William H. (William Henry) Chaffee.

The Chaffee genealogy, embracing the Chafe, Chafy, Chafie, Chafey, Chafee, Chaphe, Chaffie, Chaffey, Chaffe, Chaffee descendants of Thomas Chaffe, of Hingham, Hull, Rehoboth and Swansea, Massachusets; also certain lineages from families in the United States, Canada and England, not descended from Th online

. (page 26 of 91)
Online LibraryWilliam H. (William Henry) ChaffeeThe Chaffee genealogy, embracing the Chafe, Chafy, Chafie, Chafey, Chafee, Chaphe, Chaffie, Chaffey, Chaffe, Chaffee descendants of Thomas Chaffe, of Hingham, Hull, Rehoboth and Swansea, Massachusets; also certain lineages from families in the United States, Canada and England, not descended from Th → online text (page 26 of 91)
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1610 ix Catharine Lois Chaffee, born in Peterboro; died in Rochester, N. Y.,

1853; married Royal Jenks.
1610a X Sabrina Chaffee, born in Peterboro; died in Massachusetts in 1853;
married Thomas Leonard.

1611 xi Elmira L. Chaffee, born in Peterboro; died in Vineland, N. J., after

1894; married (1) ; (2) Green; went West; resi-
dence, 1894, Custer, S. D.; died of cancer.
+ 1612 xii Anna M. Chaffee, married Lyman Bliss.

616 Nancy ^ Chaffee (Asa,^ Joseph,* John, 3 Joseph, 2 Thomas 1) was born in
South Wilbraham, Mass., and died before the spring of 1806. She married there,
April 6, 1803, Chauncey, son of Zadock and Elizabeth (Pease) Stebbins. He was
born August 13, 1774, and after Nancy's death married her sister, Huldah (615).

Children :

1613 i Chauncey ^ Stebbins, Jr.

1614 ii Nancy Stebbins,

[These children may possibly have been by Huldah instead of Nancy.]

622 Comfort 6 Chaffe, Jr. (Comfort,^ Joseph,* John,3 Joseph,2 Thomas 1), was
born in South Wilbraham, Mass., July 3, 1767, and died there, August 18, 1841.
He married in South Wilbraham, June 13, 1796, Persis, daughter of Jonathan
S. Skinner of Woodstock, Conn., their intention of marriage, dated February 20,
1796, stating that both were of South Wilbraham. She died there December 20,
1857, aged eighty-one. She was baptized in the South Wilbraham Congregational
Church, July 27, 1800, and became a member of it.

Comfort Chaffee, Jr., had a light complexion, blue eyes, and was six feet in height.
His name appears on a pay roll of Lieutenant Lewis Langdon's company, Colonel
Gideon Burt's regiment of Militia in the 4th Division, which marched to Spring-
field, Mass., in support of the Government to put down Shays' rebellion. He
served from September 22 to September 26, 1786. He was also a member of Cap-
tain Joseph Williams' company of cadets which was ordered into service January 18,
1787, by Major General Shepard to again assist in putting down Shays' Rebellion.
He served in Springfield, from January 18 to February 1, and from February 8,
to February 25, 1787. He is said to have persuaded many of his rebellious neigh-
bors to take the oath of allegiance to the Government. He was also a Captain in
the State Militia. He lived in South Wilbraham, where he was active in the affairs
of the town. He had a large farm, a saw-mill and a hotel. September 7, 1792,
he bought for £150 of William Phillips, Jr., of Boston, Mass., one hundred and
twenty-six acres of land with a house and barn thereon, north of the land of his


father, Comfort Chaffee, Sr. In 1811 and 1812 he bought of his sister Lucretia

(Chaffee) Cadwell, and his brother Nathaniel B. Chaffee, all their interest in the

estate of their father. He and his wife were buried in South Wilbraham (now


Children, born in South Wilbraham:

+ 1615 i Mary Bliss ^ Chaffee, born January 9, 1797; married Ishled Smith.
+ 1616 ii Rodolphus Chaffee, born May 28, 1799; married Olive Carpenter

