Joel Savage – Revolutionary Hero
Mexico, Oswego Co., NY

Many thanks to Esther Rancier for contributing this information. Below is a list of sources for this biography.

At Beeston, Cheshire, England in 1620, John Savage was born.  Like so many others, he was inspired to immigrate to the New World.  He sailed to Middletown, CT where he married Elizabeth Dubbin/D’Aubbin who was born in Hartford, 1631.  Their son, William Savage, born 26 April 1668, who became a captain of the North Company of Middletown militia in 1719, married 6 May 1696 in New London, CT, Christina Mould.  They had six children.  He served as a Deputy in the General Assembly.

Their son, William, born 18 September 1689 in Middletown, married Sarah Savage, born 2 September 1700.  As the family continued to prosper, the couple’s son, William, born 19 February 1727, wed Martha Gibson of Middletown on 20 May 1756.  This William, fathered 12 children: Martha, Joel, Roger, Jahiel, Mercy, Sally, Roxia, Daniel, William, Eva, David and GibsonMost of the males fought in the Revolution.

By the end of the war, William and Sarah had moved to Canaan, Columbia Co., NY.  It was possibly here that in 1784, Joel married Abigail Smith, daughter of Polycarpus and Dorothy (Skinner) Smith.  Their first child, Rhoda, was born 21 August 1784.

In 1790, Joel and William were living next door to each other in Argyle, Washington Co., NY.  At that time Joel’s household had 1 adult male, 1 male child and 3 females.  Brother William’s household had 4 adult males, 2 male children and 4 females.

Their parents had removed to Hebron, Washington Co. where William (Sr.) died 24 October 1809.  The brother, Daniel was also living in Hebron in 1790.

Joel, born 1761 in Middletown, CT, settled in Mexico, Oswego Co., NY 1805.  His in-law’s, Polycarpus and Dorothy Smith were also early local settlers.  When Joel’s brother, Roger, arrived is not clear.  Joel selected lot 55 in what was to become known as the Prattville area of Mexico where he opened the first tavern.    Soon Peter Pratt opened a second tavern on lot 80 hence the area received its’ name.  

In 1811 Joel and Abigail became one of the organizers of the Prattville Presbyterian Church.  When a new church building was erected in 1828 Joel personally made the mortar.  Joel, Abigail and his entire family were active in this church for about fifty years.

When every able-bodied veteran was on call during the War of 1812, Joel joined Parkhurst’s Battalion of NY Militia as a Sergeant.  His sons, William and Gibson fought at the Battle of Sackett’s Harbor.

Their family consisted of ten lively children:  William, Joel, Jr., Gibson, Anson, Rhoda, Asenath, Laura, Dolly, Patty, and Charity who died young.  They attended church every Sunday.  Abigail often needed to scold her brood about riding home from church too fast.  Sundays meant sedate behavior for all.  The youngsters ever respectful of her wishes, nevertheless waited for just the right moment.  Abigail rode stride her horse from church like the others.  Her horse was known to be easily excited.  Once after Sabbath services when she was seated in her saddle, the playful youths startled the horse and it took off running toward home.  Abigail arrived well ahead of everyone else that Sunday!  She was reminded of her feat ever after, by the family who hugely enjoyed her ride.

 After the Revolution, it took Congress a while to realize the dire predicaments that some veterans of the Revolution found themselves.  Relief was needed, but the idea of charity was not well received in those days.  So in the earliest pension laws there were many requirements that needed to be met, before a vet would be awarded even a tiny amount of aid.  As the years passed, new Pension Acts were passed that lowered the bar until sometime about 1830/31 Joel qualified for a Revolutionary War pension.  The pension of $80.00 per year actually began on 4 March 1831.  To apply for his pension, he submitted this data.  It is quoted from Simpson’s Mexico book.

“In May 1777 before he was sixteen, he volunteered as a private in Captain Noah Allen’s Company of Col. E. A. Wigglesworth’s Regiment of Massachusetts troops and again for 6 months as a private in Captain Ebenezer Smith’s Company of the same regiment.  In March 1781 he re-entered the service as a substitute for his brother, Roger in the company of Captain Skinner.  He was sent to Fort Herkimer on the Mohawk River and assigned to Col. Marinus Willett’s Regiment.  He joined a company of Rangers under Col. Solomon Woodworth to scout against the Indians.  Between East and West Canada Creeks the Rangers located and pursued a hostile band.  In the ensuing engagement all the company officers and 23 privates were killed or severely wounded, Joel Savage and five other men were taken prisoner and sent to Fort Niagara and were twice forced to run the gauntlet by their captors.  So stoically did young Savage endure the ordeal that he was dressed as an Indian and presented to Captain Butler.  When he refused to bear arms against his country, he was put in the guardhouse and held there 12 days and then sent to Carlton Island at the head of the St. Lawrence where he was held prisoner in the dungeon for four weeks.  Thence, he was sent to Prison Island, 40 miles from Montreal, and confined there for eleven months.  From there he was transferred to a British Ship and carried to Boston where he was exchanged on 28 November 1782.” 

