Sunday, November 19, 2017

Colonel Samuel Clyde: Cherry Valley, New York

This is the first in a series of biographical sketches that I have planned. My goal is to map out my extended Thornton Family and their descendants and their roles during the American War of Independence. Here is what I know about Colonel Samuel Clyde.

Samuel was born in Windham, New Hampshire on 11 April 1732. His father, Daniel, was a Scots-Irish immigrant from the Londonderry area of Ireland. He immigrated about 1732 and settled near Londonderry, New Hampshire. His mother, Ester Rankin, was also Scots-Irish. Daniel died in Windham, NH in 1753, about the time that Samuel is believed to have left New Hampshire for New  York.

new hampshire
Samuel is reported as having been a member of the New Hampshire militia. He built docks and a type of boat known as a batteaux in Halifax and participated in the attempt to take Ft. Ticonderoga and  the battle of Ft. Fontenac in 1758. It was there that he first met Matthew Thornton, the company doctor, and uncle of his future wife.

new york
Samuel settled in the Mohawk Valley of New York. The area had been first settled by Palatinate Germans in the 1600's. Many of these 'Dutch' people left New York for Pennsylvania and became part of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Their New York lands were taken up by many Scots-Irish families as well as English colonists. This area was also the home of the Six Nations; six Iroquois tribes.

Samuel is known to have been in New York in 1758 when he was appointed Captain in a company of Rangers. The Ranger groups were formed in the wake of the French and Indian Wars that ravaged the frontier.

Samuel put his carpentry skills to good work, building a chapel for the Mohawks, on land donated by Joseph Brandt in 1769.

In 1761 he married Catherine Wason, daughter of Agnes Thornton and John Wason. Agnes was the sister of Matthew Thornton of New Hampshire. He would later sign the declaration of Independence. Her family left Ireland in about 1720 and wandered around Maine and Massachusetts before settling in New Hampshire. Together with her brother William, his wife Dorcas Little, their children and the family of Dorcas' father Thomas Little, they made the trip to Schenectady, New York.

cherry valley
In 1762 Samuel and Dorcas moved west to Cherry Valley. Their family grew rapidly as they did in those days. Their children were Agnes, Ann, Jennie, Catherine, Matthew, George, Joseph, and Esther. In 1768 Samuel purchased a farm about one mile from the center of Cherry Valley.

patriot fever
On 27 August 1774 a Committee of Correspondence was formed in Tyron County. These committees were popping up all over the colonies as tension mounted between England and her unruly subjects. The Battle of Lexington and Corcord was fought on April 19, 1775. The following month, a Committee of Safety, of which Samuel was a member, meet at the Cherry Valley church and drew up Articles of Association. The articles were put to all men in the County, if you signed you were a patriot if you refused you were a loyalist, also known as a Tory. Samuel was a member of the Committee and clearly a Patriot.

The Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the British Government, Guy Johnson fled to Canada. With his was Thayendanegea, aka Joseph Brant and the Butler brothers, loyalist and Tories all. Tory properties were confiscated, eventually sold to raise funds.

In August 1777, the Tryon County Militia led by General Herkimer was ambushed near the Oneida Indian village of Oriska. Major Samuel Clyde was present and fought in what is known as the Battle of Oriskany. General Herkimer died as a result of wounds he received during the battle and Samuel Clyde assumed command of the militia.

On November 11, 1778 a combined force of Native Americans and Tories led by Joseph Brandt and the Butlers wreaked death and destruction on Cherry Valley. Samuel Clyde, now Colonel, was at Ft. Alden when the attack began. Catherine and the children, escaped into the nearby woods and sent the night huddled next to a log. The following morning Col. Clyde and a group of volunteers set out to search for his family. They were found and escorted under fire into the fort. There they found the bodies of many of their friends and neighbors, murdered and scalped by the enemy.

The Clydes left their Cherry Valley home for the duration of the war. They lived with their Thornton relatives near Schenectady in Curry's Bush, today's Princetown.

