Tombstone Tuesday : Amos Chaffee (1744-1815)


Photo credit: Debra A Glogover, Findagrave Memorial #62923055

As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), it’s exciting to find that an ancestor’s service in the American Revolution has been officially honored by the DAR. Amos Chaffee received this honor on October 3, 1975.

Amos Chaffee was a 4th great-grandfather on my father’s side:

  • Amos Chaffee m. Anna Brown
  • Leonard Brown “Leon” Chaffee m. Azubah Chaffee
  • Azubah “Zelia” Chaffee m. Benjamin Hunton
  • Charles Mason Hunton m. Helen Luthera Martin
  • Nellie Tryphena Hunton m. Fred Verras Marsh
  • Merle Leroy Marsh m. Florence Mary Garrison (my paternal grandparents)

Below is a biography of Amos Chaffee taken from: The Chaffee Genealogy, (The Grafton Press, New York) 1909, pp. 121-122)

Amos Chaffee (John,* John, 8 Joseph, 3 Thomas *) was born in Woodstock, Conn., August 9, 1744, and died in Rochester, Vt., February 3, 1815. He married in Stafford, Conn., about 1769, Anna Brown of Windsor, Conn., their intention being published in South Wilbraham, where he then lived, November 5, 1769. She died February 22, 1831, and was buried in Rochester.

Amos Chaffee was baptized in the First Congregational Church of Woodstock, October 7, 1744. He was stout, broad-shouldered, five feet, ten inches in height, with a sandy complexion and blue eyes.

He was a farmer.

A list of those occupying seats in the Congregational church in Wilbraham dated July 3, 1770, shows that Amos Chaffee and his wife, with seven other persons, occupied pew number seventeen.

He was chosen Deer Reeve in Wilbraham, March 15, 1774, and July 21, 1774, sold to Simeon, his brother, sixty-eight acres of land in that place for £20. This year also his signature is found attached to the agreement not to buy English-made goods, signed by one hundred and twenty-five men of South Wilbraham. August 5, 1775, he bought of Abner Badger land in Wilbraham for £120, and August 12, 1776, he sold to the same man land there for £100.

He served in the Revolution as follows:

“Chaffee, Amos. Private, Capt. Daniel Cadwell’s co. Col. Timothy Robinson’s
detachment of Hampshire Co. militia; enlisted Dec. 25, 1776; discharged April
2, 1777; service, 3 mos. 9 days at Ticonderoga; enlistment to expire March 25, 1777; roll dated Springfield.” [Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution.]

The powder horn and gun which Amos Chaffee carried in the war are preserved by his descendants. The former is inscribed, “Amos Chaffee’s Horn, made at Woodstock, Conn. April 17, 1761.” On it is traced a map of North and South America.

February 23, 1778, he bought sixty acres of land in Stafford, to which place he removed the following spring. May 31, 1779, he added to this purchase seventy acres more.

December 13, 1779, he took the oath in Stafford. A list of the members of the Second Congregational Church, dated March 13, 1791, contains the name of Amos Chaffee.

In 1797 he moved with his family to Athens, Vt. He and his wife were granted letters to the church there August 19, 1798. In 1806 they moved to Rochester, where they spent the remainder of their lives.

Children, the first three born in South Wilbraham, the last two in Stafford:

• Eleanor Chaffee, born May 17, 1771; died November 22, 1848; married James Thresher.
• Amos Chaffee, Jr., born May 13, 1773; married (1) Betsey Harwood; (2) Rachel Gubtil; (3) Mrs. Lydia (Beckwith) Richardson.
• Lucy Chaffee, born April 30, 1776; died November 18, 1826; married Elias Richmond.
• John Chaffee, born September 3, 1778; married Sally Evans.
• Leonard Brown Chaffee, born September 2, 1780; married Azubah Chaffee.

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Tombstone Tuesday: Abijah Thompson (1739-1811)

Photo credit: PupDawg, Findagrave Memorial #78714014

Photo credit: PupDawg, Findagrave Memorial #78714014

This month, I’ll be submitting application papers to the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution tracing the lineage to my 6th great-grandfather, ABIJAH THOMPSON.

