Monday, April 4, 2016

A Soldier and Sailor of the Revolutionary War

Frederick Smith grave site, with Revolutionary War Veteran marker and American Flag holder.  

In Haddam, Connecticut, when our 5th Great Grandpa Frederick Smith was born on March First 1760, his father Captain James Smith was aged 21, and his mother the former Miss Mary Hubbard was aged 19. Mary Hubbard Smith and husband Captain James Smith are one pair of our 6th Great Grandparents. As a teenage soldier, their eldest son Frederick Smith served as an enlisted private soldier during the Revolutionary War, part of the fighting Connecticut Militia, with likely service as a soldier in the Revolutionary War Militia Company his dad commanded. Then in 1778, young Frederick served a five-month stint as an able-bodied seaman and privateer aboard the American Brig New Broom, an armed-for-war brig outfitted with 16-guns, then commanded by Captain Israel Bishop sailing from New London, Connecticut. Unfortunately, on October 22, 1778 this good ship and crew of New Broom were captured off Nantucket Shoals by the gallant sailors of two British warships HMS Ariel and HMS Savage. The captured New Broom was redirected by escort to New York City Harbor. Frederick was held as a POW for one month at New York City. Then he and other enlisted sailors were presumably paroled by British authority (naval officers were typically held by the British as POW on one of those dreadful prison ships). Frederick's Revolutionary War military service was then likely over, as a honor-bound condition of his POW parole.

Basic sail configuration of a late 18th century brig

In the summer of 1780, Frederick married the local beauty Miss Sarah Brainerd in ceremony at their mutual hometown Haddam, Connecticut. At some point prior to 1790, his parents Captain James and Mary Hubbard Smith removed their entire family from Haddam, Connecticut to Harpersfield, Delaware County, New York, where they had earlier purchased a couple large lots from the original Colonel John Harper Land Patent. One of these Harpersfield lots was sub-divided by Captain James and Mary Smith to thus give equal farming acreage to each of his four adult sons. One contemporary account states that Captain Smith removed his entire family from Haddam to Delaware County, NY because he did not want his sons to become sailors, a area vocation not then unusual for male residents of Haddam, Connecticut -- then a busy inland port less than twenty miles from Long Island Sound on the navigable Connecticut River.  

The Frederick and Sarah Brainerd Smith marriage produced four children, the eldest a daughter Hannah – she being our 4th Great Grandmother. Following Sarah's untimely death in February 1828, Frederick re-married Ms. Isabella Norton in a local New York State ceremony. He out-lived his second wife Isabella, she passing in 1841. Frederick did not marry a third time, he died a widower on July 17, 1852, in the Hamlet of Jefferson, Schoharie County, NY, USA, passing at the impressive age of 92. Frederick was interred at North Harpersfield Cemetery, North Harpersfield, Delaware County, New York, where his beloved two wives are also interred by his side.

Frederick Smith Family Plot, North Harpersfield Cemetery, Town of Harpersfield, Delaware County, New York, USA.  Second wife Isabella lower left, first wife Sarah is lower center, and Frederick center right (with Memorial American Flag). 

The reconstructed War of 1812 U.S. Brig Niagara,
perhaps 25% larger than a typical Revolutionary War brig
See: Click Here

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