Tuesday, July 17, 2012

EPHRAIM CHILD 1711-1775


[Ancestral Link: Lura Minnie Parker (Stagge), daughter of Minnie May Elmer (Parker), daughter of Mark Alfred Elmer, son of Hannah Polina Child (Elmer), daughter of Alfred Bosworth Child, son of Mark Anthony Child, son of Increase Child, son of Ephraim Child.]










Ephraim Child Jr. was born on January 15, 1711 in the village of East Woodstock, Woodstock Township, Winsham County, Connecticut.  Ephraim Jr. was the first of ten children born to Ephraim and Priscilla Harris Child.  He most likely received his father's name because he was not only his eldest son, but also due to the fact that various uncles were given this name in the past.  Because Ephraim Jr. was the eldest son, he would have learned in his early youth the responsibilities of caring for siblings and setting an example for them.  Although he had four brothers and five sister that spanned a sixteen-year period (1711-1727), it appears that Ephraim was closest to his brother Daniel, who was not only two years younger than him, but also lived next door to him his entire life.

Ephraim Jr. was raised in a log cabin that was built by his father on his 100-acre farm that was surrounded by the dense wilderness region of the Connecticut frontier.  At the time, Woodstock was considered the fringe of the civilized region of the New England Colonies.  As a result, Ephraim Jr. was raised in a primitive environment, where long hours of hard work were required to clear the wooded areas of trees, in order to plant the needed crops for survival.  Nevertheless, Ephraim Jr. and his siblings all received a good education, where they were taught in the strictest Puritan training of their day, especially that of a religious nature.  These siblings all attended church services with the Child family at the Congregational Church on Woodstock Hill, where the records reveal that they were all baptized by the pastor of the church Reverend Josiah Dwight.

Mansion Home of Captain Benjamin Child
with Sawhill Foundation, Connecticut

At a young age, Ephraim Jr. started working at the Child family sawmill, where he became a master craftsman with wood.  He learned many skills of the trade as a teenager while helping his father build many of the three-story framed houses in East Woodstock, which are referred to in deeds as "mansion" homes.  This early opportunity provided him with the proficiency and expertise that he would later use throughout his life as a carpenter and builder.  As Ephraim Jr. progressed into his twenties, he polished and refined his construction skills by helping his father and uncles build their own mansion homes during the 1730.

Mansion Home of Lt. John Child
built in 1730s, West Woodstock, Connecticut

The early records of Woodstock reveal that when a big project arose within the Child family, such as building a home, all of the able-bodied males of the family came together and pitched in their labor as a whole.  It appears that there was a pecking order of seniority within the family, which started with Lt. John, to his nephew Ephraim Sr., followed by the six younger brothers, until it came to the eldest son Ephraim Jr., and so forth.  Consequently, when the brothers of Ephraim Sr. were old enough to move from Roxbury to Woodstock, these younger siblings moved into the existing Child log cabins.  This provided the younger siblings with places that were already settled, while the older siblings expanded into newly framed dwellings.  Similarly, when Lt. John moved into his mansion in West Woodstock in 1733, his son Jacob moved into the old homestead in South Woodstock.  In addition, the deeds indicate a similar pattern for Daniel, the second son of Ephraim Sr., who moved into his uncle Richard's log cabin after the brothers completed the construction of his mansion home during the late 1730s. 

Mansion Home of Lt. Ebenezer Child
built in 1740s, Woodstock, Connecticut

The fact that the Ephraim Sr. and Benjamin IV owned a sawmill, along with a family network of able bodies for labor, allowed the Child family in Woodstock to prosper exceedingly by selling lumber and building mansion homes.  By the early 1740s, the Child network of brothers and cousins had built mansion homes for all of the brothers of Ephraim Sr. who had originally settled in East Woodstock.  It is around this time period that his son Ephraim Jr. had acquired a good reputation for his construction skills, where he continued to build mansion homes for the Child family.  This system of united labor on big projects by brothers and extended relatives continued to be employed by the Child family during the 1740s and 1750s, when mansion homes were built for Ephraim Jr. and all of his younger brothers as well.  Many of these mansion homes are still standing today, which serve as a witness to their excellent construction, such as the home of Ephraim's brother, Captain Henry Child.

Mansion Home of Captain Henry Child
built in the 1750s, Woodstock, Connecticut

During the early 1730s, when Ephraim Jr. was assisting his father and uncle build their mansion homes, he began courting his future wife from the neighboring Lyon family, who lived just south of his father's 100-acre farm.  The Lyons were some of the original settlers of Woodstock Hill in 1686, and were considered one of the most prominent families of this region.  Thus, at the age of twenty-three Ephraim Jr. started his own family by marrying his neighbor Mary Lyon on June 20, 1734.  Even though this marriage signified the commencement of a new life for Ephraim Jr., he still continued to help his family build their mansion homes.

It is during this time period when Ephraim Jr. settled a farm that is located about one mile north of his father's estate in East Woodstock.  The road that passed south of his property running east-west, was named Child Dome Road, which still retains the name today.  The designation of this road took its name from the "domed" hill that the Ephraim Child Jr. farm was situated upon.

