Updates, this time on the DeCew side of things:
First let me say that having now obtained a copy of the parole mentioned in Green ( 1925 ), I do believe that it pertains to Captain John DeCew and not to another man of the same name ( owing to the rank being given as 'Captain Militia' ) and John DeCow does indicate that he was born in Oxford Township NJ. Second let me say that my Jacob DeCew Sr UE theory does not hold up: The will of Samuel Axford ( Oxford Township NJ 1811 ) combined with the Land Petition of Sarah DeCew Vollock ( Home District 1798 ) makes clear that there were two Sarah DeCows who were daughters of Jacob DeCows, only one of which went to Canada. Land patent records at Burford ( 1805, 1808 ) further make clear that the Jacob who obtained land at Burford, residing near his daughters, was in all likelihood Jacob DeCow Jr rather than Sr. ( This Jacob also served in the Oxford County militia in 1800, which would be unlikely if he were the Jacob DeCow b. 1710 ). Abraham DeCow the elder who married Mary Hibler did die 1792 in NJ, so there were indeed two generations of Jacob DeCow progeny with similar first names:
1 Jacob DeCow b. 10 DEC 1710 Mansfield, Burlington, NJ.
. . . + Jane Duncan ( b. 02 AUG 1712, d/o Edmund Duncan of Bucks Co, PA ) 26 SEP 1736 Abington Meeting, PA.
. . . . . . 2 Jacob DeCow UE b. Abt 1737 NJ.
. . . . . . . . . + [ Elizabeth Bloome – d/o Johann Peter Blom Sr of Germany and Hunterdon Co, NJ ? ]
. . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Sarah Decow O.I.C. 1798.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . + John Vollock ( b. 1782, s/o Isaac Vollock of Schoharie, NY )
. . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Jane Decow O.I.C. 1798.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . + John Losee
. . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Edmund Decow O.I.C. 1806.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . + Unknown
. . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Abner Decow b. 1784, O.I.C. 1806.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . + Catherine Heaslip
. . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Abraham Decow b. 1784 O.I.C. 1806.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . + Unknown
. . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Patience Decow
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . + Unknown Skinner
. . . . . . 2 Sarah DeCow
. . . . . . . . . + Samuel Axford ( b. Abt 1728 NJ, s/o John Axford of Sussex Co, NJ )
. . . . . . 2 Jane DeCow
. . . . . . 2 Abner DeCow b. Abt 1742 NJ, d. 20 APR 1826 Norfolk, Ontario.
. . . . . . . . . + Elizabeth Flummerfelt ( b. Abt 1750 [ d/o Zacharias Flummerfelt of Germany and Hunterdon Co, NJ ? ] )
. . . . . . 2 Abraham DeCow b. Abt 1751 NJ, d. 1792 NJ.
. . . . . . . . . + Mary Hibler ( b. Abt 1754, d/o Adam Hibler of Sussex Co, NJ )
. . . . . . 2 John DeCow b. 1753 NJ, d. 21 APR 1818 NJ.
. . . . . . . . . + Catherine Wiggins
. . . . . . . . . + Jane Thatcher
Third let me say that I now believe Jacob DeCow UE probably did serve in the New Jersey Volunteers, and that having now researched Isaac Swayze and four of the other people he signed affadavits for in more detail, I think there may be a reason that Jacob DeCow does not appear on any NJV rosters ( though proof of this depends on whether names of spies serving under Courtland Skinner et al were ever recorded ). Fourth let me say that I am still not convinced that John DeCew is the son of Jacob DeCow rather than Edmund DeCow – I'm treating these scenarios as 50/50 owing to several Home District DeCews being as yet unaccounted for ( see section G below ). If my stubbornness irritates then all the better, as someone may be compelled to find evidence stating either that Edmund the surveyor of 1788 is John's brother or that Jacob DeCow UE is John's father. Fifth let me say that I've now found a late immigrant Blom family in New Jersey to which an Elizabeth Bloome may have belonged, but no evidence as yet for the existence of an Elizabeth in the family. Sixth let me say that John DeCew's memoirs have miraculously survived: they are the blockquotes in Green ( 1925 ); i.e. he reprinted the reminiscences ( 1888 ) in their entirety but does not explicitly state this, perhaps because such undertaking was not at that time legal, though we're fortunate he did since the original copies have turned to dust. I've reproduced John DeCew's reminiscences as an appendix to this post on account of they first appeared in print over a century ago and are not widely available. Seventh let me say that, with the original reminiscences at hand, and given the sum of details and anecdotes mentioned in them, I now agree that they were probably written by John's son or sons specifically for publication in the Haldimand Advocate Newspaper rather than by John himself, and were based on stories he'd told his children ( note that e.g. John's surveying endeavours are described as 'exploring' rather than paid work ). Eighth let me say that I don't think John DeCew knew ( or at least kept track of ) exactly how old he was – cf. the Parole of 1813, b. 1778; the Gravestone and Memoirs ( for which the year may have been calculated using the gravestone ), b. 1766; the 1851 census of Cayuga, b. 1762. Ninth let me say that there's too much left to cover in one paragraph, and so additional points are covered below and in turn.
