Murderer’s Creek

Eventually the group of settlers from central Scotland made their way to New Jersey. They stayed for a year before leaving for New York. Patrick MacGregorie may have been acquainted with NY governor Thomas Dongan as a result of his service to Charles II.

William Sutherland followed the group to the province of New York.

https://archive.org/details/majorpatrickmacg00skee/page/n1/mode/2up

New York Governor Dongan seems to have offered a better deal to the Scottish immigrants. He may have promised land patents to the settlers in exchange for militia service, particularly the services of Major MacGregorie. The group settled near the the banks of the Hudson River at Plum Point (its original name being “Couwanham’s Hill”). This spot was also known as “Murderer’s Creek”.

Patrick MacGregorie and David Tosheoch opened a trading post at Murderer’s Creek. They became proficient in the language of the Woareneck Indians and built a successful trading business. Patrick was increasingly involved in military operations around the province of New York. These civilian militias played a role in the early struggle between European powers in the New World.

MacGregorie is mentioned in official documents of Governor Dongan

Dongan Letter to Provincial Council

On June 15th, 1685, shortly after Major MacGregorie’s arrival, Governor Dongan commissioned him Muster-Master of Militia for the City and Province of New York, and gave him these instructions for a tour of review and inspection:

You are to go through the Governm’t of New York and its Depend- encyes and in every towne the Chiefe oflicer of the militia is to draw out his company and to muster them and you are to see that all men be fitted with sword, musket and bandoliers flt for service

#3 – Major Patrick MacGregorie. – Full View | HathiTrust Digital Library | HathiTrust Digital Library

Patrick and about 30 of his men were captured by the French during a trading expedition in 1686. They spent 13 months in captivity before being released. One of the prisoners, Johannes Bleecker, was 19 years old when he returned on Sunday, October 23rd, 1687.

A few months before her husband’s imprisonment, Margaret Tosheoch had given birth to a son, Johannes or John. The baby was christened on January 7th, 1687, in the Dutch Church
at Kingston. She cared for five children, alone, in a strange land, while her husband was held prisoner in Canada.

Patrick MacGregorie continued to serve the provincial governor of New York. In March 1691, he was killed during the Leisler Rebellion. This source states that he was killed by an exploding canon. Major MacGregorie was buried with military honors.

Margaret Tosheoch‘s brother David had died a few years earlier. After her husband was killed, she was utterly alone with no clear claim to their property. The governor had never delivered on his promise of a land patent.

Additional Resources

Major Patrick MacGregorie : Skeel, Adelaide : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Kowawese Unique Area at Plum Point (scenesfromthetrail.com)