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Edward Akin

Birthplace: Quaker Hill, Dutchess County, New York, United States
Death: January 16, 1813 (53)
Port Byron, Cayuga County, New York, United States
Place of Burial: Headstone at Johnstown Cemetery
Immediate Family:

Son of James Akin and Patience Akin
Husband of Elizabeth Akin
Father of Armida Akin; Ira Akin; Ethan Akin; James Akin; David Allen Akin and 9 others
Brother of Susanna Allen; Benjamin H Akin, Sr.; Phebe Bennett; Joseph Akin; Annis Simmons and 3 others

Managed by: Alice Zoe Marie Knapp
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Edward Akin

A Patriot of the American Revolution for NEW YORK. DAR Ancestor #: A082357

Edward5 Akin (James4, David3, John2, David1) was born 13 December 1750 in Quaker Hill, Dutchess Co., NY, and died 16 March 1813 in Port Byran, Cayuga Co., NY. He married Elizabeth Russell in 1773, or thereabouts, daughter of William Russell and Elisabeth Smith. She was born 23 December 1752 in Quaker Hill, Dutchess Co., NY,1 and died in 1828 in Johnstown, Fulton Co., NY.

As birthright Quakers, the births of Edward and Elizabeth were recorded in the Oblong Meeting Records of Quaker Hill. Converting Quaker dates to our calendar is confusing and risky, as their year began on March 1st, not January 1st. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that Edward and Elizabeth were born in October, when they were born in December. The same problem and more is involved with their marriage date. Edward was disowned on the 18th day, 3rd month, 1773, by the Oblong Men's Monthly Meeting for marrying out of meeting. This disciplinary action occurred at the regular meeting, not a special meeting, perhaps a month or two (or more) after they married. There is a problem with the usual date given for Elizabeth's death -- will was proved on 25 November 1828, three days earlier than the date on her headstone and in the Wells Bible. This suggests that she died at least, a week or two earlier.

"... descendants, mostly Quakers, of the original settlers of Dutchess County "came north along the Hudson's east bank and to the Hoosick to settle the Cambridge and Schaghticoke Districts of Albany County. Old Dutchess was still disputed territory, claimed both by New York State and the New Hampshire Grants because of the indefinite boundary set by the Duke of York in 1664 when the English took over from the Dutch. It allowed the Hampshire Grants to claim to the Hudson's east bank while the "York Staters" claimed to the west bank of the Connecticut River. As late as 1764, the British government confirmed the claim of "The Grants" and, in 1750-64, Governor Benning Wentworth under a New Hampshire charter of 1741, had surveyed to a line twenty miles east of the Hudson and was selling land for ten cents an acre while the New York Government was warning that "The Grants" ended at the east bank of the Connecticut. This survey continued the controversy over "The Twenty Mile Strip" as a problem in the Easton area where the Vermont-New York State border was not agreed upon and drawn until 1812." Jane Betsy Welling, They Were Here Too (Greenwich, NY: Washington Co. Historical Soc., 1965). Emphasis added.

The village of White Creek in Washington County and the village of Walloomsac in Rensselaer County are approximately 3.8 miles apart. The route between the villages crosses the Bennington Battle Field. 

"In 1773 a petite, attractive brunette named Elizabeth Russell of Quaker parentage, aged twenty-one, and one Edward Akin, also Quaker born, twenty-three, married 'out of meeting' because Elizabeth Russell's parents objected to her going off into the wilderness. The young Akins, however, were not daunted and traveled north along the Connecticut line to a little hamlet called White Creek in Washington County, near Bennington, Vermont, where they made their home for thirty years. They were in the midst of the finest sheep raising section. In this branch of farming and in the making of scythes Edward Akin became a rich man." Mrs. Bethune M. Grant et al., Some Pioneer Women of Johnstown (Johnstown, New York: Johnstown Chapter NSDAR, 1937), 12.

In 1774 and again in 1780, Edward Akin served as "Collector" for the Cambridge District of Albany County (now Washington County) as evidenced by his name on the "List of Principal Town Officers."6 Edward built the first frame house in White Creek and a grist mill. He leased part of his land at the base of Quaker Hill7 for a Friends Meeting House which was completed in 1784 and 1785; the rent being one peppercorn per year. Supplemental Application papers of Ellen Maring (Stephens) Benedict (no. 681340) on Edward Akin (1750-1813, New York, for public service), NSDAR, Washington, DC, Office of the Registrar General.

