Friday, November 26, 2021

Military Service of Israel Alden

 


American Musket from the Revolutionary War

In the Spring when I was researching the life of Israel Alden (my maternal 6th great grandfather) I learned he also served in the Revolutionary War.  Israel Alden is the great-great grandson of John & Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower.   (See post The Life of Israel Alden)  This led me to wonder what I could find out about his Revolutionary War service?


From the Massachusetts, U.S. , Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War page 108:

From these records of Israel's service I know that he was a Private and served from 19 September 1777 until 16 October 1777.  Israel served for a total of 28 days.   What happened during this time period of the War?  What was Stillwater?  Hmm, he served for only a month.  

First, I looked for information on Paterson's brigade:

  • Patterson’s Brigade was organized in Cambridge, Massachusetts in April 1775.  The Regiment became part of the Continental Army in June 1775 then after several changes was also designated as the 15th Continental Regiment and the 1st Massachusetts Regiment in 1777.
Next, I wanted to learn about "Stillwater" and the War:

  • “Stillwater” is a village southwest of Saratoga and part of the Battle of Saratoga occurred here.  So, Israel was a soldier at the Battle of Saratoga.
Being a little rusty on my Revolutionary War battles I needed to learn more about the Battle of Saratoga:

  • The Campaign of Saratoga (14 June – 17 October 1777) was an attempt by the British to gain military control of the strategically important Hudson River valley.  The campaign ended with the surrender of the British army and was an enormous morale boost for the Colony and convinced France to enter the war in alliance with America.  WOW, Israel was part of a very important battle during the Revolutionary War.  Now I want to visit the battlefield to experience and learn more about the battle.
This Summer I had the opportunity to visit the battlefield which is now maintained as part of the Saratoga National Historical Park:





Listening to the Ranger talks and reviewing the displays I was surprised to learn how much of the land had been cleared of trees by the early settlers. It was also interesting to find out that frequently men served for short periods such as Israel did because they had farms to get back to, etc.  These soldiers brought whatever weapons they owned and used them in battle.  I also learned that there is Battle Historian for the Saratoga Battle.  I contacted him to ask questions about the battle and to see if there is any additional information about Israel.  As of this time, I have not received a reply.

Did Israel receive a pension for his service?  I’ve heard that some soldiers received land grants as payment.  Could that have been why Israel decided to move to Windsor, NY as other soldiers did?

  • In the book Binghampton It’s Settlement, Growth and Development Lawyer states, ”Under a law of congress passed March 18, 1818, pensions were provided to be paid to those soldiers of the Revolution who had served in the regular or United States army, and they alone were entitled to its benefits, to the exclusion of the militia or state troops, whose service in many cases was fully as meritorious and hazardous as that of their more favored fellows.  The injustice or at least the discriminating provisions of the act were so manifest that the whole body of troops, both regulars and militiamen, were loud in their denunciation of them, yet more than twelve years passed before congress remedied the wrong.” 

Since Israel served for such a short time and after searching and searching for records, I was unable to find a record for a pension or a land grant.

What an interesting journey this was!  I was able to learn more about an important battle in our Country's history and learn that my ancestor was a farmer who became part of this important battle.  I was able to stand and view the areas Israel may have looked over and fought on.  Being able to actually "be" where your ancestor was 244 years ago is just amazing.  I always learn more when I can be at the location and talk to others who have done such extensive research about an event my ancestor was part of.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,
Debby

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Seven Generations of Photos



     Does having a picture of your ancestor change the way you look at their life story?  While I am researching I am always hopeful that I will find photos of my ancestors, unfortunately, I rarely find them.  I can tell their stories with the facts I can find but I still want the photos.  So, I keep searching.

