Revolutionary War Biographies

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ALLEN, SOLOMON (1751-1821). Major, Berkshire Militia, Continental Army. As per a biographical sketch of Solomon Allen, published in Biographies of Monroe County People, “Lest We Forget” (Massachusetts, November 19, 1910), he was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, in January of 1751. According to an Ancestry.com online family tree, his parents were Joseph and Elizabeth née Parsons Allen. The Sons of Liberty website names his spouse as Beulah Clapp; their son was named Moses (born 1789); the aforementioned family tree names another son, Phineas (born 1776), and dates his marriage as August 15, 1771.

Wikipedia and Appletons’ Cyclopededia of American Biography document that his brothers, Moses and Thomas, were chaplains in the Army during the Revolutionary War. Solomon, as a soldier in the Continental Army, rose to the rank of major. Earlier, while serving as a lieutenant, he was involved in the investigation of General Benedict Arnold’s treason. He served in the guard that took British Major John André, Benedict Arnold’s intermediary, to West Point where Arnold had his headquarters. Washington’s Spies, The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose confirms that Lieutenant Allen, on September 22, 1780, was responsible for transporting the papers that André was carrying, proving Arnold’s treason, to General George Washington, rather than delivering them to Arnold. The Sons of the American Revolution website states that Allen was a 2nd major in Colonel Israel Chapin’s 2nd Hampshire County Regiment in an unstated year.

“Lest We Forget,” the biographical sketch of Solomon Allen, reports that he and four of his brothers served in the War of Independence. It notes that he arrived in Cambridge on August 15, 1777, when a group of American Indians attacked a party of Americans there. Allen was serving with others from the Berkshire Militia. He was described of having “bellicose ardor of the most glowing kind.” His men, eager to fight, soon engaged at the Battle of Bennington. After the war, he was a participant in the suppression of Shay’s Rebellion.

Further details of Allen’s military service appear in Massachusetts, U.S. Soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Initially, Solomon was a private from Northampton in Captain Jonathan Allen’s Company, General Pomeroy’s Regiment, which marched on April 20, 1775, in response to the alarm of the previous day; the unit remained active for 15 days and returned home on May 4, 1775. He then enlisted from Gloucester as a private on February 9, 1776, in Captain Abraham Dodge’s Company, Colonel Moses Little’s 12th Regiment, and was on the muster roll on April 24, 1776. On June 22, 1777, Allen received a certificate of service from Colonel Thomas Crafts, stating that he was employed in the laboratory one month after his regiment disbanded and was paid for that service. Subsequently, he served for eight days in late September 1777 during which time he marched to Stillwater and Saratoga. He re-enlisted on July 4, 1780, was a third lieutenant under Captain Ebenezer Sheldon, Colonel Seth Murray’s Regiment, served for three months and fourteen days, and was discharged on October 10, 1780. (This was the period during which Benedict Arnold committed treason.) That company was raised to reinforce the Continental Army.

Two of Allen’s great-great grandsons applied for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution: Clarence Breedlove Clarke, who was born in Indianapolis, and Theodore Usher Cone, who was born in Minneapolis. Their very detailed applications rely upon the service noted in the Massachusetts records.

The 1790 census reports that Allen lived in Pittsfield (Chesterfield), Massachusetts; his household included four free white males (one over 16) and four free white females, no names or relationships given. In 1791, at age 40, he became a religious convert and was working as an itinerant preacher 10 years later. His sketch in “Lest We Forget” reports that was aided by Dr. Timothy Dwight, the president of Yale, who supported his efforts to enter the ministry in which Allen was licensed at age 53. In 1800, the census shows him living in Northampton; seven free white persons lived in his residence.

His mission took him to western New York where his religious zeal earned great respect. He received no money for his missions but established four churches and the first Sunday school in rural New York. Much of his ministry was in Brighton, New York, near Rochester. He was reportedly loved for his kindness and ability to administer comfort to those in need. The 1820 census documents his residence as Berkshire, Massachusetts. He died at the home of his son Moses in New York City on January 19, 1821. On October 10, 1822, the Pittsfield Sun reported that it had published Last Hours of Rev. Solomon Allen which was for sale for 20 cents. Proceeds from the publication would be donated to the Berkshire Bible Society.  Green-Wood’s Chronological Records note that Solomon Allen and six other family members were removed from their interment in New York City to Green-Wood Cemetery on May 22, 1856; all are buried in the same lot. Those removed with him include his sons William E. and Theodore as well as a Priscilla Paddock (Paddock, as per the Sons of the American Revolution application of descendant Theodore Usher Cone, was a family name). Moses Allen, his son, was interred upon his death in 1877 in that same lot. Section 60, lot 991.  

AMERMAN, SR., ALBERT CLAYTON (1733-1814). Private, Somerset County Militia, New Jersey. Genealogical records show that Albert Clayton Amerman, Sr. was born on February 8, 1733, in Harlington (Harlingen) or Sowerlands (Sourland), Somerset County, New Jersey. Of Dutch ancestry, Albert’s parents, according to Ancestry.com records, were Pouwel Paulus Albertse Amerman and Alida Reyniersen van Hengemlen. The surname was alternately spelled as “Ammerman,” and Albert’s father’s first name was also recorded as Derick or Dirck, while his mother was also known as Helena, per genealogical records from Geni, a social networking website. He had a sister, Helena Dodge.

Albert’s date of baptism, in the Dutch Reformed Church at Readington, New Jersey, is posted on Ancestry.com, perhaps from a family history, as July 8, 1733. Much of the information we have on Albert was passed down through family histories and may not be as reliable as government records.

When Albert was three years old, Ancestry.com reveals from a probable family history, his family moved from Sowerlands to New York City. After becoming a baker’s apprentice about 1748, Albert went into the baking business when he came of age but, after a short time, he became engaged in building light, flat-bottomed boats, termed “bateaux,” for the transportation of provisions for the British Army during the French and Indian War. About four months later, he went to Cold Springs and baked for the Jamaica and Halifax fleet.

It appears that Albert may have been married twice. There are many discrepancies involving marriage records. His first wife may have been Maria or Marya Wyckoff. Albert’s name was recorded as Elbert in Dutch Reformed Church records and the marriage took place on December 9, 1758, in New York City. William (Bill) Morgan Amerman, Albert’s first cousin, four times removed, wrote, on June 19, 2006, that the bride’s name was also recorded as Prudence (although this may have been a reference to Appolonia, who was definitely married to Albert.) Appolonia or Apolonia de la Montagne or Montanye, daughter of Thomas de la Montaigne and Rebecca Bryan, and Albert may have married in 1774 in Bedminster, Somerset, New Jersey. Family histories show she was born on either August 9, 1741, or September 3, 1741, and that she was also from Sourland.

Birth documents show that Albert had at least one child with spouse Marya, named Isack (Isaac.) According to several genealogical records, Albert had at least 11 children, and as many as 15, including one named Albert Clayton Amerman, Jr. Unfortunately, these records regarding his children are also unreliable, especially regarding their birth years.

Continuing as a baker in New York City, Albert was then employed as a cartman when the Revolutionary War began. In 1776, once the British occupied the city, Albert moved with his family to New Hackensack, Dutchess County, New York. For the next five years of the war, he baked for the American Army.

As documented in William Stryker’s Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War, 1872, Albert was a private in Captain Vroom’s Company, 2nd Battalion, Somerset County Militia, New Jersey, as well as in Captain Jacob Ten Eyck’s Company, 1st Battalion, Somerset County Militia. According to Albert’s cousin, Albert baked in a village north of Poughkeepsie, New York, until the British, having taken Fort Montgomery, destroyed the village. He then baked for the invalids of New Hackensack. Once the British evacuated New York City at the close of the war, Albert and his family returned, and he resumed his carting business.

The 1790 United States federal census shows Albert Amerman living in what was the Montgomery Ward section of New York City, now part of downtown Manhattan. There were eight household members, of which two were free white males aged 16 and over, three white males under 16, and three free females.

The 1800 federal census shows Albert Amerman living in Ward 5, New York City, with two household members in all: a free white male of 45 or over and a free white female of 45 or over. However, the 1810 federal census shows 10 household members, living in Ward 5, with one male 45 and over and one female 45 and over. There were three household members under 16 and all residents were white and not enslaved.

It does appear that Albert owned land and may have lived in New Jersey. In February 1794, a petition seeking construction of a road in Hardwick Township, New Jersey, “through Albert Amerman’s farm,” was filed with the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions. And in the Abstracts of Wills, New Jersey, 1814-1817, he is listed, on February 5, 1814, as “of Montgomery Township, Somerset County.”

When Albert was 64 or 65 years old, an injury forced him to retire. Though various records report several different dates of death for him, his will was probated in early 1814, his likely year of death. An inventory of his possessions at that time included an “English bible” and half a pew in the Harlingen Church. Initially interred at the Dutch Middle Church, his remains were removed from there to Green-Wood, where he was reinterred on December 24, 1857, according to cemetery records. His wife, Appolonia Amerman, died on August 23, 1815, and was reinterred in Green-Wood on the same day as her husband. Section 69, lot 4569.

BENSON, ROBERT (1739-1823). Lieutenant colonel and aide-de-camp, Cantine’s Regiment, New York Militia, Continental Army. An online family tree cites Robert’s birth in New York City. As per records in the Center for Brooklyn History, Guide to Robert Benson Deeds, Benson’s family lineage dates to great-great grandparents who immigrated from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to New York City in 1648. Benson’s father, Robert (1715-1762), a brewer on Cherry Street in what is now lower Manhattan, married Catherine Van Borsum (1718-1794) in 1738. They had six children, two daughters, Mary and Cornelia, who died young, and four sons, Robert, Henry, Egbert and Anthony. All four young men served in the American Revolution and were members of the Sons of Liberty. Robert’s parents are listed in Dutch Reformed Church Membership Records.

In 1762, Robert inherited his father’s brewery and worked as a brewer, but eventually sold the property. As per an online biography of the Benson family, Robert was an assistant alderman from 1766 to 1768. In 1770, Robert’s mother sold the property on Cherry Street and moved to Maiden Lane, corner of William Street, where they had a house and adjoining lot, and where they lived until the start of the American Revolution. Their mother relocated to Dutchess County during the war for her safety, the house was abandoned, and it was later occupied by the British. This property was ultimately inherited by Robert.

As per his wife’s pension record, Robert entered service on September 15, 1775, as a member of Cantine’s Regiment, New York Militia, was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the New York troops and served as aide-de-camp and military secretary to Governor George Clinton. By the end of the war, he held the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was with Clinton and General George Washington when the British evacuated New York City on November 25, 1783. Information on the Sons of the American Revolution website also notes that he was an aide-de-camp to Governor George Clinton during the war; that website reports that knowledge of his service was provided by volunteer researchers, not descendants. His position as aide-de-camp to Clinton is further confirmed by notes in the Guide to Robert Benson Deeds. In addition, Robert served as a member of the first Committee of Safety and was secretary of the Provincial Congress of New York in 1776. This information is also noted in the application of Egbert Benson, great-grandson of Robert, in his application to be a member of the Empire State Society, Sons of the American Revolution. Egbert notes Robert Benson’s involvement as a “partisan in the cause” and his membership in conventions until the State was organized under the Constitution, at which time Robert was chosen as secretary of the State Senate.

Following the American Revolution, the aforementioned guide documents that Robert acquired farmland in Brooklyn and bought and sold properties there. Benson held deeds to property in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood dated in 1795, 1801, 1802, and 1804. The 1801 deed was transcribed by Washington Irving for land on Joralemon Street; the 1804 deed was from Benson to Pierpont (Pierrepont). The Brooklyn neighborhood of Bensonhurst bears the family name. Benson’s brother, Egbert, was appointed as the first attorney general of New York State in 1777 and was one of the founders and the first president of the New-York Historical Society. The 1816 New York Jury Census notes that Benson was living on Broadway in New York City and that his occupation was “gentleman.”

According to his widow’s pension application, he married Dinah Cowenhoven in Brooklyn on March 27, 1785; the officiant was Reverend Martinus Schoonmaker, pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church there. The pension application was executed on June 17, 1838, pursuant to an act of Congress that gave half-pay and pensions to certain widows. Dinah Benson, then seventy-seven years old, declared that Robert was a lieutenant in the militia at the start of the war, then was appointed aide-de-camp in 1777, serving throughout the conflict. She noted that she only knew him as holding the rank of colonel. That application names their children: Maria, their third daughter (born January 5, 1793) and Jane, their fourth daughter, born March 13, 1794. His widow attested that Robert Benson died in New York City on February 25, 1823. Benson’s online family tree names six children who were older than the two girls named in the pension application, four sons and two daughters. However, North American Family Histories for Robert Benson reports that there were eight children, one of whom, Jane, the youngest, married Dr. Richard Kissa Hoffman in 1822.

Robert Benson’s remains were removed from an unnamed cemetery in New York and re-interred at Green-Wood on May 21, 1875. As per Find A Grave, the inscription on a bronze tablet that was formerly at his grave notes that he was the aide-de-camp to Governor George Clinton during the American Revolution, clerk of the New York State Senate and clerk of the New York Common Council. The aforementioned plaque was placed by Philip A. Benson, Arthur D. Benson and John C. Lowe (relationships unstated) in 1939. Section 28, lot 10776.

Benson’s unmarked grave.

BERGEN, SIMON (1746-1777). First lieutenant, Brooklyn, New York Militia. Born in Gowanus, Brooklyn,  on October 13, 1746, according to Daughters of the American Revolution records, Simon Bergen’s ancestry can be traced to Hans Hansen Bergen, a ship-carpenter who was a native of Bergen, Norway, and later settled in Holland. From there, in 1633, he immigrated to New Amsterdam, now New York City, becoming one of the area’s earliest Dutch settlers. Simon’s father, Johannes Bergen (1721-1786), married Catryntie (or Tryntje) De Hart (or DeHart) and thus, per a report by the New York City Cemetery Project, the 300-acre DeHart farm near Gowanus Bay came to be owned by the Bergen family. Built in the 1670s and demolished in 1891, the DeHart-Bergen stone house stood west of Third Avenue near 37th and 38th Streets, overlooking Gowanus Bay. As reported in The Bergen Family, Descendants of Haus Hansen Bergen, One of the Early Settlers of New York and Brooklyn, Long Island, the land was part of a tract of 930 acres “purchased” by William Arianse Bennet and Jaques Bentin from Native Americans in 1636.

As related by The Bergen Family, Simon Bergen also married a DeHart. Gashe DeHart was born on February 4, 1744, and the couple’s marriage in Monmouth County, New Jersey, was recorded on May 18, 1767, per Dutch Reformed Church Records 1639-1989. Their son, also named Simon, was born on April 15, 1768, as noted in North American Family Histories 1500-2000.

By March, 1776, Simon held the office of lieutenant in Captain Lambert Suydam’s Kings County Troop of Horse, “organized by the Provincial Congress for revolutionary purposes” per a Sons of the American Revolution membership application, 1889-1970, completed by a descendent, Schuyler Bergen Jr. Simon is listed as holding the rank of first lieutenant in that militia unit, according to Frederic Gregory Mather’s The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut, 1913.

As carved on his headstone at Green-Wood and reported in the records of both the Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution, Simon died on February 22, 1777. While in the process of buying a musket, the firearm went off accidentally and shattered Simon’s legs. The March 3, 1777, edition of the Gaines’s New York Gazette and Mercury reported that Simon died from a loss of blood before help could arrive. The accident was reported to have occurred in front of the old DeHart-Bergen house where he lived.

Three months after Simon died, his second son, John S. Bergen, was born on May 1, 1777, as reported in North American Family Histories 1500-2000. Gashe Bergen, Simon’s wife, died on March 18, 1781, as carved on her headstone and stated in Sons of the American Revolution records.

The Bergen family burial ground in Gowanus, surrounded by a stone wall, was situated just east of the ancient DeHart-Bergen House, in the middle of the block bounded by 39th and 40th Streets and Third and Fourth Avenues. On December 16, 1848, per Green-Wood Cemetery records, Simon and his wife Gashe’s remains were removed from this homestead burial ground to nearby Green-Wood for re-interment, along with the remains of four of their son John’s ten children: Gashe, Michael, Mary Gashe, and Simon J. Bergen. Simon J. Bergen was the only one of the four grandchildren to have lived to adulthood. John S. Bergen, his wife, Maria T. Hubbard Bergen, and their other children are also interred in Green-Wood. Section 61, lot 1226.

Simon Bergen house.
Early street map of Bergen house.
Current map of where Bergen house was located.

BIRD, MATTHEW WILLIAM (1756-1816). Soldier, Massachusetts Artillery, Continental Army. According to the Record of Birth in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Matthew was born on January 7, 1756, in that town, to Elinor and Matthew Bird. He was baptized at the First Church of Dorchester eleven days later. Matthew is a descendant of the Thomas Bird who sailed from England on the second voyage of Mary and John in 1635. Thomas Bird settled and built a homestead in Dorchester. As per the Dorchester Atheneum Museum, “By 1931 ten generations of his descendants had lived here. The house, which was located at 41 Humphreys Street, was known also as the Bird-Sawyer House.” Unfortunately, the house was demolished during the late 1900s.  According to the Dorchester Historical Society:

The Thomas Bird who built the house made his money from tanning, and even in the early 20th century, there were people who remembered traces of the tanning canals nearby.  It was under Corp. Thomas Bird, fifth owner, that the house played its proudest part. Aged 21 when he inherited, young Thomas had fought in the Concord and Lexington engagement and at Bunker Hill, when coming home one evening early in March, 1776, from guard duty at Boston Neck, he found himself outranked in his own house. Col. Gridley of the American engineers was quartered there with his staff—Putnam, Waters, Baldwin and [Henry] Knox, later to become the famous general.

The house was ideal for use as a headquarters. Its large upper chambers were used as draughting (drafting) rooms for drawing up the fortification plan for Dorchester Heights, a hill that was within a short walking distance. Washington rode over from Cambridge to direct the work, and when the thousands of bundles of birch and elder fascines for the ramparts were carried to the Heights, they passed down the lane in front of the house.

As per Heroic Willards of ’76, a family genealogy compiled by James Andrew Phelps and published in 1917 (note that Sarah Willard, 1789-1873, married Matthew William Bird, the son of Mary and the subject of this biography, Matthew William Bird), Matthew Bird “enlisted May 3, 1775, under Captain Thomas W. Foster in Colonel W. Gridley’s Regiment Massachusetts Artillery; serving therein at the siege of Boston.” An excerpt from the History website documents that siege:

From April 1775 to March 1776, in the opening stage of the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), colonial militiamen, who later became part of the Continental army, successfully laid siege to British-held Boston, Massachusetts. The siege included the June 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill, in which the British defeated an inexperienced colonial force that nevertheless managed to inflict heavy casualties. In July 1775, General George Washington arrived in the Boston area to take charge of the newly established Continental army. In early March 1776, Washington’s men fortified Dorchester Heights, an elevated position just outside of Boston. Realizing Boston was indefensible to the American positions, the British evacuated the town on March 17 and the siege came to an end.

