The Revolution comes to Pakatakan

“The Revolution Comes to Pakatakan” will be the topic when the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown holds its Annual Meeting and Luncheon Sat., Oct. 27 at Noon at the HSM hall, 778 Cemetery Road, Margaretville.
Charles Yaple, author of Jacob’s Land: Revolutionary War Soldiers, Schemers, Scoundrels and the Settling of New York’s Frontier, will be the guest speaker.
Reservations ($20) are required for the luncheon, catered by Anna Blish. Call 845-586-2860 to save your place at the table. Lunch will be followed by a brief business meeting, which will include election of board members, an accounting of the past year’s activities, and an update on the capital campaign for the building expansion project that was launched in September.
Charles Yaple is a sixth-generation grandson of Jacob Yaple, who came to Middletown in 1771 with his parents, German immigrants Phillip Henrich and Susanna Yaple, and seven siblings. The Yaples moved to New York from near Allentown, PA to settle along the East Branch just south of the current village of Margaretville.
With the coming of the Revolutionary War, the community of some 40 families was divided in its support of the Patriot cause, and fearful of attack by Indians in league with the British. In 1778, they evacuated their farms to find safety in the Hudson Valley. While moving his possessions, Harmonus Dumond was taken prisoner at Pakatakan (now Arkville) by a party of colonial militiamen from Schoharie. He was fatally shot as he tried to escape in a tragic episode which remains the subject of speculation 200 years later. Was Harmonus a Tory? Was he a spy? Was it a case of mistaken identity?
The book “Jacob’s Land” includes a chapter detailing the event featuring original source material and research by Robert Rowe.
Dr. Yaple’s October 27 talk will describe these harrowing times, including the disputed incident at Pakatakan, and will explain what became of his kin: Two of Jacob’s brothers married daughters of Harmonus Dumond, and returned with their families in 1794 as the first settlers of the new Kingston Valley.
Dr. Yaple is Professor Emeritus of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies at State University of New York College at Cortland where he continues to teach environmental and outdoor education courses. He was raised near Ithaca, where Revolutionary War veteran Jacob Yaple and other family members moved after the war.