Samuel Hedge

Samuel HEDGE (1675 – 1714) was Alex’s 8th Great Grandfather; one of 512 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Samuel Hedge was born 18 Jun 1675 in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Mass. His parents were Elisha HEDGE and Mary STURGIS. He married Grace SNOW on 8 Dec 1698 Eastham, Barnstable,, Mass.   Samuel died 19 May 1714 Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.

Samuel Hedge Headstone -- Cove Burying Ground, Eastham, Barnstable. Mass. Source: Findagrave #15872217

Samuel Hedge Headstone — Cove Burying Ground, Eastham, Barnstable. Mass.   Findagrave #15872217

Samuel’s headstone is broken with the top missing. The missing tympanum most likely displayed a winged skull.  Samuel is buried next to his three children, Samuel (d. 1709)  Thankful (d. 1713)   Mary’s (d. 1714) footstone.  Mary died two days before her father. Location – No. 27 on EHS 1976 Cove survey map;  Material- slate;  Headstone – 16″ W, 12″ H, 3″

Grace Snow was born 1 Feb 1675 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass. Her parents were Lieutenant Jabez SNOW (1642-1690) and Elizabeth SMITH (1648-1755). After Samuel died in 1714, she married 21 Jul 1716 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass to George Lewis  Grace died 21 Jul 1716 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass.

George Lewis was born in 1672 in Barnstable, Mass. His parents were Joseph Lewis (1632 – 1675) and Sarah Lane (1635 – 1697)  He first married 14 Jun 1711 Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass. to to Alice Crocker (b. 25 Dec 1679 in Barnstable – d. 23 Feb 1718? in Barnstable) George and Alice had four children born between 1712 and 1716. George died Nov 1769 in Barnstable, Mass.

Two first cousins named Thankful Hedge were born a couple years apart on Cape Cod.  Either one may have married our ancestor Edward STURGIS IV. Both show a death of 17 Apr 1762 in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Mass.

Thankful Hedge was born 17 Apr 1714 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass. Her parents were Samuel HEDGE and Grace SNOW.

Another Thankful Hedge was born 23 Oct 1712 in Yarmouth, Mass. Her parents were Samuel’s brother  John HEDGE and Thankful LOTHROP.

Children of Samuel and Grace:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Thankful Hedge 22 Aug 1699 Eastham, Barnstable, Mass 14 Apr 1713 Eastham
2. Mary Hedge 20 Nov 1701 in Eastham, Barnstable, Mass 17 May 1714 Eastham
3. Samuel Hedge 10 Jan 1704 Eastham, Barnstable, Mass 13 Dec 1709 Eastham
4. Elisha Hedge 4 Feb 1706 Eastham, Barnstable, Mass Martha Johnson
30 Apr 1728 Marlboro, Middlesex, Mass
6 Jan 1789 Barre, Worcester, Mass; Burial: West Main Street Cemetery, Shrewsbury, Worcester
5. Elizabeth Hedge 14 Apr 1708 Eastham, Barnstable, Mass James Morrice
5 May 1736 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass
6. Lemuel or Samuel Hedge 4 Mar 1709/10 Eastham, Barnstable, Mass Mary Baker
20 Oct 1733 Barnstable, Mass
15 Jun 1734 Boston, Mass.
7. Jabez Hedge 13 Apr 1712 Eastham, Barnstable, Mass 1714 Eastham
7. Thankful HEDGE 17 Apr 1714
4 Mar 1730/31
Yarmouth, Mass.
After 17 Apr 1762 Yarmouth



Samuel and Grace reused the names of two of their children, Thankful and Samuel.   I wouldn’t do that, but children’s passing was more accepted back then.  Alternatively, the younger boy was named Lemuel so they may have only reused “Thankful”

1. Thankful Hedge

Thankful’s ( age 13 Years 9 Months) name was used again within a year

Thankful Hedge Headstone

Thankful Hedge Headstone — Cove Burying Ground, Eastham, Barnstable. Mass. Findagrave #15872224

2. Mary Hedge

Mary died two days before her father at age twelve.

3. Samuel Hedge

Genealogies sometimes record Samuel as Lamuel, looks like an “S” to me.

Samuel’s (age 5) name was used again in three months.

Samuel Hedge Jr Headstone

Samuel Hedge Jr Headstone — Cove Burying Ground, Eastham, Barnstable. Mass.    Findagrave #15872222

4. Elisha Hedge

Elisha’s wife Martha Johnson was born 6 Oct 1 702 in Marlborough, Middlesex, Mass. Martha’s parents were Daniel Johnson (b. 5 Apr 1675 Marlborough – d. 27 Apr 1721 Marlborough) and Dorothy Lamb (b. 8 Jun 1679 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Mass. – d. 7 Jan 1760 in Marlborough) Martha died 4 Nov 1765 Shrewsbury, Worcester, Mass.

The town of Shrewsbury was first settled in 1722 and officially incorporated in 1727.
Townspeople created an agricultural economy with apple orchards and by 1750 there were two stores and four taverns as well as several small industries in operation. The rapid fall of prices for agricultural goods, the shortage of hard currency and the general economic depression following the Revolutionary War produced disastrous conditions for colonists. Shays’ Rebellion in 1786 sought to close the courts to prevent debt collections and the foreclosure of mortgages. Shrewsbury became a staging area for the rebellion and the encampment of the more than 400 insurgents, before the march on the Worcester Court House. Shrewsbury is now a suburb of both Boston and Worcester, about 45 minutes from Boston and 10 minutes to downtown Worcester.

Children of Elisha and Martha:

i. Elisha Hedge b. 14 Feb 1729 in Shrewsbury, Worcester, Mass.; d. 26 Dec 1777 Yarmouth, Barnstable, Mass.; m. 25 Dec 1750 – Worcester, Worcester, Mass. to Deliverance Streans (b. 1735 in Worcester, Mass. – d. 4 Jun 1819 in Hardwick, Worcester, Mass.) Deliverance’s parents were John Stearns (1692 – 1728) and Deliverance Bigelow (1695 – 1762) Elisha and Deliverance had six children born between 1751 and 1760.

ii. Josiah Hedge b. 15 Jun 1730 in Shrewsbury, Worcester, Mass.; d. 1733 Shrewsbury

iii. Samuel Hedge b. 9 May 1732 in Shrewsbury, Worcester, Mass.; d. Sep 1760 in the French and Indian War

iv. Rev. Lemuel Hedge b. Jul 1734 in Shrewsbury, Worcester, Mass.; d. 15 Oct 1777 Warwick, Mass.; m. 5 Nov 1761 in Hardwick, Worcester, Mass to Sarah White (b. 29 May 1741 in Hardwick, Worcester, Mass. – d. 1808 in Middlebury, Vermont). Sarah’s parents were David White (b. 1710) and Susanna Wells (1714 – 1783). Lemuel and Sarah had seven children born between 1766 and 1776.

Warwick, Franklin, Mass.

Warwick, Franklin, Mass.

Warwick, Franklin, Mass. was first settled in 1739 and was officially incorporated in 1763.

The land that became Warwick was one of four tracts of land established by Massachusetts in 1735 to compensate the descendants of the officers and soldiers who served during the “expedition to Canada” and the Battle of Quebec in 1690. The area was initially called Gardner’s Canada and original proprietors were named in 1736. A 1737 owners list names the initial land owners, few of whom appear to have remained to settle the town once it was incorporated in 1763.

It took another 25 years to attract sufficient numbers of settlers to support a town and its minister. In 1760, such numbers were reached and the town hired a young Reverend Lemuel Hedge. The town was formed officially, as Warwick, on February 17, 1763. Its first officers were James Ball (town clerk), Moses Evans, Jeduthan Morse, James Ball (selectman and assessors), Amzi Doolittle (treasurer), Samuel Ball (constable), and James Ball (collector)

As the Revolutionary War approached, the town voted unanimously in favor of independence, although the town minister preached against it. Rev. Lemuel Hedge was barred from leaving the town in July 1775. He died 15 October 1777, the day British General Burgoyne surrendered his troops to the colonists in Saratoga. In 1776, Lieutenant Thomas Rich was selected to represent the town at the General Assembly of Massachusetts.

41 page sermon delivered by Rev. Lemuel Hedge in 1772.

41 page sermon delivered by Rev. Lemuel Hedge in 1772.

1759 – Lemuel graduates from Harvard University at the age of 25.

3 Dec 1760 – Hired to be the Minister of the Congregational Church, Warwick, Franklin, Mass.

Jul 1775 – As the Rev. War approached, Rev. Lemuel Hedge, an admitted Tory, preached against independence from England. For this he was disarmed & barred from leaving the town of Warwick.

Aug 1775 – Lemuel was arrested by a group of 40 Patriots. They intended to transport him to Northampton for imprisonment, but were eventually compelled to release him.

Nov 1775 – Shortly after his release from arrest, Rev. Hedge relocated to Hardwick, MA. He became quite ill from the stress brought on by the persecution for his Tory stance

15 Oct 1777 – Lemuel, an admitted Tory , was considered to have died as the result of persecution.

v. Mary Hedge b. 15 Feb 1736 in Shrewsury, Worcester,  Mass.;

vi. Martha Hedge b. 1738 in Mass.; d. 23 Nov 1809 Barre, Worcester, Mass.; ; Burial: Adams Cemetery, Barre; m. 7 Jul 1753 in Hardwick, Worcester, Mass. to Joseph Robinson (b. 13 Sep 1727 in Rochester, Plymouth, Mass. – d. 16 Dec 1814 in Barre, Worcester, Mass.; Burial: Adams Cemetery, Barre) Joseph’s parents were James Robinson ( – 1762) and Martha and Joseph had twelve children between 1754 and 1780.

Joseph was a private in Capt. James Harlow’s Company, Col. Ezra Woods Regiment of Massachusetts Militia in the Revolutionary War. He served from June to November 1778. He was also in the 6th Massachusetts Regiment with Col. William Shepard, from July 8 to December 8, 1780

Originally called the Northwest District of Rutland, Barre was first settled in 1720. The town was incorporated on June 17, 1774, as Hutchinson after Thomas Hutchinson, colonial governor of Massachusetts. But on November 7, 1776, it was renamed Barre in honor of Isaac Barré, a champion of the American Colonies.

5. Elizabeth Hedge

Children of Elizabeth and James

i. James Morrice b. 12 Aug 1737 Boston, Mass.

 6. Lemuel Hedge

Lemuel’s wife Mary Baker was born 25 Mar 1710.   Mary’s father was Deacon John Baker (b. 15 Oct 1672 at Hull, Mass.) Mary’s grandparents were Samuel Baker and Fear Robinson, She was the great granddaughter of the immigrant Isaac Robinson, and 2nd great granddaughter of Rev. John Robinson, pastor of the 1620 Mayflower Pilgrims at Leiden, Holland.  Mary’s mother was  Anna Annable( b. 4 Mar 1675/76 at Barnstable, Mass. – d. 21 Mar 1732/33 Barnstable)

Lemuel Hedge Headstone -- Granary Burial Ground Boston -- Findagrae # 21009463

Lemuel Hedge Headstone — Granary Burial Ground Boston — Findagrae # 21009463

7. Thankful HEDGE (See Edward STURGIS IV‘s page)


Posted in 10th Generation, Historical Monument, Line - Shaw | Tagged , | 3 Comments

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Cyprian Nichols Jr.

Capt. Cyprian NICHOLS Jr. (1672 – 1756) was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather;  one of 1,024 in this generation of the Miner line.

Capt. Cyprian Nichols was born 1672 Coventry, Hartford, CT. His parents were Cyprian NICHOLS Sr. and Mary [__?__].  He first married Helena Talcott. After Helena died, he married Mary Spencer.   Cyprian died 02 Jan 1756 in Coventry, Hartford, CT

Capt. Cyprian Nichols - Ancient Burying Ground Hartford -- Find A Grave Memorial# 11438914 -

Capt. Cyprian Nichols – Ancient Burying Ground
Hartford — Find A Grave Memorial# 11438914 -

Here lies interrd
the Body of Capt.
who Departed this
Life January ye 2d
AD 1756 in ye 84th
year of his Age

Helena Talcott was born 17 Jun 1674 in Hartford, Hartford, CT. Her parents were Lt. Col John Talcott (1630 - 1688) and  Helena Wakeman (1632 – 1674).    Helena died 12 May 1702 in Coventry, CT soon after childbirth, Æ. 28.

