Saturday, April 15, 2017


Robinson-Durkee-Tuller in Royalton and Tunbridge Vermont and the Indian Raid of 1780

Nadene Goldfoot                                        
I have known about the famous Indian raid on Royalton, Vermont in which the Durkee children were taken but hadn't realized that Tunbridge had been attacked as well.  My ggrandfather, Abiathar Smith Robinson, living in Tunbridge, Orange, Vermont, had married Julia Ann Tuller of Royalton, Windsor, Vermont on February 29, 1852 by Reverend Alva Button, justice of the peace. Julia's mother was  Asenith Durkee, married to Alonzo Charles Tuller.  The Tullers had come from St. Albans, Franklin, Vermont.

The Durkee Family Newsletter of Spring 1993 told all about the Indian raid.  Timothy Durkee's family is one who suffered from it.  Only his oldest son, Heman,  had remained living in Royalton afterwards.  Harvey stayed in Vermont but the others moved on to New York.   Grandchildren spread far and wide.

"The Royalton raid was a British-led Indian raid in 1780 against various towns along the White River Valley in the Vermont Republic, and was part of the American Revolutionary War. It was the last major Indian raid in New England.

In the early morning hours of October 16, 1780, Lieutenant Houghton of the British Army's 53rd Regiment of Foot and a single Grenadier, along with 300 Mohawk warriors from the Kahnawake Reserve in the British province of Quebec, attacked and burned the towns of RoyaltonSharon and Tunbridge along the White River in eastern Vermont. This raid was launched in conjunction with other raids led by MajorChristopher Carleton of the 29th Regiment of Foot along the shores of Lake Champlain and Lake George and Sir John Johnson of the King's Royal Regiment of New York in the Mohawk River valley. Four Vermont settlers were killed and twenty six were taken prisoner to Quebec."
About 300 Indians from various tribes led by the Caghnewaga tribe, had left Canada intending to destroy Newbury in eastern Vermont and were turned towards Royalton.  They went through the white River, through Chelsea and Tunbridge, to Royalton.  They "laid in their encampment at Tunbridge during the Sabbath.  They were discovered on Monday at dawn when they entered the house of Mr. John Hutchinson who lived not far from the line between Royalton from Tunbridge.  They took him  prisoner wih his brother, Abijah, and plundered the house.  Then they went to the house of Robert Havens.  They chased Thomas Pember and was near enough to throw a spear at him.  Then he was scalped.  He had been courting Mr. Haven's daughter who he wanted to marry.  This house became the Indians' rallying  point. Next to be speared was Elias Button, probably a relation to the justice of peace in Tunbridge in 1852.  He was scalped as well.  Next stop was in taking many male prisoners in a home.  Mrs. Curtis was about to have her neck cut, but the Indian was more interested in the gold beads around her neck and stopped and took the beads, instead.  They plundered every house.  

They came to the house of Deacon Daniel Rix.  General Stevens took Mrs Rix and 2 or 3 children on his horse, and Captain Parkhurst took Mrs. Benton and several children on his horse and they all rode off with Deacon Rix and several others on foot to a place where they had received the alarm.  He left the women and children to rode to his own house but ran into the Indians 1/2 mile down the road.  He got to his own mother and sister and put them on his horse.  At any rate, the Indians took Mrs. Rix's oldest son from her and ordered her and her other children to leave the house.  She did with 5 of her children.  They took Gardner Rix, son of Deacon Rix, 14, just at the heels of his mother's horse, while she had to watch.  She got on a horse with 3 of her children.  
The Indians set fire to General Stevens' house and barn.  Then they took the Durkee boys, Adan and Andrew, prisoner.   and carried the former to Canada, who died there in prison.  Some children were rescued by a Mrs. Hendee.  She savedAndrew and Sheldon durkee, Joseph Rix, Rufus Rix and others.  She later moved to Sharon, Vermont.  Adan Durkee died in camp at Montreal.  
Census records were started 10 years later in 1790.  They listed only the head of the household as a name.  The wife and children were listed as tally marks under age brackets.  
By the time the local militia could assemble, Houghton and his command were already on their way back north. The militia caught up with the raiders near Randolph, Vermont, and a few volleys were fired back and forth, but when Houghton said that the remaining captives might be killed by the Mohawks if fighting continued, the local militia let the raiders slip away. A plaque at the East Randolph cemetery marks the site of this event.
The Hannah Handy monument, on the South Royalton town green, is a granite arch honoring a young mother who lost her young son in the raid, crossed the river, and successfully begged for the return of several children. With the assistance of one of the Mohawk, she caught up with the British and Mohawk party and pleaded with Lieutenant Houghton to release the young boys now being held by the Indians, partly appealing as a mother of one of the captives and partly by arguing that they wouldn't survive the trip to Canada and stating that their deaths would be on his hands. The British leader ordered the boys released to the woman for safe return to their families.
Asenith's father was Heman Durkee b: 1789 after the raid.  He was born and had died in Royalton  .Asenith's mother was Rebecca Hatch. born in Sharon in 1791 but died in Royalton in 1872.  
Heman's father was Col. Heman Durkee b: 1759 in Woodbury, Connecticut who had moved to Royalton. He must have been there in 1780 as he died there in 1797.  His wife was Susanna Rix.
Sharon, Windsor, Vermont had a few Hatches.  Abner Hatch in 1790 had a family of 8. 
Isaac Hatch had a family of 3.  This was Rebecca's father.  Remember, she was married to Heman Durkee.  
Adam Hatch of Norwich, Windsor, Vermont, had a family of 6.  They weren't mentioned in the Indian raid. Benjamin Hatch of Norwich had a family of 10.  
Joseph Hatch had a family of 11 in Norwich.  
John Hatch had 7 in his family.   Rufus Hatch had 4 in Norwich.  

