Rick Wickwire's Blog

November 20, 2009

Stephen Beck Research

Filed under: Family,Genealogy — Rick Wickwire @ 7:39 pm

We also have another part of the Stephen Beck research for you this week. Two weeks ago we gave you Stephen’s first generation story, and then last week it was the second generation story about one of John Wickware’s sons, Peter. This week it is the third generation and a son of Peter, Joseph Wickwire that is the focus of the research. The story is very long so we are breaking it into two parts and will share the rest next week. Here is the first part:

Captain JOSEPH WICKWIRE – 1734-1822

The Third Generation

Joseph Wickwire was born 22 June 1734 and baptized 16 October 1734 in the North Parish of New London, Connecticut, the seventh child of Peter and Patience (Chapel) Wickwire.  His father died when Joseph was ten years old.  Peter’s will directed that his son, Joseph, be apprenticed in some trade when he became 14 years old.  Peter’s will also directed a part of the estate be distributed when all his children reached full age.  The estate was not distributed until 1765, however, when Joseph was settled in Bennington, Vermont.  Whether he received his share, or relinquished it to a relative, is yet unknown.

Joseph may have apprenticed in nearby Lebanon, where he lived from at least 1757 to 1761.  Lebanon was the sixth largest town in Connecticut in 1756, with a population of almost 3300 people, a wide range of crafts, and significant commerce for the time. In August 1757,  Joseph served in a Lebanon company at the relief of Fort William Henry, New York during the French and Indian War.  He married 13 July 1758 Martha Story of Franklin [Norwich], Connecticut at the First Congregationalist Church of Lebanon.  And he purchased a house and acre of land in Lebanon 23 November 1759, which he sold 21 October 1761.  From Lebanon, Joseph and Martha migrated to Bennington, Vermont, where his name appears on a list of Bennington residents for 1761.

Bennington was the first permanent town settled in western Vermont.  It was among many new towns settled in northern New England, New York, and Pennsylvania following the French and Indian War (1755-62), because the French defeat opened up new territory for English settlement.  New England provided most of the new settlers, propelled by the region’s population explosion and resulting land scarcity, tremendous inflation and a post-war recession, and religious conflict of the Great Awakening.  In addition, many New England settlers migrated to land they had seen during service in the French and Indian War.

Joseph was probably motivated by all of these forces.  New London County, Connecticut had more than doubled in population from 1740 to 1760.  Available land had become scarce, expensive, and often depleted.  And Joseph would not have received his inheritance for another four years.  He may also have been involved in the religious revival and the evangelical movement, as was his wife’s family.  Finally, Joseph had almost certainly travelled through what would become Vermont, since he fought at Fort William Henry on Lake George, New York, which was northwest of the future Bennington settlement.

Joseph and Martha Wickwire were among the original settlers of Bennington in 1761.  They were led by Samuel Robinson, a deacon of the Separate church of Hardwick, Massachusetts.  Robinson had commanded his town’s militia during the French and Indian War, travelled through the future Bennington area, and consequently purchased the land from speculators, who had earlier been granted the land by the New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth (for whom Bennington was named).

Robinson recruited settlers from the Separate churches around Hardwick, Massachusetts and Norwich, Connecticut.  In June 1761, the Robinson, Harwood, and Pratt families–consisting of 22 individuals–arrived to plant crops.  Another 20 families followed after the fall harvests in their Connecticut and Massachusetts towns.  Joseph and Martha (Story) Wickwire and Ebenezer and Philippa (Story) Wood, were among these families, and probably arrived in November 1761 with Newent (Norwich) Church leader Joseph Safford.

The Wickwires were part of the extended Story family that settled in Bennington.  Phillipa Wood and Martha Wickwire were sisters.  Their parents, Stephen and Mary (Emerson) Story, migrated to Bennington with their unmarried children probably in November 1762, and probably in the group led by Nathan Clark and Ebenezer Walbridge.  Among those children was Sarah Story, who later married Joseph Rudd.  Another of these children was Stephen Story Jr., who had married Lydia Wood, sister to Ebenezer Wood.  Furthermore, the Woods were first cousins to Joseph Rudd, who had come to Bennington from Norwich with his brother, John, probably in November-December 1764.  Stephen and Lydia (Wood) Story Jr. arrived at Bennington by 1 June 1665.  And Daniel and Martha (Hazan) Story arrived at Bennington by 1 November 1667.  All of these couples were Wickwire in-laws.  Additionally, Joseph Rudd’s brother, John, and father, Joseph followed later to Bennington.  And Joseph Wickwire’s first cousin, Jonathan Wickwire, son of Jonathan, was at Bennington in 1667, when he signed a land purchase treaty with local Indians.  However, Jonathan moved on to Lansingburgh, New York by 1770.

