CALEB FULKERSON

Line of Descent:
Dirck VOLCKERTSZEN and Christina VIGNE
Volkert DIRCKS and Annetje PHILLIPS
Philip VOLKERTSE and Ann VAN CLIEFT
Joseph FULKERSON and Aeltje RAPALJE
Philip FULKERSON and Margrita FARLEY
Caleb FULKERSON

  Caleb was born at Hillsborough Township, in Somerset County, New Jersey on January 17, 1762. At the time of his birth the town was known as the "Westering District of Somerset County." It wasn't chartered as a township until May 31, 1771.

Revolution!

  Somerset County took its place in history as the scene of battles and skirmishes during the American Revolution. It raised militia companies immediately after the Revolution's first battles at Lexington and Concord, and continued to supply men to the Continental Army through the five years of armed conflict that followed the Declaration of Independence. Local legend tells that when General Washington arrived there in January 1777, he drilled his ragged troops on top of Sourland Mountain near Hillsborough, using different formations and dried corn stalks for guns. A British force was camped in the valley below, watching for an opportunity to attack. Then the sunlight glistened on the stalks, making them appear like hundreds of bayonets. The British troops believed they were outnumbered and retreated to New Brunswick in Middlesex County. With the British Army wintering so close, Caleb's neighborhood continued as a battleground during the next six months.

  Somerset and Middlesex counties became a focal point of the American Revolution in late November 1776 and through the following summer. The Americans lost the battles of New York in the late summer, and had been pursued across New Jersey by British General Cornwallis since October.

  The Continental Army rested for several days at New Brunswick, Middesex County, until the British arrived on December 1st. The rebels made their escape to Princeton, leaving behind a small force led by Alexander Hamilton and Henry Knox to destroy the Raritan River bridge to slow the British advance.
  Washington took his army to Newtown, PA for the next three weeks, then made his historic crossing of the Delaware to capture the Hessian army post at Trenton on December 26th. Eight days later Washington marched north to capture the town of Princeton from the British. He then led his army north to Somerset County Courthouse, where they spent the night. The Americans and British would skirmish at that location on January 20-23, 1777, when the British began a series of foraging raids against the small towns of New Jersey.
Much of Washington's Continental Army
stayed in Somerset County during the summer
of 1777 and the winter of 1778-1779. The first
official 13-star flag was flown over Washington's
troops at the Middlebrook encampment.
During the ensuing two months Washington rested the Continental Army near Morristown, Morris County, New Jersey. At the same time, the British Army had 17,000 men stationed at New Brunswick, just a few miles east of Somerset County.

  On April 13, 1777 his outpost garrison at Bound Brook in Somerset County was surprised and routed during the Battle of Bound Brook when 4,000 British Redcoats and Hessian mercenaries attacked. Washington then moved his army to the Middlebrook encampment (closer to Bound Brook) on May 28 and stayed there until July 2. During this time the Continental Army had to defend against British attacks at Somerset Court House on June 14, 17 and 19, 1777; at Millstone on June 17, 1777; and at New Brunswick on June 22, 1777. British General Cornwallis, famous for his surrender at Yorktown, had his headquarters at the Myers house in Bound Brook during part of 1777.

Fifer

  Caleb's brother Joseph (b. 1755) had already enlisted in the "Jersey Line" in the fall of 1775, serving under Captain Polhemus in Colonel William Winds' First Jersey Regiment, and had traveled as far afield as Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York. Caleb had his first taste of the Revolution when he was barely 15 years old, with a one-month enlistment at Bridgewater, New Jersey, in late 1776 or 1777 as a fifer in Captain James Wheeler's company of Colonel Frelinghuysen's militia regiment at Elizabethtown -- a military camp whose primary purpose was to dissuade the British from landing troops along the New Jersey coast. Under the plan of organization for American forces, each company was to have a captain, 2 lieutenants, an ensign, 4 sergeants, 4 corporals, a fifer, a drummer, and 76 privates.

  Caleb returned to military service in 1778, spending nine months in the New Jersey Line of the Continental Army as a fifer assigned to the American outpost at Elizabethtown in Captain John Van Angle's company, Colonel Matthias Ogden's regiment, General William "Scotch Willie" Maxwell's New Jersey brigade. This command had distinguished itself at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown in the second half of 1777. In mid-June of 1778, British General Clinton's 12-mile-long army and wagon train crossed the Delaware and began marching across New Jersey. George Washington started moving his army to intercept this column, and meanwhile sent Maxwell's brigade to impede the British by destroying bridges and felling trees across roads. Washington's attack on the British army began on 28 June 1778 near Monmouth, New Jersey. In Caleb's 1832 pension application, he stated that most of his brigade was held in reserve during the Monmouth battle and not called upon, and that only their artillery participated in the fight. [SIDE NOTE: The Battle of Monmouth was fought in what is now Freehold, NJ, which later became the boyhood home town of Bruce Springsteen. His Dutch ancestry goes back to New Jersey in the 1700s and probably to New York in the 1600s.]

An August 1778 payroll list for the 41 officers and men of this company showed Caleb serving as a fifer and his brother Joseph serving as a sergeant. Caleb was paid 2 pounds, 15 shillings. Joseph received one pound more.

Scout

  In the spring of 1780 Caleb began his third term of service, again as a fifer, in Captain Isaac Smalley's company under Major John Goetschius. It was near the end of this enlistment, in October 1780, that he volunteered to go with a scouting party to spy on the British lines in Bergen County, a Tory stronghold not far from British-occupied New York City.

  They proceeded to New Barbadoes Neck, a tongue of land south of Rutherford between the Hackensack and Passaic rivers. It was the site of the Schuyler copper mine - important to the American war effort - and was also the scene of frequent skirmishes with the British during the preceding four years. We don't know the scouts' objectives or accomplishments on this mission, except that one cool October night they took shelter in a barn.

Prisoner of War

  They awoke to find they had been surrounded by a contingent of Tories. In Caleb's pension claim he said all but two of his group were captured. The prisoners were marched to New York City
The Sugar House
and imprisoned in the Sugar House, a former sugar refinery on Liberty Street. This building probably looked like a prison: five stories high, built of stone, with two low-ceilinged rooms on each floor. It was just one of many prisons and prison camps the British established in New York after capturing the city in 1776.

  Caleb and hundreds of fellow prisoners suffered with no fuel for heat, and almost no clothing, through a long miserable winter. They formed themselves into groups of five, ten or twenty and, locking their arms together so that none would stop or fall, marched backward and forward to keep themselves from freezing. He later said that his skin rubbed off like the scales on a fish. Many of the prisoners died from disease and the cold. Caleb was later transferred to another British jail, called "The Provo" [Provost ?] and also spent time in a British hospital. Nine months after his capture, Caleb was released in a prisoner exchange in June 1781 and made his way home to Somerset County.
NOTE: His former colonel, Matthias Ogden, was captured at Elizabethtown in November 1780 and not exchanged until 1783.

  The perils of war did not daunt Caleb. He rejoined the New Jersey militia later in 1781, serving three months in Captain Ward's company under Major Goetschius at Hackensack and one month under Captain Lott and Colonel Seely at Elizabethtown.

Caleb's brother Joseph, who had been serving aboard an American privateer, was also a prisoner of war. He was imprisoned on one of the damp, rotting prison ships moored in Wallabout Bay along the Brooklyn shoreline. More than 11,000 Americans died on these British ships in New York harbor during the war. Their deaths from illness and hunger averaged 50 a day during a period of six years. Joseph was released in the fall of 1781, about the time of Corwallis' defeat at Yorktown, and "fell in with brother Caleb at the village of Hackensack who was then out on duty in the militia."

Their second cousin Philip was a Captain in the Somerset County Militia and was also a prisoner of war in New York City, in September and October of 1777.

The Finger Lakes

  Caleb returned home to become a tailor. He was on the tax rolls in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, in July, 1785 and again in August, 1786. On April 6, 1787, he married Deborah TUNISON (27 Jul 1772-28 Dec 1859). Deborah's great-great-grandfather, Theunis Nyssen, was born about 1615 and lived in the village of Binneck, Province of Utrecht, Netherlands. He emigrated to New Amsterdam in 1638. On 11 February 1640 Theunis married Phaebea Fallix, widow of Hendrick the Boor. It was the third recorded mariage in the New Amsterdam Dutch Reformed Church.

  Caleb continued to appear on the tax rolls for Bridgewater from 1789 through the summer of 1793. Other Fulkersons listed on Bridgewater tax rolls during that time included Captain Philip, Dennis, Derrick, Fulkert, Hendrick, Philip and Philip Jr., and Samuel. Caleb and Deborah moved to Newton (now Elmira), New York. Caleb first appeared on a tax roll there on 1 Oct 1798, an "Assessment Roll or Descriptive List of the houses, lots, etc. in the 6th Assessment District of the 9th Division of the State of New York" in the county of Chemung [Source: "BRIGHAM’S ELMIRA DIRECTORY, FOR 1863"]. In 1805 Caleb received a tract of land in the Finger Lakes region as a bonus for his Revolutionary war service.

