Thursday, May 16, 2013

Paulus Brodt (1733 - 1782)

By December of 1782 the Revolutionary War was  nearly over.  The newly formed government of the United States of America had entered peace talks with Britain and American troops were happy to be home to celebrate Christmas with their families.

But it was a sad time for the family of Paul Brodt as he had lost his life in a boating accident on the Delaware River sometime in December.  Paul and his wife Maria Barbara Miller had ten children by 1782, the youngest of them, Susanna, my 3x great grandmother,  was born in April of that year.  But let us back track a little.

Paul came to this country from Germany when he was 16 years old.  I've covered his early history on  my webpage at Paulus (Brod) Brodt.  By the time the Revolutionary War broke out he was a well established businessman operating tanneries along the Delaware.  A tannery was a place where animal skins were processed to produce leather.  Leather was a much used material for the making of  such things as saddles, harnesses, shoes and trunks.  It was a pretty stinky business and I imagine it may have looked something like this.

His tanneries were in Portland, Upper Mount Bethel township and Lower Saucon in Williams township.  Both of these locations are in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Portland is on the Delaware River in the northern end of the county and  Williams township is to the southern end of the county.   Check out this map.   I calculated that the distance on the river between the two places  is roughly 40 miles.  

Now that would be a lot of travel on the river.  I imagine that Paul picked up skins from fur traders as he went between his tanneries.  He would have also used the river to transport the finished leather hides  to markets. There are many  dangerous rapids in the river and in December there could have been many other hazards for the men in boats to circumvent.   Evidently he had become a wealthy man for at his death in 1782 he left a large estate to his children.

I have found his name  in the PA Archives, 5th Series, Vol. 8.  He was in the 1st Battalion, and 1st class under Captain Joseph Fox.  This  abstract card is a transcription of the data extracted  from  the original records in the custody of the State Archives concerning Revolutionary War service in the Pennsylvania Militia.  
His DAR  record, Ancestor #: A014691, tells us that he was a Private in the Northampton Co. Militia under the command of Colonel George Hubner  and Captain Joseph Fox.  

After his untimely death his wife Maria Barbara Miller  remarried  and had five more children.  In 1785 her father filed a court petition for the  disposition of the property left to the children of Paulus Brodt.  It was not until 1789  that a final settlement of the Brodt Estate was reached.   His daughter Susanna married Christopher Illick.  Their son Sam  married Henrietta Kressler  and had a daughter name Clara who married Henry McEwen.

Pennsylvania State Archives @

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nehemiah Porter (1720 - 1820)

Our branch of the Porter family arrived in Boston on July 17, 1638.  John Porter, his wife Anna and nine children sailed from England on board the "Susan and Ellen" to start a new life in the New World.   His son Samuel became a mariner and it is thought that he died while on a journey to Barbados.  He made his will before his trip  and did not return.  He left his widow, Hannah and one son John who was born in 1658.  John married Lydia Herrick and became the father of a son named Nehemiah who was born in 1692.  Nehemiah married Hannah Smith. They had  a son also named Nehemiah. He was born on March 22, 1720 which is the date recorded on his tombstone and  was known to his descendants as "Priest" Porter. 

This genealogical sketch of Nehemiah Porter was first published in the book,  A Genealogy of Richard Porter and John Porter by Joseph W. Porter in 1878, which very well may have been the source Zilpha and her sister's used in their research.
Joseph Porter gives his birthdate as November 20 which must be an error.

By 1775  the Porter family had been here for generations.  They were American's and at age 55, Nehemiah strongly felt the need to support the cause for liberty.   As the pastor of the Congregational Church in Ashfield he was first denied permission to join  the ranks of the minute men. 

But,  his son John Chipman Porter  tells in his affidavit for his Revolutionary War Pension that his father was at the Battle of Bunker Hill with him in 1775 when he was "taken sick".  John was granted a furlough and was carried  home  to Ipswich by his father  to recover from his illness. 

Nehemiah eventually received  permission from his congregation to join the Continental Army.  In 1777 he served in the capacity of chaplain under General Horatio Gates.  He joined the forces on the Hudson River and was with the Continental Army  at the front at Fort Stanwix and  Bennington and at Saratoga when Burgoyne surrendered. 