Child Dome Road Street Sign
One Mile North of East Woodstock, Connecticut


Map of Ancestral Locations in Woodstock
linked to Ephraim Child Jr.
Ephraim's uncle Richard Child first settled this wooded area during the late 1720s, when he and his relatives had carried out the backbreaking work of clearing the land with their axes.  In addition, parts of this hill were owned by Ephraim Sr., who eventually sold lots to his eldest two sons, Ephraim Jr. and Daniel, to help establish themselves in this region.  By the late 1730s, these two brothers lived in log cabins on Child Dome Hill, within the proximity of their uncle Richard, who was finally enjoying the comforts of a mansion home.  Nonetheless, after a decade of establishing a farm within a meager lifestyle, the pecking order had finally fallen on Ephraim Jr., and it was his time to build a mansion home.

Mansion Home of Lieutenant Ephraim Child Jr.
built in 1740s, Woodstock, Connecticut
In the late 1740s, Ephraim Jr. and the extended family built his mansion home on the west end of Child Dome Road.  What is interesting about this mansion home is the fact that its style is clearly different from all of the other mansion homes that were built for the Child relatives.  Although the layout of this house followed the typical parameters of a mansion home, including three stories and five anterior-top windows, the form of this house is more narrow, so that a "cape cod" lateral unit would blend in.  This cape cod style consisted of three dormer windows on a vertically pitched roof, along with a second row of higher level windows that not only extended the height of the first floor, but also allowed more light to penetrate the interior area.  As a result, Ephraim's house is a rare mix between two house styles of its era: a mansion home that is laterally adjoined with a cape cod style.  The blending of these two house designs not only shows the ability and ingenuity of Ephraim's construction skills, but also sets him apart as a creative builder for his time period.

Cape Cod Blend of Lt. Ephraim Child Jr
built in 1740s, Woodstock, Connecticut
It is in the hillock region of Child Dome where Ephraim Jr. started buying the surrounding acreages of property from his father Ephraim Sr., his uncle Richard, and neighboring friends.  Within a few decades of first settling the northern area of East Woodstock, Ephraim Jr. had purchased two hundred and sixty-nine acres of land, thus establishing a very prosperous farm. 

Lt. Ephraim Child Jr. Homestead and 269-acre Farm
Woodstock, Connecticut
The early journal entries of his grandson, the Honorable Salmon Child, give a good description of Ephraim Child's farm, which was "all enclosed with a good stonewall fence; it was bounded on the east, south, and west by roads.  On the east and west sides of the farm there were comfortable farm buildings with good orchards."

The fact that the Ephraim Child Jr. farm was bounded on three of its four sides by roads has made it easier to identify this 269-acre estate today.  All of the early maps illustrate these three roads in the Child Dome area, especially the 1773 map that was produced by Nathaniel Child, Esq. and Captain Elisha Child, illustrating the original allotments of northeastern Woodstock.  Because the early land deeds of the Ephraim Child Jr. farm disclose both the lot numbers and their acreage totals, it is possible to identify the exact location of his estate.
Original Allotments of NE Woodstock
Yellow = 269 Acres Ephraim Jr.
In addition, later maps started including the location of households in relation to roads and farms, along with the names of each owner.  The 1856 map of Woodstock pinpoints the precise location of each house.  Because Ephraim Jr. died before he had officially bequeathed his estate on a legally binding deed to any of his offspring, none of the remaining children who lived on the property could be isolated and named as the sole inheritor and owner of the estate.  As a result, the 1856 map of the households of Woodstock, which was partly created from the deeds that named each owner of the property, does not reveal an individual or sole proprietor of his estate.  This map indicates that the Ephraim Child Jr. estate had been left to his heirs and clearly illustrates the location of his household, which corresponds with earlier maps and descriptions of his estate, as "E. Child's Heirs."

Location of Ephraim Child Jr. Home on 1856 Map
NE Woodstock

Although Ephraim Jr. and Mary Lyon Child had prospered abundantly and were able to move from a log cabin with no land to a stylistic mansion house on a 269-acre estate, they were not without their major trials and tribulations.  In the first decade of their marriage, Ephraim Jr. and Mary lived a simplistic lifestyle, where all of their children were born in a log cabin.  By the time that Mary had given birth to three healthy children, the eldest being a daughter followed by two sons, no one would have known that the next child would be their last.  When their fourth child was born in the spring of 1745, Mary was still at the young age of 32 years old and encountered apparent complications in the delivery that changed this Child bloodline forever.

The heartbreaking account of this hardship is written in the journal of Ephraim's grandson, the Honorable Salmon Child, who not only witnessed this ordeal first-hand, but also heard many accounts from his father Captain Increase Child.  This journal records, "My grandmother who was from a very respectable family of the name of Lyon, in a long fit of sickness that followed the birth of her youngest child, though finally restored to health of body was ever after partially deranged so far that though she outlived her companion was no longer a helpmate, not being capable of taking charge of the family but frequently needing the oversight of others."

