Little is known about John Beagle (aka John Beedle) before 1775. Through Revolutionary War Company Muster Rolls, Pay Rolls and Pension documents, John Beagle’s service to his country can be traced from his enlistment at Lansingburgh (then called New City), New York, located about 10 miles north of Albany. He served in the colonial forces commanded by General Montgomery during the expedition against Quebec and participated in the battle, siege and capture of the fort at St. John. Among the officers on that mission were Leonard Bleecker, Peter Gansevoort and Goose Van Schaick. After returning from Canada, John Beagle was a member of a contingent of soldiers detached from the main force for service along Lake Champlain and the North River.
After completing his initial nine-month enlistment, John joined Captain John Bradt’s Schenectady Rangers for a term of up to 4 months. In early 1777, Colonel Henry Livingston gave Lieutenant Leonard Bleecker a stipend of 40 pounds for recruitment. Bleecker was promoted to Captain and formed a unit under the command of Colonel Peter Gansevoort in the Third New York Regiment. John Beagle enlisted in that unit for the duration of the War and was promoted to Corporal on March 12, 1777.
The Third Regiment was stationed at Fort Stanwix from April 1777 to November 1778. Life at the fort was very difficult. The fort was small, built to house about 300 men but there were 750 stationed there. The enlisted men slept four to a bunk in very cramped quarters.
During the siege of the fort, from August 3 to August 22, 1777, the British forces fired their cannons throughout the day and night, a very nerve-wracking experience. Four Colonial soldiers were killed and 18 wounded. Nine members of the troop deserted, not knowing that help was on the way. On the last day of the siege, the British cannons fired often during the morning and then there was silence. The British and their allies had disappeared. They left so fast that 150 of their men were left in the trenches.
After the siege, life mainly consisted of marching and cleaning boots and weapons. They dared not go out of the fort for fear of a return of the British or of being attacked by British sympathizers. Boredom led to fights and more desertions. In November 1778, relief forces arrived and the Third Regiment was finally allowed to join the fight.
In 1781, with the war winding down, the New York regiments were reorganized. Col. Gansevoort was relieved of command and returned home. Some of his men were discharged. John Beagle was retained in Capt. Bleecker’s unit under the command of Col. Goose Van Schaick in the First New York Regiment. This Regiment was at Yorktown, Virginia during the surrender of Cornwallis.
John Beagle was discharged at Snake Hill, Newburgh, Orange County, NY in November 1783, Two years later, on his 40th birthday, he married Lavintyea “Winche” Van Nosdall in Fishkill Plains, NY. She was 17 years old. John and Winche had ten children, born between 1786 and 1807. We know the names of 8 of them: William, Moses, Mary, Catherine, Phebe, Sarah, Jemima, and Samuel. For the first few years of their marriage, John and Winche lived in Rensselaerwyck on rented land. Three known children were born there between 1786 and 1790. (A John Beedle is enumerated in the 1790 census in Rensselaerwyck.) John Beagle received a Land Bounty Grant in that year. In 1792 the family moved to Schoharie. The next 5 known children were born there. The last, Samuel, was reportedly born in Dutchess County.
In 1818, at the age of 72 years, 7 months and 8 days¸ John Beagle made his application for a pension. It is in that detailed statement that we learn that John Beagle had been a weaver. By that time, he was too infirm to ply his trade and unable to support his wife. John Beagle died in Schoharie on the Friday after Election Day in November 1829.