Revolutionary War Soldiers, Eaton’s Roots, and Col. Leland’s Sword.
This old sword is not some glamorous shiny thing… it is a real…used sword! Col. Leland was in the Revolutionary War as and Ensign under the Commission of George Washington, and the sword has been handed down to the eldest son from the Colonel’s death to today! How cool is that. The current owner is Richard Leland of Malta, New York, who is a friend and supporter of the museum. Many of the Revolutionary Soldiers who settled this area served under George Washington including Leland and Col. William Smith.
The Leland story actually starts with Col. William S. Smith who served under Washington and married Abigail “Nabby” Adams (President John Adams daughter) and lived in “Smith’s Valley. Joshua purchased the property, which became Eaton from him, and the original document is framed at the Madison County Clerk’s Office. The document on sheepskin has been preserved and has a back-story of its own. This deed is dated July 2, 1795, and was recorded by Albert F. Devitt, Madison County clerk, July 2, 1926, just 131 years after it was dated!
|Step to Col. Smith’s Farm house in Smith’s Valley|
But back to the “sword”. The Col. it is said used to also help drill troops that were the early Militia here. Most people don’t realize the local Militia’s were active at the time since the War of 1812 was pending and people were still required to form to protect and serve..the Col. died in 1816. Of interest to me was that our wonderful Madison County Records Manager – Kevin Orr has found some information for the museum that confirms my belief that Smith family members lived in the Eaton side…John Adams Smith and his wife Ann are listed in deeds for Eaton, among others.
These 1812 Militia members drilled in the flats between Eaton and Hamilton and cannon balls have actually been found on the hills between.