Wednesday, June 24, 2020


SAR Compatriot:Eugen Foley
Before Manifest Destiny
In grade school we heard about the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny.  But, as members of the Sons of the American Revolution, our research is much more personal, and we are able to see how our own families grew and spread across the country.  “From Sea to Shining Sea,” our Oregon-based membership is evidence of our nation’s expansion.  And the fact that we honor our forefathers’ sacrifices that made us an independent nation, conceived anew, seemed an obvious message of providence to those who fought…and to the generations that followed.

With a population of about a quarter million souls in 1700, it was clear that those few hundred Europeans that had established themselves in what would be the British Colonies by 1610 were here to stay.  But, by 1780, after the Revolution had fully engulfed the European residents of the new nation in the fight to establish a new republic, the population was nearing 2.8 million and would be nearer 5 million in 1800.

As a practical matter, new lands were needed to accommodate the expansion of the families that inhabited them.  Our youngsters today might suggest that they should have just built taller buildings, instead of moving west.  But, we know that it wasn’t until the late 1920’s that structural steel, safe elevators, tempered structural glass and other architectural and structural necessities made it possible to build above three or four stories without great expense.  And it wasn’t until the 1940’s that we began to manage our crops, farms and ranches in a sustainable fashion that, even with an increasing dependence on foreign sourcing, would make it possible to feed the third of a billion people that live in the United States today.

Before the words Manifest Destiny had come into popular use, our forefathers had already begun their move west.  As early lines were drawn, for instance, the north and south bounds of Connecticut extended well to the west. New York, and other colonies carved their shares out of this area, but much of what is Ohio (called the Western Reserve) was a part of Connecticut as it was being settle in 1796. That’s important because this and other land was available to veterans who were given grants of land to encourage them to build new communities.

Expansionist behavior began from the earliest times of colonialization, and was assumed as a matter of right.  In early records, the first settlers negotiated their use and ownership of land with the Native Americans.  While it is a cliché that our ancestors purchased Manhattan for beads, the early agreements often included trading for other goods, hunting rights and promises to share in the product of farms.  New Jersey records show a clear pattern of making contracts for the land that settlers came to occupy, as well as fair trading with the native population…in most cases.  Sadly, there were abuses and systematic discrimination increased to the time that Manifest Destiny became an excuse for the taking of land, displacement of indigenous people and institutionalized discrimination that continues to be a regrettable mark on our history.

That being said, land records are an important part of our genealogical research.  With the Revolution came the forfeiture of lands previously owned by loyalists.  Generals George Washington, John Sullivan and others were delegated responsibility for dividing the land among veterans who were expanding their families, and their horizons. My ancestors moved north to New Hampshire, and west to northern New York, then with Bounty-Land Warrants, they moved to Ohio.

And here is the opportunity for genealogical researchers…like the military pensions and invalid benefits that became available, those seeking a Land-Bounty Warrant needed to prove their service.  These records, often prepared by or for their widows included details of familial relationships, residences, and employment histories.  These are also primary evidence in the proof of service required for membership in the SAR and DAR.

And, as a final point, the westward movement tends to follow patterns.  Trade routes that include mountain passes and navigable rivers are great clues.  My own ancestors moved along the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, settling within a short distance to the land routes that skirted those waterways.

Good luck on your search for land records and Land-Bounty Warrants.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020


SAR Compatriot:Michael Tieman
The Power of the Press in Genealogy
I have been the SAR Lewis & Clark chapter registrar and for the past 3 years the SAR Oregon state registrar. During that time, I can’t tell you how many times new applicants have asked me …
“How do I find out if an ancestor is a Patriot?”

My answer was always the same … Start by making a list of your known male ancestors who were alive during the Revolutionary War. Then search the DAR database to see if any are there and have approved applications on file.

Simple right? Well, I thought I would take my own advice. I have two approved SAR Patriots, but I figured I had more in the wings. I just needed to take the time to find out.

Two things happened. First, I found some. Secondly, I found them in as my first search, not the DAR database.

You are thinking why did I check the newspapers first? Because I was already there checking on another lead. So, what could I lose?

SCORE, I hit the preverbal gold mine.

