
Indian war; all were destroyed during a raid by the Marquis de Montcalm. Fort Ontario, on
the east side, was rebuilt and regarrisoned after Montcalm's visit. During the Revolution,
the Port was the launching point for St. Leger's expedition and many other raids on the
Mohawk Valley. Washington's last purported command was to Marinus
Willett, ordering him to attack Oswego. Executed in the dead of winter, the surprise
attack was a failure; Oswego remained in British hands until 1796. The current Fort
Ontario was built in the 1840's, and features an 1870's U.S. Army reenactor unit (the Fort
Ontario Guard)during tourist season. Several buildings from the post's early twentieth
century life can also be seen.
Directions: From Syracuse, take Route 481 North to Oswego. Turn right at East Bridge
St.(second light), then turn left onto East Seventh St. and follow the loop road around
the ball fields to the Fort parking lot. Phone: 315-343-4711
The Fort at
The falls of the Oswego made a portage necessary; this spot was fortified during the
French and Indian War to guard the portage. It's design and layout were nearly identical
to Fort Brewerton, also of the same vintage. The probable site of the fort was within the
Sealright factory complex on the east shore of the river in modern Fulton, NY. Expansion
of the factory over time has obliterated any obvious remains of this earthwork. There has
been some discussion of recreating the fort, but not on it's original ground.
A post was built here at the west end of Oneida Lake as part of the overall defenses of
the water route during the French and Indian war. By the time of the revolution, the fort
had fallen into disuse. Today, the outlines of the original earthworks and the
reconstructed postwar Oliver Stevens blockhouse may be seen. The Fort Brewerton Historical Society has plans to
reconstruct the fort; contact Tom Miles if you
are interested in contributing to this worthy effort.
Sir John Johnson led a raid on the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys in the fall of 1780, to
counter Sullivan's attack on the Iroquois villages in 1779. The raiders started in
Lachine, Quebec, crossed the lake to Oswego, and crossed Oneida Lake to the mouth of
Chittenango Creek. They left a detachment there to guard their supplies. This rear guard
was captured by a militia party under Captain Walter Vrooman on October 23. Vrooman's
party was then captured by a returning group of Butler's Rangers; four of the militia men
were tortured to death by the Indians.
Fort Canaseraga may have originally been a Tuscarora Indian fortification. Sir William
Johnson ordered a blockhouse built on the site in 1756. Allegedly, nine veterans from
Vrooman's force returned in 1790 to start a settlement, but they mistakenly built on
Oneida owned land. The settlers were forcibly evicted, and their homes were burned down by
the Montgomery County sheriff. Several Oneida chiefs were on hand during the burning, and
perhaps recalling their own suffering during the revolution, offered new land to the
veterans. They started new homesteads near Chittenango.
Stories such as the one above are a mix of facts and lore. "Dan Weiskotten, historian and archaelogist, has
debunked much of the above tale. Read Dan's interpretation of
of Canaseraga and judge for yourself.
Directions: approximately one mile south of where Black Creek joins Chittenango Creek, on
a hill about 100 feet away from Chittenango Creek. Note that this is private land-stay in
your car, please!
There is an historic marker on Route 5 east of Chittenango that supposedly marks the
"squatters" settlement of Canaseraga. Mr. Weiskotten notes that this marker is
misplaced, and that there was a Tuscarora Indian settlement here from 1740 to 1810 (hence
the name "Tuscarora Road", where my cousins run their farm).
Built during the French and Indian War, Stanwix(also called Fort Schuyler by the patriots)
guarded the portage between Oneida Lake and the Mohawk River. St.Leger's siege did not go
as planned - Gansevoort, Willett, and the 3rd New York held their ground, forcing St.
Leger to abort his mission and retreat to Oswego. Legend also holds that one of the first
versions of the Stars and Stripes flew over Fort Stanwix during the siege. Urban renewal
did at least one good thing in Rome: it allowed archaeologists to uncover Stanwix's lines,
and made space for the NPS to build a superb reconstruction.
Directions: from the east-exit at Route 365,follow to Rome. Fort Stanwix is located at the
Junction of Rtes. 365, 46,and 49 (locally known as the Arterial).
