William C. Merritt

G. S. Merritt's notes
Fredrickson GedCom
Charles E. Merritt line
My Thoughts

Although Emmett P. Merritt in most of his earlier records stated that there was no known connection between our line and the William Merritt who is buried in Amenia NY, other's have thought differently.  Many researchers consider him to be the father of our Ancestor Gilbert Merritt of Carmel.  On this page I will share all of the notes and evidence that I or Emmett P. Merritt have collected. If, after you've read all these notes you want to know my opinion go to the MY THOUGHTS page on the menu to the left.

See William's Will at the Very bottom of this Page

William C. Merritt of Amenia: 
(1712   -  March 21 1807)

See his headstone

What is the evidence that he was the father of  Gilbert Merritt of Carmel our Revolutionary war ancestor? 

  Also in question:  Was this William of Amenia a  descendent of the Merritts of Rye or did he come from the UK (or  Scotland) ? 
Proposed Ancestry

2. SAMUEL MERRITT  1672- ? of Rye NY
3. WILLIAM  1712-1807 of Amenia NY
(Sons: Cornby, Gilbert(below),
 Samuel, Ebenezer, and Jesse)

4. GILBERT MERRITT 1754-1824 of Carmel NY
Our Ancestor

Was William Merritt the son of Samuel Merritt of Rye?

It was my grandfather  Emmett P. Merritt's opinion that many researchers believed William of Amenia to be a Descendent of Samuel Merritt of Rye due to the Records of Douglas Merritt in his "Revised Merritt Records".  Emmett and Marjorie were doubtful and  felt that Douglas was confused when he said that William,  son of Samuel of Rye,  was the same William who filed his will at Amenia, and who had sons Cornby and Gilbert, Their reasoning was that in the Douglas Merritt records  William son of Samuel is only given two sons: Cornby and Gilbert, and the other children listed in William of Amenia's will are not attributed to William son of Samuel. I don't know if this is true because I have not seen Douglas Merritt's book myself.   It is true and verifiable that there was a Samuel Merritt of Rye, (Westchester County) who had a son named William but there is much  debate as to whether or not the two Williams were one and the same. 
    Gilbert S. Merritt in his letter
(which is copied here, discussed below,  and can be accessed by  going to the G.S. Merrit link on the menu to the left) discusses William's  potential origins in  considerable detail. Please take the time to read this correspondence as it is very very interesting. 

What did Emmett P. Merritt Think of William?
This is not a simple question to answer.  Emmett always regularly and consistently provided relatives with the information that  Gilbert of Carmel was a son of Gilbert Merritt Esquire of Rye NY who in turn was the son or Grandson of an  Andrew Merritt of Rye. This theory is clearly, and as far as I can tell,  solely  based upon Pelleatreu's history of Putnam county which attributed  that ancestry to our Gilbert. It is of importance to note that there was another Gilbert Merritt who lived the same approximate years as our Gilbert, and it is apparent that these two Gilbert's were often easily confused by researchers and historians. See a gedcom on the web that includes this Gilbert 

What is clear is that Emmett knew of William's existence for years  and came across his name frequently in books and from other researchers who who were searching for the father of Gilbert Merritt of Carmel. It is my belief that he did not actually retrieve William's will until the late 1970's, I can't say this with certainty- it is just a feeling I have from reading his notebooks.

In the later years of  his research it appears Emmett may have been wavering back and forth as to the parentage of Gilbert. However, because of notes which are contradictory it remains impossible to ascertain conclusively what he thought. I found one note for example, written on a small notepad stating that he 'may have found Gilbert's father'. Underneath this message he copied the will of William C. Merritt.    

In the very last year of his life he had received a letter (Sept of 1985) from a Marjorie Bullock, (also a descendent of Gilbert of Carmel through Gilbert Merritt of Greene county and Fanny Eighmey), questioning him about the possiblity of William C. Merritt being Gilbert's father. (See copy of the letter).  His wife Marjorie began notations for the composing of  a letter in response.  The notes she took were on scraps of paper that were placed in an envelope that included an outline of the line as EPM had always given it (Gilbert being the son of Gilbert Merritt  Esq..etc) as well as the notation below. 

She wrote the following note: 
" We feel quite certain that Wm C. Merritt son of Samuel, will at Poughkeepsie, is indeed the father of Gilbert of Carmel.  Samuel,  mentioned in Douglass Merritt records sold a lot to Humphrey Underhill, (his father in law, wife Sarah, daughter Elizabeth) Samuel Meritt and wife Elizabeth according to Douglas Merritt had following children: 1. William C. b 1712 d. 1807, 2. George b 1711 d 1759, 3. David d 1751.  Some years ago, Emmett Contacted Mrs. Chas Edward Merritt, (See Mrs Charles Merritt's work discussd below) a genealogist living at Marlboro,NY , who traced her husbands genealogy.  She was of the opinion that Wm C. (will at Poughkeepsie) was a son of Samuel, brother of George who was the ancestor of her husband. 

