Printed in SOY Newsletter, September 1999 - revised, December 2000
Compiled and submitted by Earl M. Sherman of Mercer Island, Washington
Ca: 1904 in Randolph, NE - Top row: Hattie, Clair, Earl W., and Herbert. Lower row: Sarah, Elsie and Julia.
Herbert E. Sherman was born January 26, 1856 in Rollin, Lenawee County, Michigan, the son of Lafayette and Sarah Ann Root Sherman. Herbert descends from Philip, Samuel, Ebenezer, David,MerrittandLafayette. Herbert spent his youth on the family farm in Chesterfield Township, Fulton County, Ohio.
As a young man he went to Nebraska where he married Hattie Nance Wells in Ponca, Nebraska on the 10 August 1892. Hattie was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her parents were William Henry Wells and Neomi Moore. Neomi died when Hattie was 5 years old and James and Lucy Todd Nance adopted her. Herbert and Hattie farmed near Randolph, Nebraska where six of their eight children were born. They were Earl, Clair, Elsie, Sarah, Julia and Lissie.
In 1906 Herbert, Hattie and family moved to Kadoka, South Dakota where they homesteaded 180 acres northwest of the town of Kadoka. Merritt and Mildred were born in Kadoka. After eleven years Herbert and his family left the homestead and moved to Seattle, Washington to get away from the cold winters and hot summers. Herbert’s brothers, Merit, Edgar and sister Lela were already living in Seattle.
Herbert and his family lived in Seattle for a couple of years then moved to a small farm on Whidbey Island near the town of Oak Harbor, Washington. When Hattie became ill she went to Seattle to be with her married daughters and to get medical help. Hattie died 12 June 1926. Herbert stayed at the farm until 1936 when he too became ill. Herbert died in Seattle on 8 October 1936. Both are buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Seattle, Washington.
The following information was taken from an article that my father Earl Wells Sherman wrote in 1962 for "Jackson-Washabaugh Counties 1915-1965" by the Jackson-Washabaugh County Historical Society. These counties are located in South Dakota east and south of the Bad Lands. I also talked with my Uncle Merritt, or Jim as everyone calls him, about what he remembered of prairie life. Jim is presently 90 years old and lives in Seattle, Washington. He was nine years old when his family left South Dakota and has many stories to tell about living there:
In 1906 Herbert and his family of six children moved from Randolph, Nebraska to a claim about three miles northwest of the town of Kadoka in South Dakota. Here he homesteaded 180 acres of grassland. The first thing they had to do was to build a sod house. Sod was cut from the prairie using a sod plow and their 4-horse team. The sod was cut into pieces 4 inches thick by two feet long and 14 inches wide. These pieces of sod were stacked around three sides of the house. The back of the house was dug into a small hill. The house had a window on each side and door in the front. The roof had timber supports with boards and tar paper and sod on top. The floor was dirt. In the back of the house was a trap door in the floor that led to a cellar dug in the hillside where the family would store their home-canned goods.
Furnishings in the sod house included a cookstove near the front and a potbelly stove in the rear, a large rectangular table and benches. For illumination they used two kerosene lamps. They had partitioned sleeping quarters for the boys, girls and parents. The children’s beds were rough, pole-framed bunks with straw mattresses.
Drinking water came from a well, 90-feet deep, that Herbert and the two older boys dug. This was a real undertaking since they had to go through a layer of shale. The well had a hand pump that worked fine in warm weather but in the winter they used a bucket on a rope. The family had a two-hole outhouse nearby that wasn’t much fun in the winter. There was a large barn where they stored hay for their cattle and horses and a place where the livestock could stay in the winter. Jim says that they spent their summers putting up hay for their animals and gathering firewood along the creek to heat the house in the winter. They then spent their winters feeding the livestock and cleaning out the barn and trying to keep warm from the cold winds and snow.
