Justus Overton


Justus Overton

Justus Overton

Justus Overton was born August 20, 1757 in Coram, New York. He was the son of David Overton and Susannah Palmer. (David Overton's second wife.) Justus was one of many children. He had four half brothers, two half sisters, six brothers, and one sister.

His father, David Overton, built the house that Justus spent his boyhood in. This house was located on what is now called David Overton Road. The road is on the west side of Mill Road and had a small pond behind it.

Justus Overton
David Overton House on David Overton Road, note pond at rear of house.
Photo from the collection of Davis Erhardt.

Justus entered the army in late April or early May of 1776 as a volunteer. He was commanded by Lieutenant Nathaniel Norton of Coram. The entire company was led by Captain Daniel Griffin. This regiment was commanded by Colonel Henry B. Livingston in the Brigade of General James Clinton, in the third Regiment of the New York Line of the American Revolution.

His company was marched over to the East End of Long Island and stationed at Shelter Island. In August of 1776 General Washington was defeated at The Battle of Long Island. After the surrender of Long Island to the British, the company assisted patriots to transport their cattle and sheep to Connecticut, which was still under American control.

Then after helping the citizens in moving their livestock to Connecticut their company was encamped at Saybrook, Connecticut. While at Saybrook the company continued to go to Long Island to bring Patriots and their belongings to Connecticut.

The Connecticut Courant Reported on September 30, 1776 that in September a detachment of the company was sent to Brookhaven to escort Captain Daniel Roe's family and other patriots back to Connecticut. As they were returning to their boat to leave they encountered a Tory, named Richard Miller, who they believed had weapons stored at his home.

Miller fired a shot at the patriots, whereupon five patriots returned fire, mortally wounding Miller. The patriots were forced to leave when they learned that another Tory, Jacob Smith, was coming with reinforcements.

Miller and Smith had received commissions under the King of Great Britain. They were raising men, taking from patriot farms, horses and wagons, taking cattle, which they were supplying, to the occupying British Forces in New York City.

In October of 1776, Overton's company participated in an expedition to Colonel Floyd's estate, where they were supposed to bring back the personal effects of Colonel Floyd and other patriots. Instead, they ran into and captured two sloop ships called Princess Mary and Lily filled with firewood. These ships were loaded under the command of Captain Smith for General Howe's men in New York City.

Now Justus Overton and his company were sent to New Haven, Connecticut for quite some time. In November, the same year teamed up with troops from Rhode Island they were then sent to Setauket on Long Island. At Setauket the American troops engaged troops under the Tory leader, Captain Jacob Smith. At this battle, the Americans only lost one man, a sergeant. They killed several of the enemy and captured Captain Smith and 23 Tories. Out of this battle the Americans also took seventy-five muskets much-needed muskets. They brought these Tories back to Connecticut.

Then, Justus and his company were sent over to Fishkill on the North River in up state New York. After staying at Fishkill he was then marched to Fort Montgomery, where they were to support American troops in Canada. While at Fort Montgomery Overton's enlistment ran out. General James Clinton then asked all of the men in this company to remain at the fort for one more month, until the regular forces could come to Fort Montgomery to relieve them. After his enlsitment ended, Justus Overton first returned to Connecticut and eventually back to Coram.

On August 9, 1798 he married Nancy (Ann) Bunce of Huntington. Overton would live in Coram until his death on May 4, 1842 at the age of 85. He was buried in Baptist cemetery at Coram.

Written by,
Stephen Lohmann
December 2000
Longwood Middle School

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