52 Ancestors #11: David Reynolds, Sr.

David Reynolds, my fifth great-grandfather was born in 1760 in Horseneck, Fairfield, Connecticut to John Joseph & Martha Tibbets Reynolds.

He married Hannah Hastings in 1774 in Connecticut and with her had three children – Samuel in 1774, Rhoda in 1780 and Henry in 1787.

He enlisted in the Continental Army in Lyme, Connecticut in April 1777 – and was taken prisoner in 1782 by the British in Tarrytown, New York. He was held on one of the British prison hulks in New York and when Washington threatened retaliation for the conditions prisoners were kept on the ships, they were moved north – heading for Nova Scotia where many Loyalists had escaped to.

HMS Jersey - one of several prison hulks used to hold Rev. War prisoners.

HMS Jersey – one of several prison hulks used to hold Rev. War prisoners.

David escaped the prison ship in Passamaquoddy Bay,  probably somewhere near Robbinston, Maine. and made his way through Maine back to Connecticut. While he was in Maine, he met a fellow soldier, Nathaniel Cox…father of Rebecca Cox, and his family. It is pretty clear that he went back to Connecticut – because Henry was born in 1787…but he left his family in Connecticut and returned to Maine, having obtained a Revolutionary War Land Grant in Washington County.

October 15, 1787 he married Rebecca Cox and in 1789, Rebeah was born. David (my 4th gr.grandfather) in 1792, Isabella in 1795, Haskell in 1797, Isaac in 1800, Hannah in 1803, Eliphalet in 1804, Thirza in 1807 and Elizabeth in 1810.

David lived in Maine the rest of his life and died March 31, 1832 in Columbia, Washington County, Maine.

Much of my information about David – who was for many years a ‘brick wall’ in my research, came from the papers and documents surrounding his Revolutionary War pension.  I’ve attached a few of the pages below.

Cover letter - page 1

Cover letter – page 1

Cover letter, page 2

Cover letter, page 2

Rebecca Reynolds' Bible Page

Rebecca Reynolds’ Bible Page

Statement by Rebecca re: children

Statement by Rebecca re: children

Statement that claims Rebecca is widow of David

Statement that claims Rebecca is widow of David

David Reynolds statement of service

David Reynolds statement of service

War Department Claim

War Department Claim


A link to my collection of David’s Rev. War papers.

Resources on prison ships:  http://www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/encyclopedia/prisoners-war


About T.K. Eldridge

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8 Responses to 52 Ancestors #11: David Reynolds, Sr.

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 11 Recap | No Story Too Small

  2. Jerri Reynolds says:

    Are you sure about Davids first marriage? He would have only been 14 years old at his marriage and birth of his first child. I believe it is another David that married Hannah and is the son of John Joseph and Martha. Do you have any other documentation about his first marriage to tie them together? My husbands line comes from David through Haskell. Thanks

    • kessara says:

      The pension papers for David Reynolds included letters from Ephraim Reynolds that explained they were brothers and Ephraim is a son of John Joseph and Martha. That – and David named one of his sons Haskell.

      • Jerri Reynolds says:

        Hi again, thank you for your reply. I lost your site and just found it again. Where did you find the papers you used? I remember seeing some of them somewhere but also cannot find the site again. At the time I wasn’t sure if David was an ancestor or not, I hadn’t connected that far back for sure. I would like to see the papers again if you wouldn’t mind sharing where they can be found. Thank you very much, Jerri

      • T.K. Eldridge says:

        I got the papers from Fold3, downloaded them and then uploaded them to a private album. I have edited the post to include the link to the album.

  3. semiplenus says:

    It is fascinating to contemplate how and why a father of three, including a newborn, would walk out on his family and then immediately begin another. I am interested in first-born son Samuel (1774), whom I’ve seen referred to as a son of David Reynolds and Hannah Hastings. Does any of your research indicate what happened to the first family of David, especially to Samuel – where he ended up and who he married?

    • kessara says:

      It took a lot of digging to get the info on David that I have. I suspect that he ‘did the right thing’ and married Martha when she got pregnant with Samuel – then went to war and met Rebecca Cox – came home…and got his land grant. Perhaps Martha refused to move to Maine with him – it was unclaimed wilderness after all – and so he went up there alone. Nathaniel Cox was well-established and highly regarded in the region, so David marrying Rebecca so quickly may have been either out of love or a survival tactic.

  4. Pingback: 52 Ancestors 2015: #27 Independence Day for America | Of Loons and Lady Slippers

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