Hiram Sharp

Posted on August 27, 2014

Hiram Sharp: The Life Adventure of a Local Clay Boy

About two years ago, I was contacted by a man from Australia looking for information on a Clay resident living in the 1800’s. Well, I provided all the sources I knew to find information, since the Town does not have data going back that far. We have kept in contact for over two years while he kept providing me with information he had found on Hiram, his wife’s great great-grandfather. Before starting this amazing tale, I want to quote Terrance (Terry) Patterson’s synopsis from an article he wrote on Hiram.* “Much has been written about the “Patriot Wars and the effect on the lives of those who were involved in the battles. This article tells the story of one of the combatants, Hiram Sharp, a citizen of the United States, who fought for democratic reform in the largest of the battles, “The Battle of the Windmill” at Prescott, Canada in 1838. This young man, whose ancestry can be traced back to the Mayflower, fought in the hope of independence for Canada. Yet his struggle along with the small number of patriots who risked their lives, even though defeated by the British, helped to change political views and bring about democratic reform, not only in Canada, but also to Australia; a country that in the end was to become his future.” Hiram’s ancestor on this mother’s side, Thomas Rogers, arrived in America aboard the Mayflower in 1620. On the Sharp side, the first known record of the family was Robert Sharp who dies in July of 1653 at Muddy River, Suffolk, Massachusetts. Hiram’s father, Philario, was born November 9, 1784 at Bernard, Vermont. He married Rebecca Richmond on October 7, 1806. Although Hiram’s birth certificate hasn’t been found, his death certificate states he was 44, making his birth around 1815. The Sharp family was still in Vermont in 1810 according to the census and at that time there were one male and two female children. The next census locates them in 1830 in Onondaga County with five children. Unfortunately, no birth certificates were recorded, but chances are that Hiram and his four younger siblings were born here. This includes Hiram’s brother, Milo, who is the ancestor of our neighboring Sharps. By the 1850 census in New York, Onondaga County, Clay, Philario’s family was only two. After that, no one in his family is in the census as Rebecca died in 1855 and is buried in the same plot as her son, Milo, and an infant in Pine Plains Cemetery. But to where did Philario disappear? In 1837 at the start of the excursions in to Canada called the Patriot’s War, Hiram would have been 22 years old, unmarried and helping his father farm. William Lyon MacKenzie was one of the leaders who wanted to wrest power from the governing classes in Canada. These rebellions were hastily conceived and poorly planned and destined for failure. They kept on to entice American men to aid their cause. Perhaps with a promise of free land! Many believed the Canadians wanted to be free like the Americans. Thus, Hiram joined the Patriot’s Rebellion, who called themselves Hunters. Their destination was the site for the Windmill at Prescott in Canada. The battles lasted from November 12 to 18, 1838.

To be continued.

*Information from HIRAM SHARP, AN AMERICAN PATRIOT IN THE AUSTRALIAN COLONIES by Terrance Patterson M.A., B. Ed, J. P., An article for various publications in Canada and Australia. Also much other data supplied by Terrance Patterson.

Dorothy Heller, Historian

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