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The Aaron Stark Family Chronicles
Part 2: The American Revolution Generations
American Revolution in Up State New York
Christopher Stark, Jr., well documented by the Groton, New London County, Connecticut records to be the son of Christopher Stark, Sr. and Joanna Walworth, was living in Dutchess County, New York by 1759 and appears to be documented as living in this County as late as 1770. However, records on Christopher, Jr. become more difficult to find after 1770, which has caused many researchers to mistakenly believe he was the Christopher Stark of Kentucky who married Martha Vineyard. This has caused the family of Christopher Stark, Jr., who were living in and around Albany County, New York before, during, and after the Revolutionary War, to be completely overlooked and his descendants to be misplaced in the early research of the Aaron Stark Descendants, this organizational error greatly influenced by the research of Charles R. Stark and Walter O. Shriner. Military Records have shown the Christopher Stark who married Martha Vineyard served in the Washington County, Pennsylvania Militia and additional research has revealed he was the son of Jonathan Stark and Sarah Laycock of New Jersey.
The evidence linking Asahel Stark to his father, Christopher Stark, Jr., and brothers, William, Nathan, and John, has been found to be circumstantial and primarily dependent on Revolutionary War Records from New York which were carefully researched by Stark family researcher, Sharon Reck. Her sources of material on these individuals, which supports the theory they were children of Christopher Stark, Jr., comes from New York State Revolutionary War Pay Vouchers, Pension Applications, and the 1904 publication, "New York In the Revolution As Colony and State", compiled by the State Comptrollers Office.
To appreciate the importance of these military records, one must understand the organization of military forces in New York which were divided into three classifications. The "New York Line Regiments" were under the command of General Washington. Many regiments of artillery and an organization of "Green Mountain Boys" from Vermont were Line Regiments. The "New York Levies Regiments" consisted of men drafted from different militia regiments for a usual time duration of nine months and their members could be drafted from the population as well. These regiments and the men serving in them could be called outside the State of New York for the duration of there tour of duty. The "New York Militia Regiments" consisted of men prepared to be called to service when needed locally and then allowed to return home at the conclusion of the emergency. As the following will reveal, many men served in each of these military units and can be found serving in any one of the three classifications and even recorded several times as different individuals because they served in more than one of these classifications.
Each County was divided into districts and a Colonel was assigned as the Regimental Commander. These Commanders were given almost unlimited jurisdiction in all district military matters and required to see that every male between the ages of sixteen and fifty were enrolled and prepared for military service on a moments notice. [the upper limit raised to sixty later in the war] and could be fined or imprisoned if he was not prepared when “warned of a call to arms.” When called, the enlisted soldier was to present himself armed, with a blanket, powder-horn and flint, and sometimes with a tomahawk and all of the officers of the cities of New York, Albany, and Schenectady were fined twenty shillings for not wearing their swords during divine service.
Pay for military service was not always timely and not always in money. As late as 1784, the large majority of soldiers from New York still had not been paid for their services from 1776 through 1782. On April 27, 1784, the New York legislature passed "An act for the settlement of the pay of the Levies and Militia for their services in the late war." This New York State act provided that abstracts and pay-rolls of the different regiments and separate commands should be certified by the State auditor. Upon receipt of these accounts from the auditor, the State Treasurer was then required to issue certificates of indebtedness bearing five percent interest to persons due pay for their services in the war. From the years 1784 to 1786, our ancestors were issued these certificates, the content of which reveal the Regiments they served in and their possible family relationships.
In 1781, a bounty of "Land Rights" [a "Right" being 500 acres] was offered to officers and men of Militia Regiments which provided men for Line and Levies Regiments. By an act of April 1, 1778, each Militia Regiment was divided into "classes" of fifteen men each. When soldiers were needed for the Line Regiments, each class of men was to provide a man from their ranks fully armed and equipped to serve within nine days and if they were unable to select a man, their designated officer would then draft one of the fifteen by lot. An act passed March 11, 1780 divided every regiment into classes of 35 men and the process of choosing a man needed for the Line or Levies was much the same.
If a "class" furnished a man as the law required, it received a money bounty, sometimes as much as 80 pounds. However, as the war progressed and the needs of the government became more pressing, land "rights" were added to the money Bounty and on March 23, 1782 an act was passed providing any "class" or person who furnished an able-bodied man to serve "for three years or during the war" should be entitled to 600 acres, 350 acres for two years of service, and if any person or "Class" who delivered a man within twenty days from the time of notification, 200 acres extra. Therefore, many of our ancestors were granted "Land Bounty Rights" which have also revealed the Regiments and possible relationships they may have had during the Revolutionary War.
The Mohawk River Valley of New York During the Revolutionary War Years
The Mohawk River Valley was the scene of many skirmishes between New York Regiments and British Loyalist and their Indian Allies. After the British captured New York City and Long Island early in the Revolutionary War, they developed a strategy to divide the Colonies by capturing the Hudson River Valley in 1777 but battles won by General John Stark of New Hampshire [No Relation to our family] at Saratoga, New York and Bennington, Vermont, changed the course of the War for both the British and the Colony of New York.The Mohawk River Valley was the scene of many skirmishes between New York Regiments and British Loyalist and their Indian Allies. After the British captured New York City and Long Island early in the Revolutionary War, they developed a strategy to divide the Colonies by capturing the Hudson River Valley in 1777 but battles won by General John Stark of New Hampshire [No Relation to our family] at Saratoga, New York and Bennington, Vermont, changed the course of the War for both the British and the Colony of New York.
After the British were defeated by General Stark, they developed a plan to attack communities along the Colonial Frontiers, using Indian Allies and Tory Loyalist, which would pressure the Army of Washington to send his Line Regiments to the frontiers to protect the citizens. One of the first actions utilizing this strategy was the Wyoming Valley Massacre of July 3, 1778. In November, Tory Captain Walter Butler, brother of the notorious Tory Colonel John Butler who commanded the British forces at the Wyoming Valley Massacre, attacked communities in the Cherry Valley, located about 50 miles west of Albany, New York with similar results. These two incidents pressured the Continental Congress to take measures to protect citizens living on the Colonial frontiers. However, General Washington could not and did not immediately send troops to these regions. Their protection fell on the local Militia and more permanent Levies Regiments which would be called out many times over the course of the next four years. Our ancestors would be participants, especially those living in and around Albany County.
In the spring of 1779, steps were taken by the New York State Legislature to provide a force of one thousand men to protect the frontier. These men were drafted from the New York Militia Regiment "Classes" of fifteen men as defined by the April 1, 1778 act discussed above and they were to continue to serve until the following January and were provided the same pay and rations as the Continental army. While this force of men was being gathered, the Continental Congress, realizing the seriousness of the situation, decided to address the frontier problem and ordered General Washington to begin a campaign aimed at not only checking the raids, but that would bring total destruction and devastation on the raiders settlements and would capture or kill as many of the enemy as possible. This task was given to General Sullivan, who was to proceed with a Division of 2,500 men to the Wyoming Valley from Eastern Pennsylvania and attack north up the Susquehanna River. From the North, General James Clinton, brother of Governor George Clinton of New York, with a force of 1,600 men, was to proceed south down the Susquehanna River from Lake Otsego [located about 50 miles west of Albany, New York], joining up with Sullivan at Tioga Point.
General Clinton's men, under the direction of Henry Glen, began to prepare and assemble the 1600 man force at Schenectady, New York. Schenectady was chosen for the preparations rather than Canajoharie [Located on the Mohawk River just 15 miles from the North shore of Lake Otsego] because there were no storehouses at Canajoharie and further because it was felt that at Schenectady there would be less likelihood of there being an attack before the preparations were complete. On May 28th, General Clinton reported to Washington that a quantity of provision had been successfully collected and one hundred batteaux [Boats] assembled ready to be loaded on the shortest notice. On June 15, General Clinton reported that the one hundred boats at Schenectady had been loaded and were already on their way up the Mohawk. "I have ordered one hundred more boats to be had in readiness immediately," continues the report, "as the Genl. has ordered me to embark all the Troops, and take no P. Horses."
Under the direction of the Schenectady County, New York Committee of Safety and under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Yates, many of the Schenectady militia and volunteers were employed in the embarkation of Clinton's brigade. Some of these men voluntarily accompanied the division on its march to join Sullivan, assisted in cutting the road through to Otsego Lake, and assisted in the erection of the dam necessary to transfer the batteaux to the Susquehanna River. Captain Garret Putman with a few men from the Third Battalion of the Tryon County Militia joined General Clinton as volunteers under Colonel John Harper and shortly afterwards Captain Putman was appointed second in command of the volunteers. They were involved in all the skirmishes and the Battle of Newtown which was fought on August 29th of 1779.
