The Ghost of Sam Kettle Part II


Monday morning, August 13, reinforcements finally arrived from Marbletown and Rochester. Cantine’s exhausted soldiers were bolstered by some 200 hundred fresh troops and still more came from New Paltz. According to Ralph Lefevre, their force numbered some 400 soliders. A forced march came within striking distance of the fleeing raiders, but they eluded the soldiers. Governor Clinton took the time to write to General Schuyler to warn him, that since this raiding party is now well provisioned, they might try and make more mischief along the frontier. Clinton sent a separate letter to Colonel Willett and General Gaansvoort “to order out part of his Brigade to Schohary [Schoharie] until we have certain advices that this Party have left our frontiers.”

Some historians from earlier periods have written that the original target for the attack was Napanoch. However, the party was deterred by the belief that the settlement was defended by cannons. Regardless of the true target, this would be the last attack on Wawarsing of the American War for Independence. The war gradually came to a close after the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781, and to its conclusion in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.

In Abraham Garett Bevier’s 1846 book, The Indians; or Narratives of Massacres and Depredations on the Frontier in WaWarsink and its Vicinity during the American Revolution, Bevier writes that another settler was killed besides Tuttle. He recounts the killing of Sam Kettle. Although  the killing of Kettle is commonly centered around the Kerhonkson Bridge where modern day 209 joins Minnewaska Trail, at least one late local historian insisted that it happened along the Cohonkson which is a small stream.  If it happened near the Cohonkson, as some assert, it would put it “about three and a half miles northeast of the old fort at WaWarsink.”

When the events of August 12, began to unfold, Kettle was checking on the Jacobus Bruyn house still located on modern day 209. Bruyn and his family had moved back over the mountains for safety. It was while checking on the house the alarm warning that an attack was under way. Kettle attempted to make his way to a fort at Pinebush (Rochester). The story continues that he was shot and killed while making his way to the fort.

When residents first reported seeing the wandering ghost of Sam Kettle is not really known. However, a local legend that persists in the annuals of Kerhonskson and Rochester is that certain nights you can see Kettle trying to cross the water to safety from the pursuing Native Americans. The only question which remains, does Kettle’s ghost haunt the eastern side of the Kerhonkson Bridge or some long forgotten bridge over the Cohonkson Stream

This entry was posted in Revolutionary War, Strange Stories, Sullivan County, Town of Gardiner, Town of Marbletown, Town of Rochester, Town of Shawangunk, Town of Wawarsing, Town/Village of New Paltz, Ulster County, Wars and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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    AJ Schenkman

    A.J. Schenkman is the author of numerous books and articles. He is Consulting Historian for Historic Huguenot Street and Town of Gardiner Historian. Read Full

    Elizabeth Werlau

    Elizabeth Werlau is an English teacher in the Hudson Valley and is the historian for the Town of Plattekill in Ulster County. She has authored and contributed to several books on regional history, including her most recent publication, Murder and ... Read Full

    Debra Conway

    A former Features writer/Columnist for the Times Herald-Record and Director of Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History in Narrowsburg, Debra Conway is currently the Executive Director of The Delaware Company, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ... Read Full

    Matthew Colon

    Matthew Colon enjoyed nearly a decade in public history working and volunteering for organizations including Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site and the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands. Read Full

    Shannon Butler

    Shannon Butler is a Park Ranger of Interpretation and Education at Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Site in Hyde Park New York. She has also interpreted the Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston New York. Read Full
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