Among the thousand or more residents of the Rhine valley who availed themselves of Good Queen Anne’s offer of peace within the bounds of the British Islands was Johann Niclaas Emigh. He crossed the English Channel from Holland as a member of the second party in June, 1710.
Johann Niclaas was evidently a young unmarried man when he made the journey. He was still single when in 1712 he arrived in America, one of that large group of Palatines who were transferred to America ostensibly to produce tar for the British navy. A few years later it would appear that he married Anna Catharine Muller. This must have happened in 1714, as their first child was born 22 April, 1715. In 1717, the family is shown to have been residing in the West Camp but in the following year, it is on record that one Nicolas Eemeig was taxed in Beekman Town in the region to the east of Poughkeepsie. Here he is shown as having settled at “North Clove” in Poughquag in the Town of Union Vale, where in 1740, he erected a large stone house, which was still standing in 1945, as it still may be. Its chimney was decorated with the letters NE 1740. It is known that the Lutheran minister from New York visited this house regularly, holding religious services and the baptism of babies born since the last visit.
The records of the Lutheran Church in New York reveal that in 1745 this house was known as “the Church at Backway in the Klove.” There was also the following notation:
“1740 11th Sunday after Trinity - A baptism during religious
services at Niclaas Emigh in the “Klove of Backway.”
It should also be noted that in Beekman Precinct it is recorded that Nicholas Emigh branded his animals with his mark NE.
The children of Johann Niclaas Emig and his wife, Anna Catherina were:
1. Anna Maria, born 22 April, 1715. She married Peter Lossing, Jr.
2. John, baptized 7 April, 1717 (see below)
3. Lawrence, born 6 Feb., 1719. He married Anna Maria Becken, and they were the parents of
the wife of Conrad Sills, U.E., and grandparents of their three sons and one daughter, who
settled with their father.
4. Johan Nicholas, born 30 Nov., 1720. He married Eve ----.
5. Henry, baptized 9 July, 1722. He married Sarah Flegler.
6. Philip, who married Gertrude Lossing.
7. Eva, who married Peter Janson.
8. Hans Jury, baptized 2 April, 1727. He married Eva ---.
9. Catharina, baptized 21 Sept., 1729.
John (2) Emigh, son of Johann Niclaas, was born in Dutchess county, and was baptized in the Dutch Church in Kingston, Ulster County, on 7 April 1717. It is recorded that on 7 August, 1743, “Johannes Emig” married “Annettje de Langen” in the Fishkill Dutch Church. She was the daughter of Jonas De Lange and his wife, the former Blandina Peerson. John Emig, with his wife and family, removed to the Halfmoon District of Albany County, probably about 1768, when the area north of Albany was opened for settlement, and just in time to become involved in the Revolutionary War. Here he remained until his death on 24th May, 1801. He was buried two miles southeast of Mechanicville, Saratoga county, N.Y. His grave stone notes the day of death, and also his age of 83 years. His will, proved 25 June, 1801, mentioned all ten children.
They were -
1. Catherine, born 14th April, 1744 in Dutchess County. She was twice married, 1st Peter Lane, 2nd John
2. Blondina, born 14 July, 1745, and baptized at her grandfather’s home in North Klove in Backway, as
noted by this item from the records of the Lutheran Church of New York City:
“1745 16th Sunday after Trinity, bap. in our church at Backway
in the Klove, Blandina, b. July 14, child of Johannes and Annetje
Emig. Witnesses: Blandina De Lang and Arrie, son of Blandina.”
3. Jonas (see below)
4. Nicholas, born 1st December, 1748, in Dutchess County. (see below)
5. Mary, married Michael Overacker.
6. Elisabeth, married Michael Erring of Phillipstown.
7. Cornelia, married Francis Fritts.
8. John, married Elisabeth ----.
9. Rachel, married Richard Vincent.
10. Joseph, married Charity ----.
The Emig family had been residing in Saratoga less than a decade when the clouds of rebellion darkened the horizon. The imposition of a tax on tea angered many colonials, even though the tax had been levied to help pay for the cost of the French and Indian wars. It would appear that the war had been fought to relieve the sufferings of the colonies caused by the repeated onslaughts of the enemy on the colonial outpost. But even that did not matter. It supplied a golden opportunity for the colonies to demand their freedom. Then came the Boston Tea Party and the teachings of such men as Samuel Adams, a reputed smuggler, who owed more than seventy thousand pounds currency in London. All this was a golden opportunity for him to avoid punishment, if the colonies received their freedom.
