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Capt. John Stedman

Capt. John Stedman

Male 1731 - 1808  (77 years)

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  • Name John Stedman 
    Prefix Capt. 
    Born 22 Jul 1731  Bosbury, Herefordshire, England, UK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened 12 Aug 1731  Bosbury, Herefordshire, England, UK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 28 Oct 1808  Razees, Bosbury, Herefordshire, England, UK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 1 Nov 1808  Bosbury, Herefordshire, England, UK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Book Article 1844 
    Pictorial Guide to Niagara Falls, pp. 224-228 
    John Stedman and Massacre at Devil's Hole
    John Stedman and Massacre at Devil's Hole
    Chapter from 1888 Pictorial Guide to Niagara Falls which describes the Massacre at Devil's Hole. Capt. John Stedman, the portage master, was the only English survivor.
    • From: "Bev Stedman"
      Subject: Niagara Stedman's
      Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 14:27:59 -0400

      Found some stuff on the Niagara Stedman's:

      Niagara Co. Historian:

      In 1796 when the British evacuated Fort Niagara, John Stedman, portage master for the British moved across the river to Canada with the English Garrison. He left Jesse Ware to look after his property which consisted of a verbal grant by the Seneca Indians to 5,000 acres of land which embraced what is now a considerable part of Niagara Falls. His brothers Philip and William were on the frontier until 1796.

      John Stedman died 1808 Herefordshire, Eng. Philip died 1797 in New York City. (From a letter written by former historian Clarence Lewis 1961)

      The Souvenir History of Niagara Co. has a Charles F. Honeywell who bought the Wilson Star Newspaper 1878. Mr. Honeywell was b. in Toronto Canada 2 Mar 1853 a son of John Honeywell. His maternal grandfather was John Stedman the first surveyor of Niagara Co. and acquired Goat Island from the Indians.

      A. Parks Honeywell was not able to place this Charles and John. He had a Charles b. May 2, 1859 PA s/o John Honeywell & Catherine Halstead (see below). John was b. prob. Nepean, Ont., Canada.

      I found two John Honeywell marriages:
      John Honeywell m. Margaret Whittum in Skaneateles, Onondaga, NY 7/8/1838
      John Honeywell b. 1811 m. Catherine Halstead b. 1816 in 1836.

      Holland Purchase pg 229:
      Jesse Ware was the successor of the Stedmans at Schlosser, and before his death related to the compiler of the first edition of the Life of Mary Jemison, the story as he assumed to have heard it from William Stedman, the brother and successor of John Stedman, who was one of the two that escaped... has the whole book on line about the Holland Purchase.

      Landmarks of Niagara County, pp 175-176

      The first permanent occupation of territory now embraced in this town by white men was made, doubtless, in 1759 or 1760, by John, Philip, and William Stedman, who occupied a large house at the upper landing. Sir William Johnson states in his journal of 1761 that Sir Jeffrey Amherst had permitted a company of Indian traders to establish themselves at that landing, giving them exclusive privileges, and a large house was in process of erection for their use.

      The Stedmans enlarged the clearing at the landing and also made an opening in the forest opposite Goat Island* (*This islad received it peculiar name from the incident of Stedman putting a number of goats upon it in winter of 1779-1780, most of which froze to death before spring.) and a clearing of ten acres on the upper part of that island. Another of their improvements was the planting of about 150 apple trees west of the house, which constituted the first orchard in this region; it was afterwards greatly enlarged and some of the old trees stood until recent years.

      John Stedman (the head of the family) remained there until 1795, when he left, turning his interests over to Jesse Ware, to act as his agent. He claimed all of the alleged rights of his principals, including ownership of the falls and 4000 to 5000 acres of land at the bend of the river.

      Up to this time the portage had furnished about all of the business of the locality; it was removed to the Bristish side in 1795. The old French saw mill, built many years earlier, and probably rebuilt by the British, at the head of the rapids was used to some extent by the Stedmans or their agent up to 1797, and had supplied the little lumber used here at that time.

