Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   

This website designed by Clovis LaFleur

 

The Aaron Stark Family Chronicles

 

Home

Genetic Project

Volume 1

Volume 3

Volume 4

Stark Family Yearbooks

Album

 

Last Update: December 11, 2013 Webmaster: Clovis LaFleur <clafleur1@austin.rr.com> Click HERE to see Copyright & Disclaimer.

Volume 1: The First Three Generations of Aaron Stark's Descendants in New England

Chapter 12: Christopher Stark (Senior)

Part 4: The Third Generation; Children of William Stark (Senior)

Page 109

 

Chapter 12

Christopher Stark (Senior)

{Copyright © Mar. 2001, Clovis La Fleur & Pauline Stark Moore}

 

Christopher Stark, Sr. was most likely born between the years of 1690 to 1695 in New London County, Connecticut.[1] He was the son of William Stark, Sr. and his wife Elizabeth, and the grandson of Aaron Stark, Sr. [1608-1685] and his wife Sarah. William Stark, Sr., his spouse Elizabeth, sons William, Jr., and Christopher were baptized in the Stonington Road Church in October of 1698.[2] Christopher's younger sister, Phebe, born in March of 1700, was baptized in the same Church July 6, 1701[2] while Daniel Stark, the youngest child in this family, was born between July of 1701 and the year 1704, the latest year it is believed Daniel could have been born according to the Groton, New London County, deed records.[3] In 1704, Christopher's father began his relationship with the First Baptist Church of Connecticut.

January 31, 1715/16, William Stark, Sr. deeded Christopher property as a gift which had as one of it's boundaries the property of Isaac Fox.[4] The Isaac Fox property had been the land of William Stark, Sr.'s brother, John Stark, who received the land after Aaron Stark, Sr. died in 1685. John Stark died in 1689 and his spouse, Elizabeth Packer, daughter of John Packer and Elizabeth Friend, then married John Weeks. Elizabeth Packer and John Stark had daughters named Elizabeth Stark and Hannah Stark who inherited the land when they became of age around 1705. Elizabeth married John Newberry, a weaver, while Hannah married Isaac Fox, a yeoman.[5] Isaac Fox purchased Elizabeth's share of this property from her husband, John Newberry, November 20, 1708, the deed signed by John Newberry and Elizabeth A. Newberry.[6] Isaac Fox and Hannah Fox sold the land May 9, 1721 to Aaron Stark, III, son of Aaron Stark, Jr. and a grandson of the above Aaron Stark, Sr. [1608-1685].[7] From the 1708 description, this property was located on the western boundary of William Stark, Sr.'s original property.

On March 24, 1717/18, William Stark, Sr. deeded the rest of his homestead to Christopher, which included the new house at that time where William, Sr. and his wife, Elizabeth lived.[8] However, the deed stipulated these conditions; "reserving only that the sd William Starke shall have the premises above menshoned to possess and improve during his natural life & if sd William Starks now wife shall outlive him then she shall have the lower roome in the new house and one third part of sd land for her maintainance during her widowhood but in case she shall marey again to have nothing." Christopher could not dispose of this property with the new house until both his Mother and Father died. William, Sr. and Elizabeth continued to live on and improve this property while Christopher make a home for himself and his future spouse on the property he received in January of 1715/16. On the same day, March 24, 1717/18, William Stark, Sr. also sold one acre and a half of land to the Baptist Church for 6 pounds. Christopher was one of the Church members participating in this purchase.[9]

Christopher witnessed a deed exchange December 13, 1718 between his brother, William, Jr. and their cousin, Abiel Stark.[10] Abiel was the son of Aaron Stark, Jr. who was the brother of William Stark, Sr. The deed was acknowledged in Lebanon, Connecticut in January of 1719 implying Abiel Stark sold this land in preparation for a move to this township located north of Groton and west of Norwich.

__________

1) Groton, New London County, CT Deed Records; Book 1, page 385; Christopher was deeded property from his father, William Stark, Sr. March 24, 1716. To own property, Christopher had to be 21 years old. This would set the latest year of birth for Christopher as 1695. From Book 1, pages 86-87; Christopher had an older brother, William Stark, Jr. who was probably born before or in 1689. William, Jr. was a witness in 1710 to a deed between his father William, Sr. and Isaac Fox. He had to be 21 years old to be a witness. This would set his latest year of birth as 1689. Therefore, Christopher Stark, Sr. probably could not have been born before 1690.

2) Stark, Charles R.; Book entitled, "Aaron Stark Family, Seven Generations", page 2; CRS reference was the Records of the First Congregational Church of Stonington, CT.

3) Groton, New London County, CT Deed Records; Book 2, page 197; Daniel was a witness in August of 1725 to a property transaction between William Stark, Jr. and his son-in-law, Thomas Walsworth. Daniel had to be 21 to be a witness, hence the latest year of birth being 1704.

4) Groton, New London County, CT Deed Records; Book 1, pages 333-334; William Stark of Groton for the love good will and affection which I have unto my well beloved son Christopher Stark … give …[???A] … Isaac Foxes land …part of his portion to him … Signed William Starke. Wit Joseph Hadsall, Abiel Stark. Ack and Recd 31 Jan 1716/17.

