07 (M): Eben G. Derrick
Born: 08 Jun 1799 in Bethel, Windsor, VT
Buried: Sep 1832, Clarence - Old Swope Cemetery, Clarence , Erie, NY 6
The Story of Ephraim Derrick
1756 – 1832
Colchester, Connecticut Clarence Hollow, New York
4 February 2004
Tonight I will tell you about your ancestor, Ephraim Derrick, who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Ephraim Derrick was born in Colchester, Connecticut on April 21, 1756, the eighth of nine children, to John Derrick the 2nd and Anna Dodge. He had 5 sisters and 3 brothers, but only the 3 boys lived to adulthood. He and his brother John were good buddies. As Ephraim grew into his teenage years he heard more and more rumblings against the English, for at that time, Connecticut was a colony of England. And although colonists, such as the Derrick family, spoke English and had many English ways of doing things, they were beginning to think of themselves as Americans rather than Englishmen. England began taxing the colonies in order to raise money to maintain an army in the colonies. Neither the taxes nor the army were welcomed by the colonists and so the tension grew. It must have been felt in Colchester, Connecticut as well as in Massachusetts because on the night of the 18th of April Ephraim and John were both in the battle of Lexington and Concord, the first battle of the Revolutionary War, along with 70 others from Colchester. They stayed for three weeks.
On May 11,1775 he joined the Connecticut militia as a private and stayed with them until December. He very likely participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill on the 17th of June 1775. This was an important battle at the beginning of the war because it convinced many people that the colonists were serious combatants that could not be easily pushed aside. Though called the battle of Bunker Hill it actually took place on nearby Breed's Hill. The colonists were on top of the Hill, the British had to come up the hill from ships moored in Boston Harbor. It took them three tries. Although the British technically won the battle they lost many more men than the colonists did and they were much more cautious about provoking the next battle.
The record says Ephraim joined the regular Continental Army on December 21, 1776. That's after the Declaration of Independence. Before that he had been in militia units, smaller units run by individual colonies that came together for a few weeks at a time and then disbanded so men could go back to their farms. Ephraim enlisted for 3 years in Captain Fitch's company in the 4th regiment from Connecticut. Here he was a sergeant. From his pension papers we learn he was in the Battle of Harlem Heights in Manhattan, New York; the Battle of Germantown, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey; and the battle of Stoney Point, New York. He was with General Washington at Morristown and through the terrible winter at Valley Forge.
It's interesting to note that another ancestor, Jacob Demouth, lived in Pequannock, quite close to Morristown, and he reportedly fought in the Revolutionary war as well. Though he was only turning 14 in 1887, he may well have been at Morristown that winter also. I wonder if Jacob and Ephraim ever met. Wouldn't they have been surprised if they had known that 200 years in the future they would share descendants?
On Christmas night of 1776 Washington made his famous crossing of the Delaware River and captured a surprised group of 1000 Hessian soldiers at Trenton, NJ. Ephraim may have been with him on that trip. We don't know for sure. There is a very famous painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware. The painting was painted by Emanuel Leutze and it hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. We do know that Ephraim spent that winter with Washington's army at Morristown, NJ. So it is possible he was with him "Crossing the Delaware." Back in those days armies had an unspoken agreement not to fight during the winter. Morristown was the camp for Washington's Army during the winter of 1776-77. So after Trenton the American army came back to Morristown and stayed there until spring and no one bothered them. But they did have to fight with the freezing weather and poor supplies under conditions similar to those of the following winter at Valley Forge.
Valley Forge was the camp where Washington and his troops stayed during the winter of 1777-78. Valley Forge was high on a bluff overlooking the Schuylkill River about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The army just didn't have the needed supplies. There was very little food and many soldiers had no boots or shoes or coats or blankets. The image of bloody footprints in the snow is inseparable from the memory of Valley Forge - blood from the soldiers naked, sore, bleeding feet. Besides starvation and cold, sanitary conditions were terrible and there was a lot of disease. However, that's only half the story. After the first three months supplies began to arrive and Washington was able to organize his men into a strong and effective army by the end of the second three months at Valley Forge. And our forefather, Ephraim, was right there helping General Washington to do it. This is what General Washington said about his men at Valley Forge, "Naked and starving as they are we cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiery."
