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(Elder) James Benedict and Mary Blackman
James BENEDICT. [PC M2].
Born 19 February 1719-1720 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut; son of James BENEDICT and Sarah HYATT. (S1).
James Benedict married (1) Mary Blackman on 8 May 1740. (S1,S5).
He separated from the church at Ridgefield because of unjust demands of the tithe master and became a member of the Baptist church at Stamford (Stratford?), Connecticut. (S1).
In trying to find information about James Benedict's training as a pastor it came to my [Sue Simmonich-S5] attention that there was none, for the Old School Baptists (or Primitive Baptists) merely took it upon themselves when they felt that they were called by God to preach the gospel. (S5).
Most of the first settlers of Warwick area were from Connecticut. People slowly began moving into the area, but it was not until about 1764 that the town of Warwick was established. (S9).
About 1719 or 1720 a man named Benjamin Aske received a large land grant of virgin forest in southeastern New York, known as the Wawayanda Patent. Benjamin Aske was a New York merchant who owned a share of the great Wawayanda Patent. His share covered part of Orange County. Aske was an Englishman, presumably from Warwickshire, since he gave the name "Warwick" to his tract of land. When he sold any of this land he invariably stated that it was from his "farm called Warwick". The men who came with Aske were soon followed by many Connecticut families who sought new homes on the Wawayanda, or Warwick Creek, at the time that others from that State, many of them friends and relatives, were locating on the Susquehanna River in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania – in Connecticut’s Western Reserve. (S9).
See Elizabeth C. Van Duzer's wonderful history, Elder James BENEDICT, The Pioneer Preacher of the Warwick and Wyoming Valleys. (S9)
The creek which ran through Warwick was called Wawayanda Creek, retaining the name of the original land patent. The early settlers built homes of native rock, or logs which they had to cut down to make room for their new homes and farms. They built grist and lumber mills, tanneries, and blacksmith shops. Soon a church was established, it this manner:
James Benedict came over from Stratfield, Connecticut to visit friends who had settled in this wilderness. He was asked to preach and held a service every day during the three weeks that he stayed. After his return to Stratfield, the Warwick folks having been so well pleased with his preaching (S2), a plea was sent to Connecticut asking for someone to preach to them. The minutes of their meeting were recorded with a quill pen in a beautiful script, as follows:
Be it Recorded that the year of our Lord one Thousand seven hundred and sixty four The Lord of his infinite mercy and grace Having Begun and Carying on a gloryous work of Souls Being awakended and converted to Jesus Christ as we trust and being destitute of those ministerant Helpt and ordanances that our Souls now thursted after and Being personally aquainted many of us with James Benedict who was a member of ye Baptis Church of Christ at Stratfield under the pastorial Care of Mr. John Share-wood and Sd Benedict Being Lisenced by that Church and other minesters to the work of preaching the gospel a numbar of us jointly agreaing together Drew up a leter and sent to Sd Benedict to come over and help us which acordingly he did about two weeks to our joy and Satisfaction and then returned home again. Some time in December 1764 Mr. Dakin a Regular Minester of ye Baptis order Came over and preached with us and Baptised three persons. Some time in march 1764 we again sent a mesengar over to Sd Benedict to come to our help who acordinly Came and brought a church Covanant with him which when we had heard gave feloship to it being agreable to our prinsables and sentaments those of us that ware Baptised entered into a sollom injagment to be the Lords and gave ourselves to the Lord and to one another by the will of god and signed the Covanant Then we Drew up a Leater of Request to the Church at Stratfield to give Sd Benedict to us and sent a mesinger with Sd Leater who Laid Sd Leater Before Sd Church who gave felowship to our Request and after Due consideration frealy and chearfully gave up Sd Brother to us and to our Watch and Care and sent a Leater of ReCommdation to us which we gave Fellowship to and Brother Benedict gave himself up to us and signed the Covenant. (S9). This Covenant was owned by his descendant, Miss Fanny Benedict of Warwick, New York.
Their efforts were successful and James Benedict came to Warwick. He was glad to do so, having run into difficulties with the Stratfield officials and lost his privilege to wear his high beaver hat as a reprimand. (S2).
James was ordained 7 November 1765 and installed as Elder and pastor of the Baptist church of Warwick. He thus became the first minister of the first Church in the Warwick Valley, and the first Baptist minister in the Valley. (S5,S9).
James Benedict made his home in a log house near Chonck's Hill. He donated the land where the first church was erected (the First Baptist Church), in a grove of oak trees at a fork in the road of Forester Avenue and Galloway Road. He and his brother-in-law gave the land where the Old School Baptist cemetery was located, nearly opposite the church. It also comprised the land where the Catholic cemetery was later established. The footings for that building supposedly still exist. (S5).
