Sunday, June 27, 2010

Judge Hugh White pioneer Oneida county

Some of our ancestors were pretty strong-
The clouds of the American Revolution where just fading away when Hugh White a native of Middletown, Conn. and his neighbors Zepheniah Platt, Ezra L'Hommedieu and Melanethon Smith became joint proprietors of  the Sadaquada Patent. A tract of land on the western frontier about were Utica, New York now stands.  Life was comfortable their in Middletown but the drive to own land and build wealth was making the frontier a dream. They agreed to meet on the tract of land in the summer of 1784. to survey it and partition it among them.
Hugh White deciding to make this land his new home, gathered his four grown sons, his daughter and daughter-in laws and set out for Albany, from there they crossed to Schenectady were they procured a batteau and ascended the Mohawk river, west to the mouth of the Sauquoit creek arriving late in June. Hugh White selected a spot along the Indian path from Fort Schuyler to Fort Stanwix, were they built a small log cabin to live in during the coming winter. four years later he erected a fine home which he enjoyed until his death.  In January of 1785 he went to Middleton and brought his wife back to be with the family.. some years later he would become a judge and preformed that duty for Oneida county.  The first two years of residence in the log cabin was really existing- the nearest mill was situated at Palatine, a distance of about 40 miles, the pathway was just that a foot trail not wide enough to accommodate a wagon, Meat being rather scarce, they salted down several barrels of passenger pigeon breast, the birds being very plentiful then.
While living in this remote cabin his daughter was put to a test-I wonder how many girls could endure it today.
during the American Revolution which had just ended four years before Hugh built the cabin, the Oneida Indian were split in there allegiance - some of the tribe sided with the English burning and destroying  the Mohawk valley, one of these was a chief named Han Yerry, who now resided a few miles down the path with his family. One day Chief Yerry appeared at the cabin with his wife and a mulatto women who belonged to him-the conversation stated with the chief asking  "are you my friend" Yes replied White "Well then, said the Indian, do you believe I am your friend" yes answered white, I believe you are"  Well said Han Yerry if you are my friend and you believe I am your friend, I will tell you what I want, and then I shall know whether you speak true words"  "and what is it you want" replied Mr White. The old Indian chief pointed to the little grandchild, the daughter one of his sons, about three years old, and said "My squaw wants to take this papoose home with us to stay one night, and bring her home tomorrow, if you are my friend you will now show me".
The room went quiet, Hugh White was being called on to make a difficult decision, the mother stared in silence with the horror and alarm of though of in trusting her darling baby to the rude tenants of the forest. on one hand the necessity of unlimited confidence in the savage and the in trusting the welfare of his beloved grandchild. The chief was a man influence and consequence in his nation, but he had been a known enemy of his country man in the recent war.  Judge White told him to take the child.-the mother responded mechanically relinquishing her hold into the hands of the old mans wife.  That night was long and silent, as the sun came up the mother began the vigil, from a elevated place on the property she began to watch the trail. as she went about the chores of the day she found herself returning often to this place to stare down the path, but no Indian came into sight.  Noon arrived but no sign of anyone on the trail, it became herder to restrain her for by now she feared the worst.  Hugh White explained the indignity the Indian would have to endure if she went after him. The after noon was longer than the morning , just as the sun began to settle in the tree tops the shadowy figure of the old Indian with the tiny baby on the shoulders of his squaw. dressed in new complete Indian attire more Oneida Indian than white.  This established a firm friendship between the Oneida Indians and judge white. the tiny grandchild was Mrs Eells of Missouri the widow of Nathan Eells of Whitesboro, N. Y.
This is a true story, but it must have been hard turning her 3 year old daughter over to a man who 4 years earlier had been killing there friends and burning there homes-but life was pretty hard when your nearest town was 40 foot miles away

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lest we forget the real heros-Paulding, Williams, Van Wart

