Kinsearching July 6, 2008




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     As we celebrate the 4th of July by eating tasty food and enjoying the fun activities associated with summer, we must not forget that real people--many of whom were our ancestors--endured the real "fireworks" of the Revolutionary War, regardless of which side they supported. The newspaper death notices in this column demonstrate that quite a few individuals who lived through that turbulent era survived to a "ripe old age," even by today's standards. Although their age at their time of death may have been exaggerated to some degree, they evidently lived longer than most people did during that time period. (Surnames are capitalized and titles of newspapers bolded for emphasis.)

     This interesting item is on page 3, column 4 of the Thursday, 24 Mar 1836 (Vol. XIII, No. 17) issue of the Staunton Spectator and General Advertiser, published in Staunton, VA:

     "The celebrated Indian Chieftain CORNPLANTER, died on the 7th ult., on the Seneca Reservation, Pennsylvania, aged 100. He was an active warrior on our side during the revolution, and was always the firm and faithful friend of the whites."

     (Editor's note: "Ult." was a common abbreviation used in newspapers for the Latin "ultimo," meaning "last." Estimates of the year of birth for Cornplanter range from 1740 in the 1984 edition of THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA to about 1753 in Thomas S. Abler's book, CORNPLANTER: CHIEF WARRIOR OF THE ALLEGANY SENECAS, published in 2007 by the Syracuse University Press in New York. Based on these years, Cornplanter would have been between 83 and 96 when he died--not 100. In addition, brief death notices usually focused on the positive and often contained errors. Although he later supported the United States, Cornplanter fought against the Americans in the Revolution.)

     The rest of the death notices come from the 25 March 1836 (Vol. 6, No. 630) issue of the Albany Journal, published in Albany, NY.

     Page 3, column 3 - "{From the Livingston Democrat} - Another Revolutionary Patriot Gone --Died--In Grove Allegany county (sic), on the 11th inst., Captain Charles MIEL, aged 102 years. Captain MIEL was a native of England, and served in the old French war on board the English fleet before Quebec. He was in the battle on the plains of Abraham, under Gen. Wolfe. At the close of that war he received a small tract of land in Canada in payment for his services, and was discharged. From Canada he removed to Connecticut, where he resided until the commencement of the Revolution, where he entered the American army and received a Lieutenant's commission. He was in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, after which he was promoted to a Captaincy and joined the expedition against Canada under Montgomery, and was near him when he fell. On his return, he again joined the army--was present at the battle of Monmouth--served to the end of the war, and then retired to private life. For several years past he has resided in Allegany county, and has received a pension from Government."

     (Editor's note: "Inst." was an abbreviation for the word "instant" and was often used in newspapers. The "old French war" apparently means the French and Indian War, 1754-1763, which occurred between France and Great Britain over North American possessions. The "Plains of Abraham" is a wide plateau west of the city of Quebec. General James WOLFE was the British commander of the troops who stormed Quebec; he was killed during the battle in 1759. General Richard MONTGOMERY, who led an unsuccessful attack on Quebec during the American Revolution, was killed in the battle in 1775.)

     Page 3, column 7 - "In Castine, Me., Mrs. Mary CRAWFORD, at the advanced age of 100 years and 5 months, relict of Dr. Wm. CRAWFORD, who was surgeon and chaplain in the army of General Wolfe, and was attached to his staff at the time of his death in Quebec. This remarkable lady was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and moved into this country years before the revolutionary war (sic), and for a number of years resided at Fort Pownall, now Fort Point, near Bucksport, where her husband was stationed and died. Mrs. C. (sic) lived a rational Christian, and died in the full possession of her intellectual faculties, with composure and perfect resignation."

     (Editor's note: "Relict" means "widow." For more information on Wolfe, see the editorial comments in the death notice for Captain Charles MIEL.)

     Also on page 3, column 7 - "It was somewhat remarkable, that, while we notice in a late London paper the death of a sister of Major ANDRE, aged 81, there subsequently occurred, in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, (Feb. 14.) the death of Sarah, the relict of BENEDICT ARNOLD, aged 83."

     (Editor's note: Major John Andre, friend and personal aide of British General Henry Clinton, received treasonous data regarding West Point from Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War. After being captured by the Americans, he was hung as a spy in 1780.

     Despite the so-called "remarkable" timing of the deaths of members of the Andre and Arnold families, Sarah was not the widow of the "infamous" American traitor, Benedict Arnold. He fled to England where he died in London in 1801. He was survived by his second wife, Margaret "Peggy" SHIPPEN.

     Other men named Benedict ARNOLD lived in the United States. For instance, the 1820 census lists two individuals of that name: one in Albany County, NY, and one in Kent County, RI. Further research may show if Sarah was the widow of one of these two men or of yet another Benedict Arnold.)

     Time is fast approaching for the 75th consecutive STRAIN family reunion on 20 July 2008. Descendants of Andrew STRAIN and wife Mary REED will gather together in the new fellowship hall at the Sugar Valley Baptist Church in Sugar Valley, GA. For further details get in touch with the Strain Family Association, 1508 Dug Gap Road, Dalton, Georgia 30720 (website

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