BIOGRAPHY OF ALBERT BOHANNON
Town of RICHLAND, NY
 
Compiled by Shirley Schiess, who has been researching these lines for over 50 years. She is searching for Bohannon/Behunin, Lords/Laur, Knight, Quimby, Simmons, Parsons, and others from Oswego and surrounding counties. This is an on-going project in which any and all help would be appreciated. Please contact her at <sschiess.satx.rr.com>.

For over 10 decades, the descendants of Albert Bohannon have been trying to trace the man and his history.  For many years, it was assumed (because of the surname) that he was of Scot or Irish descent.  However, recent research from two different searchers has shown that the more likely possibility is he was of French decent, by way of Canada.  He was born about 1750, probably in the wilds of Ontario. His father has been generally accepted to be Robert Bohannon.  Many spelling variations of the surnames have been found.  Canadian histories indicate almost no settlements west of Kingston, Ontario, by 1750.  However, in a book, “Forgotten Pathways of the Trent”, the author describes many French outposts and settlements all along Lake Ontario and further west.  Most histories of that area commence with the arbitrary ousting of the French by the English after the French and Indian War. 

Robert probably married more than once.  His last wife might have been Angelique___, also from France, and among their children might have been: 

1. George born about 1746
2.Albert, born about 1750, married Nancy Lords.
3. Angeline
4. Collette
5. James, who probably lived near Syracuse
6. Aurelia, who probably lived in New Haven, Oswego, NY
other children could have been Clyde or Clive, Mandy and Leslie.

Western New York was unsettled territory until after the Revolutionary War.  There was a fort at the town of Oswego that was used periodically.  Several battles were fought in the area, including one near Oriskany, just east of Rome.  After the war, veterans were given script to claim lands in the far western areas, including the Scriba Patent area, which encompassed part of Oneida County.  Oneida had been formed from Steuben County in 1795.  It is possible Albert took an active part in the battles, but no records have been found thus far.

The name Bohannon is of Scot and/or Irish derivation.  However, it is probable it is an Anglicized version of the French name; therefore, much easier to pronounce after the family migrated to New York.  When Albert’s son, Isaac, and other family members used the Behunin spelling, it might be closer to the original name.

Albert is first found in records in the 1800 census of Rome, Oneida, New York, with a wife and 3 children.  He married Nancy Lords about 1790, which means he was 40 years old and she was much younger, probably born about 1770.  It is probable that Albert had been married before.  There are a number of other people in the 1800 census who were connected by marriage to the Bohannon/Lords, such as Knight, Wright, Otis, Parsons and others. At that time, Rome encompassed parts of what is now Richland in present Oswego County. The History of Oswego Co. mentions settlers “Nathan Tuttle, Nathan Wilcox from Canada, and Albert Bohannon who settled on Snake Creek in 1801.”

There has long been confusion about Albert’s first name.  It is given in many records as Albert Alpheus Bohannon. In the early 1900’s a descendant contributed a pedigree chart to the Archives at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City with Albert’s parents as Alpheus Bohannon & Nancy Corbin.  Later research revealed that this Alpheus (who married Nancy Corbin) was actually Albert’s son, not his father, hence the confusion.  There is no record anywhere that his name was anything but Albert. His son, Isaac, recorded his father’s name in several records, always as Albert.

Albert died in 1823, place unknown.  His wife, Nancy, died in 1832, place also unknown. There have been a number of family stories passed down through the generations, none of which have been verified.  Nancy’s parents are unknown, but recent research indicates she probably was from Quebec, southeast of Montreal, Canada, and that she might have been married first to a John McFarland, who died about 3 years after their marriage. It is probable that Albert and Nancy lived near New Haven in Oswego Co. for a time, as some of the land he owned is near there.  It is also possible that Nancy had a sister, Minerva, who married John Parsons and lived in Butterfly, New Haven, Oswego, New York. 

Several Lords and Bohannons moved into Oswego County very early in the 1800s.  Some of the Lords are probably relatives, others probably not.  There were three Bohannon brothers from New Jersey who moved into the area, but no connection between them and Albert has been found, although they might have been cousins. Albert was probably a farmer, but also a superior craftsman, able to build and improve upon many kinds of machinery. 

