Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This Day in History January 22, 1779

I knew nothing of this character until this morning.  Tory outlaw Claudius Smith was born in 1736 in New York.  His nickname was "Cowboy of the Ramapos" due to his use of guerilla tactics against patriots.  It was no secret that his loyalties were with the Tory party, and it does appear that he terrorized many citizens in New York during the Revolutionary War.  His four sons and Mohawk Indian chief Joseph Brant were also on his side.

It does appear that he did not ever kill anyone, but one of his men reportedly did--Major Nathaniel Strong.  New York Governor George Clinton posted a reward of $1200 for his capture.  He was hanged on this date in 1779.  What's the reason for the Robin Hood silhouette?  Many saw him as being kind to the poor and attacking the rich. The legend goes that his skull was filled with mortar and included in the edifice of the Goshen Court House.

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