Brave sons of the West
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:24 AM
EDITOR'S NOTE: In collaboration with several local organizations, the Fillmore County Historical Society is co-sponsoring a War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration Saturday, June 16, 2012, in the village of Lenora. This is Part Two of a six-part series on 13 War of 1812 veterans buried in nine local cemeteries. Richardson serves as the executive director of the Fillmore County History Center.
The granite replacement stone for Daniel Babcock at the Lanesboro Cemetery. (Photo ©2012 Debra Richardson)
In the world of publishing deadlines, I'm ahead of myself in the story as I write the first profiles of War of 1812 veterans who will be honored June 16. Memorial Day is still on my calendar. But by the time you're reading this the commemorative events are coming up fast so I'll share a word regarding the venue.
The gravestone dedication at Lenora Cemetery will be brief, family-focused, and not readily accessible for public attendance due to the rural graveyard's location. The memorial service following at Lenora Church is open to all, although we must reserve the limited indoor seating for dignitaries, veterans' descendants, and our collaborative sponsors. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs to set up outside the church where the service will be broadcast through a sound system. Practical matters such as traffic, seating, and parking - not to mention unpredictable weather conditions - require that caution needs to be exercised for those planning to attend.
While this may be the bad news, the good news is that events will be videotaped for delayed broadcast the week of July 4 on local cable channel 11. Area media will also be covering the ceremonies. Plus, a commemorative exhibit will be available for viewing at the Fillmore County History Center throughout the summer months.
For the intrepid, I'll lead an informal tour Sunday, June 17, to each of the nine cemeteries where the veterans are buried. Please check the website for further information plus updates and photos from all events: http://tinyurl.com/btk364d
Daniel Knight Babcock
Daniel was born the son of Arnold and Abigail Babcock Jan. 12, 1795, in Cranston, R.I. A cabinetmaker and carpenter by trade, Babcock enlisted as a private in Captain William Lampson's Company of the New York Militia. Auditor's reports show he served from Sept. 7 to 20, 1812, from Feb. 3, 1813, to March 19, 1813, and again from July 28, 1814, to Aug. 21, 1814. A bounty land warrant of 160 acres was issued to him for his service under the Scrip Warrant Act of March 3, 1855 - an amendment that granted land to qualifying veterans. In 1860, Daniel applied for a warrant through H. G. Bristol of Chatfield. His pension file contains briefs, submitted by Preston attorney Reuben Wells, for claims of an $8 per month allowance filed subsequent to the Act of Feb. 14, 1871.
Daniel married Mary Mathews in Canton, St. Lawrence County, N.Y., Jan. 20, 1817. The couple's son, George, and daughter-in-law, Antonette, left New York for the western frontier in the fall of 1853. Arriving in Fillmore County, they were among the earliest settlers of Carimona, where they erected the first frame house in the township. By the 1860 census, 65-year old widower Daniel, having followed his son to southeast Minnesota, was enumerated in the 1860 Federal Census in Preston Township. A decade later, he'd joined George's family in Lanesboro, where the Babcock clan did business as "furniture dealers." According to the History of Fillmore County 1882, George had settled in Lanesboro in 1869, where he built the first warehouse in the community. The younger Babcock served as Lanesboro mayor for one year, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and city marshal, before he headed further westward to Dakota Territory.
Daniel Knight Babcock died at Lanesboro July 16, 1873, at the age of 83 years, and was buried at Lanesboro Cemetery. His obituary referred to him as "Captain Babcock" and stated he served as an officer in the War of 1812. He was remembered as an "old resident of the county and a consistent Christian."
Daniel has two gravestones above his burial plot at Lanesboro Cemetery. The original marker of either limestone or marble lies encased flat in concrete from an earlier primitive restoration attempt. The weather-worn inscription is barely legible. A gray granite replacement stone is inscribed with his full name and years of birth and death.
