Jane McCrea

Jane McCrea, the daughter of the Rev. James McCrea, was born in 1751. Jane had eight brothers and sisters: John, William, Samuel, Stephen, Philip, Catherine, Creighton, James and Robert.

In 1777 Jane was living with her brother, Colonel John McCrea, at Fort Edward. Her fiancée, Lieutenant David Jones, was serving in General Burgoyne's army,.

On 27th July, 1777, Jane went to visit her friend Mrs. McNeil. Later that day the house was surrounded by Indians allied to the British. The war party divided into two groups, each with one of the women. Mrs. McNeil was taken to the British camp where she was released. In the other group, during a dispute between two warriors, Jane was killed.

General Burgoyne did not punish the guilty men for fear of breaking the alliance with that tribe. This decision enraged local Americans and many men now joined in the struggle against the British. It was later claimed that the death of Jane McCrea greatly aided the rebel cause and contributed to the defeat of Burgoyne's army at Saratoga.

The incident continued to be used as propaganda against the English and the story was immortalized by John Vanderlyn's painting, The Death of Jane McCrea, in 1804.

The Death of Jane McCrea by John Vanderlyn (1804)
The Death of Jane McCrea by John Vanderlyn (1804)