Ephraim married Anna Dodge on 10 July 1780. Now isn't that strange that he would marry a girl with the same name as his mother? She may have been a cousin. People did marry first cousins back then. Or it may be an error in the records. We don't know. But the information we have says that with her he had two daughters, Anna and Clarissa. Wife Anna died only 4 months after the birth of their 2nd child. The Federal Census of 1790 shows the girls were living with Ephraim and his second wife, Elizabeth Gustin, in 1790, but we don't know what became of them after that.
Ephraim married Polly on February 22, 1786. Polly was the nickname for Elizabeth Gustin. Though Polly was born in Marlow, Vermont, both her father and Ephraim's father were born in Colchester, Connecticut, so it's very likely their families knew each other. Also, three of Polly's brothers fought in the Revolutionary War with Connecticut units, so Ephraim may well have known them through that experience. Polly had been married earlier to Seth Deming who probably died in the war.
Their first child, also called Polly, was born in Claremont, New Hampshire in 1787, which is near Elizabeth's family home in Marlowe, New Hampshire. The next three children, Morris, Betsy, and Rodolphus, were also born there. But then the family moved to Bethel, Vermont. They were part of the tide of Americans that were moving west after the Revolution. Their last three children, Bybie Luke, Sophia, and Eben were born in Bethel. Then, in the very early 1800's they moved to Warren, Herkimer County, New York, not far from Ephraim's brother John. Next they moved, to Clarence Hollow in Erie County, western New York, around 1810. How did they know where to go? Why did they pick Erie County? Pioneers usually went west to a place they had heard about from friends or relatives. It's interesting to note that the very first white settler in Clarence was Amasa Ransom, a descendant of the same Ransom line as Ephraim's grandmother, Susanna Ransom. At first it was called "Ransom's Grove" after this first settler, but later the name was changed to Clarence Hollow. Perhaps the families had kept in touch much as the Gustin and Derrick families had. One more move, to Niagra County, NY occurred before 1820. Ephraim appears there in the 1820 census. We don't know when or why he returned to Clarence, but he died there and is buried there in the Revolutionary War section of the Old Swope Cemetery.
Do we know anything else about Ephraim? Well, yes, a few things. We know that he was a carpenter. We know this fact from his pension application and because when he lived in Warren, NY, he signed a contract for the apprenticeship of Levi Johnson. Levi was to work for Ephraim for the next four years while he learned the carpenter trade. We know that Ephraim was the first one in the family to change the family name from Dethick to Derrick. The other thing we know is that Ephraim kept a family record book. That book is the only way we know anything about the two previous generations of Derricks, or, rather, Dethicks. They are John Dethick, born in England about 1674, who lived to be 108 years old, and John Dethick the second, Ephraim's father. That record book is now (or was recently) owned by Mrs. Zolona Chinn of Garfield, Washington. In August of 2007 I received an Email from Derek Greenlee telling about the present location of that record book and other interesting stories. (see Greenlee source.)
In the 1840's Ephraim's son Rodolphus, moved to Wisconsin and started a village called Clarence, but that's another story.
Here's a little bit about Ephraim Derrick's children:
Children with Anna Dodge:
Anna b. 1782 – was living with Ephraim and Elizabeth in 1790.
Clarissa b. 1784 - was living with Ephraim and Elizabeth in 1790.
Children with Elizabeth Gustin:
Polly (or Mary) born in 1787 married James Mills and had eleven children. After James died in 1832 she married Mr. Townsend.
Amos Morris Derrick born in 1788 never married. He was a friend of Bryan Condon's and was with him in Binbrook, Canada Bryan Condon and Morris Derrick were both going to be great uncles of Mary Derrick but they didn't know it at that point. Morris (as he was called) came to Green County, Wisconsin about the same time as did his brother Rodolphus.
