In the fall of the year the men at Ticonderoga were attacked with fever and dysentery and many of them died. My brother Reuben was very sick. (He died two years later.)
I (Asa Hickok) was taken sick with a fever late in the fall. It rendered me unable to go north with the troops to Fort Saint-Jean (John) south of Montreal in Canada, where we had been ordered to march.
Around December 1, at the start of winter, I was discharged from further service with a view to get to my brother’s who resided near the head of South Bay.
I appreciated the kind attention of Col. Hinman who was a friend of my father Justus. Before marching with his troops 169 miles to St. John, Col. Hinman procured a boat and hands to row me and other sick soldiers to the head of South Bay.
Col. Hinman directed me to go to my brother’s and from thence, home as soon as I was able. My brother picked me up and moved me to his house. I remained there until I was able to ride home to my father’s in Woodbury—as directed by Col. Hinman.
Asa Hickok “narrates” using his own words from his application for a Revolutionary War Pension. Other information is taken from Cothren’s Ancient Woodbury books, and letters from American Archives Series 4, Volume 2.
I was one of eighty Woodbury men who marched northwest with one thousand more under Colonel Hinman to defend Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
Our Regiment marched north first to Litchfield in Connecticut, then to Goshen, then northwest to Sheffield in Massachusetts, and next to Albany in New York. From Albany we marched north some sixty miles to Fort George at the south end of Lake George.
North and northeast some thirty-five miles was the garrison or Fort of Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, which we reached in June.
We were joined by three more companies of Colonel Hinman’s Regiment. All four companies were stationed at Crown Point, ten miles north of Ticonderoga.
Col. Hinman commanded until General Schuyler of New York arrived.
We repaired roads and bridges, removed the cannon, and did other necessary jobs to make Crown Point and Ticonderoga more defensible.
The forty-four miles of road from Fort George south to Half Moon (north of Albany) were especially in a wretched condition. Wagons could hardly pass each other.
Supplies From Woodbury
The third week of June, Shadrach Osborn, who was in charge of commissary, and Truman Hinman from Woodbury, purchased and furnished supplies for us at Ticonderoga. But more supplies were needed.
Waiting for Schuyler
On July third Col. Hinman sent a dispatch to the New York Provincial Congress. He requested troops furnished with tents. Our barracks were crowded and not convenient or good for the health of the soldiers.
Major-General Schuyler had not yet arrived by July 7 when Col. Benjamin Hinman wrote him:
I wait, Sir, with impatience for your arrival, as I find myself very unable to steer in this stormy situation. Sometimes we have no flour, and a constant cry for rum, and want of molasses for beer…the failure of those who provide give great uneasiness to the men; hope for better times on your arrival.
Finally Connecticut’s Governor Trumbull directed two companies (fifty men) of ship carpenters to march with their tools to work at Crown Point. They were to leave the second or third week of July. The Governor was concerned because few of the men taking supplies to Crown Point had had smallpox. And the men at Crown Point were exceedingly sick with smallpox.
It was August before Fort George could be set up as a major supply depot hospital for the Northern Continental Army.
Fort Ticonderoga captured
On May 10, 1765 a group of almost one hundred fifty Connecticut and Massachusetts men led by Col. Ethan Allen and Col. Seth Warner (both with ties to Woodbury), and Allen’s Green Mountain Boys captured the fort at Ticonderoga, north of Lake George (near Lake Champlain), in New York. They had been ordered to retrieve supplies for the fight in Boston. Colonel Benedict Arnold had joined them the day before.
Fall of Crown Point
Two days later Crown Point (eight miles north of Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain), fell to Capt. Seth Warner and 100 Green Mountain Boys. One hundred eleven cannons were captured from the British.
The important Lake Champlain waterway was now under the control of the Americans. Twenty-nine of the cannons were transported to Boston to help defend the Boston Harbor.
Connecticut men sent to guard the forts
A total of a thousand men from Connecticut, were sent under the command of Col. Benjamin Hinman of Woodbury to garrison (guard) the forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Col. Benjamin Hinman, who fought in the French-Indian War, was commissioned Colonel of the Fourth Regiment of enlisted troops to defend the Colony.
Hickok brothers head to New York
In 1757 David and Gideon Hickok had marched to Fort William Henry at the south end of Lake George (forty miles southwest of Ticonderoga), during a skirmish of the French-Indian War.
Now brothers Asa and Reuben Hickok marched north with Col. Benjamin Hinman and the Woodbury men to secure Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point.
Asa Hickok’s daughter Hannah Hickok Eldred will be the mother of Mary Ann Eldred Austin. David Hickok’s daughter Hannah Hickok Smith will be the mother of five daughters.
We’ll meet Asa Hickok on his way to Fort Ticonderoga in the next post. As Asa and Reuben marched northwest to New York, the Battle of Bunker Hill took place in Boston, on June 17, 1775.
