(Revolutionary War era cartoon attributed to Benjamin Franklin.)

I  joined The Sons Of The American Revolution in 1989 by descent from Garret Irons, a New Jersey militiaman.  It was the first major genealogical line I documented and still my favorite, a personal connection to the most important event in our nation’s history.  Patriot troops were aided in part by a coalition including French naval support, Spanish funds, and European military commanders drawn by the ideals of freedom.  

SAR was granted a Congressional Charter on 9 June 1906 under Title 36 Part B Chapter 1533 United States Code. The act was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a member.

Although I have been a member of SAR for 29 years, it’s clear to me that the organization has become politically and socially conservative to the point that the views of some of its members are being ignored.  To best preserve the memory of the Revolution and the Patriots who served in it, I felt SAR must not become a partisan organization and should refrain from meddling in politics and religion.  Therefore, today, August 11, 2018, on the 29th anniversary of my admission to the Society, I have tendered my resignation.

My resignation was acknowledged.  I won’t renew my membership in SAR.  Politicizing the organization doesn’t make it relevant.

Tory Hanging From Liberty Pole

Tory Hanging From Liberty Pole

The following story illustrates what a patriot militiaman might encounter in the ordinary circumstances of conflict:

“Garret Irons applied for a pension, 31 July 1832, and his wife Hester (sic) for a widow’s pension, 4 Jan. 1839.  (N.J. #2377)  These applications state that while residing in Dover Township Garret Irons volunteered at Toms River in the spring of 1776 and served as a private at various times in monthly tours in the N.J. Militia under Captains John Cook; Jenkins; Bigelow, and Tilton in Col. Samuel Forman’s Regiment.  He was in several scouting parties, Monmouth Co. being infested with the British; was in a skirmish at Homerstown, and in a skirmish at Pennsylvania Salt Works while on guard there.  He served until the end of the war.

“The Proceedings of New Jersey Historical Society, Vol. 14, p. 431, tells of a tradition to the effect that ‘Garrett Irons and Bart Applegate, two Toms River men who volunteered to help defend the Toms River Block House, 24 March 1782, were captured by the Tories who took them a mile or two to sea and set them adrift in a small boat without sail or oars.  They tore the thwarts out of the boat and paddled ashore.  Isaiah Weeks, who is buried in the old burying ground at Cedar Grove Church along with Applegate and Irons, killed the captain in the head boat of the attacking party.’  (Bart Applegate was the son of Jacob Applegate.)

“Ocean County, then a part of Monmouth Co., suffered two attacks of note in the Revolutionary War.  The Block House at Toms River above referred to was stormed by a band of Loyalists in April 1782.  The garrison, under Captain Joshua Huddy, defended it until their ammunition was gone, then surrendered.  The cannon of the block house was spiked and thrown into the river, the town and block house burned and Capt. Huddy taken away and eventually hanged by the Loyalists at Gravelly Point.  The second engagement took place at Cedar Creek Bridge south of Toms River between the Burlington County Lighthorse [sic], under Captains Shreve and Bacon, and a band of Loyalists who escaped under the protection of local inhabitants.  Capt. Bacon later died in an engagement at Egg Harbor.” (pp. 221–223)

Hook, James W.  (1955).  Smith, Grant and Irons Families Of New Jersey’s Shore Counties Including the Related Families of Willets and Birdsall. New Haven, Conn:  The Author. (reprint of book is available from Higginson Book Company.)

Tombstone of Garret Irons at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Ocean Co., NJ.  Garret Irons m. Hester Applegate, daughter of Jacob Applegate. Their daughter Eleanor (Irons) Jeffery (1785-1856), is my 4th great-grandmother. (See below.)  Garret Irons was the son of James Irons Jr. and Nelle Longstreet, and it’s through the Longstreet or Longstraat family that old Dutch families are ancestors of Garret Irons.  Of the Jeffery family in general Salter (1890) said:  “Jeffrey is a Rhode Island name.  About the first Jeffrey or Jeffries who came to this country was William, who was at Salem, Mass., 1628. He lived at Jeffries’ Creek, now called Manchester, near Salem.  The name is variously given as Jeffrey, Jeffries, Jefferay and Jeoffreys.”