Evidence from other researchers

Gilbert S. Merritt

The Genealogical Work of Gilbert S. Merritt who is mentioned by Marjorie Bullock in the above mentioned letter is often quoted by other Merritt researchers. He corresponded with Emmett in 1978, (to see the full extent of the very interesting notes he sent to  E.P., check the link to the left for G.S. Merritt's notes) (*he makes a comment on The Gilbert Merritt who is mentioned as the son of Gilbert Merritt Esquire) It appears that Gil S.  was also a descendent of Gilbert of Carmel, and I believe he is the one who wrote the book "From Whence these Stones" (1982)....but I need to verify this.

The Lineage he gives is as follows 
            1. Thomas Merritt 1634-1725 in 
            2. Samuel 1672-?
3. William 1712-1807 
William d Mar 21, 1807 age 95 Wife Elizabeth
Children: named in sequence of the will
Gilbert 1533/4-Mar 4, 1824, 
Ebenezer, 1762/63- Dec 31, 1819 age 56, note see the work of Carroll Fredrickson below who gives a much later death date of 1850 for Ebenezer,  Also note there was an Ebenezer who moved to Catskill, who may fit in somehow, and a Samuel Merritt who lived in  Windham Greene County during the 1810 census
Mary, d 1845 married first Richard Cornwell, 2nd Abel Butler, she was called Granny butler (for more on Mary see C.E. Merritt line information on the link to the left)
Elizabeth1774/75 -Nov 10, 1868

Carroll Fredrickson's LDS Gedcom
 12140 44TH AVENUE
 USA 53142 

An individual by the name of  Carroll Fredrickson submitted a Merritt Genealogy to the LDS sometime since 1978.  It was this Gedcom that first alerted me to the idea of William being Gilbert's father. This Gedcom can be seen at the LDS Familysearch site by searching for William Merritt. I don't know if Carroll's source was Gilbert S. Merritt's work, as I have not seen the book in question, but it does include some of the same information.   The gedcom states that William Merritt,  son of Samuel Merritt, was the father of our Gilbert Merritt of Carmel.  Although many of the lines correspond well with what others have said there are serious discrepencies in this Gedcom and I do not think that it is as reliable as the Gilbert S. Merritt's work that I have included here. I'm not sure what his/her sources were but I would say, all and all it is a  very interesting Ged-Com if what it proposes is true.  It gives William of Amenia the same children as Gilbert S. Merritt's records but adds an unknown first wife with three earlier Children: Elisha Elijah, Hackaliah, and Joseph.  It also says that  William's 2nd wife's full name was Tamer Cornbury (as Marjorie Bullock's letter stated. The source of this name is a very big mystery which I, as of yet, have not solved.  Where does  this name Tamer and the surname Cornbury come from?????   At any rate, if you follow the link to the left I give you the information as it was sent to LDS...judge for yourself

Genealogical Work of Mrs. Charles E. Merritt

    Mrs Charles E. Merrit was a genealogist who worked on her husbands line. Her work is in the genealogical library in New York City and is often quoted by Merritt researchers.  Her husband Charles was descended from a George Merritt who was reportedly the son of Samuel Merritt of Rye NY and a brother of William Merritt. It was her belief that this William Merritt was indeed the William Merritt of Amenia.     Mr. & Mrs. Charles E. Merritt lived for many years in Marlboro NY where they owned a grocery store, and later she relocated to Utica NY.  
    Charles's line was tied in with many Merritt's of Orange County who do not tie into our line.  On July 4, 1938 she sent a letter to Emmett P. Merritt which stated that it was possible that William of Amenia was son of Samuel Merritt of Rye as discussed above.  She talks about the Mary Merritt who became known as "Granny Butler". It is she who makes the claim that this Mary was the daughter of William. Mary  married for her first husband a Cromwell and for her second a gentleman named Abel butler.  It was said about Mary that she was of Scottish descent.  See Gilbert S. Merritt's work for more information on the Scottish question. See the 1938 letter of Mrs. Charles E. Meritt by selecting her link on the menu to the left

Misc. Evidence to take into consideration: 
From Douglas Meritt's Revised Merritt Records:  1916, Douglas Merritt of Rhinebeck, NY. Publisher: Tobias A. Wright, (copied by Emmett P. Merritt).  I have yet to check out this source myself to verify the accuracy of the notes given below which were taken by Emmett P. Merritt

