LAKE LIFE C

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2011

C3
THE CITIZEN, AUBURN, NEW YORK

OMMUNITY

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox ■ 282-2245 ■ david.wilcox@lee.net ■ Twitter @drwilcox

PORT BYRON AND MENTZ

The real story behind the King family
Many biographical sketches have been written about the pioneer settlers of our region, but are they historically accurate? Many may recall the pamphlet published by E.H. Kerns called “History of Port Byron and Mentz from Indian Tribes to Nineteen Twenty-Two,” which contains a dramatic account of how Philip King became the first white settler of Mentz, undoubtedly as handed down within the family over generations. The sketch begins with his brother William King during the American Revolution, who is said to have repeatedly requested furlough to visit Dawn his wife and family. Unable to secure such pass, William left the army anyways. This has often been recounted as being on a dark and rainy night, enhancing the experience to the listener. The story resumes with William later returning to his regiment where he crossed a picket line and was immediately apprehended for desertion and taken to West Point, where he was sentenced to death for desertion. His mother, walking on foot, pleaded with the government leaders that if they agreed to spare William’s life, her son Philip would take his place, resulting in young Philip saving his brother’s life. How much of this story is really true? Recently, I uncovered new details that shed insight into this famous story. The official records reveal that William was born on Jan. 22, 1760 at West Greenwich, R.I., making him about 11 months older than his brother. At the time of enlistment, he resided at Clifton Park near Albany, now Saratoga County, serving in Capt. Samuel Van Vechten’s company under Col. Cornelius Wynkoop’s battalion. Later that year, in October, he was serving Capt. David Van Ness’s company under Col. Goose Van Schaick of the 1st New York Continental Line, also known as Maj. John Graham’s company, and other times called Company No. 6. William’s service included stays at Schenectady, Camp White Plains and Peekskill, as well as a lengthy stay at Fort Schuyler. William testified that he was in the battle of Monmouth and the siege of York. In March of 1779, William was transferred to Capt. John Graham’s company of light infantry. Illness would send him to the general hospital at Albany by October. He was listed in the hospital again in January 1780 from the card recorded at Fort Schuyler. In July, he was listed as sick at Fort Ball’s Town in Saratoga County. Combining
Photo provided by the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division

ROE

William King’s pardon, from “The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799,” edited by John C. Fitzpatrick. Transcription: “On the entreaty of his Friends and the intercessions of a number of gentlemen the Commander in Chief is pleased to pardon William King of the first New York regiment now under sentence of Death for Desertion.”

these attendance cards with William’s pension testimony, we begin to see a pattern of a soldier with many years of service struggling with his health. William states that in October 1780, he was discharged and sent home to Ballston, to recover. He did not join his regiment until April of 1781. This was deemed much longer than officers expected, so when he crossed the picket to rejoin the troops, he was apprehended as a deserter and taken to West Point for trial. The court ruled he was guilty of desertion and issued a sentence of death. However, a full pardon soon followed. William was then assigned to Capt. Leonard Bleecker’s company, where he continued to serve until February 1782. This discredits the story that Philip was offered in exchange to spare poor William’s life. It is not known if his mother was even present for the trial and verdict at West Point. Therefore, how did Philip enter the picture? That detail comes from William’s pension application, where he states he was advised that he was needed at home; his mother, now a widow, needed him to handle the family affairs. His younger brother being unable to do so, Philip was procured to take his place. The family had since moved to Lee, Mass., where Philip enlisted into Bleecker’s regiment as his substitute. I discovered another fact that is not widely known. Philip himself was brought before the court at West Point. He and two other soldiers left the compound and killed an ox belonging to a civilian; they were found guilty and sentenced to receive 100 lashes on their naked backs. Why they killed the animal is not provided. I was unaware that

Photo provided by the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division

Philip King’s sentence, transcribed: “John Abel, John Cogdon and Philip King, soldiers belonging to the 1st. New York regiment charged with being out of camp at an unseasonable hour and killing an ox belonging to an inhabitant, on the night of the 11th. instant, were tried and found guilty in breach of article 1st. section 13th. and Article 5th. section 18th. of the rules and Articles of war and sentenced each to receive one hundred lashes on his naked back.”

