Monday, February 16, 2015

Chapter 38 - My Reynolds Ancestors

Until recently I knew almost nothing about the Reynolds' line of my family tree at least beyond my great grandmother Ella McBlain Reynolds (1863-1935), who is pictured to the left, her father David DeGroff Reynolds (1836-1899), and her grandfather William Reynolds (1805-1870).  All Reynolds family members beyond these individuals were a total mystery despite no lack of effort on my part trying to uncover their identities.  Recently however, I discovered that my 2nd cousin, Liz DuBois, herself a descendant of the Reynolds family, had done extensive research on our Reynolds line and she successfully uncovered the identities of our early Reynolds ancestors in this county.  I must openly admit that Liz's bulldog efforts in this regard prove once again that she is the superior researcher. For this we thank her, particularly since it was because of her efforts that we were able to add this chapter on our Reynolds ancestors to our Baker Family History Blog. Ella McBlain Reynolds is the mother of my paternal grandmother, Helen Spaulding Baker. Ella married my great grandfather, Henry Clinton Spaulding in Horseheads near Elmira, New York in 1886.  Here is a summary of what we have learned of our Reynolds ancestors.

The first of our known Reynolds ancestors is our 7th great grandfather Electious Reynolds who is believed to have been born around 1653 in Massachusetts although there are no birth records to substantiate his birth year and birth location nor have the names of his parents been determined.  The year of his birth was estimated based on later public records as well as his death record which lists his age as 85 in 1738.  It is possible that he actually may have been born in England and come to Massachusetts at a young age with his parents as his name does not appear in any records until he was listed as a resident of Manchester, Massachusetts in 1674 around the age of twenty-one. There were a few Reynolds families living in the Massachusetts area during this time period, however no one has been able to definitively connect any of them to our Electious.  

The fact that Electious Reynolds was impressed into the Essex County militia in December of 1675 at the onset of the King Philip's War suggests that he was probably not a landowner, probably poor, possibly unemployed, and we know that he was not married or at least there is no record of a marriage until he married Mary Pease in July of 1686. From an article in The New England Quarterly published in 1999 concerning the Essex County Militia during the King Philip's War period, they describe the typical soldier as "The worst men, poachers, thieves, and drunkards . . "  or as described in a subsequent paragraph probably more accurately, as "marginal men" meaning men that if they were killed fighting their loss would have a lesser impact on their community.  Apparently as it would seem our great grandfather fell somewhere in these categories. Fortunately for our family, Electious survived the war and the battle known as Narragansett Fort where upwards of 300 Indian women and children were known to have been massacred.  We find him next in the public records this time in Salem, Massachusetts in 1678 where he is credited as having signed an Oath of Allegiance.

For the next eight years Electious Reynolds' name appears occasionally in the public records in Salem including one document that listed him in the tax rolls. There have been no records discovered however, that show that he purchased or owned land during this period. We might therefor assume that Electious may have been just a farmhand or perhaps he may have managed his own farm on land that he leased from others. It was not until he was around thirty-three years old that he met and married Mary Pease, daughter of Robert and Sarah Pease, our 8th great grandparents.  Their wedding was recorded in Salem on 16 July 1686.  Mary was around nineteen years old at the time of their marriage. Their first child, a son James, was born on 15 Jan 1687. Sometime between October of 1689 and 1691 the Reynolds family left behind Salem and Essex County and moved around 60 miles southeast of Boston to the community of Middleborough in Plymouth County. We do not know what motivated the family to move although relocation was a common occurrence during this period and it is likely that Electious hoped that opportunities existed in Plymouth Colony that were not available elsewhere. For a farmer like Electious Reynolds such opportunities most likely consisted of less expensive and more fertile farm lands. There are some family historians who believe that Electious' father was a William Reynolds of Plymouth Colony and that Electious was actually born in or near Middleborough. If this is true although there are no documents supporting this heritage, it might help explain why Electious and Mary moved to Middleborough not long after their marriage.

It is worthwhile at this point to digress for a moment to briefly discuss the parents of our Mary Pease Reynolds for they in a small and brief moment played a role in our country's history. Our 8th great grandfather Robert Pease was only four years old when he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from England to America on the ship Francis in 1634 with his father Robert and his Uncle John. His mother Marie and his brothers and sisters followed on a later ship and the family united finally in the village of Salem. Unfortunately Robert's father died when Robert was only 15 and his mother not sure of what to do with her young son apprenticed him to a man named Thomas Root for a period of five years. During this period Robert was trained to raise sheep and weave their wool. Robert married our great grandmother Sarah (maiden name unknown) sometime around 1658 and together they had around eight children including of course our 7th great grandmother Mary Pease who was born in 1666. Robert and Sarah lived a rather quiet but typical life in Salem with Sarah raising her children, keeping their home, and managing their small family garden and Robert other than spending some time in the militia in 1675/76 during the King Philips War, operating his small business as a weaver. It was not until 1692 when all Hell broke loose in the Pease family as the result
of an accusation made against Sarah that would change their lives forever. Sarah Pease was accused of being a Witch and she was suddenly caught up in the hysteria in 1692 in what is now known as The Salem Witch Trials. Much has been written about The Salem Witch Trials and we are not going to revisit this history other than to say that clearly it was a shameful period in our country's history. Fortunately we suppose, Sarah's trial and imprisonment occurred towards the end of the hysteria when the population of Salem was beginning to see the foolishness of what was taking place and their sympathies were beginning to turn away from the victims, the accusers, to the accused. Perhaps this was why Sarah escaped death on the gallows, however she was accused of being a witch on Monday, 23 May 1692, arrested the same day, "examined" the following day, and sent to a Salem jail on Wednesday, 25 May 1692. She was not released from jail until May of 1693 after suffering a year of deplorable conditions chained by leg irons in a small, cold, and crowded jail cell that must have been particularly unbearable during the long and cold winter months. Our great grandfather, Robert Pease, as a weaver, earned relatively low wages and with some children still at home requiring support and his wife in jail whom he also had to support, it must have been very hard on the family both financially and emotionally. While both Sarah and Robert lived more than a decade following her release, their lives and their relationships with others must never again have been the same. Sarah was in her mid-70s when she finally passed away. One has to wonder that perhaps towards the end she was thankful that her life was almost over.

There is no way of knowing when Mary Pease Reynolds learned of her mother's imprisonment although the news of the witch trials in Salem must have spread rapidly through the New England Colony and Mary must have learned about her mother's predicament within a month if not within a few weeks.  Whether Mary or Mary and Electious returned to Salem to see if they could help we do not know although in mid-1692 Mary was taking care of three young children including her youngest, a three year old son named Charles, our 6th great grandfather who was born in Essex County in 1689 not long before the family moved to Middleborough. We suspect that what with family commitments and the financial cost of leaving there was no way that Mary and Electious could have returned to Salem. In November of 1692 while her mother was still in prison, Mary became pregnant with her fourth child who was born the following August.  In total, Electious and Mary were to have eight children.  Their last child whom they named Electious after his father was born in 1706.

We know very little about the lives of Electious Reynolds and his family after their move to Middlebourgh.  We can assume that his primary source of income was farming although we did find it interesting to learn of the number of land purchases and sales that he made according to public records during his later life beginning in 1703.  Between 1703 and 1731 he made at least a dozen purchases and sales of land which makes us wonder if he was a land speculator. Some of the land he purchased was occupied by his sons and according to the public records four of his sons inherited land from their father after Electious's death on 19 June 1738.  He was 85 years old when he died.  Mary's death date is unknown although there is some evidence that she was still alive in April of 1730.  Besides land records and records of the birth of a few of his children, the only other mention of Electious Reynolds was that his name appeared in a list of the founding members in 1725 of the Congregational Church in the West Precinct of Middleborough. It is written in the church records that the original founders of the church spent three days per week each helping to build the church. Electious was 72 years old when the church was built and if he helped construct the church he must have been in pretty good physical shape for a relatively old man in the early 1700s. While Electious Reynolds was clearly not an important historical figure in our country's history, we see him as a honest, hard working, and religious man who did his very best to help his family and for these reasons alone we think of him as another one of our important ancestors.

In contrast to his father, we know very little about the life of his third son, our 6th great grandfather, Charles Reynolds.  Charles was born in 1689 in Essex County shortly before his parents moved to Middleborough. In 1714 he married his wife Sarah Smith and together they bore seven children including their 6th child, a son Jacob, our 5th great grandfather, who was born in Middleborough on 8 May 1731. Charles Reynolds died in Middleborough at the age of 76 in 1765.  We did find in a publication of Massachusetts Vital Records for Middleborough County researched by Jack Mack Holbrook and published in 1992, the names and birth dates of the first five of Charles' and Sarah's children although the fact that Jacob as their 6th child was not in the list was disappointing since it would have positively confirmed that he was one of their children. With respect to the life of Charles Reynolds we learned very little. His name was included several times in some hand written records for Middleborough County beginning first in 1737 where he was included in a list of qualified jurors and then again in 1741, 1743, and in 1744 where his name is mentioned as a Surveyor of Highways.  Of all of the public offices available to male citizens of colonial New England it would seem that the position of Surveyor of Highways might have been the least desirable. The individual, Charles Reynolds in our case, was responsible for checking out the condition of the roadways in the community and when they required repair he was responsible for calling out all of the able men in the community to work on the repairs for free under the terms of the colonial law that made such compulsory labor mandatory.  As one might imagine very few of the men in the community looked favorably on a law that forced them to furnish free labor for one or more days per year, and they no doubt also did not look too favorably on the man who called them out and supervised their labor.  Whether or not our Charles Reynolds performed other public services we could not determine.  I believe however, that we can assume that he was primarily a farmer who provided well for his family and lived a long and reasonably successful and satisfactory life.    

While we could find no undisputable proof that Jacob Reynolds was the son of Charles and Sarah Reynolds most of the family trees, but not all, on show him as their child.  There are a few trees however, that show Jacob as the son of a possible brother of Charles' who was also named Jacob.  This brother Jacob (1692-1755) lived his adult life in New Bedford, Massachusetts where apparently his son Jacob was born. While we have doubts as to whether Charles had a brother named Jacob, we have little doubt despite only circumstantial evidence, that our Jacob, our 5th great grandfather, was the son of Charles and not a Jacob. For one thing, if Jacob was from New Bedford why did he post his intentions to marry his future wife  Martha Padelford in Middleborough where we know that Charles and Sarah lived but not in New Bedford?  Martha Padelford was in fact from nearby Taunton and her future husband our Jacob, as the son of Charles and Sarah Reynolds was from Middleborough. Furthermore, it is generally believed that Jacob had a younger sister named Rachel Reynolds (1732-1804).  While Rachel's birth location has not been definitely established, what is known is that Rachel married Zachariah Padelford, the brother of Jacob's wife Martha Padelford, in Taunton.  If our 5th great grandfather was born and lived in New Bedford as some have shown, it would have been odd that he and his sister would have announced their intentions to marry in Middleborough and then married spouses from nearby Taunton.  We believe that this clearly shows that Jacob Reynolds was from Middleborough and not New Bedford, and that he was obviously the son of Middleborough residents, Charles and Sarah Reynolds.