Although the doctors from this time period were never able to properly diagnose what had happened to Mary Lyon Child, from the information that is provided from this account, it appears that her symptoms coincide with what doctors refer to today as postpartum dementia.  This condition is much different than the common medical syndrome that is widely known as postpartum depression, because of its long-term effects and its uncommonness.  Doctors still do not know what brings about this condition, except that something occurs during childbirth that affects the frontal-temporal lobe of the brain and causes degenerative dementia.  When these incidents occur, most women never fully recover from this syndrome, which impairs their judgment and ability to function in a normal state.  Hence, this was the case with Mary Lyon Child after she gave birth to her last child at the age of thirty-two.
Children of Lt. Ephraim Jr. and Mary Lyon Child
What is even more disheartening is the fact that her daughter Theoda, who was born during this ordeal, passed away at the age of three and a half during the winter of 1748.  Ephraim Jr. must have lost all hope at this point, because he not only lost his wife mentally as a helpmate, but also lost the daughter where if she could have survived, would have turned this tragedy into a sacrifice and made it bearable to the slightest degree.  Nevertheless, we know that this was not the case, because Ephraim Child Jr. suffered much anguish over this calamity, for his grandson revealed that, "this trial of our venerable ancestor had been patiently endured and in some measure mitigated" however, "the change that took place in Ephraim's family was a source of mental suffering as long as he lived."

While there were many changes that occurred in Ephraim's life due to this tragedy, one change that he endured on a social level clearly brought about a degree of suffering for him.  Because Ephraim Jr. was the eldest son of a large family that was well established and prominent in the community of Woodstock, more responsibility would have been placed upon his shoulders in representing the head of the Child family.  In addition, because the British laws of primogeniture were still in place within the colonies at that time, Ephraim Jr. not only represented the Child family in Woodstock, but also represented the bloodline of his great grandfather Benjamin II, which was the patriarch's lineage of America for the Child family.  This resulted from the head responsibilities that fell on the primogenitor sons of the five generations of Ephraim Jr., Ephraim Sr., Benjamin III, Benjamin II, and Benjamin I.
Ascendant Line of Ephraim Child Jr.
as the Primogenitor Representative

This mental anguish that Ephraim Jr. suffered over this transfer of responsibility is evident in the journal of his grandson Salmon, who stated that, "this stroke of Divine Providence not only deprived him of an excellent housekeeper but those social conferences that the events of almost every day existed in which the mutual interest of the whole family are concerned and which would frequently be perplexing to either of the heads of family were they left alone, one to whom they could embosom the conflicting struggles of the soul."  Because Ephraim's predicament hindered him in the social demands of primogeniture, it appears that the head responsibilities fell upon his younger brother Captain Elisha Child, Esq., who soon after moved into his father's mansion house.  This is most likely the reason why the 100-acre estate and original homestead of Ephraim Sr. was bequeathed to Elisha and not to his eldest son Ephraim Jr.  In addition, while Ephraim Sr. represented the Child family as a commissioner and legislator on many civic councils, committees, and governing boards in the early 1700s, this familial representation was filled by his younger son Elisha during the late 1700s, instead of his eldest son Ephraim Jr.  While this tragedy brought about much suffering in the Ephraim Child family, there is no doubt that it happened for a reason and that it altered the course of this Child bloodline forever.

After Ephraim Jr. had recovered somewhat from the family misfortunes of the 1740s, hostilities broke out between France and England during the 1750s, and resulted in the French-Indian War (1754-1760).  The first shots were fired in 1754 within the disputed territory of the Ohio River valley, commanded by a Virginia militia officer named Lieutenant Colonel George Washington.  Around this time period, legislators had passed laws requiring the colonies to provide part-time militia called "provincials" to assist the permanent army of redcoats called "regulars" in defending the four most vulnerable borders between the French and British Colonies.  One of these borders stretched east to west through upstate New York, which ran between the British stronghold of Fort Frederick in the Albany valley on the south and the French stronghold of Fort St. Frederic in the Champlain valley on the north.

Map of Woodstock's March to the Continental Key
French-Indian War

It is interesting to note that this border region in upstate New York became the primary focal point in the French-Indian War because of its strategic location between two major bodies of water: Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.  This bottleneck region has been referred to as the "key to the continent" because Lake Champlain extended north into the colonies of New France (Canada), while the Hudson River extended south into the British trading port of New York City.  Because roads had yet to be built through this densely forested area, the rivers and lakes served as super highways during the colonial period in  upstate New York.  As a result, whoever commanded the tactical locale of the "key to the continent" would have ultimate control over the aquatic flow of traffic, communication, and exchange within the New England Colonies.

Key to the Continent
Strategic South End of Lake Champlain, New York
In 1755, the colonies were required to provide provincial troops to defend several borders, where the Albany-Champlain border required the highest number of recruits consisting of 3,500 men.  The colony of Connecticut was required to send 1,000 provincials, which was supported by the township of Woodstock by fulfilling their quota of sending several companies to upstate New York.  At the start of the war, Ephraim Child Jr. served as an officer (Ensign) in Connecticut's 3rd Regiment of Woodstock's Company C, which is listed as one of the regiments that marched to Albany, New York in 1755.  Soon after, the records reveal that he had been promoted to Lieutenant, which indicates his involvement in this war.

While Ephraim Jr. served as an officer in the Connecticut Militia before the commencement of the French-Indian War, he would have been committed and required to serve when war officially broke out.  In fact, this is how the National Guard was created, where state militias were put on reserve and required to respond on short notice.  Because the militia commitment of Ephraim Child Jr. would have required his military service regardless of his extenuating family circumstances, this signified that he would have had to make arrangements for his family during the summer and fall of 1755.  It is most likely that his children stayed with their grandfather Ephraim Sr., while their mother Mary Lyon Child was either looked after there as well, or was taken care of by the Lyon family.

