There is a remarkable Bicentennial commemorative newsbook printed by the Lakeville Journal newspaper and edited by Edward Fales, Jr., an artist who resides there. It is called Arsenal of the Revolution: The Forgotten Story of Freedom’s Other Cradle. The importance of your ancestors on the New England frontier to the settlement origins of the American population–
Let me quote a few short passages from it:
- “Mount Washington was obviously named for George Washington, the area may have seen its earliest farmers-settlers come up from the Hudson Valley, before 1700; however, a 1753 report to the Massachusetts colonial legislature shows that John Hallenbeck, a Hollander, already had been there farming for 60 years–which (if correct) would seem to date his arrival about 1693.” George Washington went back and forth through these hills and valleys during the Revolutionary War arranging for cannon and ammunition built by the iron workers living there. This important fact will aid us as we trace the families back farther in time–they were iron workers, with skilled training that we can document—by name!
- “Hillsdale was called Noble Town and local residents guarded the cannons day and night against attack by roving Tory bands, hiding the iron sledges and teams carrying the cannon by day and moving them toward Boston by night… …John Tuller and his wife Anna, from Simsbury CT settled east of the present south village in 1733… …Captain Parmelee lost masts from his boats on the St Lawrence River going north from Hillsdale toward the sea.”
- “Sharon CT was home to Hudson Valley refugees burned out or threatened by the British. For weeks they flooded into town, some without food or money. The Smith brothers outfitted two fighting companies from their own pockets and fought under Washington in the Battle of Long Island and other fracases of the War. Parson Smith and his younger brother, Dr. Simeon Smith were charged with supplying the army clothing and medicine…”
These segments include some extremely valuable items to be followed up on–kinship networks, occupations, places, and records. Earlier, in the section on Sharon, pp. 13, 17, Fales and his town historians describe the importance of Northwestern Connecticut: Sharon–just over the New York line–was part of the Salisbury Iron District which stretched from Vermont through Massachusetts and Western Connecticut to Eastern New York. The quality of the iron produced here was known widely through the New England area. The ore was hauled in ox carts to population centers for forging farm implements and later into cannon. So these settlers need travel only a short distance to gain a better economic foot-hold.
Specific maps of this region show how close these locations really are. Look especially at A Chorographical Map of the Province of New York…by order…Major General William Tryon, 1779, page two, which shows the large patents and manors between the Hudson River and Connecticut. The Great Nine Partners and Little Nine Partners grants were close by. The settlers into this precinct came from Connecticut–Hebron, Salisbury, and the Turkey Hills area. Please note that several of the surnames found in and around this Salisbury Iron District can also be found later on in the Ontario County area of Western New York..
Livingston Manor borders Little Nine Partners. On the southeast corner of the manor is Salisbury CT and just south is Sharon. Canaan CT is northeast of Salisbury. It forms the namesake for Canaan NY, also in this section but north of Claverack. The Oblong cuts between them. Northeast Precinct is part of the Oblong. This map is good because it also shows the mountains–some called hills and some referred to as mountains on the map.
No major geographic barrier splits this whole section–the hills and mountains are easily bypassed or you can go straight up and straight down, as they pulled the cannon on the way to Boston: Fales tells how the men who went to Fort Ticonderoga also pooled their own money to fund the expedition. The 59+ cannon they captured, they refurbished in Sharon and carried them on roller wagons overland to Boston for Washington’s army. The total commitment of men and their families in this district helped win the American Revolutionary War!
Wilton Connecticut: Three Centuries of People, Places, and Progress by Robert H. Russell (Wilton Historical Society, 2004) describes the people living in the western portion of Connecticut during the Revolutionary War—along with the dire circumstances that sent the settlers running for their lives into the Salisbury Iron District and then, on into Western New York. When you read these publications together, you can track your ancestors all the way back to their origins! Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle. http://arleneeakle.com
PS Stay tuned for the Americans, their allies and enemies who fought the American Revolution. And the sources you can consult to document their contribution to the final peace of that conflict. Current accounts in local schools and colleges are teaching the next generation not only disinformation, but downright falsehoods. How will they ever find their ancestral origins? Stay tuned!