Mary Spencer was born (1681 in Hartford, Hartford, CT. Her parents were Samuel Spencer (1639 – 1716) and Sarah Meakins (1641– 1716).   Mary died 15 Feb 1756 in Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut.

Sophia NICHOLS was born about 1735 in Enfield, CT. She married Nathaniel PEASE II  on 31 Oct 1751 in Hartford, CT.  After Nathaniel died, she married 27 Oct 1763 in Enfield, Hartford, Connecticut to Benjamin Parsons. It’s intriguing to think that Sophia’s grandfather may have been Capt. Cyprian Nichols Jr. He was the only Nichols in Hartford, though there were a couple other Nichols lines elsewhere in Connecticut.

Children of Cyprian and Helena:

Name Born Married Departed
1. John Nichols bapt.
10 Jul 1698
2nd Ch. Hartford, CT
Meriba [_?_]
Mary Owen?
4 Jan 1761 Hartford, CT
2. Elizabeth Nichols  bapt.
14 Jan 1699/1700 Hartford
Jacob Webster
16 Feb 1717/18 Hartford, CT
William Powell
aft. Mar 1727/28
Wethersfield, CT
12 Jan 1775 Hartford, CT
3. Lt. Cyprian Nichols III bapt.
17 May 1702
2nd Ch. Hartford, CT
Agnes Humphrey
c. 1733
28 Aug 1745 Hartford, CT

Children of  Cyprian and Mary:

Name Born Married Departed
4. Samuel Nichols bapt.
14 Apr 1706
1st Ch. Hartford, CT
 d. young
5 Capt. James Nichols bapt.
2 Feb 1708/09
1st Ch Hartford, CT
Mary Wadsworth
12 Jan 1737/38 Hartford, CT
18 Dec 1785 Hartford, CT
6. Capt. William Nichols bapt.
21 Oct 1711
2nd Ch, Hartford, CT
Mary Farnsworth
5 Feb 1738/39 1st Ch. Hartford
3 Sep 1767 of fever at sea
7. Mary Nichols bapt.
4 Oct 1713 1st Ch Hartford, CT
Capt. Moses Griswold
26 Jun 1740 1st Ch. Hartford
27 Dec 1775 Windsor, CT
8 Rachel Nichols bapt.
10 Jun 1716 1st Ch. Hartford
9. Sarah Nichols bapt.
8 Jun 1718 1st Ch. Hartford
Lt. Return Strong
19 Jan 1743/44 1st Ch. Hartford
5 Jan 1801 Windsor, CT
10. Hannah Nichols bapt.
8 May 1720 1st Ch. Hartford
Elisha Bigelow
bef. 1748
28 Sep 1795 Hartford, CT
11 Thankful Nichols bapt. 22 Jul 1722 1st Ch. Hartford Ebenezer Barnard
7 Jul 1747 Wethersfield, CT
25 Aug 1780 Hartford
12. Helena Nichols James McIlroy
12 Dec 1736 1st Ch. Hartford
Thomas Long
11 Feb 1762 Hartford, CT
Bio Source:  A Catalogue of the Names of the First Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut 1852

Cyprian Nichols Bio — Source: A Catalogue of the Names of the First Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut 1852

Other Connecticut Nichols Lines

There are a couple of other Connecticut Nichols lines, but they were not located in Hartford.

1. Adams Nichols was born between 1606 and 1612 in Worcestershire, England. He married 1645 in Hartford, Hartford, CT to Anna Wakeman (b. 1611 in Bewdley, Worcester, England – d. 1699 in Connecticut) Adam died 25 Aug 1682 in Hartford, Hardford Co, CT.

Children of Adam and Anna

i. John Nichols b. 1645; d. 1662

ii. Barachiah Nichols (male) b. 14 Feb 1647

iii. Anna Nichols b. 1648 in Hartford, Hartford, CT; d, 1724 in Hartford, Hartford, CT

iv. Esther Nichols b. 1650; m. [__?__] Ellis

v. Lydia Nichols b. 1652; d. 28 Feb 1652

vi. Ebenezer Nichols b. ~1656 Hartford, CT; d. bef. 1682

vii. Sarah Nichols b. Hartford, CT

2.  Francis NICHOLS was baptized at Sedgeberrow, Worcestershire, England on 25 May 1575; His parents were John NICHOLS and Joan [_?__]. He married Frances WIMARKE on 24 Jan 1599/1600 at Sedgeberrow England. He settled at Stratford, Connecticut, by 10 Oct 1639, when he was appointed sergeant of the Stratford trainband, and that same year was listed with his three sons (John, Isaac, and Caleb) among the 17 first settlers of Stratford. Francis died before 8 Jan 1650/51

Frances Wimarke (Wilmark, Wymark, Wimark) was baptized 2 Nov 1577 at Sedgeberrow, England Her parents were Robert WIDMARKE of Sedgeberrow and [__?__]. Frances apparently died before the family’s removed to New England, perhaps in 1634.

We descend from Francis’ daughter Jane NICHOLS (1603 – 1667) and William WASHBURN (1601 – 1658)

Children of Cyprian and Helena:

1. John Nichols

John was named for his maternal grandfather.

Although definitive proof is lacking, he is probably the John Nichols, called “the aged,” buried at Hartford’s Ancient Burying Ground (Center Cemetery) on Jan. 4, 1761. This corresponds with the Hartford 1st Chh. record of the death of “the aged John Nichols” on the same date, but that record gives no age. If this was the son of Capt. Cyprian Nichols, Jr., he died Æ. 64 years.

On Apr 19 1769 at the same cemetery, the widow Meriba Nichols buried an unnamed daughter and the widow Meriba was buried on Aug 17 1770, Æ. 67 years. There is no record of the marriage of a John Nichols to a Meribah in the Hartford vital records at either the Hartford 1st or 2nd church, and no baptism record of a child of John and or Meriba Nichols.

Mary Owen was born about 1704.

Child of John and Meriba:

i. Unknown Daughter d. 19 Apr 1769

Child of John and Mary Owen

i. Agnes Agatha Nichols b. 1732; d. 29 Dec 1803 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia; m. Abraham LeGrande

2. Elizabeth Nichols,

Elizabeth’s first husband  Jacob Webster was born about 1691 in Hartford, Hartford, CT. His parents were John Webster (1653 – 1694) and Sarah Mygatt (1657 – 1728).  Jacob died before June 8, 1727. Four children of the marriage.

Elizabeth’s second husband William Powell, Jr. was born 29 Oct 1691 at Wethersfield, CT.  His parents were  William Powell and Sarah Francis,  William died 12 Dec 1760 at Hartford. One identified child of the marriage. William had two children by his 1st wife, Elizabeth Welles, dau. of Joseph Welles and Elizabeth Way, who d. July 4, 1725 at 27 years of age.

By this second marriage the records allude to a son Cyprian, whose birth or baptism is not of record at Hartford or Wethersfield. But, on Oct 14 1766 a Cyprian Powell is recorded as having been charged for the burial of a child of his sister at the Center Cemetery and was later charged for the burial of his mother at that cemetery, who is not named, aged 70, on Jan. 12, 1775.

3. Lieut. Cyprian Nichols, 3rd,

Cyprian was baptized at the Hartford 2nd Chh Hartford on May 17 1702, five days after the death of his mother. (Goodwin in “Genealogical Notes” errors in stating he was bapt. in Feb. 1708 then makes him the son of his father’s 2nd wife, Mary Spencer.)

Cyprian’s wife Agnes Humphrey was born 17 Feb  1711/12 at Hartford.  Her parents were Nathaniel Humphrey and Agnes Spencer.   She was Cyprian’s fist cousin once removed, her mother was the sister of Cyprian’s stepmother, Mary Spencer.   After Cyprian died, Agnes  married Capt. Isaac Seymour (1723 – 1755), by whom she had three known children,  Agnes died 20 Dec 1793 at Hartford.

At the May 1745 session of the Connecticut Assembly, Lieut. Cyprian Nichols was appointed adjutant to the Connecticut forces being sent to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in the Siege of Louisbourg (1745) against the French in King George’s War, the third of four French and Indian Wars. However, he either died before actually being involved or after his return as the Assembly subsequently appointed Ensign Timothy Bigelow in his place.

According to the Diary of Rev. Daniel Wadsworth (1737-1747) members of the Hartford First Church were returning from Cape Breton a few days prior to the death of Lieut. Nichols. The same diary (p. 125) says that Lieut Nichols died “at night”, Aug. 28, 1745, and was interred two days later on Aug. 30, 1745. If he had a gravestone, as of 1835 Hoadley’s gravestone inventory does not evidence one for Lieut. Nichols. Losses to the New England forces in battle had been modest, although the garrison that occupied the fortress during the following winter suffered many deaths from cold and disease.

British & British Americans
4,200 militia, sailors & marines
500 Militia from Connecticut
90 ships & vessels

French and Indians
900 troops & marines
900 militia

Casualties and losses
100 killed or wounded
900 died of disease

French & Indians
50 killed or wounded
300 died of disease
1,400 surrendered

On Nov. 26, 1745, the initial inventory of the estate of Lieut. Nichols was taken and in October of that year administration of his estate was granted to the widow Agnes Nichols. She m. 2) Capt. Isaac Seymour of Hartford, Conn.

The children of Lieut. Cyprian Nichols, 3rd and Agnes Humphrey were:

Children of Cyprian and Agnes:

i. Rachel Nichols, bapt. 18 Nov 1733 at the Hartford 1st Chh.; d. 17 Dec 1793  Æ. 61  Hartford from smallpox and was interred at Hartford’s Ancient Burying Ground (Center Cemetery); Unmarried

ii. George Nichols, bapt. 13 Dec 1741 at the Hartford 1st Chh.; d. 21 Sep  1786 Hartford, Hartford , CT; m. Eunice Lord

5.  Capt. James Nichols

James’ wife Mary Wadsworth was baptized 13 Oct 171. in the Hartford 2nd Church.  Her parents were Joseph Wadsworth and Joanna Hovey.  Mary died  26 Jun 1783 at Hartford. No known children of record.

Mary was the paternal great granddaughter of Lieut. Col. John Talcott and his first wife Helena Wakeman, the parents of Capt. James Nichols’ father’s first wife, Helena Talcott. Mary was also the maternal great granddaughter of Capt. Aaron Cooke and Sarah Westwood, latter at whose father William Westwood’s house at Hartford the immigrant Capt. Cyprian Nichols, the paternal grandfather of Capt. James Nichols, had resided for thirteen years (1646-1659) before returning to Hartford from England in circa 1668.

There are no children of record for Capt. James Nichols. However, on July 5, 1761 Capt. Nichols had baptized at the Hartford 1st Chh., “Peter, Caesar, & Boston, Negro Children, Servants to Captn. James Nichols…” On June 20 1762 he had baptized “Tom, Negro servt to Captn James Nichols…” On Aug. 25, 1764 he had baptized “Lydia, negro servt to Captn James Nichols…” and finally on June 14, 1767 he had “Mime, Negro servt to Captn James Nichols being sick,” privately baptized. In the first three instances he publicly engaged “to bring them up in the Christian religion.”

On Apr. 29, 1774 Capt. James Nichols gave“Boston” and “Rose” their freedom and later sold “Boston” a parcel of land at Hartford in Oct. 1783 (HartLR, 8:250, 16:317 and 16:113)

Boston Source: Findagrave # 16958450

Boston Nichols — Source: Findagrave # 16958450

Boston Nichols was elected “black governor” in 1800. And was one of the final individuals to have been buried in the Hartford Ancient Burying Grounds.

6. Capt. William Nichols

William’s wife Mary Farnsworth was baptized 5 Jul 1719 in the Hartford 1st Church.  Her parents were Joseph Farnsworth and Mary Olcott,  Mary died 14 Oct 1771 at Hartford. Ten children of the family.

William was a mariner and died of fever at sea on Sep 2 1767. His estate was insolvent and his brother James was appointed administrator.