Stebbins (1938).
+ 1617 iii John May Chaffee, born July 26, 1802; married Susan Holmes.
+ 1618 iv Jonathan Skinner Chaffee, born September 16, 1804; married Mary

W. Russell.
+ 1619 V Persis Chaffee, born August 4, 1807; married Simeon Hunt.
+ 1620 vi William Perrin Chaffee, born April 17, 1810; married (1) Martha

G. Perrin; (2) Susan A. Tubbs.
+ 1621 vii Electa Chaffee, born March 3, 1813; married Sullivan U. Stanton.
+ 1622 viii Comfort Jackson Chaffee, born April 14, 1817; married Asenath

+ 1623 ix Lathrop Vennor Chaffee, born Maj^ 1, 1821; married (1) Nancy M.

Roberts; (2) Mrs. Augusta A. (Wood) Hendrick.

624 Nathaniel Bliss « Chaffee (Comfort,^ Joseph,^ John,3 Joseph,2 Thomas i)
was born in South Wilbraham, Mass., December 14, 1772, and died in Rochester,
N. Y., October 17, 1834. He married in South Wilbraham, about December,
1795, Tabatha Chubbuck of Ellington, Conn., their intention of marriage being
dated November 26, 1795. She was born in Cape Cod, Mass., in September,
1775, and died in South Wilbraham, July 11, 1829, aged fifty-six, and was buried
there. Nathaniel B. Chaffee had a light complexion, dark blue eyes, and was five
feet, six inches in height. He aided in suppressing Shays' rebellion. He was a
farmer and lived in South Wilbraham until about 1823, when he moved to Roch-
ester, where he died of consumption. He was a member of the Presbyterian

Children, all but the last known to have been born in South Wilbraham:

+ 1624 i Comfort Bliss ^ Chaffee, born November 10, 1796; married Docia

1625 ii Julia Chaffee, born December 19, 1797; married after 1834,

Harvey ; no children ; she was baptized in the South Wilbraham
Congregational Church, February 8, 1816; she weighed two hun-
dred pounds.

+ 1626 iii Solomon Bliss Chaffee, born March 4, 1799; married (1) Eunice P.
Beech; (2) Clara M. Hovey.
1627 iv Gilbert Chaffee, born August 23, 1800; died.

+ 1628 V Samuel Burge Chaffee, born September 16, 1802; married.
1629 vi Mary Burge Chaffee, born July 18, 1804; died in October, 1831 ; mar-
ried in South Wilbraham, June 9, 1824, Ethan Bliss of Monson,
Mass., their marriage intention being entered in South Wilbra-
ham, May 10, 1824; she was baptized in the Congregational
church there, February 8, 1816; she had three children.

+ 1630 vii Joel Chaffee, born March 16, 1806; married Melissa S. Case.

1631 viii Hannah Chaffee, born November 9, 1808; married Pease;

no children; baptized in the South Wilbraham Congregational
Church, February 8, 1816; weighs two hundred pounds; lives
in North Wilbraham, Mass.

1632 ix Sarah Chaffee, born October 21, 1810; baptized in the South Wilbra-

ham Congregational Church, February 8, 1816; unmarried and
living with her brother Comfort in Pennsylvania, in 1893.


1633 X Nathaniel Otis Chaffee, born January 12, 1812; died after 1884;
married in Sutton, Mass., July 1, 1841, Martha Prudence,
daughter of Reuben McKnight of that place ; she was a member
of the Unitarian church and survived her husband; he was
baptized in the South Wilbraham Congregational Church,
February 8, 1816; he had blue eyes, and was five feet, six inches
in height; at the age of thirty, after a preparatory course of
study, he entered the Meadville Theological School, graduated
three years later and entered the ministry of the Unitarian
church; he held pastorates in various parts of Massachusetts,
including Natick, and twenty-five years before his death he
went to Maine, where his charges included churches in Dixfield
and North Auburn; in 1884 he lived in Auburn; buried in
Grafton, Mass.
+ 1634 xi Merrick Chaffee, born October 13, 1813; married Adelia M. Son.

