The Tory William Caldwell

The name William Caldwell first caught my attention while researching the August 12, 1781, raid in Wawarsing. His name was mentioned again in Governor George Clinton’s public papers. It was also in connection to the August raid which, it was believed, was lead by Caldwell who was then a Captain.  During this raid he led other Tories and Native American allies along the frontier in Ulster County. His name was hated along the frontier.

William Caldwell was born around 1750 in Northern Ireland. Prior to the American Revolution, Caldwell came to England’s North American Colonies first settling in Pennsylvania. The same year of Lexington and Concord, Caldwell was offered an officer’s commission in the British Indian Department. Caldwell fought with Lord Dunmore’s forces, taking part in the storming of Norfolk, Va, early in 1776. According to Canadian Biography, Dunmore was defeated, and  Caldwell had to be evacuated by sea to New York. During the storming of Norfolk, Caldwell was wounded.

The United Empire Loyalists of Canada states, that Butler’s Rangers were formed, in 1777,  and he was commissioned a captain. Caldwell was stationed at Fort Niagara. The following year he participate in the Wyoming Valley Massacre in Pennsylvania. “In September 1778 he led an attack on German Flats (Herkimer) in the Mohawk Valley of central New York, where he destroyed all of the buildings and grain in the area.”

Caldwell became well known in Western Ulster County when he attacked Wawarsing on August 12, 1781.  A force of 300 Iroquois and, according to the Brigade of the American Revolution’s April 2006 newsletter, 90 of Butler’s Rangers raided Wawarsing. This raiding party from Fort Niagara was led, it is believed,  by Captain William Caldwell.

His partisan attacks lasted well into 1782, when he defeated Colonel Crawford at Upper Sandusky in Ohio. During this battle he was shot through both legs. The war came to an end for Caldwell with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. After the war he was granted lands in Upper Canada along with other Loyalists. Eventually he became a merchant in Amherstburg. He would once again serve England in the War of 1812. After the War of 1812, Caldwell continued his life as a merchant. He spent the rest of his life in Amerherstburg, where he died February 20, 1822.

 

This entry was posted in Catskill Mountains, Education, Revolutionary War, Strange Stories, Ulster County, Wars and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Blog Author

    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
  • Categories

  • Archives