Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Generals - Rev War Ancestors

I have saved for the final Rev War post, two of my more interesting collateral ancestors - both distant cousins.

(1) Nathanael Greene was a Quaker by birth, but chose the military. He served as Quartermaster General of the Continental Army & became one of Washington's most trusted officers. Washington wanted Greene to take over the Southern Campaign in 1780, but Congress chose the "Hero of Saratoga," Horatio Gates to take the command. After Gates led his army into a disastrous defeat at Camden, SC & fled the battlefield, Congress gave in to Washington & placed Greene in command of the Southern Army. Greene's victories were few & far between, but he was able to keep Cornwallis at bay. At Guilford Courthouse, NC, Greene handed Cornwallis a tactical defeat. Since the British held the field of battle, Guilford was considered a British victory. Had Washington been killed or captured, it is likely that Gen. Nathanael Greene would have replaced him.

(2) Another of Washington's favorite officers met with a different fate. He helped take Fort Ticonderoga from the British & was a key figure in the invasion of Canada. He added several other feathers to his cap before afoul of his commanding general, Horatio Gates at Saratoga. Still, it was the brilliance of this officer that allowed Gates to become the "Hero of Saratoga." Seriously wounded, the general was appointed military governor of Philadelphia. His questionable actions in Philadelphia led to a reprimand from Washington. Angry over the reprimand & not receiving due credit for his military career, this officer requested command of West Point & sold the outpost's plans to the British. Benedict Arnold had been one of the most brilliant commanders in the Continental Army, now he had turned coat & was a traitor rather than a hero.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rev War Ancestors - 4

This post will include three different types of service in the war: Continental Line, Partisan & civilian.

Edward Prall was born in New Jersey, but moved to Maryland during the 1760s. He was a merchant by trade & sympathetic to the patriot cause. Edward served on various committees in Harford Co. & was active in getting supplies smuggled to Boston after the "Tea Party." Prall served in the local militia, which became part of Smallwood's Regiment at the Battle of Long Island. The Marylanders were instrumental in enabling Washington to retreat to safety. Along with the Delaware Regiment, they withstood several attacks by British & Hessian regulars, suffering 250 captured or killed out of 400. Lt. Prall was among those captured & imprisoned on one of the British prison ships until exchanged. When Gates was given command of the Southern Campaign, the Marylanders went with him. Their ranks were further decimated during Gates' disastrous defeat at Camden. Reorganized & stocked with new recruits, the Maryland Line served in several other battles in the South, including Guilford Courthouse. Captain Edward Prall commanded a company in the 1st Maryland.

Edward's brother, Benjamin, also a merchant, sent supplies to his sibling during the war. It has been rumored the another brother, Cornelius [my 4th ggf] also helped with providing supplies.

Isaac Rittenhouse owned the Cross Keys Tavern in Hunterdon Co., NJ. His family was in the path of both armies. One story has it that when Tory militia or British troops were confiscating livestock in the area, the Rittenhouse family went into action. When the enemy appeared, Mrs. Rittenhouse would give a signal & Isaac, his sons & slaves would drive their livestock deep into the woods. When the troops tired of the search, the "all clear" was given & the livestock reappeared.

The partisan representation came in the form of the brother of my 5th ggm, Anna Sumter Land. Anna's elder brother, General Thomas Sumter was among the South Carolina partisan leaders who worked out of the swaps & engaged British Regulars & Tory Regiments during the Southern Campaign. Along with the "Swamp Fox" Francis Marion & other militia leaders, the "Gamecock" played a crucial role in the victorious Southern Campaign.

It was reported by his son, Thomas, that John Land served in the war, but verification is still needed.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rev War Ancestors -3

The Simmons family offer two generations of service in the war.

