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Loyalist Directory: Johannes Ernst, "John" Defoe (Dafoe, Dayfoot, Devoe/DeVoe, Diefuh, Deffu, Teffa, Thevou)

(For a short explanation of each row, click on the row title ex. "surname")

Surname : Defoe (Dafoe, Dayfoot, Devoe/DeVoe, Diefuh, Deffu, Teffa, Thevou)
Given name : Johannes Ernst, "John"
Rank : Capt.
Where Resettled : At Fort St. John's Que. by 1778
Status as Loyalist : Proven
Proof of Loyalty : UEL List, Haldimand Papers, Muster roll Capt. Justus Sherwood's Co.
Notes (Expunged, Suspended, Reinstated) :  
Regiment : KRRNY, 2nd Batt., Secret Service.
Enlistment Date : Unknown ATT, In Capt. Sherwood's Co. by 1778.
Date & Place of Birth : 1726 Rhinebeck, Dutchess Co.
Settled before war : Rensselaerwyk, Pownal, Charlotte Co., N.Y. (later Vermont)
Date & Place of Death : 1784, St. John's Quebec.
Place of Burial :  
Wife Name : On Feb. 1st, 1749 at Zion Lutheran Church, Germantown N.Y., Keller (Keldar, Kelder, Kellar), Mary (Maria, Maritje Maritgen), d/o Conrad Keller and Maria Barbara Proper; b.20 Apr. 1729, d. 12 Aug. 1789 in Fredericksburgh Twp., Cataraqui.
Children :

Johannes "John" Ernst Defoe married Feb. 1st, 1749 Mary Keller at Zion Lutheran Church, Germantown N.Y. Their children:

  • George De Foe (Defoe) – descendants use the name Dayfoot – bp. 26 Nov. 1749 Germantown DRC (b. 21 Nov. 1749, d. 17 Aug. 1777 from wounds received at the Battle of Bennington on Aug. 16th. Married ca 1769 Elizabeth Dunnig (Dunning), d/o Michael Dunnig (served on the Committee of Conspiracies), of Petersburg, N.Y. 3 children, Mary, Elizabeth and Michael.
    George was conscripted into Capt. John Lampman's Co. served as ensign. All officers and most of the men deserted to join the British just in time to fight in the Battle of Bennington.
  • Conrad Dafoe (Coenraat Devoe),U.E., of Osnabruck Twp (Upper Canada). b. 14 Mar 1753 Albany Co., N.Y., d. May 1853 Osnabruck Twp.
    Conscripted first into Capt. Lemuel Stewart's militia July 1775, then to Capt. Isaac Warren's Co, 2nd Mass. Reg. Continental Army. Deserted May 1-2 1777.
    Joined Capt. Samuel Anderson's Co, KRRNY. Fought in Burgoyne's Campaign and at the Battle of Bennington, was captured and held in irons, escaped to Canada (Quebec) and settled with his Regiment in Osnabruck Twp., near Aultsville.
    He m.1784 Eve Empey (Aneph Empey), 7 children.
  • Abraham Dafoe (Defoe), b.1755, d. after 1818 Fredericksburg Twp. Upper Canada, m. Katreen Diamond. Corp. in Capt. Henry Ruiter's Co, Rogers Rangers. Settled Fredericksburg Twp. 5 children. (See Abraham Dafoe record in Loyalist Directory.)
  • John Jr., U.E., bp. 30 Apr 1758 DRC Albany. d. after 1835 Richmond Twp. Upper Canada.Pvt in Rogers Rangers, Capt. Henry Ruiter's Co.Married Lois Pringle (Prindle). 9 children.
  • Jacob, bp. 19 July 1761 DRC Albany. d. between 1784-1788. 5' 81/2" tall. Joined Rogers Rangers Capt. Henry Ruiter's Co Oct. 1780. Brother Abraham petitioned for 100 acres of land as heir to brother Jacob and received it in 1788. Jacob must have been in Fredericksburg with the family in 1784 for him to be eligible for a land grant in Upper Canada.
  • Mary, b. 19 Oct. 1763, bp. 15 Jan 1764, St. Paul's Evengelical Lutheran Church, Schoharie, N.Y., d. between 1834-1839. She m. ca 1783, @ St. John's Que., Andrew Rikely, Sgt., Capt. Azariah Pritchard's Co., Rogers Rangers.
  • Andrew, b. Mar 1760, 5' 6" tall In the Secret Service as well. 9 children. By 1900's Rikely became "Wrightly" in the Havelock area of Ontario.
  • Michael Dafoe, UE of Fredericksburg Twp.. Pvt Capt Henry Ruiter's Co, Rogers Rangers, bp. 20 Feb 1766, d. 31 Dec 1859.
    m. 1st Rachel Holcomb, d/o John Holcomb Sr. and Rachel Wright and step-dau. of Zenas Ross UE of Fredericksburg Twp. and gd/o Simeon Wright UE. Rachel b. 1773,bp. as an adult & wife of Michael Dafoe, 9th Mar 1788 (Rev John Langhorn), died before 1815. 11 children.
    m. 2nd Mrs Margaret Pringle (nee Patersen) in 1815. No children.
  • Daniel Dafoe UE of Fredericksburgh and Richmond Twp., b. 15 Sept 1769, bp 4 Feb. 1770 DRC Albany, d. 1840-1844. Married before 1788, Elizabeth Wright, d. 21 Dec 1844, d/o Samuel Wright UE, 11 children
Biography :

