December 23, 2015

Invite an Ancestor for Christmas Dinner: #9 Mary Vollick, Woman of Courage

 I invite all of you to join me in coming up with an ancestor guest list for your Christmas Dinner. If you don't celebrate Christmas, feel free to choose a different holiday. 

Each day between now and December 25 I am going to invite one of my ancestors to join our family to celebrate with a traditional Turkey Dinner. 

Please think about who you want to invite and tell us why you want to have them at your table. Would you have a gift for them under the tree? What would it be? 

I am torn between inviting one of my Loyalist ancestors (Isaac Vollick or Jonas Larroway) and the wife of my Loyalist ancestor Isaac Vollick. Isaac or Jonas would have amazing stories to tell me of the turbulent times in New York during the American Revolution, their decision to remain loyal to the King, time in prison, flight to Canada, the fighting and the impoverished years afterwards. 

Affidavit Describing Mary and children's ordeal in 1779
But I am going to invite Anna Maria Warner, the wife of Isaac Vollick. Anna Maria, called Mary, was from a Palatine family of refugees in New York.  Mary and Isaac married in New York in 1757 and by 1775 had a large family of 11 children ranging in age from newborn to 17 years old. 

Mary's husband, Isaac, was imprisoned three times by the Americans for his loyalty to the British King. After Isaac joined Butler's Rangers and fled to Canada, Mary was left with ten children, six of them small. Mary continued to aid the British, and in 1779 she and the children, the youngest only 4 years old,  were taken from their home at North River, New York, by American patriots. 

Their home was burned, Mary and the children were marched 80 miles north through the forest and abandoned in destitute circumstances. Mary and the children made their way to Canada with the help of Mohawks and eventually reached Montreal. There they received food rations, lodging and blankets until 1782 when they settled in the Niagara area as impoverished Loyalists. Then came the Hungry Years where many died of starvation.

I want to know more about her experiences and I want to tell her how much I admire her for her strength and courage. As for a gift, nothing seems enough to give this woman whose home was burned before her eyes, who gave up everything to start a new life in a wild and unfamiliar land

Because Mary's life was one of hardship and deprivation, I am going to give her a luxury item, something to make her daily life a little easier. So I am gifting her a soft down-filled duvet for the cold nights

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