Abijah Thompson was the father-in-law of another patriot ancestor, Jonathan Tidd Jr., who married Abijah’s eldest child, Rhoda.

The following biographical sketch comes from: Memorial of James Thompson, of Charlestown, Mass., 1630-1642, and Woburn, Mass., 1642-1682: And of Eight Generations of His Descendants, by Leander Thompson (Press of L. Barta & Company, 1887)

Abijah Thompson was born in Woburn, April II, 1739. He was the first to bear a name which has since been given to at least ten of his descendants, all except two bearing also, as their family name, that of Thompson. At the opening of the Revolutionary war, he was thirty-six years old and had a family, his two children being then respectively in their twelfth and seventh years.

Having served with his older brother, Samuel, in the old French war in 1858, he was not without some experience in military life. When, therefore, the startling news came, on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, that the British troops were on their way to Concord, he lost no time in putting both his military knowledge and his patriotism to the test. With his brothers, Samuel and Daniel, he hurried away to the scene of danger, and took an active part in the conflict in which Daniel was killed, and subsequently served in the Revolutionary army, for some time as armorer, but later as adjutant of militia.

Many years after the war he wrote and, apparently by invitation of his fellow citizens, delivered a public address in which, among other highly patriotic passages, he describes, in thrilling words, the scenes of that fearful day, his brother’s death, and the sad duty devolved on him of carrying and breaking the dreadful news to his widowed wife and three orphan children.

After the war, he built a new house, much larger than the one he at first built, both being in his native village, and on the principal (now Elm) street. Here he kept a hotel which, being then on the great thoroughfare from Boston through Woburn to the more northerly towns of Chelmsford, Andover, Haverhill, Exeter, N. H., etc., was widely known and much frequented by travelers in the days when railroads were unknown. Beside the cares of this business, he was, for from twenty to thirty years, widely known as deputy sheriff, doing, till near the time of his death in 1811, a large amount of business in this office. During seven or eight years, in the meantime, he was on the board of selectmen, and, like his brother Samuel, was almost continually on important committees of town, parish, or church.

His business as sheriff and as keeper of a public house brought him into contact with many people from far and near, and like his brother Samuel, who was also widely known as a public surveyor, as well as town, parish, and church officer, he was enthusiastic in embracing these opportunities for making known and spreading abroad the newly discovered apple then known as the Pecker, and now as the Baldwin apple. Of a large number of trees of this popular fruit which he grafted near his home, noted for many years as the “second generation,” from the original tree in Wilmington, the last one in bearing condition was blown down in 1869, in an autumn gale, and though probably eighty-five years old, even as a grafted tree, was full of fine apples at the time.

Abijah Thompson united with the First Congregational Church when a young man in his 22d year, and remained a much respected member till his sudden death by paralysis, Jan. 11, 1811, in the 72d year of his age. His death occurred in the second house which he built, after his return from the war, probably in 1778 or early in 1779. The house is now owned and occupied by the heirs of the late Oliver Fisher.

Sheriff Thompson or “Sheriff Abijah,” as he was for many years called in Woburn, was, like his brother Samuel, three times married. Dec. 13, 1759, he m. 1, Esther Snow of Woburn, who d. without children, Jan. 3, 1761.

He m. 2, in 1762, Abigail, daughter of Zebediah and Abigail ( Pierce ) Wyman of Woburn. Of this marriage there were two children :

1. Rhoda,6 b. Nov. 5, 1763; m. Jonathan Tidd, Oct. 19, 1780, and had :
i. Jonathan,7 b. Dec. 5, 1781 ; m. Cynthia,7 Eames.
ii. Nabby,7 b. June 16, 1787.
iii. William,7 b. April 12, 1792; m. I, Rosanna Buck man, 2, Luthera Bond.
iv. Franklin,7 b. 1795, and d. Dec. 26, 1796.
v. Mary Thompson,7 b. Feb. 17, 1806; m. Joseph Eaton.
2. Abijah,6 b. Oct. 24, 1768; m. 1, Lydia Mead, 2, Lydia Bradford.

