Notes from the Field: Fortie Acers of Land

A Note to My Readers: A large part of my genealogical research has included locating the burial sites of my ancestors and eventually making a pilgrimage…single rose in hand…and spending quiet moments in front of the monument contemplating the life of  the individual who shaped my future.  For a good number of us it is the only tangible reminder of a life.  Estates and personal goods are dispensed and a lucky few of us have been gifted with those treasures handed down through the generations by the sentimental hearts in our families.  Buildings disappear.  Farms are bought and sold and subdivided and the knowledge about a long ago landholder is tucked away in civil archives.  A burial site is the one and final piece of property that gives the researcher…a place to go.

Crab medowe necke

I am entering a brave new world of my own….learning to parse the land records of my ancestors and relating the records to the bigger picture of history!

Researching my Ingersoll lineage has been an interesting journey through early American history…beginning with my 7th Great Grandfather and English immigrant, John Ingersoll of Huntington, New York.

A recorded deed states

” A Record of ye Land & medowe of John Inkersoll at Crab medowe…”

A land survey recorded on 11 Oct 1689 declared

“Laid out ye day above sd. fortie acers of land on Crab medowe necke in too parcels the eastermost lying between land of Thomas Scidmore beeing ten acers the other parcell thirtie acers beeing in length eaightie Rod ajoining to the Cart way on the north side and sixty Rod in breadth, southward from ye Cart path: wee saie Laid out by us for John Inkersolle.   Joseph Bailly  Thomas Wickes  A True Coppy as it was given to mee by the survaors, Isaac Platt Reco”.

Of course, like any curious descendant would do, I GOOGLED “Crab Meadow Neck and Long Island” and found some history…much of it entailing the cultural misunderstandings between the Europeans and sachem Nassaconseke and the years of complication about the purchase of the lands.  Eventually the disputes were between the European settlers and that means court records to read.  I will save that for further research and reading since it promises to be a complex history.  And the weather is beautiful calling for field research….outdoors.

So. What is there now?  It appears to be primarily a lovely beach and park…and a golf resort. Will there be any historic buildings or remnants of that long ago community?  Definitely more field research to do there…and if I don’t find anything…a trip to the beach will be a pleasant experience.   If my preliminary reading serves me right…the early settlers had a ferry between Crab Meadow and Stamford.  No doubt the Ingersolls traversed Long Island Sound when they migrated…and perhaps often for trade.  Yes, I will go to Crab Meadow Neck to stand at the beach and look out upon the Sound and imagine the journey to Stamford, Connecticut.

Long Ridge Road

John Ingersoll’s grandson, Samuel,  who is my 5th great grandfather bought land from his father

” On 19 Nov. 1735, soon after his marriage, Samuel purchased from his father for £250 ” a Certain Tract of Lannd in ye Bounds of Stanford at ye Long Ridg, Commonly so Called, viz., ye one half of that Lott Lying onn ye West side of Bedford Road, Bounded south by Nathanniel ingersoll and nnorth by Land that was formerly James Whites, east by Bedford Road and west by mianus River.” (Stamford Land Records, C:503)

Though I have just begun to delve into the Long Island and Connecticut history of my Ingersoll family and to hone my skills at researching land records, I did find a lovely surprise in Stamford.

Stamford Historical Homes Samuel Ingersoll. Photo taken circa 1984.

Samuel Ingersoll’s colonial home still stands and is on the National Historic Register.  Built in 1756 it is situated in the Long Ridge Historic District of Stamford (405 Old Long Ridge Road).  The photograph was taken in September of 1984 and is on file at the Connecticut Historical Commission.

Another 30 years has passed and I wonder about Samuel and Elizabeth Rowley Ingersoll’s historic home…and if I knock on the door…will the homeowner welcome a friendly stranger.  Perhaps it has been over 200 years since an Ingersoll crossed the threshhold.

What is ONE more?

Last year I stood in the parlor of the New Paltz homestead of my Huguenot 9th great grandfather, Hugo Freer.  The original part of the stone building was built in 1694 by Hugo Freer the Patentee.

I had long ago found an image of the deed of the property..from Antoine Crispell to Hugo Freer, but it was written in the language that the Hugenots spoke…French.  I studied four years of Latin and tried to translate Old French…found a word here or there, but the trip to New Paltz and historic Huguenot Street… Tres Joie, Arriere-grand-pere.

I was fortunate that though the museum was closed that day,  a wonderful docent learned of my visit and on her day off, hurried over to personally  escort me to the FREER HOUSE and gave me a most wonderful afternoon of Freer family history.

It was gently raining and still.  Standing in the parlor on the original wide plank floors and staring up at the old beams that still bear the soot of a thousand hearth fires, I felt such a part of American history and my Freer family.

