Father: (?) James SAWYER (1694/6-1771)
Mother: (?) Martha ?
Spouse: Elizabeth BRADNER? (1740?-1802) or Elizabeth ALLISON?
This James is the earliest confirmed ancestor of this branch of the SAWYERs. The GFHCNY source below (p. 1546) has a good write-up on this James (assumes he is descended from Thomas via James Cornet, James or Benjamin):
Major James SAWYER, son of James or Benjamin SAWYER, was born in 1738, according to "Aunt Sally" (SAWYER) POST, of Goshen, Orange county, NY, and died in 1782. "Aunt Sally" lived to be 97 years of age, and she was a granddaughter of Major James Sawyer. She said that he was born at the Drowned Lands district, known as Gardnerville, near Goshen, NY, and that he died there also. As the STEWARTs and LUDLUMs live there [today in 1912], and as they intermarried with the SAWYERs, this seems to prove that he did live there. She said that he was a young man when he died and that his wife had a hard time to support the children. He served in the French and Indian war and in the revolution. He is described as follows, on the roll of the French and Indian war: "James SAWYER, carpenter, 5 ft. 7 1/2 tall, black hair, and in 1758 was a member of Capt. Peter SMITH's Orange Co. company." When the war of the revolution broke out, he was living on his farm in the Drowned Land district near Goshen. His name, "James SAWER," is on the list for NY in the revolution from Albany county militia, Second Regiment, Colonel Abraham WEMPLE's regiment, Capt. T.B. BANCKER's company. He was made a captain in Colonel William ALLISON's regiment, 6 Feb 1776, and 28 Feb 1776 he was appointed quartermaster with rank of major, being reappointed 28 Feb 1778 (see p. 291, in "Archives of the State of New York"). He was with his regiment in the Minisink campaign, and according to family tradition he was wounded at that time. He also served at the engagements of Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery, 7 Oct 1777. From Dec 1776 to Apr 1778 the regiment was called into service 12 times and spent 292 days in the field (see "Our Country and its People," a memorial history of Tioga County, NY, p. 635). Major James SAWYER also was a member of the Goshen exempts (in Vol. 4, public papers of George CLINTON, first Governor of NY state, another reference is found). Major James SAWYER's will was proved in 1782 at Goshen, and in it he mentioned his wife Elizabeth, sons Benjamin, Moses and Mathew, and daughters Sarah, Mary and Temperance. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Rev. John BRADNER. Her will was filed at Goshen, dated 14 Aug 1794, proved 25 Dec 1802; she mentioned her sons, Mathew, to whom she gave his father's sword, Moses and Benjamin, and daughters Mary and Temperance and granddaughters Elizabeth JONES and Elizabeth KNAPP.
The HWNYV source below (p. 267) shows the descent of Major James from Thomas via John (b. 1661 m. Mary BULL) and James (father of Major James), which is the path I have assumed. I'm not sure exactly how or when the family migrated to Goshen yet.
There is some evidence that James may be descended from the New England SAWYERs through parents James and Martha (?) SAWYER and grandparents John and Mary (Bella BULL) SAWYER. It seems that James, son of John and Mary, migrated to eastern Long Island from Hebron, CT before 1727, when the first reference to a SAWYER on L.I. occurs when a James SAWYER appears as a witness to a deed (passed from John PECK Sr. to John PECK, Jr.). A James SAWYER family appears in the 1771 Shelter Island census, but not the 1776 census. The 1771 census indicates the family had 1 male under 16, 1 male 16-60, 1 male over 60, 1 female under 16 and 1 female over 16. Its not easy fitting the Major James SAWYER family to the 1771 census numbers, but one possible way is as follows:
- 1 male under 16: Ben (age 2)
- 1 male 16 to 60: Major James (age 33 or 36)
- 1 male over 60: James Sr. (age 75 or 77, living in his son's household?)
- 1 female under 16: Sarah (age 5)
- 1 female over 16: Elizabeth (in her 30s)
This assumes James Jr (age 11) and Temperance (age 10) were living away from home at the time (perhaps with relatives to escape building tensions related to the Revolution, since Long Island was soon to be a British stronghold area?) and that daughter Elizabeth had already died by 1771. So far, I don't know of any other James SAWYER family that could better fit the data.