Joel and his siblings headed by parents, William and Sarah, lived in Sandisfield, MA around 1768-1771 for certain as his siblings David, Jahiel, Mercy and Sally were born there. The family may have stayed in residence until 1776.  In 1777 they were in Hartford, CT when Roxia was born.  Joel and Roger both enlisted, at Sandisfield.  Roger did serve eventually, as a $50 per year pension #S17071 was paid to him beginning in 1831. 

Every person who served for Massachusetts has been included in the 17 volume Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution set.  In Volume 13, p. 838 the citation reads, “Savage, Joel, Sandisfield.  List of men mustered between Jan. 20, 1777, and June 1, 1778, by Truman Wheeler, Muster master for Berkshire Co.; term, 3 years or during war; reported received State bounty; also, Private, Capt. Noah Allen’s co.; Col. Edward Wigglesworth’s Reg't.; return [year not given]; residence Sandisfield; engaged for town of Sandisfield; mustered by Capt. Wheeler; reported mustered out by Col. Varrick.

Savage, Joel, Sandisfield - List of men mustered raised for the 6 months service and returned by Brig. Gen. Peterson as having passed muster dated Camp Totoway, Oct. 25, 1780; also, pay roll for 6 months men raised by the town of Sandisfield for service in the Continental Army during 1780; marched to camp July 2, 1780; discharged Dec. 18, 1780; service 5 mos., 20 days, including travel (75 miles) home.”

Joel Savage’s name is listed as one of Col. Willett’s levies in New York in the Revolution, v. 1, page 91.  His name is there without any detail.  What Joel described in his pension may be his recall of the Battle of New Dorlach on 10 July 1781 in Tyron Co., NY along the Mohawk River.  In Berthold Fernow’s Documents 'Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New York, V.  XV, there are papers from The Council of Appointment which show Lt. Solomon Woodworth, whom Joel mentioned, being appointed an officer of a Regiment of Levies to be raised for the defense of the frontiers on 11 May 1780.   When Joel was sent to Fort Herkimer, he may have been added to this group of Rangers.  Woodworth in November 1781 was assigned to another group likely because the first men had been largely cut down by the enemy.

The other telling point in Joel’s narrative was his mention of Loyalist Capt. Walter Butler who at Johnstown, NY, was killed, scalped by Indians and left unburied to rot, so hated was he.  He died in October 1781.  Thus Joel’s, adventure took place before that date. 

At New Dorlach, six American Rangers were taken prisoner and away to Fort Niagara. But the records do not mention all their names.  There are excellent accounts of this battle online.   See,  and               The latter site quotes from the pensions of those men who did fight at New Dorlach. 

Joel died 13 May 1835 at age 73.  His grave is in Mexico’s Primitive Cemetery.  It is marked, “A Soldier of 1776.” After his death, his wife, Abigail, received a widow’s pension #W22155.  She lived to 10 January 1846, age 80 when she too was buried in the Primitive Cemetery.  The parents were near to the grave of their daughter, Charity who died 25 August 1822, age 14.
Son, Gibson married Esther _____.  He fought in the War of 1812.  His grave is in the Primitive Cemetery and has been so marked.  He died age 35, on 2 September 1831.  His wife was laid to rest 20 September 1848, age 47.  They had a daughter, Laura, who died 27 August 1845, age 21.  According to the 1830 census, Gibson had 2 sons and 1 more daughter.

Patty, who married Eliphas Orvis, died 5 December 1822.  She too, was buried at the Primitive Cemetery where later were added 2 of her granddaughters, who died young. 

 They were the daughters of her son, Stebbins R. Orvis and wife, Mary.  The dead were Mary, age 15 who died 5 November 1864 and Fannie, age 1 who died 16 September 1853.  
 Joel, Jr. married Semantha [sic] according to the Presbyterian Church records. 

Their children’s baptisms were also noted in the church records.  David Dixon Savage was baptized 27 April 1828.  The name was chosen likely to honor their Pastor David R. Dixon.  Son, Oliver Wait Savage, was baptized 28 February 1830.  Their last Mexico record seems to be the 1840 census in which the household consisted of 3 males and 3 females.  

The next record which seems to be Joel, Jr. was the 1847 Wisconsin Territorial Census in Fond du Lac County, town of Waupun. The 1850 census for Waupun, showed David D. Savage household head which may have been an error.  The citation really needed to place the names with Joel, first:  Joel, age 48 with his wife, Samantha, age 47 and their children: David D., age 23 and Oliver, age 20 plus Hester Van Ness, age 20, who married David D., on 20 July 1850. They were all born in New York.  In 1862 the Waupun town plat map showed J. Savage’s land holding.  Joel, died March 1875 in Waupun.

