The surname Archer, had its origin in the Ancient Past of old England-archery- and signifies "one who uses the bow and arrow." The Archer coat of arms in England was made up of three arrows and a lion. The lion standing for strength and courage- a characteristic that has come down to the present generation from a thousand years ago. The crest bears the following motto, "Sola Bona Tuae Honesta," which is translated into our tongue is, "Honesty is the best policy." While the memory of our English coat of arms had been lost, the older Archers always remembered this motto which they handed down to their children, not knowing then it ancient origin.
We are one of the oldest of the English families and we are also one of the very oldest of the American families. We have been in America over three hundred years and that is the length of American history. The Archers were in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630 and at this time other Archers were in Virginia and New York. In many of the old colonial churches all through the east one can find the name of Archer carved on the back of the pews.
The first Archer of whom we have record is David Archer who migrated from Rhode Island to Albany, New York, and was a Revolutionary War soldier. We have the names of only two of his sons, Balzaleel and David. There were five sons and four daughters in this family but only two names were given in the record of the first New York state census. Balzaleel and David are the ancestors of the Archers, in the following pages. There are other Archers whom we cannot trace because their names were not given in the first record.
In 1909, at the first Archer Reunion, the ancestral history was given by Mrs. Steven of Hilton, New York, in part as follows; "A paper was found in my fatherís desk after he had passed away, which was written August 14 1836, and reads like this: "I write this that the rising generation may know who their ancestors were, and that we descended from the English Nation. My name is Gideon Archer. My father's name was Balzaleel Archer. He was born in East Town, New York. My grandfather's name was David Archer. He was born in Greenfield. He served as a patriot in the Revolutionary struggle. My father died in 1831 in the Town of Carlton, County of Orleans, State of New York. He served in the War of 1812 and received the respect of a good soldier in the field. I want this kept in the Archer line, hoping that all who read this may consider that we have got to die, and after this the judgement."
The Archers have been in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana more than a hundred years. In 1836 Benjamin Archer with his cousins John and Abel, migrated to Michigan. John and Abel going to the Indiana "openings," in Steuban County, while Benjamin Archer stayed in Branch County, near Coldwater, Michigan. In 1825 another brother, David had settled in Illinois, so today in these three states you will hear stories about the older Archers. Let the present and future Archers resolve to do nothing to tarnish the Archer name. Let us live nobly and well, strong, good men and women, adding honor to our family and keeping in letters of gold before us the motto of our family crest, "Honesty is the Best Policy."
Note: Some of the above notes were taken from the Archer History written by Leona M. Adams.Return to Home Page