How many of us remember three teen age farmers from    Terrytown, John Paulding, David Williams, Isaac Van Wart. I do not recall learning about them in school. Then there is a guy named John Andre, you may remember him, there are about 200 hits on the Internet.  Without a doubt every person in America knows the name Benedict Arnold-not for his exploits and bravery in the early years of the American Revolution , no we remember him because he was a traitor. Of These five men are linked together in history  is John Paulding a self-sufficient individual
farmer was born in New York
City about 1758, a farmer in Terrytown area,
 over 6 ft tall, married three times, father of nineteen children. He died in 1818 at Staatsburgh, Dutchess Co., New York. When the American Revolution broke out he joined the Militia,  He was captured three times by the British and was able to escape each time.
Isaac Van Wart born 25 Oct 1762 died 23 May 1828 was also a farmer and militiaman from Duchess co.Born in the farm country of Greensburgh, N.Y. near Elmsford, he married Rachel Storm,
David Williams  also a militiaman, born about 1756 of Dutch ancestry.
These three young volunteers were on overnight patrol 22-23 September 1780, there had been a increase in activity of the loyalist driving cattle at night to New York City to aid the British troops posted there. While setting behind some brush taking a break they noticed a young man was fast approaching on a chestnut horse, the three men seized the traveler who they discovered was a British Officer Major John Andre, dressed not in British officers uniform , but in civilian cloths, after searching  him and finding  a map and classified material hid in his boots, they informed him he was  under arrest and they  return him to there headquarters. En route he offered these three very poor farm boys 1000 Guineas in cash [about $5,000] for his release. John Paulding having just 3 days earlier escaped from his British captors, declined the bribe and delivered Major Andre to his commander Lt.
  Col Jameson..  What a mess, Jameson did not know what to do so he sent a message to his commander at West Point, Benedict Arnold, Bad timing  the day Arnold was to hand over west point to the British and it is all falling apart, Arnold was to have dinner that night with George Washington. Another member of Lt Col Jameson staff sent message to Washington about Andre , which Washington received before arriving at West Point.  Benedict Arnold wasted no time as soon as he received the note about Andre being captured he left his wife Peggy Shippen and daughter at West Point and he fled to New York City.---
Benedict Arnold was a very successful, well to do merchant. At the outbreak of the
Revolution he volunteered,   made a Colonel he raised a regiment and captured Fort Ticonderoga 10 May 1775. After this he joined General George Washington's
Continental Army. Given command of the attack on Quebec, failed but Arnold
and his men managed to sustain the blockade. Arnold was wounded in the knee
during this time. he was promoted to Brigadier General 10 Jan 1776. When he
heard that General Burgoyne was invading New York state, he marched his
forces first to relieve the siege of Fort Stanwick then back to Saratoga, were he made two heroic attacks against the British. which were instrumental in Burgoyne's surrender. He was again wounded in the same leg. Some say his exploits at Saratoga made Gen Gates feel upstaged,  Arnold was removed from his command by Gen Gates. This did not set well with Arnold, Gen Washington a true friend of Arnold's placed him in Philadelphia as military Commander in 1778. here he met Peggy Shippen , a loyalist
Had his first wife Margaret Mansfield not died in 1775, and still been with him, history might have  played out much differently. Peggy was a very popular girl in Philadelphia, well acquainted with the handsome artistic John Andre. who was taken prisoner at the battle of St Johns 2 Nov 1775 and was living in Philadelphia, prisoner of the American Army and top intelligent officer for British Commander Clinton. very popular in Philadelphia and a very close friend of Peggy  Shippen.  When he left the City he gave Peggy a lock of his hair in a golden locket.  Later at the age of 18, she would meet and marry on April 8 1779  Benedict Arnold, age 38 they moved to new home in Mount Pleasant, on the Schuylkill River. she appears to have stayed with him until his death  in 1801 in London.   it was her friendship with Major John Andre that Arnold was brought into the plot-Andre a professional intelligent agent who's job it was to extract information from anyone that could help the British cause, latched onto Arnold who was by now unhappy about his being snubbed after the battle of Saratoga, deep in debt, no doubt being reminded by his wife Peggy of his being cast aside,  was a easy target. Arnold arranged to get the appointment to West Point, which his good friend Gen George Washington was quick to endorse.
Back to West Point, After the dinner date with Arnold's stranded wife Peggy, Washington met with his staff and gave the order to execute the captured Major John Andre by hanging as a spy. Andre pleaded with him to shoot him as a gentleman but Washington having not yet recovered from the treachery of Arnold made no effort to intervene and Major Andre having been found guilty 29 Sep 1780 at Tappan, New York of being behind American lines "under a feigned name and in a disguised habit" Andre when led to the gallows placed the rope around his own head and was hanged 2 October 1780 as a spy.

