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.”