Hendrick Wilner, aka John Heindrick Wilner & most likely Johannas Heindrick Wilner, was born in about 1732 in the German Duchy of Brunswick, and died a pauper at the age of 72 on 26 Sep 1802 in Springfield, Hampden, MA.
Hendrick was 55 and living in Springfield when he married on 22 Mar 1787 in West Springfield to Mary "Polly" Hayward/Howard.Hendrick and Mary had nine children, though information is spotty for three.Springfield records list only six:
i.John, b. 1 Feb 1790; John Wilner Son of John Hendrick Wilner & Polly Wilner of Springfield was born February 1st 1790; d. unknown; no further information.
ii.William, b. 22 May 1791; William Wilner Son of Hendrick Wilner & Polly Wilner was born May 22d Anno Domini 1791; d. unknown; no further information.
iii.James, b. 1 Nov 1792 in Springfield; James Willner Son of Hendrick & Mary Willner of Springfield was born November 1, 1792; d. unknown; no further information.
iv.Henry, b. about 1793/94; bachelor; fought in the war of 1812 and d. at the age of eighteen or twenty on 11 Sep 1814 at battle of Plattsburgh, New York.
v.Joshua, b. 21 Jan 1795; Joshua Wilner Son of Hendrick Wilner & Mary Wilner was born Jan 21. 1795; d. unknown; no further information.
vi.George, b. 1 Jan 1797 per biography; fought in War of 1812; moved in about 1818-1822 to Nunda in western New York; married in 1822 to Betsy Moses (1797-1857), had six children and became prominent on the village of Portage; d. 6 Oct 1864 in Portage, Livingston, New York.
vii.David Howard, b. 30 Apr 1797; David Wilner Son of Hendrick Wilner & Polly Wilner was born April 30th Anno Domini 1797; d. 7 Dec 1850 in Otis, Berkshire, MA; married first before 1820 in Dalton, Berkshire, MA., to Amanda Butts (1795-1833/39) born in Dalton, daughter of Josiah and Lydia Butts; had 8 children; lived in Dalton and Otis; married second on 19 Jan 1839 in Otis to Miriam Kibbe/Kibbee (1791-1874) born in Loudon, with whom he had no children; David and 2nd wife Miriam are buried next to each other in the Otis Center Cemetery near other members of the Kibbe/Kibbee family.
viii.[daughter] Wilner, b. between 1791 and 1800 per 1800 Census, prob. in 1799/1800; d. unknown.
ix.Jefferson Burr Wilner, b. 27 Aug 1801 in Springfield, poss. twin of Aaron Burr; Aaron Burr Willowner Son of Hendrick Willowner & Polly Willowner was born August 27, 1801 - entered wrong.Jefferson Burr Willowner Son of Hendrick Willowner & Polly Willowner was born August 27th 1801; d. unknown; no further information.
Hendrick Wilner died at the age of 72 on 26 Sep 1804 at the poor house in Springfield, and was probably buried in a paupers grave.At that time, his wife Mary would have been 39.If all his children were alive, which is unlikely, they would have ranged in age from three to fourteen.It is more likely that only 3 or 4 sons were alive: Henry (11), George (8), David (7) and possibly James (12).
Neither Hendrick's widow Mary Hayward nor any of his children have been indentified in the 1810 Census.Nothing more is known with any certainty about widow Mary.It is probable that she is the 'Miss ________ Wilner' , state pauper, who died in Otis on 21 Oct 1833 at the age of 68.
Son George reappears in Connecticut during the War of 1812 and then in 1818-1822 moves to Nunda, Allegany, New York, where he married and settled down to raise a family.
Son David reappears in the 1820 Census in Dalton, Berkshire, MA., where he has married and settled down to raise a family.
Son Henry was killed in 1814 in the battle of Plattsburg, New York.
Son James is mentioned in later biographies but it seems likely that he died before 1800.There is no information concerning the other children and all probably died young.
The following is an account I put together of Hendrick as a soldier:
Hendrick was a Hessan soldier who was about 44 when his unit set sail in a fleet of thirty sail from Portsmouth, Devon, England, on 4 Apr 1776 and arrived at Quebec on 1 Jun 1776 with units under the command of Baron Friedrich Adolph von Riesdesel.These units included Lieutenant-Colonel Friedrich Baum's 'Prinz Ludwig Ernst' dragoon regiment under which Hendirck fought.Hendrick fought in the Battle of Bennington on 16 Aug 1777 where he was captured.A quick recounting of this fight is as follows:
Two German forces (Baum's and then Breymann's in relief) were diverted to Bennington, VT, in search of supplies in August 1777.Hendrick Wilner was most likely in the first force of about 700 including 374 German, 50 British under Captain Fraiser, 176 English Loyalists and Canadians and 150 Indians.The exact size varies between 700-900 depending on the source.
The German force was definitely composed of 344 Germans from the Brunswick Dragoon Regiment 'Prinz Ludwig Ernst' under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Friedrich Baum and a small contingent of 30 artillerymen from Hesse-Hanau.Baum's Brunswickers included 170 dragoons (dismounted - i.e.: they had no horses) and 100 infantrymen including some jagers (riflemen) and gunners.
Baum's force left Schuylerville, NY on August 11th, was at Cambridge, NY on August 13th, reached Sancoick's mill (North Hoosick) on August 14th and pushed on a few more miles to within 4 miles west of Bennington on the west side of the Walloomsac River the same evening.Baum set up defensive positions there, putting about 150 Loyalist and Canadian forces across a bridge on the east side of the river and 200 Indians on a plateau just north of his main body of German troops.Captain Alexander Fraser's company of 50 British marksmen was placed on the west side of the bridge and about 50 Germans were placed to the west to protect his rear.The main body was composed of about 170 dragoons (dismounted) and about 100 infantrymen.
It rained on the 15th of August, and neither side engaged in more than some minor skirmishes.The weather improved by mid-day on the 16th, and the Americans began their attack at about noon led by Colonel John Starke.The Indians, Loyalists, and Canadians suffered only light casualties as they fled when the first shots were fired.Only the Germans under Baum held their ground.Following several hours, Baum's men ran out of ammunition at about 5pm.At that time, the Germans took up their sabers and charged the American lines.Only when Baum himself was killed did the remainder of the Germans surrender.Exact figures conflict, but it seems that 130 of Baum's soldiers were killed, 240 captured and only a handful escaped.Hendrich Wilner would have been one of those captured - perhaps following the unsuccessful saber charge.
The second force was a relief force of about 642 Germans (Grenadier Battalion 'Breymann') under Lieutenant-Colonel Heinrich Christoph Breymann arrived at about 5pm on the 16th - about an hour too late.They fought well but, also running low of ammunition, retreated as night began to fall.Breymann returned with only about two thirds of his men.
Hendrick Wilner was captured at the battle of Bennington, took an oath of allegiance to the Americans, and settled in western Massachusetts.