This 4th of July, as I return from an evening spent with my son, his wife, and my grandson at a local fireworks display, I'm especially grateful to one of my ancestors, Daniel Waterbury. Daniel, my 6th great grandfather, fought in the Revolutionary War. Because of his sacrifices, and those of his comrades in arms, I was able to enjoy an evening with family members, under the light of fireworks, some 236 years after the start of the Revolution. It's amazing, when you think about it, that a relatively small band of patriots laid down their lives so that future generations could live in freedom from tyranny. I think that we tend to take for granted just what the Revolutionary War patriots sacrificed for us.
This year's holiday is especially poignant for me, because I recently applied for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution based on Daniel's service. I know relatively little about him, beyond the fact that he was born in 1742 within the confines of the old town of Stamford, Connecticut. He was the third son and sixth child of David and Mary (Bouton) Waterbury. As a boy, he attended church with his parents at the New Canaan Church, where they held membership. He later became an Ensign in a company of Minute Men enrolled in Westchester County (New York) at the opening of the Revolution, at the age of 34. Later he was made a 2nd Lt. and later a 1st Lt. He served in the Third Regiment of Westchester County Militia under Col. Pierre Van Cortlandt.
After the War, Daniel and his family moved to a farm near Schdoac, New York, which is a short distance from Central Nassau. Daniel's farm was only about 10 miles from the present city of Troy, NY. He died there March 15, 1798. His body was buried on the farm.
Daniel's ancestors can be traced back to William Waterbury who came to America in the early 1600's.
Daniel's grandson, Wendell Waterbury, eventually moved west to Iowa, and lost touch with his East Coast relatives. In the family history "Jonathan Waterbury Genealogy: Ancestry and Some of the Descendants of Jonathan Waterbury of Nassau, New York (1766-1826)," by Grace A. Waterbury and Edwin M. Waterbury, Wendell is described as: "b. July 20, 1828, at Fabius, NY; he was of possessed of the 'wanderlust' and never married. He died in the west where he had gone a a young man." This was not true, of course. He did marry, and went on to become my 3rd great grandfather. I'm grateful for his pioneering spirt of "wanderlust."
I haven't been able to find out anything about Daniel's military service under Col. Van Cortlandt but hope to do so one day. I would like to know more about the life of the man who was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice all those years ago.
Thank you, Daniel. I will be a proud member of the DAR based on your service, and will honor your memory.