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Catherine Dafoe

Born Born 1805  
Married Married about 1825 Smedley Benedict
Died Died 1887 Woodstock, Oxford Co, Ontario
Buried   Woodstock Baptist Cemetery



The Parents of Catherine

Her father Daniel Dafoe was born in 1769 and died prior to 1844 and was the youngest child of John Ernst Defoe and Maria Keller. He married Elizabeth Wright prior to 1790.

Catherine’s Early Years

The Dafoe family were United Empire Loyalists who were raised in the southwestern corner of Vermont in the community of Pownal, close to (now) New York and Massachusetts states. Catherine’s grandfather chose the British side and the family suffered loss of property and exodus to the British colony to the north.

The origins of the Dafoe family goes back to the early 18th century, when vinedresser Daniel Thevou, his wife Marianne and two children Maria Anna and Abraham, emigrated from Switzerland, as part of the large Palatine Migration. The family left Rotterdam in 1709 sailing to the New World via London. Marianne did not survive the voyage so Daniel arrived at the Hudson River with two children to care for in a foreign land(5).

His son Abraham (1702-1753) married Anna Maria Catharina Reiffenberger and lived in nearby Rhinbeck in New York, raising at least five sons and three daughters.

Catherine’s grandfather, John Ernst Dafoe was born Johan Ernst Defuh, but anglicized his name in the 1760’s when Englishmen settled around him in the Hoosick Patent of New York Province. John married twenty-year-old Mary Keller on February 1, 1749. Both were German speaking as well as English. Together they raised seven sons and one daughter in Pownal in Vermont. John was elected deer reeve and pathmaster and built a grist mill near the town centre. He was among the many Loyalists who were rounded up and jailed in Connecticut in 1776, escaping in 1777, probably in the general breakout that occurred when the prisoners heard they were to be shot the next morning.

John entered into the war on the British side, fighting in the Battle at Bennington of August 16 1777, just north of Pownal, with sons George, Conrad and Abraham. George was shot in battle and died a few days later. Abraham, Catherine’s granduncle, was captured and paroled, but the father, John was captured and held. He escaped again and fled to Canada. It seems John continued in the war as a courier-spy on secret service. His wife Mary kept one of the “safe houses” along the couriers’ route, between Crown Point and New York City. They did lose their property at Pownal after the war, losing “30 acres in Pownal; a good house valued at 100 pounds Halifax currency; an orchard and a grist mill valued at 300 pounds. He also lost his horses, cows, hogs and wagons.” John passed away in the refugee camp at St. Jean’s Quebec in 1784, likely of malaria and undoubtedly aggravated by the rough life of a spy.

Daniel Dafoe U.E., the youngest child of John Ernst Dafoe and Maria Martigen "Mary" Keller and the father for our Catherine, was born on Sept. 15, 1769 in New York Province in the States; too young to fight in the Revolutionary War and he died prior to 1844. Daniel married Elizabeth Wright, daughter of Samuel Wright, U.E., in 1790 in Quebec and together they raised twelve children in the Lennox & Addington County of Ontario.

Elizabeth Wright was born in 1769 in the States and passed away on Dec 21, 1844 at Fredericksburg. Her family came north to Canada West after the Peace of 1794.

18 April 1792, Elizabeth prays for 200 acres in Mecklenbough District, dau. of Samuel Wright U. E., who was a widower. This was granted on August 30, 1797. D76, Bundle 3, Microfilm C1743.

Catherine was born in Fredericksburg twp. of Upper Canada in 1804. She received her Orders-in-Council land grant of 50 acres on March 10, 1834.


-- JimBenedict - 01 Jan 2006
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Dafoe.CatherineDafoe1804 moved from Dafoe.CatherineDafoe1805 on 02 Jan 2006 - 03:15 by JasonBenedict - put it back
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