Zimmer: Family Tree

The Family of James G. Zimmer

Revolutionary War Guys

I grew up bored with history because it was about wars, battles, and sequences of ever more yawn-inducing heads of state. And I'm cynical about family history stories that focus on soldiers, as if going off to war was the only courageous thing a person could do. But my misgivings aside, the American Revolution was a cool event. And a lot of information is available about those men who joined the struggle.*

JZ's documented family go so deeply into American history for so many generations, it's been hard to come up with a story line to explore. Therefore, I'll just start with what's easiest: discovering who signed on to fight in the Revolution. I found not one, but five.

Samuel Carmen (1749-1817)

For some reason, I got the impression that Carman was among those south Hemstead folks who resisted independence and collaborated with the English. Perhaps some of them did, but not JZ's 4x-great-grandfather. He was a private in the New York Line, 1st Regiment, recruited from the New York City area. This oldest of 5 children enlisted in 1782 at age 33, a married man with 6 (of his total 13) children. Maybe he was not an "early adopter" of scary ideas. (Not an early abolitionist either, since the 1790 census showed him owning one slave.) He stayed in the military after the War. For his efforts he managed to advance to the rank of Colonel and was awarded 600 acres of land.

JZ <James <Edna Griffith <Mary Carman <Richard M. Carman <Richard Carman <Samuel Carman

Joseph Ireland (1712-1793)

Joseph Ireland was a private in the 1st Regiment of Minutemen, Suffolk County Militia, whose claim to fame was their involvement in the Battle of Long Island, involving 10,000 Americans and 20,000 British troops in August 1776. He was a lifelong resident of Huntington on the north side of Long Island. In 1776, he was married with 9 children -- and 64 years old (so I'm impressed). His 6 sons were adults, but so far I see no record of their participation. Maybe Joe was just an old guy sitting on his front porch with his musket and his spy-glasses, looking out for the British invaders. (The 1790 census shows that he too had a slave.)

JZ <James <Edna Griffith <James Griffith <James Ireland Griffith <Mary Valentine <Fanny Ireland <Thomas Ireland <Joseph Ireland

Nathan Spicer (1735-1811)

Nathan was a private in the 4th Regimen of the Albany County Militia. He was born in Pomfret, Connecticut, the youngest of 6 children. He was not a farmer, because he moved around a lot (Amenia NY, Kinderhook NY, Nassua NY, Fort Ann NY). For his war efforts he got a land grand.

In 1776, he was 41 years old, married, with 6 of his 10 children.

JZ <Orpha <Walter Spicer <Nathan Spicer <Jacob Spicer <Nathan Spicer

Gideon Richmond (1735-1801)

Enlisted in March 1778 in the 12th Massachusetts Regiment, Joshua Eddy's Company. He signed up for six months and stayed for 8. Gideon lived in Taunton, Massachusetts at that time (suggesting Plymouth Rock people). In 1778 he was 43 years old, married, with 9 of his 13 children running around.

JZ <Orpha <Aimee Hyatt <Nelson Hyatt <Betsy Richmond <Elijah Richmond <Gideon Richmond

Eliakim Howard (1739-1827)

Eliakim was a captain in the Third Regiment of the Massachusetts Militia (Plymouth County). His service is outlined in somone's application for Sons of the American Revolution:

[EH] served as Captain in Colonel Edw. Nutchel's Reg't service 6 days. Company marched from Bridgewater to Braintree Neck, March 4 1776. Also Captain 1st Co. 3rd Plymouth... [Apparently chosen for a battlefield promotion] ordered in council in March; commissioned March 25, 1776.

Also Captain Col. Edw. Nutchel's Reg't. Service 15 days. Company marched from Bridgewater to Bristol, RI, on the alarm of Dec. 8, 1776.

Also Captain in Maj. Eliphalet Carey's Reg't. Marched July 30, 1780. Service 11 days. Company marched to Rhode Island on an alarm.

In 1776, he was 37 years old and married, with a 13 year old son. He was discharged from the militia on August 9, 1780.

Eliakim was the youngest of 7 children born to David Howard and Bethiah Leonard.

JZ <Orpha <Walter (and Aimee Hyatt) Spicer < Tobias (and Orpha Smith) Spicer <Marietta Howard (and Nathan Spicer) <Eliakim (and Anna Williams) Howard <Eliakim (and Mary) Howard

Don't you think it's interesting that none of these were young men? -- not at all what we think of when we think of "warriors." They were all kind of middle-aged-to-old family men, doing what needed to be done.

1 Jun 2012


*Collected in particular by the Sons and Daughter of the American Revolution, both a a point of pride and as a way of distinguishing the "original" Americans from the wretched immigrants of later years.