Sullivan's campaign began in July of 1779, and with most of the objectives accomplished, concluded by September of 1779. However, soon after the conclusion of Sullivan’s campaign, reports began to arrive in Albany of murders committed by roving bands of Indians. On October 25, 1779, Colonel Van Dyck, writing from Fort Schuyler, reported a plan by the "British Regulars" to lay siege to that post while their Indian allies were to destroy "the Country down as far as Schenectady." While the reported plan did not mature, sufficient alarm was caused to warrant the militia to be kept almost constantly on duty during the fall of 1779, with men from Colonel Wemple's regiment forming part of the garrison of many of the forts to the westward along the Mohawk River and acting as guards for the farmers in the vicinity while they gathered their harvests.
In February of 1780, hostilities in the Mohawk Valley flared again when a small band of the enemy attacked German Flats, a settlement to the north of Palatine in March followed by a raid by Brant's men on Harperfield in April.
Although the raids only caused minor loss of life and property, they served to reinforced rumors larger raids were planned for the frontier regions. By May of 1780, depreciation of Continental currency was making it difficult to purchase supplies for the frontier garrisons and the settlers provisions were becoming low, making it difficult for the civilian and military troops living on the frontier. Many settlements were being abandoned causing Colonel Van Schaick to declare Schenectady would soon be the western frontier unless some speedy and effectual measures were taken to inspire the despondent people with confidence.
On the morning of May 22, 1780, British troops commanded by Sir John Johnson struck on the Mohawk River at Tribes Hill4 with a large force of Indians and Loyalist. From Tribes Hill, he proceeded westward "burning the Houses and Barns of the Inhabitants and putting to Death every Male capable of bearing arms. Collo. Fisher is mortally wounded," reported Colonel John Harper from Johnstown on the same day, "and his two brothers killed, [and] old Mr. Douw Fonda with seven others."
The Schenectady Militia under Colonel Wemple "on the first alarm" began it's march to the area but was forced to turn back because of a lack of provisions. They then pulled back to Johnstown and joined the troops at Fort Hunter under the command of Colonel John Harper's Regiment of Levies and others under Colonel Volkert Vedder. This combined force of 450 men prepared to engage Sir John if he decided to press his attack further east towards Schenectady. Although Sir John's force outnumbered the American troops by two to one, he chose to withdraw to the safety of Canada, eluding troops sent to intercept him by Governor George Clinton. Many Tories had joined Sir John Johnson during his raid, and after his withdrawal, many small bands from Albany and Tryon counties left to join the enemy, many of whom began to assemble at Beaverdam, which was reported to the Schenectady Safety Committee on July 18, 1780. Militia troops were called to meet this threat, but the main body of these men were warned and they dispersed before they could be captured.
Late in July of 1880, the British Commander, Joseph Brant, launched an attack against Fort Schuyler [also called Fort Stanwix] in an attempt to draw Militia forces away from Canajoharie [located 50 miles east of Fort Schuyler on the Mohawk River], which was the actual British objective. The British had advanced to a position near Canajoharie by moving up the Unadilla and Susquehanna Rivers and attacked August 2, 1780 as Brant withdrew from Fort Schuyler.
The Albany County Militia and Schenectady militia, who had turned out with cheerful promptness under orders previously given, had just gone into camp at Caughnawaga opposite Mr. Frey's at about eleven o'clock on the morning of the second when they saw heavy smoke "between John Abeails and Fort Plank about four miles distant." In a dispatch to General Ten Broeck, Colonel Wemple reported, "Instantly I did order both Regiments to be formed and proceed against the Enemy, who were at that time in their full Carear and tho our Numbers were not equal, yet I can assure you I should be void of Justice if I omitted mentioning their Prudence and cool behavior without Distinction to all Raneks. An altho they had been in full march since early in the morning they came up with such Vigor that the Enemy on our approach gave way & tho in sight we had no opportunity to give them Battle they retired in the usual way." In another section of the report, Wemple wrote "Such a Scean as we beheld since we left the River, passing dead Bodies of Men & Children most cruelly murdered, is not possible to be described. I cannot ascertain at present the Number of poor Inhabitants killed and missing but believe the Loss considerable as the People were all at work in the Fields... Some Persons pretend to say not less than one hundred dwelling House are burnt."
On August 21, 1780 Colonel Goose Van Schaick, writing to General Washington from Albany, confirmed the details of the withdrawal of Brant from Fort Schuyler and of the attack on Canajoharie. "From thence," continued the letter, "they returned towards the Susquehanna, & in a few days after made a Descent on Schohary; here they burnt twelve Houses, & have by information taken and killed a larger number of the Inhabitants than at the former place, & it is expected the remainder of Schohary will share the same fate. The Indians are seen daily in small parties, & take prisoners & Scalps. Schenectady is threatened & the Inhabitants are moving their effects to Albany with all dispatch seeing no appearance of support, & numbers going off to the enemy daily."
In England, Riverton's Royal Gazette told of the successful progress of the expedition. "The Indians have laid waste the whole country," reads its issue of September 23, 1780, "the Tory houses excepted, down to Schenectady, where some rebels are at work throwing up works to oppose the progress of the British troops and our Indian allies. The rebel women and children have retired to Albany."
Reports from General Van Rensselaer’s scouts were received in Albany by the end of August, 1780, indicating Sir John Johnson was preparing to strike between Fort Schuyler and Oneida, New York at a place called Stone Arabia. On this news, Van Rensselaer moved his headquarters to Schenectady to better opposition his forces in the event there was an attack further west on the Mohawk River. On October 12, 1780, word reached Albany that on the eighth Sir John Johnson, Butler, and Brant had commenced attacks on the eighth of October west of Schenectady while forces commanded by British Commander, Major Christopher Carleton, had attacked and captured Fort Ann north of Albany and were threatening to take Fort George.
On the night of October 16, 1780, the settlement of Ballston was attacked by a detachment of Major Carleton's division consisting of British regulars, Tories and Indians commanded by Major John Munro, a former merchant of Schenectady. It is believed that the original intention of the enemy was to surprise Schenectady but the element of surprise was lost due to Militia scouts reporting their presence. The Northern force decided to proceed no further than Ballston for fear they would meet superior numbers of Militia.
Simultaneous with the attack by Munro at Ballston, Sir John Johnson, approaching from the west of Schenectady, attacked a series of three Forts hear present day Middleburg, New York. The upper fort was quickly captured and after an attempt to get the middle fort to surrender, it was by passed. The Johnson force then burned and pillaged their way through the countryside as they continued their attacks, eventually camping six miles below the lower fort which they had also by passed during the days fighting.
On October 17, 1780, word reached General Van Rensselaer in Albany of the attack of Sir John and he proceeded to Schenectady with any troops he could rally to the cause. On October 18, Van Rensselaer left Schenectady and proceeded west up the Mohawk Valley. On the morning of October 19, Colonel Brown, commander of Fort Kayser, left the post with 130 men to join Van Rensselaer but was surprised by Sir John's forces, and outnumbered seven to one, disastrously defeated. General Van Rensselaer was apprised of the enemy's whereabouts and of the defeat of Colonel Brown and in the afternoon, overtaking the enemy, he forced the engagement known as the battle of Klock's Field. Sir John and his forces, unfortunately, were permitted to escape and although General Van Rensselaer was blamed for his failure to follow up on the advantage gained, the Court of Inquiry convened for the purpose of investigating his action not only wholly exonerated him, but declared that his conduct "was not only unexceptional, but such as became a good, active, faithful, prudent and spirited officer."
By the spring of 1781, there was wide spread discouragement and apprehension among the population because of the raids by the British and their allies. Furnishing supplies to the many Forts along the Mohawk River was becoming increasingly more difficult which caused many desertions from the militia ranks and the Continental Congress was slow to reimburse for goods and supplies. The area was a prime target for invasion with the militia low on both arms and ammunition. As defeat of the Continental Armies appeared possible, the number of Tories available to the British for their armies appeared to be increasing.
Throughout the spring of 1781, there were many minor skirmishes with small bands of Indians and rumors persisted that larger attacks were imminent. In June, Colonel Marinus Willett took over command of the levies troops raised for the defense of the frontiers and with wisdom and skill, justified the confidence placed in him. The lower part of the Mohawk Valley around Schenectady was practically free of large scale incursions by the enemy and the frontier areas further west on the Mohawk River only experienced minor attacks due to Willett’s aggressive engagement with these small Indian raiding parties.
Late in October, 1781, the enemy again appeared in force south of the valley under Major Ross with about 450 Indians, Regulars, and Tories, advancing north through the Cherry Valley to the Mohawk Valley. This force attacked Warren's Bush located about 20 miles east of Fort Rensselaer. Immediately upon receipt of the news of the raid, Colonel Willett dispatched messengers down the Valley asking the militia to join him, while he himself at once set out in pursuit of the enemy with what forces he could collect. After the engagement at Warren's Bush, Major Ross retired to Johnstown and on October 25, 1781, Colonel Willett engaged the enemy causing them to retreat from the area.
