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Revolutionary War Last Veterans

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Daniel F. Bakeman


Daniel Bakeman

[Source: "150 years of Freedom, 1811-1961", Unknown Author, August 9-13, 1961 ---- Transcribed by K. T.]

According to family tradition Daniel Frederick Bakeman was born of Dutch ancestry about 1760 near the Delaware River in New Jersey. The exact place and names of his parents are not known.

In 1782, he married Susan Brewer. They resided for over 42 years in Herkimer County, and part of the time in the town of Stark where he owned a farm. In those days people in Central New York had to go to Albany for wheat and other supplies, the journey consuming two days each way. Returning from one of these trips, Mr. Bakeman found his home in ashes with nothing saved. During his life his home burned three times.

Mr. and Mrs. Bakeman had eight children as follows: Philip, Richard, Christopher, Betsey, Margaret, Susan, Mary and Christine.

About 1825 they settled in Arcade, Wyoming County, where he lived until 1845 (this home was on the north side of the County Line Road). In that year he moved to Freedom, remaining there until his death in 1869. Mrs. Bakeman died in 1863 at the age of one hundred and five years, after eighty-one years of marriage.

Mr. Bakeman entered the service when he was about seventeen years of age and served as a Private during the last four years of the war. In 1867 he made application for a pension. Quoting from that document we read: "Daniel Frederick Bakeman the last pensioner of the war of the Revolution, was pensioned at the rate of $500.00 per annum on Certificate No. 33,429 which was issued July 17, 1867, under Special Act of Congress, dated February 22, 1867, the bill being reported by Mr. Price of the committee on Revolutionary pensions. His formal application of pension under said act, was executed (before Hyder Barnes, Justice of the Peace in Arcade) June 17, 1867, in which he stated that he was 107 years old, a resident of Freedom, Cattaraugus County, New York, and that he served during the last four years of the war under Captain Van Arnum and Colonel Willett in the New York Troops." The delay of nearly fifty years after the act authorizing the pensioning of Revolutionary soldiers, before this patriot was rewarded was undoubtedly due to the fact of the misspelling or various spelling of his family name, it having been written in the Dutch from Bachman, also Beckman, Bakeman, Bateman and even Baker. However it is an authentic fact, recorded in the Pension Bureau at Washington, and in a number of Historical publications that "With the death of Daniel F. Bakeman of Freedom, Cattaraugus County, New York on April 5, 1869, the last pensioned soldier of the Revolution passed away".

After receiving this pension he was able to drive around in his own carriage and two or three neighboring towns always invited him to ride in their Fourth of July parades. Always on "lndependence Day" as he called it, he arose very early and shouldering his old musket, would make the rounds of the neighborhood, firing a Salute, exclaiming "Hurrah for Washington, Putnam, Gates and Lee and all the brave soldiers who fought for LIBERTEE."

It is said that he voted at every presidential election from the founding of the government, casting his first vote for General Washington and his last for General Grant.

Mr. Bakeman never grew too old to enjoy a joke. It is said that some men were digging a well and the old man was down about sixteen or eighteen feet when the bell rang for dinner and the gang went away and left Mr. Bakeman in the well. They hadn't much more than sat down, when in he, walked. They never found out how he climbed out of the well. He left them guessing.

It is most appropriate that a soldier who had fought for liberty should die and be buried in a town called Freedom.

According to the "Wyoming County Mirror" July 1859 the statement was made that "At Arcade during the 4th of July observance, Mr. W. H. Wilson introduced Daniel Bakeman and wife respectively 100 and 102 years old, both having lived before the Revolution and seen every fourth of July celebrated so far.

Mrs. Bakeman had an exhibit of specimens of her needle work which she herself wrought a few days before without the aid of glasses.

On June 17, 1915, the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Olean Chapter of the D.A.R. marked the graves of Daniel and Susan Bakeman with fitting ceremonies.

The Olean Delegation was met at the Arcade station on the Pennsylvania Railroad by the Elton Cornet Band and a reception committee from Sandusky. This committee was headed by the Hon. Theodore Hayden and wife, Floyd S. Merrill and Mrs. Dwight W. Jones. The village of Sandusky and all along the route to the cemetery was gaily decorated with the Stars and Stripes. The five mile trip was made by a fleet of sixteen automobiles. At the Freedom town line, fifty school children, dressed in white and carrying flowers joined the procession, later placing the flowers on the graves of many soldiers buried in the old cemetery. The exercises were simple but impressive.

After "Assembly" sounded by the Bugler of the 43rd Separate Company New York National Guard of Lean, the D.A.R. Regent presented the official Bronze Marker, bearing the names and dates of the soldier being honored. This was accepted by Dwight W. Jones a great grandson of Mr. Bakeman. A memorial wreath, gift of the organizing Regent of the Olean Chapter, was placed on the grave after which "Taps" was sounded.

