July 31, 2012

John and Rebecca Doty Irish - Part 2

The account of her husband's death, as given by Rebecca Doty, was first published in the Rutland Herald newspaper by C. H. Congdon in 1855 and later in the Danby,Vermont history, published in 1869.  Apparently, Congdon spoke with Rebecca Doty Irish Stafford and wrote the article based on that conversation and in response to an article by Judge Noble. 
Congdon stated,
" I noticed a communication in your paper, over the signature of O. Noble (Obadiah), relative to incidents of the Revolution: and were it not for the fact that said communication had produced considerable excitement in this vicinity, I would gladly be silent.  But whenever a matter of this nature is recorded, whether it be fact or tradition, unless refuted at the time, soon passes into historical truth.  With due deference to the age and ability of Judge Noble, I shall proceed to narrate the circumstances as I understand them.  I have had occasion during about twenty years, while collecting material for a work which I may hereafter publish, to consult the then (1777) wife of John Irish, now (1842), the widow Rebecca Stafford of South Wallingford.  Of course, my information is traditional, but at the same time the most direct I think that can possibly be had of the 'Irish Affair.'  The wife of John Irish was a strong, resolute woman and possessed a strong, retentive memory.  She was an eye witness of the whole affair, and the following is her statement:

Rebecca began by telling how her husband, John, bought their farm from his brother, Jonathan on 20 May 1775.  She had the deed in her possession and she provided a copy of it which was reproduced in the book.  He loved his farm, improved upon it and lived there peaceably until the day of his death, she recounted.  (History of Danby, Vermont, pp.172 - 174)
Rebecca continued the story:
"I have never heard it contradicted that the character of John Irish was without reproach.  He, as well as many others of this vicinity, was a Quaker in principle, was quiet and unassuming.  On the 24th of July, he went to Burgoyne's head-quarters at Skeensborough (now Whitehall) and procured protection papers and returned on the morning of 27th July, had previously been engaged in reaping wheat, he was now mowing, had mowed about an acre in the forenoon when Clough came to his house between 11 and 12 o'clock and enquired the way to Durham Bridge; wished Irish would direct him through the woods as he did not like to travel the road on account of spies.  Irish told him to keep the road as the safest way.

Dinner being ready, Irish asked Clough to eat, but declined, but while Irish and his family were eating, sat partly in the door.  After dinner, Irish put a pitchfork into the fire to bore a hole into a new handle and then laid down on the bed with his two eldest children.  After dinner, Clough called for a drink of water, which Mrs. Irish gave to him, fresh from the spring; a few moments after she had fetched the water for him, while she was engaged in doing up the dinner dishes, all at once Clough started and ran out of the house in the direction of the spring.

Mrs. Irish spoke to her husband, who immediately jumped up and followed Clough out of doors - at the same time his wife begged him not to leave the house - he advanced about three rods from the door, when Allen raised up from behind a maple log and shot Irish through the hand, severing his third and little finger from his hand, or nearly so.  Clark then, in a rough manner, asked him if he wanted to take more prisoners.  Irish answered that he should take or harm no man, and added, you have wounded me, upon which he held up his hand and Clark shot him through the heart.  He turned, walked about a rod, and fell dead upon his face.  When Clark and Allen shot him, he was not more than three or four feet from the muzzles of their guns - so near that the smoke rolled up on his breast as he turned around.  After this, the men all disappeared in the woods. 

Mrs. Irish went immediately to Mr. William Irish's who was just putting on his clean clothes, being on Sunday.  He said, 'Becca, you must take care of yourself, I cannot help you.'  He immediately started off and did not return until six weeks afterwards.  Mrs. Irish went home, but did not attempt to do anything with her husband (hoping that some neighbors would come in) until nearly dark when, no one coming, she, with Irish's two oldest children, Mary, 14 years, and Gibson, 12 years old, assisted her in getting him into the house; this they did by rolling him on a plank and drawing him along.  She afterwards laid him out.  When she returned from William Irish's, the children said to her that the men had gone and Papa was asleep.  He was a man that would weigh over two hundred pounds, and it was with difficulty that she and the children got him into the house.