The first meeting house was built of logs and stood on what is now the corner of Galloway Road and Forester Avenue. (S9). The congregation was small at first, but the year after it was formed it increased to about 70. (S9,S14). For eleven years Elder Benedict was the pastor of this flourishing church in the wilderness. (S9).
A list of members in Warwick is found in a record dated 1765, which names the following:
MEN – James Benedict, Elder Ebenezer Green, Timothy Wood, Gload Boatman, David Lobdel, Nathaniel Roe, Daniel Whitney, Philip Ketchum, Jonathan Weeks.
WOMEN- Mary Benedict, Abigail Weeks, Hannah Ketchum, Hannah Burt, Elizabeth Gerno, Phoebe Lobdel, Elizabeth Knapp Juni, Thankful Whitney. (S2).
The Articles of Faith contained in the records of the “Baptist Church of Christ in Warwick” October 1765, are (S2):
We acknowledge but one God as the only object of adoration, possessed of all possible perfections, yet believe in the Father, Son and Spirit, and that these three are one and the same in essence, equal in Power and Glory by whom the world was made.
To contend for the faith once delivered to the Saints, that we may keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of Peace.
To walk in Love, Peace and Harmony in the Fear of God.
To hear each other’s burdens, to cleave and have fellowship one with another in all conditions as God in His Providence shall cast us into.
These and all other Duties we humbly submit until those desiring to perform in the strength and by the help of Almighty God, whose we are and whom we desire to serve, and to whom be glory in the Church now and forever. Amen.
That fourth article “To bear one another’s burdens” has always been carried out in spirit and deed. The Old School Baptist congregation has been noted to cleave together and to help in every possible way when one of the number is in trouble. They believe and practice that charity begins at home. Hence the church has never supported outside missionary work. They do not urge or coax any one to join – it must be a free and voluntary offering of one’s self to unite with this Baptist congregation.
Another custom is the singing of hymns with no musical accompaniment. They never had Sunday School, believing that children brought up in the church will learn from parents and the regular service. It was this lack of youthful training and the desire to have some musical instrument used, that made Ezra Sanford, a grandson of the first Ezra, withdraw and start the Calvary Baptist in town. He gave generously to it, calling it his tenth child.
The minister of the Old school Baptist congregation is addressed as Elder, never Reverend. They are licensed by a congregation. If a man feels he has a gift to expound the Bible, he stands before a congregation and is given a text, on which he proceeds to preach a sermon. No sermon is ever written and read, it must be an oral expression of inner guidance. This may make the Elder’s sermon long and somewhat rambling, but it is always sincere.
A list of members in a record dating 1768 names the following :
MEN – Daniel Case, Charles Gillet, Stephen Amsbury, Ephrem Bennet,.
WOMEN – Mary Case, Jemina Stanton, Hannah Rockwell, Elizabeth Cano, Nancy Sproul, Sarah Bennet. (S2).
In 1769, Warwick Church joined the Philadelphia Association, under the name of Goshen. (S4,S14).
THE WYOMING VALLEY VENTURE
Land in northeast Pennsylvania, lying on the Susquehanna River, became the focus of much interest to the settlements in New York and Connecticut around the year 1750. This geographical area, later to be known as the Wyoming Valley, had been settled earlier by families from Dutchess County, New York. In 1749, Abraham Utter and his wife and eight children decided to move to the Wyoming Valley. His business was principally tilling land on shares or as a tenant farmer. Because all of the land in the Dutchess County area was owned by landlords, he could not hope to purchase property of his own. Abraham and several of his neighbors organized an association consisting of eleven families. After encountering many difficulties and making numerous sacrifices, the eleven families had organized seventeen trains made up of Oxen and Forty-four cows. Proceeding from Dutchess County, New York to the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, the trains started their journey on 5April 1750. The distance was not so great, but their route lay through dense forest. They had various difficulties to overcome like roads to make and bridges to build over various streams. They camped several nights in the woods. After surmounting all these obstacles they finally reached their destination on 14 April 1750.
Wyoming Valley had become the focus of much interest in Connecticut. As early as 29 March 1753 a group of interested settlers created a petition for the formation of the Susquehanna Company, which they presented to the Connecticut Assembly asking that the petitioners be allowed to build settlements on the Susquehanna River under the jurisdiction of Connecticut. The Susquehanna Company was thus formed in Windham, Connecticut on 8 July 1753 by several hundred individuals with the avowed purpose of establishing a settlement along the banks of the Susquehanna River. On 7 May 1754 several of the Connecticut families paid five pounds for a full share in the company. The land along the banks of the Susquehanna River was purchased from the Iroquois Indians in Albany, New York on 11 July 1754.
