Eneas Gary Revolutionary Soldier

My Sons of the American Revolution certificate for Enos Gary merely describes his service as:  

“Private, Connecticut; Capt. Jeremiah Mason and Capt. John Isham”

There is, of course, so much more to the story.

The following is my transcription of a handwritten document I found in his military records.  This is a clerk’s record of testimony given by Eneas Gary in 1832 when he applied for his Revolutionary War Pension.  I have corrected some spelling and added some paragraph breaks to make it more readable.  (I have also added some comments in Italics).  But for the most part, this is Eneas Gary describing his military service in his own words. 

State of New York

County of Allegany

On this 30 day of October personally appeared in open court before our Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in general session now sitting, Eneas Gary, a resident of Rushford in the County of Allegany and State of New York aged seventy five years according to a record he transcribed from an old Family Bible of his Father’s when he first commenced house-keeping, who being duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declarations in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7th 1832

That he was born on the 23rd day of September, 1757 in the town of Taunton in Bristol County and State of Massachusetts, and when he was about twelve years of age his Father moved with his family to Lebanon in Windom County, State of Connecticut, where he resided until the year 1801 when he, the said Eneas Geary, moved with his family to Weathersfield in the County of Windsor, State of Vermont and in the 1808 he moved to Rushford in Allegany County, State of New York, where he now resides.

He further says that he was first called into the Revolutionary Service from his residence in Lebanon about the last of January or forepart of February 1776. 

That he enlisted under Captain Jeremiah Mason, Lieut. Clark and Ensign Watterman for two months and that he soon marched to Cambridge near Boston.  And that after remaining there some time went to Brooklyn.

And some time about the first of March in the evening a part of his company marched to Roxbury, himself for one, and then joined a large body of troops; and from there to the Heights of Dorchester where they erected a large Fort— And after having been relieved by other troops, they returned to Brooklyn and there remained until after the British army and fleet left Boston and sailed from Nantucket Roads—

Then was dismissed without any written discharge and returned home about the last of March of forepart of April and that he drew pay for two months service according to his enlistment.

That according to the best of his remembrance they had but one Colonel and his name was Sage of Middletown and the Major’s name was Ripley of Windham.

The second engagement of 1776

And further saith that he entered the service of the United States for the second time the last of May or first of June 1776.  That he enlisted for six months under Capt. John Isham, Lieut. Chamberlain and Ensign Ransom— The Col’s name who commanded the Regiment was John Chester and resided Weathersfield —  The second in command was Col. Wills— The Major’s name he has forgotten.  Benjamin Tallmadge, who has since been a Member of Congress was their Adjutant.

They marched, or went part of the way by water to New York—

And that on or about the 26th of August a part of his company was in a detached party for 2 or 3 days to go to the lines towards Flat-Bush on Long Island.

In the forepart of the day they fell in with a column of the British army and commenced firing on them and fought on a retreat until they were like to have been surrounded and then fled with all speed and with much difficulty reached our lines—  And on the next night but one our army left the island and went over to the city of New York—

And that they remained a few days in the city and then marched out over King’s Bridge to a place called Valentine’s Hill where they remained a short time and then went to White Plains and then went to fortifying the place.

And that he was sometimes drawn out and sent with a large party to reconnoiter about West-Chester where they once fell in with a body of the British army, and had a short skirmish, but they soon reinforced, and we were obliged to fall back towards our lines—

Sometime about the last of October the British army attacked them at White Plains and a partial action was fought— Soon after this engagement the British army drew off towards New York  and that he was once more in a large detached party commanded by Gen Lee (as near as he can remember) and followed up their rear until they got back to Valentine’s Hill when the British crossed at King’s-Bridge and then they returned back to White Plains and joined their regiment and took their tents and marched to the North River and crossed at Stoney Point with two or three regiments more, one of which was called the Continental Regiment.  Two of the officers were known to him, Capt. Andrew Fitch and Lieut. Allen both of them were townsmen of his—

From Stoney point they marched to East Town (Easton, PA) at the forks of the Delaware River in Pennsylvania, thence to a place where there were some Moravians settled (Bethlehem, PA)  and from there to or near the west bank of the Delaware River a little above Trenton where they remained until his time of service had expired –

On or about the last of November or the forepart of December the Regiment to which he belonged was paraded and the commanding officers informed them that their time of service was out and thanked them for their soldier-like behavior while under their command and dismissed them without written discharges—

And that he went with a part of his company from the west side of the Delaware River to place called Cowels or Corells ferry (probably Coryell’s Ferry – located at what is now Solebury, PA) where they crossed and from there to Hacketstown in New Jersey — from there to  Goshen in New York — from there to New Windsor and crossed the North River (Hudson River) to Fish Kill, from there to Litchfield in Connecticut from there to Hartford — from there to home in Lebanon.  (the trip home was about 302 miles)

And after a long lapse of time received his full pay for six months services.

