Taking up the hard task

Posted 2/20/24

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — “I was a pretty apolitical guy, for the most part,” said Nate Henderson, founder of Sullivan’s Legacy, based in Neversink. “Then I was watching the …

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Taking up the hard task


SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — “I was a pretty apolitical guy, for the most part,” said Nate Henderson, founder of Sullivan’s Legacy, based in Neversink. “Then I was watching the craziness over the last eight years.” 

The group is both a social space and a political organization—and it follows the path laid out by its namesake.

Henderson joined the Army after 9/11. “My call to service,” he said. It’s an ethos that says that if your country needs you, you step up. You do what needs doing. Those who see a problem and want to do their part. Much as Gen. John Sullivan did, back in the 18th century.

John Sullivan’s life—

Yes, Sullivan County was named for him. And “he’s one of the quintessential icons of the Revolution,” Henderson said. 

A native of New Hampshire, Sullivan worked as an attorney until war loomed. 

Keep this in mind: the Patriots were risking everything. Their lives, their families. If the revolution failed, Patriots would die—their leaders first of all.

Sullivan joined the Patriots. He led raids to capture munitions, took over as commander in Quebec, got the troops home when the invasion failed, and fought the Hessians at Battle Pass in Brooklyn. 

Despite Sullivan’s struggles with Congress—reminiscent of problems generals have had as they deal with civilian government—“Everything [Sullivan] did was looking for the hard fight,” Henderson said. That included Sullivan’s retaliation against the Iroquois, who were allied with the British. 

Under orders from George Washington, he led the Sullivan Expedition, in response to attacks on the Wyoming Valley in PA and two New York communities. Forty Indigenous communities were destroyed, and 5,000 Iroquois became refugees.

After the expedition, Sullivan retired to New Hampshire, where he was chosen to serve in the Continental Congress, and then in state government. He held one state role after another until he died in 1795.

—and his legacy

Henderson began Sullivan’s Legacy (SL) with a vision. “We find inspiration in John Sullivan. People who are willing to do the hard work.”

That hard work includes running for office in Sullivan County.

Politically, SL is focused on local issues and developing conservative candidates to run. 

As an independent expenditure committee (IEC), it explicitly operates apart from political parties. As conservatives, Sullivan’s Legacy members are pro-America and, again, focused on the local issues that matter and are worth fighting for, Henderson said. 

An IEC can be created by anyone. It can provide a path for nontraditional candidates to run for office, to access advice and funds. 

Those candidates might be young. They might be Black or Latin. For Sullivan’s Legacy, they are conservative, because that is what the organization is about.

SL advises candidates and raises money for them, and all funds raised go to the work. “No one in Sullivan’s Legacy gets paid,” he said.

“The value at the end—and it’s not in dollars—that’s what it’s about. Having people who will fight for Sullivan County… Like John Sullivan,” Henderson said. “Sometimes he won; sometimes he didn’t. He always came back.”

john sullivan, history, patriots


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