      The property became known as the Stedman farm, although it is quite well settled that Stedman never had a valid title to the land. John Stedman's pretended acquisition of title from the Seneca Indians, even if it ever existed, could not stand. In 1801 Stedman applied to the Legislature to confirm his pretended Indian title to lands "bounded by Niagara River, Gill creek, and a line extending east from Devil's Hole to said creek." He claimed in his petition that at the council of 1764, when Sir William Johnson was present, the Indians conveyed the property to him, and that he left the deed with Sir William, by whom it was lost with other papers of his own. The Legislature refused to grant the claim and subsequently the property was sold to other persons. Stedman's heirs sought to establish their claims to some of this property as late as 1823, but failed. The insignificant improvements mentioned above were all that were made prior to 1805.

      Henry Raymond Howland (1844-?), Niagara Portage and its first attempted settlement under British rule. pp. 39-40

      Albert H. Porter in his interesting "Historical Sketch of Niagara from 1678 to 1876," says: "The large house referred to was undoubtedly that afterwards occupied by John and Philip Steadman. The current tradition is, that the same building was first erected at Fort Niagara and used by the French as a chapel and was afterwards taken down and rebuilt at the place named. This is rendered quite probable from the fact that a chapel was standing in the fort in 1757, which disappeared and was never otherwise accounted for, and also that on the building occupied by Steadman - presumed to tbe the same - there was a steeple or belfry, an appendage not likely to be added unless as a part of the original building."

      Henry Raymond Howland (1844-?), Niagara Portage and its first attempted settlement under British rule. pp. 44-45

      In 1763 John Stedman occupied the house decribed by Albert H. Porter on the site of the old French barracks at Little Niagara, cleared the adjacent land and planted an orchard, becoming master of the protage from Lewiston, and holding, it was claimed, the exclusive right of transportation under some form of lease from the British Government, which gave him right of occupany in all the improved land about Fort Schlosser and in adjoining unimproved lads for the support of his cattle and horses. (see Hist. Sketch of Niagara, 1678-1876, by Albert H. Porter, p. 27.)

      The original and larger scheme for a settlement on the carrying place had failed. By 1764 Sir Wm. Johnson's Indians had become more docile. The massacre at the Devil's Hole in September, 1763, when Stedman barely escaped with his life, was their last fierce protest against the white man's encroachments; Stedman remained thereafter unmolested, the traders found him useful and as he was not their competitor no more petitions were sent to the Lords of Trade, but it was a long day before the Niagara portage was finally opened up for settlement.

      By Paul Gromosiak

      "There's nothing in surroundings now
      To match these time-worn stones,
      The hum of commerce here has drowned
      The rythm of nature's tones;
      Be quick to act, ye who have care,
      'Tis here your duty calls,
      Or stones historic soon may grace
      Some modern cellar walls."
      -- John R. Barlow, Jan. 1, 1912

      Niagara Falls historian Edward T. Williams in 1942 said, "The Niagara 'Old Stone Chimney' is absolutely the most unique and magnificent relic possibly on the American continent, probably in the United States, and certainly in the State of New York. It is highly probable that no structure anywhere in America has a status such as that."

      For about 250 years, the twice removed chimney has stood by the upper Niagara River attached to a building or alone. Oh, the many tales told before its fires! Oh, the many people partaking of food prepared there! Powerful nations made use of it. Powerful men fought to possess it.

      Its construction took place in a wilderness occupied by dangerous wild creatures and the great and proud Seneca nation.

      It was built by the Sieur de Chabert et de Clausonne, better known as Daniel de Joncaire, or "Chabert." He served as an interpreter and representative to the Senecas for the French government. In 1750, he supervised the construction of Fort du Portage, or Fort Little Niagara, at the upper landing of the Niagara portage. Just below the fort he built a two-story log barracks with a large stone chimney that had a fireplace for each floor.

      The chimney was made from stones collected from somewhere in the vicinity of the Niagara River or Escarpment. Their total weight was about 60 tons. The mortar to hold them together was made using lime from Lewiston.

      The first floor of the barracks contained a messroom and kitchen. Sleeping quarters for the garrison of the fort was on the upper floor.

      Chabert made the portage profitable for his government, the Native Americans and himself. He introduced horses and vehicles to the area, making it much easier to carry canoes and goods.

      In the first week of July 1759, with British forces approaching from the west along the south shore of Lake Ontario, the men in the barracks must have discussed their possible fate while preparing their last meals by the stone chimney. If only those stones could talk.