It should not come as a surprise considering how little we know about the birth of Jacob Reynolds, to learn that we also know very little about his life. What we do know is that he was born in 1731 in Middleborough, Massachusetts (Mark A on the above map), that he moved to Taunton, Massachusetts (Mark B) after his marriage in 1751 to Martha Padelford, and he later moved with his family to Killingly, Connecticut (Mark C) sometime after the birth of their 7th child in 1767, and finally Jacob died in East Killingly in 1786 at the relatively young age of 55.  The value of everything he owned at the time of his death according to his will was only a modest 105 English pounds which in American dollars equaled around $511. The inventory value of his will would have included everything that he owned including land, his home, all of the furnishings, farm animals, crops, and any cash and considering that the total value amounted to only 105 English pounds was certainly reflective of the fact that Jacob was not a wealthy man. Jacob Reynolds undoubtedly lived a quiet and somewhat  obscure life which would explain why we find so little about Jacob in the public records.  According to his will Jacob and Martha had ten surviving children at the time of his death including their youngest child, our 4th great grandfather Sullivan Reynolds who was born on 25 June 1777 and was around nine years old when his father died.  Our 5th great grandmother, Martha Padelford Reynolds remarried a man named Phineas Greene not long after Jacob's death and Sullivan may have gone to live with his mother and her new husband.  The marriage was short lived however, as Phineas died in Killingly in 1794.  One other thing worth mentioning about the Jacob Reynolds' family is to note that the family's life spanned the years of the American Revolution.  Four of the sons of Jacob and Martha are credited with serving in the war and their names each come up during a search of the records of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Although Jacob was only in his mid-40s at the beginning of the war and certainly many men his age either served in one of the State militias or they enlisted in the Continental army, we could find no record that he served in any capacity. That is not to say that he did not serve in his local militia for a short period although it is probably a safe assumption that he was never participated in battle. It is also possible of course that Jacob may have had a physical impairment in some capacity that would have prevented him from serving.  Our 4th great grandfather Sullivan Reynolds, born in 1777, obviously did not serve in the American Revolution.

On a website titled the "History of the Old Mill" we are informed that "Authentic records reveal that Sullivan Reynolds, in 1791 moved his family by ox cart from what was then Sidney Plains into the Unadilla Valley. He was the second white man to settle there . . . "  In a history of the Town of Guilford in Chenango County we are also informed that Sullivan Reynolds built the first store and the first mill on the Unadilla River in Chenango County in the year 1791.  The only problem with both of these histories which probably originated from the same source, is that in the year 1791 our 4th great grandfather Sullivan Reynolds was at the most only 14 years old.  We suspect that either the date is wrong or more likely Sullivan was living with his older brother Jacob who helped him with the new store and mill and our historians simply overlooked this fact.  Here is what we believe is correct.

It would seem that at some point after their father's death Sullivan went to live with his brother Jacob who was 20 years older than his younger brother and then the two of them possibly with Jacob's wife moved west to settle the land along the Unadilla River valley in south central New York State that had recently opened up to settlement following the close of the Revolutionary War.  Jacob had served three years in the Continental Army on one of the Connecticut lines and he had probably heard repeatedly from his fellow ex-soldiers about the new lands opening up in New York.  Prior to the Revolution all of the land that was roughly west of the Unadilla River and north of the Susquehanna River was by a 1768 treaty (see the above map) Indian territory but since the majority of the tribes in this region had supported the British during the war and in 1779 been chased off their lands by American troops, the tribes had no choice after the war but to accept treaties permanently removing them from their ancestral homes.  In the case of the land in what later became Chenango County, the Oneida Indians were forced to sell their land to the government under the terms of a treaty that was signed in 1785.  Settlers began to move into the area almost immediately after hearing about the treaty and the now available and inexpensive land.

While a Chenango County history story informs us that Sullivan Reynolds arrived in this new territory as early as 1791, the first mention of Sullivan in the public records that we could find did not occur until the year 1799 where his name appears in the Tax Assessment Rolls.  These records show that Sullivan did not as of 1799 own any real estate and the small amount of tax that he owed was based only on the value of his "Personal Estates" that was valued at only 42 dollars.  Jacob Reynolds on the other hand in 1799 on the Tax Assessment Rolls had real estate valued at $500 and personal property valued at $60 dollars. By 1799 Sullivan Reynolds was a full adult as he was around 22 years old in that year and the tax records certainly did not reflect that he was the owner of a store and grist mill that he built back in the year 1791. Since there is no doubt that Sullivan Reynolds owned and operated a store and a grist mill on the Unadilla River and that the mill was later operated by one of his sons after Sullivan's death, we can only assume at this point that in the early years of his life his brother Jacob was his guardian and helped his brother financially.  One interesting thing that we did not mention earlier was that in his father's will Sullivan was left 1/3 of his father's real estate.  He would not have received any money from the estate until he turned twenty-one and therefore it is conceivable that Jacob was helping out his brother until he received his inheritance.

Inheritance money or not, there is a strong suggestion based on both the 1800 and the 1810 US Census Records that Sullivan was living in his brother's home during this time period and most likely he was with Jacob earlier than 1800.  According to the census in 1800 there were two males and one female in the Jacob Reynolds' household.  One of the males was obviously Jacob; the other male was between the ages of 16 to 25 and this was most likely Sullivan who was 23 years old in 1810.  The woman in the census record was Jacob's wife Sarah.  In the 1810 US Census it would appear that not only was Sullivan still living with Jacob but so was his wife of almost ten years Margery (alternate spellings: Margey, Marchery) as well as their children.  Jacob's wife had died in 1807. We think that Sullivan Reynolds and his wife and children were probably living on land that was owned by Jacob but they were most likely living in a separate house. Jacob's home for most of his life in Chenango County was in a small hamlet that is now called White Store. Today White Store is noted primarily as the location of the White Store Church and the Evergreen Cemetery where both Jacob and Sullivan and Sullivan's wife Margaret are buried. Both the church and cemetery have been designated as a National Historic District. White Store is within the Town of Norwich in Chenango County.  Sometime after 1810 Sullivan and his family moved out of Jacob's home site and moved south around three or four miles where they probably built a home near Sullivan's now busy grist mill and store which were located about a mile north of the community of Mount Upton within what is today Rockford Mills in the Town of Guilford. The small hamlet which contained the Sullivan Reynolds home and their store and mill is today known as Rockwell's Mills named after a Chester W. Rockwell whose brother Erastus acquired Sullivan Reynold's mill on the Unadilla River sometime after Sullivan's death in 1834, reportedly purchased from the Reynolds' family as late as 1849.  It is possible that Sullivan's son also named Sullivan, continued to run the mill after his father's death however when the mill was purchased by Erastus Rockwell in 1849 it was reported to have been closed and in ruinous condition. Today nothing remains of Sullivan Reynold's original mill structure although the remains of one of his successor's buildings has been converted into a restaurant which is named the Old Mill Restaurant (See photograph above). The restaurant's website includes a link to the history of the old mill wherein it provides historical references to our Sullivan Reynolds.          

Sullivan and his wife Margery were married sometime in the year 1800 although the commonly accepted birthdate of their first child Sally Reynolds, reported to be 28 July 1800, would suggest a marriage in the year 1799. This would of course conflict with our belief that Sullivan was single and living with Jacob and his wife at the time of the 1800 US census. We could not verify Sally's actual birth date and at this point we believe it is probably incorrect at least with respect to the month. Sullivan and Margery were to have eight children in total between the years 1800 and 1821 including their 3rd child and our 3rd great grandfather William Reynolds who was born in November of 1805.  Sullivan was probably delighted that five of his children were sons whom he could put to work in the grist mill as soon as they were old enough to be useful in the mill.  The grist mill was undoubtedly very popular in the local neighborhood where the local farmers could bring their corn and wheat to the mill where large stones turned by paddle wheels in the flowing waters of the Unadilla River would grind the corn or wheat into a flour. The farmers in turn would pay the Sullivan Reynolds family either with cash or other services that probably allowed our Sullivan Reynolds family ancestors to enjoy a rather comfortable life style.  Perhaps as a result of increased competition or simply new innovations, at some point the grist mill was no longer profitable and following its later purchase by the Rockwell family, the original mill was converted and vastly enlarged into a highly successful woolen mill.  Unfortunately, even the woolen mill at some point succumbed to changing conditions and it was forced to close in 1907.  Today on the land originally settled by our great grandparents Sullivan and Margery Reynolds we have a restaurant. We hope that the Old Mill Restaurant offers great food, will continue to honor our Sullivan Reynolds family, and continue to be highly successful for many years into the future.

In the 1860 US Census records we find our 3rd great grandfather, William Reynolds, living in Elmira, New York with his family. His profession or occupation was listed in the census as a "Gentleman" and his age was listed as a relatively young 54 years old.  Since the occupation of Gentleman is probably not a paid profession, we must assume that William was unemployed at least in 1860.  In fact, a review of the other census records where we could find his name and the few other history accounts where we found him mentioned, it is unclear whether or not he ever worked in a paid position unless we count his profession as a "landlord" as mentioned in the 1850 census as an actual job. We found in Wikipedia a definition of the term Gentleman at least in modern usage as follows: ". . that a man has sufficient wealth and free time to pursue an area of interest without depending on it for his livelihood." That is, our William Reynolds had wealth, money, so there was no need for him to be employed or even manage his own business.  If this is true we are completely confused since there is no evidence that he inherited money nor is there any evidence that he earned sufficient money in his younger years so that he could retire early. Unfortunately, there are a number of years before William Reynolds moved to Elmira for which we have little information about his life.  Here however, is what we do know.