Children of William and Mary:

i. William Nichols, Jr., bapt. 10 Oct 1741; apparently died unm. and was buried at the Ancient Burying Ground at Hartford on 14 Oct 1792, Æ. 53. Burial Ancient Burying Ground Hartford.

ii. Mary Nichols, bapt. 10 Apr 1743; d. unmarried and was buried at the Hartford Ancient Burying Ground on 9 Sep 1803, Æ. 61.

iii. Abigail Nichols, bapt.  7 Apr 1745 and d. an infant on 5 Aug 1750, Æ. 6. Hartford Ancient Burying Ground.

iv. Cyprian Nichols, bapt.  18 Jun 1749; d. 28 Dec 1750, age 6 months. Hartford Ancient Burying Ground.

Cypprian Son
of Mr. William
and Mrs Mary
Nichols Dec’d
December ye 28
1749 aged f[s]ix
Months 17 days.

v. Abigail Nichols, bapt.  7 Apr 1751 and died in infancy on 14 Apr 1752.

vi. An unbaptized infant born and died on 8 Feb 1753.

vii. Catherine “Caty” Nichols, bapt. 24 Feb 1754.

viii. Anna Nichols, bapt. 16 Jan 1756.

ix. James Nichols, bapt. 10 Jul 1757; buried Ancient Burying Ground on 13 Sep 1790, Æ. 34.; m. Rachel [__?__] (1766 – 1789)

x. Hannah Nichols, bapt.  2 Mar 1760.

7. Mary Nichols

Mary’s husband  Capt. Moses Griswold was born 10 Jul 1714 Windsor, CT. His parents were Benjamin Griswold and Elizabeth Cook. Moses died 4 Jan 1776 at Windsor. Five children of the family.

9. Sarah Nichols

Sarah’s husband Lieut. Return Strong was born 26 Feb 1712/13 at Hartford.  His parents were Samuel Strong (1675 – 1741) and Martha Buckland (1677 – 1770).  Return died 8  Nov 1776 at Windsor. Three known children of the family.

Return served in Capt. Harmon’s Company in 1776 at the Siege of Boston.

Return Strong Gravestone -- Palisado Cemetery , Windsor, Hartford , CT

Return Strong Gravestone — Palisado Cemetery , Windsor, Hartford , CT — Find A Grave Memorial# 20885571

Children of Sarah and Return:

i.Ellen Strong d. 12 May 1756

ii. Margaret Strong m. 1772 to Levi Hayden (1747-1821)

10. Hannah Nichols

Hannah’s husband Elisha Bigelow was born 27 Jun 1723 at Hartford, CT.  His parents were Joseph Bigelow and Sarah Spencer.  Elisha died 23 Jun 1796 at Hartford.  Twelve children of bapt. record at Hartford.

Elisha was Hannah’s 3rd cousin.  Hannah’s maternal great grandfather was William Spencer of Windsor, Conn., the eldest of five Spencer brothers from old England that settled in New England. William Spencer’s younger brother, Sgt. Thomas Spencer, settled at Hartford, Conn. and was Elisha Bigelow’s great grandfather.

Children of Hannah and Elisha:

i. James Bigelow, bapt. 8 May 1748, d. 16 May 1821 (2nd Ch. Hartford Rec.)

ii. William Bigelow, bapt. 21 May 1749.

iii. Elisha Bigelow, bapt. 23 Dec 1750; m. Patience Bow.

iv. Cyprian Bigelow, bapt. 17 Dec 1752; m Elizabeth  [__?__]

v. Normand Bigelow, bapt. Oct. 13, 1754, d. in infancy 17 Oct 1758 (bur. Hartford’s Ancient (Center) Burying Ground).

vi. Roderick Bigelow, bapt.  5 Sep 1756.

vii. Samuel Bigelow, bapt. 18 Jun 1758, d. in infancy 23 Oct 1758 (bur. Ancient (Center) Burying Ground).

viii. Norman Bigelow, bapt. 27 May 1759.

ix. Samuel Bigelow, bapt. 22 Feb 1761.

x. Edward Bigelow, bapt. 20 Jan 1763, d. in infancy  18 Apr 1763 (bur. at Ancient (Center) Burying Ground).

xi. Hannah Bigelow, bapt. 5 May 1765; buried Prospect Hill Cemetery,    Perry, Wyoming, NY; m.   Peter Beebe (10 Feb 1754 Saybrook, Middlesex, CT-  d. 6 Nov 1834 Perry, Wyoming)

xii. Edward Bigelow, bapt. 19 Oct 1766.

11. Thankful Nichols

Thankful’s husband  Ebenezer Barnard was baptized 9 Jan 1725/26 1st Church Hartford, CT.   His parents were Samuel Barnard and Sarah Williamson.  Ebenezer died 19 Aug 1799 at Hartford. Six known children of the family.

Children of Thankful and Ebenezer:

i. Ebenezer Barnard M Feb 1748

i. Thankful Sophia Barnard b. 1751

iii. Cyprian Barnard b. 19 Jan 1753

iv. Timothy Henry Barnard b. 19 Jan 1756 in Hartford, CT

v. Daniel Barnard b. 13 Jul 1760

vi. Charles Barnard b. 28 Aug 1763

12. Helena Nichols

Helena’s baptism does not appear in either the Hartford 1st or 2nd church records, but is named as a daughter in the distribution of her father’s estate

Helena’s first husband  James McIlroy died 2 Oct  1751  Hartford, Hartford, CT (1st Ch. Rec.).

Helena’s second husband  Thomas Long.


A Catalogue of the Names of the Early Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut Author: Royal Ralph Hinman (1852)

Findagrave # 11438914  Maintained by: Don Blauvelt

Posted in 11th Generation, Line - Miner | 1 Comment

Battle of Oswego 1756 and the Captivity of Benjamin Taylor

Ebenezer FOSTER’s son-in-law Benjamin Taylor was born in Yorktown, Westchester Co, NY ca 1736. His parents were William Benjamin and [__?__] Van Pelt.  He married Jemima Foster ~1763 Verplanck Point [outside Peekskill], Westchester Co, NY.  Benjamin died in Sep 1832 in Fishkill, Dutchess, NY, at 96 years of age and was buried in the Methodist churchyard adjacent to the farm of his grandson, James Taylor.

Benjamin enlisted in the Colonial Army in 1753 or 54, aged 16 years.  He was at Fort Orange, afterwards actually engaged in war, with the French and Indians on the northern frontier, taken prisoner by them at Fort Owego 1756, was in the army and a prisoner of war some five or six years. Worked in London as a brickmason three years (three or more), returned to America in the year 1761, married in 1763, aged 29 or 30 years. Died at Fishkill, Dutchess Co, NY, Sept 1832, aged 96 years.

Benjamin F. Taylor entered the Colonial Army in 1753, Co F, 9th NYV. From here on we’ll let his grandson, Augustus Campenfeldt  Taylor tell the story as he heard it from Benjamin when he was an old man and Augustus was a very young one:  You’ll see the meaning of Augustus’ middle name in the story.

“Their rendezvous was at Fort Orange, Albany, where they awaited supplies and orders. In 1755 the Colonial Governor planned a grand campaign against the French and Indians; one commanded by Gen. Braddock against Fort Duquesne; one commanded by Gen. Johnson against Crown Point; one commanded by Gen. [William] Shirley against Fort Niagara. England was to furnish munitions of war and 6,000 men—the Colonies to raise 10,000 more. All of these campaigns were entire failures. Gen. Shirley with an army of near 2,000, including friendly Indians, advanced in 1755 to the northern Frontier, to Lake Ontario. He went up the Mohawk trail, then the only passable route to this northern lake, striking the lake near its mouth, to proceed hence by water to besiege Fort Niagara, situated near the head of the lake. 6,000 troops were to follow this advance guard. But in consequence of bickerings between Colonial and English officers, they failed to make the connection. The advance guard reached the frontier and built two forts, or more properly called, stockades, both near the mouth of Lake Ontario, one on each side of the Oswego River, one called Ontario and the other Owego. Owing to the desertion of their Indian allies, and severe sickness amongst the Colonial soldiers, the main object of the campaign was abandoned. Gen. Shirley left Col. Mercer in command, returning to Fort Orange, Albany.

File:William Shirley.JPG

Wiliam Shirley (1694-1771) His management of the war in 1755 and 1756 was a failure. His expedition against Fort Niagara got no further than the final staging point at Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario in 1755, and the French captured Oswego in August 1756. In Mar  1756, the Secretary of War replaced him as commander-in-chief and ordered him to return to England

“In the above named [Gen Shirley’s] contingent, were parts of three companies of English soldiers, one commanded by Capt. Augustus Campenfeldt. To this company my grandsire Benjamin Taylor was attached.

“In the spring of 1756, the French, seeing the deleterious and fatal mistakes of the English, profited by their failures. The Marquis de la Calm had just been appointed Governor and General of all the French forces in Canada. He collected together at Fort Frontenac, now Kingston, a force of 5,000 men, mostly Indians, crossed Lake Ontario with 30 pieces of cannon, and besieged Fort Ontario. After a bloody fight Col. Mercer was forced to evacuate the place, retiring across the river to Fort Owego. During the night’s retreat, my grandsire Benjamin Taylor, by his expertness as a swimmer, rendered essential service, saving, with others, the life of his captain who was drowning. This incident undoubtedly made them ever after fast friends.

[Significant elements of the two Massachusetts regiments including Benjamin Taylor, which were under the overall command of Colonel James Mercer of Pepperrell’s Regiment, overwintered at Fort Oswego, and suffered significantly due to the shortage of supplies, especially food. Many men died during the winter from diseases such as scurvy, and there had been serious discussion of abandoning the position for want of supplies. While the garrison nominally approached 2,000 men in size, less than 1,200 men were fit for duty.]

Location of Fort Oswego

“Fort Oswego was besieged. After a bloody resistance of three days, Col. Mercer being killed, the garrison surrendered to Mont de la Calm as prisoners of war. This was in August 1756.

Fort Oswego in 1755

[The Battle of Fort Oswego was one in a series of early French victories in the North American theatre of the Seven Years’ War won in spite of New France’s military vulnerability. During the week of August 10, 1756, a force of regulars and Canadian militia under General Montcalm captured and occupied the British fortifications at Fort Oswego, located at the site of present-day Oswego, New York.

Battle of Fort Oswego Map

In addition to 1,700 prisoners, Montcalm’s force seized the fort’s 121 cannon. The fall of Fort Oswego effectively interrupted the British presence on Lake Ontario and removed it as a threat to the nearby French-controlled Fort Frontenac. The battle was notable for demonstrating that traditional European siege tactics were viable in North America when applied properly in the right circumstances and terrain.]

“At that time grandfather was about 20 years of ago, having served his country in the French and Indian War over three years.

Surrender of Fort Oswego 1756

[The British surrendered about 1,700 people, including laborers, shipbuilders, women and children.  When the fort was opened to the Canadian militia and Indians, they rushed in and began plundering the fort, opening the barrels of rum and getting drunk on the contents. Amid the confusion some of the British tried to escape, and were tomahawked and killed by drunken French or Indians. General Montcalm, shocked by the behavior, was eventually able to prevent further killings, although he claimed it would “cost the King eight or ten thousand livres in presents.” He then ordered the destruction of all the supplies the French did not take, as well as the boats under construction, after which the entire company, including the prisoners, traveled to Montreal]

Montcalm Trying to Stop The Massacre by Alfred Bobbett

“The prisoners that were not massacred by the Indians arrived safe at Quebec in November. They were conveyed down the River St. Lawrence in bateaux and Indian canoes, arriving at Quebec at the commencement of winter.

“My grandfather at that time was at the zenith of youthful manhood: straight, tall, athletic, brave, and proud of his fine qualities.  After reaching Quebec a French officer detailed him as a servant, and ordered him to black his boots. He refused. For this refusal he was imprisoned in a dungeon and fed on bread and water for nearly two months. It so happened that a French soldier for some offense was confined in the same place; he was taken sick and his case reported to the Provost. On leaving for the Court, grandfather told him to tell the Court that an Englishman in the dungeon was sick too, which errand he faithfully performed. My grandfather was ordered into Court. After an examination he told his tale. The Provost ordered him to the Barracks with the other prisoners of war.

