Journal of Jeremiah
|This document is reproduced from a photocopy supplied by the Detroit Society of Genealogical Research. It appeared in their bi-monthly newsletter, Volume IX November-December 1945 Number 2. It can be found on pages 37-44. The author was Jeremiah Selkrigg. I have attempted to follow the newsletter copy exactly. The (--) marks are in this document. The photocopy I received is missing some parts of words or parts of sentences and there I placed (...) marks. I used [ ] marks to enclosed what I thought the word should be.|
JOURNAL OF JEREMIAH SELKRIGG (OR SELKRIGGS)
It is my desire to give some biographical sketches of my ancestors that my
children may see the progress or degeneracy of the line.
We cannot ascertain the particular dates of births and deaths of our fathers but will sketch as near as possible.
My Grandfather emigrated from Scotland not far from 1730, and said from Glasgow; he spoke the Erse and Latin well, the former very brad; he called his name William Selkriggs, we suppose the original was Selkirk, but we are not certain, he lived in New Haven County, Waterbury and died about 1753, with a fall upon the ice. He had three sons John, Nathaniel and William, and four daughters one married Doct. Foot who lived in Cornwall, Vt., one married Moses Frost who lived and died in Waterbury, one married Asa Judd who lived a few years in Hector, State of New York. ('Mr. Foot' was Isaac Foote who married Sarah Selkrigg and settled in Windsor, Broome Co., N. Y. His brother Dr, Nathan Foote married Merriam Selkrigg, MHW)
John married Miss Hopkins the daughter of Capt. Isaac Hopkins of East Waterbury, John had two sons - Ocea and John were twins, a number of daughters, they were married and we know nothing of their children.
My father (Nathaniel) was born about 1733 or 4, and was married to Mary Gillett of Derby about 1754 and was in the King's service from 1752 to 1759, was Quartermaster Sergeant under Col. Whiting of New Haven in '58 and he was in the battle of Ticonderoga was alternately out under Major Putnam (since General) and Maj. Rogers after the war he removed from Derby to Waterbury; he has six children, two sons and four daughters, myself the oldest, Jeremiah and Polly born in Derby, Lucy, Elizabeth, Hannah and Jonathan born in Waterbury; Polly married Samuel Blakeslee of Northfield; Lucy married Elijah Way of the same place; Elizabeth married Timothy Russett of New Hartford - and died there; Hannah married Levi Woodruff of Litchfield who is since dead; he had two children a son and a daughter who is since dead, he the son is living in Mexico on Lake Ontario with his mother; my brother John at Sacketts Harbor last war.
My mother died about the year 1768. My father married Annis Scovell, a second wife by whom he had two or three daughters and died in 1787 or 8. He lived a poor and honest man and died a Christian, we believe a strict Episcopalian adherant.
My grandfather on the side of my mother, I believe was a Frenchman by the name of Ephriam Gillett, he settled in Derby, New Haven County, he married a sister of Thomas Wooster of that place. He went out in the French War with two sons to the taking of Cape Britton and neither ever returned, he left a widow and five sons and two daughters; Jeremiah, Jonathan , Shadrach, Benjamin, and Joseph, Freelove, and Mary my mother, all dead and their children scattered over the world. Freelove married Eden Sperry of New haven. My Uncle Jeremiah was a Sea Captain many years and settled on Derby Great Hill and lived a farmer; left a number of children when he died some years ago - - it is 50 years since I have known any of them, so we have been scattered about the world 70 years and probably shall always remain strangers.
I will give some account of my own life. I was born the 25th day of May 17546 at
Derby Narrows; was baptized into the Church by Rector Mansfield where I suppose
the records are to be found; went to school to old Mr. Ward at four old which I
remember well; soon after my father removed to Waterbury where I went to school
every year until 16 years old. I was 12 years old when my mother died. I was put
to Mr. Thomas Clark, there I lived until 16 years old, then was put to Joseph
Suliff of East Waterbury to learn the Sailor's trade; remained there until the
Revolution 1775, April, went to New York a three months campaign. Saw part to
the battle of Long Island and the retreat next day; had been sick three weeks
and not able to fight, went under Capt. Amos Beacher and Lietut. John Ak --- of
Farmingbury and Col. Fisher Gay's regiment; went home on furlough, recovered my
health, worked at my trade in winter; in April 1777, went out under Capt. Bray
-- Col. N. Hooker of Southington and served as a guard at Fort Independence
opposite Peck's Kiln about three months; served the same year under Capt.
