Monday, July 13, 2009

the death of Jonathan Stone...

In 1856, Sybil Adams applied for a pension based on her father's Revolutionary War service, stating that she is the only surviving daughter and heir of Jonathan & Mary Stone. Sybil states,

"My father lived at TempletonMass. He enlisted and went and left his family consisting of his wife and 3 children in a log house in the Wilderness. I was the oldest and was 7 yrs ... the land was sold ... the children had to be put out and suffered a great deal the youngest was 3 years old when his father was killed."

Jonathan appears to have enlisted at the very beginning, 27 April 1775, signing up for 3 months 12 days. Along with others he signed a receipt for advance pay on 8 Jun 1775. He was a private in Captain Joel Fletcher's Company of Colonel Ephraim Doolittle's Regiment which was at Bunker Hill. The company was at Winter Hill, Charlestown, Massachusetts, in October and December of 1775. By September of 1776 he was in New York at the Battle of Harlem Heights.

Nathan Stone son of Seth Stone who was brother to Jonathan Stone states he has no direct knowledge of the death of Jonathan Stone except that which he has been told by his father and others:

"which was that he was killed on the retreat at the time of the Battle of White Plains at or near a place called Harlem in New York. The news was brought to his wife and friends by a Mr. Fillmore who stated he was shot through both knees by grape shot and he (Fillmore) and others helped him into a barn and left him after [putt]ing some rum into his canteen which was all the assistance he could render."

Nathan's sister Abigail Stone Stratton and Sybil herself give similar accounts of Jonathan's death. There are other bits of genealogical data in this pension file: Jonathan md Mary Gates 29 Oct 1765 in Worcester and they had three children, Sybil, Nabby and Samuel. Sybil was sent to live with Seth Stone's family in West Cambridge until she later married Joel Adams, Nabby married Thomas Grey and Samuel died a few years before the pension application was filed.

Jonathan seems to have been an ordinary sort of fellow, trying to build a life for himself and his young family on the frontier. Along comes the War for Independence and he promptly signs up, whatever his motivation or, probably, combination of motives. The advance pay probably went mostly to his wife and children and off he marched. A few months in camp at the fort on Winter Hill and then eventually to end up shot in the knees at Harlem Heights and the battle of White Plains. On the run from the British what else could his comrades do but leave him with what comfort they could provide in the shelter of a barn, probably difficult for them as well as Jonathan.

And imagine the wife and three young children in the cabin in the wilderness, perhaps months of not knowing. Then along comes the neighbor with the report of his death and life is turned upside down, the land is sold, the children sent off to other homes. Mary Gates Stone is said not to have married again, remaining a widow until her death in Northboro, Worcestor County, Massachusetts, on 2nd December 1839.

The Vital Records of Shrewsbury Massachusetts list Jonathan Stone died 15 Sep 1776, buried at Shrewsbury: Jonathan Stone [Jr] wounded 15 Sep 1776 at the Evacuation of New York, supposed to have died soon after. [Leg broken and captured by the British.]

Reading this pension gave me chills and I will never see a movie or television show about the Revolution (or other early American wars) in the same way nor see the pieces of genealogy information add up to a similar scene without seeing it in my mind and my heart.

Are there bits of your genealogy research that made a profound difference to you?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

eeney meeney miney mo...

... my brain is turning inside out! In 1699, Evert Bancker and his wife Elizabeth Abeel had a son Willem. Sometime after 1710, they had a son Johannes. The two brothers, more than ten years apart in age, married sisters. In 1726, Willem married Annatje Veeder and some years later, Johannes married Annatje's sister Magdalena, both daughters of Gerrit Symonse Veeder and his wife Catrina Otten.

Now, particularly in isolated areas, it is not unusual for a pair of siblings to marry another pair of siblings. The difficulty here is that researchers can't seem to agree on which of these pairs is the father of Thomas Brouwer Bancker born about 1729 (or perhaps a bit later) and married in 1754 to Annatje Mabie and this is one of my direct lines!

Pearson in his First Settlers in Schenectady lists Johannes and Magdalena as Thomas' parents but Howard Banker in The Bancker Genealogy lists his parents as Willem and Annatje. I started to lean towards Willem and Annatjje because Thomas named his first daughter Annatje but then realized duh! his wife was named Annatje so there went that scrap of thought.

The Vader Genealogy (Veeder family) states that Thomas was baptized 8 Dec 1729, in the Bancker Genealogy it is given as born 8 Dec 1729. Confusion between baptismal and birth dates is common in Dutch Colonial research but generally speaking baptismal dates are close to the birth date so Thomas was probably born towards the end of 1729. Now, Willem is certainly old enough to have a son in 1729 and had married Annatje 17 Dec 1726. Johannes on the other hand is perhaps 18 or 19, old enough yes but customarily most men were into their 20's when they had children. The date of his marriage to Magdalena is unknown.

Willem's children are listed with clear birth/baptismal dates and there is a gap that just fits Thomas. Johannes's two known children, Elisabeth and Gerrit, are listed in 1735 and 1737, a big gap from 1729. Willem and Annatje "feel" right but there is absolutely nothing I have found YET (notice the smidge of hopefulness) to truly indicate one or the other. Perhaps someone will find Thomas' baptismal record and it may list parents???

Have you had any knotty problem in your research that made you crazy and gave you headaches? Did you ever get it solved?