Virginia Governor Dinwiddie sent 22-year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington to secure the British Fort believed to have been built. Upon arrival he found the French in command of the Fort. Washington established a base to wait for reinforcements and try and take the fort. Near Great Meadows, located south of the Fort, Washington surrounded and attacked a party of 33 Frenchmen. Ten French were killed, and some 22 were captured. The French sent out 900 men to avenge them. Washington, upon hearing of their advance, built a crude stockade which was named Fort Necessity. The French badly beat Washington and he signed a document, prepared in French, that he thought stated that he attacked the party at Great Meadows, when in fact the documents he signed stated he assassinated the party. The disclosure of the attack set off a world war beginning in 1756. This action has been credited as having started the "Seven Year's War" and was the first action in the North American French & Indian War.
In 1757 the home of Abraham Utter's family was attacked by marauding Indians with many members of the family killed and taken prisoner. Abraham survived because he was not home at the time of the attack, but he would never recover from the horror of the mutilation of his family which he found when he returned home. Two of his younger daughters would survive, living with the Indians for one year before being released to their families who had returned to New York.
Nothing further was done by the Susquehanna Company from 1756 until 1761 when a meeting was held at Windham, Connecticut. Due to changes in the participants in the Company, there were now 588 holding a whole share and 165 that held half shares. In August 1762, a company of ninety-three men started from Windham on horseback to form a settlement along the Susquehanna River. This first settlement was made at Mill Creek north of present day Wilkes-Barre. There were no children in this first group, but in May 1763 some settlers came with their families. The settlement was destroyed when Captain Bull and his Delaware Indians massacred some twenty of the inhabitants on 15 October 1763.
Despite this set back the settlement continued to slowly grow. Because of the errors made earlier, settlers from Pennsylvania and Connecticut were now convinced each had rights to the land and conflicts over ownership of the settlements became hostile. To hasten settlement of the area, the Susquehanna Company offered extra shares of land for the first forty who would settle there before May of 1768.
On November 5, 1768, the British government signed the Fort Stanwich Treaty, which established a diagonal line across Pennsylvania and opened up territory east of the line for settlement which included the Wyoming Valley. On the same day, the representatives of the Six Indian Nations deeded all of the land in the province to Thomas and Richard Penn. Pennsylvania interpreted this to mean all of the land including the Wyoming Valley. The Susquehanna Company was determined to occupy the region, and sent forty men to the area. They arrived February 6, 1769 and were promptly arrested for trespass by Sheriff Jenning of Northampton County, Pennsylvania and Captain Amos Ogden who had established a trading post at Mill Creek. They were placed in the Easton jail, but some escaped while the rest were released on bail.
In June of 1769, Thomas Walsworth was among two hundred and sixty men to arrive with Major John Durkee. They erected Fort Durkee on the eastern bank of the Susquehanna and named their town Wilkes-Barre. A Pennsylvania force led by Colonel Turbutt Francis invaded the Wyoming Valley in July with considerable fanfare demanding the surrender of Fort Durkee. The Yankees declined the Colonel's courteous offer and the good Colonel returned to Pennsylvania with silent drums and trailing banners. In November, Sheriff Jennings and Captain Ogden, with a large force of Pennsylvanians, captured Major Durkee and drove the Yankees from the valley and destroyed the settlement.
Captain Zebulon Butler assumed command of the Yankees in January of 1770 and recruited Lazarus Steward and the Paxtang Rangers to the Yankee cause. He compensated the Rangers with the grant of Hanover Township. The Paxtang Rangers had been outlawed by Pennsylvania and with prices on their heads had openly defied Pennsylvania authority for years. The Rangers arrived in the Valley in February of 1770 and drove the Pennamites from the Valley.
Captain Ogden regained temporary possession of his trading post but was forced to surrender in April. Construction then began on the celebrated Forty Fort in Kingston Township west of the Susquehanna. Captain Ogden returned in the fall with a large force and captured Fort Durkee.
The Yankees recaptured Fort Durkee in January of 1771 and the Pennamites then erected Fort Wyoming nearby. The Yankees then laid siege to Fort Wyoming in July and the First Yankee-Pennamite War ended on August 20, 1771, with the capitulation of Fort Wyoming.