On the evening of October 28th , Colonel Willett, having been reinforced by a band of Oneidas Indians and the militia, started in pursuit of the raiders, subsequently attacking a detail of them on West Canada Creek, killing several, among whom was the notorious Captain Walter Butler, commander of the British forces who participated in the Cherry Valley Massacre. The news of the death of Butler was received in Schenectady with great rejoicing. The Whigs illuminated their houses and the Tories, under threat of being mobbed, were forced to do likewise. With the expedition under Major Ross chased back to Canada, operations on the frontier ended when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, ending the Hostilities.
As will be shown later in this text, Christopher, Asahel, William, Nathan, and John Stark most surely were participants in some of the actions described above. There participation, suggested by their military documents, clearly shows there was a family named Stark living east of Albany, perhaps even in Vermont, although the evidence to be presented seems to suggest they lived on the New York side of the Hudson River.
One final event occurred in December of 1781 and January of 1782. The issues that had existed before the war in the New Hampshire Grants located around Bennington, Vermont, resulted in dissention in the Militia Ranks with the possibility of hostilities being renewed between the people of the Vermont Grants and New York. There was an insurrection among the militia in the areas around Bennington and New York Militia Units drawn from Batten Kill and Hoosick, the area around which it is believed our ancestors were residents. On December 1, 1781, the arguments became so intense that an insurrection broke out in the regiments of Colonels John and Henry K. Van Rensselaer. The Regiment of Colonel Peter Yates also became divided over the issue, with residents from Batten Kill and Hoosick taking sides with the people of the Grants.
According to the 1850 publication, "Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution", Volume I, Chapter XVII, by Benson J. Lossing; "The insurgent regiments belonged to General Gansevoort’s brigade. He heard of the defection on the 5th, and immediately directed Colonels Yates, Van Vechten, and Henry K. Van Rensselaer, whose regiments were the least tainted, to collect such troops as they could, and march to St. Coych, to quell the insurrection. An express was sent to Governor Clinton, at Poughkeepsie, who readily perceived that the movement had its origin among the people of the Grants. With his usual promptness, he ordered the brigade of General Robert Van Rensselaer to the assistance of Gansevoort, and gave the latter all necessary latitude in raising troops for the exigency. Gansevoort repaired to Saratoga, and solicited troops and a field piece from General Stark, who was stationed there. The latter declined compliance, on the plea that his troops were too poorly clad to leave their quarters at that season, and also that he thought it improper to interfere without an order from General Heath, his superior. Governor Chittenden, of the Grants, had just addressed a letter to Stark, requesting him not to interfere; and, as his sympathies were with the Vermonters, that was doubtless the true cause of his withholding aid from Gansevoort. The latter, with what volunteers he could raise, pushed on to St. Coych, where he discovered a motley force of about five hundred men, advancing to sustain the insurgent militia. Having only eighty men with him, Gansevoort retired about five miles, and attempted to open a correspondence with the leaders of the rebellion. He was unsuccessful, and the rebels remained undisturbed. Early in January following , Washington wrote a calm and powerful letter to Governor Chittenden, which had great effect in quelling disturbances there, and no serious consequences grew out of the movement."
As we will see, Christopher Stark, Jr., Asahel Stark, and William Stark served in the regiments of Colonel John Van Rensselaer and Peter Yates.
The Military Evidence Relevant to Christopher Stark, Jr.'s Family
New York Revolutionary War Records reveal that from August 1 to August 4 of 1781, there was a Lt. Christopher Stark and Private Asahel Stark serving under Captain William Shepard in the "alarm at Saratoga." Captain Shepard's Company was assigned to Col. Cornelius Douty's Regiment of Foot, State of Vermont. From the Pay Roll Voucher submitted by Captain Shepard, 16 men were paid for four days duty plus 4 pence/mile each for a march of 24 miles. Among these men were John Price, Jr. and Jonathan Price, who would later be recorded as neighbors of Asahel Stark in the 1790 Census for Pittstown, Albany County, New York.
From the Beekman Patents, Dutchess County, New York, we know there was a Christopher Stark who bought a lease in 1759 which included the names "Azel" Stark and William Stark on the lease agreement. [See “The Biography of Christopher Stark, Sr.”] Therefore, combining the Beekman patent data with the Pay Roll voucher data would seem to reveal there was most likely a Asahel and Christopher Stark, probably related and more likely to be father and son, living east of Albany in 1781.
As related earlier, the State of New York paid those who served in the war from 1777 to 1782 by issuing Certificates of Indebtedness in 1784. On February 28, 1785, one William Stark was granted permission by Susanna Stark to pick up the military wages due to Christopher Starks for duty in Colonel John Van Rensselaer's Regiment of Militia. This note was attested to in St. Coyek. On August 20, 1785, William Stark was granted permission to pick up the military wages of Asahel Stark for duty in the same regiment. On January 11, 1786, from St. Coyek, William Stark was given permission to pick up the pay of Christopher Stark on behalf of Susanna Stark from Colonel John Van Rensselaer. These pay vouchers would seem to show there was a relationship between Christopher Stark, Asahel Stark, William Stark, and Susanna Stark. Susanna was probably the wife of Christopher, collecting the pay of her deceased husband while William Stark was probably her son and Asahel's brother. From the locations where these documents were prepared, we must conclude this Stark family was living in an area east of present day Albany, New York close to the Vermont border.
From the Revolutionary War Pension Applications, we know there was a William Stark who served in Colonel John Harper's Regiment of Levies which is further proved by a pay voucher dated June 21, 1784 which states William Stark has given William Wilson permission to pick up his military wages due for the year 1780 while serving in Captain Harrison's Company which was part of Colonel Harper's Regiment of Levies. This William Stark married Mehitable Fuller, her family well documented as living in the area around Albany at the time of the Revolution. In his Pension Application, he served nine months in this regiment beginning in the spring of 1780.
From the pension application of Nathan Stark/Start's wife, Jemima Farnsworth, made in 1840, it would seem Nathan Stark also served in Colonel Harper's Regiment of Levies, joining in the spring of 1780 from Cambridge, New York, also near Albany and in the same general area of New York where Christopher, Asahel, and William lived. He can also be identified as being part of Harper's Regiment from a pay voucher dated November 26, 1781 which requested he be paid for his time as a prisoner for 13 months and three days while serving in Colonel Harper's Regiment of Levies. Looking at the dates of enlistment, one can clearly see Nathan and William joined at the same time and their enlistments overlapped until Nathan was captured in October of 1780.
These documents clearly show there was a relationship between Christopher Stark, Asahel Stark, William Stark, and Nathan Stark indicating they may have been relatives. Although Nathan is not linked directly to Christopher, he is linked indirectly through William. Nathan married in Granville, Washington County, New York, located about 40 miles north of Pittstown, and die their in 1812. However, Nathan could be a cousin for other researchers believe this Nathan Stark was the son of Nathan Stark, Sr. who was the son of Daniel Stark who was the brother of Christopher Stark, Sr. and an Uncle of Christopher Stark, Jr.
Finally, John Stark who married Catherine Neff in Fonda, New York, located about 40 miles west of Albany, is a possible son of Christopher due to a pay voucher dated April 25, 1781. This record consists of three pieces of paper of which one appears to be an envelope. The envelope has written on it the name John Starks, Order #180-107 and the name Christopher Star [Last part torn] The second piece of paper says, “copy of” and the third gives "my honoured father" permission to pick up three months wages due to John Stark. A witness to John's signature is Timothy Price who served in Yates Regiment with Asahel Stark and Christopher Stark. If the Christopher Stark shown on the envelope is John's father, and the witness Timothy Price lived east of Albany, New York in 1781, then John is most certainly a son of Christopher which then links him to Asahel, William, and Nathan.
While the above is not conclusive, it most certainly shows there was a Stark Family living east of Albany as early as 1779 and probably earlier, an that they appeared to have a close association with many people proven to have lived on Beekman's Patent in Dutchess County, New York.
Biography of Christopher Stark, Junior
Christopher Stark, Jr. was born September 27, 1728 in New London County, Connecticut, son of Christopher Stark, Sr. and Joanna Walworth. He died between 1781 and 1785 in probably Albany County, New York. According to the text by Charles R. Stark titled, "Aaron Stark Family, Seven Generations", descendants of Christopher often went by the name of Start and on page 20 lists his children as Aaron, James, b. 1760; William; Johanna, Christopher, and Daniel, but gives no references to the source of this information. There appears to be no proof of any of these children except for a son named William, discussed in the previous section of this text. Some of these names appear to be the result of research that believed Christopher Stark, Jr. married Martha Vineyard and moved to Pennsylvania. [See “Who Was Who Named Christopher Stark” in Chapter 1.] From documents related to leases in the Beekman Patent, we know that this Christopher Stark, Jr. first leased land on May 1, 1759 and continued through 1769 in Beekman and again in Pawling in 1772 when Beekman was divided. At sometime during his tenure from 1759 to perhaps 1772, the names William and "Azel" Stark were added to the lease agreement.
