Monday, October 31, 2011

It Doesn't Add Up!

First off you need to know that I'm awful at math, and I mean simple arithmetic. They almost kept me back in second grade to repeat it because of my poor math skills. (True story.) Think I'm dyslexic or something but for me numbers just don't add up. So when I see years and try to calculate backward to figure the birth year... you see the problem here.

Have been working (forever, seems like, but not too long for all of you experienced pros) on Nehemiah Newans, my 5th GGF, and Revolutionary War soldier. His pension application written in 1818 says that he's 70 years old. A book written by his grandson says that he served as a commissioned officer with general Braddock landing at Alexandria VA in 1754-55. So grabbing up my calculator (seriously, I need one for this) If he was around 70-ish in 1818 (and that's IF) then in 1754 he would have been 6 years old. Even I know: that does not add up!

Why this didn't occur to me prior to ordering the microfilm of British Officers who served from 1754 to 1757 from FamilySearch, I don't know!! What I do know is that he is not listed on that roll as serving in either Braddock's two regiments (the 44th and the 48th) or at Fort Cumberland (the 43rd Regiment). Grabbing my calculator again, if he was with Braddock at age 16 or so he would have been 80 in 1818... and that's entirely possible. But he's not listed on the microfilm. Now maybe he wasn't a commissioned officer. That's possible, right?

Have been thinking hard about where to look next and Mom and I have come up with two seemingly sensible paths of inquiry. First, he might have been commissioned and served later in the British Army, later than the time frame stated in the Myers book. Perhaps the author of the Myers book knew that Newans, Thomas F. Myers' grandfather, had served in the British Army and because the author had geographic proximity to the Braddock Expedition, he patched the Braddock story on to Newans' life history. It's a stretch but it has Mom's seal of approval as a possibility. The Myers of that era made up puffery. So I'll be ordering more microfilm for British officers of later years.

The second theory is that Nehemiah Newans wasn't in the British Army at all. The first location we have for him in the Colonies is York PA. Maybe we should now refocus on York PA and see what we come up with? Have been wondering how he came to York PA. Now that's a mystery that doesn't add up either!

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