  This was formerly the land of the Six Nations of the Iroquois. These Indians had adopted many of the European ways by the 1770's. They had stone houses with glass windows, well-developed orchards and fine farms. During the American Revolution they sided with the British and raided American frontier settlements. In 1779 an American military expedition raided and burned their towns and farms. The expedition did not kill or capture many Iroquois, though, and so left them intact as a hungry, desperate and angry people. With British food and guns, and aided by the British-sympathizing Tories, they continued to devastate American and rival Mohawk settlements for the remainder of the Revolution. They were finally forced to give up their lands in the 1790's. The process of surveying and subdividing the lands went on for a number of years before the veterans were allowed to take residence.
Finger Lakes map
Grave at Starkey, NY
The circular Revolutionary War Veteran
emblem at the top of this page is the third
marker at Caleb's grave.

  Caleb chose a 640-acre site at Starkey, on the hillsides of the western shore of Seneca Lake. (The farm there still remains in the family, planted with orchards and vineyards, as the "Fulkerson Wine and Juice Plant.") When Caleb walked about the Seneca Lake countryside in 1805 to pick out the land he wanted, he cut a willow branch and used it as his walking stick. After several days he found what he wanted and stuck the branch into the bank of a spring to signify his intention to stay. Later it sprouted some leaves and grew into a tree. Many years later he cut the tree down and sawed the wood into lumber to make caskets for himself and his wife. He died on 4 March 1848, at the age of 86. His tombstone states,

"Here lies a patriot of the Revolution
and a soldier of the cross.
A willow tree that once did stand,
that was planted by his hand,
has now enclosed his body round,
lies mouldering in the ground."

Farmer, Miller and Innkeeper

The History of the Settlement of Steuben County, New York, by Guy McMasters [1853] tells us that Caleb FULKERSON was among the earliest settlers at Reading Centre, "about the year 1806." Caleb appeared on the 1810 Census at the Town of Reading, Steuben Co., NY. His neighbors, listed on the same census page per a BUNCE family site, were Jonas BUNCE, Abner HURD, Philemon FRENCH, Mathew RICE, Ezra KEELER, Timothy HURD, John SEARS, Andrew BOOTHE, Sherman HURD and Conrad ROYCE. Caleb was active in developing uses for his land, including farming and milling. Some of this activity including buying and selling neighboring properties. From the Starkey Biographies, p. 1071, we learn he was involved in land purchases at Big Stream Point on Seneca Lake: "Nathaniel PENDLETON conveyed in 1816 to Caleb FULKERSON, lot 1 0f section 10 of Watson’s Patent, containing 123 acres for $555.75. In 1818 Caleb FULKERSON conveyed to William W. FOLWELL of Romulus, 37 acres of lot 1, embracing the mill seat." [History & Directory of Yates Co., Vol II, Pub 1873, by Stafford C. Cleveland] That same publication tells us in an article on the Lannings, pp. 928-932, "Isaac LANNING relates that when he came to Eddytown in 1806, Caleb FULKERSON had a long tavern at the south end of Eddy’s Settlement, on the west side of the highway." The "History of Yates County, NY" published 1892, by L.C. Aldrich, confirms this by telling us, "Caleb FULKERSON and Andrew HARRISON kept inns in 1808, the first in the town." The index of the "Town of Starkey, Record of Roads, 1826 - 1874" listed Caleb's inn as a tavern.

Revolutionary War Pension

  Caleb applied for a Revolutionary War pension on 28 Sep 1832. Click here to see his description of his Revolutionary War service. This was approved as pension number W17935 on 29 Oct 1833, based on 19 months of military service. His pension was issued at a rate of $63.33 per year, commencing on 4 March 1831, so his initial award was $189.99 with annual payments each March thereafter. In 1839 the pension bureau refigured Caleb's service time and credited him with two full years of service, although his real total was about 28 months, and changed his pension retroactively to $88 per year. His wife Deborah applied for a widow's pension after his death in 1848. This was approved in 1850, at the same annual rate. Deborah survived Caleb and collected his Revolutionary War pension until 1859 - altogether the pension amounted to about $2400 over 28 years.