Former Fort Carillon (French
and Later Fort Ticonderoga (British), New York

The provincial soldiers from Woodstock marched over 220 miles to upstate New York, after first marching to Hartford to meet the other companies from Connecticut that would make up this new regiment.  The 1,000 men that formed this regiment then marched to Albany, where they joined other colonial regiments, thus totaling about 3,000 soldiers.  After strengthening Fort Frederick at Albany, the provincials from Woodstock marched up the Hudson River with Lieutenant Colonel Johnson and 2,000 soldiers, with the purpose of establishing new fortifications at strategic locations along two waterways: Ford Edward on the northern most reaches of the Hudson River and Fort William Henry on the southern part of Lake George.  While British interest were advancing northward, French interests were advancing southward, with the new construction of Fort Carillon on Lake Champlain, about fifteen miles south of Fort St. Frederic.  As a result, both the British and the French each maintained two strongholds along the water highway of the key to the continent.

Former Fort St. Frederic (French)
and Later Crown Point (British), New York

Within a few months, the first skirmish took place, known as the Battle of Lake George, involving the provincials that marched from Woodstock.  On September 8, 1755, more than 1,000 French forces moved down to the south end of Lake George on flat-bottomed rowboats.  Although they found that the British had fortified against attack, the French proceeded with an assault that lasted several hours, until they began to lose ground.  The British provincials seized the moment and launched a counter attack, in which they captured the wounded French commander.  The remaining French troops withdrew and returned back to their two strongholds in the north.

There are no details of the involvement of Lieutenant Ephraim Child Jr. in this campaign, as to whether he fought in the battle, arrived later with reinforcements, or stayed back to supply the regiment.  Nonetheless, after reinforcements arrived, a few of the provincials returned back to Woodstock, while many of them stayed in New York through the winter.  Because of Ephraim's commitment to his family in Woodstock, he would have left as soon as possible.  This was likely the only campaign that Ephraim Jr. took part in during the French-Indian War, due to the fact that his name does not appear in any of the subsequent Muster Rolls, only that he had been promoted to a Lieutenant.

While the French-Indian War was occurring in the 1750s, a different battle had been brewing in Woodstock, where the Congregational Church on Woodstock Hill had divided into two factions, based on disputes over two platforms of church government.  Because the groups were so far split and could not reach a mutual compromise, the assembly in which the pastor was sided made a decision to break away and establish a new church in the northern part of Woodstock.  As a result, Reverend Abel Stiles left the Congregational Church on Woodstock Hill in 1760, and took the records with him to East Woodstock, where they met for services in the home of Captain Benjamin Child IV.  In the meantime, the assembly held a meeting where they decided to build a new church and burying ground.  Although a new chapel had been established in East Woodstock, this Congregational Church was still considered the First Church of Woodstock due to the fact that the congregation retained the original records.
Congregational Church of East Woodstock, Connecticut
Established in 1760
The new church was built by raising money from the prominent families of East Woodstock, where the majority of land and money was donated by the Child families.  Ephraim's seventeen-year old son Asa donated the highest amount of 100 pounds, on behalf of the Ephraim Child Jr. family.  In addition, the influence of the Child family is evident due to the fact that the new church was built on the land of Captain Benjamin Child IV, while the new burying ground was erected on the land of Ephraim Child Sr.  Five people were selected to build the church, where Lieutenant Ephraim Child Jr. was chosen as the head builder, and was the only one who "received a price beyond common laborers."  The fact that Ephraim Jr. was paid very well for his services not only reveals his construction abilities and skills, but also indicates the respect and demand that his peers had for his building knowledge.
Pew Assignments
for the Congregationalist Church of East Woodstock
The new church was completed in 1763, with pews that were assigned to all of the prominent families of East Woodstock.  It is interesting to note that there were more pews assigned to the Child family than any other family, which clearly indicates the eminence and influence of this family in this region.  In addition, out of the eight Child pews that were assigned, five of them stem from the lineage of Ephraim Child Sr., where the other three pews stem from the lineages of his two younger brothers Benjamin IV and William.  Thus, just as the majority of pews represent the prominence of the Child family in East Woodstock, the same can be said for the majority of Ephraim's pews, which signify the primary influence of this one Child lineage for this region.

In addition to building the new Congregational Church in East Woodstock, Ephraim Child Jr. built the pastor's home as well, for the tradition of the day was to provide a home for the paid minister.  After Reverend Abel Stiles moved into his new home in 1763, he continued to preach to the congregation for the next twenty years, until his death in 1783. During this time period, his nephew Ezra Stiles, who served as the President of Yale College (1777-1795), visited East Woodstock many times and preached at the pulpit of his uncle Abel.
List of child Family Names from Connecticut
in the Revolutionary War
By the time the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, the inhabitants of the colonies were divided into two camps: Tories, who supported British interests, and Whigs, who were opposed to British authority.  The vast majority of the citizens of Woodstock were considered Whigs and supported Boston in boycotting British goods.  It is evident that all of the members of the Child family in the colonies were Whigs, due to the fact that 36 Child relatives from Connecticut fought in the Revolutionary War, where twenty-three were from Woodstock.  It is interesting to note that there were more than 160 revolutionary soldiers from the Child family in the Massachusetts Colony who fought for the cause of independence.  Furthermore, it is even more staggering to realize that the Child family was engaged in this conflict from other colonies as well, due to the fact that they had migrated throughout the Americas during the past 150 years.  Thus, there were nearly 300 soldiers that bore the Child surname throughout the thirteen colonies that fought in the Revolutionary War.

