Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 6, 1975 · Page 65
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July 6, 1975

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 65

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Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 6, 1975
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Page 65
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Page 65 article text (OCR)

Attractions at the Game Farm The attraction of the French Creek Game Farm, to newspaper photographers and the general public, never wanes. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the Upshur County facility each year. During a recent visit by photographer Ferrell Friend, he was "captured" by three wolf pups, the first to be born at the game farm. Two of the pups had been placed in a separate cage, but one was still with its mother and was making the most of it, as the adjacent picture shows. Game farm superintendent Bill Vanscoy said the adult wolves were obtained from the Washington, D.C., zoo about three years ago. The big bobcat at the far right wasn't in a posing mood, our photographer found out, but the intrepid photographer took its picture anyway. As a matter of fact, bobcats never seem in a good mood. At bottom, an albino gray squirrel seems to be posing for the cameraman, while a pesky gray squirrel moves in and tries to steal the show. Most people like to have their picture taken, so why not animals too? The game farm is located on W.Va. 4 at French Creek near Buckhannon, and is operated by the Department of Natural Resources. The Rifleman By John Schoolf ield Daniel Morgan's riflemen, famous for their deadly aim, were the terror of the British during the American Revolution and the most feared of those sharpshooters in buckskin was Timothy Murphy, whose feats with the long rifle be-" came legendary in his lifetime. Strangely enough, however, it wasn't his uncanny marksmanship but a bullheaded determination not to be captured that accounted for what local historians call "Timothy Murphy's finest hour." Born in Minisink, N.J., in 1751, Murphy grew up on the Pennsylvania frontier. He joined a Northumberland County rifle company in 1775 and within a few months the Murphy legend began at the Boston siege. One tale goes that British seamen were placing buoys about a half-mile off shore in Boston Harbor when, one by one, a lone rifle.-*' man picked them off. The lone rifleman was Timothy Murphy. Murphy crossed the icy Delaware with Washington and was with Morgan at the Battle of Saratoga. There, firing from a tree top at a distance of 300 yards, he fatally shot Gen. Simon Fraser, a leading British officer, and turned the tide of battle in favor of the Americans. In 1780, Murphy joined militia forces defending New York's Scho- -*·' harie Valley, the scene of his "finest hour." The valley was a " prime target of British raids, be- cause of the thousands of bushels of wheat raised in its fertile fields for the Continental Army. A force of 500 British and Tory troops and a like number of Indians invaded the valley that fall and advanced on Middle Fort, headquarters for defense of the valley. The settlers had received warning of the approach of the enemy and had gathered in the fort with their women and children. The garrison consisted of 150 regulars and 100 militiamen, including Timothy Murphy, all under command of Maj. Melancthon Woolsey. The attack began on the morning of October 17 with cannon shot. This was followed by intense musket fire. By mid-morning all was gloom within the fort. The ammunition was nearly exhausted and the garrison had lost confidence in Major Woolsey, who had been talking of surrender since the battle began. The enemy, preparing for an all- out assault on the fort, decided first to offer terms and sent two soldiers forward with a white flag of truce. Murphy, believing that surrender would mean torture and death of those within the fort, fired upon the flag and sent the soldiers scurrying back to their commander. Woolsey ordered the arrest of Murphy for firing on the flag of truce, but no one would move against him. The flag bearers ap- proached a second time and again were driven back by a well-placed shot from Murphy. Woolsey ordered a flag of surrender raised over the fort but the determined Murphy threatened to shoot anyone who tried. A third time the enemy sent forward a white flag. This time Woolsey pointed his pistol at Murphy and threatened to shoot him if he fired on the flag bearers. "I will die before they shall have me a prisoner," Murphy said to. Woolsey and placed a shot so close to the approaching British that they dropped their flag in terror and fled : for cover. The enemy, now convinced that the fort could not be taken, with? drew from the valley. Timothy Murphy and his rifle had saved the day. = : . . ' . , · ' Murphy married a Schoharie County girl and after the war became a successful farmer and politician in the valley. He died in 1818 at.the age of 67. His snowshoes, watch and powder horn are in the Schoharie County Historical Society Museum in the village of Schoharie. In a cemetery on a hillside overlooking the town of Middleburg, Timothy Murphy is buried. Over the tomb is a full-length bronze statue of Murphy clad in buckskin, long rifle in hand. (Copyright 1975 by John Schoolfield) My 6,7975. $Orid$''(Meil£M

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