Savage family of the Ards is an ancient one. Followers of John de Courcy
in the Norman conquest of Ulster in 1177, they received lands there.
They fortified and held their land through wars, changes of sovereigns,
and religions. Their hereditary line did not expire until 1823.
Likewise, the Hamiltons were early settlers in Ulster, though not as
ancient as the Savages. Our interest in these illustrious
families stems from the fact that they intermarried with
Crossetts in Ireland and in America and, in fact, accompanied them
here in 1716. This is attested by the oldest family traditions.
An example of this intermixing can be
seen in the early families. Edward Savage, born 1684, died in Ireland.
He married Sarah Hamilton who, with her children and second husband,
another Hamilton came to America in 1716. Their three sons, Edward,
and twins Abraham and John were born 1704 and 1706 respectively.
Edward Jr. later married Mary Hamilton, daughter of John and
Eleanor and settled in Rutland, Massachusetts. His brother, John
married Eleanor Hamilton, his step-sister, likewise in
Rutland. Abraham for some reason, married a Mary Barnes. This
family ultimately lived in Quebec, Canada, probably because they were
loyalist during the Revolution.
That's not all. Edward Savage
Jr.'s daughters Mary and Sarah, married Robert and Archibald
Crossett whose mother, of course, was a Hamilton. Archibald's sons,
Israel and Jacob married respectively, Martha Hamilton and Fanny Savage
(a second marriage for Jacob).
The exact relationships of these people
to each other is very difficult to sort out. Suffice it to say, they
were all related closely. In the early years of settlement they stuck
together as they had done in Ireland. In the second generation the
vastness of the country began to attract them and farms became available
for all the sons not just the eldest. Families moved to different
locations and the intermixing of families lessened, no doubt to the
benefit of all.
There are good stories about this
extended family. Take John Savage for instance. Known as Captain John
Savage. The History of Pelham, Mass. says:
" John Savage was 10 years old at that time
(his arriving in America) and followed the seas as a sailor
for the early part of his life. He gradually accumulated property and
became sole owner of the vessel which he commanded. In a storm the
vessel was wrecked off Cape Breton, his men and cargo being all lost,
and he barely escaped with his life. After this experience he
abandoned the sea .... and settled upon a farm in Pelham. (a good
distance from the ocean)
In 1758 he was selected as Captain of one of the
Massachusetts companies in the old French War, and served under
General Bradstreet in his expedition against Fort Frontenac, and under
General Abercrombie in his disastrous assault upon Fort Ticonderoga.
Captain Savage was lame at the time of the latter engagement, but
notwithstanding this he placed himself at the head of his men and led
them into the fight."
John was variously a selectman, agent of
the town before the Court of General Sessions, and town representative
on the Presbytery. His son, Edward was a sheriff of Washington County
New York and a member of the state legislature for 21 years. His
grandson, John, son of Edward, was in the U.S. Congress in 1814 and 1816
and later was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New York.
These pioneers were peaceable men and
women who respected the rights of others and deeply resented
anyone as the History says; "whom they believed was
endeavoring in any way to prevent the full enjoyment of their
liberties." This did not except the King's officers when the
settlers thought they were being wronged. A case in point is recorded in
the 1763 court records of Northampton where the trial was held. Here is
"De Rex vs. Savage, etc.
John Worthington, Esq. Attorney to our soverign Lord
the King in this behalf here instantly complains and give this
court to understand and be informed that John Savage of Pelham in the
County of Hampshire Gent., Alexander Turner, Yeoman, Alexander Turner
Jr., Yeoman, James Turner, Yeoman, Robert Gilmore, Yeoman, Hamilton
McCollister, Yeoman, Jane Savage, Spinster, wife of John Savage Jr.,
Elizabeth Savage, Spinster, Eleanor McCollister, Spinster, and Sarah
Drane, Spinster, all of Pelham aforesaid, did at said Pelham on the
12th day of February last past, with force of arms, that is to say,
with Axes, Clubs, sticks, hot water, and hot soap in a riotous and
tumultinous(sic) manner and riotously and unlawfully meet and assemble
themselves together to disturb the peace of the said Lord the King,
and the said (repeats the names) being so met and
assembled together did then and there with force and arms made an
assault on one Solomon Boltwood (what a great name) of Amherst, then, and ever since,
being a deputy Sheriff....he then being in due execution of his
said office and in the peace of God and of the said Lord the
King, and then and there uttered menace and threatenings of bodily
hurt and death against said Solomon, and then and there with force and
arms obstructed, opposed, hindered and wholly prevented said Solomon
from the due execution of his said office contrary to law and against
the peace of the said Lord the King, his crown and dignity. And now
comes before ye court the said John Savage, Gent. and Alexander the
first above named, the said Jane, Elizabeth, and Sarah being held by
Recognisance for this purpose. the said James, Robert, and the other
Alexander not being present...severally plead that they were in
nothing guilty of the same and thereof put themselves on ye
A jury being sworn...after a full hearing return their
verdict therein, that is, the jury on their oath say the said
defendants are not guilty. It is thereupon ordered that the defendants
be dismissed and ye go without delay."
One year later (1764) John
Savage, Turner, and some others of these people, started out
on horseback to begin the settlement of White Creek, now Salem, in
Washington County, New York in what was called Turner's Patent.