At Bennington’s first town meeting, 31 March 1762, Joseph Wickwire became one of Bennington’s original selectmen.  Joseph does not appear on the first extant list of Bennington church members of 3 December 1762, which lists Martha Wickwire, Stephen Story, Sarah Story, and Elijah Story.  However, the original list is partly destroyed and is missing possibly 30 names.  Joseph was a member of the First Church on 7 January 1784, when he was among  church members agreeing to be taxed to support a minister.  He certainly became a member by 1765, when two Wickwire children were baptized at the Bennington church, because baptism required both parents to be church members.  Phillipa (Story) Wood became a member in 1764; her husband, Ebenezer, and their daughter, Hepzibah, became members in 1765; Stephen Story’s wife, Mary (Emerson) Story, also became a member in 1765.  Benajah and Lydia Story became members by 1768 and Joseph Rudd, by 1773, based on baptism records.  Joseph Wickwire, Daniel Story, and Joseph Rudd all signed a pledge to support the Bennington church minister 7 January 1784.

The First Conflict:  War with New York

The Bennington settlement soon encountered its first external threat.  Although Robinson had purchased grants made by New Hampshire, the area was also claimed by New York, which had begun to grant the same land already granted by New Hampshire.  In 1663, New York Dutch settlers arrived at the Hoosic Patent, just west of Bennington.  Samuel Robinson, a New Hampshire appointed constable, led a group of Bennington men to evict the Dutch.  Robinson’s son, Samuel Jr., was captured and imprisoned at Albany for two months.  In 1664, New York issued arrest warrants for the Robinsons and other Vermonters considered tresspassers.  As a result, Bennington established its first militia 24 October 1664, which included Joseph Wickwire and his in-laws Ebenezer Wood, Thomas, Elijah, and Benajah Story.  As the “Yankee-Yorker War” continued, Bennington sent Samuel Robinson with a petition to London for a final ruling in 1766.  Robinson was successful, although he died of smallpox while in London, but New York continued to grant Vermont land.  Consequently, Bennington settlers, including Joseph and Jonathan Wickwire, organized a subscription movement to purchase their land from the Wappinger Indians, 30 November 1767.  Ten years later, Vermont declared its independence from England and from New York.  The Yankee-Yorker War continued:  In 1782, under Ethan Allen’s overall command, Cpt. Joseph Wickwire led his company in Vermont’s attack on Guilford, Vermont, which had been seized by pro-New York settlers.  Not until 1791 was Vermont admitted to the Union as the 14th state, only after New York received $30,000 from Vermont to settle the dispute. 

Joseph was a proprietor of Bennington, since he was one of its first selectment, chosen at the first public meeting, comprised solely of proprietors.  He received an initial proprietary grant of 360 acres.  His original homestead was located on the south side of today’s Route 9, West Main Street, west of Bennington Center and just east of Fairdale Farms.  It was owned in part by decedents until the 1840s, when son Reuben left it by will to his daughters.  It appears on a Bennington Museum map depicting land ownership in 1785 as Joseph’s homestead.  How much land Joseph ultimately owned is yet unknown.  But in 1773 he deeded 30 acres on the northwest slope of Mt. Anthony for $25, a pig, and two bushels of wheat:

Commencing at a pile of eleven large stones, a little more than a stone’s throw from the hemlocks, where the pigeons nested last year, thence by a diagonal line twenty-five rods [25 x 16.5′ or 482.5′] northeasterly to a birch tree around which a grapevine is twined; thence easterly in a straight line forth-nine rods and two links [2 x 7.92″ or 249′ 9.85″] to a big flat rock in the bottom of a deep hollow; thence in a straight line twenty-five rods [482.5′] easterly to the northwest corner of the Moses Robinson lot, so called; thence along said Robinson’s west line nearly fifty rods [965′] in a straight line, except at eighteen paces from said Robinson’s northwest corner, the line passes around a squarish jog of rocks, and then thence to a stake and stones; thence in a straight line westerly seventy-five rods [1447.5′] to a hallow sugar maple tree twenty-three inches in diameter; thence in a diagonal line to the place of beginning, and containing thirty acres, more or less, the exact amount to be determined by a royal surveyor within two years.  A certain patch of rocks whereon no grass or wood has ever grown or is likely to grow shall be deducted from the said thirty acres as having no value.  

