Attack on Petrie Gristmill Audio Tour by Robin Cochrane
Narrated by Anna Rutenbeck, Cooperstown Museum Studies Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta, Class of 2021.
Did you know that Little Falls is home to the site of one of the last armed conflicts in the Revolutionary War?
In June of 1782, a group of roughly 20 Little Falls residents gathered at the mill. They included millers, owners of the mill – Gresham Skinner and Frank Cox –, farmers, women and children. About 300 loyalists and Iroquois allies came upon the Petrie gristmill. They had bypassed their original target, Fort Herkimer, after mistaking a lively wedding party for a large garrison of soldiers. After setting fire to the wooden mill, they offered the occupants the option to surrender. Most of the mill occupants were quickly subdued, taken captive and brought to Canada. Daniel Petrie, a descendant of the mill builder, several militia men who were guarding the mill and some farmers died in the conflict. Skinner and Cox, hid under the water wheel and escaped. Peter Wooleaver, a local farmer, managed to escape as well and made it to Fort Dayton to sound the alarm, about 9 miles away. Soldiers from this fort would later arrive and bury the casualties.
The marker in front of you was commissioned by the Little Falls Historical Society and Museum to memorialize the site of this tragedy and keep this piece of Little Falls history alive. If you would like to learn more, check out the Writing series section of the Little Falls Historical Society and Museum website.