5) Webster’s Dictionary; A yeoman in this case would be a small farmer who cultivates his own land.

6) Groton, New London County, CT Deed Records; Book 1, page 35; dated 20 November 1708.

7) Ibid; Book 1, pages 567-568; dated 9 May 1721.

8) Ibid; Book 1, page 385; dated March 24, 1717/18.

9) Ibid; Book 1, pages 374-375; dated 24 March 1717/18.

10) Ibid; Book 1, pages 469-470; dated 13 December 1718; Acknowledged in Lebanon, Connecticut 2 January 1718/19; Recorded 16 April 1719.

 

 

Page 110

 

Christopher was reported to be a yeoman in most of these deed documents, indicating he had settled down in the community most likely farming on the property he received as a gift from his father. Christopher married Joanna Walworth April 1, 1722 in Groton who was born on Fisher's Island, New York in the year 1695.[1] She was the daughter of William Walworth and Mary Abigail Seaton, both of whom had immigrated from England in 1689 aboard the same ship and married in 1690 soon after arriving in New England. They first settled on Fishers Island, just off the coast of Connecticut where they managed the farm of Governor Fitzjohn Winthrop of Connecticut. Their first four children were born at this location and around the years 1699 to 1701 they moved to New London County, Connecticut where William became a prominent land owner. William claimed he was descended from Sir William Walworth of London, England which has not been verified to any degree of certainty. Mary was descended from one of the earliest families of Scotland. She was 20 years old and an only child when, after the death of her father in London, she emigrated to New England on the same ship as William.[2] April 6, 1721, one year before Joanna Walworth married Christopher, she sold her brother, John Walworth, her right to any land she received from her father, the late William Walworth of Groton, deceased, this transaction recorded on pages 738 and 739 in Deed Book 1 for Groton, New London County. February 23, 1723, Zerviah Stark was born to Christopher and Joanna.[1]

In the same year, 1723, Christopher exchanged properties with his father, William Stark, Sr. for on August 19 Christopher sold four acres to his father which had formerly been purchased by William, Sr. from Valentine Wightman February 10, 1710. This four acres had been part of the 20 acres William sold to Wightman in 1708 and same four acres was received by Christopher as part of the gift from his father January 31, 1715/16.[3] On August 20, 1723, Christopher sold 151 acres of his land he received from his father, William, Sr. back to William, Sr. for 200 pounds. In exchange on this same day, Christopher bought 150 acres lying south of the County Road from his father for 300 pounds which he then exchanged with his father on October 13, 1726.[4] On May 6, 1728, William Stark, Sr. later deeded 100 acres of this land lying south of the County Road to his youngest son, Daniel Stark, as a gift.

The reasons for these apparent swaps of land is not apparent but the later transactions occurred at about the same time William Stark, Sr. made his will February 7, 1726. These properties were close by and adjacent to each other and the last exchange could have been made to correct an error in the will. In this will he bequeathed all his lands to Daniel south of the County Road as would appear by deed of exchange from Christopher which clearly belonged to Christopher at the time the will was prepared.[5] However, after these 1726 transactions, Christopher again owned all of the original land he received as a gift from his father, which seems to have been north of the County Road.[6]

April 10, 1725, Christopher was a witness to the Gideon Cobb "quit claim" to property sold to him by William, Sr. in 1718 and September 29, 1725, Christopher sold 20 acres to Nathaniel Nile, Jr. for 30 pounds and on the same day he was a witness to the sale of 40 acres to the same Nathaniel, Jr. by Aaron Stark, now recorded as a resident of Colchester, Connecticut.

__________

1) Stark, Charles R.; Book entitled, "Aaron Stark Family, Seven Generations", page 11; CRS source was the Groton, New London County, CT Town Records.

2) All information on the Walworth/Walsworth Family was taken from the Book entitled "Walworth/Walsworth Genealogy, 1689-1962", Authored by Reginald Wellington Walworth, published by Queen Anne's Publishing Company, Center Ville Maryland in 1962 and the "Dictionary of First Settlers of New England, Volume 4, Chapter 5, by James Savage.

3) Groton, New London County, CT Deed Records; Book 1, page 72; "Vallintine Waitman of Groton … for valuable consideration to me payed in hand by William Starke of the above said … 4a … beginning at the corner which I the said Whitman bought of William Starke formerly John Plaisters … 10 Feb 1710 … Signed Valentine Wightman. Wit Aaron Stark, Aabiel Stark. Ack 8 Mar 1709/10. Recd 8 Mar 1709/10." Book 2, pages 19, 20; "Know all men that I Christopher Stark of the Town of Groton for a valuable consideration paid in hand by my father William Stark … 4A … SE corner of land that Whitman bought of my father which was formerly Mr. John Slater's?? Dated 19 Aug 1723 … Recd 20 Aug 1723 signed by Christopher Stark … wit Jonathan Hinckley, John Smith."

