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Re: Genealogy of Catherine Dachsteder (1781-1856)
Posted by: Charles Julian (ID *****7539) Date: March 21, 2006 at 14:44:46
In Reply to: Re: Genealogy of Catherine Dachsteder (1781-1856) by Charles Julian of 186

More Updates:

1. It's looking more and more like John, Frederick and Henry Dachsteder's father was indeed a John Dachsteder Senior as was hypothesized a few postings back and as proposed in Janette Lozon's article. Verification of this through a second source would be definitive.

From Howard Swiggett, "War Out of Niagara: Walter Butler and the Tory Rangers." New York: Columbia University Press, 1933:

"There is no description of the officers [ in the regiment of militia foot for a territory from the west bounds of Schenectady to Anthony's Nose ], but two pages on, under date of May, 1768, there is a 'return of persons recommended to be captains and subalterns for the new formed regiments of militia foot in the western parts of the county of Albany.' Here is Harry Hare, later executed in the Revolution, and, among the ensigns: Peter Conyer; Barent Frederick; Evert Van Epps; Peter Groot; Hendrick Vrooman, Jr.; Walter Butler; John Dagstedder, Jr; John Cline, Jr; Corn. Ab. Van Alstine; James Ramsey, Jr." ( pp. 21-22 )

Swiggett gives his source for the list as the Third Annual Report of the New York State Historian, p. 887, which I don't have access to, but given the author's objectivity in recording the names ( he's here discussing Walter Butler's early career, and has added a footnote stating that this John is probably the Dockstader who died on the Ross Expedition of 1781 though the Dockstader in question was actually Lt. Frederick Dachsteder as John's memorial for his brother makes clear ), I assume the rendering of John's name here is accurate. Given the birthdate tentatively assigned to John Dochstader (b. 1750-1751), who can a "John Dagstedder Sr." have been? There is no extant individual named John Dockstader prior to 1750 in the traditional genealogy. The other men who are named along with Dochstader ( those whose christenings can be located all but Conyer and Ramsey who were possibly born in Britain in light of non-Dutch/German surnames ) were born at either Fort Hunter or Schenectady, Van Alstine alone having been born at Stone Arabia ( and Butler's son Walter in New York City ). In each of these other cases "Jr" in the name signifies a father of the same name. As well this raises the hitherto un-posed question of whether John Dachsteder Sr / Jr and family might have been not from Stone Arabia but rather from another settlement further down the Mohawk such as Fort Hunter. Formerly it's also been supposed that only Georg Adam, Frederick, and Hendrick Dochstader were "wealthy enough to have been Tories" in line with e.g. the Jelles Fonda tax-list ( http://www.rootsweb.com/~nytryon/tax.html ), and that one of these three must therefore have been the father. However, John's refusal to pledge an oath to the Rebels, which evidently landed him in prison in 1776, could be due to any number of reasons unrelated to income, first and foremost I would think his having married a Six Nations woman the League was formally allied to the British, and with it so too would John's wife and children have been. The Youngs and Stevens of the Indian Department were also Loyalists, though only Theobald's nephew Peter Young made the Tryon County Fortune 500 listing.


2. Frederick Dachsteder's Death as Recorded in the Journal of Captain Gilbert Tice, October 1781
( Transcribed by James F. Morrison )


17th. Captain David & 10 Indians set out to the German Flats for a Prisoner, we marched the same time & encamped four miles on this side Canajoharere.

18th. Marched & past old Oneida about two miles & encamped. That night Lt. Dachstedder (of the Rangers) was taken very ill, and died next day.

19th. Marched for Herkimer's Lake & encamped at a small Creek running South, Five Onandagas joined me with a Prisoner taken at Little Falls who told us Sir John was at Crown Point with a large army.


3. Memorial for Lieutenant Frederick Dachsteder by Lieutenant John Dachsteder, December 1781
( Reproduced in E. Green, "John DeCou, Pioneer." pp. 112-113 )


To his Excellency Gen'l Haldimand, Commander in Chief of all His Majesty's Forces in the Province of Canada and Frontiers depending thereon &c. &c &c.

The Memorial of John Docksteder humbly sheweth:

That the Brother of your Memorialist from his Attachment to Government, and Zeal for His Majesty's Service left his Family and Friend on the Mohawk River where he lived in easy circumstances, and came to this post in the year 1776, where he served some time in the Indian Department, and afterwards as Sergeant in Lieut. Colonel Butler's Corps of Rangers, in which station he behaved so as to procure a Recommendation from the Commanding officer, in consequence of which Your Excellency was pleased to appoint him to a lieutenancy in the said corps. He was called out in the detachment of that Corps on the Expedition to the frontiers under Major Ross, & on the march against the Rebels was attacked by a violent Disorder which deprived him of life, and has left his widow and a young child in distresst circumstances, and without any means of present subsistence or support but from Your Excellency's well known Bounty & Benevolence which your Memorialist hopes will be incited to afford her some relief.

And your Memorialist, as in duty bound, shall ever Pray.

JOHN DOCKSTEDER,
Lieut. of the Indian Dep[artmen]t.

Niagara, December 7th, 1781.
Endorsed: Memorial Mr. Dackstadder.


