Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lest we forget the real heros-Paulding, Williams, Van Wart

How many of us remember three teen age farmers from    Terrytown, John Paulding, David Williams, Isaac Van Wart. I do not recall learning about them in school. Then there is a guy named John Andre, you may remember him, there are about 200 hits on the Internet.  Without a doubt every person in America knows the name Benedict Arnold-not for his exploits and bravery in the early years of the American Revolution , no we remember him because he was a traitor. Of These five men are linked together in history  is John Paulding a self-sufficient individual
farmer was born in New York
City about 1758, a farmer in Terrytown area,
 over 6 ft tall, married three times, father of nineteen children. He died in 1818 at Staatsburgh, Dutchess Co., New York. When the American Revolution broke out he joined the Militia,  He was captured three times by the British and was able to escape each time.
Isaac Van Wart born 25 Oct 1762 died 23 May 1828 was also a farmer and militiaman from Duchess co.Born in the farm country of Greensburgh, N.Y. near Elmsford, he married Rachel Storm,
David Williams  also a militiaman, born about 1756 of Dutch ancestry.
These three young volunteers were on overnight patrol 22-23 September 1780, there had been a increase in activity of the loyalist driving cattle at night to New York City to aid the British troops posted there. While setting behind some brush taking a break they noticed a young man was fast approaching on a chestnut horse, the three men seized the traveler who they discovered was a British Officer Major John Andre, dressed not in British officers uniform , but in civilian cloths, after searching  him and finding  a map and classified material hid in his boots, they informed him he was  under arrest and they  return him to there headquarters. En route he offered these three very poor farm boys 1000 Guineas in cash [about $5,000] for his release. John Paulding having just 3 days earlier escaped from his British captors, declined the bribe and delivered Major Andre to his commander Lt.
  Col Jameson..  What a mess, Jameson did not know what to do so he sent a message to his commander at West Point, Benedict Arnold, Bad timing  the day Arnold was to hand over west point to the British and it is all falling apart, Arnold was to have dinner that night with George Washington. Another member of Lt Col Jameson staff sent message to Washington about Andre , which Washington received before arriving at West Point.  Benedict Arnold wasted no time as soon as he received the note about Andre being captured he left his wife Peggy Shippen and daughter at West Point and he fled to New York City.---
Benedict Arnold was a very successful, well to do merchant. At the outbreak of the
Revolution he volunteered,   made a Colonel he raised a regiment and captured Fort Ticonderoga 10 May 1775. After this he joined General George Washington's
Continental Army. Given command of the attack on Quebec, failed but Arnold
and his men managed to sustain the blockade. Arnold was wounded in the knee
during this time. he was promoted to Brigadier General 10 Jan 1776. When he
heard that General Burgoyne was invading New York state, he marched his
forces first to relieve the siege of Fort Stanwick then back to Saratoga, were he made two heroic attacks against the British. which were instrumental in Burgoyne's surrender. He was again wounded in the same leg. Some say his exploits at Saratoga made Gen Gates feel upstaged,  Arnold was removed from his command by Gen Gates. This did not set well with Arnold, Gen Washington a true friend of Arnold's placed him in Philadelphia as military Commander in 1778. here he met Peggy Shippen , a loyalist
Had his first wife Margaret Mansfield not died in 1775, and still been with him, history might have  played out much differently. Peggy was a very popular girl in Philadelphia, well acquainted with the handsome artistic John Andre. who was taken prisoner at the battle of St Johns 2 Nov 1775 and was living in Philadelphia, prisoner of the American Army and top intelligent officer for British Commander Clinton. very popular in Philadelphia and a very close friend of Peggy  Shippen.  When he left the City he gave Peggy a lock of his hair in a golden locket.  Later at the age of 18, she would meet and marry on April 8 1779  Benedict Arnold, age 38 they moved to new home in Mount Pleasant, on the Schuylkill River. she appears to have stayed with him until his death  in 1801 in London.   it was her friendship with Major John Andre that Arnold was brought into the plot-Andre a professional intelligent agent who's job it was to extract information from anyone that could help the British cause, latched onto Arnold who was by now unhappy about his being snubbed after the battle of Saratoga, deep in debt, no doubt being reminded by his wife Peggy of his being cast aside,  was a easy target. Arnold arranged to get the appointment to West Point, which his good friend Gen George Washington was quick to endorse.
Back to West Point, After the dinner date with Arnold's stranded wife Peggy, Washington met with his staff and gave the order to execute the captured Major John Andre by hanging as a spy. Andre pleaded with him to shoot him as a gentleman but Washington having not yet recovered from the treachery of Arnold made no effort to intervene and Major Andre having been found guilty 29 Sep 1780 at Tappan, New York of being behind American lines "under a feigned name and in a disguised habit" Andre when led to the gallows placed the rope around his own head and was hanged 2 October 1780 as a spy.