Above: My great-grandparents:  Earnest Ervin Jeffery (1882–1950) and Effie Viola Huffman (1881–1910), wedding photo 25 Dec 1901. Earnest Ervin Jeffery was the great-grandson of Eleanor (Irons) Jeffery.  Effie was the daughter of Tyler and Mary Ann (Black) Huffman. Tyler Huffman served in the Union Army during the Civil War.  As you can see, Effie was a beanpole.  She has German influence in her dress and appearance.  Click on photo to enlarge.

[Detail from 1905 Rome, Henry Co., IA state census.  Effie Jeffery was Tyler Huffman’s daughter Effie Viola (Huffman) Jeffery.]

[Ca. 1912:  Mary Ann (Black) Huffman, seated, mother of Effie Viola (Huffman) Jeffery.  At this point Mary Ann was a widow, her husband Tyler having died the year before.  Shown here with her grandchildren.  Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff is front row, second from right.  This is a visual document of a typical Iowa farm family in the pre-WWI era.]


[My maternal grandfather:  Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff (1904–1990), looking rakish in a wool cap.  Taken ca. 1920.  Son of Earnest Ervin and Effie Viola (Huffman) Jeffery. After the death of his mother in 1910, Jesse was adopted by Effie’s sister Emma, who had married John Scarff.  John and Emma Scarff changed Jesse’s name, which greatly angered his father.  I’m named after the Jeffery family.  In addition to Garret Irons, Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff was also descended from Revolutionary War patriots Francis Dill, Lawrence Stricker, Johann Georg (George) Rothrock, Henry George Hanawalt, and Revolutionary War militia-men George Rothrock, Peter Black, and Jacob Applegate.  Click on image to enlarge.]

The following 23 persons are my attempt to list all Revolutionary War ancestors from whom I descend, grouped by each of my four grandparents.  NSDAR Ancestor Numbers are followed by type of service and the state in which service was rendered.  Not all ancestors have had descendants apply for NSDAR membership.  Miscellaneous notes are appended.

Jewell Winifred Bailey:

1.  Bankston, Lawrence.  A005748.  Soldier, Georgia.  [According to Cynthia Vold Forde: “Lawrence Bankston was my fifth great grandfather.  He was born in 1754 to Peter Bankston and Priscilla ? in Orange County, NC.  He served in the Revolutionary War as a private in the Georgia Continental Line.  (This info comes from the DAR: Vol. 51, page 66. Ms. Isabelle Thomason, DAR ID # 50142.)  My DAR Membership # 804758 was approved July 7, 2001; Brenham, Texas Chapter, Jabez Deming.”] 

2.  Bankston, Peter.  A205944.  Patriotic Service, North Carolina.  (Father of Lawrence Bankston above.)  

3.  Branch Sr., William.  A013745.  Patriotic Service, North Carolina.

4.  Henderson, John.  A054722.  Patriotic Service, Virginia.  (Father of Joseph Henderson below.)  

5.  Henderson, Joseph.  A054755.  Patriotic Service, North Carolina.  (Father-in-Law of Lawrence Bankston above.  Son-in-Law of James Lea below.) 

6.  Lea, James.  A067574.  Public Service; furnished supplies, North Carolina.  (DAR has sorted out the James Leas in NC and lists this one as the father of Delphia Lea, wife of Joseph Henderson above.)

7.  Slayden, Arthur.  A105173.  Patriotic Service, Virginia; provided food and drink. (Grandfather of Susannah Slayden, b. 20 Jun 1782 in Charlotte, Virginia; m. Hiram Bankston, son of Lawrence Bankston above.  Susannah’s sister Martha Slayden m. Samuel Jones.  Samuel Jones Harkey was Martha’s nephew.) 

