Saturday, October 30, 2010


The Burning of Royalton, Vermont Oct. 16, 1780 with Timothy Durkee

The Durkees also lived in Royalton, Vermont. Julia Ann, Tuller, my ggreat grandmother, was born there in 1834. My ggreat grandmother, Julia Ann Tuller's mother, was Asenath Durkee b: 1814-1816, daughter of Heman Durkee b: 1789 son of Col. Heman Durkee b: 1759 . His father was Timothy Durkee was born on May 1, 1737 in Pomfret, Connecticut but moved to Royalton in 1770 or perhaps 1776. The Revolution was starting then. Timothy's distant cousin was Col. John Durkee who was leading his "Sons of Liberty" into battle in Connecticut. Vermont had been part of New Hampshire and part of New York and was just evolving into the 14th state. Settlements were sparse and widely scattered.

Timothy volunteered in their army as a Private and later became Lieutenant and helped in building Fort Fortitude in Bethel, Vermont. He had married Lucy Anna. His children born in Royalton were Lorena, Jirah and perhaps a Thomas who died while young. Royalton was settled in 1770 and Timothy was an origianl proprietor when the town was chartered in 1781.

October 1780 was when the "burning of Royalton" by Indians happened. Three or more of Timothy's children were captured in this Indian raid. Andrew and Sheldon were freed because of Mrs. Hendee, but the older Adin was taken by Indians to Montreal where he died in the camp on December 19, 1780 at age 20. The oldest son, Heman, was not captured as he evidently was elsewhere at the time of the raid. Harvey, age 7, must have been with him as he was not captured, either.

Timothy died in March 1797 just before his 60th birthday. His tombstone says: "In Memory of Lt. Timothy Durkee, d: March 22, 1797, age 59 years, 10 months.

In 1780 Royalton was a fort (a temporary military installation) near the river that was taken down several months before the Indian raid of October 16, 1780. The settlers had not built near it but were strung out in clearings along both sides of the river as far as the First Branch, up that branch to Tunbridge line, and on the north side of the river to the Second Branch. The Indians came down in the First Branch burning buildings and killing livestock, taking men and boys prisoners and killing any who tried to escape. They burned everything on both sides of the river down over Sharon line and up the river to the mouth of the Second Branch. Then the raiding parties met in the meadow near the mouth of the First Branch bringing in their prisoners to Lieutenant Horton (British). Here young Mrs. Handy begged the release of her little boy and 8 others too young to survive the trip to Canada. The raiding party then went north over the hills, picking up more prisonerrs, one of whom was Zadock Steele. His writing has made the names of the Royalton settlers who suffered in the raid well known. Those who were missed in the raid also escaped being passed down in history. I believe there were 5 British soldiers accompaning the Indians on the raid.

Reference: Durkee Family Newsletter page 90-94 Volume XI Winter, 1992

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