The Hometown History column is presented by the Fenton History Center and The Post-Journal. Each Friday, a distinct item from the Fenton History Center collections or archival special collections will be featured. Learn about your hometown history through parts of its past.
If one of the items featured brings back some memories or brings up a question, please contact the Fenton History Center at 664-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org to share your memory or get an answer to your question.
By Karen E. Livsey
The gravestone of Silas Herrington, a soldier of the War of 1812, in Lake View Cemetery. He had applied for a pension only a few months before his death in 1872.
Veterans Day will be observed on Monday, Nov. 12, this year. This year is the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the War of 1812. It is the veterans of that war who have faded into history, and the knowledge of their service has been lost in many cases. This summer we began to try to identify some of these veterans. Earlier "Hometown History" columns have included three veterans who are buried in Lake View Cemetery. Additional research has now identified eight more veterans buried there. A few other veterans buried in other cemeteries in Chautauqua County have been identified while doing research on the possible veterans in Lake View Cemetery.
Because few people lived in Chautauqua County during the War of 1812, most of the veterans of the War of 1812 who are buried in the county's cemeteries lived elsewhere at the time and served from that area. Later they moved to this area, and often their service was unknown to the local residents.
After composing a list of more than 300 names of possible veterans in Lake View Cemetery, the work to find evidence of service for any of them began. A few obituaries have been found that mention that the person was a soldier of the War of 1812. It was not until 1850 that there was an act allowing veterans of the War of 1812 to apply for bounty land warrants. Beginning in 1871, veterans and widows could apply for pensions based on service. A printed index to these pension records has been compiled. Using this set of books, veteran pensioners were matched to the names on the list from Lake View Cemetery. Then the possible pensions were requested at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Each file was read to see if the veteran matched the veteran on the Lake View Cemetery list. From this process only seven veterans were identified plus the eighth one was identified from the history books. Many of the possible veterans died before the 1871 pension act. Those who died after 1850 may have received bounty land, but those files are not indexed nor are they arranged in any ordered way. Further research will be slow. Each possible veteran will have to be researched to see where he lived during the war and if he served in any way from that place. Missing muster rolls and other official papers will complicate this process.
The eight veterans are:
Phineas Allen - Born in Lebanon, N.H. on Nov. 26, 1796; drafted at Burlington, Otsego County, Aug. 14, 1812; discharged at Lewiston, Oct. 28, 1812; died Oct. 27, 1876.
Robert Cowan - Enlisted Aug. 1, 1813, marched from town of Westpoint, Essex County, to Plattsburgh; discharged Aug. 7, 1813; served Sept. 2, 1814, to Sept. 13, 1814, from Westpoint to Lake Champlain and Plattsburgh; was age 76 in 1871, resided in Jamestown.
Lyman Crane - In the pension papers of Isaac Knapp, a letter from A. Hazeltine says that he sent in bounty land claims for both Isaac Knapp and Lyman Crane. Crane's service has not been verified.
Nicholas Jacobs - Enlisted in Pompey, Onondaga County; served from Oct. 27, 1814, to Nov. 21, 1814, in Capt. John Sprague's Co., N.Y. Militia, died Feb. 11, 1883.
Isaac Knapp - Born in 1794; enlisted in Cherry Valley on Sept. 7, 1812, and served until Jan. 1, 1813; went to Buffalo and Niagara Falls to Lewiston, arriving just after Col. Van Rensselaer crossed over to Queenston; died May 2, 1882.
Benjamin Runnyon - Born March 27, 1791; served as a member of Capt. A. Morgan's Co., U.S. Dragoons; injured June 1813 when he was thrown from a horse and discharged because of confirmed lameness; died April 1868; his widow, Rebecca, received the pension.
Philander Simmons - Born in Granville, Washington County; volunteered at Otisco, Onondaga County; died in Jamestown, Dec. 13, 1882, aged 84 years, 9 months, 23 days.
Eliphilet Steward - Born on Aug. 14, 1759; served in the American Revolution as well as the War of 1812; was living in Chautauqua County when he volunteered for the War of 1812; died Aug. 14, 1837.
Research will continue, and if anyone has documentation for any other War of 1812 veteran that we do not have, please contact the Fenton History Center and share the information.
From Nov. 12-17, the Fenton History Center is offering half price admission to any veteran or active duty military wishing to visit the museum or use the library. Thank you to all veterans for all you have done or are still doing for our country.
The purpose of the Fenton History Center is to gather and teach about southern Chautauqua County's history through artifacts, ephemeral and oral histories, and other pieces of the past.
Visit www.fentonhistorycenter.org for more information on upcoming events.
If you would like to donate to the collections or support the work of the Fenton History Center, call 664-6256 or visit the center at 67 Washington St., just south of the Washington Street Bridge.