According to the 1830 US Census records it appears that neither William Reynolds nor his older brother John were living at home with their parents.  Furthermore we could not find our William Reynolds in any of the 1830 census records although the name was so common that we did find at least 29 other William Reynolds listed as living in New York State.  Unfortunately none of these men matched what we know about our William with respect to age and marital status.  What we do know about our great grandfather William Reynolds, thanks again to research by cousin Liz Dubois, is that sometime before 1835 he moved about 100 miles east of his parents' home in Chenango County to the town of Ellenville in Ulster County and from there he moved again another 40 or so miles east to Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County where he met and later married Jane DeGroff on 20 October 1835.  The only other information that we know about the life of William Reynolds in Poughkeepsie was that he and Jane had a son born there on 22 July 1836 whom they named David DeGroff Reynolds after Jane's older brother David DeGroff.  Why exactly William Reynolds moved to Poughkeepsie and exactly what he did for a living for about a decade before he moved his family to the Elmira area in Chemung County just before 1840, we do not know. In fact, despite spending a lot of wasted time on research we failed to discover exactly what William did for a living for his entire life. We did find a William Reynolds living in Poughkeepsie during the 1830s who was in the pottery business but if this William was our William, his pottery business was essentially a failure.  There was also another William Reynolds in Poughkeepsie during this time period who later became quite wealthy in the shipping business, however this William was clearly identified as the son of a James Reynolds, no relationship as far as we know to our Reynolds ancestors.  Both William and his wife Jane Degroff likely inherited some money from their fathers who died shortly before William and Jane were married, however it seems unlikely that their inheritances would have amounted to much. 

Since we find our William and Jane and one young child listed as living in the village of Veterans in Chemung County in the 1840 US Census, we know that they moved west sometime after the birth of their son David in 1836.  Incidentally, this census lists their child as a girl under 5 years old but knowing how notoriously inaccurate many of the census takers were with the records, it seems likely that the census taker looked at the small child running around the room, assumed the child was a girl, and checked the box accordingly. In fact if we were to rely on census records as our sole source of facts we would be in trouble.  For example, William's age according to multiple census takers was very much in dispute. According to the 1850 census William was born around 1810.  In the 1860 census he was born around 1806, and in the 1865 New York State census they listed him as born about 1807.  Finally in the 1870 census they got the year correctly, listing him born about 1805. There is one other census record error that as it turned out, was somewhat revealing.  In the 1850 US records we find William and his wife Jane living with their two young children in Elmira, New York along with a 72-year old woman named Elizabeth Reynolds who if we did not know better would have been William Reynolds' mother.  In reality, the woman was actually Jane's mother, Elizabeth Tillow DeGraff, who obviously had followed her daughter from Poughkeepsie to their new home in Chemung County sometime after her husband's death in 1832.  Jane's father was Abraham DeGraff (1771-1832).  During further research on Jane's side of the family we learned that Jane's older brother David DeGraff (1799-1868) had also moved to Chemung County sometime before the 1840 US Census was taken which strongly suggested to us that William and Jane and their young son David moved to Chemung County along with Jane's brother and young David's uncle David DeGraff and his wife Hannah.

In the 1850 US Census records in Elmira, Chemung County, New York, we find David DeGroff and William Reynolds living in separate homes however they are both listed as "Landlords" and in David's case he and his wife are living with sixteen other unrelated individuals all of whom are young adults and they are all undoubtedly renting rooms from David.  While William and his family live nearby, there are no renters living in their household.  William's home is valued at $600 whereas the building that David is living in is valued at $3,000.  Since both William and David are neighbors and both list themselves as landlords the suggestion is that the two brother-in-laws were partners.  We might also draw the conclusion since David's and Jane's mother was living with the Reynold's family as of 1850 that more money may have been inherited from Abraham DeGraff than we had originally assumed.  On the other hand, we find in other Elmira public records where David DeGroff is listed as a "merchant" which might suggest that his primary source of income was a business other that just being a landlord. In William's case, we did not find any records that might indicate he had other employment although he was appointed in Horseheads in Chemung County in 1844 to be the Postmaster and in 1854 also in Horseheads he was appointed as one of two Overseers of the Poor. In both cases William undoubtedly served with little or no pay.

As we have previously stated one of the most interesting aspects of the life of our 3rd great grandfather William Reynolds is what is missing. That is, there is nothing in any of the historical records about any of his businesses nor did we learn much about the source of his income.  It is also interesting that at some point he and his family moved to downtown Elmira and lived in what appeared to be a commercial district containing all types of businesses from hotels, offices including those of doctors and lawyers, shops including butchers and grocers, banks, factories, and boarding houses. In an Elmira City Directory dated 1857 we find William living with his wife and family at 39 Baldwin Street at the corner of Gray Street.  William continued to live at this address up until his death in 1872. To show what this district looked like we need only to look at the photograph above of the Rathbun Hotel located about two blocks up the street from the Reynolds' family home. Also on this same street and across from the Rathbun were the offices of coal shipping magnate, Jervis Langdon, father-in-law of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).  Clearly during the 1800s zoning laws did not exist as single family homes like where our Reynolds' family lived were located nearby commercial buildings like the six story Rathbun Hotel.

The above map shows the City of Elmira in the late 1800s.  Baldwin Street is the street immediately to the east of the Chemung Canal which runs into the Chemung River.  The Reynolds' family home was located at the intersection of Baldwin and Gray Streets (Gray appears as Gry on the map due to the fold in the paper). 

The photograph to the left was taken sometime during the period that the William Reynolds' family lived in Elmira and it provides us another view of the neighborhood in which the Williams lived.  The street that runs along the bottom of the photo from right to left is Gray Street and although it is hard to tell in the photo, Gray Street is crossing the Chemung Canal shown on the lower left side in the photo.  In the bottom right hand corner of the photo are several house one of which may be the Reynolds' home or more likely, close neighbors of the Reynolds as the first street east of the Chemung Canal and running parallel to the canal is Baldwin Street. It is worth pointing out that other members of our ancestral family from Elmira also lived on streets shown on the above map. John Sly (1767-1856) and his family lived just across the Chemung River on a street named Sly Street after my 4th great grandfather John Sly.  Nearby the Sly home in later years lived Henry Clinton Spaulding (1863-1889) and his wife Ella McBlain Reynolds (1863-1935), granddaughter of William Reynolds.  Henry Clinton Spaulding's grandfather also named Henry Clinton Spaulding (1812-1902) lived on Main Street three blocks east of Baldwin Street.  This Henry lived next door to Jervis Langton, the wealthy coal merchant and father-in-law to Samuel Clemens.  South of the Chemung River on a street just off the map was the home of my grandfather Charles Schenck Baker and my grandmother Helen Mary Spaulding and their son, my father, Charles Asbury Baker. My 3rd great grandmother Jane Degroff Reynolds outlived my grandfather William by almost sixteen years and she died at the family home on Baldwin Street at the age of 82 in the year 1896.  She lived long enough to see the birth of her great grandchild, my grandmother, Helen Mary Spaulding who was born on 24 September 1887.

My 2nd great grandfather and son of William and Jane, David Degroff Reynolds, was in his early twenties when he started his grocery business sometime around 1860 probably with financial help from his father. In the 1860 US census David, still living at his parents home, is listed as having a "Personal Estate" worth $3,500 whereas his father's personal estate is valued at only $1,000.  The $3,500 value is most likely the value of his goods for sale at the store and we have to suspect that he carried a debt against the value of the goods.  Also in 1860 David married 19-year old Ellen Livesay whose father, Joseph Livesay, was a prominent farmer in nearby Big Flats in Chemung County and whose mother, Sally Bennett, was the daughter of Comfort and Abigail Miller Bennett whose families were both early settlers in Chemung County.  Apparently David while still a young man, had quickly became a successful businessman in the area operating his store on Lake Street only one block east from his parents' Baldwin Street home. By 1863, David had teamed up to operate the store with a Albert S. Satterlee who was later to marry David's sister, Mary Jane Reynolds, and who later purchased the business from David along with his brother Elias Satterlee and they renamed the store E.B. Satterlee and Co.
David D. Reynolds' name appears frequently in Chemung County records.  His name shows up in an 1863 listing of Civil War draftees although there is no record of his ever serving in the army and it is possible that he may have found someone else to serve on his behalf. In 1864 we learn that David visited his Uncle John Reynolds up in Pultneyville, New York located on Lake Ontario just east of Rochester and there he invested $1,000 in Star Petroleum Oil and Mining Company stock being offered by his uncle. In 1866 David Reynolds was listed as an alderman in Elmira and in a biography of his life it is reported that he was also a town supervisor. Over the next decade it seems that David Reynolds became more of an investor in companies managed by others as opposed to directly managing the companies himself.  In the later part of the 1860s David moved his family to the Village of Horseheads located a few miles north of Elmira.  In 1868, he invested in a bank in Horseheads that they named Reynolds, Bennett & Company. The other investors were Schuyler Reynolds (no relation to David that we could discover), George Bennett (his wife's uncle), and Joseph Livesay (his wife's father).  We could not determine whether David was an active manager in the bank operations.  Four years later however, around 1873, David invested with a young man named Collins L. Hathaway, a former employee of the bank, in a business dealing in coal, hay, and grain.  They named the company C.L. Hathaway & Co.  In the 1880 US Census records, David D. Reynolds is listed as a "Lumber Dealer" living in Horseheads with his family.  In the 1892 New York State census he is simply listed as a "Merchant."  On the 3rd of November in 1899 David D. Reynolds died at the relatively young age of 62.  Throughout his life he obviously operated as a financially successful businessman and therefore when he finally departed he left his wife and family with financial security.  My 2nd great grandmother and David's wife, Ellen Livesay Reynolds, outlived her husband by 28 years and she was eventually buried in 1917 alongside her husband in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira.  A photograph of Ellen Livesay Reynolds, David mother, appears above.

David's and Ellen's daughter Ella McBlain Reynolds, my great grandmother was born in Elmira, New York on the 22nd day of December in 1863.  She married at the age of 22 the son of a wealthy lumber dealer in Elmira by the name of Charles Henry Spaulding (1841-1875) who was undoubtedly well known by Ella's parents.  The son was my great grandfather Henry Charles Spaulding.  A brief history of my Spaulding ancestors is told in Chapter 4 of this Blog.

Ella McBlain Reynolds and Charles Henry Spaulding had two daughters, Helen Mary and Henrietta, before Charles early death in 1889 at the young age of only 25.  Helen Mary Spaulding (1887-1937), my grandmother married my grandfather Charles Schenck Baker (1885-1952) in 1915.  One year later on 26 June 1916 my father Charles Asbury Baker was born.