628 WiUiam ^ Chaffee (Isaiah, ^ Joseph,* John, 3 Joseph, 2 Thomas 1) was born
in Woodstock, Conn., about 1757 (after April 2, 1757, as he was "under fourteen"
April 2, 1771), and died in Enfield, Conn., October 27, 1834. He married there,
in August, 1780, Mary Whipple of Windham, who died December 23, 1843, aged
eighty-five, and was buried beside her husband in the Enfield Cemetery.

William Chaffee was left fatherless at an early age, and ran away from his home
in South Wilbraham, Mass., wandering to Enfield, where he was picked up and
"bound out" to Judge Kingsbury of that place. He enlisted in the Revolution as
a Private, May 8, 1776, and was discharged December 18, 1776, serving in the
Connecticut Line, Captain Hezekiah Parsons' company (the 10th Company),
which took part in the siege of Boston. He enlisted again April 15, 1777, for three
years, serving in Captain Samuel Wyley's regiment. Captain Thomas Abby's
company for one year, being promoted to the rank of Corporal March 1, 1778,
and reduced to the ranks April 1, 1778. He served the remainder of his enlist-
ment in the Light Infantry, Colonel Return Jonathan Meigs' regiment, under
Captain Henry Champion, and was discharged May 15, 1780. He enlisted July 1,
1780, in the 3d Regiment, and served until October 25, 1780. It was probably
during this enlistment that he was married, in August, 1780, as he testified in his
pension claim that he was married when home on furlough. He was one of the
guard of Major Andre, the British officer captured and executed as a spy, and he
always spoke of that ill-fated soldier as "a very handsome man and a perfect
gentleman." At one time during his service he was captured by the British and
placed on board a vessel; he was afterwards exchanged for an officer, although
he was only a Private. He suffered all the hardships of the war, but said that
never had he slept more comfortably than on a blanket spread on the snow, with
no covering but one blanket and an outside coverlid of snow. He was in the famous
Battle of Stony Point under the leadership of General Anthony Wayne, July 15,

" Stony Point, shooting out into the river, a defiant promontory with rocky and
wooded faces, has been fittingly described as a natural sentinel guarding the far-
famed Highlands of the Hudson. Rising about one hundred and fifty feet at
its highest point it projects more than half a mile from the line of the shore, but
is of nearly double the length as an isolated feature of the scenery." [The Storming
of Stony Point, by H. P. Johnson,]

This vantage point had been fortified by the British, who called it their "little

From Harpt-r's Magazine.



Copyright, liV9, by Harper & Brothers .- . i r-


Gibraltar" and regarded it as impregnable, as indeed it was, to any daylight

assault. It was a night attack, however, that General Washington intended;

so secret were his plans kept, that the British had no warning of the attack and

were completely taken by surprise, and the fort taken with a loss to the Americans

of only fifteen killed while the British lost sixty-three. The subjoined account of

the storming of Stony Point by William Chaffee was published in the Hartford

Times of November 8, 1834:

