Saturday, November 28, 2015

Heavy Historical Research Using Deeds

It occurred to me this year that if we use deed information we can more closely estimate where my Mohican-Wappinger ancestor John Van Gilder lived.  It all has to do with the split rock in a legal deposition in 1768.  I haven't been happy with the estimate I made previously. If we can figure out where the rock was, we’ll know approximately where John Van Gilder lived.  I just realized rereading the deposition that John lived there before he was married, since about 1707. His father Awansous and his mother must have moved there with him and his siblings.

I was chasing those deeds down, but I don't know if I'm done.  It looks like different areas of the Town of Egremont were divided and parceled out to the proprietors at different times. Then at least some people bought and sold land to consolidate what they were given. Unfortunately, after the proprietors divided the land up, they didn’t put survey information in deeds.  They started doing it again sometime in the 1800s.  I can't remember if the oldest deeds mentioned the bounding owners. I hope they do, especially if the deeds I currently have don't bring the area into focus. I might be in for a long spell of studying deeds in Great Barrington, but not until my arm is better.

I suffered for my historical research this past week.  I went to the Registry of Deeds twice in Pittsfield and once in Great Barrington.  Lifting those heavy books hurt my arm and my shoulder healing from a sprain.  The old deed books are very heavy, I'd say at least fifteen pounds, much more than one of my cats.  This was one time I was not happy that researching deeds in Berkshire County is self-serve.  I always found the staff friendly and helpful, though.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

John Van Gilder Home Site

A while ago I realized that I might be able to use deeds to more closely locate where my Mohican-Wappinger ancestor John Van Gilder lived.  There's a court document from 1762 with testimony from his son Joseph, his son-in-law's brother Samuel Winchell Jr and others about whether a large split rock with a sapling in it was the same as a pile of rocks called Wawanaquasick that marked a boundary between the Mohicans and the Wappingers.  There's a lot of discussion about what people lived near the rock and how far.  Most tantalizing is this statement about John Van Gilder's home site: "his Fathers Land was near the flat Rock, the Rock fifty or sixty Rods to the East of his Fathers Land."  

I just grasped the meaning of another phrase:  "His father lived there better than fifty Years as his Mother and father told Schnapk."  John died in 1758.  That means he was living in the Egremont area about 1708, when he was about ten, eleven years before he married his wife.  I hadn't realized that before.  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Preserve Indian Field

The Bronx Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) are looking for female descendants of the Van Gilders from Berkshire County, Massachusetts to join its chapter. 

In 1778 an  Indian corp of light infantry was formed at the request of General George Washington.  That company had been suggested to General Horatio Gates by Abraham Nimham.  Abraham was the son of Daniel Nimham, the last Wappinger chief, and first cousin to the children of John Van Gilder and Mary Karner. 

This company was ambushed by a company of British and Hessian soldiers on 31 Aug 1778.  The Mohicans at Stockbridge lost a third of their men that day.  Daniel Nimham, the nephew of John Van Gilder, was killed when he shot a British officer.  There is a cairn memorializing the regiment in Van Cortlandt Park, the site of the ambush.




 A large portion of the battlefield, called Indian Field, has been preserved since then and currently is part of Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Now New York City wants to build a $500,000 dog park there.  I think this is disrespectful to the site.  So far it seems to be the only Revolutionary War memorial to the Native American men of New England. I believe the Bronx Chapter of the DAR will press for the creation of a state or national historic park at the site instead.  I know that’s what I’d like to see. I have already determined that in addition to the Mohicans and Wappingers, Tunix, Schaghticoke, Paguset, Mohegan, Pequot, Nipmuc and Wampanoag men served there that day.  The DAR would like descendants of the men of the Indian Corp and the Van Gilders and Winchells to join the DAR to help preserve Indian Field.