When the alarm rang out through the colonies about the fighting that occurred at Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775, Woodstock raised five companies of provincials that immediately responded to the call for arms.  Of the 189 soldiers that made up these companies that marched to Boston, fifteen of them were from the Child family that had directly descended from Benjamin Child II.  Although the records of Woodstock reveal that Lieutenant Ephraim Child Jr. fought in the Revolutionary War, there are no specifics as to which campaigns he was directly involved in.  Because his son Lieutenant Asa Child was still living with him at the time, it is possible that Lieutenant Ephraim Jr. assisted his son in his orders to transport food and supplies to the troops who had been amassing in the Boston area, after the Lexington alarm.  In many cases, officers were expected to use their own equipment to further the cause of independence, such as horses and wagons, in which they were never reimbursed.  This was clearly the case with Lieutenant Ephraim child Jr. and his son Lieutenant Asa child, because the journal entry of his grandson relates that, "he engaged a great number of teams (wagons) at his own wish to forward military baggage and stores from Boston to New York on the Hudson River, and the government failing to pay him, he was stripped of all in paying off those he had employed."

By end of May 1775, the militia had swelled to about 17,000 soldiers in Boston, while British reinforcements arrived daily.  The tension grew between the militia and the British until a climatic clash broke out at Breed's or Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.  Early records reveal that some of the militiamen from Woodstock took part in the skirmish, which included Child family members, including Ephraim's cousin Colonel Jonathan Child, along with Ebenezer Child Jr. who was "reported killed at Bunker Hill."  When the smoke had cleared, the British losses included 228 killed and 800 wounded, while the American losses included 100 killed and 270 wounded.  Because there is no complete record of all the names of those who fought in this battle, it is difficult to know whether Lieutenant Ephraim Child Jr. participated or not, due to the fact that he was present in Boston during that time period.  What is known, however, is that he died shortly afterwards.

East Woodstock Cemetery
Possible Burial of Lt. Ephraim Child Jr.
The vital records of Woodstock record that Lieutenant Ephraim Child Jr. died on September 12, 1775, while in service.  In addition, the reason there is no record of any tombstone for Ephraim Jr. in the East Woodstock Cemetery also remains a mystery, for the tombstones in this region are in excellent condition and have been identified for nearly all the kindred of the Child family.  Nevertheless, there is one tombstone in the East Woodstock Cemetery that has been mostly defaced that still bears a Child name on it, which could be a burial marker for Lieutenant Ephraim Child Jr.

Possible Tombstone Markers of Lt. Ephraim Child Jr.

Because the shape of this tombstone stylistically dates to the time period, along with the fact that it was erected next to the 1771 grave of Captain Benjamin Child IV, opens the inquiry for this possibility.  In addition, because the first part of the Revolutionary War was so chaotic and unorganized, various soldiers from Woodstock who died in the early stages of this war were entombed in a mass grave in Jamaica Plains and never received a proper burial to mark their grave sites.  Hence, if Ephraim Child Jr. died in service while in the Boston area, then the possibility exists that he was buried in Jamaica Plains in Roxbury Township, where his grandfather Benjamin Child III was previously laid to rest.  As it stands, the location and cause of death will likely remain unknown for Ephraim Child Jr.  What is essential to remember is the fact that he gave his life in the service of his country during the Revolutionary War.  Whether he was wounded and died at a later date or simply passed away from the infirmities that were inflicted upon his 64-year old body from his response to supplying the troops in Boston, makes him a Revolutionary War hero.

In conclusion, Lieutenant Ephraim Child Jr. was the first in this ascendant bloodline to be born and raised in Woodstock, Connecticut.  Although he started his life in very humble and primitive circumstances, he prospered exceedingly as a builder, where he constructed a church and many homes for his Child relatives.  The course of his bloodline was forever changed with a postpartum illness that struck his wife Mary Lyon Child that left her "partially deranged," thus placing an incredible burden on Ephraim Jr. because of her incapability to care for the children.  No matter how tragic this circumstance was, it is evident that Ephraim Jr. never murmured against the Lord, but rather bore these trials with great patience, even in the face of insurmountable suffering.  It is evident that the heart of Ephraim Jr. did not grow hard from this trial, nor did his spirit become numb to allow bitterness to tear down his family, but rather (in the words of his grandson Salmon) "he bore the reputation of an honest, industrious, and pious man.  From my recollections of him I have supposed him to be one of the most sedate, careful, and affectionate of men."  The moral character of Ephraim's puritan upbringing not only influenced those he came in contact with, but also was the driving force behind his decision to fight in the French-Indian and Revolutionary Wars.  This final act of unselfish love brought about the greatest sacrifice that Lieutenant Ephraim Child Jr. offered upon the table of patriotism, that of his own life in exchange for the establishment of religious freedom in order that the gospel could once again be restored upon the face of the earth.
Pages 255-275
"The Ancestry of Alfred Bosworth Child" Mark B. Child, Ph.D./Paul L. Child, D.D.S., 2008 printed by Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Ephraim Child was born in Woodstock, County of Windham, State of Connecticut. My grandfather was one of the early settlers of that town and a grandson of one of the three brothers (two brothers and a nephew) that emigrated from Wales (England) and settled at Roxbury near Boston in the early settlement of Massachusetts.