4) Groton, New London County, CT Deed Records; Book 2, page 14; "William Stark Senr of Groton yeoman for 300L by Christopher Stark of same … 150A … Christopher Stark’s corner, Mr. Nyles land, Thos. Wools’ land. Dated 19 Aug 1723 … Recd 20 Aug 1723 signed by William Stark … wit Valentine Whighman, David Collver." Book 2, page 19; "Christopher Stark of Groton yeoman for 200L paid by Sergt. William Stark … Mr. Nyles corner, land sd Nyles bought of Mr. Aaron Stark … Mr. Whitman’s south line. 19th day, 10th year of his majesties reign 1723. … Recd 20 Aug 1723 signed by Christopher Stark … wit Valentine Wightman, David Culver (Note: From Book 2, page 231, this property is described as being 150 acres)." Book 2, page 231; "Deed of exchange … Willm. Stark of Groton certain tract bounded Mrs. Niles his line … Thomas Wells … 150A … exchange William Stark unto my Son Christopher Stark …Mr. Niles Corner … Mr. Wightmans south line … and by deed passed from sd Christopher Stark to Wm. Stark aforesd bearing date 19 Aug 1723 … 4A … Dated 13 Oct 1726 … Recd 8 Nov 1726 … Signed William Stark … Wit Abiel Stark, Ephraim Collver, John Wallsworth." Book 2, page 233; "Deed of Exchange Christopher Stark of Groton for one certain tract of land … may appear by a deed passed from the sd Christopher Stark to his father Willm. Stark bearing date 19 Aug 1723 … 151A … Dated 13 Oct 1726 … Recd 8 Nov 1726 … Signed Christopher Stark … Wit Ephraim Collver, John Wallsworth."

5) Stark, Charles R.; Book entitled, "Aaron Stark Family, Seven Generations", page 5.

6) Groton, New London County, CT Deed Records; Book 2, pages 376-377; "William Stark of Groton husbandman for love and affection for son Daniel Stark do give part of my homestead south of the County Road Mr. Niles his orchard … Thomas Wells … 100A … Dated 6 May 1728 … Recd 28 May 1728 … Signed William Stark … wit Ephraim Collver, William Gard."

 

 

Page 111

 

On October 1, 1725, Christopher also witnessed the articles of agreement between Aaron Stark and Nathaniel Niles on this property transaction and in 1725, William, Sr. deeded, as a gift, a wood lot to Thomas Walworth, Joanna's brother, who had married Christopher's sister Phebe.[1]

As already mentioned, William Stark, Sr. prepared his will early in 1726 which was probably made because William had suffered an illness or experienced some other calamity. From the time he prepared his will until his death in September of 1730, there was an urgency to the land transactions he made with his children and other relatives. William, Sr. sold 4 to 5 acres to John Stark, son of Aaron Stark, Jr. which was witnessed by Joanna (Walworth) Stark. Several other transactions occurred where William, Sr. sold property to Christopher, deeded property as a gift to his son Daniel as mentioned above and generally seemed to be divesting himself of all of his property. Joanna gave birth to a daughter August 1, 1726 named Phebe and during these years, his son Christopher Stark, Jr. was born September 27, 1728 in Groton and another daughter, Elizabeth, was born December 23, 1730.[2] From 1730 to 1742, Christopher and Joanna settled down to raising a family and tending the farm received as a gift from his father. Children born during these years were Aaron Stark, born March 3, 1732/33, James Stark, born May 22, 1734, and Mary Stark, born February 26, 1738.[2] Christopher and Joanna's last two children, William Stark and Daniel Stark, were born in February of 1745 and probably before 1750, respectively.[3]

In 1729, William, Sr. prepared a deed where he relinquished control of the property he had originally given to Christopher under condition William and his wife could continue to live there until William and his wife died. The deed stated, "Serjant William Stark of Groton Yeoman for love and affection unto my son Christopher Stark of Groton husbandman and also for the reason of the insufficiency of two deeds of gift from me to Christopher the one baring date 1717 and the other 1718...".[4] This deed allowed Christopher to sell this property consisting of 250 acres to John Smith for 1,500 pounds on August 30, 1729 one year before William Stark, Sr. died September 8, 1730.[5] In 1742, Christopher purchased a total of 60 acres from April to November for a total amount of 638 pounds from the heirs of John Fanning as fourths of their share of the property. December 2 of the same year, Christopher sold forty-three and one-half acres to Nathan Niles for 790 pounds. January 27, 1758, the above 60 acres was also sold to Nathan Niles.[6]

By 1750, many of the descendants of the early Connecticut settlers began to look to the west for more fertile farm land at cheaper prices. The region around present day Wilkes-Barre, lying in Northeast Pennsylvania on the Susquehanna River, became the focus of considerable interest . However, because early maps of America were very poor at the time charters were made for this region, King Charles II had granted the area to both Connecticut and Pennsylvania which both claimed and began to send settlers to the region which would lead to ownership conflicts between the competing colonist. On March 29, 1753, a petition for the formation of the Susquehanna Company was presented to the Connecticut Assembly, asking that the petitioners be allowed to build settlements on the Susquehanna River which they believed was under the jurisdiction of Connecticut. On July 18, 1753, the Susquehanna Company was formed in Windham County, Connecticut by several hundred individuals with the avowed purpose of establishing a settlement along the banks of the Susquehanna River. Christopher and his brother-in-law, Thomas Walworth, were not signers of this original petition, but on May 7, 1754, they along with many of their neighbors paid five pounds for a full share in the company. With this money, the land along the banks of the Susquehanna River were purchased July 11, 1754 from the Iroquois Indians in Albany, New York.[7]