Through the courtesy of the ladies of the church, luncheon was served in the Town Hall from twelve to one o'clock. The committee in charge was the Hon. B.B. Lewis and wife, Arthur E. Austin and wife, Mrs. E.J. Cheney, Mrs. J.W. Haskell, Mrs. C.H. Newman and Miss Anna Sparks.

At two o'clock, formal exercises were held in the Baptist Church opening with the singing of America followed by an invocation by the Rev. E.S. Way, pastor of the church.

The address of Welcome was given by the Hon. E.J. Cheney, Supervisor of the Town of Freedom. After a group of songs by Mrs. W.G. Naylor, a DAR member, Miss Maude Brooks, Regent of the Olean Chapter, presented a sketch of the life and services of Daniel F. Bakeman.

The program continued with the recitation of the poem "The Flag Goes By", by Kenneth Jones, great-great grandson of Mr. Bakeman, and a vocal solo by Bernard Taylor accompanied by Harold Jewett. The chief address of the afternoon session was given by the Rev. Harry Burton Boyd, pastor of Olean Presbyterian Church.

A large American Flag, to be known as the Bakeman Flag was presented to the church by the ladies of the D.A.R. in appreciation of the cordiality and cooperation by the Sandusky citizens. A benediction by Rev. Way brought the program to a close.This sketch on Daniel F. Bakeman is comprised of excerpts and information furnished by the account written by Miss Maude D. Brooks, Olean City Historian and Past Regent of Olean Chapter D.A.R. and appearing in the "Historical Wyoming" issue of March 1952.

 


    George Fruits
    (1763 or 79 - 1876) Obituary
    George Fruits, aged 114 years, died at Crawfordsville, Indiana, August 6. He served in the latter part of the revolution, and subsequently became a famous scout under General St. Clair, Harmar and Wayne, and was wounded at the battle oft he Maumer, carrying the ball in his leg.  He also served in 1812 under Harrison.  He preserved most of his senses but little impaired, and within the last two years new teeth and new hair began to grow. [New Orleans Republican.(New Orleans, La), September 10, 1876, Page 4]

    George Fruits died near Crawfordsville, Ind. on the 6th ult, in his 114th year, if, as claimed, he was born on the 2d of January, 1763.  The evidence of his longevity, though generally satisfactory, would hardly satisfy Mr. Thoms, of skeptic notoriety.  He was born near Baltimore, of Pennsylvania German parents, did some service near the close of the Revolution, though not regularly enlisted, went to Virginia in 1787, and was afterwards with Daniel Boone in Kentucky.  He served in the Indian war between 1791 and 1796, and in the war of 1812.  He was married at Hamilton, O., in 1806, and had lived in Montgomery Co., Ind., since 1821.  His wife survives him at the age of 89.  Thirteen children were born to them, of whom eleven survive.  -- Gazette.  [Perrysburg Journal., September 01, 1876, (Perrysburg, Wood Co.,Ohio) - tr. by KT]


    John Gray of Noble County, Ohio

    More than once these Little Stories have made mention of John Gray, of Brookfield township, Noble county, the last surviving soldier of the Revolutionary army, but in no case were all the interesting facts of his life recorded.

    Born near Mt. Vernon, Va., January 6, 1764, he lived until March 29, 1868, dying at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Nancy McElroy in the 105th year of his age. He was laid away in a little cemetery near Hiramsburg.

    Noble county historians describe him as "a man of spare and bony frame, five feet eight inches high, broad-chested, with a head that was well shaped and massive: and a picture of him, made when his hair was gray represents the strength and health which the description indicates. His eyebrows were well arched, his eyes large and set far apart, his cheek bones were high and his upper-lip uncommonly long. His hair was very abundant and he wore it so long that it covered most of his ears. Watkin’s history speaks of his exem plary character and indicates his religious faith with a statement that for 80 years he had been a member of the Methodist church.

    His parents being poor, toil and hardship came into his life early and lasted through many years. One of experiences which he cherished was that on the "first day he ever worked out he was employed at Mt. Vernon by George Washington" who often on other occasions, "shook hands with him and spoke encoura ging words." When his father entered the patriot army in 1777 John was the eldest of his eight children and became the family's main support. The father was killed at the battle of White Plains and in 1781 John volunteered, served during the remainder of the war and was present when Cornwallis surrendered.

    From the army he went back to near Mt. Vernon and to labor. At the age of 20 years he took Nancy Dowell as a bride and they settled at Morgantown, Va. He lived on the frontier during the Indian war, settled in Noble county in 1829 and spent the remainder of his life there. He had married a second wife before coming to Ohio and was again married in this state. He survived these and all but one of his children. In 1867 a bill was fathered by Hon. John A. Bingham and passed by congress giving John Gray a pension of $500 a year, dating from July 1, 1866. [The Times Recorder (Zanesville, Ohio) June 22, 1933, submitted by Nancy Piper]

 


 


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