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Steuben County, NY

Letters to and from
Steuben Co. Residents
Steuben County
Steuben Co NY Map
New York

Date: December 1, 1852     To: J. A. Trenchard, Lexington, GA     From: Silas Wheeler

WHEELER, STEUBEN CO., N. Y., Dec. 1st, 1852
J. A. Trenchard, Esq.
Lexington, GA
Dear Sir: -
     I received your kind letter in due time but press of business has delayed my answer. I am much plesed with your letter, and views you entertain of slavery - I thank you and shall ever feel grateful for the interest you have always manifested in the welfare of our family. You wish me to give you a short history of my Grandfather -, I will relate from memory such incidents as I have heard him tell us. His Father's name was Jonas - My Granfather, Silas was born March 7th, 1752 in Concord, Mass. and lived successively in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. He set up for himself in the world when quite young.
     When the war broke out he went to the army or rather to the collection of men who did the first fighting. He was at the battle of Bunker Hill, and participated in numerous skirmishes with what they called the Refugees - which were I suppose Tories and foraging parties. While living in Rhode Island, a party came into the town to plunder the inhabitants. The men collected together with a brass six pounder and such firearms as they could gather to give the enemy battle. The women and children fled from their houses with such little articles as they could carry in their hands. My Grandmother had a child under each arm and a few light articles in her hands and as she ran she called to a cowardly young man who was fleeing with the women, to carry one of the children for her, but he replied that it was no time to be carrying children, and sped on as fast as his heels could carry him. My Grandfather volunteered with others to go with Benedict Arnold from Maine to Quebec, in the month of December I think it was, at least he said the snow was ankle deep. His shoes gave out and they had to wade and swim the rivers and streams, and at one time he was without food for seven days. The friendly Indians brought them a dog, and my Grandfather declared it was the sweetest morsel he ever tasted.
     Out of some thirteen hundred who started for Quebec nearly one half starved to death on the way. My Grandfather had fifty guineas in money with him. He gave them to a comrade who carried the money until he fell dead from exhaustion. The money was left with the dead companion. Grandfather stood by the side of Benedict Arnold when he was wounded. The prisoners captured were put in prioson and a small pox patient put in with them. Many died of that terrible disease. My Grandfather had it so bad that he lost all the hair off his head and ever remained bald headed.
     My Grandfather had been in Newport when a British vessel was burned there, and he and three others from that place were singled out for a double portion of torture. They were made to live on small portions of sea biscuits filled with worms and moths, at night heavy chains were put on their legs and arms, and their bodies were laid across two crowbars, one under their shoulders and one under the calves of their legs. Two of them died under the torture, and they took my Grandfather out to hang him, and he expressed such great joy that his sufferings were to end now that they refused to proceed with the hanging, saying that they would not do anything that pleased him so wel. After a long imprisonment he was exchanged and went on board a privateer. He was again made a prisoner and taken to Ireland and remained in the Kinsale Jail about one year. The great Irish Patriot, Lord Henry Grattan, found means to inform the American prisoners that if they could break prison, he would assist them in getting back to their homes. My Grandfather and two others broke prison, and as they ran over the prison roof, and were leaping from the high walls beyond the prison bounds, the shot fell around them like hail but they succeeded in making their escape and hid in a swamp, and their great friend put them on board a vessel homeward bound.
     My father was named for Lord Henry Grattan. After his return he volunteered and remained in the service until the close of the war. After peace was made he removed to Albany County, New York and from thence in 1798 to Steuben County, New York. When he first came here he lived one summer alone without other companions save the wild beasts of the wilderness. It would fill a book to tell you all the hardships and hairbreadth escapes which I have heard my Grandfather narrate. Hoping that the foregoing may be of some interest to you, I remain as ever
Your friend,
Silas Wheeler.
The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America; compiled by the American College of Genealogy, under the direction of Albert Gallatin Wheeler, Jr.; Boston, MA: 1914; pgs. 161-163.

Date: September 7, 1874     To: Brother Joseph, UT     From: C. G. Lanphear, Greenwood, NY

Greenwood, Steuben Co., N. Y., Sept. 7th, 1874.
     Br. Joseph: - I am still laboring to the extent of my ability in Zion's ever blessed cause. I am preaching on Sabbaths, and working a part of the time during the week. The prospects of the progress of the work of the gospel is slow in this eastern land. The people as a general thing are deeply traditionated in the systems of the prevalent religions now existing. How long I will continue in this part I cannot say at present. I have an appointment two weeks ahead. The one that was baptized when I was here last fall is strong in the faith; as also three or four others of the former members that live in this neighborhood. I would be glad, if my mission is continued in the East, to have some help. If the Conference can send on some able Elder to labor in this State during the fall and winter, I think it would do good for the cause, and result in the salvation of some honest souls. I have been in this part since the 8th of August. Any wishing to correspond with me by letter, can address me at Greenwood, Steuben County, N. Y.
Yours as ever, in gospel hope,
C. G. Lanphear
The True Latter-Day-Saints' Herald, vol. 21, pg. 601.