A James SAYRE is shown as having received permission to come from Blooming Grove, Orange County to secure his property on Long Island. If this is Major James SAWYER, it would suggest that he migrated from L.I. to Orange County sometime between 1771 and 1776. However, source 3 (p. 554) below shows a James SAYRE from a different family (apparently unrelated to SAWYERs) as being "permitted to go to L.I. for furniture, but not for traffic (Clinton Pap., 1. 512). On Apr 23 1780 Maj. Thomas MOFFAT wrote from Blooming Grove, Orange County, NY to Gov. CLINTON asking for a pass to James SAYRE, allowing him to go to the East end of L.I. and to bring off some property (Clinton Pap., 5. 650)." This family of SAYREs is as follows:
According to DAR records, James (b. 1738) served as captain from 1776-78 and was later appointed quartermaster with the rank of major in Col. William ALLISON's regiment. He was at Minisink Forts, Clinton and Montgomery (more about NY Forts), where his son, James, was taken prisoner and died in captivity. The DAR records also indicate that James died in Goshen, NY in 1782.
Interestingly, the Dear Folks reference indicates that James was born in England and himself died in captivity (of starvation in a British prison on Long Island). I'm not sure yet which of these accounts is correct, but most sources indicate it was James' oldest son James who died in captivity (one source says he died 10 Jul 1775 on board a prison ship).
Most of the DAR records (39767, 41607, 43671, 43672, 45454, 56782, 57991, 86827) show James' wife as Elizabeth BRADNER. However, there is one (51543) that shows his wife as Jane WILSON. So this is also a question. I believe this is a confusion with Major James' grandson James (via son Moses), who married a Jane WILSON.
Doris (SAWYER) JIMISON has done research to suggest that Elizabeth BRADNER was NOT the wife of James SAWYER, but rather the wife of John STEWART. She found a reference in Elizabeth HORTON's files that this "myth" was initiated when an author signed "JBL" wrote an item for a column in the Independent Republican of 1900. The column was on "Historical and Genealogical Notes and Queries relating to Orange County's Old Families". This item appeared 10 Apr 1900 and asserted that Major James SAWYER's wife was Elizabeth BRADNER, daughter of Rev. John BRADNER, the first Presbyterian minister of Goshen. In subsequent issues, AE (Antoinette ELMER/EDWARD?) challenged JBL on this point and others, but apparently JBL never admitted to the errors. Doris was able to document that Elizabeth BRADNER was married to John STEWART and was having and raising her family concurrently with Elizabeth, wife of Major James SAWYER. There are some indications that James' wife could have been Elizabeth ALLISON, but this requires more research.
Richard and Martha ALLISON had a daughter Elizabeth, who married Samuel CARPENTER (see Benjamin CARPENTER page). Also, Ed and Mary YONAN (firstname.lastname@example.org) mention another Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph ALLISON (listed as "not of age" in 1752 when Joseph wrote his will).
A descendant (named Phoebe) of the CARPENTERs of Orange County found a deed record showing that land was sold by one of her CARPENTER ancestors to a James SAYRE in Orange Co. The record shows that Mr. CARPENTER had bought the property from Benjamin HARLOW Jr. who had had the property conveyed to him by William BULL. The record indicates that the property was formerly called Thomas SAYRE's lots and bordered land owned by Richard and John BULL.
I've asked Phoebe to send me a copy of this deed, since it appears to be very good evidence that this James is linked with both Thomas SAWYER (his presumed great grandfather) and Mary Bella BULL (his presumed grandmother). I'm not sure if the James SAYRE in the deed record refers to the James of this page or his father, if either. Hopefully the date will clarify this. Also, SAWYER often appears as SAYER or SAWER, but not sure about SAYRE, which seems to have been another family.
If these assumptions (CT to LI to Goshen migration) are correct, Major James was probably born at Shelter Island, Long Island, NY, since his father James appears to have migrated from his birthplace (Lyme or Saybrook, CT) to Shelter Island before 1727 and then later (between 1771 and 1776) to Goshen, NY. Since Major James' granddaughter "Aunt Sally" POST thought he was born near Goshen, maybe he was born while his family visited there or maybe she was mistaken or maybe the LI connection is incorrect. I need more evidence.
