October 16 This day during the American Revolution

October 16, 1780 – Royalton Raid was a British-led Indian raid in 1780 against various towns along the White River Valley in the Vermont Republic, and was part of the American Revolutionary War. It was the last major Indian raid in New England. In the early morning hours of October 16, 1780, Lieutenant Houghton of the British Army’s 53rd Regiment of Foot and a single Grenadier, along with 300 Mohawk warriors from the Kahnawake Reserve in the British province of Quebec, attacked and burned the towns of Royalton, Sharon and Tunbridge along the White River in eastern Vermont. This raid was launched in conjunction with other raids led by Major Christopher Carleton of the 29th Regiment of Foot along the shores of Lake Champlain and Lake George and Sir John Johnson of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York in the Mohawk River valley, to attempt to drive the Vermonters out of Vermont and to burn anything of military value that might be used by the Green Mountain Boys if they decided to attack Montreal or Quebec City again. Four Vermont settlers were killed and twenty six were taken prisoner to Quebec. By the time the local militia could assemble, Houghton and his command were already on their way back north. The militia caught up with the raiders near Randolph, Vermont, and a few volleys were fired back and forth, but when Houghton said that the remaining captives might be killed by the Mohawks if fighting continued, the local militia let the raiders slip away. A plaque at the East Randolph cemetery marks the site of this event. The Hannah Handy monument, on the South Royalton town green, is a granite arch honoring a young mother who lost her young son in the raid, crossed the river, and successfully begged for the return of several children. Apparently, she was enraged that the British-led expedition was taking young pre-teen boys for slavery and likely early death among the Mohawks, seemingly just to spite the colonists rather than for any military purpose. Alone and unarmed, she caught up with the British and Mohawk party and fearlessly shouted out to Lieutenant Houghton “I will bear testimony of your wickedness before the councils of God”. Conscience-stricken and shamed by her verbal threat, the British leader ordered the boys released to the woman for safe return to their families.

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