Elizabeth (Betsey) Derrick, born 1791, married Elisha Kellogg. They homesteaded in Illinois and it was with them that Rodolphus Derrick spent the winter during his trek west in 1820. Betsey and Elisha had eight children, two of whom died on the same day, August 1, 1831, aged 11 and 7.
Rodolphus Donaldus Derrick was born in 1793. He is our ancestor and has his own story.
Bybie Luke Derrick, born 1795, fought in the war of 1812. He married Statira Felton and they had ten children. I have been in contact with one of his descendants.
Sophia Derrick was born in 1797 and died as an infant.
Eben G. Derrick was born in 1799. That's all we know about him.
Ephraim Derrick was your great great great great great great grandfather. And here is how: Ephraim had Rodolphus Derrick.
Rodolphus had Franklin H. Derrick. Franklin H. had Mary Lorinda Derrick. I've already told you about her. Mary Derrick had Flora Balis. Flora had Harold Stevens. Harold had Paul Stevens. Paul had Dawne Stevens.
Dawne had Sarah, Hannah, Timmy, and Becky!
So Hooray for Ephraim Derrick, our ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War.
From Wayne Olsen:
Birth Source: 2 separate listings in LDS IGI with different date and different state, but same parents; Ba: 8135101 34 So: 0884725 lists 6 Aug 1760 in Colchester, CT (sub. from Seattle Temple)
Ba: 8763704 26 So: 1396367 lists 1761 in Marlow, Cheshire, New Hampshire (sub. Dallas). Another Dallas submission has name "Polly or Elizabeth Gustin", born about 1760 in NH
Listed in LDS Ancestral File as second wife of Ephraim: ID (1J42-3B)
Info contained in "Genealogy and History of the Derthicks and Related Derricks", By Spencer and Goodpasture. Gateway Press, Inc. Baltimore,1986:
Says born in Marlow, NH 1761, not Colchester. Indicated that Thomas Gustin family moved from Colchester to NH in 1760.
First child born in Claremont NH in 1787; moved to Bethel VT by 1795 (book suspects parents may have died by then); moved to Warren, Herkheimer County, NY in 1801.
In the Gustin family records, compiled by Lester C. Gustin, the name of Polly is used rather than Elizabeth. The author states that Polly Gustin was married to a Seth Demin, but gives no record of her marriage to Ephraim Derrick. Mrs. Zolona Chinn suggests that Seth Deming may have been a casualty in the Revolutionary War.
She was 5 years younger than Ephraim. She was buried on the original homestead at Spring Grove, WI. Many years later, when Paul Derrick had some of the old graves moved to the Brodhead cemetery, the name of Elizabeth (Gustin) Derrick was not included on the list. It seems likely, therefore, that her unmarked grave remains at the original burial site.
According to Abstracts of Revolutionary Pension Files, Elizabeth's pension upon her death was allowed to surviving children Morris, Rodolphus D, and Bybie L. Derrick & Mary Townsend (this was probably Polly)
(02) Amos Morris Derrick:
from "History of Old Clarence" -"Morris Derrick, brother of Squire Derrick, kept a small stock of groceries and liquors ..."
per Spencer Goodpasture, Amos never married.
I'm 99.9% positive that Ephraim was born in Colchester CT (the site of their
homestead is now in Salem township), but I don't have a primary record to
prove it. A primary record - church record, town record - may exist, but
once I had the Spencer and Goodpasture book on the Dethick/Derrick family
genealogy, I didn't search any further. The book doesn't cite a specific
church or town record for births, but states that much of the first 4
generations of the Dethicks/Derricks is documented by Ephraim Derrick's
diaries/writings and family bible.
[Olsen cites LDS Ancestral file 1J42-25 for this burial information. He adds that the grave was marked in 1953 by the Buffalo chapter of DAR]
[This source gives birthdate of 23 May 1789 which may be in error. See bro Amos.]
[This source gives birthdate of 30 Oct 1788 which does not compute with birth they give for #2, Polly, of 23 May 1789]
VI. RODOLPHUS DERRICK AND THE HISTORY OF
GREEN COUNTY, WISCONSIN.