The house was not too far from a small stream where they had a vegetable garden. The stream was a great place for children to play. One day Jim was playing near the stream with a neighbor boy, Jack Long, when Jack was bitten by a rattlesnake. In the summer the snakes would lie under the sand, forming a small mound near the stream to keep cool and Jack didn’t see the mound of sand in time. Jack, of course, ran for home and died shortly thereafter. Jim to this day hates snakes. He remembers snakes crawling into their sod house in the summer to keep cool. They would crawl up and lay on the overhead beams. Jim’s older brother, Clair would catch the snakes and take them into Kadoka where he got five cents apiece for dead ones and 25 cents for live ones. They also had to watch for snakes under the hay shocks when loading hay into the wagon.
Herbert, with his 4-horse team, would haul lumber and other items from Murdo to Kadoka for himself and neighbors. The distance was about 85 miles round trip and took several days. Earl recalled one trip when he accompanied his father and neighbor, Mr. Schee. He stated that it rained hard and the prairie roads were a muddy mess. Someone was always getting stuck in the mud holes and they had to pull one another out.
Earl recalled their first Thanksgiving in Kadoka. Herbert was away on one of his hauling trips and they had no food except flour. They had homemade biscuits but needed something more so Earl and Clair took the old muzzle-loading shotgun and went off to kill a jackrabbit. They soon found one and Earl raised the shotgun and fired away. The first shot broke one leg and he missed on the second shot. The boys then tried to run the rabbit down but it stayed about 15 feet ahead of them. In disgust Earl threw the shotgun at the rabbit and hit it. They had rabbit and biscuits for Thanksgiving dinner.
Earl worked for other homesteaders and farmers from 1906 to 1909. He then left Kadoka, in a train cattle car en route to Seattle Washington, a three day journey . In those days the person handling the cattle could ride with them in the cattle car on the way to market. Jim, too small to remember, when Earl left Kadoka his brother and sisters told him everyone cried because their son and big brother was leaving to go to Seattle. Earl would live with his aunt Lela to get more schooling than was available in Kadoka.
Earl M. Sherman of Mercer Island, Washington -- Grandson of Herbert and Hattie Sherman
Published in SOY Newsletter, September 1999
Submitted by Art Cohan
DENIES MARRIAGE, WON'T PAY - New York Times, 3 Jan 1912
Supreme Court Justice Delany began hearings yesterday on the matrimonial affairs of Frederick W. Sherman, who is suing to vacate an agreement with Christina Boos Sherman, by which he agreed to pay her $4200. He admits that her son, Robert W. Sherman, is his natural child. She asserts she is his common-law wife, and has brought suit against him for divorce, naming Mrs. Jane Gleason Sherman, whom he married ceremonially, as co-respondant. She is getting $15 a week temporary alimony pending the trial of this action. Sherman argues that he was forced to make the agreement by fraud, duress and deceit. He took the stand yesterday and said:
"I am an old New Yorker, Judge, and I was anxious to hush up this difference between this lady and myself. For peace sake, I agreed to give her $1500 in cash and $2700 in installments. I gave her lawyers a deed to a house on Long Island as part security to guarantee the amount. the money was to support Bobby, my boy, too."
Sherman said he was forced to sign the agreement by fear that the divorce suit would be brought to trial, and was not allowed to consult his own lawyer before he signed it.
Sherman said yesterday that it was his purpose to see that his natural son, Robert, had an excellent education, and that he intended to send him to the "best college in the United States".
The hearings will be continued today. Sherman is a wealthy real estate operator.
[Art's note: I do not find this gentleman in any references. Anyone
Published in SOY Newsletter, September 1999
Submitted by Art Cohan, taken from the Internet, released by the NY Times
22 July 1929 NY Times, page 19--(deaths)
SHERMAN - Frederick William, of Rye, NY, at his summer home, at Litchfield, Conn., on July 21, 1929, beloved husband of Alice W. Sherman, son of the late Frederick S. and Catherine Townsend Sherman of Rye, NY. Funeral services at St. Michael's Church at Litchfield, Conn., Tuesday, July 23 at 4 p.m. [Additional information in the SOY newsletter.]
The Little Bugler
Book review by Art Cohan
Published in SOY Newsletter, September 1999
Several months back, Sherm heard of a new book, called "The Little Bugler", about a Gustav A. Sherman who was a bugler during the Civil War, and inquired if any had seen it. Checking the JHS "Sherman Directories" quickly, I noted Gustavus A. SHERMAN, b: 20 Feb 1849 in Wayland, MA who descended from Capt. John (immigrant). Enthused (again) to find new SHERMAN info, I rushed to locate the book. Not yet listed in our Waldenbook store, I looked to our library's ILL, and soon had a copy from a library in Arkansas!
