Today is the second Inauguration of President Obama. As my daughter and millions of other American citizens stand and watch him take his Oath of Office on the steps of the Capitol, as we listen to our President tell us ‘our journey is not complete’, I am reminded of the American soldiers who continue to sacrifice today for our freedom. They continue to fight to help us in our forward journey. We thank and honor them all.
I am also reminded of all of my ancestors who helped in that first fight, so long ago, to forge our freedom and future as a young nation. Here is a list of those direct ancestors who we know fought in the American Revolutionary War. There were countless brothers and nephews also, but we’ll stick to direct lines.
Josiah Taylor's Gravestone
On the Taylor Side, doubtless you remember the Three Generations of Taylors who bravely fought in Connecticut for us. Josiah Taylor (1701-1781), his son Gamaliel Taylor (1735-1815) and Josiah’s grandson Thomas Taylor (1758-1826) have their story written here:
Amos Walbridge (1693-1788), fought in both the French and Indian War and in the Revolutionary War. He served during the War as Captain of his own regiment, although we can see by the following letter written by him in 1780 that he was a Major by the end of the War.
“Sir The commissary of prisoners desired me to inform you that he has received information from Philadelphia that there is sixty prisoners to be here Wednesday next and there is one now in town wanting to be sent over. He wants your directions where they shall be put if a flag should not be granted to send them immediately over. I am sir your obedient humble servant
A Wallbridge Maj”
George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General Correspondence. 1697-1799 Ames Walbridge to Jedidiah Huntington, April 9, 1780, Image 765 of 1125
Letter written by Amos Walbridge
Amos Walbridge died February 27, 1788, in Stafford CT at the age of 94. Doing the math and looking at the date of his letter ( 1780), my 6th Great Grandfather was 86 at the time he was fighting for our independence—something to be proud of!
Henry Walbridge (1738-1818), son of Amos, fought along with his father in both the French and Indian War and in the Revolutionary War. His grandson wrote years later:
“I have often heard him relate incidents of the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary Wars, for he was in both. He received the title of Captain after the Revolutionary War closed, at the time the Indians destroyed Royalton, in Vermont.
When he moved his family from Connecticut to Randolph, Vt., it made the seventh in the town. He made his pitch, as he called it, in the unbroken forest of two hundred acres of land, built a log house, and cleared up a splendid farm.”
On the Baker Side,
Solomon Baker's Gravestone
My brother Jim writes me more on Solomon’s wartime service: “Solomon was really a wild man because he was present at every major engagement in the Northeast except Concord/Lexington and the Battle of Herkimer (Solomon was fighting in the much larger Battle of Saratoga at the time and couldn't be in two places at one time). As soon as he heard about the potential battle in Boston, for example, he high-tailed it there and arrived the day after the Battle of Bunker hill. He was present at eight to ten battles all over New England and NY.
Solomon’s sister Jerusha Baker, married John Joe Backus, my fourth great grandfather. Both Solomon and John Joe became direct ancestors of mine when Solomon’s son Ira and John Joe’s daughter, Jerusha, married.
DID Solomon’s father, Benjamin Baker (1720-1798) fight in the Revolutionary War? We know he fought in the French and Indian War, but there are too many Benjamin Bakers from New York who fought in the Revolutionary War to be sure.
John Joe Backus (1747-1842) was a farmer. He enlisted with his second cousin, Solomon Baker, Jerusha's brother and became a Sergeant in the War. John Joe’s son wrote long after the war of the many times his father came and went during the War—starting when Ebenezer was a young boy of nine years old. ‘Ebenezer remembered his father talking about fighting at Ticonderoga, in the Burgoyne campaign, and being down Lake Champlain in pursuit of the enemy from the circumstances of the snow being very deep.
Ebenezer remembered things like his father taking with him a sorrel horse and returning with a roan one and that immediately on the return of his father, his father was attacked with the camp distemper which confined him for some time. Ebenezer further remembered one time in particular of his father's going, because it was called ‘the great scout party’ and there being many of the Continental troops quartered at his father's house at the time and having to back wood to make fire for warming the soldiers and cooking.’
Jim Kinsella also adds here about John Joe: “He and Timothy Baker (his brother-in-law), would spell each other during the War. One would serve while the other took care of both of their farms -- when the one came back from serving the other would go and take their place.
John Joe’s father, John Backus, MAY have fought in the Revolutionary War. He certainly did fight in the French and Indian War, but there are too many John Backus’ from CT that fought in the Revolutionary War to be sure (yet!).
Jacob Youngs/Jung (1746-1842) and his father Peter also likely served in the Revolutionary War. Several online accounts believe this but I have yet to pin down documented proof. Online accounts have Rev. Peter Jungs (1725-1799)’ home as a meeting place during the Revolutionary War.
One detailed writing recounts of Peter and his wife Elizabeth Mosher, my 6th great grandparents:
"In 1778, when the Indians began their depredations in the Schoharie settlements, the patriots of New Rhinebeck made the home of Peter Young their rendezvous. Being but few in numbers, and the Tory Neighbors becoming more venomous as their allies began to make their raids, this little company concluded to leave their homes and seek safety in the forts.
A band of Indians assembled at a Tory's house in the neighborhood to capture them, upon which Peter Young started to take his wife, who was a cripple, to the Camps for safety; but fearing he would be unable to do so, she was taken to a small cave at the foot of the mountain and left there alone. Being supplied with provisions, she remained for several days in that place without being discovered by the Tories whose houses were very near.
The walls of this 'rock house', as it has since been called, for many years plainly showed the marks of the fires she built late at night, when all was quiet and danger of being seen had passed.
After the Indians had passed off to other fields for murder and devastation, her husband returned and carried her to the Camps, where she remained until the close of the war."
His son, Jacob Young ‘Served in Samuel Campell's battalion, Tryon County Militia’.
William Mott (1735-1786), my fifth great grandfather, fought in the Revolutionary War, along with Jacob, our fourth great grandfather, Timothy, Jacob’s twin brother, and another brother, William Jr.
William fought in Col. Swartwout's Regiment, Duchess County NY. He was elected Captain in 1775, and promoted to Major in 1776.
Jacob Mott (1761-1834) was a Minute Man in Capt. William Mott's Company in 1777, and was frequently called out during the ensuing four years.
Jacob Mott's Gravestone
This is the list for now. There are several ancestors whom I believe fought, but have not yet been able to prove.
To all of those who have fought for us in any of our wars, a simply ‘thank you’ is not enough. But we will do our best to remember your sacrifices, keep your memories and stories alive, and attempt to preserve our nation’s freedom, creativity, and strength.
As our President said earlier today: “Let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.”