John McGraw Enlists

By James F. Morrison

Florida, Montgomery County


John enlisted in 1775, while living in Florida in Captain Samuel Pettingell's Company, (Fifth Company), in Colonel Frederick Visscher's Regiment of Tryon County Militia, (Third Regiment). John was ordered to prepare himself with a good musket, a bayonet and a cartridge box, by Captain Pettingell, to fight for liberty.

In 1776, John under First Lieutenant William Snook and with Second Lieutenant Peter Young and Privates Henry Snook, William Young, William Pettingell, Joseph Pettengell, Daniel McGraw (john's brother), Cornelius Van Horne, and Hugh Connolly, were ordered to Sacondaga (now Sacandaga) and were stationed there for two months.

In 1777, John with a draft from the company, was ordered to Fort Johnstown. Captain Walter Vrooman with Lieutenant Beckman and Sergeant Hatch were in charge of the fort. On August 3, the militia was called to arms to go to the relief of Fort Stanwix. Colonel Visscher and his regiment joined Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer at Fort Dayton. John was excused from this service because of a lame knee. On August 6, the relief column was ambushed near Oriskany Creek in a ravine. General Herkimer was seriously wounded, Colonel Visscher was wounded, Captain Pettingell was killed and about 200 men were killed, wounded or captured. First Lieutenant William Snook was now appointed Captain of the company. John was drafted from the company in the first part of September and with the rest of the men that were drafted from Colonel Visscher's Regiment marched to Schenectady to join the militia there. First Lieutenant Thomas Van Horne was in command of the men drafted from Captain Snook's Company. The militia marched to Stillwater to join the American force there under General Horatio Gates. After being there for a few days, John with several others were ordered back to Tryon County on alarms. He was in Tryon County until after General John Burgoyne surrendered at Stillwater.

In 1778, Colonel Visscher with his regiment were called to Stone Arabia on an alarm. John was under Captain Snook and other members from the company that went are Ensign Conrad Stein, and Privates Robert McGrady, Cornelius Van Horne, William Phillips, Daniel McGraw, Justice Rory and Henry Snook. They were stationed there for 12 days. They went from there to the German Flatts on an alarm.

In 1779 and 1780, John was stationed at Fort Plain, Fort Plank, Fort Windecker, Fort Dayton, German Flatts and at Bowman's Creek.

On October 24, Major John Ross and his second in command Captain Walter Butler were raiding the Mohawk Valley. At Fort Plain, Colonel Willett found the enemy in the fields and woods near Johnson's Hall and soon were engaged in battle. The battle raged until nightfall. Both sides had about 40 men killed and wounded. On October 26th, John under Captain Snook arrived at Johnstown and joined Colonel Willett's forces. John with Captain Snook joined the pursuit of the enemy but after the second day the company under Captain Snook including John returned home. John was stationed at Tribes Hill and at a Stone Building a little below Fort Hunter. John also served in Captain Hermanus Mabee's Company and Captain David McMaster's Company (Sixth Company), in Colonel Visscher's Regiment.


John McGraw filed for pension on September 30, 1830, claiming Florida, Montgomery County as his residence. He was born in 1752 in Florida.  Daniel McGraw mentioned above was John's brother.  Daniel filed his pension application March 10, 1834 stating he was born July 23, 1754 in Florida.

This newspaper article was published in The Patriot, October 16, 1974 and kindly contributed from the author, James F. Morrison.

This is a joint effort between Fulton, Herkimer & Montgomery County GenWebs for Memorial Day 2002. The above extract was kindly donated by the author of both articles, James F. Morrison.

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Created 5/23/02
Copyright © 1976, 1977 James F. Morrison
Copyright © 2002 Jeanette Shiel/M. Magill
All Rights Reserved.