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JOHN HATHORN'S REVOLUTIONARY LEGACY: MILITARY & GOV'T

Gen. John Hathorn of Warwick, NY led the local militia and served on the first Congress of the United States. Learn about John and his wife Elizabeth Welling.

INAUGURATION OF WASHINGTON

 

  Hathorn attended the inauguration of George  Washington at   Federal Hall in New York on April 30, 1789.

As one of New York's eight elected representatives to the new Government, he would have been on or near the balcony; foreign dignitaries describe both houses of Congress following Washington to the balcony to witness the oath.  (source: History of the Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of George Washington, 1892)

  Although the building no longer exists, the Federal Hall National Memorial is on the site.

 

(unknown artist)

 

APPOINTMENTS AND ELECTIONS

MILITARY ORDERS AND ACTIONS 1775-1785

  • 1776  July 14  Letter of George Washington to the Committee of Goshen advising them to stand their men down but remain vigilant.
  • 1776  Dec. 17 Letter of George Clinton to William Allison ordering Hathorn's regiment to stay where they are and strengthen the pass near Sydenham's.
  • 1779 June 1?  Hathorn's  Regiment placed under command of Col. William Malcolm and ordered to protect frontiers. Papers of the Continental Congress No. 247 Item 78 p. 1 (signed Geo Clinton)
  • 1779 July 21  Receives order from Gen. Washington to supply 100 men to help guard British prisoners on the way to Easton.
  • Hathorn states this in his battle of Minisink report; supported by letter of Abraham Skinner stating arrival with prisoners at Goshen on the 20th and lists of prisoners being sent to Easton, George Washington Papers Series 4, General Correspondence. Abraham Skinner to Robert H. Harrison, July 20, 1779.
  • 1779 July 22    Battle of Minisink
  • 1779 Autumn    In command of men guarding depot at Fishkill:  Excerpt from Pension file of Jacob Nottingham Keator:
    •     “…In the year 1779 in the fall, does not recollect the precise month, enlisted as a Volnteer for Three months, and was ordered to Fishkill in Dutchess County—his officers were Charles Broadhead, Capt. Joseph Hasbrouck first, and Frederick Westbrook second Lieut, when we arrived these (illegible word) were put under the command of Col. Hathhorne and were placed in the Church—afterwards Encamped in the Burying Ground—we were engaged in Keeping Guard, after serving one month we were there discharged…
  • 1781 Feb. 25    George Washington to Orange County, New York, Militia Colonels, February 25, 1781, Circular Letter

     

    • "New Windsor, February 25, 1781.  Sir: When his Excelly. Governor Clinton left Poughkeepsie to meet the Assembly of this State at Albany, he was pleased to desire me, in case there should be any sudden call for the Militia, to apply in my own name to the Commanding Officers thereof in the vicinity of this Post.I do not know that occasion will require me to use this authority, but as a considable. detachment has marched from the Army, at and in the vicinity of West Point, common prudence points out the expediency of having the militia of these parts in readiness to give their aid without loss of time if there shd. be a call for them. I have therefore to request that upon firing the Alarm Guns, the Beacons, or any other notice of the enemys movement, you will repair without delay to West Point with the Militia under your Command; and put yourself under the orders of the Officer Commanding there. You will direct your men to come provided with at least Eight days provisions. I am etc. N.B. Colo. Hay is directed to assemble his Battn. in the neighbourhood of Haverstraw and send detachments to possess the entrance of the Clove near sufferans and the other passes thro' the Mountains to wait with the remainder in a good position for further orders."

MILITARY ORDERS AND ACTIONS 1786-1815

  • July 29, 1807  Hathorn and other Major Generals ordered by President Thomas Jefferson to mobilize militia in response to British aggression.  Hathorn to raise 1,406 men.  Tensions were labeled the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair. [Researched by Mark Hendrickson]

OTHER OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS

  •  1779-1780     Receipt for attending the Legislature--  Bill for Hathorn's attendance at New York State Legislature at Kingston; image from an auction website in 2007.  Current repository unknown. The Legislature met at Kingston with Evert Bancker as Speaker in 1779-1780
  • 1790 April 1    Dines with George Washington: "The following Company dined here to day. viz. Governor Clinton, the Speakers of the Senate & House of Representatives of the State of New York Judge Duane, Baron de Steuben and Mr. Arthur Lee—Mr. King of the Senate, and the following Members of the House of Representatives—Mr. Leonard, Mr. Sedgwick, Mr. Grout, Mr. Van Rensalaer, Mr. Hathorn, Mr. Clymer, Mr. Heister, Mr. Stone, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Ash, and Mr. Huger."