He was buried the next day by Francis and David Matteson, Jesse Irish, the father of John, and a Scotchman by the name of Allen.  A coffin was made by Francis Matteson from rough boards out of the chamber floor.  The grave is about forty rods from where the house formerly stood, on a knoll; a mound and rough stones mark the spot to this day.  The wife was not permitted to follow the body of her husband to the grave, as it was not thought prudent even for the men to perform the task, so perilous were the times.  Scouting parties were out on both sides at this period.

John Irish had three children, the oldest about three years, and the youngest only two months.  Mrs. Irish did not know any of the men at that time; John Irish knew two of them; his wife had never heard him speak of only two.  The party, after killing Irish, went to the widow Potter's, in the edge of Clarendon, and took dinner, stating that they had shot Irish; and here a few days after Mrs. Irish learned all their names, and also that they did not intend to kill John Irish, but that William Irish was the man they were after, as they had been offered 30 pounds for his head.  The widow thus left, secured her hay and grain and also her flax, of which she had a fine lot. This was the situation we find her in when in the following November, Ernest Noble (the father of Judge Noble) notified her that she must leave, as he had purchased the place of the confiscating agent at Rutland, and that twelve days would be given her to leave in peace.  She left within the twelve days - traveled on foot with her three children to Danby, a distance of seven miles, through the uninterrupted forests of the then wilderness country, rendered doubly gloomy by the fitful gusts and wails of a bleak November wind.  Tears of anguish and regret no doube dimmed her eye and moistened her cheek, as she left her home and the grave of her husband and journeyed alone and unprotected through the wilderness to find protection for herself and children, among strangers, although her deceased husband's relatives.  She had married John Irish when on his way from Nine Partners up the country, and consequently had no intimate acquaintances with his father's family.

(*Rebecca would have been about 18 years old at this time and her children, Joseph - about 5, and Lucretia, about 3.  The baby, Rhoda, would have been only 3 or so months old.  From this account, we learn that John Irish was apparently married before and perhaps his wife died, as the two children, Mary and Gibson, are called Irish' s children.  It does not say that they left with Rebecca.)

About three weeks after her husband was killed, and in her absence from the home, her house was pillaged of everything valuable - clothing, furniture, etc.  All she ever found of the missing property was a valuable scarlet cloak, about three or four rods from the house, trampled into the mud and badly torn.  Relics of plunder were met with years after, among some of the families of the western part of Tinmouth.  
It is stated by Judge Noble that the party took Irish's gun to the council of safety.  This could not have been so, from circumstances I will relate: - 
About two weeks previous to the transaction above named, John Irish, hearing that all persons, irrespective of political sentiment, if found with arms, would be dealt with as enemies, and wishing to evade all trouble, he dismembered his fowling piece of its stock and lock.  The lock was wrapped in tow and put in the bottom of his chest, and the stock and barrel, he took into a swamp west of the house.  The former, he secreted under a hollow log, the latter in the same, and there the gun remained until the winter following Irish's death, when, Irish's wife, having no means to furnish her children with shoes, gave the gun to William Irish for the necessary articles.  She told him where to find the gun and he went and recovered it and long had it in his possession.  This party Judge Noble says were sent by the council of safety.  Where the record of fact is to be found, I know not, but it is certain from documents in my possession, that they belonged to a class of men styled Cow Boys in those days; that their friends and families resided in Tinmouth, and that they went there of their own accord and their own responsibility.   

General Burgoyne
 After this affair, William Irish went to Burgoyne's camp, in about six weeks, or the same autumn, and resided in Danby, until the close of the war.  Their property was confiscated.  How?  I believe that John Irish was never accused of being a Tory, was never tried as a Tory, and how his property could be confiscated, under the circumstances, was something that puzzled the most learned of the law subsequent to the peace of 1783.  That it was confiscated, I do not contradict, but whether in accordance with the rules practiced at that time is a question.
The best legal talent of the State decided more than thirty years ago that it was a fraudalent act, and that the heirs of John Irish could recover the property, but they, like their progenitor, were peaceable citizens and evaded litigation.  Mr. Joseph Irish of South Wallingford was the only one I ever knew... Many offers were made him by legal men to recover the property free of expense to him, but being a Quaker, he always desisted and consequently, the Noble family have been left unmolested in the possession of the property.

