Note to my Readers: As a young child, I was always told that my “Ithaca roots ran deep”. Of course, a kid thinks their grandparents are old and that any relationship to history likely involves them living in caves. Truthfully, I didn’t think much beyond them or our family history until I was in my teens. Samuel Weyburn was one of the first ancestors that intrigued me and I have spent a number of years, reconstructing his path from the colony in Norwich, Connecticut to his new home in Pennsylvania as a participant in the Susquehanna Purchase and finally his Revolutionary War service and eventual settlement along the shores of Cayuga Lake in New York State. I was born just a short distance where he built his cabin in 1790 and it has been my heart home all of my life.
From the Journal of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Dearborn which was kept during the Sullivan Campaign.
“23d March’d at Sunrise proceeded without any path or track or any parson who was ever in this part of the country before to guide us and the land so horred rough and brushey that it was hardly possible for us to advance however with great difficulty & fatigue we proceeded about 8 or 9 miles to the end of a long cape† which I expected was the end of the lake but found was not From here We marched off 2 or 3 miles from the Lake and then proceeded by a point of compass about 8 miles & come to the end of the lake and incamp’d This lake is about 40 miles in length & from 2 to 5 miles in wedth and runs nearly N and S parralel with the Seneca Lake & they are from 8 to 10 miles apart.”
“† TAGHANIC POINT, formerly known as Goodwin’s Point. The bank of the lake both north and south of this, is very much cut up with ravines, and the lake shore is too rocky and precipitous for an Indian path. For several miles the trail was back two miles from the lake, along the heads of the ravines, probably passing through Hayt’s corners and Ovid Centre. From this high ground the lake appears to end at Taghanic Point.—J. S. C.” (General John S. Clark)
Noted historian, General John S. Clark of Auburn, New York spent many years parsing the journals and military records and, in a treatise published on July 3, 1879 entitled “Aboriginal Footprints” wrote
“Samuel Weyburn was one of the first settlers at this point and his descendants state in the most positive terms that he never knew of an Indian town there. The Carmans were among the first settlers in the vicinity and their descendants state that they never heard of there having been any traces of a village found here upon the settlement of the country by the whites, after Sullivan’s campaign. That the Indians frequented this point for fishing and hunting is well known, but there is not the slightest evidence in support of a permanent village at the time Colonel Dearborn’s detachment passed up this side of the lake in September, 1779.”
Samuel Weyburn (1746 – 1825)
My maternal 4x great grandfather, Samuel Weyburn, served under Colonel John Dearborn and Zebulon Butler as part of the Pennsylvania Rangers and participated in the Sullivan Campaign. After the Revolutionary War, Samuel moved his family from northern Pennsylvania and erected a log cabin at Taughannock Creek where a NYS historical marker connotes the site. Samuel and his wife, Ann Bratton Weyburn, are buried in Lake View Cemetery in Interlaken.
One of Samuel’s granddaughters, Malvina Amelia Weyburn, married Richard Carman and it seems likely that General Clark would have interviewed Malvina and her husband in their Enfield, Tompkins county home in his research. Malvina’s father, George, was interviewed in 1844 about his boyhood experience with his father Samuel when they settled at Taughannock. The well-known tale “Fight With a Bear At Taughannock” has been passed down the generations as a result of George’s graphic account in “New York State Historical Collections” by John M. Barber and Henry Howe.
Deborah Jane Martin-Plugh
Genealogical Researcher, Historian, Contributing Writer and Author
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