Hi Don: I sent you two e-mails in response to your request for the obit for Elizabeth Bartholomew Harper, but have not yet heard back from you. So I decided to post the obit here.
I hope that is ok with you.
Thanks so much.
Ashtabula County, Ohio
August 24, 1833
(microfilm copy in poss. Donna Cuillard, Simi Valley, CA)
Obituary of Elizabeth Bartholomew Harper
Born: 13 February 1749 at Bethlehem, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey
Died:10 June 1833 Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio
(spelling left as in original obituary)
"Died: At Harpersfield June 10, 1833, widow Elizabeth Harper, in the 84th year of her age.
Mrs. Harper was descended, in the maternal line, from a Huguenot family in France – in the paternal line from a French family in Switzerland, by the name of Bartholemi.
Her maternal great-grandparents were apprehended and imprisoned, on account of their profession of the Reformed Religion, and awaited the expected sentence of exclusion, which would add their names to the long catalogue of martyrs, who fell during the persecuting reign of Louis XIV.
They were anxious to preserve a posterity in the earth, and having a daughter very young, means were found to enclose her in a box and convey, her to Swabia in Germany.This child was the grand-mother of Mrs. Harper.
From Germany the family emigrated to America and settled in New Jersey, near Elizabethtown.Here Mrs. Harper was born of parents whose name having undergone a slight change from the original French, is called Bartholomew.
When Miss Bartholomew was about 21 years of age, she was married to the late Col. Alexander Harper, a man of Irish extraction, but a native of Middletown, Conn.Soon after their marriage, with letters patent from the British Crown, they emigrated to the then howling wilderness west of Shoharie, in that present county of Delaware, State of New York.Here they took possession of a tract on which they settled, to which he gave his name, and which is the present township of Harpersfield.
In this wilderness there opened, and for several years continued, a scene of distress, privations and hardships to which the present generation are necessarily strangers, and which brought into requisition all the corporeal strength and activity, and all the fortitudes and energy of mind by which they both were highly distinguished.Here they toiled under the various disadvantages of a new settlement, where the pioneer necessarily, but in the present instance cheerfully, does more in sowing for succeeding generations to reap, than in acquiring advantages and comforts for himself and his immediate descendants.
Here they lived and toiled in leveling the tall and thick trees of the forest, until there had been born to them four children, when the war of the American Revolution commenced.Now they were involved in perils and distresses which none but those who endure similar ones, can realize or even understand.
After many severe conflicts with the British foe and their savage allies, in the capacity of an American Captain, the husband was taken prisoner, carried to Quebec in irons, and then in a gloomy prison, and subsequently in a still more gloomy prison-ship, he endured a painful captivity of two years and eight months.
Meanwhile his wife and children fled with their friends and neighbors to Middle Fort at Schoharie for safety.Soon after their retreat into this fortress it was besieged, stormed and well nigh taken.
Having no prospect but that of an immediate and indiscriminate massacre, the garrison fought, although under a timid commander, with great bravery.While the truly Spartan band of women, among who were Mrs. Harper and a younger sister, encouraged and inspired them to hold onto the last extremity, being themselves actively employed in furnishing them with such refreshments as could be hastily taken, preparing their cartridges, and rendering every assistance in their power.
The battle having proceeded for a long time, the disheartened commander ordered the garrison t cease firing.This being understood by the enemy as a prelude to the surrender of the fort, they ceased their fire also, and raised their triumphal flag.This being done, a soldier in the quarter where the women were, was instigated to fire upon the flag.The commander hastily approached and charged them with having broken his orders, and sharply reprimanding them retired.Immediately, however, the fire o the flag was repeated a second and a third time, upon which it was hauled down and the siege raised, when the garrison, unknown to any but the females, were reduced to one round of ammunition.Thus by means of these females, the garrison, and themselves and little ones were preserved by Providence from savage massacre or cruel captivity, fates which had befallen many of their friends.
From this fortress Mrs. Harper with her children and friends, removed to New Lebanon on the eastern border of New York, as a temporary place of safety.Hither the husband, released from captivity, returned to his family and was joyfully received by them and their friends.
From this place the family returned to Harpersfield, A.D. 1780, and there remained leading members of society until they saw the wilderness turned into a fruitful field and the place which they had found solitary made good for them. Churches they saw erected, schools established, and society enjoying blessings, social, literary, civil and ecclesiastical.
A.D. 1798, they removed to the wilds of New Connecticut, and were one of the first three families that settled in the County of Ashtabula.The township in which he settled was the second in which he was one of the first emigrants, and to which he gave his name.It is the present populous and flourishing township of Harpersfield, in the county of Ashtabula, and State of Ohio.
Here Mrs. Harper was destined to experience fresh trials, demanding resignation, fortitude and prudent and strenuous exertions.The death of her husband, about three months after their arrival in this wilderness, devolved the chief care of her numerous family on her.With a good share of wealth they were poor, because oftentimes money could not procure them food to preserve them from the very brink of starvation; yet by the blessing of Providence, on their indefatigable exertions, they were kept from perishing, and preserved with their fellow pioneers, to lay the foundation of the present and future prosperity of this flourishing section of country, and to bring the present generation under obligations which they can never duly appreciate.
By a mind naturally strong, well stored with experience, and imbued with Christian piety, Mrs. Harper was well prepared to sustain hardships with fortitude to manage and direct agricultural affairs with prudence and judgement, and to train her family to usefulness, respectability and piety.
She lived to see one hundred and ten of her posterity.She survived three children, eighteen grandchildren, and eleven great grand-children.She left behind her, five children, forty-nine grandchildren and twenty four great grand children.
As she lived in the exercise of repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and in works of duty and charity, so she died in the Lord, and now rests from her labors and her works which do follow her."
Transcribed from a microfilm copy of the newspaper.
Transcribed at Simi Valley, California by Donna Cuillard