On this blog I have included the biographies of many great and notable Christians. Today I would like to include that of one of my heroes and ancestors, the Rev. Simon Sutherland. The Sutherland family had come to America from Scotland with others of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and settled in Dutchess County, NY. The American Revolution was a time of great upheaval, not only for America, but also for the Sutherland family. Simon's grand-father was a devoted Quaker and pacifist and had been jailed by both sides during the war for his failure to support them. Simon's father on the other-hand left the Quaker faith as he supported and fought for the Patriot cause, turning to the Baptist denomination.
Below is a biography of the Rev. Sutherland from the book Centennial history of the Steuben Baptist Association, with information in brackets and italics were added from my records (local histories, military and Church records and family tradition) to fill the narrative.
One of the notable characters of the early history of Milo was Simon Sutherland, a faithful and earnest preacher of the Baptist faith. He was born in Stanford Dutchess County in 1779 and married in 1799 Tacey Lapham. They moved into Yates Co. [still part of Ontario Co.] in 1803. He was licensed to preach by the Benton church (1st Milo) Oct 6 1806.
Elder Sutherland preached without compensation for some time, indeed it was on his part a firm resolve in the early part of his ministry to accept no compensation for his ministerial labor. On one occasion when they [the Sutherland family] had lost their cow, some friends started a subscription to buy them another. Upon getting possession of the paper he (Simon Sutherland) threw it under the "forestick" determined to allow nothing of the kind. He supported himself and family by the labor of his hands and preached with zeal and effect to the pioneers of the surrounding country, sometimes going ten miles or more from home on foot to attend his appointments. He formed the first and second Baptist churches in Milo.
In the War of 1812 his brother Roger was a captain [Ontario Co., NY Militia] and the Elder went and served under him [as a Chaplain and Sergeant]. Simon Sutherland's unit was part of the force that took and held Ft. Niagara from the British and Canadian forces until forced to withdraw due to poor supply, morale and mutiny. After the withdraw Elder Sutherland served on the board of court martial that heard cases related to events at Ft. Niagara.
Elder Sutherland had seven daughters and one son, who was accidentally killed by a horse while a small lad and lost three daughters during an epidemic of the measles, yet his faith never wavered in spite of the tragedies.
Elder Simon Sutherland was instrumental in forming churches in Starkey (Now Dundee) Barrington (now Wayne Village) and Pulteney. In the latter town he resided twelve years a minister, in all up-wards of fifty years a preacher. He moved from Pulteney to Starkey where he lived several years and finally died near his old home in Milo Dec 1864 aged 85. He was made of stuff that belongs to the heroes and was ever true to his faith and calling while he was kind, gentle and self sacrificing in domestic and social life.
Elder Sutherland in his old age would often tell with tremulous voice, in his quaint way, of his journeyings from Second Milo to Eddy town and Harpending's Corners through the wilderness guided by marked trees, taking his chances with wild beasts, to dispense the everlasting word of God, holding services at all three places in one day - morning, afternoon and evening.
In the Churchyard Cemetery at Second Milo there is a large monument at his grave, with a Veterans Administration placard attached to it.
Sutherland Simon, Rev.
1864 Dec 5
B1779 Jun 4 in Dutchess Co., NY; died in Milo, ae 85/6
[War of 1812]