Articles from the Albany Times Union on the celebration of Timothy Murphy's accomplishments and the Wreath laying at the monument, October 6, 2002

Hero at Battles of Saratoga to be honored -
Saratoga Springs Hibernians plan ceremony for Timothy Murphy

By KATHLEEN DOOLEY, Staff writer
First published: Thursday, October 3, 2002

The Commodore John Barry Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians will hold a wreath-laying ceremony to honor American Irish-born patriot Timothy Murphy at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Saratoga National Historical Park.

The ceremony will honor Murphy, who fought in the Battles of Saratoga as a member of Morgan's Riflemen.

Murphy was the American Revolutionary War soldier who killed British Gen. Simon Fraser during the second battle of Saratoga on the orders of Colonel Daniel Morgan. During the battle on Oct. 7, 1777 in an area that is now called Barber Wheatfield, Murphy shot and mortally wounded Fraser.

Murphy climbed a tree and using a Swiss-made double-barreled rifle shot at Fraser. The first shot hit his ear. The second hit his epaulette and the third mortally wounded him. The general was taken to nearby Taylor, farm where he died the next day. Murphy is also attributed with killing Gen. John Burgoyne's aide-de-camp during the same battle.

"When he shot Gen. Fraser, it threw the British into total chaos and they retreated, " said Chris Millis, president of the Saratoga Springs Hibernians chapter.

A monument in Murphy's honor was erected by the Ancient Order of Hibernians Saratoga Springs Division in 1907 that remains today. The seven-foot high carved stone piece on the park's tour road contains a plaque that includes a short account of Murphy's contribution to the war effort.

At the event on Sunday, American and Irish national anthems will be sung. An honor guard in colonial dress will present the colors. A bagpiper will play "Amazing Grace" and Millis will lay a wreath at the foot of Murphy's Memorial and talk on Murphy's achievements on the field of battle. Several local dignitaries will attend along with Murphy family descendants.

For directions to the Murphy Memorial, call the Saratoga Battlefield at 664-9821. The Hibernians Web site is found at

Irish immigrant honored as hero -
Stillwater Militiaman killed British general in American Revolution

By RICK KARLIN, Staff writer First published: Monday, October 7, 2002

The Irish, one of many ethnic groups to participate in the American Revolution, were recognized Sunday for playing a seminal role at the Battles of Saratoga.

About two dozen Hibernian history buffs honored Timothy Murphy, an Irish-immigrant militiaman, who fired the shot that killed one of the British army's key leaders.

"It was on this ground that a nation was born," Christopher Millis, president of the Saratoga Springs Ancient Order of Hibernians, said at Saratoga National Historical Park during a brief ceremony commemorating Murphy, who is credited with killing Simon Fraser, the brigadier general who fought under Gen. John Burgoyne.

Murphy, who belonged to Daniel Morgan's Riflemen, "took aim with his double barreled rifle," and mortally wounded Fraser, who died the next day, said Millis. Murphy also killed Burgoyne's aide-de-camp Francis Clarke.

It was part of a strategy targeting top British officers in order to create a leadership vacuum. Sunday's ceremony was held at a monument honoring Murphy.

"The death of these eminent officers threw the British ranks into utter chaos," said Millis.

Irish fighters played a prominent role in the Revolution, as many had come to North America largely to escape British rule in their homeland, Millis noted.

Shooting Fraser didn't mark the end of Murphy's exploits. In 1779, while serving with Peter Vrooman's Albany County militia, he and another fighter were captured by hostile Indians. The pair made a dramatic nighttime escape. After that, Murphy was credited with helping to drive Sir John Johnson back to Canada.

After the war, Murphy became a successful farmer near Middleburgh in Schoharie County. He died at age 67 of throat cancer.

In addition to Murphy, Simon Fraser is also commemorated at the park.

As he was dying the next day, Fraser said, "Oh fatal ambition," which may have been a remark on the British campaign at Saratoga.

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