In the "History of Green County", the following biography of Rodolphus Donaldus Derrick was published:
Rodolphus D. Derrick was born August 8, 1793 and was reared in Herkimer County, New York. His parents, the grandparents of Franklin H. Derrick, were natives of the Green Mountain State. When a young man, Rodolphus D. Derrick removed to Erie County, New York, where he was married to Loranda Sheldon. In 1820, in company with two brothers-in-law, the latter being accompanied by their families, he went down the Allegheny River in a flat boat and thence down the Ohio River to Morgan County, Illinois, where his brothers-in-law settled. The following spring he returned to New York. In 1836, he came to Green County and purchased for himself and other parties, 1,200 acres of land in Sections 3 and 4 in the present towns of Spring Grove and Decatur. In the fall of 1838, he removed with his family to Wisconsin, stopping at White Oak Springs in what is now Lafayette County, where his two sons, Frederick and Alonzo, were at work in the lead. mines. Here he remained until spring, keeping a boarding house during the winter. He then removed to Illinois, locating near Savannah. In 1840, he sent his son, Alonzo, with a hired man and team, to his land in Green County, who broke land preparatory to a crop the following year. In April, 1841, Rodolphus removed with his family to the town of Spring Grove, and there resided until his death, which occurred September 19, 1860.
Rodolphus was a soldier in the War of 1812. He was a county commissioner in Green County in 1845, 1847, and 1853. He also held several town offices and was on the county board at different times.
Loranda (Sheldon) Derrick survived her husband for many years, departing this life at the residence of her son, Franklin H. Derrick, at Monroe on January 14, 1874.
Rodolphus D. Derrick, familiarly known as "Squire Derrick", is well remembered by the early settlers for his many excellent qualities. He was a man of much general information, was justice of the peace for many years, and otherwise connected officially with the affairs of his town. He had eight children, five of whom, three sons and two daughters, are still living. Franklin H. Derrick is the only resident of Green County at this time.
The rail fences in these days were made of rails split from small logs. Gates for these fences were made of .small poles and hung on wooden hinges to swing in or put. A box filled with stones was used as a weight attached to the gate with a rope in such a manner that when the gate was released for opening, this weight would pull it open.
All of the doors in the Abby had homemade latches and the latch rested in a catch made of wood. A string ran through a hole in the door and served to raise the latch. A button was attached to each end of the string and when one wished to go either way, it was only necessary to pull on the string and the latch would fly up releasing it from its keeper and the door could be opened. It was a reminder of when Little Red Riding Hood visited her grandmother and the big wolf ate her up.
Harvesting the grain was all done with hand sickles and cradles, which was a slow tedious process. Thrashing was accomplished by means of treadmills operated by horses walking on a revolving floor. A very primitive method from the present means of threshing. Ploughs to cultivate the fields were homemade and drawn by ox teams, which was very slow work. Dishes in use in the household were crude and would tarnish very easily. They were kept in a dry condition by jabbing them down in the earth, which took off the tarnish and scoured them. Household and other luxuries were very few, but people were happy and contented fully as much as they are today with all the modem conveniences. Butter in these old days was made in wooden chums fashioned from staves cut from saplings on the homeplace.
Scott Dory and Ida Boslow used to play and run around the Abby kitchen while Pauline, Ida's mother, was scalding the chum. On one occasion, Scott accidentally ran wider his mother's arm. The scalding water spilled on him, burning him severely. He carried the scar for life.
Wild grapes, blackberries, crab apples, hawthoms, and black and while mulberry trees grew in the yard of the old home. There were many nut trees, such as hickory, walnut, butternut. and others. Silver maple trees grew on each side of the path that led to the west door of the house, making a beautiful picture in the spring of the year. A large pine tree stood in the southwest comer of the yard and Lombard poplars were scattered around, along with a few pepper trees. Wild plum trees bore an abundance of fruit from which Grandma made the most delicious sauce. An orchard had been set out early and many kinds of trees bore fruit used in the home.