Daughter, Laura wed Asa Barnes.  They lived in the Prattham area.  She too, was buried in the Primitive Cemetery after her death 15 August 1849, age 59.  Asa and Laura’s daughter, Sarah A. Barnes, who wed Maltby Halsey, also lies in the Cemetery.  Her stone says, '1825-1898'.  Sarah and Maltby’s son, Frankie G. Halsey, is there too.  His stone reads, 1864-1865.  Another son, was Peyton C. Halsey.

Asenath married Lovel Hutchins, age 66 in 1850, born in Massachusetts.  Their children as given in the 1850 census were Laura A., age 28 and Wellington, age 6.  Asenath died 2 July 1852 and is buried at the Primitive Cemetery.

Dolly Savage married Clark Beebe, born 28 November 1797 at Westmoreland, NY.  Clark Beebe, son of Alexander, in 1821 was appointed the second caretaker of the town’s first cemetery, founded on lot 54, land which was donated by George Scriba who held the original land title for Scriba’s Patent on which Mexico stood.  It was this donated land which became, the Primitive Cemetery.  In 1831 they still worshipped at the Presbyterian Church.  Later they went west.  She died 26 July 1860.  Her body was buried at Franklin, Lewanee Co., MI in the Tipton Cemetery.  He died 12 March 1882 at Bennington, MI.

Rhoda, born 21 August 1784 in Connecticut, married Dean Tubbs, son of Joel and Dorcas (Babbit) Tubbs.  He was born 6 January 1777 in Taunton, Bristol Co., MA.  On January 1805 Dean and Rhoda wed. They set up housekeeping in Fort Ann, Washington Co., NY. During 1808 the Tubbs family settled in Mexico. Dean worked as a farmer, tanner and shoemaker. They had 11 children.  Rhoda died 28 February 1866, age 81.  Like much of her family she was buried in the Primitive Cemetery.

Anson married on 28 September 1832 Pleiades Kingsley, daughter of John and Pleiades (Brewster) Kingsley.  Pleiades was a descendant of the Pilgrim leader, William Brewster  (William1 Love2 William3 William 4 Oliver5 Wadsworth6 Oliver7 Pleiades8).  She was born 19 March 1812 at Mexico. They had 1 son, Edward Taylor Savage, born 25 July 1832.  Edward enlisted in the Civil War and quoting The Brewster Genealogy, v.2, page 605, “Never known of since.”

Between 1850 and 1855 this couple removed to Wisconsin. In the 1855 Wisconsin State Census for Springvale, Fond du Lac Co. they were shown as residents.  It is believed Anson died there.  Pleiades married again to Martin Ely and resided in Brandon, Fond du Lac Co., WI.  She died at Mantorville, MN on 8 November 1880.

Son William Savage became a trustee of the early Presbyterian Church and helped the 1829 formation of the Mexicoville church location.  William joined the new church in 1831 and became a trustee of it.  He was listed on the 1830 Mexico census with a household of 3 males and 3 females.  

Roger, Joel’s brother, did get mentioned in Mexico accounts but seemingly only with his brother.  No widow ever applied for his Revolutionary War pension when he died which suggests that he never married.   

By the 1880 census there were no Savages from this line residing in Mexico.  The Primitive Cemetery and its decaying bones are all that remains to tell the brave, sad story of the Joel Savages and their lively family. 

 Battle of Johnstown. Available [online] http://www.klink,net/city/batljon.html.  [10 October 2002]
 Battle of New Dorlach.  Available [online]  [10 October 2002] 
 Burgess, A. Parke.  The Old Pratham Church.  Syracuse: 1877.
 Fernow, Berthold.  Documents relating to the Colonial History of the State of New York, v. XV. Albany: Wood Parsons, 1887.
 First Presbyterian Church (Mexico, NY) Church Records, 1810-1870. (LDS microfilm #0503587)
 Foley, Janet Wethey.  Early Settlers of New York State.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1993.
Jones, Emma C. Brewster. The Brewster Genealogy; Descendants of William Brewster of the Mayflower. New York: 1908. 
 Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution. [CD-ROM].
 New York.  Oswego Co. Available [online] [8 October 2002]
 New York in the Revolution, v. 1. [CD-ROM].
 New York Pensioners, 1835.  Available [online] [9 October 2002]
 Savage, Joseph. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England. 1860.
 Simpson, Elizabeth M. Mexico; Mother of Towns.  Buffalo: Clement, 1949.
 U.S. Census  Oswego Co., NY, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880.
 U.S. Census Washington Co., NY, 1790, 1800.
 U.S. Census Fond du Lac Co., WI, 1850.
 Wisconsin.  Fond du Lac Co. Available [online]  [13 October 2002]
 Wisconsin. State Census, 1855.
 Wisconsin. Territorial Census, 1847. 
 World Connect Project.  Available [online] [8 October 2002] 

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