     This Summer I was amazed at the number of photos on my Robinson and Terry lines that were found at my cousin's house.  Rebecca has bins of things that belonged to her great-grandmother Ella Terry Billard.  When we got together this Summer, while I was visiting, I was astounded at the number of photos we found and how old they were.  Working with these photos I am learning so many new things about the family.  One of the first things I realized is that these are the oldest photos I have ever been able to see!  As I thought about this I also realized I have seven generations of photos with this find.  Photos from my son all the way back to Stephen Robinson (3x great grandfather) which was taken no later then 1871.  As you look at the generations of photos, what family resemblances do you see among the photos?  What else do you notice in the photos?


(click on image to enlarge)

I wonder if Caroline's closed "smile" was due to a lack of teeth? I wonder if there was a permanent photographer in the Riverhead area in the 1860s and 70s?  What was the occasion for the photos taken of Stephen and Caroline?  What was the occasion for Almeda's photo?  I believe Carrie's photo was taken in New York City during her time in college (1880-2).  My grandfather's picture was taken from a family photo probably taken in the 1940s.  My father's picture was taken at my second marriage in 2012.  Mine was taken in 2018 when I received my General Society of Mayflower Descendants certificate and my son's was his senior picture in college.  (Be sure to click on the bold names above if you'd like to find out about the life stories of the people in the photos.)

Seeing a picture of my ancestor really brings them to life for me.  I may have many facts about them but actually seeing what they looked like definitely makes them "real" for me.  How about for you?  What an amazing find this was!


If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,
Debby


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The 1871 Will of Stephen Robinson


Wills can hold such interesting pieces of information about our ancestors and frequently generate additional questions.  Stephen Robinson is my paternal 3x great-grandfather.  Last Spring I wrote what I had been able to learn about his life (see Blog post Celebrating the Life of Stephen Robinson).   Now I wanted to look at his last wishes as recorded in his Will.

At the time this Will was written Stephen was 66 years old and had been married to Caroline Overton Robinson for 46 years.  They had the following children all still living at the time: Barnabas O., George W., Perry S., Almeda V. (my 2nd great-grandmother), William S., Arthur M., Alonzo M., Dolisca, Huldah J., and Carrie E.  [I have underlined family names within the following transcribed Will.]

Stephen’s Will was written 6 days before he died.

(click on image to enlarge)

Transcription:

Will

In the name of God, Amen. I, Stephen Robinson, of the Town of Riverhead, County of Suffolk and State of New York being of sound mind and memory, and considering the uncertainty of this life, do therefore, make, ordain, publish and declare, this to be my last Will and Testament; That is to say,

First, after all my lawful debts are paid and discharged, I give, bequeath-To my Son Alonzo M. Robinson, my Homestead Farm Consisting of one Hundred and Seventy-five acres the same more or less-Situate at Manorville in the said County of Suffolk and Bounded as follows-first piece on the North by the Lands of Thomas G. Osborn, on the South by the Peconic River and on the West by the Lands of Jonah Raynor.  Second piece-On the North by the Land of Louis Worthington, on the East by the Land of Jonah Raynor, on the South by the Branch of the Peconic River and on the West by the Land of George O. Raynor.  Together with the hereditaments [something capable of being inherited] and appurtenances [belonging to something else, ie. the land] or in otherwise thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining to have and to hold the premises above described to the said Alonzo M. Robinson his heirs and assigns Forever-

I give and bequeath to my son William S. Robinson all that certain piece or parcel of Land Situate at Manorville in the said County of Suffolk, Containing seventy acres be the same more or less and Bounded as follows on the North partly by the Highway and partly by the Land of Sally Ann Sweezey on the East by the Lands of Sally Ann Sweezey and Albert Terry on the South by the Land of Isaac Raynor and the old School House Road and on the West by the Land of O. H Oc’t(?), together with the hereditaments and appurtenances hereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining to have and to hold the premises above described to the said William S. Robinson Forever-