"Some time in the month of July, 1779, our regiment had orders to prepare
themselves for marching at daybreak the next morning on a secret expedition.
We prepared ourselves, as many of us as could obtain it, with a little extra supply
of rum in our canteens to sustain us in a hot day's march and keep up our courage
in case of need; as soon as daylight appeared, we were mustered, three regiments
of us, under the command of Gen. Wayne, and took up our line of march north-
ward, keeping among the hills, on a very rough road, one of the hottest days in
the hot month of July. It very soon began to be whispered that we were a going
to attack the fort at Stony Point. I don't imagine the secret had leaked out, but
this was only conjectured from the direction of our march. After a march of nearly
thirty miles over the worst road on earth, if it ever deserved the name of a road, we
halted about dusk in the evening three or four miles in the rear of the fort, nearly
exhausted with fatigue and the excessive heat. Notwithstanding most of us had
drained our canteens of their extra supply, which we now regretted, as the object
of our expedition was no longer a secret, and we felt the want of a little of the
'creature ' to fit our stomach for fight. After resting about an hour we were ad-
dressed by our officers and told that we were going to make an immediate attack
on the fort, and that we must take it at all hazards. We marched to the attack,
according to my recollection, in three columns. I know the historical accounts
say two, but I shall speak according to my own recollections; one column was to
make the attack with loaded muskets, while the other two were to march in silence
with unloaded muskets and rely upon the bayonet alone. The column to which
I belonged was to attack the fort on the south side, where it was defended by two
lines of a sort of picketing of logs, planks, stumps and brush, which it was necessary
to cut away and remove to make room for the column to advance without delay.
When within about a quarter of a mile of the fort we halted, and twenty stout
men were picked out and sent forward, under the command of a lieutenant, to
perform this dangerous service; it was my fortune to be one of them. Col. Meigs
addressed a few words to us almost in a whisper, and pointed out the duty we
were to perform, some of us remonstrated with him about being singled out and
led on to certain death. In reply we were told that the duty must be performed,
and ordered to march on in silence. We then slung our unloaded muskets to our
backs and were each furnished with an axe, and in the meantime a few canteens
of rum were found among us, which were emptied at a breath, and we marched
briskly forward. We had proceeded but a few rods in advance of the column
when the fire from the fort opened upon us; very soon the whole fort appeared
like a sheet of fire and the air alive with the whizzing of grape and canister, and
the whistle of musket balls. Our way to the pickets led us through a little cove
that set up from the river, where we had to wade about waist deep. It was
here, when their shot fairly rained down upon us, that I suffered more than fear.
I dreaded a double death — to be shot down and then drowTied, was one dish more
than we had bespoken, and it was well understood that the duty we had in hand
would not admit of stopping to pick up our wounded. One poor fellow fell here,
and if I recollect aright, we reached the pickets without further loss. Here we
were sheltered during our work, and felt for a moment's respite from the fear of
their balls, which were sent over our heads toward the advancing columns. It
was the work of a very few minutes to cut away a space large enough for a pla-
toon to march through. I cannot now recollect how long we were detained; and
indeed it is scarcely possible that I could then have estimated the time very accu-
rately; we were all stout men and used to chopping, and I think we must have


made quick work of it. When we had made a clean passage we unslung our muskets
and pushed on for the second line. Immediately on passing through we encoun-
tered a few Hessians, a sort of out-guard, I suppose. The first notice I had of
them I felt a bayonet at my breast. With a quick motion of my hand I threw
the point of the weapon over my left shoulder, raising my frock (which answered
for shirt, coat and waistcoat) along with it, and tearing open the skin, and perhaps
a little of the flesh in its course. This effort brought me upon my back, with the
Hessian on top of me. It was now a trial of strength between us. As neither
could use any arms but such as nature had furnished us, he soon found that I
should be too much for him in this warfare, and I had got about half up with him,
when Sergeant Brown stepped up and finished the contest by putting his bayonet
through the Hessian, which I was not sorry for, although satisfied that I could have
mastered him, with fair play, yet I found him a rather troublesome fellow, and
was glad to get rid of him. We now proceeded to cut away the second line of
abatis, which was more slight than the first, and quickly dispatched. At this
time no more than three or four of our men had fallen, and the duty on which we
had been sent having been faithfully discharged, our orders were, to have fallen
back upon the flank and rear of the advancing column. But our lieutenant re-
solved upon a more daring enterprise; we advanced, by his order, and leaped
upon the breastworks of the enemy, in the face of the garrison, with their bayonets
pointed at our breasts; here we stood shoulder to shoulder pushing at the enemy
with all our might, God knows how long; it seemed to me an age; it was probably
but a few minutes, probably not more than one minute, until we felt our friends in
our rear. Our number was now reduced to four men, the lieutenant and three others
standing to him on the right. The lieutenant then ordered us to leap into the fort,
over the heads of the garrison. We brought our muskets down in a horizontal posi-
tion and threw ourselves into the fort. In this movement the lieutenant fell, calling
out to us, ' Rush on, boys, I'm a dead man.' W"e then proceeded unmolested towards
the flag station in the centre of the fort, and there waited the issue, with some little
anxiety you may be sure. Within a few minutes, however, we saw Maj. Fleury
advancing at the head of his column ; the major rushed forward and pulled dowTi
the British flag. For this he received a commission of lieutenant-colonel, and a
thousand dollars, which had been promised to the first man who should enter
the fort — a reward of five hundred dollars had been promised to the second, and
one hundred to the third man, who should enter. Of the two men of the forlorn
hope who survived with me, I recollect the name of but one. This was Sergeant
Brown, who died some years since in Colchester, in this state. The five hundred
dollars was given to Sergeant Brown. I received the one hundred in Continental
bills, and expended forty or fifty, I don't now recollect which, in the purchase of
a gallon of rum to treat the company to which I belonged. Our expedition had
been conducted with so much secrecy that we expected to surprise the garrison.
In this we were disappointed. They were ready for us, and we were not a little
astonished at their opening so brisk a fire upon us at our first approach. This
was accounted for after the surrender of the garrison — a scoundrel who deserted
from us during the evening, had carried the intelligence to the enemy. This
fellow was not to be found in the fort. For fear of the worst, they had put him
on board a sloop-of-war, which lay in the river a little below."