Third engagement 1777

And further saith that he entered the Service of the United States for the third time about the middle of August, as near as he can now recollect, in the year of 1777.

That he then belonged to a troop of horse.  And although the Captain had orders to draft a number from his company and called them together for that purpose, he and a number of others turned out voluntarily and were soon marched to Hartford where they were met by others from different towns — The Captain’s name was Green of East Haddam, Gamaliel Little of Lebanon was their Lieut. and their Cornet’s (third ranking officer in a cavalry unit) name was Bingham and resides in Canterbury.

That all immediately proceeded to Albany in the State of New York — from there to Bennnington in Vermont, and soon after marched to Manchester where they were divided into small parties and placed on the road from head quarters to Manchester, Pawlet, and Granville up to Lake Champlain, where they remained carrying dispatches from one part of the army to the other until Burgoyne was taken prisoner with his army

A day or two before Burgoyne surrendered he was taken sick and was not able to go home with his Company — From the time he left home until he returned was nearly three months including the time of his sickness and that he drew pay for two months services only.

Being left alone sick, he was neither dismissed nor had he any written discharge —  and that he knows of no person whose testimony he can procure who can testify to any of his services

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or an annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the Pension Roll of any agency in any State.

Eneas Gary

 

As a result of this testimony and a few character references, Eneas Gary was awarded a Certificate of Pension on Aug 19, 1833.  He received $87.50 in arrears and began receiving $35 per year until he died in Aug 17, 1844

 

Its About Time!

One of my family history goals is to ensure that all of our relatives are properly memorialized on findagrave.com.  For those not familiar with the site, it is well worth exploring.  Assuming you are not too spooked out by wandering through cemeteries.

Findagrave contains a lot of good information about our loved ones and how they were connected with others.  But, it is all done by volunteers so it is only as accurate as the contributors.  I try to make sure everything is right.  

A few months ago, I was checking and updating the memorial for my grandparents, John and Barbara Lueders.  I was there in Montebello, CA many many years ago when they were buried.  But I did not have a picture of their grave marker and there also wasn’t one on findagrave.com.  So I put in a request for a volunteer that could go out to the cemetery and take a picture for me.

A few days later I received an email notification that that my request had been fulfilled.  However, when I went online to see the picture this is what I found.

There was no grave marker!  How could that possibly be?  I knew for a fact that Grandma and Grandpa had planned out every detail of their funerals and burials down to, an including, the clothes they would be wearing.  How could they have not included a grave marker in all that planning?

First thing the next morning, I was on the phone calling Resurrection Cemetery in Montebello to find out what had happened.  After a couple days of investigation they called back and informed me that Yes! Grandma & Grandpa had picked out a grave marker. And, Yes! Sister Elizabeth Hurley had come in, after their passing, and made the final payment on said grave marker.  But, NO! the order had not been place with the company that should have made and installed the marker.  Apparently the order was still on file somewhere because they told me all about it was supposed to look like.  Fortunately, it was, in fact, paid for in full.  

So, I was told they would place the order right away and since it normally takes 8-10 weeks to get a marker, they would ask the company to expedite it!  After 32 years I should hope so.

Just in case, I waited 12 weeks before requesting another photo and today I received notification that my request had been fulfilled.  But this time, it was fulfilled.   As you can see, Grandpa & Grandma can finally rest in peace under their shiny new grave marker.

      

More About Barbara Lauer

I have talked about Barbara Lauer before.  She was my Grandpa Lueders’ mother.  But now I am ready to talk about her parents and siblings.  Turns out, she came from a very large family that had a long and full life in Germany before coming to America.

Her parents were Johann Lauer and Catharina Kuhn.  Catharina was born in Weierweiler, which is a small village in southwest Germany; about  20 miles from the French border.  In fact, when I finally found Catharina’s birth record it was in French!  How could that be?  I have always said I was half German because all eight of my gr-gr-grandparents on my mother’s side came from Germany around 1850.  But here it was, instead of Johann Peter Kuhn, as I expected, her father’s name was recorded as Jean Pierre.   But, not to fear, I am still half German.  If I had stayed awake in history class I would have remembered something about Napoleon and the French occupying parts of Germany after the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire.  Well, that occurred right around the time when Catharina Kuhn was born in 1808.  Earlier and later records are in German; but her birth record is in French and much easier to read. 