I give and bequeath to my son Arthur M. Robinson Two Hundred acres of land near Manorville in the said County of Suffolk and bounded as follows-first piece on the North by, the Long Island Rail Road on the East by the Land of Isaac C. Hulse and the Heirs of Elegin Dayton in the South by the Land of Joel H. Raynor and on the West by the Lands of J. Minor Raynor and by Jab. Raynor- Second piece lying near Manorville in the said County of Suffolk and Bounded as follows on the North by the Land formerly of ?Yosing & Roger on the East by the Land of Warren Raynor on the South by Peconic River, and on the West by the Lands of Benjamin R. Woodhull and Bertha Caffee Zuba-To have and to hold the premises above described to the said Arthur M. Robinson Forever-

I give and bequeath to my son Barney O. Robinson the Sum of one Thousand Dollars in Money.

I give and bequeath to my son George W. Robinson the sum of one Thousand Dollars in Money.

I give and bequeath to my son Stephen Perry Robinson the sum of one Thousand Dollars in Money-

I give and bequeath to my son William S. Robinson the sum of Three Hundred dollars in Money-

I give and bequeath to my wife Caroline Robinson the sum of Eight Thousand dollars in Money-

I give and bequeath to my daughter Caroline E. [Carrie] Robinson the sum of Three Hundred dollars in Money-

I give and bequeath to my daughter Almeda V. Terry the sum of Two Hundred dollars in Money-

I give and bequeath to my daughter Dolisea Terry the sum of Two Hundred dollars in Money-

I give and bequeath to my daughter Hulah J. Hawkins the sum of Two Hundred dollars in Money-

All the residue and remainder of my Estate-both real and personal I give and bequeath to my sons Barney O. Robinson, George W. Robinson and Arthur M. Robinson to be equally divided between them.

Likewise, I make constitute and appoint my Wife Caroline Robinson, to be my Executrix and my son Barney O. Robinson to be Executor of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills by me made.

In Witness whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal, the fifth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and Seventy one.

Stephen Robinson   (L.S.)

Witnesses

Richard T. Osborn, Riverhead

George F. Homan, Riverhead

 

Since the Will was written so close to the time of his death I wonder if Stephen was seriously ill at the time?  Unfortunately, there are no death certificates that would have recorded the cause of his death.

I notice that Stephen leaves more money to his youngest daughter Caroline "Carrie".  I believe this is do to her age only being 17 at the time the letter was written.  She was a minor and still at home at the time.  Stephen's other three daughters were married at the time the Will was written.

I am curious about why property was left to some of the sons but not all of them?  I wonder if property was not left to sons who already owned their own land?  When I looked back at what Stephen farmed according to the US Federal Non-Populations Census-Agricultural Blog post I had written I saw a decline from 1850-1860 in the acreage that Stephen farmed/owned.  I was unable to locate Stephen in the 1870 US Federal Non-Populations Census-Agricultural.  Had he stopped farming by 1870?  I think some further investigation into Stephen's land sales are definitely needed.

The handwriting in the Will, at times, was difficult to decipher.  There may be errors in the spelling of some of the names mentioned as owning land bordering Stephen's property holdings.  

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,
Debby




Thursday, September 16, 2021

A Time to Remember



How do you remember those you love that have passed away? Any time we lose someone we love there is a hurt that never heals. When we lose children, that loss seems unbearable. How do you survive the loss of a child? I’ve listened to parents say that a child should never die before a parent, it’s just not right. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Whether it’s from disease or an accident, the hurt never leaves us.

My youngest brother, David, passed away after a tragic car accident when he was only 18 years old. This was in the summer between his junior and senior year of high school. Another student, also died tragically that summer. After my brother’s funeral my father had a memorial made that was placed in a peaceful spot near the home we grew up in. Over 40 years later my parents were downsizing and moving to a new home. The question was raised about what to do with David’s memorial.

My father remembered that several years ago, while attending a concert at Riverhead High School in Riverhead, New York,


we were early and we had to wait outside the back of the high school for the doors to open. As we walked around that night we noticed memorials in the gardens near the entrance to the auditorium.