Executed Bennington, Albany Co, province of New York.

Moses Robinson, cited in the above deed, was the son of Samuel Robinson, who organized the Bennington settlement.  Moses, a judge at the time of this deed, was Joseph’s regimental commander in 1776, and later became one of the three Vermont delegates to the Continental Congress, one of Vermont’s original US Senator, and the state’s second governor.  Joseph appears to have purchased land elsewhere in Vermont.  In 1779, he petitioned the Vermont General Assembly not to grant land requested by Nathan Clark and other Bennington men, because Joseph had a New York grant to the same area.  No record of the Assembly’s response is extent; however, Nathan Clark was a Vermont leader during the Revolution, and probably was well acquainted with members of the Assembly.

Joseph Wickwire was one of 436 documented Green Mountain Boys who settled western Vermont from 1761-75.  These men originally organized to fend off New York land claims.  However, their organization permitted their early use in the Revolutionary War under the leadership of Ethan Allen, who had achieved effective leadership by 1772. 

The Second Conflict:  American Revolution

Joseph Wickwire participated in three significant conflicts of the Revolutionary War:  Fort Ticonderoga, Mount Independence, and the Battle of Bennington.  In May 1775, he was among the 100 Bennington men recruited by Ethan Allen who comprised most of the American force Allen and Benedict Arnold led in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga.  The cannon seized at the Fort by the Bennington men and brought by Gen. Henry Knox to Boston in January 1776 enabled George Washington to free that city from the English in March 1776.  Joseph Wickwire also fought at Mount Independence (which sits across Lake George from Fort Ticonderoga) in July 1777, when Fort Ticonderoga was recaptured 1777 by English Gen. John Burgoyne.  This recapture was part of Burgoyne’s strategy to divide the northern and southern colonies.  Joseph’s third major conflict also occurred during this English campaign.  The Battle of Bennington occurred on 16-17 August 1777.  Gen. Burgoyne, in preparation of his attack on Albany, had ordered a force to capture an American supply depot at Bennington.  The American forces were led by Gen. Stark of New Hampshire.  Joseph Wickwire was a private in Cpt. Elijah Dewey’s Company.  Casualties from what were actually two battles (English reinforcements arrived and were defeated the following day) were 207 English/Hessian dead and about 700 English/Hessian prisoners, against about 30 Americans dead and about 40 wounded.  In 1780, Sgt. Joseph Wickwire was in brother-in-law, Cpt. Ebenezer Wood’s Company, Col. Samuel Herrick’s Regiment.  During the next two years, Joseph performed a various times as an ensign and lieutenant in Wood’s and other companies of Bennington.  Later, he became a captain and commanded a Bennington company against the English.

Joseph also appears in records for both corralling and for purchasing cattle confiscated from Loyalists during the Revolution.  In 1777, Joseph received 36 shillings for guarding cattle and purchased a “red bull calf” for 1.10.6.  Joseph bought 12 other cows and 36 deer skin at other public auctions of confiscated goods.  At one of the same sales, his daughter, Sarah Kinsley, purchased a dye tub.  Joseph would probably have designated these cattle as his own with his cattle mark–a slit in the right ear.

The military tradition begun by Joseph continued over the next generations, although with less glorious results.  At least six descendants of the next three generations died in uniform.  Others also suffered during war.  Some merely served.

  • Chapel (son of Joseph) died after the Battle of Plattsburg, New York, War of 1812.
  • Milton (Chapel) pressed, New York, War of 1814; led a Vermont militia company.
  • Rollin (Milton) died from battle wounds, Vermont, Civil War.
  • Charles (Milton) was imprisoned, wounded, and lost an arm, Vermont, Civil War.
  • George McBride (son-in-law of Milton) was imprisoned, Vermont, Civil War.
  • Erastus (Reuben/Joseph) died on ship and buried at sea, Vermont, peacetime.
  • Henry (Reuben) spent a year in a federal prison camp, Florida, Civil War. 
  • John (Henry) died of typhoid in a Southern military hospital, Florida, Civil War.
  • David (Henry) discharged as underage and without permission, Florida, Civil War.
  • William (Francis/Reuben) died in a Southern prison camp, Vermont, Civil War.
  • Charles (Moses/Reuben) died after a disability discharge, Alabama, Civil War.