As regards the truth of the statement of the wife of John Irish, wherever she was known, her word was never doubted.  She was a high spirited woman, with a temperment rather sanguine than otherwise, and her villifiers,  with all their heroism, did not confront her.  We will give an illustration: About six weeks after her husband was killed, one Noel Potter and another young man came to her house and demanded her husband's protection papers.  In the words of the old lady, 'one with a drawn sword, and the other with an iron gunstick,' meaning a ramrod.  She peremptorily refused, and at the same time, seizing the poker, ordered them out of the house.  The precipitately withdrew and she was not again troubled with them.   The foregoing is an account of this affair nearly word for word as the old lady gave it, and what motive she could have for falsifying the matter is left for others to judge.  On the other hand, these men who committed the deed were conscious whether it was right or wrong.  If right, posterity can judge of the merits; if wrong, their own consciences upbraided them.  They are numbered with the past, both friend and foe, and far be it from me to characterize, now that they are gone.  It is left for the reader to determine..."

Rebecca married her second husband, Stutely Stafford, son of Thomas and Mary when she was twenty-one and a widow for about three years in 1780.  They lived at Danby and later South Wallingford, Vermont, where the couple had at least six more children.  
In 2009, a mock trial was held in Rutland concerning the killing of John Irish.  What, if anything, did the jury decide? 

July 23, 2012

John and Rebecca Doty Irish - Part 1

Peter Doty, my 4-greats grandfather, had a sister, 
Rebecca, who was the sister closest to him in age, just a bit younger.  Rebecca married John Irish, son of Jesse Irish, and one of seven brothers who settled with their father in or around Tinmouth, Vermont, now Rutland County in 1768.  This area was a hotbed of British activity, especially after the Battle of Ticonderoga in upstate New York, an American victory in early 1777.  The British began to move southward and many Tinmouth residents packed up and moved south, too, to avoid this influx of the enemy.  Others traveled to General Burgoyne's headquarters to ask for protection.  John's father, Jesse, did so and was granted protection as long as he swore not to take up arms against the Tories and to just stay quietly at home.  (After the war, Jesse was accused of aiding the British army, however, and his property was confiscated.  Other brothers also were involved in transporting Loyalist citizens into Canada and safety after the war.)

Rebecca Doty, my gggg-aunt, married John Irish, born 21 September 1745, in 1772.  Rebecca was a young teenager when she married the much older John, who was about 27.  The couple moved to Tinmouth, Vermont, where John eventually purchased eighty acres of land from his brother, Jonathon, in May 1775.  The farm was adjacent to the land one of his other brothers, William, and their houses were only a short distance apart.  John and Rebecca had three children: Lucretia, born 1774; Joseph, born 1775; and Rhoda, born April 1777.  One resource noted that John lived "by Quaker principles" which would mean that he did not want to involve himself in war or killing.  In this interest, John, himself, traveled to British headquarters on July 27, 1777 and obtained protection for himself and his family...the very day that he was killed.  One can be sure that the colonial soldiers kept a sharp eye on those under protection, lest they really be British spies or aiding the enemy in some way.  And that is how John Irish apparently was looked upon by some - a man under suspicion, when perhaps he really just wanted to lead a peaceable life with his wife and young children.

Tinmouth was part of the New York colony at this time.

Several versions exist describing John's murder on July 27, 1777.  One is a report given in the Rutland County, Vermont history published in 1886; a short description is given in Memoirs of Col.Seth Warner; and the last is an eyewitness account of Rebecca Doty Irish Stafford (she remarried) in the Danby, Vermont history (also published in the Rutland Herald in 1855), published in 1869.  I am going to post them all and you can decide if the shooting was premeditated or self-defense.

Version 1: Rutland County, Vermont history (Syracuse, NY, Smith and Rann, Ed., 1886, Chapter XL - "History of Tinmouth")
"John Irish and his tragic fate merit some attention from the historian.  He and his brother William lived in the north part of the town on adjoining farms, and built their houses but a little distance apart and near the road which ran parallel to the line fence between their farms.  When the news of the surrender of Ticonderoga reached Tinmouth on the 1st of July, 1777, a great part of the inhabitants started southward into Arlington, Shaftsbury and Bennington.  Those who did remain on their farms sought protection, as a rule, from Burgoyne.  Among these were the two brothers Irish.

