While doing research on the Wheeler/Crouch surnames, Anita Wheeler provided me a packet of research previously compiled by Nellie M. Fisk in 1981. Its obvious that she had spent a considerable amount of time on the Crouch family connection as it relates to Kathleen Crouch Wheeler. I’m posting her work below and will use it as a starting point to validate her findings.
A picture of the War of 1812 monument mentioned toward the end of her research is shown above. It was taken on a visit to the monument in 2012.
The Crouches of Hebron and Groton, Connecticut
by Nellie M. Fisk
Earlier I have mentioned the possible connection of Fred Fisk’s Crouch ancestors and those of Kay Wheeler being a supposition and will elaborate on that theory here, but must emphasize it is a supposition and has not been [proven]. Often, for lack of records, conclusions are made from information available and this should be looked at with care and hope that in the future there may be some revelations to prove or disprove the conclusions.
Christopher and Richard Crouch both died in Hebron, Connecticut in 1781. Both were over ninety years old. Christopher left a will filed in East Haddam, Connecticut and records of five children born in Groton, Connecticut. Richard left no record but that of his death. These two men could have been sons of William of Charlestown, Massechutes (who married in 1675 and moved to a place unknown). This William had a brother, Johnathan, who it is established is Fred Fisk’s ancestor. No proof or disproof can be found that Christopher and Richard were sons of William, although the names William, David, and Richard keep recurring. A great-grandson of Christopher Crouch, namely, Joshua Crouch of Hounsfield, Jefferson County, New York made a statement that was about the origin of his family which appeared thus in a Jefferson County, New York 1894 history:
Mr. Crouch’s ancestors were of English descent, coming to America in 1632, and settling in Hebron, Connecticut.
Since William, aforementioned, was of Charlestown, is the only early settler of the name Crouch in New England. This probably means Christopher of Hebron, Connecticut is his grandson and should be listed as “Christopher #3”; but failing proof he will listed as “Christopher #1”.
#1. Christopher Crouch – Born about 1685-1686, place not known; died Hebron, Connecticut, 1781. His will filed East Haddam, Connecticut. He married about 1706 to Ruth ___.
Children of Christopher and Ruth Crouch
- William – Born 1707; Â Married 1. Desire Williams; 2. Freelove Lamb (widow Culver)
- Christopher – Twin??
- Richard(#2) – Born 1712; Married Thankful Frink
- Mary – Born 1715; Married William? Williams; Died 1763
- Abigail – Born 1718
- Bettriss – (Twin) Born 1721; Married in Colchester, Connecticut 1744, Asahel Strong
- Ruth – (Twin) Born 1721
- Lucretia – Married 1744 John Strong; Died before 1766
- Bridget – Married 1751, Silas Dewey
#2. Richard Crouch – Born April 5, 1712, Groton, Connecticut; Died Colchester, Connecticut 1786-1787 (will dated March 17, 1786); He married in Connecticut before 1740 to Thankful Frink.
Children of Richard and Thankful Crouch
- Christopher – Born 1740; Married Rebecca Buell; Lived in Hebron, Connecticut
- Thomas Frink(3) -“ Born before 1745; Married Mary Honewell; Settled in New York
- Elizabeth – Married __ Culver; Died before 1786.
#3. Thomas Frink Crouch – Born probably Hebron, Connecticut about 1745. He was in the French and Indian War 1757; Settled in Saratoga County, New York after 1790; Died Hebron, Connecticut (will dated 196); He married about 1768 to Mary Honewell.