This lease began May 1, 1740 and originally belonged to William Cooper with William, John, and Sarah Price named on the lease. It was described as the 6th farm in lot 4, located northeast of the village of Pawling. William Price assigned this lot to Henry Cary [of Beekman's Fields in Dutchess County] for 120 Pounds on March 30, 1751, which was witnessed by John Price and Thomas Cooper. On February 25th 1759, Henry Cary assigned it to Christopher "Start" for 200 Pounds before witnesses named John Franklin and Zephaniah Eddy, who were neighbors.
The relationship between the Coopers and Prices is not known. However, there was a Price Cooper, probably the son of William Cooper and Unknown Price, involved in the spy case against Solomon Baker, who was convicted in 1781 of having sided with the British. Testimony was taken involving several men lurking in the neighborhood and hiding out in a cave. They were John Warden, Price Cooper, John Start, William Dunbar, and Samuel Tid. Could this be our John Stark? It seems unlikely since he did serve against the British and received Bounty Land for his service. However, Price Cooper also enlisted later at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Solomon Baker was the son of John Baker, born 1722, probably the son of Thomas Baker of Swansea, Massachusetts who came to Dutchess County in 1729. John Baker paid taxes in Beekman from the years 1745 to 1748. If John was the son of Thomas, John's brother was Josiah who married Charity Eddy, who, as Charity Baker, witnessed the sale of land by Robert Millard to Christopher Stark, Sr. in 1758. Zephaniah Eddy witnessed the assignment of the lease in lot 4 to Christopher Stark, Jr. by Henry Cary in 1759.
However, because Christopher's father, Christopher Stark, Sr., also moved to Dutchess County at about the same time, there is a question that must be answered as to which of these men bought the lease. By 1758, we know Christopher, Sr. had divested himself of all of his property in Connecticut when he sold the land east of Fort Hill to Nathan Niles on January 27th, 1758. He probably sold all of his Connecticut property as preparations were being made to move to Pennsylvania for Christopher, Sr. had bought one whole share in the Susquehanna Purchase on May 7, 1754. The purchase of a full share would provide 500 acres of property in the Wyoming Valley, an area located near present day Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on the Susquehanna River. However, the French & Indian War started in 1757 and lasted until 1763, probably delaying plans to move to the Valley until the region was safe for settlement. There was a massacre in the valley by Indians in 1757 which drove many settlers back to Dutchess County and most likely in 1756-58, the family made a decision to move to Dutchess County, New York until the hostilities ended. On July 12, 1758, Robert Millard of Beekman sold 150 acres to Christopher Starks, recorded as “formerly of Groton, County of New London, Colony of Connecticut in New England, yeoman, now of Dutchess County….beginning on the line of lots 3 and 4, SW corner of Ralph Woolman, deceased.”
The property was bordered on the north by the mountain called Purgatory. Witnesses were Charity Baker and Henry Cary. Henry Cary would have been the same Henry Cary who sold the Beekman Lease to the above Christopher Stark in 1759. Henry was also the father of Elizabeth Cary who would marry James Stark, Christopher, Sr.'s son. This property was later sold to Nathaniel Howland on Oct. 12, 1762 and offers proof it was owned by Christopher Stark, Sr. for the deed is signed by Christopher Stark and his spouse, Johanna Stark. Therefore, it would seem reasonable to believe the Beekman lease was made by Christopher, Sr.'s son of the same name, Christopher Stark, Jr., and this is re-enforced by the names "Azell" and William being added to the lease, probable sons of Christopher Stark, Jr.
Tax list from the region are also revealing. There is a Christopher "Hart" shown paying 3 shillings, and 6 pence in February of 1759. In June of 1759 we find a Christopher Start paid the same amount of tax along with another Start, given name not legible, who paid 10 shillings, 6 pence. Also listed on this June, 1759 list is Aaron Start who paid 3 shillings, 6 pence. The tax record for the Start whose given name we cannot determine is described as "on the farm of Robt. Miller." This would seem to be the Robert Millard from whom Christopher Stark, Sr. bought property in July of 1758 making it likely this Start is probably Christopher Stark, Sr. Therefore, by June of 1759, we would seem to have fairly positive proof there were two men named Christopher Start/Stark living in Dutchess County on two different pieces of property.
Based on the tax amounts paid, the tax records further reveal that Christopher Stark, Sr. paid four shillings in February of 1760. Also paying in February was "Aron" Stark, most likely the son of Christopher, Sr. In June of the same year, Christopher Start again paid the tax. In 1765, the tax list show Christopher Start, Jr., the Junior clearly describing this individual, paid 5 shillings, and 10 pence. In 1766, a Christopher Stark paid a tax of 1 shilling, the amount indicating this was probably Christopher Stark, Sr. In 1768, we find that there is a Christopher Start who paid 14 shillings, and 7 pence and his son, William Start, also paid a tax that year. Again, the amount seems to reveal this was Christopher Stark, Sr. In June of 1769, we again see the name Christopher Start, Jr. who paid 2 shillings, and 10 pence and his brother, Aaron, who paid the same amount of tax and then another Christopher Start who paid 11 shillings, and 5 pence.
Therefore, from the above analysis of the tax list, one can say with a fairly high degree of confidence that Christopher Stark, Sr. and Christopher Stark, Jr. were living in Dutchess County, New York at separate residences in the years 1759, 1765, and 1769. Why they did not appear on the tax roles each year from 1759 to 1771remains something of a mystery which will need more research. Further more, from the tax roles, we can say Christopher Stark, Jr. paid taxes in February of 1759, June of 1759, 1765, and June of 1769. Although a Christopher Start paid taxes in Pawling in 1771, this would seem be Christopher Stark, Sr.
On January 25, 1768, Christopher Stark, Sr. conveyed his full share of the Susquehanna Purchase to his sons Aaron, James, and William. This deed was made in Beekman Precinct, Dutchess County, New York and was witnessed by Joanna Stark and Christopher Stark, Jr. Clearly, on this date, Christopher Stark, Sr. and Christopher Stark, Jr. are in Beekman.
On November 5, 1768, the British government signed the Fort Stanwich Treaty, which established a diagonal line across Pennsylvania and opened up territory east of the line for settlement which included the Wyoming Valley. On the same day, the representatives of the "Six Indian Nations" deeded all of the land in the province to Thomas and Richard Penn. Pennsylvania interpreted this to mean all of the land including the Wyoming Valley. The Susquehanna Company, formed in Connecticut, claimed ownership and was determined to occupy the region by sent forty men to the area. They arrived February 6, 1769 and were promptly arrested for trespass by Sheriff Jenning of Northampton County, Pennsylvania and Captain Amos Ogden who had established a trading post at Mill Creek. They were placed in the Easton jail, but some escaped while the rest were released on bail.
In June of 1769, Thomas Walsworth, brother-in law of Christopher Stark, Sr., was among two hundred and sixty men to arrive with Major John Durkee. They erected Fort Durkee on the eastern bank of the Susquehanna and named their town Wilkes-Barre. A Pennsylvania force led by Colonel Turbutt Francis invaded the Wyoming Valley in July with considerable fanfare demanding the surrender of Fort Durkee. The Yankees declined the Colonel's courteous offer and the good Colonel returned to Pennsylvania without pressing the issue. By September 12, 1769, Christopher Stark, Jr. and his brothers, Aaron, James, and William, had arrived at the Fort. In November, Sheriff Jennings and Captain Ogden, with a large force of Pennsylvanians, captured Major Durkee and drove the Yankees from the valley and destroyed the settlement.
Members of the Stark family regrouped in Dutchess County to plan their next move. Captain Zebulon Butler assumed command of the Yankees in January of 1770 and recruited Lazarus Steward and the Paxtang Rangers to the Yankee cause. He compensated the Rangers with the grant of Hanover Township. The Paxtang Rangers had been outlawed by Pennsylvania and with prices on their heads had openly defied Pennsylvania authority for years. The Rangers arrived in the Valley in February of 1770 and drove the Pennamites from the Valley. Christopher Stark, Jr. and his brother Aaron returned to the Valley again in June of 1770 to again take possession of the families shares of land.
Captain Ogden regained temporary possession of his trading post but was forced to surrender in April. Construction then began on the celebrated Forty Fort in Kingston Township west of the Susquehanna. Captain Ogden returned in the fall with a large force and captured Fort Durkee. At this change of fortunes in the settlement, Christopher Stark, Jr. returned to Dutchess County and made no further attempts to settle in the Wyoming Valley. The Yankees recaptured Fort Durkee in January of 1771 and the Pennamites then erected Fort Wyoming nearby. The Yankees then laid siege to Fort Wyoming in July and the First Yankee-Pennamite War ended on August 20, 1771, with the capitulation of Fort Wyoming.