A. Wives of the Sons of Jacob DeCow Sr of Oxford Twp NJ
To better evaluate the likelihood of Jacob DeCow Jr's wife having been 'Elizabeth Bloome', I researched the wife of his younger brother Abner of Norfolk ( i.e. Elizabeth Flummerfelt ) to see what her story is. Given she was b. Abt 1750, Elizabeth Flummerfelt appears, by default, to have been the daughter of Zacharias Flummerfelt of Hunterdon County NJ:
( http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/f/l/o/David-R-Flomerfelt/index.html )
Zacharias immigrated from Germany in 1734 and is the only immigrant with the surname on record ( though it seems at least possible that the John and Cornelius Flummerfelt who appear as customers in the store record of 1739 may be Zacharias' brothers rather than infant sons ). A 'Burris Flumenfelt' had his property confiscated in Sussex County NJ in 1787 as a Loyalist, so at least one branch of this family appears to have been residing in Sussex County during the revolution:
( http://www.royalprovincial.com/genealogy/confiscations/nj/confsom.shtml )
Abner DeCow marrying the daughter of a German immigrant seems odd because I'd expected Quakers all the way. If Jacob DeCow Jr's wife was indeed 'Elizabeth Bloome' then she may have been a daughter of Johann Peter Blom Sr, a late German immigrant to Hunterdon County NJ who arrived in Philadelphia 1752. This family is not well known apart from Johann Peter's son of the same name, since only adult male passengers of the ship 'Two Brothers' ( on which the family arrived ) were required to register their names and to take the oath of allegiance. Consequently little is known of the elder Johann Peter Blom or his wife, and proof of additional children is lacking. The Bloms who are known were Patriots rather than Loyalists during the Revolution. A biography of Johann Peter Blom Jr is found here:
( http://genforum.genealogy.com/bloom/messages/142.html )
Links to the Bethlehem and Alexandria areas of Hunterdon New Jersey ( from whence Lacys also came, though Lacys were formerly Quakers ) makes me wonder if Jacob DeCow b. 1710 did not reside at an earlier time in Hunterdon County NJ and if this is not where his eldest sons met German wives? All speculation.
B. Jacob DeCow's Land Petitions
I've obtained photocopies of some original DeCew documents ( e.g. the parole of 1813 ) in addition to some very strange stuff, the strangest of which we'll get to at the end. Included among these photocopies are portions of Jacob DeCow's land petitions and other papers in which he applies for land at Burford. At the time he applied for the grant he was apparently residing "on some land of his son", which son seems to have been interpreted as Captain John though in fact this son goes unnamed.
28th of June, 1794
Jacob DeCow: Petitioner has resided four years in the Province on some land of his son. Prays your Excellency will Grant him an Allotment of land and that he May have the same at the Short Hill. Ordered that 200 acres be granted the petitioner. [ Rec'd this May 1797 Burford Reg'd 1805 ]
[ Department of Public Records & Archives of Ontario, 18th Report ]
To His Honor Peter Russell Esquire,
Administration of the Province of upper
Canada etc etc etc In Council
The Petition of Jacob Decow
That Your Petitioner came into the
Province in the year 1788 with a wife and
six children – and having received no Land, prays
your Honor would be pleased to grant him
200 acres & to his family 350 acres – and
your petitioner as in duty bound will
ever pray –
I do Certify that Jacob Decow
was resident in this District previous
to the year 1789, and that he
brought into this Settlement a
Wife & Six Children before that
period – William Dickson JP
Newark, 5th Novem:
The Beaser [ Bearer? ] Jacob De Coe has satisfied the Justices in Session
[ . . . illegible . . . ] Term 1796 that he adhered to the Unity of the
Empire & joined the Royal Standard in America before
the year 1780.