And thus we end another chapter on the lives of our early ancestors.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Chapter 37 - Archibald Campbell and Elizabeth Seely

My 3rd great grandparents Archibald Campbell and Elizabeth Seely were married in Southport in what is now Chemung County, New York in the year of 1806.  Their sixth child of a total of fourteen children was a daughter named Jane Taft Campbell who was born in 1819.  Jane, whose picture is to the left, married Joshua Wyckoff Rappleye. Jane and Joshua were my great, great grandparents. Their daughter Helen Rappleye married Asbury Harpending Baker and they are my great grandparents. In the photograph below we see Helen Rappleye Baker with two of her grandchildren and their mothers.  The little boy on the bottom right is yours truly, your family historian, Charles Asbury Baker Jr. The story of Jane's parents and Helen Rappleye's grandparents and their heritage is the subject of this chapter.

Archibald Campbell is one of the mystery men in our family tree as we know very little about him and most of what we do know for certain we obtained almost entirely from the U.S. Census records.  One of the problems in researching Archibald is that the surname Campbell was a very common name during this time period. Even the proper name of Archibald was fairly common and was used frequently in the numerous Campbell family lines. In a brief research of the Revolutionary War pension records we found upwards of sixty soldiers with the surname of Campbell and incredible as it would seem, we found eight soldiers with the name Archibald Campbell. Furthermore, it appears that the various Archibald Campbells were not closely related as they were scattered among five different states from Connecticut to South Carolina and none of these eight Archibald Campbell soldiers were our ancestor.  And then finally just to make research all that more difficult, in the 1810 US Census in Seneca County, New York where Archibald and Elizabeth moved after their 1806 marriage, we found nine males with the surname of Campbell including our Archibald although as far as we can tell, none of the other eight individuals was related to our 3rd great grandfather. Obviously it is going to be impossible under the circumstances to know the exact details of our great grandfather's early life, although we believe there is enough historical information available to draw a few conclusions.

In many of the family trees on and on other various genealogical websites it lists Archibald Campbell's birth date as 30 June 1770 and his birth location as either Cork County, Ireland or Argyll, Scotland. Despite a rather detailed online search, we have no idea as to the origin of this information although at this point we believe that none of it is accurate. While Archibald clearly had Scottish heritage based on his name alone, we can dismiss the Scotland birth location as wrong simply because Archibald told the 1850 US Census taker that he was born in Ireland.  We also believe that his birth location in Cork County, Ireland is wrong because had he been born almost anywhere in Ireland other than Northern Ireland, referred to then as Ulster, he would have been most likely a Catholic, which he was not. Mass migration of the Catholic Irish to America did not really begin until the middle of the 19th century whereas of the estimated 400 to 500,000 Americans with an Irish heritage living in America as of 1790, approximately two-thirds of them had emigrated from the province of Ulster.  Ulster was originally settled beginning in the early 1600s by Presbyterians most of whom had emigrated from Scotland. In Scottish history, the Clan Campbell goes back three or four thousand years and we believe that it is natural to assume that the Clan's history was all part of Archibald Campbell's heritage. One of his ancestors was probably Sir Neil Campbell who died in 1315 but not before he fought along side Robert the Bruce in the Wars for Scottish Independence.  It is also possible that this Campbell ancestor and possibly other Campbell men supported the legendary William Wallace who was later made famous by literary works of his life such as one written by Sir Walter Scott and by the movie Braveheart starring Mel Gibson. We even found a website that provided us with a detailed but improbable lineage showing that the Campbell family was descended from none other than King Arthur of the Round Table fame. Anyway, as far as Archibald's birth date, we think that we can dismiss the 30 June 1770 date.  His name appears in five different US Census records with three of them clearly showing he was born later than 1770 and one of them, the 1850 Census, shows him to be 76 years old which would place his birth year about 1774.  Also in this 1850 Census we see that his youngest child, Ann Campbell, was only 14 years old.  Archibald was 60 years old when Ann was born which is wonderful that he was still sexually active at the age of 60 particularly considering this was during the first half of the 19th century.  Had he been born four years earlier in 1770, he would have been 63 or 64 when his daughter was conceived which would be even more impressive were it were not so unlikely. But then, we are really digressing.

We know from history that very little immigration occurred from the British Isles to America during the period of the American Revolution. Unless Archibald Campbell was brought over with his parents at the age of only one or two just before the start of the War, we have to assume that he came over alone after the war perhaps sometime in the 1790s and maybe as late as 1800. We do know that in 1798 a large number of the Irish, both Catholic and Protestant, unsuccessfully rebelled against British rule in Ireland and after numerous battles and the loss of thousands of lives over the course of the three months of fighting, the Irish were soundly defeated. Their defeat sent many exiles seeking asylum in America and it is possible that our Archibald Campbell was among this group. It is also possible although less likely that Archibald Campbell arrived with his parents as a baby particularly since we find in the 1810 US Census that an older man was living in the Archibald Campbell household in Lodi in Seneca County who might very well have been Archibald's father. Had Archibald's parents immigrated to America just before the American Revolution and landed in Philadelphia which was a common landing place for Scotch-Irish immigrants from Ulster during this time period, they may have made their way to the Wyoming Valley near Wilkes-Barre, in Central Pennsylvania. We find living in this area around 1776, a number of Campbell men and their families, including a John Campbell.  The name John Campbell peaked our interest because Archibald and Elizabeth Seely Campbell named their first son John. This may be important because during this period it was very common for the early Scotch-Irish families to name their first son after the paternal grandfather.  This is all wild speculation of course, but we do know that many of the early settlers in the Wyoming Valley relocated to the southern tier of Central New York in the area of what is now Elmira in Chemung County, New York following the close of the American Revolution. While Elizabeth Seely's family did not live in Pennsylvania before the war, we do know that after the war they too settled in this Central New York community.  We will discuss this side of our family in subsequent paragraphs.  Whether Archibald Campbell immigrated to America with his parents or not and how and when he got to the Chemung County area we probably will never know.  What we do know is that sometime in the year 1806 he met and married Elizabeth Seely, daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Sayre Seeley.

There is one very unusual coincidence that took place in 1789 that must be mentioned before we move on to describe our Seeley ancestors.  In June of 1789 a man named Archibald Campbell was granted 3,000 acres of land along the Susquehanna River near the present day city of Owego, New York.  In 1790 this same man was granted another 1,200 acres in what was known as the Military Tract. Then sometime later probably after 1793, another record was made this time of the transfer of 1,000 acres to the "heirs of A. Campbell." While this last transfer of land was a little confusing, it was easy for us to assume that our Archibald Campbell had arrived in Chemung County area as early as 1789 and he was successfully purchasing large grants of land.  We were however, somewhat skeptical that this Archibald Campbell was our 3rd great grandfather as it seemed highly unlikely that a young 25-year old single man was being granted such enormous grants of land along a major body of water especially land that cost in excess of 200 dollars. Our further research proved that this man was not our Archibald.  He was a much older man born in 1736 and he lived much of his life near Albany, New York.  He was after the war the Deputy State Surveyor and he had surveyed the "Tioga" area and subsequently either purchased or was granted land in the area.  He died in 1793 which explains why some of the land was passed to his hiers. As it turns out one of his heirs was his son Archibald Campbell but after a brief rise in our heart rate, we quickly realized that his son was not our Archibald Campbell.  Who would have known that the name Archibald Campbell was such a common name.

As we have learned in other chapters in this blog, many of our ancestors on my Grandmother Baker's side of our family immigrated to the Elmira, New York area shortly after the Revolutionary War. Many of the families with names such as Hammond, Sly, Tubbs, Maxwell, Miller, Spaulding, and Wisner became prominent citizens in the Chemung County community and their surnames come up frequently when searching the early public records.  On the other hand, on my Grandfather Baker's side of our family it was only the Seeley family and Archibald Campbell, who immigrated into this area.  The Seeley Family came early however, and they came in force such that the land upon which the family first settled was to be called then as it is today, the Seeley Creek Valley.  On the above map which principally shows the location the Newtown Battlefield, the Seeley Creek appears running off the Chemung River at a point just under the island in the Chemung on the left hand side of the map.  As a point of reference Elmira is located just north of this area and the Susquehanna River to which the Chemung River is a tributary is to the east. In the very early years of the settlement, the Chemung River was called the Tioga River as it is labeled on the map below.  The area on this map where the Seeley family and many others settled is called "Chemung Town."  In the 1790 Census taken in the Chemung area there were 648 males listed over the age of 16 and a total of 2,391 total individuals including 37 members of the Seeley family. Two of the Seeley households owned slaves including our 5th great grandfather Nathaniel Seeley Sr.  Archibald Campbell's future wife, Elizabeth "Betsey" Seeley, was born in December of 1790 shortly after the census taker had visited their Seeley home and therefore she was excluded from the total count.  On this same map located north of Chemung Town is a section labeled "16 Ovid."  It was to Ovid (or specifically the town of Lodi) that Archibald Campball moved with his new wife Elizabeth sometime after their 1806 marriage to raise a family and live their lives.

The patriarch of the Seeley family, at least the part of the Seeley family that emigrated to Chemung County in 1788 or '89, was Nathaniel Seeley Sr. who was born in 1732 in New Canaan, Connecticut. When Nathaniel was in his mid-teens his parents Ebenezer and Mercy Dean Seeley, moved their entire family which included his ten brothers and sisters to Goshen in Orange County located about sixty miles north of New York City and around 16 miles west of the Hudson River. Gradually through the late 1740s through 1761 Nathaniel's brothers and sisters married including Nathaniel who was married in 1757 to Jemima Collins, granddaughter of the pirate Adam Baldridge whom we write about in Chapter 30 of this Blog. The families for the most part remained in the Orange County area at least until the close of the American Revolution and the opening up of the former Indian territories in Central New York in the late 1780s.
In 1775, six of the Seeley brothers, sons of Ebenezer and Mercy, including Nathaniel, plus two of Nathaniel's oldest sons including Nathaniel Jr, our 4th great grandfather, signed in Orange County what was called the "Revolutionary Pledge."  By signing this pledge they were agreeing "to resist and defend themselves against the oppressive acts of the English Parliament" which included taking up arms against the British if necessary. In the end, Nathaniel and his brothers, plus two of his sons, and some of his nephews joined the local militia groups in the Orange County area.  In the case of Nathaniel and his son Nathaniel Jr, we know at the very least that they enlisted in the Westchester County Militia - Fourth Regiment under the command of Col. Thaddeus Crane.  Westchester County is located immediately east of Orange County.Whether or not Nathaniel or his son saw any action during the war is unclear, although they may have been involved to some extent in the Battle of White Plains that was fought in Westchester County in October of 1776. Militia soldiers typically were called out only when needed and usually only served for short periods of time in their local area. George Washington was not a big fan of the local militias as he believed them to be undependable and their typical three month enlistments were too short to allow for proper training. For the most part all men between the ages of 16 and 60 were expected to serve or face possible penalty of fine or even imprisonment. This may in part explain why all of the Seeley men enlisted in one of the local militia regiments and why over 40,000 men in New York State alone are credited with having served during the war.

