Among the printed ancestral stories given to me by my mom, one states "Daniel Beagle (blacksmith)...born in Liberty (Cayuga County) New York probably between 1846-50....I don't remember his father's name, but do remember he was married 5-times and had extensive knowledge of Indian lore. He traded throughout the wilderness area of Northeastern New York." A variation of this story is that one of the five women was an Indian and that we are her descendants.
This is one of those family stories which could be true but is placed in the wrong time frame. Daniel Beagle's father was named John. John was born in 1815 in Schenectady County, New York, the first child of Moses and Sally Ann (Bice) Beagle. Moses was born in Albany County and Sally Ann in Dutchess County, both in New York State. The Moses Beagle family lived in Schoharie County from at least 1818 until the early to mid-1830s, when they moved to Worcester, Otsego County, NY.
On May 27, 1836, their eldest son John married Margaret Rifenburg of Worcester. The couple settled near Davenport, Delaware County, NY. According to Delaware County deed records, John purchased land in Davenport in 1841 from Gideon Wilbur. That was around the time that Harvey, their third child (second son), was born. Third son Daniel was also born there in 1843. Later in the 1840s the family lived in Jefferson, Schoharie County, while John plied his trade as a mason. They are enumerated in Jefferson in the 1850 census. Daughter Martha and son George were born during their stay in that county.
Around 1852, John and Margaret and their family moved to a farm located just outside the town of Walton (a section known as Ox Bow) in Delaware County. They lived there for the rest of their lives and are buried in the Walton Cemetery.
There is no evidence that John had any more than one wife or that he traded with the Indians. Both John and son Daniel served in the Civil War. Daniel became a carpenter and settled in Hancock, Delaware County, NY.
Stories such as this may give us clues to more distant history since there is sometimes a grain of truth hidden in there. The challenge is to find that "grain."