This geographical area, later to be known as the Wyoming Valley, had been settled earlier by families from Dutchess County, New York. Abraham Utter and his family resided in Dutchess County, New York until 1750 and his occupation was tenant farmer. Because all of the land in the area was owned by landlords, he could not hope to purchase property and in 1749 the family, along with several of his neighbors, decided to move to live the Susquehanna River in the Wyoming Valley. They organized an association consisting of eleven families and after encountering many difficulties and making numerous sacrifices, the families organized seventeen trains made up of oxen and forty-four cows.

__________

1) Groton, New London County, CT Deed Records; Book 2, pages 173, 174, 175, 176, 197, and 200.

2) Stark, Charles R.; Book entitled, "Aaron Stark Family, Seven Generations", page 11; CRS reference are the Records of the First Congregational Church of Stonington, CT. CRS source was the Groton, New London County, CT Town Records.

3) Ibid; page 11.

4) Groton, New London County, CT Deed Records; Book 2, pages 529-30; "Serjant William Stark of Groton Yeoman for love and affection unto my son Christopher Stark of Groton husbandman and also for the reason of the insufficiency of two deeds of gift from me to Christopher the one baring date 1717 and the other 1718 … part of my homestead … 250A … Daniel Stark’s NW corner … William Stark Junr his SW corner … Whitman’s land … Mr. Niles NE corner …. Dated 25 Mar 1729 … Recd 31 Mar 1729 … Signed William Stark … wit Ephraim Collver, Daniel Stark, Mary X Collver her mark"

5) Ibid; Book 2, pages 537-538.

6) Ibid; Book 4, pages 156, 157, 158, 162

7) Stark, Helen; Article in Stark Family Association Newsletter, 1927, entitled "Christopher Stark's Migration to New York and Pennsylvania."

 

 

Page 112

 

Proceeding from Dutchess County, New York to the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, the trains started their journey on April 5, 1750. The distance was not so great, but their route lay through dense forest and after surmounting many obstacles, reached their destination on April 14, 1750.[1]

King George's War, which lasted from 1744 to 1748, had ended by 1750 and most settlers believed the territorial claims of England and France in North America had been settled. However, all this war had accomplished was to set the stage for the last of four wars, called the French & Indian War [1757-1764] by the colonists. As French and English settlements expanded, conflicts between the settlers and the two countries began to escalate. The French at this time held most of settled America including much of Canada as well as land West of the Allegheny Mountains and along the Mississippi River down to New Orleans. In 1749, a group of Virginia businessmen secured a grant of 500,000 acres of Ohio Valley land for the purpose of building settlements, despite French to the same land. While the French had sent explorers and fur traders to the region first, the English were sending settlers from the colonies who intended to stay and till the land, which the Iroquois Indian Confederacy was permitting, despite the claims of the French. The French, fearing the loss of the Ohio fur trade, built a chain of forts in 1753 at the Eastern end of the Ohio Valley on land claimed by the British. In retaliation, the British attempted to built a fort on a site which would later become Pittsburgh, but were driven off by a French flotilla. The French then built a larger fort on the site which they named Fort Duquesne.

Virginia Governor Dinwiddie sent 22-year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington to secure the British Fort, which they believed had been built, but instead, found the French in command of the Fort. Washington established a base to wait for reinforcements before trying to capture the fort. Near Great Meadows, located south of the Fort, Washington surrounded and attacked a party of 33 Frenchmen. Ten French were killed, and some 22 were captured. The French sent out 900 men to avenge this slaughter and Washington, upon hearing of the advance, built a crude stockade which was named Fort Necessity. The French badly beat Washington and he signed a document, prepared in French, that he thought stated that he attacked the party at Great Meadows, when in fact, the documents he signed stated he assassinated the party. The disclosure of the attack set off a world war beginning in 1756. This action has been credited as having started the "Seven Year's War" and was the first action in the North American French & Indian War. With the start of hostilities, the Susquehanna Company was forced to delay it's plans to settle the Wyoming Valley, which would be an area of conflict between the two warring nations.

Abraham Utter's family did not fair very well during this period for in 1757 their home was attacked by marauding Indians, who were allies of the French, with many members of the family killed and taken prisoner. Although Abraham survived because he was not home at the time of the attack, he would never recover from the horror of finding his mutilated family when he returned home. Two of his younger daughters survived the attack, living with the Indians for one year before being released to their families who had returned to New York State after the massacre.[1]

By 1758, we know Christopher, Sr. had divested himself of most of his property in Connecticut. January 27, 1758, he sold the land east of Fort Hill to Nathan Niles and was probably selling all of his remaining property in Groton as preparations were being made to move to the Wyoming Valley. When the French & Indian War started, Christopher, Sr. and his family made a decision sometime between the years 1756 and 1758 to make a temporary move to Dutchess County, New York until the war ended. On July 12, 1758, Robert Millard of Beekman, Dutchess County, New York, 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." Witnesses were Charity Baker and Henry Cary. The property was bordered on the north by the mountain called Purgatory. Henry Cary would have been the same Henry Cary who sold the Beekman Lease to another Christopher Stark May 1, 1759 and was the father of Elizabeth Cary who married Christopher, Sr.'s son, James Stark, 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.