A little later the Council of Safety sent a scouting party consisting of Captain Ebenezer Allen, Lieutenant Isaac Clark, and John Train and Phineas Clough, private soldiers, into Tinmouth to learn what was going on among the 'Protectioners' and to reconnoiter a Tory camp in East Clarendon.  These men were personal acquaintances of the Irish brothers.
When the party arrived in the west part of Tinmouth, they were informed that it was suspected the two brothers were about joining the Tories and that the shortest route to the Clarendon camp would pass their dwellings.  They accordingly took that road.  As they approached Irish's clearing, Allen directed Clough to give his gun to Train, go on and ask William Irish the nearest road to the Tory camp, at the same time telling him that he (Clough) had decided to go and join the Tories.

When Clough arrived at the house, he found both brothers and made the statement according to his orders.  Clough was told that he must consider himself a prisoner; that they would see about his joining the Tories.  William then directed John to take Clough home with him, and he would soon follow and help take care of him.  John had an Indian tomahawk in his hand and told Clough to walk along with him;  they walked on toward John's house, he with the uplifted tomahawk in his hand.

When Allen saw this from his place of concealment, he said to Train: 'We must get as near as we can to John's house without being discovered.'  He and Train started by one path and Clark crawled along behind the brush fence, the three meeting near the house undiscovered.  Here Allen gave directions that under no circumstances was either of them to fire until he did.  He then stationed himself about two rods north of the path; Clark about the same distance south of it, and Train fifteen or twenty rods farther east, all being hidden behind trees.

They had not waited long until Clough stepped from the door and, after looking about, started for the woods.  He had got partly over the fence when Irish came out, partly dressed, with a gun in one hand and a powder-horn in the other.  He called out to Clough to stop or he would shoot him.  While in the act of raising his gun, apparently to carry out the threat, Allen shot him through his left hand, knocking his gun from him.  Irish then turned around so as to face Clark, who shot him through the heart.

The party, after killing Irish, went on to Clarendon, and after reconnoitering the Tory camp, returned to Arlington.  It is perhaps, proper to state that different versions of this affair have been given, one of which is to the effect that Allen went to the dwelling place of Irish for the express purpose of killing him, but the details given above come down to us upon the authority of Judge Obadiah Noble, and probably should be given credence." 

 Seth Warner was a patriot and one of the Green Mountain Boys who fought bravely at Ticonderoga. In the Memoirs of Colonel Seth Warner, written by Daniel Chipman and published in 1848, the story of John Irish's death was told briefly this way:
"John Irish settled on a farm afterwards owned by Judge Noble.  Lt. Isaac Clark (of Herrick's regiment of rangers), in command of scouts sent out from Manchester, quietly surrounded John Irish's house and sent one of his men, named Clough, unarmed, to ask John Irish 'if he had any hostile designs against the Whigs.'  Clough had been a neighbor of John Irish's, but on the evacuation of Ticonderoga, had moved off.  'They entered into a conversations which was continued for some time.  At length, Clough began to suspect that Irish intended to detain him, as he was unarmed, and feeling unsafe, he walked with apparent unconcern out of the door, and turning the corner of the log house, out of sight of Irish, he set out on a run toward the scout.  Clark, who was watching, saw this and instantly saw Irish chasing Clough with his gun, and perceiving that he intended to shoot him before he reached the woods, drew up his rifle and shot him dead upon the spot.  This was represented by the Tories as a wanton murder, and many years afterwards, when Clark was in public life, and a prominent political partisan, some of his political opponents renewed the charge of murder against Clark, with many aggravating circumstances."

Next, I'll relate what John's wife, Rebecca Doty, remembered of the incident.  The above two accounts have John brandishing a gun or a tomahawk in a threatening manner.  One account has Clough setting out to trick William and John Irish into admitting they supported the Tories and could lead Clough to them.  Is this what really happened?   Was it murder or self-defense? Stay tuned.

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.