Peter G. Benway
Peter was born Jan. 17, 1789, in New York. He never married. While few clues as to his ancestry are obtainable, it appears that his last name of Benway may be derivative of the surname Benoit, Benneway, or Bennewe - and likely is of French Canadian heritage.
As a 25-year-old, Peter served as a private in Captain Samuel McMath's Company of the New York Militia, enlisting on Aug. 28, 1814, and being discharged Nov. 8, 1814. During the Battle of Plattsburg and Battle on Lake Erie, he was stationed at Buffalo. His name appears under the command of Colonels John Knickerbacker and Peter Yates of the 14th Regiment of Albany County Militia.
By 1855, Peter had settled in Hampshire, Kane County, Ill. He applied to the U.S. Pension Office for bounty land under the Act of March 3, 1855, but did not receive a warrant. One year later, he had resettled in Pleasant Grove, Minnesota Territory, where he appeared before a justice of the peace in Olmsted County, attesting to the fact that he had yet to receive a warrant. His name is recorded in the index of awards on claims of the Soldiers of the War of 1812. A notation acknowledges that the applicant had been granted recompense for his service.
A military warrant land patent was issued to Peter June 1, 1859, for 160 acres in the W ½ NW ¼ of Section 4 and N½ NE¼ of Section 5 of Sumner Township under the Scrip Warrant Act of 1855. He is listed in the database of "Military Land Grants in Minnesota for Soldiers of the War of 1812" as having served in the New York Militia.
In 1871, he removed to Fillmore County to reside in the county poor farm on the Amherst-Canton Township line. The two-and-a-half story house housed an average of 30 "inmates" and operated from 1868 until 1943, when poor farms were abolished by the establishment of a state welfare system. On the state census enumerated May of 1875, Peter is recorded in a group of a dozen persons listed as "paupers." He died Dec. 17, 1875, at the age of 86 years and 11 months of natural causes.
Although no obituary was published at the time of his death, an article in the Preston Republican of July 27, 1876, updated the status of his remains:
"A man named Benway who died at the Poor Farm last fall was kindly remembered by his Masonic brethren who had his remains exhumed and buried in Lenora Cemetery. Benway, a veteran of the War of 1812, drew a pension of $96 yearly when he died. He was a Mason in good standing. A. D. Gray and Avery Herrick removed his remains to their new resting place and Father Bryant dug his grave. A stone will be put up to mark his grave."
A stone was never set. However, I was able to obtain land warrant records archived at NARA in Washington, D.C. With this documentation the Veterans Services Office has initiated the expediting of a military-issued gravestone. One hundred thirty-seven years after his death, Peter Benway will finally be properly memorialized.
Nathan was born July 26, 1784, in Essex, Chittenden County, Vt. He served as a teamster with the Vermont Militia.
Nathan's daughter, Mary Ann, was born in 1815, the last year of the war. By the 1850 Federal census, the Blood family had settled in the village of Jay, Essex County, N.Y. With her husband, Lyman Case, Mary Ann moved to Minnesota Territory in 1854 to reside near Chatfield. Her father, Nathan, and her father-in-law, Stephen Case, both accompanied the extended family westward.
Nathan applied for and received a service land warrant of 160 acres in Section 10 of Township 105 North, Range 12 West, the portion of Chatfield located in Olmsted County. Of Fillmore County's 13 War of 1812 veterans, Nathan was the elder statesman. He died May 17, 1858, at the age of 73 years, less than a week after Minnesota became a state.
Research of the veterans reveals that many of their sons followed in father's military footsteps by serving in the Civil War. In Nathan's case, it was his grandson, Norman E. Case, a 22-year-old corporal with Company A, Second Minnesota, who was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga.
Nathan is buried at Chatfield Cemetery under a tall marble gravestone inscribed with his death date and age. His daughter and son-in-law share the family plot, along with Nathan's grandsons, Fred and Charles Case, and Corporal Case.