Newark 5th November 1796
Clerk of the Session
C. EDMUND DECEW THE ELDER
Edmund of 1788 is the only DeCow formally tied to John ( via the surveyor record mentioned in Green ) and while he's taken to be the Edmund who received land granted 1806 by O.I.C. as the son of Jacob UE, there's a 16 to 18 year gap between the time Edmund was old enough to be employed as a surveyor and the time he obtained land – so I call two Edmunds, if only to be difficult. I haven't been able to find anything else on Edmund the Elder ( born Unknown, died Unknown, married Unknown ) apart from the surveyor record and the following webdoc, which indicates he lived in Halton in 1806 and 1808:
June 28, 1806 Wilmot Survey [ of Halton – Wilmot is the name of the surveyor ]
Charles Anderson, Charles Bigger, Alexander Brown, Mary Cockwell, Daniel Cook, Margaret Culp, [ * ] Edmond DeCow, John Dogharty, William Freeman, Peter Gehers, Robert Graham, Abraham Grobb, William Harrington, Nathaniel Hawlenbick, Conrad House, Harman House, Jacob Huffman, Amelia Jones, David Jones, John Lakes, Fanny Lambert, William McCraney, Forbes Mitchell, Daniel Munn, John Robinson, Daniel Shannon, James Thomson, Phillip Triller, Daniel Trowbridge, Mary Trowbridge, Solomon Vrooman, Peter Young, Rebeca Wilkins
2 Jan 1808 Petition to make the Creeks and Dundas Road Passable
Inhabitants of Toronto, Trafalgar & Nelson [ Toronto was a settlement in Halton, the name has since changed ]
John Chisholm, Thomas Atkinson, Alexander Brown, Daniel Reiley, James Davidson, John Day, George King, Jonas Lechy?, John King, Silas Hopkins, Joseph Hopkins, Gabriel Hopkins, Samuel Davise?, Medard Parsons, John Young, David Analige?, David Kenney, John Robinson, David Taylor, Moses Teeter, George Marlatt, Edward Sisraim?, Garet Covenhaven, Daniel Wadsworth, Henery Leppard, Joseph Marlatt Sr., Royal Hopkins, Samuel Levi?, Joshua Wilder, Robert Huggans, Henry Magee, John Ganong, James Grisham, Paul Reilly, Jas McMurtrie, Hiram Hopkins, David Crippen, M McCay, W. McCay, Samuel Covenhoven, Ezekial Post, Daniel Munn, David Albertson, [ * ] Edmond DeCow, John Stephens, Daniel Young Jr., Hezekiah Hull, Stephan Chase, Joseph Bethell
( http://www.jeffknoll.ca/history.htm )
D. JOHN DECOW'S PAROLE OF 1813
[ A printed form filled out by hand ]
Identity | John De Cow
Rank | Captain Militia
Name of Vessel | ---
Age | 35 Years
Stature | 5 feet 6 & 1/2 Inches
Person | thick Set
Visage | Round
Complexion | Dark
Hair | Dark
Eyes | Grey
Marks or Wounds | ---
Where Born | Oxford township, State of New Jersey
E. DECEWS IN THE 1851 CENSUS OF NORTH CAYUGA
Captain John DeCew and Catherine occur in the 1851 census of North Cayuga, as do their sons John, Edmund and William, daughters Eliza Young and Phoebe Wilde, and Abner DeCow's widow Catherine ( nee Heaslip ). Curiously John DeCew and Catherine, who appear to be living on the same property as William, live right next door to the Rev. Wilde and daughter Phoebe, so the bad blood said to have been caused by Phoebe's marriage may have been exaggerated. John DeCew Jr's name is given as "John B" in the census, so he shared the same middle initial as his father. Hannah DeCew, probably a daughter from John DeCew Jr's first marriage, is residing with Captain John and Catherine. Captain John's age is four years off from the date indicated on his gravestone; he was 89 years old here and 89 years old when he died four years later ( cf. Catherine Dochstader's age which is consistent from record to record ). The 1851 census for the part of Thorold in which Frederick DeCew resided has not been preserved; Robert DeCew's whereabouts in this year are unknown.
Names of Inmates / Profession, Trade or Occupation / Place of Birth / Religion. / Residence if out of limits. / Age next birthday. / Sex.