Heroic Willards of ’76 further reports: “That (Matthew Bird’s) enlistment terminated January 1, 1776, when he re-enlisted in the regiment of Colonel Henry Knox; being subsequently at the battle of Long Island . . . .” A second tour of duty for Matthew and a second major battle. The website on the 1776 Battle of Long-Island details:

The Battle of Long Island (aka Battle of Brooklyn and the Battle of Brooklyn Heights) was the first major battle of the war to take place after the United States declared its independence on July 4, 1776. It was a victory for the British and the beginning of a successful campaign that gave them control of the strategically important city of New York. In terms of troop deployment and fighting, it was the largest battle of the entire war.

The Continental Army did not fare as well in the Battle of Brooklyn as it had during the siege of Boston. George Washington and his troops were driven out of Brooklyn, then New York entirely, and retreated to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. According to the History website, “the Americans suffered 1,000 casualties to the British loss of only 400 men.”

During this battle, 1,100 Americans were captured. Sadly, Matthew was one of those captured; he was held as a prisoner in the old Rhinelander Sugar House at Duane and Rose Streets in New York City. Sugar houses were large buildings throughout the city that were used by the British as prisoner of war camps. The notorious brick Sugar House held up to 500 prisoners, both military men and those suspected of having helped the Patriot cause, who were subjected to beatings and starvation at the hands of the British.

On September 21, 1776, soon after Matthew Bird was imprisoned, New York City suffered a devastating fire. Dubbed “The Great New York Fire of 1776,” it destroyed over 600 buildings. As per Heroic Willards of ‘76, “After the great fire of September, 1776, the British tendered him a parole work in rebuilding the burnt district; which he accepted, and was still at it when they (the British) evacuated the city in 1783.” As per Some Account of the Cone Family: Principally of the Descendants of Daniel Cone, Matthew Bird married Mary Cone in 1778. According to the 1790 federal census, he was living in New York City with three females and two young males; as per the Bartholemew family tree on Ancestry.com, these were likely his wife Mary and their four children. Matthew passed away on January 11, 1816, as per newspaper reports.

On January 14, 1850, the remains of Matthew W. Bird, the subject of this biography, as well as those of three other members of his family (Mary Bird, identified in Heroic Willards of ‘76 as the name of Matthew Bird’s wife–she was born in 1750 and died on May 27, 1835; a second Matthew W. Bird, (the son of our subject), who lived 1783-1847; and a John Bird), were removed from the Carmine Street Churchyard in New York City and were interred at Green-Wood. Some gravestones were also removed, with the remains, to Green-Wood. The inscription on the gravestone of the son is still readable in raking light (illumination from an oblique angle). Section 82, lot 2668.

BLOOM, JACOB (?-1797). Second lieutenant, Kings County Militia, Light Horse Regiment. No documentation has been located as to the date and place of Jacob’s birth. According to Revolutionary Troops, Long Island, NY: The History of Long Island, from Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, as transcribed by Caralyn Brown, Jacob was one of several officers who had “signed the Declaration and taken their commissions, 1776.” He is listed as a second lieutenant in the Light Horse Regiment along with First Lieutenant William Boerum, Quarter Master Peter Wyckoff and others.

In Henry Stiles’s History of the City of Brooklyn (1867), he writes of the September 1776 British attack on Manhattan, and Jacob Bloom’s capture:

On the 15th occurred the occupation of New York Island by the British, which is thus described by Gen. Jeremiah Johnson, an eyewitness: “In the evening of the 14th,’ the Phoenix and Dutchess of Gordon frigates passed New York, with a large number of bateaux: the frigates anchored opposite Kip’s Bay,’ where the Rose joined them . . . . About 7 o’clock the ships opened a heavy fire of round and grape shot upon the shore, to scour off the enemy. The firing continued an hour and a half: when the leading boats passed the ships, the firing ceased. The boats passed to the shore, and all the troops landed in safety. We may be incorrect as to dates, but the facts are as stated. I saw the scene. It was a fine morning, and the spectacle was sublime. Thomas Skillman of Bushwick, and John Vandervoort, and Jacob Bloom, of Brooklyn, with their families, were at Kip’s Bay, in the house of Mr. Kip, when the cannonading of the three British frigates, which lay opposite the house, commenced. The cannon-balls were driven through the house. This induced them to take to the cellar for safety, where they were out of danger. After the landing the men were sent to prison in New York, and the next day their families returned to Long Island.

Stiles also relates that on April 13, 1775, Jacob purchased a farm from an Adrian Bogert. Jacob willed this homestead to his son, Barent who sold it to an Abraham A. Remsen in 1816. The farm would subsequently be sold to Abraham Boerum and would come to be known as the “Boerum farm.”  

As per the 1790 federal census, a Jacob Bloome (sic) lived in Brooklyn, New York. His household was comprised of 16 members, including 9 enslaved people.

According to the New York Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999, Jacob passed away in 1797 in New York City. His heirs were Maria and Barrent Bloom, son and daughter-in-law, and Jacob Bloom, grandson. His executors were Jeremiah Johnson, Peter G. Wykoff and David Springsteen.  Both Johnson and Wykoff are mentioned in the historical pieces cited above.

As per Green-Wood’s chronological books, Jacob was buried in Wallabout Burial Grounds in Brooklyn and reinterred at Green-Wood Cemetery on June 16, 1851. Others who were removed from Wallabout and reinterred with Jacob are: Magdaline, Barrent, Maria, Jacob and Deborah Bloom, some of whom were identified in Jacob’s will as members of his family. Section 95, lot 1183.

BRADHURST, III, SAMUEL HAZARD (1749-1826). Captain. New Jersey Militia. According to the Son’s of the American Revolution’s Patriot Research Database, Samuel was born on July 5, 1749, in New Jersey to Anne Hannah Bradhurst and Samuel Bradhurst II.

Although little is known about his childhood, his adult life is well documented. The New York Journal of November 10th 1774, reported, “We hear from New Jersey that Mr. Samuel Bradhurst of this city, was admitted to the practice of Physic and Surgery by the Judge of the Supreme court . . . .”

The Patriot Research System also details that Samuel served as a medical officer and that he received his physician’s certificate in 1774. Referring to Samuel’s service during the Revolutionary War, the House Histree website records: “He trained as a surgeon and during the American Revolution served at the Battles of Princeton and Brandywine. While attending the wounded in 1777, he was captured by the British and placed under house arrest.” This is affirmed in a website article by the Borough of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey entitled “The Hermitage: 250+ Years of American History” which states:

In fact, the English in 1777 placed a young, captured Rebel medical officer, Samuel Bradhurst, . . . under house arrest at The Hermitage. He would remain there through the war and would become a good friend of a visitor to the house, . . . Mary Smith. Samuel and Mary would marry at The Hermitage in December 1778.

According to the New Jersey Marriage Records 1670-1965, Samuel and Mary Smith applied for a marriage license on December 16, 1778. The United Stated Dutch Reformed Church Records in Selected States, 1639-1989 and the New Jersey Marriage Records, 1670-1965 chronicle that the couple were married on December 31, 1778 in Freehold and Middletown, Monmouth, New Jersey. As per the 1790 United States Federal Census, Samuel and Mary resided in the Mongomery Ward of New York City. There were ten household members, including two enslaved people.

Years later, Samuel started a wholesale drug business. Quoting Walter Barrett from The Old Merchants of New York City:

Soon after the war in 1786, I find him established at 64 Queen Street, corner of Peck Slip, in the commercial business as a druggist. In 1793, he took in a partner, doctor Samuel Watkins, and the firm was Bradhurst & Watkins. In 1795, they did a large business as druggists, at 314 Pearl Street, Doctor Bradhurst living next door at 315. The same year he founded the drug house of Bradhurst & Field, at 89 Water Street. In 1796 Bradhurst & Watkins dissolved. The partnership of Bradhurst & Field lasted many years . . . . A fire broke out in the drug store of Bradhurst & Field, at the corner of Pearl Street and Peck Slip, and before it could be got under, destroyed the store contents. The fire occasioned by the bursting of a bottle of ether. By this fire Bradhurst & Field lost $30,000, of which $2,700 was in bank notes.

The Revolutionary War and the fire at the drug store were not the only times Samuel’s life was upended. Walter Barrett continues, “The fire in Pearl Street was not the only one that visited Doctor Sam Bradhurst. On Tuesday evening, August 6, 1799, a house that he owned on the corner of Washington and Chambers Streets, was discovered to be on fire. The fire was extinguished before much damage had been done. It was unoccupied, and it was supposed that some enemy of the Doctor had set it on fire.”

In addition, as per House Histree:

In 1799, [Dr. Bradhurst] sold 20 acres in Harlem Heights to Alexander Hamilton (one of our Founding Fathers) on which he would build Hamilton Grange. Bradhurst was a friend of Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Mary, was a first cousin of Aaron Burr’s wife, Theodosia. In an attempt to keep the two from dueling, Bradhurst secretly challenged Burr to a duel with swords days before the fateful encounter with Hamilton. Burr escaped unharmed while Bradhurst was wounded in the arm.

Both Colonial Families of the USA and House Histree state that Samuel was a member of the Legislature. Colonial Families definitively records the year as 1802 while House Histree states that by 1804 he was “a Member of Legislature.” The New York Genealogical Records, 1675-1920 chronicles that Samuel’s place of residence in 1820 was New York City and he is listed as “physician.”

Samuel and Mary had five children: Samuel Hazard (1780-1883), John Maunsell (1782-1855), Elizabeth (1784-1802), Maria (1786-1872) and Catherine (1787-1868). Samuel passed away at the age of 79 on March 2, 1826, according to Green-Wood Cemetery’s chronological books. The New York Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 lists his probate date as March 14, 1826, and the probate place was New York City. Although buried initially interred in St. Luke’s Churchyard, Samuel’s remains, and those of his wife Mary (who died in 1841), were subsequently removed to Green-Wood Cemetery. As per the lists of New York Bodies in Transit, 1859-1894, his body was transferred to Green-Wood on April 16, 1879, and was interred on April 21, 1879. Section 119, lot 9472.

BURBANK, ELIJAH (1762-1847). Private, Rhode Island and Massachusetts Regiments, Continental Army. Elijah Burbank’s ancestors settled in Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century. His parents were Captain Abijah Burbank of Bradford, Massachusetts (1736-1813) and Mary Spring Burbank (1741-1786). Abijah Burbank, a miller, established the first paper mill in central Massachusetts in 1776, according to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Millbury Reconnaissance Report, July 2007. Northern Illinois University’s Digital Library shows that Abijah Burbank petitioned to erect a powder mill on his land in Sutton, Massachusetts in 1776 to supply gunpowder to support the “great and important cause of America.” He was captain in several regiments in Massachusetts and Rhode Island during the American Revolution, per the History of Millbury.

Elijah Burbank was born in Sutton, Massachusetts on December 18, 1762 or 1763. He had several siblings, including Major General Caleb Burbank, Henry Burbank, Abijah Burbank, Mary Burbank Emery, Silas Burbank, and Nahum Burbank, per Find A Grave.com.

As revealed in his May 27, 1847 Brooklyn Eagle obituary, Elijah Burbank served under the age of sixteen in the Revolution in the company commanded by his father in Rhode Island. Elijah, in an effort to obtain a pension for his military service, swore in an affidavit dated June 7, 1837, and the Probate Court of Windsor County, Vermont, where he was then living, that he an enlisted in his father’s company in 1778, serving as a “master” to his father. The company then marched to Providence, Rhode Island, where it stayed about three weeks, then on to Greenwich and Newtown in Connecticut, then on to South Kingston, Rhode Island. Having served just over two months, he was discharged. In June 1780, he enlisted again and marched with his company to Hudson, New York, where he stayed for six weeks. It was then on to West Point, where he served with his regiment until October 31, when he was discharged. His widow, Mehitable Burbank, signed a court document on January 16, 1856, in Oxford, Maine, attesting that he was a private during the Revolution in the company commanded by Captain Benjamin Allton and, also, in Colonel John Rand’s regiment, enlisting in Worcester, Massachusetts on July 6, 1780. He was honorably discharged on October 10, 1780, per the company’s muster rolls and Commonwealth of Massachusetts records, as sworn by Burbank’s widow. His widow was granted a pension in 1858.

Massachusetts marriage records, 1633-1850, show that Burbank married Elizabeth Gibbs or Gibbes, known as “Betty,” on November 21, 1782. His wife was born in 1765 and the couple had two sons: Leonard Burbank (1783-1836), and Gardner Burbank (1785-1848), and likely four daughters: Polly (1787-1805), Eliza (born in 1788), Amelia (1800-1873), and Nancy/Anna.

Several of Elijah Burbank’s brothers became papermakers. According to his obituary in the Worcester Spy, Elijah Burbank owned the paper mills at Quinsigamond Village (now Worcester), Massachusetts, and furnished most of the paper for printing the Worcester Spy newspaper, as well as for the other publishers in Worcester. Papermaking by Hand in America by Dard Hunter, 1950, notes that Elijah’s mill introduced a paper machine that was operated by the family until 1836. A pictorial ream wrapper/label has been found with the name Elijah Burbank, Worcester, depicting an exterior view of the large Burbank mill. The mill had two vats, which would have been capable of producing from five to ten reams of paper a day. Isaiah Thomas, an early American newspaper publisher, depended upon this mill for much of the paper used in his Worcester printing business.

The 1790 United States federal census lists Elijah Burbank as head of household, living in Sutton, Massachusetts. There were two free white males under age 16 (presumably his two sons) and two free white females, for a total of six household members. By the 1800 United States federal census, Burbank was living in Worcester, Massachusetts and there were 20 household members, including eight free white males between the ages of 16 and 25. By 1820, the census shows the family still living in Worcester, with a total of 27 free, white people in the household. One person was engaged in manufacturing and one in agriculture. With the 1830 census, Burbank was still in Worcester and there were 16 free, white people living in the household.  Betty Burbank died on September 22, 1831, in Massachusetts, according to her gravestone in Hope Cemetery in Worcester.

Burbank and Mehitable Marble were married on October 15, 1833, in Paris, Maine, based on a January 16, 1856 Oxford, Maine court document filed by Mehitable. In 1835, Burbank moved to Sharon, Vermont, according to an 1837 Probate Court document filed in Windsor County, Vermont.

Burbank was a papermaker for more than 60 years and sold his mills near Worcester to his sons. Green-Wood records show that Burbank died on May 26, 1847 of “remittent fever” at his son Gardner Burbank’s residence at 113 Willow Street in Brooklyn, and was interred at Green-Wood. He was described in obituaries as “a respected resident.” Gardner, who died in 1848, just one year after his father, is also interred in Green-Wood. Section 59, lot 1289, grave 79.

COLLINS, JR., HEZEKIAH (1739-1828). Lieutenant, Fifth Regiment, Dutchess County Militia. He was born in Westerly, Rhode Island, one of at least 11 children of Hezekiah Collins and Catherine Hosena Collins, according to the online database of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). In 1765, Hezekiah married Rhoda Ricketson in Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts. The next year, the couple moved from Rhode Island to Beekman, in Dutchess County, New York. They had 13 children, all born in Dutchess, as per Descendants of John Collins of Charlestown, Rhode Island, and Susannah Daggett, His Wife, by Capt. George Knapp Collins (1901).

During the Revolutionary War, from 1775 to 1783 Hezekiah served in the Fifth Regiment of the Dutchess County (New York) Militia, according to documents related to the colonial history of the state of New York. Both the DAR and the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) online databases confirm his service.

According to the 1790 census, Hezekiah was living in Beekman, Dutchess County, New York. His household, at that time, consisted of 15 people, all of them free white persons. The 1810 census reported that he was still in Beekman, but his household was now 9 free whites. As per the 1820 census, one enslaved person lived in his household, as well as 10 free whites.

Hezekiah was the 4th great-grandfather of Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States. He died in Union Vale, Dutchess County, New York, in 1828, at the age of 88. On December 22, 1850, his remains, and those of his wife Rhoda, were removed from their earlier place of interment to Green-Wood. At that time, Green-Wood recorded in its chronological books that Hezekiah Collins had been born in Rhode Island, was 88 years old at the time of his death, and had died in 1828. Section 90, lot 4807.

COWENHOVEN, JACOB PETER (1750-1826). Captain, Light Horse Militia of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Born Jacobus Couwenhove on August 13, 1750, in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Jacob’s parents were Pieter Jacobse Couwenhove (1718-1753) and Cathrina (or Catharine) Roelofse Schenk (born 1718), according to family genealogical sources. Baptismal and confirmation records are contradictory. As listed in the New Jersey Births and Christenings Index, 1660-1926, Jacob was christened on August 26, 1750, at the Dutch Reformed Church, Freehold and Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey. The United States Dutch Reformed Church Records from Selected States, 1660-1926, show that he was baptized on September 22, 1750, in Freehold and Middletown, New Jersey. The Cowenhoven family descended from Wolphert Gerritson Van Kouwenhoven, who immigrated from the Netherlands to the town of New Utrecht in the Dutch colony of New Netherland (later New York) in the 17th century, as recorded in the Conover and Cowenhoven family papers held in the Center for Brooklyn History.

New Jersey Tax Lists Index 1772-1822 show Captain Jacob Covenhoven living in Middletown Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, in 1779. An American Revolutionary War patriot, Jacob was captain of the Light Horse Militia under the command of Colonel Asher Holmes. According to North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000, prior to the British army’s occupation of New York City, Jacob was sent to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, where he smashed the lamps of the lighthouse in the hopes of making the British fleet’s arrival more difficult. Revolutionary War rolls show that he participated in the Battle of Monmouth as a captain in the 1st Regiment. Jacob was taken prisoner near Middletown Point and almost hanged as a rebel. In fact, he was a prisoner of war twice. The first time he was exchanged, but the second time he was confined in the Livingston Sugar House Prison and nearly starved to death.

Eventually paroled, in 1778, to the farm of Elisha Berger on Long Island, per Revolutionary War Military Service Records, Jacob met his future bride Rachel Bergen there and they married on May 10, 1780. Rachel’s date of birth on her gravestone at Green-Wood shows August 15, 1761. Their New York marriage license was dated April 21, 1780, with Jacob’s surname as “Conover,” a name used instead of Cowenhoven in several documents. Rachel was a daughter of Tunis Bergen and Johanna Stoothoff, of Brooklyn. Children quickly followed and included Sarah Ann Conover Dey (1780-1867), Peter Jacobus Conover (1783-1842), Johanna Conover (1785-1864), Catherine or Catharine Conover Jackson (1787-1833), and Phebe Conover (1789-1833.)