The following paragraph taken from a journal written by a Lieutenant Erkuries Beatty, one of the soldiers in the General Sullivan Campaign against the British and their Indian allies in 1779 explains in part why so many Americans after the Revolutionary War flocked to the Chemung County area in the southern tier of Central New York.  He writes:

"Monday 30th. Rained a little last night and partly all this day by Showers near half the army out today cutting corn which is in great Abundance here; the party out of our Brigade went up the River [south side of Chemung River], where the corn Chiefly grows, went up the River about 2 miles, then took up a large branch [Seeley Creek] of the River which bears near S.W. one Mile burnt 5 houses [Indian homes] and destroyed all the corn in the way. Our Brigade Destroyed about 150 Acres of the best corn that I Ever saw, some of the Stalks grew 16 feet high besides great Quantities of Beans, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Cucumbers, Squashes & Watermellons, and the Enemy looking at us from the hills but did not fire on us."

Obviously when many of the soldiers in this campaign returned home they spoke of the fertile lands along the Susquehanna and Chemung Rivers and how they had removed the Indians and made the lands available for new settlement. Shortly following the Revolutionary War the new United States government worked out treaties with the six Indian nations whose lands had been confiscated during the war.  The ensuing treaties basically paid the Indians for their lands and forced them to move elsewhere principally to reservations.  The terms of the various treaties were basically dictated to the Indian tribes who had no choice but to accept the terms with the hope that peace would follow and that they would be left alone. History has long ago shown that the Indian lands continued to be taken as white settlement moved westward across the new American states.

It was probably Nathaniel Seeley Sr., the father, who gathered his sons and son-in-laws together to urge them to consider the benefits of moving their families westward into New York State and to the Chemung River Valley.  He would have told them of the large acreages of fertile land that was being offered for sale at a fraction of the cost of the land that could be purchased in Orange County and he undoubtedly would have pointed out that the soil in this new location was much better for growing crops than the hard and rock filled soil found around their present farms. In 1788 when this conversation probably would have taken place, Nathaniel and Jemima Seeley had four married sons, three married daughters, two single sons, and many grandchildren with more on their way. He may have convinced them to move by offering to pay the cost of purchasing the land for in November of 1788 a survey of 2,553 acres of land was recorded for Nathaniel Seeley Jr, James Seeley, Adam Seeley, and two of their brother-in-laws, Abner Hatfield and Samuel Edsall. Two of the other married Seeley brothers, Samuel and Israel, for some reason delayed making a decision although they eventually moved to Chemung County and the youngest Seeley boy, Caleb, who was still living with his parents may have been too young at the time to be included in the initial purchase.  Only the oldest daughter of Nathaniel and Jemina Seeley who was living with her husband in New Jersey at the time did not eventually move with the rest of the family.

It is not clear as to the exact date that the family moved to Chemung County although if the land survey was completed in November of 1788 they may have delayed the move until the Spring of 1789. What is known for certain is that the parents and all but two of the children had relocated by 1790 since their names appear in the 1790 United States Federal Census. If we were to drive from Orange County to Chemung County today we would travel a distance of around 180 miles and it would take us about three hours.  In 1789 there were no roads and few trails and much of the trip would have been by water first down the Susquehanna River and then up the Chemung River and it could have taken as long as two or three months or more to complete.  If the family all traveled together there would have been at least 10 adults and as many as 10 to 12 children and that is assuming that no other families traveled with them. They undoubtedly carried all of their family possessions, clothes and furniture, plus their farm animals and tools and everything else including food and crop seeds that they would need to start a new life in a new community. Since there were probably no boats waiting for them when they reached the Susquehanna River after traveling around 120 miles overland from their former homes in Orange County, they would have had to construct some sort of flatboat which they then would have filled with their supplies and poled the boat down the river. Most likely some members of the family rode horses or walked along the banks of the river following the boats. When they reached the point where the Susquehanna River meets the Chemung River near present day Athens, Pennsylvania they left the Susquehanna and continued westward up the Chemung.  At this point the flatboats were going against the current and the work moving the boats became much harder and much slower. It is difficult to imagine that they could have traveled any more than one mile each day up the river following a long hard day of work.  It is truly amazing when we realize that around 2,400 individuals had already migrated to the Chemung County area within just a few years prior to the taking of the 1790 Census. We have nothing but admiration for our ancestors who took upon themselves such a hardship in the hopes of bettering their lives and the lives of their children.        

If we are correct about the Seeley family departing from Orange County in the Spring of 1789, then the family probably arrived in Chemung County sometime in mid-summer of the same year. They must have all been ecstatic when they first visited the land they had just purchased the prior fall. Their vast acerage of land was situated on both sides of a small creek that ran off the Chemung River and surrounding the creek on both sides were gently rising hills. It must have been an absolutely beautiful sight. The creek as we know was later named Seeley Creek. Much of the land had already been cleared by the Indians who had previously occupied the land for many generations. Here and there were even the remnants of small apple orchards left by the Indians. The family began almost immediately to build their small cabins knowing that soon enough the winter weather would set upon them. Unfortunately they were soon told by their neighbors who had arrived only the previous summer, that in the spring of the current year there had been a late and very severe frost that had killed most of their newly planted crops.  The Seeleys were told that they must not expect help from their neighbors with respect to their providing them with any food for the coming winter. While the Seeley family had maintained some food supplies from their long overland trip knowing that their late plantings would yield little food for the coming winter, they were still forced as were others living in the Chemung Valley area to survive on little else but beans and roots and what livestock they could spare once their supplies ran out. It was not a good start to their new life, although fortunately everything improved in the following spring. History books refer to the winter of 1789 in Chemung County as a winter of great "famine" and "as an event to be remembered with something like horror."  There is nothing in the historical records however, suggesting that any Seeley family members died during the winter of 1789.

The Seeley family name appears a number of times in the Chemung County records over the next decade although most of the records involve the transfer of the title of the land that they original purchased in 1788 plus a later purchase in 1791 of another 1,426 acres.  The land was gradually divided up among the sons and son-in-laws of Nathaniel and Jemima and in a few later records in the early 1800s land transfers were made to some of the grandsons. There are also a few records of the sale of land to other families perhaps for the purpose of raising money or in a few cases to families known to the Seeleys back in Orange County.  It is not surprising considering the huge acreage of land originally purchased by the Seeley family that the area upon which they lived became known as the Seeley Creek Valley. There are a few other interesting historical notes that are worth mentioning such as the fact that Nathaniel and Jemina Seeley are credited with building in 1792 one of the first framed houses in the area and the first framed house in the Seeley Creek Valley.  We also learn that Nathaniel Seeley Jr, my 4th great grandfather, was part of a group of men including his brother James, who helped establish in 1793 the first Masonic Lodge in the area. There is also in the history records some evidence that Nathaniel owned and operated an inn or tavern on what is now Lake Street in Elmira.  When we read this it was not hard to believe as it is known that his father operated a tavern for a period in the early 1780s while the family lived in Sussex County, New Jersey.  It is not clear however, than Nathaniel was living with his parents when they briefly lived in New Jersey.    

My 4th great grandparents, Nathaniel Seeley Jr and Elizabeth Sayre, were married in Orange County in 1785 and they had four children before Nathaniel's early and untimely death in 1796.  He was only 39 years old when he died.  The birth location and  birth year of their second child and their only son whom they named Nathaniel after the child's grandfather, is listed in most Seeley family history accounts and on as being in Chemung County in either October or November of 1788.  We mention this because if this date is correct then our comments about the family arrived in Chemung County in mid-summer of 1789 would not be accurate. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that Nathaniel's mother, Elizabeth Sayre Seeley, would have made the long trek to Chemung in the summer of 1788 while pregnant with her second child and at the same time caring for a two year daughter. Furthermore, if the family did arrive by the summer of 1788, they arrived before their land was granted to them which took place in October of 1788. But then who knows, and we should never be surprised or amazed by the stamina and determination of our early ancestors.  Our 3rd great grandmother and their third child, Elizabeth, whom they quickly nicknamed "Betsey," was born in their log home on Seeley Creek on 19 December 1790.

Not surprisingly, Elizabeth Seeley quickly remarried following Nathaniel's early death.  We know that Nathaniel died sometime in late 1796 as his will was probated in January of 1797.  We also know that Elizabeth and her new husband, Robert Starrett, married shortly following Nathaniel's death since their first child together was born in October of 1797 which meant that they probably married before the probate of Nathaniel's will. In any case, the new marriage between Robert Starrett and Elizabeth Seeley may not have gone as well as my great grandmother might have hoped as there is some evidence to suggest that Robert may have married Nathaniel Seeley's wife for her money or at least for her late husband's assets.  Nathaniel's older brother Samuel was appointed in 1805 to be the guardian of Nathaniel's four young children. Almost immediately following the appointment, Samuel started suing Robert Starrett for using the assets owned by the heirs of Nathaniel Seeley, his children, without paying for the assets.  The case made its way slowly through the court system before finally settling in August of 1807 wherein the property was declared to be seized from Robert Starrett. One of the parcels seized was the one acre parcel containing a tavern which apparently Starrett had used for free without payments to the children. Elizabeth Sayre Seeley Starrett died sometime between 1806 and 1809 after giving birth to four children with Robert Starrett.

We need to mention that the ancestry of our 4th great grandmother Elizabeth Sayre is a total mystery at least with respect to our not knowing the names of her parents.  We have spent literally hours reviewing the Sayre family trees on as well as studing the numerous Sayre family histories including the "Sayre Family: Lineage of Thomas Sayre" published in 1901 without being able to find the name of Elizabeth's parents. There is always the possibility that Elizabeth's maiden name was not Sayre although there was nothing that we could find that suggested this possibility.  One thing that we do know is that the Sayre and Seeley families were close knit families.  For example, Nathaniel Sr's sister Susannah Seeley (1730-1807) married a James Sayre (1720-1788).  Following James' death in 1788, Susannah and most of her children followed her brother Nathaniel and his wife Jemima to Chemung County. Even more interesting is that three of James and Susannah Sayre's children married spouses with the surname of Seeley and six of their nine children moved to Chemung County.  One of the children's name was even Elizabeth Sayre and she was about the same age as our 4th great grandmother, although it is pretty clear that she married a Jonas Seeley and they never moved to Chemung County.  It does seem like a real probability however, that our Elizabeth Sayre was a daughter of one of the five brothers of James Sayre although unfortunately the historical records for each of the brothers is lacking and after a lengthy search we found nothing conclusive. We guess that at this point our Elizabeth Sayre's lineage will have to remain a mystery.