His second wife, Abigail, dying in 1778, “Sheriff Abijah” m. 3, Widow Sarah Burtt, maiden name Stanley, of Wilmington, probably in 1779. She survived him eleven years, and d. March 22, 1821, in her 67th year. Their children were :
1. Charles,6 b. Nov. 25, 1780; m. Mary Wyman, Jan. 19, 1802.
2. Alpha,6 b. June 11, 1785; m. Mary Scottow, Jan. 4, 1810.
3. Sally,6 b. Jan. 23, 1787; m. William Bond, Aug. 21, 1808.
4. Nancy,6 b. 1788, and d. aged two years, Jan. 15, 1790.
5. Nancy,6 b. June 3, 1790; m. Christopher P. Hosmer, Feb. 27, 1812.

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The Travels of Abiathar M. Harris: South into Vermont

Abiathar was working at the Montreal Herald in late summer 1822. His final entries for the year are these:

Original in the University of Rochester Library

Original in the University of Rochester Library

Thomas A. Turner was a Scot from Aberdeenshire. In addition to publishing a newspaper, he was at one time the vice-president of the Bank of Montreal and, later, president of the Bank of Canada. He owned the Gazette for only a brief period, from 1822-1827.

Abiathar’s diary picks up again 8 months later. In company with a fellow by the name of Brown, Abiathar left Montreal, traveling by steamboat southward on the Richelieu River.

1824 Richelieu River steamboat“1823  On the 27th I left this place for Burlington, Vermont, in company with Mr. Brown – we arrived in St. John’s on the 28th – put up at E. Mott’s – I staid in this place a number of days. The village is very small and very muddy, but considerable business is done in the transportation line, it being the first Port of entry after crossing the lines.”

The place Abiathar refers to as St Johns is the site of the historic Fort Saint-Jean, first built in 1666. In looking for something about Mott’s Inn, I came across this excerpt from a traveler who took the same route about 20 years later:

Biog of W H Merritt

Google Books: Biography of the Hon. W. H. Merritt, M. P. 1875

Abiathar and companion Mr. Brown, continued their journey along the waterways of the Canada-U.S. border in early summer 1823:

Original in the University of Rochester Library

Major Josephus Vaughan (b. 1766) was a Loyalist who took his family from Connecticut to settle in the town of Noyan, Quebec. In 1804, he established the first ferry across the Richelieu River.

Capt. Sydney Smith had distinguished himself (in an unfavorable way) as a lieutenant of the American Navy in the War of 1812  at the Battle of Plattsburgh. His poor judgement resulted in two American sails being captured. Purportedly, the men did fight bravely for over 4 hours before surrendering to the British.

Maj. Wilson may have served in the Revolutionary War. I’ve spent a few hours trying to identify him but haven’t come up with anything definite.

When Abiathar arrived in Chazy, he may have encountered my 4th great grandfather, Asa Stearns, who was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Asa had settled in Chazy after the War.

More of Abiathar’s adventures in the towns surrounding Lake Champlain and beyond next time!

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The Poetry of Helen A. Harris Deming: The Old Farm House

Small-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-Logo_0April is National Poetry Month, so in celebration I want to get out there the Helen A. Harris Deming‘s poetry that I’ve found published in newspaper archives in order to acknowledge the amazing woman that she was.

Helen composed this poem to honor the early settlers of her adopted city, Cleveland. This clipping came from Cleveland Daily Leader, July 16, 1858.

Cleveland Daily Leader. Cleveland, Ohio. Friday- July 16 1858 - Page 1

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My Three Georges … and Fred, too

My husband and I were watching a comedian’s skit recently and the fellow mentioned something about being able to name all of your great-grandparents. As in: What a ridiculous thing for a person to be able to do!