On the 1790 census of Royalton was Heman or Herman Durkee with a family of 7.
Timothy Durkee had a family of 5.  This was repeated.  Probably the same family.
In Tunbridge was Solomon Durkee with his family of 5.  
Daniel Rix was in Royalton with his family of 6. 

"On the morning of October 16, the large force of Indians attacked the small town of Royalton, which was then a village of about 25 homes on both sides of the river. The Indians went from house to house capturing as many residents as they could and killing anyone who resisted. Most of the town's residents were captured, while a few escaped or hid. As the Indians left town, they burned the buildings and destroyed any crops and livestock they found. The attack continued up and down the river for several miles, with the settlements of Sharon and Tunbridge suffering the same fate.
Four settlers were killed in the Royalton Raid and 26 were taken captive. They were marched to Canada and sold to the British where some spent as long as two years in dismal prisons. Just as the Revolution came to an end, one of the captives taken in the raid, Zadock Steele, helped stage a prison break from the notorious Prison Island in the St. Lawrence River. Steele traipsed across the wilderness for three weeks, nearly starved, before he came to an American settlement. Unbeknownst to him, the war had already ended and all the remaining prisoners had been released."
The Raid was conducted by a war party of 265 Mohawks and Abenakis, commanded by a British officer, Lieutenant Richard Houghton, who was operating under orders from the British high command in Canada, Lieutenant General Frederick Haldemand. It was all part of the British War effort.                          
As for Robinsons, we had them in Orange County, the same that Tunbridge is in.  Perhaps they were spared. 
 Strafford is the closest.   It is 6.16 miles from Tunbridge.  Tunbridge to Royalton is about 5.72 miles.  
The town of Tunbridge was created on September 3, 1761, by way of a royal charter which King George III of England issued to Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire.
The name Tunbridge was chosen by Wentworth and most likely in honor of (or to gain favor with), the English noble William Henry Nassau de Zuylestein (1717-1781), fourth Earl of Rochford, Viscount Tunbridge, Baron Enfield and Colchester. De Zuylstein's secondary title is derived from the old "royal borough" of Tunbridge Wells (officially Royal Tunbridge Wells) in England.
1. Abraham Robinson had a family of 6.
2. Daniel Robinson had 11 in his family. He most likely is Abiathar's grandfather.  The ancestor would not have been John Robinson, Reverend from Holland who sent the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, but a possible Scottish George Robinson, instead.  
They were listed one under the other, so must have been brothers.  In 1790 there were no ages of the heads of family or any other information.  I guess we're lucky that this little bit has survived.  
3. Northfield, Orange, Vermont is 26 miles away from Tunbridge. We have Amos Robinson with 7 in his family from there. 
4.  Nathaniel Robinson had 5 in his family.  
5. Williamstown, Orange, Vermont had Ezekiel Robinson with 4.  The distance is 15.17 miles to Tunbridge. 
6. Barnet, Orange, Vermont had John with a family of 4. It's about 35 miles distant from Tunbridge.
7. Topsham, Orange, Vermont had another John and just 2 in his family. They are about 20 miles apart, 29 by driving.  
8. Ryegate Orange, Vermont had a Jonathan with 5. Ryegate, chartered in 1763, is the southernmost community in the Northeast Kingdom (Caledonia County), nestled along the Connecticut River and bordered by Newbury, Groton, and Barnet. I guess it's out of the Orange County area today.  
9. Fairley, Orange, Vermont had Samuel with 5.  28.5 miles is how far apart they are with Tunbridge.  
Descendants of Heman Herman Durkee, Col.
1   [1] Heman Herman Durkee, Col. b: June 17, 1759 in Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut d: October 05, 1797 in Royalton, Windsor County, Vermont, age 38
.. +Deborah Tuttle b: Abt. 1759
*2nd Wife of [1] Heman Herman Durkee, Col.:
.. +Susanna Rix b: June 30, 1764 in Preston, New London County,  Connecticut d: September 09, 1852 in Royalton, Windsor County , Vermont, age 88
. 2   Lyman Durkee b: August 27, 1782 in Royalton, Windsor, VT d: June 22, 1792 in Royalton, Windsor, VT
. 2   Charlotte Durkee b: June 17, 1784 in Royalton, Windsor, VT d: December 25, 1785 in Royalton, Windsor, VT
. 2   Lucy Durkee b: August 28, 1786 in poss. Connecticut d: March 01, 1851 in Royalton, Vermont
..... +Joseph Lee b: 1781 in Connecticut d: October 28, 1859 in Royalton, Vermont
. 2   Heman Durkee, Jr. b: October 21, 1789 in Royalton, Windsor County, Vermont d: January 09, 1865 in Royalton, Windsor County, Vermont, age 76
..... +Rebecca Hatch b: June 12, 1791 in Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont d: June 07, 1872 in Royalton, Windsor County, Vermont, age 81
. 2   Daniel Durkee, Judge b: August 27, 1791 in Royalton, Vermont d: November 23, 1854 in York, York, Pennsylvania
..... +Mary Polly Wright b: January 06, 1787 in Norwich, Windsor, Vermont d: March 25, 1860 in York, York, Pennsylvania
. 2   Ziba Durkee b: August 16, 1793 in Royalton, Vermont d: December 12, 1853 in York, Pennsylvania
..... +Hannah Arlotta Baylies b: Abt. 1800 in Vermont d: March 17, 1872 in Alden, New York
. 2   Susan Durkee b: November 25, 1795 in Royalton, Windsor County,  Vermont d: February 17, 1882 in Randolph, Vermont
..... +Lewis Louis Wheeler b: Abt. 1793 in Vermont d: October 17, 1863 in Randolph, Orange, County, Vermont