In September of 1771, James Stark wrote from Pawling Precinct to Captain Zebulon Butler, commanding the Yankee forces in the Valley, "I have hired the bearer thereof, Timothy Pearce, to go on the same right for two months. At the end of two months, I will come and take possession of it myself." On October 23, Aaron Stark arrived to claim his share and October 31, James Stark arrived to claim his share. Early in 1772, James returned to Dutchess County to collect his family, brother Daniel, father Christopher, Sr. and mother Joanna. They returned to the Valley in early spring of 1772. Pawling Precinct deed records show William Stark sold 200 acres (Half share in the Susquehanna Company) to Henry Carey, May 20, 1773. By the end of 1772, the families of Aaron Stark and James Stark had taken up residence in the Wyoming Valley along with their brother Daniel, father Christopher Stark, Sr. and mother Joanna Walworth. By June of 1773, William Stark and his family, along with his in-laws, had moved to the Valley. If Christopher Stark, Jr. was attempting to help his brothers settle in the Wyoming Valley beginning in late summer of 1769 through 1771, this may explain why he was not on the Dutchess County Tax List for those years. Note he paid his taxes in June of 1769 and the research of Helen Stark shows Christopher, Jr. and his brothers were in the Valley by September of 1769.
For a period from 1771 to 1781, the whereabouts of Christopher Stark, Jr. can not be found in the records. It is believed many of those who had settled on the Beekman Patent fled to Albany when the British captured New York City, which would explain why many members of the family joined the Albany County Militia as revealed in their Pension Applications.
In 1781, Captain William Shepard's Company was assigned to Colonel Cornelius Douty's Vermont Regiment for four days during the "Alarm at Saratoga." Captain William Shepard, Christopher, and Asahel served in Yates Regiment along with John Price, John Price, Jr., Jonathan Price, John Waldo, Sr., John Waldo, Jr, and Jonathan Waldo and many others. We know that in 1785 "Asel" Stark assigned his pay receipts to William Stark for his time in service in Yates Regiment. Susanna Stark requested that the notes due to Christopher Stark be paid to William Stark in 1785 and 1786. In 1781, John Stark requested that his "honoured Father (Father's name not named but the original envelope bearing the request has the name Christopher Star_ and shows John Stark's order #) receive his pay receipts."
By 1790, William and Asahel were living in Pittstown, Albany County, New York with other men from Dutchess County including John and Jonathan Price. The records suggest the Christopher Stark who was a Lieutenant in Douty's Vermont Militia was the father of William, Asahel, and John and that he had died sometime before February of 1785, the month Susanna, his wife, first sent her son William for his pay. He was probably the Christopher Stark, Jr. in Yates Regiment since Susanna sent her request to Col. John Rensselaer, who was the commander of the Albany County Militia. Other records suggest John Price, Sr. was Susanna's brother and that John Price, Jr. and Jonathan Price were his sons. This would make them Asahel's first cousins and would explain why they were neighbors in Pittstown.
There is no proof of the marriage of Susanna Price and Christopher Stark, Jr., the evidence being purely intuitive from the records. However, we know that the Stark and Price Families were close in Dutchess County, New York, before and during the Revolutionary War, and later in Pittstown Township, Albany County, New York where the 1790 census list Asahel Stark, his brother William, and Jonathan and John Price as neighbors who were probably sons of John Price, Susanna's brother. Timothy Price, another probable son of John, moved to Fulton County, New York near William Stark at a later date. According to the records, Susanna Price was the daughter of William Price and Mary Unknown. Susanna was born September 23, 1729 in Ashford, Windham County, Connecticut. From the records, we know the Susquehanna Company was formed July 18, 1753 in Windham County which may have provided the opportunity for Christopher Stark, Jr. to meet Susannah Price and for them to marry before 1755.
Biography of Asahel Stark
Asahel Stark was born before 1755, probably in Groton, New London County, Connecticut and was the son of Christopher Stark, Jr. and Susannah Price. He was recorded as “Azell” in 1759 on the Beekman Patent lease in Dutchess County, New York with his father and brother. This particular lease was located near present day Pawling, New York. Several military records from the Revolutionary War reveal Asahel served with Christopher Stark, John Stark and William Stark in the 14th Militia Regiment of Albany County, New York commanded by Colonel John Van Rensselaer and Colonel Peter Yates. These documents reveal the State of New York paid those who served in the war from 1777 to 1782 by issuing Certificates of Indebtedness in 1784. On February 28, 1785, William Stark was granted permission by Susanna Stark to pick up the military wages due to Christopher Starks for duty in Colonel John Van Rensselaer's Regiment of Militia, this note attested to in St. Coyek. On August 20, 1785, William Stark was granted permission to pick up the military wages of Asahel Stark for his service in the same regiment. On January 11, 1786, from St. Coyek, William Stark was given permission to pick up the pay of Christopher Stark on behalf of Susanna Stark from Colonel John Van Rensselaer. These military records would imply these three men were related and it can be speculated Christopher Stark was the Father of Ashel and William who was most likely deceased by February of 1785.
Content of Military Records & Sharon Reck’s Notes
Manuscript #12070: Aug. 20, 1785 [Vol 7, p. 185]. Corl John Van Ransselar, Sir Please to let William Stark have the certificates that you have for me my Servis Don in the Melisha and this order shall be your Resate for the Sums. Signed Asahel Stark. Witness "Zacock" Scriber [Note: Zadock Scriber was in Yates Rebt.]Manuscript #12070: Aug. 20, 1785 [Vol 7, p. 185]. Corl John Van Ransselar, Sir Please to let William Stark have the certificates that you have for me my Servis Don in the Melisha and this order shall be your Resate for the Sums. Signed Asahel Stark. Witness "Zacock" Scriber [Note: Zadock Scriber was in Yates Rebt.]Manuscript #12070: Aug. 20, 1785 [Vol 7, p. 185]. Corl John Van Ransselar, Sir Please to let William Stark have the certificates that you have for me my Servis Don in the Melisha and this order shall be your Resate for the Sums. Signed Asahel Stark. Witness "Zacock" Scriber [Note: Zadock Scriber was in Yates Rebt.]Corl John Van Ransselar, Sir Please to let William Stark have the certificates that you have for me my Servis Don in the Melisha and this order shall be your Resate for the Sums. Signed Asahel Stark. Witness "Zacock" Scriber [Note: Zadock Scriber was in Yates Rebt.]
Manuscript #12071: Feb. 28, 1785 9Vol 7, p. 155]. St. Cook, To Col John Rensselar. Please to Deliver to the Barer William Stark the notes that is due to Christopher Starks for his militia wagers and you will oblige your friend, Susanna Stark. Witness William Gifford and John Gifford. [Note: From "Settlers of the Beekman Patent," we know that William Gifford was born in Dutchess County about 1755 and from the "Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files," we know that John Gifford was born 27 Aug. 1760 in Dutchess County, New York; he lived at Cambridge in Washington County, New York at the time of his enlistment and was later living with his brother at Pittstown, Rensselaer County, New York; he also enlisted there and served with Ens. Joseph Gifford, who may be related to Mary Gifford, b. 1744, who married Timothy Fuller and was the mother of Mehitable Fuller who married William Stark known to have lived in Penfield, Ontario County, New York near Asahel Stark.]
Manuscript #12072: Jan. 11, 1786 [Vol 7, p 155] St. Cuick [This place, also transcribed St. Coyick or Coyek is almost certainly St. Coic, which was an early Dutch settlement in the southeast corner of White Creek Township located in the southeast corner of Washington County, New York]. Col. John Van Rensellar Sir, please pay the Barer William Starks all the wages due to Christopher Starke, Junr for service done in your Regment and this order shall be your discharge for the same from me. Susanna Starke. Witness Israel Shepard. [Israel and William Shepherd were also in Douty's Vermont Regiment. Israel was born 1 Apr. 1746 in Plainfield, Connecticut; married Hannah Pitcher about 1766 in Amenia, Dutchess County, New York and applied for a Revolutionary War Pension in Madison County, New York.]
Records on file for Asahel spell his given name as Ashel, Asahel, Azell, and Ashael. Because of these different spellings of his name, the correct version is not known with certainty. Asahel could not sign his name and he probably didn't know how it was spelled while those recording documents for Asahel probably spelled his name as it sounded to them. To provide some clarity to the text that will fellow, the given name Asahel has been chosen while any original document will use the spelling found in that document.