Here then are my steps and results.
  1. Checked my known male ancestors who were alive during the Revolutionary War 4th – 5th generations.
    1. Counted 34 direct line males in that time period
    2. More searching through my old files, I found 10 of them that according to the “family stories” fought in the Revolutionary War, but not otherwise documented.
  2. I was rummaging through looking up a documented article on another person when I decided to randomly choose one of those 10 “Patriots” I chose Isaac Hale b.1763 d. 1839 who I could document my direct lineage to his daughter Emma Hale, but no further.
  3. I plugged in the info on Isaac Hale. Score.
  4. THE EVENING GAZETTE, Port Jervis, NY. Tuesday, Oct. 23, 1888. In that article written about the town relocating his grave was the following info:
    1. “Isaac Hale was the first settler in this locality and was the father-in-law of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.” (My ancestor Emma Hale was the only legal wife of Joseph Smith and had his only legal son).
    2. “When Isaac was 12 years old occurred the first skirmish on the Lexington Green in Massachusetts. In 1777, his 59 year-old grandfather Ward was killed at Addision, VT, while fighting against General Burgoyne and a large Native American force that had mostly come from the Susquehanna Valley in northern PA after 1,200 American soldiers burned their villages and massacred their families.”
    3. “When Hale was seventeen, he enlisted, along with his uncle David, to fight under Colonel Ebenezer Allen’s command as they sought to prevent Canadian military raids into the Mohawk Valley. Hale’s brief tour of duty ended eight days after his enlistment when the younger soldiers marched back home without seeing action and the 17-year-old private was released from service.”
    4. “He may have visited his father, Reuben Hale, or older brother, Reuben Hale Jr., both veterans of the recent war, or with his sisters Naomi and Antha (Diantha).”
    5. “After completing this task, he returned to Vermont to marry Elizabeth Lewis on Sep. 20, 1790, in Wells, VT. One of Elizabeth's ancestors, John Howland, left England on the MAYFLOWER at age 28.”
    6. “Pennsylvania, Veteran Burial Card Name: Isaac Hale Birth Date: 31 Mar. 1783 [-- recorded with incorrect birth year] Death Date: 11 Jan. 1839 Age: 55 Military Branch: Army Veteran of Which War: Revolutionary War Cemetery Name: McKune Cemetery. Cemetery Location: Oakland Township, PA Headstone: Marble”
    7. “US Sons of the American Revolution Membership Application
      Name: Isaac Hale
      SAR Membership: 25191
      Birth Date: 21 Mar. 1763
      Birth Place: Waterbury, CT
      Father: incorrectly recorded as Gideon Hale. Reuben Hale was the father of Isaac Hale.
      Mother: incorrectly recorded as Sarah Watts. Diantha Ward was the mother of Isaac Hale.
      Children: Emma Hale”
  5. So, I found that
    1. My 4th Great Grandfather Isaac Hale was a Patriot
    2. His father, my 5th Great Grandfather Reuben Hale was a Patriot
    3. His grandfather, my 6th Great Grandfather Arah Ward was a Patriot
    4. His wife Elizabeth Lewis was a descendant of John Howland who was a Mayflower passenger. I also quickly found that John Howland’s wife Elizabeth Tilley and her parents were also Mayflower passengers.
  6. Checked for Sources to prove everything in #4 above.
    1. DAR and SAR records on file to prove 4a-c above and I could prove my link to them.
    2. Checked the Mayflower Silver Books and 4d-e above are correct and I could prove my link to them.
That one newspaper article gave me three “approved” Patriots, plus two other non-direct ancestor Patriots, and four “approved” Mayflower passenger ancestors from two separate families.

When I am asked now … “How do I find out if an ancestor is a Patriot?”

I can say with confidence and experience …

"Start by making a list of your known male ancestors who were alive during the Revolutionary War. Then search the DAR database to see if any are there and have approved applications on file, also check for any articles about them as well as their obituary.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

History of the Week

June 8. 1776
The Battle of Trois-Rivières was also known as the Battle of Three Rivers. The British army, under Quebec Governor Sir Guy Carleton, in pursuit of an American force. They defeated an American counterattack, led by Gen. John Sullivan.
Sullivan was impetuous and spoiling for a fight from the very beginning. He decided to establish a base at Sorel, on the American side of the St. Lawrence River midway between Quebec and Montreal, from which he could maneuver and yet hold upper Canada. One of the first things Sullivan did upon his arrival was to launch an attack on the British garrison holding Trois Rivieres.
The American army in Canada had suffered a severe blow in the disastrous attack on Quebec City on December 31, 1775. A heavy flow of supplies and reinforcements allowed the Americans to maintain a presence in the vicinity of Quebec into 1776, but massively superior British artillery made siege impossible, and disease and attrition further thinned their ranks.
In May, a British naval relief squadron sailed into Quebec Harbor. Carleton added the 9th, 20th, 29th and 60th Regiments of Foot along with German troops from Brunswick to his command and sallied out against the Americans. Sullivan was already in retreat towards Montreal.
On June 8, the attack was a fiasco. Sullivan began what was intended to be a surprise attack at 3:00 A.M. The local guide turned on the Patriots and led them down the wrong road. When they discovered that they had been tricked they attempted to backtrack, but to save time they left the public roads and started cross country. They soon found themselves stuck in a swamp.
They reached dry ground about daybreak, and were seen and fired upon by British vessels in the river. In their effort to take cover within the bordering woods, they found themselves falling into another swamp. At that point the group fanned out in all directions and became separated. At some time after 8:00 A.M., Anthony Wayne and about 200 men met up with a group of redcoats, but the Americans were successful in the skirmish that ensued. William Thompson, in control of the main body of the Patriots, was stopped by a line of entrenchments that the British under Gen. John Burgoyne had quickly established.
Thompson did not hesitate to launch an attack on the British lines, but the Patriots were forced to retreat under heavy fire. That retreat was cut off by British troops who had encircled the Americans, and the Patriots fled through the woods toward Sorel. Carleton did not want to take the Americans as prisoners and so they were allowed to escape. He commented to one of his officers at the time: "What would you do with them" Have you spare provisions for them" Or would you send them to Quebec to starve? No, let the poor creatures go home and carry with them a tale which will serve his majesty more effectually than their capture."
They continued for about 2 days, reaching the bridge at Riviere du Loup, over which the British let them pass. Despite his wishes, 236 Americans surrendered to Carleton rather than continue on in flight. Nearly 400 Americans lay dead in the confused fighting at Trois Rivieres, compared to only about a dozen British.


