The Old Stone Fort was among three forts erected along Schoharie Creek to protect Schoharie Valley. After George Mannís defection, only one of these forts, called Fort Defyance in todayís Middleburgh, was able to resist the loyalist forces. One of the defenders, Colonel John Harper, was able to escape to Albany and get help.
He returned to Schoharie with the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons, a cavalry troop, under the command of a Frenchman, Captain Vernejoux. They raided Mannís Tavern and rallied the Schoharie militia. The patriots with the cavalry at the lead attacked the loyalist bands at the Battle of Flockey and returned Schoharie valley to Patriot control. The cavalry charge is said to be the first of the Revolutionary War.
Revolutionary War Fort
In 1777, the pews were removed from the church, a stockade wall was erected, and the church became known as the Lower Fort. The fort was attacked once in 1780. The stockade was taken down in 1785 and the building reverted to a house of worship.
In 1844, the Schoharie congregation moved their meeting place to the newly constructed brick church in the village, and the Stone Church was used for Sunday school and an occasional funeral until 1857 when the state bought the old church for use as an armory.
(Old Stone Fort Exhibit)
The loyalists, however, would return to Schoharie many times during the war. They would destroy precious grain crops and try to reclaim property and family left behind. Schoharie was also attacked during the Great Raid of 1780. The Second Regiment from nearby Schenectady, the final site on this road trip, helped to garrison the forts on the Schoharie River during the Great Raid.
Cannon Ball Hole made when the Fort was attacked by the British Tories and Indians under Sir John Johnson and the Indian Chief Joseph Brant during the raid of 1780.
Major Melanchthon Woolsey commanded the garrison of about 200. Sir John Johnsonís forces greatly outnumbered the patriots about 7 to 1. However, the accuracy of the fire by the sharpshooters in the tower of the Old Stone Fort repulsed Johnsonís raiders. When he turned a swivel gun on the fort, Woolsey attempted to surrender, but when he sent the surrender flag out, it was reportedly shot down by Timothy Murphy, a sharpshooter in the tower. Woolsey ordered Murphyís arrest, but mutiny in the ranks prevented the action. In the meantime, Johnson decided the fort was too strong and retreated.
The Hartmannís Dorf Palatine House
Circa mid 1700ís, one of the oldest buildings in the county. Built soon after the Palatines settled in 1712. Originally located near Middleburgh.
Today, the Old Stone Fort is a museum. Near the fort is the Hartmanís Dorf Palatine House originally located in Middleburgh, the former site of Fort Defyance. Other old homes, schools and barns can be found along the roads near the Old Stone Fort.
Downtown Schoharie - There are several historic markers as well as the Old Palatine House, which is about a half mile east of the downtown area.
Oldest Building in Schoharie County
1743 Lutheran Parsonage, Peter N. Sommers, Dominie, first services held Sept. 12, 1743.
State Education Department 1935
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