The next few posts feature Asa Hickok, my great-great-great grandfather at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The information is taken from the Revolutionary War section in my upcoming book, Abby, Laurilla, and Mary Ann.
Asa Hickok, his wife Esther Hinman, and their children (including Hannah Hickok who later married James Eldred) were the first of my ancestors to arrive in Lumberland, New York. In Asa’s request for a Revolutionary War Pension, he wrote that the family moved from Connecticut to Lumberland in 1812.
I was almost twenty-one when I entered the service under Colonel Benjamin Hinman of Woodbury, Captain David Hinman, and Lieutenant Benjamin Hungerford. It was around the first day of April 1775.—Asa Hickok.
Lexington Alarm April 1775
On April 19, 1775 the British and Americans clashed at Lexington and Concord, in Massachusetts.
Local militias which had begun when the English first settled the New World, were soon on their way to help in Massachusetts as the Continental Congress had promised.
Woodbury, Connecticut, where the Hickoks lived, was one of fifty towns which hastily sent companies of soldiers some 133 miles to Lexington. (Asa did not mention Lexington, so he seems to have been somewhere else.)
Woodbury was western Connecticut’s recruiting headquarters during the entire war. Since the principal route of the Continental Army from Boston to western posts passed through Woodbury, the town became a prominent point for the collection of supplies.
Woodbury’s Truman Hinman and Shadrach Osborn, assistant commissary of purchase and an issuing commissary in Woodbury from May 1777–February 1781, were in charge. Provisions were issued to many marching parties and troops in winter quarters.
(Woodbury information taken from Cothren’s, Ancient Woodbury books.)
In the early 1800s, there were only two roads to the Town of Lumberland—the Sackett Road and the Newburgh-Cochecton Turnpike. Neither of them, perhaps, deserved to be identified as roads.
The Newburgh and Cochecton Turnpike was a 70-mile plank road. It started at Newburgh on the Hudson River, and went west to Cochecton, on the Delaware River. Newburgh became a trade center to get supplies to and from New York City.
So many settlers traveled to the new area that in 1809, Sullivan County was split out of Ulster County (one of the original twelve New York Counties). At the same time, Bethel, which had been part of the Town of Lumberland, became its own Town (township), and included the villages of Cochecton and Delaware.
Later, there were other roads to or through the Town of Lumberland. James Eldred worked on the Mast Hope Turnpike, which started near Middletown, went through Forestburg, and crossed through the Town of Lumberland on its way to Mast Hope, Pennsylvania.
In 1815, work was started on the Mount Hope-Lumberland Turnpike, which went from Orange County to Narrowsburgh, New York, and later to Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
George D. Wickham, Benjamin Dodge, John Duer, Benjamin Woodward, Benjamin B. Newkirk, William A. and Abraham Cuddeback were the directors of the Mount Hope-Lumberland Turnpike, segments of which are still in use today.—The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 8.
These are the March entries in Aida Austin’s 1881 Diary. Aida was staying with her Eldred-Austin cousins in NYC. She turned twenty in November. N.Y.C., Saturday, March 5, 1881
The door bell has rung about fifty times I guess today.
N.Y.C., Sunday, March 6, 1881
Tired, tired, tired. Arch stopped in this morning just about noon with Nettie, Buddie, and Ida. I took Gussie and Tom around to Net’s this afternoon.
N.Y.C., Monday, March 7, 1881
Not a very bad beginning for Monday. I took the children to Wood’s this morning to get their pictures, but I did not get them. Doctor Lang came this afternoon and vaccinated Harry again.
N.Y.C., Tuesday, March 8, 1881
Net, Lil, and the baby came around to dinner today. I went out this afternoon and took Little Archie out for a walk.
N.Y.C., Wed., March 9, 1881
Rained all day. Ad went around to Net’s to dinner and stayed all the afternoon. Gussie went up to his Grandma’s, so I brought Tommy up in the parlor and practiced. I am getting so nervous I am almost afraid to go to bed. It seems I should wake up if I went to sleep. I will see Dr. DeVenoge next week.
N.Y.C., Thurs., March 10, 1881
Rand brought little Ida down to Aunt Maria’s this afternoon and has left her down all night. Maria was over this afternoon. Her cold seems to be better. She had a letter from Mother and Dora.
N.Y.C., Friday, March 11, 1881
Ad has been a bed nearly all day. She has such a terrible cold. Ida is going to a ball with Arch and Rand tonight.
N.Y.C., Saturday, March 12, 1881
Little Ida has been down here all the afternoon. Buddie is around to Net’s and she has been around two or three times. I have been copying all my papers in a book. They are such a nuisance. I have not studied.
N.Y.C., Tuesday, March 15, 1881
After tea, Harry and I went out. I stopped to see Dr. Lang. He says it is my heart, that I am nervous. He gave me a bottle of medicine.
