CHARLES HUBBS (1749-1813)
Rural Grove, NY

Written and Contributed by Richard Hubbs

Charles Hubbs (1749-1813)

Charles is believed by many Hubbs family researchers to be the Charles Hubbs of Oyster Bay, N. Y., born in 1749. This Charles was the son of Charles and Jane (Neagle) Hubbs, and was baptized at St. George's church of Hempstead, Long Island, N. Y., on May 20, 1751, at the same time as his brothers Jacobus (James) and Seelah Hubbs. If this family line is true, then Charles named one daughter for his mother Jane, and a son for his brother Seelah. Alexander Hubbs, who had already settled in the area of Rural Grove, Montgomery Co., is believed by some researchers (including Aunt Helen Terry) to be another son of Charles and Jane Hubbs, but I have found no information to support this. More likely, Alexander was Charles' cousin, by way of older Charles' brother Obadiah.

During the 1760's and 1770's, the whaling industry was the overwhelmingly principle concern of the people of Nantucket Island. Following the outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1775, the British navy repeatedly stopped and plundered American colonial ships and whaling vessels, and commandeered American sailors and supplies at sea. The colonial settlements on Nantucket and nearby Martha's Vineyard were often attacked and plundered by the British seaman, seizing needed food, fresh water and supplies from local civilian settlements. Continued interruptions in the whaling trade and other commerce caused undue financial stress on the colonial population, in addition to protracted hardships to families whose wage-earners were impressed or imprisoned by the British.

A family legend indicates that this Charles, as a young man, was impressed into British naval duty as a young man, and served as a seaman for 14 months before he and several other sailors escaped from the British ship when it was in port, probably on Nantucket island. He and the others were hidden by local residents while British authorities sought them. This would plausibly explain Charles' relocation to Nantucket from Long Island, where he married into a local family and began to establish a family. According to church records, Charles was married on May 1, 1774 on Nantucket Island to Mariam Coffin, daughter of David and Ruth (Coleman) Coffin.

In March 1776, Charles moved with his family from Nantucket to the Hudson River valley of the colony of New York, as had many other Quaker families in seeking new lands prior to the outbreak of the American revolution. This Hubbs family lived for a short time in Hudson, (now Columbia Co.), on the west bank of the Hudson River midway between Kingston and Albany, before settling in the Town of Half Moon, (now Saratoga Co.), north of Albany.

Although a Quaker, a member of a religion known for its pacifist nature and peace-loving beliefs, Charles Hubbs is recorded as joining a New York state militia and serving during the Revolutionary War.

Near the conclusion of the war in 1788, Charles and Mariam lived in the town of Half Moon (a community now called Clifton Park), located near the confluence of the Hudson and the Mohawk rivers, near Cohoes Falls. At that time, it was not at all unusual for a family to live within a small community for mutual protection and security, and to work a farm outside the settlement, as apparently the case with this Hubbs family. In May of 1802, Charles and Mariam sold their 22 acres in Clifton for $2100, a fairly substantial sum at the time when most farming families earned less than $100 a year. They moved their family west to (what is now) the town of Root in Montgomery Co., purchasing 236 acres of farm land on the south side of the Mohawk River in August of 1802, settling in the farming community of Rural Grove. They apparently chose to move here to take advantage of the plentiful fertile land, which was ideal for farming, and to be near relatives Alexander Hubbs (1742-1834) and his son Samuel (1765-1855), who had already settled there. The local Indian tribes, including Onondagas and Mohawks, were pacified and no longer a threat to settlers in the region, as they had been a generation before.

Charles and Mariam had 11 children, of whom eight survived to adulthood, beginning with Elizabeth, born Sept. 13, 1774, and extending to the youngest, William Charles, born May 6, 1795. The family thrived in the Rural Grove community, and as the children matured, they married into local families and remained in the area as farmers, and craftsmen. The growing Hubbs family, remaining steadfast to their beliefs and principles nurtured in Charles' and Mariam's Quaker upbringing, were key supporters of local religious services and were instrumental in the establishment of the Christian Church of Charleston Four Corners in 1832.

The elder Charles Hubbs died in 1813 at Charleston Four Corners, Montgomery Co., N. Y., and was believed to have been buried in a Quaker cemetery about 1-1/4 miles west of Charleston Four Corners. His wife Mariam died thirteen years later in 1825 and was buried alongside him. The gravesite has not been located by several researchers since the 1930's, and it is now entirely possible that the location of the small Quaker cemetery is now lost.

Richard Hubbs
Great-great-great-grandson of Charles Hubbs

"This is a biography I wrote from family records and reminiscences, and is going to be part of a Hubbs family website (hopefully!) soon."

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Created 11/23/03
Copyright © 2003 Richard Hubbs
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