Ogdensburg in St. Lawrence County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Sheriff Joseph York’s Stand
Sheriff Joseph York's Stand
After the British captured Captain Giles Kellogg's artillery position, only St. Lawrence County Sheriff Joseph York stood between the British forces and their capture of Ogdensburgh.
Unfortunately, the Americans had expected the main attack to come from the west, over the Oswegatchie River bridge at the end of Ford Street.
"Great was their surprise when they turned and discovered 500 soldiers advancing” upon them, one survivor of the attack later wrote. Both York and Kellogg had to spend precious time turning their cannon around to face the enemy marching in formation up the street toward them. The British forces fired volleys of musket at them. wounding and killing some of the Ogdensburg militia and Kellogg's Artillery Company manning the cannon.
When Kellogg's men withdrew, Sheriff York and his men stayed on to face McDonnell's onslaught alone. York and his men occupied an artillery position located near the corner of State Street and Ford Street. They manned a brass six pounder, mounted on a wheeled carriage. York fired at the advancing British, as the invaders
Two of York's men, Joseph Kneeland and a Mr. Hyde fell mortally wounded. The rest of York's militia, seeing the cause was lost, turned and fled for their lives before the withering volleys from the British muskets.
York remained alone.
A survivor of the attack wrote that he (York) “disdaining to leave his post at the moment of danger, resolved to face the enemy (a column of 500 soldiers advancing up both State and Ford) alone. While he was engaged in charging the guns, the soldiers approached with guns leveled, ready for the order to fire."
Then the captain (of the British force) raised his hand and turning to his company, said: "there stands too brave a man to shoot.” York was taken prisoner. The. British gathered the cannon they found in the village, bringing them to the east bank of the Oswegatchie River, near what's now the U.S. Customs building where they were used to lay seige to Forsyth's main force across the Oswegatchie at the old French Fort.
Picture Caption: The British Captain, seeing Sheriff Joseph York standing alone, loading his cannon, in the face of hundreds of British fire soldiers, raised his hand. Turning to his company, he said, '"there stands too brave a man to shoot."
Donated By St. Lawrence National Bank
James E. Reagen, Chairman
Ken Snyder • Persis Boyesen • Francis Fitzgerald • Betty Steele • Rose Demers • Douglas McDonald • Manley Nipe • Michael Legacy
Erected by Downtown Battlefield Committee.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War of 1812.
Location. 44° 41.978′ N, 75° 29.687′ W. Marker is in Ogdensburg, New York, in St. Lawrence County. Marker is at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and State Street, on the left when traveling south on Riverside Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ogdensburg NY 13669, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Attack on the Village (here, next to this marker); Ogdensburgh And The War (within shouting distance of this marker); What Happened To The Patriots (within shouting distance of this marker); Benjamin Forsyth: The Daring Commando (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); How Ogdensburgh Captured Brockville (about 400 feet away); Attack on the Fort (about 400 feet away); North Country Sailors' Memorial (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ogdensburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 15, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 167 times since then and 53 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 15, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.