Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chapter 20 - The Covert Family Tree

I was inspirited to write this chapter on the Covert side of our family tree after a visit this summer to the Patterson Family cottage on Crane Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. I had not visited the cottage in 26 years, since 1982, and had forgotten how many old family photographs lay around on the table by the large stone fireplace in the living room of this large two story log cabin built in the early 1920s. Many of the earliest photographs were of the Patterson children taken in the 1930s, however after the death of their mother, my grandmother Florence Ferree (Patterson), on March 19, 1938 and my grandfather Patterson’s second marriage to Blanche Carnall, in 1939, most of the photographs also included pictures of Blanche’s children from her first marriage, Aunt Linda, Aunt Mary, and Uncle H.P. (Horace). Also included in some of the photographs were Klare and Lorraine Covert and their son Robert “Uncle Bob” Covert, the future husband of my mother’s sister, Florence Patterson. The photograph to the upper left was taken in 1941. The young man in the top row, second from the left, is Uncle Bob Covert. His father and mother, Klare and Lorraine Covert, are in the second row, immediately below Uncle Bob. What I found odd about this photograph was that it was taken sometime before the marriage of Aunt Florence and Uncle Bob (Aunt Florence sitting on the floor second from the right was only 16 when this photo was taken) and I was confused as to why the Coverts would have been included in a photograph of the Patterson family taken so long before the marriage of Florence Patterson and Robert Covert. After I returned from our brief stay at the Patterson cottage, I researched the Covert family tree and learned that Eleanor Lorraine Covert’s maiden name was Carnall, and she was the sister of Blanche Carnall (Patterson), the new wife of my grandfather, Douglas Ross Patterson. The Coverts in 1941 were the new in-laws of my grandfather Patterson, and Robert Covert was his new step-nephew, and therefore it was quite appropriate that the Coverts would be included in this family portrait.

In the photograph on the right below taken around 1940 is my father, Charles A. Baker, top row on the right, and my mother, Marian Patterson, second row from the bottom on the right. The photograph was taken at the Patterson cottage on Crane Lake. Aunt Florence who was later to marry Robert Covert is sitting on the left in the second row above the young boy, my uncle Horace “HP” Patterson.

While I did not find any photographs at the Patterson cottage that showed both Robert Covert and my father in the same photograph, there can be no doubt that by the early 1940s they knew each other and possibly a young Bob Covert attended my parent’s wedding on April 29, 1939. What they probably did not know at the time, and maybe never knew, was that they were distant cousins. To be exact, Uncle Bob Covert was my father’s fifth cousin, once removed, and my sixth cousin. Bob’s 5th great grandfather, Lucas Covert (1699-1778) was also my 5th great grandfather. It is a small world and this revelation was all that it took to inspire me to write this chapter on my Covert family tree.

The descendant outline on the right shows the eight generations between Lucas Covert and me, Charles A. Baker Jr. On the left below, it outlines the eight generations between Lucas Covert and my Uncle Bob, Robert Edwin Covert. I am a descendant of Lucas Covert’s son Abraham whereas Uncle Bob was a descendant of Abraham’s older brother, Peter. Abraham’s daughter, Mary “Polly” Covert (1777-1870) married Peter Rappleye (1776-1858). Peter Rappleye as you may recall was the builder of the grandfather clock that sits in the living room of our Florida home and his Rappleye family is the subject of Chapter 1 in the Baker Family Tree blog at http://www.bakerfamilytree.blogspot.com/.

Most of the known ancestors of Lucas Covert emigrated from Holland, all of his early ancestors in the New World lived in the New Amsterdam area (later to be renamed New York), and most if not all of his ancestors were Protestants and members of the Dutch Reformed Church in America. Like the Puritans of New England, many of the early Dutch settlers in New York had left the European continent to avoid the religious conflicts between the Protestants and the Catholics that were taking place in Northern Europe in the second half of the 16th century and early 17th century. They also sought to escape the constant threat of persecution and even death posed by the Roman Catholic Spanish. While much of the early immigration to New Amsterdam or New Netherlands in the Americas originated from ports in Holland it cannot be assumed that all of the early immigrants were of Dutch descent simply because they had Dutch names. It was well known in the later part of the 16th century that Holland offered a religious freedom not found in many of the other European countries. The English Pilgrims lived in Holland before they departed on the Mayflower to Plymouth. Many of the French Huguenots and Walloons from northern France and Belgium sought sanctuary in Holland from the persecutions of the Roman Catholic Church. The Rapalje (Rappleye) branch of our family discussed in Chapter 1 lived in France before they moved to Holland. There they acquired the Dutch spelling of their surname and in 1624 immigrated to New Amsterdam. We believe that many of the Covert ancestors may have originated in other parts of Europe as well; however in some cases with the change in the spelling of their names, and the absence of historical records, we are unable to determine the original origin of some of the family branches. The family tree on the left shows the known ancestors of Abraham Covert, my 4th great grandfather. As you can see most of them have Dutch names. The earliest Covert to arrive in America, was Teunis Janse Covert, who immigrated with his wife in 1651. History records several spellings of his last name including Coevors which is the spelling in many of the earliest church records. We will discuss Teunis Janse Covert and his descendants in subsequent paragraphs.

Also on the family tree is the name John Seals which clearly is an English name although most of his life in America was spent in New Amsterdam where he was known by his Dutch name Jan Celes. “Old Jans” as he was referred to in his later years was quite a character as will be revealed in subsequent paragraphs.

Finally, the father of Dirck Janse Woertman is believed to be an Englishman by the name of John Workman, who moved to Holland in the early 1600s probably for religious reasons. We will also discuss the Woertman family and others in subsequent paragraphs.

The life of John Sales (or Seals), my 9th great grandfather and the 3rd great grandfather of Abraham Covert, is well documented in colonial history although mostly as a result of his notorious ways rather than for his good deeds, and consequently he deserves the title of the black sheep of the Baker Family Tree. John Sales was born in England around 1594. His early personal life in England including the location and date of his birth (there are some records of his birth being as early as 1585 and as late as 1602), the dates of his first marriage and birth of his daughters is unclear although based on all of the data written about John Seals, the following history is commonly accepted. John married Phillip Soales in Little Waldingfield, in Suffolk County, England on August 11, 1625. Their first daughter Phoebe (or Phebe), my 8th great grandmother, was born in May of 1626. There are parish records showing that a second daughter, Sarah, was born in 1628 although she may have died young before the family immigrated to the New World in 1630 as there is no further mention of Sarah in the New England colonial records. Based on some of John Sales’ later legal problems both in New England and in New Amsterdam, it is not a stretch to speculate that John Sales’ emigration to New England with his family in 1630 was motivated more by his need to escape from the law or his debts rather than any personal desire on his part to seek religious freedom. While the name of the ship on which John, his wife, and his daughter sailed to New England in 1630 as a part of Winthrop’s fleet of ships carrying 1,000 passengers is unknown, his passage with his family is recognized as fact by the Winthrop Society on their website, www.winthropsociety.org. The family initially settled in Charlestown, near Boston, and his name is recorded as a member of the First Church of Charlestown in August of 1630.

John’s troubles began in 1632. It is written that there “happened in this town [Charlestown] the first known thief that was notoriously observed in the country, his name was John Sales who having stolen corn from many people in this scarce time was convicted thereof before the court and openly punished [whipped] and all he had by law condemned and sold to make restitution.” It is not recorded when John’s wife died although I hope that she died before she was disgraced by her husband’s actions. In 1633, John with his young daughter moved to Boston where again in April of 1633 ”John Sayles (Sales) being convicted of feloniously taking away corn and fish from diverse persons the last year and this, as also clapboards, etc., is censured by the court after this manner: That all his estate shall be forfeited, out of which double restitution shall be made to those whom he hath wronged, shall be whipped, and bound as servant with any that will retain him for 3 years, and after to be disposed of by the Court as they shall think meet. John Sayle is bound with Mr. Coxeshall for 3 years, for which he is to give him 4 pounds per annum; his daughter is also bound with him for 14 years [until she was 21].” In March of 1634, John Sales is again ordered to be “severely whipped”, this time for running away from Mr. Coxeshall. Sometime in late 1637 John Sales and his daughter fled or ran away from the Puritans in Massachusetts and no further mention is made of him in the Massachusetts records.

In 1638, John Sales and his daughter resurfaced in the more liberal Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. His name is recorded as Jan Celes on a 1638 property lease (or possibly on a property grant) on the Dutch controlled Island of Manhattan. His land, his “Plantation,” after his death was referred to in colonial records as “Old Jan’s Land” and is located on modern maps as west of MacDougal Street, 251 feet north of Canal Street, south of Charlton Street, and east of the west branch of the Hudson River. The Holland Tunnel now passes under “Old Jan’s Land” which is located just south of Greenwich Village, prime NYC real estate. Jan Celes was later recorded by a Dutch clerk as being from “Jarleston” [Charlestown] in [New] “England”. Phoebe’s name in Dutch was recorded in a number of different ways including Femmetje Jans (daughter of Jan) and Phabea Faelix (the Faelix being a Dutch version of the English Sales or Seals).

While the map below does not show the land of Jan Celes, “Old Jan’s Land”, it is known that his land was located just north of the land of Dominic Everadus Bogardus which is shown on this 1640 map of New Amsterdam in the upper right hand corner, not far from the southern tip of Manhattan Island which in 1640 formed the nucleus of the Dutch community.

Phoebe at the maiden age of only 14 married our 8th great grandfather, Teunis Nyssen Denyse, age 20, on February 11, 1840. Her father, now Jan Celes, married Maria Roberts, the widow of Jan Sloofs, on August 21, 1644. Unfortunately for Phoebe, her father’s rather outrageous behavior in New Amsterdam, while not illegal as it was in New England, continued and his name was mentioned frequently in the court records beginning in late 1638 and continued to be mentioned even following the date of his death in 1645.

In November of 1638 Jan Celes was sued by his neighbor for damage done to his property by Celes’ hogs. Jan Celes was ordered to pay a fine. Shortly thereafter Celes was sued for failure to pay for some peas that he ordered. He was directed to pay for the peas. In March 1642, Jan apparently shot some of his neighbor’s hogs and sold the meat. He was arrested and later directed to pay for the hogs and pay the court costs. Also in 1642 he was sued for slander and while the case was dismissed he was directed to pay the court costs. In February 1643 he was again sued for failing to pay for some tobacco that he had ordered; in June 1643, he was sued for failing to pay for some work he had had performed and in November 1643, he chased and wounded a neighbor’s cow. In each case he lost in court and was ordered to pay restitution to the plaintiffs. The courts must surely have grown tired of dealing with Old Jans who actually in 1643, was only 48 years old, hardly old by today’s standards. However, on the 17th day of April, 1645, Jan Celes prepared his last Will and Testament “who, being wounded and lying sick abed”, knew that he was dying. While no records exist to explain how he was wounded, it would not be surprising to discover that he was rewarded for his outrageous behavior by a fatal blow to his body by one of his neighbors.

