Biography of Newman Crossett, Orwell, NY  
Biography of NEWMAN CROSSETT, 
Many thanks to Esther Rancier for researching and sharing her information on the Crossett family.   I try with all the families to include more than just begats.  People need to be viewed in the context of their world.  My goal is to really tell the many aspects of Oswego County history.  Eventually if one reads all my bios, a person will also learn the local history and cultural story of the area.  Esther.

Esther is researching in Richland and Mexico the Soul/Soule, Brace and Daniel P. Smith families, and would appreciate hearing from anyone researching these surnames.   Esther Rancier at: <>

French Protestants in the late 16th century came under ruthless persecution by French Catholics.  There were unspeakable bloodbaths.  Into this tumult Anthony Du Crozat was born in 1620 at Dauphine, France.  The details of his Protestant family need reseach.  While eventually the French king made Protestant worship legal, life was never easy.  Many French Protestants called Huguenots left the country going to various friendly lands.  These migrations proved to be  strategic decisions as later Protestant sects were outlawed and were forbidden to leave France.  

The Du Crozat family settled in Carrickfergus, Antrim, Ireland, an old historic town in Ulster about nine miles north of Belfast.  Most of the French refuges were crafts people, especially clever at linen weaving.  Anthony may have made his living as a linen weaver.  Flax was plentiful.  Soon the French created an industry for which Ireland is known to this day.  

Eventually 10,000 French Huguenots fled to Ireland.  They were generally well-received and treated fairly by the Catholic Church there.  Many distinctly Huguenot communities sprang up in Ireland.  The marriages they made were usually to mates from other Protestant groups like the Scots or English. These families usually were not true Irish at all.  

Anthony wed Laura Thompson in 1647.  They had six children.  Anthony died at Carrickfergus in 1689.  Many French Anglo-citized their names.  Anthony and Laura’s children were called Crosset [sic].  Their son James, born 1653 at Carrickfergus, wed Elizabeth Rogers in 1679.  They had eight children.  One of them, James Jr., born 1680, wed Sarah Young.  James took his wife and before 1736 arrived in Chester, NH via Boston, MA.  

Irish Protestants, who were really Scotch-Irish or English, were pouring into the U.S. at this time as they heard about the opportunities.  James likely saw better economic possibilites too.

At Chester James and Sarah had three children.  His wife Sarah was the sister of their neighbor John Aiken’s wife.  In 1750 at Chester James and his son Benjamin both witnessed John Aiken’s will.  

James’ namesake son James, born in Chester, wed first Jane Graham with whom he had a son John Crossett. (In America the family name has varied in spelling with many different versions, but in this line they have been Crosset/Crossett.) After Jane Graham’s death James married Jane Aiken.  

This son John removed to New York State into the Mohawk Valley area west of Albany County.  New England Yankees like John were streaming into the area creating many conflicts with the local population.  The people in this area were already stratified by class with the Dutch at the top.  They had been there the longest and were relatively wealthy.  They had also borne the savage early massacres by various Indian tribes.  They felt they had earned what they had by the blood sacrifice of family members.  Next were the British who ruled led by William Johnson who for 24 years controlled the life of the area.  The Indians respected him and stayed peaceful.  The largest social group were the Yankees ever growing and crowding all the other groups.  They were not so respectful of Johnson, a British crown appointee.  The land was held by the Indians.  They did willingly sell land to the whites, but the next one who asked might well be sold the same parcel.  Land titles were in utter turmoil.  The Indians did not recongize private ownership of land and thought the Europeans were silly.  At the bottom were the German Palatine settlers brought in by the British Crown, but lacking skill in English.  Usually they were landless, but had been promised land.  Tensions ran high.  People were choosing sides Pro-American or Pro-British.  The area teemed with Loyalists.  Plots were everywhere, some Yankees believed.

Whether John Crossett understood the dangers or actually went to the Mohawk to help the Yankee cause remains unclear.  The date of his arrival cannot be established.  On tax lists for 1764 and 1775 his name does not appear.  But in 1776 he was recorded in Tryon County, NY, the most dangrous place in the colonies at that time.   Tryon County which no longer exists lay at the edge of pure wilderness.  The people there were as rough and rural as anyone in North America.  Living conditions were beyond harsh.  The Indians had joined the British cause.  They were encouraged to do anything to win.  

John probably came to the area with his cousins James and  Benjamin Crossett for all three names were listed as soldiers in the Tryon County Militia 3rd Regiment.  At first these men watched and arrested suspicious Loyalists.  Then they built fortifications, plus  scouting for an approaching enemy.  

Their most dangerous encounter happened in a ravine called Oriskany where they were ambushed.  150 to 200 militia  men died.  The Crossetts all survived.  Yet this battle which was more a slaughter became an important key to turning the tide of the war.