      On July 8, Chabert and his men couldn't wait any longer. Setting fire to the fort, the barracks, and the sawmill by the American Rapids, they fled to Fort Niagara. All that remained of their occupation above the falls was the stone chimney.

      In 1760, the British built Fort Schlosser a little east of the site of Fort Little Niagara. Using the partially completed French chapel from Fort Niagara, they erected a two-story house with a one and one half-story addition attached to the French stone chimney. All of the walls of the house were made of clapboard and had coops holes through which muskets could be fired.

      From 1760 to 1761, a trader named Duncan lived in the house. In charge of running the portage, he was thrown out of the house and lost his job because he lost favor with General Thomas Gage.

      John Stedman got Duncan's job and moved into the house in 1761. Despite protests from the Senecas, he cleared a lot of land by the house to plant a large apple orchard. He also made a clearing on the upper end of Goat Island for his livestock to protect them from marauding packs of wolves.

      He gave Goat Island its name after one of his goats that survived a terrible winter there. John actually called it "The Goat's Island."

      In the summer of 1763, he improved the portage road around the falls and gorge so that larger wagons could use it. On Sept. 14, his wagon train was ambushed by a large party of young Seneca warriors at the Devil's Hole. He was able to escape, even though his attackers tried very hard to kill him.

      In 1764, the British took the land on both sides of the Niagara River from the Senecas. Stedman could then run the portage without fear. He entertained many people in his house. Many fine meals were prepared by the stone chimney.

      Stedman moved to the Canadian side of the Niagara River after the end of the American Revolution and helped to create a portage there in 1790. His American friend, Jesse Ware, lived in the house from 1797 to 1804. Stedman and some of his descendants tried to get the house and property around it back for a number of years, but failed.

      In 1805, New York State leased the house and land to Porter, Barton and Co. Augustus Porter and Benjamin Barton also were able to get the rights to the American portage.

      Augustus and his family moved into Stedman's house in 1806. They stayed there until the completion in 1808 of a new brick house just above the American Rapids.

      From 1809 to 1812, Enos Broughton leased Stedman's house and converted it into a popular tavern. It became the center of many important local activities.

      During the War of 1812, American troops occupied the house. They also made use of Fort Schlosser.

      On July 4, 1813, British troops crossed the Niagara River and were able to capture the house, but only stayed there about 6 hours, fearing the arrival of American reinforcements.

      Fort Schlosser and Stedman's house were burned by the British in December 1813 in retaliation for the burning of Newark(now Niagara-on-the-Lake) earlier in the month by American forces.

      Once again, the old stone chimney survived an attempt to destroy it. Like a lone sentinel, it stood by the charred ruins of a house and fort.

      In 1818 or 1819, a local justice and town clerk, Epaphroditus Emmons, built a slight temporary two-story wooden building around the chimney. He used it as an inn for three or four years, when he took it down and reassembled it at another place.
      In 1840, General Peter B. Porter built a frame house with a one-story addition attached to the stone chimney. He also sealed the second-story fireplace with similar dolostone stones.

      In 1876, Peter A. Porter gained possession of the house and tore it down in 1889.

      In 1890, the Niagara Falls Power Co. bought the property around the chimney. This caused many people to express concern for the historic chimney.

      In 1891, local resident, Thomas V. Welch, one of the people responsible for the creation of Niagara Reservation State Park by the falls, wrote the words to a song about the chimney in order to draw attention to the need to save it. According to the song,

      "Long may the old stone chimney stand,
      Upon Niagara's shore;
      The sons of France and Britain's band,
      They battle there no more;
      The pioneers, and sweethearts dear,
      Are sleepin on the hill,
      Where the stone chimney stands,
      In the evening gray and still."

      As a result of the great respect for it, the chimney was very carefully dismantled and moved about 150 feet in 1902. This placed it away from the nearby industrial developments, at least for awhile.

      The need to expand industries for the war effort made it necessary to move the chimney again in 1942. This time it was taken much farther west to Porter Park. There it stands today, embedded in an embankment by the Robert Moses Parkway and unnoticed by nearly all tourists and residents.