Written by William B. Styple and published by Belle Grove Publishing - 1998, "The Little Bugler" is the true story of twelve year old Gustav A. SCHURMANN, who served as a musician in Company I, 40th New York Infantry, from 1861-1864. The book vividly depicts all of his remarkable wartime experiences, including his stay at the White House as the boyhood companion of Tad LINCOLN. At the end of Schurmann's distinguished military career at the age of fifteen, he was a decorated veteran of ten battles, from Bull Run to Gettysburg, and served as bugler and orderly to four Union major-generals.
Although NOT the Sherman I had found in the "Directories", the Little Bugler is certainly noteworthy in any SHERMAN discussion - particularly as most Sherman researchers agree that the English roots probably began with immigration from German during the 10th/11th century - and surname spelling in Germany certainly includes SCHURMANN.
Of particular note, this book emphasizes why the Civil War was perhaps best known as "the war fought by the teenage soldier". I am sure that many family historians have discovered ancestors who fought who were mere extremely young. As the official age for enlistment was 18, the author writes, "In an era when there was a moral consequence in telling an untruth, the boys could avoid lying by writing the numeral 18 on a slip of paper which they then placed inside their shoes. When the recruiting officer asked how old they were, they could say truthfully, 'I am over 18'".
Gus was born in the Province of Westphalia, Prussia on 4 Feb 1849 (note that the other Gustavus was b: 20 Feb 1849!!). The following year, his parents fled revolutionary Europe, and settled in New York City. In the spring of 1861 little Gus was off with his father to become a drummer with the 40th New York Volunteers, and the beginning of his illustrious career with the Union Army.
Mr. Styple has provided a warm and exciting look at this child/man, and his exploits over the remainder of his war-time experiences, and his "looking back" in 1888, as he revisits the site of the battlefields where he fought.
William Tecumseh Sherman and the Discovery of Gold
Published in SOY Newsletter, September 1999
By Deborah Williams DWilli1062@AOL.com
Say the name, William Tecumseh Sherman, and nearly all people think of the famous Civil War general. Yet, many are unaware that thirteen years earlier, Sherman had played a role in another important American event.
In 1847, most Californians were anxiously awaiting the end of the Mexican War. One such Californian was a Swiss immigrant by the name of Johann Sutter. Sutter had predicted that many settlers would be coming to California after the war, so he planned to build a town near his fort in the Sacremento Valley to accommodate them. While building the sawmill, his partner, James Marshall made a discovery that would soon change California and the country.
On January 28, 1847, dripping wet and wild-eyed, Marshall rushed into Sutter’s office. Excitedly, he asked if anyone was within hearing range as he peered around the room and nervously looked under the bed. Sutter, fearing that some calamity had befallen the party up at the sawmill, demanded that Marshall tell him what was the matter. Marshall then reached into his pocket and pulled out a large nugget of yellow metal. It was about the size of a dime and weighed a quarter of an ounce. Sutter knew immediately what it was---gold! Marshall had found the nugget at Sutter’s Mill.
At that time, a 27-year old Lieutenant William Tecumseh Sherman was working for the newly arrived military governor of California, Colonel James Barnes Mason. One-spring day two men came into their offices at Monterey and asked to see the governor. Sherman obliged and took them to the governor’s office and left them alone. After some time, the colonel came to the door and asked Sherman to join them. As Sherman entered the office, he was directed to a series of unfolded papers on the table.
Mason asked Sherman if he knew what the substance on the papers was. He touched and examined one or two of the larger pieces, and asked, "Is it gold?"
Mason then asked Sherman if he had ever seen native gold. In reply, Sherman stated that while he was in Upper Georgia in 1844, he once saw some native gold. But the gold he had seen was much finer and was in transparent quills. He then told Mason that he knew how to test the substance to see whether or not it was gold and proceeded to check its malleability. He took a piece in his teeth and found that its "metallic luster"
was perfect. He then requested an axe and a hatchet. Taking a large piece, he beat it flat. Beyond doubt, Sherman declared the metal was indeed gold.