Jacob’s name appears on Revolutionary War Military Service Records and payroll records through at least 1782. After the war, per North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000, the family resided on Jacob’s farm in New Jersey until after 1796 and then on a small farm of about 16 acres, purchased on August 13, 1804, from his father-in-law, Tunis Bergen, located in Brooklyn, in the vicinity of Hamilton Avenue and Court Street and overlooking Governor’s Island. The property had been bought by Tunis Bergen, on August 22, 1801, from the executors of the estate of Jeremiah Vanderbilt, of Hempstead, Long Island.

An 1801 document in the Conover and Cowenhoven family papers collection at the Center for Brooklyn History is concerned with an agreement between Jacob Cowenhoven and York Lyell regarding a debt between them and an arrangement to pay this debt via the work and labor of a presumably enslaved Black man, Robin John Johnston. Another such document, dated December 1826, concerns the transfer of a “servant girl,” Mary Ann, described as the daughter of a woman named Elizabeth, who had been enslaved by “Jacob Conover.” The final emancipation of enslaved people in New York State did not occur until 1827.

As carved on the gravestone in Green-Wood erected for Rachel and Jacob, Rachel died on June 16, 1817. Jacob signed his will on October 3, 1823. At that time, he was living in Brooklyn.

Jacob lived until April 23, 1826. An ad, placed in the Long-Island Star of April 3, 1828, lists the farm and 16 acres of real estate of Jacob Cowenhoven, deceased, for sale or rent. The land was situated near Red Hook in what was then the town of Brooklyn, Kings County, and a horse ride of 15-20 minutes from the Brooklyn ferry. A house, separate kitchen, barn, and “other necessary buildings” were part of the offering. The ad stresses the extensive and beautiful view of the bay and harbor of New York City from the property and the impending “opening of the streets” that will bring the land into the “immediate vicinity of the village of Brooklyn.” The executors of Jacob’s will were his son, Peter Conover, and nephew, Garret Bergen.

Per Green-Wood records, the bodies of Jacob and Rachel were removed from the Bergen family burial ground in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and reinterred in Green-Wood on December 11, 1849, near Rachel’s parents and other members of the Bergen family. Their daughter, Johanna, and possibly their son, Peter Conover, are also interred in Green-Wood. Section 43, lot 267.

DELAFIELD, JOHN (1748-1824). Merchant. Born in England, he was one of the first men from that country to come to live in America as the Revolutionary War drew to a close. When he arrived in New York City in the spring of 1783 it was still occupied by British troops, and he brought with him the first copy of the provisional treaty between the United States and Great Britain to reach America. He arrived in this new land with considerable wealth, was by descent a “Count of the Holy Roman Empire,” and by the turn of the century was one of the wealthiest men in New York and was called “one of the fathers of Wall Street.” His mansion across the East River from New York City, which he occupied with his wife Ann Hallett (who was herself a member of a prominent Revolutionary family) and their eleven children, was one of the great houses of its period. He was an original director of the Mutual Insurance Company of New York when it was organized by Alexander Hamilton in 1787, and was later president of the United Insurance Company.

Delafield suffered great financial losses during the War of 1812 from the marine insurance which he underwrote. His sons John, Richard and Edward were able to restore the prosperity of this family and to carry on its tradition of leadership. Section 36, lot 3977.  

ELLET, ELIZABETH FRIES LUMMIS (1812-1877). Writer and historian. Born in Sodus Point, New York, on the shore of Lake Ontario, she showed an interest in writing poetry as a child. Her first writing was published in 1834. The next year she married William Henry Ellet, but continued to write books, poems, translations, and essays on European literature. In 1845-1846, while on an extended visit to New York City, she competed with Frances S. Osgood in writing flirtatious poems to Edgar Allen Poe, who published them in his Broadway Journal. Their rivalry turned bitter when Elizabeth began circulating rumors that Poe and Mrs. Osgood had been intimate. When Mr. Osgood threatened a libel suit, she toned down her claims. However, this gossip followed Mrs. Osgood until her death. In 1848 Elizabeth Ellet returned to New York City. She soon turned her wrath on Rufus Wilmot Griswold, whose anthology The Female Poets of America (1848) had treated her work with less than enthusiasm. She was able to convince Griswold’s ex-wife to sue to have their divorce decree vacated; this resulted in the breakup of Griswold’s marriage.

Though Elizabeth Ellet continued to write many articles for periodicals, she now turned to writing history books. Realizing that there was virtually no published material on the role of women during the Revolutionary War, she conducted her own research, studying unpublished letters and interviewing descendants. Her The Women of the American Revolution was published in two volumes in 1848; a third volume was added in 1850. She also wrote Domestic History of the American Revolution (1850), Pioneer Women of the West (1852), Women Artists in All Ages and Countries (1859), and The Queens of American Society (1867). These books made her the first American writer who emphasized the role of women in American history. Section 41, lot 3599.

Elizabeth Ellet

HARNED, JONATHAN (1756-1845). Third New Jersey Regiment, Continental Army. The Harneds were Quakers who left Kent County, England, for Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1637, but then fled to Huntington, Long Island, in 1658 because of religious intolerance in Salem. However, Harned’s ancestors found Huntington to be as intolerant as Salem had been, so they eventually settled in Woodbridge, New Jersey, where Jonathan Harned was born on August 8, 1756.

According to “The Harneds of North America,” www.harneds.org, John Harned, 1724-1794, and Rachel Alward, 1733-1775, Jonathan Harned’s parents, had eleven children. Quakers were pacifists and their Woodbridge Friends Meeting strongly opposed the American Revolutionary War. Nevertheless, Jonathan Harned joined the patriot army when he was 20 years old, leading to him being disowned by his father. According to information provided by Harned’s 4th great-grandson Eric Baker on Find A Grave, Harned enlisted in the Third New Jersey Regiment of the Continental Army and fought in the Battle of Brooklyn. That battlefield includes present-day Green-Wood Cemetery. Family tradition holds that he was wounded at the Battle of Princeton. It was recorded in the General Return of the 4th Battalion, Philadelphia, July 1777, that Harned (listed as “Jonathan Hornett”) “can’t be found.” The next return, September 20, 1777, reports that he had “gone to sea,” which fits family lore that he was captured by the British at the Battle of Monmouth and sent to Jamaica, West Indies, as a prisoner of war. Much of this information is reported in a January 1930 issue of The New York Evening Post. It was there that he learned the tailor’s trade. One of Harned’s obituaries reports that he refused his military pension.

Jonathan Harned’s family, back in New Jersey, also suffered during the war. Pacifist Quakers were considered loyalists by many patriots because they refused to fight against the British. Many also refused to pay taxes to the Continental government or use the paper money that was issued, since it supported the war effort. Jonathan Harned’s father, as well as his uncle Nathaniel Harned, had their property seized by the State of New Jersey, as reported in the February 24, 1779 New Jersey Gazette. They both eventually left New Jersey.

After the war, Jonathan returned to New York City, set up as a merchant tailor in what is now the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, and became a wealthy and influential man. He is listed as a merchant tailor in the New York City Directories of 1796 and 1817. Arthur L. Keith, in The Harned Family (1931), wrote that on December 3, 1792, James McGhonegar, age 13, was apprenticed for 7 years, 3 months, and 21 days to Jonathan Harned.

The Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey (1910), reports that Harned married Mary Cotrell on May 8, 1782. They lived on Pearl Street and, eventually, had six children: John, born in New York City about 1785; William H.; James R.; Delia; Mary Augusta; and Charlotte.

The 1790 federal census shows Jonathan Harned as head of the family and living in the Dock Ward of New York City. There were five free white males 16 years and older, two free white males under 16, and four free white women, for a total of 11 people living in the household. Harned was not a slave owner. He is listed as a “taylor” at 6 Smith Street in Longworth’s New York City Directory of 1790, and as a “tailor merchant” at Spring Street near Mercer Street in the Longworth’s for 1817.

Jonathan Harned died on November 27, 1845, at the age of 89. Green-Wood records list his last address as 154 West 16th Street in Manhattan and the cause of death as old age. At the time of his death, he was one of New York City’s few living Revolutionary War veterans. His obituary, in The Evening Post of December 1, 1845, notes that he was a “revolutionary patriot and soldier.” Harned’s wife, Mary, lived until 1852 and was interred with him in Green-Wood. At least two of their children and other family members are interred in the family lot. Section 68, lot 1187.

HICKS, JOHN MIDDAGH (1751-1829 or 1835). Private, Kings County Troop of Horse. According to Family Search’s Family Timeline of Elizabeth (Eliza) Hicks, her husband, John Middagh Hicks, was born in 1751. The couple was married on December 3, 1794, and had at least two sons and seven daughters: Maria, Evelina, Samuel, Calista, Juliet, Henrietta, Arnie, Almira and Edgar. Ancestry.com provides John’s specific birthdate as Mary 17, 1751. It also records that his parents were Samuel and Maria Middagh Hicks. The Hicks and Middagh families had deep roots in Brooklyn.

In Revolutionary Incidents of Kings and Suffolk Counties (1849), Henry Onderdonk Jr. lists a John Hicks as a private in the “Brooklyn Troop of Horse,” first under the leadership of General Greene and then subsequently led by General Woodhull. Find A Grave entry adds: “The Troop first served under General Greene, seizing the livestock in Kings County, then under General Woodhull to driving off the livestock to eastern Long Island. This was done to deny the British food.” It appears that the John M. Hicks who was interred at Green-Wood in 1848, and was likely born in 1751, is this patriot. An older John M. Hicks was born in Brooklyn in 1714; Find A Grave lists him as the patriot interred at Green-Wood. However, given his age at the time of the Revolution, it is unlikely that he served as a private in a cavalry unit.

After the war, John and his family resided in Brooklyn. A History of the City of Brooklyn and Man in the Middagh: Ancient Dwellings and New Bridges in Brooklyn Heights details that Hicks Street and Middagh Steet are named after the Hicks family. As per the United States Tax Assessment Rolls of Real and Personal Estate for New York, 1799-1804, John’s house and lot were valued at $1,760 while his personal possessions were valued at $352. He was assessed to pay a $2.64 tax. A John M. Hicks is listed in Brooklyn Directories for 1829 and 1830 as a grocer.

Green-Wood’s chronological book entries record that John M. Hicks, Eliza Hicks, Almira Hicks and Calista Hicks were removed simultaneously from the Methodist Burial Ground on Sands Street in Brooklyn and interred at Green-Wood on December 14, 1848. Given that Eliza was John M. Hicks’s wife and Almira and Calista were his children, as per Family Search, this appears to be the patriot.

As with his birth year, John’s year of death is also a challenge. Family Search and Ancestry list his year of death as 1829; Rootsweb and Geni note his death occurred in 1835. Section 92, lot 439.

HOLDEN, ASA (1762-1853). Private, Continental Army (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York regiments). Asa Holden’s had deep roots in Massachusetts: his great-grandfather, Justinian Holden (also Houlding), was born in Suffolk, England, and came to the Massachusetts colony in April, 1634, on the ship Francis. Asa was born in Wayland, Massachusetts, in 1762, to Jonas and Abigail (Kendall) Holden. He grew up in nearby Sudbury, Massachusetts, with four brothers: Abel, Levi, Jonas, and Joel.

Asa recalled in his pension application that he was not quite 13 years old when he volunteered as a soldier at Winter Hill, near Boston, in April 1775. He may have been accepted, although under age, as a drummer boy. Asa recalled hearing the first guns fired in the War for American Independence, at the Battle of Lexington, on April 19, 1775. For the next seven years, he served three to six months at a time in several regiments of the Continental Army from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. As was not unusual at the time, he often took the place of a soldier who had been drafted and served out that soldier’s term. During these years, Asa, described as 5′ 10″ in height and with a ruddy complexion, served in at least nine different regiments and companies, and at the age of 70 could still recall the names of his commanding officers.

According to anecdote and his submitted application for a military pension, Asa was present at the Battles of White Plains (New York), Monmouth (New Jersey), Rhode Island, and Yorktown (Virginia). He served under the Marquis de Lafayette in 1780, and witnessed the execution of Major John André of the British Army in 1780, in Tappan, New York. Major André was instrumental in getting Benedict Arnold to betray the Patriot cause. Holden served under many officers, including Colonel John Jamison at King’s Bridge and White Plains and in the command of General John Sullivan in Rhode Island.

Asa’s military life seems to have concluded in 1783, with the Treaty of Paris officially ending the American Revolution. He may have then trained as a craftsman in Hanover, New Hampshire and New York. A guide to American furniture lists him as a “fancy chairmaker,” active between 1809 and 1825. He regularly advertised his chairs in the Evening Post, offering “a superb assortment” of chairs, “of the latest and most fashionable patterns.” He operated out of a warehouse at 32 Broad Street.

In 1800, Asa’s name appeared in that year’s federal census (only the second census conducted by the new nation), listed as head of a New York household consisting of three adult men, one adult woman, and a girl between the ages of 10 and 15. In 1837, at the age of 75, Asa married a woman named Mary. There is no record of the couple having any children. In 1840, the federal census records Asa’s household containing one adult woman and one girl between the ages of 10 and 14.

In 1852 and 1853, Asa was an honored guest at celebrations of George Washington’s birthday. His presence was noted in 1852 by the Weekly Herald, along with that of an even older veteran (the article was titled “Interesting Relics of the Revolution”). Asa was reported to enjoy “good health and strength—an instance of which is found in the fact that he walked from Twenty-fifth street to the City Hall, being a distance of three miles.” That same year, in February, he and only one other Revolutionary War veteran, Henry Gibson (see), were the only survivors of that war to attend a celebratory Washington’s Birthday dinner. Just a month later, Asa attended Gibson’s funeral at Green-Wood Cemetery. In 1853, the New York Daily Herald published a notice of a parade, with a full band and Continental Guard accompaniment, as well as a carriage, “prepared for our veteran brother, Asa Holden.”

Asa died later that year, in August 1853, at his home at 187 West 25th Street. He was 91 years old, the last veteran of the Revolution in New York City. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, in his obituary, described him as follows: he “served through the war. It is said he caused the first gun which secured our independence, to be fired.” A notice in The New York Times invited members of the 1st Continental Guard and Order of United Americans to attend the funeral services at his home. Asa Holden was interred in the same lot as Revolutionary War veteran Henry Gibson, whose funeral he had attended a year earlier. Section 85, lot 7276.

HOWE, BEZALEEL (1750-1825). Major, United States Army. Born on November 18, 1750, in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Bezaleel Howe’s parents were Bezaleel Howe and Anna Foster Howe, according to birth records for Massachusetts, 1620-1988. However, a family bible shows his date of birth as December 9, 1755 and the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Hampshire records show November 28, 1750. The How family (the name did not originally have the final e, which was added by the first Bezaleel Howe) had arrived in Massachusetts from England in the 17th century, as attested in a descendant’s Sons of the American Revolution membership application. Colonial Families of the USA, 1660-1775 reports that Bezaleel was the youngest of five children.

Howe’s father died when he was only seven months old, and he eventually went to live with Eliakim Howe, his uncle, in Henniker, New Hampshire, per Francis J. Sypher Jr.’s New York State Society of the Cincinnati Biographies of Original Members & Other Continental Officers (2004). When he was 19 years old, he rejoined his mother and siblings in Hillsborough, New Hampshire. The privately-printed book Four Brothers in the American Revolution (1957) notes that he was a chorister in the village church.

As detailed in New York State Society for the Cincinnati Biographies, in April 1775, just four days after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Howe volunteered to fight, marched to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and served at the Battle of Bunker Hill as a reserve. In September 1775, he was wounded at the Battle of Freeman’s Farm. As shown in Revolutionary War service records and later sources, he then enlisted as a private in the company of Captain Crosby, in Colonel Reed’s regiment of New Hampshire troops, serving at the Battle of White Plains and at the Battle of Long Island, where he was promoted to lieutenant. A muster roll for the Revolutionary War dated June 15, 1777, shows Howe was commissioned on November 8, 1776, and served in Caption Amos Morrill’s Company in the First Battalion of New Hampshire Forces, commanded by Colonel Joseph Cilley from November 8, 1776, to June 15, 1777. He spent the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge and was at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778 and with General John Sullivan during the 1779 campaign in western New York. In 1780, he witnessed Major André’s execution for spying.

Howe was sent to New Hampshire to recruit troops in 1781, and in the summer, as a member of the First New Hampshire regiment, joined Washington’s march to Virginia. Afterward, Howe was with Washington at Newburgh, New York, and was appointed commander of Washington’s Life Guards on September 5th, in which capacity he was promoted to captain by brevet. Washington’s Life Guards were hand-picked soldiers chosen to safeguard the commander’s life from the enemy or mutiny.

In November, 1783, as the war wound down, Howe, in Rocky Hill, New Jersey, was ordered by Washington to escort the wagons that would carry Washington’s personal possessions, accumulated during the war, to the general’s house at Mount Vernon, Virginia. Washington cautioned Howe that those possessions were of “immense value to me” and to take care in crossing rivers; he ordered him to always have the papers guarded and to hold the keys to their locks in his possession. Howe safely led a guard of 12 soldiers and six wagons on this mission.

Howe was present December 4, 1783, at Fraunces Tavern in New York City when Washington took leave of his officers. He was discharged from service at West Point on December 20, 1783.

Bezaleel Howe wasn’t the only Howe brother to serve in the Revolutionary War. Four Brothers in the American Revolution details the military service of his brothers, Timothy, Darius, and Baxter. Captain Baxter Howe died of disease and fever on September 20, 1781, at Newport News, Virginia, while serving in the Virginia campaign under General Marquis de Lafayette. His remains lie in an unmarked grave.

After the war, Howe remained in New York City. In May of 1788, George Washington wrote a testimonial describing Howe as follows:

[he] was an officer of a fair and respectable character, that he served some part of the last year of the war as an auxiliary Lieutenant with my own Guard, that he commanded the Escort which came with my baggage and Papers to Mount Vernon at the close of the war, and that in all my acquaintance with him I had great reason to be satisfied with his integrity, sobriety, intelligence and good dispositions . . . .

Howe was an original member of the New York State Society of the Cincinnati. He started a business as a grocer at 86 Water Street, while also holding an appointment, as of August 4, 1786, as a captain in the New York militia. He participated in Washington’s memorial service at St. Paul’s Chapel in 1799.

Howe married Hannah Merritt (born in 1748), his first wife, on October 24, 1787, in New York City. The couple then briefly moved to New Orleans but returned to Manhattan after the birth of their daughter, Maria, on January 6, 1789. The 1790 United States federal census lists Howe as head of the family, living in Rye, Westchester County, New York. Two women and one enslaved person also resided in the household. In 1791, he received an appointment as a lieutenant in the Second Regiment of the United States Army and travelled to New Hampshire to recruit troops for the Indian War in Ohio. Having success, he was promoted to captain on November 4, 1791. The next year, he was ordered to West Point to supervise recruits for the Ohio campaign under General Anthony Wayne. He fought Native Americans at the Battle of Fallen Timbers and was promoted to major on March 12, 1795.