In 1826, Johann and Catharina were married, also in Weierweiler, and over the next 25 years, they lived in that community and had 11 or more children.  Several of them died young, but still, they were a large family and I believe there was extended family in the area as well.

For whatever reason, in 1851 Johann, Catharina, and 6 of their children, ages 3 to 23, left their little village and made their way some 200 miles to Antwerp where they boarded the passenger ship Atlantic and set sail for America.  They landed in New York on May 5, 1851.  Upon arrival they most likely took a river boat up the Hudson River and through the Erie Canal to Buffalo, NY.  From there they would have boarded a steamer ship that made its way through the Great Lakes to Milwaukee.

Unfortunately, the New World did not treat them as well as they had hoped.  In July of 1852, a year or so after arriving, 17 year old Maria Lauer died of cholera.  Less than a week after that, 4 year old Wilhelm Lauer died;  also of cholera.

Milwaukee was hit very hard by cholera from 1849-1854;  and in the midst of that epidemic, Catharina was about to have another child.  Barbara Lauer, my Great Grandmother, was born in September of 1852.  Weeks later, Catharina Lauer also died.

So Barbara Lauer never knew her mother.  She only knew 2 or 3 of her siblings.  And Johann, her father, died when she was a 13.  As far as I know, she never went to Germany, so she knew little of her family’s previous life.  She was born into a large family, but she was never really part of it.

Those Other Hardings

My Grandma, Phoebe Harding nee Gary had a sister.  Well, actually she had four sisters but the one I’m interested in tonight is Coralynn.  Coralynn married Harvey Albertus and they lived in Laurel Montana.  Whenever my dad was driving back and forth between Oregon and South Dakota he would stop at Coralynn and Harvey’s.  I remember stopping there a couple of times myself.

Coralynn and Harvey had three daughters, but the one I am interested in tonight is Marilyn Flo Albertus.  Just to make things a little more confusing for genealogists, Marilyn married a man named “Harding”; but we were always told that he was not related to the rest of us.  How can that be?  Well, I recently got curious and went on a mission to sorted it all out.

Here’s what I found.  Marilyn’s husband was Herman Harding.  His parents were Godfred and Charlotte Mohland Harding.  Indeed, they were not related to us because Godfred and Charlotte immigrated to America from Russia in about 1903.  Their name in Russia was “Hardung”.  And the old folks apparently continued to use that spelling since that is what appears on their grave markers.  But as nearly as I can tell, their 9 children, all born in Montana, went by Harding. 

So that’s why there is a whole clan of Hardings in Montana that aren’t related to us; except through Marilynn. 

Uncle Israel Harding

One of my previous blogs was devoted to Stephen Harding and his actions during the Revolutionary War.  Because of his service, I was able to become a member of the Sons of The American Revolution (SAR) and my female offspring could join the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Stephen Harding was, of course, a Patriot, meaning he sided with the American colonies in fighting against the British.  Five of his sons were Patriots.  Most of his brothers were Patriots.  But there was that one brother; Israel; the youngest.  Israel Harding, my 5th Great Grand Uncle, was not a Patriot.

I recently learned of another lineage group called the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada.  On their website, http://www.uelac.org/ they explain that “The United Empire Loyalists were generally those who had been settled in the thirteen colonies at the outbreak of the American Revolution, who remained loyal to and took up the Royal Standard, and who settled in what is now Canada at the end of the war.”   That’s Israel’s group.

Israel and Stephen Harding had both served in His Majesties Service during the French and Indian War.  Stephen served as a private.  Israel enlisted as a young soldier and attained the rank of Lieutenant during that conflict. Shortly after being discharged, in 1759, Israel was married to Sarah Harris in New London, CT  The young couple soon went off with the New England Planters to settle on a land grant in Lower Horton, Kings County, in the new colony of Nova Scotia.

For some unknown reason, after a decade or so farming in Nova Scotia, they packed up their five children and moved back to New London, Connecticut.  Perhaps they were homesick.  By 1771, Israel was buying and selling land in Colchester Co., CT and in 1774 he traveled to Nova Scotia and sold off the rest of his interests there.

