Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site

Notes on Major John André

submitted by Jeff Scism

I have some "gathered information" on the Andre events.

Scisim, Peter or Peter Scism or Cism, r9284, New York Line, he was born in Nov. 1764 at Livingston in Columbia County, NY. He enlisted at Nobletown in said County, he married Margaret (?) in 1792 in Colebrook in Litchfield, Ct. and they had children; 1st child born 19 Aug 1792 and died at the age of 6 months. Elizabeth born 23 Feb 1794 and she (Elizabeth) married Peter Hagedorn and in 1853 they lived in Claverack, NY. Peter died 6 oct 1835 at Copake, NY. His widow applied 20 March 1853 in Hillsdale in Columbia County, NY., age 79.

Best Wishes, Geri

Peter Scism of Taghkanick enrolled at Nobletown (Hillsdale) entered the service as a substitute in 1780, at the age of sixteen, and served in Verplanck's Point and Dobb's Ferry. He was on guard the day Major Andre was hung.

Peter Scism's application was denied for reasons not recorded.

Application Number R9284 of Peter Scism
State of New York
Columbia County

On this 14th day of December, 1832, personnally appeared in open court before the Justices Court in the City of Hudson in the County and State aforesaid now seting Peter Scism [a resident of the town of Taghkanick] who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of congress passed June 7th 1832.

Says that he is Sixty Eight Years of age that he was born in the month of November 1764 in the Town of Livingston in the County of Columbia and State of New York. I first entered the service as a substitute at the Town then called Nobletown in the County and State aforesaid. On the first of March 1780 at that time the inhabitants were classed, each class of six to furnish a man. I went for a class consisting of Eward Okins, Archy McCarty and the other names I do not recollect as it was not my native town I only having gone into that Town to work. The Town is now called Hillsdale. My Captain's name was Cristopher
Miller Liutenant ......... Shirts. Ensign Peter Loop. we were marched some distance down the River and put on Board of a Sloop or Vessell and taken to Verplancks Point on the Hudson River and remained there or near there some time and were then ordered to a place called Dobbs Ferry and after remaining there some time, and then on the capture of Andre we were marched to West Point. I was on guard on the day Andre was Hung. I do not recollect the Colonels name neither the Majors neither do I think we remained all the time under our Det of Field Officers. I think our Adjutants name was Fonda. We were Nine Months Men after the Hanging of Andre we were taken across the River to Some Barracks that had been previously built where we were encamped until the first part of December 1780 when I was discharged in wrighting by Army Captain which discharge has long been lost. I [have] no record of my age and only recollect it as I heard it from my mother who died Six Years since. Immediately after the expiration of my nine months, I returned to my fathers Home where I remained a few months and then went out to work and have Continued to do so since the most of the time in the County of Columbia and State of New York I cannot now state the name of a single regular officer or Regiment who served when I did I might state the names of Washington and many others whom I probably saw but cannot swear positively that I did.

The persons in my neighboorhood who can testify to my character for Truth and Verasity and their belief in my Revolutionary Service are Friend Sheldon Esqr Henry Avery Esqr John Bain Esqr all Justices of the Peace, Isaac Shelden Supervisor of the Town of Taghcanick in the County & State aforesaid - in which Town I also Reside - also Colonel George I. Rosman & Dedrick Miller. that he has no Living witness whois testemony he can procure and that he has no documentary Evidence. that the Clergey man now Settled in the Town where he resides has only been Settled there a short time and consiquently Knows nothing about his Revolutionary Service. he hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pension or annuity except the pension and that his name is not on the pension role of the agency of any state

Sworn and subscribed to
in open court the day
& year first abve mentioned
John D. Parker Clerk his
Peter + Scism Jnr


Major John André was Adjutant General of the British Army during the American Revolution when he was arrested in civilian clothes by American forces. In his boot were found papers that brought to light the plot of Benedict Arnold to betray the American post at West Point.

While Arnold escaped, André was tried and sentenced to death by hanging as was customary for spies. André, however, was a charming, brave soldier who was popular even among his enemies. General Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton petitioned to have his sentence commuted, but Washington refused. In this letter, aware that he will die one way or another, André writes to Washington asking to be shot as a soldier to avoid the disgrace of being hung as a spy.




Buoyed above the Terror of Death by the Consciousness of a Life devoted to honorable pursuits and stained with no Action that can give me Remorse, I trust the request I make to your Excellency at this serious period and which is to soften my last moments will not be rejected.

Sympathy towards a Soldier will surely induce Your Excellency and a military Tribunal to adapt the mode of my death to the feelings of a man of honour.

Let me hope Sir, that if ought in my character impresses you with esteem towards me, if ought in my misfortunes marks me as the Victim of policy and not of resentment, I shall experience the operation of these Feelings in your Breast by being informed that I am not to die on a Gibbet.

I have the honour to be
Your Excellency's
Most obedient and
most humble Servant

John André, Adj. Gen.
to the Brit. Army

Text of letter from Facsimiles of Famous American Documents & Letters,
edited by Edward C. Boykin, published by the Cornwall Press for Blue
Ribbon Books, Inc., 1934.


Treachery of Benedict Arnold
Through the Tory messenger Joseph Stansbury, Benedict Arnold established communications with Captain John Andre, British General Henry Clinton's aide, on 10 May 1779. For the next 16 months he conspired with the British by providing information in return for an agreement of money and a position in the British Army.

In all, his traitorous acts included divulgence of Washington's plan for the Yorktown campaign, intelligence concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the American Army, and a plot to surrender West Point to the British, as Arnold had received command of that post on 3 August 1779.

On 23 September 1779, volunteer patriot militiamen captured the British Captain John Andre with several incriminating documents from Arnold. These papers detailed the defenses at West Point and provided valuable intelligence information about the American Army. Also, Andre admitted under interrogation that he had been involved in espionage with an undisclosed American traitor.

Arnold learned of the capture of Andre before Washington had been informed, and he quickly withdrew north on the Hudson River to evade his own capture. Upon receiving both the captured documents from Andre and a report of his confession to espionage, Washington realized that he had been betrayed. Expecting imminent danger of a British attack on West Point, he quickly moved to fortify it. However, a British attack on West Point never came.

Although the attempt to capture West Point had failed, the British compensated Arnold for his property losses and commissioned him as a Brigadier General of the British Army. He was given a command and raised a legion of Tories and deserters, which he led on raids against the Americans in 1781. However, the British leadership on all levels distrusted the traitorous Arnold and he decided to move to London that December. Soon after that, he left military service to become a merchant-shipper in New Brunswick. He moved to Canada in 1787, but finally returned to England in 1791.

Benedict Arnold fell into depression during his later years, finally being afflicted by a "nervous disease" which took his life in 1801. He died a wreck of a man, leaving only debts and lawsuits to his family upon his death.

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