Matthew Polley

Matthew POLLEY (1689 –  1750) was Alex’s 7th great grandfather, one of 256 in this generation of the Miner line.

Matthew Polley (Polly) was born in March 1689 in Woburn Mass.  His parents were John POLLEY Sr. and Mary EDWARDS.  He married Hannah [__?__] about 1718.  After Hannah died, he married Abigail Gilbert on 17 Apr 1738 at the First Church in New London, CT.  Mathew died in 1750.

Hannah [__?__] was born about 1696 and died before 1738.

Abigail Gilbert was born 17 Mar 1689. Abigail died 3 Oct 1742 in Bozrah, CT

Children of Matthew and Hannah:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Ebenezer Polley 3 May 1719 Norwich, CT Ruth Richmond
4 Mar 1747 Lebanon, New London, CT
2. Abigail Polley 12 Apr 1720 Norwich, CT
3. Lucy Polley 16 May 1722 Norwich, CT Ebenezer Smith
4 Mar 1743/44 Norwich, CT
Elisha Blackman
22 Mar 1753 Norwich, CT
10 Sep 1804 Wilkes Barre, Luzerne, PA
4. Jonathan Polley 28 Sep 1723 Norwich, CT Prudence Dewolf
Jan 1758
5. Samuel Polley 7 Nov 1725 Norwich, CT 17 Dec 1762 New York
6. Matthew Polley 5 Aug 1728 Norwich, CT Martha Hosmer
29 Dec 1751 – Middletown, CT
Susanna Spicer
14 Nov 1754 Bozrah, CT
7. John POLLEY 20 Apr 1731 Norwich, CT Thankful Walters
16 Mar 1752 Bozrah, CT
Zervia JOHNSON Loomer
6 Jun 1764 Lebanon, CT
20 Apr 1731 Norwich CT


1. Ebenezer Polley

Ebenezer’s wife Ruth Richmond was born 1723 in Taunton, Bristol, Mass. Her parents were William Richmond (1715 – 1735) and [__?__] Macomber. After Ebenezer died, she married James Hall. Ruth died in 24 Feb 1799 in Raynham, Bristol, Mass

Children of Ruth Richmond and Ebenezer Polly are:

i. Prosper Polly b. 7 Jun 1749 in Lebanon, New London, CT; d. ~1830 New York; m. Sarah [__?__]

Corporal Prosper Polly, Capt. Caleb Hyde’s company, Col. James Easton’s Regiment.; marched May 10, 1775; service, 5 days; company marched from Lenox on an alarm at Ticonderoga;

Also, Capt. Aaron Rowley’s company, Col. Benjamin Simonds’s (Berkshire Co.) Regiment.; entered service April 26, 1777; discharged May 19, 1777; service, 24 days; company called out by Maj. Gen. Gates and ordered to march to Saratoga;

also, Sergeant, Capt. Oliver Belding’s company, Major Caleb Hyde’s detachment of militia; entered service Jul 8 1777; discharged Jul 26 1777; service, 19 days, in Northern department; also, Capt. Oliver Belding’s co., Col. John Brown’s regiment.; entered service Sept. 21, 1777; discharged Oct 14, 1777; service, 24 days, at the Northward; roll sworn to in Berkshire Company

ii. Hannah Polly b. 19 Apr 1751 in Lebanon, New London, CT

3. Lucy Polley

Lucy’s first husband Ebenezer Smith was born 4 Oct 1724 in Woburn, Mass. His parents were James Smith and Elizabeth Rogers.  Ebenezer died 3 Jul 1754.

Lucy’s second husband Elisha Blackman was born 19 Sep 1727 in Lebanon, CT. His parents were Elisha Blackman and Susannah Higley. Elisha died 10 Sep 1804 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

Children of Lucy and Ebenezer

i. Capt. Ebenezer Smith b. 30 Dec 1745 in Lebanon, New London, CT; d. 08 Sep 1816 in New Marlborough, Mass.; m. 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 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.

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.

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.

He 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 Andre 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)

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,

By the end of the war, after more than eight years service, Ebenezer was the longest serving captain in the Massachusetts Line. He 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.

For more about Ebenezer’s Revolutionary experiences see my post Ebenezer Smith – Oldest Captain in the Massachusetts Line

ii. Maj. David Smith b. 2 Dec 1747 in Lebanon, New London, CT; 16 Oct 1814 in Litchfield, Litchfield, Ct; m. Ruth Hitchcock (b. 4 Mar 1749/50 in Suffield, Hartford, CT – d. 8 Nov 1832 in Batavia, Genesee, New York) Ruth’s parents were Aaron Hitchcock (1715 – 1808) and Experience Kent (1716 – 1795) David and Ruth had four children between 1770 and 1784.

Captain Connecticut State Troops, Brigade Major and Brigade Inspector Connecticut Continental Regiments.

