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Andrew Ostrander

Andrew Ostrander, at the age of 20, joined Joseph Brant’s Volunteers, a fighting unit in the Indian Department on the British side, at a time and place when Walter Butler’s Regiment was equally accessible and, for several reasons, a more popular enlistment choice. We have his own testimony that he was a “pilot”, a woodsman who was intimately familiar with the upper Susquahanna River trails and markers between Albany on the Hudson, his former home, and Niagara, a route that ran through 200 miles of Indian Country.

It is certainly ironic, then, that on a day that goes down in American history as a day of infamy, Nov 11, 1778, the day of the Cherry Valley massacre, we find Ostrander captured by the Massachusetts 7th, and securely locked up in jail in the inner part of the well-built fort that existed in that place, while his friends and compatriots rampaged the surrounding village, taking lives and scalps.

As a prisoner, it would have been the worst of places to be found in the days that followed that raid, but somehow, Ostrander’s life was spared, and very early after the War was over we find his name on a provisioning list at Queenston with a wife and infant child. Within a couple years his father and brothers had joined them and ultimately this group became the Dutch ancestors of the hundreds of Ostrander descendants currently living here in Southern Ontario.

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