Tradition says that Edward was captured by the British at the time of the Battle of Bennington, and held overnight in the little Walloomsack Stone Church (now Rensselaer County) and then released through the efforts of his wife. Another story, if true, partially explains why Edward Akin was not a practicing Quaker even though he supported their cause by providing land for their meeting house. History of Washington Co., New York, 1737-1878 (Philadelphia: Everts and Ensign, 1878) 256, 457, 460, 46.

"By 1770 there were enough settlers in White Creek of Quaker persuasion to warrant the formation of a Friends' Meeting known as the White Creek preparative Meeting. These early meetings were at Isaac Wood's home with his brother John as the meeting clerk. In 1784-5 the meeting house was completed on land leased to the Friends by Edward Aiken at the foot of Quaker Hill. The rent was to be one peppercorn per year. By 1804 the meeting-house proved to be too small, so rapidly had the Quaker community increased in number. In that year, the structure was remodeled or rebuilt but still with those simple lines in accordance with custom. It was a two story building twenty five by twenty eight feet and stood on the site of the earlier meeting house...." (from "Our Yesteryears - A narrative History of the Town of White Creek, Washington County, NY, 1959, by Paul Jones, online <> printout 1 October 2001.

"John Allen, the pioneer to the White Creek area and Mary Cornell were parents of "John the Hatter" called that because his trade was making beaver hats and because he ran a flourishing Hat Shop in White Creek Village ... Edward Akin, a man of violent temper almost killed ... John Allen, the Hatter, when he struck him such a blow on the head with his gold topped cane that it split John Allen's silk beaver hat and made a deep gash in his head from which blood spurted enough to 'blind him temporarily. John Allen was a devote Quaker and, of course, allowed himself no such outbursts of temper." Jane Betsy Welling, They Were Here Too, 3: 317.

Cambridge was organized as a township in Albany County on 7 March 1788, and annexed to Washington County on 7 February 1791. Although Edward Akin did not move, he was enumerated in Albany County in 1790, and Washington County in 1800. 1790 U.S. Census, New York, Albany Co., Cambridge Twp., p. 21: Edward Akin: 5 males under 16 yrs.,7 females; 3 males 16 & above. (Erroneously listed as "Atkins" in the Heads of Families - New York, First Census of the United States, 21). 1800 U.S. Census, New York, Washington Co.. Cambridge Twp., p. 353: Edward Akin: males: one 45 yrs & above, three 16-26, one 10 & under; females: one 45 & above, two 16-26, two 10-16, one 10 & under, and one slave.

According to a petition to the Washington County, New York, Court of Common Pleas (dated 29 December 1791), 12 "owners and proprietors" asked permission to partition land in the Walloomsack Patent (Lands originally granted to Edward Collins and others on 15 June 1739). "June 15, 1739, Wallomsack patent containing 12,000 acres, was granted to Edward Collins, James DeLancey, Gerardus Stuyvesant, Stephens Van Rensselaer, Charles Williams and Frederick Morris. Lies in the town of Hoosic and White Creek and partly in Vermont" ("Dates and Names of Sundry Patents in Washington County, New York," Asa Fitch Papers, 2 (2) Electronic under GenWeb New York Washington Co., New York.

The surveyor's report showed Edward Akin as the owner of 20 acres in "Lott 3", adjoining Ebenezer Allen's 106 acres in "Lott 4."13 In 1795 or thereabouts, Edward's son, Ira married Anna Allen who was the daughter of this Ebenezer Allen. Both families lived about 1/2 mile from the village of White Creek. Years later (22 January 1820), Ebenezer Allen of White Creek placed the following advertisment in a newspaper (now unknown):

"For Sale - A Good Farm, Containing one hundred and twenty acres of Land, right of soil and clear of encumbrances, lying in the town of White Creek near the Friends' meeting house. It is provided with good buildings, is well wooded and watered, and contains an excellent orchard. Any person wishing to purchase can call on the Subscriber on the premises, where he has lived over fifty years, and who will give a good title and possession immediately." Petition to the Court of Common Pleas (29 Dec. 1791) in Washington Co., NY (Hudson Falls) Deed Bk A: 249-254 (FHL film 0,553,411).

