Courtesy of Fran Dumas, May 2, 1997
Benajah McCall was born at Lebanon, Connecticut on September 12, 1742,
the son of James and Eunice (Bates) McCall. The emigrant ancestor of the
McCalls was another James, a Scot taken prisoner at Dunbar in 1650 and
transported to the New World with 61 others on the ship "Unity"
and apprenticed in the ironworks at Saugus. His grandson and Benajah's
grandfather, yet another James, moved from Marshfield, Massachusetts to
Goshen parish at Lebanon.
Benajah appears to have been a mover. He was his parents' eldest surviving
son, but shipped out as a very young man to the West Indies. In 1768 he
married Abigail Comstock of Hadlyme and moved to Lebanon Springs, now in
Columbia County, New York. The vacant lands between the Hudson River and
the New England border attracted a number of settlers, who apparently thought
they were still in Massachusetts, as all their contracts and land transactions
were recorded at Pittsfield.
Benajah's wife Abigail died about 1776, leaving him with four young
children. He probably married again almost immediately, to a widow named
Naomi Crampton. Benajah participated in the Saratoga Campaign in 1777 and
was eligible for bounty land on account of his service. He was a merchant
and a hotel keeper at Lebanon Springs, now a place almost on New York's
border with Massachusetts. His second wife died without bearing him any
children, probably about 1780.
On February 3, 1783, Benajah married for the third time, to another
young widow, Lois Brinsmade. She was the daughter of David Pixley and Mary
Cooper of Stockbridge in Berkshire County Massachusetts, who had married
Abraham Brinsmade in 1769. He died in 1771, leaving her with two little
boys. Benajah sold all his land in Hancock and Lebanon in 1780 for the
fabulous sum of 3000 pounds; the following year Lois was appointed guardian
of her two. Just as Benajah had married for the first time and left his
boyhood home for the New York border, in 1783 he married Lois Brinsmade
and left the scene of his first married life. Lois' boys were raised by
her father and brothers back in Stockbridge; her new husband's eldest child
was about their age.
Benajah and Lois wasted no time in starting a second family. Their first
child was another Lois, who was born in Schoharie County in 1784. They
stayed in that place long enough to have another child, a boy named John
Cooper McCall, in 1786. Benajah's brother Ephraim and his first cousin
Mercy, wife of Sluman Wattles, along with many other families of Connecticut
origin were pouring into the new lands opeing up in what is now Delaware
County. Benajah, Lois and their growing family pulled up stakes again and
A farm was cleared in what is now the town of Hamden in 1787. Benajah
was civic-minded enough to obtain an appointment to town office in April
1788. He cleared another farm in Hamden and then moved by 1790 to another
place, where he was the easternmost householder in present-day Walton along
the road from Stamford to Bobs Brook. He remained at this place until his
death in 1824, but apparently kept his accumulation of real estate to distribute
to his heirs.
His will was made less than three weeks before his death and was recorded
on August 30, 1833. It left the improved land of his homestead farm to
Lois for her lifetime, to be cultivated and occupied by their eldest son
John. Other property was divided among all of Benajah's surviving children
and their heirs. He seems to have had a knack for acquiring property, perhaps
more remarkable in a man who had spent his entire life moving from place
to place; judging from the lives of his children, they inherited their
father's restless and entrepreneurial spirit.
Benajah McCall [James 4-1] b 12 Sep 1743 Colchester CT; d 18 Dec 1824
Walton NY. He m 1st ca 17 Jan 1768 Abigail Comstock at Hadlyme CT; she
d ca 1776 at Lebanon Springs NY. Their children were all born at Lebanon
1. Levia, b 15 Mar 1769; m 1st Solomon Sherman; m 2nd Samuel
Wyborn. She d after 1833, when she was living in Seneca Falls NY. 2.
Ansel, b 5 Jul 1770; m 1st 15 Jun 1792 Sarah Weed; m 2nd 10 Aug 1809 Ann
Shannon. He d 31 Aug 1815 at Painted Post, NY. 3. Jennett, b 2 Feb
1772; m 5 Aug 1790 James Kidder. She d 1827 at Ovid NY. 4. James,
b 5 Jan 1775; m 1st on 1 Jan 1800 Elizabeth Dye; m 2nd 2 Jun 1836 Mrs Lydia
Washburn. He d 24 Mar 1856 at Rushford NY.
Benajah m 2nd ca 1777 at Lebanon Springs Mrs Naomi Crampton; no issue.
Benajah m 3rd 3 Feb 1783 at Lebanon Springs Mrs Lois Brinsmade. Their children
5. Lois, b 23 Mar 1784 in Schoharie Co. NY; m 1st on 1 Nov 1803
Daniel Benedict; m 2nd Jacob Weldon. She died 26 May 1861 in Walton. 6.
John Cooper, b 25 Oct 1786 in Schoharie Co.; m Polly Wilson. He d 9 Sep
1861 in Walton. 7. Henry, b 28 Jul 1788 in Delaware Co.; m 3 May
1810 Jane Wyborn. He d 25 Jan 1839 in Clarkson NY. 8. Eunice Bates,
b 17 May 1790 in Delaware Co; m 28 May 1812 Dr Alvin Dibble. She d 9 Sep