Colonel Mason then handed Sherman a letter that the men had brought. The letter, from Sutter himself, explained that he (Sutter) was erecting a sawmill at Coloma that was about forty miles up the American Fork, above his fort at New Helvetia. The fort, he stated, was to be for the general benefit of the settlers in the vicinity and since he had incurred considerable expense, he wanted title to the land on which the mill was located. Mason then instructed Lieutenant Sherman to prepare a letter in answer for his signature.
As instructed, Sherman wrote a letter to Sutter explaining that California was yet a Mexican province, and no laws of the United States yet applied to it. Therefore it was impossible for the Governor to promise him (Sutter) a title to the land. However, as reassurance, he told Sutter that since there were no settlements within forty miles, he was not likely to be disturbed by trespassers. Colonel Mason signed the letter, handed it to the gentlemen who had brought the sample of gold, and they departed.
As spring and summer of 1848 advanced, the reports came faster and faster from the gold mines of Sutter’s sawmill. Stories reached them of fabulous discoveries and everybody began talking of, "Gold! Gold!!" until it assumed a character of a fever. Sherman too had been caught up in the fever and convinced Colonel Mason that it was their duty to go up and see it with their own eyes so that they might report the truth to Washington.
Toward the close of June 1848, the gold-fever being at its height, and by Colonel Mason’s orders, Sherman made preparations for their trip to Sutter’s Fort. He selected four soldiers, horses, and pack-mules to accompany them. They set off from their headquarters in Monterey for Yerba Buena (San Francisco) and finally reached Sutter’s fort in time for the Fourth of July festivities. From there they set out for the mines on July 5, 1848.
Upon their arrival, they set up camp on a small knoll that overlooked the busy scene of miners panning for gold on Mormon’s Island. As soon as the news spread that the governor was there, "persons came to see us, and volunteered all kinds of information, illustrating it by samples of gold, which was of a uniform kind, ‘scale gold.’" The governor and Sherman stayed in the area for approximately one week and were "bewildered by the fabulous tales of recent discoveries."
While along the American River, Colonel Mason’s party was met by a courier from Monterey who told them of the arrival of a ship with important dispatches from Mazatlan. On reaching Monterey, they found the dispatches from Commodore Shubrick indicating that the war with Mexico was over; that hostilities had ceased, and the commissioners were arranging the terms of peace at Guadalupe Hidalgo. It was a good thing that the war ended at that critical time "for so contagious had become the ‘gold-fever’ that regiments would have deserted en masse had the men not been assured that they would soon be entitled to an honorable discharge."
After the official news that the war was over, Colonel Mason, a Captain Warner, and Lieutenant Sherman made another trip to Sutter’s Fort. This time they went to the newly discovered mines on the Stanislaus, called "Sonora," named after the miners from Sonora, Mexico who had first discovered them. They found "pretty much the same state of facts as before existed" and daily they "received intelligence of the opening of still other mines north and south."
As soon as they returned from their first visit to the gold mines, it became important to send some positive knowledge of this valuable discovery. The means of communication with the United States at that time were very precarious as there were no telegraph lines available and overland mail was difficult at best. Because of the communication difficulties and the importance of the news, Sherman suggested to Colonel Mason that a special courier be sent. Sherman further suggested that Lieutenant Lucian Loeser, who had recently been promoted to first lieutenant and was entitled to go home, be entrusted with the task. Mason agreed. So Sherman prepared with great care the letter to the adjutant general on August 17, 1848.
After much time and many delays, Lieutenant Loeser finally arrived at the closest telegraph office which was in New Orleans. From there he sent the news to Washington, but it did not reach the president in time for his State of the Union Address to Congress on December 5, 1848 as was hoped. Instead, President Polk later made it the subject of a special message. That official confirmation, thanks to a young army officer named William Tecumseh Sherman, triggered a mass exodus to California and the "forty-niners" were on their way.
© 1999 Deborah Williams, All Rights Reserved
Submitted by Art Cohan
Published in SOY Newsletter, September 1999
(Exerpt from "The Shermans, A Sketch of Family History and a Genealogical
Record", Roger Sherman, 1890, privately printed.)
