Wife: Anna Dodge (7)
Born: 02 Jan 1758
Died: 25 Dec 1784
02 (F): Clarrisa Derrick
Born: 11 Aug 1784 (10)
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.
(01) Anna Derrick:
Buried: Loomis Cemetery, Salem, CT
Anna was living in 1790 per Spencer, Goodpasture
(02) Clarrisa Derrick:
Anna was living in 1790 per Spencer, Goodpasture
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]
Revised: November 26, 2016