Qualifying service of Jacob Sypes for the Society of Colonial Wars

Documentation of the Military Service of Jacob Sypes

The specific nature of Jacob Sypes's military service during the French and Indian War is lost to history at this time. However, his continued service in the Albany (NY) Militia, in the Company of Capt. Jeremiah Hogeboom, was documented on 1 May 17671.

The fact that Jacob Sypes and Hannah Sypes Sr. lived in New York is confirmed by census records for their grandson, Crowell Willson (1800-1887). Willson2 states that Gilman and Hannah Jr. Willson's son, Crowell, lived in Kent County, Ontario until the 1870s when he moved to Echo, Antrum, Michigan3. The 1880 U.S. Census: Michigan, Antrum, Echo shows Crowell Wilson, age 79, born in Canada, and shows his mother (Hannah Sypes Jr.) born in New York4. Hannah Jr.'s birth year was 1775, placing Jacob and Hannah Sr. Sypes in New York in that year.

The baptismal record for Annatje Schauer (Hannah Sypes Sr.) shows her baptism in Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York on 17 Mar 17375. The entry states that she married Jacob Seip. The varied spellings of Sypes, Schauer, and Hannah are due to the German origins of these families: Hannah's father, Johann Adam Schauer, was baptized 14 Aug 1701 in Massenbach, Wurttenberg, Germany.

The Sypes and Schauer families were Palatine Germans who were driven from their homes by French invasions of western Germany in the first decade of the 1700s. Queen Anne allowed these Germans to come to England, and arranged for 3,000 ships to transport them to the Hudson Valley in New York in 1710 to start new lives. Accordingly, the Palantine German descendants were fiercely loyal to the Crown, which helps account for their Loyalist passion during the American Revolution.

The baptismal record also records Hannah Sypes Sr.'s two brothers, Wilhelm and Michael. The entry for Wilhelm confirms that he served in Capt. Higeboom's Company with his brother-in-law Jacob Sypes.

In about 1775 the Sypes family relocated to the Wyoming Valley of the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania with the family of Hannah Sypes Sr.'s brother, Michael Schauer (Shawers)6. Craft7 states that the earliest settlers of the region came in 1774-1776, consistent with the birth of Hannah Sypes Jr. in 1775 in New York.

On 7 Oct 1777, General Burgoyne suffered an historic defeat at Saratoga, ending the British war effort in most of New York State, and causing France to enter the war on the side of the Patriots. It became clear to Loyalists in northeastern Pennsylvania that the British Army would no longer offer them protection. In addition, the violence of the war arrived in the Wyoming valley with a vengeance: on 3 Jul 1778, Col. Butler's Rangers, together with a band of Iroquois Indians, killed more than 300 Patriots in the Battle of Wyoming, a massacre that is remembered at an annual commemoration to this day.

Loyalists fled the Wyoming Valley for Canada, in many cases abruptly, with nothing more than they could carry. The usual escape route from this area involved travel north mostly by boat, first on the Susquehanna, then on the Hudson, then on Lake Champlain, eventually arriving at Machiche on the Ile de Montreal.

Sometime in 1778, Hannah Sypes, Sr., now a widow, fled with her 9 children aged 5 to 18 to Machiche, where she was documented in 17798. Soon afterwards, she migrated to Fort Niagara, where two of her sons, Jacob Jr. and Andrew, continued fighting with Col. Butler's Rangers.

Jacob Sypes meets the criteria of a qualifying ancestor for the Society of Colonial Wars based on the documentation of his service in the Albany Militia on 1 May 1767. We note in addition that he served the British during the French and Indian Wars. It is very unlikely that Jacob fought during the American Revolution. Hannah Sr.'s land petition of 17969 cites Jacob's military service during the French War, and cites her sons' military service during the American Revolution with Col. Butler's Rangers. She makes no mention of any military service by Jacob during the Revolution, which she certainly would have, if there were any. We do not know Jacob's cause of death, although for a man in his late 30s, in 1777, the cause of death was most often infectious disease.


1New York State Historian. Third Annual Report of the Historian of the State of New York, 1897. Albany: Wyncoop, Hallenbeck, Crawford Co., 1898, p. 895 (title page D20)

2Willson, Thomas B. Descendants in Canada and the United States of Benjamin and Sarah Willson, New Jersey Loyalists of Ft. Erie, Ont. Madison, N.J.: St. Thomas Public Library, 1967, p. 26

3Willson, op. cit., p. 26

4 Crowell Willson family, 1880 U.S. Census: Michigan, Antrum, Echo, page 580, line 8

5 Welch, Gloria E. The Schauer, Showers, Shower Families. Madison: The Wisconsin Historical Society, 1990, p. 5

6 Craft, Rev. David. History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1878, p. 62

7Ibid., p. 62

8Jones, J. Kelsey. Loyalist Plantations on the Susquehanna. Website: "http://www.beth-website.net/LOYALIST-PLANTATIONS-ON-THE-SUSQUEHANNA.html", viewed 21 Sep 2013

9 Land Petition of Hannah Sypes, op. cit., p. 1