Go Here for a listing of our Military
Colonial Indian Wars
To quote from Dr. Stiles' records in speaking of the first Indian war in New
"The danger was imminent (to the settlers), and so
complete the victory that it caused universal rejoicing throughout New England, and a
grant of land was given each soldier and officer, and to this day the memory of an
ancestor who was in the Pequod fight, is an honorable heirloom in every Connecticut
There is no doubt that our ancestors represented us in nearly every battle and war
fought in colonial America. Our grandfathers William Thrall, Nathan Gillett, and Thomas
Buckland were in a group of 30 men dispatched from Windsor to join in the fight against
the Pequot Indians in 1637, a war-like sect of the Algonquin tribe. The indian village in
this case was so completely destroyed that for many years the settlers had no further
trouble with the Indians. Some years later, the participants were given land grants.
Cousin Joseph Gillett (b. 1641), a son of Uncle Jonathan, brother to Nathan, is killed
at King Philips Indian massacre at Bloody Creek Ma. in Sept. 1675. Another son of Jonathan
is killed by Indians the following spring, Samual (b. 1643) is killed in the battle at
Peskeompsinson (now Turner Falls), Ma. A year and a half later, Samual's widow, Hannah,
and two children are captured by Indians and taken to Canada. Hannah has a daughter in
captivity and is eventually ransomed back.
French & Indian War and the American Revolution
The rolls of Windsor men serving in the French and Indian War and the Revolution
are littered with such as Messenger, Phelps, Gillett and Winchell. In the book, "The
Winchell Genealogy" by Alexander Winchell (our cousin and the first president of
Syracuse University) At least 11 of our Winchell cousins, uncles and grandfathers are
listed as seeing service in the French and Indian war including our grandfather Thomas
Winchell. Our grandfather Elisha, son of Thomas is listed among the more than two dozen
Winchell relatives serving in the American Revolution. Our uncle, Elisha's brother Thomas,
dies in 1776 "in the Revolution".
Daughters of the American
Through my daughters, the following ancestors are listed in the records of
Our grandfather Nathaniel Messenger served in Captain Stanley's Co. in 1776 in
response to the Lexington Alarm. His son, our grandfather, Lemuel Messenger served
on five different occasions during the Revolution.
Excerpts of Lemuel's American Revolution pension application of June,
Sept, 1777 drafted as a private in the company commanded by Captain David Phelps of
Simsbury, Connecticut. that he marched in said Company to Stonington (near New London) in
Connecticut and was there stationed. his duty was to keep Garrison. that he was discharged
at Stonington in the month of December following, having served the full term of three
That in the month of June 1778. he was drafted as a private and entered the service in the
Company of Captain Lemual Bates in Colonel Haskins Regiment of Connecticut Militia and
marched to Horse Neck (Greenwich CT) and was there stationed as a Guard. and was
discharged at said Horse Neck in the month of August having ( ---- ) not up than two
months the term for which he was drafted.
That in the month of April 1779 he was Drafted at Simsbury where he resided and Marched
through Litchfield to Nelson Point (Robinsons farm, near West Point) and Joined the
Regiment commanded by Colonel Bradley in General Huntington Brigade, the captains name he
has forgotten. at Nelson Point he was Employed in building a fort a part of the time ( --a
little?) East on a hill and a part of the time in making Gabions (baskets constructed of
sticks and filled with earth, a colonial version of todays sandbag). from Nelson Point he
marched to Morristown in New Jersey. was there employed in building huts on bearskin ridge
and (other ment?) into winter quarters. and was discharged at said Morristown on the 8th
day of January 1780 having served the full term of nine months. While at Morristown he saw
On the first of April 1780 he volunteered under Captain Benjamin Mills of New Hartford in
Colonel Beebe's Regiment and Marched from Simsbury in Conn to Horse Neck and was there
stationed to Guard the Coast. The Enemy and the Cow boys do call a atac during this
Service he was in a skirmish with the Cow boys one man was killed. that he was discharged
on ( -- ) the ( --- ) January 1781.
(The moniker of "Cow boy" was given to the Loyalist soldiers who conducted
various foraging expeditions, raids, and reconnaisances in the New York area, particularly
in Westchester county. The best known group was "Delancy's Cowboys" commanded by
That in the year 1781 he went as a substitute for his father who was Drafted. his Captains
name was Jonathan Case cannot recollect the (field) officers. he Joined the Company at
Simsbury as a private in the Month of October and Marched to New Havin in Con. to Guard
the Coast. that he served in this term two Months the full term of the Draft and was
discharged at New Havin th ( --- ) part of December 1781.
Saw General Washington at Morristown .
Our civil war heritage encompasses nearly every major battle of the Civil War.
Sebastian Hamberger, our gr. gr. grandfather enlisted, August 26, 1862, at Utica at the
age of 21.On October 10, 1862, he was mustered in as a private in Co. A, 146th
Regiment of the NY Volunteers. He served three years and was mustered out with his company
near Washington D. C. on July 25, 1865.
