Dennis Clapsaddle was born at Mohawk, NY in 1739 (although one source says Germany in 1735/6). His sister Catherine Clapsaddle is a 5th GGM. Clapsaddle lived in Tyron County, Mohawk Valley, New York, when the call of the revolution came. The mostly German and English settlers of upstate New York divided up into Loyalists (to the English crown) and Colonists. Clapsaddle was appointed as a Major in the colonial militia, answering to General Nicholas Herkimer.
In 1777, Herkimer, with a force of 800 men, and a party of Oneida Indians attempted a relief of Fort Stanwix, a Patriot fort in New York. Herkimer met British light infantry, Hessians (Hanau Jager) and a detachment of Sir John Johnson King's Royal Regimen; a contingent of Mohawk Indians accompanied the British force along with Indian Department Rangers.
Herkimer was ambushed six miles from Fort Stanwix, near Oriskany New York. The Patriots lost 450 casualties while the Loyalists and Mohawks lost 150. Herkimer was wounded, upon which he refused to be carried off the field of battle (painting right). General Herkimer died from his wounds, as did Dennis Clapsaddle; The Tories took the field that day. However, the victory was blunted when a Patriot party from Fort Stanwix counter-attacked later.
The action at Oriskany was part of the broad attack by British General -- Gentleman Johnny -- John Burgoyne, sweeping down the Hudson from Canada. General Herkimer was the head of (now defunct) Tyron County's Committee of Safety. His band of poorly trained farmer militia faced Hessian and highly trained British regulars.
This relatively obscure battle was actually one of the more bloody battles of the Revolutionary War. Tyron County was renamed Herkimer County in honor of the General who died there. The action was memorialized by Walter D. Edmands in "Drums Along the Hudson", which was made into a movie staring Henry Fonda in 1939. In honor of the patriots. the aircraft carrier the USS Oriskany was launched in 1945.
Clapsaddle's widowed wife (Barbara Wentz)saved the family when the invading Tories/Mohawk burned her house to the ground; they were described as destitute without shelter, food, and clothing. However she endured.