It is believed Asahel married Sarah Dark in this region about or before 1776, based on the probable birth years of her first children. They would have children named Jasper, William, John R., Daniel R., Mary "Polly", Samuel, Christopher, Sarah Marie, Asa, Archibald, and Desire. All were named in Asahel's will in 1821 accept for Jasper and Daniel R. Stark.
Asahel's Early Years
By 1758, we know Christopher Stark, Sr. of Groton, New London County, Connecticut who was married to Joanna Walworth had divested himself of all of his property in Connecticut. January 27, 1758, he sold the land east of Fort Hill to Nathan Niles. He probably sold all of the property as preparations were being made to move to the Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania, near present day Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania around 1756. When the French & Indian War started, Christopher, Sr. and his family faced a dilemma. They were now living in New London County without a means of making a living and would have to live on the funds they made from the sale of their property.
On July 12, 1758, Robert Millard of Beekman sold to Christopher Starks, formerly of Groton, County of New London, Colony of Connecticut in New England, yeoman, now of Dutchess County, 150 acres beginning on the line of lots 3 and 4, SW corner of Ralph Woolman, deceased. The property was bordered on the north by the mountain called Purgatory. Witnesses were Charity Baker and Henry Cary who also sold the Beekman Lease to another Christopher Stark May 1, 1759. Henry was also the father of Elizabeth Cary who married Christopher Stark, Sr.'s son, James, in 1758. The above property bought by Christopher, Sr. in July of 1758 was later sold to Nathaniel Howland on Oct. 12, 1762 and this sale offers proof this property was owned by Christopher Stark, Sr., for the deed is signed by "Christopher Stark" and "Johannah Stark", his spouse.
The family made a decision, probably in 1756-58, to move to Dutchess County, New York until the war ended. Because it is apparent Christopher Stark, Sr. and his spouse, Joanna Walworth, already owned property by 1758, it is most likely Christopher Stark, Jr. who received a lease in the Beekman Patent May 1, 1759 in Lot #4 consisting of 341 acres. It was the sixth farm in Lot #4, located Northeast of the present village of Pawling and the lease, dated May 1, 1740, originally belonged to William Cooper along with William Price, John Price and Sarah Price. William Price then assigned the lease to Henry Cary for 120 pounds March 30, 1751 who then assigned it to Christopher for 200 pounds on the above date. Named on the lease with Christopher Stark, Jr. was William Stark and "Azell" Stark. The landlord usually rented the land to an individual and two others in the same family, sometimes a wife and son or daughter, sometimes to brothers but almost always for "three lives." William Stark was most likely Christopher Stark, Jr.'s younger son. From the Manlius, Onondaga County, New York census records of 1800, will be found a "Asel" Stark reported to be over 45 years of age that could be the "Azell" named on the lease. Christopher, Jr. is also believed to have had a son named William Stark who is reported to have been born in 1760, from the Revolutionary War Pension Records, who could have been named on this deed at a later date. Questions still remain as to why this Christopher did not name his relationship to William and Azell or did not name his spouse. This may have been because he arrived with these two in 1759 and the rest of the family followed later.
Sometime between 1770 and 1778, the family moved from Dutchess County to Pittstown, Albany County, New York, settling on property near the Hudson River on the present day New York State side of the River across from present day Bennington, Vermont. Ownership of the region was being contested by the Colonies of New York and New Hampshire. Ethan Allen, of Bennington, was protesting for neither to have control of the region and petitioning for the creation of another colony to be called Vermont. When the Revolutionary War began, the family was probably living in the region. By this time, young Asahel Stark had married and probably had either one or two young sons. By 1781, we find him as a member of the 14th regiment of the Albany County Militia from Pittstown along with many others who had been living in Dutchess County prior to the war.
Revolutionary War Documents Linking Asahel to His Father, Christopher
Revolutionary War Records show Lieutenant Christopher Stark and "Ashel Stark" were on the payroll of Capt. William Shepard's Company, Col. Cornelius Douty's Regiment, in a Regiment of Foot, of the State of Vermont, from the 1st day of August to the 4th day of August, 1781, in the "Alarm at Saratoga." They were, most probably, a Militia Company from New York assigned to Vermont for 4 days during this crisis. Many of the names of those living in Pittstown in the 1790 census appear on this pay voucher, suggesting these men were from New York, and not Vermont, further supporting their temporary assignment to the above mentioned Vermont Regiment.
From the Revolutionary War Period Records (Referred to as RWPR in the rest of this text), Roll M859, will be found Manuscripts #12071 and #12072, discussed earlier which reveal the relationship of William Stark to Christopher Stark and Susanna Stark. RWPR, Roll M859, Manuscript #14370 perhaps gives us another connection to Dutchess County, NY for Asahel. This record states, "Warrens Bush 27 May 1785. Col. Volkert Vader. Sir, please to pay all my Militia wages due to me, Jeremiah Burch, for my service during the late war in Col. Frederick Fisher's Reg. of Militia in Capt. Joseph Yomens Company or sum others to Gilbert Roseboom Berry and this shall be your discharge four yours to serve. Signed Jeremiah (His Mark) Burch; Witness: Asahel Starke" According to the research of Sharon Reck, "Jeremiah Burch was born 1749 in Dutchess County, New York and married 29 July 1773 in Dutchess County, Patty Pringle. His grandfather, Jeremiah Burch, was from New London, CT."
However, RWPR, Roll M859, Manuscript #12070 discussed earlier, dated 11 Jan., 1786 is the most revealing document linking Asahel to Christopher and William which states, "Col. John Van Rensselaer, Sir please to let William Stark have the certificates that you have for me for my service done in the Militia and this order shall be your re sate for the sums. Signed: Asel Stark; Witness: Zacock Scribner." This document along with #12071 clearly shows William Stark was sent to pick up the pay of both Christopher and Asahel. From the above , I would surmise, Christopher, Jr. was the father of Asahel Stark and William Stark. Also, the name of Christopher's spouse was Susanna and her husband died between the years 1781 and 1785.
From William Stark's pension application, it would appear he was living in Pittstown for he mentions this was his place of enlistment in May of 1780, serving in the Levis under Col. Harper. William married Mehitable Fuller, hence the possible relationship to the Fullers mentioned previously. Now, if the above suggest Christopher and Susanna are husband and wife, and the mentioned William is a son, can we connect Asahel to this family with other documentation. From RWPR, Roll M859, Manuscript #12051 we find, "8 Jun 1786. Col. Yates, please to let the bearer, Ashel Starke, have my sale notes and I will oblige. Your friend and humble servant. Signed: Jonathan Price; Witnesses: John Price, Jr., Samuel Price". This would appear to be the same Jonathan Price who was shown on the "Alarm at Saratoga" payroll with Christopher Stark and Ashel Stark. Jonathan's name appears under Asahel's name in this document. These two documents would seem to show there is a relationship between Christopher, Asahel, and now Jonathan Price.
Sharon Reck's conclusions, based on the military records and the New York 1790 census were, "I believe Christopher Stark, Jr. was the father of Asahel, William, probably the Nathan Stark who fought with William in Harper's Regiment, and John [who also later lived in Penfield, Ontario County, New York near Asahel and William and subsequently moved to Clermont County, Ohio]; Susannah was probably Christopher's wife. It's clear that many of their friends were from Dutchess County, New York."
Census Records After The Revolutionary War
In the 1790 census for Pittstown, Albany County, New York, we find Asahel Stark and William Stark [Most Likely Asahel's brother later found living next to Asahel in Penfield, Ontario County, New York] as neighbors of Jonathan Price. Others living close by are Jonathan and Timothy Fuller, the Gifford's, Israel and William Shepherd, and William Richard. All of these individuals had been living in Dutchess County, New York prior to the Revolutionary War and are now living close by in 1790. These names, living so close to Asahel, would appear to provide a link to Dutchess County for both William and Asahel Stark, for these families also appear to be related in various ways perhaps to complicated to unravel in this text. This census reports Asahel Stark's home as having one male over 16, 6 males under 16, and two females. Assuming Asahel is the male over 16 and one of the females is his wife Sarah Dark, then in 1790, they had six sons and one daughter who would have been born between the years 1774 to 1790.
By 1800, Asahel has moved to Manlius, Onondaga County, New York and the 1800 Census for this township and County report "Asel" Starks as head of the house. Listed in the home are Asel Starks with one male over 45, 2 males under 10, one male 10-16, four males 16-25, one female over 45, three females under 10, and two females 16-26. Assuming Asel is the male over 45 and Sarah is the female over 45, we now have 7 males of which two were born after 1790. There should be 8 sons in 1800 indicating one of the older sons must have left home. It's also possible one of the males reported in 1790 could have been an infant at the time and is reported as under ten in the 1800 census depending on the month the census was taken. However, it is more likely a son has left home for from the Onondaga County Deed book, pages 266-269 we find William Stark bought 200 acres from Edward Lounsberry on January 1, 1800, which was witnessed by William Mitchell and John R. Stark. William could be the son who has left home before the 1800 census or could be Jasper Stark living in nearby Fabius, Onondaga County in the 1800 census who reported his age as between 16 and 26. William's property transaction does reveal William and John R. Stark were most likely over 21 years old placing there birth years as before 1779, assuming the first had to be 21 to purchase property and the latter had to be 21 to be a witness. Since Jasper has established a home by the 1800 census, he would be the most likely candidate as the son who has left home. We will later find through property transactions, Jasper and Asahel must have been related.
