Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Done Looking For Nehemiah, I Think

Have spent the better part of the last year looking for traces of my Revolutionary War ancestor and 5th GGF, Nehemiah Newens (or Newin, Newan/s, Newens, or maybe even Newing or Nuens. Take your pick.) All of the collected records are in a big blue binder and in a data file of which I have numerous back-ups both on line and off. Now I'm thinking that I'm done with this project and here's my reasoning on the matter.

See, here's why I love my blog: reason number six (see below.) My blog keeps my thinking as lucid as possible. If I can explain it clearly and concisely to you then it keeps me on track to the best of my ability:)

So back to why I'm feeling done with my search for Nehemiah. I've answered all the major questions from the start of the project that I can. And here they are.

Where did he come from? Most likely the Derbyshire area of England and quite possibly he was a country boy, not a city boy. City boys don't aspire to stone masonry.

Did he serve with General Braddock in the French and Indian War? Maybe but maybe not. If he did he was very young and most likely just a lad. But I find no record of his service as a commissioned officer. Doesn't mean that there are records still to be found but I've looked under ever rock short of going to London and looking in the British Archive... and who knows, I might just do that some day. But for now the indication from records is that he was really too young to have been an officer in the F&I War.

How did he get to York PA? I'm clueless. But he wasn't an indentured servant as far as I can tell. He married into a very prosperous family and if he was an indentured servant, well that's not a conclusion I draw. The most obvious path is that he knew his wife's uncle, Colonel Corry, who did serve in the F&I War and followed him to York.

Did he die in the Battle of Yorktown? No. For whatever reasons he didn't return home to his wife and son in York PA, but moved around to Northumberland and then Upstate New York. He received his Bounty Land Grant from the state of PA while he was in Northumberland County, and filed his pension application from Canandaigue NY.

Why did he end up in Canandaigue, NY? The most likely conclusion is that he knew the area, which was the frontier, because he served in the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign. The officer names from his pension application match up with the S-C Campaign.

Who is Elias Thompson named as his son in Nehemiah's will? It might be that Elias replied to an ad Nehemiah ran for stone masons. Elias came from Pennsylvania but didn't appear in Canandaigue until after Nehemiah has been there about 10 years. Was he the faithful apprentice that took the role of a son? Maybe. Nehemiah thought enough of him to name him in the will.

What was Nehemaih's wife's given name?  He had two wives. The first was Cathrine Kepplinger, referred to in the Myers book as Miss Kepplinger. Her widow's pension application is signed Cathrine Newans. That said, Nehemiah's will drafted in 1820 names his wife, Mary, his sole beneficiary for the rest of her life (and then the remainder to sons Thomas Newans and Elias Thompson.)

What of the little book, "Ancestral History of Thomas F. Myers"? I believe it was written by Myers and printed by a printer just down the street from where Myers had his prosperous grocery store. The book served as evidence backing up Myers Bounty Land Grant claim in Ohio on behalf of his sister Christiana. The claim was never resolved in their favor.

How sure am I about the above information. Not too sure. You know data... it drifts. And so much of this is simply my conclusions based on what I know of the family and facts strung together. Not great genealogy, I admit. In my own defense, I really do believe that most frequently the most accurate conclusion is the most obvious, baring new information.

That said, I'll organize my big blue binder, making notes where needed so that I can remember what I did. Then I'll write up a short version of the Nehemiah Newans story so that others can share in the search if they wish... and I truly hope someone does!

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