Family

Caleb and Deborah had 12 children - and at least 38 grandchildren:

Philip............(1789), m. Eunice TORRANCE & moved to Marshall, Michigan
Margaret.......(1791), m. William GOUNDRY, four children
Deborah........(1793), m. Richard HURD, six children, lived in Steuben Co., NY
Joseph.........(1796), m. Mary Ann NORMAN, four children, drowned age 32 repairing mill wheel
Anna............(1799), m. Thomas CULVER, lived at Montour, NY
Letticia.........(1802),
Elinor...........(1804),
Peter M........(1807), twin), m. Lucinda POTTER, nine children, moved to Ovid, Michigan
Samuel........(1807), m. Jane NORMAN in 1831, seven children, stayed on father's farm
Caleb Jr.......(1809), m. Delia WEBSTER, eight children, moved to Michigan
Rebecca......(1811),
William G....(1813). m. Ruby ROYCE, moved to Ovid, Michigan


THE STARKEY BIOGRAPHIES

History & Directory of Yates Co., Vol II, Pub 1873, by Stafford C. Cleveland


FULKERSON   pg 913 – 915

Caleb FULKERSON was born near Somerville, NJ in 1762 and in his early life was apprenticed to a tailor, whose business he followed many years. In the latter part of the Revolutionary war, at the age of 19, he enlisted as a musician. Joining a scouting party he was taken a prisoner and confined in New York in very uncomfortable quarters for 8 or 9 months, suffering great hardships and privations. He was exchanged in June 1782 and returned to his home and business. In 1787 he married Deborah TUNISON. The lived about ten years in New Jersey, when they moved to Newtown and about 1805 took up their abode on lot 11, of Watson’s Purchase, about one mile south of Eddytown, where they resided while they lived. At a very early period they kept a public house there, and it was a place for many public gatherings. He was a very early member of the Presbyterian church at Eddytown, always a citizen held in high respect. He had a large farm and was in independent circumstances. He died in 1848 and was buried in a coffin made from a tree planted by his own hand, which he assisted in cutting down for that purpose. His wife died in 1859 at the age of 88 years. Their children were Philip, Margaret, Deborah, Anna, Joseph, Letitla, Eleanor, Samuel H. and Peter M., (twins), Caleb and William G.

Philip married Eunice, sister of Richard TORRANCE. He died in 1829, aged 41 years. His family resides at Marshall, Michigan.

Margaret married William GOUNDRY. Their surviving children are Caleb, Deborah, Margaret and Caroline. Caleb married Electa, daughter of Gen. Timothy HURD. Deborah married Henry S. BARNES. Margaret married Clement W. BENNETT and Caroline married Dr. George W. BRUNDAGE of Dresden.

Deborah married Richard HURD Jr. Their children were Bryant, Mary Ann, Richard, Caleb, Letitia and Harvey. They lived in Steuben county.

Anna married Thomas CULVER. Their children were Wallace, Vandevere, Sarah, Ellen, Letitia and Harriet.

Joseph married Mary Ann, daughter of Solomon NORMAN, and resided in Starkey, dying at 32 years. He was a man of superior intelligence and a prominent citizen. They had a son, Washington, who resides in Mc Henry Co., Illinois.

Letitia married John BROOKS of Lodi, Seneca Co., and died in 1866 at the age of 63 years.

Eleanor married first, Richard HOWARD. They had a daughter, Margaret. Her second husband was Thomas DAVIS. They had two children, Sarah Ellen and William. Her third husband is David J. MC MASTER of Potter.

Samuel H. born in 1807, married in 1831, Jane Ellen, daughter of Solomon NORMAN and resided on a portion of the old homestead through life, and was in all respects a good citizen. He died at aged 44 years. His wife survives at the age of 63 years in 1871. Their children were: Ellen, Wallace W., Norman, Samuel, Harlan P., Monroe and Caleb. Ellen born in 1833, married George DAVIS and resides at Boss city, Idaho. Wallace born in 1854, married Ann M. GENUNG of Dix, and lives in Independence, Iowa. Norman is single, living in Michigan. Samuel Monroe and Caleb are all in Montana. Harlan P. resides with his mother on the homestead. Wallace W., Norman, and Caleb were Union soldiers in the war of the Rebellion.

Peter M. married Lucinda POTTER. They moved to Ovid, Michigan, where they reside. They moved to Ovid, Michigan where they reside. Their children are Deborah, Nettie, Augusta, Ruby and Francis.

Caleb FULKERSON Jr., married Delia WEBSTER. They reside in Michigan and their children are Lydia A., Margaret, Deborah, Mary, Letitia, Vandevere, William and Prudence. Lydia A. married William STOWE and resides at Horseheads. The others reside in Michigan.

William G. married Ruby ROYCE and lives at Ovid, Michigan.



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