The 1790 census reports Joseph and Martha Wickwire living with another female, a male under 16 years, and three males over 16.  The 1800 census reports Joseph living in Bennington with two woman over 45 years and a male, 10-15 years old.  One of the women was Martha Wickwire, and the boy was possibly a grandson.  The 1810 census reports Joseph in nearby Arlington, Vermont–although nothing suggests that Joseph had moved from his farm, which Reuben later owned.  In 1820, Joseph is probably listed under Reuben’s name in the census report.

Joseph Wickwire died 2 June 1822.  The obituary describes him as a Whig and the oldest person in town.   His will of 24 October 1816 was probated 7 August 1822.  Youngest son Reuben, as executor, was directed to provide $20 a year to Joseph’s second wife, widow Mary (Branch) Lawrence Wickware (who was allowed to keep all the personal property she had brought with her to this marriage).  Only three of Joseph’s 12 children survived him.  He left money to these children and his grandchildren, by deceased children.  Reuben received the residual estate, including Joseph’s farm; youngest sons typically inherited the homestead, since elder brothers generally moved on to begin their own homes.  Daughter Patience Church was left $25.  Son Roswell was left $50 and all of his father’s clothing.  Sarah Kinsley’s children were left $10 each.  Joseph Wickwire Jr.’s child or children by his second wife were left $50 each.  Chapel Wickwire’s children were left $50 each.  Rufus Wickwire’s child or children by his first wife were left $50.

Now, we are sure most of you have noticed a few errors in Stephen’s research, which was done many years ago, before the internet and search engines. We haven’t had time to check and correct the few minor errors due to time constraints here. So please forgive us if you notice something out of whack. It doesn’t mean our main database is incorrect, just this story. For an example, here is an error that cousin Lukas Huisman caught last week for us:

Hi Rick, a slight correction to Stephen Beck’s research:

Rhoda Wickwire (Jun 18, 1762 – bef. 1808) married Henry Milton (Nov 30, 1760 – 1818).  They had 9 children, the youngest of whom, Prudence, born about 1793, was raised by her uncle, Peter Wickwire, who never married and had no children of his own. Peter was a school master in Shepody, New Brunswick.

Regards,

Lukas Huisman

In Stephen’s story, he only had two children for Rhoda and Henry Milton. We thank Lukas very much.

Cousin Dick Bedwell sent in a link to a very interesting article on DNA testing. As many of you know, several of us have had our DNA tested and found that we are indeed related. Both the Wickware and Wickwire lines had the same DNA and cousins 8 generations apart had the same DNA structure. For example, William Wickware and myself matched on 66 of 67 markers and we are 7th cousins, twice removed. We have to go all the way back to John and Mary Tonge Wickware for a common ancestor. Here is Dick’s email to us with the link to the DNA article:

http://www.seniornet.org/jsnet/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=441&Itemid=37

Rick,

Here is an excellent explanation of the importance of DNA testing.

Dick

Cousins Ken and Amber Wickwire wrote in with some news about one of our family authors:

Thought you might be interested in this from the latest Dalhousie Magazine (NS) under the Classnotes section:

Nancy Wickwire Fraser, BA, has published her latest book, Letters from Paris:  a Halifax Lass Tackles the Sorbonne, 1954/55. 

Nancy Wickwire Fraser is married to Duncan Fraser, and she is the daughter of James Leander and Marguerite Brown Wickwire. Here is Nancy’s lineage for your review: NANCY14 WICKWIRE  (JAMES LEANDER13, FREDERICK WILLIAM12, JOHN LEANDER11, PETER10, SILAS9, PETER8, PETER7, JOHN6 WICKWARE). Nancy and I are 7th cousins, twice removed. You can buy this book on Amazon.com and also her first book, Mysterious Brockville. We don’t have this new book yet, but have lots of copies of her first book and it is very interesting. We look forward to reading this new one.

7 Comments »

  1. Hello, Can you tell me where to get a copy of Capt. Joseph Wickwire’s (1734 – 1822) will? We want to check to see if daughter Sarah (Wickwire)& Stephen Kinsley’s children are named. We have information on most of them, but not Ira, who was born in North Hero VT 1799 and no birth records available. Ira C.Kinsley (last child of Stephen & Sarah Kinsley, is my husband’s great great grandfather. We are needing to prove he is Stephen’s son. Thank you for any clues you can give.

