Adam Helmer, nicknamed the Paul Revere of the Mohawk Valley NY, was born
in German Flats NY in 1754.
In 1776, Helmer joined the Tryon county rangers and was sent to West
Canada creek located in the Adirondack Mountains of NY to spy on some
Mohawk Indians. In January 1777- March 1777, Helmer was stationed at
Fort Ticonderoga. On August 3,1777, the Tryon county Rangers were
ordered to muster at Fort Dayton in Herkimer NY.
Fort Stanwix, an American fort was under siege by the British. The
Tryon county militia was called up to help to relieve the siege. The
next day they began their march to Fort Stanwix. On August 5, the Tryon
county militia was camped out at Oriska NY creek, ten miles from Fort
Stanwix. Helmer, along with three other messengers were sent to Fort
Stanwix to tell them of their arrival.
On August 6, at 10am, while the Tryon county militia was swimming
and bathing in the creek at Oriska NY, the Tryon county militia was
ambushed by Joseph Brant, a Seneca Indian Chief loyal to
the British and his British allies. Brant massacred 450 patriots while
they swam in the creek. One hour later, at 11am, Helmer arrived at Fort
Stanwix, and found the Americans looting the British camp while they
were away fighting the Americans at Oriska NY. The British returned to
their camp and found most of their supplies gone. A few days later The
British gave up the siege upon hearing reports that Benedict Arnold was
close by with a relief force.
Between August 1777 and September 1778, Helmer was transferred to
different forts in the Mohawk valley.
On September 17, 1778, Helmer participated in an event that would earn
him the nickname of the Paul Revere of the Mohawk Valley. Helmer
received a report that Joseph Brant was on the war path again. A few
months earlier on May 30, 1778, Brant attacked the town of Cobleskill
NY, and massacred 25 settlers. Helmer was ordered to run to Fort Dayton,
over 30 miles away from where he was staying at Carr's Farm, and get
more men to help fight Joseph Brant. Helmer ran first to the town
where he grew up in at German Flats. All of the settlers Of German
Flats fled for safety at Fort Dayton except two who refused to leave.
The next day When Brant arrived, he burnt over 63 houses, 57 barns, and
3 grist mills. The two settlers who stayed were killed by the Indians.
Helmer had became the Savior of German Flats.
During the month of October 1780, Helmer participated in three
local skirmishes in the Mohawk valley, Battle of Stone Arabia, where the
Patriots were defeated by the British and two local churches were burned
to the ground
Battle of Klock's field (Oct19), where the Patriots defeated a loyalist
faction by outflanking them. The patriots were able to seize one
cannon and a large amount of munitions and clothing. At the battle of
Old Stone Fort (Oct 20), the patriots defeated a British force that out
numbered them 7 to 1.
By April 1781, one third of the Tryon county Rangers were killed or
wounded and one third had desrted and joined teh british army. Helmer
decided to join another unit called the New York Levies. The New york
Levies and the Tryon county Rangers later joined forces and participated
in three local skirmishes in the Mohawk valley, Sharon Springs( July 7,
1781) the Tryon county Rangers along with the Levies ambushed a loyalist
force and defeated them.
Johnstown NY( October 25, 1781) Patriots defeated the British. West
Canada Creek (October 30, 1781) Patriots defeat the British. Also John
Butler, a British general who played a role in the massacres at Wyoming
Valley PA and Cherry Valley NY where over 350 settlers were massacred,
was killed in the battle of West Canada Creek.
In February, 1783, Helmer participated in a mission to capture
Fort Ontario in located in Osewgo NY. The march became a death march
with soldiers freezing to death with inadequate winter clothing. This
was one of the worst winters on record that occurred during the
Revolutionary War. By the time the Tryon county Rangers and
Levies reached Fort Ontario, they found a large British Contingent
manning the fort. Col. Millett soon called off the attack when he found
the fort impregnable.
Helmer returned to Cayaga County NY after the war where he died on
April 19, 1830. Helmer is buried in the Weedsport cemetery in Cayaga