Transferred to New York, Howe served for about a year before resigning from the Army on November 1, 1796, to accept a post in the New York City Custom House. In 1799, he was appointed “inspector of revenue,” a position he held for the rest of his life. According to Four Brothers in the American Revolution, his family moved to 50 Cherry Street in Manhattan, where Hannah died of a “pestilence” on September 18, 1798. Howe remarried on February 15, 1800, to Catherine (or Catharine) Moffat (born in Little Britain, New York on March 30, 1774 or 1775). Her parents were John Moffat and Margaret Little Moffat. Hannah and Bezaleel had four daughters: Catherine, Margaretta, Julia Ann (October 4, 1810-August 6, 1811), and Eliza (1800-June 28, 1802), and four sons: George Cooper (1802-1841), John Moffat (1806-1885), Bezaleel, and Oscar (March 11, 1808-May 19, 1808), as listed in the Moffat family genealogy.

According to church documents, Howe was a member of the United Methodist Church 1795-1815 in New York. Society of Cincinnati records show that Howe regularly attended meetings as well as important events, such as the funeral of Alexander Hamilton in 1804, the official visit of President Monroe to New York in 1817, and the banquet for General Lafayette on September 6, 1824. United States Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files shows that Howe was granted a pension of $20 a month as of 1818.

Howe’s death, on September 3, 1825, was announced in the New York Evening Post two days later. Catherine Howe died in New York City on December 2 or 3, 1849, and was also interred in Green-Wood, as was their eldest son George, who died in 1841. Section 60, lot 1061.

JANEWAY, GEORGE (1742-1826). Captain, Second Regiment of the New York Militia, Continental Army. Most documents list George Janeway’s birth year as 1741 or 1742, in the month of October, possibly on October 9th. Among those sources are the DAR Genealogy Research and the genealogical subscription services Ancestry. According to these sources, he was born in Middlebrook, Somerset County, New Jersey, to Jacob Janeway and Sarah Hoogland (or Hoaglandt) Janeway. He was baptized in 1742 at the Piscataway Church in Somerset County by the Reverend Mr. Skinner. Janeway had a brother, William Janeway, and a sister.

Janeway learned carpentry in Somerset County and then moved to New York City. After his parents’ and sister’s deaths, he began litigation to recover the estate that had belonged to William Janeway, his grandfather. He was awarded that land in Manhattan in 1765, per an excerpt from A History of the Janeway Family, when his brother, William, was declared lost at sea and, therefore, legally dead. 

The record of New York Marriages, 1600-1784, indicates that Janeway married Effie (also known as Auftje or Euphemia) Ten Eyck, widow of William Poppeldorph or Popplesdorf, on December 12 or 13, 1767, in New York. She was born in 1745 and was the daughter of Richard Ten Eyck and Maria Roome. According to genealogical sources such as Sons of the American Revolution membership applications, they had several children: Sarah (or Sara) Ann (1771 or 1779-1841); William W. (1772-1814); Reverend Jacob Jones (1774-1858); and two sons who died in infancy, one in 1784, and Richard, who died in 1796. Sadly, William W. Janeway drowned in New York Harbor in 1814.

As detailed by The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut, 1913, Janeway was a member of the Commitee of 60, formed in Manhattan in 1775 to enforce a boycott of British goods enacted by the First Continental Congress. The Committee of 60 was replaced by the Committee of 100, of which he was also a member. His name appears in the History of Political Parties in the Province of New York, 1760-1776, as a “prominent radical.”

George Janeway continued to live in New York City after British troops took possession of the city. Having served actively in the war as captain of the Second Regiment of the New York Militia, Janeway was then compelled to leave New York with his family. During this enforced absence, and while his New York City home was occupied by the British, he rented “Buccleuch,” a mansion in New Brunswick, New Jersey, built about 1735. Janeway and his family resided there from 1776 to 1777, according to the National Park Service’s November 17, 1976 National Register of Historic Places nomination form for Buccleuch Mansion. The historic house still stands today, owned and maintained by the City of New Brunswick since 1911.

Janeway returned to New York City in 1783 with General George Washington after the British evacuated in defeat. Upon abandoning the city, the British had painted a large letter R on the front door of Janeway’s house to indicate that it had been the dwelling of a rebel American, as recounted in The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut; however, according to the National Register of Historic Places records, it was Janeway’s neighbors who had painted the R in red. Janeway signed congratulatory addresses to General Washington and Governor Clinton in November 1783, and, on November 18, 1783, he conducted the Procession on Evacuation Day as a member of the Committee of Exiles.

After the revolution, according to Wealth and Biography of the Wealthy Citizens of New York City, 1845, Janeway became a brewer and made investments in real estate. The bulk of his fortune was due to the rise in value of the property he owned. The Tax Assessment Rolls of Real and Personal Estates, 1799-1804, shows Janeway, in 1799, owning land in Manhattan’s 6th Ward, on James and George Streets, with his real estate valued higher than that of any other landowner on that particular page of tax assessments.

The 1790 United States federal census shows George Janeway living in New York City’s North Ward. There were ten household members: two free white males ages 16 and over, two free white males under 16, three white females, and three enslaved persons.

Effie Janeway, his wife, died in 1804. Janeway’s second marriage is reported in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record’s 1939 document of New York City Marriages, 1600s-1800s, showing that Janeway married Ann Van Zandt in New York City on June 6, 1805. Likewise, Marriage Newspaper Extracts, 1801-1880 for New York (Barber Collection), notes that Alderman George Janeway married Ann Vanzandt, daughter of Peter P., on June 6, 1805.

The 1810 federal census indicates that a total of seven household members lived in the household in Ward 6: one free white male age 45 and over; one free white female 45 and over; one free white female 16-20 years old; one other free person; and three enslaved persons. The 1819 New York, New York Ward Jury Census lists Janeway’s residence as “Chatham,” probably Chatham Street, now Park Row, and his occupation as “gentleman.” The 1820 federal census reveals that George Janeway was still living in Ward 6 and his household consisted of eight people of whom six were free white people and two were free “colored” people.

Janeway was a member of the Board of Aldermen of New York City and, as mentioned in The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut, a governor of the Public Dispensary. On April 2, 1823, he was appointed by the New York legislature as one of the eleven commissioners authorized to oversee the construction of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, per The History of the Canal System of the State of New York by Noble E. Whitford, 1905. Janeway’s biography, in the genealogical collaborative resource WikiTree, describes him as possessing “large means,” as well as being “a gentleman of character and high social position, and a member of the Dutch Reformed Church.”

At his death, in New York City on September 2, 1826, Janeway left an estate of “a million” lying in the vicinity of Centre, Pearl, and Chatham Streets, according to Wealth and Biography of the Wealthy Citizens of New York City, 1845. The July 12, 1838 New York Daily Herald mentions Ann Janeway’s death on July 10, 1838, at 77 years old.

Green-Wood Cemetery records show that Janeway’s body was “removed from New York” and interred in Green-Wood on January 12, 1875. The body of William Janeway was also removed and interred on the same date. William was the name of George Janeway’s brother, grandfather, and son, but we do not know which one was was interred in Green-Wood on that day. The lot is the same one in which patriots Robert Benson and Henry Rutgers are interred and is a church lot. As George Janeway was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, it is fitting that he would be interred or re-interred in that church’s lot at Green-Wood. Section 27, lot 10776 & C.

JOHNSON, BARENT JANSEN (1740-1782). Captain, Kings County Militia, Continental Army. The son of Jan Barantse “Jansen” Johnson. (1718-1797) and Catalina Martense Schenck (1705-1779), Barent was born in Jamaica, Queens County, in the Colony of New York, on April 20, 1740, according to the American Genealogical-Biographical Index. However, The Lineage Book of the Charter Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Vol. 44, and the Guide to the Johnson Family Papers, 1922 show Brooklyn (Kings County) as the county of Johnson’s birth. Records of the Dutch Reformed Church, 1639-1989, show he was baptized in Gravesend, Brooklyn, on May 10, 1772. His parents’ names are listed in that record as Jaques and Catrientje Johnson.

Barent Johnson’s forebears were among the earliest European settlers on Long Island. The Guide to the Johnson Family Papers (1922) reveals that the Johnson family originated in Italy and migrated to France as early as 1505, then to The Netherlands. The first family member to migrate to North America was William Rapelye; his brother Joris (George) Janssen de Rapelye was one of the founders of Brooklyn in 1631. George Janssen de Rapelye’s daughter Sarah, born in the new Dutch settlement in 1625, was the first European child born on Long Island. Antonie Janssen Van Salers (also known as Anthony Janszoon van Salee), another ancestor, was an original settler and prominent landholder and merchant in New Netherlands. Extended family members settled farther east on Long Island, such as in Oyster Bay.

As indicated in the October 21, 1852, Brooklyn Daily Eagle obituary of General Jeremiah Johnson, Johnson’s son and the third mayor of Brooklyn, Jeremias Remsen purchased a farm in 1694 in the Wallabout area of Brooklyn (the area that was once Wallabout Bay but is now the Brooklyn Navy Yard). The farm continued in the Remsen family for many years but, when the last Remsen died without issue in 1777, Barent Johnson, married to a Remsen, inherited the family estate. Landmarks Preservation Commission records of April 24, 2001, show that in 1755, Johnson purchased a “pie-shaped tract of land of about forty acres which extended from the highway to Wallabout Creek (near present-day Navy Street) between present day Willoughby and Tillary Streets.”

On August 27, 1764, per family genealogical records, Johnson, a prosperous farmer, married Antje (Annatje) Jeronimus Remsen in Brooklyn, although Reverend Samuel Roosevelt Johnson, in his 1853 eulogy of their son Jeremiah Johnson, gave the marriage date and place as September 8, 1764, in Newtown, now Elmhurst, Queens. Antje’s name is found anglicized in documents as “Anna,” “Anne,” and “Ann” and her family was originally from Oldenburg, which was then part of The Netherlands and is now in Germany. Family records show that she was of Newtown, the daughter of Jeromus Remsen and his wife Jannitje, and was born in 1745. The couple’s children were Jacob J. Johnson (1765-1827); General Jeremiah Barent Johnson (1765 or 1766-1852); Catholina “Catherine/Catelina” Johnson (born in 1768); Reverend Jeromus Johnson (1775-1846); Martin Johnson; and two John Johnsons (the younger born in 1773), per American Genealogy, Being a History of Some of the Early Settlers of North America and Their Descendants, by Jerome B. Holgate (1851).

Johnson was commissioned a captain in the Kings County militia in 1776, took part in the Battle of Brooklyn on August 27, 1776, and encamped with his men in Harlem as General George Washington’s Continental Army retreated north through Manhattan. Per the Year Book of the Society of Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York, 1896, he was a captain in Colonel Rutgert Van Brunt’s regiment, Kings County, New York Militia, March 11, 1776. Theodore Polhemus Johnson noted, in a privately-printed genealogy manuscript referenced by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2001, that Barent Johnson and his cousin, also named Barent Johnson, were such fierce fighters on the side of the Revolutionaries that they were nicknamed the “Twin Tigers.” According to the Lineage Book of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Vol. 18, 1897, Barent Jansen Johnson was taken prisoner in 1777 during the Jersey campaign and finally obtained his parole from General Howe, commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, through the intercession of a masonic brother.

In Reverend Samuel R. Johnson’s 1853 eulogy of Barent Johnson’s son Jeremiah Johnson, Barent Johnson is described as a patriot and an active advocate of the Revolutionary movement. Reverend Johnson revealed that Barent Johnson, in order to help the cause, suggested that his friends loan funds to the American government and he himself set an example by loaning, first, 700 pounds in 1777 and, afterwards, through 1782 when he died, sums amounting to $5,000, asking only for a simple private receipt as security.

Johnson died in Brooklyn on November 6, 1782, from the effects of his imprisonment. Per the Guide to the Johnson Family Papers, 1922, the cause was a wound in the hip. Johnson’s 1782 will shows that, at the time he drew up the will, he was a resident of “Wallaboght, Brooklin,” Kings County. In addition to listing his wife and children as inheritors of his estate, he requested that the executors of his will “sell my negro man Jacob in case he should be disobedient.”

Green-Wood records show that Johnson’s body was removed from the “family burial ground at Wallabout” and was interred in Green-Wood on December 20, 1844. His son, General Jeremiah Johnson, as well as his grandson, Barnet Johnson, are also interred in the same lot. Succeeding descendents are also interred in Green-Wood. Johnson’s widow’s second husband, Lambert Suydam (see), whom she married in 1785, is also interred in Green-Wood. Anna Johnson Suydam died on October 26, in either 1792 or 1793 in Bedford, Westchester County, per American Genealogy, Being a History of Some of the Early Settlers of North America and Their Descendants, by Jerome B. Holgate, 1851.

Barent Johnson was described and remembered in A History of the City of Brooklyn (1869), by Henry R. Stiles, as a “worthy citizen and patriot.” Section 94, lot 635.

daughters: Susan (born 1786), Effie (born 1788), Ebenezer (born 1790), Lawrence (born 1792), Effie #2 (born 1795), Maria (born 1798), Ann Eliza (born 1802) and Ann Eliza #2 (born 1809).

KNEELAND, SETH ROWLEY (or ROWLEE) (1757-1828). Sergeant, Patten’s Company, Artillery Artificers, Continental Army; corporal, Pollard’s Company, Continental Army; unknown rank, Wolcott’s Regiment, Connecticut Militia, Continental Army. Seth was born in Hebron, Connecticut, to Ebenezer, a native of Oxford, Massachusetts, and Sarah Rowley Kneeland, a native of New London, Connecticut. Connecticut Town & Birth Records spell his middle name “Rowlee.” Seth had three sisters: Sarah (born 1746), Sarah #2 (born 1748), and Deborah (born 1750), as well as a brother,  Ebenezer (born 1753). Sarah #1 did not survive childhood. On July 20, 1758, Seth’s father died at age 43, leaving his mother a widow.

In April 1776, Kneeland joined Wolcott’s regiment of the Connecticut Militia. His soldier records at the National Archives document that he was in Captain J. Well’s Company and was on its muster roll for 69 days. Subsequently, he was a corporal in Pollard’s Company, Continental Army, as of August 3, 1778. Revolutionary War Military Service records report that Kneeland was a sergeant in Patten’s Company, Artillery Artificers, on June 4, 1783. Records show that he was at West Point on June 4, 1783, and that he resided in East Hartford, Connecticut. On June 9, 1783, he received a certificate for his six years of service, signed by General George Washington, and was discharged as a sergeant of artillery artificers.

As per a notarized letter from Seth Kneeland, dated July 10, 1828, the same day that he died, and recorded in Greenwich, Connecticut, he attested:

I Seth Kneeland was in the Revolutionary Army of the United States of America all the war first in the 9 months service at Roxbury then in the six monthly service at New York, then enlisted during the war and served until I received the enclosed discharge at West Point for my own serving as a sergeant. And I do further declare that I afterwards received of the United States certificate (commonly called commutation notes) for a sum equal to the amount of five years full pay.

On December 13, 1784, Kneeland married Eunice Bacon. The couple had eight children, two sons and six daughters: Susan (born 1786), Effie (born 1788), Ebenezer (born 1790), Lawrence (born 1792), Effie #2 (born 1795), Maria (born 1798), Ann Eliza (born 1802) and Ann Eliza #2 (born 1809).

The 1790 census lists him as the head of a household of 10 free whites, six males and four females, living in New York City. As per the 1795 New York City Directory, Kneeland was a house carpenter with an address at 19 Rutgers Street. The 1800 census records that the Kneeland household in New York City was comprised of 10 free whites, six males and four females. At the time of the 1810 census, five free whites were living in the household, one male, three females and one other. The New York Evening Post reported in 1810 that he had been appointed an inspector of lumber. By 1820, there were four free whites living in the Kneeland residence in New York City, one male and three females.

Kneeland died in Greenwich, Connecticut on July 10, 1828, as reported in the New York Evening Post and the Long-Island Star. Originally buried in Connecticut, he was re-interred at Green-Wood Cemetery on December 9, 1846.

After his death, his wife, Eunice, applied for a widow’s pension. Beginning the process when she appeared before the Marine Court of New York on October 10, 1838, she submitted supporting information about family marriages from her family bible. She also submitted papers showing his service as a sergeant of artificers and that he would have been paid $240 per annum beginning on March 4, 1848, had he survived. Her pension certificate was issued on September 24, 1851, as a rate of $240 per year. Eunice died of “old age,” as per Green-Wood’s records, at the age of 90, and was interred with Seth on February 2, 1855. Section 66, lot 1029.

LEFFERTS, BARRENT (1736-1819). 1st lieutenant, Brooklyn Militia. Continental Army. According to an article from the October 2, 1887 issue of the Brooklyn Eagle, “The Lefferts Family: An Important Chapter in the History of Bedford,” Barrent (sometimes spelled Barent) was born on November 12, 1736, in Flatbush, Long Island. He is a descendant of “Laffert Pieterse van Hagewont, who migrated to this country from Holland in 1660.” As per the Center of Brooklyn History, “By his death in 1704, Leffert had amassed land in Kings County, Queens County, Staten Island, and New Jersey.” Laffert and his wife Abigail had fourteen children, including Jacobus Lefferts. Jacobus married Janetje Blom and the couple had eight children of which three were future heirs to the Lefferts property. The Brooklyn Eagle states that “When Jacobus Lefferts died, he devised his Bedford estate to Barrent (Barent), his Brooklyn land to Leffert and his property in Bushwick to his son Nicholas.”

Little is known of Barrent’s early life. Records indicate that he married Phebe (Fremetje) Remsen in December of 1757. As per the article from the Brooklyn Eagle:

He lived at the house of his father-in-law, which was probably what is now the back building of the Rem Lefferts house, now standing on the corner of Arlington Place and Fulton Street, or in a house which stood on the King’s Highway, in what is now the block between Fulton Street and Brevoort Place, west of Bedford Avenue. He was a farmer, but was a lieutenant in the local militia.

The Battle of Long Island may have been the root cause for Barrent’s participation in the Revolutionary War. According to www.revolutionarywar.us, “The Battle of Long Island (aka Battle of Brooklyn and the Battle of Brooklyn Heights) was the first major battle of the war to take place after the United States declared its independence on July 4, 1776. It was a victory for the British and the beginning of a successful campaign that gave them control of the strategically important city of New York. In terms of troop deployment and fighting, it was the largest battle of the entire war.” The British landed on the shores of Gravesend Bay on August 22, 1776, the Battle of Brooklyn occurred on August 27, and the Continental Army soon was driven out of New York City.