Castle, Col. Baldwin's regiment, commander Gen. Putman at red Hook; served as
fifer, dismissed after the surrender of Burgoyne 1778; there was no invasion
about Connecticut and I staid home. In 1779 the enemy threatened invasion by
Horse Neck. I cannot remember my Captain but I went in April or first of May to
Horse Neck, and served as fife and drum major under Col. Hooker, Maj. Hooker,
Ajutant Wadsworth --dismissed after the burning of Norwalk in this place; I saw
some trouble in this town, they were nearly half Tories; they went to enemy and
served against their Country during the war; while I was there it was dangerous
to be out at night, near relatives came up in the night and shot their near
relatives, as the enemy lay on Sniffins Hill about two and a half miles below
Horse Neck, parties were out frequently, plundered houses, broke open stables
and took the best horses and cattle.
Our regiment was the only troop that lay within some miles, our business was to guard and defend, and in case the enemy advanced we were to retreat on to the hill; we stationed our guards of thirty men each, the one at Byram Bridge, and the other at Sherwoods two miles west of Horse Neck, under Lieut. or Ensigns command. We supported, those guards for some time when one morning I played off the guards to their posts where at night they fired an alarm at Sherwoods which occasioned the Col. To send his Sergeant Major to make discovery, when he found it false and done by carelessness; all was well at the post he returned and on the road as he came back he heard the snorting of horses in the field, it being dark he saw nothing, we slept until the break of day when we heard the firing of at Sherwoods; immediately the cut sentinal came into camp and said the guard was cut off, and by the time we were mustered the Biram guard was attacked, we pursued and found one man killed at the guard house and one as we thought mortally wounded -- his arms were cut to pieces, his ears cut down onto his cheeks and cut in many other places, yet he has recovered; one prisinor the remainder made their escape; the guard at Biram Bridge heard the firing, Sergeant Newel requested the Ensign Culver to prepare the guard and put them in a situation for defence; The Ensign ordered the Sergeant to place them in two ranks upon an eminence, set the sentinels at a proper distance and set a horseman to meet the enemy, ordered the sentinels to fire at sight of the enemy and run to the guard. The horseman (Felps) a smart fellow returned soon with the enemy at his heels, fired his pistol over his shoulder and rode for the camp, the enemy turned to the right and made for the guard, the sentinals did not fire soon enough and were cut off, they asked quarter but were both slain with the sword. The enemy commanded by Barmore the notorious refugee made a feint to surrender the guard, the officer ordered every man to take care of himself and surrender to the enemy, they cut his wrist almost off and cut the skirt of his coat and carried him to the sugar house, the guard got into a swamp near by and arrived safe at camp.
The one killed first was my messmate, young Bostwick of New Milford, a very handsome man of 18. We brought him in and buried him decently as we could the other was Mr. Hogg of Salem, New Haven County; his brains were cut out on the top of his head and trepanned by the sword, yet he lived to walk home and died.
I must tell you of a farce that took place the same morning which I suppose has never been penned, to shameful and dastardly to have published, A Company of cavalry joined our regiment from New Milford (Con't) between 80 and 100 strong, they were trained under His Majesty's government, you may know what discipline might be at that time, some in old British uniform and some in ragamuffin costume, some mounted on mares with colt's at home, som [some] on old worn out horses, with scarlet holsters and pistols with scarlet grip trimming, some with swords about 18 inches long some 2 feet and some 3 feet long, some with helmets of old hat crowns with a piece of bearskin on the top 8 or 10 inches square, I saw them paraded before the Colonel's door when orders were given them to overtake the enemy if possible to cut them up as it was ascertained that they were only 30 strong, it might be an ...y conquest, the brave fellows drew their swords and swore vengance -- 'Oh' said one 'that I could bathe my sword in their blood' -- 'Yes' said a stout soldier like ...low raising a sword not above 2 feet long 'I will shiver then to the bone d--m them'. They rode off with hearty cheers and soon passed Biram - all was still, they moved on with cautious steps ruminating on the event happy would it could and bring all into camp, especially that rascal Barmore, indeed said another 'I would not take him alive' 'Bring in his head' said another. 'Stop' said one, 'halt that I hear something we may be near them'. 'March on' said the Captain, 'if they discover us they will retreat as their horses are better than ours and they are all bay horses with square tails, if they can find an advantageous place they may have the audacity to attack us, yonder you see a thicket on each side of the road, be cautious, there are fields on each side but much brush near the fence which is an old crazy fence'.