Catherine DeCew / -- / Ireland / W Methodist / -- / sixtyfour / F
Joseph DeCew / Farmer / CW / " / -- / thirtynine / M
John DeCew / CW / " / -- / forty / M
Wm DeCew / CW / " / -- / twentythree / M
Eliza J. Bloomfield / CW / " / -- / thirteen / F
Catherine Bloomfield / CW / " / -- / nine / F
Henry Young / Inn Keeper / CW / Episcopalian / -- / thirtythree / M
Eliza J. Young / CW / W Methodist / -- / thirty / F
Mary A. Young / CW F / " / -- / four / F
Richard Young / CW F / " / -- / two / M
Charles Sweet / US / " / -- / sixteen / M
Mary Martin / CW / " / -- / eighteen / F
William DeCew / Farmer / CW / Babtist / -- / thirtyfour / M
Caroline DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / thirtyone / F
Florence H. DeCew / -- / CW F / " / -- / nine / F
Courtland DeCew / -- / CW F / " / -- / eight / M
Phebe DeCew / -- / CW F / " / -- / five / F
Catherine S. DeCew / -- / CW F / " / -- / two / F
Solomon Culp / Labourer / CW / " / -- / twentyone M
Prisilla Strohm / -- / CW / " / fifteen F
John DeCew / -- / US / W Methodist / -- / eightynine / M
Catherine DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / seventyone / F
Annah DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / nineteen / F
Robert Wilde / Babtist Minister / Ireland / Babtist / -- / fifty / M
Phebe Wilde / -- / CW / " / -- / thirtyseven / F
Edmund DeCew / Surveyor / CW / W Methodist / -- / forty / M
Anne DeCew / -- / England / " / -- / thirtyseven / F
John DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / seventeen / M
Leonard DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / fourteen / M
Margaret J DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / seven / F
Egerton DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / eight / M
Edmund DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / five / M
Thomas H DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / two / M
Jane Campbell / -- / CW / Presbyterian / Free / sixteen / F
John B DeCew / Carpenter / CW / E Methodist / -- / fiftyone / M
Jane DeCew / -- / CW / " / -- / thirtyseven / F
E Catherine DeCew / -- / CWF / " / -- / twelve / F
Emelia DeCew / -- / CWF / " / -- / six / F
Charlotte DeCew / -- / CWF / " / -- / three / F
F. MALE DECOW HEADS OF HOUSE AND STRAYS IN THE 1871 CANADIAN CENSUS
All appear to trace back to either a) Captain John, b) Abner of Norfolk, or c) Abram of NJ through his son Jacob. The sole exception is William DeCew b. Abt 1846 Ontario. He is a blacksmith, like two of Frederick DeCew's sons, and resides in Walpole, like Edmund DeCew did for a time, but I can't establish the connection.
THOS DECEW – 21y Ont WM French Bookkeeper Windsor Twp Essex. ( Edmund2, Captain John1 )
JOHN DECOW – 33y Ont RB French Farmer Howard Twp Kent. ( William3, Jacob2, Abram1 )
JAMES DECOW – 26y Ont RB French Farmer Howard Twp Kent. ( William3, Jacob2, Abram1 )
WILLIAM DECOW – 36y Ont EM German Keeping Livery Stable Camden Twp Kent. ( William3, Jacob2, Abram1 )
EZEKIEL C. DECOW – 41y Ont GB German Merchant Camden Twp Kent. ( William3, Jacob2, Abram1 )
DANIEL DECOW – 49y BA German Merchant Dunwich Twp Elgin. ( Jacob2, Abram1 )
JOHN DECOW – 57y Ont BA German Farmer Dunwich Twp Elgin. ( Jacob2, Abram1 )
WALTER DECOW – 30y Ont BA Dutch Boarding House Keeper Southwold Twp Elgin. ( Daniel3, Jacob2, Abram1 )
JOHN L. DECOW – 31y Ont BA Dutch Farmer Southwold Twp Elgin. ( William3, Jacob2, Abram1 )
SAMUEL DECOW – 30y Ont BA Dutch Farmer Southwold Twp Elgin. ( John3, Jacob2, Abram1 )
JOHN L. DECOW – 29y Ont CE German Tanner Strathroy Village Middlesex. ( Daniel3, Jacob2, Abram1 )
DUNCAN DECOW – 23y Ont BA English Tanner Strathroy Village Middlesex. ( Daniel 3, Jacob2, Abram1 )
JOHN DECOW – 55y Ont UV German Farmer Woodhouse Twp Norfolk. ( John2, Abner1 )
FREDERIC DECEW – 62y Ont AD French Farmer Houghton Twp Norfolk. ( Captain John1 )
F. HARVARD DECOW – 28y Ont RB French Farmer Townsend Twp Norfolk. ( Samuel3, Isaac2, Abner1 )
EDMUND DECEW – 59y Ont WM Swiss Surveyor Cayuga North Twp Haldimand. ( Captain John1 )
JOHN DECEW – 70y Ont EM French Millwright Cayuga North Twp Haldimand. ( Captain John1 )
LEONARD DECEW – 34y Ont WM Swiss Carpenter Cayuga North Twp Haldimand. ( Edmund2, Captain John1 )
JOHN DECEW – 35y Ont WM French Surveyor Provincial Cayuga Village Haldimand. ( Edmund2, Captain John1 )
WILLIAM DECEW – 24y Ont WM Blacksmith Walpole Twp Haldimand. ( ? )
ROBERT DECEW – 64y Ont NC Finnil Mill Owner Bertie Twp Welland. ( Captain John1 )
ROBERT DECEW – 22y Ont NG French Tin Smith Thorold Twp Welland. ( Frederick2, Captain John1 )
CHARLES DECAO – 28y Ont CP French Blacksmith Grimsby Twp Lincoln. ( Frederick2, Captain John1 )
WILLIAM DECEW – 53y Ont BA French Lumbermerch Clinton Twp Lincoln. ( Captain John1 )
