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Claudius  Smith

Claudius Smith

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  • Name Claudius Smith 
    Gender Male 
    Person ID I41519  Smith Smyth Schmidt Smythe Smitt
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    Last Modified 29 Nov 2012 

    Father Claudius Smith,   b. 1736, Brookhaven, Suffield, NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Jan 1779, Goshen, Orange, NY Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 43 years) 
    Mother Hannah Coleman 
    Family ID F15052  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • from Minisink Stickney 1867

      CHAPTER XIV.



      GREYCOURT INN; OR, THE SCOURGE OF THE HIGHLANDS.



      A venerable old building was the "Old Greycourt," as the old inn was known in those days of troublous times that marked the period of the Revolutionary struggle.



      Situated on the main road leading from New Jersey to the eastern part of Orange county, on the edge of the low, rich, flat meadow lands that extend into the township of Chester; and owning for its proprietor an old pioneer of the country, Daniel Cromline, who had founded it in 1716, it could not fail of being popular. Many a jovial revel had the old house seen in those wild stormy days of Indian warfare; and many a trying time too, since the stout hearts that beat obedience to Washington had ranged themselves against the troopers of old King George. Many a dark redskin had the old goose, that was painted as large as life on the swinging sign, seen pass beneath her shadow for a drink of the fire-water, and many a true patriot had she seen pledge a comrade with undying friendship in a last glass at the familiar bar, before departing for the army; where, perhaps, some Hessian bullet had quickly closed his career. The old goose, too, had a history, for it was said to have supplied a name for the inn. When the house was first built, it became necessary, according to custom, to place above the door the arms of royalty; and the proprietor. in doing so, had the picture of the white goose placed beside it, because of its proximity to Goose Pond Lake. At first almost a thing of life, it fairly threatened to take wing and join its wild kindred of the wilderness; but, alas, the colors only seemed to vanish with the sun, rain, and storm of years, until at last, wondrously grey, and with a countenance marvelously weather-beaten, the antique old goose looked down upon the throng of customers that still passed beneath her wing. The rebellion against the authority of England caused the sign to become the butt of endless jokes and gibes by the patriotic. Not at the old goose, for she was too national a bird to be sneered at, but at the coat of arms by her side, which, for a time, was called "Grey Coat," and then changed to "Grey Court," by which appellation the house became known far and wide. The building was constructed for durability; and that it met the end aimed at may be known by the fact that it stood for a space of one hundred and sixteen years. But it has now passed away, in common with the hearts that planned, and the hands that built it. The man that stood behind the bar, the man that stood upon the other side, the lounger that hung around its hall all the day long, and the young man who affected the bean, wore his hat so jauntily, and talked and laughed with the pretty maids of all work, have all gone to the silence of oblivion. Their little likes and dislikes, that so agitated their bosoms; their hopes, fears, troubles and disappointments; the good they have clone, and the bad, might as well have been buried with their bones, for all that is known, felt, or cared for now.



      [p. 180] A goodly company is assembled in the bar-room as we glance into it this pleasant evening, away back through the years that have flown since November of the year 1778. They are not talking of the war, though the liberty of America is being chipped from the granite power of England daily. No?something of new interest engages them.



      "So they have got him safe at last," said a plethoric, middle-aged man, in a drab coat and lapstone hat.



      "Yes," replied an old man, in a kind of voice like a person just rescued from some great danger, "and I'm glad of it; folks can sleep now of nights, and not be afraid of getting their throats cut before morning by Claudius Smith."



      "He ain't going to stretch hemp a bit too soon for the good of society," observed a third.