Pfft! Quickly, I ticked off the eight names of my great grandparents to dear Hubby. He can name his, too, and he’s not even that into genealogy. As I named my great grandparents, for the first time, realized that 3 of my 4 great grandfathers were named GEORGE.

George Byron Garrison

George Byron Garrison (1860-1943) was my father’s maternal grandfather. He was born in Rochester, Monroe County, New York. He lived in Rochester his entire life, and I’m awed to think of all he saw pass during his life: the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression. He experienced the beginning of electricity, telephones, the camera, motion pictures, sound recordings, automobiles, radio, and so much more.

George followed his father, Minard Garrison, into the mason trade and lived at home with his parents until he married. The family resided at 79 Pinnacle Rd. in Rochester and the house is still there.

M H Garrison and Son - 1889 Rochester City Directory

M H Garrison and Son – 1889 Rochester City Directory

79 Pinnacle


At age 27, George married Jennie Harris and they had four children: Edna, Howard (“Budd”), Florence and Mildred. Sadly, their only son died of scarlet fever as a child. George and Jennie raised their three daughters in a comfortable, middle-class area of the city, first at 4 Walton St. and later at 663 S. Clinton St. Neither house is still standing.

When George’s father, Minard Garrison, passed away in 1899, he left his only son all of his masonry tools and equipment along with a two deeds.

Bequests to George

New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 via

In 1923, George and Jennie celebrated 35 years of marriage by taking a spring-time cruise to Rio De Janeiro aboard the ship Vauban (Blue Star Line). What a couple of adventurers!

While WWII was raging and the fate of the world was undecided, George passed away due to atherosclerosis.

I believe George and Jennie enjoyed a good, comfortable life together. They had their share of tragedy with the loss of their only son, but hopefully their daughters and grandchildren were a great comfort to them. George, Jennie, Budd, and Florence are all buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, as are many other Garrison family members.

George FeisterGeorge Ralph Feister (1885-1955) was my mother’s maternal grandfather.

I’ve already written about him here: (Curious (About) George).

GeorgeBeachIrvineGeorge Beach Irvine (1885-1955) was my mother’s paternal grandfather. He was born in Duke Center, McKean County, PA. His father, Arthur Irvine, was born in Montreal, came to the U.S. as boy in the 1850s, and later served in the Civil War. George’s mother, Amelia, was born in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.

George grew up in McKean County, PA. His father was a machinist and George followed him into the trade; though, throughout his life he would try his hand at many different occupations, doing whatever it took to care for his wife and family. In 1909, at age 24, George married Clara Rose Snyder.

George and Clara started their married life in Duke Center where George ran a machine shop. Clara gave birth to two daughters and three sons: Katherine, Mary Genevieve, John (“Jack”), Kenneth and Richard. In 1912, little Mary died of pneumonia when she was only a year old. By 1920, business must have been slow, for in the 1920 Census George had switched to selling insurance and Clara was working in a shop. Ten years later, the 1930 Census shows George running his own machine shop again.

In 1932, with the Great Depression in full swing, George moved his family 370 miles northeast to Hudson Falls, Washington County, NY, near to Clara’s sister, Emma Snyder. The 1933 Hudson Falls directory shows George running a bakery and daughter Katherine listed as a pianist.

1933 Glens Falls Directry

A few years later, George and family relocated 350 miles west to Olean, Cattaraugus County, NY, where he again was back in the trade of machinist. (At last! Olean is where my grandparents met!)

My cousin Christine and her husband, Mike, were the trailblazing family historians and many years back they wrote a piece about the Irvine family in which they wrote about George and Clara’s final years:

On May 7, 1940 Clara passes away, leaving George with Ken and Richard still living at home. Ken is 17 and Richard is 14. Tragedy is ready to strike the Irvine’s again, as George is diagnosed with tuberculosis in October of 1940, just five months after their mother dies. George is sent to a sanitarium in Geneseo, NY and the boys are moved into a boarding house in nearby Dansville. George’s stay in Geneseo is short and he is moved to Rocky Mountain sanitarium back in Olean. Later he is moved to Liberty, NY. and the Bernard McFadden Health Camp. Ken and Dick are moved to Webster, New York, outside of Rochester to be near their older brother Jack and his new family. The are still living in a boarding house just half a block from Webster High School. In 1942, George is in remission and returns to Hudson Falls, New York. where he works in a liquor store. Ken has entered the U. S Coast Guard. Dick, now left alone, is moved out of the roaming house and moves in with his brother Jack to finish high school.

