Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pratt Stories - The Bartram Family II

To me, Ebenezer Bartram (Jr), my great-great-great grandfather on my mother's side, is one of our most interesting progenitors. I have held in my hands what I beleive to be his own flintlock pistol. When Uncle Henry distributed the Pratt/Bartram gun collection many years ago he gave the pistol to my brother Dick, a real gun nut. During their 2003 tour of Hagar and Watervliet the three Pratt girls; Marj Ingram, Louise Bollman, and Florence Davis visited Dick's widow Mary and reverently laid hands on the Bartram pistol. Dick's daughter Patricia Geisler now keeps it in a safe deposit box.  I will be telling his story in some detail. First the basic genealogical information: 
He was born in June 1732 in Fairfield, Connecticut Colony (Geoge Washington was born in Virginia in February of that same year). He lived less than 51 years, dying in 1783. In November of 1759 he married Mary Burr, the twin sister of Abraham Gould's wife Elizabeth, daughters of Capt. John Burr and Catherine Wakeman. They had nine children, the first born in 1760, the last in 1776, 24 days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Our ancestor Ebenezer (III) was their second child.  Mary was nearly 74 when she died in 1806. Like her sister Elizabeth, she out lived some of her children. Her oldest, son John, died at sea in 1787. Her third child, named Thomas, died as a baby. Her youngest son, Barnabas, died of Yellow Fever in the West Indies in 1805.
To get a feeling for locale of the sea-faring Bartrams, go to Google Maps and punch in "Black Rock Trumbull CT" and zero in on Black Rock Harbor, which was the port for Fairfield that is now surrounded by Bridgeport.
The following is from the book "History of Black Rock" by Dr. Ivan O. Justinius. Howard Besemer, my half-cousin who grew up near Coloma, and who also has done a lot of work on the Bartram genealogy, found this and brought it to my attention years ago during a visit to his alma mater, MSU. Howard lives in Fullerton, California.
"1777 Ebenezer Bartram (Jr) purchased the house of Capt James Wilson one of 13 early comers to Black Rock built in 1767. Here he brought his wife, Mary, daughter of Capt. John Burr of Fairfield and here he lived the remainder of his life. Four of his six sons followed the sea or had their living from therefrom. Three of the four died in the course of their nautical adventures."
At page 593 of the "Connecticut State and Continental Vessels 1775-1783" there is the entry "Brig of War 'Defence'...In Feb. '76 the state chartered the Defence which was officered as follows...1st Lieut. Ebenezer Bartram..."
Next: The story of the privateer "Defence".

Emailed Sept. 23

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