Friday, June 29, 2012

Remembering early patriots

Dear Grandmother Hoo Hoo,
       It's very hot today and it reminds me of those hot, lazy August afternoons when, while your younger grandchildren were napping, you would tell me stories of your parents, grandparents and the family who came before us. I loved those stories and they sparked my life-long love of history, especially family history.
       You often mentioned that members of your grandfather Van Eps Hugunin's family had fought in the Revolutionary War. I'm not certain that you knew the entire story but I know you would want to know.
Two of Van Eps grandparents fought in the War.  His paternal grandfather, David Hugunin, served as an enlisted man in the Albany County Militia's 7th Regiment at age 19. I know about his maternal grandfather, Evert Van Epps', service because he had a pension.
        Evert was the 3rd generation of the Van Epps family to be born in Schenectady, New York to a family of early Dutch settlers. He moved west to Montgomery County with his parents in 1750. In Dutch families, I imagine that it was not difficult to find people willing to resist the British as the loss of the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam had occurred barely a century before. Evert joined the Revolutionary cause early.

Receipt for 44 barrels of flour signed by Evert Van Eps, Capt
8 Jul 1776

He first served as Captain of Bateauxman. Evert and a crew of about ten men would move supplies along the Mohawk River and other rivers and lakes. Transportation by road was difficult and many items were shipped by flat-bottom boats along the lakes and tributaries. New York State has an excellent website that explains the logistical importance of the Batteaux (

Evert went on to fight at the battles of Oriskany and Johnstown, but more about that tomorrow.

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