Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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MAJOR EBENEZER ROBINSON, SR.- Delaware Co. Early Pioneer

Courtesy of Wade T. Robinson, February 8, 1998

Ebenezer Robinson was born in 1733 on Cape Cod, believed to be between Falmouth and Harwich. He and his parents moved to Frederickstown, then Dutchess County and built a life of farming. With the coming of the Revolution, Ebenezer was voted a Captain in the 7th Regiment, Dutchess County Militia under Col. Ludington. He was promoted to Major in 1777.

Ebenezer and his wife Ann (Stone) raised a family of six sons and two daughters. They were; Ann (1757) Issachar (1761), Nathaniel (c. 1763), Ebenezer, Jr. (c 1764), David (1765), Esther (c.1767), Stephen (1769) and Daniel (1771). The family stayed in Frederickstown until about 1790 when the oldest son, Issachar, sought land farther west in then Ulster County. The Robinsons and other families from Frederickstown settled in Stamford, later to become Roxbury. The other families included the Meads, Ganungs, and Boutons. I have a letter that was written by Ebenezer, Sr., his sons Issachar, David, Daniel, Stephen, Ebenezer Jr. and two of his sons-in-law; Samuel Bouton and Nathaniel Jenkins. The letter written October 11th, 1795 petitions that a road be built from Matavyakill (Batavia Kill) to the line which would become Middletown. The Robinsons settled on leased lands and raised families through farming and mill operation. They owned grist and saw mills in Roxbury and on Batavia Kill.

Issachar's Revolutionary War Pension application filed from Middletown in 1832 states that he was captured just after joining the militia in 1781 and marched to New York where he was imprisoned. He caught Typhoid and was moved to a leper house where he lost all his hair and fingernails. After his release he recuperated and joined the military on two additional enlistments before the war ended. Issachar had several sons and daughters. They include James Robinson, Daniel G. Robinson, Lewis Robinson (lost at sea), Susan Robinson (married John Woolheater), Phoebe Robinson (married Samuel Jenkins), Hannah (married Ebenezer Sloat), Anna (married Dingee Adams), Catherine (married Samuel Vermilyea) and Betsey (married Nathaniel Jenkins).

The oldest surviving son was James Robinson. James Robinson was born in Roxbury in 1794, five years after George Washington first took the oath of office as President of the United States. James spent his early years in Roxbury and with the beginning of the War of 1812, at age 16, joined the New York Militia. He was posted to Sackett's Harbor on Lake Ontario during the winter of 1812/13. He fell ill after three months on the lake and his brother Daniel replaced him for the duration of his enlistment. Prior to leaving for Sackett's Harbor, he married Elizabeth (Betsey) Redmond. Betsey was one of several children of Patrick and Bridget Redmond, both born in Ireland circa 1760 and arriving in the Middletown area around the first decade of the 1800's. The marriage of James and Betsey was conducted by a justice of the peace and attended by Middletown residents, including John Beadle who eventually rose to the rank of Colonel in the NY Militia, served with James at Sackett's Harbor and became a prominent citizen in Middletown (Griffin's Corner). Betsey lived with James' father while James was in the militia.

By 1820 James had established a 100 acre farm in the Griffin's Corner area of Middletown, next to Patrick Redman. They had female daughters in the early years who did not survive. The first surviving son was Patrick Robinson of Middletown, followed by Nicholas Robinson, John R. Robinson and daughters Harriet and Margaret. By 1855 the farm had eighty improved acres, a frame home housing James and his family and a log cabin occupied by Patrick, his wife Mary, sons James, Edwin and Hiram and daughter Sarah C. The farm consisted of 20 acres of pasture supporting two meat cattle, three dairy cows, sixteen sheep and two WORKING oxen. The dairy produced 300 pounds of butter. James harvested fourteen acres of buckwheat, thirty bushels of apples, and acres of peas and beans. The sheep gave thirty pounds of wool and the farm produced 30 years of flannel in 1855. The only sale seems to have been $2 in poultry.

This era of substance, productivity and stability was about to change as the United States entered the War between the States, The War of Southern Insurrection, the War of Northern Aggression, or the Civil War, depending on where you lived at the time.

James' second son Nicholas was drafted at age 34 and served with the 100th NY Volunteers. He is wounded at the Bermuda Hundreds, a peninsula just south of Petersburg, Virginia on the James River. His hand is wounded while drawing a charge and he was hit by enemy fire. He died nineteen days later at Hammond General Hospital, Point Lookout, Maryland. His widow Emaline learns of his death and spends three years attempting to find someone who knew how he died and to claim her widows pension. James's brother, Daniel, loses his son John H. Robinson, a volunteer in the 144th from Middletown. He died at Fairfax Seminary Hospital, Virginia of typhoid and is buried under a beautiful shade tree in Alexandria National Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia.

By 1865 James and Betsey continued to live in Griffin's Corner, Middletown with daughters Harriett and Margaret. It is believed that Margaret married and moved from the area. Harriett lived with James and Betsey until both had died. James and Betsey are buried in Clovesville, Cemetery along with Patrick, much of his family and the Redmonds.

James Robinson lived a full life. He saw the country emerge from the colonial post-revolutionary days, through the middle of the nineteenth century, the Civil War and the beginning of the industrial age. He served his country as a youth, married and raised a family of five surviving siblings, watching five others die at an early age. He developed a 100 acre farm from raw woodlands into a prosperous enterprise and lived into his seventies. Despite the hardship of those days, the family considers his a good life.

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