They had gone about a mile below the bridge when they came into a narrow road with thick brushwood on each side, in close order, when the enemy mounted over the fence, from each side with a savage yell; the enemy's horse came over onto horse and man and there was no room to fight they were all entangled together in the utmost confusion, our brave men fell from their horses and dodged from place to place, under the bellies of the animals, so that it was not in the power of the enemy to kill or make prisoners of man or horse.
was standing by the Colonal's door when I saw three of four men some running
with bearskin caps on their heads, some swords in and some without; very soon
old mares and horses shivering and snorting came in saddles and holsters on, the
men came up; 'Well' said Col. 'What news?' Oh we were all cut of [off] said
they. We were moving slowly in a narrow road when the enemy came up on us as
from the clouds and we had no room to fight but we that are here got into the
bushes and got clear thank God.
Well there are some men and horses coming yonder' said the Colonel, 'Yes but I thought they were all taken or killed, they have been as lucky as we then.'
Very soon all the men and horses returned safe; it appears that the surprise so pleased the enemy that they were willing to let them run.
There was nothing to awaken malice or revenge in the enemy, but the sport of seeing man and horse higgle to piggle bounding over one another unmanned the enemy for fight and brought on a fit of laughter.
I do not know what kind of a report was made to the Commanding Officer but I suppose under the unfortunate name of defeat.
So you see what the situation, men are in who had never seen service, which was the case in our country even in 1779 when all had heard so much of cowardice and brave exploits. The affair of Danbury was intermixed with the most miserable cowardice and the most heroic exploits 1777-1779.
I have digressed from the track of my life or have been too brief in the year
'76, I will go back to August or September '76. I marched with our company from
Waterbury to New Haven on the road to New York where our company took a boat to
proceed by water. We hired Maloy's old sloop, Capt. Montague together with
another company of 40 men, our sloop was old and crazy, we sailed on Saturday
afternoon with a full breeze. It soon began to rain, the storms increased and at
ten o'clock we were off Fairfield, it being dark we cast anchor. I was
surprised to see the tumbling of the sloop and the working of her seams and
something leaky while at sea like flashes of fire began to sweep her deck. The
only boat was dashed against her stern, the cable parted as on we drove for the
Long Island rocks; compass out of order, we drove our best bower.
About this time there were about one hundred seasick, the cable parted two strands, and held on with the other until daylight (I was sick with the others). When we came to sail and arrived at Hurlgate at twelve o'clock next day, where we waited for the tide with seventeen sail with troops on board, we landed at New York in the afternoon very weak and with empty stomacks; we found many of the six months men (as we termed them, who had enlisted the May previous) very sick with camp complaint, the back pavements were bloody with the complaint and very offensive. I was a boy and had not my growth nor strength of a man yet I learned the manual exercises and went to alarm post every morn for a week and was sick as I have stated.
The men frequently saw the British fleet expecting every day they would land their troops, when on the evening of one day about the last of August there came on a tremendous thunderstorm when it seemed that the city was enveloped in one solid mass of brimstone and fire which killed eight men within the compass of the city. At this time the enemy landed on Long Island without opposition, our troops all militia were marching onto the Island all the next day; one would have thought there were about twenty thousand, yet there were scarsely more than twelve, the enemy's shipping was maneuvered up and down the east and north rivers constantly, everything seemed to be in motion.
The battle soon began four or five miles below New York and continued all day; in the afternoon I was enabled to get upon the top of a house and see the artillery fire a mile or two below Brooklyn and retreat. A constant firing of small arms continued until night.
Many wounded came over the ferry in boats which brought on many a long pale face; at night all was till as death, about ten o'clock it rained with a northeast wind. I was under my blanket; I heard a cry in the city 'Turn out! turn out! Bring Gen. Lee across the North river with fine thousand men'. The men turned out with the greatest alacrity and were ordered immediately to the East river to man the boats to fetch Gen'l Washington over with the army, all of which was completed by the sun one hour high the next morning without the loss of a man.
Lord Howe lay off fly Market all night with his tender astern, and could not get up wind and tide against him; therein you may see was a remarkable providence interposed for the Salvation of American Liberty. Had Lord Howe been able to cut off the retreat it would probably have ended the contrast, to our ruin.
These incidents I write because that I saw with my own eyes all that I now relate and when you read the history of the Revolution you will not find these particulars penned down all together and many of the have never been written.
sun one hour high in the morn I stood on the dock at fly Market; one broadside
of a galley was fired upon them, the enemy, as they marched into Brooklyn fort.
I saw them take possession of the fort an expected a shot in return, which might
have killed a number of us, but they turned the cannon upon Governor's Island
four or five shots and ceased firing.