  The British under General St. Leger were trying to cut New York State in half, dividing the colonies.  They kept sending troops from Fort Niagara to push down the Mohawk to Albany, then down the Hudson to New York City. These British troops were nearly all Loyalists who would lose much if the war was won by the Americans, accompanied by Indians who stole and drank whiskey as they went.  The Indians often killed unarmed civilians, including women and children which was not the custom of the day.  

When the news of the Indians raids reached the South, there was great alarm.  Indian raids still happened there in western Carolina, Kentucky. Georgia, Virginia, Tennesse and Mississippi.  If the British supplied arms to the tribes, thousands might perish.  General Washington who had begun to wonder if the war was lost to indifference, since there was always too little money, supplies, arms and men.  He saw the turn in public opinion against the British.  While the Redcoats rampaged along the Mohawk, they lost influence in critical colonies.  Men began to enlist.  New money bought arms, supplies and food.  

After the war ended in 1783 John Crossett became one of the first settlers at Gloversville, NY.  John had wed Elizabeth Graham during the war prior to 1779.  In the first U.S. census taken in 1790 John was enumerated at Caughnawaga, Montgomery Co., NY.  Caughnawaga is now called Fonda, NY.  Fonda is located only eight miles away from Gloversville.  The household enumeration showed 1-5-3.  The names of all these individuals remain unknown.  It appeared that some children did not survive.  Supposedly there was a son John born 10 December 1779 and another son Benjamin, born 1792 in Johnstown, Fulton Co., NY, a nearby town.

All of the above was based on records not easily verified.  Researchers should use due diligance before accepting data.  The main flaw of these records is likely their incompleteness.  From this juncture the public records do offer more vertification.

Son Benjamin remained in Johnstown, NY where he fought in the War of 1812.  He put in a claim of $65.00 to the New York Adjutant General when he lived in Rutland, Jefferson Co., NY.   

Benjamin married three times.  His first wife, Polly Tanner, had nine children, all born in Johnstown, NY.  His second wife was apparently childless, but his third wife Elizabeth Dimock had children.  Benjamin ended his years in Jefferson County where he died at Watertown 1 June 1861.  

Benjamin and Polly’s oldest son Newman S. Crossett, born ca. 1806, by 1840 was residing in Newport, Herkimer Co., NY along with his brother John Crossett.  Newman has just married Olive Hall, born ca. 1816, the couple later had ten children.

By 1850 Newman and Olive had removed to Florence, Oneida Co., NY where they were enumerated in the census.
Crossett, Newman S. -33-laborer-NY-$100
Crossett, Ollive [sic] -35-wife-NY
Crossett, Francis Lane -8-daughter-NY
Crossett, Polly -6-daughter-NY
Crossett, Monroe -5-son-NY
Crossett, Henry -1-son-NY

In 1858 this family removed to Orwell, Oswego Co., NY.  They resided in an area called Molino on the road to Bennett’s Bridge.  The whole area was quite hilly and many who tried to farm there quickly moved on.  The population of Orwell grew quite slowly compared to other Oswego County towns.  

The 1860 Orwell census showed the increase in the Crossett family.
Crosset [sic], Norman [sic] -49-farmer-NY
Crosset [sic], Olive -44-wife-NY
Crosset [sic], Francis L. -18-daughter-NY
Crosset [sic], Polly S -17-daughter-NY
Crosset [sic], Monroe -15-son-NY
Crosset [sic], Henry -11-son-NY
Crosset [sic], Newman -7-son-NY
Crosset [sic], George-6-son-NY
Crosset [sic], Franklin -4-son-NY
Crosset [sic], Otis -6 months-NY

Their son Benjamin, born ca. 1851/2 was omitted for unknown reasons.  

Son Newman, born 1852 in Florence, NY, at age 11 in 1863 went with some other town boys fishing on Geary Brook in Orwell.  At some point he vanished.  There was a hugh search by most in Orwell.  Newman, Sr. at one point spent 40 days and nights in the woods looking for him.  The disappearance was big news for years in this sleepy small town.  The child was never seen again.  

   At the start of the Civil War Monroe Crossett enlisted in 23 October 1861 .  He fought at Antietim. the Wilderness and Petersburg.  He re-enlisted on 5 March 1865.  This notation was found in town records compiled in 1887, but could not be verified in more modern files in the National Archives.  His grave was marked with an American flag on the stone.  

Newman enlisted on 22 August 1864 calling himself 44 years of age.  He joined Co. E., 169th NY Infantry Regiment.  He immediately was put into battle around Petersburg, VA where death was everywhere.  He was mustered out on 30 May 1865 in Washington, D.C., very lucky to have survived.  