Jan Celes (John Sales) left half his property to his son-in-law, Teunis Denyse, and half to his wife, Maria Celes. His wife’s share was for her life use only, provided that she remains a widow, and upon her death her share would pass to his children or their heirs. Maria must have thought that marriage was more important than her late husband’s property for she remarried before the end of 1645. Her new husband, Thomas Gridy, age 60, was of a similar disposition as her former husband, Jan Celes, for sometime after their marriage Thomas was sentenced to be publically whipped and to be banished from the colony for twelve years. Fortunately, Maria, who exhibited such foolish judgment, was not my great grandmother although that still leaves us with the bad genes of John Sales, a/k/a Jan Celes, in our family tree.

As previously stated, Teunis Jansen Covert is believed to be the progenitor of the Covert family in America. He was born around 1620 in the village of Lommel located in present day Belgium near its northern border with the Netherlands. In the 1620s, Lommel and most of Belgium was part of the Spanish Netherlands and the only accepted religion in the area, at least by its Spanish rulers, was Roman Catholicism. To the northeast of the Spanish Netherlands was the United Netherlands, an area where the Protestant religion was the predominate faith and tolerance of all religious faiths was the practice. It is for this reason that the Pilgrims sought refuge in Holland (Netherlands) before embarking on the Mayflower to America in 1620, the Protestant Dutch Walloons including our ancestors Joris Janseen Rapalje and his wife Catalyntje Trico (see Chapter 1,) sought refuge before sailing to New Amsterdam in 1624, and Marie Warenbuer Ferree and her family (see Chapter 6) fled to the Netherlands from France and from Catholic persecution before emigrated to America in the early 1700s. We do not know whether Teunis Jansen Covert moved north to Heemstede in North Holland with his parents when he was young or at a later date, however it is safe to assume that the motivation behind his move was to escape the hardships imposed on them as Protestants by the Spanish. Furthermore, the period of 1618 through 1648, today known as the Thirty Years’ War, was a period of almost continuous warfare between the Spanish (Roman Catholics) and the Dutch (Protestants) over the control of the Netherlands. The war was finally settled in 1648 with the Treaty of Munster wherein Spain accepted the United Netherlands as a sovereign nation.

Teunis Jansen married Barbara Lucas Van Kessel in December of 1645 near her hometown of Hoorn located in North Holland, the peninsula shown on the map north of Amsterdam. After their marriage they moved to Teunis’ home in the village of Heemstede located just south of Haarlem and east of Amsterdam. Barbara and Teunis raised four children between the date of their marriage and their departure to the New World in 1651. Their youngest child, Jan, was born in January of 1651; their oldest child, Lucas Teunise, my 9th great grandfather, was born on February 24, 1647. The parents embarked for New Amsterdam sometime in the early summer of 1651 leaving all four of their children behind with relatives.

We can only speculate what motivated Teunis and Barbara to leave the Netherlands for America and leave their four children behind. The war had ended in 1648 and the Netherlands had become a prosperous nation. It may be however, that after the close of the war the influx of new immigrants into Holland resulted in a high unemployment rate despite the general prosperity of the nation as a whole. Teunis may have had trouble finding a job and he may have been influenced by the constant advertised promises by the Dutch West India Company of free passage to and free land grants in America and New Amsterdam in exchange for a short period of indentureship to cover the company’s expenses. Unlike the Puritan migration to the north in New England, the Dutch West India Company was a business venture that required workers and was expected to show a profit. They therefore encouraged and even sponsored the migration of young singles and young married Dutch men and women without children. The company was less interested in starting a new settlement in America than they were in promulgating a business, especially the fur trading business, and children were no help to them in achieving these goals. It is possible that the only way for Teunis and Barbara to take advantage of the company’s offer was to leave their children behind and send for them later. Incidentally, this attitude on the part of the Dutch West India Company was not appreciated by many of the early Dutch settlers of New York and when the English finally gained control of the area by treaty in 1674, the change in the political control of the colony was welcomed by many of the Dutch settlers.

Teunis and Barbara lived in New Amsterdam on the southern tip of Manhattan Island from the time of their arrival in 1651 until they moved out to Bedford on Long Island in the year 1660. In 1660 Bedford was a small growing community located just east of the village of Breuckelen (Brooklyn). While in New Amsterdam the family had grown by three with the birth of a child in 1653, 1654, and 1658. Church records show that they were members of the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam. In the 1667 map of Brooklyn shown on the left, Bedford is located in the lower right hand corner, southeast of “Brookland [Brooklyn] Parish” and almost due south of Wallabout Bay off the East River. In the upper left hand corner of the map is the tip of Manhattan Island. In the 1600s a ferry operated from Manhattan to Brooklyn and from there the road ran southeast through Bedford. Joris Jansen Rapalje, my 8th great grandfather (and the subject of Chapter 1 in my Baker Family Tree Blog) occupied and farmed a major parcel of land that fronted on part of Wallabout Bay (now the site of the Brooklyn Naval Yard). As the map clearly shows, in the 1660s most of what is now Brooklyn was a series of large farmlands.

Joris and his wife Catalyna were no doubt familiar with the Covert family as they were both members of the Dutch Reformed Church in Brooklyn Parish and in fact when Joris Rapalje died on February 21, 1663, Teunis Jansen Covert was elected to replace him as an Elder of the Church. The sketch of the church on the right is believed to depict the Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn constructed in 1666 and the location where the Covert family worshiped for many years and the location of the marriages and baptisms of many of their children and their grandchildren. The original Brooklyn church was constructed near the intersection of present day Fulton and Smith streets. The original village of Bedford is today part of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, a gradually improving African-American community containing numerous tree-lined streets with affordable brownstone rowhouses. [“Affordable” is a relative term in New York City since when I googled “Bedford-Stuyvesant Real Estate” almost every rowhouse was priced at more than $500K.]

In 1663, the four children of Teunis and Barbara arrived from Holland to reunite with their parents at their new home in Bedford. Lucas Teunise, the oldest child was sixteen years old when he arrived in America with his two sisters and one younger brother. From the year of 1663 forward, Teunis Covert’s name appears a number of times in the public and church records although the historical records reveal little information about his life. In 1676 and 1683 his name was listed as having been assessed in Brooklyn. In December of 1663 he and Barbara witnessed the baptism of their youngest child, Mauritsz. In May of 1683, Teunis was listed as a witness at the baptism of his son Lucas’ twin sons, Abraham and Isaac (my 5th great uncles). In 1687, Teunis Covert signed the Oath of Allegiance [required of all citizens by the new English government that by treaty assumed control of New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1674 and renamed it New York.] His name appeared again in 1691 and in 1692 on baptismal records. The exact date of Teunis Covert’s death is not known although it is believed that he died at his home in Bedford around the year 1697. He would have been 72 years old. The date of the death of Barbara Covert is unknown.

One final comment about our first Covert ancestor in America is worth noting. When Teunis Janse arrived in New Amsterdam in 1653 he was not using the surname Covert nor any of the other numerous variations of that name such as Couvers, Coevert, or Coevors that appeared later in the early Dutch colonial records. Teunis’ use of the name Covert (actually it was Coevers) was not recorded until some ten years after his arrival. The use of surnames was a common practice in England during this period [see Chapter 16 about the Wolcott family for a discussion of the origin of surnames in England], however in other countries in Europe including the Netherlands, the last names were patronymic. That is, the child’s last name was a variation of their father’s proper name or first name. For example, Teunise Jansen (or Janse, Janseen, or Janszen) denoted that he was the son of Jan. Teunise Jansen’s oldest son they named Lucas which then became Lucas Teunise (or Teunissen) or Lucas the son of Teunise. The derivation of the Covert surname is unknown although it is possible that it came from Coevorden, or Koevorde, a fortified town in the Providence of Drenthe, Holland. Obviously, the Dutch in New Amsterdam adopted the use of surnames from their English neighbors in America.

Lucas Teunise Covert married Barbara Sprong on August 27, 1682 at the Dutch Reformed Church in Flatbush, Long Island near the home of Barbara’s parents, Johannes Spronck and Annetje Sodelaers (my 7th great grandparents). Barbara was born in 1661 shortly after the arrival of her parents in New Amsterdam in 1660. The historical records yield little about the life of Lucas Teunise and his wife. We know that they were to have eight children. We believe that they lived in Flatbush (located about six miles southwest of Bedford) for several years before moving out to Madnan’s Neck (now called Great Neck) on the coastline of Long Island Sound (about 15 miles northeast of Flatbush on the peninsula located just east of Flushing shown on the map to the right). Lucas Teunise remained in Madnan’s Neck probably working a farm until his early death around 1703. Lucas Teunise’s name is mentioned a number of times in the colonial records most frequently for land purchases that he often made with his brother Hans Covert. His name is recorded for the purchase and sale of land in Bedford in 1697, for the purchase of land in Dutch Kills, Long Island in 1690 and subsequent sale of this land in 1702, and for the purchase of land in Somerset County, New Jersey in 1702. Some historians believe that Lucas Teunise Covert may have relocated to New Jersey before returning to Madnan’s Neck. This is based on the fact that he acquired land there and that some of his children “remained” there, suggesting that the family lived there for a period. While it is possible that he lived there for a short period, his youngest child was only four years old in 1703 and it seems unlikely that he removed his entire family to Somerset County, New Jersey, and then almost immediately turned around and returned to Madnan’s Neck where he died shortly thereafter in 1703 or early 1704. Furthermore, after Lucas’ death, his wife Barbara remarried and moved to Jamaica on Long Island (also shown on the above map) where she died in 1737.

Lucas Teunise Covert’s youngest son who was born in Madnan’s Neck on April 9, 1699, was named Lucas after his father. Lucas Covert, the son, is my 5th great grandfather (and Uncle Bob’s 5th great grandfather). While there is no written evidence to support this statement, it would seem certain that Lucas moved with his mother and many of his brothers and sisters to Jamaica, New York when his mother remarried. It is possible however, that young Lucas who was still a baby when his father died may have been sent to live with his Uncle Hans (Jan) Teunise Covert’s family who lived in Somerset County, New Jersey. All that we know for certain is that young Lucas moved to Raritan, Somerset County, New Jersey sometime before February 20, 1728 which was the date of the birth of the first child of Lucas Covert and his wife Hermitien Woertman.

The great grandfather of Lucas’ wife Hermitien Woertman, is believed to be an Englishman named John William Workman (my 8th great grandfather) who sometime in the early 1620s emigrated from England to Holland to escape the religious persecution of Puritans, much the same as the Pilgrims did only a few years earlier. Unlike the Pilgrims however, who left Holland and immigrated to America in 1620, John William Workman elected to integrate himself into Dutch society including marrying a Dutch girl in the year 1628. It was John’s son Dirck Jans (Woertman), born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1630 who was the first of the Woertman family to immigrate to America in 1647. Around 1660, Dirck Jans married Marrietje Teunis Denyse in Brooklyn. It is known that he operated the Brooklyn Ferry (many, many years before the Brooklyn Bridge was built) for some period during his life probably following his marriage and he was made a town officer in Brooklyn in 1673. Dirck and Marrietje were to have at least eleven children between the years 1661 and 1686 including my 6th great grandfather, Jan Derick Woertman who was born in Brooklyn in 1665. One interesting side note about Dirck’s wife, Marrietje Teunis Denyse, my 7th great grandmother, is that her sister married Jeronimous Jorise Rapalje, my 7th great grandfather and the son of Joris and Catalyntje Rapalje, the first Rapalje’s in America and the subject of Chapter 1 in our Baker Family History blog. Derick and Marrietje lived their entire lives in Brooklyn, New York. He died in 1694 and Marrietje died in 1690.

