Many online trees list Caleb Atwater and Lydia Benham,. Lydia would have been 48 when she had Benjamin. According to many sites (this one included) Lydia died in 1753, before his stated birth of 1756, but 1753 is unsourced data. They have many children recorded in New Haven and there is no Benjamin as their child in the vital records. However it is also claimed there was a second Stephen (born 1751) and also this Benjamin (born 1756 or sometimes 1753) born after the couple went to New York. Evidence that Stephen who died 24 Apr 1831 was born in 1751 exists on a tombstone which states he was AE. 80 so born 1751ish. Jacobus gives Stephen born in 1748 in New Haven a death date of 4 Mar 1831. This could be any combination of scenarios. There is not enough evidence available to absolutely disprove this, but none of the printed genealogies claim that Benjamin is the son of Caleb, but rather his grandson, son of James.
The Tuttle Genealogy (1883) claims that Lois Tuttle's first child, Benjamin, was the son of her first husband, Benjamin Todd. The author of "The Todd Family in America" although aware of this, didn't want to commit, one way or the other. The Atwater Genealogies do not mention the possibility at all, but both of those believe Benjamin is the son of James and not Caleb.
Benjamin Atwater's birth has been given as 1756. His birth or his baptism were not recorded in New Haven under the name Todd or Atwater, he claims to have been born in Nine Partners, New York, and James and Lois were married, in New Haven, Dec 1756 Under the normal course of events Benjamin, if the Todd son, would have been born between June & August 1756. It is also conceivable that the grieving widow sought consolation from James Atwater before their marriage. Benjamin used the name Atwater, and his descendants used the name Atwater, although there is the possibility that he was Benjamin Todd's posthumous son.
There are bothersome items about accepting any of the scenarios.
Benjamin (d. 1755), enlisted and went to Crown Point just days after his marriage, leaving very little time for creating children.
If Benjamin (d 1833) was the son of Benjamin (d. 1755), his birth would have been Jun/Aug 1756. He claims to have been born in 1756 in Nine Partners New York, but Lois and James Atwater, were married in New Haven in Dec 1756. What was Lois doing in Nine Partners, nine months pregnant, with no husband to support her? Her parents were both still alive and living in New Haven, as were her first husband's parents.
If you accept that Benjamin (d. 1833) was son of James Atwater and born in 1756 in Nine Partners, then he was conceived before their marriage and they made a speedy trip back to Nine Partners before the end of the year, or perhaps he was born before their marriage.
Are the Vital Records for a 1756 marriage wrong? Could it have been 1755, just a month after Benjamin's (d. 1755) death? Was Benjamin (d. 1833) mistaken about his place of birth or date? DNA testing might help solve this.
Four printed genealogies claim the following facts about Benjamin Atwater.
He married Hannah Reynolds and he died at Cherry Valley, Otsego, NY.
The Todd and Tuttle Genealogies claim his birth in 1756.
He married March 1, 1777, or 1778, or 1779. Hannah Reynolds was b. June 8, 1758; d. Oct. 6, 1818.
He died May 6, 1833, or May 6, 1838. The last reference adds that he is buried on a farm formerly owned by Amenzo Brown. The 1860 Census reports there was an Amenzo Brown living in Roseboom, Otsego, New York, only four miles from Cherry Valley, New York, giving credence to the 1838 date.
Unless otherwise noted the children are listed in all four of the previously mentioned genealogies. The dates come from the Atwater History and the Todd Family.
John, b. Feb. 16, 1779. He m. Nancy Alstyne.
Zereviah/Sophia, b. May 10, 1781; m. Kerley Johnson.
Lois. b. Nov. 29, 1783.
Hannah. b. April 23, 1786.
Dorcas. b. July 17, 1788; m. Walter K. Farmin.
James, b. April 29, 1791. James is only listed in the Atwater History and the Todd Family.
Elnathan, b. Aug. 23, 1793. m. Mary Bliss and had sev. chil.
Massa, b. Aug. 23, 1793. This child is only mention in the Todd Family and would be a twin of Elnathan whom is also mentioned.