    Joan
    Washington State

    Comment by Joan Price — April 3, 2010 @ 6:37 pm | Reply

  2. Found your research on the Wickwire Family fascinating. Interested in Ebenezer Wood and Phillpi Storey. You mention a daughter, Hepzibah, there were other children do you know their names and birthdates. I believe a Daniel Wood, b. 1756 Norwich, CT was thier son, but, not able to prove it. Any help would be appreciated.
    Daniel was also a Revolutionary Soldier and was in Ebenezer’s company at one time. He later moved to Washington Co., NY and then on to Delaware Co., NY where he died, 1842 and is buried in Roxbury, Delaware Co.

    Comment by Linda Gass — November 6, 2010 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  3. Does anyone have an information on why Peter Wickwire Sr. and his wife Patience (Chapel) and some of their children moved to Nova Scotia in 1760?

    Comment by Tamara Leake- (Milton descendant) — March 22, 2015 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

    • Hi Tamara, I may have some information in my files and I will check as soon as I can. I am away from home working at the moment. I remember Peter had some problems with his church but I need to recheck my data. I will get back to you.

      Comment by Rick Wickwire — March 23, 2015 @ 5:47 am | Reply

  4. I recently purchased a signed 1915 photo of Jonathan Whipple Wickwire. I did a Google search and found that there was a Captain Jonathan Whipple Wickwire 1840-1924 from Corfu, NY. He fought in the Civil War with the 44th NY Infantry. I also found a picture of his gravestone in Corfu, NY online. Is he an ancestor? Can you tell me about his life? I look forward to your reply. Thank you. Ron

    Comment by Ronald Kittredge — December 14, 2015 @ 8:36 am | Reply

    • Hi Ron, I am the coordinator for the Wickwire and Wickware family history group. All Wickwire’s and Wickware’s are related. Here is what I have on Jonathan in my files:

      Jonathan was a Mason.

      Interment Record for Jonathan Whipple Wickwire
      Name: Wickwire, Jonathan Whipple
      Born: 1840
      Died or Buried: 1924
      Age: 84 years
      Buried: Evergreen Hill Cemetery
      Section: grave 2.92
      City: Corfu
      County/State: Genesee, NY
      Notes: Captain – Civil War. Mason

      DEATH REVEALS RETREAT OF MISSING MILLIONAIRE; LIVED WITH COUSIN HERE” (Son of Rensellar G Wickwire and Sarah S Whipple)

      “The death of Jonathan Whipple Wickwire, known as the gypsum, stucco and
      mining king of Western New York, at the humble home of his cousin, K.G.
      Wickwire, 129 Nelson Avenue, here Sunday morning, solved a mystery that has
      baffled New York for the past four years.

      Four years ago his doctors advised him to place all his business affairs in
      competent hands and forget business for a while lest it ruin his health. He
      then went in search for his relatives, more especially a cousin whom he had
      once met in Florida and who had shown him great consideration unmindful of
      his wealth.

      While on his way to the Pacific Coast he stopped in San Antonio and hearing
      of a Wickwire here he hunted him up and found him to be a cousin to whom he
      had taken a fancy. He announced the fact that he had come to live with him.
      He was welcomed and shown every consideration. Gradually, as his strength
      began to ebb away, he revealed that he was a wealthy man.

      Before leaving his home in Akron, N.Y. he called his lawyer and friend,
      Charles B. Pixley, and surrogate, Louis C. Hart, into consultation and after
      swearing them to secrecy told them to take over his business affairs and
      never tell any one where he had gone. For months the police of New York
      sought for him in vain. His reason for keeping his departure a secret was
      that he might forget his business and never be bothered with it again. He
      never permitted himself to think about it.

      Just what relation the two Wickwires were was never revealed during the
      lifetime of the wealthy New York man. When the subject was broached he
      would dismiss it. He once told Mrs. Wickwire that in his safe in Akron there
      would be found papers telling what relation he bore to her husband, K.G.
      Wickwire.

      The exact extent of his wealth is not known, but judging from papers found
      in his possession, it will amount to more than $1,000,000. No will has been
      found in his papers here. He had expressed a desire that his house in Akron
      be given to the Masonic fraternity for a home for aged Masons.

      The body will be sent to Akron Wednesday, accompanied by K.G. Wickwire.”

      There is also a picture, though it didn’t photocopy very well. You possibly
      have the original somewhere in your papers. Beneath it briefly outlines
      highlights of the above and states that his cousin, E.G. [sic] Wickwire
      lived at 129 Nelson Avenue. So that’s two votes for 129 as opposed to 139!

      Comment by Rick Wickwire — December 14, 2015 @ 9:58 am | Reply

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