Friday, November 30, 2012

Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - The American Revolution

Shirley Houck at the Delaware County Clerk's office is trying to create a list of the Revolutionary War soldiers from Delaware County, looking at Federal pension records, among other sources, and has asked for help from the town historians in the county.  So this got me checking what information I had.

What kind of lead did Bovina take during the American Revolution? Given that there were no Europeans living in Bovina before the 1790s, the answer is 'none.'  But as settlers came to Bovina, among them certainly were veterans of the revolution.  Unfortunately, we do not have a good listing of all of them.  The fact that Bovina was founded almost 40 years after the end of the war may explain why there is so little information.   

One of the few sources of information come from Bovina cemeteries.  Bovina has three Revolutionary War veterans buried (or at least memorialized) in its cemeteries:

  • Samuel  Ludington is buried in the Brush Cemetery next to the library, but he spent only the last 2-3 years of his life in Delaware County.  He does not show up in any Bovina records, primarily because there was no Bovina at the time of his death.  The records in which he does appear relate mostly to Connecticut.  He was born in Branford, Connecticut in 1744 and married Ruth Galpin in 1766 in Woodbury.  He served in the Connecticut Eighth Regiment during the revolution.  When he came to Bovina is not clear, but it was quite late in his life - a Samuel Ludington shows up in the 1810 census in Connecticut.  Samuel and his wife likely came to Bovina to live with their son Henry in their old age.  Samuel died in 1814.  Ruth Ludington survived her husband by over 16 years, dying in 1831.  Henry died in 1842 and is buried near his parents.  
Photo from Find A Grave, submitted by Richard Singleton

  • Jesse Purdy (1748-1840) is believed to be buried in the main Bovina Cemetery. Shirley found two court records from 1826 and 1827 in which Purdy filed a claim for a pension based on his service  He said he enlisted in Dutchess County in 1777 and was discharged in 1780, but had lost the discharge paper.  By 1826, he was 76 years old.  In the application, Purdy noted that he was old and infirm and so was his wife Deborah. He also noted that he had about 40 acres of land but never had a title to it.  In an amended filing from 1827, he said that until just before he filed his claim, that he "had sufficient bodily ability to labor" and that through "the kindness of the widow of General Richard Montgomery" he was allowed to occupy "a small piece of land belonging to her."  For the past three years, however, he claimed that old age and a rupture had made it almost impossible for him to support himself and that he "has now no means of subsistence save the charity of his country."  Purdy was placed on the pension rolls in 1828, receiving $96 a year.  The total sum received was $594.57.  Purdy was in his 90s at his death.  I note that he 'likely' is buried in Bovina, but I'm not 100% sure.  His name is included on a much newer stone of the Hogoboom family.   Elizabeth Hogoboom was Purdy's granddaughter. 
Photo courtesy of Ed and Richard Davidson
  • James Vandenburgh (1758-1840) is also buried in the Brush cemetery, and like his fellow veteran Samuel Ludington, appears to have spent only a brief time in Bovina.  He grew up in Dutchess County and enlisted in the Town of Beekman in Dutchess County in April 1776, joining the company of Captain Durling.  He re-enlisted in 1777 and again in 1779. When he filed his pension claim in 1831, he was living in Austerlitz in Columbia County.  When he came to Bovina is not clear, but it appears he came late in life to live with his son Clarence or Clarion.  
Photography taken by Stephen Pelletier, November 1978
There are likely other American Revolution veterans with Bovina connections.  I'll be working on that to help Shirley and for a future blog entry. 

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