      "Yet he had some good qualities about him, in spite of what people say," commenced a cleanly looking old man, as he took a pinch of snuff from a ponderous box of the kind, the lid of which was shut with an experienced tap. "You remember Col. McClaughry, that was taken prisoner by the British at the capture of Fort Montgomery, in October of last year. Well they took him to New York and. locked him up with the rest and, it seems, didn't treat him very well. So they gave him leave to write home for some things he wanted or some money to get them with. His wife hadn't any, so she went over to Abimal Youngs' to borrow some; but Abimal said he had none, though every one knew he was as rich as a Jew. It was a pretty tough case?her husband starving in that cursed prison house, and she not able to get him anything. It made quite a talk, and everybody who knew her felt sorry for her; but that didn't help the matter. She sold her shoe-buckles and other ornaments, but that didn't go a great way. By and by it came to Claudius Smith's ears, and one night he went to old Abimal's house, determined to get the money for her. His men took Abimal out of doors, and threatened to hang him if he didn't tell where his money was. He wouldn't, so they put a rope round his neck, tied it to the well-pole, and slung him up. After he had hung a moment, they let him down, and again demanded his money, knowing he had some somewhere. But he still refused, clinging to his money in preference to his life, so they again hung him up. However, they couldn't make him tell, so at last they let him go. Determined to inflict some loss, they carried off his deeds, mortgages, &c., and he never got them again."



      "And served him right," said the man with the lapstone hat. "But I always heard that his father was always called a bad kind of man around Brookhaven, on "Long Island, where Claudius was born. And still more so after he moved to McKnight's Mills, down by Smith's Clove, as it was called?a little west of the highlands in the Ramapo valley. Once, when the old man was returning home from the mountains, where he had been to carry some provisions to Claudius and his gang of tories who were secreted there, the scouts who were watching for them, espied him and fired at him. The horse he rode was killed, but he escaped. Before he died, too, they say he got mightily cross and ill-willed; and after he got so, he could not move without his cane, would strike with it at everybody that came near him; and was known to follow his wife around the room for the purpose of hitting her with it. Ah, it was in the breed for them to be rogues. When Claudius was a boy, he was such a vicious, ugly fellow, that his mother said to him:



      " 'Claudius, you will die like a trooper's horse, with your shoes on.' "



      "He was a cursed Tory besides, and no longer than last year, he was in Goshen jail for stealing beef cattle from the government. They thought he would be safer in Kingston jail, but while moving him, he got away. But he won't get away now, I guess; they keep him manacled and heavily chained, and have parties guarding him night and day, with instructions to shoot him if a rescue is attempted, or if he tries to escape."



      "Oh, he'll swing for it now, no doubt," said the snuff-taker, again resorting to his box for a fresh pinch. "But then he has some good traits, as I said before. For instance, there is Major Bodle's adventure. About the time of the capture of Fort Montgomery, ho was making his way from that place towards home, when, in the morning, he met Claudius Smith, hailed him with a friendly good-morning, calling him by name, and shaking hands with him. After inquiring as to the news from the fort, &c., he continued?



      " 'Mr. Bodle, you are weary with walking, go to my house yonder (pointing to a place off the road) and tell my wife to get you some breakfast. Tell her I sent you.' "



      "The Major made believe to accept the offer, and thanked him with much kindness; but as soon as he was out of sight, he struck a bee-line for home, and hardly paused to look around till he had almost reached there."



