Town of
   Steuben County, New York


Slater Children Rescued Out West
George Rogers, 2002

Ezekiel Roberts was born about 1774 and emigrated from Montgomery County, NY to Painted Post, now southwest Hornby, Steuben County, NY between 1816 and 1819. His wife was Mary Phillips (my 4th great grandmother) born 1781 in New Jersey of Irish descent. She had married John Covenhoven about 1800 in Root, Montgomery County and is believed to have had four sons by him, Thomas, Henry, Peter, and Daniel (my 3rd great grandfather) and two daughters. After John died in 1815, Mary married Ezekiel Roberts 12 May 1816 in Charleston, Montgomery County and Mary, Ezekiel, Henry and Daniel moved to Hornby. She is known to have had three daughters by Ezekiel, Rhoda, Ruth and Elizabeth (Betsy) and possibly a fourth child who may have died young .

Ruth married English immigrant William Slater in 1841 and there is a published family story  (which I will continue to allude to) that William was a drifter and the family did not approve of him. William and Ruth moved to Cherry Valley, Otsego County, NY where their first child Caroline (Carrie) was born and then to Chemung, McHenry County, IL where four more children were born, Cynthia who died as an infant, William H., George, and Mary H.  In 1860 three of these Slater children, Caroline, William and Mary were living with their half uncle Peter Covenhoven in Hornby. How these Slater children returned to Hornby from out west is one of those "folklore" stories that people always remember and talk about, even today.

The family story had some relationships wrong, i.e. that Mary Phillips was identified as the daughter, not mother, of Peter Covenhoven and that she married a William Roberts and that their daughter Mary had married a William Slater, and that they moved to Wisconsin instead of Illinois, but nonetheless it is fascinating tale. According to the story, the rest of the family had washed their hands of them but Betsy continued to correspond with her sister Ruth and her family in Illinois and learned in that in 1854 Ruth and her husband had died of yellow fever and Native Americans were caring for the four orphaned children. Without informing anyone, Betsy, who had never been more than ten miles away from Hornby, headed west to retrieve her nieces and nephews, but George had died in Illinois in 1859. From Illinois, "...the little party made their way back by foot overland and by canoe on the lakes to Chicago and then Detroit. They reached Dunkirk ... on Lake Erie. From there Betsy brought her charges on foot over New York State, much of which was wilderness with an occasional log cabin".

Carrie never married. Mary married George W. McCabe in the 1870s and as far as is known had no children before she died in 1891. William enlisted when 17 years old and was wounded 31 March 1865 at Dinwiddie Court House by a shell in the left hip and right hand. He married first Christiana Paul and then Susan Ella Burnap, granddaughter of Seneca Burnap and great granddaughter of Wandall Rhoda, both of whom had settled near Ezekiel in early Hornby. He had at least three children by Christiana, William, Jr. (pictured below with his wife and three of four children), Mary and Mabel who married John Culver (their children pictured below).


              Photo from the collection of Dolores Calhoun                                                                   Photo from the collection of Dolores Calhoun

                                                   Ruth Roberts Slater                                                         William Slater
                                                 1819-1854                                                                    1814-1854


Photo from the collection of Dolores Calhoun

William, Jr., Cora (Mack), Glenn & Carrie Slater ca 1895

Photo from the collection of Dolores Calhoun

Walter Slater & Elizabeth & Marie Culver, ca 1905


Photo from the collection of Dolores Calhoun

William Sr. & Ella Burnap Slater, ca 1916

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