My smartphone winked its red eye. Thumbs scrolled to the email icon. “YOU HAVE HINTS!” ancestry.com said.
The applications to the Sons of the American Revolution, submitted many decades ago by cousins many times removed, warranted a thorough review. Once at my computer screen, I browsed these family trees which provided clues for a good googling of commanding officers that provided tips for a search of the Daughters of the American Revolution database. Not quite primary sources, but the consistency of these secondary sources lead me to create this profile with Heinrich and Johannes Tödter, my great(6) and great(5) grandfathers.
Heinrich Tödter was born in Germany and married Catherina Benner in or around 1738. Their date of immigration is unknown.
Once in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York, Heinrich Tödter was known as Hendrick Teeter or Teater or Tieter. He and his wife had at least one child, Johannes or John Teeter, baptised 2 March 1742. Hendrick signed the Articles of Association in June and July of 1775 and is considered a patriot of the Revolution. He died in 1785 in Dutchess County, New York.
John Teeter married Margaretha Rifenberg, and the couple had at least one child, John M. Teater, born 8 January 1764. John, Sr. served in Captain Henry B. Livingston’s Company of the 4th New York Continental Regiment in 1775. He died in 1795.
John M. Teater married Sophie Schut on 7 March 1788 in Dutchess County, New York. They had at least one child, Nancy Teater, in 1795. John M. Teater died in Whitesville, Allegany County, New York on the 4 August 1838; Sophie died on 13 October 1851 in Whitesville.
Nancy Teater was the first school teacher in Allegany County; she married Samuel S. White in around 1818. The couple had five children of which I am aware: Dugald C., Clark, Serena Crandall, Cynthia, and Minerva J. Nancy died in Allegany County in January 1863.
Serena White, born around 1826, married Ira Sayles in 1844 and taught school with her husband at Alfred College and Rushford Academy, before relocating to Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1870. They had four children: Florette who died as a girl; Clifton Duvall; Merle; and Christopher Sherman. Serena died in Mecklenburg County, Virginia on her son’s farm in 1897.
Clifton Duvall was born in Alfred, Allegany County, New York in 1851, relocated with his family to Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1870 and married his first wife, Anna McCullough, in 1879. In the twenty years before her death, the couple raised four children. Anna died early in 1900, and Clifton soon remarried — a woman he first courted right after The War. Rebecca Eulelia “Lilly” Dodson had remained single and lived with her spinster sisters on the family’s farm just down the road from Clifton and Anna. Lilly married Clifton in January of 1901 and delivered my grandmother, Anna Florette Sayles, on 4 December of that same year.
Florette was a writer and historian before I realized what her recollections could mean. It was from her handwritten notes that I first learned of Nancy Teater and her pioneering kin. I believe that she would be thrilled to learn of Nancy’s ancestors and I know she would have joined me in my pursuit of the immigrant’s story. Somewhere Grandma is nodding her head, crochet hook flashing, urging me on.