Hugo’s son… Hugo,  who is my 8th great grandfather and his wife, Maria Anna LeRoy,  raised 15 children in that small room. One of them was my 7th great grandfather, Simon (Zymon) Freer.

I figured one more Freer in the parlor wouldn’t matter.

The Log Cabin at Taughannock Falls

Samuel Weyburn New York State Historical Marker

When I stood at the base of Taughannock Falls where Samuel Weyburn,  my 4th great grandfather built his log cabin, I was in the company of my daughters, their husbands, my brother and my first cousins.  I had been reading and researching about Samuel Weyburn, the Connecticut Yankee who first settled in northern Pennsylvania as part of the Susquehanna Purchase…survived the Wyoming Massacre and fought in the Revolutionary War.  An impressive history to be sure, but what always captured my imagination was Samuel and his wife, Jane Bratton, packed up their young family and migrated to the wilds (then) of New York State in the late 1780’s.  Samuel had gone ahead with his eldest son, Samuel, Jr.,   and cleared a wooded area and built a log cabin at the base of what is now known as Taughannock Falls.

An old publication “New York State Historical Collections” published in 1844 features an account contributed by George Weyburn.  The old man relished the story telling as it was his struggle for survival as much as it was his father’s in the year of 1793.

Samuel, accompanied by his dog, had come upon a bear and her two cubs on the north side of the creek.  The pair tracked the bears to one of the falls when the cubs took to a tree.  Samuel ran to the cabin and returned with his gun where he found the mother bear against the tree “standing on the brink of a gulf, defending herself from the attacks of the dog.”  Samuel fired and wounded the giant animal, but she disappeared “into the gulf”.  Jane and her children, alarmed by the commotion ran to the site and urged Samuel to come back to the safety of their cabin. The cubs who were now without their mother were shot by Sam Weyburn and the family returned home.

The next morning Samuel with his sons Samuel and George and their dog went in search of the wounded animal.  Samuel was only armed with a pitchfork  “having expended his only charge of powder the evening previous”.  Of the boys only George was armed “with a small ax; but my brother not being equipped for war, was allowed to accompany us bare-handed.”

When the Weyburns finally came in sight of the bear and the dog who had made chase, they were ascending the precipice …across the basin…a distance of eighty or one hundred feet.  Due to the animal’s wound…Samuel had broken her leg with the gunshot of the evening before…he was able to intercept the bear and engage in a most ferocious battle.  Wielding the pitchfork, he struck at the animal and she in turn rushed at him, knocking him over injuring his chest.  Repeatedly the two grappled in a free fall descent to the bottom of the ravine during which time the bear had bitten Samuel in his legs and arms.

When the pair came to rest at the base of the ravine, Samuel with his last strength wedged the bear between rocks…his back to hers bracing with all the might he had left.  George meantime had rushed to the fallen pair and struck a blow with his ax.  Samuel bleeding profusely from each limb, retrieved his pitchfork and ignoring his wounds joined George in the conflict and eventually the father and son finished off the bear.

I had just found a copy of the old tale a month before my trip to Ithaca in 2009.  When I walked along the trail from Cayuga Lake where the New York State historical marker stands…to the base of the falls,  I was walking where Samuel walked…where he and his sons once fought for existence…theirs and eventually mine.  It is a majestic spot to the nature lover and sight seeing visitor, but it is a place of real destiny to me.

Author’s Note:  Each pilgrimage has significance to the descendant researcher.  It is at once grounding and uplifting…a reminder of the march of life and that we each have a place in it. As an historian, I like to think that it has the potential to make us a better person…providing us with scope, perspective, humility and inspiration.   We are all enthusiastic researchers…reveling in the “finding”…so I like to encourage all to leave the confines of the computer, iPAD,  library and courthouse and walk among your ancestors with all senses open.

Deborah Martin-Plugh

Author, Historian and Genealogical Researcher

(c) Copyright 2012.  All Rights Reserved

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4 thoughts on “Notes from the Field: Fortie Acers of Land

  1. I am also descended from John Ingersoll of Huntington NY & Jane Skidmore. I have Daniel and Daniel as the next two males in that line, though. I am lacking a lot of info on the earlier days of the Ingersolls. Wonder if you could help out? Thanks.

    • I don’t know what or where you have researched, but I can tell you that there are plenty of Huntington, Long Island records to work with. I recommend you start there. As for Daniel…he went to Egg Harbor, NJ and I believe you should seek out land records and wills there. I know there was a little area called Ingersoll town at one point and an old Ingersoll iron works. I imagine the Egg Harbor historian would be of great help.

      June Sheridan, Township Historian

      Located at:
      6647 West Jersey Avenue
      Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
      Phone 609-813-2002
      Office Hours: Saturday & Sunday 1:00pm – 3:00pm

      Good Luck!

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