It is therefore not strange that we find a great number of the early Shermans in New England taking active part in opposition to the King of England and his government during the period immediately preceding the Revolution. It is with great satisfaction that I am enabled to say that in one of the most voluminous and carefully preserved family records in America, parts of which are in many different places, and compiled by varied hands, there is nowhere to be found a "Tory" Sherman. With one accord, born of the instincts of the race, they seem to have adhered to the cause of the American colonies, and to have aided it by public service. Individuals from all branches of the family were found in public life, aiding in various ways the cause of American liberty."
[Art's note: It should be noted that Mr. Sherman's book speaks only
to the immigration of Edmund (1572-1641), his two sons Rev. John and Hon.
Samuel, and their cousin Capt. John. He does not address Philip, nor William
"The Pilgrim" lines. His statement about no Sherman loyalists is not exactly
correct, but his assertions about the strengths of Sherman character are
indeed borne out by published history.]
Reviewed by Art Cohan
Published in SOY Newsletter, September, 1999
A recent email exchange via SHERMAN-L re: Sherman family history writings, prompted DICK COLE to mention a book he had purchased about 20 years ago. I am indebted to him for graciously providing me with a copy of it, and I submit the following.
The book, "THE SHERMANS - A Family Sketch and Genealogical Record", is 100 pages, privately printed in 1890, and I know of no other mention of it in the current family history findings. The author, Roger Sherman (1839-1897), descends from immigrant Rev. John via Rev. James1, Dr. John2, James3, 4, Dr. Isaac De Bois Sherman5.
In addition to a few "new" members of the Sherman clan this book imparts to my compilations, it is an interesting insight into the flavor of American politics and life in the mid-1800's.
The opening chapters begin with his knowledge at that time of his English roots, and move through his life.
As an only child, Roger's life centered on his father's ambitions for his collegiate education, to financial hardships, and Roger being employed by a Civil Engineering firm upon the construction of the Erie Canal at the age of 15. After two years there, he was among those removed for political expediency, and he moved west with several engineers who befriend him to work on the construction of the Burlington and Missouri River Railway. Enduring severe hardships at this work for about a year, he was encouraged by his father, now living in Arkansas, to return home and begin the study of law. In November of 1860, at reaching his majority, he was admitted to the bar.
Although he began finding some success in Arkansas representing the planters of the county, the drums of the Civil War beat louder, and Roger, as did many others of the time, abandoned his vocation to take up the "cause".
At his point, and with a deep rooted belief in the American Constitution and basic "founding" principles, Roger digresses to the root causes and effects of the Civil War, and becomes torn between the politics of the day. After long reflection and consideration, he rode to Memphis, and enlisted as a private in the calvary regiment being organized by Major (later General) Nathan B. Forrest. Several chapters here describe his wartime experiences.
Following the war, Roger determined to purse his work in law, and - as the South was devastated, moved to Erie, Pennsylvania. Denied entrance to the bar there (because he was a "rebel"), he removed from Erie to Pithole City in Venango Co., where a "marvelous growth of the petroleum discovery" was taking place. Here he took charge of a branch office of a law firm.
Being unable to appear before the courts, he entered into partnership with a lawyer, and in 1866 had a large and lucrative practice. By the fall of 1867, he had reapplied and was admitted to the bar. Soon after, the town of Pithole (and his law practice) was wiped out by fire, and Roger moved to Titusville and began again.
Roger here describes his marriage to Alma Seymour, and their families and life together in Titusville. Of major impact, was his sudden realization that, although respected in profession, he was an "outcast" in public service arenas. In addition to being a "rebel", he was also a staunch Democrat, in a sea of Republicans.
In 1868, he drew and procured the passage of a law giving to laborers upon oil mining leaseholds a lien for their work and materials. Prior to this, this class of people had been greatly defrauded by the sale and removal of property, and going away of persons whose ventures had proved failures. This law was very unpopular among operators for a time, but was sustained by the courts and remained as of his 1890 writing. "As I look back at the evils it was intended to remedy, I am satisfied with the part I took in causing it to be enacted."
