Nathaniel Daniels, 1719-1799
Nathaniel, the son of John and Elliner Daniels was born in Milton, Massachusetts in 1719. He married Ann Grosvenor in 1741 in Pomfret, Connecticut. They had 11 children before Ann died in 1762. Nathaniel had two more marriages and outlived all three wives.
Nathaniel was seventeen years old when his family moved to Pomfret, which was a prosperous township. “Trumpets sounded the approach of the coaches that stopped with a flourish before the Inns on their way between New York and Boston. Buisness was good. It was a coming town” (Daniels-Daniells Family, Volume 2, p. 57). He is referred to as a “cloathe dresser and a clotherier.” In 1761, Nathaniel was made a Lieutenant in the 11th Regiment of Connecticut and served in the Indian wars. In 1762 he was made a Captain.
Nathaniel moved to Worthington, Massachusetts, in 1768, the year it was incorporated. He built the first frame house in town. At the first town meeting, which was held in his house, Capt. Nathaniel Daniels was chosen one of the Wardens. He was a tavern keeper and took an active part in the affairs of the town. He was a selectman in 1770, 1773, 1775, and 1780.
At first there were no roads. Travel was entirely by blazed trail, and distances to neighbors were great and difficult. Quilting was a favorite social event, but the pioneer women had to bake a supply to last their family for three days, farm the baby out with a neighbor, spend one day going, one quilting, and one returning. The first road was laid out so as to connect with the Chesterfield road and running west until it reached the place where stood the Inn of Alexander Miller. Subsequently, this road was changed so as to lead directly from “The Corners” to the Inn of Capt. Nathaniel Daniels. This change was made by the town so as to prevent any travel by the house of Alexander Miller who favored the cause of Great Britain and to secure the same to Captain Nathaniel Daniels who was a zealous patriot. The second road to Chester passes Daniel’s Inn. (The History of Worthington by James C. Rice)
On June 28, 1774 word reach Worthington of an embargo on shipping in Boston. Nathaniel was one of five members of the town Committee of Correspondence established to communicate with the committees in Boston. (Dr. Thomas Young was also involved in this activity (see the Winegars in the 1700s post dated June 30, 2009). Following the battles at Lexington and Concord, Nathaniel and his son Nathaniel, Jr. (our ancestor), marched as minutemen as privates in Capt. Ebenezer Weber’s Company to Cambridge. Nathaniel Sr.’s term is recorded as one month and five days, his son’s as 24 days. Short enlistments were the norm during this time but seriously hindered the cause of the colonies in the Revolutionary War.
Revolutionary War Minutemen
Josiah Gilbert Holland’s history of Western Massachusetts, published in 1855, provides interesting details of life in Worthington during the time that Nathaniel was actively involved in the war effort.
In 1780, a requisition made upon the town for horses, found the people without the required number, and even then they voted to give the security of the town for the price of the horses, if they could be found elsewhere. Between 1779 and 1782, such was the number of men in the army that not more than ten or twelve men, out of more than seventy families living in the town, attended the church on the Sabbath.
Nathaniel later is recorded as serving under Lt. Constant Weber’s Company for 12 days during the Battle of Bennington.
Battle of Bennington
After the war, Nathaniel sold his land and moved to a place near Albany. He sold his land for continental currency which became worthless, and, at one point, both Nathaniel Sr. and Nathaniel Jr. were threatened with debtor’s prison. There were thousands of other people with similar problems, including one Winegar ancestor, which led to Shay’s Rebellion. Nathaniel was not a part of this rebellion but remained bitter about the experience. He made his sons promise never to take pensions from the government, and apparently they never did.
In 1783 Nathaniel moved to Rutland, Vermont, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He died in 1799.
Nathaniel Daniels, Jr., 1742-1830
Nathaniel Daniels, Jr., son of Nathaniel and Ann, was born in 1742 at Pomfret, Connecticutt. He married Esther Lee at Thompson, Connecticutt, in 1762, and they had 11 children. The fourth son, William (born in 1775) was our ancestor.
As mentioned above, Nathaniel Jr. served as a minuteman in the Battle of Cambridge. Following the Revolutionary War and the financial collapse of the continental currency, he and his father were sued and threatened with debtor’s prison. They satisfactorily paid off all their debts.
Nathaniel died in 1830 in Saratoga County, New York. He left a will that mentioned his wife and nine children. Presumably, two of the eleven children were deceased or otherwise left unmentioned.
Home of Nathaniel Daniels, Jr., in Saratoga County, New York. Photo from The Daniels-Daniells Family, Vol. 2.