By combining the reports of the 1790 census and the 1800 census we can conclude two of the young men in the 16 - 26 age range in 1800 are probably John R. Stark and William Stark. John R. Stark's Military Record from the War of 1812 reveals he was 32 years old July 5, 1814, the date of his enlistment. This would place his year of birth as 1782. As revealed above, William purchased property January 1, 1800 which would place his latest year of birth as 1779 if he had to be twenty-one years old to purchase property in New York. Even if he could purchase property at the age of 14, the latest year of birth for those in the 16-26 age group in the 1800 census, he would still be one of those in this age group living in Asahel's home. Since he surely was older than 14 years old when he purchased this property, he has to be one of these young men age 16 - 26.
There are candidates for the other two in this age range. They would be Daniel R. Stark and Samuel Stark. Daniel R. Stark purchased land in Genesee County March 28, 1809 which would imply he was at least 21 years old on that date and would place his year of birth as before 1788. This would also make it possible Daniel is the son in the 10 - 16 age group. Samuel Stark is listed as head of the house in the 1820 census for Washington County, Indiana. He reports he is in the 26 - 45 year old age range which would place his latest year of birth as 1794 and the earliest year of birth as 1775.However, as will be shown in the following text, Christopher Stark and Asa Stark would seem to be the sons under 10 years old. Therefore, Samuel would have to be either in the 10 - 16 age range or the 16 to 26 age range. Christopher purchased property in Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana in 1812. If he was 21 or older when he purchased this property, then he was born before 1791. This would make him possibly one of the sons under 10 years old but doesn't rule him out as possibly over 10 years old.
From the "Central New York Genealogical Society Publication -Tree Talks", Volume 23, #3, page 143 dated September 1983 can be found this record which states, "Oregon Donation land - people who applied; #4060; Asa Stark, born 1796, Onondaga Co., NY" Clearly, if this record is accurate, then Asa is one of the sons under 10 years old. Although there is no proof, I would speculate Daniel R. Stark and Samuel Stark are the other two in the 16 - 26 age group and Christopher is the male in the 10 - 16 age group or the other male under 10 years old.
In the home of Samuel Stark in the 1820 census for Washington County, Indiana is a male in the 16-26 age range along with two females in the 16-26 age range. Sharon Reck, in her article, "Descendants of Christopher Stark", page 7, self published in 1997, speculated this male is most likely Christopher because in 1819 Samuel and Christopher married the sisters Sophia and Nancy Scott in November and October, respectively, in Switzerland County, Indiana. If this were true, then Christopher was born no earlier than 1794, making him and Asa the two sons under 10 years old in the 1800 census. However, one can not over look the Louisiana purchase of property made by Christopher which would imply he was born before 1791.
There should be one more son, for in 1800, Asahel records 7 sons, but from the above, we only have 6 sons we can name from later records who were most likely born before 1800, although Jasper could be considered this seventh son. However, he is reported as head of the house in the 1800 census which implies he could not be one of the seven sons reported by Asahel in 1800. The only other known son of Asahel and Sarah is Archibald Cass Stark who was born in 1801 according to his later records. One can only speculate one of the sons reported in the 1800 census died before Asahel's Will was made and was not mentioned, this being the source of the names of his children. He could have been a son in any of the age ranges from under 10, to 10-16, to 16-26.
The 1790 census indicated there was one female in the home other than Asahel's spouse, Sarah. Therefore, there should be one daughter born before the 1790 census. There are two females mentioned in the age range of 16 - 26 and one over 45 years old. I would speculate one is a daughter and the other is a daughter-in-law. Therefore, one of the above sons was married, most likely either John are William, of which there is no record. There are three other daughters reported to be under 10 years old. However, from Asahel's will, we only know of the three daughters named Mary "Polly", Sarah Marie, and Desire. Since we know Desire was born after 1800, then only Mary and Sarah can be counted as daughters born before 1800.
It would seem possible one of the children under 10 could be a granddaughter. This would seem to be verified by the 1810 census for Caledonia, Genesee County, New York for living in Asahel's home was three females. One is under 10 [Desire], one is 11-16, and one is 16-20. The latter two would seem to be Mary and Sarah. In this census, the male under 10 would be Archibald while the male 11-15 is most likely Asa for later records show Christopher bought property in Louisiana in 1812. Therefore, one can only speculate about the other females reported in the 1800 census. I believe they were most likely extended family, or, if daughters, they died after 1800 and before 1810.
From this analysis one would place the order of births and estimated dates of birth for the known children of Asahel and Sarah as; 1] Jasper, before 1779, 2] William, before 1779, 3] John R., 1782, 4] Samuel, 1775-1790, 5] Daniel R., before 1788, 6] Christopher, 1791, 7] Mary "Polly", 1790-1799, 8] Sarah Marie, 1790-1799, 9] Asa, 1796, 10] Archibald, 1801, 11] Desire, 1803-1804.
Onondaga County, New York
On September 16, 1776, Congress had promised bounties for 88 battalions. In 1783 New York added the promise of lands to their troops for their service in the military. This was the genesis of the "Military tract," a land grant frequently referred to in New York State history. On January 1, 1791, drawing for the lots laid out in this tract began on the land. Many of the soldiers who participated in the drawing did not settle on the acres, but sold it to land speculators. Many did take possession of the land and stayed causing the population to increase to 879 people in Onondaga County by 1799.
Onondaga County was organized as a County June 6, 1794. The new County was created from a portion of Herkimer County and much of the new County included military tracts. Cayuga County was taken off from Onondaga five years later, Cortland in 1808, and Oswego in 1816, leaving Onondaga County as it now exists, an almost square body of land thirty by thirty-four miles of which Syracuse, New York is the principle city. Manlius and Cicero were townships formed within Onondaga County with Manlius located southeast of present day Syracuse while Cicero was one of the original townships, (number 6,) of the Military Tracts. Cicero was part of Lysander Township when Onondaga County was first organized and was organized into a township in 1807 when it was split off from Lysander. Cicero was located northeast of present day Syracuse and had Oneida Lake as it's border to the north and northeast.
As already noted, the 1800 census reports Asahel and his family were living in Manlius, Onondaga County, New York. He had probably been living in this county at least since 1796 for his son Asa Stark declared he was born there in that year. Although there is no record showing Asahel received property in these tracts for his service in the New York Militia, we do know early in May of 1802 he purchased land from James Knapp and his spouse Lucy which was the south part of Lot #73 [200 acres] in the region which later became Cicero Township, Onondaga County, and purchased the remainder of Lot #73 [300 acres] May 22, 1802. Therefore, Asahel now owned 500 acres in this region of Onondaga County. The records show Asahel sold 146 acres of Lot 73 to Jasper Stark in 1805 and then purchased, for the sum of $650, the property back from Jasper and his spouse Betsy on March 6, 1807. This transaction was witnessed by John R. Stark and Benjamin Hosley. There were other records showing Asahel sold portions of Lot #73 to Joseph Hosley, Jr. of Sullivan Township of the County of Chenengo, New York in 1806 and two portions to Benjamin Hosley in 1807.
In 1807, Jasper Stark and Asahel were ordered to give up another portion of Lot #73 due to a Judgment made against them by the New York Supreme Court. August 3, 1807 "Elijah Phillips, Esq., Sheriff of Onondaga by writ of testatum fieri facias from the Supreme Court of New York 3 Aug 1807 against Jasper and Asahel Stark at the suit of James Knopp for $260 plus $29.56 damages Sheriff had sold at public venture Lot #73 in Twp. of Cicero for $40 to Thaddeus M. Wood and Geo. Hall, highest bidders." A "writ of testatum fieri facias" was a court order authorizing the sheriff to collect a judgment in debt or damages from the goods and chattels of the defendants Asahel and Jasper Stark owed to James Knapp. Therefore, the judgment was made and a portion of Lot #73 was sold for $40, recovering the remainder of the money owed. There were probably other items from the estates of Jasper and Asahel sold at auction to complete the payment of this judgment.
It would seem Asahel continued to own 310 acres of Lot #73 for on March 20, 1821, when Asahel wrote his Last Will and Testament, he bequeathed "unto my beloved wife Sarah Starks three hundred and ten acres of land lying and being in the State of New York, Onondaga County and town of Cicero..."