Drawing a sharp focus to Roger's life now, he continues with a vivid portrayal of the growth of the Standard Oil Company, the influx of pipelines in 1876, and their attempts at "swindling" the unwary through the manipulation of unregulated aspects of the business. His life became filled with his struggles to "oversee" the oil monopoly by proposing new laws to keep the public safe. His insight on the matter, however, was lost on an uncaring and unknowledgeable public, and political bodies, for several years. It was not until 1887 that his attempts prompted the legislatures to begin regulating this monopoly, and the independent producers began to have some small control.
During this time, he founded a weekly newspaper in Titusville, and-as editor-took up the causes of the public.
His personal involvement in these activities came to a close with increasing age in 1890, and he died in 1897. Roger and his wife had a son, Roger Seymour Sherman (who served in WWI and died without issue in 1943); and a daughter, Alma Janet (Sherman) Phillips. His wife added a "tribute" to his writing in October of 1897, and his son-in-law, Thomas Wharton Phillips, Jr. updated the Family Record with writings in 1946.
Later, the collections of Roger's writings, and his huge volumes of legal documents and scrapbooks containing clippings related to the history of the petroleum industry in the later third of the nineteenth century, were presented to Yale University - and are preserved there as the most important record of this industry - "The Roger Sherman (Titusville, Pennsylvania) Collection".
"Aware that Standard Oil's fate was now being thrashed out in the political arena, Rockefeller reversed a long-standing prejudice and took shares in two Cleveland newspapers, investing $5,000 in the Herald and $10,000 in the Leader, explaining to Colonel Oliver Payne that since "Mr. Flagler felt perhaps we had given too little heed to influences of this kind, I decided best to do it." While Rockefeller's official policy remained one of obdurate silence, he now had more avenues of press access than he admitted. Payne, meanwhile, believed that Standard Oil should move from bribing politicians to controlling them directly, telling Rockefeller, apropos of the Ohio legislature, "I wish to say that I have got through with sentiment in politics…We must see hereafter that there is one man in the Legislature from this County that has brains, influence and is our man." Rockefeller told Payne to do "all that is necessary."
Around this time, Rockefeller recruited to the Standard legal staff Roger Sherman, who had masterminded the producers' case against him. For years a champion of Oil Creek, Sherman had fought valiantly to imprison Rockefeller. Now Rockefeller was wily enough to offer him a job, and Sherman was naive enough -- or original enough -- to accept it. Always proud of his persuasive powers, Rockefeller took special pleasure in wooing opponents whom he had learned to appreciate by tracking their ploys against him. When a lawyer named Virgil Kline won two lawsuits against him in the 1880s, Rockefeller invited him to his office. "Mr. Kline," he said, "you have given us a good licking. Now I would like to have you come and work for me." Kline agreed and became a long-standing member of the Standard Oil legal staff.
Things worked out differently for Roger Sherman, who realized
after a strangely inactive year on the payroll that Rockefeller had given
him a five-year contract expressly to neutralize him. When he tried to
wriggle free of the contract, he was able only to strike a compromise that
allowed him to resume his general practice in western Pennsylvania while
remaining on retainer to Standard Oil. When he later returned to the crusade
against Rockefeller, the independents were too disenchanted by his flirtation
with Standard to deal with him. True to his wishes, Rockefeller had
tarnished Sherman, separating him from his onetime admirers.
Published in the SOY Newsletter, September 1999
Submitted by Art Cohan
from "The Firelands Pioneer", printed by the Firelands Historical Society, Norwalk, Ohio, January 1894.
The subject of this sketch was born in Barre, VT, September 29th, 1811, of sturdy New England stock. He came to Ohio with his parents early in life, with the tide of immigrants which flowed to the lake region after peace was established with the British, and the destruction of Tecumseh. Coalition had banished the fear of the Indians. His parents settled in what is now Townsend, and belonged to the age of the "Rifle, ax and saddlebags, when the corn for the family bread was ground on a grater and the rifle furnished the fresh meat market".
He was a noted knight of the ax and rejoiced in felling the giants of the forest. He could ride through Townsend, Norwalk, Clarksfield and new London townships, pointing out many a fine farm where he first wrestled with "the forest primeval", and cleared it off for cultivation.
