There is some question as to when, exactly, Claudius Boatman and his family made the 53 mile move west, across the Hudson, from New Rochelle to Warwick, in Orange County, New York. The last record of Claudius in New Rochelle was in 1760; i the first in Warwick is in 1765, a gap of several years; it’s unknown whether the family remained in New Rochelle, were already in Warwick, or were possibly somewhere else altogether during that five year time period.
At any rate, the Boatman family, some time after their travels from New Rochelle to Warwick, settled into the area. In 1765, Claudius was baptized as a member of the Old School Baptist Church, an action which indicated one felt a true commitment. ii One local historian, in speaking of the early days of the Old School Baptist church, clarified the membership rolls: “Many worthy souls were faithful attendants but felt they had not been called and were not good enough to take the vows of the church and be baptized.” iii
Warwick was said to be all but a wilderness in the early years of the Boatman residence, although it had been settled for some time. By the late 1760’s to early 1770’s Warwick had its first saw mill, the first stone house was built in 1771, and the first “meeting” house in 1774.iv Claudius and family most likely lived, at least at first, in one of the many log cabins erected in the area; no sawmill meant that there would be no clapboard houses except for the very wealthy, who would have means to “import” the lumber
Very few records are available for Colonial Orange County; the courthouse had an extensive fire and nothing was saved. A local history did preserve the tax records for 1775, and they show Claudius listed as Boatman, Gland, in Warwick.v Most likely the handwritten copy would have said Gloud. Despite the lack of records, by the time period the family lived there, we’re able to determine which of the Boatman children were born there. While it’s uncertain if Margaret and Fanny were born in France, or more likely, New Rochelle, Mary “Polly” was born in New Rochelle, and Cornelius (if he was truly a son) was most likely born there as well. Claudius Jr., born 1759, was born in New Rochelle. Jane was born in 1761, which places her birth, most likely in New York, but in the several years gap where the family wasn’t documented. Rebecca was born in 1766 in Warwick, James was born in 1768, possibly in New Jersey, and Sarah was born in 1770, most likely in Warwick.
Local historian Sue Gardner’s writings on Warwick lead one to believe Warwick was a literal hotbed of happenings during the Revolutionary War. This was the time period of the “Non Importation Pledge” of 1774, and it appeared most of the citizens adhered. In 1775, there was a “Revolutionary Pledge” after the break out of hostilities in Lexington and Concord between the local Militia and the British. The town of Warwick was split between Loyalists and Tories, and, later, there was a hanging of the outlaw Claudius Smith, a loyalist, who waged guerilla warfare in the area, harassing troops and seizing supplies. vi In Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, where the Boatmans later settled, the residents skirmished several times with Tories, as well. Our ancestor, Claudius, certainly would not have been the hero he was if things did not go as they did during the Revolution; we owe much to the men and families who endured such hardships. vii
In 1775, the Old Goshen Militia was split and a new one formed under Cap’t (later General) John Hathorn. Sue Gardner indicates that the men were drawn, mainly from farms, from Warwick to Florida, and as far as the New Jersey border, and nearby areas. Notice, again, the New Jersey reference; James Boatman, Claudius’ son, may have been born in New Jersey, and it seems very possible that Claudius and family lived in the area around Warwick, perhaps in the disputed boundary area shown above, and Warwick was their “home” town. The disputed area is shown in the map, above, and includes Ramapo mountain, mentioned below.
Although the available records are scanty in Orange county for the common man in the militia, there are three mentions of Claudius’ service in the National Archives: an index card, a pay record and a list which includes Claudius’ name and appears to be the same service reflected on the pay record. Claudius served under Hathorn’s Militia, in Captain Blain’s company. viii A good deal has been written about Captain Hathorn in the Revolution and might be of interest if one wished to get an idea of the movements of the Orange County Militia. With Claudius’ history as a soldier in New York, and later, in Pennsylvania, it may be a mistake to conclude that Claudius served one interval only in Orange county; it is perhaps more likely only a few snippets of information survive to this day. We do know at one point, Claudius’ company marched to “Ramapough.”
It has been said that Commander-in-Chief, George Washington, climbed up to Ramapo tome with his telescope to watch the movements of the British troops on the Hudson, and stopped several times at the Hathorn home, and even spent the night at a local inn. His published itinerary mentions a visit to Ramapo, New Jersey on the 23rd and 24th of July 1776, and has many mentions of visiting areas very close to area during the time period Claudius served in the Militia in Orange County. x While there’s no indication that Claudius served “under” George Washington, as Nancy Boatman claims in her pension papers, he may have, with his unit, been at some of the same locations.
In 1777, Claudius Boatman and family, Comfort Wanzer, his son in law, and his family, perhaps with several others from the community, left the politically charged community of Warwick. They trekked, most likely, by land and boat, 160 miles straight into the Pennsylvania wilderness, settling near the township of Mahoning, about eight miles north of Northumberland town, near the north branch of the Susquehanna. This decision would prove to be “jumping from the frying pan into the fire,” as Pennsylvania entered the arena of the war, and grave consequences would soon befall the Boatman family.
I’ve had a lot of fun researching Claudius, and am pleased to share everything I’ve learned, much of it due to other researchers before me – please feel free to use anything on this site – I do ask you to source it, though, so others may find it. And please, share what you know in the same spirit this has been shared – I welcome all corrections, comments and discussion. mvkirby – I can be emailed directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
i “Westchester, New York and the French and Indian Wars” page 108:” “Westchester New York in the French and Indian Wars 1755 – 1762” by Frederick O. Hacker, 1952, page 108
ii “Early settlers of New York State, Volume II, Their Ancestors and Descendants” by Janet Wethy Foley. The original nine volumes reprinted in two, introduced by Roger D. Joslyn, published May, 1942: Early Church Records, Old School Baptist Church, Warwick Orange County, New York, Page 732: (B) 1765 Boatman, Gloud. Notes: A baptismal record for “Gloud Boutman” is documented in 1765 The previous entry shows a “B” in front of the name, which seems to carried down, indicating Baptism; the X’s on the record indicate dates families joined the church. Members were “baptized” in when they joined the church as adults. so this record is more likely to be a record for the Senior Claudius rather than a birth record for the younger.