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

June 3 Newsletter

SAR Compatriot: Eugene Foley
Taking It to the Streets

This last week I was following my ancestors to Western Pennsylvania and their further migration to Kentucky.  Of course, I’m taking note of those who were in the French & Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  But I also considered what economic issues might have been a consideration as they moved their sometimes large families from one area to another.

Given the locale of my ancestors, I thought it possible that the Whiskey Rebellion might have been a factor in their move.  This also led me to consider the efficacy of the rebellious history of our country, exemplified by the Boston Teaparty and the protests over the Stamp Tax.  The Stamp Tax, though imposed without participation of those being subjected to its burden, was a seemingly appropriate attempt to recover costs of defending the colonies against the French and Indians.  Similarly, the tax that fomented the Whiskey Rebellion, though not agreed to by the states, might seem an appropriate attempt to recoup federal costs to protect the states.

As it turns out, the Stamp Tax was repealed after only one year.  The tax on distilled spirits became peculiarly uncollectable by the States, despite George Washington’s own efforts to enforce it.  So, the riotous actions of the citizenry did influence the outcome.  While we are appalled by the wanton destruction of property, this has been a part of demonstrating dissatisfaction throughout history.  The British gentleman who was tasked with collecting the stamp tax, was hung in effigy and his house looted, including the tiles on its roof…and the rioters knew of his appointment before he did.  He resigned soon after notice had gotten to him.

Throughout our history as a nation, our people have taken their mutual concerns to the streets.  It does appear, however, that the effectiveness of these showings of concern are not enhanced by violence, on either side of an issue.  Be that as it may, governments have a significant role in the acceleration of violence, and with the advent of cell phone recordings, the police response is open to greater scrutiny than ever before.  And, as the riots in Hong Kong have made clear, the record of response can be seen around the world.

While the study of our ancestors is a fun and sometimes exciting exploration into our history, it has with it the risk of discovering horrific acts alongside the most heroic.  I can’t help but wonder where the balance lies between teaching our children in high school and college the whole story, instead of just the romantic side, that they might hesitate when gatherings begin to become instruments of destruction instead of calls for improvement.

As parents, grandparents and great-grandparents of the next generation of descendants of patriots whose actions made our freedoms possible, WE are the bearers of the histories of our families, both the good and the bad, to the next generation.  And WE are the ones who must find the balance of what needs to be passed to future generations that their ignorance does not lead to new injustices, needless loss of life and property and putting our rights and freedoms in jeopardy.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Chapter Meetings Revised

During the current Covi-19 crises, regular public chapter meetings have been cancelled until further notice. However some chapters plan to hold some of their meetings  electronically.  Please contact your Chapter President for more information. Thank you and stay well and safe.

High Desert Chapter
Bend, Oregon
Members: 18
Third Sunday of each month from 2:30 - 4pm at the Bend Downtown Library in January, March, May, September and November.

Lewis & Clark Chapter
Beaverton, Oregon
Members: 69
Chapter Meetings Update: July 18 – Officers Meeting by Zoom; August 1 – Meeting by Zoom; Sept. 5 – Awards Meeting hopefully in person.

Republic Chapter
Salem, Oregon
Members: 37

New Elected Officers: President- David Devin, VP/Secretary – George Lenning, Treasurer – Ken Betterton, Registrar/Chaplain – Ivon Young.

Southern Oregon Chapter
Medford, Oregon
Members: 13
Meetings: Second Tuesday of January, April, July and October
. Meeting at the RVGS library in Medford at 6pm.