Jan Derick Woertman, the third child and oldest son of Derick and Marrietje Woertman married Anna Maria Andries on January 17, 1690 in Brooklyn, New York. In 1699 the couple with their then three children moved from Long Island to the settlement of Somerville located in the beautiful valley along the Raritan River in north central New Jersey. Their trip to their new home was probably made by boat sailing past Staten Island to the mouth of the Raritan River near Perth Amboy and from their up the Raritan River to the Somerville settlement. In 1699 the Woertman family were among the earliest settlers in this valley “where the fattest deer roamed and 60-pound turkeys could be had for the shooting. This land . . . was the pleasantest and handsomest place a man had ever seen. Huge pines oaks, chestnuts and hickory trees grew there, and a glistening river meandered through meadows and fields of corn.” The land was fertile and no doubt inexpensive especially compared to the cost of land on Long Island. By the year 1704, the Woertman family moved a few miles west to the village of Raritan where they remained a number of years before eventually moving north with their grown children to a new settlement at Pluckemin, located on the north branch of the Raritan River north of Somerville. There they erected a long old-fashioned house made of logs that was to be known for many years as the “Workman Homestead.” Their estate eventually consisted of 500 acres. By Woertman family tradition it is believed that one of the descendants of Jan Derick Woertman on this same estate “shod the horses of George Washington and his entourage during the Revolutionary War.” Who knows? Perhaps George Washington even slept at the Workman Homestead.

The sixth child of Jan and Anna Woertman was Hermitien “Harmonie” Woertman, my 6th great grandmother, who was born in Raritan in the year 1703. At the age of 24 in Raritan she married 28 year old Lucas Covert, who had recently arrived from Brooklyn. They were to have eight children, including their 5th child, my 5th great grandfather Abraham Covert, who was born in 1738 and baptized at the Dutch Reformed Church of Raritan on May 7, 1738. There is very little historical information about the Lucas Covert family other than Lucas and his wife spent their entire married lives in Somerset County, New Jersey; they probably owned and worked a farm in the area, and attended the Dutch Reform Church in Raritan every Sunday. Harmonie died in January 1753 at the relatively young age of 49 leaving behind among others her youngest child, Jannetje, who was only 5 years old when her mother passed away. Lucas died during the Revolutionary War on December 22, 1778 at the age of 78. While New Jersey was an active battleground state during the Revolution, it is unlikely that Lucas did anything more than witness the passing of soldiers across his farm land. On the other hand, his son, Abraham, my 5th great grandfather volunteered as a soldier in the American Revolution. The following paragraph is copied from Chapter 15 of my family history blog that discussed my ancestors who fought in the Revolution:

“Ensign Abraham Covert (1738-1815): It is well documented that Ensign Abraham Covert served in the 3rd Regiment of the Hunterdon County (NJ) Militia under Capt. John Schenck during the American Revolution. [Hunterdon is the county immediately to the west of Somerset County which might suggest that Abraham was living in Hunterdon at the start of the war]. What battles or skirmishes he participated in or how long he served is unknown. What is known is that Capt. Schenck and the 3rd Regiment indirectly participated in the Battle of Trenton (Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware) and the 3rd regiment was present at the Battles of Princeton and Germantown in 1777 and Monmouth in 1778. Generally speaking, the New Jersey Militia did not fight on the front battle lines but “in large numbers, [they] delayed and harassed the British . . “ Every movement of the British in New Jersey was watched and the British troops were fired on at every opportunity by the militia. No doubt our Abraham participated in this harassment activity.”

Abraham was about 25 years old when he married his first wife, 23 year old Sarah Clawson in 1763. Unfortunately, Sarah died after only eleven years of marriage in late 1774 or early 1775. Her early death may have due to complications from the birth of their fourth child. Abraham remarried shortly after the death of Sarah in November of 1775. His new wife, Ariann Coshun, my 5th great grandmother, was the widow of Abraham Wyckoff who died early in his life at the age of 33 in 1774. Ariann brought to her new marriage five children that she had during her marriage to Abraham Wyckoff including her son Joshua Wyckoff, who was born in 1767. While Joshua Wyckoff is not one of my ancestors, although I guess he could be called a great step-uncle, he is worth noting in our family’s history because his younger step sister, Mary “Polly” Covert, who married Peter Rappleye, named one of her sons Joshua Wyckoff Rappleye, who was my 4th great grandfather. Apparently Polly most have been very fond of her step-brother Joshua who was nine years her senior.

In many of the previous chapters in my family history blog I have discussed the settlement of New York’s Finger Lakes region following the American Revolution. Many of my ancestors on both my father’s side and my mother’s side of my family were early settlers in this area. Abraham Covert with his wife and most of his children from both of his marriages as well as the Wyckoff children, moved to the Finger Lakes in 1790 making them one of the very earliest settlers in this area. The land that they purchased was one of the military lots located between Seneca Lake to the west and Cayuga Lake to the east, land that had originally been set aside for the New York soldiers of the American Revolution. Much of the land however, had been sold to land speculators who then resold it to new settlers like the Covert and Rappleye families. The Coverts settled on land that is now part of Seneca County. The 1850 map of Seneca County to the left shows the lower three townships in Seneca County: the Town of Ovid, the Town of Lodi, and the Town of Covert. The Town of Covert obviously is named after the Covert family. On the northern border of the Town of Covert is the Village of Farmerville which was later to be renamed Interlaken. The Rappleye family settled in Farmerville in 1797 as mentioned in Chapter 1. In 1790 when the Covert family arrived, the three towns of Ovid, Lodi, and Covert were all part of Town of Ovid (Covert and Lodi were created later in 1817 and 1826 respectively). The first town meeting of Ovid was held on April 1, 1794 at the home of Abraham Covert and the minutes of that meeting record that Joshua Wyckoff, his stepson, was elected the town clerk and Abraham was elected to be one of three town assessors. Also in 1794, the first religious service in the Town of Ovid was held at the home of Abraham Covert. Apparently Abraham Covert had one of the largest homes in the area.

Peter Rappleye arrived to this “land between the lakes” with his parents and brothers and sisters in 1797. On November 28, 1799 he married the Mary “Polly” Covert, the oldest daughter of Abraham and Ariann Covert. Polly was twenty-two and Peter was twenty-three when they married. Abraham Covert and his wife owned and operated a large farm for many years until his death in 1815 at the age of 77. Ariann died at the age of 83 in 1826. Abraham and his wife Ariann as well as many other members of their family are buried in an old cemetery near Lodi, New York on a site referred to as the “Abram Covert Farm Cemetery.” Abraham’s gravestone is pictured to the right. Polly Covert, the last of my Covert ancestors died in 1870 and she is buried alongside her husband Peter Rappleye in the Lakeview Cemetery in Interlaken. The impact of the Covert family as well as the Rappleye family in the history of Seneca County cannot be understated. In the Lakeview Cemetery there are buried no less than 88 individuals with the surname of Covert and 100 individuals with the surname of Rappleye.

The immigration of families of Dutch origin into upstate New York from New Jersey was very common following the American Revolution and my ancestors, the Coverts, the Rappleyes, and the Harpendings are good examples of some of these early Dutch settlers. I have always suspected that my ancestors with the surname Baker may have also been of Dutch origin although I have never been able to find convincing evidence to support this belief. What we do know is that Francis Baker brought his family from New Jersey to the Finger Lakes sometime in the early 1800s. His first grandson, Charles Schenck Baker was born in Burdett, New York in 1835. The Schenck middle name certainly suggests that there was an ancestor of Dutch (or German) origin in the past. In Asbury Baker’s book “Memories” written in the early 1930s, he wrote that he believed that his great grandmother, Francis’ wife, spoke broken English. Possibly she grew up hearing her parents speaking Dutch. Francis Baker (1787-1864) died in the Town of Lodi and he is believed to be buried in the Lakeview Cemetery near Interlaken. He may have even known Peter Rappleye and Mary Covert during his lifetime. It is easy to assume that the surname Baker was of English origin, but on the other hand it is possible that the surname Baker is an Anglicized version of a Dutch surname such as Bakker? Tot kijk.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Chapter 19 - Ancestors of Marian Coapman

The photograph to the left was taken around 1949. I am in the foreground, Charles A. Baker Jr., age 7. My mother, Marian Coapman Patterson named after her grandmother, Marian Coapman, is in the center. The older gentleman in the rear is my great grandfather, Eugene Hutchinson Ferree, the husband of Marian Coapman. He was around 81 when this photograph was taken and he passed away in 1952, 56 years after the death of his first and only wife. I did not attend his funeral but I remember visiting him in a nursing home shortly before his death.

In Chapter 6 titled “The Ferree Family” of the Baker Family Tree Blog that I wrote back in mid-2006, I reported that I not been able to learn anything of the parents of Marian Coapman. Whether additional information such as copies of the US Census have been added to the web since 2006, I do not know, however in the past year I easily discovered that David Coapman and Elsie Yawger were the parents of Marian Coapman. With this knowledge the ancestral branch of our family tree beginning with Marian Coapman opens wide and is the subject of this chapter of our family’s history.

We have learned a great deal about Marian’s father, David Coapman, from four sources: the US Census, his service record in the military, the local newspaper, and a county directory. David’s name first appears in the 1850 US Census where we find a David “Copeland”, age 6, living with his mother Lydia “Coapeland”, age 40. David and his mother are listed as living next door to a Walter “Copeman”, age 37, and his family. The misspelling of the last names and sometimes even first names in the early US Census records is not uncommon. From this census we have learned that David Coapman was born in 1844 in the township of Aurelius, in the County of Cayuga, in the State of New York. We have also learned that David’s father probably died before the 1850 US Census or before David’s sixth birthday, for David’s mother Lydia Coapman is listed as the head of the household. We might also conclude from this Census that David and Lydia are living nearby David’s Uncle Walter, or his mother’s brother-in-law. The population of the Township of Aurelius in 1850 was relatively small and it is likely that the two Coapman families would have been related. David’s name is listed again in the 1860 US Census living with his mother and they are still living near to Walter Coapman and his family. On a copy of an old 1853 map of the Town of Aurelius it shows the locations of the major property owners in the township including the home site of Walter Coapman. According to the 1850 US Census Walter Coapman’s property had a value of $12,000. His property was located about 1-1/2 miles east of the Village of Cayuga on present day Genesee Street. Lydia Coapman’s nearby property was valued at $4,000 in 1850, apparently not quite valuable enough for her name to have been included on the 1853 property map.