4. John DeCou in Vermont

John DeCou's reminiscences as presented in Green begin as follows:

"My forefathers were Huguenots, and fled from France to England on account of their religion, and at an early day came to America and settled in Vermont, where I was born in 1766. When a boy I took great delight in rambling along the sides of the Green Mountains. At one time as I stooped to look under a rock a rabbit sprang out and into the open bosom of my blouse.

"At the close of the American Revolution my father and family removed to Upper Canada, crossing the river at Queenston. I commenced exploring, and, led by my early predilections, finally selected a property to my liking in the Townships of Thorold and Grantham, covering what is now called DeCew's Falls, on the Beaverdam creek. I purchased one man's right to a hundred acres for an axe and an Indian blanket, and another hundred acres for a gold dubloon."

The Huguenot reference that begins the reminiscences points uncontroversially to descent from Leuren DesCou's sons Jacob and Isaac DeCow who arrived in Bucks County Pennsylvania in the late 1600s and begat most of the North American DeCou population ( c. Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey ). This portion of the story is certain to have been inherited through the family since the genealogy of the DeCou family and its origins had not yet been compiled at the time of writing.

John is likely to be a great-grandson of one of the two DeCow brothers going by generations. Assuming that he was indeed born in Vermont ( which I do, given that the reminiscences lack reference to New Jersey ), his family is unlikely to have been settled in the state for more than a generation prior to his birth. Most of what is now Vermont was originally a French possession ( cf. verre-mont, "green mountain" ) and was inhabited by the Abenaki, allied to the French. The first permanent British outpost in Vermont was Fort Drummer, which was built outside Battleboro in 1724 to allow for safer passage to areas further north. The first actual town, Bennington, was chartered in 1749, but nothing resembling largescale settlement began until the conclusion of the French and Indian War (c. 1754-1760). Thereafter the rest of the state was opened up for settlement. C.M. Klyza and S.C. Trombulak in 'The Story of Vermont' ( Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1999 ) note that,

"The grants were mainly in the Champlain Valley and Connecticut River Valley, with the more rugged Green Mountains and its foothills still ungranted. Although half of Vermont had been granted, it was sparsely settled. In the mid-1760s, only forty to fifty thousand acres were actually held by settlers; the rest was held by speculators. In 1769, only 51 of the 128 townships had any citizens at all." ( p. 53 )

Settlement increased dramatically in the 1760s, adding farmer-settlers to the previous stock of prospectors and French and Indian War vets:

"Between 1763, when it was estimated that three hundred people lived in the region, and 1775, 12,000 people settled in Vermont and four thousand were born there. ... Those moving to the region consisted primarily of cohesive groups heading north to settle together. These settlers took one of four main routes into Vermont: up the Connecticut River; up the Deerfield River into the Green Mountains, through the mountains, and into southwestern Vermont; following the Housatonic River from western Connecticut into the Berkshires and then into southwestern Vermont through the Valley of Vermont; and the Crown Point Military Road." ( ibid, p. 55 )

Increased settlement led to New York and New Hampshire trying to exert rule over Vermont. This was counteracted by the Green Mountain Boys, a militia led by Ethan Allen (they have named a furniture store after him) whose operations were headquartered out of a tavern in Bennington. Somehow this tavern militia fought off everyone for ten or twelve years. Vermont declared itself an Independent Republic in 1777 when the American Revolution broke out and remained an autonomous country until 1790 when it joined the Union. While there were a few partisan sentiments in the state one way or the other, Vermont and its inhabitants were largely unaffected by the events of the Revolution:

"The only battle in the Revolutionary War in Vermont was at Hubbardton; the Battle of Bennington in 1777 was actually fought just across the state line in New York. There were numerous raids throughout Vermont by Indians allied with the British, resulting in most settlers abandoning the northern half of the state. Middleton and Royalton were burned, and farms along Lake Champlain were destroyed. Nonetheless, the Revolution had a very limited effect on the Vermont landscape. After the war, the Continental Congress passed a resolution recommending that the Continental Army invade Vermont, but this resolution was rejected by General Washington in February 1783." ( ibid p. 60 )

Vermont was a safe-haven for deserters and for conscientious objectors from both armies during the Revolution. To some extent the Allens and allied families fought alongside the Patriot cause, though there were also a handful of Loyalists who served in the Queen's Loyal Rangers a.k.a. Peter's Corps ( there are no DeCous on this roster of about 100-150 names ).

One aspect of John DeCou's narrative which does seem odd from a Vermont vantagepoint is that his family crossed the river at Queenston rather than nearer Cornwall or at Quebec, which is where most Vermont Loyalists and settlers would have crossed. But even if we adopt the weak version of the Vermont hypothesis that John's father was born in New Jersey, moved to Vermont in the 1750s or 1760s, moved back to New Jersey to fight with the Volunteers there ( reasons why he did so being unknown, as none of Jacob DeCou's relatives or any families called Bloome were Loyalists ), and ultimately ended up in Canada about 1790, several years after the Revolution had ended, there is still something very strange about this story. Would also like to see reference to Jacob DeCou's having married an Elizabeth Bloome ( there are no Blum / Bloome families documented in New Jersey until long after Jacob's proposed marriage had taken place ) as well as any record of their children's births and/or where the traditional DeCou genealogy gets its information for this branch from.


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