“In the spring of 1757 these English prisoners, or a portion of them, were sent to France. The ship in which they were to embark laid in the stream below Quebec. All prisoners were conveyed on board in small boats. A number were massacred at the Embarkadero. Grandfather was the last man to enter a boat. As she shoved off, an Indian made his appearance. Finding his prey too far off, he gave a yell, drew his knife and made a scalping maneuver and picked up a stone, slung it with effect, hitting grandfather in the side. He saved his hair by falling in the boat. His life for a long time was despaired of. He carried the scar in his side, which was an indentation as big as a hen’s egg. This wound troubled him, causing much suffering during a long life.

“He was a prisoner of war in Havre de Grace [Le Havre] in France until 1759. He was then exchanged, went to London, supporting himself there by the occupation of barber. One Sunday in crossing London Bridge, he met face to face his old captain, then Col. A. Campenfeldt—a welcome surprise to both parties.

“The Colonel was to depart the next day to Gibraltar. His regiment was already on board ship. He took grandfather to his house in London, kept by two maiden sisters (for he was not married). Grandfather was introduced to them and made welcome and pressed to make their home his as long as he stayed in London. The next morning Col. A. C. presented grandfather with a purse of five guineas and took his departure for Gibraltar. (Grandfather was never at that place.) And that day was the last seen of the noble Colonel by his friends in London. In 1760 his regiment was ordered from Gibraltar to the East Indies, and he died on the passage.

“Grandfather learned and worked at the trade of brick mason for years in London. He has often told me that he worked some two years on the Tower of London.

“He returned to America about the year 1762. Sailed for Boston in a bark which was wrecked off the harbor; reached New York by a coaster; by sail to Peekskill; foots it out to Yorktown, where he was born; calls for entertainment at his father’s home; receives a welcome; after supper makes himself known to the family. After a hearty embrace by all, his father took down the old fiddle from the wall—fiddled, danced and sung, “Benjamin, my son that was dead, is alive again, alive again.” Grandfather had been absent and mourned as dead some eight or nine years, having a brother born in his absence, at that time seven years of age. His name was altered to Absalom.”

Though periodically suffering from a wound in his side, Benjamin had general good health and muscular power, and lived to the age of 96.   He appears to have been a Presbyterian.  In his Journal, the Rev. Silas Constant, Pastor of the Yorktown Presbyterian Church, mentioned in 1792 and 1794, riding to Benjamin Taylor’s house and preaching there.   In the early 1800’s  Benjamin moved up to Fishkill in Dutchess County, along with his grandsons James and Augustus.

Children of Jemima and Benjamin

i.   James Taylor b. 1764 Peekskill, NY; d. 23 Jan 1844 in Westford, Chittenden Co, VT, at 79 years of age.He married Salome Partridge 15 Feb 1786 in Franklin, Franklin Co, MA.  Salome was born 8 Sep 1768 in Keene, Cheshire, NH.  Her parents were Amos Partridge and Meletiah Ellis.

As a boy, James moved with his family to Franklin, MA. At 16 he apprenticed with Thad Adams to learn the blacksmith trade; at 17 he enlisted for three years in the Continental Army.  He was at Valley Forge and often talked about how he and his comrades dug up the tails of beef after they had been buried for months, stewed them, and ate them without salt or pepper to sustain life..  After the war he returned to Franklin, to finish his apprenticeship.

After finishing his trade, with a group of friends, he crossed the Alleghenies on foot, having only one horse for packing.  At Pittsburgh he came near to losing his life by falling in the night off the wall of old Fort Duquesne.  He crossed the Ohio River into Virginia, thence to Kentucky.  James was with Capt. Lewis’ surveying party one season.  They had several skirmishes with the Indians; several of his party died but he was unharmed.  The only trophy of his adventures was a razor strop made from the untanned hide of an Indian.

James returned to Franklin, married Miss Partridge with the intention of returning to Kentucky, but was persuaded by friends to settle down in Franklin where he carried on a general blacksmith’s business for years, he then returned to Peekskill where he continued blacksmithing and ship smithing, and finally moved to Westford, VT where he remained the rest of his life.

During the War of 1812, Captain James Taylor raised a company from his neighborhood, serving from 1 Sep to 8 Dec 1812. In Sep 1814 he volunteered again to fight in the Battle of Plattsburgh, serving for 7 days.  His son, Augustus, told this story:

“In 1812 the U.S. declared war against Great Britain. He then raised a company of men and entered the service of his country. Most of his company were Westford, Milton, Essex and Underhill boys. These men enlisted for one year. At the expiration of their term of service he was detailed by the General in command to the recruiting service. In the summer of 1814 he visited New York and Peekskill on this business. Sister Salome accompanied him to Peekskill where Brother James was then located….He returned… about ten days before the battle of Plattsburgh. Volunteers were called for and the Green Mountain Boys nobly responded.  On the Sunday morning one week before the battle took place, there was music in the air all along the ridge between Squire Bowman’s and Capt. Taylor’s. The bugles sounded and drums beat “To Arms, To Arms.” The road was lined with marching volunteers. They went by the road through the Government Reserve to Milton, thence by water to Plattsburgh.

My father was detailed and led the boys onward. After arriving in camp the General detailed him to serve the boys with guns and ammunition. They fell short of cartridge boxes to go all around.  Priest Worster of Fairfield, who had raised a company, when it came his turn, filled his capacious pockets (these pockets were in a big silk vest where he carried his Bible and Psalm Book) with double rounds of cartridges, which made the boys cheer heartily. After this service was completed, he was given in charge of a regiment of these Volunteers, who formed the front guard in following the Red Coats on their retreat to Canada. So earnest were these volunteers that when the rear guard was overtaken and hoisted the white flag, it was hard to restrain them. Their cry was “There’s a Red Coat, damn him! Fire!” The day of this battle, Sunday, the 13th, 1814, is to me ever to be remembered.

Although then scarce six years of age, I can remember what happened there as if it were yesterday. A few infirm men with women and children, gathered together on Bold Hill, the dividing line between Westford and Milton, to see the battle go on. Your grandmothers Bowman and Taylor were there with their children. Your mother, father, uncles and aunts, and in fact, the whole neighborhood turned out. The able bodied men were, nearly to a man, gone to battle for their country. I remember one incident that happened on that eventful day: an old hunter by the name of Jack Willis came sauntering up the hill from the Milton side, with his rifle on his shoulder. Old grandfather Partridge asked him if he was not ashamed for not being in the ranks fighting for his country. He excused himself by saying he had been to the embarcadero and could not get a passage over the lake. The old man told him he was a coward. He, however, done us some service for he felled several trees to give all a better view of the battlefield.” [Milton is over 200 miles from Plattsburg, I’m not sure where the viewers and the battle were.]

ii.   Augustus Campenfeldt Taylor was born in Peekskill, 12 Sep 1770. He went with his father’s family to Franklin, MA but returned to Peekskill at the age of 16. He was married by Rev. Silas Constant, 11 Apr 1792 to Elizabeth Lent at her father’s house in Peekskill, Westchester Co, NY.  Elizabeth was born 16 Sep 1773 and died 27 Sep 1857 in Peekskill.  Augustus and Elizabeth had three children who all died young.

Augustus C. Taylor appears to have been educated and well to do and at the time of his death was said to be one of the best and most thrifty farmers in Westchester Co.  In 1801 he mortgaged to Jonathan Ferris, for $1625, two properties: 49 1/2 acres in the town of Cortland on the south side of the road from Peekskill to the Yorktown Meeting House and 16 1/2 acres on the same road.  It was paid off by 1804.  These may have been part of the old family farm in Yorktown from whence Benjamin left to enter the army.   In his will, dated 20 Feb 1815, proved 4 Apr 1815, Augustus bequeathed $300 to his brother, James Taylor, $400 to his nephew William Taylor, son of his deceased brother Justus, $1,400 to his nephew James Taylor, along with all his land lying on the north side of the road leading from Crompond to Peekskill (now downtown Peekskill) except half of the lot adjoining the land of James Divon. He willed all his household goods and all his books and the residue of his estate to his wife Elizabeth.  His nephew, James Taylor, was charged with using whatever he needed from his bequest for the support and maintenance of Augustus’ father, Benjamin Taylor. His wife Elizabeth was also charged with giving a good and decent support to his father.  The executors were Elizabeth, his brother-in-law Henry Lent, and a friend, William Nelson. Apparently there were no living children.

iii. Justus William Taylor b. 1771 in Peekskill

iv.   [__?__] Taylor, female

Jemima Foster Bio

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Ebenezer Smith – Oldest Captain in the Massachusetts Line

By the end of the war, after more than eight years service, Ebenezer Smith was the longest serving captain in the Massachusetts Line. He was present in the 6th Massachusetts Infantry when the regiment was furloughed Jun 12 1783 at West Point, New York and disbanded on Nov 3 1783.

West Point

Ebenezer Smith served at West Point until the end of the war.   George Washington appointed him to guard Major Andre the night before the hanging

Matthew POLLEY’s grandson Ebenezer Smith was born 30 Dec 1745 in Lebanon, New London, CT.  He married 27 Nov 1766 to Sarah Deane (b.30 May 1745 in Taunton, Bristol, Mass. – d. 05 Aug 1819 in New Marlboro) Sarah’s parents were Seth Deane and Sarah Waterous. Ebenezer and Sarah had eight children born between 1767 and 1788.  Ebenezer died 08 Sep 1816 in New Marlborough, Mass.

Ebenezer Smith was living in New Marlborough, Mass when the Revolutionary War broke out. Hearing of the battle of Lexington, he at once started for Boston as a non-commissioned officer in a company of Minutemen and from that time April 1775 until the declaration of peace in 1783 he was continually a soldier and an officer in the Continental Army.

May 8 1775 – Enlisted

Aug 1 1775 Roll – Private Capt. Moses Soul’s company, Eighth Regiment of Foot commanded byCol.John Fellow. The 8th Massachusetts Regiment also known as 16th Continental Regiment was raised on April 23, 1775 under Colonel Sargent at Cambridge, Massachusetts. The regiment would see action at the Battle of Bunker Hill, New York Campaign, Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton and the Battle of Saratoga.

Jan 1 – Nov 27 1776 – Ensign

Nov 28 1776 – Commission a lieutenant

Dec 1777 – Lieutenant Ebenezer Smith, Capt. John Burnan’s Company, Learned’s 8th Massachusetts Regiment, 4th Brigade.

The 8th Massachusetts Regiment also known as 16th Continental Regiment was raised on April 23, 1775 under Colonel Sargent at Cambridge, Massachusetts. The regiment would see action at the Battle of Bunker HillNew York CampaignBattle of TrentonBattle of Princeton and the Battle of Saratoga. The regiment was furloughed June 12, 1783 atWest Point, New York and disbanded on November 3, 1783.

Winter 1777-78 Ebenezer wintered with the army and suffered at that terrible encampment of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Winter 1777-78 Ebenezer wintered with the army and suffered at that terrible encampment of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Winter 1777-78 Ebenezer wintered with the army and suffered at that terrible encampment of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Mar 30 1779 – Commissioned Captain in Smith’s 13th Regiment

The 13th Massachusetts Regiment was first raised on July 11, 1776 as the 6th Continental Regiment under Colonel Edward Wigglesworth and was manned with troops raised primarily from Essex, York, and Cumberland Counties. It was first known as Wigglesworth’s State Regiment. An additional battalion was later raised from Middlesex, Suffolk, Plymouth and Barnstable Counties. The regiment would see action at the Battle of Bunker Hill, Battle of Valcour Island, Battle of Saratoga, Battle of Monmouth and the Battle of Rhode Island.

Battle of Monmouth

Ebenezer was at the hottest of the fight at the battle of Monmouth and also present at the battles of Bunker Hill, Siege of Boston, Capture of Burgoyne, Sullivan’s Rhode Island Campaign and Saratoga.

Marquis de La Fayette

Marquis de La Fayette  –   Ebenezer’s brother David had the honor of being presented by General Lafayette in person the sword David had taken from one of the officers he had captured

Ebenezer’s brother David was also a captain at Monmouth.  David captured and disarmed two English officers.  He had the honor of being presented the sword taken from one of the officers by General Lafayette in person.  The sword was still an heirloom in the family in 1910.