As a result of this British occupation, the residents of Long Island were ordered to take a loyalty oath to the British government. As the Brooklyn Eagle states, “After the battle of Long Island, along with his neighbors, he took the oath of allegiance to Great Britain.” However, it seems that Barrent soon had a change of loyalty; the article in the Brooklyn Eagle reports, “In November, 1776, he signed the declaration against England and took part as a member of the Provincial Congress.” According to Wikipedia, “The New York Provincial Congress (1775-1777) was a revolutionary provisional government formed by colonists in 1775, during the American Revolution, as a pro-American alternative to the more conservative New York General Assembly, and as a replacement for the Committee of One Hundred.”

Barrent is listed in the Long Island Source Records: Loyalists and Doubtful Men of Kings County, 1777 as a private in the foot company of the “North Part of Brookland.” He was under the command of the following loyalist officers: Capt. Abraham Remsen, Lt. Jacob Ryerson, and Ensign Tunis Rappelje. However, Barrent is also listed in The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut by Frederic Gregory Mather, published in 1913. These refugees fled British occupation, leaving their homes for patriot-controlled Connecticut. In the Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment of the State of New York, he is noted as Barent Lefferts, captain No. 5, for the east division of Brooklyn and is named twice under the subheading “New York in the Revolution: Levies and Militia, Return of the Officers Chosen by the Different Companies in Kings County, who have signed the Declaration and Taken their Commission,” as a patriot, both as a captain and asa first lieutenant.

As the Revolutionary War came to an end, Barrent had yet another opportunity to show his allegiance to the patriot cause. The Brooklyn Eagle article reports that “[i]n November, 1783, he promptly came forward and united with his neighbors in an address to George Washington, congratulating him on ‘the glorious and memorable era of the United States of America.’”

According to the 1790 United States federal census, Barrent (Barent) lived in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York. His household consisted of three males over the age of 16, two females and seven enslaved people. Ten years later, as per the 1800 United States federal census, Barrent (Barrend) still lived in Brooklyn, but his household was reduced to three members. Itemized in the New York, U.S., Tax Assessment Rolls of Real and Personal Estates, 1799-1804, for Barrent Lefferts is the value of his house and farm, worth $10,387.50, and his personal goods, valued at $3,186. The estimated tax levy was $15.99. By the 1810 United States federal census, Barrent was living in Houndsfield, Kings County. The numbers of members of his household had grown to 10, consisting of 2 free males, 1 free female and 7 enslaved persons. On May 11, 1768, Barrent signed his will bequeathing his wife $200 annually for the duration of her life and his son, Rem, all his landholdings, real estate, money and belongings. As executor of his will, their son had the responsibility for Phoebe’s annual payment. Barrent passed away on June 21, 1819 in Bedford, Brooklyn. The memorial in his family lot at Green-Wood bears his name, age, and date of death. It appears to be a cenotaph; no record of his interment is in Green-Wood’s archives. Section 12, lot 9394.

LIVINGSTON, HENRY BROCKHOLST (1757-1823). Lieutenant colonel, Continental Army, judge of the New York Court of Appeals, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Henry Brockholst Livingston was born on November 25, 1757, in New York City, the son of New Jersey Governor William Livingston (see), and Susanna French. The Livingston background was of Scottish descent and both Henry’s Livingston father and grandfather were born in Albany, New York. In 1774, Henry graduated from the College of New Jersey, today known as Princeton University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  He inherited and maintained his father’s estate, Liberty Hall, which is today the Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University in Union, New Jersey.

During the American Revolutionary War, Henry served as lieutenant colonel in the New York Line of the Continental Army, under General Philip John Schuyler. He also served as a personal assistant and aide-de-camp to Major General Benedict Arnold at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. He took part in the Siege of Fort Ticonderoga. He was also a private secretary to one of the Founding Fathers, John Jay, who was his brother-in-law. During the Revolutionary War, Jay served as the United States Minister to Spain 1779 – 1782 and Henry served there as Jay’s private secretary. In 1782, while sailing back to America, he was captured by the British and imprisoned in New York City, then paroled and studied law. By 1783, Henry was admitted to the bar. He then served three terms in the State Assembly and had a private law practice in New York City.

According to Oyez.org, Livingston survived an assassination attempt in 1785. It was Henry who, in 1789, delivered the first Independence Day speech in the presence of President George Washington. In 1797, Henry purchased property and built a grand house, “The Locusts.” Henry was very sensitive about having a characteristic Livingston elongated nose; he killed a man in a duel who had made fun of his feature. Henry left the duel with an injury to the nose, but his nom de plume in newspapers was “’Aquiline Nimble-chops.’” In the 1800 election, he helped Thomas Jefferson win New York State. Henry had a private practice in New York City until 1802, when he was appointed to the New York State Supreme Court, There he produced 149 written opinions and was considered the expert on commercial and property law. He also served as treasurer and trustee at Columbia University and was an advocate for public schools. On November 10, 1806, President Thomas Jefferson gave Henry a recess appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States after the seat was vacated by William Paterson, also from New Jersey and the second governor of the state. Where Paterson was of the Federalist Party, a conservative, nationalist American political party, Henry Brockholst Livingston was an anti-Federalist. Henry was nominated to the Supreme Court in December 1806, and was soon confirmed by the Senate. He served on the Supreme Court until his death on March 18, 1823 in Washington, D.C. He is buried at Green-Wood along with his parents. Section 98, lot 564.    

LIVINGSTON, WILLIAM (1723-1790). Delegate to the Continental Congresses, first governor of the State of New Jersey, signer of the United States Constitution. As per records of the Dutch Reformed Church, William was born in Albany into the prominent Livingston family (his grandfather was Robert Livingston). He was the fifth son and eighth child of Catherine (or Catharina or Catrina) Van Brugh Livingston (1689-1756) and Philip Livingston (1686-1749). There were thirteen children in all. William’s mother was the only child of Albany Mayor Pieter Van Brugh. William’s father was born in Albany and was a merchant and politician who engaged in the trade of enslaved people. A man of great wealth in colonial Albany, he inherited enslaved people from both his parents and in-laws. He was the second Lord of Livingston Manor in the then-British Province of New York and died in New York. The Livingston family of New York is a prominent and influential family which migrated from Scotland to the Dutch Republic, and then on to North America, where they settled in the Province of New York in the 17th century, according to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (1886).

William’s older brothers included Robert Livingston (1708-1790), third Lord of Livingston Manor; Peter Van Brugh Livingston (1710-1792), New York State Treasurer; and Philip Livingston (1716-1778), a member of the New York State Senate and signer of the Declaration of Independence, per Edwin Brockholst Livingston’s book, The Livingstons of Livingston Manor (1910).

Dutch Reformed Church records note that William Livingston was baptized on December 8, 1723, in Albany. As noted by historian Stefan Bielinski, he was raised in his father’s Albany townhouse and at Livingston Manor, the family estate, inherited by his father in 1728. He spent much of his childhood in the care of his Dutch maternal grandmother Sara Cuyler Van Brugh, receiving his primary education in local schools and from private tutors. As a teen, William lived for a year with a missionary, the Reverend Henry Barclay, among the friendly Mohawks, an experience which his family felt would help him if he later chose to engage in the fur trade or land speculation on the frontier.

Livingston graduated from Yale College in 1741 and studied law. He then went home to Albany but, after a brief commercial apprenticeship, he resisted pressure to enter the family fur business. Philip Livingston then chose a legal career for his youngest son. As noted in Find A Grave’s website,  by D C McJonathan-Swarm, Livingston then studied law in New York City, was admitted to the bar in 1748, and practiced law in New York, joining the law office of William Smith Sr.

In 1745 he married Susanna French, daughter of a wealthy New Jersey landowner. Philip French, and Susanna Brockholst French. Susanna was born on June 19, 1723, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her paternal grandparents were Phillip French, the 27th mayor of New York City, and Annetje Philipse French, the daughter of Frederick Philipse, one of the greatest landholders in the Province of New York. Her maternal grandparents were Susanna Maria Brockholst and Anthony Brockholst, an acting governor of colonial New York, per Collections of the New-York Historical Society for the Year 1902.

William and Susanna Livingston had 13 children, although five died young. Per The Livingston Family in America and its Scottish Origins (1949), their first two children, both sons, born in 1746 and 1747, died in infancy. Other children were Susannah (1748-1840), (who married John Cleves Symmes); Catherine (1751-1813); Mary (born 1753); William Jr. (1754-1817); Philip Van Brugh (born 1755); Sarah Van Brugh (1756-1802), who married John Jay, a founding father of the United States and its first chief justice; Henry Brockholst (1757-1823), an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; Judith Livingston (1758-1843); Philip French (born 1760), who drowned in the Hackensack River; John Lawrence (1762-1781), who died at sea aboard the USS Saratoga; and Elizabeth Clarkson (1764-1765).

In 1752, per the George Washington Presidential Library website, Livingston began co-writing and publishing New York’s first periodical, The Independent Reflector, a weekly journal dedicated to political and cultural criticism. William soon established a reputation as the author of satirical verse and broadsides that attacked established institutions. He opposed efforts to give the Anglican Church of New York control of education and the union of church and state and championed provincial home rule. In 1754, to improve the city’s cultural life, he co-founded the New-York Society Library, the city’s first public subscription library. He served one term in the New York General Assembly in 1759 and was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1768.

During the 1760s Livingston was an opponent of British policies, writing a series of newspaper essays criticizing the Stamp Act, entitled “An American Whig.” Although he was a successful lawyer in New York City, Livingston retired from the law and New York politics in 1769 to pursue the life of a gentleman farmer. He had acquired a 140-acre estate in Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth), New Jersey and, in 1772, he moved to his new home, with plans to turn it into a showpiece of modern scientific agriculture. Per the House Histree website, guests included a young Alexander Hamilton and Martha Washington. Livingston’s eldest daughter, Susannah, planted the large horse chestnut tree that is still found there today. Since 2007, the mansion has been maintained by Kean University in Union, New Jersey, for use as a public museum and historic archive center.

However, when relations with Great Britain collapsed in 1774, Livingston re-entered politics. His new neighbors elected him to Essex County’s Committee of Correspondence, and he also joined New Jersey’s delegation in the Continental Congress, where his legal and literary abilities made him an effective shaper of public opinion and won popular support for the Patriot cause.

When New Jersey began organizing its defenses against the British in late 1775, Livingston joined the New Jersey militia as brigadier general, initially focusing on organizing and training citizen-soldiers for combat, efforts which greatly led later to the effectiveness of New Jersey’s units. He later left his seat in the Continental Congress to assume full-time military duties. He secured New Jersey’s northern shoreline against enemy landings, broke communication between the British and local Loyalists, and hunted for deserters. He used his family’s own residence in New Jersey as a barracks for some of his soldiers.

In August 1776 he resigned his military commission to become the first governor elected under the new State of New Jersey’s constitution; he was annually re-elected to the position until his death. He provided a vital link between the Continental Congress and the states, helping to sustain the Continental Army during the critical middle years of the Revolution. His home was looted and heavily damaged in 1776 and a bounty was put on his head by Loyalists. In February 1779, a thousand British troops, guided by locals loyal to Britain, tried to capture Livingston and surprise the Continental brigade stationed near Elizabethtown. Livingston managed to escape twenty minutes ahead of the enemy. Later that year, his family was able to begin restoring their ransacked home, but Livingston could not return until the war ended in 1783. It was then that he named his home Liberty Hall.

Livingston’s insistence on treating Loyalists with justice and moderation was resented by many Patriots. He was dubbed the “Don Quixote of the Jerseys” for his perseverance during this trying period. His understanding of the different but equally important roles to be played by militia and regulars was translated through the new Constitution into the nation’s laws. His wartime experiences convinced him that the Articles of Confederation were inadequate to guide the new nation and, in 1787, he led his state’s delegation to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. At the Convention, although an aristocrat by heritage, he worked to translate the revolutionary idea that power should rest with the people. He eventually accepted the Great Compromise of 1787, putting his trust in the belief that reasonable and patriotic men could eventually create a compromise that would protect everyone’s interests, and a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the House of Representatives and equal representation of the states in the Senate was established. A bitter opponent of slavery himself, he nevertheless subordinated his own feelings for a compromise that assured the Constitution’s acceptance by the slave states. He was convinced that the Constitution would make possible the political and legislative processes by which slavery in the long term could be peacefully eradicated. The Constitution was ratified unanimously in New Jersey, in part thanks to the work Livingston did to garner support in the state he governed.

In the last years of his life, Livingston was able to pursue his great love of gardening and agriculture. He became a member of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1782, and Yale University, his alma mater, awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1788. Also, in 1788, he was appointed United States Minister to the Netherlands by the United States Congress but turned down the position.

Livingston died on July 25, 1790, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, outliving his wife by a year. New Jersey Wills and Probate records show that Livingston left his estate to his son, Henry Brockholst Livingston (see), and his five daughters. At first, he was interred in New Jersey. Green-Wood Burial and Vital Records show that Livingston and his wife were later interred in the family vault in Trinity Churchyard, Manhattan; on May 7, 1844, they were reinterred in Green-Wood, along with their son Henry Brockholst Livingston. Among his descendants is Thomas Kean, the 48th Governor of New Jersey. Section 98, lot 564.    

William Livingston

LOW, NICHOLAS (1739-1826). Merchant, land speculator, and legislator. Low was born near New Brunswick, New Jersey, apprenticed to a New York City merchant, and prospered with his own trading firm of Low & Wallace. During the Revolutionary War his brother Isaac was a delegate to the First Continental Congress and chaired New York City’s Committee of Sixty, which helped enforce a boycott of British goods. But after the Declaration of Independence, Isaac became a loyalist, lived in New York City during the British occupation, and left for England when the British evacuated. Nicholas supported the War for Independence, supplying cannon and gunpowder to those forces in late 1776. He also allowed his ships to become privateers, attacking British ships.

After the war, Low was elected to the New York State Assembly and was a Federalist member of the 1788 New York State convention which adopted the United States Constitution. He was on the committee to sell stock for the emerging Bank of New York in 1784 and was elected a director of it the next year. He was one of New York City’s largest landowners and also held extensive tracts in upstate New York as well as in Kentucky and Ohio. He helped to establish several New York State towns, including Ballston Spa, Adams, Watertown, and Lowville (named for him). He also supervised the financial affairs of Unites States Senator Rufus King.

In 1814, at the age of seventy-five, he joined the New York Hussars to defend New York City against possible British attack. Upon his death, he was interred in the churchyard of the Wall Street Church. In 1844, his remains were removed to Green-Wood Cemetery. Section ?, lot 70.  

LYON, CALEB (1761-1835). Armorer, Connecticut Militia, Mead’s Company. As per several documents, Caleb was born in East Windsor in Hartford County, Connecticut.The Lyon Memorial: Massachusetts Families, published by Press of Wm. Graham Printing Co. (Detroit, Michigan, 1905) and the History of Lewis County, where Caleb died, note that his grandmother was a daughter of Judge Sherburne of Massachusetts and his mother, Margaret Hodges, was from the island of Jamaica; his father and grandfather were also named Caleb. The Caleb Lyon who is the subject of this biography lived in Connecticut, then in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and attended Harvard College (years not stated) but did not graduate.

The Sons of the American Revolution Patriot Index (2002) and the Daughters of the American Revolution Database both list Caleb Lyon as a patriot; Elizabeth, the spouse of Daniel Phillips (relationship unknown) applied to the latter organization for membership. A detailed description of Caleb’s service in the American Revolution is enumerated in the hand-written application of Howard Van R. Palmer, a great-great-great-great grandson of Caleb’s, who was approved for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution on June 3, 1924. Palmer cites the Revolutionary War Extracts from the Historic Times of Greenwich as listing Caleb as a member and armorer (one who maintains and repairs small arms and weapons) of Matthew Mead’s Company of Horseneck in 1776. The 4th Brigade Connecticut regiment, comprised of men in companies from Greenwich, Norwalk and Stamford under Lieutenant Colonel John Mead, was ordered to New York. As per his record of service at the National Archives, Lyon, with his company and regiment, took part in “the expedition to New York in the Continental service of August 1776.” His company payroll, dated May 6, 1777, records that Lyon marched on August 13, 1776, and served until September 8, a total of 27 days. He and his comrades took part in the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776. His regiment was also one of the last regiments to leave New York City in the retreat. Subsequently posted in Washington Heights, in Harlem, he marched again on October 27, 1776, took part in the Battle of White Plains the next day, and was discharged on January 11, 1777 (for a total of 77 days service, as per another company payroll.

In about 1800, Lyons settled in Walworth, New York, where he was engaged in the manufacture of salt at Salina. In 1805, he married Marietta (Mary) DuPont (born in Quebec in 1788). As per Lyon Memorial, Mary was the daughter of Major Jean Pierre DuPont, nephew and aide of Montcalm of Quebec. As per records of Probate Court, their children were: Caleb, Marietta, Jane, Laura Eliza (husband of Francis Seger, a landowner), Henritta, Anna Anelia and Lyman Rasselas. The date of the will was March 1, 1830. The Lyons Falls History Association confirms that there were seven children, Caleb Jr., the youngest, being born in 1822, after the family settled in Lyonsdale. The number of children is incorrect in many sources: Find A Grave’s family tree only lists four children-Laura, Lyman, Jane and Caleb and the Geneanet Community Trees Index lists Jane, Caleb and Lyman but not Laura (the eldest child).

Lyons engaged in numerous property and industrial enterprises. The Lyon Memorial and The History of the Town of Lyonsdale report that he moved to North Penfield in 1810, where he founded a village that was not successful. He then moved to Rochester, New York, where he purchased 1,000 acres of land upon which he erected buildings; in 1816, he sold the property. He relocated to Lyonsdale, New York in 1819, a town he founded and which bears his name. He attracted many settlers to the community and eventually purchased 10,000 acres for himself. The census of 1820 lists 12 persons living on his property, four of whom were engaged in agriculture; the 1830 census lists 18 people living on it.

In 1824, Lyons was elected to the New York Assembly and engaged in public works and industrial pursuits including the building of a grist mill in 1830. A personal friend of DeWitt Clinton, he was very interested in constructing the Black River Canal (a canal that connected Rome, New York to the Erie Canal; construction began in 1837, was completed in 1855, and it closed in 1925.) The aforementioned information, including his friendship with DeWitt Clinton, New York’s governor, is also cited in Palmer’s application for the Sons of the American Revolution. According to the History of Lewis County, New York, Caleb was a frequent contributor to agricultural journals, especially Fessenden’s New England Farmer. That source describes him as having “an ardent and poetic” temperament that allowed him to pursue his business ventures without problems.

