Fox Valley Chapter Patriot Profile
Biography of Patriot Henry Misner
Henry Misner was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on September 22, 1759, the son of Conrad Misner. In 1777 at the age of 17 he was residing with his father in Buffalo Valley, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
On April 1, 1777 Henry Misner volunteered at Buffalo Valley for service in Captain Joseph Green’s militia company for a period of nine months. This militia company was then quartered at Buffalo Valley.
On the same day as Henry’s enlistment Captain Green received orders that he was to secure men for employment as "Indian Spys" to go out on reconnaissance and monitor the movement of the Indians who were allied with the British. Henry Misner volunteered for this duty, and spent his nine month term scouting in the area in and around the mountains of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. In November of 1777 Henry returned to Buffalo Valley, and shortly after was dismissed, and he returned to the home of his father.
In the spring of 1778, when the Indians were again becoming troublesome, the inhabitants of the area were once again compelled to gather in the local area forts for their security. Captain Green’s company was once again called up for service for the protection of the vicinity.
On March 1, 1778, Henry Misner and three of his former comrades, George Books, Samuel Cox and John Aignen (?) volunteered for a six month enlistment as Indian Spys. During this six month period on at least two occasions they discovered parties of Indians making their way toward the settlements. On each occasion they were able to notify the settlements of the Indian’s approach in time to be prepared. Undoubtedly, these settlements, and their inhabitants, were saved by the vigilance of Henry Misner and his fellow scouts. Henry and his fellow scouts continued in this capacity until December when the snow had “fell to some depth.” Having been notified that the Indians had left the area, Captain Green’s company was again dismissed, and the men returned to their respective homes.
On April 2, 1779 in adjacent Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Henry Misner enlisted for a nine month period under Captain Dougherty as a boatman on the Susquehanna River, and immediately was sent to Harris Ferry (now Harrisburg) Pennsylvania, where the boats were loaded with flour and other provisions for the army of General Sullivan, and he proceeded up the river with the other boats to Wyoming, Pennsylvania where General Sullivan was engaged in an Indian Expedition. From here the boats journeyed up to the Tioga River with the army to near the town of Chemung. It was near here that the army clashed with the Iroquois Indians in the Battle of Chemung (also called the Battle of Newtown), and successfully routed them.
Here the Continental Army engaged in battle with the British regulars, Loyalist rangers and 1,000 Iroquois Indian warriors. The battle of Chemung/Newtown was the decisive clash in one of the largest offensive campaigns of the American Revolution.
George Washington had dispatched General John Sullivan with an army from Eston, Pennsylvania and General James Clinton with an army gathered at Canajoharie in the Mohawk Valley, in what was to become known as the Sullivan - Clinton Campaign. This expedition has been commonly regarded as punishment to some tribes among the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy who had sided with the British in the war and had attacked frontier settlements. It has also been interpreted as a means of cutting off supplies of corn, dried vegetables and fruits going to the Indians and the British.
On August 22, 1779, the two armies joined Forces at Tioga Point (Athens, PA) and 3,200 troops marched northwest along the Chemung River. On August 29, scouts discovered fortifications near the Iroquois village of Newtown at the base of the hill. There were 15 British regulars, 250 Loyalist Rangers and the much larger force of Indians. General Sullivan met with his generals and planned their attack. They bombarded the fortified line of their enemy with artillery supported by a troop assault. Soldiers led by Generals Clinton and Poor attacked the British position from the north east. The forces under the Loyalist Colonel John Butler and the Iroquois war chief Joseph Brant retreated towards Newtown and a ford in the river. The Continental Army pursued them without result.
After the Battle of Chemung, the boats under Captain Dougherty returned to the mouth of the Tioga River. However, Henry Misner did not return with the boats. Here at Chemung he volunteered for service in the militia company of Captain Reddick, and returned once again to his duties as an Indian spy, and took part in the remainder of the Sullivan - Clinton campaign.
From here the Sullivan - Clinton campaign completed a long sweep through the Finger Lakes region, destroying about 40 Indian villages, 160,000 bushels of corn, and a vast quantity of vegetables and fruit raised by the Indians for their winter food supply. The Iroquois nations who had sided with the British were mostly driven west to Niagara and north to Canada. There they spent a very hard winter without their food stores, under the protection of British forts.
Henry Misner remained with Captain Reddick’s company until they returned to Wyoming, Pennsylvania about the middle of December of 1779. Here Henry was given his discharge from Major John Morrison, who was in command of the boatmen. His discharge was also signed by Captain Dougherty. Once again Henry Misner returned to his home in Northumberland County.
Henry remained in Northumberland County until May 1, 1781 when he and his former companions once again volunteered as Indian Spys. Henry signed up for three months, while his companions signed up for six. During this period they were continually moving about the county on the western frontier on the west side of the west branch of the Susquehanna River between the mountains and the settlements and forts so no surprise attack could take place. Again, Henry and his comrades were frequently able to provide timely notice to the area’s inhabitants of impending trouble. They were also employed in watching the movements of the British and Indian forces in the area of Genesee County, New York.
While in Genesee County, New York while out scouting there was an occasion where the Indians got between them and their army for five days, during which time the company of 24 men had almost no food. However, by taking a circuitous route around the enemy they were able to rejoin the army.
Henry continued in this service until about August 1, 1781 when he was again discharged.
After his service, Henry returned to Buffalo Valley, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Here he remained until 1791, when he relocated to Mason County in Kentucky, where he lived for five or six years. From here he moved to Ohio and remained there until 1821. In 1821 Henry moved to Rush County, Indiana.
Henry Misner relocated to Illinois in the fall of 1833. He is listed in the 1840 Federal Census as living in LaSalle County (now Kendall County) and being 81 years old.
On August 31, 1843 Henry Misner was selected as one of the three trustees of the Newark and Milford [Millington] Burying Ground [or Cemetery Association] in a public meeting. The chapel was built just inside the main gate in 1888. The cemetery is one of the oldest, largest, and loveliest in Kendall County with almost 4,000 burials. Many of the first settlers of Kendall County are buried there.
Henry Misner died on September 25, 1848 at the age of 89 years and 3 days. He is buried in the Millington-Newark Cemetery. His wife Barbara (Stacker) is resting beside him.
In June 1896 at a DAR meeting in Ottawa, the local chapter was made aware of Henry Misner’s resting place and revolutionary war service. Plans were immediately set in motion to honor the service of Henry Misner.
On June 14, 1897 a new stone was dedicated at Henry Misner’s grave. Trainloads of people came to the small town of Millington and a procession was formed consisting of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Society of the War of 1812, the Mexican War Association, the Loyal Legion, the Grand Army of the Republic, the Woman’s Relief Corps, the Sons of Liberty, and many others made their way to the cemetery. The orator was Reverend William Horace Day of Aurora. There was also a quartet of singers, themselves descendants of revolutionary veterans, who sang "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean."
At the close of the ceremony the quartet then sang “My County Tis of Thee” in which the entire audience participated. This was followed by three volleys of musket fire over the grave, followed by a G.A.R. bugler blowing taps.
It was at a banquet following the ceremony when the 99 descendants of Henry Misner who were in attendance formed the Misner Family Association.
Photos from the Millington-Newark Cemetery
Henry Misner's grave is located in the center of the cemetery.
Drive on the center drive just to the right of the chapel near the road by the main gate. Mid-way to the top of the hill
on the left adjacent to the road are the graves of Henry and his wife Barbara. To the right of the road, are the
graves of his grandson and wife around the salmon-colored memorial column of the Misner family.