Below is a list I’ve compiled of Van Gilder descendants and their Mohican Winchell cousins who served in the American Revolution:

Continental Army:
Andrew Van Gilder
Benjamin Van Gilder
Daniel Van Gilder
David Van Gilder
Ebenezer Van Gilder
Isaac Van Gilder
Jacob Van Gilder
James Van Gilder
John Van Gilder
Joseph Van Gilder
Matthew Van Gilder Jr.
Nathaniel Van Gilder
Nicholas Van Gilder
Reuben Van Gilder
Stephen Van Gilder
David Winchell
Joel Winchell

Green Mountain Boys:
Henry Van Gilder
John Van Gilder Jr.
Jonathan Van Gilder

Service Details:
Daniel Van Gilder
Joseph Van Gilder
(Battle of Saratoga)
Matthew Van Gilder Sr
(Battles of Saratoga, Burgoyne’s Surrender)
Eliakim Winchell Sr.
(Battles of Saratoga, Burgoyne’s Surrender)
Hezekiah Winchell Jr.
(Battles of Saratoga, Burgoyne’s Surrender, Mount Independence)

Albany County Militia:
Andrew Van Gilder
Henry Van Gilder
Jacob Van Gilder
John Van Gilder Jr.


In the table below I list the men belonging to the Indian Corp as found on the Patriot's Blood web site and their tribes.


Massachusetts Men
Nation

Joseph Aaron


Hendrick Aupaumut (aka Lt. Solomon Hendrick)
Mohican

Amos Babcock
Wampanoag
from 5th mass.Mashpee
Joseph Cheenequan
Mohican
DAR
John Cheenquin
Mohican
DAR
Isaac Esop (Aesop)
Mohican
DAR
David Hatch
Wampanoag
from Mashpee
Isaac Johns

from Upton
Benjamin Jones

from Sandwich
James Keeter
Wampanoag
Mashpee
Jacob Keeter
Wampanoag
Mashpee
Abraham Konkpott
Mohican

Job Long

from Hanover
Ephraim Louden

from Milton
Joseph Mamanash
Mohegan/Pocumtuck

Ebenezer Maunauset
Mohican
DAR
Benjamin Metacaman
Mohican
DAR
Andres Mohhewch
Mohican
DAR
Moses Mole
Mohican

Eli Moses

from Sandwich
Pedro Murcock

from Pembroke or Plymouth
David Naunauneck
Mohican

Abraham Nimham
Wappinger

Daniel Nimham
Wappinger

John Nimham
Wappinger

Jacob Pautauwaupeet
Mohican
MSS
John Pearce

from Mashpee
Joseph Pegan, Jr.

from Bridgewater
John Peters

from Southwick
William Placy


Hosea Pocknet
Wampanoag
from Mashpee
James Quamhos
Mohican

James Rimmons

from Mashpee
Aaron Sausonkhok
Mohican

Jeffrey Sechemus

from Roxbury
George Shawn

from Mashpee
John Shepaubweenk
Mohican

David Shupaumwaunhun
Mohican

Samuel Squintoop
Mohican

Robert Sukkaumick
Mohican

Abel Supposon

12th Mass.
Isaac Swift


Job Tampum

from Mashpee
Timothy Taunkauwat
Mohican

Job Tobias

from Barnstable
Cornelius Touwohauunnuk
Mohican

Jacob Tusnuk
Mohican

Solomon Wamsquam

from Needham
Benjamin Waunehnauweet
Mohican

Samuel Wampee

Sandwich or Falmouth
Solomon Wamsquam

from Needham
Andrew Waumankey
Mohican

Isaac Waupeek
Mohican

Hendrick Wautaunkauwot
Mohican

Daniel Wauwaumpequunnaunt
Mohican

Francis Websquish
Mashpee
from Sandwich
Isaac Wnaumpey
Mohican
from Watertown
Jacob Yaunpohkhok
Mohican

Timothy Yokun
Mohican

Antony [ ]