The Battle of Monmouth was fought on June 28, 1778 in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The Continental Army under General George Washington attacked the rear of the British Army column commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton as they left Monmouth Court House.

Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouthby Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze

Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze

British forces had captured Philadelphia in 1777. In May 1778, the British commander-in-chief in North America, Sir Henry Clinton, was ordered to evacuate Philadelphia and concentrate his troops at the main British base in New York City as France had entered the war on the side of the Americans. Clinton was ordered to dispatch units to West Florida and the West Indies which left him too few troops to continue occupying Philadelphia. Clinton was also ordered to abandon New York and withdraw to Quebec if he felt his position there was untenable.   A French fleet under d’Estaing had sailed from Toulon in April 1778 and intended to make a rendezvous with rebel forces which could threaten Clinton’s army before it reached the safety of New York.

It was originally intended that the withdrawing British army would travel directly to New York via the sea, escorted by theRoyal Navy. A lack of transports forced Clinton to change his plans. While the stores, heavy equipment and Loyalist American civilians fleeing revenge attacks would be shipped by sea, the main army would march overland across New Jersey.

On June 18, the British began to evacuate Philadelphia, and began their approximately 100-mile  march to the northeast across New Jersey to New York City. The British force comprised 11,000 British and German regulars, a thousand Loyalists from Philadelphia, and a baggage train 12 miles  long. As the British advanced, the Americans slowed their advance by burning bridges, muddying wells and building abatis across the roads.

Monmouth Map

Monmouth Map

Unsteady handling of lead Continental elements by Major General Charles Lee had allowed British rearguard commander Lt Gen  Charles Cornwallis to seize the initiative but Washington’s timely arrival on the battlefield rallied the Americans along a hilltop hedgerow. Sensing the opportunity to smash the Continentals, Cornwallis pressed his attack and captured the hedgerow in stifling heat.

Washington consolidated his troops in a new line on heights behind marshy ground, used his artillery to fix the British in their positions, then brought up a four gun battery under Major General Nathanael Greene on nearby Combs Hill to enfilade the British line, requiring Cornwallis to withdraw. Finally, Washington tried to hit the exhausted British rear guard on both flanks, but darkness forced the end of the engagement. Both armies held the field, but the British commanding General Clinton withdrew undetected at midnight to resume his army’s march to New York City.

While Cornwallis protected the main British column from any further American attack, Washington had fought his opponent to a standstill after a pitched and prolonged engagement; the first time that Washington’s army had achieved such a result. The battle demonstrated the growing effectiveness of the Continental Army after its six month encampment at Valley Forge

The battle improved the military reputations of Washington, Lafayette and Anthony Wayne but ended the career of Charles Lee, who would face court martial at Englishtown for his failures on the day. According to some accounts, an American soldier’s wife, Mary Hays, brought water to thirsty soldiers in the June heat, and became one of several women associated with the legend of Molly Pitcher.

Lee  failed to give them proper orders, resulting in a piecemeal and disorganized attack on June 28 against the British rear guard under General Charles Cornwallis. After several hours of fighting in the hot weather, several American brigades executed a tactical retreat, which developed into a general withdrawal. The British rear guard counterattacked and Lee ordered a retreat, which rapidly became a rout.

Washington, advancing with the main force along the Monmouth road, encountered Lee’s fleeing troops and finally Lee himself, with the British in hot pursuit. After a heated exchange with Lee, Washington relieved him of command and sent him to the rear. He then rallied Lee’s troops, who delayed the British pursuit until the main force could take up positions further to the west.

The remnants of Lee’s forces then withdrew to the main American force, where the Continental Army troops were positioned behind the West Ravine on the Monmouth Courthouse – Freehold Meeting House Road. Washington drew up his army with Greene’s division on the right, Major General Stirling‘s division on the left, and most of Lee’s former force, now under Lafayette, in reserve. In front of his lines, Wayne commanded various elements of Lee’s force. Artillery was placed on both wings, with the right wing in position to enfilade the advancing British.

William Alexander, Lord Stirling

William Alexander, Lord Stirling commanded the left wing at  Monmouth (where Ebenezer and David Smith fought

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th Massachusetts Brigades were on the Left Wing under Major General William Alexander, Lord Stirling  (See Monmouth Order of Battle)

The British came on and attacked Stirling’s left wing with their light infantry and the 42nd (Black Watch) Regiment in the van. They were met by a storm of fire from Stirling’s Continentals. The battle raged back and forth for an hour until three American regiments were sent though woods to enfilade the attacking British right flank. The attack was successful and sent the British back to reform.

Monmouth Reenactment

Monmouth Reenactment

Foiled on the left, Cornwallis personally led a heavy attack against Greene’s right wing,  The attack was met by enfilading fire from Thomas-Antoine de Mauduit du Plessis‘s four 6-pound cannons on Combs Hill, as well as accurate volleys from Greene’s Continental regiments. The British persisted up the ravine slope but within minutes five high-ranking officers and many men were down from heavy fire. The attackers recoiled down the slope.

The battle was a tactical British victory, as the rearguard successfully covered the British withdrawal. However, strategically it was a draw, as the Americans were ultimately left in possession of the field, and had, for the first time, demonstrated that the Continental Army regiments could stand against British regulars.

The Trial and Execution of Major André

Ebenezer was at West Point at the time of Benedict Arnold’s treason and the capture of Major Andre. He was captain of the guard in charge of Major André from the time of his trial to his execution and passed the night prior to his execution with him, having been specially detailed to that duty by General Washington.

John Andre (1750-1780)

John Andre (1750-1780)

General George Washington convened a board of senior officers to investigate the matter. The trial contrasted with Sir William Howe‘s treatment of Nathan Hale some four years earlier. The board consisted of Major Generals Nathanael Greene(the presiding officer), Lord StirlingArthur St. ClairLafayetteRobert HoweFriedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Brigadier Generals Samuel H. ParsonsJames ClintonHenry KnoxJohn GloverJohn PatersonEdward HandJedediah HuntingtonJohn Stark, and Judge-Advocate-General John Laurance.

On Sep 29 1780, the board found André guilty of being behind American lines “under a feigned name and in a disguised habit” and ordered that “Major André, Adjutant-General to the British Army, ought to be considered as a Spy from the enemy, and that agreeable to the law and usage of nations, it is their opinion, he ought to suffer death.” Later, Glover was officer of the day at André’s execution. Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander in New York, did all he could to save André, his favourite aide, but refused to surrender Arnold in exchange for André even though he despised Arnold. André appealed to George Washington to be executed by firing squad, but by the rules of war he was hanged as a spy at Tappan on 2 October 1780.

The Unfortunate Death of Major John André

The Unfortunate Death of Major John André

A religious poem, written two days before his execution, was found in his pocket after his execution.

While a prisoner he endeared himself to American officers, who lamented his death as much as the British. Alexander Hamilton wrote of him: “Never perhaps did any man suffer death with more justice, or deserve it less.” The day before André’s hanging he drew, with pen and ink, a likeness of himself, which is now owned by Yale College. In fact André, according to witnesses, refused the blindfold and placed the noose around his own neck.

Self-portrait on the eve of André's execution

Self-portrait on the eve of André’s execution,

An eyewitness account of the last day of Major André can be found in the book The American Revolution: From the Commencement to the Disbanding of the American Army Given in the Form of a Daily Journal, with the Exact Dates of all the Important Events; Also, a Biographical Sketch of the Most Prominent Generals by James Thacher, M.D., a surgeon in the American Revolutionary Army:

“October 2d.– Major Andre is no more among the living. I have just witnessed his exit. It was a tragical scene of the deepest interest. During his confinement and trial, he exhibited those proud and elevated sensibilities which designate greatness and dignity of mind. Not a murmur or a sigh ever escaped him, and the civilities and attentions bestowed on him were politely acknowledged.

Having left a mother and two sisters in England, he was heard to mention them in terms of the tenderest affection, and in his letter to Sir Henry Clinton, he recommended them to his particular attention. The principal guard officer [Ebenezer Smith], who was constantly in the room with the prisoner, relates that when the hour of execution was announced to him in the morning, he received it without emotion, and while all present were affected with silent gloom, he retained a firm countenance, with calmness and composure of mind. Observing his servant enter the room in tears, he exclaimed, “Leave me till you can show yourself more manly!”

His breakfast being sent to him from the table of General Washington, which had been done every day of his confinement, he partook of it as usual, and having shaved and dressed himself, he placed his hat upon the table, and cheerfully said to the guard officers, “I am ready at any moment, gentlemen, to wait on you.”

The fatal hour having arrived, a large detachment of troops was paraded, and an immense concourse of people assembled; almost all our general and field officers, excepting his excellency and staff, were present on horseback; melancholy and gloom pervaded all ranks, and the scene was affectingly awful. I was so near during the solemn march to the fatal spot, as to observe every movement, and participate in every emotion which the melancholy scene was calculated to produce.

Major Andre walked from the stone house, in which he had been confined, between two of our subaltern officers, arm in arm; the eyes of the immense multitude were fixed on him, who, rising superior to the fears of death, appeared as if conscious of the dignified deportment which he displayed. He betrayed no want of fortitude, but retained a complacent smile on his countenance, and politely bowed to several gentlemen whom he knew, which was respectfully returned.

It was his earnest desire to be shot, as being the mode of death most conformable to the feelings of a military man, and he had indulged the hope that his request would be granted. At the moment, therefore, when suddenly he came in view of the gallows, he involuntarily started backward, and made a pause. “Why this emotion, sir?” said an officer by his side. Instantly recovering his composure, he said, “I am reconciled to my death, but I detest the mode.”

While waiting and standing near the gallows, I observed some degree of trepidation; placing his foot on a stone, and rolling it over and choking in his throat, as if attempting to swallow. So soon, however, as he perceived that things were in readiness, he stepped quickly into the wagon, and at this moment he appeared to shrink, but instantly elevating his head with firmness he said, “It will be but a momentary pang,” and taking from his pocket two white handkerchiefs, the provost-marshal, with one, loosely pinioned his arms, and with the other, the victim, after taking off his hat and stock, bandaged his own eyes with perfect firmness, which melted the hearts and moistened the cheeks, not only of his servant, but of the throng of spectators.

The rope being appended to the gallows, he slipped the noose over his head and adjusted it to his neck, without the assistance of the awkward executioner. Colonel Scammel now informed him that he had an opportunity to speak, if he desired it; he raised the handkerchief from his eyes, and said, “I pray you to bear me witness that I meet my fate like a brave man.” The wagon being now removed from under him, he was suspended, and instantly expired; it proved indeed “but a momentary pang.” He was dressed in his royal regimentals and boots, and his remains, in the same dress, were placed in an ordinary coffin, and interred at the foot of the gallows; and the spot was consecrated by the tears of thousands …”


André’s executioner, who was confined at the camp in Tappan as a dangerous Tory during André’s trial, was granted liberty for accepting the duty of hangman and returned to his home in the Ramapo Valley or Smith’s Clove, and nothing further of him is known.

The captors of Andre–the three young militiamen–were rewarded by the Congress with a vote of thanks; and to each was awarded a commemorative medal of silver and two hundred dollars a year for life.

By the end of the war, after more than eight years service, Ebenezer was the longest serving captain in the Massachusetts Line. He was present in the 6th Massachusetts Infantry when the regiment was furloughed Jun 12 1783 at West Point, New York and disbanded on Nov 3 1783.

Ebenezer’s eldest son David Smith D.D. entered the Continental Army at an early age and served during the last year of the war under his father.

Ebenezer was a founder of the Society of the Cincinnati in Connecticut,  an historical, hereditary lineage organization with branches in the United States and France, founded in 1783 to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the  Revolutionary War officers. The city of Cincinnati, Ohio, then a small village, was named after the Society.

André was exhumed in 1821 at the Duke of York’s request- killing a peach-tree in the process, as its roots had twined around his skull – and sent home to London, where he has a memorial in Westminster Abbey.   He was buried with the funeral service in front of his monument in Westminster Abbey on 28 November. A small lozenge stone marks the grave.

