The American Revolution in New York

Around the close of the 18th century, British policies and colonialism were impacting the American colony of New York in a negative way. To tighten their control, the British imposed heavy taxes on the colonists. The New Yorkers protested against the sudden steep taxes by the British, particularly the implementation of the Stamp Act. A few of the most significant American Revolution battles were fought in New York, some of which included the victories of the colonists in Crown Point and Fort Ticonderoga, both located in the present day state of New York.

In 1776, the British gained an upper hand in the war by securing victories in Fort Washington, Harlem Heights, and Long Island. In less than a year, the tide turned in the favour of the colonists, with major victories in the battles of Saratoga and Oriskany. 

Some of the historical stockades and settlements in the state of New York includes Fort Brewerton (Brewerton), the Fort at Oswego Falls (Fulton), Canaseraga, Fort Van Dyke (Oneida), Fort Stanwix (Rome), and Fort Dayton (Herkimer).

Fort Ontario (Oswego) was prized by the American, French, and the British forces. It was situated at the end of the waterway between Lake Ontario and Manhattan. Governor Bunnet built a post here in 1727. During the Indian and French wars, three forts were built along the river. The Fort at Oswego Falls (Fulton) was a place which was fortified during the Indian and French wars, serving as a portage. The fort was built near Fulton, precisely beside the east shore of the river.

Fort Stanwix (Rome) was also built during the Indian and French wars. The portage between the Mohawk River and Oneida Lake was guarded by the fort. The importance of the post was realized by the patriots who rebuilt it in 1776. Oriskany Battlefield is another historical stockade which is located in New York’s Oneida County. One of the bloodiest battles between the British and the Patriots was fought in Oriskany in 1777. An obelisk honors the participants of the Battle of Oriskany.

The Patriots of New York were also known as the Congress-Men, American Whigs, Rebels, and Revolutionaries. The leading figures in the American Revolution in New York were instrumental in driving the British forces out of America and eventually helping in the establishment of the United States of America in 1776. The philosophy of republicanism served as the platform for the Patriots to gain independence from British rule.

John Adam Helmer (1754 –1830) was a notable American hero of the Revolutionary War. He campaigned in the Mohawk Valley and a few other regions of New York State. The “Adam Helmer's Run” to warn the German Flats was made famous by the 1936 novel by Walter D. Edmonds called Drums Along the Mohawk. Diel Rockefeller was another popular American Patriot from New York who served as the Captain in the Albany County Militia. Diel Rockefeller also made a significant contribution in the battle of Saratoga. In 1786, Germantown, NY appointed Diel Rockefeller as the Justice of Peace.

Additional Revolutionary War Resources

For additional resources on the American Revolution in New York, please refer to the following links: