Pakatakan was also known as Pepacton. I am including below an excerpt from the History of Delaware County by Jay Gould—1856.
This manuscript can be found at---http://www.rootsweb.com/~nydelawa/books/gould3.htmlhttp://www.rootsweb.com/~nydelawa/books/gould3.html.
Mr. Gould’s sources recount life at the Dutch Colony of Pakatakin before and during the Revolutionary War. His sources were the children of the original settlers of the colony, including Christian Yaple who arrived at the settlement with his father, Phillip Yaple from Pennsylvania. The Yaple’s were among the Whigs (Patriots) of the colony and faced death at the hands of the hostile Indians allied with the British. According to Gould a friendly Indian named Tunis warned Phillip Yaple of an impending massacre and urged him to flee. Phillip spread the warning to the other Whigs in the community and they left that day. Later that same day the Indians attacked and burned the settlement. Phillip returned sometime laterto recover whatever he could and was taken prisoner by the Tories and later released.
My records show the Yaple family returning to Upper Milford Twp, Northampton County, Pennsylvania and eventually going to Virginia during the Revolution. Some members of the family returned to Pakatakin after the war.
by Jay Gould - 1856
I am principally indebted for the facts here presented, to Frederick Kittle, who came into the settlement with the first emigrants, by his stepfather, Mr. Hendricks. He spent nearly his whole life in this neighborhood, and died some years since at a very advanced age. He was a boy when the little colony was founded, but old enough to remember many of the incidents attendant upon that event. Also, to Christian Yaple who at the age of about two years emigrated with his father from Pennsylvania, and settled in Middletown in 1774. Also, to James Dumond, grandson of Peter Dumond, another early settler, who was born about the close of the Revolution, and who has resided in Middletown ever since. The latter person is, perhaps, as well acquainted with the traditional history of the first settlements, as any person at present living, - possessing naturally an inquiring mind and a retentive memory, and having been brought up in one of the original families, most of the leading incidents have come within the scope of his research and observation.
Perhaps no settlement in Delaware County dates anterior to that in Middletown. In the latter part of the year 1762, or early in the spring of 1763, a party was formed in Hurley, Ulster County for the purpose of exploring the Delaware valley, and if considered expedient, of making arrangements for emigrating thither with their families. Among these adventurers were Hermanus Dumond, his brother Peter Dumond, Johannes Van Waggoner, and a man by the name of Hendricks; each of whom, after having made the necessary explorations, purchased a farm, of the patentee, at a place called by the Indians, Pakatakan, and as before stated, near where the present village of Margaretville is located. These four pioneer families, constituted the first permanent colony on the East Branch, but at the period of their arrival in the valley, there still remained abundant evidence of their having been preceded by others, supposed to have been French Canadians, or half-breeds, who had squatted upon these flats previous to, or during the French war, for the purpose of traffic with the aborigines, but who were compelled to retire from considerations of personal safety, during the troubled times that followed. Mr. Kittle has frequently asserted that his step-father Hendricks, purchased his possession of one of these squatters, and Mrs. Yaples well recollects from the narration's of her mother, that agricultural implements of various kinds, were found by her parents on their arrival, satisfying them that they had been preceded by others of European extraction.
The land titles of the first settlers, were warranty deeds granted by Mr. Livingston to the purchaser, with a provision allowing the latter to cut wood or quarry stone, upon any part of the patent, for farm and family uses. The date of these deeds is April 6, 1763.
The Indian village of Pakatakan, was a little above the site of the present village of Margaretville, as before stated, and near the junction of the Bush-kill with the East Branch. Mr. Kittle designated it as a Tuscorora village, and informed me that the Indian etymology of the name was, "The place where the streams come together," or "The meeting of the waters," a very appropriate cognomen, as three very considerable streams intersect in that neighborhood, besides three or four smaller ones.
The early settlers were principally Dutch, and both wrote and spoke that language. They lived, so far as I have been able to learn, upon friendly terms with the Indians, up to the dark period of the Revolutionary war. They suffered all the privations incident to a new and distant settlement, and were for a long period obliged to do their milling, trading, etc. at Esopus, forty-five miles distant, and the greater part of the distance being through an unbroken wilderness.3 For a period of more than ten years from the first settlement, and until the breaking out of hostilities, the little colony continued slowly to increase in the valley of the Delaware, and nearly all the alluvial lands along the main stream were occupied, and more or less improved for a distance of more then twenty miles. Several schools were also established where instruction was given in the Dutch dialect.
But few of the names of those who settled before the war has been handed down to us; among them, we find those of Hermanus and Peter Dumond, Van Waggoner, Hendricks, Kittle, Yaple, Brugher, Hinebagh, Green, Blanch, and others. Among the friendly Indians were Tunis and Canope, (the sad fate of the latter of whom is narrated in a future chapter.)
The disputes and strife which preceded the war of the Revolution, took early and deep root among the inhabitants of Pakatakan, attributable doubtless, in a greater or lesser extent, to the influence which the presence of a savage foe, exerted upon the fears and hopes of a frontier settlement, and consequently, it does not seem strange that a large portion of the settlers should have espoused the royal cause. There were a few Whigs however, and among them were, Yaples, Peter Dumond, and Hinebaugh. Hermanus Dumond and Peter Brugher, the former of whom was killed by the Americans and the latter by the Indians, were said to occupy neutral ground.
