General James Clinton & I

I have said it before that my genealogical journey has always been quite serendipitous in nature.  Good things and wonderful people have just seemed to cross my path time and again.  With it, though, comes a great amount of weird coincidences that I could never have expected or anticipated.  Here is one of those “strange incidences” that happened as of late…

I am a member of the DAR and my patriot is John Wickham.  I’ve written about him before but just to recap for new readers, John was in the French & Indian War and was recruited as a drill sergeant during the American Revolution to teach others how to fight/shoot.  John was from Rhode Island originally, moved to New York when he was 8 (and where he served during the Revolution), and then moved to Ohio after the war, where he applied for a pension right before he died at 101 years old.

I grew up in Ohio, nearly two hours from where John is buried in Noble County but I never knew about John until I moved to New York and my family tree exploded.  Here’s part of where it gets kinda neat – I didn’t just move to New York.  I moved right smack into the thick of where my grandfather served.  My husband is stationed at the United States Military Academy at West Point which is 7 minutes and one left hand turn from Fort Montgomery where my grandfather served before it was taken by the British.  I was able to go to Fort Montgomery and walk the very ground that John did and stand on the same cliff overlooking the Hudson River that he did.  It was surreal, to be sure!

In John’s pension file, he names those captains and generals he served under.  He served under Arnold at Bemis Heights, which is super cool since I have a Woodhull family connection and if you watch the show TURN, you’ll know I’m so excited by that!  Then, I somehow magically forgot who John served under.  It was one of those details that just slipped my mind.  (Probably because I read General Arnold and THAT’S what sticks out.)  I got into the DAR some two years ago and then all those little details just faded into the back of my mind…. until today.

And here’s where it gets kinda funky monkey… a few months ago, my friend Colleen and I cleaned the headstones and monuments of the Clinton plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in New Windsor, NY for the town.  We needed practice for our headstone cleaning business and they needed a nice, clean showpiece for the cemetery since they’d just taken it over in recent months and this would prime the monuments for its grand re-opening this next spring.

You may be wondering by now why this is so awesomely weird for me?  It’s because of whose plot we cleaned – General James Clinton and his family. My grandfather John served under General Clinton at Fort Montgomery before it was taken by the British and it was actually General Clinton that gave him his discharge papers. (Before you history buffs point out there were, in fact, TWO Clinton generals on the American side at Forts Montgomery and Clinton -and there were- John specifically said James Clinton, not George, in his pension papers.)  My grandfather served him and now I have served him in my own way, too.  How round robin is that?  The coincidence is just astounding to me and made those two days polishing and scrubbing those stones even more special and meaningful.

Anyways, I thought perhaps you all might enjoy seeing the pictures of the stones being cleaned.  They were in wretched shape and covered with lichen.  They are flat table-top stones and they are weathering terribly to where some of them are just practically illegible, James’ probably being the worst and then Mary Little Gray, one of his wives.   The stone of James’ sister, Catherine Clinton McClaughry , was so thick with lichen, we didn’t know there was a poem underneath the edges of the stone until it had been cleaned completely off.  It was amazing to see the before and after on these stones and I feel completely honored to have been a part of extending James Clinton’s legacy by caring for his monument properly.  I like to think my grandfather John would have been proud.


Update on the Caldwell War of 1812 Papers

A portion of a letter in the Caldwell family collection.

I wanted to give an update to the Caldwell family War of 1812 preservation project that I have been a part of.  The digitization was completed some time ago and I finished the transcription for the Moffat Library this past January.  Everything was put together, finalized, and the papers are now available for FREE online at the Hudson River Valley Heritage site (hrvh.org).

There is a super neat twist to this tale though that didn’t get published but I wanted to share here. 

The Woodhulls of Orange County

Last night, I gave a presentation to my DAR chapter on the Woodhulls of Orange County, NY.  Unfortunately, my camera quit recording 13 seconds into my presentation so there is no footage of me giving the actual talk.  I’ve rerecorded it here in an expanded version including more images and additional information that I skipped last night.  So even if you were present last night and saw it in person, I invite you to watch it again because I cover so much more here in the slideshow.  Hope you all enjoy.

Visiting My DAR Patriot

devoll4Aside from the lovely church & cemetery at Archers Ridge that I posted a picture of yesterday, I also went further down the road a bit to Devoll Cemetery, also in Noble County, in search of my DAR patriot, John Wickham. I’d seen the picture & an article about it before but visiting it in person was just important to me. I proudly wear his name on my DAR bar so I felt it was only right to find his resting place to pay proper homage to him.

To recap in case you missed my earlier posts on him and you’re wondering who John Wickham was, he was a soldier in the French & Indian War before being asked to come train militia men during the Revolutionary War.  The DAR acknowledges him as a non-commissioned officer.  John was 99 years old when he applied for his pension before dying at 100 years old, 8 months.  His pension application follows his journey all over New York from Fort Montgomery to the second battle for Saratoga (also known as Bemis Heights) with Generals Gates & Arnold.  He was even sent to spy on British ships in the Hudson River near what is now the Tappan Zee Bridge.  Somewhere around 1818, John and many of his descendants moved from New York to Ohio.  

Captain, Oh Captain

EbeneezerWoodhull Jr headstone

Grave of Ebenezer Woodhull Jr, veteran of the War of 1812 • Copyright Jill Moore © 2016. All rights reserved.

In my previous Woodhull post, I had reported that I had found the Woodhull family plot here and it was in utter disrepair. I was so remiss that I couldn’t positively identify Captain Ebenezer Woodhull’s grave. Through the miracle of Photoshop, I was able to enhance some of the photographs from the family plot and to my surprise, I was able to make out his grave – if even barely! My heart skipped a beat!