      A veritable who's who of famous people visited the buildings attached to the old stone chimney. Among them, Pierre Pouchot, commandant of Fort Niagara during the French and Indian War; Sir William Johnson, superintendent of Indian Affairs for New York for England during the 18th century; Israel Putnam ("Old Put"), American Revolutionary War hero; George Clinton, New York's first governor; Joseph Brant, the Mohawk leader who led attacks against American settlements during the American Revolution; General John Graves Simcoe, the first governor general of Upper Canada; General Sir Isaac Brock, the great Canadian hero of the War of 1812; De Witt Clinton, the governor of New York who built the Erie Canal; Red Jacket, the Seneca orator and leader who played an important role in both the American Revolution and the War of 1812; the Marquis de LaFayette, the French general who led American and Native American forces during the American Revolution; General Winfield Scott, a great American hero of the War of 1812; Thomas Moore, the Irish poet and composer who wrote much about the Falls of Niagara in the early part of the l9th century.

      The Old Stone Chimney must be preserved and placed in a more suitable location, a site befitting the second oldest masonry structure in New York State west of the Hudson River. Better yet, it should also be attached to a replica of one of the buildings once around it. That should be John Stedman's house, because more important events took place in it than in all the other buildings combined.

      The reconstructed historic site could then be surrounded by related constructions. Throughout the year, reenactments would provide audiences with a taste of life by the Upper Landing of the Niagara portage. In the 1920s and '30s, many people rallied to save Old Fort Niagara from a terrible fate. That was a very good cause. The same thing must be done to save the Old Stone Chimney and its precious heritage. The results of such action will be greatly rewarded culturally and economically.
      Paul Gromosiak is a local historian and author of several books on the history of the area.

      A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison
      An example of the Indian Captivity Narrative, written in 1823 by James E. Seaver from interviews with Mary Jemison.



      An account of the destruction of a part of the British Army, by the Indians, at a place called the Devil's Hole, on the Niagara River, in the year 1763.

      It is to be regretted that an event of so tragical a nature as the following, should have escaped the pens of American Historians, and have been suffered to slide down the current of time, to the verge of oblivion, without having been snatched almost from the vortex of forgetfulness, and placed on the faithful page, as a memorial of premeditated cruelties, which, in former times, were practised upon the white people, by the North American Savages.

      Modern History, perhaps, cannot furnish a parallel so atrocious in design and execution, as the one before us, and it may be questioned, even if the history of ancient times, when men fought hand to hand, and disgraced their nature by inventing engines of torture, can more than produce its equal.

      It will be observed in the preceding narrative, that the affair at the Devil's Hole is said to have happened in November, 1759. That Mrs. Jemison arrived at Genesee about that time, is rendered certain from a number of circumstances; and that a battle was fought on the Niagara in Nov. 1759, in which two prisoners and some oxen were taken, and brought to Genesee, as she has stated, is altogether probable. But it is equally certain that the event which is the subject of this article, did not take place till the year 1763.

      In the time of the French war, the neighborhood of Forts Niagara and Sclusser, (or Schlosser, as it was formerly written,) on the Niagara river, was a general battle-ground, and for this reason, Mrs. Jemison's memory ought not to be charged with treachery, for not having been able to distinguish accurately, after the lapse of sixty years, between the circumstances of one engagement and those of another. She resided on the Genesee at the time when the warriors of that tribe marched off to assist in laying the ambush at the Devil's Hole; and no one will doubt her having heard them rehearse the story of the event of that nefarious campaign, after they returned.

      Chronology and history concur in stating that Fort Niagara was taken from the French, by the British, and that Gen. Prideaux was killed on the 25th of July, 1759.

      Having obtained from Mrs. Jemison a kind of introduction to the story, I concluded that if it yet remained possible to procure a correct account of the circumstances which led to and attended that transaction, it would be highly gratifying to the American public, I accordingly directed a letter to Mr. Linus S. Everett, of Buffalo, whose ministerial labor, I well knew, frequently called him to Lewiston, requesting him to furnish me with a particular account of the destruction of the British, at the time and place before mentioned. He obligingly complied with my request, and gave me the result of his inquiries on that subject, in the following letter:--

      Copy of a letter from Mr. Linus S. Everett, dated Fort Sclusser, 29th December, 1823.

      _Respected and dear friend_,
      I hasten, with much pleasure, to comply with your request, in regard to the affair at the Devil's Hole. I have often wondered that no authentic account has ever been given of that bloody and tragical scene.