Capt. in Samuel Elmore’s State Regiment.  Some Continental infantry regiments and smaller units, also unrelated to a state quota, were raised as needed for special or temporary service. Elmore’s Regiment, raised in 1776 for the defense from Canada, was an example of such an “extra” regiment.

Elmore's Regiment Source: The Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service During the ... By John Ed. Johnston, Connecticut Historical Society

Elmore’s Regiment Source: The Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service During the …
By John Ed. Johnston, Connecticut Historical Society

Elmore's Regiment 2

Capt Smith's Company 1

Capt Smith's Company 2

Capt Smith's Company 3

Smith’s company was posted at Germann Flats, Herkimer, New York.   This was one of the original areas of the Burnetsfield Patent in the province of New York, where in 1722-1723, Governor Burnet granted Palatine German immigrants leases to purchase land from the Mohawk, one of the powerful nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. It was the first land sold to Europeans west of Schenectady. During the 18th-century warfare in the valley, the village was attacked by French and Iroquois forces during the French and Indian War (Seven Years War), and many women and children were taken to Canada as captives.

In addition to intermittent raids, during the Revolutionary War, the village was attacked in September 1778 by British forces, as well as Iroquois led by the Mohawk chief Joseph Brant. Residents retreated to Fort Herkimer, which they built on the south bank of the Mohawk River.

David Smith served much of the time under General Lafayette .  He was at the battles of Monmouth and Red Fort and 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 Washingtonattacked the rear of the British Army column commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton as they left Monmouth Court House.

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

After the war, David was president of the Society of the Cincinnati in Connecticut.

Lucy’s second husband Elisha Blackman was born 19 Sep 1717 Lebanon, CT. His parents were Elisha Blackman and Susanna Higley. Elisha died 10 Sep 1804 in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania.

Elisha and Lucy Blackman were pioneers in the Wyoming Valley, a region of northeastern Pennsylvania, it is also known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, after its principal cities,

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

About that time Elia was admitted an inhabitant in the township of Wilkes-Barre, and became the owner of a lot in the “Third Division” of the township. His name will be found 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,” .

I put the Blackman family adventures in context in my post Battle of Wyoming

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

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.

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 FortWilliam 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. Some of the victorious Loyalists and Iroquois killed and tortured an unknown number of prisoners and fleeing soldiers. 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.

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.

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.

Back to the Blackman family adventures

Late in the morning of July 4th Ensign Blackman was joined at the fort by his son Elisha, 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 the death of the latter 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. (source  ?)

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.

Battle of Wyoming Reinactment

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.

Children of Lucy and Elisha

iii.  Lucy Blackman b. 7 Sep 1755 Lebanon, CT; d. 19 Jun 1825 Plymouth, Litchfield, CT; Burial: Old Burying Ground Plymouth; m. 30 Oct 1789 – Scotland, Windham, CT to Capt. Titus Darrow (b. 15 Feb 1753 East Haven, New Haven, CT – d. 25 Jan 1841 Plymouth, Litchfield, CT; Burial: Old Burying Ground Plymouth) Titus’ parents were Ebenezer Darrow and Lydia Austin.

Titus was a soldier in the revolution and participated in the battle of Saratoga and the capture of Burgyone.

iv. Lovina Blackman b. 7 Sep  1757; d. 3 Jul 1778 in Connecticut; m.  Darius Spafford (b. 4 Jan 1749 in Windham, Windham, CT – d. 3 July 1778 in Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania) His parents were Asa Spafford (1725 – 1808) and Huldah (Hulda) Flint (1728 – ). He 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 Jr.  b. 4 Apr 1760 Lebanon, CT;  d. 5 Dec 1845 Wilkes-Barre, PA; m.  10 Jan 1788, to Anna Hurlbut (b. 5 Jan 1763 –  d. 6 Jan 1828 Wilkes-Barre, PA) Anna’s parents were Deacon John Hurlbut and Abigail Avery.

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.

Elisha Blackman, Jr., returned to Wilkes-Barre in August, 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.  During the last ten years of his life he was a United States pensioner.

vi. Ichabod Blackman b. 24 Mar 1762  Lebanon, CT. d.   April, 1798 Towanda, Bradford Co, PA; 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. m. oshen, New York to Elizabeth Franklin (b. 1767 in Litchfield, CT – d. 09 Jun 1809 in Hornbrook, PA) Elizabeth’s parents were Jonathan Franklin (1744 – 1778) and Ruth Hicock (1727 – 1777). After Ichabod died, Elizabeth married to Timothy Winship.

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.