Fort Stanwix National Monument
112 East Park Street
Rome, New York 13440
von Steuben Memorial
This site has a replica of Steuben's cabin and the gravesite of "the drillmaster of
the American Revolution". Various activitites scheduled at the site throughout the
season are coordinated by the Friends
of Baron Steuben. Located north of Utica in Remsen, NY.
Directions: from the Utica Thruway exit, proceed north on rtes. 12 and 28.
Turn onto Starr Hill rd, 2.5 miles west of 12 and 28.
Steuben Memorial State Historic Site
Starr Hill rd
Remsen, NY 13438
While St. Leger was laying siege to Fort Stanwix, runners slipped out and called out the
local militia. The Tryon County militia, under the leadership of General Nicholas
Herkimer, were supposed to relieve the Fort on hearing a pre-arranged cannon signal.
Herkimer's officers called him a coward, and basically badgered him into rushing blindly
ahead to Fort Stanwix. The militia ran into a mixed force of Regulars, Loyalists, and
Indians that were lying in ambush in a swampy area near the Oneida village of
Oriska. Both sides suffered heavy losses; although the British force supposedly quit the
field first, the American relief force was so severely mauled it was unable to complete
the advance to Fort Stanwix.
Directions: Rte.69 east from Rome, or west from Utica.
Fort Dayton was a sizable post, and part of the American chain of defenses in the Mohawk
Valley. It was built under the direction of Col. Elias Dayton of the 3rd New Jersey regt.
in 1776. Nicholas Herkimer gathered his militia here on August 4, 1777, and ran into the
Oriskany ambush on his way to relieve Fort Stanwix.
In the fall of 1778, Joseph Brant and Captain William Caldwell led a mixed force of 450
Loyalists and Mohawks on a raid into the German Flats area. A scouting party was sent out
to find the raiders, and ran into an ambush. Only Adam Helmer survived; he led the Indians
on a twenty mile chase (dramatized in the print and film versions of Drums Along The
Mohawk), finally beating them and delivering a warning to Fort Herkimer(two miles east
of Fort Dayton). The settlers were safe in their forts as the raiders left a ten mile
strip of scorched earth between today's Frankfort and Little Falls.
Directions: The fort covered the area now bounded by Main, Court, Washington, and German
Streets in Herkimer, NY. The remains of the fort's well exist on private property. The
Herkimer County Historical Society is built on the site of Fort Dayton.
Herkimer County Historical Society
400 North Main Street,Herkimer, NY 13350.
The Flats were raided in 1779, and again by Johnson's force in 1780. The area is roughly
equivalent to the modern town of German Flats on the south side of the Mohawk.
Attacked by Loyalists and Indians on August 6, 1780.
Location not determined at this point.
Indian Castle Church
This church was erected in 1769, and remains marvelously well preserved (though the
interior and some exterior features were remodeled in the nineteenth century). It is
opposite the state marker for Fort Hendrick, which stood near the Mohawk Castle from 1754
to 1760. Also near the marker for Fort Hendrick is Joseph Brant's barn, located on private
property. This land was owned by Molly Brant and her family; archaelogical excavations
have revealed a cellar hole that was likely Molly's home. For the best efforts at
locating the site of Fort Hendrick and other landmarks of the immediate vicinity, read
Phil Lord's "Taverns,
Forts and Castles: Rediscovering King Hendrick's Village".
Indian Castle Church is located off of route 5S on CR213, also known as Dillenbeck rd.
Palatine Bridge-Fort Frey
A stone house built in 1739 by Heinrich Frey,jr. Heinrich had three sons: Henry (Heinrich
III),Bernard, and John. Henry was a loyalist; he was jailed and his property seized.
Bernard also supported the Crown, and eventually became a Captain in Butler's Rangers.
John was a friend of Col. John Butler, but chose the patriot side, and was a Major in the
Tryon County militia. John Frey was taken prisoner during the battle of Oriskany; when he
was released from captivity, Col. Butler loaned him some money to help John return home.
Fort Frey is a private residence on Route 5, one mile west of the Route 10 intersection in
Reverend John Ehle, a Palatine emigrant, built a house in 1723, and replaced it in 1729.