Mercy, b. Dec. 15, 1796; m. Samuel Shepard. Mercy is not listed in the Todd Family.
Melinda, b. Sept. 10, 1799.
Sally, b. May 19, 1801. Sally is only listed in the Atwater History and the Todd Family.
None of the above genealogies mention service in the revolution.
Private Benjamin Atwater, by his own testimony was born 1756 in Nine Partners, Duchess County, New York, and was still living there when the American Revolution began. He lived in Hillsdale, Columbia County, New York, in 1777 and Canajoharie, Montgomery County, New York, in 1833.
Other family members were mentioned or supported Benjamin's 1833 application for a pension:
His brother Caleb Atwater, in the sixty-seventh year of his age, and resident of Canajoharie, Montgomery County, New York stated that he resided at Nine Partners and in Hillsdale, otherwise called Nobletown, now in Columbia County. He lived with his father during the revolution and that for several periods of time Benjamin was gone with the troops, which caused his mother much anxiety. When he returned home he told stories of his service.
Benjamin's son John Atwater, age 45, a physician and surgeon, in the town of Canajoharie stated that he had known Benjamin, during John's entire life, and that he had many times heard his father tell tales of the war to the family and to other Revolutionary soldiers.
Another son lived in Palatine, Montgomery County.
A Soldier in the Revolution
Benjamin Atwater claimed the following service as a private.
Sept 1, 1775 to Jan 1 1776 7 days as a minuteman with Lt. Nathaniel Mead, Capt Hugh Ray's Comp. Col Cornelius Humphreys, Regt NY Troops
Jany 1 1776-May 1776 - 4 months 7 days with Capt Hugh Ray's Comp. Col Cornelius Humphreys, Regt NY Troops
Sept 1776 to November 1776 - 2 months as a substitute for Stephen Atwater. under Ebenezer Husted & Lt. John Wilson NY troops
Dec 1776 - 1 month 19 days substitute fo no officer
Oct 1777 12 days with Col. Van Rennsalear
Total 8 months 15 days.
Details of Service
About the first of March 1776, the troops went to New York City for 10-12 days and then up the East River to a place nearly opposite Hell gate, where they erected a fort, that they called Fort Minute. Atwater had heard there were three regiments there and thought that Lord Sterling was in charge of some of the American Army. He was discharged, in May 1776, from Fort minute and returned to home some 80 miles away.
In Sept 1776, he volunteered as a substitute for Stephen Atwater (no relationship mentioned) in a company of militia commanded by Ebenezer Husted?, Lt. John Wilson. They were marched to the Highlands (about 40 miles) to Fort Constitution on the east side of the North River. While there a British officer was recruiting men on the other side of the river. Benjamin volunteered, took a boat six miles, and walked another six miles to a house where he was to be hidden at daybreak. Upon going to hide in the barn, they were taken prisoner by British troops who were hiding in the hay. They were taken to Peakskill and then returned to the Fort, where he was discharged at the end of his two month term. He remembered seeing General Washington.
End of Dec. 1776, Benjamin again volunteered as a substitute for Stephen Atwater. He was not signed on for a specific period of time. He and others of his company with no officer but an unnamed Ensign were marched 80 miles through Fishkill and Peakskill to a place called Horse Neck, where they waited about a week, for the arrival of other companies, who came under the command of General Heath. The group marched through White Plains to Fort Independence. He was on guard duty between the bridge and the fort. It was extremely cold. Eventually he became quite unwell, was under the doctors care, and was discharged to make his way home, while still ill. It took another two months for his good health to return.
In the month of October 1775, Benjamin was again called out, under Lt. Nathaniel Mead, Capt Hugh Ray's Comp. Col Cornelius Humphreys. They surrounded a Tory owned barn in Quaker Hill, but the men escaped. Note that this says October 1775 but is in Benjamin's narrative between 1776 and 1777.
