Jack Gageby's Website
James Gageby (Gaghby)
Died: 23 May 1834 at the home of Joseph Elder (one of his son-in-law) in Unity Township, PA, USA (his property holdings and residence were in Fairfield township, PA.)
Buried: 25 May 1834 in Unity Presbyterian Cemetery, Latrobe, PA
Occupation: Assumed to be a farmer.
Married: Jane (Janet) Scroggs in 1789 in Shippensberg (Newville), Cumberland County, PA
Allen B. GagebyThe following was written by Mary E. Gageby (a grand daughter of James and Jane) in about 1920. Since she was born after the death of James, the following is probably oral history as told to her by her parents, aunts, and uncles.
"James was born in Larn, Londonderry Co., Ireland in 1752. He was forced to emigrate to this country during 'a time that tried mens souls.' He and twelve other Scotch-Irish boys were conscripted by the British to fight for them in the Colonies. They landed in Boston harbor the night before the battle of Bunker Hill (Breed's Hill). They all deserted the British army that night. With many others he joined the American army that same night and the next day fought for them against the British at Bunker Hill. The following year he was in Philadelphia and present in Independance Hall as an eye witness to the reading and signing of the Declaration of Independance. This had the affect of convincing him of the righteousness of the American Cause and, there after, always observed the 4th of July by fasting and prayer. He also re-enlisted in the army and continued in it until the close of the war. One night while at Valley Forge in the winter, after guard duty, he laid down in the snow and fell asleep. When he awoke he found that his hair was frozen to the ground and had to cut it loose with his saber. While stationed with the army along the Delaware River he and others were recognized by a British soldier who reported them to the British officers. The British officers arrested seven of them, James, John Gageby and men named Brown, Hamill, Donalson, Graham and Pollock. They were tried and were sentenced to be shot the next day as deserters. They were put in a stockade and a guard was assigned to watch them. The guard turned out to be friend who feigned sleep while they readied their escape. They wrapped their clothing around their muskets (how did they get their muskets?) and tied them to their backs. They cut up their knapsacks and made ropes of them. With the ropes they let themselves down to the river side of the stockade and swam across the Delaware to safety. Six of them landed at the same place on the safe side of the Delaware. The seventh, John Gageby, did not show up and they never heard from him. Owing to the lack of telegraphs at that time there was no method of communicating with him. It is supposed that he got out safely as there was a family of Gagebys living in north eastern Pennsylvania whom were thought to be his descendants."
Records show that James repeatedly enlisted in the American revolutionary army for 3 month non-consecutive periods, perhaps 4 or 5 times during the revolutionary war, always as a basic infantry soldier.
He was known as a little Irishman. He was a devote Presbyterian, lived among other Presbyterian families, and was know to conduct prayer meetings.