Asa Benjamin and the Revolutionary War

On May 4th, 1775, my 4th great grandfather enlisted in the Revolutionary War. Asa Benjamin joined at Worthington, MA. He served eight months as a private and was discharged on December 23, 1775. He re-enlisted and was discharged six times from first enlistment to his final discharge in 1781.

Asa was born in Preston, New London, CT in 1754. He descended from the Benjamin family that came to America with John Winthrop and the Great Puritan Migration in 1632.

It was during one of his re-enlistments that Benjamin transferred to Valley Forge, PA on March 19, 1778 and served in the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard protecting George Washington. The Guard was an elite group of soldiers who were chosen to protect against a surprise raid on Washington’s headquarters.

On March 11, 1776, General Washington issued the following orders:

“Head-Quarters, Cambridge March 11, 1776

The General is desirous of selecting a particular number of men as a guard for himself and baggage.  The Colonel or Commanding Officer of each of the established regiments, the artillery and riflemen excepted, will furnish him with four, that the number of wanted may be chosen out of them.  His Excellency depends upon the Colonels for good men, such as they can recommend for their sobriety, honesty and good behavior.  He wishes them to be from five feet eight inches to five feet ten inches, handsomely and well made, and as there is nothing in his eyes more desirable than cleanliness in a soldier, he desires that particular attention be made in the choice of such men as are clean and spruce.  They are to be at headquarters tomorrow precisely at 12 o’clock at noon, when the number wanted will be fixed upon.  The General neither wants them with uniforms nor arms, nor does he desire any man to be sent to him that is not perfectly willing or desirous of being in this Guard. – They should be drilled men.”

Commander in Chief Guard Flag

After serving for a few months in the Guard, Benjamin returned home to work on his farm. He soon re-enlisted and eventually earned the rank of lieutenant.

An historian talked to Asa’s great grandson, Reuben, who recalled having seen the old uniform that his ancestor had worn. “It was moth-eaten and worn and was hung in the barn. It was finally torn up as rags for some use around the farm. It may have been used in wiping off the spindles of the carriage when grease anew.”

Asa Benjamin and his family moved to Pierpont, Ashtabula Co., OH in 1811. He died on December 28, 1825 and is buried in the family plot in Pierpont’s  Hall Rd. (Sam Brown) Cemetery.

Benjamin Family Plot

Asa Benjamin Headstone

Today’s Tidbit | Nelson Alonzo Harris – July 16, 1822

My 2nd great grandfather and I share the same birthday, albeit some 139 years apart!

Nelson Harris was born in Saratoga Co., NY on July 16, 1822. He and his family moved to Pierpont, OH when he was 11, and then to Indiana in 1837. Few details about those early years are known. They made their way to Manitowoc Co., WI, probably in 1850. Nelson worked as a carpenter in the shipyards there.

Envisioning the lumber and saw-mill business as a profitable venture, he moved his family to Cato, WI (which was once known as Harrisville – named after Nelson), in 1853. He built a saw mill there in 1856, which he continued operating until all the oak was used up. It was the town’s first industry. Once established in the lumber and saw-mill business, Nelson began laying away choice pieces of lumber and timbers for building a home in Cato. He meant it to be the finest in all of Manitowoc County. Much more about the Harris home in Cato can be found by clicking the link below.

In 1873, he built a boarding-house and mill in Forest Junction. This was the first business in that town.

Because of the weather, Nelson and his wife, Louisa, moved to Waldo, FL in 1881. He owned a mill in Waldo and spent the rest of his life there.

Related links:

The Harris Family

Harris Home in Cato, WI

Nelson Alonzo Harris gravestone in Waldo, FL

Mystery Monday | February 21, 2011 – Asahel Cleveland

Today’s mystery involves my 3rd great grandfather, Asahel Cleveland.

Asahel was born in Worthington, Hampshire Co., MA on April 6, 1793. He was the youngest child of Newcomb Cleveland and Abigail Willis. Asahel and Priscilla Benjamin married on March 7, 1815 in Pierpont, OH.

The information I have states that Asahel died in Hancock County, IL on December 5, 1845. There is an Asahel Cleveland in the 1842 Illinois Tax Index for Nauvoo, which is in Hancock Co.

I would like to know where Asahel is buried. Priscilla is buried in the Old Burying Grounds in Pierpont.

Asahel is my 3rd great grandfather.

This Week’s Family Anniversaries | August 9 – August 15, 2009

William Salisbury, Jr. – Born August 14, 1659 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He married Anna Cole on July 30th 1664 in Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts Bay Colony. William is my 7th great grandfather.

Joseph Benjamin, III – Born August 15, 1699 in Preston, New London, Connecticut Colony. He married Deborah Clark on April 3, 1722 in Preston. Joseph is my 6th great grandfather.

Richard Ormsby and Sarah Upham – Married August 9, 1640 in Saco, York Co., Province of Maine. They are my 8th great grandparents.

William Bradford, III and Alice Carpenter – Married August 14, 1623 in Plymouth Colony. William was the second governor of the Plymouth Colony almost continuously from 1621 until 1656. William and Alice are my 9th great grandparents.

Mary “Polly” Bromley – Died August 10, 1845. She married Asa Benjamin on January 4, 1787 in Worthington, Hampshire Co., MA. Mary is buried in the Hall Rd. Cemetery in Pierpont, Ashtabula Co., OH. She is my 4th great grandmother.

Wilhelm Hau – Died August 12, 1884 in St. Joe, Marshfield Twp., Fond du Lac Co., WI. He came to America from Prussia in the 1860′s and married Kathrine Tuepper on January 12, 1869 in Mt. Calvery, Fond du Lac Co. He is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Marshfield Twp. Wilhelm is my 2nd great grandfather.

Dorothy Louise Harris – Died August 13, 1972 in Clintonville, Waupaca Co., WI. She was born on July 17, 1900 in Appleton, Outagamie Co. Dorothy married Russell Bernard Weller in 1929. She is buried in St. Rose Cemetery in Clintonville. Dorothy is my grandmother.

Maria Katherine Michels – Died on August 14, 1923 in Johnsburg, Fond du Lac Co., WI. She was born in Germany and married Anton Fuhrmann on June 19, 1860 in Johnsburg. She is buried in St. John the Baptist Cemetery in Johnsburg. Maria is my 2nd great grandmother.

Henry Lawrence Heim – Died on August 15, 1959 and is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Chelsea, Washtenaw Co., MI. Henry married Vera Gage in 1916 in Jackson, Jackson Co., MI. He is my wife’s great grandfather.