 

HATHORN'S REGIMENT

  • Deposition of  Moses Swartwout  "....in the opening of the year 1780 he was again drafted into the militia of the State of New York under the command of Captain Henry Wisener or Wisner in COL Hawthorn’s Regt. ...was also stationed at a place called Minisink for a time also at a place called Sterling Iron Works. When he was employed with others in building a furnace to cast a chain to obstruct navigation of the Hudson River by throwing them across the Hudson River."
  • Guarded the Ramapo Pass and the Sterling Iron Works numerous times (William W. Pelton, quoted in paper by Ferdinand Sanford)
  • Excerpt from Pension application of John Finton:    "Dated 24 July 1837 State of New York County of Seneca On this 24th day of July 1837 personally appeared John Finton a resident of the Town of Romulus in the County of Seneca & State of New York aged eighty five years on the 8th of May last who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the Act of Congress passed May 15th 1824. That he entered the army of the United States in the year 1776 under Capt Blain at Warwick as a volunteer and served 2 months. I next served one month in the city of New York under Col. Martin, cannot recollect my other officers. I next volunteered under Col. John Haythorn [?]. We marched to a place called the English neighborhood in New Jersey where we expected an engagement but it did not take place. I continued in this detachment about 3 months. I was in the army in the city of New York when it was taken by the British & evacuated by the American Army. I also served under a Capt. Wolverton 9 months or more at various places on the these lines [?] between the armies and served as orderly sergeant. I was in the battle of Fort Montgomery. I being a blacksmith, I assisted in making the great chain that was streched [stretched] across the North River. I also helped to get the cannon up the mountain to Fort Put above West Point. I enlisted in the New Jersey Line. I was born at Deer Park in the year 1752. It was at that time a wilderness land in the western part of Orange County. At the commencement of the war, the people of the back town mostly left their homes to get nearer the North River for safety. I was frequently out on scouting parties against the Indians and had several skirmishes with them in the region of Peenpack on the Delaware.

           

CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE: THE CONFLICT WITH FRANCE AND BRITAIN 1807-12

The young nation became embroiled in the renewed conflict between Britain and France, and was subject to seizures and taxes.  Neither of the nations would accept American neutrality.  Thomas Jefferson pursued a stance of economic isolation which in some ways helped, and in some ways hindered, the growth of the United States.  Increasing tensions lead, in the end, to the War of 1812.

In 1809 Hathorn was still heavily involved in political life, as shown by this resolution.  It is likely he authored much of it, if not all:

Transcription of Extracts of a Resolution or Speech

Given in April, 1809

from The Aurora Chronicle April 21, 1809

[The following extracts will show the pure and ardent spirit of patriotism which is bursting forth in every part of the union.  We might fill volumes with similar expressions of the national feeling.]

From the Orange County Address -- adopted in a meeting of One Thousand Yeomanry.

                                                                                                Gen. Hathorn, Chairman

Judge White, Secretary

               " In our opinion both England and France have violated the rights of neural nations in an atrocious and dastardly manner, and given sufficient cause to the people of the United States to unsheath the sword in defense of those rights; and while we unequivocally declare the conduct of France to be execrable, yet we cannot withhold the sentiment that England has vastly exceeded in the amount, number and turpitude of her aggressions--That her attempt to tax our commerce and licence American vessels, her murderous attacks on our ships and impressment of our seamen--and finally her encouragement to our own citizens to become traitors and violate our laws, are vital stabs and absolutely insupportable--and should our government think proper to resist these aggressions by an appeal to the sword, with both or either of these powers, we will rally round the standard of our country, make our breast a rampart to our constitution, string the nerves of the executive with our sinews, and hold ourselves ready to seal these resolutions with the purple fluid which animates our existence.