Monument to Major John Andre in the nave of Westminster Abbey.

Monument to Major John Andre in the nave of Westminster Abbey.


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Battle of Wyoming and the Blackman Family

The Battle of Wyoming was an encounter during the Revolutionary War between  Patriots and Loyalists accompanied by Iroquois raiders that took place in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania on July 3, 1778.   340 Patriots were killed in the battle out of a total force of about 400 with the Iroquois raiders hunting down fleeing Patriots.  On the British and Iroquois side, 3 killed, 8 wounded.

Exaggerated and fabricated reports of the massacres of prisoners and atrocities at Wyoming infuriated the American public leading to tragic consequences for the Iroquois.

Battle of Wyoming – Depiction of the battle by Alonzo Chappel, 1858

The Blackman Family Adventure

Elisha Blackman moved from Connecticut to Wilkes-Barre in June 1772 and purchased a lot in the “Third Division” of the township. He is listed in the Wilkes-Barre tax-lists for 1776, *77 and ’78. In May, 1777, he was established and commissioned Ensign of the *’2d Alarm List Company in the 24th (or Westmoreland) Regiment of Connecticut Militia.”

Teenage son Eleazer aided in strengthening the defenses of Fort Wilkes-Barre—by hauling logs with an ox-team, and digging in the trenches.  He said says: “I was then a boy of about thirteen, but was called on to work in the fortifications. With spade and pick I could not do much, but I could drive oxen and haul logs.” Every sinew from childhood to old age was thus put in requisition.”

During the battle of Wyoming, Elisha Sr  was garrisoned at  Fort Wilkes-Barre.

“Capt. William Hooker Smith and Ensign Elisha Blackman, Sr., of the 2d Alarm List Company, with a handfnl of their men, served as a garrison; while James Bidlack, Sr., of Plymouth, Captain of the 1st Alarm List Company, in command of a very small number of his men, performed a similar duty at Shawnee Fort in Plymouth.”

The next morning (July 4th) Ensign Blackman said to his wife: “Take the children and make the best of your way to a place of safety; we must stay and defend the fort.” The family set out by the “Warrior Path.” taking with them two horses; but in their alarm and distress took no provisions. They got on their way a scanty supply of huckleberries, but on the third day, having reached the German settlements in Northampton County, they were kindly cared for and supplied with proper food. They finally arrived at their old home in Connecticut.

Late in the morning of July 4th Ensign Blackman was joined at the fort by his son Elisha Jr, who had escaped from the battlefield, and in the afternoon they set out on foot for Fort Penn. Ensign Blackman’s house and barn and their contents were totally destroyed when Wilkes-Barre was burnt by the Indians. He also lost his oxen and other stock, with the exception of two cows.

His son, Elisha Blackman Jr.  took part in the battle of Wyoming as a private in the “Lower Wilkes-Barre Company,” commanded by Capt. James Bidlack, Jr. [38 men].  In the hardest part of the battle he saw his brother-in-law, Darius Spafford, fall mortally wounded, and he became so intent on avenging his death that it was some time before he discovered that the Americans were losing ground. In the flight from the field he and a companion headed for the river. Indians chased them and called to them to surrender, assuring them that they would not be hurt. Blackman did not surrender, but his companion did, only to have his skull immediately split open with a tomahawk.

Robert Stray Wolf of Ralston plays an Oneida Indian during the “Escape from Wyoming” re-enactment in July 2010 in Mount Cobb. Mr. Stray Wolf said the Oneidas helped American colonists during the battle.

Blackman strained every nerve to escape, and did so by swimming to Monocanock Island—with the bullets fired by the pursuing savages whistling about his head. He remained in hiding on the island until after nightfall, and then made his way to Forty Fort. The next morning he set out for Wilkes-Barre, and, as previously mentioned, reached the fort here shortly before noon. Miner says (“Wyoming,” Appendix, page 33) that only eight members of Captain Bidlack s company escaped from the battle-ground on July 3, 1778: Ensign Daniel Downing, Serg’t Jabez Fish, Serg’t Phineas Spafford, Elisha Blackman, Jr., Samuel Carey, M. Mullen, Thomas Porter, drummer, and one other.

Ensign Downings Escape Battle of Wyoming  (but we can imagine this was Elisha Blackman Jr)

Ensign Downings Escape Battle of Wyoming (but we can imagine this was Elisha Blackman Jr)

The two Elishas made their way to Fort Penn in due time, but later they both returned to Wilkes Barre and were in service there as early, at least, as August 9, 1778, in the detachment of militia commanded by Lieut. Col. Zebulon Butler. Some time later in 1778, or perhaps early in 1779,

Ensign Elisha Blackman joined his wife and children in Connecticut, where, in April, 1780, he was one of the signers of a memorial presented to the General Assembly of Connecticut by certain Wyoming refugees who were then temporarily residing in Connecticut. ) In 1787 Elisha Blackman returned to Wilkes-Barre, whither his sons had preceded him in 1786, and here he lived until his death, Sep 10, 1804.

After the battle, settlers spread rumors that the Iroquois raiders had hunted and killed fleeing Patriots before using ritual torture against thirty to forty who had surrendered, until they died


The Wyoming Valley is a region of northeastern Pennsylvania, it is also known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, after its principal cities,

In 1629 King Charles II of England gave Connecticut the land between the 41st and 42nd parallels of latitude and west to the “south sea.” This grant included the Connecticut Western Reserve was land claimed by Connecticut from 1662 to 1800 in the Northwest Territory in what is now mostly part of Northeast Ohio.

In 1681 King Charles gave the same parallels west of the Delaware River to William Penn. So this land was claimed by both states, by Connecticut, as its western reserve, and by Pennsylvania. To perfect its claim, a state had to have a charter from the king, purchase the land from the Indians, and its citizens had to establish possession. Both states formed land companies. The land companies sold land to people in their respective states who wished to settle on the land. The same land was, therefore, sold to different people.

Among the Connecticut settlers in the Wyoming Valley were some Scotch and Dutch families from the Mohawk Valley. About thirty of them, suspected of being Tories, were arrested at the beginning of the war, and sent to Connecticut for trial. They were released for want of evidence, returned to the Mohawk, joined the Tory partisan corps of Johnson and Butler, and waited for a chance of vengeance on their persecutors.  According to the Tory, Richard McGinnis, the Wyoming Battle and Massacre were retribution for the Americans having rounded up and sent the Tory men  Connecticut prisons, and leaving their families homeless.

“Several persons who were suspected of Tory sentiments had been arrested and sent to Connecticut by the Committees of Inspection and in the autumn of this year [1777] several scouting parties were sent by the same committee up the river and between thirty and forty Tories were arrested, some of them taken with arms in their hands. A conspiracy among them to bring the Tioga Indians on the settlement was broken up by the arrest of these Tories.”

“The most suspicious….were arrested and sent to Connecticut.”

In 1777, British General John Burgoyne led a campaign to gain control of the Hudson River in the American Revolutionary War. Burgoyne was forced to surrender after the Battles of Saratoga in October, and news of his surrender prompted France to enter the war as an American ally. Concerned that the French might attempt to retake parts of New France that had been lost in the French and Indian War (something they did not know the treaty specifically forbade), the British adopted a defensive stance in Quebec, and recruited Loyalists and Indians to engage in a frontier war along the northern and western borders of the Thirteen Colonies.

John Butler (1728–1796)

John Butler (1728–1796)

Colonel John Butler recruited a regiment of Loyalists for the effort, while Seneca chiefs Sayenqueraghta and Cornplanter recruited primarily Senecas and Joseph Brant recruited primarily Mohawks for what essentially became a guerrilla war against frontier settlers. By April 1778 the Seneca were raiding settlements on the Allegheny and Susquehanna Rivers, and by early June these three groups met at the Indian village of Tioga, New York, where Butler and the Senecas decided to attack the Wyoming Valley while Brant and the Mohawks (who had already raided Cobleskill in May) went after communities further north.

American military leaders, including Washington and Lafayette, also attempted to recruit Iroquois, primarily as a diversion to keep the British in Quebec busy. Their recruitment attempts met with more limited success, with Oneidas  and  Tuscaroras declaring their support (since the Seneca, Mohawk, and other western Iroquois were now their enemies).

Two full companies, out of 3,000 inhabitants, had been raised in the valley for the Continental army, and its only defenders were old men, brave women, teenagers, and a handful of trained soldiers.  These, 400 in number were led by Colonel Zebulon Butler (no relation), assisted by Colonel Denison, Lieutenant-colonel Dorrance, and Major Garratt,.

The Battle of Wyoming

Position of the Wyoming Forts:  A marks the site of Fort Durkee; B, Wyoming or Wilkesbarre Fort; C, Fort Ogden; D, village of Kingston; E, Forty Fort. [This in the early histories of the Revolution is called Kingston Fort.] F, the battleground; G, Wintermoot’s Fort; H, Fort Jenkins; I, Monocasy Island; J, the three Pittstown stockades. The dot below the G marks the place of Queen Esther’s Rock. The village of Troy is upon the battleground, and that of Wilkesbarre, upon the site of Wilkesbarre Fort and its ravelins.

Position of the Wyoming Forts: A: Fort Durkee;  B:Wyoming or Wilkesbarre Fort; C: Fort Ogden; D: village of Kingston; E: Forty Fort.  F: The battleground; G: Wintermoot’s Fort; H: Fort Jenkins; I:  Monocasy Island; J:the three Pittstown stockades.

The British arrived in the valley on June 30, having alerted the settlers to their approach by killing three men working at an unprotected gristmill on June 28. The next day Colonel Butler sent a surrender summons to the militia forces at Wintermute’s (Wintermoot) fort. Terms were arranged that the defenders, after surrendering the fort with all their arms and stores, would be released on the condition that they would not again bear arms during the war. On July 3, the British saw that the defenders were gathering in great numbers outside of Forty Fort.

Battle of Wyoming Reinactment

William Caldwell was destroying Jenkin’s fort, and when the Americans were still a mile away Butler set up an ambush and directed that Fort Wintermute be set on fire. The Americans, thinking this was a retreat, advanced rapidly. Butler instructed the Seneca to lie flat on the ground to avoid observation. The Americans advanced to within one hundred yards of the rangers and fired three times. The Seneca came out of their positions, fired a volley, and attacked the Americans in close combat.

Battle of Wyoming Reinactment

Accounts indicate that the moment of contact was followed by a sharp battle lasting about forty-five minutes. An order to reposition the Patriot line turned into a frantic rout when the inexperienced Patriot militia panicked. This ended the battle and triggered the Iroquois hunt for survivors. Only sixty of the Americans managed to escape, and only five were taken prisoner.  Butler reported that 227 American scalps were taken.

Colonel Dennison surrendered Forty Fort and two other forts along with the remaining soldiers the next morning. The Americans were paroled with the condition that they not engage in hostilities for the remainder of the war. These soldiers were not harmed. Colonel Dennison and the militia did not honor the terms of their parole, and they were under arms within the year and later attacked Iroquois villages.

There was no substantial killing of non-combatants and almost no inhabitants were injured or molested after the surrender. John Butler wrote :

“But what gives me the sincerest satisfaction is that I can, with great truth, assure you that in the destruction of the settlement not a single person was hurt except such as were in arms, to these, in truth, the Indians gave no quarter.”

An American farmer wrote:

“Happily these fierce people, satisfied with the death of those who had opposed them in arms, treated the defenseless ones, the woman and children, with a degree of humanity almost hitherto unparalleled”.

According to one source, 60 bodies were found on the battlefield and another 36 were found on the line of retreat and all were buried in a common grave. According to another source 73 bodies were also buried in one hole.

“Copy of a letter from Major John Butler to Lieutenant Colonel Bolton dated Lacuwanack 8 July 1778″


On the 30th of June I arrived with about 500 Rangers and Indians at Wioming, and encamped on an eminence which overlooks the greatest part of the settlement, from whence I sent out parties to discover the situation, and strength of the Enemy, who brought in eight Prisoners, and scalps: Two loyalists who came into my camp informed me that the Rebels could muster about 800 men, who were all assembled in their Forts.