Was this area a possibility for my brother’s memorial? After contacting the High School Principal, Sean O’Hara, we found out that yes, this was definitely a possibility. I worked with Mr. O’Hara and Madlyn Davis to set things up. My brother Michael, my father Olin and step-mother Beverly and I took the memorial to the High School in June. They showed us the spot available for David’s Memorial. The custodial staff would place the memorial and let us know when completed. The memorial is now in place with special thanks to Mr. O’Hara, Madlyn Davis and the custodial staff at Riverhead High School.

David James Warner (1960-1979)

My son graduated from this high school and I told him what we were planning. He remembered a fellow classmate that had died while he was in high school also. This made me curious about the other stones I had seen in the memorial garden. Do people know that this garden is there? Do they remember the other students as they walk into the back entrance of the high school? How did this garden come to be? I wanted to remember all the students who have memorials in the garden, as well as my brother.

Ever the genealogist and researcher I began to learn about the garden. Here is what I learned from the following stones:

Vincent “Vinny” Nasta (1961-2008)

I searched for articles and learned on Riverhead Local “Vinny’s Garden” was a memorial to beloved Art teacher Vincent “Vinny” Nasta who perished tragically from a plane crash in 2008. Riverhead Local reported, “Students and teachers also set up a memorial garden in the courtyard at the high school, outside Nasta’s classroom.”  


Other parts of the garden, I am told, started long before Mr. Nasta’s untimely death.

The following are the memorials for students and what I was able to learn about them:

Anthony Matuza

Terrence Sumpter (1978-1996) age 18

Everett “E-Dubb” Wilson (1987-2005) age 17

Joseph “Joey” Chew (1988-2006) age 18

Ryan Hautsch (1989-2007) age 17

Danielle “Danie” G. Lawrence (1998-2015) age 17

Tristin Q. Krueger

Brieanne Reichel (1986-2002) age 16

Michael P. Smith (1962-1979) age 17

My thanks to the custodial staff for placing my brother’s memorial in the garden and maintaining the area. Thank-you to everyone reading this for taking time to remember all the lives who were cut tragically short. If you are in the area, perhaps, you can also take a moment to walk through this special garden at Riverhead High School and remember…


If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,
Debby

Friday, September 3, 2021

What Are You Wearing to Your Next Family Reunion?

(click on photos to enlarge)

Several years ago I began an interesting journey as a genealogist. I found out that perhaps I was descended from John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden on my maternal line. First, I successfully proved this theory and became a member of the Alden Kindred of America. (See post It’s Official! I Proved it! ) Later I was able to successfully prove my lineage and join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. (See post General Society of Mayflower Descendants Success). I also had a period costume made that helped me learn a little more about what life was like for my 9th great-grandmother Priscilla (Mullins) Alden. (See post What Would Priscilla (Mullins) Alden Think ). Last year I had plans made and tickets purchased for events in and around Plymouth, Massachusetts that were meant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower. Unfortunately, due to Covid, and like many other plans made, these events were cancelled.

After learning of my connection to John & Priscilla, I hoped one day to attend the annual Alden Family Reunion the first weekend in August held on the grounds of the Alden House in Duxbury, Massachusetts. This year that plan finally worked out.

I arrived in Duxbury on Saturday morning eager to take part in 2 days of events at the Alden House. The first presentation was about a new painting of the first Thanksgiving that was commissioned by the National Association of Christian Congregational Churches as “a Gift to the Nation”.


  • This painting was meant to be a more accurate accounting of the first Thanksgiving.  Karen Rinaldo and Kevin M. Doyle discussed their extensive research about the event and the individual people involved before Karen created the painting entitled The First Thanksgiving-1621.  (There is even a legend that goes with the painting).  Karen and Kevin have co-authored a book entitled In the Wake of the Mayflower: The First Encounter that was a result of the research done for the painting and details what happened after the arrival of the Mayflower.

