Remembering those ancestor veterans who served their communities during the years of the French and Indian War until the American Revolution

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Hostilities between white colonists and Native American often erupted when colonists encroached upon tribal lands, or were provoked by cultural misunderstandings and a European sense of superiority and distaste for native cultures. These conflicts go back to the earliest European settlements in North America, back to Jamestown and Plymouth, which in Massachusetts bay colony became known as King Phillip's war (1675-76), named for the Indian chieftain Metacomet whom the Puritans called King Phillip. Sometimes it arose because of native inter-tribal wars that spilled over on European frontier settlers. The French and Indian War (1754-1763) is the best known, but not the only conflict between Native Americans and European settlers. This so-called French and Indian war was an extension of the conflict between England and France that came to Colonial America on the frontiers of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. Native Americans fought in alliances with both British and French regular armies and militias in battles for land and dominion between two European nations.  This conflict between native tribes and European setters extended to after the American Revolution with brief interludes of peace.


Our Westfall ancestor, JURIAEN BESTVAAL/WESTPHAL arrived in the New World in 1640. He and his companions immediately faced a war with the Indians. The governor of New Netherlands was resident Director General Wilhem Kieft, appointed by the Dutch West India Company. In 1641 Kieft initiated a four year war between the colonists and the Native Americans. The conflict decimated the province and many farms were destroyed along with badly needed crops. In 1645 peace was made with the Native American tribes on Long Island and along the Hudson River. For several years beginning in 1650's the Dutch settlement on the Hudson River at Esopus, named for the native American tribe that lived there, was plagued with raids by the Esopus natives. The Dutch settlers were ordered to leave their farms for protection at larger settlements, but they soon returned to their farms at Esopus. In the summer of 1658 a group of Esopus tribal members were celebrating a victory in a ball game with a keg of brandy, sold to them by their Dutch neighbors. By dusk most were intoxicated.  One of the Indians fired a musket and accidentally killed a Dutchman standing on his boat moored on the river. The violence escalated during the night and the house of Jacob Adrijensen was torched. He and his family ran to the safety of a boat on the river. The next day, the English settler Thomas Chambers set a letter to Governor Peter Stuyvesant requesting troops be sent for protection. Subsequently, a nasty full scale war broke out between the Esopus tribe and their white neighbors. The Esopus had many grievances with the Dutch settlers over members of their tribe kidnapped and sold as slaves. Indian workers on Dutch farms were often beaten because they were considered lazy. Some whites refused to make payments promised for land they were granted by the tribe.

Problems with the Esopus tribe arose again in September 1659. At the end of the corn husking, Thomas Chambers rewarded his Esopus tribal hired hands with a bottle of brandy. During the celebration, one of the Indians fired a harmless powder charge. Ensign Dirck Smitt, the officer in charge of the soldiers at Esopus, sent a patrol to investigate. When they returned they reported that it was only "heathen frolic" at Chamber's farm. Smitt had orders not to inflame hostilities with the natives and decided not to interfere. Unfortunately, some of the Esopus settlers, led by Juriaen's old nemesis Evert Pels, had different ideas. The group of disgruntled Dutchmen started towards Chamber's plantation. Armed with axes, muskets, and cutlasses they attacked the celebrating Indians, killing and wounding several.

In 1663 a series of fierce attacks by the Indians rocked the settlement. Repeated Indian attacks and Peter Stuyvesant's severe inflexibility towards his subjects greatly weakened the colony. When English warships entered New York harbor in 1664 the Dutch settlers willingly accepted British rule and Dutch rule ended with little violence. However, atrocities committed by English soldiers soon led to the Mutiny at Esopus and put an end to the peace. Juriaen Westphal died in 1667, some accounts say he was killed while leading a party of British soldiers to an Indian village.  In the 1690's the Westfall clan removed from the Hudson River Valley south to the Minisink on the Delaware in New Jersey. By 1750 our Westfall ancestor Abel Westfall had settled in northern Virginia (now part of West Virginia). Skirmishes between our Westfall ancestors and native Americans continued during the French and Indian War until after the American Revolution. These fights were usually with the Shawnee hunting parties.  When our West Virginia ancestor Cornelius Westfall filed a false pension claim as soldier in the Revolution, his excuse was he thought that his experiences of helping defend against Indians during and after the war counted as Revolutionary War service.  His claim was denied.


On October 12, 1756 HANS NOAH FREDERICK, son of JOHANN GEORGE FREDERICK was attacked and killed by Shawnee warriors while plowing his field on his farm at Swatara Gap in Bethel Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.   His young son Thomas was taken to live with the Shawnee for ten years, after which he was forcibly removed from his foster Shawnee family and returned by the British to Lancaster.  October, 1756 a letter from Adam Read to Provincial Council concerning attacks by Indians and pleading for assistance [spelling corrected]: "Friends and Fellow Subjects: I send you, in a few lines, the melancholy condition of the Frontiers of this County; last Tuesday the 12 of this Instant ten Indians came on Noah Frederick plowing in his Field, killed and scalped him and carried away three of his children that was with him, the Eldest but Nine Years old [Thomas], plundered his House, and carried away everything that suited their purpose, such as cloths, bread, butter, a saddle and good rifle gun &ca, it being but two short miles from Captain Smith's Fort, at Swatawro Gap, and a little better than two from my house" [in Lancaster County, now Lebanon County, Pennsylvania].


(Pennsylvania), ARCHIBALD McGREW was an important figure in York County, Pennsylvania.  He served as County Coroner and Justice of the Peace.  During the French and Indian War between 1754 and 1768 he was an officer of the York County Militia, beginning as a Lieutenant under Capt. Isaac Sadler, York County Militia and later with his own company as Captain; (Pa. Archives, Series 1, Vol. III, pp. 20, 390, 395). His relationship to our McGrew ancestors is not known.


In 1757 JOSEPH TYLER was a Member of Captain John Taft's Second Foot Co. (French & Indian War). He was the son of our ancestor Deacon JOHN TYLER of Mendon, Massachusetts and grandson of Job and Mary Tyler.  He was born October 21, 1701 in Mendon, Massachusetts, and died December 18, 1779 in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.

Ronald N. Wall
Modified: 22 January 2023