Grandfather Child (Ephraim) bore the reputation of an honest, industrious and pious man. From my recollection of him I have always supposed him to be one of the most sedate, careful and affectionate of men. He owned a good farm of 200 acres all enclosed with a good stonewall fence; it was bounded on the east, south and west by highways. On the east and west sides of the farm there were comfortable farm buildings with good orchards.

Having but two sons and one daughter and she well settled, he no doubt, from the information I have received, flattered himself that his children would continue near him the little time he had to remain, and his two sons in grateful remembrance of the toils he had endured in habitation, would gladly bear with the infirmities of his age and his spirits when the fading leaf and trembling limbs of Autumn were daily admonishing him that the winter of death was fast approaching. But Alas [the pious Godly man in whose prayers I trust we all have--and myself in particular--been benefited was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.

My grandmother who was from a very respectable family of the name of Lyon, in a long fit of sickness that followed the birth of her youngest child, though finally restored to health of body, was ever after partially deranged so far that though she outlived her companion was no longer an helpmate, not being capable of taking charge of the family but frequently needing the oversight of others -- not malicious or perverse but more inclined to be mischievous or sportive. This stroke of Divine Providence not only deprived him of an excellent housekeeper but those social conferences that the events of almost every day existed in which the mutual interest of the whole family are concerned and which would frequently be perplexing to either of the heads of a family were they left alone, one to whom they could unbosom the conflicting struggles of the soul. This trial of our venerable ancestor had been long patiently endured and in some measure mitigated.

My father was now settled on the east side of the farm or East Farm as was then contemplated, and his brother (Asa) married and took charge of the West Farm, where grandfather had always resided and grandmother living alternately at both places as she chose and being well taken care of and provided for at both, he was greatly relieved from that care and anxiety of mind that had worn upon him for years and afforded him leisure to visit a numerous circle of friends and relatives and be with his three children when he pleased, but this repose was of short duration. The change that took place in his family was a source of mental suffering as long as he lived, and gave direction to the events that have taken place in my father's family from that time to the present day are not communicated to you out of a disrespect to my kind and affectionate father; though in some instances they may have produced hardship yet in the end proved beneficial and led me to reflect more closely and understand the word of God more perfectly in the way that His word has directed us to walk and the duties He requires of us in every stage of life from childhood to the grave. And as they through the blessing of God have been useful to me, I humbly hope will at least do you no injury.
by Judge Salmon Child
found on childgenealogy.org

Ephraim Child Jr. was born in Woodstock, Windham Connecticut on January 15, 1711, the first child of Ephraim and Priscilla Harris Child.  On June 20, 1734 he married Mary Lyon, the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Phillips Lyon.  Mary was born September 10, 1712 at Woodstock, Connecticut.  They lived at Woodstock, Connecticut.

They were the parents of our children:

1. Priscilla Child born 1737, and married Jonathan Bacon.
2. Increase Child, born December 13, 1740, married at Woodstock November 3, 1762, Olive Pease, daughter of Daniel and Abigail Fletcher Pease.
3. Asa Child, born April 6, 1742 and married Elizabeth Murray, November 16, 1762.
4. Theoda Child, baptized April 7, 1745 and died December 12, 1748.

The town of Woodstock where these stalwart Child men and women first commenced their new homes, was seven miles long and five miles wide.  It was no prairie country, the tall trees had to be leveled.  Initially, the land these early farmers chose was wholly unredeemed, and the cutting and clearing of large forest trees, with the sturdy strokes of an axe, was the first step to open the soil to the sun before any crops could be planted.  Enough trees were felled to make logs for a home.  A primitive plowing around the thick-standing stumps made ready the ground for corn, wheat and other grains which they planted.

These noble men and women were inured day by day to privations and hardships, and their children were trained to endurance and responsibility like the ancient Spartans.  Notwithstanding their laborious duties, they did not neglect the education of their children.  As soon as they got their own cabins tenantable, they built a cabin schoolhouse as near central town as they could, and started a school for the winter months.  The children who could make their way through the deep snows boarded at home.  Those who could not, boarded at the nearest uncle's home.  It seems these families of the seven Child brothers were very closely knit and compatible.

From an extract of a letter written by Mrs. Lavinia Child Ingalls she writes: My grandfather (Asa Child) and his brother Increase Child, were among those that boarded out.  The average number of boarders was from twelve to fifteen, and on stormy nights, the number increased to twenty or twenty-five.  Grandfather used to tell me many reminiscences of those early days.  He said, "the "brindle" cow had not come in yet, and bean porridge and the brown bread were the supper and the breakfast.  Potatoes roasted in the ashes were for dinner.  A great round bowl that some of the ingenious ones had dug out of a big log, and that would hold a good bucket full of food, was the common dish.

As many boys and girls as could, gathered around this festive board, each with his wooden spoon, and when his hunger was sufficed would give place to others."  Thus were laid the foundations of a prosperous and educated society.

Many children and descendants from the various families of Child in this area grew up to be school teachers, ministers, men and women prominent in medicine, law and in public affairs, as well as good and prosperous farmers.

The beginning of a Frontier Village

Ephraim Child, first child of Ephraim and Priscilla Harris Child born in Woodstock, Connecticut January 15, 1712.  Married Mary Lyon June 20, 1734.  Mary Lyon was born in Woodstock November 10, 1712, died April 2, 1790, daughter of Captain Joseph Lyon and Elizabeth Philips.  Ephraim died September 12, 1775, They had four children.