Christopher Stark, Sr.'s son, Christopher, Jr. was most likely the Christopher Stark who received a lease in the Beekman Patent May 1, 1759 in Lot #4 consisting of 341 acres, which was the sixth farm in Lot #4, located Northeast of Pawling. The original lease, dated May 1, 1740, belonged to William Cooper along with William Price, John Price and Sarah Price.

__________

1) Pattison, Thomas, "The Wyoming Valley Massacre of 1757", written circa 1862 by 80 year-old Thomas Pattison, a son of Sarah (Utter) Pattison, (whose kidnapping by Indians in 1757 during the French and Indian War after the massacre of her mother and siblings is the chief subject of this text) [Author's comment: This Wyoming Valley Massacre is not to be confused with the Revolutionary War Massacre of the same name occurring July 3, 1778.]

 

 

Page 113

 

William Price then assigned the lease to Henry Cary for 120 pounds March 30, 1751 who then assigned it to Christopher, Jr. for 200 pounds on the above date.[1] 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 may have been Christopher Stark, Jr.'s younger brother who would have been about fourteen years old at that time. From the Manlius, Onondaga County, New York census records of 1800, the name "Asel" Stark is recorded, his age reported to be over 45 years old. This would suggest he would have been at least four to five years old in 1759 if he was born before 1755 and could be the "Azell" named in Christopher, Jr.'s Beekman lease. There will be more later to prove a link of this "Asel" to Christopher Stark, Jr

No efforts were made by the Susquehanna Company to settle the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania until 1761 when the shareholders held a meeting in Windham County, Connecticut. Due to changes in the Company shareholders over the intervening years, there were now 588 holding a "whole share" and 165 that held half shares. In August of 1762, a group of ninety-three men, representing those owning shares, started from Windham on horseback to form a settlement along the Susquehanna River.[2] This first settlement was made at Mill Creek north of present day Wilkes-Barre. There were no children in this first group, but in May, 1763 more settlers arrived with their families. On May 15, 1763, this first settlement was destroyed when Captain Bull and his Delaware Indians massacred some twenty of the inhabitants.[3] Despite this set back, the settlement continued to slowly grow.

From 1759 to 1769, the name Christopher Stark appears on the Beekman Tax List and as a lessee on the Beekman lease in Dutchess County. October 14, 1762, Christopher, Sr. and his son James appear as witnesses on a deed executed at Beekman's Precinct.[1&2] January 25th of 1768, Christopher, Sr. conveyed his Susquehanna right 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. December 20, 1769, Christopher Stark, Sr. conveyed his right in the Groton Baptist Church meeting house to Elder Wightman. Witnesses to this exchange were his sons James Stark and Daniel Stark. From this deed, we can say the latest year of birth for Daniel Stark was probably 1748, twenty-one years before this event.[4]

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, which, they interpreted, included the Wyoming Valley. The Susquehanna Company was determined to occupy the region and sent forty men with shares in the Company who would receive additional shares for agreeing to make the trip before May of 1768. 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, the brother-in-law of Christopher, 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, but The Connecticut Yankees declined the Colonel's courteous offer and the he returned to Pennsylvania, having not accomplished his mission. September 12, 1769, the brothers Christopher, Jr., Aaron, James, and William Stark arrived at the Fort which was soon after captured by Sheriff Jennings and Captain Ogden by a large force of Pennsylvanians who then drove the Connecticut Yankees from the valley by destroying their settlement.

Members of the Susquehanna Company and the Stark family regrouped in Dutchess County to plan their next move. Captain Zebulon Butler assumed command of the group in January of 1770 and recruited Lazarus Steward and the Paxtang Rangers to the Yankee cause with the promise of land grants in Hanover Township. The Paxtang Rangers had been declared outlaws by Pennsylvania and had prices on their heads for having openly defied Pennsylvania authority for years. This new military force arrived in the Valley in February of 1770 and successfully drove the Pennamites [Pennsylvania Settlers] from the Valley. With this new success, 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. Construction then began on the celebrated Forty Fort in Kingston Township west of the Susquehanna but was recaptured by Captain Ogden in the fall with a large force. After this change of fortunes in the settlement, Christopher Stark, Jr. returned to Dutchess County and the Beekman Patent and made no further attempts to settle in the Wyoming Valley. Hostilities prevailed until the Connecticut Yankees laid siege to and captured Fort Wyoming in July which ended the First Yankee-Pennamite War on August 20, 1771.

__________

1) Reck, Sharon, Article entitled, "Descendants of Christopher Stark". <Reck37719@aol.com>

2) Stark, Helen; Article in Stark Family Association Newsletter, 1927, entitled, "Christopher Stark's Migration to New York and Pennsylvania."