In September of 1771, James Stark wrote from Pawling Precinct (Pawling was set-off from Beekman's Precinct in 1768) to Captain Zebulon Butler, commanding the Yankee forces in the Valley, "I have hired the bearer thereof, Timothy Pearce, to go on the same right for two months. At the end of two months, I will come and take possession of it myself."
After fifteen years of blood letting, destruction and rebuilding of settlements, Indian massacres, and exodus and return, the Yankees of Connecticut were finally in control of the region. They now turned their attention to clearing the land and building small farms, building new forts and strengthening old ones and beginning to create communities and fit places for people to live. Little by little, the settlers began to venture further from the stockades believing the questions between them and Pennsylvania had been permanently resolved.
From 1772 to 1774 the settlers lived in relative peace, not being a part of Connecticut or Pennsylvania. The Connecticut authorities, not supporting the Susquehanna Company settlers during the final three years of conflict between the Yankees and Pennamites, now seemed to conclude the people had proved their ability to hold the Wyoming Valley and backed them in their ownership of land in the valley. Connecticut passed an act in January, 1774, which created the town of Westmoreland, which extended from the 41st degree of North Latitude to the New York line and from the Delaware River to fifteen miles west of the Susquehanna River which was then annexed to Litchfield County, Connecticut. Within this town, the districts of Wilkes-Barre, Hanover, Plymouth, Kingston, Pittston, North, Lackaway, and East were created. In 1774, the total inhabitants of Westmoreland were counted at 1,922 men, women, and children and considered large enough to become a separate county. It subsequently became the county of Westmoreland, Connecticut defined as embracing 60 x 120 miles.
About the year 1773 a number of Elder Benedict's church members had removed to Westmoreland, in the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania. They had heard of the fertile valley there, and went there to settle. Among them were Benedicts and Blackmans, undoubtedly his relatives. They also left Warwick because of difficulty arising in the church through prejudice toward the Order of Free Masons, of which Elder James Benedict was a member. In 1776 they urged Elder Benedict to follow them there and establish a Church. He therefore became the first minister there and undoubtedly used the same charter that he had taken to Warwick.
The four years of peace was broken in December 1775, when Colonel Plunkett invaded Westmoreland with six hundred Pennsylvania militia. Colonel Zebulon Butler posted his regiment behind a natural rampart of rocks above Nanticoke Falls on the west side of the river. The Paxtang Rangers, granted Hanover for their help during the earlier hostilities, occupied the east side and protected the Yankee flank. Plunkett advanced on the morning of December 25 and thus began the Battle of Rampart Rocks. The battle raged all Christmas day. The Pennamites suffered severe casualties and broke and fled shortly before dark. Yankee losses were slight. But, by now the Revolutionary War had begun and several actions had already occurred by December of 1775. The battle of Lexington had taken place in August and Bunker Hill was fought in June. Yet, here we find Connecticut and Pennsylvania renewing hostilities over the Wyoming Valley. Soon after this, these differences were put aside for the good of the colonies, but would resume again after the war.
The settlements were becoming alarmed, for they had received word the British, under Col. John Butler (his command was mostly Canadians and Indians) was at Oswego, and now the people of the valley were convinced the savages were in alliance with the British.
The records at the church in Warwick record:
August Ye 1776. The Church Being met together for besnes our Breatheran at Westmoreland or Lacawano Laid a request befor the Church representing Their Scaterd Scurcomstances as Sheep not having a Shepherd and Desierd help from This Church and it was agread and Voted to Send our Elder and two other Breatheran to answer to their request or to Act in behalf of the Church as they found matters. When they Came There who accordingly went in Desember and finding twelve of our members that were in Good Standing Namely Jonathan weaks, Samuel robberds, Banel Cash, Daniel Roberts, Hezekiah Roberts, Ebenezer Roberts, Ephraim Sanford femails, Abigail Weaks, Abigail Roberts, Mary Roberts, Mary Cash, Sarah Roberts, with maney others that ware in Good Standing in other Churches, with Six that ware then baptiest to the number of thirty-two a Church was Constetuted at which time these twelve members ware Dismest from the watch Care of this Church and jond with that and at the return of our members we reseved a Letter of there persedings that gave us full fellowship. (S9).
On August 23, 1776, the United States Congress, at the urgent request of Col. Zebulon Butler, resolved to station two companies at Westmoreland for the defense of the inhabitants. Robert Durkee and Samuel Ransom were elected Captains of these companies and given the authority to recruit soldiers from Westmoreland County. James Stark joined Captain Samuel Ransom's company September 17, 1776. Their purpose was to defend Westmoreland County from Indian attacks and the British.