To keep fruit from freezing in the winter, a deep hole was dug in the ground and lined with straw. It was then filled with apples and straw and earth put on top. Then in the spring, what a treat it was to have apples brought out in fine condition to eat. To preserve potatoes, the same method was used. There was no such thing as a cold storage house.
Cows were pastured in the wild woods and it was the duty of the boys to find them and bring them home for milking in the evening. Many times it would be dark before they could be found, sometimes several miles from home.
The well on the Derrick place was dug by hand and
lined with stones gathered on the place. They were laid
together with ashes from the wood burned in the fireplace
and mixed with a. certain amount of lime. The mortar
hardened to hold the stones fast. There was no cement
to be had in those early days. I
The well was 60 feet deep and to get the water to the top, a windlass was positioned over the top, to which was attached a rope and two long buckets. In this manner. when a full bucket was raised to the surface, the empty one was lowered down to be filled. The water was of a very fine quality. The well reminded one of the-old song and poem, "The Old Oaken Bucket- That Hung in the Well". Most of the water used in washing clothes was from a spring where the clothes were taken and the water heated.
Grandfather helped to build the first bridge across the Sugar River. The old schoolhouse, where so many of the children went to school, was built of stone and had a floor that slanted down from the side, making an elevation at the back of nearly two feet. The desks and seats were all homemade and two pupils occupied one desk and seat. All grades were taught by one teacher in-the single room. The teacher's desk was bullt on a raised platform in one end of the room so that they could see what was going on anywhere in the school room. The room was crowded to the limit during the winter months when all big boys could attend school. In the summer times, there was no school for them as it was their lot to work on the farms. During the years of 1859 and 1860 there were as many as 70 children attending school in this one room. There were two doors in the west and one in the east end. The windows were deep and three on each side. The grades ran from the ABC class to the 9th grade. One stove supplied the heat and was located in the middle of the room with a long pipe running to the west end over the teacher's desk. Sometimes, this pipe would fall apart and then there would be a great time before it could be put together. There would always be a recess at this time.
The games played at school were anteover, crack the whip, tag, the old cat, and mumblepeg. In the winter, it was sliding down hills and skating on the river. There was also a big pond near the school house which furnished fine, skating. School was called by ringing a bell by hand. In the summer time, it was lovely around the school pond, for in it grew many beautiful white pond lillies and sweet flowers.. Around the pond later, grew fine wild strawberries, chestnuts, thorn apples, and wild grapes.
In the old log home were many varied experiences in the form of births, marriages, and deaths. Four of the children were married here: Harriet, Statira, Pauline, and Elvira. The latter was known in her later years as Aunt Vie by everyone who knew her. Rodolphus, the father, after suffering a long period of illness, died on September 29, 1860. After the death of Rodolophus, Loranda broke up housekeeping and went to live in another log house that had been built for her sister, Elvira Sheldon Hickman, who had gone to live in Urbana. Loranda lived here with her grandson, Scott Dory, whose mother (Statira (Derrick) Dory, had died. Loranda kept Scott until he became a young man. After this, she went to live with Franklin Derrick who had built a large home on the hill north of the old log home. Loranda resided here until 1872, when Franklin moved to Monroe, Green County. This city was the county seat and Franklin had been elected- sheriff. Loranda (Sheldon) Derrick died on January 14, 1873 and was buried alongside other members of her family at the old homestead. The old log home was still standing in 1893 when Elvira and Pauline made their last visit to the home of their youth.
[This section is from the Ida Klumb article written in 1927. She was a granddaughter of Rodolphus.]
Line 34 1511 35
RD Derrick age 66 farmer b. NY
Neeranda " 63
Scott Duory 10 WI
+Bybie Luke Derrick was a veteran of the War of 1812. He is recorded in the "1812 Ancestor Index" (p.147) as a Bugler with the New York Militia. It is likely that Bybie Luke and his family lived for a few years at Freedom in Portage County, Ohio, close to the farm of James A. Derthick. In later years, Bybie Luke turns up in Wisconsin, owning a farm close to that of his older brother, Rodolphus Derrick.
Revised: February 19, 2018