Showing posts with label Revolutionary War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Revolutionary War. Show all posts

Friday, July 3, 2015

Independence



Aaron Rogers was my fourth great-grandfather. When I discovered The Fold as a resource for military records, I discovered his complete pension file which was a wealth of information and also unraveled a small mystery in my family tree. First, Aaron's story. He was born in Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. In recalling his service for the pension board, here is what he had to say:

"In June 1775 he resided at Harwich in the County of Barnstable in the said Commonwealth and within four days after the Battle of Bunker Hill a company was raised in Harwich for the purpose of guarding the coast the enlistment of the members being for six months. The company was commanded by Captain Clark of Harwich and  I enlisted into the company when it was first raised. ….I did duty in this company for six months and I was discharged. Immediately after my discharge I enlisted into a company  of the Continental establishment under the command of Captain Peter Harwood of Brookfield, Massachusetts who came into the neighborhood of my then residency and enlisted a company for …. We marched in the winter in the early days of January 1776 to Roxbury, Massachusetts and were stationed there until the British troops evacuated Boston. I marched on to Dorchester Heights at the time the entrenchments were thrown up there by the American troops. After the evacuation of Boston,  our company marched to New York by the way of Providence, Rhode Island. I marched with them and we were quartered at New York City. Our duty consisted of guarding the shipping by boats as most of our company had come from Cape Cod and were considered as acquainted with that duty… At the end of the end of our enlistment which was one year I was discharged from service at New York. I received a written discharge have not the same now in my possession and I think it must be in the War Department in Washington. I have been placed on the Pension Roll of  the Massachusetts Line of Revolutionary troops under the Law of 1818 but have since been struck from that Roll. After my discharge aforesaid I returned to Harwich  and continued there until about March 1777 when I again enlisted into the company of continental troops raised in that neighborhood under the command of Captain ? (probably Captain Bangs)"

Official records being what they were at the time and having apparently lost his discharge orders, he has to appeal to his brother-in-law, Jonathan Rogers, to vouch for him. Here's where the little brick starts to be chipped away from the brick wall. In 1779, Aaron married "Miss Hannah Rogers also of Harwich". I could never find parents or a birth record for Hannah no matter where I looked. I had done quite a bit of looking for Aaron's family so I knew that none of his sisters married a Jonathan Rogers. So, this brother-in-law was Hannah's brother. Still haven't found their parents, but it's a start.

Aaron did finally get his pension for the grand sum of $8 a month but lost it again when his net worth
exceeded the allowed limits. When it dropped again he reapplied.  By this time he was living in Holden
on land he received, I believe as a "bounty" for his service. (sort of the VA benefits of that time) Aaron's benefits, after more paperwork and wrangling, went to Hannah after his death. A fascinating look at the proceedings of those times.

I also returned to the Holden town records. Aaron wasn't in Holden in July, 1776, but I was curious about what the minutes of the town meeting would show:

Sure enough, there it is. The Declaration of Independence handwritten in full into the town minutes for posterity. If you look about four lines down on the image you will spot it: "When in the course of human events..."

I got goosebumps.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Revolutionary Ideas- The Story of Three Sisters

Dunn Cemetery- Bloomington Indiana
On the Indiana side of my mother's family tree, we are related to the Dunns. They settled in Rockingham County, Virginia, removed to Kentucky and my branch ended up in Indiana. There are Dunns all over Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana who descend from this line. This story goes even further back. Samuel Fowler Dunn married Eleanor Brewster, one of many children and one of  three very well-known daughters of James Brewster and Eleanor Williamson. James Brewster and Samuel's father John Dunn were lifelong friends from their childhood in Northern Ireland.

The story of their bravery during the American Revolution has been told and retold in multiple versions all over the genealogical community.  The girls were Eleanor who was 22, Jenette-14 and Agnes-13 at the start of the Revolution. The farm raised sheep and the girls carded the wool, spun it and wove it into cloth to supply the armies who camped on and near their land. They cooked and carried food to the troops. One particular story has them baking bread continually night and day in a particular bread oven brought with the family from Ireland. The oven, it is said, was never allowed to cool. It was handed down in the Dunn family to girls named Jennet or Janet.  Recognition of the bravery of the three girls has been given by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.You can read various things about the family here.

Eleanor, my ancestor, married Samuel Fowler Dunn. He moved out of Virginia and Kentucky and further north into Indiana, because it is said he objected to slavery.  Jenette married Samuel Irvin and Agnes married William Alexander. The three sisters all ended up in Indiana in the area around Bloomington.

George G Dunn deeded a portion of the family farm to be kept in perpetuity as a cemetery for the descendants of the Dunn family. The land around it was later sold to Indiana University, so the cemetery and chapel now sit on the university campus.  There is a monument to the three sisters in one corner of the cemetery.