General Court Martial of Simon Mabee
The following court martial was kindly donated for our use by Steve Mabie.
Proceedings of a General Court Martial held by order of the Honourable Brigadier General McDougall, April 11th 1777.
Col. PHILLIP VAN CORTLANDT, President.
Simon MABEE was brought before the Court and Charged with being Employed by the Enemy as a Spy & for Enlisting men into their Service.
The Prisoner on his Arraignment Plead Not Guilty.
Abraham Van Wert being sworn deposeth that he had the Command of a Scout about the Ist April that he went to the House of one John HUNT near the White Plains, that suspecting some Tories were there they surrounded the House & the Evidence went in with three Men to search, that they found a Man hid betwene a Feather & a Straw Bed.
Evidence does not know the man but thinks his name was Fredick PHILLIPSE, that they searched him & found about some Oranges, Tea & some Buckles.
They then searched farther & in a back room found the Prisoner, brought him out searched him & found about him a silver Dollar and some Paper money.
The Evidence then sent Alex. Fagen and another man to search the room where they found the Prisoner, that Fagen brought out Fifteen Dollars in Silver, a Warrent & Certificate.
The Warrant & Certificate being produced in Court are in the following words Viz.:
Whereas his Excellancy Sir William HOWE Commander in Chief &c. &c. &c. has issued orders to Augment his Corps of Guides and Axmen under the Command of Major HOLLAND Surveyor General of the Northern District of North America.
The Evidence cannot possitively swear that the Warrent now produced in Court is the same but is certain it was nearly in the same words the Certificate produced the Evidence thinks it is the same that Fagen brought out -
the Evidence thinks the Prisoner appeared to be frightened when he was taken -
the Evidence knows HUNT at whose house the Prisoner was taken & says he bore the Character of a Tory.
Alex. Fagen being sworn says that he was ordered to go into the House to search that he found the Prisoner in a back room where they put their Meat, that he brought him out and gave him in Custody of the Guard,
that he was ordered back to search the room which he did & found some hard money hid under a soap barrel and in a barrel betwene two pieces of Pork he found some Papers he did not read them but gave them to Abraham Van Wert who Commanded the Party.
That Ab. Van Wert having Dropped some of the Money the Prisoner told him there was Fifteen Dollars & two Shillings.
The Evidence says he knew the Prisoner before & his name is Simon MABEE.
The Prisoner asking the Evidence if the money was not counted in his the Prisoners presence, the Evidence says it was.
The Prisoner in his Defence absolutely denies knowing anything of the Papers that were found & says that there is a Simon MABEE who lived in Dutchess County and has been gone from home some time,
that himself is a Labouring Man, that he worked last summer on Long Island, that he had money due him and went there for it & returned two or three days before he was taken and was then on his way to his Fathers near Croton Bridge,
that he has never taken up arms against the Country, that the reason of his hiding in the back room was because he was afraid of being taken up for having been on Long Island.
Mary PUTNAM being sworn says she is Sister to the Prisoner that she has a Nephew named Simon MABEE who has been missing near a year, she does not know where he is, that the Prisoner has no wife or family.
The Court having Considered the Evidence for and against the Prisoner, are of opinion That the Prisoner is Guilty of being Employed by the Enemy for the purpose of Inlisting Men into their Service & Consequently of being a Spy and therefore do sentence him to be hanged by the Neck untill he is Dead.
PHILLIP CORTLANDT, Pres
HEAD QUARTERS, PEEKSKILL, April 14th 1777.
GENTLEMEN: I have the honor to inclose you the sentence of a General Court Martial held at this Post on Simon MABEE by virtue of your late Resolution.
The Prisoner confessed to me his having taken protection and that he knew the printed certificate from the Mayor copied in the proceedings.
But denied his having seen the Warrant before I produced it to him and yet does not admit the former on his Trial.
When he was brought before me he had great appearance of Guilt in his countenance, which is a faithful Index to the Heart.
He is a man of some cunning from his deportment and I have no doubt in my own mind of his being the man mentioned in the Warrant.
This if handed to you by Express, whatever your determanation may be I wish to be favoured with it as soon as possible. He will wait a day for it.
There are several small Houses in the Mountains which serve as rendevous and hiding places for the recruits & spies of the Enemy.
The Safety of the Community in my opinion requires the Families to be removed and the Houses to be destroyed.
The Barn of the Chairman of the Sub Committee for this Quarter was set on fire at night three days ago, from the time and circumstances of it I am perswaded it was done by some Enemy to the Country.
I wish to be possessed, of all the resolutions which inflict Death on the subjects of this State passed, by its Representatives. I have the Honor to be Gentlemen,
Your humble Servant,
Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, N.Y., Calendar of Historical Manuscripts Relating to the War of the Revolution, Vol. II, 1868.
Click here for ---> More On-Line Courts Martial