The principal references on the Bankston family are:

Haigler, Anne Martin.  (1998).  Bankston Cousins 1656–1996.  Florissant, MO:  Hardbound, Inc.

Rambo, Beverly Nelson; Beatty, Ronald S.  (2007).  The Rambo Family Tree 2nd Edition July 2007 Descendants Of Peter Gunnarson Rambo Third Volume: Descendants Of His Daughter Gertrude Rambo Bankson.  Bloomington, IN:  AuthorHouse.

Lawrence Bankston’s will made 10 Apr 1834, proved 22 Nov 1844 in Wilkes Co., Georgia, contains this language:

“6th item. I will that the rest of my Property both real and personal be sold and equally divided between my four daughters Isabella Irvin, Priscilla Mathis, Elizabeth Mosely & Martha Sappington and the Lawful Heirs of Hyram Bankston deceased, with this exception, I will that my grandson Welden L. Bankston draw one half of the distributive share coming to the said orphans, and the other half to be equally divided between the rest of the children of the said Hyram Bankston deceased, which will be the one fifth part of the above named property including Welden L. Bankston and the other four fifths to be equally divided between my four daughters.”

Welden L. Bankston was to receive in effect one tenth of Lawrence Bankston’s estate, with one tenth of the estate to be shared by the remaining children of Hiram (Hyram) Bankston.  So we know that Hiram Bankston, who died in Wilkes Co. in 1815, had at least three children who were living in 1834.  Mary Bankston is recorded as marrying Daniel Harkey on 17 Dec 1822 in Wilkes Co.  Since Lawrence Bankston didn’t have a daughter named Mary, and Hiram Bankston was his only son, this 1822 marriage is for a daughter of Hiram Bankston.

These deeds recorded in Wilkes Co., GA show that Daniel David and Mary Ann (Bankston) Harkey lived on Kettle Creek in the vicinity of Lawrence Bankston:

 (The family left Wilkes Co. for Pike Co.)

Beecher Edgar Chipman:

1.  Hale, Joseph.  A206522.  Soldier, Virginia.

2.  Hargis, Shadrach.  A050610. Cpt., North Carolina militia.  *

3.  Oxley, George.  Soldier, North Carolina.  **

4.  Ragland, William.  A093397.  Patriotic Service, North Carolina.

5.  Standifer, Benjamin.  A108368.  Soldier, North Carolina.

6.  Turman, Benjamin.  A117005.  Patriotic Service, Virginia.  

* Leitha Caroline (Hargis) Miller is evidently a great-granddaughter of Shadrach Hargis.  Line valid but requires additional documentation.  For more information, see the column:  “HARGIS bible & census records.”

** George Oxley appears in NC militia records.  The pension application of John Bentley (No. R.784) states “Deponent states John Williams, George Oxley, Dickson Chamberland served with him as soldiers.”  Probable grandfather of my proven ancestor James Monroe Oxley.  I believe the line to be valid but adequate documentation is lacking in first two generations.  No one has applied for DAR membership on George Oxley.

Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff:

1.  Applegate, Jacob.  A208665.  Soldier, New Jersey.  [Father-in-Law of Garret Irons below. Jacob Applegate’s children are established by a deed recorded in Monmouth Co., New Jersey Deed Book Z, p. 176.  According to “The Applegate Project,” a website devoted to Applegate genealogy, it’s generally accepted Jacob Applegate’s father was Bartholomew Applegate and his mother a Native American of the Lenni Lenape tribe of the Algonquin Nation.   The Lenni Lenape inhabited all of New Jersey and parts of other states.  As with other Native American tribes, they were devastated by smallpox and alcoholism introduced by Europeans.

For thorough histories of the Lenni Lenape see:

Soderlund, Jean R.  (2015).  Lenape Country Delaware Valley Society Before William Penn.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. (This volume is essential for those researching a Lenape ancestor in the early Colonial period.)

Weslager, C.A.  (2000).  The Delaware Indians A History.  New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

If you have deep colonial ancestry, those ancestors lived in close proximity to Native Americans—in this case the Lenni Lenape.  In the 17th and early 18th centuries Caucasian men outnumbered Caucasian women.  Some Caucasian men found wives in Native American tribes. These women accepted Christianity and appeared in contemporary records bearing “Christian” names, which makes learning anything of their families impossible. 

“Some Lenapes and English colonists intermarried.”  Such marriages were relatively common.  “By the mid-eighteenth century, many New Jersey Lenapes had mixed ancestry, including the leaders who negotiated land deals with the colonial governments.”  “A number of eighteenth-century visitors to the region believed that the Natives and Europeans had mixed sexually and culturally.” (Soderlund, pp. 119 & 181.) 

In studying the photograph of Eleanor (Irons) Jeffery (below) , I see features characteristic of the Lenni Lenape which support the identification of her great-grandmother as a member of that tribe, making Eleanor 1/8 Lenni Lenape. 

[Eleanor (Irons) Jeffery, granddaughter of Jacob Applegate. Warren Co., Ohio, early to mid 1850s.  Eleanor and husband Francis Jeffery are buried at a family cemetery located in a wooded area across from property at 3830 Oregonia Rd., Lebanon, Warren Co., OH.  The cemetery is on private property and in poor condition as are many old family cemeteries.)

Native Americans are offended by stereotypes of their appearance.  If your ancestor was a Native American, it’s necessary to determine their tribe.  This iconic photograph of mother and daughter was taken in Oklahoma in 1915.  It depicts Native American women of the Lenni Lenape tribe, or Delawares as they are more commonly called. Eleanor (Irons) Jeffery shares three facial features with them: elongated, narrow tissue around the eyes, high cheekbones, and a downturned mouth.  Although high cheekbones and a downturned mouth might be found in women in a wider gene pool, the eyes are distinctive.  If you compare the eyes of the Lenni Lenape woman on the left with Eleanor (Irons) Jeffery’s eyes, they’re exactly the same.  Not all Native American tribes have such eye structure.

Given the place and time, where else could Eleanor (Irons) Jeffery have acquired that trait, which is displayed in context with high cheekbones and downturned mouth?   Jacob Applegate’s wife Esther as far as is known had no Native American ancestry. Jacob Applegate’s predecessors in the male line had no Native American ancestry either. Taken together, the photograph of the Lenni Lenape women and the photograph of Eleanor (Irons) Jeffery are enough proof that Jacob Applegate’s mother was a Lenni Lenape. The guiding principle on ACME NUKLEAR BLIMP is truth.  In this instance I’m using photographic evidence for an apples to apples comparison so readers can judge for themselves.

On 1 Nov 2015 I received the following Email from Applegate descendant Melissa Hahn which confirms our Native American ancestry:

Applegate Native American verification for you

I wanted to reach out to you after stumbling upon your blog post about your Applegate & Native American heritage.

Last year I got the results for my Ancestry.com DNA test which shows about 1% Native American blood which supports my grandmother’s reports that her grandmother – my 2nd great grandmother – (Abigail Applegate Overmyer) was part Native American.  You will find her on The Applegate Project site.

Your blog post has given me some amazing new detail I haven’t seen before, and I thought I would let you know that there are DNA results supporting that story.

Thank you so much for honoring our ancestors.


Melissa Royston Hahn

It’s a compelling story:  Jacob Applegate served as a Patriot militiaman during the Revolutionary War, making him doubly interesting. Under the Fourth Treaty of Pittsburgh, signed on 17 Sep 1778, the Lenni Lenape were the first Native American tribe to enter into a formal agreement with the new United States.  Later the tribe accused the United States of violating the treaty and became allies of the British. Jacob Applegate must have found himself torn between the warring parties, but cast his lot with the Patriot cause.

The Lenni Lenape were steadily pushed westward and by the 1860s the main body of the tribe was located in northeast Oklahoma.  About 20,000 Lenni Lenape remain in North America.

