13.  The Capture of Remember Baker

 

 

John Munro, a justice of the peace under the New York government, has been mentioned as an active and determined partisan of that government.  To obtain the reward offered by the governor of New York, and to enjoy the honor that would attend the success of such an undertaking, he resolved to capture and convey to Albany one of the most prominent of the New Hampshire GrantsŐ "rioters." 

Accordingly, Munro assembled ten or twelve of his friends and dependents, principally Scotchmen, and before daylight on the morning of March 22, 1772, a Sunday, they surrounded the house of Remember Baker in Arlington, intending to arrest him.  Baker was aroused from sleep by the breaking open of his door and the entry into his house of several men armed with broadswords, cutlasses, and pistols.  He was severely wounded by a cut across the head and also by a cut on the arm with a sword.  His wife also was barbarously wounded by a sword cut across the head and neck, and one of his boys about 12 years old was also wounded on the arm. 

Baker, overpowered by numbers, was bound, thrown into a sleigh, and driven off with great speed for Albany.  An express was immediately sent to Bennington, with tidings of Baker's arrest.  Instantly on receiving the news, ten men mounted their horses to intercept the banditti before their arrival at Albany.  In this they happily succeeded.  They came upon Munro and his party just before they reached the Hudson River.  On the first appearance of their pursuers, the captors abandoned their prisoner and fled.  Captain Baker, nearly exhausted by the loss of blood, was taken care of, his wounds dressed and then carried home to his family — to their no small joy, as well as that of the whole body of settlers.

Munro, in the account he gave of this transaction to the governor of New York, represents the conflict at Baker's house as very desperate, and says he has "reason to be thankful to Divine Providence" for the preservation of his own life and those of the whole party.    

In regard to the recapture of Baker by his friends, Munro says he should have succeeded in carrying Baker to Albany if he could have had the assistance of ten men who would have taken arms and obeyed his orders, but that "they all run into the woods when they ought to have resisted."

The attack upon Captain Baker, as might have been expected, produced strong feelings of indignation among the settlers, feelings intensified by a subsequent attempt of Munro to arrest Captain Seth Warner, another of their active and most respected leaders. 

Warner with a friend was riding on horseback in the vicinity of Munro's residence when he was met by Munro in company with several of his dependents.  A conversation ensued in the midst of which Munro suddenly seized Warner's horse by the bridle and commanded the bystanders to aid in arresting him.  Warner, after warning him at his peril to desist, struck him over the head with his cutlass and felled him to the ground.  The spectators showed no disposition to interfere, and Warner, leaving the New York magistrate in the care of his friends, rode off. 

Fortunately, Munro received no permanent injury.  But he wrote to the governor of New York, giving a most melancholy account of the state of affairs in his vicinity, among other things stating that the rioters by their number and boldness "strike terror into the whole country — that he is afraid of the consequences every moment, as he cannot find any justice or one officer that will speak or act against them, that he is almost worn out with watching, and that nothing saves his life and property but the figure he makes about his house with arms, &c."

Next article

Return to Hiland Hall main page