Henry Crossett enlisted on 14 March 1865 in Co. I, 193rd NY Infantry.  He died on 2 April 1865 at Auburn, NY with no further details .  

In the 1870 Orwell census Newman remained on his farm.
Crosset [sic], Newman -55-farmer-Ny-$8100
Crosset [sic], Olive -50-wife-NY
Crosset [sic], Francis -28-daughter-NY
Crosset [sic], George -16-son-NY
Crosset [sic], Frank -14-son-NY
Crosset [sic], Otis -9-son-NY

Newman continued living at Orwell.  He was listed in the 1880 census.  Newman stated his father was from Canada.  Other family records contradict putting his birth at Johnstown, NY.  
Crosset [sic], Newman -64-farmer-NY
Crosset [sic], Olive -64-wife-NY
Crosset [sic], Otis - 20-son-NY
Crosset [sic], Mary 30-daughter-NY

Newman died in 1889, age 83.  His grave in Pekin Cemetery, Orwell was marked with Civil War designation.  His wife Olive (Hall) Crossett died 11 July 1890, age 74.  (Maiden name on stone.)  She was buried with her husband.

There were two other Crossett households given in the 1880 Orwell census.  Both residences were the homes of Newman and Olive’s sons.
Crosset [sic], Monroe -34-laborer-NY
Crosset [sic], Fannie -18-wife-NY

Monroe’s wife was Fanny Miner, born 13 May 1863.  She had two children.  One was stillborn and the other was George Crossett, born in 1882 at Orwell.

In the 1900 Orwell census Monroe, age 50, lived with his sister Mary, age 54, and his son George, age 18.    The 1910 Orwell census included Monroe, age 64, and Mary, age 63 plus another sister Francis, age 66, a childless widow.  Her married name was unreadable, but might be Kech or Hurd.  

Monroe died 6 April 1913, age 60.  He was buried with his parents at Pekin Cemetery.  His son George lived to 1929.

Monroe’s brother Benjamin also lived at Orwell in 1880.  He had married Harriett.  Crossett, Benj -23-farmer-NY
Crossett, Harriett -30-wife-NY
Crossett, Leila C -5-daughter-NY
Crossett, May A -3-daughter-Ny

By the 1900 Orwell census Benjamin was again enumerated.  
Crossett, Benj -54-farmer-NY
Crossett, Harriett-59-wife-NY
Crossett, Leila -36-daughter-NY
Crossett, Mary [sic] -33-daughter-NY
Crossett, Dwight - 29-son-NY

Benjamin and Harriet had been married for 37 years.  Harriet stated she had given birth to three children and they all still survived.  Dwight helped his father on the farm for employment.

In the 1920 Orwell census the family continued living together.
Crossett, Benjamin -68-farm hand-NY
Crossett, Harriett -75-wife-NY
Crossett, Leila -45-daughter-NY
Crossett, Mayme [sic] -43-daughter-NY
Crossett, Dwight -34-son-NY

Benjamin and Harriet died before the 1930 Orwell census.  Their children lived on Power House Drive together on the farm:  Dwight, 48, with his two sisters, Leila, 55 and Mayme, 53.  Mayme taught school.  Their property was valued at $7,000 suggesting that they were living comfortably even during the Depression.  

In 1887 Otis Crossett was described as one of Newman’s five surviving children.  The others alive then were Benjamin, Monroe, Mary and Francis.  Otis, born 17 November 1861, wed Josephine King, daughter of Samuel and Luzina  King of Orwell.    They had one child Frank, born 1886 who was 13 in the 1900 Orwell census.

By the 1910 Orwell census Frank lived in Williamstown, NY at age 23.  In the 1920 Camden, Oneida Co., NY census Frank’s family was enumerated thusly:
Crossett, Frank -33-laborer-NY
Crossett, Francis -30-wife-NY
Crossett, Asa -6-son-NY
Crossett, Marion - 5-daughter-NY
Crossett, Abbie -4-daughter-NY

Before the 1930 Josephine/Josie died.  Otis apparently turned his farm over to Frank.  In the Orwell 1930 census the families lived side by side on Power House Drive.             Crossett, Frank -43-farmer-NY
Crossett, Francis -33-wife-NY
Crossett, Asa -17-son-NY
Crossett, Marion -16-daughter-NY
Crossett, Abbie -12-daughter-NY
Crossett, William -3-son-NY
next door-
Crossett, Otis -65-none-NY

Asa Crossett, born 11 March 1913, died in September 1969.  His brother William E. Crossett, born 9 October 1926, died in November 1988.  

Special attention needs to be paid to the Crossett Genealogy website online <> operated by Gene Crossett, Jr. While in 2004 it included little on the Orwell Crossetts, it is an effort that needs to be encouraged.  Contact Gene at 8056 Arrowcourt Ct., Terre Haute, IN 47802.  

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