This week’s theme is ‘great’. In trying to make my blog post different from others coming out this week, I chose to look for a place name or some feature about location that reflected the theme of ‘great’. What I found was my maternal 7th great grandfather, George W. SOULE, who spent his final years in the Great Nine Partners Patent area of Dutchess County, New York.
Great Nine Partners ~ Dutchess County, New York ~ 1697
Let me tell you, you will not find a town called Great Nine Partners (as it was presented to me). “Great Nine Partners” refers to a land patent area. The “Nine Partners” were Colonel Caleb HEATHCOTE, Major Augustine GRAHAM, James EMOTT (aka EMMOT), Lieutenant Colonel Henry FILKINS, David JAMISON, Hendrick TEN EYCK, John EVERTSON (aka Jan AARSTON), William CREED, and Jarvis MARSHALL. It was called “Great” because the land mass was greater than what was given in the Little Nine Partners land patent which occurred nine years later. Current towns/cities in the former Great Nine Partners land patent area include Stanford, part of Hyde Park, and Clinton among others.
Here is an early map of the Great Nine Partners Patent along the banks of the Hudson River:
I’m going to resist the urge to tell you about the Nine Partners. That’s another story for another day. However, if you’re dying to know more about the Quakers in Dutchess County, New York during the time George lived there, you can check out this interesting read online: A History of the Quakers in Dutchess County, New York, 1728-1828 by Dell T. Upton.
George W. Soule
George was born in 5 October 1695 – two years before the Great Nine Partners Land Patent grant. George was born at Dartmouth in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay (now Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts). His parents were William SOULE and Hannah EATON SOULE. George was the third of eleven siblings. He married Lydia HOWLAND. In regard to religion, they were Friends (Quakers). Notes from the Dartmouth Monthly (Friends/Quaker) Meeting, we learn that George and Lydia were disowned (by the church) after announcing their intention to marry which was in disobedience to a direct order from the Quakers not to get married. In 1741, they were reunited with the church and were given a certificate to attend meetings at Mamaronock. Because the Friends kept monthly meeting notes, we know that George and Lydia also attended Meetings in either (or maybe both) Oblong and Nine Partners. Although specific dates are written in the Monthly Meeting notes, I haven’t included those here because I don’t feel I’m knowledgeable enough about the Julian Calendar and the Quaker Calendar to adequately impart to you the correct dates. You can read about the Quaker Calendar here and you can find sources for the Monthly Meeting notes here. George and Lydia had eight children. At about age 14, George’s father apprenticed George to John Russell. George became a blacksmith.
The Quakers were persecuted from their inception in 1640 to about 1725 (almost halfway through George’s life). Between 1640 and 1725, Quakers were whipped, imprisoned, fined, and some were even hung for their faith. People could even be punished simply for having a Quaker in their home for the evening. Ships found to be importing Quakers could be confiscated! Peter STUYVESANT, director (roughly equates to present-day governor) of New Netherland (which was later split and became New York and New Jersey and smaller parts became attached to other states), was particularly brutal to religions he opposed. He himself was Dutch Reformed. He conflicted with Lutherans, Jews, Roman Catholics and Quakers, all of whom attempted to practice their religion in New Netherland. When the town of Flushing challenged him on the fact that he was violating their charter, he replied by cancelling their right to hold town meetings. If you want to see how this turned out, be sure to read page 15 of the Quaker history linked above!
To be fair though, if what I’ve read this week is true, the Quakers were said to have been aggressive toward other religions in their early years so some of what they endured probably came from a place of retribution for actions the Quakers themselves initiated. When they were actively aggressive toward other religions, other religions pushed back. When other religions pushed back, the Quakers ramped up instead of letting things be. Despite ramping up their aggressiveness toward other religions, when it came time for the Revolutionary War they claimed they were exempt from fighting because their religion was a pacifist religion and they didn’t believe in war or violence. Even though they claimed exemption, many fought on the side of Britain and against American freedom from the Crown. So you can see how their actions were conflicting with their words and why many didn’t respect their right to be left alone (when they themselves wouldn’t leave others alone). You can read about it in the Quaker history document I linked above. As with all groups, I’m sure there were extremists in the religion and perhaps the actions I’ve read about and described came only from the extremists. I only know what I’ve read. Up until now, I knew the Quakers to be peaceful but the paper (the Quaker history document) which I linked above did not describe them that way during the period in question. By 1728, their persecution had ended and by 1741 when George moved to the Great Nine Partners area in Dutchess County, it was a distant memory for the Friends. Religious freedom had made big strides in American during this time and that helped to end the persecution.
Speaking of the Revolution, there is information floating around on the internet that Benjamin SOULE (my maternal 6th great grandfather and son of George W. SOULE) supported Britain during the Revolution. According to Daughters of the American Revolution, this is incorrect. There was another Benjamin SOULE who did support Britain. As of this date, I’ve not found any information that indicates which side our Benjamin supported. I have also seen information saying Benjamin’s dad George was also a Loyalist, but again, I can’t find reliable documentation to show this. I will say that Benjamin’s brother Rowland fought as a Patriot during the Revolution. So even if some of the brothers were Loyalists, not all were. At this point in time, I would imagine that all of this particular family supported the Patriots though since they had been in this country for quite some time. The immigrant ancestor was George SOULE (great grandfather of the George SOULE from this post) and he came from Britain. I doubt that three generations later the family is still supporting Britain.
I wish I could tell you more about the SOULE family during the Revolutionary War period but I can’t seem to find them anywhere. They were Quakers so it’s entirely possible that most of them did not serve in any official capacity during the war.
“I, George Soule of the Great Nine-Partners…Black Smith”
Death came for George SOULE in 1776. He was either proud of of his craft or he was distinguishing himself from all the other George SOULE’s when he wrote his will. It begins,
In the name of God, Amen. I George Soule of the Great Nine-partners and County of Dutches and province of New-York Black Smith…New York will of George SOULE.
George appointed his son Rowland (the Revolutionary War patriot), along with his wife Lydia, to be the executors of his will. The appointment of his patriot son as executor is another reason I believe that our George was not a Loyalist but rather a Patriot – or at least he was as supportive of the Patriots as he could be given he was a Quaker. In George’s will he divided his land between his wife and children. Three of his children died prior to him (George, Margret and Lydia) and George gave their portions to each of their children.
George’s will ended with these words:
In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal the twenty-ninth Day of Sixth month in the Sixteenth Year of the Reign of King George the Third King of Great Britain etc., and in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six.New York will of George SOULE.
George signed his will along with witnesses John WHITE and Elijah HOAG. I believe Elijah HOAG is probably related to George. It’s possible both men were related to George.
I wish I could tell you more about George SOULE but this is all I know right now. Just a note of caution, I am relying on the information and research of others. I have vetted what information I could but there still may be mistakes. I’ve done the best I could right now to bring you credible information about our SOULE family from the Great Nine Partners area of Dutchess County, New York. Now that I’ve introduced him, perhaps we’ll learn more stories about him in the future.
I’m wishing you all a very happy Friday tomorrow and hoping you have a wonderful weekend. Learn something new this weekend! It’s energizing to learn new things!
Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives Genealogy blog