As a member of the 146th, Sebastian and his comrades took part in the campaigns
at Fredricksburgh, Chancellorsville, Gettysburgh, The Wilderness, Spottsylvania,
Petersberg and others. We can be fairly certain that on the evening of June 3, 1863,
Sebastian was with his unit while they defended Little RoundTop, scene of one of the
bloodiest battles at Gettysburgh. The numbers of casualties the 146'th suffered at these
battles seem relatively light until the battle of the Wilderness. The Wilderness was the
first major confrontation in the spring of 1864 as Grant moved his troops south to
confront General Lee. In this battle which took place on May 5th and 6th,
Sebasian's unit lost 312 men, including 52 killed.
Nearly all civil war veterans received disability pensions, Sebastian received a
pension based on his partial disability due to deafness and rheumatism.
On August 1, 1862, our Gr. grandfather, Charles Lange., was mustered into Co B, 122'nd
regiment of the NYS volunteers in Syracuse, NY at the age of 23. The 122nd took part
in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, including, Antietem, South Mt.
Fredricksburgh, Shanendoah Valley, Harpers Ferry, Cedar Creek, The Wilderness,
Spottsylvania, and others.
The 122nd also took part in Gettysburgh, however Charles had been recorded as a
deserter on the march from Fredericksburgh to Gettysburgh. 10 months later he is back on
the rolls and it is noted that he was at a hospital in Washington D. C. It may be that
dysentery was the cause of his illness as his pension is issued for the disability he
acquired at Fredericksburgh
chronic diarrhea causing bleeding piles!
Both the 122nd and the 146th were attached to the Army of the
Potomac. After the war both our grandfathers were members of the Grand Army of the
Republic (G.A.R.), the forerunner of today's American Legion.
Spanish American War
While none of our Grandfathers took part in the Spanish American War, at least one of
our uncles represented us. John Lange (b. 1881), brother of our grandfather Charles Lange,
Served during the Spanish-American war in Company B. of Utica, and the Forty first
United States Volunteers, and saw actual fighting in several battles. Following the war he
served the regular army as trumpeter. He was a member of the Fifty-second Company of Coast
Artillery. He was stationed for some time at a fort just outside of New Bedford, Mass.
We may have also been represented by Bart Roach (b. 1867), brother of our gr.
grandfather, John Roach. Little is known of this, the second of three Bart Roach's,
however family history say's that he was a soldier of fortune who traveled extensively and
ended up somewhere out West. I have in my possession a Springfield 45-70 Trapdoor rifle
which was said to have been left by him at his brother John's home on Grove Pl. This rifle
is the same model used by Custer's troops at Little Big Horn. The number 14 is stamped
into the stock which I assume would probably be a unit or regiment designation.
World War I
Our Grandfather, Norbert F. Bankert (b. 1892), served with a medical unit in France in
WWI. I believe his brother Ray also served. I cannot say whether the remaining two
brothers Albert and Anthony served. I have been told, however, that it was expected that
this generation of Bankert's served America to show their allegiance and patriotism to the
adopted country of their father and grandfather. The speaking of German is also reportedly
forbidden out of respect for America.
It is said that the unit our grandfather was in dealt with the dead collected on the
battle field and being shipped for burial. It was apparently a gruesome job dealing with
much death and gore.
World War II
Our Father, Norbert F. Bankert (b. 1927), left high school to join the Navy in WWII. He
served on the USS Block Island utilizing his trade of a butcher in the
kitchen. The USS Block Island was on its way to the islands of the Pacific and Japan when
the war officially ended. Norb returned to High School after the Navy. It's been said that
was a member of the class of 45, 46, 47, etc.
Esther's Father, Hugh Graber (b. 1921), served in the Army in WWII with a supply unit.
Hugh's brother Jack was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and spent the remainder of his
time as a guard in an American POW camp. Esther's Uncle Al Pennick, was shot down and
captured and spent some time in a German POW camp.
While we had no fathers or grandfathers of age, our Uncles, John and William (Bill)
Bankert both served in the Army in Korea. Uncles John served with an artillery unit which
saw some heavy fighting. Uncle Bill served in an American POW camp.
I (Norbert Bankert b. 1951) was stationed with the 101st Airborne Division
(Screaming Eagles), 501'st Signal Battalion, headquartered at Camp Eagle near Hue. I was
in Vietnam from June, 1971 to February, 1972. I spent time at different areas north of
DaNang and south of the DMZ including Camp Evans, Camp Eagle, Phu Bai, DaNang, Dong Ha,
Fire Base Bastogne, Normandy etc. In February, '72, I was awarded the Bronze Star, sent
home and discharged with the rank of Sp.4.
Our Grandfather, Charles Lange (b. 1879), was in the National Guard at least from 1900
to 1906, and then from 1915 to 1917. His service may have been continuous as he is
referred to as a Corporal in 1913. He is discharged in 1917 as a Sergeant for the reason
of having dependents that needed his support. His discharge states that his character is
Our Uncle, Reg Lange (b. 1911), son of Charles, also serves in the National Guard.