After Dick graduated from Webster High School, he moved up to Hudson Falls to be near his dad. Dick moved in with his aunt, Emma Snyder. He worked at W. T. Grant’s in the stock room for six months, but then decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy rather than be subject to be drafted into the Army.

Ken and Dick both returned to Hudson Falls after there stints with the military. Shortly after Ken and Dick returned, George fell ill again, this time he was placed into a “Cure Cottage” on the shores of Saranac Lake in the Adirondack mountains. The accepted cure for TB at that time was to get plenty of fresh mountain air. George never recovered from this last battle with TB. He died on Christmas eve in 1955, in Saranac Lake, Essex County, NY. [Irvine Family McKean County Pennsylvania, PAGenWeb]

Fred Verres Marsh Fred Verres Marsh (1870-1943), my father’s paternal grandfather. Fred was born and lived his entire live in Rochester, Windsor County, VT.

Fred was born on his father’s farm and would be a farmer, too.  Some of the land was wooded with maple trees used for sugaring or lumber. In 1892 he married Nellie Hunton. The had one son, Merle, and three daughters, Mildred, Anna and Adeline (“Addie”). There were many Marshs,  Huntons and allied kin in the area, many of their families having been on the land since the just after the Revolutionary War.

Perhaps due to hard times brought on by the worldwide economic collapse, the 1930 Census shows Fred was off the farm and found a new trade working as a carpenter at a marble quarry. (Vermont is known for its marble.)


Wikimedia Commons


Fred continued to work as a carpenter after the Great Depression ended. He lost his wife Nellie in 1937 when she died of heart failure at age 67. Fred went on for another 5 years, passing away in 1943 from complications of arteriosclerosis.

Did you notice that my two paternal great grandfathers, George Garrison and Fred Marsh, both died in 1943? And my two maternal great grandfathers, George Feister and George Irvine both died in 1955? Weird.

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March or Marsh? An Example of Fluid Spelling in the 18th & 19th Century

One of the members of an online genealogy forum in which I participate recently posed the question, “How far back can you trace your maternal lineage (mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, etc…?”

Researching family history is something I put a few hours into several times a week, and each time I log into or open up the Family Tree Maker application on my computer, I am presented with a graphic of my family tree. But I’d never thought to consider it from that angle. As it turns out, I can only trace my maternal lineage back to my 5th great-grandmother, Rhoda March … or is it Marsh? I say “only” because I’ve traced my paternal lineage back to my 9th great grandfather,  John Marsh of Braintree, Essex, England.

Here is the maternal lineage I have to Rhoda March/Marsh:

Great Grandmother, Laura Jane Tidd Feister(1883-1957)
2nd Great Grandmother, Delia Jane Rice Tidd (1854-1942)
3rd Great Grandmother, Martha Rebecca Bancroft Rice(1829-1918)
4th Great Grandmother, Mary G Conant Bancroft (1808-1872)
5th Great Grandmother, Rhoda March/March Conant (abt 1776-abt 1846)

The first vital record I came across for Rhoda records her marriage to Nathaniel Conant on Aug. 17, 1798. Her surname is given MARCH.

Conant March marriage record

Disappointingly, her parents are not listed on the marriage record. But that isn’t so unusual. Rhoda’s husband, Nathaniel, was the only son of Joshua Conant, who died in 1777 at the Battle of Bennington during the Revolutionary War. I have yet to identify the surname of his mother, Mary.