Washington was retreating after the British General Howe captured New York. His 3,000 men were forced to keep moving through New Jersey and crossed the Delaware River December 8th causing Congress to immediately take measures to move from Philadelphia to Baltimore. Before moving however, the Congress "resolved" on December 12, that the two companies raised in the town of Westmoreland, be ordered to join George Washington, with all possible expedition. Ransom and Durkee promptly obeyed and were with Washington by the end of 1776, leaving Westmoreland defenseless. These companies were placed under the command of General Dickinson and first saw battle January 27, 1777, at the battle of Millstone.
March 8 1777. At a confarance Meating at Starling it was then unanamously Voted the Church under the pastorael Care of Eldar James Benedict Showd Remove to Westmoreland we Do frealy give up our Eldar to go Before us to that land and we expect to follow after as soone as providence will admit Signed in behalf of the Whole Church. (S9):
Matthias Degermo Jr.
Philip Robbin Dim
Elifebeth Kapp (Knap?)
Chrisftana Silfbe. (S9).
At a Church meating at Worwich Agust 21: 1777 after prayer to god for his Direction Decon Silsby was Chosen modarater then proseded to Bisnes and in Cosdederation of a vote pased in the Church March the Eighth for the removal of the Church to Westmoreland Some of the members Looking on Some tempral Deficatyes war Discuraged and thought best to Stop and not go which put the Elder under Grate Deficalty as to his temperal Intrast the Church consedraing Same Voted that the Church Should Stop removing Wilst next Spreing and the Elder to persed to the advanteg of his tempral Intrust. (S9).
Signs of an invasion from the North into the Valley became apparent and Congress, on March 17, 1778, authorized Westmoreland County, Connecticut to raise a company for the defense of the town. By May, the settlements were frantic and appealed to Congress to return their men to the defense of the valley, but the authorities continued to hold these men to support General Washington.
Col. Zebulon Butler assumed command of the Westmoreland defenders at Forty Fort on 29 June, after British Col. John Butler invaded the Valley on that day. The British troops, consisting of about 250 of Butlers Rangers and an equal number of Indians quickly captured Fort Jenkins and then Fort Wintermoot. Under the command of Col. Zebulon Butler were 230 enrolled men, seventy old people, boys, civil magistrates, and other volunteers, the bulk of able bodied fighting men having been sent to reinforce General Washington. Early on the morning of July 3, Col. John Butler sent messengers to Forty Fort demanding a surrender. Col. Zebulon Butler immediately called a council of war and asked if he should parley with the enemy for delay until reinforcements should arrive. Many believed they could execute a surprise attack on the British troops who had bivouacked at Fort Wintermoot. The latter strategy prevailed, but this would prove to be a fatal error in judgement.
NOTE: The Wyoming Valley Massacre of 1757 (see The Wyoming Valley Massacre of 1757, written about 1862 by Thomas Pattison), is not to be confused with the Revolutionary War Massacre of the same name occurring July 3, 1778.
The forces of Brant and Col. John Butler were at Wintermoot's Fort, opposite Pittston. The little band, on the afternoon of July 3rd, numbering about 350 of the sturdiest remaining settlers, under the command of Colonel Zebulon Butler, left the fort amid the prayers of dear and devoted kindred. Old men, whose hands were tremulous and unsteady; young ones, unskilled in years--marched side by side to the place of conflict. So great the emergency at this time, so much to be won or lost by the coming battle, that none remained in the fort save women and children.
Moving rapidly up the west bank of the river, the Yankee Colonel Z. Butler cautiously led his forces within half a mile of Wintermoot's. Here he halted a few minutes, and sent forward two volunteers to reconnoiter the position and strength of the enemy. They were promptly fired upon by the British for their Indian Scouts had already apprised them of the Yankees departure from Forty Fort. The British Colonel J. Butler promptly formed his forces into line of battle; the Provincials and Tories being placed in front toward the river, while to his right was concealed a large number of Indians.
