Finding Lyndes Willis Pettibone

Today is the 200th anniversary of the end of the War of 1812.

The hostilities formally ended on February 17, 1815, at 11 p.m., when President Madison exchanged Treaty of Ghen ratification documents with a British representative.

My great-great-greatgrandfather, Lyndes Willis Pettibone – or, as we’ll see, perhaps his father or another person with that same name – served in this war as a musician. I have not yet been able to connect all the dots unequivocally, but this post presents what I’ve found out so far.

Lyndes appears to be one of four sons fathered by Chauncey Pettibone (1766-1801), the seventh of 13 children fathered by Abraham Pettibone (1727-1797). “Lynds” is mentioned in the will of Abraham Sr.’s seventh son, Alexander Pettibone (1761-1801), which was executed on Feb. 12, 1801. Whereas Alexander had directed that various specific shares of his estate go directly to his many siblings, Chauncey’s share was to be given instead to his brother’s children — “Chauncey (Jr.), Elihu, George and Lynds.”

The will then read: “If my brother Chauncey Pettibone should become a temperate man & so manage his business as in the opinion of my Executor (Note: Alexander’s Executor was his older brother, Abraham Jr.), he ought to have the estate which I leave wholly with them (Note: meaning Chauncey’s four children, I believe) & earnestly wish might be the case.”

(Sources: The wills of Abraham Sr. (dated Jan. 17, 1797) and his son Alexander (dated 12 Feb 1801), viewed on the Family History Library’s microfilm of the Farmington (CT) district probate courts, Vols 4 & 5 covering 1793 – 1806, as well as the online text of “Genealogical Sketches of the Earliest Settlers of West Simsbury (now Canton, Conn.) with short sketches and Family Records” by Abiel Brown, Esq., Hartford: Press of Case, Tiffany and Co., 1856. Re-printed, N, Y., 1899.)

Since Chauncey Sr. died in 1801, one can presume that he may not have become a sufficiently “temperate man” to have inherited his share. I hope someday to learn what happened to Chauncey Sr., his wife (Hannah Merrell) and Lynds and his siblings during that first 19th Century decade.

Lyndes Pettibone reappears in 1812. Official records show that he twice enlisted to serve in the War of 1812: on June 14, 1812 and on August 8, 1814. In this latter record, his age is given as 18, which implies a birthdate around 1796.

pettibone enlistment pages

Somewhere along the way, Lyndes Pettibone became a clockmaker and early on had ties to Selma, Alabama: The Selma Jockey Club and Ladies Society noted that “L. W. Pettibone offered for sale a large lot of superfine brass eight day clocks, June 28, 1838” (Source: p.33, “Selma; Her Institutions, and Her Men” by John Hardy, pub. 1879; accessed 17 Feb 2015)

New York and Brooklyn city directories show Lyndes W. Pettibone living there — and there’s also a Pettibone & Peters clockmaking business in Brooklyn.

The 1840-1 Longworths American Almanack, New-York Register, and City Directory (p. 500):

LyndesPettibone-1840-NYCity

Within a few lines on page 179 of “The Brooklyn City Directory and Annual Advertiser for the Years 1848-9” by E.B. Spinner, one can see listings for “Lyons” Pettibone, the Pettibone & Peters business and Edward Peters:

LyndesPettibone-1848-Brookl

A few years ago, I’d posed a question about my Pettibone on the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Message Board . One fellow posted information about a Pettibone & Peters clock with the “movement is signed W S Johnson.” Another said that “according to Spittlers’ and Bailey’s American Clockmakers and Watchmakers, Pettibone & Peters are listed at 35 John St, New York City, ~1848. Johnson, W. N. & Co are listed for the same address, with no date.”

Lyndes W. Pettibone married Hannah McDermott on May 6, 1846, in Brooklyn:

Lyndes-McDermott-BEagle

(Source: Brooklyn Eagle, 7 May 1846; viewed on 3 March 2008).

Note that Hannah’s surname was misspelled as simply “Dermott” in the New York Marriage Extracts 1801- 1880 (Barber Collection):

Lyndes-McDermott-Abstract

Lyndes & Hannah had two children in New York, Emma Louise (1847-1901) and Fannie (1852-1879). Emma, who married Charles Franklyn Seymour (1839-1877) is my great-great grandmother.

The family moved to Alabama in about 1852-3, according to Fannie’s obituary printed in an unidentified Alabama paper.