John Ernst s/o Abraham "Deffu"(Defoe) and Anna Maria Catharina Reiffenberger. The Defoe/Thevou and Reiffenberger families were Palatines who had emigrated to N.Y. in 1710. John Ernst moved from Germantown to Petersburg, N.Y. where he built a grist mill on Dayfoot Creek (his surname now Dayfoot). Dayfoot Creek a tributary of the Hoosic River. When illness in Petersburg broke out, John moved his family "over night" to Washtub Creek near Pownall, just "over the mountain". Again he built a grist mill, planted an orchard, and cleared a farm. Name now spelled Defoe and John and family remained on Tub Creek until war broke out. John's mother tongue was German but he also spoke English. John was elected Pathmaster at Pownall in 1768 and Deer Reeve in 1769-1770.

On 30 May 1781 John was granted a flag of truce to bring his family "out of the land of Rebellion." This was granted and the remaining Defoe/Dafoe family were in Fort St. John's by June 1781. In Canada, his sons began using the surname "Dafoe".

Proven Descendants : Kawartha 1992.05.15; Vancouver 2008.05.12;
Military Info :

John Ernst spoke out against revolution and was arrested and jailed in Conn. along with Gov. William Franklin. John escaped and in 1777 joined Capt. John Peter's Co and fought at the Battle of Bennington. At the Battle of Bennington John's sons George, Conrad, Abraham, Jacob and John Jr. were there too. Both George and Conrad were deserters from the Continental Army, having been conscripted, and joined father John and brothers. George died of wounds received at the Battle, Conrad, was captured and kept in irons, but managed to escaped to Canada.

John Ernst was captured at the B. of B. but escaped to Canada and joined Rogers Rangers, made a Captain with a warrent to raise a company. John served under Capt Justus Sherwood and, when Sherwood fell ill, Sir John Johnson recommended John Ernst Defoe to Gen. Haldimand as "a fit and trusty person".

John was a recruiter, a spy, and a courier between Quebec and New York City. John had a large family connection and recruited from among his relatives such as Keller, Van de Kar, Katzebach, Northern, Althuysen, Vander Werken and Loucks.

As well as his sons, he also recruited his nephew, Abraham Dafoe. "Cousin Abraham" shared a land grant with John Diamond in Fredericksburg Twp, but cousin Abraham returned to N.Y and left his property to his deceased cousin, George Defoe's son, Michael Dayfoot.

Loyalist Genealogy :  
Family History :  
Family Genealogy :  
Sources : Information contributed by Joan Lucas, UE, Kawartha Branch.
Reserved :