Have you heard of the Blue-Eyed Indians that wrecked havoc in Schoharie County, New York during the Revolutionary War? They weren’t really Indians. Sympathetic to the Tory cause, they were brothers united to stir up trouble against the American Patriots.
They were my family. (Guess that explains the rebel in me). You can read more about their story in a work by C. Donald Chrysler titled, “The Blue-Eyed Indians: The Story of Adam Crysler and His Brothers in the Revolutionary War.”
Costumes or disguises are not a new thing.
- Sometimes ancestors wore a disguise out of necessity to keep others from recognizing who they really were. Such is the case of women who dressed like men to fight in the Civil War. One example was Jennie Hodges who fought as Albert D. J. Cashier for the 95th Illinois Infantry. Her story is available online.
- Sometimes they dressed to play a part in a stage show, be it vaudeville with the villain and his black cape, or the Medicine Man to sell his latest remedy to cure all ails.
- The witches that were not witches didn’t even dress the part but they were still accused of witchcraft.
- Some dressed or acted the part of a German Baron or other rich nobleman to swindle unsuspecting people out of their money.
- Some disguised themselves to pass as patriots when in fact they were spies seeking military secrets.
- Some left their family, changed their name, and moved on with the new identity, never contacting their family again.
In many cases, the people who were disguised, moved away from their current residence to begin a life where no one knew of their past or where they could begin anew. In the case of the Blue-Eyed Indians, after the Revolutionary War they moved to Ontario, Canada where they could remain sympathetic to the British crown.
If you have followed your ancestor back in time and he disappeared off the records, it’s possible his new identity was different than his old one. After all, his mother didn’t find him as a newborn under a cabbage leaf!