Phoebe (MzCortez@aol.com) submitted a list of wills relating to Goshen, NY, one of which states: "1754 Job SAYRE Southampton has land in Goshen and Jerseys Son Nehemiha, James went to Goshen, Joseph m. Mary dau of Isaac HALSEY, and Benjamin Dau Susannah, dau Elizabeth (dead), son in law Rev. Timothy JOHNES Morristown, dau Abigail.
Could this James SAYRE be connected?
Lisa Stitt, a fellow participant in the NYORANGE rootsweb list, provided the following information from the ERFPC source, p. 49, Register of members: June 2nd 1782, Elizabeth SAWYER, Widow of Capt. Jas. SAWYER, received as a member, never before in communion.
In Early Orange County Wills, Vol. 1, p. 30, Lisa found the following: JAMES SAWYER, Orange Co. Farmer Liber 33 page 411 Will dated 16 Feb 1782 Proved 23 Nov 1782, Wife: Elizabeth, Daus.: Sarah, Marah, Temperance, Sons: Benjamin, Moses and Matthew, Exec.: Wife, Elizabeth SAWYER, John STEWARD, Esq., Benjamin CARPENTER, Witnesses: Anthony DOBBINS, Michael JACKSON, Thaddious FINCH
Other mentions of James SAWYER:
In the will of JOSEPH ALLISON (p. 21) Prct Goshen, Orange Co Liber 28, page 274. Will made 6 June 1772 Proved 16 June 1772
Wife: Abigail Daus. Deborah and Mary
Sons: Richard and Joseph Bro. William ALLISON
Exec.: Bro. Nathaniel Roe and cousin, James SAWYER
James SAWYER witnessed the will of Samuel JONES, Jr. (p. 27) of Goshen, made 6 Apr 1777 and probated 5 July 1784. James' daughter Temperance m. Nathan JONES, so there may be a connection there.
John A. ALLISON, former president of CATO Institute (c2012-4) and before that CEO of large banking company BB&T, may be connected to the Orange Co. ALLISONs. Check into this.
Also the will of Elizabeth SAWYER in volume 2, p. 55:
Elizabeth SAWYER of Town of Goshen Liber B page 362. Will made Aug. 14, 1794 Probated Dec 20, 1802
Daughters: Mary and Temperance
Sons: Matthew, Moses, Benjamin
Grandchildren: Elizabeth JONES, Elizabeth KNAP
Executors: Benjamin SAWYER, John STEWART
Witnesses: William ELMER, Andrew JONES, Christian WOOD
Received 8 Dec 2000 from Dr. Joseph BOYLE (email@example.com), Registrar, MAPES Family Association, an answer to my queries about Major James to OCGS (Orange County Genealogical Society): James SAWYER was b. in Goshen, NY and his wife's name was Elizabeth BRADNER. James' father is also James b. 1696 in Lyme, CT. His mother's name isn't given. This information comes from the Ancestral Table of William A. CATERSON published in the OCGS Quarterly, vol. 30, p. 18, 2000.
He lists as MAPES sites:
Fellow Orange Co., NY researcher Lisa STITT suggests that perhaps Major James m. Elizabeth STEWART, daughter of John and Elizabeth (BRADNER) STEWART. Hmmm.
Historical Note: George WASHINGTON 1732-99 and Joseph HAYDN 1732-1809 were contemporaries of Major James SAWYER.
The leading figures of the Great Awakening (c1700s-1760s) were Jonathan Edwards (1703-58), George Whitefield (1714-70) and John (1703-91) and Charles (1707-88) Wesley (cf Joel Rosenberg's book 'Implosion').
By 1759, after a long struggle against France, Great Britain had become the world's #1 Great Power, retaining that role until 1945. Its European trading rivals were France, The Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. China (Manchu aka Ta Ch'ing dynasty 1644-1912) remained mostly closed, India was added to the British Empire in 1757, and Ottoman decline continued (see ToN.html).