The Battle of Conashaugh Affidavits

The 19th century applications for pension based on Revolutionary War service affidavits contain details of the April 1780 action though many years had intervened to perhaps color those memories and family accounts.  Herein a transcribed collection of existing material in the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files supporting primary source evidence detailing the deaths of only three men in the spring of 1780 as found in The 1780 Account of the Battle of Conashaugh.

The files are part of Record Group 15, Records of the Veteran Administration.

Affidavit excerpts:

Pvt. Gideon Cole, age 83, 1846, File S9210
...That in the year Seventeen hundred and Eighty Deponent again entered the service of the United States as a volunteer under the same officers [Major Samuel Westbrook and Captain Peter Westbrook] and served five months in manner as before.  Stated that during this period of service intelligence was brought to the fort by one Phillip McCarty that the Indians were collected in large numbers on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River.  Early next morning the company to which Deponent was attached were ordered to march against the Indians Captain Peter Westbook and Major Samuel Westbrook commanded.  After crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania the Company was divided. Captain Peter Westbrook commanded one portion and Major Westbrook the other.  Deponent was commanded by Captain Westbrook who directed our march to a small stream called the Connesook [Conashaugh], the other portion under the command of Major Westbrook marched in the direction of the Remans Kill [Raymondskill] The Company under command of Captain Peter Westbrook to which the deponent was attached after marching about three miles from the Delaware River came up with the Indians who were laying in ambush.  A battle ensued and after hard fighting with our enemy behind rocks and trees and after having lost our Captain and a number of the soldiers we were compelled by a quantity superior force to retreat.  The killed in this engagement as near as deponent now recollects were Captain Peter Westbrook, Lieutenant Benjamin Ennis and Richard Rosencranse, the wounded were James Van Etten and Samuel Helm ...

Pvt. Andrew Dingman, age 80, 1832, File S22731
... He further says that shortly afterwards [1780] he turned out as a volunteer under Major Samuel Westbrook and Captain Peter Westbrook two brothers from the State of New Jersey and Captain Johannes Vannetten and Lieutenant Benjamin Ennes of the State of Pennsylvania, that the party had a skirmish on the Pennsylvania side of the river Delaware near a house then occupied by Philip McCarty, in which one Indian supposed to be the chief was killed - the Indians retreated, and were pursued by the party for a distance of four or five miles when they lay in ambush and again gave battle - in which Captain Peter Westbrook & Lieutenant Benjamin Ennes and a young man by the name of Richard Rosencrantz were killed, Samuel Helms wounded in both his thighs and James Vanetten in the shoulder - and he the deponent assisted in bringing in and burying the dead ...

Pvt. Samuel Helm, age 72, 1832, File S4356
...That in the Spring of the year Seventeen Hundred and Eighty he joined Captain Peter Westbrook's Company as a volunteer who was then stationed in the County of Sussex in the State of New Jersey on the Delaware River under the Command of Major Samuel Westbrook and served until the 20th of April of same year; on that day a party of Indians were discovered from the fort where we were stationed on the opposite side of the Delaware River in the County of Northampton (now Pike), State of Pennsylvania, we were immediately ordered to cross the River and attack the Indians; commanded by Major Samuel Westbrook & Captain Peter Westbrook we marched against the Indians, soon after we had landed on the Pennsylvania shore we discovered the Indians in Ambush. After we had discharged several guns at them and received their fire several times the Indians retreated to the Mountains with the  loss of their party who appeared to be their Commander or chief from the appearance of his D__.  Our commanding officers directed us to pursue them we did pursue them about four miles into the mountains and when in about Pistol  ___ distance from them (they being in Ambush) we received their fire from so sudden and unexpected an attack we were thrown into some confusion but by the Bravery & example of our commanding officers soon again were called and returned their fire.  The Battle lasted some time hot & bloody.  After discharging several [or seven] times my rifle (two words struck out) and in the act of discharging it again I received a wound through both my thighs which disabled me; when endeavoring to support myself by my rifle I observed our Captain Peter Westbrook fighting within one rod of the enemy calling on his men to advance soon however he was killed. Our Lieutenant Benjamin Ennis was also killed in the engagement.  Richard Rosencrantz was also killed & James Van Etten was wounded, after Capt Peter Westbrook was killed Capt Johannes Van Etten took the Command ___ finding our Captain & Lieutenent killed & some of the Soldiers wounded and our numbers small compared to that of the Indians we were obliged to retreat. __ Andrew Dingman, Josephus Westbrook, Martinus Westbrook, Benjamin Hains & Gideon Cole were in the engagement.... 

Pvt. Barnardus Swartwood, age 73, 1832, File S22522
... He further saith that in the same year [1780] he served as a private in the Pennsylvania Militia at the Fort which was thrown up around the house of Captain Johannes Van Etten for the term of five months, Captain Van Etten commanded the troops in the Fort during which time an engagement took place with the Indians near the house of Phillip McCarty on the Pennsylvania side of the River Delaware in which one Indian was killed, from the appearance of his d___ was supposed he [was] an officer.  The Indians retreated into the woods three or four miles where the Militia again gave them Battle in which Captain Peter Westbrook & Lieutenant Benjamin Ennis were killed the last named officer was scalped.  Samuel Helm was wounded in both thighs & James Van Etten was wounded in his shoulder.  The said Benjamin Ennis was the brother in law of this deponent and the deponent saith he helped to carry the said Benjamin Ennis after he was killed to the Fort above mentioned ... 

Pvt. Abraham Decker, age 79, 1833, File S5332
"...Indians gave way having sustained a loss of several men, one of whom was ascertained to have been the Commander of the Indians from the peculiarity of his ___.  The Indians were pursued about four miles in the woods where they made a stand and gave battle after a bloody conflict the Americans were compelled to retreat, in this engagement Captain Peter Westbrook, Lieutenant Benjamin Ennis and Richard Rosencrantz were killed, James Van Etten was wounded in the shoulder and Samuel Helm in both his thighs."

Cornelia Decker Van Etten LaBar, widow of Ensign John Van Etten, 1846, File W4474/BLWT26699-160-55
... that her husband was also in the Indian Battles the one at Coneshaw [Conashaugh], on the west side of the River Delaware in now Pike County ... that her husband's father Johannes Van Etten had a fort on the west side of the Delaware River and was a Captain in the Revolutionary War.

Sarah Van Auken, daughter of Capt. Peter Westbrook, 1851, File W18321
... that her father the said Peter Westbrook was called into actual service at or about the commencement of the revolution and was almost constantly engaged in defending the frontiers from the British and Indian incursions till he was killed by the Indians at the battle of Minisink on the nineteenth day of April one thousand seven hundred and eighty.

James Westbrook, son of Major Samuel Westbrook, 1851, File S11714
... that in April 1780 he was in an engagement with the Indians near Upper Smithfield in the County of Northampton Penna where his brother Capt. Peter Westbrook also then in service was killed ...

The New Jersey Gazette, May 3, 1780, Vol III, Issue 123, Page 3, Trenton, New Jersey

The map pushpin indicates the historic McCarty House, c 1740, just south of the Raymondskill Creek gorge and north of the Conashaugh Creek gorge.

View Minisink Valley Genealogy in a larger map