That turned out to be a very bad move.  As the winds of Revolution began to blow Israel and Sarah were caught in the cross currents.  Among his family, Israel was the youngest of five brothers and the only one to remain loyal to the British during the Revolution. He saw no reason to reject the British rule. He saw the Tories as those, in his own words, “whose greatest crime if it may be deemed so has been love for their King and affection for the Parent Country.”

In and about the community of Colchester, life would have been very difficult for a Loyalist.  For example, he would not even have been able to get provisions for his family such as were promised to the families of the Continental soldiers.

Israel never took up arms against the rebels (or Patriots as we call them) but he did serve as a civilian spy and supplier.  His job was to observe the French Fleet and rebels at Rhode Island and pass on dispatches as requested.  Because of that he, in his own words,

“became obnoxious to the Americans, was apprehended, imprisoned, harassed, dragged from place to place by files of armed men and Constables, leaving a wife and seven children behind with no way to support them but by what money I had, which with defending myself before courts and committees and other expenses arising therefrom, amounted to a sum of five hundred and twenty dollars; also two boats which were taken from me I made use of in carrying sheep and cattle from Connecticut to the Fleet and Army. That after your memorialist escaped to Long Island he had a house assigned him by Government from which house he was taken by Capt. Elijah Smith and a party of men, and robbed of goods, wearing apparel, and other effects to the amount of one hundred and twenty eight dollars; that your Memorialist by his attachment to His Majesty was dispossessed of a house and land in the Town of Saybrook in Connecticut which was afterward sold for eight hundred dollars….”

At the request of his brother, Thomas, he was given permission by the Governor of Connecticut to remove to Long Island where things would have been easier since it was occupied by the British.  Eventually, as the war concluded, he had to flee there also and returned to Nova Scotia. 

In December 1783 Israel Harding applied for and later received a 950 acre land grant somewhere between Horton and New Minas in Nova Scotia.  That plot remained their family’s central home during the rest of his days.

Lieutenant Israel Harding was deceased by 18 July 1794 when his wife, Sarah, and children were awarded Probate Administration of his estate in Horton, Nova Scotia. The 950 acre farm was listed in the Inventory. His resting place is unknown, but he may have been buried with extended family and others in the Lower Horton old Planter cemetery, which became overgrown. There was no headstone when it was transcribed in the 1960’s

Sarah later moved to Digby County, Nova Scotia to live with her daughter, Eliphal (Lee) Allison. After a remarkable life journey, there in a peaceful rural setting she attained the good old age of 96 years. She died 26 March 1836 at the home of her daughter.

(source; Journey of a Lifetime; The True Story of Israel and Sarah Harding UEL by Carol Harding)

Barbara Lauer Lueders

Forty years ago, I had the foresight to ask my Grandma & Grandpa Lueders to write down what they remembered about their ancestors.  They complied, and the handwritten letter that Grandma sent me is a real treasure.  Most of what she wrote I have since confirmed, and expanded upon, from other source documents. But due to their recollections, I feel a more personal connection to real people. She included some little known anecdotes and often referred to people by the nicknames that they actually went by.

But some elements of the story are still a bit sketchy and mysterious.  Take, for example, Grandpa’s Mother.  They didn’t tell me much; only that her maiden name was Barbara Lauer; her mother died in childbirth; her father’s name was Johann; and he died when she was 12.

Of that, the only thing I have been able to confirm is her name. I have seen it many times in the birth and marriage records of her children.  But the coolest occurrence of her name is on the inside cover of a Prayer and Devotional Book (in German) which was found among my Grandparents’ things.  The year 1864 would suggest that it was given to Barbara Lauer when she was 12 years old which would be about right for a Confirmation gift.  How I wish I knew who wrote her name in that book.

For the first 30+  years of Barbara Lauer’s life, I can only form a dim picture from a few entries in city directories and census records.  Before I go on, I must point out that the Lueders had roots in both Milwaukee and Chicago and so it is quite possible that Barbara may have move back and forth between those two cities.

In the 1860 census we find this Lauer family living in Milwaukee, WI
Johann, 49, laborer
Maria,, 48
Johann, 17, mechanic
Barbara, 7, in school

Looks like the ideal family: dad, mom, two kids, one boy, one girl.  Their ages a little spread out, perhaps.  Johann is the right name for her father.  But her mother had supposedly died well before this.  Plus, Barbara Lauer went on to have five daughters of her own and didn’t name any of them Maria.  Barbara is the right age and I think this is my Gr-Grandmother but I am not convinced Maria is her mother.

The next time we see Barbara Lauer she is 10 years older and had apparently entered into servant’s work.