Caleb died in Lyonsdale in Lewis County, New York, found dead in the woods near the Davis Bridge on the Black River. The town’s history attributes his death as most likely to apoplexy. He was originally buried in Lyonsdale where a monument to him on an island in the Moose River still stands; his tombstone inscription notes that he died near the cemetery. A cenotaph in his memory is at Wildwood Cemetery in Lyons Falls.

Green-Wood’s chronological books record his removal from Lyonsdale and reinterment there on June 24, 1864. As per the Lyons Falls Historical Society, Caleb Jr., who was often at odds with his brother Lyman Rasselas, had his father’s body exhumed and secretly buried at Green-Wood. Caleb Jr., a poet and gadfly, was appointed in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln as governor of the Idaho Territory. Caleb’s Sr.’s wife, Marietta, died on June 11, 1869. Section 92, lot 2244.

MAURY, JR., JAMES (1746-1840). Part-owner of the brig Alert which carried provisions to patriot officers and soldiers in captivity. As per the Daughters of the American Revolution database, Maury was born in Virginia. Virginia Extracted Vital Records specify that his birth occurred in King William County, Virginia. His father, James Fontaine Maury, a graduate of William and Mary College, was a prominent reverend. James Sr. was involved in colonial Virginia’s Parsons Cause when payments in tobacco to Anglican ministers were reduced and one of the first instances in which colonists, notably Patrick Henry, spoke out against British taxation. In addition, Maury Sr. ran a school in which Thomas Jefferson and James Jr. were classmates; their friendship continued throughout their lifetimes. James’s mother, Mary, was the daughter of Colonel John Walker of Gloucester, Virginia, a wealthy land-owner. They had thirteen children; one died in infancy. 

The Times Dispatch, Volume 1904 (Number 16456, January 24, 1904), “Genealogical Column-Maury Family of Virginia,” which includes the family’s crest, traced their lineage back to France, where the family’s history goes back to Castle Mauross in Gascony. Sadly, they were driven out of France and to England after the Edict of Nantes, which had granted tolerance to Huguenots (French Protestants), was revoked. Matthew Maury, James’s grandfather, was the first of the family to arrive in Virginia; there he married Ann Fontaine, a Huguenot. Matthew brought his wife and his infant son, James, the father of the subject of this biography, to Williamsburg in 1719. James Maury, the reverend, died in 1769 and is buried in Albemarle County, Virginia.

During the American Revolution, James Maury, Jr., was called on May 2, 1781, to make a deposition concerning the flag ship AlertThe Bibliography of Fontaine and Maury Family Resources notes that the brig Alert was sailing to Charleston, South Carolina, on April 27, 1781, under a flag of truce to deliver tobacco “for the relief of Virginia officers and soldier prisoners of war” who were held there, when it battled British forces and Virginia armed vessels on the James River. A part-owner of the brig Alert, Maury testified as per Founders Online website:

On the 8th of April 1781, he chartered the brig Alert to David Ross esq. Commercial agent for the Commonwealth of Virginia for the purpose of proceeding with a flag to Charlestown to carry tobaccos for the Virginia Officers and souldoers (sic) in captivity there. That he immediately on the same day went to Fourmile Creek and directed capt. Woneycott to unship all the arms and military stores and send them to Richmond; that they accordingly arrived at Richmond on the 14th of April, to wit four pounders with the cargoes, two muskets, and powder and ball, one or at most two muskets powder having been reserved on board for the purpose of kindling fires. That the said brig had on board one hundred and twenty hogsheads of tobacco and her sea-stores. That he has been informed by several captains of vessels and others lately come from Coxendale or it’s neighborhood where the said vessel laid that notwithstanding her flag she has been taken by the British troops under command of Major Genl. Phillips and is carried away with the other vessels captured by them, and further this deponent saith not.

His online family tree indicates that Maury had two wives, the first being Catharine Armistead, whom he married on May 28, 1782, in Louisa, Virginia (although Bible records note June 15), and who died in 1794. Catharine was buried near her father in Fredericksburg, Virginia. His second wife was Margaret Rutson whom he married on August 16, 1796, in Heversham, England. Maury was baptized on March 16, 1799, in Liverpool, England. His online family tree, at Ancestry.com, reports that James and Margaret had five children: James Sifrein, William, Matthew, Ann and Rutson.

A classmate of Thomas Jefferson, Maury was consul to England from 1790 to 1829, under the first six presidents. The aforementioned Times Dispatch documents that James was the first consul appointed by President George Washington to Liverpool, England, and held that position for 45 years. As consul, Maury facilitated American trade and was responsible for the welfare of American sailors. The Founders Online website includes a letter that Maury wrote to Jefferson on March 25, 1809, from Liverpool, in which Maury congratulates Jefferson on his retirement from the presidency and indicates the prices of such commodities as cotton, leaf tobacco, turpentine, rice, tar and wheat. Maury reports that cotton prices had fallen considerably due to reduced consumption and embargo restrictions.

As per the 1830 census, he is listed as having a household in Albemarle, Virginia, with three enslaved persons: an adult male, adult female, and a girl under 10 years of age. Maury died in Manhattan on February 23, 1840. Probate records were issued on June 26, 1840, based upon his will written on December 26, 1833. At the time his will was written, he listed New York and Liverpool, England, as his residences. 

As per his obituary in the Liverpool Mercury, etc. on March 27, 1840, he was a venerable and good man who lived a “pure, simple and blameless life,” and who faithfully attended to his duties in Liverpool for nearly half a century without offending anybody. That obituary noted that he received a public dinner in Liverpool and was also warmly welcomed by Virginians who honored his service when he returned home. The tribute concluded, “Mr. Maury was a man of education and intelligence, a gentleman of the old school, and withal, a sincere and steady Christian.”

Green-Wood Cemetery records indicate that Maury and his son, James S. Maury, were removed from an unnamed location in New York City and re-interred at Green-Wood on December 3, 1868. His epitaph describes him as “counsil at Liverpool . . . under the first six presidents . . . an upright merchant . . . a Christian gentleman.” Section 150, lot 13918.

James Maury portrait by Gilbert Stuart, courtesy of Walter Art Gallery.

NEWELL (or NEWALL), ANDREW (1751-1798). Private, 3rd Massachusetts Regiment, Massachusetts Battalion, Captain John William’s Company; 5th Massachusetts Regiment, Captain Miles Greenwood’s Company; cook, Massachusetts Brigade. As per the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) database, Andrew was born in Littleton, in Middlesex, Massachusetts. However, his family tree on Ancestry.com reports that he was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and indicates that his parents were David and Mary née Gardner Newell.

As per the SAR database, Newell was a private in the 3rd Massachusetts Regiment, Massachusetts Battalion, Captain John William’s Company, and a private in the 5th Massachusetts Regiment, Captain Miles Greenwood’s Company. He was also listed as a cook in the Massachusetts Brigade. According to the handwritten application to the SAR of William Allen Burnett, submitted in 1907, Newell was a deputy commissary in the Massachusetts Militia and was ordered by General Ward to proceed to Watertown to deliver ten guns he had under his care. That application reported that Andrew participated in the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, show that Newell was in Putnam’s Regiment, Massachusetts Militia (5th Regiment), on September 1, 1778.

The SAR database reports that Newell had three wives: Mary Frothingham, Abigail Bridges and Elizabeth Wyeth. One daughter, Mary F. (Frothingham), is named on that site. Newell’s Ancestry.com family tree reports that his first marriage took place in 1771 in Charlestown. It also reports that his marriage to Abigail took place on October 21, 1779, at Andover, Massachusetts. On February 14, 1785, he married Elizabeth in Cambridge; one daughter, Catherine was born in 1786. (Catherine is not named on any other documents, but a daughter, Mary F., is cited.) The Massachusetts Combined Birth, Marriage and Death Records, which records his surname as Newall, confirms his marriage to Elizabeth Wyeth.

As per the 1790 census, Newell was living in Sherburn, Massachusetts, with 10 free white persons in the household. Newell’s place of death is unclear. Although the Columbian Centinel and Massachusetts Death Records report that he died in Boston, that information is contradicted by other documentation that he died in New York City. On November 13, 1798, about three months after Andrew’s death, Elizabeth Newell filed papers in New York City Probate Court.

According to Green-Wood’s chronological books, Newell was removed from his earlier interment in Brooklyn and was re-interred at Green-Wood on July 26, 1868. Horn’s A’Plenty, A Family History of the Newells, Tiemanns, Wyeths (1980), by Agnes M. Grousset, confirms his removal to Green-Wood Cemetery and states that his daughter, Mary Frothingham, is also buried there (location unknown). Section 53, lot 12512.

RIKER, JAMES (1761-1853). Sergeant, New Jersey Militia, Continental Army. James Riker was the son of Abraham and Elizabeth Conklin Ryker. (His name is spelled “Riker” on all documents.) An Ancestry.com family tree lists his first names as Jacobus and his middle name as James. His birthplace is unclear. As per the online database of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), Riker was born in Bergen, New Jersey on October 5, 1761; Find A Grave lists the same birthdate but lists Tappan, New York as his birthplace.

According to online records of the Sons of the American Revolution, Riker served extensively as a private and sergeant in the New Jersey Militia under six captains: Haring, Blanch, Huyler, Ward, Campbell and Romaine. Haring is likely Abraham Haring of Rockleigh, New Jersey; Blanch seems to have been Thomas Blanch; Huyler was John Huyler (who in 1784 purchased his farm, on land seized from a loyalist, in Bergen County, New Jersey; a historic marker stands there).

Late in the war, Riker moved to Baltimore circa 1782, then relocated to New York City in 1784. Riker married Ann Dorothy Zimmerman in 1786 and they had a daughter named Sophia. After Ann’s death in 1805, Find A Grave reports that he married Mary Hustace Briggs the next year. Reportedly, he fathered eight children. (Find A Grave names Sophie, an online family tree names two daughters- Ann Dorothy and Sophie.) Probate records, filed September 23, 1853, document that Riker prepared a will on November 11, 1850 and named as his heirs in addition to his wife, his daughters Susan, Sophia Barven, Ann Hering, and Abigail and sons John, Elijah and James. New York City jury census records that he lived on North Moore Street in New York City in 1819.

On September 28, 1833, Riker was placed on pension rolls for his Revolutionary War military service; he was to receive $116.66 annually. The 1850 census, which lists his birthplace as New Jersey, shows him as married, living in New York City’s 5th Ward, and owning real estate valued at $10,000 (approximately $400,000 in 2024 money). At that time, four adult children were living with him: Elijah (34), Susan (44), Abigail (42), and James (40). As per his obituary in the Transcript, which was headlined, “Death Of An Old Hero,” Riker was a lawyer (referred to as Esq.), was one of the oldest citizens of the City, served during the Revolution and was one of the oldest members of the Mechanics’ Society. The Green-Wood Cemetery’s records list New York as his birth place, indicates that he was married, died from lung issues and last lived at 20 West Broadway in New York City. His second wife died in 1866. Section 95, lot 4284.

James Riker

ROOSEVELT, JR., JAMES JACOBUS (1759-1840). Commissary, New York Troops. According to the Family Data Collection, James Jacobus Roosevelt was born on October 25, 1759, to Jacobus and Annatje Roosevelt. As per the Millennium File and Ancestry.com, he was christened the day after his birth in New York City. 

During the Revolutionary War, James was a commissary for New York Troops. Commissaries were civilians who ensured that soldiers in the Continental Army received their rations of food and supplies. His service during the war is validated by relatives. On a Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Membership Application, Robert Barnwell Roosevelt Jr., great-grandson of James and President Theodore Roosevelt’s beloved uncle, requested that he be granted membership as a descendant of a “commissary during the Revolution.” Robert further noted in his application that “I was old enough to know him personally well and the fact was always understood and accepted in the family.” On another application, submitted by Theodore Roosevelt, great-grandson of James and son of President Theodore Roosevelt, to The Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Theodore added that “[h]e gave his services without pay or reward.”

He may be the James Roosevelt who, according to the United States War Bounty Land Warrants, dated July 9, 1788, was to have 100 acres of bounty land surveyed for him, to be given to him for his Revolutionary War service. After the war, James married Maria Helen Van Schaack on March 8, 1793, in Kinderhook, New York, as per the Millennium File and an entry in the Dutch Reformed Church Records of Selected States, 1660-1926. The same file records that Maria was christened on December 8, 1773, in Kinderhook, in New York City. The 1810 federal census chronicles that on August 6, 1810, there were eight members in the Roosevelt household located in Ward 2 of New York City; one of them was enslaved. The 1840 federal census registers that James lived in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York. Perhaps James was a merchant in 1840 as an advertisement in the February 25, 1840 issue of The Evening Post listed plate glass windows and looking plates for sale at 94 Maiden Lane by James J. Roosevelt & Son.

James passed away on August 13th, 1840, according to the Sons of the American Revolution application submitted by his great-grandson, Robert Barnwell Roosevelt. He was interred in the Low Dutch Church of Harlem’s churchyard. Green-Wood’s chronological book entries record that his remains and those of six other Roosevelts, Mary, Cornelia, John, William, Matilda and Mary, were removed from that churchyard and were interred in underground vaults of the Roosevelt Lots on April 9, 1857. His middle initial is erroneously transcribed as “T” in the online database. There are no visible monuments for James and those who were interred with him. Section 51, lots 10268-10273.

RUTGERS, HENRY (HENDRICK) (1745-1830). Colonel, New York State Militia: lieutenant colonel, Continental Army. The seventh child of Hendrick Rutgers and Catharina De Peyster, he was born into one of New York’s most prominent families, which had gained their wealth as brewers and land owners. Indeed, his family was known as “the first of the ‘brewing families’ in America.”

Both sides of Henry’s family engaged in politics, serving as mayors of New York City and Albany, New York. According to genealogical records, he was part of the Roosevelt family through his paternal grandmother and was a third cousin twice removed of United States presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His family also intermarried with many other leading Dutch families of New York City.

The Rutgers family owned a large swath of property (widely known as the Rutgers Farm) in an area of the Bowery called the “Out Ward” (later the Seventh Ward), in what is now the Lower East Side of Manhattan, from present-day East Broadway and Cherry Street north and east to the Hudson River. A brewery and grain storehouse occupied the land, along with houses, a malt house, a mill, a stable, and other buildings. In those days, property owners could purchase “water lots” along the river and fill them in, creating slips and inlets for commerce. By the 1770s, Henry’s property consisted of 12 buildings and 80 acres.

Henry graduated from Kings College (now Columbia University) in 1766. He then managed his father’s business and became adept at surveying, architecture, farm management and, of course, brewing. He also held slaves, which was then common among prosperous Dutch Americans. According to the 1790 federal census, Henry’s household included two enslaved people; their gender was not noted in records.

In his twenties, Henry began to lean towards radical, anti-royalist politics. This made him somewhat unusual among his peers, the city’s business and social elites, who were typically loyalists. In 1776, ten years later, as a volunteer with the American Army, he helped in its evacuation from Brooklyn Heights after the defeat at the Battle of Brooklyn. His property, which was more extensive than that of any other New York City patriot, then was confiscated by the British Army, which placed the “mark of confiscation” on his home and occupied it for the next seven years, using it to quarter officers, as a barracks, and as a hospital. He rejoined the Continentals at Harlem Heights (he was listed on October 4, 1776, as a lieutenant in New York’s Second Regiment “Fit for Duty”) and saw combat at the Battle of White Plains. In 1777, he became a “muster master,” a key administrative role. However, this was by no means a desk job; in one instance, he had to ride 50 miles by horseback to complete his work. Two years later, in 1779, the Continental Congress approved his promotion to Deputy Commissary General of Musters, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Despite frustrations with his job, he wrote, “I have bestowed my mite towards the salvation of my country.” The next year he transferred to the New York State Militia, in charge of recruitment.

After the war, Henry returned to his holdings, which had been occupied by the British, partially burned and destroyed, along with much of New York City. He then began the slow process of rebuilding his business, along with his political career. In 1789, Lieutenant Colonel Rutgers led his militia regiment in George Washington’s inaugural parade. In 1795, he resigned his military commission after 20 years of service.

In the early years of the nineteenth century, Henry, initially elected on a ticket of patriots, served many terms as a state assemblyman; he was also a presidential elector. He was a leader in developing New York City’s defense plan during the War of 1812 and led the public meeting to prepare the city against attack. He was also a dedicated philanthropist, donating one quarter of his income to charity each year, focusing his bequests on poor relief, education, and religious institutions. Henry’s support of education led to his appointment as a regent of the state university, as well as a seat on the board of trustees of the College of New Jersey at Princeton. Starting in 1816, Henry served as trustee of Queen’s College in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Eventually, the college was renamed in his honor: Rutgers College (now Rutgers University).  He never married but adopted the two orphaned sons of his niece.

Henry died in 1830 and was first buried in the graveyard of the Dutch Reformed Church on Nassau Street in Manhattan (where he had been baptized), then removed to the Middle Church on Lafayette Place in 1858. After the Dutch Reformed Church bought a burial plot in Green-Wood Cemetery, many of its congregants’ remains were moved there. The 1865 removal of “Col. Henry Rutgers” to the church’s underground vault (marked only with a slab with the initials “D.R.C.-N.Y”), was discovered in 2007 by Civil War research volunteers sifting through burial records. The Green-Wood Historic Fund and members of the Rutgers University community honored his memory on Flag Day, June 14, 2008, by unveiling a bronze plaque honoring his service at his gravesite.  Section 28, lot 10776.

Painting by Henry Inman, Courtesy of The New-York Historical Society.

SANDS, JOSHUA (1757-1835). Captain, 4th New York Regiment. Continental Army. According to the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, Sands was born on October 12, 1757, in Cow Neck, Queens County, Long Island, New York. As per the biographical note for the Sands Family Papers (ARC.096) posted by the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Sands family was one of three families that settled and owned land in Cow Neck, now known as Sands Point in Nassau County. His family’s American history dates back to 1658 with the arrival of his great, great grandparents, James and Sarah Sands, at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Two years later, they and several other settlers purchased what is now Block Island, Rhode Island, from the Narragansett tribe.  The couple had six children and their eldest, John (Joshua’s great grandfather), purchased farmland in Cow Neck, Long Island in 1691. John and his wife, Sybil, had eight children. Their eldest son (Joshua’s grandfather), John, married Catherine Guthrie in 1706. The couple lived on Block Island but moved to Cow Neck in 1716. John and Catherine had 13 children. Their eldest (Joshua’s father), John, married Elizabeth Cornwell, and that couple had eight children.

The History, Art and Archives website records that Joshua had limited schooling. An excerpt from the Biographical Register of Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York states that “[a]t the age of fifteen, he (Joshua) became a clerk in the city until 1776 when Colonel Trumbull persuaded him to accept a situation in the office of the Commissary-General of the American Army.” As per many biographies of him, he was a captain in the 4th Regiment. His obituary, which appeared in The Long-Island Star on September 17, 1835, provides details of his service:

At 17 years of age, just at the commencement of the Revolutionary War, Mr. Sands was invited by Colonel Trumbull, of Connecticut, to accept of a situation in the commissariat department, with the rank of Captain, which he accepted, and remained with the army until the re-organization of that department, and resignation of Colonel Trumbull, with whom he spent some time in Connecticut.