At twenty-three years of age he married Miss Polly Jones, who through a married life of fifty-seven years, was a true help meet in all his plans. They settled on a new farm in Norwalk township, just north of the Medina road. The primitive log cabin was sheltered from the sun and storm by the interlacing branches of the native forest, which retreated before his sturdy blows. Here the children of this union were born, all of whom are living-save one-and were present to receive this patriarch's parting words, and bear him to his resting place. They are as follows: Alonzo, Almira (now Mrs. Miles), Luther, Rose (now Mrs. Read), Almond, Ambrose, Lemuel Riley, Horace; and Ida, who lived to the age of nine years. Seventeen grandchildren and two great grandchildren are living.
Industry and frugality soon brought a competence, the primitive structures soon gave way to more pretentious buildings; they were regarded as forehanded, a place for hospitable entertainment. He erected the first sawmill of original water-wheel pattern, over fifty years ago, and replaced it later by one of steam. The lumber for all purposes, for miles around, came from that mill.
The influences about his childhood were not religious, but when a young man he became acquainted with the family of Wm. Prosser, near New London, and through their influence was led to a religious life, and his conversion established a Christian experience and confirmed the inherent integrity of his nature. His piety was rather persistent than demonstrative, and there was not money enough to tempt, nor power enough to compel him to do a thing his conscience disapproved. Like Daniel of old, he asked not for opinions of others but followed "the law of his God."
These elements of character carried him during the slavery contests into the extreme wing of the anti-slavery party. He was an original abolitionist of the James G. Birney type, and united with the Wesleyan Methodist church. The chambers of his house became the parsonage, and his home the place of entertainment for the early itinerants of that church and their families. This gave him a personal fellowship with some of the best minds and purest hearts of that time-Orange Scott, Edward Smith, Luther Lee, Lucius Mattock, Robert McCune and John McEldowney, most of whom are awaiting him on the other shore. Like others of that persuasion his faith was shown by works, and many a "Wellington rescue case," on a small scale, was enacted through his influence and the co-operation of his neighbors.
Mr. Sherman moved to Norwalk city in 1873, where he lived, an exemplary citizen and worthy member of the M. E. church until his death, which occurred on thursday night, September 24, 1891, after a long illness with Bright's disease of the kidneys.
He has gone to his rest, his memory crowned with the loving tribute of a large circle of descendants, the reverence due a veteran pioneer, and the tender remembrance of a kind neighbor and friend.
Published in SOY Newsletter, September 1999
By George Barrows Sherman
[Ed: SOY member George Barrows Sherman (see SOY NL Jul98, pg. 11), a retired History professor, sent the following email (edited) on July 5th, about possible SHERMAN Loyalist movements.]
As I mentioned in my last letter, we paid a visit to Nova Scotia from the 15th to the 27th of June. Of immediate interest to us was a discovery I made at Shelburne. At one point this was a city of 16,000 - populated mostly by American Loyalists who had moved there after the American Revolution.
As you probably know the British occupied New York during most of the Revolution. Many of the people there, particularly those involved in commerce, had no qualms in dealing with the British on favorable terms. They remained loyal to the crown. This was true of many of the more affluent in Boston as well.
The difference there was that Washington's army forced the British to leave Boston early in the war. After Washington fortified Dorchester Heights overlooking Boston Harbor, the British felt obliged to leave, and when they did they took several thousand Loyalists with them.
Some of these people went to Castine, ME and others continued on to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Had I been a Tory (as the Loyalists were known) I too would have taken leave of Boston for obvious reasons. Of course, following their departure, since the Tories were the enemy, their property was confiscated.
During the war it was a fact that NY provided more troops for the British by far than for Washington. There were several crack Tory military units from NY. NY, NJ, PA and GA were hotbeds of Loyalist activity. That being the case, much bitterness was created between Loyalists and Patriots. No wonder then that the war forced the departure of some 70,000 Tories, many of whom left for NS. In 1783, after the British signed the Treaty to end the war, the British army left NY and took thousands of their LOYAL friends with them.