(1) John, Sr. was a prominent New York City tavern keeper who was forced to evacuate his family as the British began their occupation of the city. His service record shows two possible tours: He
enlisted in Captain Daniel Roe's Company, 2nd Regiment of New York Troops commanded by Col. James Clinton in the spring off 1776. The regiment was a provisional Patriot organization formed in March and disbanded in May. The DAR Patriot Lookup Index lists John's service with the 5th & 6th NY Regiments under Col. William Humfrey and the Dutchess Co. Militia.

(2) John, Jr. enlisted in Captain Jacob Onderdonk's militia unit at Clarkstown [part of Haverstraw] in 1778. [Onderdonk's company served in Hay's NY Militia Regiment from 4 April 1778 until 9 August 1780.] He then served with the militia for two years, primarily guarding the west shore of the North Hudson between Tappan and Paulus Hook. Part of the Shore Guard's duty was to repel British or Tory landings along the Hudson. The Guard lit signal fires on top of High Tor to warn neighboring communities of danger. John finally spent six months during 1781-82 under Captain Bowman [or Bowan] in Col. Friedrich Weissenfels' Regiment of New York Levies [militia drafted to regulars].
Staying within the family, Peter Jennison [father-in-law to John William Simmons, son of John Jr.] served a brief nine days with Captain John Growl's militia company attached to Col. Learned's regiment. Peter Jennison was at Lexington, Mass. on 19 April 1776 to witness the opening clash between British regulars & Colonial militia.

Peter's father-in-law, Amos Singletary, served in the Provincial Congress for four years, representing Sutton, Massachusetts.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rev War Ancestors, cont'd

More min-bios:

3) Seth Hurin/Mahurin: [11 Nov 1729 Raynham, Bristol, Mass. - 8 Oct 1815 Warren Co., Ohio] The Hurin - Mahurin surname is a story for another blog post. Seth was in his late 40s when the war came & saw no military service.He was able to show support for the cause by signing the "Articles of Association of the Freeholders and Inhabitants of Pequannock, in the County of Morris" denouncing England and pledging support to the Continental and Provincial Congress in May of 1776."  On 18 March 1780 a certificate was issued to Seth Mahurin by the Quartermaster of Morristown for $536 Continental. Mahurin had sent supplies of some sort to aide the troops at the brutal 1779-80 winter encampment. After the war, Seth, wife Mary Hazen & most of the family made the trek across country to the Ohio River & then to the Cincinnati area [Warren Co.]

4) John St. John: [2 Feb 1750 South Salem, Westchester, NY - 5 July 1819 Warren Co., Ohio]: John was a private in Col. Thaddeus Crane's 4th NY Regiment [Westchester Militia], Capt. Ebenezer Scofield company. This became a New York Line Regiment. St. John married Anna Lockwood. The St. Johns also made the move to Ohio & called the Hurins & Faucetts neighbors & in-laws. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rev War Ancestors & GSMC July program

The Genealogical Society of Marion County will be holding its monthly meeting Saturday, July 13 at the Glendale Branch Library from 1:00-3:00. Our speaker is Lou Malcomb, in charge of IU's Government Documents, who will give her presentation on "Cemeteries & Maps." See the GSMC website for more details:

Rev War ancestor mini-bios:
1) John Faucett: [10 Aug 1751 or 1752 Augusta Co., VA (now Greenbriar Co., WV) - 23 April 1838 Marion Co., IN] After an eventful childhood, allegedly spent among the Indians [probably the Shawnee], John Faucett found himself in Western Pennsylvania, living near the Old Redstone Fort (present-day Uniontown, Fayette Co.) at the outbreak of the Revolution. John served six separate tours of duty totalling 13 months & 20 days over four years. He served chiefly as a "ranger & spy" (frontier scout) as a member of the local militia covering the territory of northern Virginia, western Pennsylvania & eastern Ohio. During the summer of 1778, his militia company was attached to a Virginia Line Regiment. This qualified Pvt. Faucett for a pension. After the war, Faucett went on to settled in SW Ohio in 1799 & Central Indiana in 1824. He married Eve Fry.