And so the rebellion came to be. The various states sent representatives to the continental congress which, in 1776, declared its independence. Committees were set up, laws were passed, armies were formed and mobs roamed the countryside. General Arnold led an army through the wilds of Maine and besieged Quebec. The city was ably defended by General Carleton, but the siege came to an end when General Montgomery was killed on New Year’s Eve, 1776, during an attack on the defences of the city.
During the confusion General Carleton attacked the enemy lines, and the colonials retreated hastily in the direction of Montreal. Still under pressure, the retreat continued to Lake Champlain, where naval skirmished took place and the rebel fleet suffered final defeat on the water behind Valcour Island. This action closed the campaign, and General Carleton finally reached Crown Point late in October.
This event was a signal to all who wished to remain and declare their loyalty to Britain. For too long they had been deprived of leadership. But now the British presence in the rebel states stimulated small groups to present themselves as willing to enter the conflict on the British side. One such group, composed of loyal persons from the Saratoga area, decided to take action. Thus eighty-three men, under command of Ebenezer Jessup, set out for Crown Point. The rebel militia received word of the movement and set out to intercept the party on their way north. But, Pat. Smyth of Fort Edward became aware of the rebel intention, and immediately informed Jessup of their danger. The tory party altered their route, and after more than eighty miles journey through the hills and forest to the west of Lake George, they arrived at Crown Point on November 5th. They were immediately received on board Carleton’s ship. Once aboard, they never turned back, and were carried to the Canadian Province to spend the winter at Chateauguay.
Among the more than eighty men who had accompanied the Jessup brothers on the long and tortuous journey through the mountains to Crown Point, and who had resided in Saratoga, were the brothers, Jonas and Nicholas, sons of John Emigh, but subsequently spelled Amey since that time. Other young men from their neighbourhood had accompanied them, among whom were Matthias and Daniel, sons of Matthias Rose, Senior, William Rogers, and John and Armstrong Williams, all of whom settled in Ernesttown Township in the summer of 1784.
In the following May a British fleet sailed up the St. Lawrence to Quebec. On board was General John Burgoyne with an army of British soldiers and German mercenaries under the command of Baron Riedesel. The army was landed at Quebec, and plans were soon made for its advancement up the St. Lawrence, across Lake Champlain, and into the rebellious province of New York. It had been planned that Burgoyne would unite with a smaller force under Colonel St. Leger which was preparing to descend the Mohawk River to Albany. Then the two forces would proceed south to unite with the British army in New York City.
But, as so often happens, plans can go astray. St. Leger was defeated at Oriskany on July 6th, and Burgoyne’s progress southward became extremely slow. His troubles were many and diverse. Transportation was one; wagons and drivers were hard to find; housing and accommodation were at a premium, the French were being hesitant to oblige, as would be expected; and in many areas roads had to be cut through the wilderness. Burgoyne finally reached St. John in June, and arrived before Fort Ticonderoga in time to see the rebels depart down Lake George on July 7th. Ten days later, Skenesborough was reached, and by August 6th they entered Fort Edward. Fort Miller was occupied on the 14th. In the meantime a small force under the command of Col. Baum was dispatched in the direction of Bennington where it was expected that much needed supplies would be found. But this force was all but destroyed on the north bank of the Walloomsac River, a few miles short of its destination. This occurred on August 13th, while the army entered Fort Miller on the following day, and reached the Battenkill ten days later. Then, after crossing the Hudson River, confrontation with the enemy occurred; the opposing forces met on Freeman’s Farm on 18 Sept. The British remained on the field. On the 25th, a second battle occurred at Bemis Heights.
By this time, Burgoyne was in deep trouble. His army was closely hemmed in, and provisions were in extremely short supply. Autumn was approaching, and his soldiers were shivering in the summer clothing; intermittent rains gave way to cold nights which left rime on the musket barrels in the early morning. Snow flakes drifted by on the northern breezes, while the green of the hills changed to scarlet and gold. His home base in Quebec was more than two hundred miles away, and the enemy continued to press more closely.
Thus, capitulation was the only answer to his dilemma. Negotiations ensued and on the morning of the 17th of October, his troops laid down their arms in surrender.
By the terms agreed upon, the Indians, Colonials and Provincials were allowed to return to Canada, with the stipulation that they should not again bear arms during the present conflict.
Rebel revenge came quickly, and was severe, to say the least. The farms of the defectors were seized, and the wives and children removed from their homes. Everything was confiscated - homes and outbuildings, stock on the farm, crops in the field, all farm implements and contents of the house were sold at public auction, and the money received from the sale was used to pay the cost of the war.
