Lt Pownal Deming 1749-1795Leave a Comment
Biography of Lt. Pownal Deming 27 February 2012 by Matt Twist
Birth: 30 September 1749 in North Lyme, CT [Jaquelyn Ladd Ricker, The Ricker Compilation of Vital Records of Early Connecticut (Baltimore MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2006), hereinafter “Ricker”; Judson Keith Deming, Genealogy of the Descendants of John Deming of Wethersfield, Connecticut (Dubuque IA: Mathis-Mets. Co., 1904), hereinafter “Deming” p.120]
Death: 9 April 1795 in Hartford, CT [Ricker, Deming p.120, which claims a death date of 13 April 1795]. Buried in Hartford’s Ancient Burial Ground, at Center Church. Current monument, placed in 1895 by his then-representative in the CT Society, reads “An earnest patriot, he enlisted in the Continental Army at the Lexington Alarm, April 1775, and served with distinction through the War for Independence”.
Marriage: m-1, 19 February 1784, Abigail Hubbell, b. 6 August 1766, d. 23 Feb 1785, daughter of Eleazur and Ann (Noble) Hubble. m-2, 29 May 1791 in Rocky Hill CT, Mehitable Boardman, b. 21 Aug 1763, daughter of Capt. John and Elizabeth (Warner) Boardman. [Ricker; Deming, p.120]
Children: From m-1: Eleazur Hubbell Deming, b 13 February 1785. Due to his mother’s death ten days after his birth, and his father’s travels as a Captain in the U.S. Navy, was raised by his maternal grandparents [Henry Whittemore, The Heroes of the American Revolution and Their
Descendants: Battle of Long Island (Heroes of the Revolution Publishing Co. 1897), hereinafter “Whittemore” pp. 57-58]. From m-2: Elizabeth, b 1792, d. 30 Sep 1793, and Elizabeth, b. 1793. m. Almon Parker of Long Meadow MA. [Ricker; Deming, p.121]
Education: Unknown. Since the majority Deming’s brothers and male cousins rose to positions of prominence and wealth as merchants and in the military, and since he himself was engaged in his own business in Hartford after the war, it is likely he had some form of education.
Military: Mustered April 1775 at the Lexington Alarm from Hebron CT. Starting May 1775, was Sergeant, 2nd Regiment, 8th Company under Capt. Levi Wells, serving at the Siege of Boston through December 1775. In June 1775, he was detached with others and served at Bunker Hill under Gen. Joseph Spencer. On Jan. 1, 1776 he re-enlisted in Col. Samuel Wyllys’ 22nd CT Regiment. On Aug. 10, 1776 he was promoted to Ensign and participated in the Battles of Long Island (August 27), Kip’s Bay (Sept. 15), and Harlem Heights (Sept. 16). On Oct. 24, 1776, by order of Gen. Washington himself, Ensign Deming marched to Plymouth with a company under Capt. William Coit, who took command of the privateer Harrison, which then captured several prizes in which Ensign Deming shared. Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 4th CT Regiment, 1 January 1777; promoted to 1st Lieutenant 15 November 1778; served through December 1780. On Jan. 1, 1781, he transferred to the 1st CT Regiment with which he served until June 1783 when he retired with the Army at West Point. After the Revolution, Deming was commissioned an officer in the new U.S. Navy, from which he retired with rank of Captain. [Henry P. Johnston, Records of Service of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution, 1775-1783 (Hartford CT, 1889), pp. 13, 50, 107, 183, 359, 373, 593; Whittemore, pp. 56-57; Francis Heitman, Historical Register, Officers of the Continental Army (Washington DC. Rare Book Co. 1914) p. 193]
Cincinnati: Original Member of the Connecticut Society. After the death of the Propositus, he was represented by Charles Albert Hoyt (NY), GGS 1893-1903; Hoyt, Albert Sherman (NY), GGGS 1903-1918; Leroy Sanders Jr.(NY) 1950-1994. Since 2010 he has been represented by a Hereditary Member of the Connecticut Society.
Occupation: After the Revolution and his U.S. Navy service, Deming settled in Hartford, where he became a merchant. While the nature and success of his business endeavors is largely unknown, Deming left military service due to financial pressures, and was to some degree in partnership in his mercantile career with his prosperous brother, Julius Deming of Litchfield, CT [Deming, Perkins, and Quincy Families Papers, 1762-1950, Litchfield Historical Society]. Deming, despite his final navy rank of Captain, was addressed in later life as Colonel, indicating a position of at least some prominence in the local community. [Vermont Historical Magazine, No. XI, October 1867, hereinafter “VHM” pp. 615-616]
Discussion: Despite his distinguished military service, little is known about Deming; indeed, his life is among the least documented of his large extended family of the era. His grave marker, placed by a descendant a century after his death, cites Deming’s earnest patriotism, which may be believed given his service over the entire course of the Revolution. His life, with its peripatetic army and navy service, seems less settled to the land than much of his family, and was crossed with some tragedy, including the death of his first wife aged only 18. She is described as a woman “of great beauty and much idolized by her parents”. [VHM pp. 615-616]