Another mystery of course is when did Archibald Campbell come in contact with the daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Sayre Seeley. Archibald is believed to have been in his early 30s when he married 16-year old Elizabeth Seeley in 1806. If Elizabeth's mother died in 1806 as some believe, than Elizabeth was an orphan when she married and despite her large age difference with her new husband, arranged marriages which this probably was, were not that unusual in the early 1800s. This assumes of course that Archibald was believed to be a man capable of providing for his new and very young wife. We believe that he was more than capable at least financially. The first mention of Archibald Campbell in the history records we found in the Chemung County Historical Society's website where they informed us that Archibald Campbell along with a few other men were among the "prominent early traders" in Newtown (which is now the city of Elmira.) There are numerous documents in their files that mention our Archibald Campbell including bills, bill of ladings, business letters, and various references to "stores" all beginning as early as 5 June 1800 and ending in October of 1805. Apparently in the Chemung County area as far back as 1784 there was a site for a trading post where farmers and hunters could gather to sell or trade their products in exchange for processed goods such as maybe tools or lumber. It appears that one of Archibald Campbell's partners was a man named Stephen Tuttle who lived during that period in Athens, Pennsylvania. Apparently what was transpiring was that Archibald was buying goods from Stephen Tuttle and then hauling the goods up the Susquehanna River and then up the Chemung River for re-sale in Newtown. Their trading business may have ended around 1809 since it is known that around that time Stephen Tuttle relocated to Wilkes-Barre.  We mentioned in one of our earlier paragraphs that we believed that Archibald Campbell may have immigrated from Ireland into this country via the Port of Philadelphia. As many others had done before him, he may have left Philadelphia traveling up the Susquehanna through Wilkes-Barre to Athens where he then met Stephen Tuttle and where they setup their trading business. This probably occurred sometime in early 1800.  All of this seems to tie in with some of the Tax Assessment Records for Chemung County (which was then part of Tioga County) that we found online for the years 1800, 1801 and 1803. In the year 1800 we find Archibald Campbell listed as owning no land and having "personal estate" valued at only 12 dollars. By 1802, his personal estate had skyrocketed to a value of 4,160 dollars which undoubtedly reflected the value of the goods he had in his care for trading. In 1803, his personal estate dropped back to a more modest 1,245 dollars but here again this was probably just a reflection of the current market value of his trading goods.  In each year, Archibald Campbell is shown as owning no land. The tax assessment records for the other years of his business may have been just lost as there is no reason to believe that he ceased doing business, at least not until he moved with his new wife to Lodi in Seneca County which we believe occurred in the year 1809 or early 1810.  The location of the birth of the first child of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Seeley Campbell who was born on 24 December 1807 is shown on all of the family trees on to be in Lodi in Seneca County. We believe this to be false. Their second child, their son Robert, who was born on 3 May 1809 is also shown to have been born in Lodi and it is possible that this birth location is also incorrect. These children may both have been born in Newtown before their parents moved to Lodi.  Lodi was located on the east side of Seneca Lake about 40 miles north of Newtown. If Archibald's trading business closed down simultaneously with Stephen Tuttles relocation to Wilkes-Barre in 1809, then it is reasonable to assume that their move to Lodi would have taken place after this date.  We also know from other records that Archibald Campbell did not purchase land in Seneca County until the year 1810.  

Archibald Campbell certified as part of a lawsuit over the ownership of his land in Seneca County on which his family had lived for over 30 years, that he had purchased his land in 1810 and that he had paid 50 dollars for the land which was one of four parcels within Military Lot 75. His parcel he stated consisted of 76-2/3 acres. It is possible of course that the Campbell family moved to Seneca County by 1807 although it is more likely that they moved in 1810 after Archibald had made this great purchase of farmland at an incredibly low price. The map above shows in much too small detail all of the military tracts of 1797. The Military Lots were located in the center of New York State running from Lake Ontario on the north to almost Pennsylvania on the south. Military Lot 75 is located between the two long thin "Finger" lakes on the left hand side of the map.  Lot 75 is about 1/3 up from the bottom of Seneca Lake which is the lake on the left.  The lot runs down to the shores of the lake.

The US census records identify Archibald Campbell as a "Farmer" as he had undoubtedly abandoned his trading business once the family moved to Lodi.  Having personally spent many summers in the area of their farmland as well well as four years at college in nearby Ithaca, I can attest both to the beauty of the area as well as to the high quality of the farmland.  When General Sullivan marched his army through this area in 1779 during the Revolutionary War chasing out the Native American Indians, they encountered acres of cornfields and apple orchards that had been abandoned by the Indians. Driving north up Hwy 414 from Watkins Glen to the small village of Ovid, we find that even today the countryside is still rich farmland much the same as it was when the Indians occupied the land.  It must have come as quite a shock to Archibald Campbell when he discovered around 1818 that the title on his land might not be worth the paper that it was written on.  The State of New York had initiated a lawsuit to force the Campbell family and the three other farmers who were living on land within the boundary lines of the old Military Lot 75, to vacate the land. Apparently ownership of the 600 acre Military Lot 75 had originally been assigned to a Walter Parks, a New York soldier during the American Revolutionary War.  Walter Parks however, had died during the war therefore he never took possession of the land and he apparently left no heirs to inherit the land. Then sometime after 1791 when the land had originally been patented to Walter Parks, along came a couple of con-artist brothers by the name of Hagaman who presented a forged deed showing that they owned the land and they then proceeded to sell various parcels.  One of these buyers of these parcels, a man named Henry Skiffington, resold in 1810 what he believed was his land to our Archibald Campbell.  The State of New York in 1818 declared that they wanted the four occupants of the land evicted and the land advertised for sale. The litany of actions by the state against Archibald Campbell and the other owners to get them off the land is outlined in a publication titled "Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 5" which is available online. The report outlining everything that had taken place to get them off the land was written in 1846 so apparently Archibald Campbell had to contend with battling the state and what ultimately appeared to be the State's incompetency from the year 1818 until at least the year 1846, a total of 28 years. Unfortunately, the story is like reading a good book with no ending since we could not determine from the document exactly in the end what happened to Archibald with respect to his land.  Did the State eventually give up or did the Campbell family get evicted, or perhaps did Archibald reach a settlement so that in some way he could stay on his land. In 1846 when the report was written, Archibald was around 72 years old, Elizabeth was 56, and only five of his children were still living at home with the youngest around eleven year old.  In the 1850 Census record, four years after the 1846 report, Archibald is still listed as a farmer in Lodi which suggests that he may still have been on his farm. This is confirmed by an alternate census in Lodi titled the "Schedule of Production of Agriculture" dated 25 July 1850 wherein Archibald Campbell is shown owning 105 acres of land worth 8,000 dollars as well as owning 5 horses, 5 milk cows, 20 sheep, and other animals with a total value of 470 dollars. There is also a listing of bushels of crop including wheat, corn, rye, and oats all of which confirms that Archibald Campbell continued to operate a large farm. Archibald died in 1855 so he is not in the 1860 Census. In 1860 however, we find that 67 year-old Elizabeth was still living in Lodi with one son and three daughters. Her son is listed on the census record as a "Farmer" and so is another young man living with the family who is listed as a "Farm labor".  It would appear to this researcher that the State of New York may have given up trying to take the farm and land away from the family.  

In total, Archibald and Elizabeth Campbell were to have twelve children who lived to adulthood including our 2nd great grandmother, Jane Taft Campbell, their sixth child who was born in 1819.  Archibald it appears despite his years long battle with the State was a successful farmer who lived a long life with his wife and family. He died at the age of around 81 in the year 1855. Elizabeth outlived her husband by 14 years dying at the age of 78 in the year 1869. Jane Taft Campbell married in 1841 to a George Clark Wickham Ely. Together they had one child before George died, supposedly of typhoid fever, in the year 1646.  Jane married for a 2nd time, our 2nd great grandfather, Joshua Wyckoff Rappleye (1814-1888) who himself had lost two wives to early deaths. Jane and Joshua spent their lives in Interlaken, New York (then called Farmer) raising five children including my great grandmother Helen Ely Rappleye (1860-1944) who later married my great grandfather Asbury Harrpending Baker.  The photograph to the left is my 2nd great grandfather Joshua Wyckoff Rappleye, son-in-law to both Archibald Campbell and Elizabeth Seeley Cambell.



Monday, October 13, 2014

Chapter 36 Our Starkweather Ancestors and our "Improbable Tradition"

In the book the "Genealogical History of Robert Starkweather" and his ancestors written by Carlton Lee Starkweather published in 1904, Starkweather uses the expression "improbable tradition" when describing the ancestry of Robert Starkweather's daughter-in-law. At first we thought that the author had conjured up an original and polite way of saying that the tradition regarding her ancestry was totally bogus. However, when we googled the expression, we discovered that it has been used many times in other older books therefore we are unable to give our distant cousin Carlton any credit for this delightful expression.  In any case in this family history story we are going to totally ignore his suggestion that it might have been an improbable tradition that Starkweather's daughter-in-law was the daughter of the famous Indian Chief Metacomet or "King Philip" so named by the New England colonists in 1660. Besides, why not ignore Cousin Carlton's negativity. After all, who would not want to be the 8th great grandson of King Philip the prominent and fearsome war chief and sachem of the Wampanoag Indian Tribe.  But then we getting ahead of ourselves.

What we read about the origins of our 8th great grandfather Robert Starkweather is that he was born in either Scotland, Wales, or possibly on the Isle of Man off the coast of England, and he immigrated to America in 1640.  We suspect that this belief of Robert's origins began with the writings of our cousin Carlton Lee Starkweather in 1904 and as far as we can determine nothing has been uncovered either to support or reject his statement on Robert's birth location.  Unfortunately, or at least statistically, it seems doubtful that our Starkweather progenitor came from either Scotland or Wales. Between the years 1630 and 1640 it is estimated that approximately 20,000 individuals from the British Isles emigrated to America and New England.  It is further estimated that the vast majority of these individuals came from either the eastern counties of England or the coastal counties in southwest England.  We could find nothing in any writings suggesting that any Puritans from Wales or Scotland emigrated to America during this time period.  We further believe that asserting that Robert Starkweather arrived in 1640 is just a guess and it is based solely on the fact that his name was not recorded in any colonial records until the baptism of his first daughter in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1643.