His son Peter added a two story addition in 1752. The house was surrounded by a stockade
in 1777 or 1778. The house is not known to have ever been attacked. Rev. Ehle is buried in
the Frey cemetery in Palatine Bridge. The house was probably located on Mapletown
road(Route 92), south of the Van Alstyne house (Fort Rennselaer)in Canajoharie.
Nicholas Herkimer was a prominent merchant, trader, friend of Joseph Brant, and commander
of the Tryon County Militia. Herkimer, against his better judgment, led his command into
an ambush at Oriskany, "the bloodiest battle of the Revolution". General
Herkimer was wounded in the leg; a wound that would soon prove fatal. He was carted home
in the battle's aftermath, and shortly after having his leg amputated, died in his bed.
Herkimer Home is administered by New York State and is located in Little Falls, New York.
Directions: Exit the NYS Thruway at Exit 29A, proceed to Rte.5S. Herkimer Home is located
on this access road. phone: 315-823-0398
Little Falls-Fort Herkimer
Nicholas Herkimer's father, Johann Yost Hercheimer (Herkimer), built a stone house here in
1740. He ran a store and trading post from his home. The house was fortified by Sir
William Johnson during the French and Indian war; it was leveled in 1825 during Erie Canal
construction. The Herkimer Dutch Reformed Church was also fortified, and was used as a
fort during the Revolution. Marinus Willett used the Church fort for his headquarters;
Washington visited here in 1783. The church was extensively remodeled in 1812. Peter
Bellinger of the Tryon County militia is buried here; there is also a substantial marker
memoralizing Adam Helmer, who is buried in the town of Brutus, Cayuga County. The
approximate site of Johann Yost Hercheimer's home is due east of the church; there is an
historic marker for this site at the roadside rest area.
Directions: Route 5S in the Town of Mohawk
Willett clashed with a raiding force led by John Doxstader at Cedar Swamp. The
Continentals, though strongly outnumbered, manouvered the raiders into a trap. Doxstader's
force sustained heavy losses and withdrew. Cedar Swamp is near the Walmart in Sharon
Springs. Modern Sharon Springs encompasses the area of New Dorlach.
Historic Johnstown, NY
Named for it's founder, Sir William Johnson, Johnstown is an amazing slice of largely
intact colonial architecture in central New York. Johnson's home, Johnson Hall, is a
museum operated by the New York State Parks system. Alleged bayonet marks on the banister
left by Continentals intent on plundering the home can still be seen.
Elsewhere in town is the 1772 Courthouse, where John Johnson and John Butler served as
members of the court. The formercounty jail also dates from the colonial era, and was
fortified by the patriots as Fort Johnstown. Nearby is a building used as schoolhouse for
Sir William's many children, and a wonderful Colonial era cemetery. The Johnstown
Historical Society is also within this two to three block area. Willett and Sir John
Johnson's opposing forces duked it out here during the battle of Johnstown.
Directions to Johnson Hall: follow the numerous(and confusing)signs off Route 5 to Hall
William Johnson built this impressive stone house; when he moved to Johnson Hall in
Johnstown, his son Sir John moved in. John lived here until his father's death in 1774, at
which point he moved into Johnson Hall. The site is owned and operated by the Montgomery
County Historical Society.
Directions: off Route 5 in Fort Johnson, NY.
Phone: 518-843-0300 or 518-346-0310
This pretty area is known for "the Cherry Valley Massacre"; On November 11, 1778
a raiding party led by Walter Butler and Joseph Brant swept down on the valley. Word of
the pending raid had come months before, but the commander of Fort Alden, the 7th
Massachusetts' Colonel Ichabod Alden, ignored the warnings and paid for his lackadaisical
attitude with his life. Alden and several other officers were killed as they abandoned
their breakfast and raced for the fort's safety. Butler and Brant apparently lost control
of the Indians, and 32 civilians, including women and children, were killed. The
settlement suffered more losses in another Indian raid on April 24, 1780. Every building
that had survived the previous raid was burned to the ground by the raiders.
Directions: the site of Fort Alden is within the Cherry Valley Cemetery near the gates.
