Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Putnams in Ohio

The Marietta Register, February 1, 1877

I have noticed from the conversation of others that the different families of Putnams in this part of Ohio, are frequently confused, and this is perhaps not strange in those who have not known the first of the name who came here.

All of the Putnams are descended from John Putnam, who came to America in 1634, and settled in Salem, Mass.  He was from the South of England.  With him came three sons, Thomas, Nathaniel and John, also two brothers younger than himself.  Edward Putnam, grandson of John, in 1733, made a record of eighty-two males of the name, in New England, all of whom were descended from John.

The Ohio Putnams are descended from John through Thomas, but those among us are two distinct families, being descended from General Israel Putnam, and from General Rufus Putnam.  Gen. Israel Putnam, of Revolutionary fame, was the son of Joseph Putnam, son of Thomas, son of John.  He was born January 7th, 1718, and was the eleventh child in a family of twelve.  In 1739, he married Hannah Pope, daughter of John Pope, of Salem.  His second wife was a Mrs. Gardiner.  His family consisted of ten children, four sons and six daughters.

Col. Israel Putnam, Jr.

Col. Israel Putnam, Jr., eldest son of Gen. Israel Putnam, came to Ohio in 1789, and joined the Belpre settlement.  He brought with him two sons, and after clearing and fencing lands for farming purposes he returned to Pomfret in 1790 for the rest of his family.  The Indian War, however, prevented his return to Ohio until after the peace of 1795.  Col Putnam had been Aid-de-Camp to his father during three years of the Revolutionary War.  At the end of that time he retired to his farm in Pomfret, Conn., where he resided until he came to Ohio.  His farm in Belpre lay in the meddle settlement - lots 31 and 32 - between the farm of Nathan Goodale and Charles Green.  He built and resided in what is now known as the Benedict house in Belpre.  He died in Belpre, but I am not able to state at what age.

The children of Col. Israel Putnam were five sons and three daughters.  His sons were Aaron Waldo who settled in Belpre; Israel 3rd, settled in Muskingum township; David settled in Marietta; William Pitt settled in Marietta; George Washington settled in Marietta.  His daughters were Sarah, who married Samuel Thorniley of Marietta; Mary, who married Daniel Mayo of Newport, Ky., and Elizabeth, who married Joel Craig of Newport, Ky. 

Among the descendants of Col. Israel Putnam living among us are Major L. J. P. Putnam, and his sister Mrs. William Devol, children of Israel Putnam 3rd; David Putnam and Douglas Putnam of Harmar, sons of the late David Putnam, Esq.; I. Waldo Putnam of Belpre, son of the late William P. Putnam, and grandson of Aaron Waldo Putnam; Mrs. Col. Augustus Stone of Harmar, Mrs. Rathbone of Barlow, Mrs. Lucy Gilbert of Belpre, daughters of Aaron Waldo Putnam; and Miss Sarah Thorniley of Belpre, daughter of Mrs. Sarah Thorniley.  Other members of the family have removed to different parts of Ohio, and to Tennessee and Missippi.

Dr. William P. Putnam died without children.  His widow married Gen. Edward Tupper and removed to Gallipolis.

George W. Putnam died many years ago.

Gen. Rufus Putnam

In the year 1786, Gen. Benjamin Tupper having been engaged in the survey of the Seven Ranges, on his return to New England, had a conference with Gen. Rufus Putnam, at his home in Rutland, which resulted in the formation of the Ohio Company in 1787.

Gen. Rufus Putnam was appointed Superintendent of Survey for the Company, and came to Marietta April 7, 1788, with forty-eight pioneers, and had charge of the surveys until the lands were distributed among the proprietors.  He was afterwards appointed Surveyor General for the United States, which office he held until the beginning of Jefferson's administration, when Gen. Mansfield was appointed in his place.

Gen. Rufus Putnam was the son of Elisha Putnam, son of Edward, son of Thomas, son of John, consequently was cousin in the second remove from Gen. Israel Putnam.  He was born at Sutton, Mass., April 9th, 1738.  His father died when he was but seven years of age.  At sixteen he was apprenticed to learn the trade of Mill Wright.  His opportunities for acquiring an education were very limited, as the person to whom he was apprenticed regarded it as a matter of little importance.  At this time, however, and subsequently, he obtained what books he could and studied by himself in the evenings, giving his attention chiefly to geography, history and mathematics, and at a later date he studied surveying under Col. Timothy Dwight, the father of President Dwight, of Yale College.

He served in the French and Indian War in 1757 and 1758, and after the war engaged in farming and practiced surveying.  When the Revolutionary War broke out, he joined the army with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and was stationed near Boston, under command of Gen. Washington.  He was then placed in command of the Engineer Corps, and it was under his direction that Dorchester heights were fortified.  The position taken then gave our army control of Boston, and in consequence the British retired to New York. 

August 1776, Congress appointed him Engineer with rank of Colonel.  He afterwards resigned this position and raised a Regiment in Massachusetts, of which he was Colonel.  With this Regiment he joined the Northern army under Gates, and was with that army at the surrender of Burgoyne.  In January 1783, he received his Commission of Brigadier General.

After the war was ended, Gen. Putnam gave much time and attention to the matter of obtaining grants of land from Congress for the officers and soldiers of the late army.  He aided in the movements to suppress Shay's rebellion in 1787, and served in the General Assembly two sessions as member from the town of Rutland.

At one time, previous to the War of Revolution, Gen. Israel Putnam and Gen. Rufus Putnam were engaged in the exploration and survey of lands in the Floridas with a view to colonization, but this scheme failed, though at the time, it created a great deal of interest in New England.

In April 1761, Rufus Putnam married Elizabeth Ayers, of Brookfield.  Mrs. Putnam died the same year, and he again married in 1765, Persis Rice, of Westboro.  His family consisted of two sons and six daughters.  The sons were William Rufus, who resided in Marietta, and was the father of our fellow citizen, Col. William R. Putnam.  Edwin, who settled in Putnam, and who had three sons and two daughters.  The daughters of Rufus Putnam were Susannah, married Christopher Burlingame of Harmar; Abigail, married William Browning of Belpre; Persis, married Perley Howe of Belpre; Martha, married Benjamin Tupper of Putnam; Catharine, married Ebenezer Buckingham of Putnam; Elizabeth was not married.

Gen. Putnam resided in the house on the Stockade, since known as the residence of Judge Arius Nye.  He died there in May 1824, at the age of 87 years.

Marietta, January 24, 1877.

A. T. N.

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