Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Ancestors of Note: N, R, S

Francis & Rebecca [Towne] Nurse [1618-1695/1621-1692]: The Nurses were residents of Salem Village. Shortly after the Nurses and other families expressed dissatisfaction with Rev. Samuel Parris, teenaged daughters of families supporting Parris suddenly became bewitched. The majority of the citizens that were accused of witchcraft by the girls in 1691-92 were opposed to Parris. Among those accused of witchcraft were Rebecca and her sisters Mary [Esty] and Sarah [Cloyce]. Rebecca and Mary were found guilty and hanged.*

Wilhelm Rittenhouse [1644-1708]: Wilhelm was a German-born papermaker who founded the first paper mill in the colonies on Wissahickon Creek near Germantown, PA.*

David Rittenhouse [1732-1796]: Wilhelm's grandson. He was an astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, surveyor, mathematician and Treasurer of Pennsylvania during the American Revolution.

John Simmons Sr. [1730-1795]: Owner of the Simmons Tavern at Wall and Nassau Streets in New York City before and after the Revolution. The 1st mayor of NY City was sworn in at the tavern. His brother-in-law, Gifford Dally was the House Doorkeeper for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd US Congresses. His sister-in-law, Elizabeth Dally was the wife of Samuel Fraunces, who owned Fraunces Tavern, where Gen. Washington gave his farewell address. Fraunces cared for wounded soldiers during the war, spied for Washington and later served as steward for the President's family.*

William Simmons: John's son. William served with the Commander-in-chief's Guard during the Rev War. In 1795, he was appointed a clerk at the US Treasury. He later served in the War Dept. under Adams and Madison. A dispute with the Secretary of War got him fired in 1814. Upon leaving D.C., William scouted the area near Bladensburg and was able to warn off Pres. Madison before he could be captured by the British. He briefly acted as a forward artillery observer before returning to the Capital. Simmons warned of the approaching enemy and convinced an artillery guard to evacuate a cannon to avoid its capture.

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