After the war was over William ChafYee settled do\\Ti in Enfield, where he ran
a saw-mill, or worked in one. The records show that December 7, 1793, he bought
a dwelling house and lot lying northward of the lower saw-mill on Fresh Water
Brook in Enfield, and August 22, 1799, sold to Samuel Reynolds land in that town,
probably the same property. Three large elm trees are said to have grown in front
of this house and one at the right side of it. In 1887 a gentleman in writing to
the author regarding Mr. Chaffee said :

"His home was in a small one story house on the east side of the main road
from Hartford to Springfield, not far distant from the bridge over Fresh Water


Brook. ... He was a man independently poor in worldly goods but rich in
many respects. I do not believe he could have been induced to tell a lie, by any
sordid motive. I am sure no man in Enfield was more respected than he."

William Chaffee had large blue eyes and is said to have so strongly resembled
Benjamin Franklin that some of his family, not having any portrait of him, used
one of Franklin instead, considering it an excellent likeness. Physically, he was
a man of great strength; he was well informed and a great reader.

From 1818 until his death he was a pensioner, and his widow received a pension
until her death. She lived with her son Samuel during her nine years' widowhood.
On the night of his death William Chaffee arose from his bed, saying he had had
a dream that troubled him. He started to dress, and sank down dead.

"In the Enfield cemetery, on the northern boundary of the old part, located
on a path leading from the centre, about a rod from Mr. Charles Killam's property,
lie the remains of William Chaffee. A plain white marble slab, about 4xl| feet,
somewhat weather-beaten, but in a fair state of preservation, bears the following
simple inscription: 'William Chaffee, died Oct. 27, 1834, aged 78 years.' Beside
the remains of Mr. Chaffee, on the right, are those of his wife, 'Mary, who died
Dec. 23, 1843, aged 85 years.' Still further on to the right is the grave of another
Mary Chaffee. On the left of the grave of the dead hero, are two slabs, one 'Wm.
Chaffee, who died July 23, 1847,' and the other 'Cornelia, his wife, died in 1836,'
and near Mr. Killam's fence, two children of the latter lie buried, one small white
slab contains the initials of both." [Written September 15, 1887.]

Children, born in Enfield :
+ 1635 i Elizabeth ^ Chaffee, born in October, 1781; married Asher Pease.
1636 ii Mary Chaffee, born in April, 1783; died in Agawam, Mass., November

27, 1858; unmarried; buried in Enfield beside her father.
+ 1637 iii Fannie Chaffee, born April 17, 1785; married Lyman Pease.
+ 1638 iv Hannah Chaffee, born in March, 1787; married Moses P. Holt.
+ 1639 v Dolly Chaffee, born in March, 1789; died in New London, Conn.,

April 14, 1875; married in Enfield, January 17, 1821, Charles

Beebe of Waterford, Conn. ; had two sons, lost at sea.
+ 1640 vi William Chaffee, Jr., born May 12, 1791; married Cornelia Van


1641 vii Anna Chaffee, born May 29, 1793; died in Agawam, January 29.