In the 1870 Chicago census there is a Barbara Lauer, aged 18, servant, living with a family named Sterling.

In the 1872 Milwaukee City Directory there is a Barbara Lauer (she would be 20), a servant, living at the same address as Herman Mack.  Herman was the “H” in H. & S. Mack & Co., which was a notable clothing firm in Milwaukee.

In the 1875 Milwaukee City Directory there is a Barbara Lauer (she would be 23), a servant, living at the same address as Mrs. Felbow and at least one other servant.

In the 1880 Milwaukee census there is a Barbara Lauer age 27 living with her brother Peter Lauer age 39.  Peter is widowed with two daughters aged 16 and 8.  Barbara’s occupation is “keeping house”.

This takes us up to within 3 years of the time that Barbara Lauer and August Lueders were married and starting their family.  But, apparently, before that happened, there was another turn of events in Barbara Lauer’s life.  I have not been able to find a marriage record for a Barbara Lauer anywhere.  But I did find this marriage record for August Lueders and Mrs. Barbara Chorengel.

April 9, 1883; August is 28; Barbara is 30; it takes place in Chicago.  Everything is right! I really think this is my Grandpa’s parents.  But who is Mr. Chorengel and what happened to him.   I assumed, of course, that he died.  But I could find no record of that.  In fact, “Chorengel” is a very unusual name that rarely shows up anywhere.  And, as I said, there is no record of a Barbara Lauer ever getting married.

Then I found this item in the Chicago Daily Tribune for April 10, 1883

So Barbara was not a widow.  She was divorced from August W. Chorengel for desertion.  And if you do the math, the divorce was finalized on April 9, 1883; the very same day that August Lueders and Mrs. Barbara Chorengel got married.  So it looks to me like they had to wait until the divorce was final and then they immediately walked down the hallway to the Justice of the Peace and got hitched.

Barbara Lauer Lueders and August Lueders

One final note of interest:

I did eventually find August W. Chorengel – Barbara’s deserting ex-husband.   Ten years after the divorce, he is mentioned in his father’s Last Will & Testament.  Gerd F. Chorengel, his father, willed that after he and his wife were both gone everything was to be split equally among their four children.  Simple as that!  But then he threw in this final clause regarding only this one son.

“I hereby however order and direct that my son August Wilhelm Chorengel is to receive his share only on the express condition that he uses his full name August Wilhelm Chorengel otherwise his share shall be equally distributed among his brothers and sister.”

A rebel to the end.  I’m thinking maybe he changed his name and went on the road as a jazz musician.  But then I could be wrong.

Barbara & August Lueders Six kids and many years later

Traverston

While growing up in California, I occasionally found myself at a large family gathering of the Travers clan.  There could be six or seven individual family units in attendance and always a few kids my own age.  I never really thought about how, or if, we were related.

Much later, when I started researching family history, I learned that my Grandma Harding’s mother was Ellen Agnes “Travers” and her grandfather was John “Travers”.  I also discovered that Ellen and most of her 11 siblings were born in Traverston, Ontario, Canada.

What a coincidence!  That there would be so many people named Travers in Traverston!  There had to be a story there and this is what I found:

John Travers and Margaret Marie Cronan (my 2Gr-Grandparents) were married in 1856.  They settled and began their family in Glenelg Township, Ontario, Canada (100 miles northeast of Toronto) where he built and operated a sawmill on the banks of the Rocky Saugeen River.

Around that same time, a couple of land speculators were attempting to create a new town in the area.  The proposed community was to be called Waverley and according to an 1856 plot map of the town it included many small industries including a tannery, a machine shop, a sawmill, a cabinet and chair factory, and a flour mill.

In truth, however, the only enterprise that likely actually existed was Travers’ sawmill.   As for the fate of all the other prospective residents and landholders of Waverley, that remains a bit of a mystery.  No land was registered to anyone other than the would-be developers.  Whether any money traded hands is unknown. Rumor suggests that there may have been some kind of swindle but nothing more is known for sure .

At some point, John Travers bought the entire one hundred acre Lot including the site of Waverley.  In about 1862 he built a store and added it to his enterprises.

In 1870 a rural post office was established in Waverley .  From 1872 – 1882 Travers served as Postmaster and operated the office from his store.  As part of his official duties as Postmaster, he elected to renamed the town after himself.  Hence, Waverley has ever since been known Traverston. 

