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I remember when a boy to have listened in almost breathless silence, while my maternal grandmother and paternal great grandmother told of what they saw and what happened to their fathers' families and neighbors during the occupation of Long Island by the British, from 1776 to 1783. So fascinated was I with their narratives of the sufferings endured by the patriots, that as long as life lasts the memory of facts stated by them will be ever fresh.
Visits to my father's relatives, with long intervals between, gave me opportunities I did not know how to improve. All I done was to ask such few questions as might only be expected from a boy. During one of the visits made me by Samuel Griffing, I asked him to obtain from Abigail Skillman a statement of the Skillman family as correctly and as far back as she could give it. I received such statement in due time, and found it since to be entirely correct from Joseph® down, but she stated in it that, “Abraham was the father of Joseph,” as the utmost limit that she could go back, and so I was given much trouble afterwards to find that Abraham had an only son Thomas, who died unmarried, and that Abraham and Joseph were brothers. This statement from my Aunt satisfied me at the time, and I felt thankful for it, but afterwards, as other points presented themselves, I found my craving unsatisfied. By that time my uncle and aunt paid the debt of nature, and I was left to devise other means of finding out what I wished to know.
In February, 1875, I determined that I would devote some of my time to collecting incidents relating to the different members of the family, and at the same time trace as far as possible its genealogy. I soon found that others had attempted this work, but for some reason had aban