Pages 534-536
Histories of Child, Rawson, Coffin and Holtzclaw Families
Compiled, written, and published by Fern Roberts Morgan
Printed by M.C. Printing, Inc., Provo, Utah

History of Ephraim Child

HISTORY OF EPHRAIM CHILD by Judge Salmon Child Ephraim Child was born in Woodstock, County of Windham, State of Connecticut. My grandfather was one of the early settlers of that town and a grandson of one of the three brothers (two brothers and a nephew) that emigrated from Wales (England) and settled at Roxbury near Boston in the early settlement of Massachusetts. Grandfather Child (Ephraim) bore the reputation of an honest, industrious and pious man. From my recollection of him I have always supposed him to be one of the most sedate, careful and affectionate of men. He owned a good farm of 200 acres all enclosed with a good stonewall fence; it was bounded on the east, south and west by highways. On the east and west sides of the farm there were comfortable farm buildings with good orchards. Having but two sons and one daughter and she well settled, he no doubt, from the information I have received, flattered himself that his children would continue near him the little time he had to remain, and his two sons in grateful remembrance of the toils he had endured in habitation, would gladly bear with the infirmities of his age and his spirits when the fading leaf and trembling limbs of Autumn were daily admonishing him that the winter of death was fast approaching. But Alas[ the pious Godly man in whose prayers I trust we all have--any myself in particular--been benefited was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. My grandmother who was from a very respectable family of the name of Lyon, in a long fit of sickness that followed the birth of her youngest child, though finally restored to health of body, was ever after partially deranged so far that though she outlived her companion was no longer an helpmate, not being capable of taking charge of the family but frequently needing the oversight of others -- not malicious or perverse but more inclined to be mischievous or sportive. This stroke of Divine Providence not only deprived him of an excellent housekeeper but those social conferences that the events of almost every day existed in which the mutual interest of the whole family are concerned and which would frequently be perplexing to either of the heads of a family were they left alone, one to whom they could unbosom the conflicting struggles of the soul. This trial of our venerable ancestor had been long patiently endured and in some measure mitigated. My father was now settled on the east side of the farm or East Farm as was then contemplated, and his brother (Asa) married and took charge of the West Farm, where grandfather had always resided and grandmother living alternately at both places as she chose and being well taken care of and provided for at both, he was greatly relieved from that care and anxiety of mind that had worn upon him for years and afforded him leisure to visit a numerous circle of friends and relatives and be with his three children when he pleased, but this repose was of short duration. The change that took place in his family was a source of mental suffering as long as he lived, and gave direction to the events that have taken place in my father's family from that time to the present day are not communicated to you out of a disrespect to my kind and affectionate father; though in some instances they may have produced hardship yet in the end proved beneficial and led me to reflect more closely and understand the word of God more perfectly in the way that His word has directed us to walk and the duties He requires of us in every stage of life from childhood to the grave. And as they through the blessing of God have been useful to me, I humbly hope will at least do you no injury. by Judge Salmon Child (History found on the web by Eugene M. Hancock, 6th Great Grandson of Ephraim Child) 

Life of Ephraim

Life of Ephraim Child by Judge Salmon Child "Ephraim Child was born in Woodstock, County of Windham, State of Connecticut. My grandfather was one of the early settlers of that town and a grandson of one of the three brothers (two brothers and a nephew) that emigrated from Wales (England) and settled at Roxbury near Boston in the early settlement of Massachusetts. Grandfather Child (Ephraim) bore the reputation of an honest, industrious and pious man. From my recollection of him I have always supposed him to be one of the most sedate, careful and affectionate of men. He owned a good farm of 200 acres all enclosed with a good stonewall fence; it was bounded on the east, south and west by highways. On the east and west sides of the farm there were comfortable farm buildings with good orchards. Having but two sons and one daughter and she well settled, he no doubt, from the information I have received, flattered himself that his children would continue near him the little time he had to remain, and his two sons in grateful remembrance of the toils he had endured in habitation, would gladly bear with the infirmities of his age and his spirits when the fading leaf and trembling limbs of Autumn were daily admonishing him that the winter of death was fast approaching. But Alas, the pious Godly man in whose prayers I trust we all have - any myself in particular - been benefited was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief. My grandmother who was from a very respectable family of the name of Lyon, in a long fit of sickness that followed the birth of her youngest child, though finally restored to health of body, was ever after partially deranged so far that though she outlived her companion was no longer an helpmate, not being capable of taking charge of the family but frequently needing the oversight of others - not malicious or perverse but more inclined to be mischievous of sportive. This stroke of Divine Providence not only deprived him of an excellent housekeeper but those social conferences that the events of almost every day existed in which the mutual interest of the whole family are concerned and which would frequently be perplexing to either of the heads of a family were they left alone, one to whom they could unbosom the conflicting struggles of the soul. This trial of our venerable ancestor had been long patiently endured and in some measure mitigated. My father was now settled on the east side of the farm or East farm as was then contemplated, and his brother (Asa) married and took charge of the West Farm, where grandfather had always resided and grandmother living alternately at both places as she chose and being well taken care of and provided for at both, he was greatly relieved from that care and anxiety of mind that had worn upon him for years and afforded him leisure to visit a numerous circle of friends and relatives and be with his three children when he pleased, but this repose was of short duration. The change that took place in his family was a source of mental suffering as long as he lived, and gave direction to the events that have taken place in my father's family from that time to the present day are not communicated to you out of a disrespect to my kind and affectionate father; though in some instances they may have produced hardship yet in the end proved beneficial and led me to reflect more closely and understand the word of God more perfectly in the way that His word has directed us to walk and the duties He requires of us in every stage of life from childhood to the grave. And as they throught the blessing of God have been useful to me, I humbly hope will at least do you no injury." by Judge Salmon Child SOURCES: Child Family History p. 79A3E12; ConnW16 Vol.3 p. 487; Windham Conn. Vital Records. Child Family History Page 77-79; Conn.W16, Vol. 3 page 478; Mass R13, p. 168; Windham Conn. Vital Records; Salt Lake Bap. 25165 pt 5; Roxbury, Mass. Vital Rec.GS 974.46/R2v2T, Vol. 1 1630. Paul Child visited the old Ephraim Child home in East Woodstock, the East Woodstock Cemetery, and the Woodstock Church all of which are still standing. There are hundreds of Childs buried in East Woodstock Cemetery. Ephraim's home is located just north of the old Church and cemetery.