Instead of using a generic English name for Jacob Applegate’s mother, I chose the name “Mehittachpin,” which means “To Be Born” in the Lenni Lenape language.  As the percentage of Lenni Lenape blood decreases down the generations, I am only 1/512th Lenni Lenape. Nonetheless, I felt this material should be published on ACME NUKLEAR BLIMP as a memorial to a once-great Native American tribe, many of whose descendants today are merged with other ethnic groups. 

Matika Wilbur, herself Native American, has been traveling across the United States photographing Native Americans.  She hopes to photograph Native Americans from every tribe.  One aspect emerging from her project is that stereotypes are wrong: there are variations in appearance from one tribe to another. You can view and support her project at:


Archaeologists and anthropologists have established that the ancestors of Native Americans were a Stone Age people who left the Bering Land Bridge 10,000 to 12,000 years ago to settle the Americas. I’ve used the term “Native Americans” rather than “Indians”  to refer to pre-Columbian peoples. “Indian” is a corruption of the word “indigenous.”  Using the term “Native Americans” prevents confusion with people from the country of India.

There’s some very old colonial history in this Applegate family. Our line is: Hester 6, Jacob 5, Bartholomew 4, Daniel 3, Bartholomew 2, Thomas 1.]

[Tombstone of Jacob Applegate, Cedar Grove Cemetery, Ocean Co., NJ.  Jacob Applegate’s wife Esther (1732–18 Apr 1803) is buried beside him.]

2.  Black, Peter.  Soldier, Pennsylvania.  (Source:  Pennsylvania Archives, Series 6, Vol. II, p. 184.  NSDAR accepts Patriots and Soldiers who served from 19 Apr 1775 to 26 Nov 1783. Peter Black appears in a muster roll dated 17 May 1782 of the 5th Battalion Washington Co., PA militia commanded by Captain Robert Ramsey, dated 17 May 1782.  Although Peter Black has descendants, to date no one has applied for DAR membership based upon his service.) 

3.  Dill, Francis.  Patriotic Service, Pennsylvania.

[The standard treatment of the Dill family is:

McBride, Nancy S.  (1977).  Phelps–Marshall Kinship.  Verona, Virginia:  McClure Press. pp. 82–108.

According to Nancy S. McBride, Francis Dill signed an Oath of Allegiance on 4 Jun 1778, taken by John Moore.  The Oath was evidently made in Westmoreland Co.  The Transcription of Property for Westmoreland Co. PA in 1783 records Francis Dill in possession of 2 horses, 3 cattle, and 8 sheep.  

Oaths were sworn under so-called “Test Laws” designed to flush out Tories. The Oath read in part:

We whose names are hereunto Subscribed Do solemnly and sincerely Declare and Swear That the State of Pensilvania is and of right ought to be a Sovereign and Independent State—and I do forever renounce all Allegiance, Subjection and Obedience to the King or Crown of Great Britain….

Qualified for DAR membership, but to date no descendants have applied.

4.  Hanawalt, Henry [Henry George].  A050781.  Patriotic Service, Pennsylvania.

5.  Irons, Garrett.  A060429.  Soldier, New Jersey.

6.  Rothrock, George.  A098782.  Soldier, Pennsylvania.

7.  Rothrock, Johann Georg [George].  A098781.  Patriotic Service, Pennsylvania.  (Father of George Rothrock above.)

8.  Stricker, Lawrence.  Patriotic Service, Pennsylvania.  Built two blockhouses on his land in Washington Co., PA for defense on the frontier against Native American raids instigated by the British.  His brother-in-law Jacob Wolfe (A127473) is recognized by DAR for Patriotic Service as having built a fort for the same purpose; therefore, Lawrence Stricker also qualifies as a DAR Ancestor, although no descendants have yet applied.

[Forrest, Earle Robert.  (1926).  History of Washington County, Pennsylvania.  Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., p. 241.]