      I have made all the inquiries that appear to be of any use, and proceed to give you the result.

      At this place, (Fort Sclusser,) an old gentleman now resides, to whom I am indebted for the best account of the affair that can be easily obtained. His name is Jesse Ware--his age about 74. Although he was not a resident of this part of the country at the time of the event, yet from his intimate acquaintance with one of the survivors, he is able to give much information, which otherwise could not be obtained.

      The account that he gives is as follows:--In July, 1759, the British, under Sir William Johnston, took possession of Forts Niagara and Sclusser, which had before been in the hands of the French. At this time, the Seneca Indians, (which were a numerous and powerful nation,) were hostile to the British, and warmly allied to the French. These two posts, (viz.) Niagara and Sclusser, were of great importance to the British, on the account of affording the means of communication with the posts above, or on the upper lakes. In 1760, a contract was made between Sir William Johnston and a Mr. Stedman, to construct a portage road from Queenston landing to Fort Sclusser, a distance of eight miles, in order to facilitate the transportation of provision, ammunition, &c. from one place to the other. In conformity to this agreement, on the 20th of June, 1763, Stedman had completed his road, and appeared at Queenston Landing, (now Lewiston,) with twenty-five portage wagons, and one hundred horses and oxen, to transport to Fort Sclusser the king's stores.

      At this time Sir William Johnston was suspicious of the intentions of the Senecas; for after the surrender of the forts by the French, they had appeared uneasy and hostile. In order to prevent the teams, drivers and goods, receiving injury, he detached 300 troops to guard them across the portage. The teams, under this escort, started from Queenston landing--Stedman, who had the charge of the whole, was on horse back, and rode between the troops and teams; all the troops being in front. On a small hill near the Devil's Hole, at that time, was a redoubt of twelve men, which served as a kind of guard on ordinary occasions, against the depredations of the savages. "On the arrival of the troops and teams at the Devil's Hole," says a manuscript in the hands of my informant, "the sachems, chiefs and warriors of the Seneca Indians, sallied from the adjoining woods, by thousands, (where they had been concealed for some time before, for that nefarious purpose,) and falling upon the troops, teams and drivers, and the guard of twelve men before mentioned, they killed all the men but three on the spot, or by driving them, together with the teams, down the precipice, which was about seventy or eighty feet! The Indians seized Stedman's horse by the bridle, while he was on him, designing, no doubt, to make his sufferings more lasting than that of his companions: but while the bloody scene was acting, the attention of the Indian who held the horse of Stedman being arrested, he cut the reins of his bridle--clapped spurs to his horse, and rode over the dead and dying, into the adjacent woods, without receiving injury from the enemy's firing. Thus he escaped; and besides him two others--one a drummer, who fell among the trees, was caught by his drum strap, and escaped unhurt; the other, one who fell down the precipice and broke his thigh, but crawled to the landing or garrison down the river." The following September, the Indians gave Stedman a piece of land, as a reward for his bravery.

      With sentiments of respect, I remain, sir, your sincere friend, L. S. EVERETT.

      _Mr. J. E. Seaver_.

      Pictorial Guide to the Falls of Niagara:
      A Manual for Visiters, Giving and Account of this Stupendous Natural Wonder;
      and all The Objects of Curiosity in its Vicinity;
      With Every Historical Incident of Interest:
      Also Full Directions for Visiting the Cataract and its Neighboring Scenes.
      Illustrated by Numerous Maps, Charts, and Engravings, From Original Surveys and Designs.
      The Illustrations Designed and Engraved by J.W. Orr.
      Buffalo: Press of Salisbury and Clapp. 1842

      See pp 224-228

      Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York, Orsamus Turner, (1850, Jewett, Thomas, & Co., Buffalo), pp. 227-230

      Tragedy of the Devil's Hole.