According to his biographies, Joshua served in the 4th Regiment from the onset of the Revolutionary War to its end. Therefore, he may have participated in the following engagements: Invasion of Quebec (1775-1776) – the first major military initiative of the Continental Army under the commands of Brigadier General Richard Montgomery and Brigadier General Benedict Arnold; New York and New Jersey Campaign (1776-1777) – a series of battles led by General George Washington for control of New York City and the state of New Jersey; the Saratoga Campaign (June 14-October 17, 1777) – an attempt by thwart the British efforts to gain military control of the Hudson River Valley; the Philadelphia Campaign (1777-1778) – an effort to prevent the British attempts to gain control of Philadelphia; and the Sullivan Expedition (1779) – a retaliatory expedition of the Continental Army against the Iroquois for their support to the Loyalists.

After the war, as per RevWarTalk.com, Joshua married Ann Ayscough (Ascough), the daughter of a surgeon in the British Army, in 1780. Joshua and Ann had twelve children, including their son, Joshua, born in 1795 who served as a rear admiral in the United States Navy. According to the 1790 federal census, Joshua and Ann lived in Brooklyn. The Biographical Register of Saint Andrew’s Society states that “In 1783 the firm of Comfort and Joshua Sands was formed and carried on business at 50 Queen Street, their line being European goods, ironmongery and cutlery.” In 1784, he and his brother, Comfort, also a veteran of the Revolutionary War, purchased 160 waterfront acres of land in Brooklyn for $12,000. These acres of land comprise what is now the neighborhoods of the Navy Yard, DUMBO and Vinegar Hill. Joshua joined the Chamber of Commerce that same year. By 1794, their firm dissolved. Joshua built a three-story mansion at 31 Front Street. At the time of its completion, in 1787, it was the largest mansion in Brooklyn.

The 1810 federal census documents that Joshua was living in Houndsfield, Brooklyn. He was 53 years old and the household consisted of thirteen household members, including one enslaved person.

In addition to his business ventures, Joshua had a long and esteemed political career. According to the RevWarTalk website,

He was a member of the New York Senate from 1792 to 1797, and of the Council of Appointment in 1796. President Adams appointed him Collector of the Port of New York on April 26, 1797. He held this office until July 9, 1801, when he was removed by President Thomas Jefferson. He was elected as a Federalist to the Eighth Congress, and served from March 4, 1803 to March 3, 1805. He was president of the board of trustees of the Village of Brooklyn in 1824. He was again elected to the 19th United States Congress and served from March 4, 1825 to March 3, 1827.

The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut (1913) by Frederic Gregory Mather confirms that Sands held the above mentioned governmental positions. That book also states that Sands was a president of Merchants Bank and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. His obituary in The Long-Island Star states:

He was fully in the confidence of Washington, and the family are in possession of many interesting memorials of the ‘Father of his Country.’ He was in the course of his active and useful life, in correspondence and intimacy with most of the distinguished characters of the day.

The Founders Online website through the National Archives posts thousands of records from our Founding Fathers. Among the posts, there is correspondence between Joshua Sands and John Adams, as well as George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.

A tribute to Joshua was included in The Long-Island Star obituary:

As a Christian, he was pious and charitable without ostentation – as a citizen, he was eminently useful, devoting a great part of his time and wealth in the promotion of the public good. He was charitable to the poor, and both by example and precept, an encourager of virtue and industry. As a friend, he was sincere and steady in his friendship, sociable, amiable, and pleasant in his manners; as a husband and parent, was tender and affectionate, never more happy, than when conferring happiness. He was father and patron of Brooklyn. He lived to see it flourish beyond example, and died rejoicing in its prosperity. We may close with this remark of an eminent divine, upon the character of the late lamented Mr. Sands, “Much more I could say; but less, without injustice, I could not.”

Joshua passed away on September 13, 1835 in Brooklyn, New York. He was buried in St. Paul’s Church Cemetery, Eastchester, New York, but was reinterred at Green-Wood Cemetery in 1852. Joshua’s legacy has been acknowledged in numerous ways: Sands Street Methodist Episcopal Church was first incorporated as the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, but the name Sands was added as a token of gratitude for his and his wife, Ann’s, involvement; he has been listed as a noteworthy Congressman by Marquis Who’s Who; and, Sands Point on Long Island and Sands Street in Brooklyn are named in his and his family’s honor. Section 170, lot 7963.

SCHENCK, MARTIN (1743-1792). Ensign, Kings County Militia, Barnet Johnson’s Company. According to Ancestry.com, Martin Martenszen Schenck was born on September 27, 1743, in Brooklyn, Kings County, Province of New York, to Marten Martense Schenck and Annetje Atie Jeronimus Rapalije.

During the Revolutionary War, Martin served as ensign in Captain Barnet Johnson’s Company, Kings County, New York, Militia. The website of the Sons of the American Revolution records this service. It is also documented in the North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 for Martin Schenck under a list of ancestors for Mrs. Elizabeth Onderdonk Skillman Andrew who is designated a “Daughter of the American Revolution.” That same record notes that “He was born and died in Brooklyn, N.Y.” As per the Documents and Letters Intended to Illustrate the Revolutionary Incidents of Queens County, dated May 29, 1775, Martin is listed as a member of the Cow Neck, Great Neck Sub-committee, one of many sub-committees formed, “to carry into execution resolutions of the Continental and Provincial Congress. . . .” On the other hand, he may be the Martin Schenck (though there was another man with a similar name, Marten Schenck, living in Queens, and whose life dates seem to have been 1741-1790) who submitted a reimbursement claim for the purchase of boards and planks supplied to the 17th Regiment of Loyalist Dragoons.

Ancestry.com records Martin’s death at the age of 49 in 1792. The New York Wills and Probate Records’ transcription details that Martin’s inferred death date was 1792 in New York and his probate date was April 25, 1792. Named in the will are his sons Martin and Lambert Schenck, Anne and Frances Skillman, Eida Schenck and Jacobus Suydam. Also named in that will, and left to his family members, were “my Negro man France and his wife Bet,” who were left to his wife, as well as several young enslaved people, who were to go to his children. He specified that his farm, as well as his other real estate, was in Brooklyn. As per Green-Wood Cemetery’s Chronological Book, Martin had been buried in Bedford, Long Island, and his remains were re-interred from there to Green-Wood on June 17, 1852. Laid to rest with him are his wife, Ida, his son, Lambert, his daughter Anne Skillman, and his son-in-law Francis Skillman. Section 109, lot 2038.

Schenck stone.

SPIES (or SPECE), JOHN (1763-1808). Drummer and private, 2nd Regiment, New York Continental Line. Neither John nor his wife, Mary née Bergh, is interred at Green-Wood. The marker on the lot is a cenotaph honoring their memory and that of their son, John Jr.

According to the Find A Grave website, John was born in New York to Johannes and Mary Spies. At the age of 87½, Adam William Spies, John’s son, recorded information about his father’s family history in a genealogical scrapbook; it is at the New York Public Library. Although he said his father was born in 1767, contrary to other documents, Adam indicated that his grandfather and great-grandfather came to the United States from Germany in about 1750 and settled in New York. He recalled that his father ran away from home and became a drummer in “the Rebel army,” then served as a soldier, later receiving his pension in land.

As per the Sons of the American Revolution website and military records, he served as a drummer and private during the Revolutionary War. He enlisted as a private on April 1, 1781, was promoted to drummer on October 11, 1781, and served through May 21, 1783. That website indicates an alternate spelling of his surname as Spece. Spies’s military service was with Captain Benjamin Walker’s Company in Colonel Philip Cortland’s 2nd Regiment, New York Continental Line. Spies’s service is confirmed in the Penfold family tree; Margaret Spies Penfold was his daughter. In addition, United States Compiled Revolutionary War Military Service Records identify him as both John Spies and John Spece on 2nd New York Regiment soldier records.

The New York Continental Line was an administrative division of the Continental Army formed by Ethan Allen after the capture of Fort Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775. Four New York Regiments of 750 men were raised. The 2nd Regiment began service on May 25, 1775, under Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt and saw action during the invasion of Canada, Battles of Valcour Island and Monmouth, the Sullivan Expedition and the Battle of Yorktown. The 2nd was furloughed at Newburgh, New York, on June 2, 1783, and was disbanded on November 15, 1783.

John married Mary Bergh in 1790, who was born in Staatsburg in Dutchess County, New York, in 1770. The couple had four children. John J., Adam William, and twins Margaret and Hetty. United Methodist Church records document membership of both John and his wife as of 1790. Adam Spies, in his family sketch, stated that his mother was a “humble Christian” and had a “streak of piety and religious devotion and duty” that was common among the family’s Bergh women. Adam indicates that his father learned the trade of coach blacksmith and worked on Broadway, near Day Street. The 1800 census shows John Spies living in New York City; there were seven free whites in the household. New York Probate Records document that Mary Spies was named administrator of her husband’s estate on December 14, 1808.

The grave marker on the Green-Wood lot notes “John Spies, A Soldier of the Revolution. Died in New York 1808. Mary Bergh Spies. His Wife. Died 1825. John J. Spies. Died 1866. Aged 74 Ys.” As per Adam Spies’s genealogical scrapbook, his mother was buried in the churchyard of the German Lutheran Church on Carmine Street; he thinks his father was interred on 2nd Street. Two of his daughter Margaret Spies Penfold’s male descendants were members of the Sons of the American Revolution. Cenotaph in section 69, lot 10615.

Mary Spies portrait, 1802- Adam W. Spies Real Estate and Genealogy Scrapbook, New York Public Library.)

STEVENS, EBENEZER. (1751-1823). Lieutenant colonel, Continental Army; major general, New York State Militia. Born in Roxbury, Province of Massachusetts Bay Colony, in August 1751, Ebenezer Steven’s exact date of birth is either August 11 or August 12. His gravestone in Green-Wood lists it as August 22, 1751, and the Stevens family bible lists his birthdate as August 21, but in 1752. However, every source found agrees on August as his birth month and most, including Massachusetts Town & Vital Records, 1620-1988, give 1751 as his birth year.

His parents were Ebenezer Stevens (1726-1763), born in Boston, Massachusetts, and Elizabeth (née Weld) Stevens (b. 1727). They were married on July 9, 1750, in Roxbury. The Stevens family’s presence in the American colonies can be traced back to his great-grandfather Erasmus Stevens. Family tradition has it that Erasmus was born in Cornwall, England, and that he came to Massachusetts from Pemaquid, Maine, but there is no written evidence to prove this. Erasmus first appears on the Boston tax lists in 1674. Ebenezer’s grandfather, Lieutenant Erasmus Stevens Jr. (1686-1750), was a carpenter in Boston. He was also a lieutenant with the Military Company of Massachusetts.

As a young man Ebenezer was a professional artillerist and served in the Boston militia under Adino Paddock’s command. Another member of Paddock’s unit was patriot Paul Revere. On the night of December 16, 1773, 342 chests of tea belonging to the British East India Company were tossed into Boston Harbor by a group of patriots protesting the tea tax and the monopoly of the East India Company. This protest became known as the Boston Tea Party. His involvement in the Boston Tea Party is confirmed in the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) Patriot Index Edition III (2004), Revolutionary War Pension, and Bounty Land Warrant.

As per an article by James Barron in the New York Today Newsletter, a feature in The New York Times, published on November 15, 2023, an event was held at Green-Wood Cemetery that day celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party (officially commemorated on December 16, 2023). Stevens was honored as the only patriot who was buried in New York City; plaques for the gravestones of all the patriots were awarded by Revolution 250, a consortium of Massachusetts associations that was formed to honor that historic action. Jonathan Lane, executive director of the consortium who attended the ceremony, said of Stevens, “He’s a classic example of an ordinary person who does an extraordinary thing. He doesn’t do it alone-he’s in concert with many of his friends and neighbors but he was part of a moment in time where people stood up for what they believed were their individual rights and liberties.”

Paddock’s Artillery militia was entrusted by the Boston protestors to patrol the docks and prevent the unloading of the tea by the British. Ebenezer was one of those who carried out the patrol. He also participated in the Boston Tea Party later that night. He would have been about 22 years old at the time and one of the few participants who was not an artisan or tradesman. Ebenezer would have been acquainted with members of his militia unit who were patriots, and the unit was largely composed of skilled craftsmen and tradesmen. This group was the core of the anti-British movement in Boston. It was also a member of the Sons of Liberty.

Evan O’Brien, the creative manager of the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, was quoted in the New York Today Newsletter. He said that Stevens “risked everything for this cause he believed in-you get a glimpse of his personality that he involved in this rather outrageous event.” O’Brien devised the campaign to mark the graves of the patriots; Stevens’s was the 136th of 150 to be marked.

The story of the patriots dressing up as Mohawk Indians was debunked by Ebenezer. He told his family that he did not see anyone dressed as a Native American, although he didn’t claim this publicly. Other accounts support his claim that they did not dress up. O’Brien noted that the campaign was a finely-tuned operation where each man had a job to be carried out and they did so accordingly.

After the Tea Party protest, Ebenezer, fearing arrest for the capital offense of treason,  fled to Rhode Island, where he met his first wife, Rebecca Hodgdon (sometimes spelled Hodgden), in Providence. Rebecca, the daughter of Benjamin Hodgdon, was born in 1753, according to the Find A Grave website. Ebenezer and Rebecca married on October 11, 1774, and had four children: Elizabeth Stevens (1775-1777); Horatio Gates Stevens (1778-1875, named after Ebenezer’s commanding officer General Horatio Gates); Rebecca Hodgdon Stevens (1780-1815); and George Alexander Stevens (1782-1827). Horatio married Eliza Lucille Rhinelander and Rebecca married John Peter Schermerhorn, both from very well-connected and wealthy New York families. George died unmarried, lost at sea.

While in Rhode Island, Ebenezer received news of the April 19, 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord and enlisted in the Continental Army, participating in the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. According to documents that are part of the Ebenezer Stevens Papers at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, shortly after the formation of the Continental Army, Stevens was commissioned as lieutenant in Henry Knox’s artillery regiment. Under the leadership of Knox, he recruited and commanded various artillery companies and worked alongside major military leaders such as Horatio Gates and John Lamb. The Refugees of 1776 from Long Island to Connecticut (1913), by Frederic Gregory Mather, notes that Stevens was “one of the youngest and most effective officers in the American Army.” Mather reports that Stevens, then a first lieutenant, was posted at Boston Neck during the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In 1776, Ebenezer was promoted to captain and was selected by George Washington to raise battalions against Quebec, Canada. His involvement in the crucial campaigns of Ticonderoga and Saratoga led to his promotion to major in 1777. He was present at the surrender of British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York, on October 17, 1777, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the Second Artillery Regiment in 1778. In 1781 he was one of the artillery commanders at the Siege of Yorktown, serving there under the Marquis de Lafayette. Stevens was reassigned to Colonel Lamb’s regiment in New York City in 1783 and discharged from the army in June 1783. Mather confirms the above information and adds that Stevens was made a lieutenant colonel by brevet on April 30, 1778, and a colonel by brevet by the end of the war. Mather also reports that Ebenezer’s uniform has been displayed at the New York Historical Society; it is in that institution’s collections.

In the post-war years, Ebenezer worked with the New York State Artillery Corps on the fortification and defense of New York Harbor. He was appointed by John Jay, then governor of New York State, to the rank of brigadier general of the New York State Militia on April 13, 1799. He was later promoted to major general and mobilized militiamen to defend New York City in case of British attack in September 1814. Fort Stevens, named after him, was built in 1814 at Hallett’s Point, Queens County, to defend New York City. It guarded Hell Gate and the channels of the East River. Ebenezer formally resigned from his position as major general in 1815. In 1800, he was a member of the New York State Assembly.

After the war Ebenezer became a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, a fraternal, hereditary society founded in 1783 to commemorate the American Revolution that was open only to officers. Its three goals were to preserve the rights won, promote the continuing union on the states, and assist members in need as well as their widows and orphans. It was named after Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a legendary Roman who left his farm to accept a term as Roman Consul. Assuming lawful dictatorial control of Rome to meet a war emergency, Cincinnatus, once the battle was won, returned power to the Senate and went back to farming. He was considered a symbol of selfless service. Ebenezer held a vice-presidency in the society in 1804.

In 1783, Rebecca Hodgdon Stevens died in West Point, New York. Ebenezer married his second wife, Lucretia (née Ledyard) Sands, on May 4, 1784, in New York City. Lucretia was the widow of Richardson Sands and was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on February 22, 1756, into a distinguished Connecticut family, per Find A Grave. Together they had seven children: Samuel, a prominent lawyer (1785-1844); William (1787-1867); Alexander Hodgdon Stevens, a surgeon (1789-1869); Byam Kerby (1792-1874); John Austin, a banker (1795-1869); Henry Hewgill (1797-1869); and Mary Lucretia (1798-1877). Mary Lucretia also married a Rhinelander and several of the other children from this second marriage also married well. Author Edith Wharton was Ebenezer’s great-granddaughter from this second marriage.

While still a member of the New York State Militia, Ebenezer became involved with overseas trading and established himself as a successful merchant and trader. Operating out of 222 Front Street in Manhattan, part of a plot of land that he bought with Peter Schermerhorn in 1795 from William Beekman, he owned a fleet of ships and imported liquor. A letter survives, dated May 5, 1806, from Thomas Jefferson to Ebenezer Stevens regarding payment to cover the cost of his wine order. With this business, Ebenezer amassed a huge fortune. A notice in The Evening Post, January 29, 1807, advertises passage and freight shipping to Bordeaux on one of his “new and fast” sailing ships.

He was also employed as an agent of the United States War Department and conducted business related to the purchasing, sending, and receiving of goods for soldiers in the militia as well as material for new fortifications. Per the Ebenezer Stevens Papers at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, in addition to his position with the New York State Artillery Corps and his trading pursuits, he was elected to a one-year position in the New York State Assembly in 1799. Additionally, he was an early member of the Tammany Society, where he held the position of sachem, and a founding member of the New England Society in New York City, where he held the presidency from 1817 until his death in 1823. Stevens was also a prominent Presbyterian.

It appears that Ebenezer was a slave owner. Slavery was not abolished fully in New York State until 1827, after his death. A copy of a certificate, reprinted in Erasmus Stevens and his Descendants, shows that he freed at least one enslaved person in 1801.  

After the War of 1812, Ebenezer continued in his shipping business in New York City. He was described as one of the greatest ship owners in New York at the beginning of the 19th century. He owned approximately forty ships, brigs, and brigantines trading all over the world.

