This newsletter begins the fifth year of publication. During this time, much additional information has been found on our family. I appreciate those of you who have helped in this effort. Hopefully, during this year, we will continue to make progress in our research, and finally be able to prove the ancestry of our ancestor, Benjamin Wiser.
The Saint Francis Indians
The March 1999 newsletter discussed Benjamin Wiser in the Revolution and the Saint Francis Indians who had relocated to Haverhill, New Hampshire. Haverhill, New Hampshire is the earliest proven point of origin for Benjamin Wiser.
As previously mentioned, Benjamin Wiser was a “member of Captain Luther Richardson’s Company raised for the defence [defense] of the frontiers on and adjacent to Connecticut River whereof Timothy Bedel Esqr [Esquire] is Colonel.”
Benjamin’s pay began April 6, 1778 and he served for 11 months and 25 days. He was paid 6 2/3 dollars per month for a total of 23 pounds, 10 shillings and some change.
September 1776, General Philip Schuyler ordered Colonel Timothy Bedel to take
measures to bring into the settlements on the upper Connecticut, Indian families
who had left Canada and were living in the woods.
In June 1777, Bedel reported to Schuyler from Haverhill, New Hampshire, “the Indians who come here are very Peaceable and I am satisfied there is no danger of them Joining the British Troops.” By September as many as forty-five Abenaki (also known as Saint Francis Indians) families were reported to be in the region around Lake Memphremagog [near present day Newport, Vermont], with the intention of settling on the upper Connecticut.
“Bedel dispatched runners to the Abenakis, offering them assistance on their journey and supplies on their arrival. Most of them probably remained in the remote areas around Memphremagog and tried to keep out of the conflict; but some warriors, many with their families, accepted Bedel’s offer, settled around Haverhill at the great meadows of the lower Coos, and enlisted as scouts. “
By the winter of 1777-1778, the Abenakis who had relocated on the upper Connecticut were in dire straits, and Timothy Bedel sent letter after letter to his superiors requesting clothing for his “naked” Indians.
In June 1778, Bedel sent Schuyler a list of twenty Saint Francis Indians in his service.
At this time, Benjamin Wiser was under the command of Colonel Bedel as his pay began April 1778 and lasted for 11 months.
Since the time of this newsletter, I ordered a microfilm copy of the Schuyler papers, just to see who were the twenty Saint Francis Indians with Colonel Bedel.
The letter mentioned above, is transcribed as follows:
List of St. Francois Indians, June 5, 1778-
Oenias, Louis, Swashan, Alexia, Osso, Susaph, Tuminick, Paul Susaph, Peal, Solomon, Paul, Vincent, Louis Vincent, Lazzell, Ossomponet, Malletta, Mantoette, Francis, Benedic and Atoan. 5 of the above have families here amounting to 14 children who have all been supplied with provisions and from the date of the account sent in-
As the names in the letter would indicate, Benjamin Wiser is not one of these twenty. I am still inclined to believe that Benjamin had come from Natick, Massachusetts, and settled in New Hampshire along with the Morse family, considering how early he was there.
Truxton (Cuyler), New York
Some of the earliest records that I have found of Cuyler, excluding census records, are the Truxton (I am assuming that this part of Truxton is now located in Cuyler Township) School District No. 7 records. They are transcribed and located in the Cortland County Historical Society in Cortland, New York.
1815-Widow Susannah Kingsley to be exempt from School Tax except for those children over 15 years old. (Susannah is Susannah Babcock, sister of Betsey Babcock, wife of Samuel and Theodore Wiser).
She first married Simeon Kingsley and then Asa Crandall.
December 1815-Widow Susannah Kingsley and Miss James Oakley’s children exempt from paying tax.
November 1816-That Simeon and Chloe Kingsley, children of Widow Susan Kingsley be exempt from tax.
(Simeon Kingsley Jr. and family, including his sister Anna who probably married James Wiser, moved to Harrison County, Indiana by 1830. Simeon, Chloe and Anna were children of Simeon Kingsley Sr. and his first wife (name unknown).
