John Dewey was born in Westfield, Massachusetts on 20 January 1754. John was the son of Aaron Dewey and Sarah Noble. John was a selectman in Westfield from 1797-1798 and in 1801. In a deed dated April 15, 1789 Datis Ensign of Chester Massachusetts, clothier, and Isaac Ensign of Westfield, yeoman sold to John Dewey "a certain fulling mill in Westfield on two mile brook, adjoining Bagg's mill, with all utensils belonging to the same; liberty to use sd-mill for fulling cloth, when the water runs over the dam of the grist mill, adjoining." This cost John 11 pounds to make this purchase. You can read more about the profession of John Dewey here.
John Dewey was a private in Porter's Regiment during the Revolutionary War. John Dewey not only fought in the American Revolution, but he kept a diary of his experiences during his service. His diary is too important not to publish here. The diary was written during his service from April 4, 1776 through February 20, 1777. In it he writes of his travels, battles and experiences which include the famous crossing of the Delaware River with General Washington and the battle that transpired after. The diary can be read here. Also available will be some of his Revolutionary War records.
During the Revolutionary War John marched through New York. It must have left an impression on him because on 12 August 1799 indenture paperwork was filed in Onieda County, New York between Timothy Olmstead a tavern keeper and his wife Alice living in Whitestown and John Dewey of Westfield, Massachusetts. This indenture documents the sale of a plot of 150 acres of land for the amount of seven hundred dollars. It should be noted that during this period of time, Lewis County did not exist yet. The paperwork documented that this plot of land was located along the Black River known as lot number sixty three on a survey made by William Cockburn. A copy of this indenture can be read here. In the spring of 1802 John brought 2 of his sons John and Chester to Leyden, New York to clear land to build a home. About a year later,he packed up his family and moved to Leyden in Lewis County, New York. He was one of the earliest settlers in Leyden. John's brother Aaron was also an early settler of this area. A new indenture dated 7 July 1803 was filed. The indenture was between Samuel Stows and Betsy his wife of Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut and John Dewey of Leyden, Oneida County, State of New York. The purchase price John paid for this plot of land was $632.50. This plot of land was identified as lot number 52 located on the west side of the Black River, commonly known by the name Trumans Triangle. This indenture continues to describe the lot location as follows: "Easterly on lot no 41, southerly on land of Joseph Wetmore, Westerly on Ethe Wetmore, northernly on land of Stephen Butler and Gurden Lord;" This plot of land was 115 acres in Leyden. A copy of this indenture can be read here
In New York John worked as a clothing merchant. While in Leyden John Dewey was the town supervisor during the years 1804 and 1811. John Dewey died in Leyden, New York at the age of 67 on December 31, 1821. He is buried in Locust Grove Cemetery.
John Dewey married Achsah Clapp in Westfield, Massachusetts on September 16, 1780. Achsah was born in Northampton on January 3, 1758 and was the daughter of Aaron Clapp and Jemima Bartlett. John and Achsah had 8 children, all born in Westfield. They are listed below.
John married Achsah Clap(p) on 16 September 1780. Achsah was the daughter of Aaron Clap and Jemima Bartlett Clap of Easthampton. Achsah was born in Easthampton on 31 January 1758. Her date and place of death were unknown until recently. I have read all the Dewey, Clap and Bartlett genealogies as well as all the books available from Northampton and Easthampton, Massachusetts and Lewis County, New York, the D.A.R. databases and there is no mention of her death anywhere. In October, 2011, a Find A Grave volunteer found the grave of Achsah Clapp Dewey right next to the grave of her husband. The stone had fallen flat and was covered with debris and moss. The date of her death is no longer a mystery. Achsah died 28 July 1833. Her Find A Grave Memorial and headstone can be viewed on the Find A Grave website here.
Go to John's diary written during the Revolutionary War here.
Go to the page about the profession of John Dewey here.
A page about the Last Will and Testament of John Dewey is coming soon