(1740–1830)Revolutionary War officer and New York politician. Born near Jamaica, New York, Marinus Willett served as a junior officer with New York militia during the French and Indian War (1754–63). When the Revolutionary War began, he again took a commission as a militia officer, serving in the early phases of the invasion of Canada and in the battles around New York City. In late 1776 he joined the Third Continental Regiment as a lieutenant colonel. Ordered to Fort Stanwix in 1777, he performed so well against the Indians they were convinced he had supernatural powers. In 1779 he participated in Goose Van Schaick's raids on the Onondagas and John Sullivan's expedition against the Iroquois. He became colonel of the Fifth New York Regiment in 1780. After leaving the army briefly, he took over New York frontier defense, retaining his rank. He again excelled, routing a number of Tory-Indian forces. After the war, President George Washington used Willett as a special envoy to the Indians, and he secured the nation's first treaty under the new Constitution, with the Creeks in 1790. Willett also got involved in New York politics, serving as sheriff and mayor of New York City.
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.