      There are few of our readers who will not be familiar with the main featurs of this event. It was fresh in the recollection of the few of the white race, that were found here, when settlement commenced, and Seneca Indians were then living, who participated in it. The theatre of this tragedy - the locality that is figuratively designated as one of the fastnesses of the great embodiment of sin and evil - was in the high banks of the Niagara river, three miles below the Falls, and half a mile below the Whirlpool. It is a deep, dark cove, or chasm. "An air of sullen sublimity prevades its gloom; and where in its shadowy depths you seem cut off from the world and confined in the prison-house of terror. To appearance it is a fit place for a demon-dwelling; and hence, probably, derives its name."* (*Orr's Guide to Niagara Falls.) The road along the river bank passes so near, that the traveller can look down from it into the frightful gulf - to the bottom of the abyss, one hundred and fifty feet. It would seem that a huge section of rock had been detached, parting off and leaving the high banks almost perpendicular - over-hanging in fact, at some points. A small stream - the Bloody Run - taking its name from the event of which we are about to give some account, pours over the high pallisade of rock. Trees of the ordinary height of those common in our forests, rise from the bottom of the "Hole", their tops failing to reach the level of the terrace above.

      Hitherto our accounts of the tragedy enacted there, have been derived from traditionary sources; no contemporary written statements of it has yet appeared in any historical work, or in any printed form. Among the London documents brought to this country by Mr.Broadhead, and deposited in the office of the Secretary of State at Albany, is a letter from Sir William Johnson, to the Board of Trade in New York, dated at Johnson's Hall, (on the Mohawk) September 25th, 1763, to which is appended the following Postscript: -

      "PS - This moment I have received an express informing me that an officer and twenty-four men who were escorting several wagons and ox-teams over the carrying place at Niagara, had been attacked and entirely defeated, together with two companies of Col. Wilmot's regiment who marched to sustain them. Our loss on this occasion, consists of Lieuts. Campbell, Frazier, and Roscoe, of the Regulars. Capt. Johnson and Lieut. Drayton of the Provincials; and sixty privates killed with about eight or nine wounded. The enemy, who are supposed to be Senecas of the Chenussio, [Genessee,] scalped all of the dead, took all their clothes, arms, and amunition, and threw several of their bodies down a precipice."

      In a "Review of the Indian trade, " by the write of the above, dated four years after, speaking of this furious outbreak of the Indians, it is said: - "They totally destroyed a body of Provincials and regulars of about one hundred men in the Carrying Place of Niagara, but two escaping." There is some discrepancy in the two statements. The first account was probably sent to Sir William by a mesenger despatched from Niagara as soon as the affair was known there, and before the full extent of the loss was ascertained, In 1764 the writer was at Niagara, holding a treaty with the Senecas, where he probably learned the facts as he last stated them. The statement that but two escaped the massacre, agrees, as will be seen from what follows, with the traditionary accounts, though the fate of the "eight or nine wounded." is left to conjecture.

      Jesse Ware was the successor of the Stedmans at Schlosser, and before his death related to the compiler of the first edition of the Life of Mary Jemison, the story as he assumed to have heard it from William Stedman, the brother and successor of John Stedman, who was one of the two that escaped. The relation was in substance as follows: -

      After the possession of Fort Niagara and Schlosser, by the English, Sir William Johnson made a contract with John Stedman to construct a portage road between Lewiston and Schlosser, to facilitate the transportation of provisions and military stores from one place to the other. The road was finished on the 20th of June, 1763, and twenty-five loaded wagons started to go over it, under the charge of Stedman, as the contractor for army transportation; accompanied by "fifty soldiers and their officers," as a guard. A large force of Seneca Indians, in anticipation of this movement, had collected and laid ambush near what is now called Devil's Hole. As the English party were passing the place, the Indians sallied out, surrounded teams, drivers, and guard, and "either killed on the spot, or drove off the banks," the whole party, "except Mr. Stedman, who was on horseback." An Indian seized his bridle reins, and was leading him east to the woods, through the scene of bloody strife, probably for the purpose of devoting him to the more excruciating torments of a sacrifice; but while the captor's attention was drawn in another direction for a moment, Stedman with his knife, cut the reins near to bits, at the same time thrusitng his spurs into the flanks of his horse, and dashing into the forest, the target of an hundred Indian rifles. He escaped unhurt. Bearing east about two miles, he struck Gill creek, which he followed to Schlosser. (See subsequent remorks upon the claim instituted by the Stedmans, or their successor, to lands, based upon this flight, and a consequent Indian gift.)