3) Irby, Richard E., Jr. Article entitled, "The State of Westmoreland and the Pennamite - Yankee Wars."

4) Stark, Charles R. publication; page 12; Source of CRS is Westmoreland Records & Perhaps Groton Deed Records.

 

 

Page 114

 

In September of 1771, James Stark wrote from Pawling Precinct (Pawling was set-off from Beekman's Precinct in 1768) 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, returning to the Valley in the early spring of 1772. Pawling Precinct deed records show William Stark sold 200 acres (Half share in the Susquehanna Company) to his father-in-law, Henry Carey, May 20, 1773. In June of 1773, William Stark and his family along with his in-laws had moved to the Valley. By the end of 1773, the families of William Stark, 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.[1]

After fifteen years of blood letting, destruction and rebuilding of settlements, Indian massacres, and exodus and return, the Yankees of Connecticut were finally in control of the region. They now turned their attention to clearing the land and building small farms, new forts, and strengthening old ones and began to create communities and fit places for people to live. Little by little, the settlers began to venture further from the stockades believing the questions between them and Pennsylvania had been permanently resolved.

From 1772 to 1774 the settlers lived in relative peace, not being a part of Connecticut or Pennsylvania. The Connecticut authorities, having not supported the Susquehanna Company settlers during the final three years of conflict between the Yankees and Pennamites, now concluded the people had proved their ability to hold the Wyoming Valley and backed them in their ownership of the valley. Connecticut passed an act in January, 1774, which created the town of Westmoreland, which extended from the 41st degree of North Latitude to the New York line and from the Delaware River to fifteen miles west of the Susquehanna River which was then annexed to Litchfield County, Connecticut. Within this town, the districts of Wilkes-Barre, Hanover, Plymouth, Kingston, Pittston, North, Lackaway, and East were created. In 1774, the total inhabitants of Westmoreland were counted at 1,922 men, women, and children and considered large enough to become a separate county. It subsequently became the county of Westmoreland, Connecticut defined as embracing 60 x 120 miles.

The four years of peace was broken, in December 1775, when Colonel Plunkett invaded Westmoreland with six hundred Pennsylvania militia. Colonel Zebulon Butler posted his regiment behind a natural rampart of rocks above Nanticoke Falls on the west side of the river while the Paxtang Rangers occupied the east side and protected the Yankee flank. Plunkett advanced on the morning of December 25 and thus began the Battle of Rampart Rocks. The battle raged all Christmas day with the Pennamites suffering severe casualties and late in the evening fled after inflicting minor losses on the Yankee forces. The Revolutionary War had started previous to this encounter with the battle of Lexington taking place in August and Bunker Hill having occurred in June. These violent differences between Connecticut and Pennsylvania were temporarily put aside but would resume again after the war.

For those researching the Christopher Stark, Sr. family, it is important to understand participants in the Revolutionary War recruited and serving in the Westmoreland County Militia were considered to be residents of Connecticut. While the Wyoming Valley is today within the bounds of the State of Pennsylvania, many members of Christopher, Sr.'s family will show on the rolls of the Connecticut Militia, not the Pennsylvania Militia.

The Valley settlements were becoming alarmed, for they had received word the British, under Col. John Butler (his command was mostly Canadians and Indians) were at Oswego, and the people of the valley were convinced the Indians had established an alliance with the British. On August 23, 1776, the United States Congress, at the urgent request of Col. Zebulon Butler, resolved to station two companies at Westmoreland for the defense of the inhabitants. Robert Durkee and Samuel Ransom were elected Captains of these companies and given the authority to recruit soldiers from Westmoreland County. James Stark joined Captain Samuel Ransom's company September 17, 1776.

However, as history tells us, Washington was retreating after the British General Howe captured New York. Washington's 3,000 men were forced to keep moving through New Jersey and crossed the Delaware River December 8th causing Congress to immediately take measures to move from Philadelphia to Baltimore. Before moving however, the Congress "resolved" on December 12, that the two companies raised in the town of Westmoreland, be ordered to join George Washington, with all possible expedition. Ransom and Durkee promptly obeyed and were with Washington by the end of 1776, leaving Westmoreland defenseless. These companies were placed under the command of General Dickinson and first saw battle January 27, 1777, at the battle of Millstone. July 20, 1777, James Stark died in camp from a small pox epidemic which struck the command.

__________

1) Stark, Helen; Article in Stark Family Association Newsletter, 1927, entitled, Christopher Stark's Migration to New York and Pennsylvania."

 

 

Page 115

 

His body was returned to Westmoreland and he was buried at the Upper Wilkes-Barre Township in the old burying ground.[1]

Christopher Stark, Sr. died of natural causes in 1777. His will provided for his son, James, to receive his homestead with the proviso that he should take care of his mother and grandmother.[2] James had an oldest son named James, Jr. born December 12, 1760. Could this be the James named in the will and he is to provide for his mother, Elizabeth Carey, and grandmother, Joanna Walworth? It is related by Carey descendants that James, Jr.'s grandmother Carey was deceased several years prior to 1777. Because James, Sr. and Christopher, Sr. died so close in time, this is perhaps the James mentioned in the will.