About four in the afternoon the battle began; Col. Z. Butler ordered his men to fire, and at each discharge to advance a step. As the Yankees advanced, pouring in their platoon fires with great vivacity, the British line gave way. At this time, the Indians engaged the Connecticut Troops from their left flank. For half an hour the battle raged with each side giving and taking fire from the other. However, it became apparent the Connecticut force was vastly out numbered. Orders were given by the Connecticut forces for one Company to wheel back, so as to form an angle with the main line, and thus present their front instead of flank to the Indians on their left. On the attempt the savages rushed in with horrid yells. Utter confusion now prevailed on the left. Seeing the disorder, and his own men beginning to give way, Col. Z. Butler threw himself between the fires of the opposing ranks and rode up and down the line in the most reckless exposure. "'Don't leave me, my children, and the victory is ours." But it was too late. When it was seen that defeat had come, the confusion became general. Some fought bravely in the hopeless conflict, others fled in wild disorder down the valley toward Forty Fort or Wilkes-Barre without their guns, pursued by Indians whose belts were soon reeking with warm scalps. Another group of Indians moved in behind the fleeing forces, cutting off their retreat to Forty Fort. All was lost and the fleeing Connecticut men were forced to run for the river, in hopes of reaching Wilke-Barre Fort on the other side.
A group of men ran for their lives and hid in driftwood along the banks of the river. The Indians searched until they found many, who were tomahawked and scalped. After the Fort was taken by the British, some women and children were allowed to leave unmolested and they made their way back to Dutchess County.
Reverend James Benedict and his family were among the sufferers from the fearful Cherry Valley Massacre of the inhabitants of that place by the Tories and Indians under the "notorious half-breed" Brandt.
The story goes that Iroquois Chief Joseph Brant came to Benedict the night before the planned attack and gave him warning and safe passage away from Wyoming. Brant supported the English cause and rode with the English army and a contingent of Mohawk warriors. The next day the remaining people were attacked and massacred. After the attack Benedict returned to Warwick and took up the congregation he had earlier established, living there for the remainder of his life. It is unclear why Brant chose to warn Benedict. There are two historical theories written, one was that Benedict was a Mason as was Brant and they recognized each other as such. The second, was that Brant revered men of the cloth. Since Brant himself was trained as a pastor, I [Sue Simmonich] submit a third theory without proof – Benedict’s family was affiliated in some way with the Iroquois nation - possibly he or his wife was native. (S5).
RETURN TO WARWICK
After suffering great hardships, traveling in an ox cart with a few of his possessions and some other families, he returned to the town of Warwick in the year 1777. Other families, who went to the blockhouse instead, were all massacred.
The minutes of the Church at Warwick continue:
Warrack September the Third Day 1778 at our place of publeck Worfhep the Church being met together according to appointment to Confeder of Some votes that had bin pafed in the church before Confarning the Church removeing to Weftmorland where the Elder according to the foremenched votes had bin and being drove of by a Saveg Enemey and the whole Countrey laid in Diffolation which rendered it Impofable for the church to remove at Presant the Elder being returnd he was received by the Church again as a Pafteur and an Eelder and he suffering Lofe by the Enemey as to temprals voted in the Church to help to Supply that want by Contrebution. (S9).
He resided the rest of his life in Warwick and was very active among the colonists.
“On June 29, 1786 Elder Benedict was discharged at his request.” (S5). The pastor after Mr. Benedict was Mr. Thomas Jones. Mr. Thomas Montanye was ordained pastor in 1787 (S5) or 1788 (S4), at which time the war had so scattered its members, that but about thirty were to be found, and these were spread over a circumference of almost as many miles.” (S4).
It has been said that he married (2) Jemima. (S5).
In the year 1789, the church increased to 192 members, and began to branch out in different directions, and set off other churches, including Wantage, Deer Park, Middletown, &c. (S4,S14).
First Town Meeting.--At a meeting of the inhabitants of the town of Warwick, held in the town of Warwick, this first Tuesday in April, 1789. the following persons were elected and chosen for the ensuing year, viz (S13):
John Smith, Town Clerk.
John Wheeler, Esq., Supervisor.
Capt. James Post, Western District, Assessor.
Major Peter Bartholf, Middle District, Assessor.
Capt. Henry Bartholf, Eastern District, Assessor.
Major Jacobus Post, Western District, Assessor.
Nathaniel Minthorn, Middle District, Commissioner of Road.
John Wood, Eastern District, Commissioner of Road.
Zebulon Wheeler, Overseer of the Poor.
James Benedict, Overseer of the Poor.
David McCamly, Western District, Collector.
James Benedict, Middle District, Collector.
David Miller, Eastern District, Collector.
John Blain, jr., Constable.
David Miller, Constable.
Road Masters.-John Kanaday, Timothy Clark, John Benedict, Capt. George Vance, Wm. Armstrong, Esq., Anthony Finn, Capt. Jackson, Major Jacobus Post, Joseph Wilson, Thomas Blain, Abraham Lazair, John Smith, Garret Post, Philip Burroughs, Calvin Bradner, Capt. Bertholf, James Hannah, John Armstrong, James Miller, David Miller, Timothy Beers, Jacob Gable, Henry Townsend, Abel Noble, Philip Ketchem, Moses Carpenter, David Lobdell, Caleb Smith, Caleb Taylor, Robert Ludlow, Jacobus Chase, David Nanny, Ezra Sanford, Israel Owens, Abraham Dolsan, Richard Johnson, John Sutton, Nathaniel Bailey.
