Biography of Gideon BOWDISH 1748-1829

Gideon BOWDISH was born on 11 Jul 1748 in Dartmouth, Bristol, RI. He died on 1 Jul 1829 in Waterloo, Junius Twp, Seneca County, NY, USA. Sometime before 1770, he married Eleanor, maiden name unknown. Then in 1771 he removed to Saratoga, Albany County, New York (known later as Easton, Washington County).

During the American Revolutionary War, Gideon BOWDISH served in Van Veghten's Regiment of New York Militia along with a Henery BOWDISH, relationship unknown. Gideon is listed in the military minutes of the Council of Appointment of the state of New York with the appointment to Adjutant. This would mean that he served on the General Staff as a sort of office manager. It is unknown whether Gideon BOWDISH participated in the battles of Saratoga (1777), also known as the failed Saratoga campaign, that helped decide the outcome of the American Revolution. The campaign, fought in upstate New York, permanently ended British hopes of dividing the colonies along the Hudson River. Early in 1777, Lord George Germain, who was responsible for British war strategy, approved a plan suggested by Major General John Burgoyne calling for Burgoyne to lead an army south from Canada to Albany, New York. A smaller expedition under Colonel Barry St. Leger would converge on Albany from the west. By occupying Albany and controlling the Hudson River, the British intended to cut off New England from the other colonies and force an end to the American rebellion.

Gideon does not appear, nor does his widow, in the Revolutionary War pension records. This, probably because Congress did not expand pension eligibility until after his death. Since there is no record of an application by his widow, we may assume that Eleanor BOWDISH died before or soon after Gideon. But, in addition to militia pay records, we do know, that by 1778, Gideon BOWDISH is a signer of the petition from the residents of the Saratoga and Cambridge Districts of New York to Governor George Clinton to provide protection for the northern frontier. We have found no evidence that he was spy for Schylers Army (the family tradition per "Five Generations of Bowdish and Bowditch families in America", by Cyrus and Maryella Bowdish).

After the close of the war, Gideon BOWDISH appears in 1796/1797 in Waterloo, Junius Township, Seneca County (formerly Cazenovia), NY. He settled near the old Quaker meeting house north of the village. It is thought that Gideon BOWDISH was a Quaker. His Rhode Island heritage suggests this. But if he was a member of the Society of Friends, then he was a "fighting Quaker". He is listed in 1806 as a juror of Seneca County. He is also enumerated in the census of 1810 and 1820.

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