Samuel Merritt
Bought land at white Plains on Nov 27, 1713, was on the Grand Jury in 1717 and also bought land for his brother Thomas at White Plains on March 21, 1720. Samuel bought land from Joseph Budd, Jan 18, 1723. Granted a lot to Umphrey Underhill who released the claim May 20, 1722. Samuel was trieed and imprisioned as a tory June 15, 1776, released on parole Aug 18, 1776
children: (see letter of Mrs Charles E. Merritt for more info on this Samuel)
William C. b 1712 d 03/21/1807 married Elizabeth
George b 04/23/1711 d 02/02/1759
David b? d. 1751
William C. Merritt
Son of ? made will at Amenia, NY10/27/1806 b 1711 or 12 m Elizabeth who died  03/30 1806 age 83y
Children: Cornby
, Gilbert, Samuel, Ebenezer, Jesse, Mary

Various other Merritts of  Dutchess/Putnam county in revised records whose relation to William is unknown or mentioned by others as being related

Ebenezer Merritt,
son of ? married Keizer Clapp he was in the Rev war settled in the town of Northeast. 
Ebenezer living in Northeast and  having a son born in Amenia seems a good candidate for being William C. Merritt's son, though the most common information on Ebenezer son of William is that he married an Edith Brown who was born 1765 in Dutchess county and the relocated to Bainbridge, Chenango Co.  He than moved to Coeymans Hollow in Albany Co, NY. where he died in 1809 
John b. May 4, 1781 at Amenia NY d may 1850. He marrried Elizabeth Hill and together they had Chauncey b 11/12/1811 d 1879 lived at Prattsburgh, Sarah b 10/17/1813, Eliza b 12/21/1813, Emma J.b. 04/16/1817, Van Renssalear b08/15/1819 moved to Kansas, John b. 05/24/1821 d 01/11/1878, Alanson b 11/25/1823 moved to Italy NY, Lafayette b 12/03/1826. John and his wife moved to Yates county in 1827 and died at Jerusalem NY.
Ephriam b1792. he married Hannah Ritton. He moved from Poughkeepsie to Yates Co. about 1827 and d in Barrington. children: Morgann b. 10/01/1816, Peter A. b 11/15/1818, Rachel ann b 08/12/1820, Cherlotte b 04/20/1822, Enos b 11/15/1824
Ebenezer: Settled on the Delaware river
Peter: Settled in Penn.

Elijah Merritt  
son of ?, married a widow of Tompkins.  Elijah lived in Barnstable Co. mass
Elisha born Jan 23 1769 who married Desire Fuller. (Carroll Fredrickson has Elisha as the son of Hackaliah son of William C. Merritt of Amenia) Desire was  the daughter of Capt. Nathan Fuller. and was b. Sept 30 1775. 
Lived at Carmel, Putnam Co. N.Y. Their children were: Hackaliah b  04/08/1794: moved to LaSalle Ill., Elijah b 11/09/1796: Lived in Putnam Co. in 1834 and moved to Peru Ill, Nathan b 11/14/1799, Nehemiah b 02/19/1802 moved to Peru Ill. and d in Afton Springs Iowa, Joseph b 07/02/1804, Daniel b 10/13/1806: moved to Peru Ill. , Martha b 03/17/1809, John b 02/13/1812: moved to Bloominton Ill, Stephen b 07/18/1814 Moved to Bloomington Ill 1934, Elisha Cole b 01/12/1818 moved to Peekskill NY
Nehemiah: Went to Lake Champlain country and settled
Polly: married a Griffin

Will of William C. Merritt

William Merritt's Will, Poughkeepsie Surrogates office Liber C, Page 75
made Oct 27, 1806, Prove Apr 2, 1802

"In the name of God amen, I William Merritt of the Town of Amenia, County of Dutchess and State of New York, being sick in body but sound in mind and memory do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in the manner following, that is to say after paying all my just debts and other charges and expenses in the execution of this my last Will I give and bequeath all my estate to the following persons viz. first I bequeath unto my sons Cornby, Gilbert, Samuel, Ebenezer, and Jesse (except as hereafter excepted) each two twelths parts and the remainder I bequeath unto my daughters Mary and Elizabeth ach and equal share, that is to say, each of them one twelth part and further more I give and bequeath unto Daniel Cornwell on hundred and twenty five dollars in consideration of his kindness and attention to me in my old age and present sickness to be first paid and deducted out of my estate and the remainder divided as foresaid. It is also my Will and desire that all my goods and chattels, lands and tenements of every discription should be sold by my executors as soon after my decease as be consistent and most advantageous to the sale thereof and the proceeds paid over to the legatees as soon after it shall be collected as shall be demanded. I do also hereby appoint Elijah Roe and Alexander Neely of the Town, county and State aforesaid my sole executors of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former Wills by me made. In witness whereof I here unto set my hadn and seal the twenty seventh day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and six
William [x] Merritt
Witness P. Dunning his mark
John S. Sornburgher
Stephen Kirme