It’s Monday, and many people will not be happy to go back to the grindstone today. If you are having a rough day, the story below may help put things in perspective. It is the story of my great-grandfather and namesake Stephen McGown, who lived to a ripe old age and is buried in his hometown of Cherry Valley, NY. I found this through a family friend, and it is posted on Stephen’s page on Ancestry.com. It definitely made me think about my life, and made the odd bad day at work seem trivial compared to Stephen’s trials.
Stephen McGown served in the Revolutionary War, Private 6th NY Infantry, Col Alden’s regiment under Captain Thomas Whitaker. At the Cherry Valley Massacre in November of 1778, he received a musket ball in the wrist and was taken prisoner, and forcibly marched to Fort Niagra near Niagra Falls with a group of women and children. The reason that he was not killed in the massacre was probably his age. He would have been just shy of his 16th birthday. At Fort Niagra, he was taken sick and confined in the hospital. While in the hospital, he was purchased by Captain Powell of the British Army. He was released in 1785 and walked back to Cherry Valley. See Frontiers Aflame by Eugenia Campbell Lester for the story of the massacre and Jane Cannon Campbell’s capture. Jane was married to Samuel Campbell, the brother of Stephen’s mother in law Sarah Campbell Willson.