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Despite the terrible tragedies of Sept. 11, a group of veterans met at Crab Island to honor the dead buried here from the War of 1812.
The Secrets of Crab Island: Part X

The future
What will become of
"Macdonough National Military Park"?

By James P. Millard
 

On the morning of September 11, 2001, while the world watched in horror the events unfolding in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, a group of men made their way up the western shore of Crab Island. They knew of the anguish the nation was experiencing at that moment, doubtless most would have liked to have been at home with their families at that difficult time, yet they had come for a very special purpose.

These men, many of them veterans of other American wars, had come to honor the seamen who perished at the Battle of Plattsburg and are buried at Crab Island. Clinton County Historical Association Director John Tomkins captured that moment for us with Roger Harwood's camera. It is one photo that speaks volumes...

In the last 13 chapters of The Secrets of Crab Island, this writer has tried to explain the significance of this tiny limestone isle in the midst of Cumberland Bay. We have explored the island's history from prehistoric times until today. We know that other generations have tried to honor those buried here. Unfortunately, to some extent, their efforts may have seemed futile. Nothing less than an Act of Congress called for the creation of a national military park here. Over the last century, the United States government and the government of the great State of New York each authorized the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for the preservation and maintenance of Crab Island.

Yet, a private citizen voluntarily mows and cleans up the trash. He does it because it needs to be done.

It is not the intention of this work to point fingers or assign blame. It IS the intention of this account to promote action. Something needs to be done about Crab Island. Jim Bailey said it in 1988. Nothing was done. It is my sincere hope that something positive will result from my stating it in 2002. Wiser men than I have stated what needs to be done. Much of the work needed has been listed elsewhere in this missive. I will not venture to repeat it here. It is obvious; however, that something needs to be done about Crab Island...

Crab Island's tale is the story of America. Here are buried those who died defending the United States from one of the last foreign attacks on its mainland until September 11, 2001. Their graves are somewhere on the island, American and British seamen together. The United States and Great Britain have been allies in one great conflict after another since that terrible time in the Republic's early history when the two nations fought each other. They stand together still.

There can be no better way to conclude this account than by listing the names of those who are buried here. These men have names. They had families and loved ones. There is nothing on Crab Island to tell the world it is their final resting place...

Individuals presumed buried on Crab Island*

American Dead

British Dead

Thomas Butler
James Norberry
Abraham Davis
William Wyer
William Brickell
Peter Johnson
John Coleman
Benjamin Burrill
Andrew Parmlee
Parnel [Purnell] Boice†
Peter Post
David Bennett
Ebenezer Johnson
Joseph Couch
Thomas Stephens
John White
Randall McDonald
Samuel Smith
Thomas Maloney
Andrew Nelson
John Sellack
Peter Hanson
Jacob Laraway
Edward Moore
Jerome Williams
James Carlisle
John Smart
Peter Vandermere
Jno. Ribero
Jacob Lindman
Perkins Moore
James Winship
Thomas Anwright
Nace Wilson
Thomas Lewis
John Wallace
Joseph Heaton
Robert Stratton
James M. Hale†
John Wood
John Fisher
John Atkinson
Henry Johnson
Deodorick Think
John Sharp
Joseph Rowe
Arthur W. Smith
Thomas Gill
James Day



 

Quarter Gunner
Boatswain's Mate
Quartermaster
Sailmaker
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Landsman
Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Marine
Seaman
Master's Mate
Seaman
Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman
Boy
Marine
Marine
Marine
Musician
Musician
Boatswain's Mate
Boatswain's Mate
Seaman
Marine
Marine
Boatswain's Mate
Purser's Steward
Boy
Marine
Peter Jacobs
William Stimpson
James Austin
Abraham Bean
John Berry
John Mitchel
William Griffith
James Wilson
Robert Mathews
Joseph Rea
John McManus
Daniel Capps
Miles Sweney
John Sald
William Rose
John Belse
James [Liggett]
Charles Labwin
Alexander Morrison
Charles Oatey
Louis Butler
Patrick McGuire
John Tempest
Thomas [Douie]
Robert Charters
William Smith
James Powers
Thomas Bishop
William Beaty
Robert Richards
John Morris
Philip Prangly
Henry Holgoud
Edward England
Benjamin Thomas
Philip Bohagan
Joseph Viscery
Owen Green
Alexander Williamson
William Auston
Hugh Fullard
Joseph Cox
Edward Shelton
William Loveless
Daniel Drysdale
William Stokes
George W. Slaney
John Wright
John Newman
Alexander Bouie
Andrew Ramsay
John Kirkham
Stephen Moore
George Erving
M. McLoughlin
Samuel Atkins
Roger Owens
James Bivin
Jacob Maling
William Bird
John Weaver
James Smith
William Vaughn
Robert Campbell
John Hill
John Hames
Joseph Pease
Daniel O'Bryan
Henry McLaughlin
John Radioffe
John Smith
Joseph Moore
Joseph Stephens
John Long
Thomas Broadnay
Mark Everhard
James May
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Artillery
Artillery
Marine
Marine
Marine
Marine
Marine
Marine
Marine
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Artillery
Artillery
Artillery
Marine
Marine
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Seaman
Marine
Marine
 

*This is a list of those killed and grievously wounded in the naval battle from Macdonough's and Downie's fleet. It was compiled from the only sources I could find to this date. It is possible that some listed here recovered from their terrible wounds. That said, given the state of medical care at the time and the difficult wartime conditions, it is unlikely. There are undoubtedly soldiers buried here also from Macomb's army on the shore. Note the list does not include officers. They were interred with honors in Plattsburgh's Riverside Cemetery.

This list is not all inclusive and certainly does contain errors. The author is confident that most of the individuals listed here are, indeed, interred on the island.

Revised 8/18/2002. Boice was inadvertently left off the original listing. He was an Ordinary Seaman from the Eagle who died of his injuries three days after the battle. My thanks to Dr. Kevin Crisman for bringing this to omission to my attention. Dr. Crisman, the noted nautical archaeologist from Texas A&M University, has also provided the following information regarding Musician James M. Hale:

"U.S. Army Musician James M. Hale (presumably buried on Crab Island) had his wife Abigail Woodruff Hale with him aboard EAGLE when he was killed. Their two infant children had recently died, and she apparently left home and joined him at Plattsburgh in 1814; when he was sent aboard the EAGLE shortly before the battle to serve on one of the gun crews, she went with him, and ended up carrying powder to the guns (like Molly Pitcher of Revolutionary War fame). According to the story I have, she found James dead on the deck while doing so. She re-married in Plattsburgh in December and lived out the rest of her life in western Pennsylvania. One wonders whether she was able to arrange any sort of special burial for James, or if he was just laid in the ground with the rest of them."

Click here to go back.   Click here to go back to the introduction.

Visiting Crab Island...
Crab Island is publicly owned land- the property of the people of New York. It is also a very special, unique place that merits respect and consideration. Keep in mind the island is covered with Poison Ivy. It is also the home of protected fauna and flora. Look, but do not touch. Metal detectors and digging are strictly prohibited on the island.

There are many people who have contributed to the Secrets of Crab Island project. I am deeply grateful to all of them. This piece has been in the works for years. Among those to whom I owe a debt of appreciation are my wife Lynn; for her unending support, suggestions and proofreading, Roger Harwood, Greg Furness, John Tomkins III, Jim Bailey, and Addie Shields.

On November 11, 2002, Crab Island was featured in a WPTZ/Lake Champlain Basin Program Champlain 2000 story.

*America's Historic Lakes is a favorite of educators around the world. You can feel confident that the material
on this site is accurate, well-researched, properly cited and presented.

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