Genesee County, New York
In the later part of the 1700's Western New York was claimed by both Massachusetts and New York until an agreement was made in 1786 which gave governing rights to New York while allowing Massachusetts to retain title to the lands. It was, therefore, from Massachusetts that Robert Morris purchased four million acres of land in 1791. Two years later Morris sold the land, with the largest parcel being sold to the Holland Land Company comprised of six banking houses in Amsterdam. The first land sale of the Holland Land Company was made in 1801 in an area which was still part of Ontario County, New York which levied high taxes on land. The high taxes combined with the distance settlers traveled to record deeds, lead to the creation of Genesee County in 1802. The County was named from the Seneca word meaning "beautiful valley". The newly formed County consisted of all of the land west of the Genesee River to the Western border of New York and was bounded to it's south by Pennsylvania and to the north by Lake Ontario. Caledonia was a township located about 20 miles southwest of Rochester, New York which was first called "Southampton""when officially recognized on March 30, 1802. Its name was changed to Caledonia April 4, 1806 with the Genesee River being its eastern boundary.when officially recognized on March 30, 1802. Its name was changed to Caledonia April 4, 1806 with the Genesee River being its eastern boundary.
Asahel had moved further west from Onondaga County to Caledonia, Genesee County, New York by 1810 as recorded in the census for this region in the same year. On March 28, 1809, Asahel's son, Daniel R. Stark purchased Lots #13 &14 in section zero of township #11, range #1. According to the Holland Land Company Records, Daniel was a first purchaser of this land who paid for the property in full at the time of purchase and his deeds included the “Table of Original Articles or Deeds“ given to those who paid cash for the property. Most purchasers received an “Article of Agreement” document with a time limit for payment. The property available for purchase from the Holland Land company was west of Caledonia in an area that would later become parts of Niagara County, Erie County and Cattaraugus County. The above indicates Daniel R. Stark may have been living in either Niagara or Cattaragus Counties since they were created from Genesee County in 1808. By 1810, Daniel was married and had at least one son, William Hawley Stark, born in 1809.
Sometime between 1810 and 1813, Asahel moved a few miles from Caledonia, Genesee County, New York to Penfield, Ontario County where he purchased with a mortgage, 50 acres from Robert Bowne of New York City, New York for $206.48. The property was part of the Southwest Division of lot #14, township #13, range 4 in Penfield. Asahel is listed in the 1813 Penfield Assessment Roll with Real Estate valued at $203 and taxes of $.47. On September 20, 1817, Asahel sold this property to Jesse Adams for $1000. This deed was witnessed by Daniel Wilson and Rufus Henrik. "Sarry" Stark was examined separately. In 1820, Asahel was listed in the census for Washington County, Indiana. Therefore, sometime after this land transaction and before the 1820 census, Asahel and his family left the State of New York.
Washington County, Indiana
In the 1820 census for Washington County, Indiana, we find several Stark families. Asahel is listed on page 219 as "Asaatl Stark." Listed living at this dwelling are one male over 45 who is most likely Asahel, one male age 16 - 26 who could be Asa Stark, one female over the age of 45 who would be Sarah, one female age 16 - 26 who could be Deborah Moore Stark, wife of Asa, and the youngest daughter of Asahel and Sarah, Desire Stark, age 10 - 16.
Also listed on page 219 of the census is Archibald Stark, who was the male listed in the 16 to 26 age range. The 1850 census for Clark County, Illinois records Archibald was 49 years old which would place him within this age group in the 1820 census. Also living in this dwelling is a male over 45 years old. Since this cannot be Archibald and is not Asahel, who could he be? Sharon Reck speculates this could be the "insane brother", John R. Stark, who was declared insane in the State of Louisiana in 1817 by his brothers, William Stark, Daniel R. Stark, and Samuel Stark. William became the legal guardian of John and settled his affairs in Louisiana. The female in the 16 - 26 age range would be the spouse of Archibald, Rhoda Howe, and it would seem they had one daughter under the age of ten, her name not known. As already mentioned, also listed on page 219 of this census was Samuel Stark with his wife Sophia Scott and most likely his brother Christopher and his spouse Nancy Scott who was the sister of Sophia Scott. Listed on page 220 of this census was Alvin Graves and Sarah Stark, the daughter of Asahel and Sarah. Not accounted for in this census are Jasper Stark, William Stark, who was living in Louisiana, and Daniel R. Stark who died in Louisiana in 1820.
Asahel Stark prepared his last will and testament March 20, 1821 in Washington County. As beneficiaries he named his spouse Sarah, sons Samuel, Asa, Archibald, Christopher, John, and William, married daughters, Polly Brezee and Sarah Graves, and his unmarried daughter, Desire. Daniel R. Stark was not named in the will because he died in 1820 in Louisiana. Asahel named his wife, Sarah as the "sole Executrix" of his estate. The will was proved January 21, 1822 and Sarah Stark was appointed executrix. On October 17, 1845, the Surrogate Court of Onondaga County, New York, proved the will of "Ashel Starks" deceased and acknowledged the death of executrix, Sarah Starks on or about October 2, 1839 and granted Archibald C. Stark the legatee of the will allowing him to dispose of and sell all "goods, chattels, and credits....within the State of New York." Archibald probably traveled to New York to dispose of the 310 acres in Cicero, Onondaga County, New York which Sarah had received from Asahel's will.
Sarah (Dark) Stark and her sons in Louisiana
Asahel's spouse, Sarah Stark lived many more years after Asahel. Her son William Stark had removed to Louisiana before 1809 to Port Allen, West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Court records show he sold property to Emanuel Landry1 and we also find William Stark of New York married Victoria Betencourt March 6, 1808. Another record reveals one William Stark claimed a tract of land located on the west side of the Mississippi in the County of Iberville which was rejected because the land was never inhabited or cultivated until after December 20, 1803. There are numerous other land transactions in Port Allen between Christopher Stark who bought property from William Wikoff, Jr. in 1812 and then sold it to John Stark May 1, 1815. The latter document has the signatures of John Stark and Christopher Stark as the principles in the land transaction along with William Stark's signature as a Witness.
Samuel Stark purchased property with a mortgage from Daniel R. Stark in 1818 and then sold it to Caleb Eddy in 1818. William Stark sold property to Daniel R. Stark in 1817 and then Daniel R. sold property back to William in 1819. In the first transaction, Daniel R. purchased the property and took out a mortgage while in the second transaction, William Stark paid for the property in cash.
As can be seen, several of the same given names which appear in Asahel's will appear in these deed transactions in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana and the William Stark shown in these transactions was from New York as revealed in his marriage to Victoria Betencourt. Records from the Parish show Daniel R. Stark died June 20, 1820. From the Washington County, Indiana 1820 census and the Louisiana Records, Christopher and Samuel must have divested themselves of their Louisiana property by 1818 and have married the Scott sisters in Indiana in 1819. John Stark, as we will find out later, served in the War of 1812, and was declared insane by his brothers, William, Daniel R., and Samuel in the year 1817.
William Stark died May 4, 1822 in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Probate Packet #97 for that Parish records his estate was inventoried on May 9, 1822. In the inventory papers of William's Estate we find, "Having examined the amount account, in the presence of the heir, Mrs. Sarah Stark, mother of the late William Stark, deceased, I having found the account of vouchers in support of said account true and correct, ...[Not Legible]... Victoria Starks having delivered up all the papers she has in her possession, to the heir Sarah Starks, said heir declares hereby to have received said notes, vouchers and accounts, it is therefore ordered that said above petition, of their knowledge, fulfills the duties incumbent on him as appraising of the objects contained in same ...[Not Legible]... left by the late Wm Stark. Signed [Signature was not legible.]" From this record, we can presume Asahel's spouse, Sarah, came to Louisiana to settle the affairs of William's estate.
Edgar County, Illinois Probate Record #199 dated October 28, 1839 related to the estate of Sarah Starks, deceased. In this Probate Record, five names appear as heirs to Sarah's estate. They are A. C. Stark [Archibald Cass Stark], Asa Stark and an insane brother [John R. Stark] of which Asa was the guardian, William Bresee [Spouse of Mary "Polly" Stark], and Wm. Howe, spouse of Desire Stark. Therefore, Sarah probably died near the date of this probate record.
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Other than that work created by other acknowledged contributors or sources, the articles presented were authored and edited by Clovis LaFleur and the genealogical data presented in this publication was derived and compiled by Pauline Stark Moore; Copyright © 2003. All rights are reserved. The use of any material on these pages by others will be discouraged if the named contributors, sources, or Clovis LaFleur & Pauline Stark Moore have not been acknowledged.
This publication and the data presented is the work of Clovis LaFleur & Pauline Stark Moore. However, some of the content presented has been derived from the research and publicly available information of others and may not have been verified. You are responsible for the validation of all data and sources reported and should not presume the material presented is correct or complete.