July 1st.   I marched to the distance of half a mile of Wintermonts Fort and sent in Lieutenant Turney with a Flag to demand imediate possession of it, which was soon agreed to. A flag was next sent to Jenkins’ Fort which surrendered on nearly the same conditions as Wintermonts both which are enclosed. I next summoned Forty fort the Commandant of which refused the conditions I sent him.

July 3d   parties were sent out to collect cattle, who informed me that the Rebels were preparing to attack me. This pleased the Indians highly, who observed they should be upon an equal footing with them in the woods;

at Two o’Clock we discovered the Rebels upon their march in number about four or five hundred. Between 4 & 5 o’Clock they were advanced within a mine of us; finding them determined, I ordered the Forts to be sett on fire, which deceived the Enemy into an opinion that we had retreated:

We then posted ourselves in a fine open wood, and for our greater safety lay flat upon the ground, waiting their approach. When they were within 200 yards of us, they began firing; we still continued upon the ground without returning their Fire till they had fired three Vollies: by this time they had advanced within 100 yards of us, and being quite near enough Suingerachton ordered his Indians who were upon the right to begin the attack upon our part; which was imediately well seconded by the Rangers on the left.

Our fire was so close, and well directed, that the affair was soon over, not lasting above half an hour, from the time they gave us the first fire till their flight. In this action were taken 227 Scalps and only five prisoners. The Indians were so exasperated with their loss last year near Fort Stanwix, that it was with the greatest difficulty I could save the lives of those few.

Colonel Denniston who came next day with a Minister, and four others to treat for the remainder of the settlement of Westmoreland assures me, that they have lost one Colonel two Majors, seven Captains, Thirteen Lieutenants, Eleven Ensigns, and two hundred and Sixty Eight Privates. On our side are killed one Indian, two Rangers, and Eight Indians wounded. In this incursion we have taken and destroyed eight pallisaded Forts, and burned about 1000 Dwelling Houses, all their Mills &c., we have also killed and drove off about 1000 head of horned Cattle, and sheep and swine in great numbers. But what gives us the sincerest satisfaction is, that I can with great ___ assure you that in the destruction of this settlement not a single person has been hurt of the Inhabitants, but such as were in arms, to those indeed the Indians gave no Quarter.

I have also the pleasure to inform you that the Officers and Rangers behaved during this short action highly to my satisfaction, and have always supported themselves through hunger, and fatague with great chearfullness.

I have this day sent a party of men to the Delaware to destroy a small settlement there, and to bring off prisoners. In two or three days I shall send out other parties for the same purpose if I can supply my self with Provisions, I shall harrass the adjacent country, and prevent them from getting in their harvest.

The settlement of Schohary or the Minisinks will be my next objects, both of which abound in Corn, and Cattle the destruction of which cannot fail of greatly distressing the Rebels. I have not yet been able to hear any thing of the expresses I sent to the Generals Howe & Clinton, but as I sent them by ten different routes, I am in hopes that some of them will be able to make their way to them and return.

In a few days I do myself the honour of writing to you more fully and send you a Journal of my proceeding since I left Niagara.

I am Sir, with respect,
Your most obedient & very humble Serv’t
(signed) John Butler


The battle caused a panic on the frontier, and settlers in the surrounding counties fled. About 1,000 homes and all of the forts in the area were burned in the days following the battle.

The Iroquois were enraged at the accusations of atrocities which they said they had not committed, as well as at the militia taking arms after being paroled. This would have tragic consequences at the Cherry Valley Massacre later that year. Reports of the massacres of prisoners and atrocities at Wyoming and atrocities at Cherry Valley enraged the American public.

Iroquis Reenactor

Iroquois Reenactor

The Wyoming militia led by Denisson and others, violated their parole and later that year under Colonel Hartley ascended the Susquehanna as far as Tioga, destroying Tioga and area Loyalist farms.  In 1779, the Sullivan Expedition commissioned by General George Washington methodically destroyed at least forty Iroquois villages throughout upstate New York.

The Sullivan Expedition, was an American campaign led by Major General John Sullivan and Brigadier General James Clinton against Loyalists (“Tories”) and the four nations of the Iroquois who had sided with the British in the American Revolutionary War.

The expedition occurred during the summer of 1779, beginning June 18 when the army marched from Easton, Pennsylvania, to October 3 when it abandoned Fort Sullivan, built at Tioga, to return to New Jersey, and only had one major battle, at Newtown along the Chemung River in western New York, in which about 1,000 Iroquois and Loyalists were decisively defeated by an army of 3,200 Continental soldiers.

Sullivan’s army then carried out a scorched earth campaign, methodically destroying at least forty Iroquois villages throughout the Finger Lakes region of western New York, to put an end to Iroquois and Loyalist attacks against American settlements as had occurred the previous year. The devastation created great hardships for the thousands of Iroquois refugees outside Fort Niagara  for the harsh winter of 1779-80, and many starved or froze to death. The survivors fled to British regions in Canada and the Niagara Falls and Buffalo areas.

How States Got Their Names

The massacre was depicted by the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell in his 1809 poem Gertrude of Wyoming. Because of the atrocities involved, Campbell described Joseph Brant as a “monster” in the poem, although it was later determined that he was not present,but was at Oquaga on the day of the attack.

The western state of Wyoming received its name from the U.S. Congress when it joined the Union in 1890, much to the puzzlement of its residents. Ohio Congressman J. M. Ashley suggested the name supposedly because he liked the poem by Campbell.

Back to the Blackman Family

Elisha Blackman was born 19 Sep 1717 Lebanon, CT. His parents were Elisha Blackman and Susanna Higley.  He married 22 Mar 1753 in Norwich, CT to Lucy Polley (b. 16 May 1722 Norwich, CT – d. 10 Sep 1804 Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, PA) Her parents were Mattew POLLEY  and Hannah [__?__]  Lucy first married 4 Mar 1743/44 Norwich, CT to Ebenezer Smith (1724 -1754) and had two children.  Elisha died 10 Sep 1804  in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

During the French and Indian War  Elisha Blackman served as a private in the Colonial army in three campaigns,

  • From April 10 to October 18, 1755, in the 3d Company (Robert Dcnison of New London, Captain) in the 1st Regiment of Connecticut troops, commanded by Phincas Lyman,
  • From April 8 till November 23, 1756, in the 1st, or Colonel’s, Company, in the 4th Regiment of Connecticut troops, commanded by Col. Andrew Wr.rd, Jr., of Guilford.
  • From March 24 till November 14, 1762, in the 10th Company (Azel Fitch of Lebanon. Captain) in the 2d Regiment of Connecticut troops, commanded by Col. Nathan Whiting. (See “Connecticut Historical Society’s Collections,” IX : 10, 144, 340.)

Elisha Blackman came to Wyoming for the first time in June, 1772, and in the following October, at Wilkes-Barre, he signed this petition.

“To the Honourable the General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut To be Holden at Newhaven on the second Thursday in October A. D. 1772.

“The Memorial of us the subscribers Inhabitants of Wyoming on Susquehannah and within the Colony of Connecticut Humbly Sheweth that we being Destitute of the advantages of Civil Authority which lays us under many Disadvantages by Reason of our setlers being very numerous and consequently some unruly Persons among us who commit Disorders to the great Disturbance of the Inhabitants—which to Prevent we Pray your Honours to take into your wise consideration our unhappy and Distress’d condition and either Incorporate us into a County and appoint us Proper. Authority; or annex us to some one of the Counties or in some other way grant us Relief as your Honours in your wisdom shall Think Proper—(we would Humbly suggest that some thing of this kind would not only tend to suppress vice and Immoralitys among us but Promote virtue and be a means to spread the gospel through these western parts) and your Memorialists as in Duty bound shall ever Pray.

“Dated in Wilksbarre on Susquehannah October ye 3d 1772

Copy of above Petition, Elisha Blackman’s signature is the last one in the center column

Children of Lucy and Elisha

iii.  Lucy Blackman b. 7 Sep 1755 Lebanon, CT; m.  Titus Darrow.

iv. Lovina Blackman b. 7 Sep  1757; m.  Darius Spafford, who was killed in the battle of Wyoming.   Receiving a death wound, he fell into the arms of his brother Phineas, by whose side he fought. “Brother,” said he, “I am mortally hurt; take care of Lavina.”

v. Elisha Blackman b. 4 Apr 1760 Lebanon, CT; m.  10 Jan 1788, to Anna Hurlbut (b. 5 Jan 1763) Anna’s parents were Deacon John Hurlbut and Abigail Avery. (His obituary was published in the Republican Farmer and Democratic Journal  of Dec 10 1845.) During the last ten years of his life he was a United States pensioner.

Elisha Blackman son of Elisha Blackman and Lucy Polley

Elisha Blackman, Jr. came to Wilkes-Barre in 1773, at the age of thirteen, with the other members of his father’s family.

He returned to Wilkes-Barre in Aug 1778, and was in service here as a militia-man under the command of Lieut. Colonel Butler. In the Sullivan Expedition of 1779 he served in the Wyoming militia company commanded by Capt. John Franklin.

Later in that year, or early in 1780, Elisha joined his parents and the other members of their family in Connecticut.

Early in 1781 Elisha Blackman, Jr., enlisted as a private in the company of Capt. Selah Benton of Stratford, in the 5th Regiment, Connecticut Line, commanded by Lieut. Col. Isaac Sherman,and served till the latter part of June, 1782. He was honorably discharged from the service at Fishkill, New York, and thence he went to the home of his parents in Lebanon. There he subsequently learned the trade of a tanner and currier, and in 1786, in company with his brothers Ichabod and Eleazar, he returned to Wilkes-Barre. The three brothers built a log house on the lot of their father—on South Main Street, between the present Academy and Sullivan Streets. [There’s a small shopping center there now]

Elisha Blackman, Jr.. was commissioned First Lieutenant of the Light Infantry Company attached to the “1st Regiment of Militia in Luzerne County,*’ commanded by Lieut. Col. Matthias Hollenback. In 1791 Lieutenant Blackman bought a tract of land in Hanover Township, to which he removed and which he cleared up and converted into a farm. His wife died there January 6, 1828. There he resided until his death, which occurred December 5, 1845. (His obituary was published in the Republican Farmer and Democratic Journal of December 10, 1845.) During the last ten years of his life he was a United States pensioner.

vi. Ichabod Blackman b. 24 Mar 1762  Lebanon, CT. d. Apr 1798, he was accidentally drowned in the Susquehanna River while crossing it in a canoe near the mouth of Sugar Creek, on a very dark night.

Ichabod was eleven years old when he came with his parents and the other members of their family to Wilkes-Barre. At the time of the irruption of the Tories and Indians into Wyoming Valley Ichabod Blackman was 17 years old, and, being within the age limit  fixed by the militia laws of Connecticut, was an enrolled member of the 24th Regiment. With his father and elder brother, Elisha, Jr., he took part in the military expedition from Forty Fort to Sutton’s Creek, July 1, 1778, as described on page 990. Whether or not Ichabod took part in the battle of Wyoming is not now known. It is-quite probable that he was one of the garrison at Fort Wilkes-Barre. He fled from the Valley with his mother, sisters and younger brother, and, making his way with them to Connecticut, remained there until 1786, when he returned to Wilkes-Barre. The same year he was married at Goshen, New York, to Elizabeth Franklin (born at Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1760), daughter of Arnold Franklin of Hanover Township in Wyoming Valley.

In 1700 Ichabod Blackman removed with his wife and child from Wilkes-Barre to Sheshequin, where he settled on, and cleared up, a large tract of land now owned by one of his descendants. In the month of April, 1798, he was accidentally drowned in the Susquehanna River while crossing it in a canoe near the mouth of Sugar Creek, on a very dark night. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth (who was subsequently married to Timothy Winship).

viii. Eleazar Blackman b. 31 May 1765 Lebanon, CT;  m.  7 Oct 1786, at Wilkes-Barre, to Clorinda Hyde, daughter of John Hyde, originally of New London County, Connecticut, but then an inhabitant of Wilkes-Barre, residing on Lot No. 29 of the “Second Division” of the township.  Major Blackman died at his home 10 Sep 1843, and was buried two days later with the honors of Free Masonry.