The support of the wives and children became a burden, even though about four hundred of them were housed in the Fort at Saratoga. The rebel committee demanded that they go to their husbands. The women, of a matter of course, agreed. So they were shipped down Lake Champlain, under flags of truce, and turned over to the British Outposts.
But others in the Saratoga region also suffered the blow of retaliation. Mobs roamed the countryside, abusing the relatives, pilfering where possible, and on occasion administering the usual coat of tar and feathers, or given a ride on a rail through the streets. The elderly did not escape their punishment. John Emig, father of Jonas and Nicholas, was forced to pay an added tax for having sons who had fled to the enemy. Others were imprisoned for indefinite periods, and were released only when paying a two hundred pound penalty.
It was thus, in the summer of 1778, that the two Amey wives and their children reached St. John, Canada, and were allowed to join their husbands to the pleasure of all members.
After having been housed at Sorel for about a year, the women and children were shipped across the St. Lawrence River in September 1779 to the new refugee camp at Yamachiche (more commonly known as Machiche) situated about twenty miles west of Three Rivers. Here they were destined to remain until the final settlement along the Bay of Quinte in the summer of 1784. At this time, Mrs. Jonas had two children and her sister had three. In the course of the years at Machiche several more children were to be born to the wives. The Protestant Garrison Church of Three Rivers supplies us with the following items:
“1781, 6 July, is born Israel, and baptized 15 August, son of Jonas Stame and Eve Stover.
1783, quinze February, born Joseph, baptized 9 June, son of Nicholas Amey and Marguerite Stover.
1784, Onze May, Joseph, baptized 27 January, son of Jonas Amie and Eve Stover.
It is well know that the spring of 1784, as is customary in these northern regions, was late in arriving. The winter had been fairly mild, but had turned colder. The ice was slow in leaving the river. But, the lack of bateaux was a hold-up. Not enough had been made available, and those that had gone up the river were slow in returning to Lachine, from which the parties were departing.
Each family had been given a choice as to where they desired to settle. But the authorities pressed for settlement by units, in order that suitable administrative control could be maintained. It followed that Jessup’s Rangers departed up the river in a body. One half settled in townships on the upper stretches of the St. Lawrence in the area now known as the Counties of Leeds and Grenville. The remainder of the unit settled in Township 2 (now Ernesttown) on the Bay of Quinte. In this group, settled the Ameys and the Stovers, and other related families from Saratoga. The long and tiring journey up the river and around the rapids took almost two tiring weeks. Then, the bateaux landed their passengers on the shore from Millhaven to Bath. While here, they were housed in tents until the lots were apportioned out. Nicholas Amey settled on Lot 23, Concession 1, just east of the present village of Millhaven. Here his descendants continued to reside until several years ago, when the land was sold to the Terylene Plant. Jonas and family settled on Lot 22, Concession two. Here his descendants likewise resided until a similar sale was made. The Ameys always lived close to the land, and their descendants make up one of the commonest surnames in the neighborhood.
The children of Jonas and Eva, numbering seven, drew each 100 acres of land when they reached 21 years of age, or the girls when married. The land was granted by Orders-in-Council (O.C.), with date of grant, shown after their names, as follows:
1. Rachel, one of the two daughters brought from Saratoga in 1778, married, 18 Nov 1788, Abraham
Snyder, of Ernesttown. She drew Lot 29, Concession 5, Ernesttown, by O.C.
2. Evah, who had been born in Saratoga before 1778, married 12 Feb., 1788, Christian Abrahams, of
Ernesttown. She drew her land by O.C.
3. Israel, born at Machiche, 6 July, 1781, and baptized the following 15 August, married Elizabeth Thomas,
of Ernesttown. He drew land by O.C. 30 January, 1808.
4. Joseph, of Ernesttown, was born at Machiche on 15 May, 1783, and was baptized at Three Rivers the
following 27th January. He married 13 February, 1810, Elizabeth Shibley, and drew his land by O.C. 7th
5. Sarah, married, 14 Nov., 1811, Theophilas Lockwood, son of Sgt. Lockwood, who had died at Machiche
in 1781. She drew land by O.C. 26 Jan., 1808
6. John, of Ernesttown, is shown to have drawn land by O.C. 25 Feb., 1812.
7. Hannah, who married David Boyce. She drew land by O.C. 25 Feb., 1812, and also on 1 Sept, 1834. (This
is an error, and, according to the Rev. Robert McDowall’s Marriage Register, should be David Amey
married to Hannah Boyce.)
There may have been other children who died young.
