Apollas Holcombe - Patriot and Pioneer
Apollas Holcombe was born in 1791 in Salmon Brook, Granby, Connecticut. He was one of six known children, all boys, of Micha Holcombe and Hannah Hayes. Micha, a Revolutionary War veteran, was the son of Joseph Holcombe and descendant of a puritan colonist named Thomas Holcombe who came to the new world around 1630.
The combination of economic stagnation at home and new opportunities in the west enticed young men like Micha to take their families and head out into the frontier. Sometime after 1800, Micha and family left Connecticut for western New York. They would settle in the Town of Bloomfield just south of present day Rochester. Apollas would spend his late youth and young adulthood in this area of the state on the family homestead. About 1810, Apollas married Mehitable Bunnell. She was one of 12 children and the daughter of Jonathan Bunnell and Mehitable Morse. The family had come west from Massachusetts and settled in Bloomfield about the same time as the Holcombes. They had been living in Blandford, Massachusetts in the 1780’s and 1790’s before coming to New York. The Micha Holcombe family and Jonathan Bunnell family were neighbors and can be found on the same census page in 1810.
. . . born in 1791; was a soldier of 1812, and wounded at the burning of Buffalo by the British in 1814; a bullet struck his uplifted arm and sped to the shoulder; the “knuckle” of the elbow joint was cut off and came out of the wound, which was in a state of suppuration two years, occasionally capping over; one day, he remarked to his son (Ira) that he believed the bullet had returned to the place of entry, and, taking his knife, probed the cavity and took out the bullet, which, with the fragment of bone, is in the possession of Mr. Holcomb (Ira) . . .
|War of 1812 Pension records showing Apollas Holcombe|
|The 1920 Federal Census for Hartland, New York. The listing shows six living|
in the household: 3 males under 10, one male between 16 and 26, one female
under 10 and one female between 16 and 26. Youngest son, James is not yet born.
Two of the children of Apollas and Mehitable would stay in Michigan. Ira would raise a family and farm in the Town of Washington near Romeo in Macomb County and Hannah would raise a family in the Town of Dryden in neighboring LaPeer County. Reuben, as mentioned above and brother James would venture to Wisconsin but James would eventually come back to Michigan and settle in Dryden. Reuben would stay in Wisconsin but two of his children would head west into the Dakota Territory. Apollas Holcombe lived a short but important life. He served his country in the War of 1812, was a pioneer in western New York and must have instilled his colonial values on his children. They would follow the example of his ancestors and push farther into the frontier, settling in Michigan, Wisconsin and parts farther west.
-Read about the War of 1812 in Ontario County, New York here.
-Read about Reuben Holcomb here.
Research Notes: Apollas gets a mention in two county histories written in the late 19th century. One is about the Town of Washington in Macomb County, Michigan (article about Ira Holcomb) and the other is about the Town of Adams in Green County, Wisconsin (article about Reuben Holcomb). Additional information was obtained from the United States Census, Holcombe Family website and a few other sources.