Cayuga County which includes the Township of Aurelius is located at the north end of Cayuga Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes Region (Cayuga County is shown in red on the adjacent map of New York State and the Township of Aurelius is shown in the lower map of Cayuga County located to the east of the large lake on the left, Cayuga Lake, and to the west of the City of Auburn outlined in yellow.) Prior to the end of the Revolutionary War the land that is now Cayuga County was occupied by the Cayuga Indian Tribe, one of the six tribes that made up the Iroquois Confederacy. In 1779, General Washington in response to the Cayuga Indians and some of the other tribes siding with the British against the Americans, sent a detachment of soldiers under the command of General John Sullivan to dispatch the Indians from their lands. The Indians aware of the movement of Sullivan’s army fled the area before the arrival of the Americans. Sullivan’s army without any resistance from the Indians burned their villages and their crops. After the War in 1789 a treaty was signed that created a 64,015-acre reservation for the Cayuga Indians which included much of the area of present day Cayuga County and all of the present day Township of Aurelius. Unfortunately for the Cayuga Indians this land was very valuable to the growing number of land hungry American settlers and in 1795 New York State acting under the terms of a new treaty with the Cayugas, purchased much of the new reservation back from the Indians. Then in 1807 acting once again under yet another treaty, the Cayuga Indians sold the last pieces of their reservation land to the State. While not relevant to our family’s history, it is interesting to note that these Treaties negotiated with New York State were never ratified by the U.S. Congress as required. Over 200 years after the last treaty was signed, the Cayuga Indians in 1980 filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court claiming that because the treaties were not ratified, the sale of their land was illegal and they demanded the return of their land plus monetary damages. While the claims of the Cayuga Indians may have had merit, they ultimately failed to prevail in court primarily based on the doctrine of laches that requires lawsuits to be filed within a reasonable time period. Apparently the United States Court of Appeals felt that 200 plus years was not a reasonable period of time. A young lawyer named Mark Stephen Puzella early in his career had the opportunity to work on this lawsuit between the Cayuga Indians and the State of New York. His law firm I believe, was representing the defendants who ultimately prevailed. The irony of course, is that Mark is married to my niece, Karen Ferree Fanton, the daughter of my sister Anne. Many of Karen’s ancestors including the Coapman, Titus, Ferree, Hutchinson, Starkweather, and Yawger families were all early settlers in Cayuga County and all lived on land that was originally part of the Cayuga Indian Reservation.

The announcement of the wedding of David Coapman to Elsie Yawger on October 29, 1863 in Union Springs in Cayuga County was published in the Aurelius Daily Advertiser. Union Springs is located in the Township of Springport immediately to the south of Aurelius. The wedding took place at the home of Elsie’s parents, John Yawger and the late Adaline Starkweather. [In case you are not taking notes from previous chapters, my grandmother, Florence Adaline Ferree (Patterson), is named after her great grandmother, Adaline Starkweather.] David was 20 when they married; Elsie Yawger was only 19. Less than one year after they were married David Coapman on September 14, 1864 enlisted as a Private in the Union Army in nearby Seneca Falls. The Civil War was currently raging in the southern states and it seems likely that young David, who had recently turned 21, may have been drafted. The first and very unpopular conscription laws were passed in the United States Congress in March of 1863. He obviously would not have had the financial wherewithal to hire a replacement to serve on his behalf or pay a fee to get out of serving as both options were allowed under the conscription laws. Many of his contemporaries with parents of more means than David’s would have followed this common practice to avoid service in the military. David was shipped almost immediately to Virginia to fight with the 3rd New York Regiment of the Light Artillery. His regiment must have been an active participant in the Siege of Petersburg which began in June of 1863 and in the ultimate fall of Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, in June of 1865. General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox in April of 1865. David Coapman was mustered out of the army in Richmond, Virginia on June 24, 1865 and he made his way home to Aurelius no doubt traveling north with thousands of other soldiers. Marian Coapman, the first child of David and Elsie Coapman was born on March 17, 1867.

David Coapman was never to become a wealthy man. In an 1867/68 Directory of Cayuga County he was listed as a grocer working for the Mud Lock Canal Stores. In the 1870 US Census at the age of 33 he listed himself as a “Railroad Watchman”. His home in the Village of Cayuga was listed as having a value of only $1,000, a modest sum even in the 1870s. In 1879, his name is listed in a “History of Cayuga County” as being one of five men elected to serve as a Constable in the Town of Aurelius, a position likely to have paid very little. The last we know of David from historical documents is the 1880 US Census, wherein David now 36 years old, lists himself as a “House Painter” which probably equated to his being self employed. The 1890 US Census records are incomplete and there is no listing of a David Coapman in Cayuga County. His name does not appear in the more complete records of the 1900 US Census and it is assumed that he died before 1900. [Since writing this history chapter, Deb Plugh, a descendant of Susannah Downing, one of Lydia's daughters with Obadiah Downing, sent me a copy of an article from The Auburn Bulletin dated June 12, 1888, that states that David Coapman actually abandoned his wife and children and moved to California possibly with his lover and a widow women from their hometown, Village of Cayuga. The article also suggests with a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek that David Coapman was not respected as a Constable. Please contact me if you are interested in a copy of the article.] In the 1900 US Census we discover that his wife, Elsie Coapman, is living in Lockport, New York with her son-in-law, Eugene Hutchinson Ferree, my great grandfather. Before the 1910 US Census, Elsie had moved to live with her son, George Coapman, who was currently working for the E.H. Ferree Company in Lockport. Elsie Coapman does not appear in the 1920 US Census and it is assumed that she died after 1910. Despite a rather long search, I have been unable to locate the burial location of either David [maybe in California] or Elsie Coapman [maybe in Lockport]. Marian Coapman is buried in Lake View Cemetery in the Village of Cayuga along with Walter Coapman and his family and David Sands Titus and his family. David Sands Titus as we will discuss later is an in-law of the Coapman family. John and Adaline Yawger, the parents of Elsie Coapman (Yawger) are buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springport, New York. In neither of these cemeteries did we find David and Elsie nor did we find their names in any of the other cemetery records in Cayuga County.

We will probably never know with absolute certainty the names of David Coapman’s parents although DNA testing of the descendants of David and the descendants of his likely parents and the Titus family would go a long way towards solving this mystery. We do know based on the US Census that David’s mother had a given name of Lydia and his father had a surname of Coapman. We also know that at the time of David’s birth there were two other Coapman families living in Aurelius, Walter Coapman and his family and John Coapman and his family, both brothers. In the 1850 US Census, Lydia was listed as 40 years old, Walter 37, and John 34. They were all contemporaries and it seems likely that Lydia may have been a sister-in-law of both Walter and John. Further evidence of this possibility shows up in an 1855 Census taken in the Town of Aurelius wherein both Lydia, Walter, and John are all listed as originating from the County of Dutchess, New York before moving to Cayuga County. In Lydia’s case her arrival date in Cayuga County is listed as being 26 years earlier than the 1855 census or an arrival year of 1829. Lydia was only 19 years old in 1829 and it is unlikely that she traveled alone from Dutchess County which is located on the Hudson River north of New York City, to Cayuga County. She was either married or traveling with her family. In the 1855 Census there are only two other individuals listed as arriving from Dutchess County in 1829. They are David Sands Titus, age 27, and his wife Julia Ann Coapman, age 22. On the 1853 map of the Town of Aurelius that I referenced above, the property of David Sands Titus is shown located just up the road from the property of Lydia Coapman and Walter Coapman. Lydia Coapman (her married name) was either a family friend of the Coapman’s and Julia Ann’s in 1829 or less likely a family friend of the Titus’s, and she had elected to move with David Sands Titus and his wife (and family)to Cayuga. On the other hand some genealogists believe, including me, that Lydia Coapman’s maiden name was Lydia Titus and she moved to Cayuga from her home in Dutchess County with her older brother David Sands and his wife. If this is correct, which I believe it is, then David Sands Titus is my 3nd great uncle, and his parents, Gilbert Titus and Jane Hoag, are my 4rd great grandparents. Gilbert and Jane Titus will be discussed further in subsequent paragraphs.

Of course, Lydia Titus moving to Cayuga County with her brother and his wife in 1829 does not help to explain how Lydia Titus became Lydia Coapman. Obviously the fact that Lydia was very familiar with the Coapman family, Walter, John, and Julia Ann, gives us a clue as to whom she eventually married in the Coapman family. The one piece of compelling evidence as to whom she married and who is the father of David Coapman, comes in the form of a handwritten letter and family tree written by Mrs. Kate L. Tompkins on March 10, 1912 to her younger relatives whom she refers to as cousins Kate and Irene. The original letter was located in the office of the Cayuga County Historian’s Office in Aurora, New York. Kate Tompkins as it turns out is the daughter of Abraham Coapman who is the brother of Julia Ann, Walter, and John Coapman as well as the eight other Coapman brothers and sisters including Jacob Coapman, the second oldest son of John Jacob Coapman and Catherine Rappleye. Jacob was born in Dutchess County on June 28, 1803. On the family tree prepared by Kate Coapman (Tompkins) she lists David as the son of Jacob. There is no reason not to accept this document as accurate therefore David Coapman is without question the son of Jacob Coapman, and Jacob is the husband of Lydia Titus (Coapman).

Lydia Titus (Coapman) was 34 years old when she gave birth to David in 1844 and Jacob was 41. Since David appears to be the only Coapman son born to Lydia based on the Census records beginning in 1850, it seems likely that both Lydia and Jacob were married to others before they married each other in the early 1840s. Jacob Coapman did not appear in the 1840 US Census in Aurelius nor did he appear in the 1850 Census which leads to the conclusion that he died before 1850 and married Lydia following the 1840 Census. I could find nothing more about Jacob Coapman other than the family information listed in the Kate Tompkins’ letter. There is however, compelling evidence to suggest that Lydia was married before she married David’s father in the early 1840s.

In the 1850 US Census there are three children living in the Lydia Coapman household: David Coapman, age 6, George Downing, age 12 (born about 1838), and Phebe Downing, age 16 (born about 1834). In the 1860 Census, George Downing and David Coapman are still living with Lydia Coapman. In the earlier 1840 US Census we find a Lydia Downing listed on the same census page as John and Walter Coapman as well as David Sands Titus and in fact her name immediately precedes that of John and Walter on the list which suggests that Lydia Downing and Lydia Coapman are one and the same person. The Lydia Downing household in 1840 consists of one male under 5 (George Downing?), one male 20-30 (?), 2 females 5-10 (one might be Phebe Downing), 1 female10-15, and I female 30-40 (Lydia Downing). If Lydia Downing is in fact Lydia Titus and later Lydia Coapman, the additional members of her 1840 household are not obvious. Lydia Titus was only 30 years old in 1840 and it is unlikely that she had any children older than around 10. Following this same line of thinking I reviewed the 1830 US Census in Aurelius and discovered an Obadiah Downing living in a household consisting of one female child under 5, one adult male, 20-30 (Obadiah) and one adult female,20-30 (Lydia?). Is this our Lydia Titus who married Obadiah Downing? It appears likely. [Since writing this history story I have been in contact with Deb Plugh who is a descendant of Susannah Downing, one of the children of Obadiah and Lydia H. (Titus) Downing. Based on Obadiah's will, she informed me that the couple had four children: Phebe and George (mentioned in the Census) plus Susannah and Mary. She also sent me a copy of a wedding announcment for Phebe Titus, daughter of Gilbert Titus, which clearly suggests that Lydia H. named her daughter after her sister Phebe Titus thus providing us with further evidence that Lydia's maiden name was Titus.]

