Jeremiah Shevalier (or Chevalier) was my paternal 5th great-grandfather. He was born about 1760 in a small town in the Hudson Valley called Coxsackie, New York. This odd name is pronounced cook-sak-ee. A Dutch settler by the name of Peter Bronck acquired the land in 1662 by trading "150 guilders in beaver pelts" with Native Americans who called the place Koxhackung. Details are found in Collections on the History of Albany: From Its Discovery to the Present Time, Vol. 4, p. 298:
The town was officially established in 1788 as a part of Albany County before it's division. The village of Coxsackie is located on the east side of the town along the Hudson River. Use this interactive map to have a look around:
On Feb. 19, 1784, Jeremiah Shevalier married Catherine Rohrbacker, with whom he had several children. They were counted on the census in Coxsackie in 1790 and 1800. In 1804, they moved 145 miles west, crossing the Catskill Mountains and into the Appalachians to a town called Virgil, New York. Since the first railway in the U.S. wasn't created until 1827, the family would have taken the trip on foot, horseback and/or by boat.
Virgil, New York, was part of the Military Tract. This was land awarded to soldiers of the American Revolution for their military service in the war. (Click here to learn more). Some soldiers left their homes in New England for their prized land in central New York, but many soldiers sold their bounty land without ever seeing it. Perhaps Jeremiah purchased a soldier's bounty land in Virgil. Additional research is needed to prove or disprove why or how he moved to Virgil in 1804.
A search of the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files produced no results for Jeremiah Shevalier after trying various spellings. Perhaps because he was only about 16-17 years old when the Revolution ended in 1776 he did not participate, but it is certain that he served as ensign and lieutenant in the New York State Militia. He is listed in the Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment of the State of New York, 1783-1821, Vol. 1, of which excerpts are shown below.
Jeremiah Shevalier served in Peter Van Bergen's regiment in Greene County, New York. The total number of years of his service is unknown but according to the State Historian's findings, his rank was ensign in 1800, lieutenant in 1802, and vice lieutenant in 1805. In the 1805 report, his name is followed by "moved", which corresponds with History of Cortland County, p. 323, and Festal gathering of the early settlers and present inhabitants of the town of Virgil, Cortland County, N.Y., p. 14. Both sources state that Jeremiah Shevalier arrived in Virgil in 1804.
Notice, it is clear these three entries pertain to the same person, although three different spellings are given for his name: Chavelier, Chevelier, and Chevalier. On his burial monument, however, the name is spelled Shevalier. Jeremiah Shevalier died at the age of about 64 years, on October 2, 1824, in Virgil, and is buried in Marathon Village Cemetery (Section 2; Lot 6).