History of Ephraim Child by Elias Child

"Ephraim Child, first child of Ephraim and Priscilla Harris Child, born in Woodstock, Connecticut, January 15, 1711, married June 20, 1734 Mary Lyon. He died September 12, 1775. She died April 21, 1790. The had four children: Residence in Woodstock, Connecticut. Children: Priscilla Child, born 1737, married Jonathan Bacon. Increase Child, born December 13, 1740, married November 3, 1762, Olive Pease. Asa Child, born April 6, 1743, married November 16, 1763 Elizabeth Murray. Theoda Child, baptized April 7, 1745, died December 12, 1748." [Child, Elias, "Genealogy of the Child, Childs and Childe Families," pp. 79, New York: Curtiss & Childs, 1881] 

Ephraim Child I Written by Elias Child

"Ephraim Child was the eldest of the seven brothers who migrated from Roxbury, Massachusetts to "New Roxbury," Connecticut (afterwards called Woodstock). He moved shortly before or immediately after his marriage in 1710, and settled in that part of the town now called East Woodstock (anciently known as Muddi Brook), erecting for himself a house, which with some additions, has been retained in the line of his male descendants till the present time, covering a period of 170 years. Its enlargement, at a somewhat early period, made it as it now stands, a commodious and attractive home. Its site is in a beautiful vale, about a mile east of East Woodstock Village. It was probably at this house where occurred the amusing incident of a Thanksgiving occasion, which is recorded later in this history. Many pleasant memories cluster around this ancient home. It has been the birthplace of sons and daughters, whose history, with that of a long line of descendants, is pleasant to trace. In this house hospitalities for many generations have been liberally dispensed to kindred and aliens, particularly on the Sabbath, when, in the interval between the morning and afternoon religious service, numbers of worshippers living remote from the place of worship, accepted as an accorded right, a harty meal of boiled meats and vegetables; or a soporific lunch of hasty pudding and milk; this latter being the favorite repast, particularly of one, who could not resist the luxury of a quiet nap under the afternoon sermon. Before the ancient dwelling stands a magnificent elm, whose trunk and outspreading brances are emblematical of a noble ancestor and his sturdy descendants. In 1876 this stately elm was christened the "Centennial Tree." More than one hundred years had passed since man and beast had rested beneath its grateful shade. Mr. Ephraim Child was a prominent man of his day. He was intelligent, patriotic, enterprising, generous and self-sacrificing. His patriotism was kindled by the stirring incidents of the times, and he was among the first of the early defenders of colonial interest. In 1753 he held a commission as Lieutenant in Company 17, in 11th Regiment of Infantry, in Connecticut, and was active in the revolutionary struggles for independence. He was a man of broad views, or a warm and sympathetic nature, living for others quite as much as for himself. Earnest in efforts for the public good, he drew around him men less brave, who shared in his sympathies and profited by his counsel. In church affairs he was consdientious, steadfast and reliable, a leader whose integrity and wisdom secured the confidentce of his Christian brethren, and rendered him a fit man to transmit to posterity, attractive and valuable characteristics. At this early period, we find seven brothers of the Child name settled in the north part of the town. The scarcity of "meat cattle" in the new world limited the supply so that many who would wish to do so were unable to own any. One cow was owned by these seven brothers, Child, and they took turns in the use of her, one week at a time, except immediately before Thanksgiving Day, when the elder brother was allowed to keep the cow long enough to accumulate a supply of milk which should suffice to enable the gathered households to enjoy a "Thanksgiving Supper of hasty pudding and milk." On one occasion of the annual gathering of the seven households, beneath the elder brother's roof the supper was duly prepared, and set forth upon a large "fall-leaf table," each family provided with their wooden bowls and wooden spoons. According to their custom, all were standing around the frugal supper, while the elder brother, as patriarch, asked Divine blessing; while thus solemnly engaged the large watch dog, on passing under the table, moved the leg upholding the leaf, and down went table, milk and pudding. The younger brother saw the table falling, and cried out, "Stop brother! Stop! Stop! The pudding is gone, and the milk is gone and of what use is the blessing now; but KILL THE DOG!" The puritan training, though thoroughly observed and reverenced, could not wholly subdue the natural temper, or exclude all homor from the occassional gathering of young or old." (Child, Elias, "Genealogy of the Child, Childs and Childe Families," pp. 76-79, New York: Curtiss & Childs, 1881)



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