Based on the above scenarios, we might draw the following conclusions: Lydia Titus married Obadiah Downing and they had a daughter before 1830. Before 1840, Obadiah Downing died leaving Lydia Downing a widow in 1840 with one son under 5 (George), one daughter under 10 (Phebe), and one daughter just over 10 years old. Also in her household in 1840 was a young unrelated adult male who probably helped her with the farm, and one unrelated female under 20 helping her with the children and household chores. Lydia Downing, a widow at this point, married Jacob Coapman, the brother of John, Walter, and Julia Ann. Lydia had known Jacob while she was still in Dutchess County although she was seven years younger than Jacob and he was probably married in 1829 when Lydia Titus only 19, left for Cayuga County. Jacob probably lost his first wife and his family had made him aware that Lydia had also lost her husband. They were married around 1842 and their only child David was born two years later in 1844. Much to Lydia’s misfortune she lost her second husband Jacob before 1850. Lydia’s first daughter with Obadiah Downing, who was born in the late 1820s, was in her early 20s by the 1850 US Census and was not living with Lydia during the census. She may have married. That would explain why there are only two Downing children in the Lydia Coapman household in 1850. All of the above is speculation of course, but it does explain in part why Lydia Coapman is found living with two Downing children in 1850. So far in this chapter we have developed the following family tree.

John Jacob Coapman (1774-1864) m.
Catherine Rappleye (1782)-1873)
parents of
Jacob Coapman (1803- Before 1850) m.
Lydia Titus (1810-after 1870)
parents ofDavid Coapman (1744-Before 1900) m.
Elsie Yawger (1745 – After 1910)
parents of
Marian Coapman (1867-1895) m.
Eugene Hutchinson Ferree (1866-1952)

and for the parents of Lydia Titus
Gilbert Titus(1765-1847) m.
Jane Hoag ( ? - 1849)
parents of
Lydia Titus (1810-after 1870) m.
Jacob Coapman (1803 - before 1850)

The trip for Lydia Titus and her brother David and his wife and family, (and one slave according to a biographical review of David Sands Titus in the “History of Cayuga County” published in 1879) from their hometown of LaGrange In Dutchess County to their new home in the Town of Aurelius in Central New York was much easier than it had been for their predecessors who made the trip before 1829. In 1825 the Erie Canal was completed which meant that once they boarded a boat in Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County on the Hudson River, they remained on the water in relative comfort, at least compared to the much longer overland trip previously required, until they disembarked just north of the Town of Aurelius for a short wagon ride to their new home. The Erie Canal and its many laterals that opened in the following few years was an amazing engineering marvel especially considering that it was built in the early 1800s using only the muscle power of men and horses. The main part of the canal was connected via a lateral canal to the north end of Cayuga Lake followed a few years later by another canal lateral to Seneca Lake. Additional canals were built connecting Seneca Lake to Keuka Lake, and Seneca Lake to the Chemung River (and subsequently to the Susquehanna River) running south. The effect of the canals was immediate and dramatic for the development of Central and Western New York. Not only did settlers flood to the west as a result of this new inexpensive form of transportation, but agricultural trade exploded as the many new farmers discovered the ease of shipping their farm commodities at costs 90% below the previous costs of shipping overland. The Town of Aurelius in the County of Cayuga was ideally suited to take advantage of this new prosperity and it is not surprising to discover that many of our ancestors in this area including Great Grandfather Ferree’s side of the family, the Hutchinsons, benefited financially from the effects of the Erie Canal.

Individuals in our branch of the Titus family tree are all descendants of Robert Titus and his wife Hannah Carter, my 9th great grandparents and the 5th great grandparents of Marian Coapman. Robert, Hannah, and their two children John and Edmond, boarded a ship in London on April 3, 1635 bound for America and the Port of Boston. The family originally settled in what is now the town of Brookline just south of Boston, but they later moved to Weymouth, then to the town of Rehoboth, near Providence, Rhode Island, and eventually in 1654 to Long Island, where the family was to remain for the next five generations until Gilbert Titus, Robert’s 3rd great grandson, moved his family to Dutchess County, New York in the late 1700s. Robert Titus was probably not a Puritan when he arrived in Boston which may have motivated his move to Long Island away from the predominately Puritan New England colonies. It is not clear at what point the family took up the Quaker faith although it was undoubtedly around the time when the first Quakers settlers arrived in New York from England on the ship “Woodhouse” in 1657. It is known that Robert Titus had some trouble with the Authorities prior to his moving to Long Island for harboring a known Quaker “being of evil fame,” which probably signified that they were or were soon to become Quakers. Edmond Titus, Robert’s son and my 8th great grandfather, and his wife Martha were among the earliest adherents of the Society of Friends and “as a consequence suffered reproach and injury” including being fined in 1687 for refusing to contribute to a fund towards the construction of a new house for the priest. The fine consisted of confiscating one of Edmund’s cows. The Titus family were to remain Quakers through a number of generations. While it is not clear whether David Sands Titus and his sister, Lydia Titus (Coapman) remained Quakers after they moved to Cayuga County in 1829, according to a biographical review of Hiram Titus (son of David Sands Titus) written in the “History of Cayuga County” published in 1879, it refers to David and Lydia’s parents as being “worthy Quakers of that place” (Dutchess County.) We do know that Lydia’s granddaughter, Marian Coapman, was married to Eugene Hutchinson Ferree in an Episcopal Church suggesting that Marian Coapman may have been an Episcopalian, the likely denomination of her father David.

One final interesting and somewhat humorous look at our family’s past is the final will of Hannah Titus who survived her husband Robert Titus. The will was dated 14th May, 1672 and reads in part”
“Add also I give to my son John my mare, and to my son Edmond I give a horse, and to my son Samuel a brown cow and a yearlen stear, and I give to my son Samuel’s wife my warming-pan, and to my son Abiall’s wife my smoothing iron, and to my son Content’s wife my skimmer . . . .”
Kathy and I have decided that we need to review our wills. . . “and to my son Charles I leave my favorite shovel, and to my son Geoffrey, his mother’s old frying pan. . . .”

I was unable to locate any concrete evidence as to the arrival time or the country of origin of our immigrant Coapman ancestor although in a biography of John C. Coapman in the 1879 publication of the “History of Cayuga County” it indicates that Jacob Coapman, my 5th great grandfather (and Marian Coapman’s 2nd great grandfather) “was born of Holland parentage.” Jacob’s father is believed to be Johannes Coapman and based on his estimated birth date of 1715 and the fact that his son was born in America around 1740, Johannes probably arrived from Holland in New York around 1720-30 and he may have moved to Dutchess County (shown in red on the map of New York State) immediately following his arrival as prior to 1725 almost all the settlers in this area of Dutchess County were of Dutch descent (as the county name obviously implies.) This is all pure speculation. The existence of Jacob Coapman on the other hand is fairly well documented as living in Dutchess County, at least during the period of the Revolutionary War where is he found to have signed a Revolutionary War Pledge on August 15, 1775 shortly following the Battle of Bunker Hill. His name is also mentioned a number of times in the Records of Christ Church, an Episcopal church in Poughkeepsie and in the tax rolls in Dutchess County, where his name appears in 1774, 1775 and 1777. Furthermore, there is a Jacob “Copemen” listed as a private on the New York Line during the American Revolution although I was unable to find any clear evidence that this was our Jacob Coapman from Dutchess County. There was also a Jacob “Coopman” who fought in the 2nd Regiment of the Dutchess County Militia who is more likely to have been our Jacob Coapman. We know that Jacob’s wife’s name was Maria LeRoy and we know that one of their sons was named John Jacob Coapman. This information comes from the handwritten family tree prepared by Kate L. Tompkins that I mentioned earlier. Jacob Coapman would have been her great grandfather. This same family tree lists the name of John Jacob’s son Jacob, and his son David Coapman, father of our Marian Coapman. John Jacob Coapman married Catherine Rappleye and they lived their entire lives in Dutchess County which is well documented in US Census lists from 1810 through 1860. There is one final note about the Coapman family. Catherine Rappleye (1782-1883), the wife of John Jacob Coapman, is my 4th great grandmother on my mother’s side of the family. However, as we have learned from many sources, all of the Rappleyes (and the many spelling of the name that are found) in American history are all descendants of Joris Jansen Rapelje and his wife Catalytje Jeronymus Trico, my 8th great grandparents on my father’s side of the family. Since my mother and my father are both descendants of the first Rappleyes in this country, then my parents must be distant cousins.

At this point it is only fair that we also cover the ancestor’s of Marian Coapman’s mother’s side of the family, the family of Elsie Yawger. Philip Yawger, Elsie’s great grandfather and my 5th great grandfather is the most interesting of Marian Coapman’s ancestors. He is also the earliest of her ancestors to settle in Cayuga County and as a result of a history of the Yawger family written in 1893 by Rose N. Yawger and by a family history written by Mary Eliza Davis, both that features Philip Yawger, we know more about his life history than the other men and women ancestors of Marian Coapman previously discussed.

According to a family history of the Yawger family written by Mary Eliza Davis (1841-1923), great granddaughter of Philip Yawger, Philip’s father, the Count Philip Von Jager brought his four sons from Goblenz, Germany to America in 1755. His youngest son Philip, born on June 22, 1753, was only two years old when the ship disembarked in Philadelphia. The family eventually settled on a large estate in Flemington, New Jersey. In 1774, Philip married Catherine Kuhl from nearby Kingwood, New Jersey and together they had eleven children including our 4th great grandfather, John Yawger. There is some evidence that Philip Yawger fought with the New Jersey militia during the American Revolution although additional research is necessary to confirm this. Two years after their last child was born in 1799, Philip with his wife, nine of the children (the two oldest girls were married and remained behind in New Jersey), and his son John’s wife packed up all of their family belongings and household goods in canvas-covered Jersey wagons, and driving their stock, headed west into the forested mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. After many long hard days of travelling they eventually entered the Susquehanna River valley and followed the valley north along the river until finally stopping and settling in the small settlement of Owego (located on the Susquehanna about 20 miles west of the present day City of Binghamton, New York). Less than two years later after a visit to the Cayuga Lake area, Philip fell in love with this new Cayuga wilderness country, purchased 130 acres of land that was covered with oak and hickory forests, incredible fertile soils, and bordered on the west by the beautiful Cayuga Lake, and in the spring of 1802 he moved his family once again. The land that Philip first purchased was part of “The Military Tract” which was land that had been set aside for distribution to New York soldiers who had fought in the Revolutionary War. The idea was that they would receive the land in lieu of pay for their services as soldiers. Unfortunately for the soldiers much of the land was still owned by the Cayuga Indians at the end of the war and many of the soldiers tired of waiting for the Indian claims to be settled before they could occupy the land, elected to sell their claims to the land. Many of these claims were sold to speculators who figured they would buy the land cheaply and sell it later at a huge profit (it’s called “flipping” today.) Unfortunately for Philip Yawger, when he purchased the land in 1802 the seller’s title was cloudy, and it was not until 1812 after he had made major improvements on the land, was he able to obtain a clear title to his property from the State of New York. Family history records that he was aided in his quest to clear the title by an acquaintance and a future President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. Is it possible that my 5th great grandfather slipped some money under the table to this big shot in Albany so that his problem would go away? Anyway, by the time that Philip Yawger was finished, he had acquired almost 1,000 acres of land in Cayuga County and he had prospered greatly.

