Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Military Memories: Ancestors of The American Revolution

I love it that my uncles served in the first and second World Wars, but the list that really tickles my fancy is the big yellow post note on the desktop monitor that keeps the running tally of all the ancestors who served, are thought to have served, or gave aid in the American Revolution. The list is in flux as new ancestors who lent aide to the Revolution are approved and officially added - or subtracted. Right now there are eleven confirmed or in the works. Let me share them for this series suggested by Jennifer Holik, Military Memories. Thanks, Jennifer!

When Mom first started telling me about our Patriot ancestors who served in the Revolution, there were just two on the list, one on Mom's side and one on Dad's. We were proud as punch and Mom got busy preparing the documents for my sister and I to get in the DAR under Nehemiah Newans, Dad's ancestor. The original of our DAR certificates still to this day grace Mom's fireplace bookshelves. Nehemiah fascinated me from the start of my interest in genealogy and finding out what I could about him and his life was my first big project. Just plug his name into the search box to the right and many posts about my search for him will pop up. You can also see a timeline of his life by clicking the tab at the top.

By any measure, Nehemiah Newans did have an interesting and adventurous life. Born between 1735 to 1748 in the Derbyshire area of the UK, somehow and under some circumstances, he got to the Colonies. You can read the family story handed down in printed form by clicking on the "Thomas F. Myers Book" tab at the top. You only need to read the first couple of pages to know as much as any of the family now know about his early life. It says that he served with General Braddock and later under George Washington, but I have my doubts about that, even though it makes a dandy story.

After his military service, he landed in the area around York Pennsylvania, maybe. But he did serve in the Revolutionary War and we know that for sure. At the end of the war he disappeared from sight of his wife and son. But he was found in the 1790 census in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. At this time his York family thought he was killed in the Battle of Yorktown that ended the war. But he wasn't. That's all I'll include here for brevity of space, but feel free to see his timeline or search on his name to see where he ends up. I found both the search for him as well as the results fascinating, It was this project that hooked me on genealogy! Sadly, very few others are hunting for him now, but every once in a while we do make contact.

Captain Jacob Whetstone Sr. (1738-1833) is Mom's big Revolutionary War ancestor. I'll save a lot of time and space here by just giving you one important highlight. There were two Jacob Whetstones living in the same area for a period of time: ours and theirs. Ours served in the Revolution and theirs did not. A wonderful researcher named Lois is now putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive book about our Whetstones so I'll leave the detailed exposition to her. Go, Lois!! (And please write faster:) Here is a link to my Surname Saturday post on The Wonderful Whetstones where you can find our line. Just know that the other guy married Elizabeth Studebaker (1771- 1861).

Capt. Jacob Whetstone has a long list of descendants who periodically look for him and I've connected to some of them. His legacy is alive and well, I'm happy to say.

Peter Troutman (1754-1846) is the next on my list of obvious and heralded ancestors who served in the Revolution. He has a whole band of descendants who connect to each other regularly. I found a particularly knowledgeable cousin tending Peter Troutman's memorial on Find A Grave. His war record is interesting and he served both his own enlistment period and as a paid substitute for others. You can read more about him here on my Surname Saturday post.

Peter Myers (?-1825) is an ancestor I want to know more about and you can read a Surname Saturday post here. In short, here's what the little book, The Ancestral History of Thomas F. Myers, has to say about him:
* Peter is the one son who made his escape during an Indian massacre.
* Was "bound out" as a servant when parents were killed.
* Became a tailor early on.
* Was a scout and Indian fighter.
* Helped build Fort Frederick in Maryland.
* Served in the Revolutionary War in the Maryland Line.
* Wounded at the Battle of Brandywine.
* Wounded again at the Battle of Monmouth.
* In old age, lost his fortune after the money from the sale of his farm proved worthless.
* Died penniless.

Now doesn't that sound interesting? But like dessert, I'm waiting for a bit of time and a cuppa to really enjoy this hunt! And I know next to nothing about his Revolutionary War service so that's a bunch of happy digging right there.

Adam Knauff (1760 - 1794) is another ancestor rumored to have served in the Revolutionary War, but I need to check out the documentation for myself. Mom has it in her deep notes from back before the internet that she saw that Adam Knauff served in the Revolutionary War, 4th Company, Benjamin Ogle, Capt. Now that this sort of thing is more easily researched online, it's time to do so. He would have only been 15 at the time of the start of the revolution but that's not impossible, especially if he fought in the later years or his birth year was off. Or he could have been that most romantic of subjects for painters of pictures depicting the Revolutionary War, the little drummer boy or fifer. Don't laugh, it could happen!

John Combs (1760-1854) served and was wounded in the neck and arm in the Revolutionary War and we know the unit and who his captain was, but I want more details about him too.

Josiah Frost (1744-1819) and John Porter Jr. (1737-1810) are both on the Porter line and there is one connection there that isn't rock solid but is so close that Mom and I are pretty sure the link is obvious. It's our Delilah Porter's father and you can read about that here. They lived real close to each other and their families are so intertwined it will drive you just about nuts... as it did me. Their Revolutionary War service is well documented so there's no work there for me, except to better document Delilah's father. Mom and I both think it was the endearing Gabriel McKenzie Porter.

Isaac Workman Sr. (abt. 1710-1827) and his son Isaac Workman Jr. (1742-1827) are hard to unravel in the source records. It is generally agreed that Sr. was the one who fought in the Revolutionary War and then sold his military lot land to Jr. before he moved to be with other sons in Knox County, Ohio. But look, Sr. would have been 60-something years old at the outbreak of fighting. This is a sturdy line of folks, to be sure, but fighting at 60-something? To me, it makes more sense that it was Jr. who fought. But you know how it is when you try to swim against the tide of common belief. There will need to be a lot of ducks and they better be in neat rows. It's on my list of stuff to pursue.

Last are two names from "over the mountain" in Virginia, now West Virginia, and they are John Hartley (1750-1825) and William Biggerstaff (1720-1803). Cousin Rich is the master of this territory so I'll leave it in his able hands. His argument is based on their contribution to the Revolution by paying taxes in its support. 

Well that's all eleven of them. And in doing this tidy exercise I notice that I've also made a To-Do list for myself! Dandy!

File:Bataille Yorktown.jpg
Wikimedia Commons, Battle of Yorktown.

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2014/05/military-memories-ancestors-of-american.html

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating. I put my Revolutionary War patriot "away" for awhile but have just brought him out of mothballs this past week. And I have at least two others who served, not to mention brothers of some of my direct ancestors. I need to get serious on my DAR application. Keep up the good work!