Apr 17, 2014

My Ancestors On a TV Show!

Every Sunday while watching the AMC channel (I am a huge "Walking Dead" fan) I kept seeing commercials for a new series called "Turn".  I didn't pay much attention and in fact was getting sick of seeing them.  The series is set during the Revolutionary War about a group of American spies.  Then during one of these commercials I caught the name of the main character--Abraham Woodhull--from Setauket New York and almost fell off my chair.

Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull on AMC "Turn"

My great grandmother's maiden name was Woodhull.  I have traced her family back to to Setauket, NY.  I knew these had to be "my Woodhulls".  So off I went to research Abraham Woodhull.

It turns out Abraham's father, Richard Woodhull (also in the show) was a brother of my 6th great grandfather.  The series is based on actual facts about of group of men acting as spies for the Americans under George Washington.  I was actually amazed--I had never heard of this group of spies and there were my ancestors are - part of it all.

I have only caught the first episode but it was really cool to sit and watch what life was like for my New York ancestors in this time period.  How true this story stays to actual facts I do not know.  But I still enjoyed getting a glimpse into their lives.  It was also amazing to keep hearing other surnames I recognized from my family tree as characters in the show such as Strong, Brewster, and Tallmadge.

I have no idea what the real Abraham looked like but here is his grave memorial at Setauket Presbyterian Cemetery in New York from Find A Grave

"Friend and confidant of George Washington, Head of the long Island Secret Service During the American Revolution he operated under the alias Samuel Culper Sr. To him and his associates have been credited a large share of the success of the Army of the Revolution. Born in Setauket Oct. 7, 1750 in the original Woodhull homestead, son of Richard W. & Margaret Smith. Fifth generation from Richard Woodhull, the original grantee of a large portion of Brookhaven Town. He was a Presbyterian, occuping a "Pew of Authority" in the old church and doinig much toward the building of the new church. He was a man of integrity punctual and precise in his business relations. He freed his slaves long before they were legally free. He filled numerous important positions being Magistrate in Setauket many years, Judge
of the Court of Common Pleas 1793-1799, First Judge of Suffolk Co. from 1799-1810.

This Memorial conceived and erected by Mayflower Chapter - DAR Setauket, L. I., N.Y. - June 25, 1936"

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