When I was in Shelburne, I discovered that the town has a very active genealogical society. [If anyone is interested in contacting them, please email Art.]
I have to assert that VT did not exist as a political entity at the time of the Revolution. Part of it was claimed by NY and part by NH. It depended on what side of the mountains you lived on. I did find out that the town clerk over in nearby Newfane was suspected of harboring Loyalist beliefs. I guess if the crown could support his authority he might well have remained loyal to England. And the NY side of the mountains had plenty of English support. They weren't all Green Mountain Boys.
Both Dorset and Arlington (well-to-do communities) had many people supporting the British. Historians tell us that the split was pretty even in New England, and maybe in NY there was even more sympathy for the crown. In other words, in this case, I don't think Tories moved to VT to get away from the Patriots. They were already here. And, of course, the majority of them, in defense of their skin, took an oath of allegiance to the new nation.
I still feel that there were very few of our Shermans among the Loyalists, as they seemed to be farmers in the outlying countryside. We do know that there were a lot of Shermans in NY who might have taken their leave. I would bet that one could find that some of these folks went off to Canada or ME.
[reprinted on this website with permission – All Rights Reserved , George
Sherman, December 2000]
Jim Wilson on NEW YORK RESEARCH
In June  I decided to spend the day doing research on my family genealogy line, and had been successful in Connecticut at a couple of town halls. Since I am a registered genealogist here in Connecticut, I was allowed to look at the files in the vital records department of each town where I went to obtain information.
Having obtained information that I was missing, I decided that since I was very close to an area of New York State that had an interest for me, I would go there and continue on with another of my lines for my fathers family.
Arriving in Somers, NY, which by the way is the home of the beginning of "The American Circus" which maintains a museum there on the third floor of the town Hall. This town is in a very pleasant rural country setting. Without much trouble I also found the town clerk in the office. I explained (politely of course) what I was searching for, and showed my CT membership card, along with my driver's license. (Most CT. towns require this), I expected to be told where the vital records were kept, and allowed to do my research.
The town clerk explained to me, that all vital records in New York State are considered confidential. That they would be glad to look up something for me, but there time is very limited. All records of vital statistics about marriages and births start with 1881, and deaths start with 1880, and are now in Albany, NY. Prior to these dates, they are at the local agencies, but are still considered confidential, and are not open to the public. They agree to look up a record for 1852 for me, and in less than 5 minutes come back to me with a reply that there is no record for the one I am looking for.
They then offer me copies of forms to use to send to the Dept. of Health for the State of New York, which I can fill out and mail in with the appropriate fees. The address for these vital records is: New York State Department of Health Vital Records Section, Genealogy Unit, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12237-0023
The fee, stated on the front of the form, states that it is eleven dollars for search and certified copy. On the back of the form, it states that the $11.00 is good for a search of one to three years. If you want them to search for a period of say 1880 to 1890 (10 years) it will cost $21.00.
Authorized research in New York is strictly restricted to the following:
1) Authorized employees of Dept. of Health
2) Local Registrar, deputy registrar, or authorized employee of registrar.
3) Town clerks, city clerk or authorized employee of city or town.
The information on the back of the information application is critical, and is very specific, for example b) NO INFORMATION SHALL BE RELEASED FROM A RECORD OF BIRTH UNLESS THE RECORD HAS BEEN ON FILE FOR AT LEAST SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS (75) AND THE PERSON TO WHOM THE RECORD RELATES IS KNOWN TO THE APPLICANT TO BE DECEASED.
Records of deaths and marriage must be on file for 50 years. The town clerk also volunteered the information that these requests can, and sometimes do take up to six months, and sometimes longer to process.
I have these forms, and anyone may request them, and I'll send free copies. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax me your request at 860-871-7388.
The town clerk then made a suggestion about where I might fine more information, and took me to the office of the Town Historian, who happened to be in her office at the time. She was most helpful, and we chatted about my research, and my family connections to Somers, NY. We went to the old historical records, that the Historical Committee has maintained and they have early church records, where we were able to research baptisms and early marriages. -- Jim Wilson
Ed. note: I have tried mailing in the form requests to NY State for my mother and father's birth/marriage info (all over 75 years), paid the fees, and received NOTHING in return.