Absalom Savage, born: November 1, 1781. died July , 1821
Sally Wilcox Savage, born: September 6, 1785. died March 31, 1834
Married: November 2, 1806
William Francis 1810-1810
Ralph Bulkley Savage, born: September 10, 1812
Mary Ann Savage Andrus: born April 20, 1815
Rev. George Slocum Folger Savage: born June 29, 1817
Charles Cassee Savage: born July 4, 1820, died 1907
Our knowledge of Absalom Savage is sketchy; based mainly on family anecdotes, a few records and letters. The picture of Absalom comes from a small glass painting, that still hangs in the house that he built in 1806 on Main St, Cromwell CT. The picture is said to have been painted when he was in France. The fact that house has remained in the family has aided greatly in keeping his memory alive.
Absalom was born in Middletown Upper houses (what is now Cromwell, CT) in 1781. He was the third of six children born to Nathaniel and Mary (Stowe) Savage. According to family history Absalom Savage received his baptismal name in error. It is said that he was to be named for Capt. Abijah Savage, a hero of the old French war, and that the minister misunderstood, and bestowed the name Absalom. In a Letter of October 9,1893 Absalom's son, George S. F. Savage, tells the story to his cousiin John Redfield: "Grandfather Nathaniel Savage and his wife agreed to name my father Abijah, but when he was baptized Grandfather said that he (the minister) could not read the name and could only think of Absalom, and so, much to their regret, he was so named."
Little else is known of his early life. He married Sally Wilcox in November of 1806 and it is said he built the house for their marriage. An interesting advertisement for a lost bag of nails from March 1807 makes one wonder if he was already doing improvements on the house, or if they were part of some cargo for his ship.
We know that he became a merchant sea captain who worked with an agent named Ralph Bulkley in New York City. He apparently sailed several ships as we have documents showing him sailing on the schooner "Lucy," and later in December 1820 he is captain of the schooner "Archer."
Below: An 1810 manifest for Absalom on the schooner "Lucy." The original document has eight language panels in all and is signed by President James Madison.
An 1813 authorization for Absalom on the "Lucy" to sail from Barbados to Martinique.
Below: Annoucement of the Schooner "Archer" sailing to New Orleans with Absalom as captain.
It is on the Archer where he is said to have died of yellow fever on the return trip from New Orleans. However his gravestone says that Absalom drowned at Sea. An article in the Shipping News of July 1821gives us a clearer insight as to how Absalom died. Both statements may be correct, as it says that Absalom, in a deranged state (possibly caused by the fever). jumped through a cabin window. Every effort was made to get him, but without effect and he was drowned. The Longitute and Latitude given puts him about 500 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida.
A second article in a Baltimore paper gives a slightly more detailed (though somewhat confusing) story.
The memorial/grave markers for Absalom and Sally Savage in the old burying ground in Cromwell Ct. They can be found in the first row on the Northwest corner of the graveyard. About seven stones from the end, following Ranney Road.
Note from L. Nathan Butler: I think the miniature portrait of Absalom may be a partially mass-produced piece, i.e., the head (including ears & hair) and shoulders/clothing were already painted, and he was able to choose it from a variety of options offered by the artist and then have his face added. This would have made the acquisition of personal miniatures much more affordable for folks like Absalom. I saw an almost identical portrait to his in Vienna (head/hair, clothes) but with a different face.
Also of interest are several Letters written by Sally and Absalom.
Absalom is a descendant of John Savage and Elizabeth Dubbin Savage, who were original settlers of Cromwell CT, then part of Middletown and often called the Upper Houses or North Society. Below is the progression from John to Absalom.
John Savage = Elizabeth Dubbin (m.1652)
-- John Savage = Mary Ranney (m.3/30/1682)
--- Thomas Savage = Mary Goodwin (m.3/21/1710 or 11)
---- John Savage = Martha Beckley (m.8/4/1742)
----- Nathaniel Savage = Mary Stowe (m.10/25/1772)
------ Absalom Savage = Sally Wilcox (m.11/2/1806)
Sally Wilcox Savage was also related to John Savage and Elizabeth Dubbin Savage through both her mother and father. See chart below. For even more details see the chart on the George Butler page.