Isaac WASHBURN was born in Westchester Co., NY 7 Apr 1752, the son of Isaac and Mehetebel WASHBURN.  His family descended from William WASHBURN of  Hempstead, LI, who was a brother of John WASHBURN, progenitor of the expansive New England line of Washburns.  Isaac’s grandfather, also a John Washburn, was the first Washburn family to settle in Westchester Co.

Isaac’s childhood was spent among his many siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles on a lush farm cleared by his father on part of the Philipse Manor lands.  His own mother died when he was16 years old and Isaac was then raised by two successive step-mothers

When the Revolutionary War came along, the family was divided.  Isaac’s father was a Loyalist and served as a spy – an activity for which his lands were later confiscated.  He was also acquainted with Major John Andre who conspired with Benedict Arnold for the overthrow of West Point.  Andre had visited the Washburn home in Westchester Co. shortly before his capture.

Isaac, Jr. initially followed his father's Loyalist beliefs.  He would be the Isaac WASHBURN/WORSHBOURN who refused to sign the "Articles of Association" in 1775, Rombout Precinct, Dutchess Co.   The non-signers of this "Pledge" were all militia members in Dutchess Co. in service to the Crown of England and to have signed would have been to commit treason.  However, many later changed their minds and did sign and fight for the Patriot cause.  Eventually, Isaac, Jr. was among those who changed their allegiance and he served in Brinkerhoff's Second Regiment, Dutchess County Militia, a Patriot unit across the county line from where the Washburn family had lived. 

It was in Dutchess Co. that Isaac lived for many years, met and married in Sep 1781 Sarah PURDY, d/o Stephen and Hester (Bailey) PURDY.  The hill country of Philipse Precinct in lower Dutchess Co. (in what is now Putnam Co.) offered little in the way of cultivatable land, but was well-suited for raising sheep, so much so that by the early 1800s, it had become an important export business.  Indeed, by 1837, New York State boasted 25% of all sheep grown in the United States.  

By 1800, the family had moved northward to Rensselaer Co. where they joined Isaac’s brother, Zephaniah.  Then the Phelps and Gorham Purchase offered new, rich farmland at low prices in what had become Ontario Co. in the  “new frontier” of western New York State.  Traveling by oxcart and horseback, the family moved along the Mohawk River, settling briefly in Herkimer County, then moving on to Ontario Co. where Isaac first purchased land in the town of Gorham on 20 Jan 1814.

Isaac settled on what is now known as the Arnold farm.  The farm was located on part of Lot 61, Twp 9, 2d range, consisting of 107 acres.  He made his living as a farmer and sheep herder on the hills above the eastern shores of Canandaigua Lake.  Most of his sons were also farmers and all but two of his children remained in the area the rest of their lives.  One son and one daughter married and moved to Michigan.
Isaac died 14 Sep 1829, at the age of 77, and his wife, Sarah, died 20 Apr 1839, at the age of 77.  Both are buried in the family cemetery across the road from the old homestead, along with many of their descendants.

Isaac and Sarah had eleven children, many of whose descendants married into the WAGER, GAGE and FRANCISCO families who also migrated from Rensselaer Co. in the early 1800’s.  There were multiple marriages among these families over the ensuing years.

Children of Isaac and Sarah (Purdy) WASHBURN:
1)  John, b. 22 Apr 1784; unmarried
2)  Zephaniah, b. 10 Oct 1785 - d. 25 Mar 1813
3)  Richard, b. 26 Jan 1787; md. Elizabeth FRANCISCO
4)  Benjamine, b.18 Nov 1788; Lovina ____
5)  Isaac, Jun., b. 20 Sep 1790; md. Esther ____
6)  James, b. 23 Aug 1792; md. Ann  PURDY
7)  Hannah, b.27 Jul 1794; Abram WAGER
8)  Mary, b. 3 Sep 1796; unmarried
9)  Samuel, b. 13 Mar 1798 - d. 15 Aug 1798.
10) Sarah, b. 31 Dec 1800; unmarried.
11) Joshua, b. 20 Jul 1802; Christina WAGER

Copyright, Lyn Wilson 7 Sep 2003 –

Return to Ontario County Homepage

Copyright © 2003-08, Ontario County NYGenWeb and each contributor and author of materials herein. All rights reserved.