Signs of an invasion from the North into the Valley became apparent and Congress, on March 17, 1778, authorized Westmoreland County, Connecticut to raise another company for the defense of the town. Aaron Stark, his son Aaron, Jr., William, and Daniel, were recruited and by May, the settlements were frantic and appealed to Congress to return their men to the defense of the valley which was denied by the authorities.

Col. Zebulon Butler assumed command of the Westmoreland defenders at Forty Fort June 29, after British Col. John Butler invaded the Valley on that day. The British troops, consisting of about 250 of Butlers Rangers and an equal number of Indians quickly captured Fort Jenkins and then Fort Wintermoot. Under the command of Col. Zebulon Butler at Forty Fort were 230 enrolled men, seventy old people, boys, civil magistrates, and other volunteers, the bulk of able bodied fighting men having been sent to reinforce General Washington. Among the defenders at Forty Fort were Aaron Stark, son of Christopher Stark, Sr., his son of the same name, Daniel Stark, the youngest son of Christopher, Sr., and James Stark, Jr. oldest son of James Stark, Sr. and Elizabeth Carey.

Early on the morning of July 3, Col. John Butler sent messengers to Forty Fort demanding their surrender. Col. Zebulon Butler immediately called a council of war and asked if he should parley with the enemy for delay until reinforcements should arrive but many believed they could execute a surprise attack on the British troops who had bivouacked at Fort Wintermoot. The latter strategy prevailed which would prove to be a fatal error in judgment.

The forces of Brant and Col. John Butler were at Wintermoot's Fort, opposite Pittston. The little band, on the afternoon of July 3rd, numbering about 350 of the sturdiest remaining settlers, under the command of Colonel Zebulon Butler, left the fort amid the prayers of dear and devoted kindred. Old men, whose hands were tremulous and unsteady marched by the side of young ones, unskilled in years and war to the place of conflict. Among the 350 were Aaron Stark, Sr. his son Aaron Stark, Jr. and Daniel Stark. None remained in the fort save the women and children.

Moving rapidly up the west bank of the river, the Yankee Colonel Z. Butler cautiously led his forces within half a mile of Wintermoot's. Here he halted for a few minutes and sent forward two volunteers to reconnoiter the position and strength of the enemy. They were promptly fired upon by the British for their Indian Scouts had already apprised them of the Yankees departure from Forty Fort. The British Colonel J. Butler began to form his forces into line of battle; the Provincials and Tories being placed in front toward the river, while to his right was concealed a large number of Indians.

About four in the afternoon the battle began when Col. Z. Butler ordered his men to fire, and at each discharge to advance a step. As the Yankees advanced, pouring in their platoon fires with great vivacity, the British line gave way drawing the Yankee forces into the trap laid by the British Commander. When the trap was set, the hidden Indians engaged the Connecticut Troops from their left flank. For half an hour the battle raged with each side giving and taking fire from the other. However, it became apparent the Connecticut force was not only out numbered, but out flanked. Orders were given by the Connecticut forces for one Company to wheel back, so as to form an angle with the main line, and thus present their front instead of flank to the Indians on their left. On the attempt the savages rushed in with horrid yells and utter confusion prevailed on the left flank of the Connecticut force. Seeing the disorder, and his own men beginning to give way, Col. Z. Butler threw himself between the fires of the opposing ranks and rode up and down the line in the most reckless exposure. "'Don't leave me, my children, and the victory is ours." But it was too late. When it was seen that defeat had come, the confusion became general. Some fought bravely in the hopeless conflict while others fled in wild disorder down the valley toward Forty Fort or Wilkes-Barre without their guns, pursued by Indians whose belts were soon reeking with warm scalps. Another group of Indians moved in behind the fleeing forces, cutting off their retreat to Forty Fort. All was lost and the fleeing Connecticut men were forced to run for the river, in hopes of reaching Wilke-Barre Fort on the other side.

A group of men including Aaron, Sr., Aaron, Jr. and Daniel, ran for their lives and hid in driftwood along the banks of the river. The Indians searched and towards night fall, found Aaron, Sr. and Daniel. They were tomahawked and scalped before the eyes of Aaron, Jr. who remained concealed and was not detected by the Indians. Aaron, Jr. then fled to the home of his grandfather, Christopher Stark, Sr. before eventually escaping the battle and making it back to Dutchess County.

__________

1) Stark, Charles R. publication, page 22.

2) Stark, Helen; Article in Stark Family Association Newsletter, 1927, entitled, " Christopher Stark's Migration to New York and Pennsylvania."

 

 

Page 116

 

Aaron, Sr.'s wife had taken refuge at Forty Fort. After the Fort was taken by the British, she along with some other women and children were allowed to leave unmolested and they made their way back to Dutchess County, she with five of her children. On the night of July 3rd, William Stark and his family made their way to Wilkes-Barre Fort from which they along with others, started for the Delaware River and then made the long trek back to Dutchess County.