The three heroes, who brushed aside the opportunity for gold were recognized by Gen. Washington's request to the Continental Congress to award them each $200.00 annually for life, plus a silver medal struck in fine silver with "Fidelity" on one side and
"Vincit Amor Patriae" with there initials on the other. for there Fidelity
and service they gave our country. passed by congress 3 Nov 1780
and presented by General George Washington 7 Aug 1782, at which
time he also gave each a brace of silver mounted pistols. The County
also gave each man a farm in Westchester valued at about 500 pounds.,
They were allowed to stand in the inner circle when Major Andre was hung. When the state of Ohio was being formed a county was named for each man. While these men were alive they got a lot of publicity, there was also a few followers of Major Andre that tried to slander them-but time took care of that--today of the five, Benedict Arnold is the best known, Major Andre has nearly as many hits on the Internet as Arnold, and alas the three real hero's of this plot have nearly been forgotten.To add insult to injury two of the three medals John Paulding's and David Williams's [the were about of Isaac Van Wart is unknown]were donated to the New York Historical Association and while on display in a locked case in 1976 they disappeared, along with Major Andre's watch.

Today 230 years later the real heroes , willing to give up instant reward to protect our nation and prevent West Point from falling into the hands of the British are nearly forgotten while the spy and traitor are instantly recognized something wrong with this. This was the first time that a common soldier was recognized for doing anything, it was common to strike medals for officers and leaders but never before for a regular rank and file soldier.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

my Fathers Grt Grandmother Gertrude ???? Mrs Martin Lord

My father could not tell me who his grandfather was-- He knew they called him "Barny" and he married a sister of Aunt Hellen Johnson That either of these people had parents-beyond the need to know- so involved we will skip over Barny for now.
If he did not know anything about his grandfather suppose there was no need to think he would know who his grandfather's parents.
We lived most of our lives in Nelliston, New York maybe 12 miles from Johnstown, New York between the two villages is Fort Hunter were my dads father lived, he died in 1935 so I could not question him, there is a possibility he may have known his grandfather who lived in Johnstown but he must not have shared this with my dad.

After several years of research which is a story in itself we found out the man in question was Martin Rooney Lord, lived his adult life in Johnstown, owned a slaughter house on Williams street and a meat market on main Street., he had a son the grandfather of my dad and two daughters , Emma and Jane. one married a Moore and he had a saw and file business in Johnstown and built a big three story brick building on main street.
I can not imagine how they could live so close and my dad not know.
This brings us to our story-- I researched Martin Lord's family for over 60 years, I know when he moved from Gallaway to Johnstown, when he married about 1844 Gertrude, how hard it was when the first child Myndert died 31 July 1853. I even visited the cemetery there in Johnstown and copied all there stones [good thing I did on a recent visit the lot was completely bare of head stones??] Found out they were married in Methodist church which has been torn down --no one knows where the records are.
I am used to working hard to find just the basic clues, after 60 years or plus some knowledge of the hobby has to wear off and you should know how to proceed. I was sure I was doing things right but I just could not find out what Gertudes family name was.When her husband Martin died he was in Henrietta N. Y. his body was brought back to Johnstown and a full page told the story of his life, but nothing about Mrs Martin Lord.. She went to Canada and lived with one daughter, when the daughter died Gerturde went to Henrietta to live with the other daughter.
I became so desperate to find her maiden name I spent several weeks and copied every Gertrude baptized in every church record held at Fonda, History and Archives during the period of 1805 and 1845, figured that one of 67 Gertrudes had to be her [No I never found her baptism]

Little over a 2 years ago I made my last trip from Florida to Johnstown, visited the cemetery only to find they had removed all the stones on Martin Lord Lot, no one could tell me why, caretaker said he remembered some of them??? while on this trip last day I had about a hour to waste so my wife let me out at the Johnstown Library, been there a hundred times or more when I lived in Johnstown.  This day I went to second floor they had just rearranged a card file and the custodian suggested that I look at it.  The index referred to a Mrs Martin Lord so I pulled the card and there was the clue that I had missed for over 60 years. "attending funeral service from Johnstown,  Mrs Martin Lord sister of the deceased  Eliza Van Meter w/ of Horrace Wadsworth". I managed to get a little more time from my wife next day and it took less than a hour to locate her family and extend her line back several generations. And to think that clue was right there for years and I just never found it. So if you have a brick wall- go back over your path you may have over
looked the obvious.