But it was much more than just farming the land that made Philip Yawger a prosperous man for in the fall of 1809 while plowing his land he uncovered a soft grey stone which he learned later was a high grade soft gypsum stone. This gypsum stone when ground to a powder made both an excellent fertilizer as well as a plaster material for building construction. Soon Philip owned a fleet of 50 or 60 boats and he was shipping both the ground powder and the stone all over the lake. Some of the stones were hauled overland south to the Susquehanna River where they were then hauled down river to the large cities to the south. It is said that the Yawger quarry was the only known quarry in the United States at this period of time. The only other source of gypsum material was hauled all the way down from Nova Scotia, Canada. When President Thomas Jefferson placed an embargo from shipments from England and Canada in 1809 preceding the War of 1812, this should have been good for the Yawger quarries, however when the war began in 1812, a disaster was soon to occur.

At the start of the War of 1812, Generals Dearborn and Van Rensselaer were ordered to make an invasion of Canada. To prepare for the invasion their militia army passed through Union Springs where the Yawger boats were docked, and they confiscated all of the plaster shipping boats. The boats were then hauled to Lake Ontario where they were fitted out for the transportation of the troops to Canada. In the meantime, Philip Yawger was unable to fulfill his plaster contracts, he was sued by his customers, and nearly financially ruined.

General Van Rensselaer operations were equally ruinous although in his case it was due almost entirely to his inexperience as a soldier and to his incompetence. On April 13, 1812, Stephen Van Rensselaer led his troops across the Niagara River at Lewiston, New York to Canada to engage the British forces at Queenston. The major battle that followed became known as the Battle of Queenston Heights where the Americans were soundly defeated. As a consequence of his defeat, Van Rensselaer resigned his position as General of the militia and for the most part the plans for the invasion of Canada were abandoned. Unfortunately, Philip Yawger’s boats were not only abandoned, they were burned on the shores of Lake Ontario.

In 1812, Philip Yawger was almost 60 years old and it was to late in his career to start over. Fortunately he still owned the land and during his life he had provided for his children by giving them large farms holdings free and clear of incumbrances. Only his two youngest sons were still living at home and through their efforts and the efforts of two of the other brothers, they were able to secure compensation for the value of the boats although unfortunately, not for the financial loss of the plaster contracts. These sons were also successful in securing some financing to keep the business afloat. Philip was so grateful to his two youngest sons for rescuing the business, that when he died in 1830, he left them the original 130 acres of land and the quarries. Four of the Yawger sons eventually joined a partnership and thereafter the business again prospered. Philip’s life is a wonderful story and might make a great movie.

The photographs of the two very similar homes shown below belong to two of Philips sons, Henry’s on the left, and Peter’s on the right. Both of these sons were part of the partnership that continued the plaster business after their father’s death and both homes reflect the wealth of these two brothers. Philip and Catherine Yawger built a home at the corner of Route 90 and Backus Road north of Union Springs that was described by their great granddaughter, Mary Eliza Davis, as a Greek Revival House similar to the homes they remembered back in New Jersey. Without question it would seem that the two brothers followed the design theme of their parent’s home.

The left photograph below is my great Uncle Henry (1793-1865) and on the right is my great Uncle Peter (1787-1869) and his wife.

Philip’s and Catherine’s oldest son, John Yawger, my 4th great grandfather and the great grandfather of Marian Coapman, was born in 1776. He married Elizabeth (Elsa) Cole in 1800 in New Jersey before their move with John’s parents to Cayuga and for most of his life until he died in 1826 he was a farmer on land granted to him by his father. His death according to family history, was an accident caused by a runaway horse. He was only forty-nine when he died. John is also credited with operating an inn/tavern in Union Springs at the corner of Schoby and Cayuga Streets. In 1823 the first town meeting of the newly organized town of Springport was held in his tavern. John and Elsa Yawger had five children including a son, John Yawger (Jr.), my 3rd great grandfather, who was born in 1817. John Jr. was a farmer all of his life in Springport. Around 1840 he married Adaline Starkweather, the mother of Elsie Yawger. Elsie’s mother died in 1849 when Elsie was only 4 years old and her mother only 31. John Yawger described himself in the 1860 US Census as 42 years old and a “farm laborer.” In 1870 he is described as only a “laborer” and in the 1880 Census he now refers to himself as a farmer. It appears unlikely that when Elsie Yawger’s father died in 1895, Elsie received little in the way of an inheritance which might explain why in the 1900 US Census, Elsie is listed as living with her son-in-law, Eugene H. Ferree, in Lockport, New York.

There are many more branches of the Marian Coapman family tree that we have yet to explore. For example, Marian Coapman’s grandmother’s family, the Starkweathers, could trace their family back to a Robert Starkweather who emigrated to America in 1640, and there is a Johnson branch who can trace their family tree back to an Isaac Johnson who came over with his father in the early 1630s and fought as a Captain at the “Great Swamp” fight to end the King Philip’s War in 1675. There are many more interesting stories but too many to write about in this chapter which is already too long. These stories will have to be told at another time.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chapter 18 - The Hamilton Family

The first of my ancestors on my father’s side of the family to settle in the Elmira, New York area were Lebbeus Hammond and his wife, Lucy Tubbs. Lebbeus was noted as a Revolutionary War soldier and an Indian fighter and they settled near Elmira in the 1790s. Their story and the history of the Hammond family is told in Chapter 8. Lucy Tubbs’ parents were Lebbeus Tubbs (also a soldier in the Revolutionary War) and Bathsheba Hamilton. The Tubbs’ family history which includes a look at the early years of Plymouth Colony is told in Chapter 2. This chapter tells the story of the ancestors of Bathsheba Hamilton.

David Hamilton, my 9th great grandfather, was born around 1625 and it is unlikely that the exact year of his birth will ever be determined. Some genealogical sources place the birth date as early as 1620 and as late as 1640 although neither of these dates are realistic. The 1620 date would have made him older than his older brother, Gabriel, and substantially older than Annah, his wife and childhood sweetheart whom he did not marry until 1662. The 1640 date would have made him only eleven years old when he was a soldier in the 3nd English Civil War, which was very unlikely. David was born in the village of Westburn in what was then Lanarkshire County, Scotland, located a short distance from the town of Hamilton and about eleven miles southeast of Glasgow. The Hamilton lineage can be traced back to Normandy, France to before the Norman Invasion of England in 1066. David’s 15th great grandfather is thought to be Robert de Beaumont, who fought alongside William the Conqueror, later King William 1 of England, at the Battle of Hastings. His 10th great grandfather, Walter Fitz Gilbert de Hambleton (1250-bef.1336) was knighted by Robert the Bruce around 1329 and granted for his services and loyalty the title of 1st Baron of Cadzow and the barony of Cadzow (now Hamilton, Scotland) which included vast acreages of land as well as the Cadzow Castle (located about 1 mile southeast of the home of David Hamilton. The ruins of Cadzow Castle are shown in the above photograph. David’s 6th great grandfather, Thomas Hamilton, was the third son, of John Hamilton (1371-1402), the 4th Baron of Cadzow. The lands and the titles however, passed to John Hamilton’s oldest son, James Hamilton. James’ direct descendant, Angus Alan Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, who was born in 1938, is the current 15th Duke of Hamilton. The Duke of Hamilton is today one of the most ennobled individuals in the United Kingdom. While David’s branch of the family tree did not inherit the titles and barony, the family was nevertheless a “Hamilton” which translated in the early 17th century to a family able to enjoy the privileges afforded to members of Scotland’s land-owning upper-class. James Hamilton (1606-1648), the 1nd Duke of Hamilton, was David’s 7th cousin, once removed. The painting to the right shows James Hamilton.

The times into which David Hamilton was born were turbulent both socially and politically. Charles I was crowned King of England on February 2, 1626. Unfortunately, religious conflicts permeated Charles’ reign as did an epic political struggle for power between Charles, who believed in the “Devine Right of Kings”, and the English Parliament. It was during his reign from the period of 1630 until around 1642 when the Parliamentary forces under Oliver Cromwell usurped the power of the King, that almost 25,000 Puritans immigrated to America to escape the unpopular reforms that Charles was imposing on the church. Many in England believed that King Charles was attempting to return the Roman Catholic Church to power in England and Charles gave them fodder for their beliefs by marrying a Roman Catholic and by his aggressive methods (including imprisonment and even torture) to purge the Church of England of its liberal and Protestant, Calvinistic practices. The Puritans on the other hand, believed equally strongly that nothing in the bible suggests that bishops with their rich robes, church ornamentations, elaborate rituals, and even kneeling at communions should be incorporated in religious services. While David Hamilton’s family were Presbyterians they shared with Puritans the conviction that King Charles was trying to move the church in the wrong direction. Presbyterians followed the teachings of John Calvin who advocated a simpler faith that like the Puritans believed that bishops and the “popish” church rituals should not be part of their church. In this period of history one’s religious faith was of paramount importance, enough to go to war to defend if necessary.

King Charles’ struggle for power with the English Parliament centered primarily over the issues of taxation and Charles’ attempt to reform the Anglican Church of England against the wishes of Parliament and the majority of the citizens of England. To go into great detail on the reign of Charles I that lasted from 1625 until his death in 1649, is beyond the scope of this chapter. Briefly however, except for the eleven year period from 1629 until 1640 when Charles had dismissed Parliament, during most of his reign the country was at war, and war required a great deal of money. Unfortunately for Charles the only way to raise the money was through taxation and the right to approve taxes, by English tradition, rested in the hands of Parliament. For the most part Parliament did not approve of his wars and they denied him the money needed to support his armies. When Charles came to power in 1628, the country was at war with France and Spain. In 1639 and again in 1640, Charles sent his military forces into Scotland in a failed attempt to force Scotland and the Presbyterians to accept his mandate that the Anglican Church of England was the only acceptable faith to be practiced in England. Without the funds, Charles was forced to abandon his efforts in this regard. Then in 1641, Charles ordered his military forces to Ireland to put down what he believed was a Catholic attempt to take over Ireland. In the summer of 1642, Parliament disgusted with Charles’ actions without their consent, maneuvered to gain control over the army. What resulted was the creation of two separate armies and the beginning of the England’s First Civil War. Back and forth battles in southern England between the Parliament army and the King’s “Royalist” army lasted until 1646 at which time the Royalist army was defeated and Charles escaped north to Scotland where he surrendered to the Scottish army. This effectively ended of the First Civil War.

In late 1647, Charles completed an agreement with the Scots that promised him military aid in exchange for his agreeing to implement Presbyterianism in England once he was back in power. The 1st Duke of Hamilton, James Hamilton, led an invasion into England with Royalist and Scottish forces but he was defeated by Oliver Cromwell in August of 1648 at the Battle of Preston. James was subsequently tried for treason for his role in the war, found guilty and executed. As far as can be determined our David Hamilton was not with James Hamilton at the Battle of Preston. This event ended the Second Civil War. Shortly thereafter, Scotland turned King Charles over to Parliament. Parliament, or to be more accurate, the militant branch of Parliament, a group that included Oliver Cromwell, set up a “high court of justice”, tried the King for treason, and in January of 1649, the King was beheaded. Oliver Cromwell and Parliament were now firmly in control of England, but the civil wars were not yet over.