Arch. Armstrong and Esq. Shepherd, West District Fence Viewers.
Maj. P. Bartholf, and James Benedict, Middle District Fence Viewers.
James Miller and Philip Burroughs, East District Fence Viewers.
Each Road Master to be Pound Master: the Pound to be put up at the expense of the district.
Resolved, That there is £100 to be raised for the benefit of the poor, and £20 for contingent expenses.
He married (3) Sarah Bross, widow of Peter Bross - a parishioner. (S5). [When did Peter Bross die?] Sarah was supposedly a resident of Ramapo Valley. Warwick town historian, Florence Tate was instrumental in finding a full name for Sarah in June of 2000. (S5). They had no children.
He died on 9 September 1792 at Warwick, Orange County, New York at age 72 years. (S1). He and his first wife Mary were buried in the old Baptist burying-ground near the village of Warwick, but no monument markes their grave. (S1). He was called the old Elder and was held in great esteem and veneration by the community, whose records say, Those who knew him, and yet survive, hold his memory in great respect, and say that it is blessed. (S4).
The original Old School Baptist Meeting House site and Churchyard Location was on the corner of Forester and Galloway. A marker stands in the small field across Forester Avenue from the Methodist church. It commemorates the original site of the log meeting house of the Old School Baptists, and the unmarked graves of some of Warwick's first settlers. The text of the marker reads: Site of log meeting house of the Baptist Church of Warwick. James Benedict ordained and installed as pastor Nov. 7, 1765 was the first minister and this the first church in the valley. He died Spet. 9, 1792 aged 72 years. His wife, Mary Blackman, is buried beside him in this churchyard, which is filled with the unmarked graves of his pioneer congretation, among them those of several Revolutionary War soldiers. Erected by the church he founded, his descendants, and the State of New York. Nov 7, 1933.
Elder James Benedict Grave Marker.
Mary BLACKMAN. [PC M2].
Born in October 1722 at Green Farms, Fairfield County, Connecticut; daughter of John BLACKMAN [F534] and Jemima HURLBUT. (S1,S9). Green Farms was then called Machamux. It wasn’t named Green Farms until 1732. Later still it was called Westport.
She married James Benedict on 8 May 1740. (S1).
Mary Benedict appears on a list of names of members of the Warwick Baptist Church in 1765. This could be the daughter Mary, but no indication is given that this is the case. I suspect that Mary died early, and that some of the children may belong to Jemima, especially the daughter named Jemima.
Mary were buried in the old Baptist burying-ground near the village of Warwick.
CHILDREN of James BENEDICT and Mary BLACKMAN:
- Mary BENEDICT. Born 31 March 1741 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). She married James Grey.
- Sarah BENEDICT. Born 6 February 1743 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). She married Gideon Smith.
- James BENEDICT. Born (6-S10)(8-S1) May 1745 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). He married Mary WOOD. (S10). He fought in the American Revolution. In 1772 he built a log house 1 mile east of Warwick village at Stone Bridge. This house was destroyed by fire with all its contents while he was visiting at his father’s. He rebuilt a stone house on the same site in (1779)(1781-S8). He also erected a stone house in 1794 for his son Capt. James Benedict. In 1804 or 1805 some wolves came in the night and killed some sheep in the orchard west of this house. He died on 9 November 1822 and was buried at the Old School Baptist Cemetery (The 1795 Cemetery) in Warwick, Orange County, New York.
- John BENEDICT. Born 24 April 1747 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). He fought in the American Revolution.
- Jemima BENEDICT. [PC M2]. Born 25 July 1749 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). She married John NEWBERRY.
- Martha BENEDICT. Born 16 June 1751 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). She married John HAMPTON. They resided at Scipio.
- Phoebe BENEDICT. Born 14 August 1753 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). She married Abram OLSON (DOLSON-S12), son of Abraham Dolsen and Marytje Sloat. She died 31 October 1831 at Warwick, Orange, New York, United States. She was buried in 1831 at Old School Baptist Cemetery, Warwick, Orange, New York.
- William BENEDICT. Born 14 July 1755 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). He fought in the American Revolution. He married Jane VANCE (b.c1755-d.APR 1829). He died on 24 MAY 1827 in Warwick, Orange County, New York. (S11).
