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Ozias YALE

14th Jan 17461 - Jul 1778

Life History

14th Jan 1746

Born in Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.1

Jul 1778

Died in Wyoming Valley, PA

Other facts


Birth of son Harry YALE


  • Killed in Wyoming Valley Indian Massacre.  Resided in Wyoming, PA.THE first severely bitter fruit of the alliance of Great Britain withthe American savages was tasted in the Wyoming Valley in the summer of1778. That valley is a beautiful region of Pennsylvania, lying betweenmountain ranges and watered by the Susquehanna River that flowsthrough it. The first European known to have trodden the soil of thevalley was Count Zinzendorf the Moravian, seeking the good of souls.The region was claimed as a part of the domain of Connecticut grantedby the charter of that province given by Charles the Second, and wascalled the county of Westmoreland. The first settlers there, forty innumber, went from Connecticut about the middle of the last century.When the old war for independence broke out, the valley was a paradiseof beauty and fertility. As that war went on, and an alliance betweenthe British and Indians became manifest, the people of the valley feltinsecure. They built small forts for their protection, and called theattention of the Continental Congress, from time to time, to theirexposed situation. When St. Leger was besieging Fort Schuyler, on theMohawk River, in 1977, parties of Indian warriors threatened thevalley, but the inhabitants there were spared from much harm until thesummer of 1778. Among the Tory leaders in northern and western NewYork were John Butler and his son Walter N. They were less mercifultoward the Whigs than their savage associates in deeds of violence.John Butler was a colonel in the British service; and in the spring of1778, he induced the Seneca warriors in western New York to consent tofollow him into Pennsylvania. He had been joined by some Tories fromthe Wyoming Valley, who gave him a correct account of that region; andon the last day of June he appeared at the head of the beautifulplains with more than a thousand men, Tories and Indians. Theycaptured the uppermost fort, and Butler made the fortified house ofWintermoot, a Tory of the valley, his headquarters. The whole militaryforce to oppose the invasion was composed of a small company ofregulars and a few militia. When the alarm was given, the wholepopulation flew to arms. Grandfathers and their aged sons, boys, andeven women, seized such weapons as were at hand, and joined thesoldiery. Colonel Zebulon Butler, an officer of the Continental Army,happened to be at home, and by common consent he was madecommander-in-chief. Forty Fort, a short distance above Wilkes-Barre,was the place of general rendezvous, and in it were gathered the womenand children of the valley. On the 3d of July, Colonel Zebulon Butlerled the little band of patriot-soldiers and citizens to surprise theinvaders, at Wintermoot's. The vigilant leader of the motley host,informed of the movement, was ready to receive the assailants. TheTories formed the left wing of Colonel Butler's force resting on theriver, and the Indians, led by Gi-en-gwa-tah, a Seneca chief, composedthe right that extended to a swamp at the foot of the mountain. Thesewere first struck by the patriots, and a general battle ensued. Itraged vehemently for half an hour, when, just as the left of theinvaders was about to give way, a mistaken order caused therepublicans to retreat in disorder. The infuriated Indians sprangforward like wounded tigers, and gave no quarter. The patriots wereslaughtered by scores. Only a few escaped to the mountains, and weresaved. In less than an hour after the battle began, two hundred andtwenty-five scalps were in the hands of the savages as tokens of theirprowess. The yells of the Indians had been heard by the feeble ones atForty Fort, and terror reigned there. Colonel Dennison, who hadreached the valley that morning, had escaped to the stronghold, andprepared to defend the women and children to the last extremity.Colonel Butler had reached Wilkes-Barre fort in safety. Darkness putan end to the conflict, but increased the horrors. Prisoners weretortured and murdered. At midnight sixteen of them were arrangedaround a rock, and strongly held by the savages, when a half-breedwoman, called Queen Esther, using a tomahawk and club alternately,murdered the whole band one after the other excepting two, who threwoff the men who held them and escaped to the woods. A great firelighted up the scene and revealed its horrors to the eyes of friendsof the victims, who were concealed among the rocks not far away. Earlythe next morning, Forty Fort was surrendered, on a promise of safetyfor the persons and property of the people. The terms were respected afew hours by the Indians while John Butler remained in the valley. Assoon as he was gone, they broke loose, spread over the plains, andwith torch, tomahawk, and scalping-knife made it an absolutedesolation. Scarcely a dwelling or an outbuilding was left unconsumed;not a field of corn was left standing; not a life was spared that theweapons of the savages could reach. The inhabitants who had not fledduring the previous night were slaughtered or narrowly escaped. Thosewho departed made their way toward the eastern settlements. Many ofthem perished in the great swamp on the Pocono Mountains, ever sinceknown as "The Shades of Death." The details of that day of destructionin the beautiful Wyoming Valley, and the horrors of the flight ofsurvivors, formed one of the darkest chapters in human history. YetLord George Germain, the British Secretary for the colonies, praisedthe savages for their prowess and humanity, and resolved to direct asuccession of similar raids upon the frontiers, and to devastate theolder settlements. A member of the bench of Bishops in the House ofLords revealed the fact, in a speech, that there was "an article inthe extra-ordinaries of the army for scalping-knives." The settlementsin the valleys of the Mohawk and Schoharie were great sufferers fromIndian and Tory raids, during 1778. The Johnsons were anxious torecover their property and influence in the Mohawk country, and Brant,their natural ally by blood relationship and interest, joined them.Their spies and scouts were out in every direction. At a point on theupper waters of the Susquehanna, Brant organized scalping-parties andsent them out to attack the border settlements. These fell likethunderbolts upon isolated families or little hamlets in the Schohariecountry, and the blaze of burning dwellings lighted the firmamentalmost every night in those regions, and beyond. Springfield, at thehead of Otsego Lake, was laid in ashes in May. In June, Cobleskill, inSchoharie country, and the blaze of burning dwellings lighted thefirmament almost every night in those regions, and beyond.Springfield, at the head of Otsego Lake, was laid in ashes in May. InJune, Cobleskill, in Schoharie county, was attacked by Brant and hiswarriors, who killed a portion of a garrison of republican troopsstationed there, and plundered and burned the houses. In July a severeskirmish occurred on the upper waters of the Cobleskill, between fivehundred Indians and some republican regulars and militia. Thesemarauders kept the dwellers in that region in continual alarm all thesummer and autumn of 1778, and, finally, at near the middle ofNovember, during a heavy storm of sleet, a band of Indians and Tories,the former led by Brant and the latter by Walter N. Butler, fell uponCherry Valley and murdered, plundered, and destroyed without stint.Butler was the arch-fiend on the occasion, and would listen to noappeals from Brant for mercy to their victims. Thirty-two of theinhabitants, mostly women and children, were murdered, with sixteensoldiers of the garrison. Nearly forty men, women, and children wereled away captives, marching down the valley that night in the coldstorm, huddled together half-naked, with no shelter but the leaflesstrees and no resting-place but the wet ground. Tryon county, whichthen included all of the State of New York west of Albany county, wasa "dark and bloody ground" for full four years.

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