January 1829-parents, children between the ages of five and sixteen:
Am (probably Anna) Wiser-2
January 1831-parents, children between the ages of five and fifteen:
I was hopeful that other years existed, but on my last trip to New York could not locate any additional school records.
I continue to search the DeRuyter Gleaner for vital records of our family. I have found obituaries on many of the descendants of James and Sabra (Morse) Albro.
The years that I am searching are from November 9, 1876 to November 29, 1962. Prior to 1900, obituaries and other vital records were not common.
I still haven’t found the parentage of Lorenzo Wiser. This past month, I did receive the probate records of Lorenzo Wiser. Unfortunately, they did not contain any new information. Theodore F. Wiser, stated that Lorenzo Wiser, died during the month of October 1890 in Lincoln County, Nebraska, and that his sole surviving heirs at his decease were his son, Theodore F. Wiser aged 47 years and a daughter, Susan E. Wiser, 43 years of age.
There is an article from the book, “After King Philip’s War”, Presence and Persistence in Indian New England, by Colin G. Calloway, editor, published by University Press of New England, Hanover, NH, 1997 by the Trustees of Dartmouth College, which is of interest to our family. The article is titled, “Unseen Neighbors, Native Americans of Central Massachusetts, A People Who Had “Vanished”, by Thomas L. Doughton.
Thomas L. Doughton, is the former Tribal Historian for the Nipmucs. “Writing as a Native person and a historian, Thomas Doughton takes exception to the notion that Indian people disappeared from sight or even from the records.”
From page 209; “Far from “disappeared,” Natives of central Massachusetts in the nineteenth century were farmers, plumbers, washerwomen, mariners, chair bottomers or chair caners, “Indian herb doctors,” barbers, shoemakers, domestic servants, baggage masters, itinerant entertainers, day laborers, railroad engineers, mill operatives, specialty bakers, broom and basket makers, housewives, and state coach drivers. Their number included “well-known” individuals identified as Native in nineteenth-century town histories: Benjamin Wiser, deacon and elder of Auburn’s Baptist Church in the first quarter of the century [1700s]…”
As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, I believe that this Benjamin Wiser was the first cousin of our Benjamin Wiser.
He also stated, “Native American peoples of central New England, however, were part of the nineteenth-century social landscape, pursuing established patterns of persistence and cultural survival, affirming their Indian identity. A minority of area residents, Indians lived unevenly distributed in regional towns, in some instances scattered or isolated, at other locales in clusters or concentrations small yet marked and visible Native communities. They were not, all of them creatures of white imagination: intemperate, immoral, drunken, or childlike. On the contrary, many were rooted in area towns, stable residents, some of them property owners, woven into the region’s social fabric, seemingly “just like their neighbors,” but affirming their “Indianness,” and often publicly “recognized” or “seen” as Indian.”
We know that by this time (the 1800s), Benjamin and his family had moved to New Hampshire and then New York from Central Massachusetts. Their identity as Indians remained only as family tradition. Our family did not pursue an “Indianness”, but instead made the decision to adapt and survive and become as much as possible part of the then “Yankee Society.” This was a very difficult task in that day.
“Taken as “Nipnet,” or Nippienet,” the homelands area of the Nipmuc or “Fresh Water People”, corresponding to all of contemporary Worcester County, portions of abutting Middlesex, Hampden, Bristol, and Franklin Counties in Massachusetts plus northeastern portions of Connecticut, and northwestern Rhode Island, an extensive territory in the seventeenth century. Thomas Dudley, wrote, “about seventy or eighty miles westward from these are seated the Nipnett men, whose sagamore we know not, but we hear their numbers exceed any but the Pecoates and the Narragansets, and they are the only people we yet hear of in the inland country.”
My Email address is:
My snail mail address is:
Ron Wiser 6 Baton Rouge Roswell, NM 88201
If you have an E-mail address and are still receiving a hard copy of this newsletter and have at least Word 6.0, let me know and I will E-mail it to you.
Once again, Happy New Year.