Date: January 1888     To: Historical Record, PA     From: A. J. McCall, Bath, NY

Mr. A. J. McCall of Bath, N.Y., is an industrious collector of local history, and in the course of some correspondence with the Historical Record, he writes, under date of Jan. 14, 1888:

     You are aware that the first settlers in this (Steuben) County were from Wyoming or below. Samuel Harris, the first white man within its limits was a son of John, of Harrisburg; Eli Mead was a Justice of the Peace of Wyoming in 1784, and an uncle of Lieut. David Mead, famous in your history. (By the way, I have his genealogy, which I will send you if desired.) I have been very anxious to learn something of the early history of Eli Mead, but have not succeeded. He had a son Eldad, who married Jerusha Cooper, of Wyoming, and was a resident of Painted Post. I knew them both when a boy, and have heard her tell of her hair breadth escape from the savages, but was too young to fully appreciate them. Some of our old residents say she was herself part Indian. That I did not know. I remember she was an ignorant, but estimable old lady. Perhaps you may be able to furnish me some facts with regard to the Mead family.

     Following the above named came a whole colony from Wyoming in 1790, the Stephens, Bennetts, Jamesons, Crosbys, Hurlbuts, Van Campen and Rev. Gray. I knew most of them. Their descendants reside in the Canisteo Valley. I have always been greatly interested in Pennsylvania history, being in part a Pennamite, my mother, with her step father, Benjamin Patterson, having emigrated from Northumberland in 1797 to Painted Post by way of the Susquehanna River.

     I am greatly pleased with your Historical Record and hope you will continue it. Whenever I find anything of interest to your locality I shall not fail to send it to you.

A. J. McCall.
The Historical Record, Volumes II, January 1888, edited by Frederick Charles Johnson. Pg. 59.


Mr. A. J. McCall, of Bath, N. Y., kindly furnishes the following genealogical notes:

     EDITOR RECORD: I send all I have of the Mead family. The Eli mentioned was a very prominent man in Steuben County in early days. He was elected a supervisor in 1792 (it was then Ontario County.) He must have been a man of intelligence and character. He was a very old man when I knew him and understood he was born in Duchess County. I have tried to get some information of his early life from his descendants, but have failed to get a response from them.

     William Mead emigrated from England and located in Stanford, Conn, 1641. He is supposed to be the ancestor of the Mead family in New England.

     Darius was born March 28, 1828, married Ruth Curtis, born May 26, 1734. Date of marriage and death unknown of either. Their children:

1.      David, first surveyor of Wilkes-Barre, b. June 17, 1752, d. Aug. 23, 1816.

2.      Asahel, killed in Wyoming massacre, b. Aug. 9, 1754.

3.      John, b. July 22, 1756.

4.      Ruth, b. April 16, 1761.

5.      Darius, b. Dec. 9, 1764

6.      Betsy, b. June 1, 1769.

7.      Joseph, b. June 25, 1772.

Children of Genl. David Mead, and Agnes Wilson, daughter of John and Jannet Wilson, m. 1774.

1.      Darius.

2.      William.

3.      Sarah, who m. Rev. James Satterfield.

4.      Elizabeth, who m. Pateric Fannelly, (a son of theirs, m. a daughter of Darius.)

Four other children are unknown.

David, married second, Jannet Finney, 1796, daughter of Robert Finney. She died in 1826. Children:

8.      David, b. 1798, d. 1812.

9.      Robert, d. 1848

10.  Catharine, m. Lieut. P. Dunham.

11.  Jane, m. Rev. Hutchinson.

12.  Maria, m. William Gill

13.  Alexander, b. Sept. 8, 1807.

14.  name unkown.

Eli Mead, a brother of Darius, was born in Duchess County in 1745. His wife?s name was Mary. He was a magistrate to Painted Post, Steuben Co., N. Y., in 1789, and died there July 19, 1825. His children were:

1.      Eldad, b. Aug. 21, 1767, m. Jan. 7, 1790, Jerusha Cooper, d. Nov. 17, 1881.

2.      Desire.

3.      Eli.

4.      Peggy.

5.      Jane, who m. Philo Campbell. She died some years ago in the town of Woodhull, N. Y., leaving a family of sons and daughters.

Eldad had a daughter Polly, b. Oct. 9, 1790, m. Larew Mallory, of Painted Post. Left several children:

1.      William M., of Towanda

2.      Mary, m. Sherme.

3.      Harriet, m. Alex. Olcott.

4.      Another daughter, name unknown.

My informant could not learn the names of the parents of Darius and Eli.

A. J. McCall.
The Historical Record, Volumes II, January 1888, edited by Frederick Charles Johnson. Pg. 75

Date: October 25, 1894     To: L. P. Norton, Homer, NY     From: S. H. Leavitt, Bath, NY

BATH, STEUBEN CO., N. Y., October 25, 1894.
Mr. L. P. Norton, Homer, N. Y.
     Dear Sir - The following named members of the Tenth Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry are members of this Home: Henry Sipple, Co. C.; John Hayes, Co. H.; Henry Wagner, Co. E.; Lyman Senter, Co. A.; John Staley, Co. F.; Bradford C. Kinyon, Co. M.; Richard L. Tuke, Co. D.; Charles W. Clifford, Co. E.; and the following named have died here: George Seea, Co. D., January 20, 1887; Frank Uhle, Co. E., November 3, 1886.
Yours truly,
S. H. Leavitt, Adjutant.
Thirty-Third Anniversary and Reunion of the Tenth New York Cavalry Veteran Association; Syracuse, NY, Oct. 16-18, 1894; The Republican Press, Homer, NY: 1895; pg. 11.