Saturday, February 2, 2019

Scots-Irish Settlers of Cherry Valley, New York

Researching the families of Cherry Valley at the time of the Cherry Valley Massacre (11 November 1778) reveals a tight-knit community with close ties to the 1718 Scots-Irish Migration. Sixty years after the initial migration from Ireland these families still migrated together to new settlements. There appears to have been a trickle if not a steady stream of new immigrants from Ireland to add to their number.  Their intermarriage is mind-boggling and trying to untangle their connections is tricky, thanks to their proclivity of using the same names over and over again. Here are some of the Scots-Irish of Cherry Valley and their connection to each other. 

The Clyde-Wasson Family
Of special interest to me are Samuel Clyde and his wife Catherine Wasson. Catherine was the daughter of Agnes Thornton and (John) Wasson. Agnes, the daughter of James and Catherine Thornton was a 1718 immigrant. Agnes and John Wasson and her brother, William Thornton, along with their families, left New Hampshire about 1753, for Schenectady in the Colony of New York. At the onset of the American Revolution, William Thornton, brother of Matthew Thornton (a signer of the Declaration of Independence) returned to New Hampshire. Catherine Wasson married Samuel Clyde in 1761 and moved from Schenectady to Cherry Valley. Samuel Clyde, son of Daniel and Ester Rankin Clyde of Windham, New Hampshire. Ester and Daniel were married in 1726 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, a Scots-Irish town. Her mother is said to be Agnes Dunlop Rankin, born in County Antrim, Ireland.

Reverend Samuel Dunlop
The patent, for what was to become Cherry Valley, was originally given to a group of Dutch land speculators from Albany. Their agent was a Scotsman named John Lindsey who moved to the valley as its first white inhabitant in 1739. Lindsey convinced Samuel Dunlop, a minister trained at Trinity College, Dublin to move to the Valley and set up a church. In 1741 Dunlop recruited Scots-Irish families from Londonderry to relocate to the remote valley. The surnames of the original settlers were Campbell, Dickson, Gault, and Ramsey

Samuel married Elizabeth Gaunt. There is a story that he knew her in Ireland and promised to return within seven years and marry her, he returned just as time was running out and she was preparing to marry another. I don't know if it's true, but it makes for a good story. Mary Dunlop, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth married Robert Wells, son of John Wells. Eleanor Dunlop married a son of their neighbor, James Wilson the surveyor of the patent.

Other men who accompanied Samuel Dunlop to Cherry Valley were Elizabeth's brother William Gault and her nephew William Dickson

James Campbell
It is probable that James Campbell was a member of the party that came from the north of Ireland to Boston, Mass. in 1718 and which settled at Londonderry, N. H., the following year. In the spring of 1741, James Campbell, David Ramsey, Patrick Davidson and four other families, totaling about 30 persons, removed from Londonderry, N. H., going by water from Portsmouth, NH to Albany NY, and thence overland to Cherry Valley under the guidance of Rev. Samuel Dunlop.

Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of James and his first wife Jane Humphrey, married William Dickson. John Campbell married Eleanor Ramsey, Jane married William Dunlop, James married William McCollom whose father leased land from James Campbell.

John Wells
John Lindsey did not find Cherry Valley to his liking, and he soon sold his patent to John Wells, a man of means. John was the appointed the first Justice of the Peace for the district and County Judge and was a close associate of Sir William Johnson. His son Robert Wells inherited his farm. Very little is known about the Wells family and their ancestry. The family, save one, was wiped out during the Cherry Valley Massacre in 1778. The only survivor was an eight-year-old boy, who as one might guess knew little about his grandparents and from where they hailed.

William Dickson
William arrived in Cherry Valley along with Samuel Dunlop and his wife Elizabeth. His father, who was one of the original settlers, was John Dickson, married to Elizabeth Gault's sister. William married Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of James Campbell. They had eight children. Elizabeth Dickson was killed and scalped during the Cherry Valley Massacre. 

Other Scots-Irish Settlers
William McClelland- immigrated around 1768, he left the Valley after the 1778 massacre and was part of Butler's Rangers. The British Government reimbursed him after the war for his losses.

Matthew Cannon and Eleanor McKinney immigrated from the north of Ireland and settled in Middlefield to the south of Cherry Valley. Their daughter Jane Cannon married Samuel Campbell. Eleanor Cannon was killed in the 1778 massacre.

CAMPBELL, COLIN D. "They Beckoned and We Came: The Settlement of Cherry Valley." New York History 79, no. 3 (1998): 215-32.

Read my book; BLOOD IN THE VALLEY a story of Catherine Wasson Clyde and Colonel Samuel Clyde of Cherry Valley. 

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