Connecticut Men


John Chops
Paugussett?
from Fairfield,
Phillip Dorus

Middlesex, ct
Samuel Haney

from Hartford
Joseph Hannabal

from Groton
Simon Hobart

New London
Tom Indian


John Jeffords
Mohegan
East Haddam/Canterbury/Stonington
Joseph Johnson

CT
Peter Keyhole

from Woodbury, African American
John Meason

from Killingly or Enfield
Daniel Mossucks
Tunxis
Farmington
Eleazor Pegan
Nipmuc
from Woodstock
William Placey

from Windham
Josiah Poheague

from Stonington
Jabez Pottage

Windham, Pension account
Joseph Read

Fairfield, CT
Joshua Robins

from Windham
James Simon


Amos Temple

from Woodbury
Abimeleck Uncas
Mohegan
son of Ben Unca
Peter Warwehew

from Fairfield,
Thomas Worroups
Schaghticoke

Abel Washauks
Pequot

John Wompee
Pequot




Rhode Island Men


Toby Coys

from Charlestown
Caesar Finch

from Warwick or Coventry
Widsor Fry

Mustee, from E. Greenwich

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Too Much Time Team?

Is there such a thing as too much Time Team?  My right shoulder is almost normal.  My sprained right ankle is almost normal.  I still want to watch Time Team, though.  I've watched all twenty seasons and all the specials.  I've started watching it from the first program again.

I'm not an archaeologist and I haven't even participated in a dig. ( The closest I've got was helping to clean out the old stone barn at the New Lebanon Shaker site.)  Once I found archaeology uninteresting.  I tended to fall asleep during the archaeological presentations during the Mohican Seminars. Before the last one I attended, something clicked inside me, though, and I realized the importance of the artifacts and the information obtained.  It's physical confirmation of history and the people who came before us.  Sometimes when that history is missing, such as the unknown Mohican history that went up in smoke in 1911, it's all that more important.

Time Team is a unique show.  The photography is well done.  I've seen parts of the British Isles I thought I never would.  I've managed to absorb knowledge without knowing it.  Last Christmas time while helping to decorate our team's area, I gave my team leader an impromptu lecture on bricks used in Britain.

The cast made the program unique as well.  The impression given to the audience is of people who were very knowledgeable and enjoyed their work.  They also liked and respected each another enough to have friendly arguments and challenges.  It was very informative and sometimes very amusing when team members became involved with projects involving ancient technology, or role-playing.  I seem to recall Phil Harding involved with a lot of it.  He comes across as a good sport.  

If I were more talented, I'd put together a video of my favorite moments.  I do get a kick out of it when a tent starts moving across the field, with many legs underneath it like an extremely obese, top heavy centipede. I enjoy Phil Harding's enthusiasm greatly.  It's such a delight to see someone who enjoys his work so much and who is so generous in sharing his knowledge.  I still don't understand flint-knapping, though, and I'm in awe of anyone that can work rock like that.

It's been very interesting to learn that at one point the ancient Britons and the ancient Native Americans were much alike.  They both started as hunter-gatherers. They both started to farm and settle down in small communities.  They both made stone tools and projectiles.  They both made round dwellings to live in.   I think I even saw ancient British shoes that looked like moccasins.  

I have a feeling that there could be more commonalities, but because of the lack of attention paid to Native American sites and their disruption and disappearance we might never know.  Will we ever know if they had enclosure ditches like the Britons?  Did they erect anything similar to the stone henges? I wonder why Britain evolved like it did and why were the Native Americans so different?  Was it because the Roman Empire invaded Britain and conquered it, bringing in new ideas and ways of doing things?  Was it because of even more new information were brought back to Britain from the Crusades?

Mick Aston, I hope where you are now you realize that Time Team has not failed.  Over two hundred sites were listed after Time Team worked on them.  Thanks to the web, Acorn TV and Youtube, new people around the world are discovering Time Team, enjoying it and learning to appreciate archaeology and history, and a more considered and well-rounded view of life.  

