Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dantown "The Lost District" -- A Place In Time

The area  looked somewhat like this when John Sherwood
 and his family lived near here (1774-1784)
Today the area is under a reservoir

When the land your ancestors owned is under water and not because of a mortgage, but due to a reservoir covering it, how do you find where your ancestor's lived.  This article will attempt to do that without using scuba diving gear.

The John Sherwood Family  purchased land in Dantown, Connecticut  in 1774.  They had been living in Salem, New York, just across the border.   About 1784, they moved back to New York just across the border to Poundridge, New York.

John Sherwood was the grandfather of Stephen Sherwood.

The map below is of Dantown, Connecticut.  The Sherwood family lived here until about 1784, and many of their friends were still living there in 1790 when the first census was taken.  Through the use of this map, land records, military lists, and the 1790 census, it can be determined the approximate location where the Sherwoods lived from 1774-1784 before they moved.

Below are the families listed in order in the 1790 census who may have lived in the Sherwood neighborhood while they were in Dantown (1774-1784)

Note:  When I posted, I noticed print sizes varied for no apparent reason.

Samuel Jones-- "Samuel Jones of Canaan Society listed in baptism register January 24, 1783 on a page labeled "Baptism of Infants."  There is a note that he "Declared conformity to the Church of England" on the same day as John Sherwood and John Dufrees (St. Johns Episcopal Church in Stamford, Connecticut).  Served  in Militia with John Sherwood.
Jonathan Stevens --Served in Militia with John Sherwood.
Ebenezer Weed--Caanan Parish Patriot

17 Houses in between
Nathan Chitester--Served in Militia with John Sherwood.

02 Houses in between
Solomon Stevens--Son of Admer of Stevens.
Augustus Wilkes
Abner Stevens--Owns the land North of John Sherwood in 1788.  Son of Admer Stevens.
Allen (John?) --Possibly father of Reuben Allen who married John's daughter Sarah Sherwood.  See Map (II).               
Israel Slason (Slawson)--Listed next to John Sherwood in the militia.  Buys "narrow strip on land" in 1788 from John Sherwood with Eleazer Slason (Slawson).  He marries Mary Dufrees, a daughter of John Dufrees who "Declared conformity to the Church of England with John Sherwood in 1783."  (see Samuel Jones).  Israel and Eleazer may both have been sons of Elephalet and Mercy Slason or sons of Eleazer and Sarah Slason.
JOHN SHERWOOD--Possible location of John Sherwood in 1784.  John was not listed on the 1790 Census with the people on this list.  John Sherwood is in Poundridge by 1790, but likely lived near here 1774-1784 based on map, census, land, and military sources.
David Slason (Slawson)--See Map (I)--David is listed next to Israel Slason in the 1790 Census which would place him near the Sherwood property which is where he was on the map.
Jonathan Slason Jun--son of John Slason.  Possibly served with John Sherwood in the Militia.
Reuben Stevens--See Map (III)--Served with John Sherwood in the Militia.
Daniel Stevens--Daniel may be the father of Reuben Stevens.  He would have been 33 in 1772.  May have been one of the owners of one of the mills on the map.  Possibly a brother of Admer Stevens.  He owned land just North of some land purchased by Abraham Stevens and John Sherwood in 1785.  John Sold his half in 1789 (possibly just before he moved to Poundridge).
Jonathan Slason--Son of David Slason (See Map (1). Served with John Sherwood in the Militia (or Jonathan above)
Thomas Jones
Samuel Jones Jun--A Samuel Jones was listed next to John in the Militia (could be his father?).
Abraham Stevens--A son of Admer Stevens.  Buys land in 1785 with John Sherwood from Admer Stevens.
Amos Stevens--Possibly a son of Daniel Stevens.
John Stevens--Sells land to Solomon Burtis in 1793.  John is probably the father-in-law of Solomon Burtis (the father of his wife, Ann Stevens).
Solomon Burtis ??-- (Difficult to Read)--Buys land from John Stevens in 1793.  He is on a list in St. Mark's Parish, New Canaan in 1794.  He may have been the brother of Lovisa Burtis Sherwood (wife of John Sherwood).  There is a Solomon See Map (IV) listed.  Could this be Solomon Burtis?   It could be Solomon Stevens as well, or some other Solomon.

21 Houses in between
Timothy Reed--Served with John Sherwood in the Militia.

5 Houses in between
Charles Weed--Caanan Parish Patriot
Abraham Weed
Enoch Comstock--Served with John Sherwood in the Militia
Peter Weed--Served with John Sherwood in the Militia.
Enos Weed
Daniel Weed
James Weed--Caanan Parish Patriot
Josiah Weed--Served with John Sherwood in the Militia (Corporal).
Jonathan Weed--Served with John Sherwood in the Militia.
Hannah Weed
Seth Weed--Served with John Sherwood in the Militia (Sergeant).

13 House in between
Stephen Weed--Served with John Sherwood in the Militia
Obadiah Weed--Possibly Admer Stevens's brother
Sarah Stevens--Possibly Admer's sister
Admer Stevens--Sells land to John Sherwood in 1784.  Sells land to John Sherwood  and Abraham Stevens in 1785.

Note:  I'm not sure why the print types are different.  They all look the same in the draft.

*In some cases there could be an error of those who served with John Sherwood, if it was another person by the same name who was listed in the census.  The fact that they lived close to John Sherwood help verify they are the same person.  Also in some cases is it difficult to determine if it was the father or son, or even another person who served (Samuel Jones, Jonathan Slason).  The fact that John Sherwood served with so many neighbors definitely put him in this neighborhood before 1790.  This is also true of other listings.
It is  Is difficult to determine exactly which person it is in other entries as well when several people in the area have the same name.  The reader will have to look at the total picture of the people who lived in the neighborhood in 1790 and weigh the circumstantial evidence.


The deeds tell us that John Sherwood who lived in Salem, New York bought land in Stamford (Dantown) in 1774 and lived there until about 1784.  He may have lived in Salem from his marriage in 1769-1774.  In 1784, it appears he lived on Old Poundridge Road in Poundridge (Old Poundridge), Westchester, New York just over the border from Stamford (Dantown).  At this time he added to his property in Dantown by buying a strip of land just South of his property.   John purchased it from Admer Stevens. In 1789 John says he is "of Stamford" and his buying and selling land there.  In 1790 he is listed on the 1790 Census across the border in Poundridge, New York

What is a Grog Shop which is listed on the map?  Grog refers to a variety of alcoholic beverages.  The word originally referred to a drink made with water of "small beer" and rum.  Modern versions of the drink are often made with hot or boiling water, and sometimes include lemon juice, lime juice, cinnamon or sugar to improve the taste.  Rum with water, sugar and nutmet was known as bumbo and was more popular with pirates and merchantmen.


Descendants of George Slawson
Descendants of Thomas Stevens
Federal 1790 Census
Map of Dantown, Connecticut
Stamford Connecticut Land Records
St. Johns Episcopal Church Records, Stamford, Connecticut
Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths of Stamford Families.  Compiled by Reverend Elijah B. Huntington Stamford, April 6, 1797.

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