Monday: People

Monday, April 20, 2009


Photo provided from the collections of the Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester

Inscription reads: “Drum stick used by Alexander Milliner, drummer boy in the Revolutionary War. Received from his granddaughter, Mrs. Charles Gallagher. Presented to Washington Jr. High School by Theodore C. Cazeau April 19, 1932.”

One of last men of Revolution
My article published Feb. 9 featured a Bible that was presented by Amos S. King of Port Byron to President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. The story was covered by multiple newspapers, which successfully helped us to reach extended relatives. A reader from Central Square contacted a brother in Dawn Maryland who was Roe in possession of the thank you letter from the White House. John G. Nicolay on behalf of Lincoln wrote Amos expressing appreciation for the Bible. Nicolay was Lincoln’s private secretary. The letter was dated March 8, 1861, indicating that Amos and the president did not meet each other at the time of the gift. Amos King had no descendants, so this particular letter has survived within the family of his niece, Fanny King. Her father was Lasuvious H. King, better known as Editor King of the Port Byron Chronicle. Editor King’s wife was Carrie Thomas, and she has an interesting history all of her own. Carrie was the daughter of Gamaliel Thomas and Francis Milliner. Many will recognize the Milliner name, as we have a Milliner Street here. Francis came from a family of boat builders. Her father, George W. Milliner purchased half the interest in the Ames Dry Dock at Port Byron. His brother, James, was also employed here as a boat builder. Another brother, Joel P. Milliner, followed the trade from the city of Rochester. It must have been lucrative for the Port Byron brothers to have another sibling in the business within a major city along the canal route. Newspapers report that Joel did visit Port Byron. Joel also owned an edge tool company in Canada and also partnered at Rochester with David R. Barton. George, James and Joel were children of the infamous Alexander Milliner, a drummer boy in the American Revolution. Alexander served under the name of Alexander Maroney, using the surname of his stepfather, Florence Maroney. Alexander was born at Quebec, Canada and served in the war as a drummer with Graham’s Company and transferred into the New York Cont Line under Col. Goose Van Schaick. His stepfather, Florence Maroney, was a serDrum used by Alexander Milliner, a drummer boy in the American Revolution.
Photo provided by the Irondequoit Chapter NSDAR




geant in General Philip Schuyler’s Life Guard, also part of the Van Schaick regiment. It is said that Alexander was a drummer in Washington’s Life Guard but his muster rolls with the Cont Line do not confirm that. His pension states that he served about 3 1/2 years. Regardless, part of the New York Line was stationed at Valley Forge, which was Washington’s headquarters from December 1777 to June 1778. Interestingly the muster rolls with the Cont Line are dated 1780, after the period of Valley Forge, so perhaps there are additional muster rolls under an alternate spelling. Alexander’s biography shares his memories of meeting “Lady Washington” during her visits with the soldiers at the Valley Forge hospital. He stated that Martha used thorns instead of pins on her cloths. He took a lot of pride when General George Washington patted him on the head and referred to him as “his boy.” He stated that once he performed for Washington and was so well received that the general gave him a tip, which prompted the other soldiers to follow suit. With his money he purchased tea for his mother who was following the troop as a washerwoman in order to stay close to her son. I’m sure the tip was well deserved considering his pay cards show that his stepfather collected Alexander’s wages during the time he served under Van Schaick. Alexander was a vibrant man, and his biography states that after the Revolution he served in the Navy. It also says that Milliner wanted to beat his

On the Net
Visit the new historian Web site at http://www.portbyronhistorian.com

drum in the Civil War but was rejected due to his age. That didn’t slow him down as he would beat his drum at patriotic events and parades. He gave a public performance at the age of 100 in Rochester. He loved drumming and even had a nice collection of civil war era drums. One of his drums belonged to the 178th New York Infantry. Another was presented to the Daughters of the American Revolution by his daughter Mary Horton. Alexander was published in a book “The Last Men of the Revolution,” being among the last six survivors of the war. His photograph is on file with the Library of Congress. He died at Adams Basin, N.Y. in 1865 and is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester with his son, Joel. His sons, George and James, are buried at Port Byron. The Milliner and King families have strong representation with the DAR. Alexander’s daughter, Mary Milliner Horton, was a “real” daughter with the Irondequoit Chapter NSDAR in Rochester. The term “real daughter” is to signify members who were children of the soldier. Descendants of Philip King, of Port Byron, have also been members at the Owasco Chapter NSDAR in Auburn.
Dawn Roe is historian for the village of Port Byron. She can be reached at 776-8446 or e-mail beatatune@tds.net

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