General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Adam Helmer

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 County NY.

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