Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ebenezer Cheever in the Revolutionary War

Decoration Day, or Memorial Day as we now call it, is a day set aside to remember very ordinary heroes; our neighbors, our friends, the farmer down the road and all those who put aside their own needs for a time or forever for their country. Sometimes volunteering and sometimes not; injured, slain or returning in good health - what these men and women have in common is their sacrifice for others.
I have been working on compiling additional information on those from Scipio who served in any war and last week spent some time looking at the pension applications for Revolutionary War veterans. Today I’d like to write about Ebenezer Cheever, born in Connecticut and buried in Scipio NY. I would have enjoyed a conversation with him about his service!
Ebenezer was a privateer. Born in Lebanon, Connecticut in 1763, he enlisted in New London in September of 1780 when he was barely 17 years old, on board the privateer ship Randolph commanded by Nicholas Fosdick and was out to sea for 2 months. During that time the Randolph engaged in a battle with the British privateer ship Hibernia, which they won and so took the Hibernia as a prize.
In 1781, Ebenezer enlisted on the ship Young Crommel of ten Grives ( a name I’m not sure I am spelling correctly). They took a British privateer ship this time as well, one mounting ten 4-pounders and one 12.
1782 finds Eb serving on the privateer The Randolph. The crew was taken by the British frigate Vestall. Ebenezer was on board the Vestall as a prisoner for about 2 weeks, then put on a transport ship for another 2 weeks, detained a few days in another transfer then spent six or so months as prisoner on the Jersey prison ship.
Besides the sea, Ebenezer served on land with the Connecticut state troops for about another 9 months spent primarily in helping to build forts. He was taken another time by British Ship of War Gallatee after a running fight of 10 or 12 hours and spent another 3 months on a prison ship. What stories he must have had to tell!
After the war ended, Ebenezer lived for 4 years in Vermont, for 5 years in Montgomery County NY then spent some time in Saratoga County, NY. From there, Eb moved to Cato NY for 5 years then to Scipio about 1815 where he continued to live when he gave his sworn statement in 1833. For his service, Ebenezer was given $30.00 yearly pension. In 1841, he died in Scipio and was buried in the Cornwell Cemetery on State Route 34, leaving behind his widow Jerisha Cheever.
Just an ordinary man, a farmer in central NY, Ebenezer served his country as so many more continue to do today. My hat is off to you all.

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