Above: The Lochry Block House, a Revolutionary War era blockhouse in western PA which the Stricker blockhouses must have closely resembled.  One of Stricker’s blockhouses had an overshot on two sides which enabled its defenders to shoot down on attackers.  Washington Co., PA was then the frontier and vulnerable to incursions by Native Americans who were often led or incited by the British to harass Patriot settlements.  Operations by the British and their Native American allies against the Kentucky and Pennsylvania frontiers were directed by Maj. Arent Schuyler DePeyster (1736–1822) from his base in Detroit.

Hillary Lillian Vaughan:

1.  Fulkerson, Abraham.  A043186.  Soldier, Virginia.

The National Park Service “National Register Of Historic Places Registration Form” for the Abraham Fulkerson house in Scott Co., VA, dated 6 May 2002, contains extensive information about Abraham Fulkerson and the house, which was built ca. 1800.  Registered as No. 084-0003.

“The two-story Fulkerson-Hilton House, built around 1800, is of mixed log construction consisting of oak, pine, and poplar hewn logs.  The logs are joined using half-dovetail notching.  The house rests on a limestone foundation on its original site.

Single-beaded tongue and groove vertical boards divide the interior of both floors of the log portion of this house.  In addition, the two log rooms constituting the first floor are lined with similar tongue and groove boards.  The two upstairs rooms are not lined.

The house is supported by a foundation consisting of dry-laid river rock.  Some of these stones exceed 4 feet in length, 1 foot in width, and 10 inches in thickness.  A root cellar located beneath the eastern end of the log portion of the house is entered through a wooden door and frame.  The heavy doorframe cuts through the foundation, which otherwise continues around the house uninterrupted.  The foundation supports poplar log floor joists with their bark intact.  These joists lie in a north-south orientation.  The root cellar consists of earthen walls lined with simple wooden shelves.  The underside of the first-story pine floor serves as the cellar ceiling.

Hand-chiseled stones, some as large as those just noted, make up a very large chimney centered on the western wall.  Sandstone of this size is not found in Little Valley, which consists primarily of limestone and shale.  These stones must have come from Clinch Mountain, which is composed primarily of sandstone and lies approximately 1 mile to the north.

The interior of the log portion of the Fulkerson-Hilton House is divided into two rooms.  The larger parlor includes the original front and back doorways, two windows, the fireplace, and the stairway entrance.  Centered on the western wall of the parlor is the large hand-chiseled stone fireplace with its hand-forged cooking crane.  This arched fireplace features a tall, deep, and slightly trapezoidal firebox.

The Fulkerson Cemetery is located about 40 yards northwest of the Fulkerson-Hilton House and covers a small area approximately 20 X 20 feet.  It contains five known graves; only one original headstone has a legible inscription.  Reportedly buried there are the following:

Abraham Fulkerson (May 1739-1821)

Sarah Gibson Fulkerson (?-1835)

Rev. Samuel Hilton (1766-April 24, 1830)

Nancy Short Hilton (1764-February 5, 1835)

Frederick Hilton (1821-1844)

The nominated property on the North Fork of the Holston River and Dowell Branch retains the remarkable integrity of setting, with wooded terraces descending from Pine Ridge above open fields near the western terminus of Little Valley.”

2.  Mahurin, Samuel.  Soldier, Virginia.  Died in 1814 in Shelby Co., Kentucky.  Served in Capt. Flower Swift’s Montgomery County, Virginia Militia.  Although no one has applied for DAR membership based upon Samuel Mahurin’s service, Capt. Flower Swift is DAR Ancestor No. A111983.  When and in what capacity this unit saw action is unclear. James A. Quinn has extensively researched Flower Swift and the men who served under him. See:



Two recent histories of the Amercan Revolution bear mention:

Axelrod, Alan.  (2007).  The Real History Of The Amercian Revolution A New Look At The Past.  New York:  Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.

Middlekauff, Robert.  (2005).  The Glorious Cause The American Revolution, 1763-1789 Revised and Expanded Edition.  New York:  Oxford University Press, Inc.