Samuel Mapes by Robert Eager NSSAR# 179422

By April 1775, Samuel Mapes had been farming in Blooming Grove, New York for a couple decades.  He had moved there from his hometown in Southold on Long Island with two of his brothers.  He had been married to Mary Smith for nearly twenty years.  By then, nine of their ten children had been born and two had already died.  His oldest son, Smith, had just turned 18 three months before, but the world was changing, and April 1775 was a pivotal moment in history when British troops opened fire on a group of American militiamen in Concord, Massachusetts.

Local communities throughout the colonies responded by forming committees and empowering delegates to select members for a Continental Congress to address the issues.  In Goshen, a general association was agreed to by the inhabitants of Ulster County.  That spring, Samuel and his son, Smith, joined with their many neighbors and signed on and, in doing so, became American Patriots.

Samuel also took an active part in the Revolution as a member of the 2nd Ulster Militia Regiment.  Also known as the South End Regiment, its members came from the territory west of the Hudson along the original south county line from the mouth of Murderers’ Creek to the Delaware.  It was the home regiment of the Clintons — James, George, and Dr. Charles.

The militia in that area played a vital role in preventing the British from bringing forces down from Canada.  As needed, they supported Fort Montgomery on the Hudson and Fort Schuyler near present-day Utica.  Governor George Clinton, who was from that part of Ulster County, was aware that Indian allies of the British and Tories (who often dressed as Indians) were making periodic raids on frontier settlements to draw the militia away from aiding the forts.

Four times during the war, Samuel left his farm and marched with Captain Isaiah Vail’s 12th company to the settlement of Peenpack, about 30 miles to the west, to answer an alarm.   One time, he was gone just two days, but usually it was four.  Peenpack, later known as Huguenot, was located at the confluence of the Delaware and Neversink Rivers.   The valleys gave Indians from the west easy access for raids.  In July of 1779, just a couple weeks after Samuel had been sent to Peenpack, another militia group was massacred at nearby Minisink while on a similar mission.

Sometime after the war, Samuel purchased 640 acres of wilderness land around Howells Depot in territory that he may have passed through with the Ulster Militia.   It was enough land that his sons could all settle around him.   Four of them — Enos, Samuel, Erastus, and Selah, eventually did.   They all raised large families, and for a time that region was known as Mapestown.  Descendants still hold a family reunion in the area each year.

Before his death, Samuel Mapes deeded a plot of his land near the site of the present Congregational Church at Howells for a family cemetery.  He was buried there when he died in 1820 at the age of 85.  His wife, Mary, survived him by five years.   Several generations of his descendants are also buried there.  In time, the cemetery was abandoned.  It is now located on private property with a roadside marker to identify the entrance.

References and Notes

The Family Record, published by C.H. Weygant, Newburgh, NY, Vol 4 April 1897 p. 46-47.

Public Papers of George Clinton, Pub. by the State of New York, Albany, NY, 1900, Vol 3, pp. 470-471, 528-529.

Calendar of Historical Manuscripts Relating to War of the Revolution 1808, NY Sec of State, Albany, New York, Vol 1, pp 12-13.

Fold3 Military Records for Samuel Mapes, Revolutionary War, New York Militia, McClaughry’s Regiment,

National Archives Publication M881, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783 Roll #93.

History of Ulster County New York, Alphonso T. Clearwater, LL.D Editor, Pub. W.J. VanDeusin, Kingston, NY 1907 pp 157-164.

Scroll to Top