      "Perhaps," said the man with the timid voice, who had indulged in a bit of a snooze, and just aroused himself in time to hear the Major's adventure, "perhaps he was only trying to get him off the main road, while he robbed him. I wouldn't have trusted him either; only think how he served Col. Jesse Woodhull. The Col. never harmed him or any of his men, yet he swore he would kill him, Nathaniel Strong, Cole Curtis and Samuel Strong. Then after all, when the Colonel saved his life by not shooting him when he had a chance, see how the ungrateful fellow used him. The Colonel did not dare sleep in his own house for months, for fear of his fulfilling the threat. He then threatened to steal a mare the Colonel thought a great deal of. In order to save her, the Colonel had her brought into the cellar of his house, yet this same Claudius Smith you're praising so, lurking devil that he was, watched his opportunity, and when the Colonel and his family were at tea, boldly slipped the mare from the cellar, though in broad daylight, and the first intimation the unconscious inmates had of their nearness to danger was the yell of defiance given by the highwayman as he rode off his stolen prize. A gentleman present at the table sprang to his rifle, and as the robber was still in easy range, leveled it at him, but Woodhull knocked aside his arm, so great was his fear of the rascal, saying, 'For heaven's sake, don't fire; if you miss him, he will kill me.' Not yet content, this merciless Tory came to his house again on the night of October 6th, only last month, for the purpose of robbing and murdering the Colonel and his family, for nothing in particular, only because Woodhull was such a 'darned rebel,' as he said. Their intended victim was fortunately away, doing duty in the American army, as he is now. The Colonel's wife, hearing them coming, hid her silver ware and other articles of value in the cradle, and placed her child upon them. When the gang broke open the door, and all the time they were searching the house, she busied herself in trying to keep her child still. It deceived them and saved her goods. They did not get a great deal of plunder. The child was quite a bit of a girl, large enough to talk, and she asked her mother if they were going to steal her calico dress. They stole the horse of Luther Conklin, who had been staying at the Colonel's, and went off. The same night, they went to Major Nathaniel Strong's house about 12 o'clock, when they were all asleep, and broke in the outside door, and a panel out of the inner door, connecting with the Major's bedroom. This alarmed the Major, who came out of his room armed with his pistols and gun. As soon as he entered the inside room, he was fired at through the window, but was not hit. His assailants then promised that if he would give up his arms, they would not harm him. As he was in their power, and could do but little less, he resolved to rely upon their promises, and accordingly put down his gun, and advanced towards the door as if to open it. But their hearts were callous to broken promises and the influence of mercy. Ere he had reached it, they fired through the broken panel, and he expired without speaking a word pierced through the heart by two of the faithless Tory's bullets. Leaving the murdered corpse with the terror-stricken family, they decamped, taking with them his saddle and bridle'. And yet, some men will contend that they had good traits in their characters. A fig for such talk, I say," and the voice that had become really eloquent with earnestness again lowered to its old timid tone, and the speaker sank back in his chair, as if having said his say, he was ready for another snooze.



      During the latter part of the narration of these incidents, which, being familiar to all, they knew to be true, [p. 185] the snuff-taker had waxed uneasy, and began to snuff with increased vehemence; and on its conclusion, he broke out with?



      "I didn't praise Claudius Smith; I said he had some good points about his disposition, and I've always heard it said that much of that he stole from the rich he gave to the poor. I say he has a humane heart, and I can back up my opinion too, call me a tory or what you will."



      "It must have been a mighty small one, since so few people ever found it out," said he of the timid voice.



      "Never mind, gentlemen," said the landlord, laughing, "you needn't either one get your back up about your opinions. They are good enough without any backing. If you'll just keep still a little while, I'll tell you a story about Edward Roblin, one of the most noted of Claudius' gang; in fact his right hand man. They say he knows where all the caves and secret retreats are in Smith's Clove and along the Ramapo, and where he has buried the gold and silver he has stolen. We'll, I've been told that when a boy, none was thought more honest or better behaved than he. And the way he got to be a freebooter and tory was a little romantic, to say the least. He worked down toward the river from here, for an old man by the name of Price. A mere boy when he first came there, he proved such a hardworking, steady, trustworthy little fellow, that the old farmer was glad to keep him on, and so he staid, and worked, and delved, till he grew at last to be a tall handsome lad, and all the girls cast sidelong glances at him in church, and felt pleased when he spoke or nodded to them, and thought how proud they would be if some good looking manly form, like this, should stand beside them some pleasant evening, and put a tiny ring upon their finger before the priest, thereby sealing both in bonds for life. Now this employer had an only daughter who had grown up to womanhood at the same time as himself, being about the same age. Beautiful when a child, she lost none of her sweetness with her years, but seemed rather to increase in angelic purity and loveliness. Her form and features were among the most perfect works of nature, and when she added to it those many little artificial attractions that females know so well how to use, and the blandishment of a clear silvery voice, all attuned to melody and love?woe, woe to the susceptible heart, of lord or peasant, that rendered itself liable to this grand combination of charms. This young couple did not fall in love with each other, for that was impossible; since they had loved when children, and it had been strengthening with their growth, year by year. But young Roblin was poor; and when he at last spoke to old Price about marriage, it resulted just as he expected. The old man locked his weeping daughter in her bedroom up stairs, and forbade her ever speaking to the young man again. But he didn't discharge Roblin, and the result was just what he might have expected, but didn't. One morning he rose early, and as was usual called to Roblin, but no Roblin answered; so after a little while he opened the bedroom door, but no Roblin was there, and the bed bore the appearance of having been slept in but about half the night. He at once mistrusted the cause, and at the instant started for his daughter's room. Her bed bore the same appearance; and the open window, and, when the old farmer looked out of it the sight of his long ladder reaching from the ground to the casement, its rounds wet with dew and sparkling in the early morning light, at once explained the mystery. He hurried downstairs and out to his stables, but Roblin had been too honest for his own safety the horses were there. 'Forgad,' quoth old Price, 'I'll have them yet; for,' thought he, 'they've gone to the minister's on foot, and that's some miles,?they won't get there much before noon, and,' cried the old fellow chuckling, 'by that time I'll be there, too.'