By 1871, Travers had added a large grist mill to augment his sawmill.  Although Traverston never grew as large as hoped, it did become a thriving hamlet.  And, as we have seen, the birthplace of a lot of Travers children.  Unfortunately after the railroad came through, and passed it by, Traverston dwindled.

Traverston can still be found on Google Maps along with a photo of a mill built in 1870 that has since been converted into a residence.

Looks like a lovely place to visit someday.

Tintypes of Roth Sisters

I went looking for a particular picture of my wife’s grandmother today.  I did’t find it but I did run across a couple of neat old tintypes.

Tintypes were an early form of photograph made by creating a direct positive image on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the  photographic emulsion.  Tintypes enjoyed their widest use during the 1860s and 1870s, but lesser use of the medium persisted into the early 20th century.

My tintypes are 2 1/2″ X 3 1/2″ and .010″ thick.  I believe they were made around 1890 and they look pretty good for being 127 years old

I sometime see old pictures like these in antique malls and I think it’s a shame because they were probably discarded just because no one knew who the subjects were.  Fortunately, someone taped a label to the back of one of mine identifying the subjects (the handwriting looks like Aunt Ann’s).Roth 006

Roth 006 back

So apparently, the two ladies are my Gr-Gr-Aunts Barbara Roth Hopf and Mary Roth Fleischman.  I never knew either of them.  But the little child is my Gr-Aunt Elizabeth Rauch, better know to me and Keith as “Aunt Lizzy”.  We saw a lot of her when we were growing up in California, of course, she looked a lot older then.  She was also one of the little girls sitting in front of the wagon at the Rauch Family Picnic which I posted about earlier.

Unkn 002

The second picture falls more towards the unknown category.  I can make a good guess about one of the gentlemen though.
If you look at the background carefully it is easy to assume that the two pictures were taken on the same day in the same place.
If we also assume that all of the subjects are related, then two of the men are probably the ladies’ husbands, Andrew Hopf and Bernhard Fleischman.  The third man would be George Rauch, the little girl’s father.
By comparing this to other pictures I have of George Rauch, including the one from the Rauch Family Picnic, I am ready to say that the man in the middle is George Rauch (1860-1932).  He was Aunt Lizzy’s father and my Gr-Gr-Grandfather.

Patriot Stephen Harding (1723-1789)

My application for membership to the Sons Of The American Revolution states that my 5th Gr-Grandfather, Stephen Harding, “assisted in the establishment of American Independence while acting in the capacity of Captain of the 7th Co., 24th Regiment, Colonel Zebulon Butler Connecticut Militia in1775 and he was in command of Fort Jenkins in Wyoming Valley, PA when he was captured on July 2,1778 by the Tories and the Indians.”

That is all true, of course, but there is so much more to the story…

Stephen Harding Jr. was born March 11, 1723 in Warwick, RI.  His 4th Gr-Grandfather, Richard Harding, had emigrated from England a century earlier making Stephen a fourth generation American.

His father, Capt. Stephen Harding, was a mariner, building and sailing his own ships.  Capt. Stephen must have gained considerable wealth for in 1732 he purchased a highly improved 400 acre farm that included a sawmill in what became Waterford, CT.  The family moved there when the younger Stephen was perhaps 9 years old.

Little else is known about Stephen Jr. until May 31, 1743 when he married Amy Gardner (daughter of Stephen & Frances Congdon Gardner).  Together they settled in Colchester, CT where they resided for over 25 years and raised 9 sons and 4 daughters.

During the French and Indian War Stephen Jr. served in Captain Thomas Pierce’s Twelfth Company of the Second Connecticut Regiment.  He served as a private for about six months and was involved in the Campaign of 1760.

“From the lips of those who were acquainted with them during their lifetime, we are told that (Stephen) was a man of means, and a prominent man in the town of Colchester (Connecticut), from whence he had come; and that both he and his wife had been members of the Baptist Church there. He was a man of great will power and energy, of more than ordinary physical stature, and always ready to act upon every emergency.”  (Source: Luscomb, J.S. (1998). Genealogical Outline of the Richard Harding Line. Wyoming Historical Society collections.)

Stephen’s name appears several times among those from Connecticut who, beginning in the 1760’s, attempted to establish a settlement in the Wyoming Valley in NE Pennsylvania.  This very fertile valley was formed by the Susquehanna River which flows from upstate New York through Pennsylvania, Maryland, and into the Chesapeake Bay. We are primarily interested in the 30 mile stretch just north and east of Wilkes-Barre, PA.

