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.


Clark Children Reunite After 42 Years

Charles Lloyd Moore

A while ago, I wrote about my husband’s great-grandfather’s story about being sold at the Ohio State Fair and how he changed his name from Clark to Moore.  A Clark relative reached out to us recently on Ancestry to find out more information because we had so many matching names in our trees.  She was a grand-daughter to Cecil Benjamin Clark, brother to my husband’s great-grandfather, Charles Lloyd Moore.  I sent her a packet of papers and pictures along with giving her links to this blog.  However, in giving her links to here, I realized that I hadn’t updated my blog with the discoveries I’d make in the Clark/Moore line.  So here we are with an update to tell their tale…

The Long Sought After Picture of Colonel Jesse Woodhull

Colonel Jesse Woodhull. Image courtesy of the Chester Historical Society.

About two months ago, I stopped out at the Cemetery of the Highlands to visit the grave of Colonel Jesse Woodhull, my 1st cousin 9x removed, and was really just there to check on the headstones of his family following our winter weather.   But while I was standing there, I had a “conversation” with Jesse that included telling him that he was going to help me tell the story of his life, and that of his brother, Ebenezer Woodhull.  If you’re not a long time reader of my blog, I have been the sole caretaker of Ebenezer’s grave yard in Blooming Grove for many years now as it was all but abandoned since 1881.  (You can read more about that here if you’d like.

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. 

NEVER give up searching!

My 3rd great grandfather, William L. Peters, died 6 Feb 1887 in Pickaway County, Ohio, but his death record had long eluded being found in popular online resources.  I learned that it became an Ohio statewide law to record deaths in 1867 and that each county’s probate court was responsible for recording the death as a single line entry in a register between 1867-1908. Deaths that occurred after December 19, 1908 are recorded by the Ohio Department of Health in a certificate format.¹  So, William’s death should have been recorded at the courthouse.  I wrote to the probate clerk to see if it was there.  In February, I received an email and was told it was not there.  How depressing.

William’s relapse as published in the 21 Jan 1887 edition of the Circleville Democrat and Watchman.

Still, it bugged me and sat in the back of my mind for months.  I knew it just had to exist!  I had found multiple news articles online detailing his sickness, the doctor being called in from another bigger city, and his sons being called to his side in his final days.  I even found his obituary but I desperately wanted his actual death record in hopes that it would give me more clues to solving where the Peters originated from.