      "He lost no time in mounting on horseback, and was off for the Squire's in a twinkling. Here he procured a warrant for Roblin's arrest for debt, on account of some money he had advanced him, in reality for work done. He next found the constable, and placing the document in his hands the two worthies sped off for the dominie's. He didn't arrive there a whit too soon, for Roblin and his bride had just taken their places before the good man as they burst into the room.



      " 'Ha! ha! my pretty birds, I've caught you, have I,' yelled the old man as he grasped his daughter's arm. 'You thought to catch a weasel asleep, did you?'



      "At first Roblin thought of resistance, but he dare not resist the authority of the law; so he gave his betrothed a farewell kiss, and quietly submitting was soon on his way to a cell in Goshen jail, and his mourning sweet one traveling sorrowfully homeward with her cruel father. The law, you know, is unusually severe for the nonpayment of debt, so Roblin lay in limbo, month in and month out, with no signs of release. He procured a violin, was soon a good player, and in that amusement passed much of his time. On the still pleasant evenings, crowds of the young people of the village would gather underneath his window, to listen to the varied airs of delicious melody that floated on the clear air from out the bars of his grated cell. And as the slippered feet of the fair village maids kept time to the measured cadence of the music, their eyes often glanced up toward its source, anxious to catch a glimpse of the handsome sad face of the player, the story of whose disappointment in love they all knew. His betrothed, unable to withstand the constant commands and urgings of her tyrant father, at last yielded to his solicitations, and married the man he chose; though it was a current saying of the old dames in the neighborhood, that ho had taken her from her betters, and given her to her inferiors. When the news was taken to young Roblin, in prison, you may be sure he felt bad enough; and it was a long time before the music of his violin was heard outside the grated walls. Even when it was again heard, its strains were so melancholy and touching, so expressive of a sorrowful heart, that many a maiden's heart beat with sympathy for the imprisoned lover. The pretty daughter of the jail-keeper, when she took the dinner to the prisoners, always handed in the fullest plate at the door of his cell, and the jailor himself, when he went his rounds at night, spoke a kind word through the grate of the door in passing by. Interest began to be taken by influential citizens toward procuring his discharge, and everybody was anxious to have something done for him. But he did not wait their kind offices. One morning the jailor espied the door of tho jail wide open, and on entering found the cell of Roblin empty. He had evidently escaped by the help of some outsider. An inspection of his own dwelling revealed the cause of his escape, and also the fact, that his demure daughter who had taken such an interest in the prisoner, had no doubt become herself the prisoner of love, and flown with her lover to the realms of bliss. But what was still worse, when her father visited his stables, he found that Roblin had not forgotten the horse this time, for the stall of his beautiful chestnut gelding was empty, with the exception of a limb from the chestnut tree in the yard, which was tied to the manger with this inscription, in large letters on an old paper:



      'MY DEAR FATHER-IN-LAW?As you will be when you see this, pardon the liberty I have taken in exchanging horses with you, though you must conclude yourself there was no great difference; I acknowledge this is a horse of another color, still as yours was a chestnut horse, the exchange is fair, for this is a horse chestnut. It's the best legacy I can leave you at present, coupled with the best wishes of EDWARD ROBLIN.'