So few founding DeCews in Canada begs the question of what happened to the lines of Jacob DeCow UE's ( other? ) sons, and leads us also to ponder:
G. PHANTOM DECOWS OF BURFORD
One source that makes clear there were more DeCews in Home District at an early date than are accounted for ( i.e. beyond Abner who settled in Welland c. 1788 and later moved to Norfolk / Jacob who settled in Welland c. 1788 and later moved to Burford ) is Muir's Early Political and Military History of Burford ( available online at http://188.8.131.52/genealogy/pdfs/early.pdf ). Here we find several DeCews that are unattested as offspring of Jacob DeCow UE, and evidently the first DeCew residing in Burford township was a 'John D. DeCow' who received 200 acres there on 08 AUG 1799 ( p. 34 ), five years before Jacob DeCow UE received his 200 acres on 06 MAR 1805 ( p. 32 ). Is this John the son of Jacob DeCow UE, and if so, do we take this John to have been Captain John owning land at Burford? If we do, there nonetheless remain several other Burford DeCews who are not assigned to either the Jacob or John DeCow lines:
- Corporal Allan Decow of Captain Horner's Company of Militia 1804 ( p. 195 )
- Sergeant Hiram Decow of the First Oxford Militia 1813 ( p. 242 )
- Ebenezer Decow of Burford who had his lands confiscated 1814 for withdrawing from the province during the war ( p. 264 )
These DeCews are too old to have been sons of Abner or Abram ( b. 1784 ); they are unattested in the lines of Abner of Norfolk and Abram of NJ; John B. DeCow was not married until 1798 and Jacob's son Edmund, taken to be younger than John, did not receive land via orders in council until 1806. Jacob DeCow brought six children into the province according to his petition of 1794. Are these DeCews other children of Jacob, additional to the six mentioned in his petition of 1794, or did another line of Oxford Township DeCows settle in [ Welland and ] Burford Township at an early date?
H. JOHN DECEW IN THE INDIAN DEPARTMENT
This is by far the strangest development – in the addendum to Murray Killman's Biography of Jacob Killman UE ( Caledonia, 1990 ) the name "John Baptist Decew" occurs on a 1777-1778 payroll record for the Indian Department. I immediately thought "John DeCew in the Indian Department?", then realized he would have been 11 years old at this time according to the date on his tombstone. The Killman biography is listed as Loyalist Fiction ( i.e. the novelization as fiction of a UE ancestor's life ) on the UEL bibliography website; items in the addendum appear genuine as regards names on the rosters, however, which are immediately recognizable, though I have doubts as to the status of the Butler's Rangers roster as a single document since e.g. Frederick Dochstader was not promoted to the rank of second lieutenant until February of 1781. What I'm most curious about is where the author came across the name "John Baptist Decew" ( the "B" on Captain John B. Decow's tombstone has never been defined – "Bloome" is a best guess based on what his mother's maiden name is believed to be ) as well as where association of this name with the Indian Department comes from. The Rangers and Indian Department rosters are reproduced below; I have only the photocopies for these pages.
[ pg. 279, column 1 ]
Pay Roll, Officers in John Butler's Rangers Dec. 1777 to Oct. 1778.
Company #1 Lt. Col. Butler
John Tutney 1st lieut.
Sam Thomson 2nd lieut.
David van Every sergeant
Silas Secord sergeant
Sylvester Staats corporal
Solomon Secord corporal
Henry Teal corporal
Company #2 Capt. John Mac Donald
Benjamin Pawling 1st lieut.
Andrew Bradt 2nd lieut.
Benjamin Frelick sergeant
John Reilly sergeant
John Cornwall sergeant
Thomas Winn corporal
Christian Warner corporal
Abraham Laraway corporal
Company #3 Capt. William Caldwell
Bernard Fry 1st lieut.
Fred Dochstader 2nd lieut.
Daniel Young sergeant
Joseph Petrie sergeant
Benjamin McKay corporal
Benjamin Davis corporal
[ bottom line of photocopy cut off ]
[ pg. 279, column 2 ]
Company #4 Capt. Peter TenBroeck
George Herkimer 1st lieut.
Parshall Terry 2nd lieut.
William Newberry sergeant
Hendrick Shaver corporal
Joseph Sim corporal
Zacharias Furlow corporal
Company #5 Capt. Walter Butler
Andrew Thompson 1st lieut.
Philip Fry 2nd lieut.
Moses Mountain 2nd lieut.
Randal MacDonald sergeant
Lewis Mabee sergeant
Henry Putnam sergeant
The roster rolls of the Butler's
Rangers are incomplete and in 1778
only about half the corps had been
recruited. The Ranger corps stood
at full strength at war's end with
about 519 men on the roster. Capt.
Walter Butler wanted the rank of
Major, but the numbers did not
[ bottom line of photocopy cut off ]
[ pg. 280 ]
Employees in the Indian Department, on the Pay Roll 1777 to 1778.