Nehemiah married Rebecca Chipman  on the 14th of February, 1749 in Beverly Massachusetts.  Together they had nine children, but she died  when  the children were all very young.  After Rebecca's death  Nehemiah moved the family to  Yarmouth, Nova Scotia where he founded a Congregational Church.  Sometime around 1771 he returned to Massachusetts and moved to Ashfield.  His second wife was Elizabeth Nowell, whom he married about 1778.

He remained the pastor at the Ashfield Congregational Church for forty - five years.  He continued to preach until he died at the age of 99, on leap year day, February 29, 1820,  just a few  weeks short of his 100th birthday.

He is buried in the Hill Cemetery, Ashfield, Massachusetts with his second wife, Elizabeth along side of him.  Rebecca Chipman Porter is buried in the Old Graveyard at Essex in Essex County, Massachusetts.

Nehemiah's great granddaughter, Sarah Angeline Chauncey Scott, who  was born two months after he died  inherited his gene for longevity and lived to be 101 years old.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

John Chipman Porter (1754 - 1838)

It seems like I have always known about my  great, great, great, great, grandfather, John Chipman Porter.  My grandmother, Zilpha Estep Hughes and her sisters Angie, Florence, and Wilma Jane had conducted a lot of genealogical research in their time and the story of the Porter family was one in which they took a lot of pride.  That and the fact that their grandmother Sarah Angeline Chauncey Scott, who lived to be 101 years old, had told them first hand the story of her grandfather, John Chipman Porter, the Revolutionary War Veteran.

John Porter  responded to the Lexington Alarm, Massachusetts' call for aid following the battles of Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775.  This was the famous "shot heard 'round the world."  We can proudly say our man, John Porter, was in the thick of things right from the very beginning.

He was 21 years old when he enlisted  in Captain Thomas Burnham's company  in April of 1775  at Ipswich, Massachusetts. They were a company of minute men who marched from Ipswich town to Lexington. The men were engaged in service for three months  and were paid six pence a mile for a total of 50 miles.

He said in his declaration for pension that he enlisted again the last of April, 1775 and served as a private under Captain Abraham Dodge and Colonel Doolittle. During this enlistment he was at the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.

Bunker Hill*

He also served for 3 months, beginning in November of  1776 under Captain Benjamin Phillips and Colonel Robinson when he was marched to Fort Edward on the Hudson and on to Ticonderoga.  He served again  for a period of two months in April 1777, under Captain Benjamin Phillips and Colonel Robinson and finally for 4 months, beginning in July of 1777  under Captain Elisha Cranston and Colonel Wells.

John Porter applied for a pension based on his military service June 13, 1827 while a resident of New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York when he was 73 years old.  See his signature on the affidavit below.

Record of John's marriage to  Mehitable Flower on May 29, 1777 is found in the church records of the Congregational Church of  Ashfield, Massachusetts.  They became the parents of eight children, all of whom were born in Ashfield.  Mable or (Mehitable)  was born   August 2, 1778 and died soon after. Another girl born October 31, 1779 was also named Mable.   Ebenezer was born May 20, 1781 and  Elizabeth Nowel was  born April 27, 1783. Rebekah  arrived on September 5, 1784 and Hannah on  April 30, 1786. A son John  was born on  November 11, 1787 and finally Sarah on July 26, 1789. 

John Chipman Porter  was the son of the Rev. Nehemiah Porter and Rebecca Chipman Porter.  He was born on May 11, 1754 and died January 27, 1838.  His wife, Mehitable Flower,  was the daughter of Lamrock Flower the third and Mehitable Goodwin Flower.   Mehitable, also known as Mable, was born  March 5, 1751 in Ashfield Massachusetts.   I would love to know where they are buried, but have not been able to locate that information.  If anyone knows, please let me know.  Pictures would be much appreciated.

About 1808 John Porter moved his family  to  New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York.  This was about six years  after his oldest daughter, Mable,  my 3x great grandmother,  married Russell Chauncey and also moved to New Lebanon.  Russell and Mable Chauncey were the parents of my 2x grandmother Sarah Angeline Chauncey Scott, the lady who remembered stories about the roles her grandfather and great grandfather, Rev. Nehemiah Porter, played in the Revolutionary War. 

* Copyright © 2004–2013. ClipArt ETC produced by the Florida Center for Instructional TechnologyCollege of EducationUniversity of South Florida.
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