Children of Thomas Frink and Mary Crouch
- Richard – Born Colchester, Connecticut before 1775; Married Betterus Strong
- David – (Executor, with Richard, of Thomas Frink’s will)
- Henry – Settled in Steuben County, New York; Died returning from the War of 1812; See Footnote
- Samuel (probably) – Born in Connecticut 1777; Married Elizabeth ___ and settled in Saratoga County, New York (I assume from various census this is the father of William B., but have no proof. However, it is a very safe conclusion)
- Thomas (probably) – Born after 1794, settled in Ellisburg, New York before 1820
- Caleb (probably) – Settled in Steuben County, New York
- Cornelious (probably) – Settled in Steuben County, New York
- Reuben (??) – In 1790 census, along with Christopher and Thomas, one more son and two more daughters given in 1790 census
They Built a City by William F. Roseboom & Henry W. Schramm
p.70-81, “The Episode of Two Graves”
Although the settlers in Onondaga were spared the fighting of the War of 1812, the route steps of troops on the march meet the British to the north and west where common occurrences.
The flow of the war left two graves along the steep roadway on Onondaga Hill. Today, this tiny park, barely twelve by sixteen feet, sits at the head of Hopper’s Glen, visible to motorists along the busy turnpike.
By ironic chance, both are the graves of Army captains who died of small pox, just six months apart, while both were far from home.
It was a pleasant fall day in early October 1814, as Captain Benjamin Burch of the 2nd Virginia Light Artillery [some say the first U.S. light artillery] was with his detachment, en route through Onondaga Hollow. He complained of a fever and general weariness. When his command passed through Onondaga Hill en route to Fort Ontario, Captain Burch and his negro batman were left behind.
Doctors and local residents, even though many were terror stricken by the very though of the Pox, tired their best to nurse him back to health. But, the captain continued to decline until he died on or about October 14. His servant was to recover.
A lonely grave was dug at the head of Hopper’s Glen. But he was not to remain alone for long.
Captain Henry Crouch of Cohocton had, on August 16, 1814, been appointed to Captain Benjamin Shaw’s company of the 1st Hopkins Regiment, New York Militia. Less than a month later he was in combat. While commanding his troops on a sortie from Fort Erie on September 17, he was captured by the British and sent, along with other prisoners, to Quebec and thence to Halifax. The war being over, the captain was returned by ship to Salem, Massachusetts.
From there he began his long overland journey in early April 1815. He was probably looking forward to the warmth of spring and summer at home as he jostled in the coach across the rough Central New York terrain. Perhaps he though the oncoming illness was simply the result of the journeying ride or of tainted food along the way. The idea of small pox was remote, for he’d been vaccinated by Doctor Jenner’s Magic Potion.
By the time he’d reached Leonard’s Inn in Marcellus, he was too sick to continue. The word spread, “A man with the pox is ill at the inn.” It was observed, “The malignant obstinacy of his disease baffled the powers of medicine and experience.”
His illness angered local residents, “There is too much reason for believing that the infection was purposely disseminated on board the Cartel (ship),” It was rumored. But recriminations failed to help.
Captain Crouch died on April 22 and joined his fellow officer in the tiny graveyard.
In 1904, the Reverend A. Arroun of Onondaga Valley composed a little poem to honor the two men:
A grave by the roadside,
A stone at the head,
Inscribed with this legend,
From which may be read
In words or in silence
Now little is known
Of one buried there
By the little White Stone.
Fred & Nell Fisk have visited this grave site and there is also a state historical roadside marker along the highway site which reads:
War of 1812
Captain Henry Crouch and Captain Benjamin Branch soldiers of War of 1812 who died while encamped near here are buried above.
Note that in the book the name is Burch and on the marker, Branch, but I do not know which is correct.
The significance of this Henry Crouch, if we believe the work as it is, would be that he would have been the great uncle of Kay Wheeler’s great-grandfather Henry Crouch.
One of the reasons we would assume that the family ties as suggested are connecting ones is because of the close proximity of the various families in the census would indicate relationship. For example, William B. Crouch lived in the areas other Crouch ancestors, particularly Samuel Crouch in 1830, Malta, Saratoga County, New York. So we can deduct that Samuel is indeed his father. A close neighbor of both was John Ireland and it may be reasonable to assume he was the father of Susan Ireland Crouch, the wife of William B., although we emphasize that we do not have proof, such as would be essential, if one was to set this all down as fact. Our inclination is to believe this work is pretty much ‘on mark’ because of the many census records, deeds and wills we have studied.