On 9 November 1822, Ebenezer Allen drew up his will. He bequeathed his household goods to six daughters: Silvia Mosher, wife of David Mosher; the heirs of Betsy Lacy deceased; Polly Dake, wife of Shadrach Dake; Rachel Coy, wife of Daniel Coy; the heirs of Sybel Coy deceased; and Anna Akin, wife of Ira Akin. To Lucy Allen granddaughter, and daughter of Hugh Allen, one cow and household goods. All remaining property, real and personal, was left to son Hugh Allen, also named executor, along with Samuel Brown and William Richards. Jonathan Hunt, Sylvanus Taber, and Jonathan Hunt, Junior, were witnesses. Ebenezer Allen is buried in Rose Wood Cemetery in White Creek, beside wife Sybil...15 According to the headstone inscriptions: Major Ebenezer Allen died 5 September 1823, in his 89th year, and Mrs. Sybil Dwinnell, his wife, died 11 November 1821. "Timothy Allen of Rutland County, Vermont, and Ebenezer Allen of Washington Co., NY," Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine (Summer 1974), 123. Also see the issue of Spring 1975.

Johnson Hall is now a State Historic Site

Johnstown, Montgomery (Fulton) County, New York

Home of the Akin-Wells Family, 1803-1906.

Victorian features were added to Johnson Hall by the Wells family: the large cupola, slate roof, four dormers, bay windows, porch, and two story addition to the northeast were later removed when the building was restored to its colonial facade by the State of New York .

Johnson Hall might have been like this in 1803 when Edward Akin purchased the 700 acre Johnson Hill Farm. The 60 foot long by 40 feet wide, two-story wooden structure is painted to resemble stone. On both floors, the large rooms open into a 15-foot wide hall running the width of the building. The rooms are now furnished according to Johnson's household inventory and recent archeological finds. A colonial kitchen is in the basement.

In 1803, Edward Akin moved his extended family west to the mansion built in 1763 by Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern colonies. When Sir William died in 1774, his title and most of his estate passed to his son Sir John Johnson who remained loyal to the British in the Revolution. The property was confiscated under the act of attainder passed by the Legislature in 1779. From 1776 to 1785, "squatters" lived in the Hall, and then it was sold with 700 acres of land to James Caldwell of Albany. From 1786 until 1803, it changed hands seven times before Edward Akin purchased it.18 In 1810, Edward Akin and his son Ethan were enumerated in adjacent households: Washington Co., New York, Surrogate Court, Wills 5: 136.

Edward died 16 March 1813 at Port Bryon, Mentz Twp., Cayuga County, in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, where his son David was starting a sheep farm. Six weeks or so before, Edward drove a beautiful team of black horses the 140 miles between Johnstown and Port Bryon to visit and help build some mills. He became seriously ill and died. Enos Thompson Throop, David's brother-in-law, and later Governor of New York (1829-1833), brought the body back to Johnstown.20

On 22 March 1813, an Administrate Bond for the estate of Edward Akin, deceased, was issued to his sons Ira Akin of Mayfield in Montgomery Co., Ethan Akin of Broadalbin in Montgomery Co., and David Akin of Mentz in Cayuga Co., with Nicholas Veghte, James Russell and Abraham Akin, of Johnstown, also signing the bond. On 5 April 1813, James Akin and Abraham Akin, sons and heirs, made the inventory; a supplemental list of a few additional goods discovered since the preceding inventory, was made on 8 July 1813 by Phoebe Akin, Abraham Akin, and Ira Akin. On 17 August 1813, Ira Akin filed the Inventory with the Surrogate Court.21 The Account of the Administration of the Estate was filed 20 March 1815, by Ira Akin and Ethan Akin, who reported payment on 11 September 1813, to Mrs. Akin, widow, Phoebe Akin, Sally Akin, David Akin, Abraham Akin, Ethan Akin, James Akin, Ira Akin, Abraham Snyder, and Eleasar Wells. The four slaves were sold for a total of $450 when the estate was settled.22

Photo of the headstone at the Johnstown Cemetery by Ellen Benedict, October 1991. Edward and Elizabeth Akin were originally buried in the family plot where the Phillip Argersinger farm later stood. Years after, when the burying ground was nearly forgotten and the farm no longer owned by the Argersinger family, Sarah (Akin) Wells had her parents' bodies moved to the Wells plot in the Johnstown Cemetery.23