July 7, 2012

Joseph Doty (Sr.) and Elizabeth Cogswell Doty

Since I've taken a break in posting about the Doty ancestors, I'll take just a moment to review.  So far, I've posted five generations of Doty ancestors, beginning with myself, Donna, Dorothy - my grandmother, George Washington - my great-grandfather, and Joseph Doty - my great-great grandfather.  
That brings us to the father of Joseph Doty, also named Joseph, and his wife, Elizabeth Cogswell Doty, my great-great-great grandparents.  At this point, there will be no photos to enhance this post.  Oh, how I wish I had a photo, but so far, none of turned up in my research.
Joseph Doty Sr. was born in Schaghticoke, New York, on May 23, 1774, just as the American Revolution was forming.  He married Elizabeth Cogswell, daughter of John and Lucy (Todd) Cogswell on May 23, 1798, his 24th birthday.  Elizabeth, born on February 19, 1779, was just 19.  Most sources cite that all fourteen of their children were born in New York.  So far, I know a little bit about some of the children, but there is much more research to be done. (I have not confirmed personally the data given here.)

Children of Joseph Sr and Elizabeth Doty:

1. Peter.  Their firstborn son arrived on October 1, 1799...an 8 month baby.  
Peter never married and died in August 1837 at the age of 37.

2. Catherine.  The firstborn daughter was born May 12, 1801.  She married James Norris on November 9, 1841 and the couple lived in McComb County, Michigan where she died on April 18, 1865. James lived on until 1875.  Their children were: Henry, Benjamin, Julius, Clarinda and Lucy.

3. John.  Possibly died in Wisconsin

4. Joseph.  My great-great grandfather, born August 29, 1804 and married Sarah True.  

5. Ann.  Born September 15, 1806, married ? Smith and lived in Lansing, MI

6. Martin.  Born May 26, 1808 and died in April 1872 in Michigan.  He married Eunice Banning in Connecticut in 1845.

7. Benjamin Franklin.  Born June 29, 1810.  He enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight in the Mexican War, Company D, 2nd Infantry and died of disease in Jalappa, Mexico on June 12, 1848.  

8. William.  Born May 24, 1813.

  He died in 1895. 
9. and 10. Solomon and David, twins born February 2, 1815.  David died April 2, 1815 at the age of 2 months.  Solomon married Julia Lnu and they had one son, George M.  Solomon died at age 46 in Monroe, Michigan.  His obituary:

Monroe Commercial, Thursday, February 14, 1861
"Died - At his residence in the township of Exeter, on the 9th inst. of inflamation of the lungs, Solomon Doty, aged 46 years and 7 days.  The deceased settled in Exeter 25 years ago and has since been a prominent resident of that town.  Perhaps the loss of no man would ever more seriously be felt in any community than his.  He was ever ready to help the needy and alleviate suffering, and very many have experienced his liberality and neighborly kindness.  His loss is felt as a calamity not only by his own family, but by all his friends and neighbors."

11. Mary.  Born May 28, 1817

12. Stephen.  Born August 12, 1819, served in Co. K, 8th Michigan Volunteers and discharged for disability.  He as admitted into the National Home for Disabled Soldiers in 1881 and died there in 1883.  A farmer and a widower, when he died his personal effects were valued at zero.

13. Abraham Lewis.  Born March 13, 1822, he married Catherine Donnathy, an Irish girl, in Monroe County, Michigan in 1843 and they had six children together - James Edward, Mary E., Julius Benjamin, Olivia, Samantha and Joseph Allen.  One source said he died at age 36 in 1856 and another said he ran off with another woman and was never heard from again.  Looks like a mystery to be solved.  One of his sons, Julius served in the Michigan Volunteers, Company D, 4th Infantry during the Civil war and died of typhoid fever four months after his enlistment.
14.  Elizabeth.  Born October 11, 1824 when her mother was 35, the last child.
Some sources have her married to Daniel Finch and living in Iowa, but I can not verify that.

Joseph and Elizabeth Doty were in Michigan by 1840 as they were enumerated on the census and probably came even before that with their children, probably the 1837 date found for son Joseph.  Solomon also bought land in 1837, so that date seems most likely. They are buried in the Doty Cemetery in Monroe, Michigan.  I could find no obituaries for them at this time.  

Much to do on this generation!