In a census taken in 1814 showing landowners in Oneida Co., Albert is listed as owning 100 Acres in Lot 66, Township 21 (Richland) value $550.  On 26 Aug 1814 Albert purchased 56 acres of Lot 66 Township 21 for $224.  On 7 Sep 1821 he purchased land in Lot 93, Township 21, a block in a proposed village in the tract called Roberts purchase on Scriba’s Patent, Block #1, of about 3 ¾ acres for $90.  He also owned 46 acres in Township 21, Lot 46, no value given.  The village lot was located on what is shown as Salmon Creek in old maps, but now known as Grindstone Creek.  There is a very old cemetery in what was once the village of Butterfly (New Haven Township), but a great many of the stones are missing or disintegrated.  Perhaps this marks the resting places of Albert and Nancy.  However, traces of them have been found around Rome, New York, after 1800, and in Otsego County. It is probable that Nancy had a brother, James, who lived in Kingston whom Albert and Nancy visited.  Nancy is on the 1830 census, so cannot be the Nancy Lords who drowned in the St. Lawrence River.  She almost certainly did not have a child at age 59 as some accounts state.

Children of Albert Bohannon and Nancy Lords

1. Zelpha born abt 1798 in Vermont or New York md. Thomas Knight
2. James born abt 1800 in Vermont or New York md. Maggie____ .
Probably moved west, possibly an early settler in Oregon
3. Isaac born 20 Oct 1803 in Richland, Oswego, New York, see below
4. William born 1804 in Texas, Oswego, New York md. Helen Quimby (?)
5. Albert born 1807 in New York
6. Alpheus born 1815 in New York md Mary Ann Corbin, see below
7. Polly (Pollyanna?) born 1817 in New York
8. Angelina born 1819 in New York maybe married a Pinkerton
Isaac Behunin (as he spelled his name) was maybe born in Pulaski, Township of Richland, Oswego, New York. He married (1) Meribah Morton born 16 Mar 1804 in Vermont.  She died 3 Jul 1834,  (2) Almina Tyler, born 23 Apr 1811 in Sempronius, Cayuga, New York, md abt 1834, within a few weeks after first wife’s death. 

In the 1820’s and 1830’s, New York underwent a whirlwind of religious zeal and conversions.  Preachers were holding tent revival meetings all over the central New York area, until it became known as the “Burned Over Area.”  It was in 1820 that a young man in Palmyra, New York, by the name of Joseph Smith, claimed to have seen a vision, and that an angel later delivered to him an ancient manuscript inscribed on plates of gold. By April of 1830 when he organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (called the Mormons by their persecutors, named for the Book of Mormon, the book transcribed by Joseph Smith from the ancient manuscript), there were several thousand converts to the new Church; then began the first of nearly 20 years of persecution.  Joseph Smith, his family and followers were forced to leave New York, and flee to Ohio, where they began to build up a town near Cleveland named Kirtland. There, hundreds of converts began to join them.  Among these were Isaac Behunin, his first wife and their children. Isaac and Meribah joined the Church in January of 1833, and then they went to Ohio. The Church was encouraging some members to move to the western part of the state of Missouri to start a new colony, so Isaac and many other converts undertook the journey to Missouri. Somewhere along the way, it appears that Meribah died, leaving a baby and other young children.  Isaac married again within a few weeks to Almina Tyler, probably partly because of a need for help with his young family. By 1837, the persecutions of the Church members in Ohio were so intense, that most of the members also left for Missouri 

Again, the Mormons underwent severe persecution in Missouri.  Part of the problem was due to the fact that most of the members of the new Church were for a Free State, while many of the older residents wanted a Slave State.  Also, the Missouri frontier was filled with a rough group of citizens who did not like the great influx of Mormons, fearing a political takeover, and they did not like the new religion.  Soon, Church members were burned out of homes, businesses destroyed by armed mobs, rape and pillage and even massacre occurred.  Joseph Smith and some of the other Church leaders were accused of treason and put in jail for months.  The Governor of Missouri issued an order that the Mormons must either leave the state immediately or they would be killed on sight. In the middle of a very cold and stormy winter, hundreds of people trekked east across Missouri, and across the Mississippi River to a place of refuge in Illinois where they started a new city, named Nauvoo. Joseph Smith and his followers were finally freed from jail, and joined the others. Many of the Mormons signed “Redress Petitions” against the state of Missouri, and filed them with the federal government, trying to regain some compensation for the lands and property they had lost.  Isaac Behunin’s read:

“Damages which Isaac Behunin received in losing of property by the unlawful acts of the citizens of the state of Missouri total loss Seven hundred and Seventy five dollars $775.00.
Quincy, Illinois May the 31 1839
I hereby certify that the above is a tru account according to the best of my recollections. 
    /s/ saac Behunin
Sworn to before C.M. Woods, Adams Co., Ill. 31 May 1839”

Of course, nothing was ever recovered by any of the petitioners.  Isaac and Almina settled in Nauvoo where he bought Lot #2, Block 142 on 1 Nov 1839 for the sum of $700, $350 of which was paid in cash and the remainder in a note due in 1849 for $350 plus interest (no interest amount specified).  Isaac Behunin signed the note. He was said to have been illiterate, but his signature here and elsewhere are written well and in a flowing manner with good script.

Peaceful times in Nauvoo did not last.  Long before his note was due, trouble started again for the Latter-day Saints and soon the mobs were riding the countryside. In June of 1844, charges were again filed against Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, and they were taken to the jail in Carthage (about20 miles from Nauvoo) for their own protection until court could be convened the next day.  A mob of about 50 men stormed the jail, killing both Joseph and Hyrum and wounding 2 others. For two years, the Church members endured their armed tormenters.  Then, in February of 1846, the first of the evacuations of the city began, wagons crossing the Mississippi River on the ice, to go to a place of refuge in the west, they knew not where. Isaac and his family were among them. 

They crossed Iowa in the snow and mud, arriving at Council Bluffs where they stayed about 4 years, then they crossed the plains to Utah.  Because of the huge number of people pouring into an unsettled area in Utah, some of the new arrivals were asked by Church leaders to spread out to settle other areas.  As the territory grew in population and new areas were needed, Isaac and his family moved a number of times.  There were Indian battles, blizzards, dust storms and lack of water that made life difficult.  Isaac and 4 sons served in the Utah Militia against the Indians. He was asked to help establish settlements in several areas of southern Utah, eventually being asked to investigate and settle the area of the Virgin River in far southern Utah.  There was fertile soil in an ancient lakebed canyon just north of the Virgin River, and that is where Isaac settled his family.  He regarded it as a refuge of peace and safety where they could finally find a home. He named the area Zion, and today it is known as Zion Canyon.  A monument recording the event now stands at Mt. Carmel at the east entrance to Zion National Park.  Isaac died 10 May 1881 and is buried at Mt.Carmel, Kane, Utah.  Almina died 29 Sep 1883 and was buried in Ferron, Emory, Utah.

Isaac and (1) Meribah (Morton) had: 