Nathaniel and Rhoda had eight children:

When I found the birth record of their 4th son, Samuel Marsh Conant, it seemed a strong probability that his middle name reflected his mother’s maiden name. Naming patterns are something often seen in genealogical research. So, was it March or Marsh? I’d need to study more vital records to find some kind of consistency.

Five of the children are identified in birth records naming their father, Nathaniel Conant. But their mother is simply listed as, Rhoda. I have not yet found the birth records for Mary G., Jane E. or John P.. Mary G.’s death record identifies Nathaniel and Rhoda Conant as her parents, as does Jane E.’s 2nd marriage record. The death record for William lists her as Rhoda March.

I have not located a death or burial record for Rhoda. Her husband, Nathaniel, entered a 2nd marriage on 25 Nov 1847 to widow, Mariah Stratton Manning. Presumably, then, Rhoda passed away some time between the birth of her youngest child, John, in 1823, and Nathaniel’s remarriage in 1847.

Having just completed an application to the Daughters of the American Revolution tracing my lineage to Col. Joel Marsh, I had a lot of Marsh family lines stuff floating through my head. I search different Marsh family genealogies to see whether Rhoda would show up there. No dice.

To discover Rhoda’s parentage, knowing she was married in Londonderry in the year 1798, I searched the 1790 U. S. Census for the March/Marsh surname indicating a teenage female family member. Bingo! The 1790 Census record for the family of Samuel March (note the same name as Nathaniel and Rhoda’s 4th son) indicates 3 females. Unfortunately, the ages of the women is not recorded. However, with this information, I search for more records on this Samuel March of Londonderry.

It didn’t take long for me to locate Samuel’s will, dated 18 Feb 1800 in Londonderry. His will names a daughter, Rhoda. Here is the will, snipped into two parts from the county record books. Rhoda is named on the 2nd part, about half-way down the page with her sisters, Sarah and Abigail.

Samuel March will part 1 Samuel March will part 2

Mystery solved! Now I have the names of Rhoda’s parents and siblings.

But whether the surname is March or Marsh is still a question. In Samuel’s will and probate records, the spelling of the surname is recorded both as March and Marsh. Mostly March. Yet, the birth records for several of his children indicate Marsh.

So, March or Marsh? Historians and genealogists have found that it wasn’t until toward the end of the 19th century, when literacy became more widespread in the United States, that the normalization of word spellings came about. So, at one point another, families decided how they wanted to spell their names. In earlier times, it didn’t seem to matter over much. So, I’m going to let that particular issue go. I doubt this was something they lost sleep over, so neither will I!

Now on to the next mystery: who was Rhoda’s mother?


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Col. Joel Marsh of Windsor County, Vermont

One of my genealogical research goals is to identify as many Revolutionary War patriots as I can among all the branches of my family tree and have my lineage to them verified through the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In tracing the line of my paternal surname, initial research permitted me to link generations via vital records (birth, marriage & death), as well as obituaries, headstones and census records, to my 4th great-grandfather, John Marsh (1779-1837). But I couldn’t seem to locate any document which proves his parentage.

According to Marsh Genealogy: Giving Several Thousand Descendants of John Marsh of Hartford, Ct. 1636-1895 (p. 184),  John Marsh was the son of Col. Joel and Ann Marsh. While the book, published in 1895, doesn’t cite references which would meet any standard of genealogical proof, the text asserts that the information compiled by the Marsh Family Association was gathered with diligence. The book remarks upon meetings of the Association, the election of officers and their ongoing mission:

We must ransack public libraries and town records, and records in the old family Bibles and on gravestones, and hasten to gather what is in the memory of the aged. We must compare notes. Different members of a family line have partial records, which, put together, give often great increase of light. Places of birth, and dates of removal and places of ancestral residence, and full names, are of utmost importance. Often a middle name hints a family connection. Do not neglect this pleasant work, nor think your parentage of no importance. Let us each be faithful to those who who have gone before us, and honor our family name.