So what do we actually know about our ancestor Robert Starkweather. Since Robert Starkweather and his wife Jennet Roberts did not marry until sometime before 1643, it is probably safe to assume that he was a late immigrant into New England since the Puritans in America during this period strongly encouraged marriage and tended to ostracize single men in their communities. Had he arrived much earlier than 1640, he undoubtedly would have already been married or at the very least been forced out of the community. It is also a probability that he was an unmarried man when he arrived since there is no evidence of other Starkweather children in any records other than those who were born following his marriage to Ms Roberts. Since we know that immigration of Puritans to America came pretty much to a standstill by mid-1640, then we can safely assume that Robert arrived in 1639 or 1640. Furthermore since the average age that Puritan men married is estimated to be around 26 years old (23 for women), we can conclude that Robert Starkweather was around 20 to 24 years old when he arrived in America in the year 1639/40.  We also know that he was a Puritan based on the church records regarding the baptism of his children.  It should also be noted that Robert Starkweather was not a typical early immigrant.  For one thing he was single whereas most of the early Puritans arrived in family groups.  Furthermore, the majority of the Puritans were from the middle class and about two thirds of the adult males were educated at least to the extent that they could sign their own names. There is no evidence that Robert Starkweather had any substantial net worth during his lifetime and since we know that he signed his name with a mark, we have to assume that he was uneducated. We also discovered as we further researched our great grandfather, that he never made much of himself, at least financially, during his lifetime. We can only hope that he was a great husband and a great father to his children and that he was well liked in his community. But then, we digress in our story.

Roxbury, Massachusetts where Robert Starkweather soon settled after his arrival in America, is one of the earliest communities settled after the "Great Migration" from England to America began in 1630.  It was located about two miles southwest of the original settlement of Boston right near the point where the land mass narrowed to an isthmus leading out to what was then almost the island of Boston.  The map above shows the original shape of the landmass which has dramatically changed over the course of 300+ years due to massive land-filling of the body of water surrounding the present day city of Boston.  Robert probably met his then 20-year old future wife Jennet Roberts while at a church service in Roxbury possibly as early as 1641. Based on the birth year of their oldest child they probably married either in late 1641 or early 1642.  Jennet's parents John and Elizabeth Roberts had emigrated from England in 1636 along with their seven children including their third oldest daughter Jennet, and John Roberts' mother referred to in the church records as his "aiged mother" or in another case "Old Moth' Roberts."  This Old Moth', who happens to be my 10th great grandmother was around 94 years old when she arrived in America and she lived until she was around 103 years old finally dying in 1645.

Other than the baptismal records of the four children born to Robert and Jennet Starkweather while they lived in Roxbury, there are no other documents that are known to exist up until 1651 that provide us with any clues about the Starkweather family during this period.  In December of 1651 there is a record of the sale of a house and land in Roxbury by Robert Starkweather.  Apparently when Robert's father-in-law, John Roberts, died earlier in the year he had granted property to his son-in-law and of course his daughter. What we might deduce from this is that Robert and Jennet Starkweather and their children probably had been living in the Roberts' owned house since their marriage and it was natural that when John Roberts was near death that he would gave them the property. What does seem extraordinary however, is that almost immediately after receiving ownership of the house and land, John Starkweather turned around and sold the property and moved his family to Ipswich, Massachusetts located about 35 miles north of Roxbury and Boston.  Perhaps he had concluded that with a little cash in his pocket and a fresh start in a new community, that was all that he needed to get his life back in order. Why they elected to move to Ipswich is unclear although we know that Jennet's older sister Elizabeth and her husband Edward Bragg had moved to Ipswich shortly after their marriage in the 1640s and they may very well have influenced the move.  We need to point out however, that many family historians believe that Edward Bragg's first wife was Elizabeth Whittridge and not Elizabeth Roberts.  This may very well be true although the very strong and unique relationship between the Bragg and Starkweather families suggests that their bond may have been stronger then just friendship.  Carlton Lee Starweather in his book about Robert Starkweather and his descendents suggests that Robert Starkweather in 1673 was "of extreme poverty" and that Edward Bragg was "entertaining of Robert Starkweather and his family."  Entertaining meaning that they were allowing the Starkweather family to stay at their home for longer than the allowed period of time. Puritans in most of New England controlled who lived within their community and how long they visited and apparently Edward Bragg was breaking the rules with respect to his Starkweather guests. Edward apparently satisfied the town officials by posting a bond in the amount of 50 pounds.

What is interesting of course, is the suggestion that Robert Starkweather was in a poor financial position and therefore not a worthy citizen of Ipswich. We do not really know much about the activities of Robert Starkweather from the time he moved to Ispwich in 1651 until his apparent financial problems in 1673. His name appears in the Ipswich Town records only twice, once in 1654 and once in 1655.  On one occasion he was given permission to install a fence and in the other he was given permission to graze cattle on common land as long as took the responsibility for caring for the "common heard of young Cattle for this Towns use . . "  The suggestion here seems to be that Robert Starkweather's occupation was to be the caretaker for farm animals that were owned by others and in return he was allowed to live on the common land and presumably graze his own animals.  Obviously at some point he was no longer in the town's favor as Robert and his family ended up living with the Bragg family.

Robert Starkweather ended up dying in 1674 at the relatively young age of somewhere in his early to mid-50s. Prior to his death however, an opportunity arose that may have changed his fortunes had not his premature death cut the opportunity short.  Located about three miles or so east of the town of Ipswich over on the coastline there was and is a peninsula of hilly land called Great Neck and attached to Great Neck to its south is another very small peninsula that may have been in the 1600s almost a small island perhaps connected to the mainland by only a sand dune.  This small island-like land was called Little Neck.  Great Neck and Little Neck are both shown on the map above. Both of these areas were used during this time period as common grazing lands primarily for sheep herds. In 1660, a William Paine who apparently owned the 27-acre parcel of land known as Little Neck, left the land in his will to the local Ipswich grammar school on the basis that the land must never be sold and that rents collected for the use of the land would be placed into a trust for the benefit of the Ipswich public schools. [Unrelated to this story but nevertheless worth pointing out, is that William Paine was one of our 10th great grandfathers but on a different branch in our family tree then our Starkweather ancestors.] It is fascinating to learn that this land remained in the trust collecting rents for 311 years until the land was finally sold after a long lawsuit in August of 2011 to the owners of 166 cottages who had previously been paying rent on the land under their cottages. The total sale price was a staggeringly low $31.4 million dollars (under $200,000 each for only the land that had probably been used by their families for decades. The current selling price for a small cabin on Little Neck runs in excess of $500,000).  We mention Little Neck and its history for several reasons.  The first reason is that one of the original renters on Little Neck even before William Paine died and set up the trust, was a man named Robert Roberts. Robert Roberts built a home on Little Neck some time in the 1650s and served as a shepherd collecting a fee for taking care of sheep owned by others, and paying rent on the land that he used and lived on. We immediately jumped to the conclusion that Robert Roberts must be related in some way to both Robert Starkweather's wife Jennet Roberts and Jennet's older sister Elizabeth who was married to Edward Bragg.  Robert Roberts' age would have made him only a few years older than Elizabeth and we assumed it possible that he may have left England with the rest of the John Roberts' family but did not remain with them in Roxbury, but had instead moved to Ipswich. Unfortunately, we could not find any connections between Robert Roberts and the John Roberts' family other than the following remarkable coincidence. When Robert Roberts died in 1663 he left his home and lease on the Little Neck land to his wife. His wife Susanna remarried shortly after Roberts' death a man named Thomas Perrin. In 1673, Thomas Perrin with permission from the Ipswich community leaders transferred the lease on the land on Little Neck to none other than our 8th great grandfather, Robert Starkweather.  Robert Starkweather was then to be the new sheepherder on Little Neck. He would be responsible like his possible brother-in-law Robert Roberts before him, for collecting fees for tending the sheep owned by others in the community, a task that would take from dawn to dusk each day, and then from his proceeds he would pay the rent on the land to the Ipswich school. Unfortunately our Robert Starkweather died less than a year later in 1674 after taken on his new responsibility.  The remarkable coincidence that we mentioned above is that Robert Starkweather was given the lease on a home and land on Little Neck that had previously been held by Robert Roberts, who shared the same surname as his wife Jennet.  This coincidence strongly suggests that there was a family relationship between Jennet and Robert Roberts especially when we consider that the total population in all of Colonial New England at the time was probably not more than 40 to 45,000.

An inventory of Robert Starkweather's "goods" following his death taken in November of 1674 gave a total value for everything he owned at only 59 English pounds.  This included only 12 pounds for the house (not the land) on Little Neck and the rest was for the value of a few animals, the furniture, some miscellaneous tools, and even 1 pound for the value of a "sword and beelt." Unfortunately, Robert's debts totaled almost as much as the value of his goods with his largest debt of 28 pound owed to his brother-in-law, Edward Bragg. Jennet Starkweather was for the most part left with nothing including no place to live.  It is therefore not surprising that 52-year old Jennet remarried shortly after her husband's death.  It is known that she outlived her second husband who died in 1684.  We know the names of only four of Robert and Jennet's children although it is possible that there were more. The oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was around 31 years old when her father died and the youngest, Deborah, was around 26.  We assume although could not confirm, that all three daughters were married at the time of their father's death.  Their only known son, John Starkweather, our 7th great grandfather, was married at age 30, two years following his father's death.  This chapter continues below with the story of John Starkweather and the controversial story of his Indian wife Ann.                       

The ancestry of Ann Starkweather is unknown but there are at least two contentious or perhaps "improbable traditions." that attempt to answer this question.  The first theory is that she was the daughter of parents with the surname of Woodbury.  The origins of this theory are unknown, however we did find a copy of a letter written by someone who signed their name only as F.B., published under a column titled "Genealogical" in a November 11, 1896 edition of the "Boston Evening Transcript" that attempted to answer the question. F.B.'s theory was that since John and Ann Starkweather both had a grandson and a great grandson named Woodbury, then the name Woodbury must be a family name, and it was assumed as likely by this writer that Ann Starkweather's maiden name was Woodbury. This was really a stretch but the name Ann Woodbury now appears firmly fixed as John Starkweather's wife in dozens of family trees on and elsewhere.

On the other hand an equally "improbable tradition" is that Ann Starkweather was the daughter of Metacomet, also known as King Philip, a well known and hated Indian leader in Colonial New England. At least in this theory there is a possibility of truth and the family tradition that Ann Starkweather was an Indian has existed for many, many generations within the Starkweather family.  We probably should begin with a brief description of the life of our possible 8th great grandfather, Metacomet, or as he was called by the English, Philip, the sachem of the Wampanoag Indians.