Many of the English people, and particularly the Scottish people were shocked that King Charles I was executed. He was after all the King even if his behavior had been unpopular. Scotland, totally disillusioned by the new “Commonwealth” declared by Cromwell, proclaimed Charles’ son, Charles Stuart, as the new King of Scotland (King Charles II), and together they plotted to regain the throne of England. Charles II agreed to impose Presbyterianism in England in exchange for a Scottish army. The Commonwealth army under the command of Oliver Cromwell mounted a pre-emptive invasion of Scotland and defeated a Scottish army at the Battle of Dunbar in September of 1650. This was the beginning of the Third Civil War.

In August of the following year, King Charles II with his Scottish allies began a desperate attempt to invade England and capture London hoping to catch Cromwell’s army off-guard whose forces were still in northern Scotland. Joining King Charles II was a force under the leadership of William Hamilton, the new 2nd Duke of Hamilton, following the death of his father, James Hamilton, who was executed in 1649. James was able to raise a regiment of the men from his vast Scottish estates in Lanarkshire. Included in this regiment composed largely of horse cavalry, was our ancestor, David Hamilton, who would have been in his mid-20s at the time of the invasion. Unfortunately, for the army of Charles II and our David Hamilton, Oliver Cromwell anticipated the invasion and took decisive actions to thwart its success.

David Hamilton undoubtedly knew many of the soldiers called into service by Lord Hamilton. Many of the men were his cousins and friends. Most of them worked on his family’s estate or on the estates of his neighbors. He knew that most of these new soldiers were untrained and totally inexperienced and they had little idea of what was expected of them. Many of the men carried no weapons other than a long wooden pole called a pike. These soldiers were called the Pikemen. Other men were fortunate to carry a weapon called a matchlock musket which when it worked, fired a musket ball that was deadly at close range. These soldiers were called Musketeers and they with the Pikemen, were the army’s foot soldiers. David Hamilton, as befitting his family’s status, rode into battle on his large family horse. Neither David nor his horse wore armor and David’s only weapons were a carbine which he slung over his shoulder with a leather strap, and his sword. Most of the army did not wear matching uniforms. In David’s case, he wore only his normal civilian riding clothes which included his tall leather riding boots. David was a soldier in the Dragoons who formed the army’s cavalry regiment. They were not professional soldiers and few of them had fought in combat or received combat training.

David Hamilton was aware that he might someday be called into military service to defend Scotland and his Presbyterian faith. He was fully cognizant of Lord William Hamilton’s intention to support King John’s military efforts to regain the throne. Furthermore, David’s older brother, Gabriel Hamilton, was on the “Committee of War” for the County of Lanark beginning in the year 1648 and Gabriel was an outspoken advocate for the Presbyterian cause. He kept David fully informed as well as highly motivated to their cause. Nevertheless, when the call to arms finally came to join the invasion army, David had little time to prepare. He departed only with his horse, his weapons, the clothes he wore, and a small quantity of food and water. Where they were headed and how long they would be away he could only surmise by listening to the rumors that abounded among the soldiers in the marching army.

Oliver Cromwell’s army finally caught up with King John’s II Scots-Royalist army on September 3, 1651 in Worcester, England. David Hamilton had walked and rode his horse for almost three weeks and 300 miles on England’s dusty roads. Their army commanders expected additional men would join their cause along the way and the English countryside would provide them with their needed supplies, mainly food, but neither occurred and when they marched into Worcester the men were tried, exhausted, and as it turned out, greatly outnumbered by the Commonwealth army. The Scot-Royalist army had a strength of approximately 16,000 men; Cromwell’s army numbered around 31,000. Furthermore, the Scot-Royalist army consisted largely of untrained soldiers commanded by inexperienced leaders including both King John II and the William, Duke of Hamilton. Oliver Cromwell was a proven commander of many battles and his men were experienced and well trained. The Battle of Worcester was a total disaster for the Scot-Royalist army. While William Hamilton’s troops including David, courageously led an attack on the Roundhead position at Perry Wood, outside the city gates of Worchester, they were forced to retreat into the city. The 2nd Duke of Hamilton was fatally wounded during the retreat. In the biography of Oliver Cromwell written by Antonia Fraser and published in 1973, the conclusion of the battle that ended the English Civil Wars is described as follows: “Refusing quarter, the garrison was overrun, and their own guns now turned towards the city. As a result the wretched Royalists found themselves pressed back into Worcester itself from two directions. The result was carnage. Dead bodies of Royalists began to fill the streets. Crushed in the narrow alleys of Worcester, corpses not only of men but of horses began to block all possible passages like heaps of unnatural refuse. Some Scots, perhaps as many as four thousand, did manage to escape through the inadequately attended north gate. But two thousand were killed to a mere two hundred of Cromwell’s men, and eight or nine thousand prisoners taken.”

King Charles II managed to escape. The Duke of Hamilton’s leg was shattered by a musket ball and he died in agony from his wound. David Hamilton was among the 8,000 captured soldiers who were among the fortunate not to have been seriously wounded. Oliver Cromwell had no intention of allowing any of his prisoners the opportunity to return home to Scotland and live to fight another day. Most of the captured officers of the Royalist army were tried for treason, and then executed. The rest of their prisoners were marched in chains to London until it was determined that their punishment was to be deportation to the colonies in America where they were to be sold as indentured servants. The exact numbers of men sent to Barbados and the other British colonies in the West Indies, and to Bermuda is not known although clearly the fate of many of the men sent to the West Indies probably amounted to a death sentence. What is known is that approximately three hundred men were deported to New England. Fortunately for David Hamilton, and for his future father-in-law, Richard Jackson (who is my 10th great grandfather), they were included on the list of prisoners to be deported to New England.

David Hamilton remained in prison in the London area under despicable conditions with little food or warm clothing and blankets. It was getting cold and damp. Finally on November 8th, 1651, about two months following their defeat at Worcester, the three hundred Scottish prisoners were marched to the port of Gravesend, on the Thames, a short distance from London. There they boarded the ship “John & Sarah” under Master John Greene (a lumber dealer). The ship was consigned to a Thomas Kemble of Charlestown, Near Boston, where the prisoners were to be sold as indentured servants. The trip across the north Atlantic in winter must have been pure hell for the men locked in the ship’s hold below. It is estimated that at least 10% percent of the men died during the voyage leaving around 270 men alive when they disembarked in Charlestown (near Boston) in April of 1652. While their conditions were terrible by any standard, their status as indentured servants was in no way equal to the status of a slave. A 10% death rate on a slave ship would have been considered remarkably fortunate and the African slaves were bound slaves for life with little hope for freedom. Indentured servants on the other hand were in a sense, freemen who had chosen to contract themselves out as unpaid servants until they had worked off the cost of their transportation from England and the cost of their food and housing expenses while “employed.” Once their debt was paid they were freed of any further obligations. The period of the indentureship varied but it usually did not extend more than seven years.

There is no definitive evidence as to exactly where or how long David Hamilton remained an indentured servant. Many of the early historians are content to state that David probably remained in the Boston area and once his debt was paid he moved to Dover (now Rollinsford), in southeastern New Hampshire where the records clearly record his land purchase in 1662. Later records however, reveal that a David Hamilton worked with other Scotchmen, also former prisoners, at the Great Works sawmill in Kittery North Parish, Maine. Kittery North Parish is now part of South Berwick, Maine and it is located on the Salmon Falls River across the river from Rollinsford, New Hampshire where David Hamilton eventually settled and lived with his family for the remainder of his life. It appears probable that David served his indentureship at the Great Works sawmill from 1652 until about 1660. Lumber in the mid-1600s was a huge and prosperous business in Berwick, Maine. The thick forests in the area were filled with gigantic trees some 150 to 200 feet tall. They were cut down and floated down the river to the sawmills that were powered by the rapidly flowing Salmon Falls and Great Works rivers. The trees were called the “king’s pines” because they were used as mast’s for the great English ships. Lumber was a major export to England during this early colonial period. It was not unusual therefore, to discover that the labor intensive sawmills were employers of many of the Scottish indentured servants who had been captured in battle during the Third English Civil War. Indentured servants were obviously an inexpensive source of labor in these remote forested areas of Maine and New Hampshire.

Hamilton family lore has it that David Hamilton married his childhood sweetheart whom he had left behind in Lanarkshire, Scotland when he was banished to America in 1651. Her name was Annah Jackson, and she was the daughter of Richard Jackson, also of Lanarkshire and a passenger with David on the John & Sarah. Whether or not the story is true cannot be confirmed. In the privately written history of the Hamilton family by Samuel King Hamilton published in 1913 he writes for us the following: “. . through the doubt and defeat of that period her love never languished, and when her father, Richard Jackson, who had been banished by the same degree and transported to America in the same vessel with David Hamilton, had worked out his servitude and cleared for himself a little home on the westerly bank of the beautiful and historic Saco, bade her mother, her brother, and herself to join him, she left her desolate home in Scotland with a heart bounding with hope and expectation. July 14th, 1662, after years of sorrow and separation, these childhood lovers, near where the great river mingles its chastened waters with the mighty deep, and without a sigh for their old trysting-place in the home country plighted their troth.” Why say it in a few words when many embellished words will do just as well?

David and Annah Hamilton were to have seven children born between the years 1664 and 1679. David, if he was born in 1625, would have been 37 years old when he married. When his last son was born, Jonas Hamilton, my 8th great grandfather, David would have been around 54 years old. If Annah was David’s childhood sweetheart, it is likely that she would have been no more than five years his junior or about 21 years old when he left for war. If this age is accurate that would have made Annah around 49 years old when Jonas Hamilton was born and 34 years when her first child was born in 1664. These are not typical child bearing ages especially in the 1600s. While there is no reason to doubt that Annah was not the daughter of Richard Jackson, I suspect that that she was probably much younger than David when he left home in his mid-20s. I suppose it is possible that the young 25-year old David Hamilton was in love with a 15-year old Annah Jackson when he set off for war which might explain why he did not marry his “sweetheart” before he departed Scotland. It is more likely however, that they were not sweethearts. Whatever the circumstances, in the wildernesses of southeastern New Hampshire in 1662, there was probably a huge shortage of single women and after years of hardships, David Hamilton must have been out-of-his mind with joy to marry Annah Jackson, even if she were not his childhood sweetheart.

Prior to David’s marriage to Annah Jackson he acquired about twenty acres of land located on the west bank of the Salmon Falls River (which was then called by its Indian name, the Newichawannoch River) south of the present day village of Rollinsford. The Salmon Falls River today marks the boundary between the states of New Hampshire and Maine. Here he erected a house to which he took his new bride. His land was located not far south of the point where the Great Works River enters the Salmon Falls River. The Great Falls sawmill where David was employed as an indentured servant was located less than a mile upstream on the Great Works River. It is entirely possible that David was part of the original crew of men who logged the area where his new home was later constructed. David and his wife and family lived in this house until his death. His occupation for the next 30 years was that of a farmer.

