Albany Burgesses Corps…

When John(2) Brooks (John1) died in 1898 in Burlington, Vermont, his obituary appeared in two cities, his hometown of Albany, New York and his adopted home of Burlington.

It was only recently that I found John’s Albany obituary and in it were several very interesting items. Neither mention anything about his parents (too bad), but the Albany paper did have this to say:

John Brooks, a former tobacco merchant of this city and the last surviving charter member of the Albany Burgesses Corps., died in his home in Burlington, Vt., Tuesday morning, aged 83 years.

“Last surviving charter member of the Albany Burgesses Corps.” What on earth was that?

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The Albany Burgesses Corps was organized in October of 1833 as an independent, volunteer member, quasi-military unit (militia), complete with elaborate uniforms. The name ‘Burgesses’ was in honor of the original governors of Albany. The organization participated in civic ceremonies and acted as parade escort to visiting dignitaries. They were, for many years, a familiar site in the Albany city parades. Its membership consisted of many of the local merchants and professionals, several of whom held political office. The organization was similar to modern service organizations, in that it raised money for various causes all the while providing political connections for merchants.

Th following was found in the Annual Reports of the War Department, United States. War Department: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1908:

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If John was a charter member then he joined in October of 1833 when they first organized or shortly thereafter. He would have been about 18 or 19 years old at the time. And his membership is confirmed in a February 1838 issue of a local paper:

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February paper The Albany Evening Journal, unknown page, unknown date.

In the above notice from the Albany Evening Journal, John Brooks is mentioned as one of the managers of the upcoming 3rd Annual Ball being given by the Burgesses in honor of George Washington’s birthday.

The first parade the Corps participated in was July 4, 1834 their contingent consisted of 45 muskets and 5 officers. On July 25th of the same year, the Corps assisted in the torchlight obsequies of General Lafayette. The pall-bearers were his revolutionary war companions. The ordinance captured by Lafayette from Yorktown was also in the procession.
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The Albany Burgesses Corps uniform, which was changed from blue to scarlet in 1841 (apparently after much lively debate). I don’t know how those boys kept those things on their heads.

Although the Corps spent much time entertaining visiting Corps and dignitaries, and visiting other corps themselves, they were, for all intents and purposes, a militia organization. It was in this capacity  that they were used to help quell the anti-rent riots in 1839. The Corps along with several other military companies from Albany and Troy marched to Helderberg Mountain, under command of Major Bloodwood. The formidable appearance of the troops in their colorful uniforms had the desired effect of intimidating the rioters. The Corps also participated in the 2nd Helderberg War.

In 1844 the Corps acted as escort at the dedication of Albany Rural Cemetery, where several of our ancestors are now buried. There is a whole section in an Albany History book on the Corps many activities through the years. On a fun side note, the Corps also had a song commissioned as a tribute for its officers and many members.

 

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The Brooks family left Albany for Burlington around 1852. But John did return to his home town in 1883 to help celebrate the “Semi-Centennial” of the Corps, which occurred October 8th and 9th. There were balls, parades and banquettes, even Governor Grover Cleveland attended with his staff. Maybe they played the quick step.

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Source:
Bi-centennial History of Albany: History of the County of Albany, N. Y., from 1609 to 1886, edited by George Rogers Howell, Jonathan Tenne: W. W. Munsell & Company, 1886 – Albany (N.Y.). Vol. 4, Page 714-716.

Elizabeth George lost sister no more…

This is the second time that land records have helped me finesse my family tree.

Sometime last year as I was transcribing GEORGE family land records into my database, I ran across a very interesting one:

Catharine Booker
Int in 78 acres – Sancho to
William C. Ash

This Indenture made this 23rd day of June in the year 1868 between Catharine Booker of the County of Wetzel in the State of West Virginia of the first part and William C. Ash of the County of Tyler & State aforesaid of the Second part. Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of fifteen dollars the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, the said party of the first part, as an heir at Law of William George deceased in and to a tract of land lying and being in the County of Tyler aforesaid, situated on the waters of Sancho creek and being principally in the occupancy of the said party of the second part and being the same land heretofore charged to the estate of the said William George deceased on the commissioners land books of said county of Tyler as 78 acres the interest of said party of the first part which is intended to be hereby conveyed being the undivided one twenty eight part of said tract of seventy acres which said party of the first part derived as one of the children and heirs of Elizabeth Booker deceased, who was one of the children and heirs of the said William George died, and the Said party of the first part doth hereby covenant that she will warrant generally the property hereby conveyed. Witness the following signature and seal

Catharine [herXmark] Booker [seal] 

So in June of 1868, Catherine Booker, a child/heir of Elizabeth Booker, is selling land she inherited from Elizabeth, deceased, who was a child/heir of William George, deceased.

All of the online trees I have seen in my GEORGE family research have no mention of a daughter Elizabeth. Which tells me that these folks have not done their research properly. And because they hadn’t done their land record research, look what they missed!

So, Catherine is a previously unknown grandchild of William and Margaret George. It is doubtful that when William died he was giving land to nieces and nephews, he had at least 4 children and 4 times as many grandchildren that were around to inherit.

Elizabeth, the child of William and Margaret, appears to have married a man named Booker, (possibly a Henry) and she died sometime before her father, William George. Because of the date of birth of Catherine, which is speculated to be about 1820, from a Wetzel County, 1870 census record (although, admittedly, it is not confirmed that this census record is the correct Catherine; it seems likely as she is the only one living in Wetzel County close to the place and time of the land deed record, dated 1868) the date of birth of Elizabeth has to be 1805 or earlier. As the birth years for the children of William and Margaret are all in the very latter part of the 1700s, Elizabeth’s probable birth estimation would fit the time period.