You might well think we must soon be prisoners of war, we saw no probability of escape but to our surprise and good fortune the enemy pitched their tents on the shore of the East river from Brooklyn nearly to Turtle Bay or opposites that, where they remained about two days and two nights as peaceable as in time of peace.
this time, especially in the night time Gen'l Washington was removing his heavy
cannon out of the city. I did not perceive any movements of the army. I believe
on Friday, it was about the beginning of September that the orders came for the
sick to go out to Turtle Bay and take furloughs to go into the country and
recruit, very pleasant news to me and others it was. We were overtaken by
General Washington and his aids after travelling about a mile, as we lay under
the fence to rest, when he asked us where we were going we told him that we were
sick and had orders to go to camp and take furloughs to go out and recruit. He
said 'Go and not to forget to come back.'
We obtained our furloughs in the afternoon and marched out to the head of Turtle Bay (this place is now in the city and not known by that name). There was a battery of three or four guns called Turtle Bay Battery on the bank of the East river which was intended to prevent the enemy from landing there. I passed on until I came to an eminence where there was a country seat of some gentleman, my company left me and went on. I was weak and stopped to rest. I lay down near a large garden, I should think a hundred feet above the water and the bay, where I espied a ship laying opposite the battery, all still it appeared to be within a hundred rods of me. I have been told since that it was the Roebuck, I think of twenty guns, she fired a broadside and was answered by the battery, they continued the fight above an hour when she ceased firing and commenced firing the other broadside. The battery ceased firing while the ship wore around, which made me very anxious in hope that they advantage of the ship, but the ship had dismounted one or more of the guns which they endeavored to repair yet answered the ship until the ship cut her cable and fell down with the tide very much shivered. I saw the splinters fly.
At this place the enemy landed next day while the Army was marching out when there was some firing but not many killed. I passed on to the road to Derby and saw no more of them, my father met me at Derby Ferry and carried me home where I soon recovered.
Stephen Upton and John Beach were killed the Sunday following on Harlem Height in the battle at that place. Stephen was my school-mate. John was a school master very much lamented by is friends and all their acquaintances.
The spring of '77 I was sent out under Capt. Bray as I have stated before, of Southington (still an apprentice and still belonged to Sol. Gray's regiment) to march to Peekskill. When I arrived there I found that the stores had been burned and one or two ships lay menacing the place. We marched over the bay and were stationed on Fort Independence, attached to Gen'l McDougal's brigade where we kept guard until Danbury was Burned. When that affair was over we were dismissed, this time in May.
became twenty-one years of age, went home and removed to Waterbury and went to
work at my trade, but being attached to Col. Baldwin's regiment was sent out
under Capt. Castle and marched to Fishkill. At this time Esopus was on fire; we
marched up the road to ---- Flats. We overtook the enemy all on board ships
going up with the tide. We marched a number of miles side by side until we came
to anchor at the mills and we encamped on the heights. Nothing of moment
transpired for some days, excepting an incident which happened the next morning
after our arrival. A number of boys asked to leave to go down to the bank of the
river to see the enemy parade at he dock on roll call. We stood exactly opposite
the Lady Washington galley which was their guard boat, she had been taken in New
York in '76. She had a twenty-four pounder in her bow and two small pieces in
her sides. She appeared so near the boys said they could reach her with their
muskets, they fired; I was in range of the shots from the enemy, the boys
escaped and I was left to take the shot which were of grape. I saw the blaze and
fell before the shots reached me, I arose saw a second fire, fell again and
shots went over me but so near that I thought wome [some] of them might have
lodged in my hair, yet I escaped.
There I remained under Gen'l Putnam until after the surrender of Burgoyne, expecting the enemy to land every hours.
I returned home and pursue my business through the winter and through the year 1778 remained at home. In the spring of 1779 as I have before stated I went to Horse-neck, after I left Horseneck I returned home and soon volunteered to go to New Haven under Capt. Isaac Bronson to guard that place as it had been recently plundered , which was like locking the stable after the horse was stolen. There I served two months under Col. Ezekiel Sabin as fife-major, this was a very agreeable tour.
returned home in September and attended to my business more than one year. Now
is coming the hard winter of '79-'80. There was not much fighting until 1781. I
was enjoying myself among my friends and a little beforehand in life.
