July 19, 2012

Peter and Catherine Overrocker Doty - Patriots

When I read about the Doty family members who lived during the Revolutionary War, I am in awe of their patriotism and will to survive during difficult times.  Peter Doty, my 4 greats grandfather and father of the Joseph Doty discussed in my previous post, was born circa 1750 in New York.  He and his wife, Catherine Overrocker, born about 1754 and married in 1773, were a young married couple with two small sons living in Schaghticoke, New York when the American Revolution began.  My 3 greats grandfather, Joseph, was about 2 and his brother, Michael, only 1.  The family lived in the county of Albany, in or near Schahticoke, New York.   Albany County was quite large and encompassed part of the future state of Vermont.

 When the Revolutionary War began, the colonies were caught somewhat off guard with no official army or navy to protect the country.  So as the British forces arrived on the Atlantic coast, it was ordered that local militia units be formed in each tax district of each county from the males who were fifteen to fifty-five years old.  The government was also working to sign and train "regulars" - a professional army.  The job of the militia was to protect their own lands from British invasion and to provide support to the regular army, when needed.  They could be called upon at any time, but they could be required to serve only three months out of their state.

Peter Doty, along with some of his brothers and even his father, joined militias in their areas.  It wasn't as though they had a choice, as it was required for men to join if they fell into that 15-55 age bracket, and if a man was disabled, he was expected to outfit a substitute.  The men might have to provide a serviceable horse, a sword, gun and ammunition.  Foot soldiers were expected to have a good musket, a belt and cartridges, powder and a powder horn. Peter served in the 14th regiment of the Albany County militia from Hoosak and Schaghticoke districts.  (Albany County had sixteen different regiments.)  Some of his wife's relatives also served in this unit.  Peter was a private in Captain Hendrick Van Derhoof's company, commanded by Col. Peter Yates and Lieutenant Colonel John Van Rensselear.

In reading the history of this area during the war, it was apparent that the threat of Tory invasion was imminent.  At Fort Schaghticoke, several abandoned homes were used as British outposts. The Battle of Saratoga was just north of them and it is possible the militia was called in for support there - an American victory.
General Burgoyne's headquarters was very near to them and it was at Saratoga where he eventually surrendered.
No doubt exists that the times were troubled and the people of the region were living in a volatile environment, fighting for a new nation that had no money to pay the men for their service.
I'm sure citizens were always on the lookout for Tory spies or supporters.  One of Peter's brothers, Ormond, born January 12, 1746, was accused of supporting the Tory cause and he was jailed.  His brothers interceded for him and he was finally released on the condition that he relocate to South Wallingford, Vermont, at that time a wilderness, which he did.  He and his wife, Phebe Vail Doty  were buried in the Doty Cemetery there.
Ormond Doty - 1746 - 1826

One of Peter's sisters, Rebecca, saw her husband murdered because he was suspected of serving the British side.  More on that in the next episode!

After the war, Peter and Catherine added eight more children to their brood, so their children included: Joseph*(named after his Doty grandfather), Michael (named after his Overrocker grandfather), Ormond (named after his uncle), 
Martin (named after an Overrocker uncle), John Adam (Founding Father), William, Peter, David, Anna (Catherine's mother's name) and Barbary.  Barbary died as a young child.

Many of the New York Revolutionary War records perished in various fires, but a few records do exist for Peter Doty regarding his payment for service and equipment.  Three records, dated September 14, 1779; June 2, 1780 and November 9, 1780 have survived.  On November 9th, he was paid from the government 17s 6d or 17 shillings and 6 pence/ pennies, paper money.

Peter Doty's will also has survived from July 2, 1811, so we know he died after that date.  It went through probate on September 1, 1811.  In the will are mentioned his wife, Catherine, and his only daughter, Anna, along with Martin (an executor) and his wife, Anna; John and his wife, Anna; Michael Doty and his wife, Rachel; Ormond and his wife, Eleanor; and William and his wife, Eleanor.  Joseph was not mentioned.  It would seem logical that Peter and Catherine were buried in Schaghticoke, but I have found no record of this.


No comments:

Post a Comment