      "The jailor took it quite hard for a time, but people said he grieved more for the loss of his steed than his daughter; since, as soon as she disappeared, all the village dames suddenly discovered her to have been a conceited, shiftless minx, and fit for nobody but a scapegrace like Roblin. Nothing was heard of him for a longtime after, till at last he suddenly appeared among the band of outlaws headed by "The Scourge of the Highlands," and by his daring villainies soon won a reputation second only to his chief. The man that wedded old Price's daughter turned out to be a poor miserable fellow, and soon abandoned her and was never heard of more. Disappointed, cruelly forsaken, and heart sick, she returned to her father's house. The doctors could do nothing to relieve her depression of spirits, and she rapidly went into a decline, lingered awhile and died, the neighbors said, of a broken heart.'' * *



      For a moment after the conclusion of the story, the utmost silence was observed. Its simple details awoke a more than ordinary feeling in the rough breasts of the auditors. The snuff taker, who had become so interested [p. 190] in the narrative as to forget the pinch he held idly between his thumb and finger, was the first to break the pause:



      "A curious story, truly. Edward Roblin?let me see?why that's the one that headed the band when they stole the muskets and pewter plates from the American army wagons. My brother was with the scouts that pursued them. They took with them a rich booty that time. Among other things, my brother said they had a solid silver stand, which it was thought they had stolen from an English officer. The scouts got pretty close to them, and many shots were exchanged as they caught glimpses of each other among the rocks and bushes. One of the robbers was shot in the glens of the Clove, and they say was never buried. The last time I heard from there, his white bones still lay glistening among the rocks. The muskets and plates it is thought were hid in one of their secret caves in the Clove, but the stand was no doubt sunk in a spring in the vicinity."



      "This murder of Major Strong," said the man with the lapstone hat, breaking in as soon as the latter speaker paused to take a pinch of snuff, "This murder of Major Strong was what put a stop to them."



      "Have you heard the particulars of the capture of Claudius?", interrupted the man with the frightened voice.



      "Yes; you know Major Strong was a pretty popular man, and his murder began to make the authorities wake up a little. The Assembly of the State took action on the subject, and on the 31st of last month, according to their resolution, Gov. Clinton came out with a proclamation, declaring Smith and his sons outlaws, and offering a reward of $1200 for the capture of Claudius, and $600 each for his sons Richard and James.



      This was just the thing. The chance for getting money inspired many with a sudden zeal for the apprehension of the robbers, who had hitherto been indifferent about it. Claudius was a cunning dog, and knew the effect money would have on the cupidity of many, and perhaps on some of his own gang; so he fled to New York, and from there went to a secret retreat on Long Island. Among other Whig families who moved to Connecticut when the British took possession of the Island, was a wealthy farmer?John Brush. He left his landed property in the care of tenants, once in a while secretly visiting the Island to see that it was taken care of properly. While there he accidentally found out that Claudius Smith was in the same neighborhood. He knew of the rewards offered for his arrest, so he immediately went over to Connecticut and informed a friend of his, one Titus. Titus was a large, powerful, resolute man, and just the one for such an undertaking. Procuring the services of three other men, one dark night, armed with muskets and pistols, they crossed the sound in a whale boat and landed in a small bay that puts into the Island. Hauling the boat up on the sand they left it in charge of one of their number, and the rest proceeded to the house (a tavern) about a mile distant, where Smith was putting up. A light was burning, and the party entered noiselessly. The landlady, who knew Major Brush, was sitting before the fire. Brush asked her if Claudius Smith was in the house. After a short pause she replied:



      " 'He is in bed. I will go and call him.'