Family genealogies are considered derivative sources, as opposed to original sources, and I’ve had reason in the past to be dubious of the information they contain. But whereas many of these published family histories were compiled by persons with no real vested interest in the accuracy of the information (i.e. they were paid to produce the work), the Marsh Genealogy was put together by highly learned individuals dedicated to documenting their family line.

The Marsh Genealogy includes the following sketch on Joel Marsh:

b. at Lebanon, Ct., June i, 1745, son of Jonathan and Alice (Newcomb) Marsh ; m. Jan. 25, 1770, Ann, b. Nov. 18. 1743.  Their first child was born at Lebanon, Ct., April 15, 177 1. Then we have record of four b. at Hartford, Vt., from 1775 to 1781, and then two b. at Bethel, Vt., Oct., 1783 to May, 1786. These show where the mother was and probably the home. Col. Joel Marsh figured largely in the early history of New Connecticut not yet Vermont. With his cousins. Col. Joseph, Capt. Abel and Elisha Marsh he was an early proprietor of Randolph and also of Bethel, Vt. The embryo state had a southern regiment with Joseph Marsh as colonel and a northern in which Joel was captain and major and apparently colonel, early in the revolution. He was a member of the convention to adopt the constitution of Vermont. The proprietors of Bethel, Vt. “Voted,'” “Dec. 13, 1779,” “that Col. Joel Marsh be an additional proprietor,” “and the said Marsh do accept of the Mill Lot which contains 450 acres” also that he “do build a good sawmill by the first day of September next and a good gristmill by the first day of November following upon the forfeiture of five thousand pounds, extraordinary Providence excepted.” He drove an ox team up the bed of the White River, built a log house and commenced on the mill as supposed in 1780, but Indians, “extraordinary Providences, burned Royalton in October and settlers hurried away. He finished the mill in 1781 which was for several years the only one in that region and Col. Joel Marsh was known as the miller. He soon built the first frame house which 100 years later was in good preservation. Col. Joel d. March 11, 1807. His widow d. May 6, 1813.

Children :

Jonathan, b. April 15, 1771 : m. Irene Ainsworth, 2317.
Peleg Sanford, b. Oct. 18, 1775 ; m. Mary Mills, 2350.
Mary, b. March 26, 1778; unm. and d. at Peleg S. Marsh’s, ae. over 70.
John, b. April 25, 1779 ; m. and had family and resided at Stockbridge, Rochester and Bethel, Vt.
Ann, b. Dec. 30, 1781.
Joel, b. at Bethel, Oct. 28, 1783 ; m. and had one son and two daus, (unm.) went to Maryland.
Mason, b. at Bethel, May 1, 1756.

Reading this, it seemed I’d identified another Revolutionary War veteran. (Yay!) The next step was to check whether my 5th great grandfather, Col. Joel Marsh, was in the DAR Genealogical Research System. A quick search produced two men of the name, from the same area and with birth & death dates very close in time.

DAR GRS screenshot

But there’s a problem here. “My” Joel Marsh was a colonel who died in Bethel, VT, in 1807. Yet, the DAR records designate him a private, and the Joel Marsh of Sharon, VT, has the rank of colonel. Did the Marsh Genealogy get it right? I’ve seen how later generations tend to inflate the rank of their war heroes. This set me about finding evidence to my own satisfaction to distinguish between the two men.

We have these two death records from

1807 death record 1811 Joel Marsh Esq death record

Further, there is this newspaper item from The Weekly Wanderer, Randolph Vermont, Vol VII, Issue 18, Pg 3 (Monday, March 16, 1807) found on

1807 death notice

There are ample records of births, marriages, deaths, deeds and wills locating Col. Joel Marsh’s descendants in Bethel, VT. The mills which the Colonel built are still functioning (Bethel Mills, Inc.). As noted in the Marsh Genealogy, the Colonel’s son, John, married in Bethel and later relocated to Stockbridge, about 10 miles west of Bethel.

I’ve prepared and submitted an application to the DAR establishing myself as a descendant of Col. Joel Marsh. In the summer of 2016, I hope to see the home the Colonel built in Bethel, which still stands.

Joel Marsh home

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