The 1860 Census shows the family in Burnt Corn, Monroe County, Alabama, with “Lyons’ ” age given as 47, which implies a birtdate around 1813. (Source: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHDX-68N 1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” accessed 17 February 2015), citing p. 140, Household ID: 963 , GS FHL Film Number: 803018 , Digital Folder Number: 004211191 , Image Number: 00144; NARA microfilm publication M653, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.)

L.W. Pettibone is listed in the Alabama Civil War soldiers index –The War for Southern Independence. No military unit or company is given.

On page 47 of the “Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens of Business Firms (National Archives Microfilm Publications Pamplet Describing M346, L.W. Pettibone of Selma, Ala., is listed as being an “Operator of receiving and forwarding house; supplied arms, ammunition, iron, lumber, coal, foodstuffs, and assorted hardware items, 1862-64,” for the Confederate armed forces.

Fold3.com has more than 100 scanned images of invoices, such as the one below, which show iron bars, nails and a boiler sold to the Confederate States Navy Department “for the further defense of Mobile Bay and the Alabama River”:

Page 23-CivilWar-Cropped

Sheet 66 of the 1866 Colored Census for Dallas County Alabama, (Compiled by B.J. Smothers) shows six blacks associated with L.W. Pettibone:

  •  (L.W. Pettibone) Isaac
  •  (L.W. Pettibone) Todd, Geo.
  •  (L.W. Pettibone) Price, Bill
  •  (L.W. Pettibone) Dan
  •  (L.W. Pettibone) Black, Tom
  •  (L.W. Pettibone) Martha

Was he a slave holder and/or a plantation owner? I don’t know for sure.

While L.W. Pettibone is listed on the 1867 voter registration rolls for Dallas County, the Dec. 1, 1866, Selma Weekly Messenger contained an ad naming the “successors” to his business. There was no mention of the motivation for this change. Did Lyndes simply sell the business? Or did he retire, relocate or die?

I have no idea.

As one can imagine, the main sources of potential confusion are the first-name variations in various records (Lyndes, Lynds, Lyons & L.W.) and the age discrepancy in two important documents: The War of 1812 enlistment records imply Lyndes was born about 1796, and the 1860 Census implies he was born about 1813.

It’s impossible to say which might be more likely: 1) That there is one Lyndes, whose age on the 1860 Census is wrong, or 2) There are two Lyndes Pettibones, one born about 1796 and the other about 1813. If there are two, perhaps they are father & son … or unrelated.

At this time, I don’t know.

—- Note: For more information on this Pettibone Family, check out the “Pettibone Registry” developed by Kay Pontius and uploaded into Wikitree by Tom Bredehoft. Until I can resolve the uncertainties described above, I will not merge my “Lyndes” with his “Lynds.”

4 thoughts on “Finding Lyndes Willis Pettibone

  1. L.W. Pettibone had a son named Robert (R.A.) Pettibone who died 9/11/1872. The family later moved to Fulton County Georgia. Robert is on Find a Grave at: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=89642919

    According to marriage records, Emma L Pittibone married O F Seymour (CF) on 09 Mar 1870. In Dallas, Alabama, United States.

    The name Pettibone is spelled in different ways in the records so if you don’t find anything, try a variation of the spelling.

    • Hi — In Our Hearts: Thanks very much for this information. I tried e-mailing you some more detailed possibilities, including some census images and reference links … but my e-mail to you bounced back. Gmail said that the email account that you gave on the comment “does not exist.”

      If you’d like to help me delve further into this, please send me your e-mail address to me at mikeross2 -at- prodigy -dot- net. I will then delete this message/comment.

  2. On April 21, 1862 LW (Selma) wrote a letter to Gov. Shorter stating that his son R.A. Pettibone is stationed at Camp Shorter-Mobile, Capt Bird’s Company. L.W. asked that his son R.A. be released from duty in order to assist him in the Receiving and Forwarding business in connection with state business – buying and selling for the County Officers – Mobile and Montgomery Provision dealers. References Col. JR Powell. Gov JG Shorter Letters 1862 Box 8

    Robert A. Pettibone’s wife was Rosa A. Pettibone also called Rosalie or Rosella. Their son was named Daniel.

    Lyndes W Pettibone was the administrator of Robert’s will when he died in 1872 in Fulton County Georgia.

    Rosa’s grave can be found on Find A Grave at, she died 3/7/1864: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=89642935&ref=acom

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