One of the speakers in our sacrament meeting last Sunday mentioned how growing up he always loved hearing the stories of pioneer ancestors, and felt a bit sad that there weren’t any in his family history, because his parents didn’t join the church until the 20th century. Then he started doing some research and discovered that he had an 11th-great-grandfather that signed the Mayflower Compact, and another great-great-something grandfather who fought in the Revolutionary War. He shared how that made him feel a lot better about not having pioneer ancestry.
So, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find some stories about our ancestors who were part of early U.S. history. Since most of my grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants themselves, there’s really only one line that goes back to the Mayflower, but that works.
Reuben Warriner Jr. was born on Nov. 7, 1756 at Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts to Reuben Warriner Sr. and Sarah Willard. He married Sarah Colton on February 15, 1783. Reuben Warriner Jr. served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Captain James Shaw and Col. Pyncheon’s Regiments and as a Corporal in Capt. Abel King’s regiment from Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. When the war was over he settled in Vershire, Vermont. He died on Dec. 29, 1836 at Vershire, Orange, Vermont.
In late September and during the first week of October 1777, Gate’s American army was positioned between Burgoyne’s army and Albany. On October 7, Burgoyne took the offensive. The troops crashed together south of the town of Saratoga, and Burgoyne’s army was broken. In mop-up operations 86 percent of Burgoyne’s command was captured.
The victory gave new life to the American cause at a critical time. Americans had just suffered a major setback the Battle of the Brandywine along with news of the fall of Philadelphia to the British.
One American soldier declared, “It was a glorious sight to see the haughty Brittons march out & surrender their arms to an army which but a little before they despised and called paltroons.”
A stupendous American victory in October 1777, the success at Saratoga gave France the confidence in the American cause to enter the war as an American ally. Later American successes owed a great deal to French aid in the form of financial and military assistance.
I found this picture of Reuben Warriner on the Warriner Family website. I’m not positive which Reuben it is (there are at least three in my PAF file), because there weren’t any dates associated with it, but I think it’s fascinating anyway. [Edited to note that it’s probably Reuben Warriner the third, born 1801.] If you want to read more about the Warriner Family of New England, go to this link to Open Library. You can either read the book – written in 1898 – online or download it as a PDF file.
Another fifth-great grandfather, Aaron Palmer, also participated in the Revolutionary War, although I couldn’t find much more information than that he was included in this list of men “that marched to West Chester under the command of Capt. Ephraim Warren, it being the Fifth Company in the Eleventh Regiment of Militia in the colony of Connecticut” and that someone filed a pension application on his behalf.
Another grandfather, Nathaniel Graves, lived in Athol, Massachusetts, during this time period. There’s an interesting history of that town which can be found online – here – and it mentions a couple of Graves that participated in the battle at Bennington, Reuben and Abner. Maybe they were Nathaniel’s brothers or cousins.
Anyway, I hope you’ve found this interesting. I could keep looking for more fun tidbits, but I guess I should go fix dinner now. Have a Happy Fourth of July!!
I'm a wife and mother of six children, and grandma to 16, who lives in the paradise called South Florida. I may be happy, sad, overwhelmed, excited, content, or any other emotion, but I am NEVER BORED.