- Anna BENEDICT. Born 25 July 1757 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). She married (1) Calvin (Colville) BRADNER Jr.. They resided at Warwick. She married (2) Gideon SMITH. She died 7 NOV 1839 and was buried at the Old School Baptist Cemetery (The 1795 Cemetery) in Warwick, Orange County, New York.
- Joseph BENEDICT. Born 11 May 1760 at Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut. (S1). He ran away at the age of 16 and enlisted to fight in the American Revolution, since his brothers had all gone, and was with Washington at Valley Forge. He married Eleanor SCHOONOVER. He built a log home on the Ridge Road between Warwick and Florida, New York. He died 20 January 1847 and was buried at the Old School Baptist Cemetery (The 1795 Cemetery) in Warwick, Orange County, New York.
CHILDREN of James BENEDICT and Jemima:
Sarah. (widow Bross-S1).
Widow of Peter BROSS.
Note from transcriptionist (S2):
The names extracted from the above record may contain redundancies, and inaccuracies as would be expected from a compilation of records of this kind and age – the author was not likely acquainted with the names other than what she found in old records. One place where I would like to point out an inaccuracy is in the Newberry name. Jemima Newberry should be in this list as an early member, as her father was Elder James Benedict, along with the names of her children. Also Sarah Brass is probably Sarah Bross whose maiden name was Roach, and who married Peter Bross. When Peter Bross died, and Elder James Benedict was a widower, he married Sarah Bross. This information comes from Florence Tate, Historian – Warwick Town & Village Historian. Miss Tate did a search for me when I was trying to identify the “widow Bross of the Ramapo” who was Elder James Benedict’s third wife. (S2).
- [S1]. The Genealogy of the Benedicts in America. by Henry Marvin Benedict. 1870. Joel Munsell:Albany, 82 State Street.
- [S2]. History of the Old School Baptist Church. By Hylah Hasbrouck. Originally appeared in the Warwick Advertiser, Warwick, N.Y. December 25, 1952. Transcribed by Sue Simonich & Adapted for the web by S. Gardner, Summer 2002. Republished with permission of the Warwick Advertiser. http://albertwisnerlibrary.org/~wisner/Factsandhistory/History/OSBHistoryAndMembers.htm.
- [S3]. William Wilcoxson webpage. http://members.aol.com/jancestry/JAncestry/newpage8.htm
- [S4]. Historic Baptist Resources. http://www.generalbaptist.net/resources/benedict/newyork.htm
- [S5]. Sue Simmonich Research. http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~hannahslife/JohnNewberrycont.htm
- [S6]. Green's Farms and the Green's Farms Association. http://westportct.net/gfa/history.htm
- [S7]. About the Name Saugatuck. http://www.saugatech.com/aboutname.htm.
- [S8]. Early Days in Warwick. http://www.albertwisnerlibrary.org/~wisner/Factsandhistory/History/EarlyDaysinWarwick.htm.
- [S9]. Elder James Benedict, The Pioneer Preacher of the Warwick and Wyoming Valleys. By MRS. ELIZABETH C. VAN DUZER. 1923. Wilkes-Barre, PA. Copied from the original records of the Baptist Church in Warwick, N.Y. Published on the Internet with permission of the Wyoming Valley Historical Society, May, 2000. http://www.albertwisnerlibrary.org/~wisner/Factsandhistory/History/Benedict.htm..
- [S10]. Old School Baptist Cemetery (The 1795 Cemetery), Warwick, Orange County, New York. http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/orange/oldschool/baptist.htm
- [S11]. Descendants of William Benedict. http://www.quiknet.com/~bbetts/benedict.htm
- [S12]. Stonehouse and Related Families. http://www.stonehouse.ca/tree/p338.htm.
- [S13]. Town of Warwick. Extract from town records. by Donna Kile Van Benschoten. http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny/county/orange/history/war2.htm.
- [S14]. Church and Family History Research Assistance for Orange County, New York. http://www.carthage.lib.il.us/community/churches/primbap/FamHist-OrangeNY.html
- [S15]. Betts Family Home Page. http://www.quiknet.com/~bbetts/benedict.htm.
HOW ARE WE RELATED:
(Elder) James Benedict and Mary Blackman
Jemima Benedict and John Newberry
James Abraham Newberry and Mary Smith
Hannah Maria Newberry and George Morris
James Newberry Morris and Harriett Louisa Elliott
Tina Matilda Kunzler and Eli Ray Morris
LeGrand Elliott Morris and Dorothea Berta Ernestina Kersten
Rodney Allen Morris and Deborah Lee Handy