At least thirty-seven soldiers of the Revolution lived at some time in the old town of Onondaga, and the list includes the first permanent white settlers of the county, and may other names familiar in early local history.
Gen. Asa Danforth--A full record of the life of this man having been given in another chapter, it need only be said here that at the beginning of the Revolution he joined the regiment of Col. Danforth Keys, at the instance of General Putnam; was in the battle of Lexington, and served through the war and was commissioned major. Aside from Ephraim Webster, he was the first permanent white settler in Onondaga county.
William Abbe--Was fifty-two years old in 1820, served in a Connecticut regiment and had property valued at $68.75. He lived with his wife, two daughters, one son, and one granddaughter, "all of which I provide for and support, besides myself, who have not done a day's work this twelve years past on account of infirmity." Little wonder he wanted a pension!
John Balch--Was sixty-one years old in 1820, a house carpenter, and served with the Connecticut troops. He had property valued at $27.73 but he owed $15. The census of 1840 gives his residence as Marcellus, and his age eighty years.
Jesse Bannister--His affidavit states: "I was engaged in the battle on the 26th of December, 1776, at Trenton, in the taking of the Hessians; also at the battle of Princeton, and as a volunteer in the engagement at Stillwater, under General Gates, with Burgoyne." He was discharged January 1, 1776, and enlisted the same day in Capt. Asa Danforth's company. His assets footed up $26.75, including "half a pew in the meeting house at Windsor, Vt." valued at $23. In 1820 he was sixty-six years old.
Richard Caton--His name is spelled in three different ways in the records. He enlisted in the 3d Massachusetts Regiment in 1781 and served through the war. In 1821 he was fifty-six years old and had a wife. His property was valued at $61.62. A year later a second affidavit gave his property as worth $42.38. Having been wounded he was able to work but very little at farming. In 1840 he was living, seventy-seven years old, with Leonard Caton, and drawing a pension.
Ebenezer Covil--Applied January 26, 1829, for restoration to the pension list. He was then seventy-nine years old, enlisted at the age of twenty-five in Connecticut, and served about two years. His name had previously been dropped from the pension roll on account of his condition as to property. His account possesses more than ordinary interest: He said he had a farm in Onondaga of eighty acres, about fifty acres of which was under improvement. Upon this land there was a mortgage to the State for part of the purchase price, with $150 due. The annual product of the farm he considered worth but $50. But it was in the description of his property that Patriot Covil was especially interesting, as he had been dropped from the roll once because of his wealth. Everything which he possessed he said was either old, worn out or small, with the exception of his Bible, that was large. The value of all his property he placed at $105. Unable to work, he boarded with his two sons, Edward and Nelson. They worked and managed the farm, and had the use and profits in part pay for the support of himself and his daughter, Anna. Up to date Covil said that the profits had not been sufficient to pay the board. The law required that he should account for all the property he had disposed of since 1818. In 1824 he said he sold one old horse to Constant Fenn for $20, which was paid in lumber and boards, and in 1825, another old horse to one Cornell for $50, paid for by a lumber wagon worth $40, a pair of boots at $5 and $5 remaining, but Cornell had absconded without paying.
Solomon Huntley--Served three years from 1777, in the Connecticut line, and was sixty-six years old in 1820. He had a wife and four children, the total value of his property was $42.24, and the most valuable article was a five-pail kettle.
Ebenezer Moore--Enlisted young in the Rhode Island line, served about three years, was sixty years old in 1820, and his earthly possessions were worth $2.55. He had a wife and one child. In 1840 at the age of eighty-one he lived with Almira Wilson, town of Onondaga.
William McCraken--Enlisted in Colonel Van Schaick's regiment, New York troops, served three years and three months, was fifty-seven years old in 1820, had property valued at $24.87, but he owed $100. His family consisted of his wife, three sons and a daughter of his own, and two daughters of his wife.
Ozias Northway--Mentioned in the list of Pompey veterans as brother of Zenas, settled in the western part of La Fayette, and is assigned as resident of Onondaga in 1820. He enlisted in 1775, served a little over one year, had property worth $50, while his wife, he said, had three or four gowns and one bonnet--an outfit worth $15. He owed about $340.
Gideon Pitts--Aged sixty-three years, had property worth $24.49, and owed $50; served in the Massachusetts troops under Colonel Shepherd, and in 1820 lived with his wife and one son.
