Looking for information


To The Editor:
The Catskill Mountain News for August 1 to August 7 contained good news items, especially for those of us who live away from the Catskills: “Newspaper, cemetery listings online.” It reports that the Margaretville cemetery listings followed a successful cemetery tour by the Living History Tour group and inventory of headstone and other records collections by the Friends of Middletown Cemeteries, and a map of the cemetery I scanned a number of years ago from a blue-print map in the village office.

That was then. Now I read in the Catskill Mountain News for August 15 to August 21 that vandals have damaged many headstones in the old part of the cemetery, where early settlers are buried, such as early Dumond family members. I would like to add another $100 to the reward for the capture and conviction of those responsible for the vandalism.

The year 2013 will mark the 235th anniversary of the killing of Harmonus Dumond, one of the first settlers in Margaretville, who was probably buried in the Arkville Cemetery. Dumond served in the Revolutionary War as a spy for Governor George Clinton and the Ulster
County militia, reporting on the activities of the British loyalists and Indians, at great risk to himself.

But the greatest risk to Dumond, it seems, was not from his enemies but from his own side, in the form of Morgan’s Rangers and Schoharie militia members who entered the East Branch valley, out of their assigned area, looking for loot, not enemy. Dumond and his companion, John Barrow, presented prizes too rich to resist: with Dumond’s horse and wagon loaded with household good and even the clothing he wore. Barrow had two horses and a gun to
add to the plunder.

When the militia members threatened to take these two men to “Butler,” whom they perceived to be either Loyalist rangers John or Walter Butler, they tried to make their escape. Barrow was successful in his escape but Dumond was shot “through the belly” and died a day or two later in VanWaggenen’s Inn, near the present Erpf Center in Arkville, but not before extreme suffering and the threat of being tomahawked by the commander of the troops, Major Thomas Posey, who stole items of the dying man’s clothing before rejoining his men who had been busy plundering Pakatakan/Arkville homes.

I plan to publish a book about the killing of Dumond before the anniversary of his death, with documents taken from the unpublished papers of George Washington in the Library of Congress and the published papers of Governor George Clinton. I will make a donation from the sale of this book for the preservation of the memory of Margaretville area Revolutionary War Patriots, such as Cornelius Keator who helped bury Dumond, and other worthies who lived in or settled in the area. Anyone with information about these settlers can contact me by e-mail at rarowe@clearwire.net.

Robert A. Rowe,