The problem with settling the Wyoming Valley was that it was embroiled in a border dispute between the Colonies of Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  King Charles II had unwittingly granted the area to both Colonies; and neither wanted to give it up.  The result was a series of Yankee-Pennamite Wars that raged, off and on, for 25 years.  That is a great story for another time.  But for now, suffice to know only that Stephen Harding believed that he was settling in Westmoreland, Connecticut.  All of his civic and military service was for Connecticut.  Even though the area is now part of Pennsylvania.

Stephen was living in the Wyoming Valley in 1772 when Pittston Fort was a built by the  Connecticut settlers.  The fort contained about 35 cabins within a triangular palisade.  The settlers owned and occupied their cabins until such times as they were ready to live on the farms which they had located.  One of these cabins, #33, belonged to Stephen Harding.

April 19, 1775 – The American Revolutionary War began with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

May, 1775 –  The Connecticut Legislature enacted “that the town of Westmoreland shall be one entire regiment distinguished and called by the name of the 24th Regiment” Zebulun Butler was appointed Colonel.

Fall of 1775 – Stephen sold his interest in Pittston Fort and presumably moved into his house in Exeter Township.  Located on the west side of the Susquehanna river, near Falling Spring the settlement later became the village of Harding. (it’s on Google Maps)

October, 1775 – The 24th Connecticut Militia Regiment was organized into nine companies.  The Line Officers for the Seventh Company, located around Exeter Township, were Stephen Harding, Captain; Elisha Scovell, Lieutenant; John Jenkins, Ensign (Harding & Jenkins were brothers-in-law; their wives Amy Gardner Harding and Lydia Gardner Jenkins were sisters.)

August, 1776 – Two Independent Companies of the 24th Regiment were established for Continental Service .  At least three of Stephen Harding’s sons, Stephen III, Thomas (my ancestor), and Israel, enlisted in the First Westmoreland Independent Co.

January, 1777 – The two Independent Companies left the Wyoming Valley and marched off to join General Washington at Morristown, NJ.  Their departure left primarily women, children and old men to defend the Wyoming Valley.  Stephen was then 54 and one of the men that stayed behind.  One of the children was Stephen’s son, Elisha, who later gave this testimony:

“In answer to your request, I will begin with the building of Jenkins fort. In the month of June, 1777, it was thought proper to commence building forts, for defense against the enemy.  We went to work I, but a boy, could do but little, except driving oxen to haul logs ; the logs were about eighteen or twenty feet long, and placed in a ditch of a sufficient depth to stand against any thing that could be brought by the enemy against it ; the corners so constructed as to rake any thing on the outside of the fort that should attempt to assail it.”

So, Fort Jenkins was actually built by Harding, Jenkins, Gardner and their families. It was nothing more than a log stockade built around the house of Judge John Jenkins.  Other forts in the area were larger.  I’ve already mentioned Pittston Fort; and Forty Fort occupied almost an acre.  But Fort Jenkins was small and only able to accommodate a few families in times of danger.

.Fort Wintermoots, another stockaded house, was also small and only a mile away from Fort Jenkins.  But it had been built by Tory settlers from New York who were sympathetic to the British.

Spring of 1778 – Butler’s Ranagers began wreaking havoc in the Susquehanna Valley.  Major John Butler (no relation to Zebulun Butler) was a Connecticut Tory, loyal to the British Crown, with extensive knowledge of Indian languages and customs.  He had at his command as many as 500 Mohawk Indians and 400 local Tories.  The Susquehanna was a strategic waterway and food source and they meant to take it by any means.

May, 1778 –  Sensing the danger, the Hardings, Hadsalls, John Gardner and perhaps others moved into Fort Jenkins.  But they were still farmers. They had to go out and tend to their crops or they would have nothing to eat come winter. 

June 30,1778 – A work party, including Stephen’s sons Benjamin, Stukley, & Stephen III (apparently back from his tour with Washington) went up river five or six miles to work in their corn fields.  Toward evening, as they were beginning to make their way back to the fort, they were ambushed by Indians.  Benjamin and Stukley were killed, mutilated, and scalped.  Stephen III fled and after wandering through the woods all night made it back to the fort the next morning.

July 1, 1778 – A force from Forty Fort marched the 11 miles to the site of the murders seeking retaliation.  They also recovered the bodies of Benjamin and Stukley. Amy Gardner Harding, their mother, prepared them for burial and they were laid to rest outside of the fort. These were the first burials in the Jenkins-Harding Cemetery.