soldiers of the American Revolution could receive such barbaric punishment. Philip served until June 8, 1783, when discharged by Gen. George Washington. His descendants describe Philip as being of small stature but hard as nails in temperament, a quality advantageous to a future pioneer tavern owner. He received bounty land at Mentz, having been credited with William’s time served, due to being his substitute. William was ineligible for the military bounty because he did not serve until the end of the war. However, each soldier’s family received a pension, both brothers serving honorably in the American Revolution.
Dawn Roe is historian for the village of Port Byron and town of Mentz. She can be reached at 776-8446. She maintains a blog at www.portbyronhistory.com

ZONTA CLUB

Holidays a time to give back, aid needy
The Zonta Club of Auburn hopes everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We are getting ready for the rest of the holiday season by planning our giving back to our community. Our December meeting is a holiday party, but instead of giving gifts to each other, we bring items to raffle and then buy those items back through raffles and auctions. All of the money we raise goes to a family or families that we find out about through a local agency that helps those in need. Last year, we were able to help several families; we’re hoping that our members and guests are able to be as generous again this December. Gloria We also volunteer at the soup Stootman kitchen once a quarter. Some of our members will spend time on Christmas Eve working at the soup kitchen, cooking and serving meals to those in need. At our district conference, we learned what other Zonta clubs are doing in their own communities. Some members of our club are taking the time to attend functions at other clubs to see what they do to raise funds and help their community. Next month, I will let you know about events in Cortland and Watkins Glen that our members will be attending. I’d like to share with you one of the successful programs of Zonta International that we fund in conjunction with the United Nations. The program I will share with you this month is called Safe Cities. Zonta donates money to U.N. Women for a program targeting violent cities in Central America to make them safer for women. person and to develop aspects like self-esteem. She feels that the different areas of the training process were perfectly designed and focused on women. She found them more interesting because her other studies had all focused Talking about safe cities means being in a place where all on men. The training she received from the U.N. Women Safe Cities Program gives women knowledge so they can women could walk at any time of the day without the fear of being victims of violence: being in a place, a community or a educate their own boys and girls differently, stop reproducing the same model of raising and educating children, treat town and feeling safe, having the feeling that we belong to them equally and provide them with the same opportunithat place. ties. She will take her training to 35 communities, most of Those are the words of Graciela Amanda Coi when asked them indigenous, where women don’t have the opportunity about the U.N. Women Safe Cities Program in her commu- to go out of their homes, let alone study. At the end of the process, there will be people and institutional human nity of Livingston, Guatemala. She has a degree in social work and because of her training by the Safe Cities Program resources capable and available to train and speak to more than 500 students. Coi concludes, “To me, this is a very through the School of Leadership, she can make a differgood experience; unforgettable. The most important part is ence in her community. She acknowledges that public spaces are not safe for women in her community; they make that it has extended throughout the township, and there also will be work done in conjunction with government them vulnerable to abuse, rape and to all kinds of violence. organizations and with municipalities.” The women of the school worked on a proposal based on If you would like to help Zonta help women in our comdiagnostic techniques. They identified that sometimes girls and women go to the neighborhood store or to church and munity and around the world, please consider a donation to the men are out there in the dark. They presented their pro- the Zonta International Foundation at this special time of posal to the Community Development Council, it was the year. The foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that accepted and the street lights were repaired. makes donations to Zonta deductible to those who itemize This project empowers women to be leaders in their their deductions. To find out more, write to us at community and to be prepared and informed so they can auburn@zontadistrict2.com or visit www.zonta.org. help and support other women. Coi has learned that part of Thank you and happy holidays to all. being a leader is the ability to delegate to her family, her team at work and the women in her community. She feels Gloria Stootman Wristen has been a CPA in Auburn since 1982 that this empowerment gives her the ability to grow as a and a member of Zonta since 1989

WRISTEN

LOOK BACK AT THE LAKES
Nov. 27, 1921
Undersheriffs, Fay Teeter and Thomas M. Walker are in Sterling investigating whether it was a stray bullet sent crashing into the upper window of the farmhouse of Herbert Eno, near Martville, or a shot fired intentionally.

