Sunday, June 30, 2013

Johannes Carl Muenck, a.k.a. "John Monk", in Hammond, New York

I just thought I’d add one more family history road trip related post. On the first day of our trip, I noticed as we were driving through upstate New York that we were passing through the town of Hammond, where I recalled that my four times great grandfather Johannes Carl Muenck, known at that time as John Monk, had lived. It appears that John Monk, who fought in the Revolutionary War on the American side, was likely one and the same as Johannes Carl Muenck, a German who had originally come to America as a “Hessian” soldier to fight on the side of the British. He apparently switched sides, which seemed to happen with some regularity once the German soliders were apprised of real intentions of the British, i.e. not to help the colonists, but to suppress their revolution. As I have said before, the Monk family on my tree is quite complex, and I hope to devote more time to researching and unravelling it.

On the way back home, as we were again passing through Hammond, my sister noticed the Hammond Historical Society, and that it was open. We had often encountered museums and sites which were closed on the days we visited, so we felt we should take this opportunity and make one last visit. We were warmly greeted by Donna Demick, the Town Historian, who gave us a tour of the museum and the Civil War era stone house. (See I took some time to ascertain when John Monk had lived in Hammond, utilizing the Ancestry app on my iPad, and it appeared that it was at most two years, i.e. from 1825 when he appeared on the New York State Census as living in Oppenheim, New York, and 1827, the year he moved from Hammond to Watertown, New York. Donna checked but could find no record of John, particularly as he had only lived there briefly, and was not born and didn’t die there. The only record I had was from a letter in his Revolutionary War Pension file stating that he had moved from Hammond in 1827. This turned out to be the year the town was incorporated.

Hammond Stone House Interior
(photographed by Sherry)
Loom in Stone House Attick
(photographed by Sherry)
Exterior of Stone House
(Photographed by Sherry)

It was nevertheless a pleasure to visit the museum and the stone house, as we were able to see a typical Civil War era house in Northern New York, where so many of our ancestors lived at that time. We were also shown household articles, books, photos, toys, and clothing of various eras. Donna allowed us, including my two-year-old niece, to touch these items and to explore to our hearts’ content. She even modelled some of the old clothes for us. Thank you, Donna, for sharing your hospitality and joy in your town’s past. Again, I am feeling so indebted to historical societies everywhere for their diligence in preserving and sharing the world’s heritage, which is so easily lost.

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