1. Joseph b 1824 Chittenden,Vt
2. Emma b 1825 Chittenden, Vt
3. Philo M. b 4 Feb 1828, prob. Oswego, New York
4. Isaac Morton b 9 Sep1831 Oswego
5. William Moroni b 18 Nov 1834 at Richland, Oswego, New York
Isaac and  (2) Almina (Tyler) had;
1. Andrew Ira b 14 Aug 1835 Springfield, Erie, Penn. (perhaps)
2. Alma Moses b 13 Mar 1837 at Kirtland, Merion, Ohio
3. Polly b 10 Jun 1838 at Missouri
4. Stephen Mosiah b 18 May 1843 at Nauvoo, Ill
5. Hyrum S. B 22 Apr 1845 at Nauvoo, Ill
6. Elijah Cutler b 7 Nov 1847 at Council Bluffs, Iowa
7. Almina b 30 Sep 1850 at Provo, Utah
8. Benjamin b 4 Feb 1853 at Manti, Utah, died Jun 1853
Alpheus Behunin/Bohannon, born 1815 at Selkirk, Richland, New York (brother of Isaac above), died 13 Oct 1889, bur Daysville Cem., Richland, Oswego, NY.  He sometimes spelled his name Behunin. He married Mary Ann Corbin, born 1805, dau of Benjamin Corbin and Jane Blair.  They lived near Selkirk and owned land there. They had:
1. Mary Jane b 1840 in Pulaski, married David Whaley, son of George and Margaret Whaley and had: Willock, Margaret, Alice, Amariah, and Mary E.
2. Pamelia b 1842 in Pulaski
3. Sarah Ann b 1844 died 1937, married James A. Eaton, son of  Simeon K and Joanna (Towne) Eaton.  Had Madge, Carrie, Cora T. & H. Avery.
4. George b 20 Oct 1845 md Clara McChesney King, had: Sarah L., Frank B., and George Henry.
5. Alice b 1849  md William Nelson, had: Capt. Albert & Charles N.
6. Josephine b 28 Aug 1853  md George Jones b 24 Oct 1847, son of Erastus Chauncey Jones and Betsey Walworth.  Had: Marion Esther, Ida Irene, Milo Egbert, Frank Samuel, Alice Mabel, Cora Josephine.
7. Edmund b Jan 1855 md  1873 (1) Louisa, d 1874;  (2) Charlotte Poitier (d 1877)& had Charlotte; (3) Mary Ann Hager had: Cora M., Mary A., Frederick Leslie, Sarah L., Zilpha, Benjamin E.  Edmund drowned in Lake Ontario in 1884; Mary Ann Hager md (2) Charles Middleton.
8.  Martha b abt 1858 md 10 Apr 1877 Rev. William Breman, had: Alice
SOURCES ( plus many others)
Behunin Family Organization. The Behunin Clan, ca 1940, unpublished
U.S. Census, Oneida Co., NY 1800, 1810
U.S. Census Oswego Co., NY 1820-1880
N.Y. State Census Oswego Co., NY 1855,1875
N.Y  Marriages of Richland Township in 1875 NY State Census
Pulaski Democrat newspaper – many items from this paper
Daysville News newspaper 
Oswego Commercial Advertiser & Times, newspaper, Oswego New York
Oswego Palladium, newspaper, Oswego, New York
Oneida County Land Office Land Owners of 1814, County Court House
Cemetery Records of Oswego Co., Family History Library in SLC # F6010721
Moss, Fenton E. compiler The Story of Isaac Behunin, The Man Who Named Zion’s Canyon, privately published 1998
Moss, June Behunin, Behunin Ancestral Search in N.Y., Behunin Family Historian 1970
Esshom, Frank, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Western Epics, Inc. 1966
Burns & Miller, First Families of Utah, from 1850/51 census of Utah
Carter, Kate, Our Pioneer Heritage – Pioneer Forts of the West, DUP, Utah 1966 V9
Cannon, Nell Interview 1961 Quoting Family Bible of Elijah Cutler Behunin
Behunin, Elijah Cutler, Interview About Life in Zion Canyon, published in Salt Lake Tribune & Richfield Reaper newspapers in 1930, acknowledged by J. W. Thornton, Ranger Naturalist at Zion National Park
Miller, Lila B. History of the Behunin Family, unpublished, FHL F#320828 Item 1
Whitney, Newell K. Collection, Note for Land Purchase Nauvoo, 1839, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City, Utah
Johnson, Clark V. Editor, Mormon Redress Petitions, Missouri Conflict 1833-1838, in FHL in SLC  977.8 K29
Pedigree Charts & Family Group Sheets familysearch.com 
Frost, Leslie  M. “Forgotten Pathways of the Trent” Pub. Burns & MacEachern Ltd., 1973, FHL in SLC 971.3 H2fa. 
Smith, Violet Interview 1964, report on trip to NY for Behunin research
Stephens, Rhoda Behunin, Research Papers on Behunin Family
Stephens, Trent D. Research Files on Behunin Family
Oswego & Oneida Counties, Surrogate Court Records
Oswego & Oneida Counties, Deed Indexes, Grantors & Grantees. Copies of deeds
Belleville, Ontario, Canada, Historical Society Holdings in 2001, personal search
Johnson, Crisfield.  History of Oswego County, New York.  Philadelphia: Everts, 1877.
Churchill, John C. Landmarks of Oswego County, New York.  Syracuse: Mason, 1895.
Descendants of Josephine Bohannon, unpublished manuscript in possession of Roy Tanner of Pulaski, New York 
Jones Family, unpublished manscript in possession of Roy Tanner of Pulaski, New York

Court Houses and Historical Organizations, personal search in these counties:  Oswego, Oneida, Wayne, Otsego, Hamilton, Montgomery, Herkimer, Cayuga, Seneca, Ontario, Fulton, also in the NY State Historical Society in Albany.
 
 
 


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