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Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Harmon Family in Bennington Vermont

The following descriptions are taken from Memorials of a Century:  Embracing a Record of Individuals and Events Chiefly in the Early History of Bennington, Vt., and its First Church by Isaac Jennings (Boston, Gould and Lincoln, 1869).  Simeon Harmon is Daniel Williams Harmon's paternal grandfather. 

Several members of the Dewey and Norton families are mentioned in the book as well, but so far I can't find a direct connection.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Harmon Family Obituaries

Here is an obituary for Daniel Harmon Sr., father of the explorer, fur trader and writer Daniel Williams Harmon. Daniel Harmon Sr. was the husband of Lucretia Dewey, the son of Simeon Harmon and Mercy Spencer, and the father of seven sons and a daughter.   From the Middlebury Mercury, Middlebury, Vermont, Wednesday July 3, 1805. p.3.

"At Vergennes, on the 26th ult., Deacon DANIEL HARMON, age 55.  He was born in Suffield, Conn. in 1749 O.S.  In infancy he removed to New-Marlboro, Mass, where he lived till he was eighteen years of age:  he then settled in Bennington, and continued there till 1795, when he removed to Vergennes.  At the last mentioned place, he continued in the office of deacon about ten years.  Blessed with pious parents, he was early instructed in religion, and is supposed to have been converted about the time of his first living at Bennington.  He was zealous and active in the cause of Christ. His death is, in a religious view, a great public loss.  His friends will derive consolation from reflecting on the great piety of his life, and his memory will be cherished by all who are the true friends of Christianity. 
The sweet remembrance of the just
Shall flourish, when they sleep in dust."   

The emphasis on Daniel Sr's strong religious bent confirms what John Spargo recounts in his book Two Bennington-Born Explorers and Makers of Modern Canada about the nature of the family in which Daniel Williams Harmon was raised.

Daniel and his wife Lucretia are buried in the Old Vergennes Cemetery, Vermont.  His grave is weathered and the writing is very faint.  

Daniel Sr.'s widow, Lucretia (Dewey) Harmon, has an obituary in the Vermont Gazette, March 3, 1829, p. 3:

"In Coventry, Vt., Feb. 7th on the 7th day of her sickness, Mrs. Lucretia Harmon, relict of the late Capt. Daniel Harmon, formerly of this town, more recently of Vergennes, aged 76.  Mrs. Harmon was one of the early and most respected inhabitants of Bennington, for very many years a professor of the religion of Jesus Christ, and Member of the Congregational church in this town, and although she appeared in her sickness, to be in a measure deprived of her reason, and the power of speaking to be understood, yet her whole soul was apparently engaged in prayer." 

Of course, when Lucretia is called a "professor" it is not in the teaching sense but in the sense that she professed to be a Christian, and when Daniel is referred to as a "Captain" it's not in the boating sense but referring to his rank in the militia.  It's interesting to know that Lucretia was considered an early resident of Bennington.

Daniel Sr.'s father, Simeon Harmon, predeceased him by only a few years.  Here is his obituary, in the Vermont Gazette, published in Bennington Vermont, Tuesday, August 2, 1803, p. 3:

"DIED]  In Reupert, Mr. Simeon Harmon, formerly of this town, in the 84th year of his age.  He was a member of the church in Bennington, distinguished for his piety, and respected for his probity.  We have not heard the circumstances of his death."

Friday, April 18, 2014

William Norton in the War of 1812

I find the War of 1812 genealogically interesting since we have ancestors who fought for the American side and others who fought for the British/Canadian side. I recently received a package of records relating to William Norton's involvement in the war from the American National Archives. The package consists of papers submitted by William after the war to claim land and pension rights as a military volunteer during a time of war.  William Norton was the husband of Amaryllis Andrews and the father of Louisa (Norton) Davis, who married Adoniram Davis.  The Davis family, by the way,  were United Empire Loyalists. 

Here is William's application for bounty land, dated April 6, 1852:

"State of New York, Washington County.  On this sixth day of April A.D. one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two, personally appeared before me a Justice of the Peace within and for the County and State aforesaid William Norton aged sixty seven years a resident of the Town of Granville in the county and state aforesaid who being duly sworn according to Law declares that he is the Identical William Norton who was a private in the Company of Artillery commanded by Captain Jehiel Dayton in the Regiment of Artillery commanded by Lieut. Col. Stephen Thorn detached from the second and third Brigades of New York Artillery in the war with Great Britain declared by the United States on the 18th day of June 1812.  That he volunteered on or about the month of July A.D. 1812 for the Term of six months that he with the said Company mustered at Whitehall on the Eleventh day of August 1812 and march (sic) to Plattsburgh and continued in actual service in said War until the 24th day of November 1812 when said Company were allowed by Order of General Dearborn to return home allowing them six days rations to arrive at home making it the first day of December 1812 and making an actual service of three months and twenty days. That said Company were again called into actual service in said War by an Order of Lieut. Col. Pliney Adams to whose Regiment of New York militia the said Company of Artillery was attached being the 154th Regiment of said militia that this declarant mustered with said Company under said Order of Col. Adams on the Eleventh Day of September A.D. 1814 at Whitehall in said County of Washington and marched to Burlington in the State of Vermont, where they were verbally discharged honorably on or about the twentieth day of September A.D. 1814 after having continued in actual service for the Term of thirteen --- days including four days to return home....He makes this Declaration for the purpose of obtaining the bounty Land to which he may be entitled under the act granting bounty land to certain officers and soldiers of the United States passed September 28th 1850.  (signed) William Norton.

 Under this application, William was awarded a warrant for 80 acres of land.  In 1855 act was passed which made it possible for William to apply for additional bounty land, which he did.  He was awarded another 80 acres, making 160 acres altogether.  It's interesting that the April 1852 application states he is sixty-seven years old, and the application in May of 1855, three years later,  says he is sixty-eight. Was he not keeping track of his age?

William made one more application on the strength of his War of 1812 service, for a military pension, in 1871.  He had to go to Vermont to apply, and he had to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States on top of declaring his service.  Here is part of the application:

"  State of Vermont, County of Rutland.  On this 15th day of March A.D. One thousand eight hundred & seventy one before me a Judge of the County Court a Court of Record within and for the County and State aforesaid William Norton, aged 85 years, a resident of Middle Granville County of Washington State of New York who being duly sworn according to law declares that he is married that his wife's name was Amarillus Andrews to whom he was married at Middle Granville aforesaid on the 25th day of December A.D. 1816 that he served the full period of four months and twenty days in the military service of the United States in the War of 1812...that he was in said service stationed and employed at & in the vicinity of Plattsburgh N.Y. part of the time with his Company & Regiment that for his military service aforesaid he received & had issued to him two land warrants for 160 acres of land in all under acts of Congress.  That in September 1814 he served in the same company & Regiment about half a month being called out for the defense of Plattsburgh..."

William was granted a pension of eight dollars a month, retroactive to February 1871.  His land bounty warrant numbers were 32206-80-50 and 24218-80-55.  William enjoyed his pension for eight more years, dying in 1877 at the age of 92.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Obituary for Ann (Galloway) Scott

Ann Galloway, wife of Thomas Chalmers Scott, is a family member I haven't been able to find out much about.  Her birth family and location is unknown.  I found an obituary for her in David Oliphant's newspaper The Christian Banner of October 1854, on page 280.

Unfortunately it doesn't tell us anything about her early life.  It is interesting that the informant is William Elliot;  yet another example of the close connection between the Scott and Elliot families.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Possible Parents for Sophia Watt

Sophia Watt's recently discovered obituary does not name her parents but does provide her date and place of birth;   March 26, 1782, in London, England.   Using this information I have uncovered a possible baptismal record for her.   There was a Sophia Watt baptized on March 31, 1782, at St. Leonard's Church, in Heston, Middlesex, which is part of London.  Her parents were William and Jane Watt.

I've also found a marriage record for a William Watt of Heston, Middlesex, bachelor, and a Jane Powis, widow, who married in St. Martin, Dorking, on June 19, 1780.

Powis could either be Jane's birth name or the name from her first marriage.  There is a marriage record for a Jane Bond marrying a John Powis at St. Marylebone on September 10, 1778.  There is also a record of a William Watt, Gardener, and his wife Jean Bond having a son named James on March 26, 1786, in St. Andrews.  A William Watt Sr. was one of the witnesses.  Could this William Watt and Jean Bond be the William Watt and Jane Powis who are Sophia's parents? 

Here is a death record for a William Watt, from St. Andrews and St. Leonards parish.

William Watt Gardner to St Mary's College St. Andrews died 27th of April 1800.

And here's another one, from the same parish, three years later:

William Watt, Gardner to the New College died here 6th of May 1803. 

Here is an obituary for a William Watt, gardener of St. Andrews, who died a few years before either one of these.  It is written almost 40 years later;  possibly the death date is mistaken?  It seems a stretch that there were three William Watts who gardened for St. Andrews University at the same time.   This is taken from The Gardener's Magazine and Registry of Rural and Domestic Improvement, Vol. 15, 1839.  If this is Sophia Watt's line of descent, I'm guessing it would be her grandfather, not her father.