Richard Reed--Served in various companies and regiments of Connecticut troops, was sixty-three years old in 1820, when his whole property consisted of an axe worth $2 and a debt due him of $5. He had no family, and said that "from my wound received at the battle of Monmouth," and rheumatism, he was unable to support himself.
Benjamin Robinson--Age sixty-four years, served one year in the Connecticut line, had property valued at $46.57, which included shoemaker's tools, a gun, steel traps, and other hunter's trappings.
Simeon Smith--Enlisted at the age of sixteen as a drummer in Colonel Tappan's regiment, Massachusetts line; served thus three years, re-enlisted for the war, and served until peace was declared. Read the list of his property as given in the record: "1 cow, 6 cups and saucers, 1 dozen plates, 1 teapot, 1 sugar bowl, 1 cream pot, 1 dish kettle, 1 teakettle, 1 spider, 1 bakepan, 1 razor, meat barrel and trowel, and a wife aged 40 years, and 5 children." He was $50 in debt.
Samuel Stone--Served in the Connecticut troops, and was fifty-six years old in 1820. He had thirty acres of land, with a small house, barn, stock, etc., worth $1,224.62. He owed only a small amount. He had a wife and two children.
John Walter--Was sixty-three years old in 1820, served three years in the Connecticut line, and was worth only $33.
Elisha Waters--Enlisted in the Connecticut line in 1777. In 1820 he had one cow, and one old horse and wagon, and lived with his son, Melancthon S. Waters, who was seventeen years old. He took out second papers later, when his property had been reduced to one cow, worth $10.
Capt. James Beebe--Captain in the Connecticut line, was wounded at Monmouth, settled in Chenango county 1793, two years later removed to Pompey, and a few years afterwards located at Onondaga Hill. There he kept the public house in early years, near the court house, was jailer, and in the war of 1812 had the care of the old arsenal at Onondaga Valley. He had five children, one of whom was Lewis Beebe, and a daughter married Victory Birdseye.
Joseph W. Brewster--Born 1764, died at Onondaga Valley September 4, 1849; joined the army at the age of sixteen and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis. After the war he studied medicine, and in the spring of 1818 settled at Onondaga Valley.
Jonathan Belding--The records of 1840 show that this man was a Revolutionary pensioner of this town, and was eighty years old.
George Clarke--Was eighty-two years old in 1840, lived with David D. Fellows, and drew a pension.
Jabez Cole--Was eighty years old in 1840, and a pensioner living at that time with Sterling Cole.
Jonathan Conklin--Is on the pension roll of 1840, and eighty years old.
William Evans--lived with Noah Evans in 1840, at the age of eighty, and drew a pension.
John Ellis--Ran away from home at the age of fourteen, joined the Continental army, and served through the war. He held a colonel's commission in the war of 1812, and at his death in 1820 was major-general. He settled first in Manlius, and later at Onondaga Hill.
Ephraim Hall--Enlisted while young, was seventy-nine years old in 1840, and drew a pension.
Justus Johnson--Was eighty-four years old in 1840. Lived with his family in Onondaga.
Caleb Potter--Was keeping house with his family in 1840, and aged seventy-eight years.
Simeon Phares--Settled in Onondaga in 1803, was a brother of Andrew, an early settler in Salina; built a log house on the site of the Lake Shore House in Geddes, and lived there until his death in 1820. He drew a pension.
Daniel Peck--Recorded on the roll of 1840 as eighty-two years old.
Jacob Sammons--Lived in what is now Geddes, came to Onondaga in the early part of the century, and died in 1815. He was the father of Thomas Sammons, and drew a pension for Revolutionary service.
Gideon Seely--Served in the Revolution, assisted John Cantine in the survey of the Onondaga Reservation in the summer of 1796, and in the same year, with Comfort Tyler, bid in twenty-one lots at the Albany sales.
Comfort Tyler--This Onondaga pioneer, of whose life a record is given in another chapter, entered the army at the age of fourteen, and drew a pension.
Peter Tenbroeck--Settled at Onondaga Hollow early in the century, was a pensioner, and probably served in the quartermaster's department.
Benony Reynolds--In the cemetery at South Onondaga is the grave of this veteran, who lived until his hundredth year. In the same cemetery is also found the grave of Maj. David Lawrence, who was a Revolutionary soldier.
Ephraim Webster--The first settler of Onondaga county and town, served with credit through the Revolutionary war, and was afterwards employed by the government, 1788-94, in procuring information of the conduct and purposes of the western Indians.
Submitted 11 July 1998