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KILLING THEIR OWN SIDE'S SPY

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SCHOHARIE COUNTY MILITIA

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 believe, 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.

One of the recent accounts, in WAR IN SCHOHARY, by Edward A. Hagan (Middleburgh, 1980) gives the account this way: "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." (p. 14)

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 Militia group was under the leadership of a Ranger commander, Thomas Posey. And it appears that this organization deliberately presented themselves as Walter Butler's Tories. Hagan is wrong in stating that "John Barrow [was] wounded," and that they were shot, upon "refusing an order to halt." Dumond and Barrow did "halt" when commanded to do so, 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 escapt. It is doubtful that Dumond and Barrow 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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