Nicholas Amey had eight children who grew to maturity, and drew land by O.C. with date, to which the children of a Loyalist was entitled. They were:
1. Abraham, who married Charity Sager, daughter of a Loyalist, and drew land by O.C. 7 June 1800.
2. Elizabeth, married John Snyder, of Ernesttown, and drew Lot 27, Concession 5, Ernesttown, by a Land
3. Joseph of Ernesttown, born at Machiche 15 Feb., and baptized at Three Rivers, 9 June, 1783. He
married, 29 Aug., 1811, Phebe Combes, and drew land by O.C. 26 Jan., 1808. He inherited the home
farm at Millhaven.
4. David of Ernesttown, married Catherine Snider, and drew land by O.C. 26 Jan., 1808.
5. Peter of Ernesttown, married, 28 Nov., 1811, Mary Baker, and drew land by O.C. 18 Feb., 1811.
6. Nicholas of Ernesttown, married, 10 March, 1812, Mary Snider, and drew land by O.C. 16 June 1819.
7. Mary married, 20 Feb., 1812, John, son of Peter Asselstine, U.E., and drew land by O.C. 23 Nov., 1816.
8. John, of Ernesttown, who drew Lot 13, Concession 3, Camden Township.
There is no doubt but that the Amey Family remained close to the shores of the Bay of Quinte and were true lovers of the land. You have but to scan the Telephone Directory, or a Voters List to be convinced that I am right.
I doubt if the Amey brothers ever returned to Saratoga after the end of the war, even though their parents and siblings still resided there. The reason may well be the feeling of antipathy that lingered in the hearts of all concerned. In support of this statement, I wish to refer you to a resolution drawn up by the Saratogans on the 6th of May, 1783. The British army had surrendered at Yorktown on October 18th, 1781, and on November 30, 1782, Great Britain had conceded to the American freedom, and the next 20th January the Americans declared their independence.
The war was over. The Americans were free, but the people of Saratoga still resented those unfortunate tories who had joined the enemy, and who had fought at the battle of Saratoga against the rebels. And on the 6th of May, 1783, they expressed their feelings, as follows:
At a meeting of the inhabitants of the District of Saratoga (in the County of Albany) held on Tuesday the 6th of May, 1783, the following Resolutions were unanimously voted, and ordered to be published in the new York Gazetter.
Whereas, in the course of the late glorious contest for liberty and independence, many persons residing in this, and other of the United States, regardless of their duty, have basely deserted the cause of their country, and voluntarily joined the Enemy, thereof, to aid and assist in subjugating it to tyranny and slavery. And progressing from one species of villany (sic) to another, these diabolical miscreants, became the voluntary instruments of these barbarous massacres in which neither age, or sex, or condition were spared, and in which the horrid spectacle was exhibited, of harmless infants expiring on the mangled bodies of their Parents. And Whereas, wretches so disgraced with infamy and crimes, ought not to participate of the blessings of a free Government.
Resolved That if any such person has already returned since the first day of January last, and shall not remove before the tenth day of June next, he shall be treated in like manner as those who shall presume to return hereafter.
Resolved, That it be, and is hereby earnestly recommended to the Militia Officers of the District in their several beats, to make deligent Enquiry after such persons as are above described; and if any are found, to give notice to the Inhabitants of this district, that effectual measures be taken for the expulsion.”
And this edict may have prevented the brothers from being at the graveside when their father was buried in May, 1801.
AMEY FAMILY HISTORY
J. Nichola Emigh - Emigrated from Holland to New York 1709 (Palantine German or Pennsylvanian Dutch).
Read “The Palatine Emigration”, J.E. Emichen, New York.
Wife: Anne Catherine Muller
Children: Anna Maria
John Emigh, son of J. Nichola(s). Born Ulster, N.Y., christened 1717, died 1801, buried Mechanicville, N.Y.
Wife: Annette de Largen
Blondina (married Martin Stone)
Jonas (came to Canada)
Nicholas (came to Canada)
Jonas Emigh, son of John (1)
Nicholas Emigh, son of John (1). Born 1 Dec 1748, married Duchess County, 1769
Wife: Marg Stover
Joseph - born 15 Jan 1783, died Feb 1836
Children settled around Millhaven.
Billings Amey, son of Joseph, Born 1820, Died March 22nd, 1908.
Wife: Marg Potter of Moscow.
Sanford Amey, son of Billings, born April 16th 1868. Farmer at Morven, Ernestown Twsp.
Died May 4th 1936
Wife: Rosamond Sarah Brown, born Oct 28th 1872, daughter of Charles Brown of North
Fredericksburgh. Died March 16th 1959 at Morven.
Children: Genevieve Amey, born Dec. 29th 1902, school teacher at Morven.
Rupert B. Amey, Born April 6th, 1905.