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
• The SCAT Van service seeks volunteers for the winter months. For more information, call 253-0996. • The Cayuga County Veterans Van is inneed of a volunteer driver to transport veterans seeking medical treatment from the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Medical Center. To donate one day a week of time, call 253-1281 or email veterans@co.cayuga.ny.us. • Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes needs volunteers to assist staff with answering phones, filing, cleaning and shoveling snow. The office is located at 134 E. Genesee St., Auburn. For more information, call Mandy O’Donovan at 253-2222 ext. 101. • The Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency seeks volunteers for its Free Clothing Program to help sort donations for sharing with the community. The agency also needs volunteers for its Head Start program. Participants can assist teachers and interact with children by singing, playing a musical instrument, dancing, reading a story or putting to use any other talents that can be shared with children. For more information, call 252-0038. • Auburn Memorial Hospital seeks volunteers to help dieticians collect menus and pass nourishing meals from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The hospital’s gift shop also seeks volunteers, and the cafeteria seeks a cashier from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays. A volunteer to do clerical work is also wanted. For more information, call the volunteer office at 255-7350. • The Cayuga County Office for the Aging seeks volunteers to deliver lunch meals to homebound seniors in Auburn. Volunteers would work one day a week for an hour and a half. For more information, call 253-1427. • The Finger Lakes SPCA of Central New York is seeking volunteers to assist at one Spay/Neuter Clinic per month. This clinic will be held on the first Friday of each month (in additionto the regularly scheduled clinics which are held on the second and fourth Friday of each month). Clinics are normally 12 to 14 hours in duration; shifts are available. Training is provided to anyone interested in this life-saving activity.

Nov. 27, 1956
Auburn’s newest bowling alley received its initial league play and action as leadoff man last night for the Firth Carpet League at Ukrainian Home was Bill Calipietro, president of the bowling circuit. The Ukrainian Home located at Perrine and Washington streets has installed eight new lanes, all equipped with automatic pin setting machines.

Nov. 27, 2001
A major multi-national corporation “famous for fighting everything” has dug in its heels as it prepares for a court battle with 35 Cayuga County families. General Electric Co. recently answered a lawsuit filed by the families with a flat denial of any responsibility for the contamination of more than 70 wells south of the former GE/Powerex plant here. The $10 million case will be heard by Supreme Court Judge Peter Corning, possibly by the end of 2002, said Stephen Schwarz, attorney for the plaintiffs. He expects a fight. “GE is taking a vigorous defensive posture,” Schwarz said. “They’re famous for fighting everything.” GE contends there’s no proven connection between its now-closed plant and the contaminated wells.
— Compiled by Linda Simmons

• The Community Soup Kitchen of First Love Ministries in Auburn needs volunteers to help prepare, serve and • Literacy Volunteers of Cayuga County is seeking volunteers cleanup lunches. Volunteers are asked to commit to working once a week. For more information, call Betty at to be trained as basic literacy and English as a second lan252-1984 or Lorraine at 252-4164. guage tutors. Participants do not need any teaching experience or fluency in another language. There is an18-hour tutor • Mercy Health and Rehabilitation Center is seeking voluntraining workshop, and an annual commitment of 60 to 75 hours. Participants are asked to meet with their student for at teers to pick up residents from their rooms and transport least two hours a week. For more information, call 253-5241. them to: occupational therapy from 8:30 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m.; physical therapy from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m.; and beauty shop appointments beginning at 9 a.m. • Volunteers are sought to prepare free basic tax returns Mondays through Fridays. The center also seeks friendly through the United Way of Cayuga County’s CA$H program. Volunteers will work three hours per week from Jan. 17 visitors to work with residents at any time during the week; volunteers to assist with recreational activities; and people through April 15. Training is provided for IRS certification. to work in the gift shop from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 There is no personal liability. For more information, call 253-9741 or email kkrasniak@unitedwayofcayugacounty.org. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 253-0351 ext. 310.