Samuel Tozer (Richard-3 Thomas-2 Richard-1) was born in 1716, probably in Colchester, New London (formerly Hartford) County, Connecticut Colony. He was the son of Richard Tozer and Mercy Beebe.
In Colchester, Samuel married DOROTHY-4 NEWTON, daughter of James Newton and Susanna Wyatt, around 1742. Dorothy was born on 25 February 1717/8 in Colchester. The couple had seven, perhaps eight, children (not necessarily in order):
i Mary b. 1744 m. Nathanial Harris
ii Lodemia b. m. Jonathan Harris
iii Susanna b. m. Noah Murray
iv Richard b. 2 September 1754 m. Ann Middleton
v Samuel b. m. Sarah Pelton
vi Meribah b. m.
vii [James?] b. m.
viii Julius b. 16 June 1764 m. Hannah Conkling
Dorothy's father died in 1756, and on 17 March 1757, she and Samuel received their portion of the distribution from the executor:
For Dorothy Tozer Eldest Daughter of the Deceased we order out the following things as mentioned in ye Inventory: the Executor not presenting the articles Saith they are in the hands of Samll Tozer & his wife Dorothy, viz: one ounce of Silver, a Silver-headed Cane, A Camlet Coat, an old blue Coat, five knives & forks [?] & gimblet, two rasps & a file (one rasp in ye Executors hand), Marking Iron , two great basons, four spoons, a quart Cup & bed pan, a Sheat & five yards of Cloth, Nine Sheep, ten pounds of wool, five pounds tobacco, one Swine, wooling yarn, fourteen pound of pork, yoke & Irons, a Large yoke of oxen, a Mare, the Riding horse, one peck of old wheat.
The following articles in the hands of ye Executor he Saith [?] Samll Tozer & his wife Shoemakers Bench & tools old Saddle, two old Sickles two rakes & three forks (one fork at [?] the Executor Saith), A Duroy Coat & Jacket Eight barrels (in ye barn), one hogshead in ye barn old portmantle.
The value of these goods was £37.19.11.
In late 1764, Samuel and his family came from Belmont, near Watertown, Middlesex County, Connecticut, to the Wyoming Valley in present-day Luzerne and Wyoming Counties, Pennsylvania, to secure a homestead and settle down. They lived there for several years, evidenced by the entry of Samuel's "ear mark" on the town books in 1776; by statute, all owners of livestock were required to brand their animals with a distinctive cut on the livestock's ear.
The Wyoming Valley was first settled by Connecticut farmers under grants of the Susquehanna Company, though it was also claimed by Pennsylvania. In 1774, to strengthen its legal authority over the area, the Connecticut assembly chartered a town called Westmoreland there and in the following year prohibited any further immigration into the area to prevent the further influx of New Yorkers. New settlers arrived, however, from the Hudson Valley and their openly Loyalist sentiments provoked hostilities with the earlier independence-minded settlers. Some of the Loyalists were arrested and sent to Connecticut.
These anti-Tory acts, coupled with a desire to punish the rebels and provide rich plunder, prompted the British under Col. John Butler stationed at Niagara, to attack the valley. Butler's Tory Rangers and their Indian allies, a combined force of over 1,200 men, set out from Niagra in June 1778. On the march west to Pennsylvania they looted and murdered all in their path. In the words of Hector St. John Crevecoeur, who lived near the plundered farms, "it was easy to surprise defenceless isolated familieswho fell easy prey to their enemies . . . . Many families were locked up in their houses and consumed with their furniture. Dreadful scenes were transacted which I know not how to trace."
The raiders took the settlements in the Wyoming Valley completely by surprise. The only defence provided was by Col. Zebulon Butler, who with some 300 men and boys occupied Forty Fort, and some other rebel soldiers holed up in Wintermont and Jenkins Forts. On the morning of June 28, the British attacked the forts. The latter two surrendered on the condition that the women and children who had taken shelter there were saved from the depradations of the Indians.
Forty Fort, though, would not yield. The body of the Tory army surrounded the last hold-out. On July 3, the British commander ordered his men to set fire to the fort, and to feign a retreat. The ruse worked, and the Americans took the bait came pouring out in pursuit of the fleeing Tories. The ran right into a trap, as troops hiding on each of their flanks sprang out of the woods to surround them. The Patriots fled, many jumping into the Susquehanna where Indians -- better swimmers -- overtook and killed many. Crevecoeur wrote that "for a lonf time afterwards the carcasses became offensive, bloated and infested the banks of the [river] as low as Shamokin." Other Patriots who had fled away from the river were also captured, and "were tied to small trees and burnt the evening of the same day."
The entire Tozer family appears to have survived the massacre, and all fled back to Connecticut where, according to Samuel's son Julius' Revolutionary pension records, they settled for a time in Horseneck, near Greenwich, in Fairfield County.
Samuel died in 1786, at the age of seventy. One source gives the place of death as Colchester, which would mean that Samuel did not return to live in the Wyoming Valley. Dorothy moved to join her son Julius and daughter Lodemia Harris in Pennsylvania. She died in 1797 in Athens, Bradford County, at the home of her son, and was buried on the family farm. She was seventy-nine years old.
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