      " 'No; tell me where he lodges,' said Brush.



      " 'Up stairs in the bedroom.'



      "Warning her to keep quiet, he took a candle, and leaving one to guard her, the other three crept silently upstairs. Without noise they slipped into the bedroom, the door of which was standing ajar, and before he awoke seized him. He made a powerful resistance, taken unawares as he was, and tried hard to get hold of the pistols under his pillow, but it was useless. They quickly tied him with a cord, and the next morning had him safely landed in Connecticut. Brush immediately sent a messenger to Gov. Clinton, then at Poughkeepsie, who directed him to be brought to Fishkill. Here, as we all know, he was taken charge of by Col. Isaac Nicoll, the Sheriff of Orange county, and brought to Goshen under guard of Col. Woodhull's troop of light horse, accompanied by the leading men of the county. And there he is now, chained to the floor, and guarded as I said before."



      "Well," said the landlord, glancing at the clock in the corner, and yawning as he spoke, " I guess we have about concluded Claudius'' history for to-night, as I see it's time to close. It has been pretty nearly all gone over and summed up; all it needs now is an account of his execution to complete it, and that I don't think we shall have to wait for longer than the first sitting of the court."



      Here the man with the timid voice rose and said that as he wanted a little something to strengthen his lungs, he would propose that the man who wore the lapstone hat should treat the company, as he was the only man whose hat would stand a wetting. To this the owner of the hat demurred, but finally agreed to pass it around, which was done, and each one putting in a piece of change the landlord treated the company for its contents, and in a short time thereafter the last customer had departed, and "Old Greycourt" was alone with its occupants.



      Well indeed had Claudius Smith been termed "The Scourge of the Highlands." Of English parentage, it was no wonder he should be inclined to adopt the creed of the mother country, and when to the principles of a rank Tory he added those of the blackest villainy and most bloodthirsty revenge, at the head of a savage crew, and in the fastnesses and caves of the Highlands, Bellvale and Warwick mountains, well and truly did he make himself so feared and dreaded as to earn the title of 'The Scourge of the Highlands'." His thievish propensity was said to have been encouraged by his parents, and the first article stolen, a pair of iron wedges. This talent he nursed and fostered in himself and his three sons, Richard. James, and William, and carried on on the largest scale, including occasionally the murder of some unoffending patriot of the Whig persuasion, until at last, as we have seen, he was apprehended and lodged in prison. At the January term of the court, next after his arrest, he was indicted on three or four charges of robbery and murder, and found guilty on them all. When asked by the Judge if he had anything to say in his defense, he replied with the same firmness that had characterized him all through his imprisonment and trial, ''No, if God Almighty can't change your hearts I can't." The court then sentenced him and five others of his gang also found guilty at the same time, (a woman named Amy Augor or Amy Jones, Mathew Dolson, John Ryan, Thomas Delamer, and James Gordon,) to be hanged on Friday, the 22d day of January, 1779. He lived in hopes every day that his men would undertake his rescue, but he was too strongly guarded night and day for such an attempt to succeed. The day of his execution at last arrived, arid with two of his men, Dolamer and Gordon, he was taken from the jail to the gallows. He was a large, muscular man, and walked up the steps of the scaffold with a firm, manly air. He had dressed himself with scrupulous neatness in a suit of rich broadcloth with silver buttons, and as he stood upon the scaffold and cast his eye over the assembled thousands who had gathered out of curiosity to see the great bandit die, he smiled grimly and bowed to several he knew in the crowd. It was a wild scene the clear sun shone on that winter's day in Goshen. The condemned, standing on the verge of eternity, in gorgeous apparel, with his silver buttons glittering gaily in the sunbeams, and the horde of eager thousands trampling the crisp snow, and jostling, and crowding each other for a sight of him. A man elbowed his way near the scaffold, and asked Smith to tell him where he could find his deeds and papers that were stolen from him on a certain occasion. He replied, "Mr. Youngs, this is no time to talk about papers; meet me in the next world and I'll tell you all about them." He then kicked off his shoes, saying, "My mother said I would die like a trooper's horse, with my shoes on. I will make her a false prophet and a liar." He then glanced at the eastern hills, toward the scenes of his many daringdeeds, expecting, perhaps, to see his followers swooping down to his rescue from their mountain fastnesses, but they were not to be seen; nothing met his eye but the undulating hills, covered with the crusted snow and sparkling in the sunbeams.



