Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Local Military of the 1820's

To follow up my article about how the village of Port Byron received its name, I decided to see if I could yield any dates from the military appointments.  We had a local military unit when the Erie Canal opened in 1825.  For the grand opening, requested to be present for the canal celebrations was a John S. Willis.  The 1825 newspaper called our unit the "Byron Grey's".

Military Historian Anthony Gero adds "Rifle companies were suppose to be in grey then in NYSM so, at this point, "assume" this Port Byron company may have been such."

My interest in this development is because this association to John S. Willis may suggest our current namesake of Port Byron may predate the official opening of the Erie Canal.

Since our militia was known as the "Byron Greys" and Brutus had a unit of light infantry known as the "Brutus Blues" with a commander by the last name of Kennedy, I found a newspaper article indicating that the Brutus Blues formed in 1824.  It is not known if we can determine what year the Byron Greys formed, but their name is suggestive of the use of Port Byron, which the earliest evidence was a newspaper from 1825.  However, given John S Willis's appointment in 1822 from his military appointment, this may suggest our name changed during the construction period of the Erie Canal and not at the time of the grand opening.

MILITARY MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL OF APPOINTMENT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, 1783—1821.

(Pertaining to 1822 names I quickly recognize 
from Port Byron or Mentz are highlighted in blue)
Blue=Port Byron/Mentz

CAYUGA COUNTY

One Hundred and Fifty-eighth regiment of infantry:
Abraham Gridley, major, vice Price, resigned; John H. Bennet, adjutant, vice Young, moved. Captains — John C. Lewis, vice Crane, resigned; William Haines, vice Montgomery, resigned; Henry H. Cooley, vice Smith, resigned; Almeron H. Cole, vice Gridley, promoted. Lieutenants — Henry Ramsey, vice Hanes, promoted; Alanson Smith, vice Robertson, deceased; William E. Tibbils; John B. Tallman, vice Cooley, promoted; John Wait, vice Lewis, promoted; John Oliphant, junior, vice Cole, promoted. Ensigns — Charles M. Nicolls, vice Ramsey, promoted; Henry M. Griffin, vice Tallman, promoted; James Dole, vice Smith, promoted; Arman Rhoades; John S. Willis, vice Wait, promoted; Clark R. Hotchkiss, vice Oliphant, promoted; William Mandeville, vice Arnold, resigned.

Twenty-first regiment of infantry:
Simon Culver, colonel, vice Chadwick, resigned; Ezekiel Parker, lieutenant colonel, vice Culver, promoted; Herman Bissell, major, vice Parker, promoted; Joseph Bishop, adjutant; Josiah Chatfield, quartermaster. Captains — Elias Tillotson, vice Barger, resigned; Robert Sharpsteen, vice Bissell, promoted; Peter Lawson, vice Haywood, moved. Lieutenants — Philo Baldwin, vice Lawson, promoted; Selden Chadwick, vice Tillotson, promoted; Hiram Rathbun, vice Sharpsteen, promoted. Ensigns — John C. Bull, vice Robinson, promoted; William Pancus, vice Baldwin, promoted; Daniel D. Owen; Allen Palmer; Charles S. Olmsted; Humphrey Hunt, vice Bush, moved.

One Hundred and Sixty-seventh regiment of infantry:
Ebenezer Curtis, quartermaster. Captains — Robert Gait, vice Emerson; John Dolson. Lieutenants — Gardner Jeffries, Isaac Van Doren. Ensigns — Robert Gridley, Amos Barnes, Peter Young, David Trumbull.

One Hundred and Ninth regiment of infantry :
Ezra Hough, colonel, vice (Agreen) Ingraham, moved, and (William) Greenfield, unfit; Asa Little, lieutenant colonel, vice Hough, promoted, etc.; Samuel Odell, major, vice Hough, promoted; Isaac Wood, quartermaster, vice Pierce, resigned; Silas N. Hall, surgeon, vice Ford, moved; David E. Lord, surgeon's mate, vice Hall, promoted. Captains — Elijah Austin, vice Fuller, resigned; Isaac W. Skinner, vice Little, promoted; John M. Brinkerhoff, vice Ten Eyck, moved; Abraham J. Slover, vice Stivers, moved; Ezekiel Smith, vice Branch, moved. Lieutenants — Eleazer Woodard, vice Austin, promoted; John Locke, vice Skinner, promoted; Hezekiah Johnson, vice Brinkerhofif, promoted; James D. Hewitt, vice West, promoted; Alvin Kellogg, vice Smith, promoted. Ensigns — ^Jotham Bassett. vice Woodard, promoted; James Powers, vice Locke, promoted; William Slover, vice Johnson, promoted; Orrin Standish, vice Slover, promoted; Ephraim Hardy, vice Kellogg, promoted; Thomas Cone, vice Kennedy, promoted.

Auburn State Prison Guard:
Joseph S. Colt, captain; James Fitch, lieutenant; James Francis, ensign.

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