Thursday, August 20, 2020

Abraham Quackinbush, Battle of Plattsburg, War of 1812

Abraham Quackinbush, son of James Quackinbush; born in New York on February 6, married March 25, 1818 to Sarah McLaren. Together they had the following children: Daniel McLaren, born March. 9, 1819; married Adriana Suydam. Vesta Joanna, born in New York on Jan 7, 1821; Sarah Stowe, born Greenwich Village, New York on July 20, 1822; Elizabeth, born Greenwich Village. New York on July 5, 1824; Vestiana, born October 8, 1826; married Nathaniel M. Freeman. M. D.; Peter McLaren, born December 24, 1829; married Mary J. Small. Abraham, born October 9, 1831; married Elizabeth A. Louderbach. Charles Edwin, born November 15, 1833; married Frances L. Rutter.

Abraham was the son of James and Leah Demarest, and was born in New York City in 1791. At that time the thickly settled portion of Manhattan Island lay south of City Hall Park, and the outlying village of Greenwich, which had sprung up on the large estate purchased from the Indians by Sir Peter Warren, and derived its name from Sir Peter's mansion "Greenwich," was connected with the city proper by roads through swamps and open country. One of the principal of these roads was called Greenwich street after it entered the city, and was a leading business thoroughfare. The house in which Abraham Quackinbush was born and lived during his earlier years stood near this street on Fair, now Fulton Street, and he was fond of telling that as a boy and young man he often hunted in the neighboring meadows, which covered the area now bounded by Lispenard and Spring Streets, Broadway and the North River.

About the year 1803 the family moved to the Murray Hill property, where it is presumed that Abraham Quackinbush lived at the breaking out of the War of 1812, when he offered his services to the Government. He was then in his 21st year, and his services being accepted he was commissioned ensign in the regular army, and assigned to recruiting duty. His first station was on Governor's Island, New York Harbor, from whence he was transferred to Fort Gansevoort, a newly established post between the foot of West 12th and Gansevoort streets. This fortification, long since destroyed, was built on land purchased by the Government in July, 1812, and sold to the city in 1850. From the rank of ensign Abraham Quackinbush was rapidly advanced until he reached the grade of First Lieutenant, the official record of his service, as communicated by the War Department being as follows:


Abraham Quackinbush was appointed Ensign, 6th Infantry, January 13, 1813; promoted 3rd Lieutenant, 6th infantry, March 12, 1813; 2nd Lieutenant, April 1, 1813; 1st Lieutenant, June 30, 1814. He served with his regiment in the defenses of New York Harbor February, 1813, to June, 1814; in the right wing of the Northern Army, on the Canadian Frontier, to January, 1815; and at Plattsburg, New York, to June 15, 1815, when he was discharged upon the reduction of the Army to the peace establishment, under the act of March 3, 1815.

(signed) W. P. Hall, Assistant Adjutant General

Abraham Quackinbush was assigned to Captain Woolworth's Company of the 6th U. S. Infantry, and joined the army at the Northern Frontier, where he figured in the memorable Battle of Plattsburg, fought September 11, 1814, when, after an hour's furious fighting, the British vessels, although vastly superior to Commodore McDonough's fleet in number and quality, were forced to strike their colors, Abraham Quackinbush, witnessing this action from the shore, first drew the attention of General Macomb to the British surrender.

Concerning the engagement of the land forces in this battle, Captain Walter Bicker, a fellow officer of Lieutenant Quackinbush's, has written: " In the afternoon of September 11, 1814, the veteran troops of Waterloo, the flower of the British Army, quailed, 10,000 strong, before the American army of 1,500 regular troops and some 3,000 raw militia recruits, and marched back to Canada, whence they came in great pomp, threatening wonders." Lieutenant Quackinbush remained in the military service until the end of the war, when he was honorably discharged.
He was married March 25, 1818, by the Rev. Christian Bork, pastor of the Franklin Street Reformed Dutch Church, to Sarah McLaren, daughter of Daniel McLaren and Sarah Stowe. Sarah McLaren was born at 163 Broadway, New York City, June 27, 1792. Her father was a native of Comirie, Perthshire, in Scotland, and a descendant of the Clan MacLauren.

 According to a family tradition, he arrived in New York City on Evacuation Day, having passed the retiring British troops in the harbor, but it has not been possible to verify this tradition, as all of the marine records of that time were destroyed by fire when the British captured V/Washington in 1814. It is known, however, that Daniel McLaren was in New York in 1784, as on June 15 of that year he acquired a half interest in a plot of ground, 25x100 feet, on lower Broadway, paying 400 American pounds ($1,000) for his share. This property, still a part of the family estate, is now known as No. 163. Later he built a residence in Chatham Square, which is now standing. He died at 108 Bleecker Street in 1826, leaving three children, Vashti (or Vesta), Daniel and Sarah. For a short time after his marriage Abraham Quackinbush was engaged in the dry goods business in Greenwich street, but retired in 1826, and moved to Bleecker street, which was then "up town."

After his father's death in 1843, the farm on Murray Hill was divided into lots and sold, and Abraham purchased four lots fronting on 41st street, paying in the aggregate $600 for the property. Some years later, however, fearing he might never realize more than he gave for it, he sold it at auction for the amount originally paid, and considered himself fortunate in not having to sacrifice any more than the amount of the taxes and the interest on the investment. In 1851 he purchased, and occupied during the remainder of his life, a large house surrounded by land which extended from 86th to 87th streets, between Second and Third avenues. In the immediate neighborhood were the country seats of the Fanshaws, Rutters, Astors, Rhinelanders and other families of prominence. While never taking an active part in politics, Abraham Quackinbush was, in his earlier years, an ardent Andrew Jackson Democrat, but afterwards became a Republican, and his last vote was cast for Hayes and Wheeler in 1876. He was always proud of his connection with the army, and was one of the original members of the Military Society of the War of 1812. During the Civil War he read the news with great interest, and frequently expressed the regret that he was not young enough to join the Union Army himself. About the year 1867 Abraham Quackinbush became a member of the Prospect Hill Reformed Church, in Yorkville, of which his son Daniel was the pastor. He died March 12th, 1877, and the funeral services were conducted by the Rev. Dr. Ten Eyck of Astoria, L. I., and the Rev. Mr. Latimer, pastor of the Presbyterian Church on 86th street. The remains were placed in the family vault at Greenwood Cemetery. Sarah McLaren, the Wife of Abraham Quackinbush, died at No. 231 East 86th Street, July 21, 1869. 

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