Fort Herkimer Church, German Flats New York

Fort Herkimer Church, German Flats, Herkimer County, New York

Fort Herkimer Church formed the central defense of Fort Herkimer throughout the Revolutionary War. During the war, a swivel gun was mounted atop the church tower and a wall of logs surrounded the church.

After being wounded at the Battle of Oriskany, General Herkimer was brought to the church by boat from Old Fort Schuyler. He stayed overnight on August 6, 1777 and was moved to his home the next day.

A year after the battle of Oriskany, Joseph Brant and a large party of Tories led a raid south of Fort Herkimer into the area that was called the German Flatts. A party of four American scouts came in contact with the raiders. Three were killed, but one scout, John Adam Helmer, was able to escape and warn the settlers in the area. All found shelter at Fort Dayton and Herkimer. There was no loss of life, but much loss of property.

Here was born Nicholas Herkimer, eldest son of Johan Jost Herkimer. He became a general in the Revolutionary War and the hero of Oriskany. The town and county of Herkimer were named in his honor.

After 1781, Fort Stanwix was no longer garrisoned and Forts Dayton and Herkimer became the most western strongholds in the Mohawk Valley. In July 1782, another war party of almost 600 Tories and Indians raided the area south of the fort. Most of the settlers were able to find shelter and the raid was driven off from the fort.

In February 1783, in the dead of winter, Colonel Marinus Willett led the ill-fated attempt on Fort Ontario in Oswego from Fort Herkimer. The weather led to the failure of the expedition and the party of about 500 returned to the fort.

Later that year, in July, Col. Willett greeted General George Washington at Fort Herkimer during a tour of the Mohawk Valley. Washington ordered that Fort Herkimer be set-up as a supply depot for the western forts, including Fort Detroit and Fort Niagara. These forts would eventually fall into American hands after the peace treaty with the British.

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