      "That bright dream was his last."



      The cap was drawn over his eyes, the rope adjusted around his neck, the cart driven from under him, and "The Scourge of the Highlands" was no more.



      After the death of Claudius, his son Richard took command of the gang, the oldest son, William, having been killed in some marauding expedition the fall previous. They threatened the most dire vengeance for the hanging of their leader and the shooting of William, against every one favoring the rebel cause. On the 26th of March (1779) following they took John Clark from his residence, near the Sterling Iron Works, a piece into the woods, and after stripping off his outer garments told him to go home. While returning, with his back to them, they shot him dead and left him stretched upon a rock within sight of his dwelling. The note was left pinned to his coat, of which the following is a copy:



      "A WARNING TO THE REBELS.?You are hereby warned at your peril to desist from hanging any more friends to government as you did Claudius Smith. You are warned likewise to use James Smith, James Fluelling and William Cole well, and ease them of their irons, for we are determined to have six for one, for the blood of the innocent cries aloud for vengeance. Your noted friend, Capt. Williams, and his crew of robbers and murderers we have got in our power, and the blood of Claudius Smith shall be repaid. There are particular companies of us who belong to Col. Butler's army, Indians as well as white men, and particularly numbers from New York that are resolved to be avenged on you for your cruelty and murder. We are to remind you that you are the beginners and aggressors, for by your cruel oppressions and bloody actions you drive us to it. This is the first, and we are determined to pursue it on your heads and leaders until the last?until the whole of you are murdered."



      This created quite an alarm for a time, but the issuing of such rude, blustering threats soon grew to be regarded as a symptom of weakness. Their atrocities produced hero and there a man, who devoted his whole time in following their trails and picking them off as occasion offered. Benjamin Kelley, one of their best men, was shortly after shot by a rebel scout named June, who surprised them at card playing. They all made off at the time; but Kelly's body was afterward found near a sulphur spring where he had crawled, by one John Henley and his dog. Claudius' sons did not possess the talent and sagacity of their father; the band got dissatisfied and broken up speedily under their leadership, and at last the remaining members were forced to flee to Canada; and thus ended the highwayman's profession in Orange county, at least on a large scale, it is to be hoped forever. The scene of their exploits has changed somewhat, since those days of lawlessness and bloodshed, but most of the localities will long be remembered in connection with the men that made them famous. Their retreats in the mountains can be easily found to this day by the curious, especially the most noted, a little east of the Augusta Iron Works in the town of Monroe. That they buried much valuable property in these mountains, may be inferred from the fact that in 1805 or 1806, some of Smith's descendants came from Canada, and searched for the property according to the directions that had been handed down to them. They found a lot of muskets in a good state of preservation, but nothing else. Again, about 1824, two men, descendants of Edward Roblin, came from Canada with written directions, and explored the country thoroughly but found nothing. Various other persons fished in the spring where it was said the silver stand was sunk, but without success; and it is generally supposed that some member of the band found out the depository, unknown to Smith or Roblin, and appropriated it to his own use. At any rate, there is no record of the treasures ever having been found, and unless revealed by chance, it will most probably remain entombed till the sound of the last trump, if it has not been recently removed.



      Well may those days be called "the times that tried men's souls," judging from the glimpse we have taken at a small period in the history of Orange, and a few instances only of Tory robbery, cruelty and murder, such as marked the history of Claudius Smith and his men. Thanks to Providence we shall never see the like again.


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