Sometimes my brain seems to go on thinking while I'm sleeping.  I had an interesting dream last night.  I dreamed that Time Team came over to America to investigate Mohican sites in Washington County, New York.  Phil Harding wanted to go to a pow wow with me after I mentioned them.  I think that would have been a lot of fun, and it's too bad it was only a dream.  Maybe I ought to watch a movie or two, though.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gilder Meadow


This photo is of Gilder Meadow, the land given to John Van Gilder by the Mohican Nation.  The mountain to the left is Jug End.  Since I started my research over twenty years ago, I've always seen the area referred to as "Guilder Hollow."  While researching deeds recently, I discovered that might be a fairly recent name.  An 1873 deed of land from the estate of George L. Tullar to George F. Bradford refers to the area as "the 'Gilder Meadow' so called."  The deed of 1837 from John Tullar to George L. Tullar refers to it the same way.  I want to research the area deeds more thoroughly in part to track this usage. 

My apologies for the line in the photo.  I was given what was once a very good camera.  Shortly after I received it, the camera developed this line.  I understand I can fix this and will put this on my list of things to do.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Simeon Van Gilder

While using Fold3 during its recent free promotional period, I found another Van Gilder, Simeon.  He was listed on an account of forage received for the use of the First Massachusetts Regiment of the Continental Army. It was dated November 1780.  I think it was for the state of New Jersey since soldiers were assigned towns in the counties of Morris, Essex, including the town of Newark.  Simeon Van Gilder was assigned the town of Totoway in Essex County.  He  brought back 2 tens(?) and 5 hundreds of hay, 18  bushels of oats, 14 bushels of corn, and 15 horses.  

 It's the only trace of Simeon I've been able to find so far. He did not appear at all on Rootsweb World Connect, FamilySearch or Mocavo.   According to the site
RevWarTalk:  

[The First Massachusetts Regiment] was first authorized on 23 April 1775 in the Massachusetts State Troops as Paterson's Regiment under Colonel John Paterson and was organized at Cambridge, Massachusetts. It consisted of eleven companies of volunteers from Berkshire, Hampshire, Suffolk, Middlesex, Worcester, and York counties in Massachusetts and the county of Litchfield in the colony of Connecticut. The regiment was adopted into the main Continental Army on 14 June 1775 and was assigned to William Heath's brigade on 22 July 1775. On 1 January 1776 the regiment (less two companies) was consolidated with Sayer's and Sullivan's companies of Scammon's Regiment; re-organized to eight companies and redesignated as the 15th Continental Regiment of Heath's Brigade.

On 1 August 1779 the regiment was assigned to the Highland Department, which would fit with this assignment.  The department was based at West Point, New York.  

Because Paterson recruited men from Berkshire County, it is possible that Simeon Van Gilder was a descendant of John Van Gilder.  I don't know if it could ever be proved one way or another.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Thatcher Brick Wall

It annoys me that I haven't been able to find any new information on my great-grandfather Alexander M. Thatcher (born 18 July 1818 and died 13 Jan 1880).  It doesn't help that he was working class, an employee in a paper company, who died from tuberculosis.  I decided to take advantage of resources listed at Cyndislist.com.  I couldn't access the ones from Ancestry, but I could get to the ones by Michael John Neill.  I found the Problem Solving one helpful and I decided to look at the information again. 

In my family you can't always arrive at the truth following a straight line.  Some document said that Alexander was from Chester.  Most documents said he was from Pennsylvania.  What if Chester was right but the state was wrong?  I decided to take a look at that.  It turns out that would give me several more places to look:

  • Chester, Delaware, PA
  • Chester, Hampden, MA 
  • Chester, Middlesex,CT
  • Chester, Morris, NJ
  • Chester, Orange, NY
  • Chester, Rockingham, NH
  • Chester, Windsor, VT
I will try the New England ones first.  Alexander once lived in Hampshire County, next to Hampden Co. Middlesex County, CT, and Windsor County, VT, are along the Connecticut River, which could have brought him to Hampshire County.  Chester, NH, is a little farther away, but makes more sense than Chester in New York or New Jersey.