.: Federal Troops on the Niagara Frontier :.         
  The Buffalo Barracks              .: 1837-1846 :.
   A Tribute to Samuel Harrison  Contributor: Carol Harrison of Torrance, CA - October 17, 1997

Samuel married Susan Brighton (right) in May of 1842, in Waterloo, Ont. (Canada) Their first two children were born in Buffalo, NY;   Mary, [9 May 1843] and Henry, [27 June, 1844].   It is probable, that the Post Surgeon, Robert C. Wood, with assistance from mid-wifes, delivered the babies in the Post Hospital. Samuel was discharged in July, 1847 at Pueblo, Mexico. His Honorable Discharge is signed by Captain Silas Casey. The family migrated to Mackinac, MI later that year, and eventually settled in DePere, Brown CO., WI. When the Civil War began, Samuel organized a local unit which honorably fought for the Union. Captain Harrison was seriously wounded at the Battle of Corinth, MS.. Amputation of a leg was required. Samuel let it be known that he did not want to be buried in the South, should he not make it! He died 15 days later. This great American soldier is buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in DePere, Wisconsin. The local G.A.R. Post is named after Samuel Harrison! Susan died on July 7th, 1899 remaining forever faithful to her beloved husband.

   A Tribute to William Crowley  Contributor: Carol & Claude Crowley of Ft. Worth, TX - November 24, 2000

  • IN ENGLAND Born in Middlesex (London), England, in 1806.
    This is based on his own statement on his second army enlistment (see below).

  • IN THE U.S.
    Came to the United States prior to or early in 1836. We have no documentation of the date. Enlisted in the U.S. Army for the first time on May 9, 1836, at Utica, New York. (Utica is on the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825.) He gave his occupation as "clerk," and gave his age as 30. His signature showed excellent penmanship. The enlistment certificate states that he had hazel eyes, brown hair, florid complexion, and was 5 feet 10 and 1/4 inches high (Appendix C). He was recruited by H. Day, 1st lieutenant, 2nd Infantry. The 2nd Infantry was under the command of General Zachary Taylor in the Second Seminole War. Zachary Taylor's biography states: "General Order No. 7, issued April 10 (1838) . . . assigned . . . six companies of the 2nd Infantry [to Florida]." This must have included Private William Crowley. From the U.S. Archives we got a copy of the "Descriptive and Historical Register" document that showed William was discharged at Fort Macomb, Florida, on May 9, 1839, on the expiration of his original enlistment. His discharge was from the 2nd Infantry, Company "K." The ink is very dim, but his rank appears to be "sergeant." There may have been more than one fort by that name, but one Fort Macomb that seems likely was on the west side of the Suwannee River near Dowling Park in present-day Lafayette County.

    At the National Archives Southwest Region, Fort Worth, we found information on Microfilm M-661, Roll 5, Historical Information Relating to Miliary Posts and Other Installations, ca. 1700- 1900. Nearly all the information is handwritten; on page 5 we found this description:

    "Fort Macomb, Florida. Suwanee (sic) river. Lat. 30.02, Long. 83.15. Named after Genl. Alxr. Macomb, USA. On the Suwannee river, about 3 miles below the foot of the rapids in Lafayette county. Established April 16, 1839. Abandoned Feb. 5, 1843."

    William re-enlisted in the U.S. Army at "Fort No. 15" on June 23, 1840. Microfilm M-661, Roll 5, page 404, has information about four of these numbered forts: 17, 16, 4, and 11, but, unfortunately, not No. 15. Zachary Taylor, commanding the army against the Seminoles, divided the disputed areas of Florida into 20-mile squares, and established a "fort" in each square staffed by 20 men (half of them mounted), and one officer. We think "Fort No. 15" represented one of these squares, although it was more of a triangle, as it was bounded on the west by the Gulf of Mexico. The small town of Steinhatchee is at about the center of the "square," on a navigable tidal creek.

    A mystery: William's first tour of duty ended on May 9, 1839, and he re-enlisted on June 23, 1840, more than a year later. Where was he that year? Did he remain in Florida as a civilian? Or did he return to his family (a wife and baby girl) in New York, then go back to Florida to re-enlist with his buddies in the 2nd Infantry?

    About 1836 or 1837 we figure, William had married Mary, who probably was born in 1816 or thereabouts. Family tradition says that she was a McGregor, but we have no documentation of her maiden name. The place of marriage is also unknown. Circumstantial evidence indicates that they were married in New York State, but there's no proof. Their first child, Roseanna, was born in the U.S. in 1838. Thomas, their first son, was also born in the U.S., about 1842. The other two children, James and Mary, were born in Canada, in 1845 and 1847.

    William was discharged at the expiration of his second enlistment in the U.S. Army on June 23, 1845, at Buffalo Barracks, New York, in the City of Buffalo.

    On June 6, 1845, 17 days before his U.S. Army discharge, he signed a "lease to buy" a 100-acre farm in the Fullarton Township of Perth County, from the Canada Company, a land-settlement company based in London, England. Buffalo Barracks was being closed down at the time, so he may have been allowed to leave early--or perhaps he had unused leave.

    By the time of the 1847 Canadian census, Mary Crowley was head of the household, and later documents list her as "widow." From this, and from family tradition, we believe that William Crowley died in 1847.

    "The Illustrated London News."

    Copies of "The Illustrated London News," originally sent to Pvt. Crowley at the Buffalo Barracks, have greciously been donated to the Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site by Mr. & Mrs. Claude Crowley of Ft. Worth, Texas, and are available for all to see upon request.

    Wm Crowley care of Capt. S. Casey "C" Company 2nd Infantry Buffalo Barracks Lake Erie United States
    Courtesy of Carolyn & Claude Crowley of Ft. Worth, TX

    William Crowley's nameplate;
    from "The VISITOR, for 1842."
    A monthly religious instructor from London.

    Some of William's descendants grew up in this house in Cookeville, TN.
    Drawing by Claude Crowley

   A Tribute to John Van Valkenburg  Contributor: Nancy G. Van Valkenburg of Huntsville, AL - July 4, 2001
I had a great great grandfather John Van Valkenburg who was in Co. K of the US 2d Artillery from about 1838 to about 1843. He was recruited at Cleveland, Ohio, by Lt. Townsend and I think served under Lt. Shackleford (or vice versa). He was at Buffalo and at Fort Columbus in NYC harbor. Many years ago someone at the National Archives found his enrollment sheet for me and SOMEWHERE I have a copy. It has all the relevant info. I also got to the Archives and went through some of the muster sheets. Again I have those somewhere. John Van Valkenburg was 16 years old but claimed to be 18 and a "sailor" when he joined supposedly to escape penitentiary conviction in Ohio. (There was a bunch of smuggling going on in Cleveland then with Van Valkenburgs involved.) He became an agricultural implements and grain dealer in OH and IN after his service in NY. In 1861 he was elected Captain of Co. A 20th IN Volunteers out of Peru, Miami Co., IN. He rose to full Colonel of the 20th Indiana before being dismissed by Stanton "for conduct unbecoming and officer and a gentleman." This was the result of politics and there's quite a story to that! He never had a hearing; Lincoln said he'd never heard him; there were letters from Generals Hooker and Sickles defending his right to a hearing. Eventually his record was cleared. After the CW he moved here to Huntsville, AL, with his family and opened a hardware store which lasted 100 years. There are some good stories down here, too. He had good friends and his men sincerely seemed to respect him.
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