March 26, 1701 - July 21, 1776
August 6, 1699 [?] -Death Date
1727 - August 2, 1787
Buried in Old Hurley Burial Ground, Hurley, New York
(see photo below)
Married December 20, 1754
1731 - November 4, 1765
John Charles DeWitt
October 22, 1755 - December 31, 1833
Margaret (Marguerite?) DeWitt
July 2, 1758 - September 26, 1827
Mary (Maria?) DeWitt
September 22, 1760 - July 18, 1798
August 8, 1762 - February 5, 1846
Catharine Ten Eyck
November 11, 1764 - Death Date
Charles DeWitt was a U.S. Revolutionary War hero, with many achievements fighting for the United States. (Many DeWitts were involved supporting the Revolution in various ways. DeWitts let the army use their farms in distant valleys to store arms and supplies, and DeWitts provided some of those arms and supplies too.) Charles DeWitt ran a mill that may have been working since the days of his great-grandfather Tjerck, and Martha Washington apparently preferred flour from the DeWitt mills, specifying it when a contractor sent a letter asking for more flour for the troops at Valley Forge. Charles also served in various legislatures on both state and continental levels.
For more on the DeWitt mills (text and pictures), click here.
Charles DeWitt in his mid-20s served as caretaker for the estate of Robert Livingston, a gentleman of some note in the early colony. He kept a sporadic journal of accounts during that time and the following years. The journal can be found in the library of the New-York Historical Society. Its card reads as follows:
December 15, 1749 - June 12, 1780, but mostly 1751-54 when he was the manager of Livingston Manor. The entries for this period include store and mill accounts, as well as those of the Ancram ironworks. Scattered entries after 1754, mostly concerning his activities as a farmer in Hurley, Ulster Co. Also included are recipes, formulas, etc. 4x8, 127 pp.
I saw this frail little book on February 5, 2000. Its written in English, and the handwriting is not too difficult. Many entries were rather mundane, a recipe for ink or the following tidbit:
A cord of wood is
8 foot long
4 high &
2 cords wood yields about a load of coal or 100 B[???]
Charles writes a few notes about the harsh winter of 1763. On a final leaf or two are a couple of entries, in a different hand, from the early 1800sone dated July 9, 1816, another sometime in February 1818, another March 12.
Then there are the more interesting entries. For example, the following, from January 30, 1754:
January 30, 1754. Then I
signified to Mr. Robert Li-
vingston Junr. that I intend-
ed to leave him in the
Spring. He askd me whether
I could not stay with him
one Year Longer. I told him
that I had not intended to
& that I had also thought
he had Expected it for that
I had told him so, last Spring
when we agreed. He said
it was true, but he thought
I was not in Earnest, and
that he would be glad if
I stayd another year, with
Note. he had offerd
me last Spring when I
told him I would Go away
this Spring, to put in
a Joint Stock with me
if I set up at a place
Livingston was in fact as good as his word, and the journal goes on to detail the arrangements by which he invested in Charless further career in Ulster County.
The journal is a remarkable personal record, including occasions when Charless father comes along to bargain with Livingston about Charless pay and other arrangements, as well as various other episodes of significance in Charless life. A year before Charles leaves Livingston, he describes riding all over Ulster County for a couple of days with a companion, arriving eventually at the DuBois house, where he makes an illegible notation, followed by, in emphatic Greek letters, with double underline, the name Blandina DuBois. In September 1754, after he leaves Livingston, he makes another entry in Greek letters (spelling out English words), again double-underlined:
Very exciting times indeed. (As noted above, they were married December 20 of the same year.)
(Photo by Mary Sarah Bradley)
Charles is buried in the Hurley Burial Ground (outside of Kingston, NY).
Col. Charles De Witt
Born -- 1727 Died Aug 27, 1787
Patriot, statesman and leader in the Revolution
Member Colonial Assembly 1768-75
Provincial Convention 1775, Provincial Congress 1776-7
Voting to ratify the Declaration of Independence
First Convention of State of New York and of committee
which framed the Constitution 1777
Council of Safety 1777, Continental Congress 1784
Member of Assembly 1781-5 and 1787
“Providence has led me through a variety of changing scenes.
I wish to be still led by the same unerring guide.”
Charles De Witt
(This last line is from the February 20, 1784 letter from Charles to his son Gerret.)
Thanks for sharing all your hard work!!!
Kenneth DeWitt Thomas, July 6, 2002
(Photo by Doug Bradley)
This version is a little more readable.
(Photo by Doug Bradley)
This is a relatively new monument for Charles DeWitt. It stands out in a burying ground filled with old colonial grave markers. The original markers for this family plot stand behind the big gray one:
- On the left is a white stone with black iron braces running up the sides; this is the marker for Garret DeWitt (see his page for a larger copy).
- Between Garret and Charles' stone stands the stone for Garret's wife, Catherine Ten Eyck (see her page for a larger copy).
- Unfortunately obscured by the giant massif is the stone for Blandina DuBois, Charles' wife, which has a sweet poem inscribed on it from her children (see her page for a picture).
- Last but not least, poking around the right side of Charles' large marker is his original, more traditional marker.
To see a much larger rendition of this scene, with letters on most stones that become legible, or nearly legible, or tantalizingly close to legible but still really impossible to decipher, click here (the picture will open in a new window).
The big stone at least will finally be easy to read.
(Photo by Mary Sarah Bradley)
Presumably it is this Charles DeWitt for whom this
Masonic council is named. We saw these markers holding up flags in July 1998 in the New Hurley Cemetery (where this picture was taken), but we did not learn the story behind them.
Someone named Claudia (clsd2 at hotmail.com), researching Brewers, helpfully found a large part of the answer: This emblem is not a Masonic symbol at all, but one from a completely different fraternal order, the Junior Order of United American Mechanics. For a little more discusssion about the difference (from a Mason named Marcus Orr), see “Arm, Hammer, Square and Compass,” from 2011.
Charles DeWitt came from a whole mess of immigrants, none of whom came in carrying any papers, so it is interesting indeed to see his name appropriated by an organization that promotes “native” Americans over those who have come in more recently from abroad.
Sources go here.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
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