Pioneer life in this part of New England was not easy. Not only did they experience the usual hardships one might expect in the frontier wildernesses of southern New Hampshire in the later part of the 1600s, but their remote location put them in a position of constant Indian conflicts. The area was a focal point for Indian raids during King Philip’s War in 1675. Raids continued though the early part of the French & Indian Wars, from 1689 through 1697. This period is referred to in our country’s history as King William’s War and many of the homes in the community of South Berwick located just north the Hamilton homestead, were burned and many of the colonists were killed. In his journal written sometime after 1691, the Rev. John Pike added the following matter-of-fact comment: “1691, September 28th. David Hamilton, Henry Childs, etc. were slain by Indians at Newichawannoch.” David Hamilton’s life ended in the same tragic fashion that seemed to have permeated much of his life. There are no records to tell us when Annah Hamilton died, although she may have died with her husband at the hands of Indians. Their burial place has never been discovered. The above photograph of the historical marker installed on Sligo Road in Rollinsford marks the location of his land that he called home for many years. David was in his mid-60s when he was killed.

While the historical records are not entirely inclusive, it is general accepted that David and Annah Hamilton had seven children, all sons: David, Solomon, Jonathan, Abel, Abial (or Bial), and Jonas. What is interesting and I found worth researching, was that all of their sons were given Old Testament names. What I learned was that in England in the late 1500s, the more common English proper names originating from the New Testament, such as John, Paul, Peter, and Thomas were considered Roman Catholic names by the rising group of Protestants in England such as the Puritans and the Scottish Presbyterians. They chose to avoid these “Catholic” proper names choosing instead names from the Old Testament. Obviously David and Annah strongly adhered to their Presbyterian faith even in the New World.

When David Hamilton died in 1691 he apparently did not leave a will which left the disposition of his property in the hands of the “selectmen of Dover.” What they chose was to order the property sold and the proceeds used “for the maintaining” of David’s eldest son, also named David Hamilton, for “the Hoole of his life.” It was alleged by the selectmen of Dover that young David was a “town charge”. This was in 1697 at which time the young David was 33 years old. He was obviously not a minor in 1697, therefore the reference to his being a town charge, may have been referring to him as the village idiot. There is no mention in these same records of Annah Hamilton therefore it is likely that she died before 1697. Other than David, only their son Gabriel is mentioned in the town records, and it is noted that Gabriel did not protest the disposition of the family property. The other sons whose ages ranged from around 28 to 32 in 1697 were obviously engaged elsewhere and offered no claims on the family property.

Jonas Hamilton, my 8th great grandfather, was born on his family’s farm along the banks of the Great Salmon Falls in the year 1678. He was the seventh child of David and Annah Hamilton and only 14 years old when his parents were slain by Indians. There are no existing records on Jonas in his younger years until his name appeared in church records in New London, Connecticut on September 9, 1708 recording his marriage to Elizabeth Wickwire. Why he chose to move from Rollinsford, New Hampshire to New London, Connecticut is a mystery. It may be the lack of available land near Rollinsford, the lack of available women from which to choose a wife, or the constant Indian conflicts in the area that drove him from home. The Queen Anne’s War had begun in 1706 and he may have joined the military to fight against the French and Indians which eventually led him to settle in Connecticut. Or possibly, he may have elected to serve on one of the many sailing ships that hauled lumber from the southern coast of Maine to the ship building seaport of New London. We will never know his motives but there does appear to be a consensus that Jonas Hamilton, son of David and Annah, is the same Jonas Hamilton who married Elizabeth Wickwire in 1708.

Elizabeth Wickwire’s parents, John Wickware and Mary Tonge, settled in New London shortly after the King Philip’s War of 1675. John was a soldier in the war and was engaged, probably as an officer, in the Great Swamp fight, the final battle of the war against the Indians. For his services he received from the general court a grant of one hundred and forty acres of land in the New London area where he moved and settled in 1676. John had immigrated to Massachusetts around 1650 from Gloucestershire, England. There is a town in England named Wickwire located about twenty-six miles south of Gloucester named after one of the great English lords of the 13th century, John de la Warre, who is thought to be an ancestor of the Wickware family. John met and married his wife, Mary Tonge, in New London in November of 1676. Mary’s parents, George and Margaret Tonge were early settlers of New London arriving sometime before 1656. George Tonge was an innkeeper (“house of entertainment”) most of his life and it is noted that “ . . only trustworthy citizens were recorded this privilege.” Apparently for the Puritans it was important to have someone “trustworthy” serving them ale. John Wickwire and Mary Tonge are my 9th great grandparents.

There is very little in the historical records about the lives of Jonas and Elizabeth (Wickwire) Hamilton. We know that they were baptized together in New London on June 25, 1710. This would be a more interesting fact if I knew the significance of two adults in their early 30s being baptized. Both of them must have been baptized when they were newborns and Jonas I would think, would have been baptized and raised a Presbyterian. Perhaps, they felt the need to join a church and the fact that they were of different faiths required them to be re-baptized as a condition of joining the church. It is unlikely that Elizabeth Wickwire would have been a Presbyterian and based on the fact that her parents arrived in the New World before 1650 from England, Elizabeth was probably an Anglican. In any case, they were admitted to the church and Jonas and Elizabeth were to have nine children born between the years 1709 and 1731 including my 7th great grandfather and their oldest son, Jonathan Hamilton, born on June 17, 1709.

Jonathan Hamilton married Anna Camp on May 9, 1732. Their first child, Bathsheba Hamilton, my 6th great grandmother, was born on December 1, 1732 (I know, less than 9 months following their marriage, hopefully the birth date is wrong), and their second child, Lucy, was born two years later in October of 1734. Anna Camp died on January 9, 1735 at their New London home. She may never have fully recovered from the birth of her second child. She was only 26 years old when she passed away. Jonathan remarried a year later in 1636 and outlived his second wife as well, but not before she gave birth to seven children. Then Jonathan, still very much in need of someone to take care of his home and his family, remarried for a third time in 1761 at the age of 53 and his new and probably much younger third wife, Phebe, gave birth to six additional children. In all, Jonathan fathered 15 children. He was 64 years old when his last child was born. He died only two years later on February 24, 1778 at his home in Horton Township, King’s County, Nova Scotia, exhausted but with a smile on his face.

Fortunately for the Hamilton family, Jonathan was fairly well off having acquired a large quantity of property and a prosperous farm, or “plantation,” as it is referred to in historical accounts in New London County records of the 1700s. It is interesting therefore, to wonder why Jonathan moved his family to Nova Scotia in 1761 shortly following his third marriage.

The French and Indian War was essentially a European war between England and France that began in 1754 and continued until the early 1760s. English history refers to the war as the Seven Years War. In North America it was essentially a series of battles for control of territory not only in Ohio and the “western” lands that were claimed by the French, but also in eastern Canada. The disputed land in Quebec and what is now the Canadian Maritime Provinces was originally settled by French explorers, fur trappers, and farmers and by the mid-1700s this land had been under French control for over 100 years. During the period of the war, the French with their Indian allies also attacked and created havoc with the English settlements to the south in New York and New England. The war in North America was essentially over by 1758 when the French military was defeated and they conceded control of all of their possessions in North America except for the land along the Mississippi River and its tributaries (Jefferson’s “Louisiana Purchase”). The Seven Years War was officially over in Europe with the signing of a peace treaty in Paris in 1763.

The British at this point did something rather unusual even for the 18th century. Beginning around 1658 the British forcibly began the removal of all of the inhabitants in the areas of present day Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. These inhabitants called “Arcadians” were sent away in ships and resettled in South Carolina, Georgia, and even Louisiana. Their cultivated lands and homes were confiscated without reparations. The British justification for these actions was that the Arcadians had supported the French during the conflict, an assertion that was not strongly supported by the facts. The British however, believed that these fertile lands in Nova Scotia could never come completely under English control as long as the land was occupied by French speaking people. Beginning in the following year, a proclamation was issued offering the sale of land in Nova Scotia at very favorable terms and the interest was immediately widespread and great.
Beginning in 1760 shiploads of emigrants left New England for resettlement in Nova Scotia. It is estimated that more than 70% of the new settlers came from Connecticut with many of them from the County of New London, the home of our Jonathan Hamilton. On Sunday, June 7, 1760 a baby named “Betty” was born to Capt. Peter Wickwire (Jonathan Hamilton’s first cousin) and his wife Rhoda “in the harbor of Horton [Nova Scotia]”. This was the first of Jonathan’s relatives to arrive in Nova Scotia. Many were to following including Jonathan and his new wife, and all of Jonathan’s younger children from his second wife who arrived by ship in mid-1761. The ship was loaded with all of their furniture, household supplies, farm tools and even their livestock. In a 1770 Census in Horton Township in King’s County, Nova Scotia, the Jonathan Hamilton family consisted of 1 adult male, 2 adult women, 3 girls, and 3 boys. When I first began the research on Jonathan Hamilton’s immigration to Nova Scotia, I assumed that he was a “Loyalist” and he retired to Nova Scotia because of the pending Revolutionary War. This was a logical conclusion as thousands of Americans left for British controlled Canada in the period immediately preceding the outbreak of war, when loyalty to the crown was an unpopular and even dangerous position to hold. However, in the case of the immigrants to Nova Scotia in the 1760s this was not the case. During the Revolutionary War these “Connecticut Yankees” in Nova Scotia remained neutral with respect to the war. Jonathan Hamilton was the first High Sheriff of King’s County before his death at the age of 69 on February 24, 1778.

Bathsheba Hamilton was 22 years old when she married 24 year old Lebbeus Tubbs also of New London County, Connecticut in 1654. She moved with her husband and three children with her father and his new wife to Nova Scotia in 1761 where she gave birth to a son in 1762. Lebbeus and Bathsheba are my 6th great grandparents. Lebbeus Tubbs and his brother Samuel are both listed in the group of early settlers of Horton Township, King’s County, Nova Scotia along with his father-in-law, Jonathan Hamilton. It is a total mystery why Lebbeus Tubbs and his family elected to leave Nova Scotia in the late 1760s and return to New London. There they joined join a group of New London settlers immigrating to the Wyoming Valley along the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania around 1770. Obviously they must have decided they did not want to be Canadian citizens and subject their future descendents to high Canadian taxes and socialized medicine. On the other hand, it is possible that Lebbeus was sympathetic to the America cause for liberty so they returned to Connecticut. Lebbeus Tubbs was a soldier in the American Revolution and was present at the Battle of Wyoming fought on July 3, 1778. The story of the Tubbs family is continued in Chapter 8. Lebbeus and his wife and family later moved to the Elmira, New York area. He died in 1796; Bathsheba died in 1800.

The daughter of Lebbeus Tubbs and Bathsheba Hamilton, Lucy Tubbs (1758-1844) married Lebbeus Hammond (1754-1826); their daughter Mary Hammond (1774-1859) married John Sly (1764-1856); their son Mathew Sly (1815-1876) married Susan Maxwell (1823-1848); their daughter Mary Sly (1844-1917) married Charles Spaulding (1841-1875); Their son Henry Spaulding (1863-1889) married Ella Reynolds (1863-1935); their daughter Helen Spaulding (1887-1937) married my grandfather, Charles Schenck Baker (1885-1952). The end.