Saturday, January 11, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 2: Frye Bayley

I read about a challenge that has issued - blog about 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks!   This is week 2!   I decided to take the challenge!  This means that on one of my updates each week - you'll see me tag it with 52 Ancestors or #52ancestors - so it gets tracked!

Frye Bayley was born on January 1, 1749 and died on January 11, 1823.  He is my 3rd cousin 7x removed.

When I was looking for someone to highlight today - I knew absolutely nothing at all about this man.

Generally I go through my daily list and do a quick search to see what may be out there, and then decide.   Once I hit Frye Bayley, I didn't even continue to the others.

Frye Bayley was born in Newbury Massachusetts, the son of a chaplain who served in the French and Indian War and the oldest of 4 children.   He moved to Newbury Vermont at the age of 14 - at the request of his uncle, Jacob Bayley who was then a Captain and later became a General in the Revolutionary War.   Frye was an original grantee of the town of Newbury.

He married his first wife, Deborah Tillotson in 1769.  His first daughter, Abigail, was born in 1770 and Deborah died in 1772.

He next married Mary Porter.  He had 12 children with Mary - the first born in 1773 and the last in 1800.

In 1776 he joined the army.   His commission was signed by John Hancock.

Frye went back and forth to Canada several times with various assignments, including carrying dispatches for George Washington and he rose to the rank of Captain.  During this time, the army made use of a Indian scout named Joseph.    When "Indian Joe" died, it was Frye Bayley that paid for his coffin and burial.  A detailed account of the story of Indian Joe can be found here.

The major project he was involved with, along with his uncle who by then had the rank of General was the planning and building of the Bayley-Hazen Military Road.  This road has quite the history.  First planned in 1775 to be used in an  invasion of Quebec, it was never fully completed and construction was halted several times.   At one point construction was halted because of rumors that it was to be used by the British to invade the towns in the area - though an invasion never happened.  It was also the location of several skirmishes during the Revolutionary war.     Construction began a second time in 1779, and again was stopped after rumors that the British were on their way surfaced.  More about this road can be found here.

In October 1777 he was in charge of a company that went from Newbury to Saratoga Springs and was present when Burgoyne surrendered.

In December 1777 he was sent, along with Captain Nehemiah Lovewell and John Powell to escort Captain Singleton who was there negotiating for the release of hostages.  Instead, the men were captured and put in prison for several months and returned to Boston in October 1778.

Frye Bayley acquired small pox while serving in the army and even though he was so sick he was close to fainting several times, he , along with many others, were still required to perform their duties.     He kept a journal during the war, and he wrote - "It is a very dying time.".

Frye Bayley remained active in the army until the end of the Revolutionary War.   He participated in several alarms and patrolling the area of Newbury, as well as carrying dispatches as needed.

Following the war, he returned to his farm and was involved in town and county business.  He was a respected member of the community and was appointed Sheriff.   He built an extensive library which is now maintained by the city.   He was appointed County Sheriff and moved to the community of Chelsea.

His second wife died in 1808 and he married a 3rd time in 1811 to Mary Safford.

In 1818, Frye filed for an army pension.   As part of that process, he provided an oral account of his service in the Revolutionary War, which he signed after it was written down.

Below is a transcription of the statement - I was able to read most of it..........

I Frye Bayley of Chelsea in the county of Orange and State of Vermont testify and declare that on the 22nd day  of January AD 1776, I received an Ensign Commission signed by John Hancock President of Congress, and immediately entered the ???? Company service of the United States Army Colonel Timothy Budele (sp?) Regiment forward in said capacity until sometime in the month of October following when I was discharged at Ticonderoga by James (?) Gates in consequence of my being sick and unable to do duty, which commission I herewith  ??? and afterward ?? in the month of December AD 1777 I took the command of a flag of three by by the order of Colonel Bodet (?) to go into Canada with two British Officers ??? with letters from General Gates to General ?? who was not recognize the flag and I was detained as a prisoner between ten and eleven months in Canada and Nova Scotia and afterwards, then living in Newbury, a frontier town, volunteered my services to go against the British and Indians who frequently made incursions upon us and continually harassed us and was almost continually in the defense of of my country until the close of the Revolutionary War.   I further testify that by reason of my ?? in life, being almost seventy years old and infirm I stand in need of assistance of my country for support and wish to put on to the pension list according to a late act of Congress.
Chelsea April 15 1818          Frye Bayley (signed)

State of Vermont, Chelsea Office, Orange County April 15, 1818 I personally spoke to Frye Bayley and make oath that the foregoing declaration by him ?? is true before me.
Josiah Dana Chief Judge of Orange County Court.

His pension was approved and he was paid $250.00 per year until his death in on January 11, 1827.


  1. Fifth Report of the Daughters of the American Revolution, October 11, 1901 to October 11, 1902 - link
  2. A History of Newbury Vermont. Frederick Wells, 1902 - link
  3. The First American Army, Bruce Chadwick, 2007 link
  4. Pox Americana, the Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-1782 by Elizabeth A Fenn, 2001 link

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting man! Those are some truly cool finds!