Sunday, October 16, 2016

Livingston Clue Doesn't Work

I stopped at Clermont State Historic Site today and looked through the Livingston genealogy in the visitor center.  My Livingston clue did not fit into the published genealogy.

Here is a graphic representation of the relationships I found.  I think Catherine Livingston was related to Sarah Livingston.  Here are my reasons why.
  • Catherine was born five years after Sarah, in Castleton that is not terribly distant from Ancram where my gggreat-grandmother Sarah Livingston was supposedly born, or Hillsdale where Sarah's mother Rachel was born.
  • Catherine and Sarah both had a mother named Rachel.  Her father was listed as James, a common Livingston given name. Sarah's father was listed as Daniel, and I'm not sure that was correct.
  • Catherine married Sarah's son-in-law's brother and ended up living in the same area, What brought Catherine to the area in the first place?  To visit Sarah?  
I have to find out more about James Livingston of the Castleton area.  I also want to see if I can find anything about Rachel Boyes' marriage to Lawrence Vosburgh.  He was her third husband. Possible branches Sarah may have come from is James Livingston in the same area as the patroon; Washington County, New York; or Wallingford, Connecticut.  From what I read on-line, those branches all go back to the same Livingston family in Scotland.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Correct Location of Indian Field

After reading both archaeological surveys of Indian Field, I knew I had to determine for myself where Indian Field was located.  With any report, certain questions are being asked and data analyzed, determining the author's viewpoint.  

I realized the information laid in the maps.  Here is the original Simcoe map, contemporary to the battle:

Here is the Simcoe map superimposed on a modern map of the area:

Here is my rough estimate of where Indian Field truly lies in the modern landscape:

I present this in hopes that other people will confirm what I see.  I'm at a loss for knowledge of the area since I've never even visited it.  I don't know what that little brown Indian Field section is at the bottom.  I don't know if the officially designated Indian Field, the location of the DAR monument or a ball park with the name. It is clear, however, that much of Indian Field has already been destroyed by Euroamerican construction.  It is a clear sign that Indian Field needs guardians.   More on that in my next post.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Origin of Van Gilder Surname

One thing I’m usually asked when I’m contacted by a Van Gilder descendant is how did John Van Gilder get his surname.  Unfortunately it hasn’t been documented, but I have a theory.

Robert S. Grumet wrote in his book The Munsee Indians, A History
“…Indians in particular tended to identify themselves as people from a particular place or a certain river. This practice is reflected in the way they used ‘Delaware,’ a loan word adopted from the English. ‘Delaware’ comes from the name of Thomas West, Baron de la Warr, second governor of the Virginia colony.  Early Virginian explorers gave his name to the river that Unami-speaking Delawares called Lenapewihittuck and that Munsees called Kithanne, ‘Large River.’ Colonists and Indians both began calling the river Delaware by the early 1700s. At about the same time, most Unami- and some Munsee-speaking people living along the river’s shores began using the word when referring to themselves. Most of their descendants continue to identify themselves as Delawares….”
Shirley W. Dunn wrote in The Mohicans and Their Land “Schermerhorn , or Manueenta, also a significant Mohican sachem and leader, was one of a group of Catskill Mohicans who used Dutch names.” An abstract in the appendix lists the people she must have been referring to in a Greene County deed dated 8 July 1678 “Tamongwes alias Volkert, Papawachketik alias Evert, Mamaetcheek alias Joris, Kachketowas alias Cobus, and Unekeek called Jan de Backer….Manueenta alias Schermerhorn….”  Another member of the band was Catharickseet, alias Cornelius.

John’s father was Wappinger, who were Munsee, and his mother was Mohican.  He was a member of the Catskill band that was on the move since selling their land, and probably was born in northwestern Connecticut. He was living in western Massachusetts by 1707. He identified with the ancestral location so strongly that a non-related, English man was able to provide the name of the band to the New York attorney general in October 1768, and was not contradicted by John’s son Joseph. 

John was originally recorded in a Dutch church record in Kingston as Jan Van Gelder in June 1719.  There’s only one record of a Van Gelder living above New York City before the American Revolution, Elizabeth Van Gelder, an elderly woman.  She probably was a widow living in the home of an adult daughter. Therefore we know this is the Mohican-Wappinger man otherwise known as "Tawanant" or "Toanunck." 

Other men of the Catskill band had starting using Dutch names. A perceptive man, John may have realized that it was better to have both a first name and a last name, especially since one of the Mohicans was already using Jan.   The Munsees identified with a particular place.  We know John identified with the Catskill area.  Shirley told me that Kaaterskill/Catskill was mostly likely named after a Mohican man named Kaankat who was nicknamed “Cat.”  She noted “he signed for the land sold to Rensselaerwyck at Catskill.”  “Kill” is definitely Dutch. Either the place names weren’t being used yet in 1719 or John thought using either version wasn’t appropriate.  The Catskill band sold its land to people from Gelderland which may have been the Duchy of Guelders at the time in the Netherlands.  I believe John took the surname Van Gelder to memoralize his ancestral land where the people from that foreign land lived after his band sold its land to them.  

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

Joseph Aaron

Hendrick Aupaumut (aka Lt. Solomon Hendrick)

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

from Upton
Benjamin Jones

from Sandwich
James Keeter
Jacob Keeter
Abraham Konkpott

Job Long

from Hanover
Ephraim Louden

from Milton
Joseph Mamanash

Ebenezer Maunauset
Benjamin Metacaman
Andres Mohhewch
Moses Mole

Eli Moses

from Sandwich
Pedro Murcock

from Pembroke or Plymouth
David Naunauneck

Abraham Nimham

Daniel Nimham

John Nimham

Jacob Pautauwaupeet
John Pearce

from Mashpee
Joseph Pegan, Jr.

from Bridgewater
John Peters

from Southwick
William Placy

Hosea Pocknet
from Mashpee
James Quamhos

James Rimmons

from Mashpee
Aaron Sausonkhok

Jeffrey Sechemus

from Roxbury
George Shawn

from Mashpee
John Shepaubweenk

David Shupaumwaunhun

Samuel Squintoop

Robert Sukkaumick

Abel Supposon

12th Mass.
Isaac Swift

Job Tampum

from Mashpee
Timothy Taunkauwat

Job Tobias

from Barnstable
Cornelius Touwohauunnuk

Jacob Tusnuk

Solomon Wamsquam

from Needham
Benjamin Waunehnauweet

Samuel Wampee

Sandwich or Falmouth
Solomon Wamsquam

from Needham
Andrew Waumankey

Isaac Waupeek

Hendrick Wautaunkauwot

Daniel Wauwaumpequunnaunt

Francis Websquish
from Sandwich
Isaac Wnaumpey
from Watertown
Jacob Yaunpohkhok

Timothy Yokun

Antony [ ]

Connecticut Men

John Chops
from Fairfield,
Phillip Dorus

Middlesex, ct
Samuel Haney

from Hartford
Joseph Hannabal

from Groton
Simon Hobart

New London
Tom Indian

John Jeffords
East Haddam/Canterbury/Stonington
Joseph Johnson

Peter Keyhole

from Woodbury, African American
John Meason

from Killingly or Enfield
Daniel Mossucks
Eleazor Pegan
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
son of Ben Unca
Peter Warwehew

from Fairfield,
Thomas Worroups

Abel Washauks

John Wompee

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.