There is no doubt that an Abraham Carley was in the Green Mountain Boys. He is on the same record (as a private) as Seth Warner and Ethan Allen. What is in doubt is which Abraham Carley? At first I pondered whether it was the father Abraham born in 1711 or the son Abraham born in 1756. Both were living in Albany (later Columbia) County, New York, during the Revolutionary War. The Green Mountain Boys were formed in Albany County, New York, in 1775. At that time the elder Abraham would have been 64 and the younger Abraham 19.
What could be fathomed from the records? There seemed to have been at least five Abraham Carleys in the area at the time. The plan became to collect every possible record and then create timelines and profiles for each Abraham. (As always, I wished there were more and better records.) For convenience, each Abraham was assigned a Roman numeral.
Abraham (I) was the senior resident of Hillsdale, the Abraham said to have been from Marlborough and born in 1711.
Abraham (II) was the junior resident of Hillsdale, the son of Abraham (I), and was born in Marlborough in 1756.
Abraham (III) was the infant son of Abraham (II), and was born in Nobletown in 1780. He can be eliminated from this inquiry.
Abraham (IV) was the man who joined Captain Van Vranka’s Company of Militia in Albany County on 12 Apr 1760, aged 23, and was born in Connecticut.
Abraham (V) was the Abraham who kept showing up in the Vermont records. It seemed safest to identify him separately, at least while information was being collected, until he could be merged with one of the others.
First, we will look at Abraham (V). He was in the Green Mountain Boys and left a trail of records in Vermont. Any of the contenders must match his timeline and profile. Here is a timeline of the found records.
Abraham (V) was living in Manchester, Vermont, in 1765. He appears as Abaham Carly in the ledger of a tavern in Putney, Vermont, between 1766 and 1771. He appears as Abraham Carly on a list dated 1 Nov 1770 as a “Petitioner of New York for land grant titles in Vermont”. In 1771 he was living in Cumberland County, Vermont. On 4 Jul 1775 he appears as an enlisted man on the roster of the Green Mountain Boys, this time as “Carley, Abraham”. He enlisted in Captain Gideon Brownson’s Company of Militia (Vermont) on 16 Jan 1776. He was on the Pay Roll of Captain Asaph Cook’s Company of Militia in Colonel Gideon’s Warren’s Regiment, dated October 1781, being paid “for service done in the defence of the Northern Frontiers of this State” (Vermont).
The profile of Abraham (V) shows him consistently in Vermont and never in the company of other Carleys. (Other Carleys found in Vermont during this era were Ebenezer, Ichabod, and William.) Do any of the other Abrahams match this profile?
(NOTE: Roughly the same geographical area of New York was called in turn Claverack, Nobletown, and Hillsdale. To complicate matters, the area was first in Albany County and only became Columbia County in 1786. Earlier, there had even been a dispute as to whether this area was a part of Massachusetts or New York.)
Abraham (I) was baptized on 23 Oct 1715 in Marlborough, Massachusetts. On the same day four other Carleys were baptized there, assumed to be his siblings. Several of his children were in turn baptized in Marlborough during the 1740s and 1750s. His family was ordered out of Marlborough in 1755. However, his son Abraham (II) was baptized there on 9 May 1756. Also, Abraham (I) in 1757 joined the Marlborough Militia Company of Captain (later promoted to Colonel) Abraham Williams during the French and Indian War.
Abraham (I) served in the Claverack Militia Company of Captain Johannis Hogeboom. He name appears on the roster of 13 May 1767 as ‘Abraham Carly’. Immediately following him are ‘Moses Carly’, ‘Joel Carly’, and ‘James Carly’, probably his sons. Also on this roster, but in a different column, is ‘Joseph Carly’. The roster seems to include the entire adult male population of Claverack and, since it is not alphabetical, may have been compiled simply as the men signed-up. (Note also, the Claverack militia shows no correlation with the 1770 list of Vermont land grant petitioners, something that might be expected if families were moving back and forth – as had happened between the settlers of Sudbury, Lancaster, and Marlborough, Massachusetts.)
Abraham (I) and several of his children lived in Nobletown. His children, Mary (who married Samuel Mallery), Joel, Moses, and Abraham (II) had children who were baptized by the Reverend Gideon Bostwick in Nobletown between 1770 and 1791. In 1773 Abraham (I) was appointed one of the road commissioners of Nobletown. In 1790 Abraham (I) was living in Nobletown. He died in November of 1790 and is buried with his wife on the family farm.
The profile of Abraham (I) shows him to be firmly anchored in Hillsdale and when he appears in records he is generally with his immediate family. He was old enough to have been the Abraham of the Green Mountain Boys, but his profile conflicts in every detail with the Abraham found in the Vermont records. Perhaps Abraham (I) was too old to be Abraham (V). By 1781, when Abraham (V) appears on the Pay Roll, Abraham (I) would have been 70 years old.
Abraham (II) was the son of Abraham (I) and born in Marlborough in 1756. He was living in Nobletown no later than 1780 as that is when his own son Abraham (III) was baptized by the Reverend Gideon Bostwick. As he was only 14 years old in 1770 he could not have been the ‘Abraham Carly’ in Vermont petitioning New York for land grant rights. By 1775 he would have been old enough to enlist in the Green Mountain Boys, but it is clear from the Pay Roll records of Vermont that Abraham (V) was still serving in the militia until at least 1781. During this time Abraham (II) was busy raising a family in Nobletown. Neither the timeline nor the profile fits for him to be Abraham (V).
Another timeline conflict is the fact that while Abraham (V) was serving in the Green Mountain Boys (1775-1783 by enlistment and payroll records), either Abraham (I) or Abraham (II) was serving in the New York Levies (1779). An exploration of their military service can be found in another post.
Abraham (IV) joined Captain Van Vranka’s Company of Militia in Albany (Rensselaerswyck) 12 Apr 1760, aged 23, and born in Connecticut. He was born in 1737 so he cannot be confused with Abraham (I, II or III). What else do we know about him? He was a laborer. He was 5’9” with a fair complexion, brown eyes and black hair. He could have moved to Vermont and joined the Green Mountain Boys. Or, he could be the Abraham Carley who was a loyalist and eventually settled in Ontario. Or, he could be someone else entirely.
Some may feel short-changed by the inclusion of Abraham (III) since he was barely born during the period in discussion. As a bonus, for balance, or just to add to the intrigue – there may be one more Abraham Carley to sort out. In the Vital Records of Bolton, Massachusetts can be found the record of a marriage between Abraham ‘Corley’ of Nobletown and Ruth Diggins on 15 May 1769. Who was this Abraham? Was he the Abraham born in 1737? Was he the Abraham who ended up in Ontario? Could he have been a brother of the Bartholomew who was born in Nobletown in 1757 and later lived in Ontario? Or did Abraham (I) lose his Susannah and return to the East to remarry? (Does anyone have a copy of the will of Abraham (I) and does it name his wife?)
So, while the Abraham Carley who was a Green Mountain Boy cannot yet be identified and placed within a lineage, we have identified three Abraham Carleys who can be eliminated as possible contenders – the three who lived in Hillsdale.