Thursday, September 5, 2013

Samuel Faulkner of Wallkill, New York: A Brief History

Samuel Faulkner of Wallkill, New York: A Brief History

by Anne Faulkner ©2012 all rights reserved

Elgin, IL Winter 2012. Samuel Faulkner was born about 1740 in Wallkill, then Ulster County, New York. Little is known of his life as of this writing. What I have been able to discover I will share with you now. My family lore suggests that he was the second generation in America, his father having emigrated from Scotland to the “Colony of New York” in the early 1700's. Samuel Faulkner, the subject of this article, is most likely the son of William and Mary Faulkner, but no proof has been found to substantiate this at this time. There was a Samuel Faulkner listed in the will of William Faulkner dated 11 Sept. 1783, who was said to have married Elizabeth Wilkin according to the 'History and Genealogy of Wm Bull and Sarah Wells' book . Our Samuel's land was adjacent to Col. Wm Faulkner's land. However I CANNOT PROVE that this is the same man as our subject. There is a good likelihood, yes, but no proof has been found to date. That said, let's move forward to what I DO know.

Military involvement: The earliest record I have found of Samuel is the 1775 listing of New York in the Revolution. It shows Samuel as a private in Col. Clinton's New Windsor Regiment (under the command of Jacob Newkirk); in the Wallkill Second Co (Wm Faulkner Jr Captain). Orange Co leading up to the Revolution was a very exciting place to be, I am sure there is more to learn about Samuel during this time, however I have not pursued his military involvement further as of this writing.

Family life: In the 1790 Census we find Samuel Faulkner with 10 occupants in his household. Eight are children. Four boys and four girls, plus 2 adults, 1 male and 1 female. In 1800 we find him with 9 occupants – 2 older adults, 1 male and 1 female, 4 younger males and 3 younger females. By 1810 it is just Samuel and one older female in the household. Based on the information available from the census records I concluded that the first child, a daughter, was most likely born between 1763 and 1765. And that Samuel was most likely born around 1740, with his wife being born around 1745. I have come to learn that his wife's name was Elinor and the four sons were named David, Robert, James and John M. I suspect the youngest daughter to be Margaret.

Land ownership: Samuel Faulkner, owned a substantial piece of land, about 1000 acres, located in Wallkill, New York. It was situated adjacent to the land of Col. William Faulkner, as mentioned above. The Scotchtown Meeting House stood at one corner of his property. He owned a saw mill, also located on his property.(2)  In the 1803 assessment roll of real and personal estate taxable in the town of Wallkill, Samuel is shown as having $2012.00 worth of land, one of the wealthier land holders on the list. In 1807 I found Samuel and his wife Elinor (or Eliner) selling some of their 1000 acres to their four sons: David, James, Robert and John M. Each boy receives about 130 acres. Then in 1839 all four boys, along with their wives sell off all of the land they hold in Wallkill and effectively leave the area permanently.

Religious life: Samuel was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church O.S., as reported in his son James' obituary. In 1799 I found Samuel as an elder of the Union Church at New Shawangunk.(1)  The church building was known as the Old Union House and was located near Bloomingburg Mills. It had a cemetery at the same location. I have located the grave of a Samuel Faulkner buried at the Bloomingburg Rural Cemetery. He is buried with his wife “Helen”, and Margaret, whom I believe to be his daughter. The cemetery records are very old and there are no headstones. If this is our Samuel (and I strongly suspect it is) he died April 2, 1811, four years after selling half of his land to his sons. Elinor “Helen” died March 17, 1826.

Conclusion: At the death of my father in 2007 I picked up where he left off; trying to learn of his heritage and his Faulkner name. I hit many a dead end in the following years and in winter of 2011 I decided to dedicate the next 12 months to researching the Faulkner name exclusively. That's when the breakthroughs began. I have come a long way, there is still so much more to learn, my father would be so excited at the new information I uncovered. I present this to you now with the hopes that some of the information will ring a bell with you and together we can learn more of this great family name, our family name.

Afterword: I continue my research on this bloodline. If you are interested in collaborating or just want to learn more I can be contacted at

(1)Ruttenber, Edward Manning, 1825-1907, Clark, L. H. (Lewis H.) History of Orange County, New York, 1881, Philadelphia: Everts Peck [available on]
(2)"New York Land Records, 1630-1975," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 April 2016), Orange > Deeds 1820-1823 vol V-W > image 101 of 522; county courthouses, New York.