Saturday, February 28, 2009

Marital Conflict pt 1...The Redcoats are coming!

Both my wife and I have families that have been in the Americas for quite some time. I have family lines that came to New Amsterdam and the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1600's and lived throughout the Northeast. My wife's families all ended up in North Carolina by the mid-1770's (can you see Marital Conflict pt 2 coming?).

Most people don't know that the American Revolution wasn't universally embraced by the inhabitants of the colonies. Some estimates put it at 1/3 pro-American; 1/3 pro-British; 1/3 Leave me out of it!

Well this is where the conflict begins. I have 2 different family lines that were pro-British and 2 lines that were pro-American. My 5G-Grandfather, Samuel Very, joined the British Army. He was later arrested because of this. Samuel's arrest bond is dated October 1777 in the amount of 500 pounds. He was arrested because of his allegiance to the British rule. These bond papers state that he used his house and lands as collateral with a promise to pledge allegiance to the State. However, this arrest did not deter Samuel Very! On 13 Feb 1778 British Army Commission papers, we find Samuel rejoining the British 2nd Battalion Regiment of Militia in the Manor of Rensselaerwyck Proper in the County of Albany. He was a 2nd Lieutenant under Captain Ichobod Turner. With Samuel's in your face attitude, I wonder if Hannah, his wife, had nightmares about the sheriff showing up to seize her home, because of the bond being ignored by Samuel!! There's only 4 months passed from the arrest bond stating he would not associate with the Brit's and his rejoining the British army. Samuel stayed in New York after the war where he died in 1807 in Stephentown, NY. Interestingly, Samuel's son, William Thomas Vary, was a Lt. Colonel in the Genesee, NY militia during the War of 1812. He fought in the Batavia area and was in the area when Buffalo was burned by the British. William was the founder of Varysburg, NY but later moved to Canada!

On another family line, my 6G-Grandfather, Isaac Van Valkenburg, was a Private in Butler's Rangers during the Revolutionary War. This was a British Loyalist regiment. The Corps of Rangers commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Butler was raised in 1777 and served until the general reduction of the British Army in North America in 1784. The Rangers were headquartered at Fort Niagara, first living in garrison, and then in barracks on the west side of the Niagara River. While the Corps fought as a major unit at Wyoming, Cherry Valley, Chemung, on Sir John Johnson's and Major John Ross's raids, most of the expeditions were mounted by company or company plus sized units. A key factor in the successes of the Rangers was the close co-operation of the various Indian nations with which it served. The Corps fought in what is now New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky and Michigan. It has been described by military historians as the most active and successful Provincial Corps in the Northern Command during the Revolution. After the war he moved to Canada as a United Empire Loyalist (U.E.L.).

On the pro-American side,  my 5G-Grandfather, David Rife, served in Captain Huey's 7th Company of the 1st Battalion of the Lancaster County Militia in Pennsylvania. Although his son later moved to Canada and his Grandson, Joseph Rife, married Isaac Van Valkenburg's Great-Granddaughter, Elizabeth Follick.

My 4G-Grandfather, Reuben Mickle, enlisted in 1780 in Colonel Shreve's 2nd New Jersey Regiment in the Continental Army.  He was a Corporal in Cyrus D. Hart's Company.  He saw action at the Battle of Springfield (NJ) and the Siege of Yorktown (VA).

Now my wife's family were the Patriot's. Her 5G-Grandfather, Aaron Deveney Jr., had moved to North Carolina from Pennsylvania in 1772. At the onset of the war, he was commissioned a Lieutenant in 1775 by Col. William Graham and assigned to Capt. Robert Rankins Company of the Tyron Militia. Throughout the fall and winter of 1775-76, the company was sent out on scouting parties, protecting the frontier settlements from Indian attacks and raids by Tories. In 1776, his home was plundered and burned by Tories. In 1777 he was ordered to take charge of the fort at Montford's Cove. When Capt. Rankins left the county, Aaron was elected Captain by his company, and later commissioned to that rank by Colonel Andrew Hampton. He was ordered to bring his Company to Gilbert Town, where Tories were causing trouble. They were successful in capturing several Tory prisoners, including their Captain. While the Tory captain's name is not listed, the record does state that he was later hung. In 1780, Aaron was ordered by Colonel McDowell and Colonel Hampton to bring his Company to the South Fork of the Catawba, where they were placed under the command of General Griffith Rutherford, and participated in the Battle of Ramsour's Mill. Shortly after that battle, Aaron's company was ordered to the head of Cane Creek to intercept British Major Patrick Ferguson's troops. Aaron started out to contact and warn the Burke Co. militia, and in the process was captured by three of Ferguson's spies. He was held prisoner 13-14 days, during which time his wife Sarah pleaded with Colonel Ferguson to release her husband. When she eventually resorted to tears, Ferguson gave in, exclaiming that he would 'rather see 20 dead men than one woman in tears.' Aaron and some other captured patriots were paroled, after taking an oath not to again take up arms against Britain. While some of those paroled later pursued Major Ferguson to King's Mountain (where he was killed in battle), Aaron kept his oath and returned home, where he was put in charge of forts at Montford's Cove to defend against Indian raids. In addition, Aaron's brothers, Andrew and William, back in Pennsylvania, were both officers in the Bedford Rangers, Pennsylvania Militia during the Revolutionary War.

Another 5G-Grandfather, Robert M. Patton II, was a Captain in the Revolutionary War. At times he served as an Indian spy under Capt. Morrison. He was at the Battle at Monck's Corner, SC, which was fought against the British Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton (Commander of the Dragoons portrayed in the movie The Patriot). He fought at the Battle of Ramsour's Mill on 20 Jun 1780. Robert Patton II served as Captain of Cavalry at the Battle of Kings Mountain on 7 Oct 1780. Robert served under Colonel McDowell in the Wilmington Expedition and in Cherokee raids of 1782.

Robert Patton's father-in-law, James Dysart, my wife's 6G-Grandfather, was a Captain during the Revolutionary War and served at King's Mountain. This is not the "famous" Colonel James Dysart, but believed to be his uncle. Both Captain James Dysart and his son, William, were killed at the Battle of Cowan's Ford on 1 Feb 1781. They gave the ultimate sacrifice to the birth of a new nation.

Respectfully Submitted by

Derek A. Green

Originally Posted 2/28/2009
Updated on 7/4/2012

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