Other events included a Tour of the Alden House, a cemetery tour of the Old Burying Grounds in Duxbury given by the Duxbury Historian, getting souvenirs (of course) in the Gift Shop and a wonderful New England Chowder supper.


I had the amazing privilege of camping in my van conversion camper in the parking lot of the Alden House. When I woke up on Saturday morning I thought about how fortunate I was to be able to sleep on the same land that my ancestors lived on 400 years ago. How many people can say that?


 My dog, Harley, and I went for a walk on Sunday morning around the grounds and on the Duxburrow Path and to see the original Alden home site.


  • According to the sign the Duxburrow Path takes its name from a Pilgrim -era road that once ran through the land. In 1637 the Plymouth Colony Court created the “highway” to run north from Plymouth and linked to several settled homesteads and cut through the Alden property as it continued on.

I couldn’t help trying to imagine John & Priscilla and the children playing and working here in the woods and fields on this very ground. What kind of mischief did a young Joseph (my 8th great grandfather) and his siblings get in to?



On Sunday I decided to wear my Pilgrim costume, I had brought it all the way from California after all.


Sunday events included an Annual Meeting, a fried chicken luncheon, a reenactment by the New Plimmoth Gard and gathering for the family photo.

photo compliments of the Alden Kindred Society, Karen Wong Photography 
(I count about 100 people in the photo)

Meeting all those cousins of mine was such fun. Wow! Everyone was so welcoming and I learned new things about my ancestors and the times they lived in. The common question was, “Which of the children [of John & Priscilla] are you descended from?” Whenever you have the opportunity to attend a family reunion, I encourage you to do so and see what you can learn.

Harley and I spent another night on the grounds of the Alden House. After the reunion was over and everyone had left, the homestead was quiet and I had time to reflect on my amazing experience there. As night fell this was the view of the Alden House. A fitting tribute to the strength and determination of my ancestors 400 years ago.


If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,
Debby

Saturday, May 15, 2021

PUBLISHED Carrie’s Letters: A Glimpse Into Rural Family Life Baiting Hollow, NY (1880-1910)



Over ten years ago my father showed me a shoebox of letters written by my paternal great-grandmother Carrie (Terry) Warner. Carrie was a woman I really knew nothing about except that she died suddenly when my grandfather was barely five years old. Thus began an amazing journey to make the letters available for others to read. (See tab on blog entitled Carrie’s Letters for additional stories)

At the beginning of this journey the task seemed rather straightforward: scan and transcribe the letters in to a digital format so that others could read them. And that’s exactly what I did. My father and I scanned all the pages of all the letters and I began transcribing them. Many of the letters had unnumbered multiple pages in them. The letters had been folded in envelopes for over 100 years and creases sometimes made the letters difficult to decipher. I used Microsoft Word and did a separate file for each letter. In some of the letters the writing had become rather light. In several of the letters Carrie wrote vertically and then horizontally across the pages. Carrie also wrote in the margins, across the top space of the letter and sometimes around the edges of the letter. Some of the letters took hours or even days to transcribe. But, I was so grateful to have these letters!

As I transcribed and read the letters I realized I had no idea who some of the people were that she was talking about. Who was Aunt Em or Aunt Carrie, Sizzie, etc.? I needed to figure out who the people were that Carrie was talking about to better understand what she was saying to her parents and her sister Ella. Realizing that more detail was needed I tried to figure out the best way to add that information without distracting from the story in the letters. Sidebars seemed like the best way to add the needed information. Somewhere along the way I heard about a program by Adobe called inDesign was the best place to put the transcribed letters to make it easier for others to read. Thank goodness for my son who was able to help me set up the program with the margins, sidebars and headings I would need for the letters. Now the research began. Thanks to Jill Morelli

Once Genealogists begin researching anything it is VERY difficult to stop that research. My husband frequently reminded me that at some point I had to stop or I’d NEVER finish this and get the pages published for others to read. This became like a 5,000 piece puzzle just sitting there waiting to be put together. How could I just leave it? When was there the right place to say…OK, I’m done? Each time I went back over pages I would figure out who someone else was that Carrie talked about. I also started an Index for the letters. Who were all these people and why were they important enough for her to mention in her letters? Once I started looking at who married whom, women’s maiden names, etc. the letters made a lot more sense. Years passed, I was working full time and we all know life gets busy. I kept saying that when I retired this project would get my full attention and I would complete it. Retirement arrived in June 2020.