N.Y.C., Wed., March 16, 1881
I think that medicine is helping me. I feel better.
N.Y.C., Monday, March 21, 1881
Sewed a little, drew pictures, and that is about all. Cousin Mort stopped in for his clothes tonight and had a game or two of checkers with Cousin Ida.
N.Y.C., Wed., March 23, 1881
I went to see Dr. Lang. He changed my medicine.
N.Y.C., Thurs., March 24, 1881
I have felt a great deal better today. Maria was over this afternoon. Ad has been out again. Aunt Maria and Ida went up to Rand’s.
N.Y.C., Saturday, March 26, 1881
I have not felt very good today. I am afraid his medicine is not helping much after all.
N.Y.C., Sunday, March 27, 1881
Cousin Mort stopped in this morning to bid us good bye. He is going away tomorrow.
It’s hard to believe this Halfway Brook blog will be ten years old in September. Here is a post from 2009, with an image I recently found on Library of Congress.
In 1800, Lumberland (then two years old), had a population of 733, most of whom had lumber-related jobs. Saw-mills operated on various streams. Halfway Brook was said to have had ten sawmills on its nine miles.
Enormous amounts of lumber were made into rafts and floated down one of the many rivers or brooks in the area that fed into the Delaware River. The Delaware River flowed to Carpenter’s Point (Port Jervis) and on south to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the lumber could be sold.
It was around 1764, the year after the French and Indian War, when Daniel Skinner made a 15 foot by 80 foot raft from six felled pine trees. Daniel ingeniously lashed these logs (masts for boats), together, added a rudder, and floated the raft down the river—Timber Rafting it was called.
Leaving Cushetunk/Cochecton where he lived, Daniel and two others (one drowned) rafted about 200 miles down the Delaware River, past the settlements at Narrowsburgh, Ten Mile River, Shohola and the River, Pond Eddy, Mongaup, and Carpenter’s Point, and headed southeast to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Mr. Skinner was paid twenty-four pounds—four pounds per mast.
Terrible cold* blanketed the Northern Hemisphere with wintry weather in the summer of 1816. The notorious cold destroyed most of the crops in the Town of Lumberland, New York. Only rye, potatoes, and onions grew. Not even a blade of corn sprouted.
Asa Hickok, his sons Reuben, David, and Justus, and other Lumberland farmers, dressed in their heaviest clothing, cradled, raked, and bound their rye crop in their deer skin mittens.
In 1816, Lumberland, New York was the proud owner of some 150,000 acres of rolling hills carpeted with huge ancient trees, interspersed with streams and ponds. Lumbering was the main occupation of its few residents.
Halfway Brook flowed south through the middle of Lumberland to the Delaware River, the town’s southwestern boundary and the New York-Pennsylvania border.
Though Lumberland had been completely stripped of its entire white pine trees, the area was still heavily forested with yellow pine, hemlock, oak, hickory, and other trees. Some were two hundred years old.
Nine sawmills dotted Halfway Brook’s nine miles. There were sawmills on at least four other streams which also fed into the Delaware River.
The Hickok Homestead
The Asa Hickok family had lived in the area for four years and at least had an established garden. Their Homestead with its house and barn sat near Halfway Brook, two miles north of the Delaware River.
A falls on a stream now called Hickok Brook, connected with Halfway Brook on its way south to the Delaware River.
Near the juncture of Halfway Brook and the Delaware River was the River, a hamlet later called Barryville.
A crude, rope-guided ferry was the only way to cross the Delaware River from Barryville south to Shohola, Pennsylvania.
James Eldred Homestead
James Eldred, his wife Polly, five children, and his twice-widowed mother had recently arrived—two days before 1816 and ten days before Phebe Maria Eldred was born.
Though 1816 was a terrible year to start a garden, James Eldred at least had one of the nine sawmills on Halfway Brook. The mill sat beside their old log cabin home, four miles north of the Delaware River. Their property, on two cleared acres near the middle of Halfway Brook, was the southeast corner of the future Halfway Brook Village—much later renamed Eldred.
In 1816 Lumberland was sparsely settled. Bears, wolves, foxes, coyotes, and wild cats hunted in the thickly forested area, and occasionally helped themselves to the settlers’ chickens and sheep.
There were only four frame houses, nine frame barns, and a gristmill. The animals included 19 horses, 34 oxen, and 34 cows. There were ten wagons.
One person owned a clock which furnished the time for the town. James Eldred owned one of three watches.
The Congregational Church
A Congregational Church met in log cabins or barns in remote areas near the Delaware River, in Lumberland. In the fall of 1814 some of the meetings were held at the Hickok Farm. In 1815 Sylvia Hickok, daughter of Asa and Esther, died at the age of 34. Sylvia was buried in what is now the Old Eldred Cemetery.
• The cold summer is now thought to have been a result of the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies in 1815.