In 1781 the war seemed to revive and burst forth in the east and south which soon terminated in the capture of Cornwallis. This year I went out for my last campaign. I was drafted in the summer of '81 and joined Capt. Norton's Company (I believe this was his name) and marched through Durham from this place to New London, then up the Thames to Norwich from that to Warrick in the State of Rhode Island, there joining Col. W. Worthignton's regiment from thence to Providence and encamped ... I returned home in September. This will suffice for my service in the Revolution there after the war ended in 1783.
was twenty-five years old. I removed to Leichfeel South Farms, there I lived
with Leman Stone, enjoyed myself well for four or five years and married Olive
She brought me a son, born 25th December 1786 which we named Lorrin and in 1778  we had a daughter which we called Rhoda. The same year we removed into New York, county of Columbia and town of Clavarac where we lived seven years, had a son which we called WILLIAM, who died at six months old. The next was JAMES, now living; then WILLIAM, now living, lost one or two infants, and removed to TROY, where we lived about five years; there was born my son JEREMIAH. Then removed to Sharon in the State of Connecticut where we lived until about 1806 when my daughter MARY was born. Then removed to Poughkeepsie, lived there seven or eight years from thence to Newburgh when my family began to separate.
married in Poughkeepsie. WILLIAM at his trade in Amenia. JAMES had been to sea
and returned. RHODA, JEREMIAH and MARY living with us when we removed to Homer
in the State of New York 1816 - introduced there by my friend Hezekiah Robarts
whom I esteem as one of the best friends we ever had.
About 1824 married my daughter RHODA to RUFUS BEACH ESQ., who removed to Rochester soon after. We then removed to Poughkeepsie with our friend, and stayed there but one year, then followed our daughter to Rochester.
JAMES had married in Preble to Miss Norris. He became a Methodist Preacher.
In Rochester we lived with our son JEREMIAH and daughter MARY until we found it necessary to give up house keeping. We lived in Mr. Beach's family some time then mutually separated. I went to live with my son JAMES, my wife and MARY with Mr. Beach. When MARY married to ADDISON GARDINER, my wife went to live with her. Mr. Beach removed to the State of Ohio. I lived alternately with JAMES and WILLIAM who married Miss GROSS and has three fine children living in the Sate of New York , Nine Mile Creek.
Following his trade my son LORRIN deid [died] about 1826 and left six fine children to the care of an industrious mother, whose name was JEMIMA VASSER, three sons and three daughters. Be it remembered to her honor that she has done well although unfortunate. LORRIN was about forty years old when he died.
JEREMIAH married to MISS MARION SPRAGUE of Pompey, about 1834. My daughter RHODA has two fine daughters, ELIZA and MARTHA GOULD, whom I hope to see before I die. I love her very and it is true I love all my children and grandchildren much alike, I know little difference. I have lived principally with James.
June 3rd 1835 we left the State of New York for the far west. I left my wife son JEREMIAH and daughter MARY with regret, perhaps shall never see them again but so it was. I must live the remainder of my days with my children and so must my wife for want of property to keep house. This seems to be the only reason why we cannot spend our last days together. We have always lived in harmony together and very decently. I have loved my wife always as was my duty and I believe she has loved me. We have never been rich, but moderately poor. We have had the blessing of God that many of the rich have not, which is to be appraised higher than wealth or honor. My posterity is free from crime of a very deep dye, for aught I know no murders, thieves, hypocrites or liars I hope.
am now writing in my eighty-second year 1837, situated in Niles, Berrien County
in the Sate of Michigan, 700 miles from my wife and three children, the finest
country I ever saw, better situated than I have ever been, could enjoy the
presence of my dear family that are absent. I am living with my son James and
famil6y who make me as happy as they can.
I hope [note] I have sixteen grand children and two great grand children. Poor George B. Selkrigg died the 10th of May 1837 in Detroit; a promising boy of 18, the son of LORRIN whom I loved as I do all my children. Would to God I could see them all before I die.
children and grand children may wish to know my thoughts on Religion as I have
lived so long in this world. I have seen and heard and remembered above seventy
I was born an Episcopalian so I was bred for twelve years, then I lived with a Presbyterian family many years. I made no choice of tenets until about seventy years old. I would advise my offspring to imbibe the true principles of religion which you find in the New Testament, that is, a full belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as your redemer, and live accordingly. Always to live in peace with God and Man, an even temper and good disposition promotes a long life and happiness. Now there is nothing in the different persuasions or tenets more than to place your self in a good Christian Society where is love and good-will towards God and man."
Jeremiah Selkrig or Selkrigg died 14 Nov 1852 in Allegan County, Michigan, his son Rev. James Selkrig was a missionary to the Indians there. He was buried on the north side of Selkirk Lake on 127th Avenue in Wayland Township, Allegan County, Michigan. He has a Revolutionary War marker on his grave, which reads: JEREMIAH SELKRIG, FIFE MAJOR HOOKER'S CT MIL. REV WAR.
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