|Biography Of Capt. Samuel Ransom
No record is available for Samuel Ransom prior to 1760. Among his descendants, two traditions exist. One is that he was born in Connecticut and the other that he and two brothers emigrated from England when they were your young men and then settled in Windham County, Connecticut. If the first tradition is true and he was born in the United States, it was probably either in Colchester or Canterbury, Connecticut. If he was born in England it was at or near Ipswich, where Ransoms have lived for many generations. That he was born about 1737 is very probable, as several of his grandchildren agree that he was 44 years old when he was killed in 1778.
In the South Canaan, Connecticut town records, page 3 of births, marriages and deaths, a record of Samuel Ransoms marriage to Easter Laurence on 6 May 1756 was entered. This is the first authentic mention of Captain Samuel Ransom. He was then about 19 years old and had, no doubt, just settled in town.
The town of Canaan was organized in 1739, but among the first settlers no Ransom is mentioned.
The name of George Palmer Ransom and several Laurences were found. In 1758, the eastern part of Canaan was set off into the town of Norfolk, and it was in this town, near Doolittle Pond, that Samuel Ransom bought land and lived until he moved into Wyoming Valley in 1773, and it was on this farm that all his children, except the youngest, were born.
In old town records, his name is frequently mentioned in connection with various local offices, and as a buyer and seller of land. He was evidently a prominent citizen, and in those days a wealthy farmer. His farmland laid next to that of George Palmer, with whom he appears to have been on the most intimate terms, both socially and in business. Samuel Ransom named his second son, afterwards so well known as Colonel George Palmer Ransom, after this intimate friend, to near neighbor and business associates.
From records, it appears that George Palmer sold all his land, in the summer of 1773, and moved from Litchfield County to the Wyoming Valley. This is further confirmed by the old records of Westmorland, Pennsylvania where a deed from Samuel Love to Samuel Ransom, late of Norfolk, Connecticut, now being of Susquehanna, dated November 5, 1773 is found. This affixes the date of his removal between July 26 th and November 5th, probably in August or September. The land deeded to him, by Love, probably lay in the south part of the present town of Plymouth, Pennsylvania, about where the old Ransom house, built by his son George Palmer Ransom, now stands.
In less than 6 months after he moved into the Wyoming Valley, he had established himself as a prominent citizen, and March 2, 1774, he was chosen a selectman of the town of Westmoreland, and a surveyor of highways. His name frequently appears in the local histories of the time as a leading member of the community and a participant, with his neighbors, in the early troubles between the Connecticut settlers and the Pennsylvania authorities, in the events leading to the Revolutionary War.
Books refer to Captain Ransom as having been in the French and Indian war. No sure proof has been found of this however, but it is most likely true as it is not likely that he would have been appointed a Captain in the Continental Army had he not had some previous experience in the field. Records show that he was commissioned by the Assembly in October 1775 as a Captain of the Third Company, Twenty-Fourth Regiment, Connecticut Militia.
On the 24th of August 1776, it was voted at a town meeting to erect certain forts as defense against our common enemy the British and Indians. Among the forts erected in compliance with this resolution, was the one on Garrison Hill, in Plymouth, for this it is said that Samuel Ransom hauled the first log.
On the 23rd of August 1776, Congress passed the following resolution. Two companies of the Continental establishment to be raised in the town of Westmoreland and stationed in the proper place for the defence of the inhabitants of said town and parts adjacent, till further order of congress, *** that the said troops be enlisted to serve during the war, unless sooner discharged by Congress, *** that they be liable to serve in any part of the United States.
On August 26, 1776, Congress commissioned Robert Durkee, of Wilkes Barre, and Samuel Ransom, of Plymouth, Captains for the companies authorized. Captain Ransom enlisted his company along the west bank of the Susquehanna River, It was know as the Second Independent Company for the Revolutionary Service, and was attached to the Connecticut Line. Durkees company was the First Independent Company. On December 12, 1776, Congress resolved, That the two companies raised in the town of Westmoreland be ordered to join Washington with all possible expedition.
The Second Company consisted of eighty-four men and its headquarters. Before joining Washington, they were either at Garrison Hill or Fourty Fort. On the role of names is found that of Ransoms son-in-law, Timothy Hopkins, and his son George Palmer Ransom. Without following Captain Ransom and his company in historical detail, it will be sufficient to say that they joined the regular Continental Army at Morristown, New Jersey, near Somerset Court House under General Dickinson. Washing, in reporting this affair to Congress says, General Dickinsons behavior reflects the highest honor on him, for his troops were raw, he led them through the river, middle deep and gave the enemy so severe a charge that although supported by three field pieces, they gave way and left their convoy. Half the forces were Wyoming men.
We next find Ransom engaged at the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, Bound Brook, Mud Fort and in other lesser engagements, where he and his command acquitted themselves like veterans.
In October 1777, his company, by casualties, was reduced to sixty-two men. During that winter they remained with the main army in winter quarters new Morristown, New Jersey.
The following June, affairs in the Wyoming Valley became so threatening that Captain Ransom resigned to go home and defend it against the British and Indians, who were advancing down the valley under Colonel John Butler.
Captain Ransom reached Forty-Fort on the morning of the Wyoming Valley massacre and reported to Colonel Zebulon Butler, the American commander, as a volunteer aide. The army immediately left to confront the enemy, with Captain Ransom being assigned to Whittleseys company, on the extreme left, under the command of Colonels Denison and Dorrance. Samuel Ransom was detailed to make a reconnaissance of the ground, at the opening of the engagement. As he did not return to report, it is probably that he went at once into the thick of the fight and was unable to withdraw before he was killed. Wright, in his Plymouth Sketches, page 186 says; Colonel Denison had to meet a concealed foe. The morass literally swarmed with savages, and while our people were partially on a plain, they became the objects of deliberate aim from the concealed savage warriors.
In a few moments they had picked out Colonel Dorrance, Captains Ransom and Whittlesey, who, like brave men as they were, fell in the front ranks. Of the fifteen officers, eleven were slain. Every Captain of the six companies, including Ransom and Durkee, were found dead at the front of the line. The place where they fell is about a mile above the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg depot, at Wyoming Station, and very nearly on the tack of the road. Captain Ransoms body was found near Fort Wintermoot, with a musket shot through the thing, his head severed from his shoulders and his body scared with gashes. It was identified by the shoe and knee buckles. He was buried with the other bodies near the site where the granite monument now stands, near the town of Wyoming on Highway #11. His name heads the list, engraved on the monument, of those killed in the battle. A township, in Lacawanna County, bordering the opposite side of the Susquehanna River, was named Ransom in honor of Capt. Ransom.
The suffering, hardships and outrages to which the survivors of the massacre and their families were subjected are too familiar to require repetition here. Samuel Ransoms house and buildings were burned, and his family fled down the valley with the other refugees. After the army, under Sullivan, regained the land from the British, Ransoms family returned to reoccupy their land, only to become involved in the troubles growing out of the struggle for the ownership of the valley between the Connecticut and the Pennsylvania authorities. In all these hardships they bore their share. In the address of Steuben Jenkins, before the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, delivered February 11, 1881, he says, Another of the victims of their (the officials of Pennsylvania) was Esther Ransom of Plymouth, wife of Captain Ransom who fell in the massacre. His family, all being sick and scarcely able to walk, were turned out of their house into a tedious storm, to seek shelter as they might. This atrocity was committed by the brave and gallant Patterson, and executed by the inhuman tool of his, the Jerseyman, Scoonover.
Source Of Text From:
(Extraction from an Historical Sketch done by Clinton B. Sears)