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Query Number: 1602-1 February 2016

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Requested Information:

Bruce is the owner of a powder horn that is inscribed with a map of the Mohawk Valley and Ft Herkimer as well as the name Ebenezer Seely and is dated 1758. The horn is currently on loan to a display at Ft Stanwix, Rome, NY. On the left end of the horn it says “This horn belong to Ebenezer Seely”, in the center is the ‘map’ and at the right it says “Fort Harkimer, A1758D”.

Powder horns were made in the 18th and early 19th centuries to hold the gunpowder that was used in muskets. The horns were often decorated with pictures, diary entries, rhymes or maps. Some of those with maps may have been used as guides for travel through the wilderness or may have been, like the others, as a way of recording special memories. Bruce owns several horns and revolutionary-era firearms. He acquired this near his home in Chemung County, NY and was interested because he grew up near Ft Herkimer.
Of course the question for us is, who is this Ebenezer Seeley?

Requester: Bruce Miller | nordata@earthlink.net

Initial Response Information:

Bruce supposes that Ebenezer would be at least 20 years of age or older to be travelling to Ft Herkimer and have the time and funds to purchase and engrave (or have engraved) such a horn which means he would be born before 1738 (and still alive in 1758).
We have several candidates:
• SGS# 63 Ebenezer Seeley b. 1696/7 in Stamford, CT, d. 1767 Goshen, Orange, NY
• SGS# 81 Ebenezer Seeley b. 1717 Fairfield Co., CT, died 1790 Litchfield, CT
• SGS# 101 Ebenezer Seelye b.1729 Fairfield Co. CT, d. 1805 Bennington, VT
• SGS# 168 Ebenezer Seeley b. abt 1717 Westchester Co. NY
• SGS# 184 Ebenezer Seeley b. 1720 Fairfield Co. Ct, d. 1770 Fairfield, CT
Ideally we would like enough information to know that one of these men had a reason to have traveled to Ft Herkimer as well as a connection to the Chemung County area of the southern tier of NY. Even better would be a will showing the powder horn being passed on to a descendant.
We have evidence that many descendants of #63 ended up in Chemung Co. or neighboring Tioga Co. PA. Those of us who attended the SGS Reunion in Horseheads in 2011 visited quite a few of their gravesites.
The same is not true for #81 (descendants in CT), #101 (one daughter with grandchildren mostly in VT or northern NY State), #163 (no known descendants) nor #184 (descendants in Orange Co. NY and New Brunswick, Canada). So it seems most likely that Ebenezer, SGS# 63, son of Jonas, son of Obadiah, is our man. SGS# 184 is a son of this Ebenezer. However since the horn ended up in Chemung Co. it may have been passed from Ebenezer Sr. to his son Nathaniel who settled in Chemung Co. We also have a note that #63 was called Lt Ebenezer Seeley, perhaps explaining a trip to Ft Herkimer.
Further research would be to look at SGS# 63 Ebenezer Seeley’s will to see if a powder horn is mentioned and to examine military records to see if we can place Ebenezer at Ft Herkimer. Please contact me if you have more information or ideas.

Responder: SGS Query Editor


Update to Query #1602-1 // Re: Ebenezer Seeyl's Powder Horn

Submitter Bruce Miller (nordata@earthlink.net), owner of this powder horn, wanted our help in identifying which Ebenezer Seely was the original owner. We had tentatively suggested that SGS# 63 was likely to be the correct Ebenezer. After the query appeared we were contacted by Steve Hollands (sjhollands@yahoo.com), a life member of SGS. Steve believes the powder horn was from Ebenezer Seely SGS #63.
Steve checked Ebenezer’s will ( it was published in the Orange County NY Genealogical Society Journal vol 6 no. 1 May 1976 ). It doesn’t list any powder horns but Steve thinks it would be very likely that Ebenezer’s children and grandchildren would have taken it with them when they moved to the Chemung County area after the revolution. Also while researching CT military records Steve learned that Ebenezer was with parties that attempted to relieve Fort William Henry in 1757 and with Col. Wooster for the better part of 1758, Wooster’s units were part General Abercrombie’s 1758 Fort Carillon campaign. He also learned that Fort Herkimer was used in the 1757 and 1758 campaigns. All of this evidence corroborates our theory that SGS# 63 was the original owner.

Responder: SGS Query Editor

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