On 25 June 1825, Abraham and Asenath Akin, his wife, conveyed to his mother "that part of the Hall farm with Johnson Hall which had been set off as the share of Ethan Akin in the partition of Edward Akin's property (20 acres) plus the land between this parcel and the State Highway (perhaps another 16 acres).24 Three years later (27 August 1828), Elizabeth Akin deeded the property with the Hall to James Akin, on the day she made her will (probated 25 November 1828).25 After Elizabeth's death, James sold the property for $2,000 to his brother-in-law and sister Eleazer and Amy (Akin) Wells.26 Johnson Hall was occupied by Akin-Wells descendants until it was sold in 1906 to the People of the State of New York.

For many years while Johnson Hall was operated under the direction of the Johnstown Historical Society, one of the bedrooms was dedicated to Elizabeth (Russell) Akin. At that time, the room was furnished with a washstand and bowl, several chairs and pictures, and a high poster bed with with steps to use to climb up onto the bed, and a trundle bed underneath. By the time, I visited Johnson Hall in 1991, all traces of the Akin-Wells family had been erased. I had read about the room, and wondered where the furniture had gone. Richard Mackel, then, caretaker of the Johnstown Historical Society, told that the artifacts from the Akin Room were located in the Jimmy Burke Colonial Tavern/Inn which belongs to the Johnstown Chapter of the NSDAR. There I saw the high poster bed, steps, and Edward's hat. (Ellen Maring Benedict)


Notes on the Akin Family

This was the most numerous and important house in this vicinity and although the name has almost entirely passed away the leueage is trained in a large part of the present community. Edward Akin was bred in Dutchess County, but subsequently removed to Cambridge, Washington County, where he commenced the manufacture of scythes with much success. The business was new, and, as competition was light, good profits were made, and the result was that he gradually became a man of capital.

At the time he learned that the "Hall Farm" was for sale, and his attention was attracted to the noted spot. The farm was then in possession of a New York merchant named Murray, who as proprietor had succeeded Morehouse. The time to which reference is made was about 1800. Land was then cheap and money was scare, but Edward Akin was able to pay $18,000 in specie for the Hall and its estate which then included 740 acres. He became a successful farmer and reared a family of eleven children.

One of these died before him, leaving also eleven children. The Akin family at this time were numbered as follows: six daughters -- Armeda, Phebe, Rhoda, Amy, Sally and Patience -- and five sons -- Ira, James, Ethan, David and Abram.

Edward Akin lived to be sixty. He was an enterprising man and built flour mills in the western part of the state, which the was as distant as Iowa is a present -- that is relatively speaking. He died while thus absent, and his remains were brought down by a team and buried with suitable honors in the old cemetery. This was in 1813, and there are very few now living who can remember the funeral. After the new cemetery was laid out the remains were conveyed to the family plat where they still repose.

After his father's death, Abram Akin retained the Hall farm for many years, but subsequently sold it to Eleazer Wells, who married his sister, Amy Akin. Sarah (or Sally, as she was familiarly called,) married Nathan P Wells, Patience married the late William I Dodge. The two last mentioned still survive, though now advanced in years, Ethan Akin of the "old stone fort," who formerly was in merchandise at Johnstown is a son of David Akin who passed his last days in Port Byron.

The descendants of Edward Akin were noted for clear common sense, habitual industry and prudence, and that general respectability of life which constitutes good citizenship. For sixty years the name has been identified with the social history of Johnstown, and hence is worthy a brief public record. We need hardly add that mr John E Wells the present occupant of the Hall is a grandson of Edward Akin, and the farm reduced though it be by family division is now much more valuable then the entire estate at the time of the original purchase.

Source: Fulton County Republican, Johnstown, NY. 22 Jan 1874, page 3.

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Edward Akin's Timeline

October 13, 1759
Quaker Hill, Dutchess County, New York, United States
April 1771
White Creek, Washington Co., NY
White Creek, Washington, New York
White Creek, Washington County, New York, United States
January 27, 1779
White Creek, Washington, New York, United States
June 5, 1781
White Creek, Washington Co., NY
October 8, 1782
White Creek, Washington Co., NY
White Creek, Washington Co., NY
White Creek, Washington Co., NY (Date Calc fm age at death)