James Stark's widow, Elizabeth Carey, on hearing about the massacre, took her small children with her into the corn fields and hid. After the Indians had passed she made her way back to her home to find all of the buildings destroyed. She gathered what belongings she could find and made her way on foot to Dutchess County. When she arrived at her sister's home, she was a picture of misery and destitution. She never rallied from the death of her husband a year earlier and then the massacre which destroyed her home. She passed away August 12, 1778, probably her spirit broken, another belated victim of the massacre. Elizabeth Carey's oldest son James was serving in Captain Simon Spalding's Company and received a musket ball in one of his legs and was one of the last to leave the Valley, eventually arriving safely in Dutchess County.

The massacre had finally dislodged the Christopher Stark, Sr. family from the Wyoming Valley. After so many attempts to settle, the painful memories and horrors of that day were too much for this family to attempt to return to the Valley. Only William and his family would return for awhile, but then leave by 1790 and return to Orange County, New York. Most surviving members of the family would settle in or near Dutchess County until the end of the Revolutionary War.

Christopher Stark, Jr. and his family were probably living in Albany County, New York at the time of the Wyoming Valley Massacre. By 1778, Asahel Stark had married Sarah Dark and probably had one small child. His brother, William would have now been 18 years old and his youngest brother John was perhaps 14 to 16 years old. They would have heard the stories from the survivors and joined to fight the British who they felt were responsible for the slaughter that took place on that day. Military 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 company from Albany County, New York assigned to Vermont for 4 days during this crisis.

 

Children of Christopher Stark and Joanna Walworth

1) Zerviah Stark[1] was born February 23, 1722/23 in Groton, New London County, Connecticut.

2) Phebe Stark[2] was born August 01, 1726. She married Increase Billings who was born February 15, 1724/25 in Stonington, Connecticut and died Abt. 1808.[2]

3) Christopher Stark, Jr.[1] was born September 27, 1728 in Groton, New London, Connecticut.1 He died between 1781 and 1785 in Albany County, New York.[3] He married Susanna Perhaps Price before 1755.[4]

4) Elizabeth Stark[5] was born December 23, 1730 in Groton, New London County, Connecticut and died September 19, 1772.[5] She married Samuel Treat6 who was Baptized July 12, 1712 and died September 16, 1773.[5]

5) James Stark, Sr. was born May 22, 1734 in Groton, New London County, Connecticut[7] and died July 20, 1777 in Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania.[8] He married Elizabeth Cary in 1758 in Beekman, Dutchess County, New York. She was born August 18, 1739 in Berkley, Bristol County, Massachusetts and died August 12, 1778 in Beekman, Dutchess County, New York.[9] James was buried in Upper Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania and Elizabeth was buried in Pawling, Dutchess County, New York.[10]

6) Aaron Stark was born March 03, 1733/34 in Groton, New London County, Connecticut and died July 03, 1778 in Wyoming Valley Massacre in present day Pennsylvania. He married Margaret Unknown who died 1814 in Dutchess County, New York.[11]

7) Mary Stark born February 26, 1737/38.[12]

8) William Stark was born February 1744/45 in Groton, New London County, Connecticut and died in 1795 in Orange County, New York. He married Mary Polly Carey, daughter of Nathan and Mary Carey. William and Mary are both buried at Goshen, New York.[13]

9) Daniel Stark was born before 1749 in Probably Groton, New London County, Connecticut and died July 03, 1778 in Wyoming Valley Massacre in present day Pennsylvania.[14]

__________

1) Groton, New London County, CT, Vital Records.

2) Charles R. Stark publication, page 20, Individual #85.

3) Author's Estimate; reported living in 1781 when he participated in the "Alarm at Saratoga" Aug. 1-4 of that year. In 1785, a Susannah Stark requested the pay of Christopher Stark for service in the Militia which would imply Christopher was deceased by this date.

4) Source 1: Sharon Reck, "Christopher Stark Descendants." Source 2: Author's estimate; based on 1800 Census for reporting the oldest son.

5) Source 1: Charles R. Stark publication, page 20, Individual #87. Source 2: Groton, New London County, CT, Vital Records.

6) Barbour Collection, Preston, page 244, compiled by Marsha Carbaugh, States: "Starke, Elizabeth of Groton m. Samuel Treat of Preston Dec. 23, 1751, Vol. 12, page 77."

7) Source 1: Charles R. Stark publication, page 21, Individual #89.). Source 2: Groton, New London County, CT, Vital Records.

8) Source 1: Charles R. Stark., Aaron Stark Family, Seven Generations, (Wright & Potter, Boston, Mass., 1927), page 22. Source 2: Edson F. Starks, "Stark Family Association 1947 Year Book," page 40.

9) Charles R. Stark publication, pages 21&22.

10) Source 1: Edson F. Starks, "Stark Family Association 1947 Year Book," page 40. Source 2: Charles R. Stark publication, page 22.

11) Charles R. Stark text, page 21, Individual #88.

12) Ibid: page 11, Individual #90

13) Ibid: pages 22&23, Individual #91.

14) Ibid: pages 23&24, Individual #92.

 

Top of Page

Copyright

Other than that work created by other acknowledged contributors or sources, the articles and genealogical data presented in this publication were derived from the research of Clovis LaFleur; Copyright © 2007. 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 have not been acknowledged.

Disclaimer

This publication and the data presented is the work of Clovis LaFleur. 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.

 

[Return to Top]