Over the years, Ebenezer and other New York officers petitioned for pensions due officers and soldiers residing in New York. After his death, in 1843, his second wife, Lucretia, submitted a petition for his pension for honorary compensation promised.

In 1820, Ebenezer was still living in lower Manhattan. He died on September 2, 1823, on Long Island, in what is now Queens County, either in Rockaway, New York, according to Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, or in Astoria, at his summer house there. He was buried in Astoria but his remains were moved to Green-Wood in 1860, and he was interred in the very large Stevens family lot. His wife Lucretia, who died on July 2, 1846, and many of his family members were also moved to Green-Wood at that time.

The New York Today Newsletter includes additional information about Stevens’s life as cited by Jeffrey Richman, Green-Wood’s historian. Richman notes that Ebenezer amassed a fortune as a shipowner whose notice in the Evening Post in 1807 advertised passage and freight shipping to Bordeaux, France, aboard one of his “new and fast” sailing ships. He also sold liquor Thomas Jefferson. One granddaughter was the famous author Edith Wharton. Section 75, lot 10402.

TROUP, ROBERT (1757-1832). Soldier, lawyer, and federal judge. Born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, Robert Troup was orphaned by age 11. Friends, interested in his welfare, sent him to Princeton College at age 13. Within a year, he had transferred to Kings College (now Columbia University) where he read law (and later clerked) under John Jay and was a roommate of Alexander Hamilton; they remained roommates for a year after Troup graduated. At the time, Hamilton was publishing essays in defense of the rebellious colonists, which greatly influenced Troup and contributed to his decision to take up arms against the Crown. Troup and Hamilton joined a militia unit of Kings College students; in one of their actions, they stole British cannons.

From 1776 to 1780, Troup served in the Continental Army. In the early morning hours of the Battle of Brooklyn, on August 27, 1776, then Lieutenant Troup was captured at Jamaica Pass as he and several other patriot officers, mounted on horseback and ready to gallop to the west to warn their compatriots if the British were coming, were encircled by British troops. Held on the prison ship HMS Jersey for several months, then imprisoned at the Provost Prison in New York City, he was released in December, 1776, via a prisoner exchange. Back on military duty in New Jersey, he served as a captain in New York’s Second Artillery. He then served, with the rank of major, as aide-de-camp to Major General Horatio Gates and was at the surrender of General John Burgoyne’s British army at Saratoga. Troup appears in painter John Trumbull’s 1821 work, “Surrender of General Burgoyne.” He was promoted in 1777 to lieutenant colonel by an Act of Congress.

Robert Troup had a close relationship with Alexander Hamilton throughout his life. Troup was appointed by Congress as secretary of the Board of War, overseeing the operations of General George Washington, in 1778; he stayed in touch with Hamilton, who was an aide to Washington. Troup saw to the publication of Hamilton’s federalist papers, advocating for the adoption of the Constitution. When Hamilton was appointed Secretary of the Treasury in 1789, he turned over his clients’ cases to Troup. Later in life, when Troup was profiting greatly in real estate, he offered to bring Hamilton in on deals; Hamilton declined.

Troup also was the secretary of the Board of Treasury 1779-1780. He was elected to the New York State Assembly, was the clerk of the federal District Court for New York 1789-1796, then served as a federal judge in the District of New York until 1798, when he resigned to work in private legal practice. In 1801 he became the land agent for a large tract of land in western New York owned by Sir William Pulteney of England. He remained in that position until his death. Troupsburg, New York, in Steuben County, is named for him. 

In his later years, Troup participated in numerous philanthropic societies, becoming vice president of the New York chapter of the American Bible Society and vice president of The American Society for Meliorating the Condition of the Jews. He also was a founding member (with close friend Alexander Hamilton) of the Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves, although he continued to hold slaves until at least 1811. Troup’s papers are at the New York Public Library.

In 1787, Robert Troup married Jennet Goelet; they had four children – Charles, Robert, Charlotte and Louisa. Troup was initially buried at St. Andrews Church in Harlem, but after the death of his daughter Charlotte in 1872, his remains and those of seven other members of his family were removed to Green-Wood Cemetery. Section 140, lot 19957.

John Trumbull’s 1821 work, “Surrender of General Burgoyne.” In the Trumbull painting, Troup is 8th from the right.

WARD, JR., SAMUEL (1756-1832). Lieutenant colonel, First Rhode Island Regiment, Continental Army. The fifth child of Rhode Island Colonial Governor Samuel Ward and Anne or Anna Ray Ward, Samuel Ward Jr. was born in Westerly, in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, on November 17, 1756.

According to the Rhode Island Historical Society, his father, Samuel Ward, was a Rhode Island Supreme Court justice and governor of the Colony, as well as a founding trustee of Brown University, a farmer in Westerly, and store owner in Newport. He was a defender of the American colonists’ rights to liberty and representation and was reportedly the only colonial governor who refused to sign the oath to enforce the Stamp Act of 1765. He represented Rhode Island as a delegate in the Continental Congress from 1774 until his death in 1776 and was chairman of the committee that nominated George Washington as Commander-in-chief of the American forces. Samuel Ward was also an owner of enslaved people.

Samuel Ward Jr.’s grandfather, Richard Ward, was also a governor of the colony of Rhode Island, and his great-grandfather, Thomas Ward, per Wikipedia, was a merchant who held many positions in the government of Newport, Rhode Island. Thomas Ward’s father John Ward, born in Gloucester, England, had been an officer in Cromwell’s Army who then settled in the American colonies when King Charles II acceded to the English throne. Samuel Ward, Jr.’s grandmother,Mary Tillinghast, was a granddaughter of Pardon Tillinghast who had come to the colonies from Seven Cliffs, Sussex, England. She was also a great granddaughter of Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island.

Per the Rhode Island Historical Society’s records, Samuel Ward, Jr.’s ten siblings were: Charles, born 1747, who was a soldier in the American Revolution; Hanna, 1749-1774; Anna, 1750-1798; Catherine, 1752-1782; Mary, 1754-1832; Deborah, 1758-1835; Simon Ray, 1760-1835; John, 1762-1823; Richard, 1765-1823; and Elizabeth, 1767-1783. Catherine married Colonel Christopher Greene who, after Catherine’s death, married Deborah.

“Sammy” Ward graduated from Rhode Island College (now Brown University) with high honors in 1771 at the age of fifteen. Rhode Island Historical Society records show that he was commissioned a captain in the Army of Observation in May 1775 at the age of eighteen. He volunteered to participate in Benedict Arnold’s attack on Quebec in December 1775, under his brother-in-law Christopher Greene, and was taken prisoner by the British. After a prisoner exchange in August 1776, Ward was promoted to the rank of major in the First Rhode Island Infantry and, between 1776 and 1778, served with his regiment in Morristown, New Jersey; Peekskill, New York; Red Bank (Fort Mercer, New Jersey); Valley Forge; and at the Battle of Rhode Island.

Ward married Phebe (or Phoebe) Greene, born in 1760, in 1778 while on leave from military duties at Valley Forge. She was the daughter of Governor William Greene Jr. and Catherine (or Catharine) Ray, whose families were among the earliest settlers of the colony of Rhode Island, per Wikipedia.

Ward returned to Rhode Island from Pennsylvania in the summer of 1778 and, as detailed in Rhode Island Historical Society documents, along with Christopher Greene, recruited African-American men into the existing First Rhode Island Regiment. As per information on blackpast.org, As per that website,

On February 14, 1778, the Rhode Island Assembly voted to allow “every able-bodied negro, mulatto, or Indian man slave in this state to enlist into either of the Continental Battalions being raised.” The assembly further stipulated that “every slave so enlisting shall, upon his passing muster before Colonel Christopher Greene, be immediately discharged from the service of his master or mistress, and be absolutely free.”  Rhode Island slave owners opposed the new law fearing that consequences of armed ex-slaves on those still in bondage.  Their opposition prevailed and in June the Rhode Island Assembly repealed its law.  In that four month period, however, over 100 free and formerly enslaved African Americans enlisted.

As is further noted at blackpast.org,

The 1st Rhode Island Regiment eventually totaled around 225 men including 140 who were African Americans, by far the largest percentage of blacks in an integrated military unit during the American Revolution.  Although the 1st Rhode Island Regiment initially placed its African American soldiers in separate companies within the regiment, this process eventually gave way once more African Americans were no longer recruited.  Slowly the entire regiment became fully integrated.

Those troops played an instrumental role in the military action on Aquidneck in August 1778. In May 1779, Ward was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the First Rhode Island Regiment and commanded a Light Corps of troops near Providence. He was later stationed in North Kingstown and Newport. On January 1, 1781, after the First and Second Rhode Island Regiments were consolidated, Ward retired from the Continental Army.

After the war, Samuel Ward became a merchant in Warwick, Rhode Island, and traveled extensively to trade in Asia and Europe. During 1788 and 1789, he sailed to China for the Providence firm Brown & Francis on the vessel George Washington, the first Rhode Island ship to engage in the China trade. According to Rhode Island Historical Society records, he moved to New York in late 1790, doing business with his brothers Richard and John under the firm name of Samuel Ward and Brothers. He returned to Rhode Island in 1804; then went back to New York in 1807. He was president of the New York Marine Insurance Company until about 1808. Returning to Rhode Island from 1809 to about 1816, he then made his permanent home in New York, first in Jamaica, Long Island, and then in Manhattan. Per Wikipedia andFind A Grave, Ward was an original member of the Society of Cincinnati as of 1783, was elected to the Annapolis Convention in 1786, served as a delegate to the Hartford Convention in 1814, and was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1815.

Samuel and Phebe Ward had eight children: William Greene, 1779-1798; Henry, born 1784; Samuel III, 1786-1839; Ann Catherine, 1788-1837; Phoebe, 1791-1825; Richard Ray, 1795-1873; John, 1797-1866; and William Greene, born in 1802. John and the younger William Greene Ward were bankers in Ward & Company in New York. Richard Ray Ward was a lawyer and antiquarian. Julia Ward Howe, social reformer, abolitionist, and author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and Samuel Cutler Ward, known as “King of the Lobby,” who created the notion of social lobbying in Washington, DC, were grandchildren, the children of Samuel Ward III, a Wall Street stockbroker and banker.

Phebe Greene Ward, Samuel’s wife, died on October 11, 1828. Samuel Ward Jr. died on August 16, 1832, in Manhattan.

On May 31, 1851, the remains of eight members of the Ward family—Samuel, Phebe, Ann, Henry, another Samuel Jr., Julia, another Henry, and a male child of Gertrude C. Ward–were removed from St. Thomas Church Burying Ground, corner of Houston Street and Broadway, in Manhattan, and re-interred at Green-Wood. Green-Wood’s chronological books record this first Samuel Ward as having died on August 16, 1832—the same date on which the subject of this biography died. It lists his age at death as 76; he was in fact 75, but would have turned 76 in 3 months and one day. Further, the date of death for Phebe Ward, as recorded in Green-Wood’s chronological records, is the same as the date of death listed above for Samuel’s wife of that same name, October 11, 1828. Also interred at Green-Wood are sons Richard Ray and Samuel III, as well as other family members. Section 77, lot 72.

WHETTEN, MARGARET AMY (1739-1809). Heroine of the American Revolution. Born in New York City on July 4, 1739, according to her gravestone (or, by some accounts, including Daughters of the American Revolution records, in 1736), Margaret Todd’s parents were Adam Todd and Sarah Cox. Adam was born in the Scottish Highlands and died in 1763, leaving his widow and their four children – Adam, James, Sarah, and Margaret – living on Cliff Street in Manhattan, per the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Lineage Book of the Charter Members (1892).

Margaret’s siblings married very well into leading New York mercantile families, with Sarah wedding John Jacob Astor and Adam marrying Margaret Vanderbilt. Margaret married William Whetten (see), on September 6, 1756, at age 17, per the New York Marriage Index. William was a sea captain who was born on December 12, 1730, in Devonshire, England. He arrived in the colonies as a young boy, without his parents, and before long commanded vessels in trade with the West Indies, eventually settling in New York as a merchant. The couple resided on Cliff Street, near the rear of St. George’s Chapel. They had five children: daughters Sarah and Margaret, and sons Henry, William, and John. 

At the start of the Revolutionary War, William Whetten owned several vessels, which he sold and then invested the proceeds in Continental paper currency, which soon became worthless. A zealous patriot, he was prevented by poor health from taking an active part in the war.

The Whettens fled to New Rochelle, New York, after the British vessel HMS Asia bombarded New York City on August 23, 1776. However, in New Rochelle they found that they were living among Hessians who supported the British troops. Because of her knowledge of their language, Margaret remained on friendly terms with the Hessians and was able to prevent them from destroying the properties of her neighbors. A story about Margaret’s strength in the face of the enemy is reported in Women of the American Revolution, Volume 3. When Hessian soldiers came into the Whetten house to plunder the premises. Margaret was guarding her infant child who was asleep on a pillow. The intruders, who demanded money, snatched the pillow, throwing the child to the floor. Meanwhile, Margaret had put her purse in her pocket and hid it under a bolster. The intruders took another pocket from under the baby’s pillow which contained a snuff box. Margaret tried to wrest that from the men despite her husband’s urging that she should give it up. Realizing that her money was safe, Margaret yielded, but not without a struggle.

Due to William’s declining health, the family returned to New York City, which, by that time, was occupied by the British. William Whetten passed away on June 7, 1778. He was interred in the family vault, in the courtyard of St. George’s Chapel, at the corner of Beekman and Cliff Streets, adjoining their residence.

Once back in New York City, Margaret revealed her true patriotism. As per the aforementioned Women of the American Revolution, she refused to sell her husband’s paper currency despite its loss of value. She said, “I will never undervalue the currency established by Congress.” To her, this was a sacrifice that honored her country. With British soldiers quartered in her home, Margaret and her daughters managed to provide food for American prisoners aboard British warships and visited them to raise their spirits. She dealt with some rude British “gatekeepers” with humor and cheerful repartee while always remaining true to her mission. Her home was also used as a safe house for American spies, sometimes disguised as wounded soldiers; it was termed “Rebel Headquarters” by British-appointed Provost Marshall William Cunningham. After feeding some countrymen who dined at her home and asked her what compensation was due, she replied, “Nothing if you all eat heartily.”

One anecdote of Margaret’s patriotism is noted in Noble Deeds of American Women by J. Clement, published in 1851. Clement reports that when Mrs. Whetten learned that a party of British soldiers were being sent to her house to find a suspected spy housed there, she clothed the man in a dressing gown and night cap and gave him a bowl of gruel to identify him as an invalid. The duped soldiers left and after being reprimanded, returned to the house. By the time they returned, the suspect had “recuperated,” dressed, and left the house for fresh air.

It is said that news of peace was first divulged in America at her home, through a French prisoner who received a letter containing the earliest account of the agreed-upon treaty from the French ambassador. None other than George Washington wrote a letter to Margaret, expressing his gratitude to her on behalf of their country. Margaret was noted for her patriotic service in the records of the Daughters of the American Revolution as well; a Chapter of the DAR, in Washington, D.C., is named in her honor.

Margaret’s daughter Sarah (1758-1840) married Henry Brevoort in 1778, and her younger daughter, Margaret, born in 1760, married Captain Stuart Dean. Margaret, the mother, referred by some as one of the “true mothers of the Revolution,” lived in the house on Cliff Street until her death at age 73 in New York City in March 1809. She was soon interred in St. George’s Chapel in Manhattan, as reported on the Daughters of the American Revolution website for the Margaret Whetten Chapter.

On April 15, 1867, Margaret and her sons William and John were removed from burial in Manhattan and interred at Green-Wood. It appears that St. George’s Chapel, built by Trinity Church, along with its graveyard, were sold for commercial development soon thereafter.  This is likely the reason that the Whetten descendants, learning that the chapel and graveyard would be sold shortly, removed these three family members from there to Green-Wood. Section 160, lot 8701.

Cameo of Margaret Whetten.
Whetten, circa 1800.

WHETTEN, WILLIAM (1830-1778). William, the husband of Margaret Whitten (see), is not buried at Green-Wood. The memorial to him at Green-Wood is a cenotaph honoring his memory. William was a sea captain who was born on December 12, 1730, in Devonshire, England. He arrived in the colonies as a young boy, without his parents, and commanded vessels in trade with the West Indies, eventually settling in New York as a merchant.

As per the New York Marriage Index, William Whetten married Margaret Todd on September 6, 1756, when Margaret was 17. The couple resided on Cliff Street, near the rear of St. George’s Chapel. They had five children: daughters Sarah and Margaret, and sons Henry, William, and John. 

At the start of the Revolutionary War, William Whetten owned several vessels, which he sold and then invested the proceeds in Continental paper currency, which became worthless. A zealous patriot, he was prevented by poor health from taking an active part in the war. Even after William’s death, Margaret refused to turn in the paper currency for hard currency or land, feeling that she was honoring her country by holding on to it.

On August 3, 1776, after the HMS Asia fired on New York City, the Whettens fled to New Rochelle, thinking at first that it was a safe haven. However, they lived among Hessians, who fought with the British, and there was generally a scarcity of goods in the town. According to Women of the American Revolution, William Whetten was a patriot but entertained both loyalists and patriots in their home, often with a spread prepared by his wife. Yet, there were times when the house was raided and Margaret, more than her husband, fought to keep their property and money. Margaret, who spoke the low Dutch dialect of the Hessians and was on friendly terms with them, protected the properties of her new neighbors from wartime destruction. As per the Whetten’s daughter Sarah, in Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley, Vol. II, New Rochelle was in the midst of the Battle of White Plains when her parents resided there. At one point, the Whetten’s New Rochelle home was spared from destruction when the family quartered a Hessian officer there.

William was in poor health and the family returned to New York City, then occupied by the British, where William died on June 7, 1778. He was interred in the family vault, in the courtyard of St. George’s Chapel, at the corner of Beekman and Cliff Streets, adjoining their residence. Margaret continued her patriotic efforts under the British occupation, and with her daughters ministered to the needs of patriot prisoners and wounded. Her home was an asylum for patriots; it was called “Rebel Quarters” by Provost Cunningham, who abusively ran the prisons were many rebels were held. At the end of the war, she was personally thanked by George Washington for her service to the cause of independence; he asked to dine with her so that he could express his gratitude in person.

Margaret Whetten died in March 1809 and was buried in St. George’s Chapel. On April 15, 1867, Margaret and her sons William and John were removed from burial in Manhattan and interred at Green-Wood. It appears that St. George’s Chapel, built by Trinity Church, along with its graveyard, were sold for commercial development circa 1867-1868. This may be the reason that the Whetten descendants, learning that the chapel and graveyard would be sold shortly, removed these three family members from there to Green-Wood in April 1867. Section 160, lot 8701.