Descendants of DANIEL Robinson, JR.

1   DANIEL Robinson, JR. b: January 24, 1769 in Rushville, Yates, New York d: March 23, 1852 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont
.. +Betsey Buell b: June 05, 1775 in Connecticut d: Aft. August 1860 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont
. 2   Persis Percy Robinson b: July 16, 1793 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: April 19, 1883 in Sharon, Windsor, Vermont
..... +Unknown Ladd b: Abt. 1793
. 2   Elizabeth Robinson b: March 11, 1795 in prob. Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: May 03, 1875 in Canaan, Vermont
. 2   Polly Robinson b: April 18, 1797 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: January 21, 1827 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont
. 2   Roswell Robinson b: April 18, 1797 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: January 14, 1874 in prob. Strafford, Orange, Vermont
..... +Rhoda b: 1796 in Vermont d: in prob. Strafford, Orange, Vermont
. 2   Sara "Sally" Robinson b: March 23, 1799 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: June 06, 1882 in Canaan, Vermont
..... +Borman b: Abt. 1799
. 2   Roxanna Robinson b: July 23, 1801 d: January 30, 1845 in Sharon, Vermont
..... +Lyman Tyler b: Abt. 1801
. 2   Harry Robinson b: October 22, 1803 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: October 12, 1850 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont
..... +Lucinda Unknown b: Abt. 1808 d: April 12, 1856 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont
. 2   [1] HIRAM Robinson b: December 06, 1806 in prob. Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: February 06, 1892 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont
..... +Zeruiah Zeruah A. Tyler b: January 19, 1808 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: September 03, 1847 in prob Strafford, Orange, Vermont
. *2nd Wife of [1] HIRAM Robinson:
..... +Abigail George b: October 20, 1815 in Vermont d: February 26, 1901 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont
. 2   Cyrus Robinson b: November 04, 1808 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: February 09, 1864 in Sharon, Vermont
. 2   [2] Henry Robinson b: 1810 d: 1859
..... +Sarah Ann Faulconer b: 1840 d: 1889
. *2nd Wife of [2] Henry Robinson:
..... +Lucinda Preston b: 1807 d: April 12, 1856
. 2   Betsey Robinson b: June 29, 1812 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: November 19, 1891 in Norwich, Vermont
. 2   Jared Robinson b: February 14, 1815 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont d: November 12, 1866 in Strafford, Orange, Vermont
..... +Lydia Unknown b: Abt. 1815

Book, "Gathered Sketches from the Early History of New Hampshire and Vermont", edited by Frances Chase, MA, published by Heritage Books, In., Bowie, Maryland, 1987.  This is a book you can check out of the library on special loan.  It's the whole genealogy of Royalton, if you can follow the way it's written.  

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