Charles DeGroat (1825-1904) served in the 143rd New York Volunteers, during the US Civil War.


He married Mary Jane Degraw (1836-1903).



The following was reported in the Evening Gazette of Port Jervis, New York on November 03, 1877: "A terrible tragedy occurred at Westbrookville, Sullivan County, four miles from Otisville, Thursday night, which resulted in the serious stabbing of a man named [Charles] DeGroat, the injury of his wife, and a neighbor named Levi Tarket, who interfered. The man who committed the murderous assault was John Cronk, a bark-peeler. The Middletown Argus gives the following particulars: Henry DeGraw and John Cronk are bark-peelers and wood choppers, employed by Rhodes & Ketchum in getting out bark and ties off a plot of timber land at Eden on the Neversink river, three miles from Oakland. DeGraw is the foreman of a large gang of men and keeps a boarding house in the woods, Cronk being one of his boarders. Thursday these two men came to Otisville for the purpose of laying in a supply of whisky for the men. They remained at Otisville pretty much all day, drinking frequently, and towards evening purchased a gallon jug of whiskey and started for home. Shortly after dark the men arrived at the house of Charles DeGroat located about a mile from Westbrookville and DeGraw who is an uncle of Mrs. DeGroat proposed that they should go and take supper with the family. DeGroat is also a wood chopper and bark peeler, and returned to his home shortly after the arrival of the visitors. All three of the men indulged freely in liquor while Mrs. DeGraw was engaged in preparing supper, Cronk especially becoming quite intoxicated. The men had been seated but a few minutes around the table, when Cronk made an offensive remark to Mrs. DeGroat which her husband resented. One word brought on another, until finally Crank sprang to his feet and drawing a long sharp knife from his pocket went to wards DeGroat. The wife stepped in between the two for the purpose of quieting them, but Cronk was drunk and infuriated and striking at her with his knife laid open her left arm about three inches, to the depth of the bone. She immediately stepped back and her husband and Cronk clinched. A desperate struggle for life then ensued. Cronk was armed with a knife, while DeGroat who is much the weaker man had nothing but his fists to depend on. Cronk inflicted two or three flesh wounds on DeGroat before the latter was able to seize the arm containing the weapon DeGroat struggled hard to obtain the weapon, but stumbling over a chair, both men fell to the floor. It was while roiling about here in a death embrace that Cronk gave DeGroat his severest wound. stabbing about half an inch from the left nipple, almost directly over the lung. The stab was about three inches in depth and an inch and a half long. Fortunately the knife struck a rib and glanced off, otherwise the struggle would have ended here. DeGroat seeing he was unable to cope with his stronger antagonist, and thinking he had received his death wound, shouted to DeGraw, who had till this time been a passive spectator, to "take him off - he is killing me." Just at this juncture Levi Tarket a neighbor of DeGroat's, entered the room, having been attracted to the scene by the cries of the wife, and taking in the situation fit a glance, sprang upon Cronk to drag him off. The latter immediately turned open him, striking him in the wrist with the knife, and making a painful flesh wound. Tarket then struck Cronk with his fist, and followed it up with a violent kick in his face which laid him flat on his back. Following up his advantage he jumped upon Cronk, and kicked him again and again in the face and head. until he became insensible, when he grabbed him by the collar and threw him out of the house. The room where the tragedy occurred presented a horrible appearance. On the floor were two or three pools of blood, while the table and chairs were overturned in the struggle. A messenger was immediately dispatched to Otisville for a surgeon, Dr. Theo. Writer arriving on the scene shortly after. An examination of DeGroat's body revealed five cuts, the only dangerous one being the stab near the nipple. The doctor says the man is not likely to recover, although it is possible. Mrs. DeGroat's wound was a painful one, and will prevent the use of her arm for some days. Cronk was punished quite severely, and was insensible when dragged out of doors, but, when search was made for him half an hour afterward, it was discovered that he had managed to walk off. He has not been seen since In fact the mountaineers seemed to look upon the tragedy in a very light manner, and spoke of it as they would of an everyday diversion no attempt was made to arrest Cronk, nor had any warrant been issued for his apprehension. Cronk is a single man, of about fifty years of age, and one of the roughest characters in the mountain. He served through the late war, and is now drawing a pension from the government."

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