Brave Men Follow Me, The Life of Patriot Samuel Meeker (Part 7 of 10)

VII. Samuel Meeker Jr.

Samuel Meeker’s son Samuel Meeker Jr. is mentioned only scarcely in the records. This can largely be attributed to his early demise. In the Draper manuscripts it is said he “died young.”

A March 2, 1805 administration of Samuel Meeker is of “Jr.” seeing that is mentions Jeptha as a cousin rather than a nephew:

“Sarah Meeker the widow and Jeptha Meeker a cousin of Samuel Meeker late of the Town of Minisink in the County of Orange. Whereas the said Samuel Meeker as is alleged, lately died intestate … appoint you the said Sarah Meeker and Jeptha Meeker administrators of all and singular the Goods, Chattels and Credits which were of the said Samuel Meeker. … Witness James Everett Equire, Surrogate of said County at Goshen the second Day of March in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and five and of our Independence the twenty ninth.”

This makes Samuel Meeker Jr.’s death likely in early 1805, just a few years at most after his father’s death. But since the date of Jr.’s birth is not known, he precise age at death is not known. He was probably born before his sister Phebe Meeker Wickham (b. 11/8/1781) sometime perhaps 1779 or 1780 making him approximately twenty-five years old at his death.

Records are complicated not only by the fact that both father and son were named Samuel, but also that that they each had wives named Sarah. Major Samuel Meeker Sr.’s wife was Sarah Colt and Samuel Meeker Jr.’s wife was Sarah Williams. The Draper manuscripts refer to the later Sarah as “Sarah Williams of the same township” (Draper Manuscripts, F8, 89).

Activity of a Samuel Meeker in New York seems likely to all be that of Samuel Jr. There is a reference of a cattle mark registered to Samuel Meeker in Minisink, NY on November 7, 1803. An 1803 Minisink tax list has “Samuel Meeker Jun” noting “Real estate – 206, Personal estate – 0.” And it is slightly increased in the 1804 Minisink tax list showing “Samuel Meeker.” Real estate – 208, Personal estate – 30.

Given Sr.’s death likely in 1802 or 1803, the following later transactions also are likely those of Samuel Jr.:

1804, May 1, Land sale from Samuel Meeker [Jr] and Sarah Meeker his wife of the Township of Minisink to Jeptha Meeker. $205.72. Containing 27.43 acres. K 372

1804, Dec 10, A Mortgage from Samuel Meeker [Jr.] of the Town of Minisink in the Count of Orange and state of New York farmer and Sarah his wife to Mary Ellison of the City of New York Dated the tenth day of December one thousand eight hundred and four for all those three certain lots pieces or parcels of land situate lying and being in the said town of minisink and in a village here called Brookfield. … Acknowledge by the said Samuel Meeker and Sarah his wife personally before John Steward one of he judges of the court of common please for Orange County the tenth day of December one thousand eight hundred and four. (E 377)

1804, May 4, K 373, “Be in remembered that on this fourth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and four, came before me Evi Adams one of the Judges of the Court of Common please in and for the County of Sussex, Samuel Meeker [Jr] and Sarah Meeker his wife grantors to the within instrument or deed of conveyance and finally acknowledge that they executed the same for the use and purposes therein mentioned and the said Sarah being examined by me apart from here husband, saith that she signed the same without any compulsion of her said husband taken before me the day above written – Evi Adams”

The conflicting account of the final location of Samuel Sr. may be caused by a confusion with Samuel Jr. My best guess is that Sr.’s final days were spent in Wantage while Jr. is the one who owned land in Brookfield (Slate Hill) in NY. This note then in the Draper Manuscripts I believe has conflated the two men:

“Major Meeker lived in our township (Wantage) the most of his life but sold out and bought at Brookfield in Minisink township in Orange County New York where he lived his last years and died after a long and useful life.” – Letter William Elston to Lyman Draper of March 13, 1878, Draper Manuscripts, F8, p. 77(1).