                But it gives us serious pain, to declare, that the conduct of some of our citizens, is such, as to destroy all confidence in their political integrity--so unprincipled, that charity no longer deem it an honest difference of opinion, but systematic duplicity and design--That these men who can say, that Great Britain or France, has done us no injury, cannot be entitled to the confidence of Americans.  That those who have exerted all their influence to distract and weaken the councils of our nation in times like these, without attempting o propose different measures; and when they have almost to a man, decided that we cannot submit to the aggressions of the belligerent powers, can no longer be entitled to our confidence--and that those who continue to make apologies for the conduct of Great Britain or France, who misrepresent the conduct of the government of the U. States, and continue to charge the executive with foreign influence, or with having paid money out of the Treasury, to France; or after the proofs of slanders & villainy of the presses exhibiting those charges, will still encourage such slanders and such ?illegible word? , are no longer Americans, or entitled to confidence--That those men who encourage the political heresy of a dividing of the Union in an unconstitutional way will forfeit all title to the once respectable name of Federalists, and out to be bound in the same bundle with tories and ?illegible word?, and denied the further protection of a government of which they shew themselves so utterly unworthy: and should these malcontents, encouraged by the pressure and influence of England, and sided with the military preparation of a neighboring province be induced to erect the standard of rebellion, we will be all ready to take all proper measures to expel them from the land, and help them to remove into regions where the government possesses sufficient energy to keep their impudence in ?check? and to perpetuate our sacred rights, we will sacrifice everything that is dear to us, and the last thing we will surrender is Liberty, the last entrenchment, our Constitution."

 

WAR OF 1812-- COMMITTEE OF DEFENSE FORMED IN WARWICK IN 1814

Hathorn chairs meeting to form a committee of defense in Warwick in response to national crisis; in August Washington, DC had fallen to the British.

POLITICS AS USUAL 1795 - THE "ANTIFEDERAL" LABEL AND A DEFENSE OF HATHORN

Letter written in Defense of Hathorn appealing for a gag order on a party 'loose cannon'. Clearly the recipient of this missive did NOT burn it as requested, and it fell into the hands of the media

The Rising Sun (Kingston, NY)

Feb. 13, 1795

Transcription

(Transcriber's Note: The abbreviated version below only presents items relevant to Hathorn in a long letter about party politics.)

Extract of a letter from a gentleman of the ?ministerial? party, in Orange county, to his friend in Kingston.

                I Read a paragraph in the Kingston paper, containing some remarks on the probably result of the late election for member of Congress in this district, and the carater of our candidate; and have since seen an answer thereto, under the signature of "a real republican."  Altho' I do by no means approve of this paragraph... I do not approve of the reply of our friend J--- the "real republican."....it would have been more prudent to have passed over these remarks in silence....

                Another thing in the reply which I do not like, is the animadversions on Gen. Hathorn's character and conduct in Congress; for whoever wishes to make proselytes in this quarter by abusing Hathorn, takes hold of the wrong means.  He  is a man in whom the peopleplace great confidence, and is far from being a fool, as the "Real Republican" would insinuate;--This is so directly in the teeth of the public opinion, that I fear the observation will do great harm.  The peope in this part of the district as such a stiff set, and in general so enlightened, that ou must reason them out of their opinions, or they will never join our party....there is one expression in the reply which sticks with me more than any other:  It is said that Hathorn, when in Congress, uniformly voted on the "antifederal side."  The antifederal side!  What does that Mean?  Why we were all antifederals once; we all thought that the new constitution was no safe without amendment, and so did four-fifths of the people of the United States.  The word must still have the same meaning-- therefore Hathorn voted right, or we have turned our coats.  This is the way people will talk.  They will conclude that Hathorn voted right even according to the assertions of the "Real Republican", who (you know) at that time, in order to get in for a member of convention, declaired, that if the people would elect him, he would engage to vote against adoption of the constitution.--I Know, my good friend, that you and I were of opinion at the time, that Hathorn behaved very well...most of our writers are too fond of using the term antifederal as a reproachful epithet (several sentences on the meaning of antifederal omitted by transcriber)...The great mass of citizens in this state, who were conversant in politics, were real antifederals.  They wished for amendments to the constitution previous to its final adoption...It is likewise mentioned by the "Real Republican" that nothing but Hathorn's name is to be seen upon the journals of Congress, and that he has never committeed one single line to his constituents with respect to the measures of Congress.  Now even if this be true, I think it was imprudent to mention it, for the same language will no doubt be retorted upon our friend Peter, who as you very well know has never spoken a syllable on the floor of Congress...So much for politics. Do stop the real Republican from scribling any more, for instead of helping he will hurt our cause....

P.S. When you have read this letter burn it, for fear it may fall into the hands of the other party.