Two very different stories of the same event.
My 4th-great-granduncle Christopher Thomas Servos, born June 17th 1721 in Neu Weid, Germany of Serbian descent. He was killed by Continental soldiers of the American Revolution in June of 1778 at his home near Lutheranville, New York.
During the particularly vicious partisan warfare in Western New York, members of this family (the name then known both as “Servos” and “Service”) served on both sides during the American Revolution.
Jack Peltier, a fellow family researcher, provided me with two accounts of the death of Christopher from both the Loyalist and Patriot view.
Part I: The account of his death from the Loyalist point of view.
“Thomas Servos was in June 1778 living quietly at home, attending to his farms and mills, when the expedition sent to arrest him entered the valley and suddenly surrounded his house. It was night but the family was still up. The four sons of Thomas Servos were all away at the time. His wife, a worthy lady of Dutch family, with son Daniel’s wife and his grand-daughter Magdalene, three years old, with the servants white and black were all that were in the house.”
“The cavalry rode up suddenly to the door and the house was surrounded before any alarm was given. Their leader called for Thomas Servos, who went out to speak to him. Seeing the state of affairs and guessing at once their business, he went back into the house to pacify his family and bade them be prepared to face quietly with courage whatever fate was before them.”
“The officers, Long, Murphy and Ellerson with several of their men dismounted and went into the house, and with much irritating language proceeded rudely to arrest Servos and ordered him to accompany them as their prisoner to Albany.”
“He refused and when Murphy laid hands on him he broke away and took up an axe that lay near and lifted it to defend himself, when he was instantly shot by the rifle of Ellerson and fell dead upon hearthstone.”
“The women of the house were not injured but the house was ram sacked and plundered of its money and valuables of every kind etc.”
“The two young sons of Thomas Servos returned home from the woods. Seeing the house surrounded by rebel troops and not knowing what had happened they watched on the edge of the forest until the troops departed and they ran in and found the father killed and their mother and the rest of the family in terrible distress….the boys placed their mother and the wife and child of Daniel with relations, who gladly received them, and then took to the woods and made their way to Niagara in order to join the Regiment of Butlers Rangers in which their brother Daniel served.”
[Source: The Servos Family by William Kirby, provided by Jack W. Peltier]
Christopher Thomas Servos is of the family of my paternal great-grandmother Jane Elizabeth Serviss, wife of Silas Boardman.
Tomorrow: The account of his death from the Continental Soldier’s point of view.