Dec 21 1780 – Ichabod was on the muster roll Nov/Dec as a private in Lt Col Sumner’s 4th Connecticut Regiment

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 returned to Wilkes-Barre about 1784. In 1786 he was married at Goshen, NY, to Elizabeth, daughter of Jonathan Franklin. Five years later, in 1791, he removed to Sheshequin, where he settled on, and cleared up, a large tract of land later owned by his grandson, George W. Blackman. He built a log house opposite the present Blackman residence, and afterwards a hewed log house on the upper end of the farm. Mr. Blackman was a shoemaker by occupation, and frequently made a pair of shoes at night after the severe labors of the day in the forest were over. In the month of April, 1798, he was drowned near the mouth of Sugar Creek, while crossing the river in a canoe on a very dark night. The children of Ichabod and Elizabeth Blackman were Franklin, Elisha and David S.

viii. Eleazar Blackman b. 31 May 1765 Lebanon, CT; d. 10 Sep 1843 – Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne, Pennsylvania;  m.  7 Oct 1786, at Wilkes-Barre, to Clorinda Hyde (b. 14 Feb 1769 in Canterbury, CT – d. 1829) Clorinda’s parents were John Hyde (1729 – 1759) and Mary Thompson (1731 – 1750). 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.  Eleazer and Clorinda had eleven children born between 1788 and 1811.

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.”


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.

4. Jonathan Polley

Jonathan’s wife Prudence Dewolf was born 24 Oct 1739 in Middletown, Connecticut.  Her parents were Joseph DeWolf and Tabitha Johnson. After Jonathan died, she married Simeon Stow (b. 24 Nov 1736 – d. 13 Apr 1823 Wood Creek Cemetery, Whitehall, Washington, New York)  Prudence died 8 Jun 1823 in Whitehall, Washington, New York.

In the French & Indian War, Jonathan was a sergeant in Capt. Peter Van Der Burgh’s Company of New York Provincial Troops from August 1 -31, 1755 and a sergeant in Capt. Michael Thodey’s Company from October 1-31, 1755.

Prudence helped raise her daughter Susanna’s children after Susanna’s death. The Dewolf name was called Dolph at the time. She is the fourth generation from Balthazar DeWolf, who was a German speaking native of Silesia, modern Poland. Prudence’s first husband was Jonathan Polley, who died in Tolland CT ca 1762. They had sons Joseph and Jonathan, who are probably buried here. Her second marriage produced Rebecca, Susanna, and John Stowe. Susanna, first wife of Aaron Osgood III, died at 29 at the birth of her 8th child; her grave Wood Creek Cemetery, WhitehallWashington County New York, but is hard to find in the rubble of stones that abound here. Susanna’s granddaughter, Prudence Osgood Allard, named for this Prudence, is buried in Fair Haven VT.

Simeon Stow was a soldier of the Revolution. Spelled STOW on his stone, and that of his wife, Prudence. One of the few stones standing in this section of the cemetery, which is in very poor shape.

Children of Jonathan and Prudence:

i. Joseph Polley b. 31 Oct 1758 in Hebron, Tolland CT

ii. Jonathan Polley b. 26 Oct 1759 in Windham, Windham, CT; d. 31 May 1840 in Ft Ann, Washington, New York; Burial: Wood Creek Cemetery, Whitehall, Washington, New York; m. Rachel Hubbard (b. 29 Aug 1770 in Washington, New York – d. 23 May 1821 in Whitehall, Washington, New York) Rachel’s parents were Samuel Hubbard (1723 – 1749) and Mary Stow (1729 – 1799) Jonathan and Rachel had nine children born between 1792 and 1806.

Polley-Johnson-Stow-Hubbard Family Plot

Polley-Johnson-Stow-Hubbard Family Plot — Wood Creek/Kinner Cemetery, Whitehall, Washington, New York — Stones standing in row – Jonathan Polley, Rachel Hubbard Polley, Sarah Johnson, William Johnson, Mary Stow Hubbard, Simeon Stow (leaning on Mary’s). Laying flat just to right and out of the photo is the headstone for Prudence DeWolf Polley Stow.

5. Samuel Polley

In 1762, Samuel was enlisted in the 1st Connecticut Regiment under Major-General Phineas Lyman 12th Company under Capt Seth King

6. Matthew Polley

Matthew’s first wife Martha Hosmer was born 1730 in Somers, Tolland, CT.

Matthew’s second wife Susanna Spicer’s origins are not known.

Children of Matthew and Martha:

i. Amasa Polly b. 25 Mar 1753 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut; m. 25 Feb 1778 in Suffield, Hartford, CT to Experience Austin (b. 1752 in Suffield ) Experience’s parents were Jacob Austin (1704 – 1773) and Hannah Pomeroy (1721 – 1773)

On Sep 1 1779, Amasa was an Armoer in Suffield, CT.

ii. Remembrance Polly b. 20 Sep 1757 in Somers, Tolland, CT

iii. Uriah (b. 1769 in New Jersey)

7. John POLLEY (See his page)


Vital records of Norwich, 1659-1848, Volume 1 By Norwich (Conn.), General Society of Colonial Wars (U.S.). Connecticut

A history of Wilkes-Barré, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, from its …, Volume 2 By Oscar Jewell Harvey 1909

History of Wyoming: in a series of letters, from Charles Miner, to …, Volume 3 By Charles Miner, Adam Hubley

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5 Responses to Matthew Polley

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