The last four months I have devoted the majority of my time to completing this project. A final edit and the comparison of the 2nd full edition of the letters to the digital format was completed. Hours were spent to complete a listing of the over 600 people mentioned in the letters and/or in the sidebars. Notes were made as to who the people were and who they were connected to. Justine Warner Wells book entitled The Descendants of Daniel Jr. & Eleanor Howell Warner of Baiting Hollow LI, NY and the Warner Ancestors in England and America was an enormous asset. This helped me keep several generations of the family straight as Carrie told me about the family in her letters. I also used free online digital newspapers. Whether Carrie talked about the Train Depot Robbery or the death of a local person, the newspapers added more details. Since news was traveling by word of mouth back then I was also interested in how closely the story she told matched the accounts in the local newspapers. When Carrie talked of someone’s death or marriage, a little research helped me figure out who exactly she was referring to. Sometimes only first names were used. If I could find other clues in the letters, I might have even been able to determine a last name. I believe through the letters I was even able to date a picture the family has of the Mill in Peconic that Carrie’s father Gilbert ran for many years and even determine who took the picture.

So, the research is done, now what? Several years ago I attended a seminar given by Jill Morelli entitled “Just Do It! Self-Publishing Your Family History at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. (See Blog post Southern California Genealogy Jamboree 2018-Thursday) I came away believing ‘I can do it-publish Carrie’s Letters’ and actually wrote that on my notes. Silly me thought that getting the letters transcribed and with sidebars was all I needed to do, the hardest part. Well, trying to complete the information in the program was very time consuming. From this part forward I always felt that I was operating at a level that was just beyond my realm of knowledge. There were countless long phone calls to fix errors in the file. Hours spent trying to understand the new vocabulary of this program and how to work within its limits. Overwhelming, to say the least. I took a chance and reached out to Jill who was so encouraging and helpful. Hopefully, I can encourage someone else as she encouraged me.  She also advised me to print a sample book of a few pages to see how things looked.

Then a printing company needed to be determined. A cover design needed to be developed. My son graciously worked with me to design an amazing cover! Oh, but just having a cover design then led to a new program to make an entire book cover. More new vocabulary and things to learn. While doing things digitally is very convenient you frequently cannot pick up the phone and talk to a person any more. They might email and answer your question but several times when I asked a specific question I was directed to their general resource articles to search for my answer. So frustrating!  What were the costs involved, etc. The book has an 11x8.5 inch page size to allow for the sidebars next to the actual letter.  The book has over 100 letters and is over 300 pages including an Index of about 20 pages that includes notes on relationships.  The process was daunting! Yes, this is doable online and easier than I’m sure it was 50 years ago but still a very high learning curve.

Last week I was able to upload everything needed to be able to print the first 25 hardcover books! YEA!!! Big sigh of relief. I also pushed my luck and successful uploaded a file and cover for a digital eBook version. Now others can learn about Carrie, her husband John, their six sons and about the community they lived in. If you have ancestors that lived in the Baiting Hollow/Riverhead area from 1880-1910 then your ancestors might be mentioned. Maybe, like me, you’re just interested in seeing what life was like back then for a young woman as she studied to be a teacher, then became a wife and mother. The letters definitely tell about everyday life then, from getting ice at the ice house to make ice cream, putting in a windmill, building a barn, killing livestock for food or sale, growing crops and flowers, and even the latest gossip about who was dating who in the area.