2) Holden Rhodes: [22 Sep 1750 Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island - 1 Feb 1809 Warwick, Kent, Rhode Island] Rhodes married Susanna Wall in 1769. Holden was a mariner by trade, and when the war broke out, kept to his profession. The new nation did not have a navy, but many mariners chose to serve as privateers, taking on the British naval forces. Holden Rhodes served as prize master aboard the sloops Joseph & Satisfaction. [The prize master was the officer in charge of captured vessels.] While serving aboard the Satisfaction, Rhodes was captured & sent to Forten Prison in Gosport, England in July 1778. He was exchanged 11 Dec 1779. Holden Rhodes became master/captain of several ships after the war. At least four of his sons were lost or died at sea.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Belated 4th of July Ancestral Thanks!

I was out of town for the 4th of July weekend, so am now getting to my Independence Day "thank you's" a little late. I did a quick check of my ancestors and came up with 16 [two very distant cousins, two brothers of a direct ancestor, 12 direct] who served their newly formed country between 1776-1783.

Here's the roll call: Pvt. John Faucett [PA militia, VA Line], Capt. Holden Rhodes [RI privateer], Seth Mahurin [NJ - provided supplies for Morristown encampment], Pvt. John St. John [NY - Westchester militia, NY Line], John Simmons Sr. [NY - 2nd Rgt.], John Simmons Jr. [NY - Orange Co. militia, NY Levies], Pvt. Peter Jennison [MA - Lexington], Amos Singletary [MA - 4 yrs as Rep. from  Sutton in Provincial Congress], Gen. Thomas Sumter [SC -Partisan commander], John Land [VA/KY - a son claims he served, no concrete evidence], Isaac Rittenhouse family [NJ - tormented Tory troops scavanging for food and livestock], Capt. Edward Prall [MD - 1st Maryland Line troops], Benjamin Prall [NJ - provided supplies for brother's Maryland soldiers]; AND the two distant cousins: Gen. Nathaniel Greene [RI - Quartermaster General, Commander of the Southern Department] & Gen. Benedict Arnold [CT - Fort Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain, Montreal, Saratoga...] I'll end there, he started downhill after that. :)-

Each individual has a unique story. I'll relate those in upcoming blogs.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

GSMC, St. John Research & other genealogy stuff

The move to the new research facility at Memorial Park Cemetery for the Genealogical Society of Marion County is progressing nicely. We packed up materials & furniture at Crown Hill last week for the move to Memorial Park. Today we did a considerable amount of unpacking at Memorial Park. The finishing touches should be made on the move sometime in August.

Our program schedule is set for July through November. July 13: "Cemeteries & Maps" [Lou Malcomb]; August 10: "Cemetery Research" [Jeannie Regan-Dinius]; September 14: "DNA" [Ken Nowlan]; October 12: "Scottish Records & Rresearch" [Lee Chloe]; November 17 GSMC Annual Conference at the IHS Eugene & Marilyn Glick History Center: "Photo Preservation" [Joan Hostetler of Heritage Photo Research]

Check the GSMC website: often for news & updates on programs & the grand opening of the new GSMC Research Center.

We will be an affiliate of & the Family History Library, so we will be able to order microfilms from the FHL in Salt Lake!!

I've been slowly, but surely getting the new St. John/Sension/Santken information recorded from the NEHGS Register artcle from April. There was a mention of Nicholas Sension in the article. I was able to track down some additional info on him. A marriage date [12 June 1645], but not the maiden name of Nicholas' wife Isable turned up in the notes on Sension's probate, as did death dates for Nicholas [18 September 1689] & Isable [2 October 1689].

A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records: Hartford District 1635-1700 [edited by Charles William Manwaring] provided the information. Sension's estate was inventoried 8 April 1690 by Timothy Phelps Sr. & James Ennoe. [p. 58]; 9 April 1690 - Samuel Willson appointed Administrator. [court record, p. 14]