Samuel and his family returned to Cherry Valley after the war to rebuild their lives. Samuel was chosen as Sheriff of what became Montgomery County. Samuel died in 1790 but Catherine lived until 1824. They were buried in Cherry Valley.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Nicholas and Sarah (Cox) Norris of Hampton and Exeter, New Hampshire

The English or otherwise origins of Nicholas Norris of Hampton and Exeter New Hampshire are unknown. One descendant claimed that there was a family tradition that he came from Ireland as a boy, but there is nothing to support this claim.[1] He was probably born around  1640 as he was married on 21 January 1664 to Sarah Cox of Hampton. His wife Sarah was born in Hampton, her parents were Moses and Alice Cox. The 1664 recording of the marriage is the first mention of Nicholas in the New Hampshire records. [2] Torrey says the marriage was in 1663. [3]

Nicholas as a tailor by trade. He most like did other work to make ends meet. His first house was between Abraham Perkins Sr. and Isaac Godfrey. It included 3 acres. He must have bought a second house in Hampton as he recorded the sale of it in 1671 after his removal to Exeter. This house was bought from Thomas Webster.

Prior to leaving Hampton, Sarah Cox Norris became a full member of the Hampton church on 5 April 1668. Although everyone went to church, no everyone was willing to go through the confessional process to become full members. Nicholas did not join his wife in the full membership of their church. [4]

 Nicholas was first recorded in Exeter on 30 August 1671. His property was mentioned in a town meeting in which they banned folks from stacking logs on the meeting house hill and then roll them down the hill to the river below. [5] His home must have  been nearby.

He received a land grant of 50 acres in 1681 and another 50 in 1682. In 1705 he was granted 20 more acres. His son Moses received 50. In 1725 Nicholas Norris Sr. received 30 acres. [6]

The New Hampshire towns were on the frontier. Trouble frequently flared between the town inhabitants and the Native Americans. In 1695 the town was tasked with manning its garrison. Each man had to spend approximately one month in defense of the town. Nicholas was no exception, his 'tour of duty' was from 31 August to 28 September 1696. [7] The last Indian raid occurred in 1723.

Sarah Norris, b. 20, 7, 1664, d. Feb 10, 1667
Sarah Norris, b. 10, 12, 1666, d. young
John Norris, b. 10, 5, 1667; no record; he probably d. when young
Moses Morris, b. Aug 14. 1670; m. Ruth Folsom; res. Exeter
Jonathan Norris, b. March 5, 1673; res. Stratham, N.H.
Abigail Norris, b. Nov 29, 1675; alive in 1714
Sarah Norris, b. April 10, 1678; m. Benjamin Hoag
James Norris, b. Nov 16, 1680, d. fate unknown, received a land grant in 1698 that was given to someone else in 1730, in a 1714 land deed, Moses was to give his brother James a share if "he returned." Was he taken by Indians?

Elizabeth Norris, b. Sept 4, 1683; no record

It is not known when Nicholas or Sarah died. We do know that Sarah died first as Nicholas remarried. His second wife was Mary Jones who outlived him. He seems to have outlived at least 5 of his children.

[1] Dow, Joseph, 1807-1889. History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire: From Its Settlement In 1638, to the Autumn of 1892 Vol 2. (Salem, Mass.: Printed by the Salem press publishing and printing co., 1893) 881.

[2] Noyes, Sybil. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine And New Hampshire. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1972) 513.

[3] Torry, Clarence A. New England Marriages Prior to 1700. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004.

[4] Noyes, Libbey, Davis, GDMNH, 513.

[5] Bell, Charles Henry, 1823-1893. History of the Town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1990.

[6] Bell, Charles Henry, 1823-1893. History of the Town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1990.

[7] Bell, Charles Henry, 1823-1893. History of the Town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1990.

[8] Nicholas Norris Hampton NH genealogy on RootsWeb

Have a great day!