[ column 1]
John Hare Jr.
John Baptist Decew
[ column 2 ]
Aaron Vandeburg – interpreter
Joseph Herkimer – commissary
Edward Smith – secretary
Timothy Murphy – blacksmith
List of officers and their commands in the Indian Department
[ name / ] Indian Nations [ / ] men [ / ] total
Gilbert Tice – Onondagas and Tuscaroras [ / ] 102 [ / ] 386
John Johnston – Upper Senecas [ / ] 131 [ / ] 366
John Powell – Lower Seneca [ / ] 161 [ / ] 634
Joseph Brant – Mohawk, Oneida and Mohican [ / ] 91 [ / ] 449
Henry Nellis – Cayuga and Toderighrons [ / ] 170 [ / ] 613
Vacant – Misc. Seneca, Deleware & Gadaragora [ / ] 6 [ / ] 8
" [ / ] all others [ / ] 173 [ / ] 760
[ / ] [ / ] [ / ] ___ [ / ] ___
[ / ] [ / ] [ / ] 834 [ / ] 3216
Although the total Loyal Indian population was over three thousand men
women and children; the actual fighting warrior force was quite small.
In addition, this native manpower was spread over several hundred miles.
For this reason it was hard for the combined Ranger-Indian force to field
more than two or three hundred men in any one location. However, the main
strategy of this unique guerilla force did not require large numbers; for
they moved very fast and relied on the element of surprise to compensate
for their small numbers.
The entry is strange enough that I ran through the possibilities:
a) Are the names made up?
Joseph Clement, Indian Department: http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyherkim/regiments/loyclaims3.html
John Depew, Indian Department: http://www.royalprovincial.com/Military/rhist/dian/dianretn.htm
John Hare, Indian Department: http://www.royalprovincial.com/military/rhist/dian/dianretn3.htm
Edward Smith and Joseph [ John Jos ] Herkimer, Indian Department: http://www.nyhistory.net/~drums/Indian_department_roster.htm
b) Is it a mistranscription?
If it is a mistranscription then the only name I can see it being is Depew, although John Depew followed by John Baptist Depew would probably have been obvious to the transcriber. I've sought, but can't find, a John Baptist Depew in the Depew genealogy – John Depew's son John Jr ( if his name was John Baptist ) was 12 years old relative to the rest of his family in the 1783 census of Niagara, making him 7-8 years old in 1778-79.
c) Is it another John DeCew who was in the Indian Department?
The DeCews have never been proposed to have been in the Indian Department, even by me, which is why I find this entry particularly strange. This John is not likely Jacob and Abner's brother John, since that John remained in the U.S. after the Revolution and is mentioned in e.g. Samuel Axford's will of 1811. If it is a John DeCew from another branch of the Leuren DeCou family tree then I don't know which. Indian Department / Butler's Rangers links would foremost point to ties with Captain John's family in light of the company he kept in Home District. If it is Captain John himself then he must have been at least 6 years older than his tombstone indicates, making him about 95 when he died and about 55 when he gave his age as 35 to his American captors. Is this possible?
APPENDIX: John DeCew's "Reminiscences Of An Old Pioneer" ( The Haldimand Advocate Newspaper, Cayuga, 1888 )
REMINISCENCES OF AN OLD PIONEER
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.
I endured many hardships but worked away happily. One of my first wants was a grindstone, which I supplied by discovering a quarry not far below the falls from which I selected a stone of suitable size and quality, and having partially shaped it with a pick, I started home with it. On becoming tired I would lay it down and resume picking; resting, lightening my load and bringing the stone nearer the required shape at the same time. Whilst thus engaged at one time I thought I heard a rustling in the leaves behind me, and on turning my head I saw an enormous blacksnake reared up and looking over my shoulder. As quick as thought I discharged my pick at his head, and laid him dead at my feet. I suppose he took me for a stump and thought there was a woodpecker on the other side, of which he might make a dinner.
I used a good many devices to accomplish as much work as I possibly could with as little means as possible. One trouble I had was to get rid of big logs, and in my first clearing nigh the road-line stood a gigantic hemlock, which I was perplexed to know how to dispose of; if I cut it down I had not a team that could move it. Finally I took my axe and climbing to nigh the top, commenced cutting away the limbs, leaving myself enough to stand upon. Burning the brush effectually killed the tree, and the blackened skeleton was a sort of way-mark for several years and was known as the "big hemlock stub."
I, at length, resolved to build a sawmill and an oil mill, there being none at the time between the two lakes. I was aided in my enterprise by Colonel Hamilton, of Queenston, who imported the necessary ironware for me from Scotland.