The Wampanoag Indian tribe was located during the 1600s in southeastern Massachusetts and along the very southeastern edge of Rhode Island.  It was these Indians whom the Pilgrims first encountered when they landed at Plymouth in 1620 and it was the Wampanoag Indians and their leader Massasoit who befriended the Pilgrims and who were largely responsible for the Pilgrims surviving their first winter. It also would have been these Indians who shared with the Pilgrims our first Thanksgiving feast.  Massasoit was the father of Metacomet and if we are related to Metacomet, then Massasoit would be our 9th great grandfather. Metacomet was the second son of Massasoit.  Very little is known about him in his early years although it is thought that he was born around 1638 near what is now the City of Warren, Rhode Island located not far from what is identified as Mount Hope on the above map.

The relationship between the Indians and the new white settlers was contentious right from the beginning.  It did not help that the white man's diseases such as measles and chickenpox were running wild through the Indian population and these simple illnesses which rarely caused death to Europeans, were deadly to the Indians. Furthermore, the rapidly increasing population of new immigrants meant that they were requiring more and more land for new settlements and at first, both Massasoit and later his son Metacomet after he assumed the leadership following his father's and his older brother's death in 1662, tried to appease the white settlers by selling them land. Unfortunately, the two cultures started to clash as they both struggled to live near one another and yet maintain their own ways of life.  It did not help that the Puritans placed intense pressure on the Indians to accept the English culture and laws. In 1671 the Puritans who were constantly fearful of an Indian uprising, attempted to force a peace treaty with the Indians but one of the onerous terms of the treaty was that the Indians were to turn over all of their firearms.  These actions and others simply increased the tensions which eventually led to a series of Indian raids in the Spring of 1675 and full scale attacks across the numerous frontier settlements by the summer.  On 9 September 1675 the New England Confederation declared war on the Indians.  Without going into a lot of detail about what is now called "King Philip's War" named after Metacomet, we will only say that the war lasted until around the middle of the summer of 1676 culminating with the death of Metacomet on 12 August 1676. The military force that was credited with the killing of Metacomet was led by Captain Benjamin Church who just happens to be my 8th great grand uncle.  Somewhat ironic.

The seriousness of this war cannot be understated although the war itself is largely forgotten except by historians.  Considering the relatively small numbers of both Indians and English people living in New England at the time, the loss of 3,000 American Indians and around 600 English colonists was enormous and represents a larger percentage loss of the population than caused by any of the subsequent wars fought since that period including the loss of lives during the Civil War.  The hatred of the Indians following the war can best be personified by looking at what they did to the body of King Philip.  He was beheaded and quartered and his head was displayed on a pole at Plymouth for the next 25 years. What we find ironic in hindsight is how many numerous places in the years following his death have been named after him including the names of roads, mountains, trails, schools, parks, lakes, and even a battleship. And even if Metacomet, King Philip, is not my great grandfather, we have to respect his restraint in trying for so many years to accommodate the English settlers and finally his reluctant willingness to fight and give up his life for what he believed were his peoples' rights.

At the end of the war many of the Indians who were captured were sold into slavery mostly in the Caribbean including Metacomet's wife and his nine-year old son. We do not know the number of children born to Metacomet and his wife Wootonakanuska. Metacomet's father was in his early 80s when he died in 1661 which would suggest that Metacomet as his second son was probably somewhere in his mid to late-30s at the time of his father's death or he was born somewhere between the years of 1620 to 1625, far early than the birth year often quoted of 1638. If Metacomet was in his early 40s when his youngest child was born it should not be surprising that he may have had many other other children some of whom might very well have been in their 20s at the time of their father's death. What happened to these children who surely must have existed is unknown although some of them, particularly the older girls, may very well have been absorbed into the Puritan population as wives. Puritan men were known to marry Indian girls although it was not encouraged and it was only accepted under the condition that the girls accept the Puritan way of life and the religion.  Could John Starkweather's wife have been an Indian?  Absolutely.  Could she have been a daughter of Metacomet? Possibly. Now me must examine how this "improbable tradition" might have come about.

At the time of the King Philip's War, John Starkweather was living in Ipswich, Massachusetts and if his future wife Ann (an improbable picture to the left) was the daughter of Metacomet, then she was probably living somewhere near Mount Hope in southeastern Rhode Island around 100 miles south of Ipswich. In 1676 it was unlikely under normal circumstances that they would have met and married. This assumes of course, that John Starkweather was not part of the Massachusetts Militia during the King Philip's War. As it turns out the Massachusetts Militia was commanded by a Col. Samuel Appleton who just happened to live in John Starkweather's hometown of Ipswich. We have also learned from the book by Carlton Lee Starkweather that we previously referenced, that John Starkweather was a tenant on land owned by John Appleton, whom we believe was Samuel Appleton's brother.  Both Appleton brothers were very prominent citizens of Ipswich and as it turns out Samuel Appleton was my 9th great grandfather as well as the son-in-law of previously mentioned William Paine. While we found no evidence that John Starkweather was a soldier in the Massachusetts militia commanded by Samuel Appleton during the King Philip's War, we nevertheless believe that there was a high probability that he did serve as did a large percentage of the male population. If we accept that John Starkweather was engaged in the war then that would certainly increase the possibility that the young and single John Starkweather encountered his future Indian wife in or around Mount Hope or at least somewhere in Rhode Island or southern Massachusetts, and that he returned with her to his home in Ipswich where they were married in 1676. The fact that the year of their marriage coincides with the end of the King Philip's War suggests that this "improbable tradition" of the marriage may indeed have a hint of accuracy. We must also not discount the "long family tradition" that Ann Starkweather was a daughter of Metacomet as being purely without merit. Such traditions do not just spring up from nothing. Furthermore, we must note that Ann's age fits well within the time period when Metacomet had likely fathered children. While it is true that the Puritan soldiers in many cases indiscriminately killed Indians during the war including elderly as well as women and children, this does not mean that everyone in the community condoned that behavior. We believe that there is very real possibly that many of the innocent Indians particularly the women and children might very well have been hidden and then absorbed into the community. Finally, Ann Starkweather did not receive her "full communion" into the Puritan Church until after her husband's death in 1703 and even then her time with the church was somewhat contentious as she was disciplined in 1709 for lying and being obstinate.  She apparently "confesses" and was forgiven by the church in 1711 although her delay in becoming an active member of the church and her somewhat belligerent behavior later towards the church is suggestive that she may not have received a strict Puritan upbringing.  The reason of course, may simply have been because her earlier years were spent living with her parents in an Indian community.  While all of this is not proof of anything, it does seem a little strange that despite all that we know about John and his parents, siblings, and his children, we know absolutely nothing about the background and parents of our 7th great grandmother, Ann Starkweather.  No information in this regard has been uncovered in any of the Ipswich public records nor in the abundant church records.

John and Ann Starkweather lived together in Ipswich from the time of their marriage until around 1694 when they relocated with their family to Preston, Connecticut around 125 miles south of Ipswich. We have pointed out a number of times in this Blog about how our colonial ancestors seem to up and move all the time thinking that each time they moved they were just seeking better opportunities for themselves and their children. While this is undoubtedly true, it occurred to us recently that even our generation is constantly on the move.  My father was born in Elmira, New York but he ended up spending most of his life with my mother in Niagara Falls, New York. My parents had three children all of us born near or in Niagara Falls but all three of us moved: one of us to Florida, one to Boston, MA, and one to Corvalis, Oregon. This habit of relocating seems to be an inherited trait perhaps in all of us.

John and Ann Starkweather had seven children born in Ipswich between the years of 1677 and 1693 including my 6th great grandfather Richard Starkweather, their 5th child, who was born in the year 1686.  We do not know much about the life of John during these years other than it appears he may have continued in his father's trade of raising and grazing farm animals as well as growing crops for food for his family.  He was described in one of the historical documents in Preston as a "husbandman" which was old medieval term meaning a free tenant farmer or a small landowner. This expression confirms what is mentioned elsewhere that John Starkweather was a tenant on land owned in Ipswich by John Appleton.  John Starkweather was around 46-years old when he moved his family to Preston.  Apparently the lure of free land that he was granted in Preston on 26 August 1694 was too much to ignore.  The "plantation" of Preston had been established only a few years earlier in 1686 and clearly the city leaders wanted to encourage new settlers. This move and change in John Starkweather's life seems to have encouraged him, especially now that he was a landowner for the first time, to participate in the management of his community.  In 1698 John was appointed a "List Gatherer, in 1700 he was appointed a "Fence Viewer," and then on 5 January 1698, at age 50, and again on 30 December 1702, he became a "Selectman" in the city of Preston.  The selectmen, there was more than one, were literally selected by the adult males in the community and as a small group they were responsible for running the day to day operations of the city. This honor for John Starkweather was further extended when he want on to represent Preston in the Legislature of Connecticut.  During the years of 1698 until his death on 21 August 1703 he was involved in a number of other civic activities within the community many of which are noted in the town records including mention of him in the documents as "M' Starkweather", Mister as opposed to the lessor title of Goodman.  His rise from the poverty of his parents to becoming a small tenant farmer in Ipswich, to marrying an Indian princess, and then becoming a landowner and town leader in Preston, Connecticut makes for a truly incredible story. The value of his estate at his death was around 200 English pounds which definitely would have placed him in the well-off category.  Ann Starkweather survived her husband by 23 years finally passing away in 1727.  Our 6th great grandfather, Richard Starkweather, was around 18-years old when his father died. His parents are buried side by side in the old Preston City Cemetery.

The next two generations of our Starkweather family include our 6th great grandfather Richard Starkweather (1686-1760) who married Mary Plummer (1698-1786) and our 5th great grandfather Elijah Starkweather (1722-after 1769) who married Esther Gates (1732-?). Both of these generations continued to live in or around Preston City, Connecticut, both appeared to live reasonably prosperous lives, and both raised large families. It was not until the next generation of our Starkweather ancestors beginning with our 4th great grandfather Elijah Starkweather (1756-1847), did the family finally move out of Connecticut following Elijah's service in the American Revolution. He first settled in Vermont where he met and married his wife Anna Johnson in 1807 and had three children before relocating his family sometime before 1830 to Cayuga County near the shoreline of Cayuga Lake in the Central Finger Lakes Region of New York. Their trip to Cayuga County made much easier due to the completion of the Erie County over a decade earlier. Here Elijah remained for the rest of his life until his death at age 91 in 1847. The last of my Starkweather ancestors was the third daughter of Elijah and Anna Starkweather, my 3rd great grandmother Adaline Starkweather (1818-1849) who married John J. Yawger around 1839. Their child Elsie Ann Yawger (1844-1918) who married David Coapman is my mother's great grandmother on her mother's side of our family.  In Chapter 19 of this Blog a brief description of the Yawger and Coapman family histories is told.

So ends the story of our Starkweather ancestors.