1882; married Captain Paul Warriner of West Springfield,

1642 viii Laura Chaffee, born July 15, 1795; died in Enfield, November 10,

1859; unmarried.

1643 ix Isaiah Chaffee, born in February, 1798; left home when a young

man, and was never after heard of.

1644 X Sophia Chaffee, born April 1, 1800; died in Agawam, in March, 1887;

married in Suffield, Conn., September 25, 1821, Warham Britton
of Agawam.
+ 1645 xi Samuel Chaffee, born November 3, 1801 ; married Maria Van Dyke.

629 Joseph s ChafEe (Isaiah,5 Joseph,* John,3 Joseph,2 Thomas i) was born in
Woodstock, Conn., October 2, 1761, and died in Erieville, N. Y., March 10, 1846.
He married in South Wilbraham, Mass., in 1784, Mercy, daughter of William White
of that place, where she was born December 22, 1764. She died in Erieville,
January 20, 1849. Both she and her husband were buried in Erieville but in later
years their bodies were removed to the family lot of their son Stephen F., in the
Evergreen Cemetery, Cazenovia, N. Y. ]\Iercy (White) Chaffe had a fair com-
plexion, gray eyes, and was five feet, four inches in height. She was a very smart
and enterprising woman, a thrifty housekeeper, a great reader, with a kind and


cheerful disposition and a keen wit. In her later years she became very much
stooped, and her grandchildren remember seeing her sitting in the chimney corner,
smoking her pipe.

Joseph Chaffe was left fatherless at the early age of nine, and April 2, 1771,
William King was appointed his guardian. His father having left but a small
estate his family suffered the hardships of poverty. In 1776 he was apprenticed
to Jacob Hart of Wilbraham and it is probable that from him he learned the black-
smith's trade. During his apprenticeship, in August, 1776, his master was drafted
for one month's service in the Revolutionary army, to go to New London, Conn.,
and Joseph Chaffe went as his substitute. Toward the end of the war he again
enlisted :

" Chafee, Joseph. Private, Capt. Samuel Clark's co. detached from Col. Barnabas
Sears's regt.; enUsted July 18, 1781; discharged Nov. 2, 1781; service, 3 mos. 21
days, 'up Mohawk River;' enlistment 3 months; reported wounded Oct. 25, 1781."

[Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution.]

In his application for pension he mentions the service in New London and an
enlistment in Adams, Mass., March, 1781, in Captain Philip Madison's company
for nine months, but neither of these enlistments is mentioned in the official record
of Massachusetts. The wound mentioned was received in the battle fought on
Sir John Johnson's farm. The Americans were commanded by Colonel Willetts;
the engagement lasted from noon until dark, the American troops being at first
repulsed, but later winning a complete victory, the enemy fleeing in disorder to
the woods. Joseph Chaffe was carried from the field, a portion of his right cheek
bone having been split off by a bullet, the scar of which he carried to his grave.
He applied for a pension June 16, 1835, and it was granted.

Soon after their marriage Joseph Chaffe and his wife moved to Adams, Berk-
shire County, Mass., where they lived until 1796. January 2, 1794, "Joseph
Chafe of Adams" bought of John R. Bleeker of Albany, N. Y., for £157, 17s.,
one hundred and eighty-seven acres of land in Warren, Herkimer County, N. Y.,
to which place he moved two years later.

This country he had travelled through during his service in the Revolution.
His grandson, Andrew Jackson Chaphe, says of it:

"When Joseph Chaffe came to Warren there were no mills for grinding grain
within many miles and for some time the corn for family use was crushed in a
hollow stone with an iron pestle. The present generation knows not of the hard-

Online LibraryWilliam H. (William Henry) ChaffeeThe Chaffee genealogy, embracing the Chafe, Chafy, Chafie, Chafey, Chafee, Chaphe, Chaffie, Chaffey, Chaffe, Chaffee descendants of Thomas Chaffe, of Hingham, Hull, Rehoboth and Swansea, Massachusets; also certain lineages from families in the United States, Canada and England, not descended from Th → online text (page 26 of 91)