Albany and Points North
The Lake George/Lake Champlain water route was the major "highway" between
Canada and the English colonies from Champlain's time through the War of 1812. Take a driving tour of Revolutionary War sites,
or simply marvel at the natural and scenic
The restored home of New York son and patriot
General Phillip Schuyler.
Directions: 32 Catherine Street, Albany.
From North: Northway(I-87)to Exit 1; I-90 East to I-787 South. Exit at
Madison Ave./Port of Albany. Left on Green St., right on Rensselaer(which becomes Morton
Left onto Clinton, right onto Catherine St.
From South and West: I-90 to exit 23; bear left onto 9W/Southern Blvd.
Right on Delaware Ave; right onto Catherine St.
North of Albany, near to the Hudson River, the major thrust of the 1777 New York campaign
came to an end for Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne. Like Barry St. Leger's move down the Mohawk,
Burgoyne ran into unexpected opposition in the form of John Stark, Horatio Gates, Benedict
Arnold, Dan Morgan, and the experienced
Continentals under their command. The NPS administers a wonderful site that retains the
feel and terrain of two hundred years ago. The WPI ROTC program has an online study guide
that you should definitely consult before, during, and after you visit the battlefield.
Directions: From the Northway: exit at Exit 12; follow signs. 648 route 32, Stillwater NY.
From Saratoga Springs: take Rt. 29 East to Schuylerville, then Rt. 4 south to the Park
The battle really took place near Walloomsac, New York; Bennington was the goal of the
German/British foraging party. They thought they'd find loyalist locals flocking to the
Union Jack; instead, they ran into a contingent of "Green Mountain Boys" under
Colonel Seth Warner, and militia led by General John Stark. Stark
virtually wiped out Col. Baum's dragoons, and drove off Breyman's relief force on August
Directions: Rte. 67, 1 mile east of the intersection with Rte 22.
Mailing Address: RD2 Box 11W, Hoosick Falls, NY 12090
Further up above the Hudson lies Lake George and Lake Champlain. This was the major route
between French Canada and the British Colonies. It continued to be an invasion route for
both sides during the Revolution. "The Gibraltar of North America" changed hands
several times during the course of the war; in fact, it was easily seized by Burgoyne's
troops without a pitched battle. Other notable events at "Ti" include its'
capture by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, and Knox' removal of artillery for the seige
of Boston. Fort Ti was reconstructed by the Pell family in the 1930's, and probably has
the largest collection of 18th century artillery anywhere.
Whitehall Urban Cultural Park/Skenesborough Museum
Whitehall was once named Skenesborough, in honor of it's Tory landlord, Philip Skene.
Skene encouraged Burgoyne to cut a road south from his lands during the 1777 campaign, in
order to improve his own fortunes. Besides Skene, Whitehall is also known as the
birthplace of the Continental Navy - due to Arnold building his fleet in this
neighborhood. Exhibits focus on these topics, and the history of the Champlain Canal. The
center is located along the Champlain Canal.
Directions: Skenesborough Drive off Routes 4 & 22,Whitehall, NY 12887.
Crown Point State Historic Site
The French were the first to fortify the point with Fort St. Frederic, completed in 1737.
This fortification lasted until 1759, when the French troops blew up the post as they
withdrew from Amhert's assault on Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga). Amherst then ordered
a British post to be built on the point. With the coming of peace in 1763, work on the
fort's construction stopped, although it continued to be garrisoned. A fire in 1772
destroyed the barracks and forced the detachment there to take up residence outside the
fort's walls. Seth Warner seized Crown Point for the Americans shortly after the capture
of Ticonderoga in 1775. The Americans held Crown Point until July 1776, when the remnants
of the Canadian expedition were transferred to Mount Independance. Burgoyne used Crown
Point as a staging area for his drive down the Champlain river valley towards the Hudon.
British troops continued to occupy the point until 1784. Both British and French
fortifications survive as stabilized ruins-a very poignant, haunting spot.
Directions: 4 miles east of Rte. 9N/22 at Champlain Bridge. Phone:518-597-3666
send any comments to Greg
All Material ©1997 - 2000 Gregory F. Ketcham unless otherwise noted.
Contributing authors retain all rights.
This site may be linked to but not duplicated in any manner without my written consent.