A kind of Providence crowned my undertakings with success, and by the year 1821 I had built a substantial stone dwelling, which, on the war coming on and our men being obliged to retreat from Niagara, was used as a military storehouse. By that time the country had become pretty well settled, and I was appointed Captain of a company of Militia, and, being thoroughly British, I turned out with my men, although conscious that we had to fight against great odds, yet determined to make up in courage and determination what we lacked in numbers. After engaging in several skirmishes I was among the few made prisoners at the taking of Niagara, and at once hurried across the river and to Batavia, where we were joined by some of our regulars.
We now numbered in all about fifty prisoners, with but a small guard placed over us. We discovered in the place an arsenal containing arms and ammunition, and resolved to capture it, arm ourselves and make our way back home. Our plans were matured and the time appointed when at a given signal, to be given at night, when we would have less to fear from the inhabitants, our designs were to be put into execution. But before the hour arrived our wild scheme was frustrated by one of our regulars who divulged our secret to the enemy. Our indignation against the traitor was so marked that our guard had to rescue him, but his red coat could not be found and on inquiry being made after it one of the old comrades exclaimed, "he deserted his colors and his coat deserted him." An opportunity was shortly after presented, when said coat was placed on a post and whipped to shreds. Shortly after this we were carried from place to place, nothing of particular interest occurring more than that we were sort of a free show that attracted general attention. At one place an old lady came hurrying out, exclaiming, "Where are they? Where are they? When one of our men pointed out a couple across the street, she, with a wondering look said: "Why, law me, they are just like men; they look like our folks." At another place we halted for a few days at the foot of a mountain, and were allowed to go on parole. I took a chisel, and finding a rock with a smooth face, I cut my name on it, "Capt. John DeCew, II Lincoln Militia." This excited a great deal of query; they could not conceive what Lincoln meant; finally it was decided to mean Linken which implied that they were all linked together as one man, and would consequently prove formidable antagonists. I did not contradict this exposition.
We at length arrived at Pittsfield, where twelve officers, I being one, were selected as hostages – to be sent to Washington and executed in retaliation for the execution of some of their men, who proved to be deserters from our army and captured bearing arms against us. After traveling eight days towards the place of execution, the orders were countermanded, Sir George Prevost having informed them that he had caused twenty-four of their subjects to be placed in close confinement, and would put two for one to death if they persisted. During the final adjustment to this, to us a vital question, we were ordered to be kept at Philadelphia, and were placed in what was not appropriately called the Invincible prison – a large three-storey building, the third flat of which contained a spacious hall, to which we all had access during the day, but confined in several apartments during the night.
We were humanely treated, and for a time had liberty to traverse a portion of the city, on parole. This privilege was utilized by a young Ensign named Myers in making the acquaintance of a young lady, which he afterwards turned to good account. During our parole we were frequently invited to the tables of the more wealthy inhabitants, when the subject of the war and its injustice was frequently the topic of conversation, and at one of the dinners our host became so excited in his condemnation that, bringing his knife down with emphasis, he cut a large hole in his tablecloth.
On returning to our restricted position, our longings for home, together with the uncertainty that hung over our ultimate position, caused us to plan an escape. There was a fire-place at the end of our hall nighest the street, the chimney of which was sufficiently large to admit of our escape through it, but it was so grated with iron bars as to require the removal of two in order to permit of our egress. We knew the hours when we were usually left alone, and commenced operations on the grates by using the mainsprings of our watches for saws, placing them in frames for that purpose.
But the work was not completed before our tools were worn out, and then the young lady before mentioned furnished her friend with a clean pocket handkerchief containing a phial of aqua-fortis, which soon completed the work. To provide against detection, as the chimney was inspected every day, we found it necessary to replace the grate we had removed when we were not engaged at the work. This we did by securing it in place by wrapping it with paper which we had first rubbed on the sooty chimney in order to give it the proper color. We next made a rope of bedding, tying the strips together, and chose the hour between eight and nine in the evening, we being then usually alone and the streets not much frequented. I was the last to escape, and unfortunately for me the rope had broken in the descent of the man that had preceded me, so I found myself at the end, not knowing how far I was from the ground, but let myself fall, and found myself supported by two comrades, the blood running down my mouth. With difficulty I prevailed upon my friends to leave me, and make their own escape, as it was impossible for me to travel.
After remaining alone for some time, rain commenced pouring down, and I recovered so as to be able to walk, which I did in a direction leading from the prison; but, by a strange mishap I, in the darkness, fell into an unoccupied cellar in which stood nigh a foot of water, losing my hat in the fall. I waded around a good while before I found my hat and still longer before I found my way out, and in the meantime I heard the patrol of dragoons pass on the street. I continued my journey notwithstanding my accumulated bruises, slowly and silently, and at length saw a light from a window, towards which I proceeded, directed, as I believe, by a kind of Providence.