Eleazar was eight years old when he came with his parents to Wilkes-Barre. In the Spring of 1778, as a boy of thirteen, he aided in strengthening the defenses of Fort Wilkes-Barre—by hauling logs with an ox-team, and digging in the trenches.  He said says: “I was then a boy of about thirteen, but was called on to work in the fortifications. With spade and pick I could not do much, but I could drive oxen and haul logs.” Every sinew from childhood to old age was thus put in requisition.”

After the battle of July 3d he fled from the Valley with his mother, sisters and brother, as previously related, and proceeded to Lebanon, Connecticut, where he remained until his return to Wilkes-Barre in 1780. (Some years later he removed to Hanover Township.)

Eleazar Blackman settled in Wilkes-Barre. “In the progress of the settlement and opening up of the country be mingled actively in the business of life, held public stations—both civil and military— and during his entire life enjoyed the respect and esteem of all who knew him.” In 1788 he was a private in the “Troop of Light Dragoons” raised and commanded by Capt. John Paul Schott. In 1790 he was a private in the company of Light Infantry (commanded by his brother, Lieut. Elisha Blackman, Jr.) attached to the “1st Regiment of Militia in Luzerne County,” commanded by Lieut. Col. Matthias Hollenback. In September, 1800, he was elected and commissioned Captain of the “First Troop of Horse,” 2d Brigade, 8th Division, Pennsylvania Militia. This position he held for a number of years, and in 1812 he attained the rank of Major in the militia. From 1801 till 1803 he was one of the Commissioners of Luzerne County; and from 1808 till 1810 Treasurer of the County. He was made a Free Mason in Lodge No. 61, F. and A. M., Wilkes-Barre, November 2, 1795, and was Secretary of the Lodge in 1797, Senior Warden in 1798, ’99, 1800, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’13, ’14, ’16 and ’16, Treasurer in 1806, and Worshipful Master in 1804 and 1809.

Major Blackman, for many years prior to his death, lived on his farm in Wilkes-Barre near the Hanover Township line and not far from the foot of the mountain. Prior to 1830 he opened up a “coal-bed” on this farm, and thenceforward, for a number of years, he carried on in a small way the business of coal-mining in addition to his farming operations.  In time this coal-bed became known as the “Blackman Mine, and years later—when the operations -had become more extensive—the mine was known as the “Franklin.”

Epilogue  – Setting the Record Straight

Wyoming Monument –  It was not almost four months after the battle, October 22, 1778 that a recovery party felt the region safe enough to return to begin recovery of the bodies of those slain in the battle. The remains were gathered and interred in a common grave, In 1833, the bones were re-interred in a vault under the present monument. On Aug  2, 2008, the monument was struck by lightning, causing some damage and putting the monument in need of repairs.

There were many lurid and erroneous reports about the Battle of Wyoming and its aftermath. For example:

“They then proceeded to the only remaining fortt called WilkeHwroujth, which, in hopes of obtaining mercy, was surrendered without resistance, or without even demanding any conditions. Here the tragedy was renewed with aggravated horrors. They found here about seventy of that sort of militia who are engaged by the different Provinces merely for the guard and defence of their respective frontiers, and who are not called to any other service. With these, as objects of particular enmity, the slaughter was begun, and they were butchered with every possible circumstance of the most deliberate, wanton and savage cruelty. The remainder of the men, with the women and children, not demanding so much particular attention, were shut up as before in the houses, which being set on fire, they perished all together in the flames.

On December 20, 1820, it appeared in the National Gazelle,  and a copy of that issue of the paper falling into the hands of Gen. Lord Butler of Wilkes-Barre, eldest son of Col. Zebulon Butler, then deceased, he wrote to the editor of the National Gazette a letter, to which the written and signed statements of three survivors of the battle of Wyoming were appended. These communications were not designed to form a full historical relation of the events of July 3d and 4th, 1778, but were intended, simply, to point out and correct the errors in Botta’s history, and to remove the false and injurious impressions which such an account was calculated to make upon the public mind with reference to the principal actors in the events described. General Butler’s communication and the accompanying statements were not only printed in full in the National Gazette, but were reprinted in other newspapers, and they read as follows:

“The account as given in the extract is, perhaps, the most incorrect narrative of events that ever found its way into the history of any transaction ever before published, and particularly of one so highly interesting. Indeed, there is scarcely a solitary truth in the whole extract. Most of the circumstances are wholly fabrications; and others are so misrepresented and distorted as hardly to be recognized. That a true estimate may be put upon it, I will point out some of its most prominent deviations from truth and fact.

“In the first place, Col. Zebulon Butler, at the time spoken of, had not the command of the ‘ whole colony,’ as stated in the extract. He was a [Lieutenant] Colonel in Washington’s army, but, happening to be in this part of the country on a furlough, he was requested to give his assistance, and take the command of the men in case it should be necessary to fight. Further, it is not true that Zebulon Butler was a cousin of John, the commander of the enemy’s forces. There was no relationship subsisting between them, [so] of course the influence which the writer of the extract would seem to draw from that circumstance, must fail. It is not true that Col. Zebulon Butler was drawn out of the fort by the ‘lavish promises’ of his enemy ‘that, if he would consent to a parley in the open field, the siege would be raised, and every thing accommodated.’ Nor is it true that he [Col. Zebulon Butler] marched out for that purpose, and ‘ from motives of caution took with him four hundred men, well armed.’ The fact is, the only conference he marched out to was a battle; the only parley he expected was the point of the bayonet.

“The whole number of men under his [Zebulon Butler’s] command that day was about 30-50, and it has since been ascertained that the enemy’s force amounted to from 1,000 to 1,500. The battle was fought sooner than Colonel Butler wished. He advised delay, hoping to ascertain the force, position and intentions of the enemy; [hoping] that succours would arrive, and that he then would be able to meet the enemy to more advantage. But as he had no right to the submission of either the officers or their men—except what they voluntarily paid him—he was obliged to forego his own opinion, and consent to lead them on. Another circumstance obliged him to take this course. There were some brave men among them, but who were as rash and imprudent as they were brave, who were determined to fight that day, or leave the fort and return to their homes.

“It is not a fact that Colonel Butler and his men were enticed into the ‘ dismal solitudes ‘ and ‘thick forests ‘ by a ‘ flag,’ and there ‘completely surrounded’ by the enemy. All that is said in the extract about the ‘ unfortunate American ‘ being ‘ without suspicion of the peril he was in,’ continuing ‘to press forward,’ &c, and 1 being awakened but too soon from this dream of security,’ &c, is false! So far from the Americans having been ‘surprised’ by the British and Indians—had it not been for the imprudence of a few men (sent forward as an advance guard) in firing upon some Indians whom they discovered setting fire to a house, the enemy themselves would in all probability have been taken by surprise, and obliged to engage under many disadvantages.

“The Americans, instead of forming into ‘a compact column,’ fought in a line, on the left of which there was a marsh. The British and Indians, being more than twice as numerous as the Americans, endeavored to outflank them by going around and through this marsh. Colonel Denison, who was a Colonel of the militia, and properly the commander of the ‘whole colony,’ and who had taken charge of the left wing, perceiving the intentions-of the enemy, took prompt measures to defeat their expectations, and gave the necessary orders to effect it.  It was in the execution of these orders that the confusion began! And though Colonel Denison, and the other officers on that wing, did all that men could do to prevent it, the left wing gave way. The right wing was at this time beating the enemy back and advancing upon them.

“Col. [Zebulon] Butler, who had continued on horseback throughout the day, finding that the right was doing well, left it and rode towards the left. When he got a little more than half-way down the line he discovered the men were retreating, and that he was between the two lines, near the advancing line of the enemy. The rout soon became general, notwithstanding the extraordinary efforts of the officers, most of whom were killed in their attempts to rally the men, and bring them again to the charge. It is not true that ‘about sixty men escaped,’ and with Zebulon Butler made their way good to ‘ a redoubt on the opposite bank of the Susquehanna;’ for Colonel Butler, when he found it impossible to rally the scattered troops, instead of seeking his own safety by leaving the field instantly, collected four or five men, made them retain their arms and keep together. These he ordered to fire when any of the enemy approached, and by this means brought them safe to the fort at Kingston.

“As it was impossible to defend this fort [Forty Fort], all the men having been killed in the battle except about forty or fifty (not more than ten or twelve of whom came to the fort), he proceeded to Wilkesbarre, which is about two miles distant, and on the opposite side of the river. Colonel Denison having had a conference with the enemy, next morning sent Col. Zebulon Butler word that they [the enemy] would give no quarter to Continental officers or soldiers. He [Colonel Butler] then hastened into Northampton County. Colonel Denison well knew that the fort in Kingston could not be defended with any prospect of success. He therefore did not make the attempt, but obtained what terms he could from the enemy, and surrendered. There were but few men left, and the fort was crowded with women and children.

“It is not true that Colonel Denison ‘surrendered at discretion,’ nor is it true that the savages ‘enclosed the men, women and childien promiscuously in the houses and barracks, to which they set fire, and consumed all within.’ True they robbed and plundered, contrary to the articles of capitulation, but they killed no one. Finally, it is not a fact that at Wilkesbarre the ‘soldiers of the garrison,’ were (as stated in the extract) ‘put to death;’ nor were the ‘men, women and children burned, as before, in the barracks and houses.’ The British and Indians did not come to Wilkesbarre until the second day after the battle, and then they found the fort and town entirely abandoned. They plundered and burnt every house, except two or three small ones, but there was not an individual killed.

“To perpetuate truth is, or ought to be, the object of history; at all events, history should never be made the vehicle of falsehood. If it be deemed of sufficient interest and importance to the public that any account of the battle of Wyoming should be registered, it certainly is of importance that that account should be correct and authentic. That a true narrative of that transaction may be incorporated into history, is one reason why I have noticed the extract. But it is also due to the memory of Col. Zebulon Butler, and to the feelings of his numerous descendants, that the odium which the account in the extract has so unjustly heaped upon his character should be removed. To do this the more effectually, I add a brief abstract of his military career. * * * *

“Upon the breaking out of the American Revolution, he entered the service of his country in the army under Washington; was a Lieutenant Colonel,and at the close of the war commanded one of the best regiments in the whole army. Colonel Butler was the personal friend of General Washington. I have seen letters from the General to him after the close of the war, written in very friendly terms, proving that Washington, at least, had full confidence in his capacity, integrity and patriotism. It is indeed strange, that after so long a service in both British and American armies, he never before was discovered to have been a coward and a traitor, if he really were such. And yet perhaps this need not be wondered at, when even the brave, the intrepid Putnam has, since his death, been accused of cowardice!

“A desire to be strictly and critically correct in my statement of facts, has unavoidably occasioned some delay in forwarding my letter to you. What I have stated are facts—you may rely on their accuracy. For your satisfaction on this head, however, I send you the certificates of Judge Hollenback and others (who were in the battle) corroborating and substantiating my allegations. Certificates to the same effect might have been obtained from all the survivors of that day’s disasters, who yet live in this part of the country, but it was not tho’t necessary. It is my intention, at some future period, to send you an authentic narrative of the battle of Wyoming, embracing the transactions of several weeks, and perhaps months, both previous and subsequent, which if it should meet your approbation, you will be at liberty to publish.

“I am Vours, &c, [Signed] “Lord Butler.” “Wilkesbarre, Dec. 20, 1820.

Elisha Blackman Jr. certified the above letter as follows:

“I do certify that I was in the battle of Wyoming, fought on the 3d day of July, 1778, and that I am well acquainted with the facts as they took place on that day, and subsequently. I have read the account published in the National Gazette of the 6th insl., and know that most of the circumstances related, and especially the material ones, are absolutely false. I have read, also, the above letter of Lord Butler, Esq., and from personal knowledge, as well as from the information obtained at the time, know the facts therein stated to be correct. I also certify that I was stationed about the centre of the line [of battle], and saw Col. Zebulon Butler, about the time the retreat commenced, riding from the right to the left, between the two contending lines, and saw him turn his horse, ride after his men, and endeavor to stop them. I never heard, until I saw the account above referred to, any blame imputed to Col. Zebulon Butler for his conduct on that, or any other occasion. [Signed] “Elisha Blackman.*”

“December 26, 1820.

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