The first open rupture, growing out of the political troubles of the times, among the settlers of Pakatakan, is said to have occurred at a schoolhouse within the precincts of the settlement, between Isaac Dumond, a son of Peter, and a boy by the name of Markle. Markle called Dumond a rebel, whereupon the latter in a fit of resentment, dealt the other a blow. A bout of fist-cuffs ensued, which finally broke up the school.
Early in the spring of 1778, or soon after the burning of Kingston, by the detachment of British troops under Gen. Vaughn, the hostile Indians, emboldened by the terror which the act produced in the minds of the border revolutionists, advanced to Colchester or Pepacton, as it was then called, where they encamped, and commenced the perpetration of a series of depredations upon the Whigs in the vicinity, stealing their cattle, goods, etc., and finally they formed a plot with the cognizance of some of the Tories, to murder or drive them out of Pakatakan.
This intended massacre was prevented by a timely notice from Tunis, a friendly Indian, who informed Yaple of the impending danger, and advised him to leave the settlement. Yaple immediately spread the alarm among the Whigs, who, after hastily collecting their cattle and such of their goods as they could conveniently carry, and after burying or otherwise concealing the remainder, took a hasty leave of the settlement. On the same day that Yaple, Peter Dumond, and Hinebaugh fled, the Indians made a concerted descent upon the settlement, and after destroying such of their effects as remained unconcealed, and reducing the buildings to ashes, sent a detachment of twenty Indian warriors under the guidance of two well known Tories in pursuit of the fugitives, who followed them as far as Shandaken, when they gave up the chase. Yaple subsequently returned after the remainder of his goods, and was taken prisoner by the Tories, among whom was Blanch. He was taken to Colchester, where he was detained in custody for several weeks, but finally allowed to return with the goods.
These outrages at Pakatakan, aroused the attention of the Americans, who sent a company of militia from Schoharie to drive the marauders from the frontiers. On the approach of the troops, the Tories fled to the older settlements of Hurley, while the Indians retired toward the Susquehanna.
No further attempts were made by the settlers to establish themselves at Pakatakan, until after the close of the war, but occasional visits were made to the place, by the settlers for the removal of their property, or the gathering in of their crops. It was on occasions like this that both Dumond and Burgher were shot. Dumond was killed on the twenty-sixth of August, 1778. He had returned with John Barrow from Hurley in order to secure a piece of grain. Having accomplished their purpose, they set out to return again to Hurley, and when about a mile from his place of residence at Pakatakan, they fell in with the Schoharie Guard, who took them prisoners. They were mounted upon a single horse, Burgher behind Dumond, to accompany the troops. Seeing a favorable opportunity to escape, they put spurs to the horse and rode off in an opposite direction. They were fired upon by the guard, and Dumond fell fatally wounded to the ground. He was conveyed to the house or the farm where Col. Dimmick now resides, where he died after suffering excruciating pain for three days. Burrow made his escape, threaded the forest, up Dry Brook, and over the mountains into Shandaken, traveling through the day and lodging in a tree by night. Such is the commonly received opinion in relation to the death of Dumond; but Mrs. Yaple, however, believes that her father and Burrow mounted one of their own horses and attempted to escape before he was taken prisoner, supposing the troops to have been Butler men, and enemies of the colonies.
In the fall of the same year, 1778, Peter Burgher returned with his son, a small boy and others, to secure his crops. He had incurred the displeasure of the Indians by piloting the troops from Pakatakan, and they sought this opportunity to ambush and destroy him. He was shot, it was said, by a Seneca Indian named Abraham, while threshing buckwheat, and his little son was taken prisoner, carried to Niagara, and sold to a British officer. He afterwards returned, and was drowned while crossing the Delaware, near where his father was killed, in the neighborhood of Mill Brook.
There is, near Margaretville, an ancient graveyard; supposed to have been used either by the early Dutch settlers before the revolution, or by the half-breeds who preceded them. It has long been abandoned, and the spot and even the graves of many of them are overgrown with trees and underwood, and little or nothing is now known of its history save its existence. Near the mouth of the Mill brook, and on the banks of the Delaware, are certain remains, which bear strong resemblance to works of art. Many suppose them to have been ancient fortifications or works of defense, but when or by whom they were erected is mere conjecture. I am informed by Mr. Dickinson, who resides near them, that in that vicinity were once found what was supposed to have been a stone battle-ax and that arrow-heads exist in great abundance in that immediate locality, which strengthens the opinion that they were of Indian occupation. They are two in number, each of a circular form, and have been surrounded by a high embankment, protected by a deep ditch.4 The one on the east side of the river has been passed over many times with the plow, but much of its original symmetry and form are still visible. The other, on the opposite side, further down the stream, is still surrounded by a deep ditch filled with growing trees and underwood, but has less regularity, and will not so soon attract the attention of the antiquarian.