One last time, in Oct. 1777, Benjamin answered the call to defend his new country. At the time Benjamin was living at Hillsdale, otherwise called Nobletown, in the county of Columbia. This was just before Burgoyne's surrender, in fact by the time the company arrived, the surrender had already taken place. The marched through Albany and Troy and drew provisions at Stillwater. Atwater recalls that "DeForest was ? with the company & with the Claverack Militia in Col. Van Rensselaer's regiment." After being gone 12 days he was once again discharged and went home.:
Source: Pension Documents Benjamin Atwater S14931. The National Archives, Publication Number: M804, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Publisher: NARA, National Archives Catalog ID: 300022, Archives Catalog Title: Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900, Record Group: 15 State: New York. Available at Fold3.com (pay site) or the National Archives.
Benjamin applied for and received a pension for his service during the Revolutionary War. The last payment was made the 2nd quarter of 1838.
↑ 1.01.11.21.31.4 The descendants of William and Elizabeth Tuttle, who came from old to New England in 1635, and settled in New Haven in 1639, with numerous biographical notes and sketches; also, some account of the descendants of John Tuttle, of Ipswich; and Henry Tuthill, of Hingham, Mass. ... – George Frederick Tuttle pp240/241 Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle and Company, 1883
↑ 2.02.12.22.32.4 Todd, John Edwards, D.D. The Todd family in America : or, The descendants of Christopher Todd, 1637-1919. Northampton, Mass.: Press of Gazette Printing Co., 1920. (pp 52/3, 91, 170).
↑ 3.03.13.23.33.4 Atwater, Francis (compiler). Atwater History and Genealogy, Third Volume. Meriden, CT : Journal Pub. Co., 1918 (pp 17, 31, 64).
↑ 4.04.14.24.3 Atwater, Edward Elias, A Genealogical Register of the Descendants in the Male Line of David Atwater, One of the Original Planters of New Haven, Conn., to the Sixth Generation. New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1873. (pp 20, 33, 53).
↑ 5.05.1 Pension Documents Benjamin Atwater. Source: The National Archives, Publication Number: M804, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Publisher: NARA, National Archives Catalog ID: 300022, Archives Catalog Title: Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900, Record Group: 15 State: New York. Available at Fold3.com (pay site) or the National Archives. Benjamin Atwater S14931.
↑ Vital Records of New Haven 1649-1850 Part I. Hartford: The Connecticut Society of the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America, 1917.
↑ The National Archives, Publication Number: M804, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Publisher: NARA, National Archives Catalog ID: 300022, Archives Catalog Title: Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 - ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 - ca. 1900, Record Group: 15 State: New York. Available at Fold3.com (pay site) or the National Archives. Benjamin Atwater S14931.
Ancestry.com. U.S. Pensioners, 1818-1872 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Ledgers of Payments, 1818-1872, to U.S. Pensioners Under Acts of 1818 Through 1858 From Records of the Office of the Third Auditor of the Treasury, 1818-1872; (National Archives Microfilm Publication T718, 23 rolls); Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, Record Group 217; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
↑ NARA 2733385 Index to Final Pension Payment Vouchers, compiled 1818 - 1864 Record Group: 217. Published at Fold3 2010 (pay site).
First Census of the United States, 1790 (NARA microfilm publication M637, 12 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Year: 1790; Census Place: Hillsdale, Columbia, New York; Series: M637; Roll: 6; Page: 235; Image: 263; Family History Library Film: 0568146. Data--Benjn Atwater. Free White Persons - Males - Under 16: 1 / Free White Persons - Males - 16 and over: 1 / Free White Persons - Females: 5 / Number of Household Members: 7
Second Census of the United States, 1800. NARA microfilm publication M32 (52 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Year: 1800; Census Place: Hillsdale, Columbia, New York; Series: M32; Roll: 22; Page: 1182; Image: 187; Family History Library Film: 193710 Data: Benjamin Atwater //Free White Persons - Males - Under 10: 2 / Free White Persons - Males -10 thru 15: 1 / Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25: 1 / Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44: 1 / Free White Persons - Females - Under 10: 2 / Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15: 2 / Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25: 2 / Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44: 1 / Number of Household Members Under 16: 7 / Number of Household Members Over 25: 2 / Number of Household Members: 12
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Benjamin by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Benjamin: