Philip Dubois Bevier Family Papers (1685-1910)

Finding Aid Completed by Eric Roth, March 10, 1998
Last revised January 14, 2013
Volume: 2 cu. ft.
Acquisition: The papers were donated to Historic Huguenot Street by Richard Bevier Borcherding in 1958-1960 and in 1965.
Access: Unrestricted.
Copyright: Request for permission to publish materials from these records should be discussed with the Archivist and Director of the Huguenot Historical Society.

Special thanks to Alexis Ruda and Phyllis Crawford for their assistance in processing the collection.

Biographical Note

Philip Dubois Bevier C-116, [1] Revolutionary War Captain and prominent Ulster County politician, was born on Dec. 28, 1751 to Louis Bevier and Esther Dubois of the Town of Rochester, NY. In 1782, Captain Bevier married Ann DeWitt, who gave him nine children, eight daughters and one son.

Throughout his life Captain Bevier amassed a great deal of property, both through the inheritance of his father's and grandfather's (Philip Dubois) estate, and through land bounty rights granted to him in 1790 for his service in the American Revolution. By the time of his death in 1802, he owned property in the counties of Ulster, Cayuga and Montgomery, much of which he leased to other farmers and local businessmen.

In 1775 Philip Dubois Bevier signed the Articles of Association and joined the New York Continental Army. He was appointed First Lieutenant of the Tenth Company of the Third Regiment of the New York Forces in the Army of the United Colonies on June 26, 1775. He was also later appointed Captain of Company Four of the Fifth Battalion of the New York Forces in the Army of the United States. According to Katherine Bevier, Captain Bevier served under General Montgomery and General Schuyler, and fought battles in Quebec, White Plains, Chatterton Hill and Fort Montgomery, where Louis Dubois' Fifth Regiment was defeated by British General Henry Clinton in October 1777. Bevier supposedly received a favorable mention by General Schuyler in his report of the Canadian campaign. Philip Dubois Bevier resigned from military duty in 1781. [2]

After the war Captain Bevier became actively involved in state and local politics, representing Ulster County in the New York State Assembly during the 16th, 19th and 21st sessions in 1792, 1796, and 1798, respectively. [3] He also held the positions of Assistant Justice (1794) and Judge (1795, 1799) for the Ulster County Court of Common Pleas. At Rochester Captain Bevier served as Town Clerk (1791-1793), Town Trustee (1788, 1791-1802), Town Justice (1791), Supervisor (1794-1800), Overseer of Highways (1788, 1791-1793) and School Commissioner (1797-1800). [4]

Seven of Captain Bevier's daughters attended Sarah Pierce's Litchfield Female Academy in Connecticut, where they received instruction in mathematics, the sciences, moral philosophy, Latin, and Greek, as well as music, art and needlework. [5] His only son, Louis Dubois Bevier, eventually became a doctor and served as School Inspector, School Commissioner, Town Clerk, Town Supervisor and Postmaster at the Town of Rochester, and on the Board of Directors of the Ulster County Bank in Kingston. [6]

Collection Description

The papers chiefly document three major subject areas: 1) the activities of Captain Bevier's and David Dubois' companies during their service at Fort Montgomery, Orange County, NY, from 1775-1780; 2) the business of managing the family properties in the town of Rochester, Ulster County, NY from 1685-1870; and 3) various efforts to compile the genealogies of the Bevier and DeWitt families. Other subjects briefly addressed in the records include nineteenth century religious and political interests of the Bevier family such as women's rights, Indian affairs and the Temperance movement.

Although the overall physical condition of the records is quite good, the Revolutionary War records are somewhat delicate, and some of the print faded. All records are still legible, however. Also, the pages of the genealogical notebook in Series 4 are very brittle, so it is therefore recommended that researchers consult the numerous published genealogies available on the Bevier and DeWitt families before handling this item.

The collection has been organized into four series:

Series 1: Revolutionary War Records (1775-1780)
Series 2: Estate and Legal Papers (1685-1870)
Series 3:Account Books, Personal Estate of Philip Dubois Bevier (1742-1867)
Series 4: Miscellaneous (1730-1910)

The major strength of the collection is the documentation of military activity at Fort Montgomery, New York, during the Revolutionary War. Of particular interest is the Orderly Book of David Bevier, which provides a rare glimpse into the daily routine at Fort Montgomery and Blemis Heights from August 1776 to October, 1777. The book functions as a daily journal containing "Morning Reports" (including lists of "Tories in confinement"), "Garrison Orders" given by Col. Cornelius Humphrey, and "General's Orders," given by Brigadier General James Clinton. These reports largely deal with issues involving the construction of defense preparations designed to enable the rebel army to "more effectually annoy the Enemies Shipping, should they attempt to come up the River." Other issues mentioned include the Court Martial of Sgt. Berry & Jonathan Alloby, and problems with the tendencies of soldiers to fire their weapons when not in engaged in combat.

"Notwithstanding it has repeatedly in Orders, that no gun or smallarms
should be discharged without orders within hearing of the garrison. Yet
there are some so lost to all sense of order and duty that Frequent
discharges of Musquetry are heard in the Woods near the garrison — if any
Soldier shall be guilty of Disobedience to the above order, they may
expect without exceptions of Persons to be tied up immediately & receive
Ten lashes on the naked back well laid without the Benefit of a Court Martial."

In addition to the orderly book, the financial accounts of Capt. Bevier's Company provide documentation of bounties paid to soldiers, lists of clothing and military supplies, and lists of expenses owed to, and by, the soldiers. Of particular note are the records from 1780, which contain records of furloughs, size rolls, deserters, pay rolls, weekly returns of equipment and ammunition, and accounts of "Camp Equipage" such as horsemens' tents and poles, covered kettles, wooden canteens, iron spoons, spades and shovels, etc.

Unfortunately however, a supposed list of trials and courts martial is missing. The papers also provide very thorough documentation of property transactions made by the Bevier family during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Records of note include survey maps of Esopus, also called "Mumbackhaus" or "Mombaccus" (1685-1686), a land grant and will of Garret Decker (1705-1706), the settlement of Louis Dubois' estate (1706), the will of Tjerck DeWitt (1753)probate of Philip Dubois' will (1764), two slave purchases (1785) and (1790), will of Captain Bevier's mother Esther Bevier (1772), and legal papers concerning land bounty rights awarded Captain Bevier in 1790. In general, most of the Estate Papers document transactions pertaining to the Bevier family property in the Town of Rochester as it was passed on to succeeding generations (See Series Descriptions for further detail).

Other records of interest include several pamphlets concerning religious matters, women's rights, Indian affairs, leisure and the Temperance Movement. One Dutch bible belonging to the Philip Dubois Bevier Family: "Biblia Dat Is De gantliche H. Schrifture vervattende alle de Canonijicke Boecken des Ouden en des Niewen Testaments" printed by Pieter en Jacob Keur (1730), contains family birth and death records (in Dutch) tracing the Bevier family from 1685-1834. Transcripts of the family records are available. This Bible is stored with the Historic Huguenot Street Bible and Religious Book Collection.

The major weakness of the collection is the lack of correspondence and other descriptive accounts of the lives of the Bevier family. One would expect much more correspondence due to Captain Bevier's political and social status. Some correspondence between Captain Bevier's daughter Hylah Bevier and other Bevier family members can be found in the Levi Hasbrouck Family Papers (some of which are now in the Collection of Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie, New York) — specifically letters dating from 1800-1857 written by Elizabeth Bevier, Hillitje DeWitt and other family members to Hylah Bevier Hasbrouck.

Among other collections in the archives of Historic Huguenot Street concerning the Bevier Family include the Louis Bevier Family Papers: The Rutgers Collection (1687-1921) copies, Louis Coe Bevier Civil War Letters (1862-1922), Louis Bevier Family Papers: The Elizabeth Wright Collection (1721-1929), the Harriet Bevier Urion Family Papers (1883-1903), and the New Paltz Town Records, which contain property maps surveyed by Louis Bevier B-30, as well as information pertaining to local offices at New Paltz held by various Bevier family members. Also, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University (Butler Library) in New York City maintains a collection of Bevier Family Papers. The Huguenot Historical Society maintains a collection of photocopies of the Bevier family papers originally housed at Rutgers University. Their current whereabouts are unknown. Researchers interested in original source documents concerning Ulster County's (as well as other counties) participation in the Revolutionary War may want to contact the Special Collections Library at Cornell University, which maintains several collections of papers pertaining to the subject.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: Revolutionary War Records (1775-1780) 0.2 cubic feet

This series includes bound volumes and loose papers primarily documenting the financial transactions of Captain Bevier's and David Dubois' companies during their stations at Fort Montgomery , New York (1775-1780). Other items include an orderly book kept by Philip's brother, David Bevier C-114 (1776-1777), and one order given by Lieutenant Daniel Birdsall to pursue deserters (1778). The account books chiefly contain information on clothing expenses, soldiers' wages and bounties, furloughs granted, registers of trials, court martials, casualties, discharges, and accounts of arms, ammunition and other equipment used by the company. David Bevier's Orderly Book contains orders given by General Clinton and "Morning Reports" given by commanding officers. Four pages of additional Revolutionary War clothing and weapon lists from Fort Montgomery in 1777 can be found in the Philip DuBois Bevier Account Book (1783-1785) stored in Series 3: Account Books, Personal Estate of Philip Dubois Bevier (1742-1867).

Series 2: Estate and Legal Papers (1685-1870) 0.7 cubic feet

Records include deeds, wills, promissory notes, litigation papers, mortgages, leases, land grants and survey maps pertaining to property in the towns of Rochester , Marbletown and New Paltz in Ulster County , as well as various towns in Montgomery and Cayuga counties. Documents span five generations of Philip Dubois Bevier's family, beginning with his great-grandfather Louis Dubois (ca. 1626-1706) and ending with his daughter Esther Bevier D-316 (1785-1871), wife of Philip Hasbrouck (1783-1841). Other records deal with transactions between Philip Dubois Bevier and Cornelius Hardenbergh (1772), Philip's brother David Bevier C-114 (1773, 1798), Jacob Hasbrouck (1783), John DeWitt (1792) and James Oliver and Abraham Vernooy (1800); and between Philip Hasbrouck and wife, Esther Bevier, and Jonathan and Frederick Westbrook (1828, 1830), Jacob Schoonmaker concerning the Guilford Dutch Reformed Church (1833), various members of the Deyo families at New Paltz, and others in Montgomery and Cayuga counties. All papers in this series are filed chronologically by year.

Series 3: Account Books, Personal Estate of Philip Dubois Bevier (1742-1867) 0.3 cubic feet

This series contains three account books belonging to, or dealing with, the estate and business of Philip Dubois Bevier's family. The first book actually contains two separate account books. The book originally belonged to Captain Bevier's father, Louis Bevier B-30 and contains records of transactions dating from 1742-1784, which deal with moneys paid and received for foodstuffs, hides, taxes and services such as splitting wood, surveying land and drawing up legal contracts. Payments are mostly in the typical English currency of the time (Pound/Shilling/Pence), but some also include exchanges of pieces of eight. There is a name index to the entries. This book was also later used as a cash book from 1825-1841, and contains a few miscellaneous entries in 1866 and 1867. The author of this section, probably Philip Hasbrouck, entered the transactions chronologically, and kept no index. Accounts include school bills, foodstuffs, clothing materials and services such as scoring timber, digging ditches and carding wool. Transactions are recorded in dollar amounts.

The second account book belonged to Philip Dubois Bevier and contains entries from 1783-1785. In this system, each month's transactions were recorded under the headings of "amount brought over," "amount brought up," and "amount brought down." At the bottom of each page is an entry for the total amount of money "brought down" Entries include sales of foodstuffs, liquor, textiles and other domestic goods such as tobacco and silverware and building supplies. In the rear of this account book are four pages of clothing and weapon lists from Fort Montgomery in 1777.

The third account book, "Ann Bevier's (Executrix of the Last Will and Testament of Philip Dubois Bevier, deceased) Account Book" (1802-1812), is in ideal condition and contains beautiful handwritten entries concerning both debtors and creditors, as well as records of "cash paid out." Entries include transactions concerning livestock, foodstuffs, domestic goods, labor, building supplies, interest, building supplies and school tuition payments to Sarah Pierce's Litchfield Female Academy at South Farms, Connecticut in 1806.

Series 4: Miscellaneous (1730-1910) 0.8 cubic feet

Records include one letter to Ann Bevier from Blandina Bruyn concerning papers of Philip Dubois Bevier (1820); one letter to Rev. Particular Synod of Albany concerning "The Memorial of Ann Bevier and Rachel Westbrook, members of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Rochester" (1823), which describes their concerns regarding the race of the pastor of their church; receipts of Dr. Louis Bevier, Elizabeth Bevier and others (1845-1870); one Certificate of Life Membership to the American Bible Society of Esther Hasbrouck (1857), a genealogy notebook containing notes on the Bevier and DeWitt families, and several pamphlets concerning religious matters, women's rights, Indian affairs, leisure and the Temperance Movement. This series also includes a Dutch bible belonging to the Philip Dubois Bevier Family: "Biblia Dat Is De gantliche H. Schrifture vervattende alle de Canonijicke Boecken des Ouden en des Niewen Testaments." printed by Pieter en Jacob Keur (1730). The Bible contains family birth and death records (in Dutch) tracing the Bevier family from 1685-1834. Transcripts of the family records are available.


[1] Identification numbers and personal data taken from The Bevier Family: The Descendants of Louis Bevier, Patentee of New Paltz , New York. The Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz , New York (1970) compiled by Kenneth Hasbrouck.

[2] Ibid., p. 145.

[3] Edgar A. Werner. Civil List and Constitutional History of the Colony and State of New York . Weed, Parsons & Co., Albany , NY. (1889): pp. 414-416. According to Katherine Bevier, Captain Bevier also served on the "Assembly" in 1777, but no further information supporting this claim is available.

[4] There seems to be a great deal of confusion concerning these dates. In her book The Bevier Family (1916), Katherine Bevier writes that Captain Bevier served as Town Clerk (1791-1793), Town Trustee (1794-1802), Supervisor (1801), School Commissioner and (1797-1800). Sylvester's History of Ulster County (1880), however, lists Captain Bevier as a Trustee from (1791-1802), Supervisor (1794-1800), and Town Clerk (1791-1793). An examination of the Town of Rochester Meeting Minutes (1703-1793) reveals not only that Philip Dubois Bevier indeed served as Town Clerk from 1791-1793, but also that he served as Town Justice in 1791, Overseer of Highways (1788, 1791-1793), and Trustee (1788, 1791-1793). Unfortunately, the election results from 1793 to 1802 are missing, disallowing the further confirmation or denial of Sylvester's and Bevier's claims for these years.

[5] Sizer, Theodore and Nancy, et al. To Ornament their Minds: Sarah Pierce's Litchfield Academy 1792-1833. The Litchfield Historical Society, Litchfield Connecticut (1993).

[6] Bevier, Katherine. The Bevier Family. Tobias A. Wright, printer and publisher, New York. (1916): p. 187.