Summary

Hermanus (Harmonus) Dumond lived from 1732 to 1778. He was killed in August, 1778, in Pakatakan (present-day Arkville/Margaretville, NY) by Morgan Rangers (under the command of Thomas Posey)and Schoharie Militia. Hermanus was an active spy for the Patriot caue.

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TRUTH ABOUT THE KILLING OF HERMANUS DUMOND

Pakatakan (Margaretville/Arkville), NY

1793Dewitt.PNG

    Having learned the truth a few years ago about what really happened in Pakatakan (Arkville/Margaretville, NY) on August 26, 1778, I have committed myself to make the truth known. This year, 2008, marks the 230th anniversary of an unknown chapter in American history. 

    I recently received words of encouragement from the author of the book about Major Thomas Posey who was the commander of the troops that killed Harmonus Dumond on that date: "There is no doubt in my mind that Harmonus Dumond was everything you portray him to be, and that is why I feel so strongly that your mission of vindication would best be served by publishing a full account of his life, focusing particularly on his role as a patriot whose contribution to the cause was to live in a dangerous area among citizens apparently leaning to the Crown, and providing the Revolutionary authorities with information about the Tories and Indians operating in that area. The activities of such patriotic informers have not been widely reported by historians, and your research provides you with a unique opportunity to help fill that void in our country's history. I would be most interested in reading the final product of your work." (John Thornton Posey, author of GENERAL THOMAS POSEY, SON OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION)

    Although Mr. Posey and I may not agree in our interpretation of the facts in this case, we do agree that the other side of the story should be told, as he was convinced that his third great-grandfather had made the right decisions which led to Dumond’s death.

    Most published accounts of the killing of Harmonus Dumond are incomplete, inaccurate, or both; telling only one side, or only a portion of the story. Some, I suspect, have deliberately distorted the facts for their own purposes, which are usually intended to glorify their particular "hero" in this event, or, at least, not to cast doubt on his heroics. Dumond has been described in these accounts as a “known Tory” a “very bad man” and recently as a “double-agent.”

    Such interpretations of the “facts” of this incident prevail to this day, even by those who have access to the documents that prove that this interpretation is  patently false. In WAR IN SCHOHARIE, published in 1981, Edward A. Hagen records: “The 26th of August, returning from a hunting trip, Hermanus Dumond was killed and John Barrow wounded on the flats near present day Arkvile (sic) in Delaware County. They mistook a patrol of Schoharie Militia for men belonging to the Tory Walter Butler. Refusing an order to halt, they were shot in an attempt to escape. Colonel Vrooman had sent the Militia to Scout the headwaters of the Delaware to suppress the activities of Disaffected Persons and to find and destroy supposed Indian Settlements. The Indians and Tories had madeinroads in Ulster County and were by repeated raids harassing the settlements there.” (WAR IN SCHOHARIE, Edward A. Hagan, Middleburgh News Press, 1980/81, p. 14)

    Hagan, in his little volume uses Governor Clinton’s Papers extensively, and surely has seen the documents related to this incident, which does not portray the militia and rangers in a favorable light, which would not fit his purpose of portraying these Schoharie military men, who were operating out of their asigned range by coming into the East Branch of the Delaware River, which was regularly patrolled by the Ulster County militia, composed of men who knew who was on each side of the Revolutionary conflict. Dumond had several cousins, and perhaps his brother, Peter, in the Ulster Militia.

    The statement by Mr. Hagan that Dumond and Barrow mistook the "Schoharie Militia for men belonging to the Tory Walter Butler" is accurate, as far as it goes. But it excludes the fact that the Schoharie militia and Morgan Rangers under the leadership of Major Thomas Posey were operating out of their assigned area and were deliberately presented themselves as Walter Butler's Tories, as is evidenced by the fact that they threatened to take Dumond and his companion to “Butler” after they were detained at gun-point. Hagan is wrong in stating that John Barrows, Dumond’s companion was “shot," and that they were shot after "refusing an order to halt." Dumond and Barrow did "halt" when they approached this military unit, as witnessed by Mrs. VanWaggenen. Mrs. VanWaggenen testified that she was asked by the Morgan Rangers who were questioning her when Dumond and Barrow pulled-up in front of her Inn. She was asked who they were, and gave these men the names of Dumond and Barrows.  It was only after they had been questioned, and threatened, that they would be taken to "Butler," whom they suspected was the Tory Walter Butler, that they tried to escape. It is doubtful that Dumond and Barrows had any knowledge of William Butler, who had recently taken command of the troops of which the Posey Rangers and Schoharie Militia were a part. Hagan's use of distorted "facts' is only one of the many such interpretations in the years since that fateful day in 1778.

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