So far the only record I have of the existence of Elizabeth is this land record. A sad state of affairs for many of my female relatives of old.

 

Source:
Land deed filed in Tyler County, West Virginia,  V2P371 [FHL film 855,954].

Interesting Connelly death…

I recently ran across an interesting entry in the Rhode Island death index at ancestry.com, (in my never-ending quest to find a death record for Martin Cain). The entry stated:

Name: Michael Canealy
Kin 1: Martin Cane
Kin 2: – Bagnall
Death Date: 9 Mar 1855
Age: 64 Yrs

So it looks like Martin and Winifred still had Connelly family living in Rhode Island other than one or two of Winifred’s siblings.

I believe that this gentleman is possibly Winifred’s uncle. It would be nice to see Irish church records to confirm this, maybe I can find a church record in Rhode Island. There are two facts that support the theory: first he is two years older than his possible brother Dennis (so the age fits nicely for them to be brothers), second the close seeming relationship of Michael and Martin, (after all Martin is providing the information for the death registration and his wife was a Connelly).

Of course this news isn’t mind blowing, but it adds a little more interest to the family tree. I would love to find out more about this possible brother. Dennis and Winifred did name one of their children Michael.

I’ve done some research into the Irish records that I have access to and so far no luck on being able to hone down any details on Michael. Rhode Island records are pretty sparse also, he doesn’t appear to show up in the 1850 census. Which means he could have arrived after 1850 and died shortly after making his way to America. This record also appears to indicate that he was single at the time of his death, otherwise I believe one of his children or his wife would be providing the information for his death registration, but that is mere speculation at this point.

I did notice that he is another Irish relative who died a little on the young side.

 

Source:
1 Ancestry.com. Rhode Island, Deaths, 1630-1930 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.

Crawford’s Defeat

A continuation of the McQueen and Brown involvement in Indian wars.

After the massacre at Gnadenhutten the thirst for blood on both sides was high. All of this conflict was occurring towards the end of the revolutionary war largely because the American’s wanted to put a lid on any Indians helping out the enemy or causing trouble on the western frontier. So an expedition was organized, to be led by Crawford, to destroy any enemy Indian towns along the Sandusky River in Ohio Country.

The expedition was a disaster from the start, partly because the Indians and British knew they were coming, and were quite prepared for the coming battles, and partly because of the poorly trained miliamen, bad leadership and poor planning on the part of those in Crawford’s organization.

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Crawford Route (Image from Wikipedia page).

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Significant battles (Image from Wikipedia page).

The McQueen brothers and George Brown were all part of this campaign. George was married to Elizabeth McQueen (their sister; and my 5xgreat grandparents). George had his own company of which he was a captain, brother-in-laws James and Benjamin McQueen were part of this company.

Between May 20th and 24th of 1782 the frontiersmen all met at Mingo Bottom and on the 25th the expedition left and begin their 150 mile trek to the enemy, the enemy that watched their every move. It wasn’t until June 6th that anything of importance happened. They had run across the deserted villages along the Sandusky where they expected to find villages full of people to exterminate. The miliamen upon seeing this, became very impatient to return to their homes as there was nothing of interest to continue pursuing. It was decided by the officers in charge to march one more day and if they didn’t find anything, to abandon their course and return home.

No sooner had they made this decision than a scout showed up to inform them of an advancing party of Indians about 3 miles away. The army eagerly moved to meet the enemy and proceeded to attack. The melee went on all day with heavy fire on both sides. But the Indians didn’t outright attack during the day, although they appeared to be increasing in numbers at an alarming rate, becoming so noticeable that the American officers decided they would have to begin a night retreat in an effort to save the army. The Indians who were aware of their plans, attacked at sundown. The frontiersmen (comprising about 1/3 of the army) retreated into different directions in small groups hoping that the Indians would follow the main body of the army. But they didn’t.

George Brown’s company was one of those that split off. Another McQueen brother, Thomas, who was with a different company, also left. The Indians had no intention of letting the enemy go so easily and spent several days pursuing and killing any straggling parties they found.

George was shot in the arm or thigh (depending on which telling you read) and the bone broke, he managed to escape on horse, but had to hide quite often before he could make it home. He had spent time trying to find others in his company before he was shot and gave up to head home. Two weeks later he showed up at his door much to the joy of his wife Elizabeth. His brother-in-law Thomas McQueen was not so lucky, he was caught when a fellow traveler decided it was a good idea to shoot a raccoon for dinner and the shots were heard.

“My brother Tom was taken in Crawford’s campaign…and [they] made Tom run the gauntlet. There was not a sound place in [his] head when he got through. But a squaw gave, I forget how many buckskins for him. The 3 had been separated from the rest of the army. Got way down on the Ohio, and being nearly starved, the lieutenant would shoot at a raccoon in the tree, & the indians heard them and took them. The British had him in irons a great while for saying something about Simon Girty…”2, 3

Thomas did eventually make it home, although in later years he was nearly blind due to the trauma to his head during the gauntlet.

So this particular campaign on the part of the Americans to annihilate the Indians was a bust. And, because of the Gnadenhütten massacre, the Ohio Indians had resolved to kill all American prisoners who fell into their hands. The number of Americans executed is unknown. Crawford’s execution was especially gruesome and I don’t have the stomach to tell it, you can read all about it at the wiki site.

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The burning of Crawford.

Sources:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crawford_expedition
2. “Metes and Bounds I: Dugal McQueen and Some Descendants”, by Donna Hechler. Wyandotte, OK, The Gregath Publishing Company: 1999.
3. The story of Simon Girty