The three heroes, who brushed aside the opportunity for gold were recognized by Gen. Washington's request to the Continental Congress to award them each $200.00 annually for life, plus a silver medal struck in fine silver with "Fidelity" on one side and
"Vincit Amor Patriae" with there initials on the other. for there Fidelity
and service they gave our country. passed by congress 3 Nov 1780
and presented by General George Washington 7 Aug 1782, at which
time he also gave each a brace of silver mounted pistols. The County
also gave each man a farm in Westchester valued at about 500 pounds.,
They were allowed to stand in the inner circle when Major Andre was hung. When the state of Ohio was being formed a county was named for each man. While these men were alive they got a lot of publicity, there was also a few followers of Major Andre that tried to slander them-but time took care of that--today of the five, Benedict Arnold is the best known, Major Andre has nearly as many hits on the Internet as Arnold, and alas the three real hero's of this plot have nearly been forgotten.To add insult to injury two of the three medals John Paulding's and David Williams's [the were about of Isaac Van Wart is unknown]were donated to the New York Historical Association and while on display in a locked case in 1976 they disappeared, along with Major Andre's watch.

Today 230 years later the real heroes , willing to give up instant reward to protect our nation and prevent West Point from falling into the hands of the British are nearly forgotten while the spy and traitor are instantly recognized something wrong with this. This was the first time that a common soldier was recognized for doing anything, it was common to strike medals for officers and leaders but never before for a regular rank and file soldier.


Distressing Delilah a.k.a. jenn said...

Very interesting reading Pop!

洪筱婷 said...


上心上心 said...


AlaynaGainer1姿吟 said...


GalleryGuy said...

Dear Lord & Lady,

I would like to invite you to visit our website at to view the 400 highly realistic sculptures of famous and infamous people in history. Here is our announcement of an upcoming exhibit -

“Revolution and Rebellion: Wars, Words and Figures,”
George Stuart's exquisite sculptures of American Revolutionary and Civil War Historical Figures will be on exhibit at the William J. Clinton Presidential Museum in Little Rock from Dec 11 to May 22. The Civil War sculptures include Lincoln at five ages, Grant, Lee, Davis and more. The Figure will be exhibited along with two original engravings of the Constitution.
We hope you will have the occasion to view our site and indeed visit this historic exhibit.
Please feel free to use any of the images for non-commercial purposes with a link and credit to Mr. Stuart and photographer Peter D'Aprix.
Leroy Becker
Executive Director

Barbara said...

Hello and thank you very much for an interesting overview of our American History. I am 69 yrs old and have been told my whole life that my ancestor, Issac VanWart was one of the three who helped capture Major Andre. However my records show that my Issac VanWart was born 1771 and died 1853;(not 1762) Also that he was the son of John and Catherine (Lansingh)VanWart (not Rachel Storm) and that they were married 1770. I am not into geneology at all, but I know I can recall having seen many proofs of this connection. My grandmother's name was Edith S.VanWart Stansbury (later remarried and became Gilson)Could anyone possibly please explain why this confusion for me? I would be so very, very grateful to learn how this could be reconciled. I am grateful to know that my ancestor did the right thing but really should we be rewarded just for doing that which is only our duty to be doing? I would like to think more of us would than would not do the same thing. (Luke 17:9&10).
Barbara Stansbury Evans

Stephen Roberts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kimberly Weiss said...

There were a few Isaac Van Warts around at that time. It's unlikely a 9 year old would be able to capture a spy. There is another Isaac who was also very heroic in the war, and that might be who your ancestor is. We are also related to him, but apparently not as direct descendants.