      "From all accounts," says the biographer we have relied upon for the above statement, "of this barbarous transaction, Mr. Stedman was the only person belonging to this party who was not either driven, or thrown off into the Devil's Hole." Tradition has transmitted to us various accounts of the fate of some few others of the party; that is, that one, two, or three others escaped with life, after being driven off the bank, although badly wounded, and maimed by the fall. Most of the accounts agree in the escape of a little drummer* (* The story of the drummer is mainly true. Seeing the fate that awaited him, he leaped from the high bank; the strap of his drum catching upon the limb of a tree, his descent, or fall, was broken, and hhe struck in the river, near the shore, but little injured by the terrible leap of one hundred fifty feet! His name was Matthews. He lived until within a few years, in the neighborhood of Queenston, to relate the story of his wonderful preservation. ) who was caught while falling, in the limb of a tree, by his drum-strap.

      Mrs. Jemison says that no attempt was made to procure plunder, or take prisoners. The object, sanginary as was the means used to accomplish it, was not mercenary, but formed a part of a general plan to rid the country of the English.

      [Note: - Mrs. Jemison says the first neat cattle that were brought upon the Genesee river were the oxen that the Senecas obained of the English in the previous affair at Schlosser. As that was an attack upon a military expedition, where no oxen would be likely to have been used, it is probable that those she speaks of were such as were preserved at the affair of the Devil's Hole.]

      The account of Sir William Johnson, which the author, considering that it is both contemporary and official, is disposed to rely upon, rather than traditionary accounts, gives different complexion to the whole affair, than the hitherto generally accredited version. The inference would be from his statement, that the cavalcade of wagons, teamsters, and guard of twnety-four men, was first attacked, and was reinforced after the attack by the two companies, who, he says, "marched to sustain them." This would protract the action beyond a sudden attack, and such a summary result as has before been given; and favor the conclusion that the advance party was first attacked as stated, and that those who came to the relief, shared a similar fate. Though the discrepancy is perhaps not material.

      Honayewus, or Farmer's Brother, an active Seneca war chief in the Border Wars of the Revolution, was in this battle, or rather surprise and massacre. It was one of his earliest advents upon the war-path.

      The pioneer settlers upon the frontier, especially in the neighborhood of Lewiston and the Falls, say that at an early period relics of this horrid tragedy were abundant, in this deep gorge. They consisted of skulls, of human bones, and bones of oxen, pieces of wagons, gun barrels, bayonets, etc. etc.

      pp. 493

      The Stedman family left Schlosser in 1795, the British portage having transferred to the other side of the river, in anticipation of the surrender of this frontier. They left Jesse Ware in possession of their home and farm. He in fact not only claimed the Schlosser property, but some four thousand five hundred acres of land beside, including the Falls. He claimed as success of the Stedmans, their claim having been founded upon an assumed grant of the Seneca Indians of all the land that lay between the Niagara River, and the circuit he made in his flight from the massacre at Devil's Hole. The state having put Judge Porter and his associates in possession, no attempt was made to enforce the Stedman claim until 1823. In that year, Samuel Street, and Thomas Clark, of Chippewa, commenced a suit of ejectment in the Supreme Court of this state, in the name of the heirs of Philip Stedman. It was assumed that the Indians had once deeded the land to Stedman, and the deed had been lost. The trial resulted in a non-suit. *

      (* If the Indians did anything more than to  promise such a grant to Stedman, they were unmindful of it the next year after the affair at the Devil's Hole. In that year (1764) they made no reservation of land about the Falls, in their cession of the carrying place to the King of Great Britain.)

      The Stedman family were in possession at Schlosser, from the period of British conquest in 1759, to 1795. Philip Stedman died in New York, in 1797, where he had gone for medical advice."
    Person ID I74837  Stedman Families of the United Kingdom
    Last Modified 31 Jan 2015 

    Father James Stedman,   b. Bef 13 Aug 1700,   d. Jul 1741, Ledbury, Herefordshire, England, UK Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 40 years) 
    Mother Susanna Ballard,   b. Abt 1710, ____, Worcestershire, England, UK Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Unknown 
    Married Abt 1730 
    Family ID F27077  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 22 Jul 1731 - Bosbury, Herefordshire, England, UK Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsChristened - 12 Aug 1731 - Bosbury, Herefordshire, England, UK Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 28 Oct 1808 - Razees, Bosbury, Herefordshire, England, UK Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 1 Nov 1808 - Bosbury, Herefordshire, England, UK Link to Google Earth
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