July 2, 1778 – I again quote Elisha Harding’s testimony:

“In the course of the after noon, Butler sent a flag to our fort, demanding a surrender thereof; Captain Harding and Esquire Jenkins met Butler; and there being but five able-bodied men, and two old men, and three boys, left in the fort, and the Indians in possession of Wintermoots, it was thought most advisable to surrender on the following conditions: that nothing should be taken from the inhabitants of the fort, except such things as were wanted for the army, and that to be paid for; the inhabitants to have liberty to return home and occupy their farms in peace, but not to take up arms during the war.”

July 3, 1778 –  All the Companies of the 24th, except for Harding’s 7th Co.,which was captured the day before, were gathered in Forty Fort for a war council.  Colonel Zebulun Butler was there; and troops from the Independent Companies were on their way.  Smoke could been seen on the horizon as Forts Jenkins and Wintermoots were being destroyed. Some of the men at Forty Forty insisted that they must go out immediately and confront the enemy to protect their farms and families.  Col. Zebulun Butler advised that they should stay in the Fort and wait for reinforcements. But he eventually relented and the men of Wyoming left the Fort and went out in pursuit of the enemy.

They found the enemy, established a line, and fired a couple of volleys.  But then they realized that they were outflanked by Indians hiding in the woods.  Savage hand-to-hand combat with spears and tomahawks ensued and within 45 minutes the Battle and Massacre of Wyoming was over.

Numbers vary, but roughly 200 Patriots were killed, tortured, and/or mutilated that day.  The Wyoming Monument lists the names of 182 men known to have died.  When Col. John Butler left the Valley a few days later he took with him 227 scalps for which the British paid him $2270.

By being captured on the previous day, the Hardings escaped the horror of the Battle & Massacre.  But they surely suffered tremendous loss among friends and neighbors.

Despite the surrender agreement at Jenkins Fort, it was not safe to remain in the valley.  The Hardings fled to Colchester for the duration of the war.  In 1778, they returned to the Wyoming Valley and resumed living on their farm in Exeter.  Stephen Harding died Oct 11,1789 and Amy survived him until June 4,1804.  They are both buried in Jenkins-Harding Cemetery in West Pittston, PA along side of their sons, Benjamin and Stukley.

Jenkins-Harding Cemetery, West Pittston, PA

Wyoming Monnument

3 Harding Politicians

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Warren G. Harding (1865 – 1923)

We Hardings probably all get asked if we are related to the President?  The truth is that we are, but it is so distant that you need a computer to figure it out.  Warren G. Harding is my  6th cousin once removed and our common ancestor is Stephen Harding Sr. (1681 – 1750).  The main advantage to having a president in your line is that once you get past that common ancestor, any research  done on him, taking us back in to England, is valid for us too.

Benjamin Franklin Harding

Benjamin Franklin Harding (1823 – 1899)

A slightly closer yet still distant relative is Benjamin Franklin Harding.  Acccording to the computer, he is my 2nd cousin 4 times removed.

B. F. Harding was born in Tunkhannock, PA.  He studied and became a lawyer in his hometown and in 1849 he migrated to the Pacific Coast.

In 1850 he was chosen a member of the legislative assembly of the territory of Oregon; and was again a member and also speaker of the house in 1852.

In 1853 he was appointed by President Pierce U.S. district attorney for the territory and in 1854 was made its secretary, which office he held till Feb. 14, 1859, when Oregon was admitted as a state.

He was a representative in the state legislature, 1859-62, being speaker the last two years.

He was then elected as a Union or Douglas Democrat to the U.S. senate to complete the unexpired term of Edward D. Baker, who was killed at the battle of Ball’s Bluff. He took his seat Dec. 1, 1862, during the third session of the 37th congress and served to March 3, 1865, when he returned to Oregon and engaged in the practice of law.

He died at Cottage Grove, Oregon, June 16, 1899.

William_Lloyd_Harding_in_1915

William Lloyd Harding (1875 – 1934)

Closer still is my 1st cousin twice removed, William Lloyd Harding.   I never met him, of course, but I think I have talked to people that did know him.

After graduating from Morningside College in 1905 he established a law firm in Sioux City, Iowa.

He entered the 1906 campaign, and was elected to the Iowa State Legislature by an impressive majority.

In 1912, he sought and won the Lt. Governorship, serving two terms with Governor G.W. Clarke.

In 1916 he received the Republican nomination for Governor, and in a campaign which the state historians have said overshadowed the second election of Pres. Wilson, Harding swept into office with the election of Nov. 7, 1916. He served 2 terms in office as Governor during the years of 1917-1921.