Dear Keziah, my 5th great grandmother; thank-you this week for more pieces of the puzzle. It’s because of you this whole blogging thing started and I’m hearing from cousins through email and Facebook. I also pinned on my poppy this week in memory of those that sacrificed for my freedoms and to celebrate Remembrance Day. The wearing of the poppy is a Canadian tradition as we recite “In Flanders Fields, the poppies grow.” Is it really just coincidence and my subconscious mind thinking on wars and rumors’ of wars that brought some more pieces of the puzzles together, especially on this Remembrance Day Week? I like to think not. I’m picturing my ancestry as a large puzzle to put together. Some pieces may not fit and have to be taken apart; but for the most part the picture is slowly emerging as the pieces fall into place. I see a ragged militia marching off to war, dusty wagon roads, ending with actual faces in the cabin windows and behind their images are the stories of their lives.
Keziah awakened in the pre-dawn. It seemed that anytime anything momentous was happening in her life this was the time of day it occurred. The little girl Keziah Atwood, who awakened at dawn and untangled her limbs from little sister Jerusha to hear her father make his will; the young woman who at dawn heard Abraham’s hooting owl call now was Keziah Gibbs, a fifty year old woman living at Greenwich, Massachusetts. Her children: Thomas, Keziah Atwood, Abraham, Azubah, Isaac and Joshua.
Abraham still snored softly beside her so what had awakened her? All seemed quiet on the little farm. She could hear the quiet murmur of the Quabbin River. Keziah listened intently but nothing more seemed to be out of place and she drifted into a fitful doze for the few remaining moments before full light would beckon her to the days chores.
Keziah saw the unhooked latch on the door She did not have to turn to see Joshua’s empty bed. Could she have reasoned with this youngest son only 16 years old. His silent early rising spoke volumes to her. He had not said good-bye. The older boys, Thomas, Abraham and Isaac had left a few days before, anxious to express their resentment felt in the Thirteen Colonies over taxation by the British. After the Boston Tea Party stiff punishment was brought on Massachusetts. News had trickled in after the Battles of Lexington and Concord and had initiated the American Revolutionary War. George Washington took over the Continental Army. The Gibbs family had heard of the Siege of Boston that winter of 1775-76, after which the British were forced to evacuate the city. It was time to fight the British.
Joshua was at home in the woods. His adventures were about to began and he, when he caught up to his brothers had to convince them to lie about his age. In March 1776, he enlisted in the 1st New Hampshire Regiment, being assigned to captain Carlisle’s 2nd Company of Colonel Timothy Bedel’s regiment. This group was engulfed into the Northern Continental Army assigned to Enoch Poor’s Brigade. By late March, Joshua was headed towards Canada. They marched from Charleston, New Hampshire to Fort Ticonderoga, New York and then onto Fort St. John’s in Lower Canada and then to a place called “The Cedars”. The plan was to link up with a larger force under General Benedict Arnold.
The screams would remain part of Joshua’s nightmares for the rest of his life. He was at the Cedar’s with 450 men when the British Army Regulars and Mohawk Indians attacked. Joshua was taken prisoner during the second day of fighting. He was held for twelve days during which atrocities occurred including the burning at the stake of a live soldier. Joshua, Thomas, Isaac and David Gibbs were listed as prisoners’ in the Congressional investigation regarding the Battle of the Cedars. General Benedict Arnold had arranged for a cartel for prisoner exchange and got them released. Joshua and his regiment moved back to Mount Independence, building and fortifying the Fort. In November of 1776, Joshua turned 17 years of age, his brother Isaac (my 4th great grandfather) was 20.
The Gibbs boys re-enlisted that next spring of 1777, in Chesterfield, N.H. into Captain House’s Company, Colonel Cilleys’s Regiment and Enoch Pope’s Brigade. Fighting continued: north in the Battle of Hubberdton, Then face to face on September 19 near Saratoga, New York the fighting was fierce for several hours. The British suffered twice the number of causalities then the Americans. The Americans pulled back but the British couldn’t continue their assault. Heavy rain and frigid temperatures slowed the British move north to safety. Joshua and Isaac suffered but built the strong field fortifications on Bermis Heights overlooking the Hudson river. The British out of supplies and options, surrendered. The Americans wintered in Valley Forge from January to June 1778. That winter, George Washington, took the disparate colonial militias, and made them a disciplined fighting force. Valley Forge was where Joshua and Isaac Gibbs trained and recouped from the year’s battles while winter weather, impassable roads, and scant supplies were their lot. They marched to the plateau with 12000 soldiers and began to build the fourth largest city, with 1500 log huts and two miles of fortifications. Lack of supplies and hunger afflicted them. Diseases like influenza and typhoid spread through the camp and 2000 people died. Joshua and Isaac survived and were part of the forward screen, starting on June 28, 1778, in the Battle of Monmouth. General Poor’s brigade was engaged with Major Sullivan’s campaign against the Seven Nations of the Iroquois. On March 20, 1780, Colonel Cilley honorably discharged Isaac, David and Joshua Gibbs in Redding Connecticut. Issac, my 4th great grandfather, brother of Joshua, copied his certificate of discharge with his pension papers. Listed in Joshua’s family bible is his marriage to Anna, in 1785. Issac married Lydia.
And here is the important puzzle piece. in the “list of Persons taking Oath of Allegiance at Missisquoi Bay” from Lower Canada Records” are Joshua and Issac Gibbs. Issac’s statement reads” I, Isaac Gibbs, do hereby declare that I am a native of the United States of America from the State of Massachusetts in the County of Hampshire in the town of Greenwich, my age is thirty-five years and my occupation is Farmer, that for these six months last passed I have resided on the Seignory of St. Armand, and came into this Province of Lower Canada by water by way of Lake Champlain, on the 9th day of October 1792, and now do reside in the aforesaid seignory, as witness my hand this 14th day of October 1794.” Signed Isaac Gibbs. The Missisquoi Historical Society lists lands awarded on Jun 3, 1793 there.
Did Isaac lie about his age on this form to hide his involvement in the Revolutionary War; he should have been 38? Unanswered is the reason why the “boys” would go settle amongst the Loyalists. Did the boys ever go back to see Keziah? or did she awake in many pre-dawn moments and puzzle in the silence at the ache in her heart of not knowing, what had happened or where they were? Keziah died Nov 3, 1794, Joshua and his brother, Isaac, settled amongst the loyalists, who were to be his son Abraham’s wife’s relatives: the Saxes, Le Roys, Jaycocks and Weavers, all who fled to Canada after the War having remained loyal to Britain. Isaac’s son Abraham (my 3rd great grandfather) was born in 1806 at Missisquoi, Quebec and married Anna Sax. Another son, Hiram was born there in 1812, and he was the name sake for my 2nd great grandfather, Hiram Garner Gibbs born May 10, 1846 at Farnham, Quebec. He married Mary Elizabeth Smith at Huron, Michigan where George Arthur Gibbs was born at Port Hope, They moved west to Kalispell, Montana where Olive Vivian Gibbs my grandmother was born.
Thanks to cousin David Gibbs for supplying some pieces to my puzzle in Joshua Gibbs (1759-1840) called Massachusetts Native, Revolutionary War Soldier, Canadian Land Holder, Pennsylvania Pioneer.