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Karen Palumbo

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On This Day 6/6/1775
6/8/2011 4:23:34 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]


New York Patriot Marinus Willet seizes British weapons


Marinus Willet and a small group of "Sons of Liberty" confront British troops and seize five wagonloads of weapons as the Redcoats evacuate New York City, New York. Marinus Willett was born in Jamaica, New York on July 31, 1740. His great grandfather Thomas Willet, had been the first British Mayor of New York City, New York, a position Marinus would hold as well in the early 1800s.

After attending King's College, now Columbia University, Marinus served as a Lieutenant during the "Seven Years War", joining in the attacks of New York's Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Frontenac. He ended the war as a patient in the hospital at Fort Stanwix, New York, then under construction. After Marinus Willit's successful capture of British arms on June 6, 1775 he was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel on June 28, 1775 and participated in the Patriot's ill-fated Canadian expedition, where he served as the commanding officer at Fort St. John.

As colonial ire rose, Marinus Willet became a leader of the New York "Sons of Liberty", but little is known regarding his activities with the group. Although, during the "American Revolution" Marinus Willet earned the moniker, "Hero of the Mohawk Valley" for his defense of the site of his earlier convalescence, Fort Stanwix, which guarded the portage path between the Mohawk River and Oneida Lake.

Marinus Willet and his commanding Colonel, Peter Gansevoort, worked to restore the fort to battle-readiness. The British arrived under Colonel Barry St. Leger and laid siege to Colonel Gansevoort and Lieutenant Colonel Willet's troops on August 3,1777. While the British were away from their siege positions fighting the Tyron County Militia en route to relieve Fort Stanwix, Lieutenant Colonel Willet led his men in a raid on the abandoned British camp.

Although Lieutenant Colonel Willet succeeded in absconding with the enemy's supplies, the British had managed to send the Tyron County Militia into retreat. Lieutenant Colonel Willet then committed his greatest act of daring, when along with Major Levi Stockwell, he snuck past enemy lines to call for reinforcements. They are remembered for their bravery, although the British ended the siege before reinforcements arrived.



(K) (HST)

Marinus Willet American Lieutenant Colonel
Thomas Willet British Mayor, NYC, New York
Grandfather to Marinus
Peter Gansevoort American Colonel
Barry St. Leger British Colonel
Levi Stockwell American Major


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