On reaching the house from whence the light proceeded, and gaining admittance, I found a gentleman and lady occupied with books and I addressed myself to them saying, "You see before you an unfortunate prisoner of war, who has just escaped from the Invincible, in which I have been confined as a hostage, with the possibility of execution. I have a wife and children on the frontiers of Canada, exposed to all the ills of a bloody war. I am maimed and bruised in effecting my escape and am wholly dependent upon what your mercy may induce you to do."
The young man seemed lost in astonishment and the lady sat in silence, but I saw tears in her eyes and a glow of generosity beaming in her countenance as she exclaimed, "I would risk everything rather than see him given up."
They proposed to put me upstairs, but I advised them to let me go to some outhouse, so that if discovered I could say that I had secreted myself there without their knowledge. This they did, and I crawled into a hayloft over a stable.
My present anxiety being now somewhat relieved, I was given to feel the full force of the pain caused by my bruises. The young lady visited me in the morning with refreshments and wept over me in my sad condition. I came nigh being discovered one day by some children, but I covered myself up effectually with hay as I heard them coming. They soon found some pretty buttons which I had bought in the city (for I never forgot my boys) and ran to the house with them. This aroused the watchfulness of the owner of the premises, and father of the young lady, and he afterwards himself stood watch over the buildings when the children were about. He was a Quaker, and was engaged in publishing a bible. I was presented by him on the day following that of my concealment with a printed bill offering one hundred dollars reward for the capture of each of the escaped prisoners, and also announcing that if anyone was known to harbor or in any way assist in their escape their property would be confiscated and they tried for high treason. In view of the immense risk, I requested him to give me up and receive the reward, but to this he would by no means consent, preferring, as he said, a good conscience before his estates, although they were considerable. The escaped prisoners were all re-taken the first forenoon, but myself and two others who had friends in the city. I remained in my concealment for several days, during which I received every possible kind attention and was furnished with a change of clothes to prevent detection and money for my journey.
I set out as a drover returning from market and fell in with a couple of that craft from whom I obtained a great deal of information respecting the business as well as the country through which I was to pass. I had great pain in one of my feet which was injured in my fall, but I accounted for it by saying it was affected by rheumatism. Knowing that I would not be able to cross the Niagara River, I took my way to Lower Canada through Vermont, my native place, where I found some of my relatives living nigh Bennington to whom I made myself known and received assistance from them; continued my journey via Rutland to Burlington where I took the steamer to Plattsburg. At Burlington I was startled by a young man eyeing me narrowly and who afterwards, on lighting me to bed, exclaimed, "Here you will be safe." He called me in the morning and conducted me to the boat, where he inquired if there were any officers on board. He probably mistook me for a deserting soldier.
From Plattsburg I made my way towards the Canadian lines, on nearing which I cut a stout cane or cudgel and resolved not to be captured by less than five men. I found myself sadly perplexed to know how to avoid the American and how to fall in with the Canadian outposts, for I durst not inquire. I, however, entered a cottage and found an old lady making johnnycake, of which I got a share, and praised it all it was worth, which was not a little. She became very talkative and told me all I wanted to know, and in a few hours thereafter I found myself in a British camp surrounded by red coats and under my beloved Union Jack.
I was shortly afterwards sent for by the General who supposed that I might have broken my parole, but on hearing my story gave me credit for tact and endurance, paid me my arrears and gave me a free pass home, where I arrived just two weeks after my friends whom I had left behind, an exchange of prisoners having taken place in the meantime.
On my arrival home I learned that they had had some hot times. The enemy learning that there were military supplies stored in my house sent an army with cannon to capture the stores and knock the house down. They got as far as the Beechwoods, two miles East, where they were intercepted by a band of Indians lying in ambush, who opened fire upon them from behind the trees, yelling in most approved Indian style and killing several of them. They, however, returned fire, and even brought their cannon to bear upon the unseen foe, but without effect; they, however, sent one of their grapeshot into a pine tree which afterwards almost ruined one of my saws. In the meantime, Colonel Fitzgibbon, having disposed of most of the stores, and hearing the firing, set out on horseback for the scene of action, carrying a white flag. On his arrival he told their commander that their enterprise was hopeless, that he had a sufficient number of men to capture them. He gave an exaggerated account of the number of Indians and gave them the choice of surrendering to the whites or Indians; they chose the former and were marched by here with one red coat to ten blue coats.
I was present at the battle of Lundy's Lane but having charge of the commissariat I was not in the fight. I shall never forget the cheering when our reinforcements arrived, and how some of the prisoners taken by us said it went down them like rain. We followed the enemy to Chippawa, and found some stores abandoned by them. These Colonel FitzGibbon declared legal plunder and asked if I could not take part of it home, but I declined, being resolved that no one should ever say that I had gone out plundering.
The war is over now and we see little to remind us of it, but now and then an old bayonet or gunbarrel, or an occasional cannon-ball or bombshell, relics of the arms destroyed to save them from the enemy.
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