Abraam Storms, American revolution, Anah Bessac, Chenango County, Chenango Forks, Chenango River, Fur Trader, George Park, Greene NY, Henry Birdsall, John Bessac, Madrid, North Fenton, Priest, Privateer, Royal Guard
John Bessac’s grandson Benjamin L. Bessac gave the introduction to this story with a short note. See the bottom of the following post.
It would be proper, I believe, to allow Benjamin L. Bessac speak to us from his notes of July 30, 1863, written in Albion, NY.
My grandfather had eight children, four sons and four daughters, of whom all but one survived him. His widow [Anah] died at the city of Hudson on the Eleventh day of February, 1834, aged seventy-seven years.
[One paragraph is set aside for each child. Each paragraph gives the details of each child, their spouses and their children.]
It only remains for me to add a few personal recollections of one of the noblest men I have ever known. I first saw him in the spring of 1816 at my father’s house in Tioga County. He was then in his fifty-eighth year, about five feet ten inches high, straight as an arrow, and perfect in form and features; his face was bronzed by exposure, but his eye was as keen as the eagle’s, and his chestnut hair, without a stripe of grey, hung in curls about his neck. His movements were light and rapid, and his language as polished as that of an officer of the reign of Louis the Grand. He was as courteously polite to the pauper, who begged his bread by the wayside, as he would have been to the proudest monarch on earth. He was a man of unusual physical power, and was endowed with a constitution of iron. It was my good fortune to go with him to his home on the Chenango River, where I remained for some months, following him about on his daily walks about the farm and listening to his instructive and most entertaining conversation. In the cool evenings of that cold summer, when the rambles of the day were over, it was a pleasure never to be forgotten to sit near him by the cheerful fire and listen to the reminiscences of his eventful life – – – a life that had been passed in France, Spain and America, upon the sea and the land, and covering the overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty, the crash of the French Revolution, the rise and fall of the great Napoleon, and the glorious uprising of this great and, then, happy and prosperous nation; “all of which he saw and part of which he was.” He told me of Louis the Sixteenth, and the good Lafayette, of Rochambeau, and Washington, of Kosciuszko and Pulaski, of the sunny slopes and smiling valleys of his beloved France; of his mother in that beautiful land, who he reverenced almost to idolatry; of Spain, the land of rugged mountains and sparking rivers, immortalized by the song of the Troubadour, and of his wanderings and romantic life and adventures. So the evenings would glide away until the small hours of the night, when he would rise from his chair, and with courteous obeisance, retire. I saw him again in the fall of 1817, a few weeks only, and then for the last time on earth. The disease of which he died had begun its fatal work upon his iron frame; his step was less elastic, his face appeared care-worn and tinged with a shade of sadness entirely unusual. I was about returning to the eastern part of the State to commence my education, and he walked from his house with me to the river and ferried me across. We went up the bank together, and then he gave me his blessing and turned away. May God so direct my footsteps on earth that I shall meet him in the realm above the stars, where the weary are at rest.
When I first became acquainted with Grandfather I noticed a small purple spot or pimple on his chin; when I saw him last it was so much enlarged that in shaving himself he cut around it. This incipient cancer continued to increase in size and virulence until the early spring of the year 1824, when on the 25th day of March he was gathered to his fathers. So passed away from earth JEAN GUILLIAUME BESSAC, the novitiate of the French Catholic Church, the wanderer over the Pyrenees, the member of the life guard to the King of Spain, the soldier of the American Revolution, and aid-de-camp of Count Rochambeau; an affectionate son, brother and father; a wise and faithful counselor and friend. May all of his descendants strive to imitate those virtues which have rendered his memory so fragrant.
[Another page is used to describe encounters with people who knew of John Bessac or his family in France.]
There is nothing I could add to the story of John Bessac. So I close out these posts with a few relevant items that may serve as a summary of this story; in chronological order starting with John Bessacs parents and siblings.