Hardcover copies will be donated to the local libraries, Town Historian’s Office, and Suffolk County Historical Society for those researching in the area. If you’d like your own copy to read, the hardcover, can be ordered through CarriesLettersBook@gmail.com. The online version should be available soon where you would normally purchase eBooks.

My Dad received the first copy and I was able to watch him open the box and view the book via FaceTime.  How exciting!!


I know, without a doubt, that this is the most important genealogical project that I will ever do. I am so grateful to all who have helped me accomplish this and who have encouraged me along the way. I couldn't have done it without all of you.  This truly was a group effort!


If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,
Debby

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Life of Sheffield Wilcox, Sr.

My maternal 6th great-grandfather, Sheffield Wilcox, Sr. would travel over 1,000 miles in his lifetime. What could I learn about his life as he grew up and became a man as the colonies began to desire and fight for freedom from Great Britain?


Sheffield was born on 2 April 1746 in Washington County, Rhode Island to Edward and Esther Wilcox. Sheffield would meet Eunice Ross and they would marry on 11 Dec 1771. Their children would also be born there before deciding to leave for parts west.

In the 1774 Rhode Island Census Sheffield his wife and daughter Lois are living in Richmond, Rhode Island, British America.

Following the Revolutionary War the Wilcoxes, Sheffield Sr., his wife Eunice and children Lois (my 5th great-grandmother), Thomas, Rowland, Freeman, Sheffield Jr., Amy, Desire, Eunice and Jemima first went to the Cooperstown, New York area on Otsego Lake and remained a short time before moving down the River. I wonder why they decided to move to the Cooperstown area in the first place and why they then left?

In the 1800 US Federal Census Sheffield his wife and 5 children are living in Burington, Otsego, New York. Otsego county was officially established in February 1791. The town of Burlington, NY was organized 10 April 1792. Burlington was an area with ridges being about 400 feet above the valleys. In 1795 then Governor of New York, George Clinton, established common schools throughout New York State.

Next the family went down the Susquehanna River to Monroe township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. They lived there on the west side of the Towanda creek, about ¾ mile below the Monroeton bridge. Sheffield and his sons scouted out locations in the area called Albany for their new home.

In the Spring of 1804 Sheffield moved his family to Albany, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. To get to this new home in Albany township they had to cross the Towanda creek 11 times. Sheffield and three of his four sons were among the first group of settlers in Albany township, PA. According to Clement Heverly in his book Pioneer and Patriot Families of Bradford County Pennsylvania 1770-1800 “the country was a wild and dreary prospect, inhabited only by savage animals. The woods were full of deer and brook trout were found in myriads in the streams.” Their nearest neighbors were several miles away. Sheffield built his cabin on a little plateau. The cabin reportedly had all the novelties of pioneer style and was a one story building floored with split plank with a huge fireplace at one end.

In the 1810 US Federal Census Sheffield, his wife and 6 members of his family are living in Towanda, Luzerene County, Pennsylvania. Bradford County was created in February 1810 from parts of Lycoming and Luzerne Counties. Census day was August 6th, 1810. Interesting that the County was still listed as Luzerne County in the Census.

His wife of 42 years, Eunice, died suddenly on 29 Oct 1813. Sheffield gave his house to son Rowland after the death of Eunice and continued to reside there with his son and family.

In the 1820 US Federal Census Sheffield and 6 family members are living in Asylum, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.

Sheffield died a few months short of his 80th birthday on 27 Feb 1826 in Albany, Bradford, PA. According to Heverly’s book Sheffield was described as a “very strong man, medium height and well proportioned with the reputation of being a great worker”. Sheffield is buried in the Wilcox Stevenson Cemetery in New Albany, Bradford County, PA.

I still find it so interesting to see how much my ancestors moved around in the late 1700-early 1800s. Sheffield moved by horse from Washington County, RI to Burlington, NY to Albany, PA a distance of over 1,000 miles.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,
Debby